Halo 5 Spies vs Mercs Launch Trailer


Dec 22, 2015

Halo 5 Spies vs Mercs is a custom 2v2 mini game that captures the spirit and intensity of old school game play of Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory.

All launch maps have 5 objective terminals. The spies must complete hacks on 4 of the available 5 to win. Hacking involves operating the terminal 12 times with 1 second delays. The mercs must hold their ground, using various traps and tech around each map to keep the spies from completing their mission to succeed.


Once the Monitors Bounty update displayed a new level of scripting potential, I decided to endeavor to develop a re-invention of Splinter Cell multiplayer in Halo 5. Nav markers, shootable target scripting, boundary checking, custom traits per team. These set off flags in my mind of what could be accomplished.

There were some clear concessions that had to be made. There are no realistic ways to have throwable chaff/flash/phosphorous grenades. There are no sticky cam bullets or night/thermal/motion/EM vision modes. The lighting systems in Halo 5 don’t cater to the experience. You cannot taze enemies or knock them out.

Suffice to say, I was managing my expectations.

First things first, the new traits system in mini-game mode. This is the cornerstone feature to capture the feel for SvM.

The spy team has a permanent 80% cloak, a silenced pistol with infinite ammo which cannot feasibly kill, but is used for disabling cameras, traps and causing distractions. Spies move quicker than mercs, can clamber, thrust, ground pound and assassinate. They also respawn with splinter grenades, good for area denial.

Mercs are slow, cannot jump high or clamber, but have access to powerful weapons, enhanced radar and employ the various world traps in any given map to give them advantages.
Developing an objective system for this mode was very important. The original Splinter Cell games had several modes but I focused on "Neutralization". Multiple objectives, which required 12 seconds of interaction in order to complete, were scattered around SC's maps. Spies could sneak around and devise ways to get to the goals without being detected by the mercs, who were guarding the terminals.

I have a system set up that has 5 objectives waiting to be hacked. Each objective gets 2 nav markers (one is black as to not overly clutter the UI). It works well enough. 1 nav marker lists the objective location (ALPHA - ECHO) And the second displays hacking progress.

When the spy team hacks 4 of the 5 objectives, they win the game. Mercs win if they holdout until the time expires without letting 4 objectives fall.
Since I can’t duplicate the loadouts, tools and inventories of the original mercs and spies from Splinter Cell, I had to rely more on map scripting to enrich the experience. My favorite bit of tech in this world is the Spy detection camera. Using boundaries, I created a field of vision that marks spies using nav markers when they enter the field. Spies can shoot out the physical camera for 15 seconds using their pistol to disable the tracking. Seeing it in-game is so cool in it’s simplicity in action.

There are other traps like laser detection walls, enhanced proxy mines with better alert range than the automatic mines, intel hacks that mark merc locations for spies, and more. These traps really bring the experience to the next level and when you make your own SvM maps, you can come up with your own unique traps.

All of these traps as well as the game logic will be made public in my file share as prefabs so anyone with the ambition to add their unique skill and style to the SvM game mode will be able to get to a final product as fast as possible.
Spies vs Mercs is launching with a small collection of maps purpose-built with the game mode in mind. The initial map pack is being crafted by myself and Anemeros. We’ve hit snags with file corruption so some of our work is lost until the bug fix is released. We wanted to showcase a variety of locales and layouts to demo the possibilities of this mode. We want you all to make maps for this mode!

SvM-Black Gold - A deep sea oil rig in the midst of a tropical storm.
SvM-Old Town - A downtown city block.
SvM-Thermafrost - A steel foundry that has sustained structural damage.
SvM-Andesian Lab - A top secret lab under Andesian Robotics HQ.
SvM-Hangar Echo -*File Corrupted until bugfix* A military hangar built into a mountainside.

More will be released from the founder team later on, including a military hangar and an under-construction mall wing.

The hangar map is ready but during a minor update, it got corrupted and won't be playable until 343 release the bug fix in their next patch. Com’on Tom & Michael, make the magic happen!
To ease the development of new content, I have a prefab system that lets you drag n drop all essential systems required for SvM onto your creations. There are some design philosophies that have to be respected for a proper outcome so simply dropping these onto your core maps or infection maps may not result in a good experience. Mercs must be able to cover the objectives in reasonable time frames for instance. You can’t have the objectives spread across a BTB map or the spies will always win.
Objective Terminals


A goal of mine while developing this game mode was to get the halo and forge communities involved. It’s something totally different from the status quo, and requires a different mindset when constructing maps and when playing them.

To discuss maps, the mode, forging for it and custom lobbies, on top of this Forge hub thread, I have started a discord server dedicated to this one experience.

Here is the link:


This google sheets doc is the master reference guide for all game mode scripts that are required in maps for the custom game to work properly. It also has a channel matrix, so forgers can see what wiggle room they have to make custom scripts, traps and the like.

It has a white list of maps that support the specs required for official SvM play.

I hope you all enjoy what has been made here for this community. It’s a far less forgiving mode due to the complicated interactive systems and I don’t expect everyone to seek it out, but I encourage you to give it a try with 3 friends. It turned out better than I thought it would and despite this game trying to stop me and my friends at every turn, with scripting glitches, game initialize bugs, and corrupted map files, we made it!

Created by: T0astman & Anemeros

Special Thanks:
Jakked n Tan
Widowmaker X1
The Auto Tuna
Agent Zero85, Yumudas Beegbutt, Captain Punch and the Scripters Guild
The AmazingE123
Mr Deliciousman


Round Objects™
Dec 23, 2012
Greater Seattle Area
This looks way cool! An excuse to play around with the Tactical Magnum would have been enough to get me excited, but I can see a lot of work went into this. Looks like an excellent use of the new scripting features. I'll have to get some games on it some time.
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Dec 22, 2015
We've gotten some good impressions from first time players. Some feel it is too hard for spies town, but with some time and map knowledge, people will find that it's more balanced than it may seem. If you do get some playtime in, let me know what you think about it! And join the discord server if you are looking for people to play with. Thanks again!