News Site Update, for Great Justice!

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Greetings, my blue fellows. It's been a while since we served up a steaming platter of HaloCustoms news for you, but the wait is finally over. You may not have heard much from us lately. The staff have been quiet, and this is something which has been reflected throughout the Halo community. The bitter winter that is Halo 4 is almost over, though. Soon, the snow will melt and usher in a fresh, beautiful spring (ironically enough, we'll actually be heading into winter when the Master Chief Collection drops this November). Don't worry, we will be ready for that spring. None of what we are proposing today is set in stone, but we figured it was about time we gave you guys a glimpse of what to expect come November.

On the eleventh day of the eleventh month of this year, it will be time for many of us to say our goodbyes to Halo 4. Instead, we'll be turning to Halo 2: Anniversary, a game who's multiplayer component will not only allow us to revisit the classic Halo sandbox, but to create new experiences of our own. You'll continue to see options for posting maps and hosting custom games on all Halo games, but our focus (and likely yours as well) will be on H2A. You'll see this reflected in a few key areas around the site.

The maps section
One of the first areas of discussion when we began planning out changes to be made alongside MCC's launch was the maps section. The maps section has always acted as a nice cozy place to house your custom maps and help them make friends, but with the advent of a bundle containing three forge-ready Halo games, we'll be making some changes to ensure that things remain as organized and cozy as possible. Maps will be organized by two descriptors. The first will be a prefix applied to each map denoting which game the map is in. These prefixes will then be applied across all map categories. If you open up the Infection category, you'll easily be able to see maps made in Halo 3, Halo 4, and Halo 2: Anniversary. If you want to compile a backlog of maps from all three games and rotate through them in your lobbies, be our guest. If you'd rather simply grab maps from a single game, you'll be able to do that just as easily.

The other change will be to the map categories themselves. They will be organized as follows.
  • Core
  • Infection
  • Mini Game
  • Race
  • Puzzle
  • Aesthetic
  • Gametype
If you're wondering what this core section is, here is an explanation. For years, we've been calling core Halo maps either competitive or casual maps. What many people do not realize is that casual and competitive are styles of play, not of map design. A good map, be it a core map, an infection map, a mini game, etc. will allow players to play both casually and competitively based on how they want to play. It's time for the flawed nomenclature we've been using for the past several years to be phased out and replaced with something that actually makes sense. You'll be seeing this change reflected across other groups throughout the community as well.

You may see some other changes to the maps section as well, but nothing else has been set in stone. I wouldn't be surprised if some changes were made to the map review feature, though. We'll get back to you when more has been finalized, and we encourage you to weigh in with any suggestions in the mean time.

The customs section
While we're pretty set on what we want to do with the map section, there is a bit less certainty regarding the custom games section. We're discussing a few different options on how best to incorporate a lobby rating system. We have a few ideas on how we could do that, but we'd like to get some input from you guys, this is the heart of HaloCustoms after all. My new pair of flashy red (and gravity-deprived) shoes has one idea which you can find below, but if you have an entirely different option in mind we'd love to see it posted below.
Flying Shoe ILR said:
After hosting a custom lobby, players from the lobby can rate the host as good or bad. Each good rating will be worth 1 point, and each bad rating will take away a point. Hosts can have a range of points from 25 to -25. A positive point score will show players that you have a reputation for hosting good lobbies, while a negative point score will show that your lobbies have had problems in the past. Points gained or lost beyond this range will not be counted, so a good reputation can be lost if hosts do not keep to the same standards and a bad reputation can be turned around without lasting damage. All hosts would start with a slight positive rating to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and to avoid discouragement.
Aside from the changes to host ratings, you can also expect to see the option to recur lobbies go away. that's right, there won't be any more spam lobbies cluttering up the upcoming games tab on a daily basis. If you want to make your lobby recur in the future, you'll have to become better friends with the CTRL+V command. You can also expect things like recommended lobbies to return in the future.

Events and contests
This is another area where we don't have any plans set in stone quite yet. You can expect the return of Staff vs Community game nights and other weekend custom gaming events similar to the THFE Throwback Weekends you've likely seen taking place over the last few months. You can also expect to see things like front page map spotlights return, and to see caption contests and other mini-competitions continue. Once everyone has had a chance to ease into Halo 2 Anniversary's forge mode, you'll see the return of the Meet Your Maker Forge Contest series, co-hosted by us and our friends at The Halo Forge Epidemic (yes, I am my own friend). As the launch of MCC draws nearer, you can generally expect front page activity to increase with mini-articles becoming common once again. We'll also have more site updates before November to share more details with you as our proposed site changes become finalized.

Staff changes
As we prepare for the Master Chief Collection's release, we want to ensure that our staff team is the best it can be. We have recently bolstered our orange ranks with SOLIDSNAKEee and Auburn in order to ensure continued SvC dominance make sure we have an active, friendly, and committed staff team in place as we prepare for the launch of a new Halo game. We have also fired up the fruit transformation machine once again to turn Flying Shoe ILR from a lowly orange into a delicious red apple admin. We'll make sure everyone is geared up for November. Much of the staff activity between now and then will take place behind the scenes in order to prepare the site for launch, but you can still expect to see plenty of interaction with the staff team in the mean time. As always, feel free to ping any of us with questions, concerns, or suggestions about the site.

Updated visuals
With a new Halo game on the horizon, we decided it was time to give HaloCustoms a bit of a facelift. Several of these changes can already be viewed from the comfort of your very own desk chair, but we aren't done quite yet. Alongside the sexy H2A Ascension skybox banner and redone custom font laden site logo will soon be joined by some new H2A-inspired front page banners. Most of us don't seem to get too excited about this, but if you're interested you can feast your eyes on some of the new visuals in the spoiler below.
The new logo, complete with proprietary custom font:
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Some of our new front page banners:
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Halo news
If you've read through this entire update and wondered what the hell all of this gibberish about MCCs and H2As is, you may want to take a gander at some of the videos and discussion threads linked below. Get excited!
Your job
November is going to be a big month for Halo, and we will be working hard to make sure that is reflected on HaloCustoms. If you want to do your part, weigh in below with your thoughts on our proposed changes to the maps and custom games section and with whatever other thoughts you have. Help us make HaloCustoms the best it can be come November. Thanks for sticking with us through the bit of a rut we've been in lately, we promise we'll be out of it soon.
 

Comments

#4
First off, congrats on staff, Aub! This November is gon b gud for us all.

Here are my ideas on how to work the custom lobby formats to compensate for the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection (which I will refer to as TMCC in this post). I worked on quite a bit icons and alterations you can use alongside this idea. Hopefully the workings of this post isn't too confusing.

The icons that I made below are in the correct format (48x48; scaled down to 32x32 on the calendar) with our current customs game icons should you want to use these (pwetty please?). The standalone TMCC icon, the two console icons and the TMCC icon alonside each game are 3 alternate versions should the admin configuring the new customs settings would like to pick one or the other.

I also added in an icon for Halo 2: Anniversary and two different icons (for admin's preference) for Halo 5 since the beta is around the corner.

All icons available for use:
Alternative 1:

Alternative 2:

Alternative 3:

Halo 2 Anniv:

Halo 5 icons:
or


Below are examples and explanations of each alternative set of icons and format in use on the lobby calendar and lobby creation.
Alternative 1:
An icon for TMCC or no icon/360 icon will be added to the left of the game engine icon and an option to select either "Halo: TMCC" or "Original" for whichever master version of the game you're playing.


Alternative 2:
Icons for Xbox 360 and Xbox One will be added to the left of the game version icon and an option to select which console you're playing to differentiate whether you're playing the original version on Xbox 360 or the TMCC version on Xbox One.


Alternative 3:
New options and icon set for each ported TMCC game will be added to the current list of game versions.






Halo 2: Anniversary:


Halo 5:

or

Thoughts? Would be nice to have this seen by the admin that will be configuring this stuff. Personally I'd prefer the third alternative as the new format.
 
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#8
After a few hours work and procrastination, I was able to complete my post above just now with all icons and alternate ideas along with examples if you guys missed my update to it.
Shore, I like the idea and the images. We'll have to let the admins figure that stuff out, though.
Thank you. Well for whoever the admin is modifying the customs options in the future, these icons I made are now available for them to use. Whether they use the formatting and ideas I listed for the icons or for some other idea they have in mind for the icons; they're there.

Also as a suggestion, can 'Clue' please be added to the list of map categories for maps and/or in the very least an addition to the "What are you playing?" selection in the lobby creation page? It's really a big enough Halo genre to have it's own selection for either, since there are regular hosters of it and there are nearly 40 known maps (many of these are still left unposted on HC), with even far more to come when TMCC is here.
 
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#11
Why do you refer to Halo 4 as the 'bitter winter?'
Because Halo 4 was a dragged out season of depression for the Halo community in which the vast majority gave up and moved somewhere warmer. Plenty of the survivors of that harsh winter hid up in the cozy shack that is HaloCustoms.
As for the Forgers it was also like a winter since the terrible conditions made it impossible to build and more construction sites closed than opened. The snow made this building process difficult but it was good for the children, allowing them to make snowmen and penis aesthetics.
 
#12
Because Halo 4 was a dragged out season of depression for the Halo community in which the vast majority gave up and moved somewhere warmer. Plenty of the survivors of that harsh winter hid up in the cozy shack that is HaloCustoms.
As for the Forgers it was also like a winter since the terrible conditions made it impossible to build and more construction sites closed than opened. The snow made this building process difficult but it was good for the children, allowing them to make snowmen and penis aesthetics.
B-but the snow/sand trick was one benefactor, right?

Right?

Winter was fun for me, coming from a tropical country. I enjoyed it. Skiing in mongooses, sledding in ghosts, I still had a good time.

Damn it. Now I have to make a christmas map. Calling it "down the chimney". Santa Claus must deliver the presents without being spotted. Shoot, that could actually work.

<<insert grunt birthday party audio>>
 
#13
Hmm...
Can't say I really have a suggestion, you guys are really doing a good job, but maybe integrate livestreaming a bit more in lobbies? I know a few lobbies already stream, but I think it would be a really good way to bring more people to lobbies if they can see how much fun they are missing out on. Maybe if the lobby/host gets that +25 good ratings and a recommended lobby from the staff (or just reccomended lobby) then the lobby's stream could be posted on HaloCustoms at the top of the Custom Game section or on a HaloCustoms Twitch account/other livestreaming site.
Kinda talking out of my ass now cause I really didn't have a suggestion, but I second the Clue prefix for the Map section, we needs it.
That is all, have a nice day.
 
#16
The host rating system could be like the ranking system in Halo 3. That would be pretty funny and hosts would be familiar with it.
Also, I don't think one downrate should downrate your rating by a whole point as it would be very troll-friendly. Instead you'd have to get three downrates to rank down. I'd also increase the max rank as it would be achieved very quickly with the previous mentioned addition. As many of you may have noticed, the system I am suggesting is very similar to the Halo 3 ranking system.
 
#17
Also as a suggestion, can 'Clue' please be added to the list of map categories for maps and/or in the very least an addition to the "What are you playing?" selection in the lobby creation page? It's really a big enough Halo genre to have it's own selection for either, since there are regular hosters of it and there are nearly 40 known maps (many of these are still left unposted on HC), with even far more to come when TMCC is here.
I'm just going to flat out tell you right now that that is not happening.

Clue is nothing more than a mini game with honor rules. If you want to draw attention to the fact that the lobby you are hosting is a Clue Lobby, than you should mention it in the title of the lobby post. Of course, the lobby post itself should also point to what games you will be playing in your lobby. We will not be catering to specific gametypes in the new system, because we do not want to give special attention to certain gametypes over others, other than the general categories (i.e. Core, Infection, Mini Game, etc.). The only exception we will likely make in that regard will be for Puzzle maps, because although they can be considered as Mini Games, it's hard to argue that they are not a category of their own.

If we included an option for Clue as a specific gametype for "What are you playing?" then we would also have to include other gametypes that are commonly hosted, such as Prey, Murder Mystery, and Salvation to name a few. We may include an "Other" category though if you would like to use that.
 
#18
If we included an option for Clue as a specific gametype for "What are you playing?" then we would also have to include other gametypes that are commonly hosted, such as Prey, Murder Mystery, and Salvation to name a few. We may include an "Other" category though if you would like to use that.
Personally, I liked the old system where I can just type in whatever I pleased with it (I technically still can with Firebug). I can understand it could be abused (which for the year that it was available, I haven't seen it abused) by certain people but why not just have a limit of say, 40 characters for it?
 
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#19
Personally, I liked the old system where I can just type in whatever I pleased with it (I technically still can with Firebug). I can understand it could be abused but why not just have a character limit of say, 50 for it?
I think 50 is a bit high. If you want to say what gametype you are playing, I think the max character amount should be the max character amount the gametype itself was named.

EDIT: amount the gametype CAN be named