The difficulties of Forge

Zandril

HC Veteran
May 2, 2013
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WARNING: Wall of text incoming.

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Hey guys, Zan here. As most of you know, I'm a forger in Halo 4. I've made plenty of competitive maps, one Flood map, and one mini game. I have 4 competitive maps that are all works in progress and I also started my second Flood map.

From that, you can tell that I'm very involved in the Forging scene. But like a lot of things in life, forging can bring you difficulties and may sometimes bring you a lot of frustration.

And that's pretty much what I'll be discussing in this write-up. I can safely say that I've grown a lot as a forger and what I'll be discussing in this thread are the things I learned and picked up along the way.

This write up will not be a tutorial. I won't be telling you how to place spawns, manage map flow. This write up will talk about
Read it to find out. :p

P.S. This is mostly for competitive map forgers.

P.P.S. English is not my primary language so excuse any grammatical errors, mistakes in sentence structure, etc.

P.P.P.S. This is mainly for aspiring forgers. The pros experienced forgers would probably already know most, if not all, of what I'll be discussing.

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The Beginning of a Map

Now, when you decide to forge a map, how do you start it? Do you just place random pieces around until you find an idea for your map. Do you start with one idea and then expand from that? Do you choose a map from a previous Halo title and then use it as inspiration for your map?

I. From idea to piece.

You can use any one of those ways to start a map. We all have different styles of forging and this results in different ways of starting a map. I myself mostly use two ways to start a map.

One if these is placing about 4 blocks side by side, transform into player mode and try to figure out how I want the map to be from there. While in player mode, I think to myself "Would a ramp here be good?", "Maybe I should have a lift here", "This could be a good spot for a power position"

From there, I experiment. I turn my ideas into forge pieces and then see how everything works. But it doesn't stop there. Once I have figured out the general layout of the map, I don't stop thinking in player mode. While in player mode, I walk around what I have created so far. This allows me to expand my creation in the right direction resulting in a well built and well thought out map. Remember, you can't always determine how a certain area would play while you're in Forge ball mode.

That's the method I use when I don't have an idea to start from. Give it a try. For all you know, it'll help you start your next creation.

II. From inspiration to creation

Another one of the methods I use when I start a map is, as I've stated above, expanding from one idea.

This is very similar to using a map from a previous Halo title as inspiration. Let's say that you wanted to make a map that is similar to Narrows from Halo 3. Now, what's one thing in Narrows that makes it unique from the other Halo 3 maps?

The bridge.

You can use that idea to start your map. Simply build a simple bridge and then decide how your map will go from there. You can use the "walking around in player mode" method I stated above to help you continue your build.

Take this picture for example.
4YN3GCK.jpg

That entire map started from one idea. The Forerunner structure in the middle made of the banks. I wanted to make a Forerunner-themed map so I created that diamond looking structure and eventually, an awesome 2v2 map happened.

Here's another example
CMs8ybP.jpg

VylfUYD.jpg

That entire map also started from one idea. The bridge. What's funny is, I was inspired by Narrows yet the map has almost no similarities to Narrows. I simply built a simple bridge, expanded from that and eventually made an original map that looks nothing like a map from a previous Halo title.

From that one, simple idea, I was able to build what I think is my best map in Halo 4 so far. It's still a work in progress though.

But don't forget that it's important to be original. Show people, through your maps, who you are as a forger. It's not a bad idea to take inspiration from other maps but making all your maps remakes or rehashes won't help you grow much as a forger compared to making original maps.

The first piece has been placed. An idea has sprouted. The map continues.

After you've figured out how you want your map to be in terms of layout, gameplay, theme etc, the harder part comes. And that would be continuing and, eventually, finishing the map. You have to take many things into account when you continue your map.

This includes finding a good area for the initial spawns, the power weapon spawns, the power positions, making sure your map will flow well, etc. If you take these things into account, your map is bound to not have many issues in its layout and structure.

If you just continue forging your map without any real thought process, the map is bound to have several issues that could possibly be unfixable without a complete reforge or redesign of the map. I know this from a certain experience of mine in forging.

Forger's Block

As far as I know, everyone gets it. No forger has ever gone through in his forging career without experiencing forger's block.

Now, what can you do if you're hit with forger's block? What I do is take a break. I find this to be the best way to remedy this issue. By putting my mind at rest, it allows me to think properly and lets my brain absorb ideas better. You'll always need a break when doing something. Forging a map is no exception.

After that time of rest, I don't go back to the map immediately. I look at other maps first. Community made and developer made. This usually gives me more ideas and inspiration that allows me to continue my map.

The map is done. But is it though?

Congratulations! You've finished your map. But not really.

You've simply finished its beta. A playable version. Not the final one.

All maps will need feedback. All forgers will need feedback. You and your map are no exception. Once you've finished your map's first version, it's time to test it. This is crucial in the development of your map.

But to some people, this is the hardest part.

It's not easy to receive feedback. A lot of people would view your map post, say "Looks cool, bro." or "Nice aesthetics" and then ignore it forever. Some wouldn't even comment on it. Let's face it, "Nice aesthetics" doesn't help very much. It may make you feel good about the map but it won't be much help if you're trying to fix some issues.

So how do you get feedback?

a) Give feedback.

A lot of people also have maps that lack feedback. It's time for you to step up. Giving feedback will make some people remember your name and, if you're lucky, they'll give you feedback right back.

b) Request it.

There are many groups and individuals out there who are willing to help you with your map for free. Some of them would be

- The Librarians of Forge Cafe
- Master Debaytes' Review Crew at Halo Customs
- Fated's Forge Lobby at Forge Hub
- AbleSir Thomas' TNT at 343i Community forum
- And many more!

Give these guys a shout and I'm sure they'll be willing to help you with your map.

c) Join some customs

This will help you in testing your map. The best place to go to is Halo Customs. Join some map testing lobbies and hopefully, you'll get the feedback you need. This will also help you spot issues in your map, if any.

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This essay write up of mine is almost done so I'm going to leave one last piece of advice for any aspiring forgers reading this thread.

Don't give up.

Most likely, your first map won't be the best. It could turn out horribly. At least, that's how my first few maps turned out.

To get better at forging, it's very important that you like forging. You're not going to get any better at something if you don't enjoy doing it (You can apply this in real life :D). To get better, you'll need feedback (refer to the ways of getting feedback as seen above). Once you get feedback, it's important that you don't take offense. Some feedback that you'll receive may seem harsh but these are the feedback that will truly help you grow as a forger. Take the feedback into account and use it to improve your map and yourself.

Of course, you must be able to determine the difference between feedback and flaming.

Another thing you must learn is this. Knowing when to give up on a map. (Not contradicting the "Don't give up" above. That tells you not to give up on Forging. This tells you to know when to give up on a certain map)

Not all issues in a map are fixable without a complete reforge/redesign. And sometimes, the issues are still not fixed. You should be able to determine if the core layout and design of a map dooms it to unfixable problems. This means that no matter how much you change some things in the map, it will never be something that will truly shine because of it's main design. I know this from my own experiences in Forge.

The best thing to do if this happens to your map is to make some final adjustments to it and move on with a new project while applying all that you've learned from your previous creations to your new map.

________________________________

Anyway, that's pretty much it from me. I hope this write-up helps any aspiring/beginning forgers with their maps.

Zan out.
 
Feb 12, 2013
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Dark Void
I must say that you are very thoughtful about how to start maps, If you wanted to know how I do it? I place a center piece down out of what ever it may be, then I branch out my floor design for the whole map, along with inclines. The last stuff I add is Walls, and other elements along with player issue.

IDK if that is why you may think the way I do, but the four floor pieces you place down you have said, then break off from it. The only difference I see is I never get out of Oracle mode, I have my friends fight while I am building it. It sounds similar, and I find a great interest with what you may say in future advise. :y: Keep It Up!!!
 
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Well if i want to be the next GOD of forging i might as well learn everything if not anything or is it the other way around?? Oh well you get the point of it...
I must say that you are very thoughtful about how to start maps, If you wanted to know how I do it? I place a center piece down out of what ever it may be, then I branch out my floor design for the whole map, along with inclines. The last stuff I add is Walls, and other elements along with player issue.

IDK if that is why you may think the way I do, but the four floor pieces you place down you have said, then break off from it. The only difference I see is I never get out of Oracle mode, I have my friends fight while I am building it. It sounds similar, and I find a great interest with what you may say in future advise. :y: Keep It Up!!!
Yeah my problem too with never getting out of ball mode.
 
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There are no gods in Forge. Just good forgers and beginning forgers. :)
Their are gods of forge, those who make maps that are distinguishable from other maps by very obvious and subtle additions and aesthetic touches that define the map in more than one way. Gods of forge consider every possible way to create and improve upon their maps in the first go. This is what makes a god of forge. (SIDE EFFECTS OF BEING A FORGING GOD: YOU MAY EXPERIENCE DIZZINESS, CONFUSION, BOREDOM, LACK OF INTEREST IN FORGE, MINIR FORGING FLAWS, FORGERS BLOCK AND DEATH MAY OCCUR)
 

Skyward Shoe

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Their are gods of forge, those who make maps that are distinguishable from other maps by very obvious and subtle additions and aesthetic touches that define the map in more than one way. Gods of forge consider every possible way to create and improve upon their maps in the first go. This is what makes a god of forge. (SIDE EFFECTS OF BEING A FORGING GOD: YOU MAY EXPERIENCE DIZZINESS, CONFUSION, BOREDOM, LACK OF INTEREST IN FORGE, MINIR FORGING FLAWS, FORGERS BLOCK AND DEATH MAY OCCUR)
No, Zandril's a lot closer on this. There are no perfect designers in any medium who consider every option and always get everything right, nor do I think it is important to always get things right on the first go. Most of the best forgers spend months on end refining ideas, and a lot of times they aren't ever fully satisfied because they've learned so much from the refining process that the only then to do is make a new, better map and repeat the cycle again. In the end it's just a spectrum from less experienced to more experienced, and I'd say that neither end of the spectrum is fixed. No one is at the top or the bottom completely. Even the most experienced forger still has more to learn, as in any medium. If there wasn't any more to learn... well why would you do it anymore?
 
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No, Zandril's a lot closer on this. There are no perfect designers in any medium who consider every option and always get everything right, nor do I think it is important to always get things right on the first go. Most of the best forgers spend months on end refining ideas, and a lot of times they aren't ever fully satisfied because they've learned so much from the refining process that the only then to do is make a new, better map and repeat the cycle again. In the end it's just a spectrum from less experienced to more experienced, and I'd say that neither end of the spectrum is fixed. No one is at the top or the bottom completely. Even the most experienced forger still has more to learn, as in any medium. If there wasn't any more to learn... well why would you do it anymore?
BECAUSE YOU COULD!!!!!!!!!!!! Jk. I was joking around if you couldn't tell by the "side effects"
 
Feb 12, 2013
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Dark Void
It really all comes down to what you believe, but I will say a master of the forge never stops trying to find what flows best. Any can be a master at it, it just depends on how much they want it. Another thing they will do is try to do anything even though it is highly in doubt.
 
It really all comes down to what you believe, but I will say a master of the forge never stops trying to find what flows best. Any can be a master at it, it just depends on how much they want it. Another thing they will do is try to do anything even though it is highly in doubt.
Exactly..... Like "side effects" im going to drop it now, the side effects thing. What you thought i meant my ipad? "IM-BE SEAL" -Prophet of Truth, Halo 3