Ever since I got my Xbox 360 with Halo 3 in the summer of 2010, I have been messing around with Halo's light level editor mode, Forge. In Halo 3, my friends and I would download or build silly levels and play pretend games in them with our own made up rules. One game we played was our own version of the playground game “Cops and Robbers”, where someone would be the cop and go around telling the robbers to “slow down and obey the speed limit”. If they didn't comply, they were captured and put in “jail”. The jail was a room that you would have to get to by walking through a teleporter in the game. The entrance teleporter had fusion coils in its trigger box that had to be destroyed so the person could walk into it to be teleported to the jail. Once the cop had blown up the fusion coils, they would push the robber in and they would be teleported. The fusion coils were set up to have a really low respawn time. Once they respawned the teleporter was blocked again and could not be used from either end, hence leaving the robber “stuck in jail”.
Looking back it's a pretty silly game that we would play, but I was a kid in 7th grade and I enjoyed it. I wish I could take credit for the teleporter blocker idea but I did not make it. Regardless, it has always stuck with me and left a lasting impression on what can be possible with level design when working within constraints.
Then came Halo Reach and its much more robust version of Forge. I spent a TON of time in Halo Reach's forge, sometimes making maps that could be played, but also often just building dioramas from media that I liked on its map “Forge World”. But my number one interest when making maps for Halo always comes back to “Cops and Robbers”, or as it is called in the Halo community, “Hot Pursuit”. It utilizes Halo's Infection gametype with the focus of cops trying to infect the robbers who are driving around on vehicles.
I made two or three maps for this in Halo Reach as well as in Halo 4. When Forge was confirmed to be coming to Halo Infinite, I knew I needed to jump in and make a new map. I was following the news for Forge and was excited about how much more advanced the level editor was going to be compared to Halo 4 which was the last time I had seriously messed around with Forge.
In November of 2022, Forge was released in Halo Infinite and I immediately jumped in and started working on a map that was mostly targeted for the “Hot Pursuit” game mode. The general layout of the map and some of its set pieces were inspired by my favorite map from Halo 3, “Rat's Nest”. The map has one road that goes around the entire perimeter as well as a road going through the center that connects to both sides. The rest is a series of hallways and loading bays. I knew with my map that I wanted to have an outer road and a road that goes through the center like “Rat's Nest”, but I wanted the rest of it to be more interesting and somewhat interactive.
I decided my map was an in-universe “UNSC Base”. The right side was going to be a lab where they were experimenting on a “Forerunner Cavern” that the entire base was built around. The left side was going to be a bank with a vault as set dressing for the robbers to “steal money from”. There might be a hidden weapon in there as well… Having a bank at a base sounds kind of silly, but then again there was a vault full of credits for the employees of an Imperial base that the main character's robbed in the recent Star Wars show “Andor”, so maybe it is not as far-fetched of an idea as I thought.
With my ideas collected I started checking out the available assets in Halo Infinite's new Forge mode and started building the map! Halo Infinite's Forge was pretty buggy at launch and I basically wasn't able to use certain mechanics like the ability to undo without things breaking. Regardless, it was pretty crazy to see this mode that used to just be placing a couple objects around with the ability to loosely rotate them turn into almost a full fledged game engine style level editor.
I worked on the level when I had time and took screenshots along the way. I started on November 12th, 2022 and finished on March 8th, 2023. The goal of this project was to have fun, so while I kept some values of level design in mind when making this map, my larger priority was to make a map that was just cool and I think I struck a good enough balance there. I got a couple friends together to play it one night that is shown off in the video below. In terms of a postmortem after testing the map with my friends, I made it too big haha. But if you were to play the map with a group of 10 people or more then you could consider the map as being a good size then.
It was fun to jump back into some level design considering I hadn't taken a shot at it since I had gotten into game development really. While it is not my specialty I think it's important to have an understanding of each area of game development and this was just another refresher on how to keep the entire pipeline in mind.
Map on Halo Waypoint
Gametype on Halo Waypoint