Forums / Games / Halo Infinite

How to make Maps feel more alive

OP DaekLaw

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Well, my english is not the best, so prepare for a lot of mistakes, but I think you will still get my points or if you don't feel free to ask.
I don't want to dive to much into Map Layout / Artstyle, because that's not really what my post is about.

One of my complains for a long time now is that the maps feel so lifeless. In my opinion, most of the maps (dev. made) in the past few Halo Titles (Reach & onwards) are forgettable.
Well, the question is: How do we make maps recognizable again? How can we make them feel more alive?

The answer will be different for every individual, but in my opinion: These maps have to stand out, they need trademarks. I mean let's look at Zanzibar, Terminal etc. It's not about you or me liking / disliking these maps. Even if you've forgetten the name of this 2 particular maps. You'll most likely describe them in a way of : "Oh yeah, that one map with the wheel / train"

Not only that, but these things make the maps feel more alive and they open up some new movement-possibilities. The same goes for the conveyors on Elongation (H2), Elephants on Sandtrap (H3) and the elevator on Ivory Tower.
It doesn't have to be always something related to movement. Sometimes an announcer can do the job like they did in the Pit (H3).

One more thing Ive just remembered are the things you can activate to gain an advantage. Like the underground door on Standoff (you have to activate the lever in each base) or you can activate that one lever on Longshore to pull out the bridge. I'd like to see more interactions within the maps like this in Infinite.

The last thing would be something like breakable glass in some maps. Or at least I'd appreaciate if we'll able to forge them.

There's endless potenial and I think / hope that 343 will go all-out and try to be creative.
I think that was everything :D
343 could start of with choosing different architecture styles for their maps...yes H5 had some very few Forerunner and covenant maps but the majority of the others were using the same boring white UNSC structures with different backdrops, there is no reason to not use different types of architecture among UNSC maps.
A big wheel and some flappy doors would definitely help. But seriously, I agree with your point; they should reincorporate dynamic elements into the playable geometry as opposed to just having a big fish swim by a window every now and then. They pushed way too hard towards the competitive scene, and as a consequence Halo lost some of its identity (i.e. a big wheel and some flappy doors).

In an ideal world, Infinite will find the balance between competition and fun that Bungie lost after Halo 3. Maybe then they won't have to segregate entire sections of the game off to accommodate different audiences.

On a side note—not everything needs to be rounded; regular 90º angles are fine.
First they need to stop making "forge" maps and have more dev maps.
I agree landmarks or just something that is completely unique to that map helps me enjoy them more. Even if I don't particularly care for a map I can at least appreciate that they feel unique and not just something generic that I'll easily forget.
I just hope they move away from the industrial style with maps. Cylinder structures, sterile looking environments and industrial complexes just make the maps feel soulless and bland. I also don't want cookie cutter Warzone bases. Each map should have its own unique base style which is related to the maps theme.
LUKEPOWA wrote:
I just hope they move away from the industrial style with maps. Cylinder structures, sterile looking environments and industrial complexes just make the maps feel soulless and bland. I also don't want cookie cutter Warzone bases. Each map should have its own unique base style which is related to the maps theme.
Couldnt have said it and agreed more. The maps in h4 and more so h5 are just meh.
I agree that the maps in the post-Halo 3 era were no longer memorable, and that it's a very bad thing for the multiplayer. Memorable maps are (by definition) easier to remember, which makes them more accessible. Remember, this is an Arena game and map layouts are absolutely important in the gameplay (second only to player skill). With forgettable maps that all seem to look, feel and play the same (gray boxes, in Halo 5), the element of map layout is de-emphasized. This has been the case, as OP said, since Halo Reach.

There are a few excpetions, of course. Haven from Halo 4 comes to mind, for instance, as a memorable map. I think it's not just a fun gameplay gimmick like a lowerable bridge or a pilottable Elephant, though that definitely does the job. Making the maps LOOK different from one another is also key. In Halo 5, most of the maps are indoors in UNSC spaces. The most unique-looking maps are those that have a Covenant theme, and are still indoors! The color pallette is very slim, for some reason. Gone are the sweeping tundras, rolling dunes and isolated forrests of Halo 3.

Aside from the looks, the map also need to PLAY different. Meaning, certain power weapons should only appear in a small number of maps (let's say, fan favorite OP weapons like the Gravity Hammer). Also, the verticality of the maps should vary- some maps should be conpletely level and open like Blood Gultch, not every map needs to be three floors. And while we're on it, the last few Halo games simply did not service Big Team Battle, which was a major selling point for Halo 3. Giving us only Forge maps for BTB is the reason that playlist is dead, IMO.

But yeah, OP, om point.
Absolutely, yeah. There has to be some singular thing that stands out, that isn't found anywhere else. I think there's more to this issue than that, though. Part of it is that there's just so many maps. How do you come up with something new, fun to play, and appropriate for the franchise? It gets harder each and every time you do it. And now we're on the seventh major game, some dozens of maps in.
Yeah! Even within the competitive context, a lot of the maps just feel the same. They're all sort of just squares or circles (mostly squares) divided up into lanes. Halo 5's arena combat in the dev maps is very lane based. Think Empire, think Torque, think Stasis, think Fathom. They're all the same damn map!
I usually said it in jest when discussing the topic of balance in multiplayer... but quite honestly, I wouldn't mind it if 343 tried out some variable gravity on some(!) of their maps. We've already had Low-G zones (in Halo 4?), how about some shifted gravity, where paths will curve up on the walls and ceilings? It would be certainly unique and might give a nice twist on the bunny-hopping tactic, where players jumping suddenly forces you to aim sideways or even down in order to track their heads.
343 could start of with choosing different architecture styles for their maps...yes H5 had some very few Forerunner and covenant maps but the majority of the others were using the same boring white UNSC structures with different backdrops, there is no reason to not use different types of architecture among UNSC maps.
Agreed, but it's not just that. The other problem with Halo 5's maps is that each area of each map looks the same. The layout and geometry is different, but the textures and lighting are exactly the same. There should be more differences from one side of a map to another side or one level of a map to another. For example, imagine if one side of a map was Overgrowth while the other side was Plaza, or even if the exterior of the structures was Overgrowth while the interiors were Plaza with different coloured lights inside on either side of the map. Little things like this go a long way.
Celestis wrote:
I usually said it in jest when discussing the topic of balance in multiplayer... but quite honestly, I wouldn't mind it if 343 tried out some variable gravity on some(!) of their maps. We've already had Low-G zones (in Halo 4?), how about some shifted gravity, where paths will curve up on the walls and ceilings? It would be certainly unique and might give a nice twist on the bunny-hopping tactic, where players jumping suddenly forces you to aim sideways or even down in order to track their heads.
Bold - that was in Reach, anchor 9 I think it was.

EDIT - I just remembered that I think there was a map in Halo 4 that had zero g as well. My mistake bud.

I agree with what the OP and others are saying here and I've been echoing this for a while. I love and miss all that kind of stuff too. Oh the amount of times myself or my friends would get hit by the train on that Halo 2 map. The laugher (and the nooooooo) it would cause lol ... I miss the train lol

To me the best feature of H2A was interactive environments on there MP maps. I remember when they showed H2A at E3 and they showed this. My friends and I were like, we're been saying this for years, this is amazing that they're doing this!! Shooting down chunks of ice on to someone, making a huge energy shield appear, causing water to flow and using it as cover.. and so on... that's so dam good!!!! The best part about this kind of feature too is if pros don't like it, they could easily disable it for that playlist too. Everybody wins :)

I always thought a neat idea on a map would be the power "goes out" for like 30-60 seconds until the system reboots. They would announce this. Then the Spartans change to night vision mode during that time maybe (they have that right? LoL) Something along these lines you know. Just little things like this.

I REALLY hope in Halo 6 they bring back interactive environments like H2A had and things that the OP and others have mentioned. I'm glad I'm not alone in this. I bring it up every chance I get on here. I suggest everyone here do the same.
Bold - that was in Reach, anchor 9 I think it was.

EDIT - I just remembered that I think there was a map in Halo 4 that had zero g as well. My mistake bud.
I was actually referring to the Halo 4 map, but you're right, I completely forgot the outside section of Anchor 9. Thanks for reminding me.
  • Less copy-and-paste (I'm looking at you, every-Warzone-map-in-Halo-5)
  • Make structures blend more naturally with the environment. Attack on Sanctum actually does this very well.
  • Choose more themes from the campaign. This partly relies on a decent campaign, though, so I don't know...
  • Change the existing art style. Yes, I said it. Just changing the art style could have a big impact on the quality of maps. I prefer the old art style so my opinion is somewhat biased.
Level design is complicated but it depends on how it's done. I'd love to see more maps similar to Halo 2's maps since I liked the variety with city maps, foggy type maps since it helped build an atmosphere like seeing part of what seemed like a scarab or a spooky map that looked like it may have Flood near.
Celestis wrote:
Bold - that was in Reach, anchor 9 I think it was.
I was actually referring to the Halo 4 map, but you're right, I completely forgot the outside section of Anchor 9. Thanks for reminding me.
The Reach map Zealot also had a low gravity area on top of the map.
Even though most of what i'm gonna mention is an echo i thought i'd keep it short and sweet so i'll give the 7 i've been thinking about

- Dominant landmarks which emphasizes distinction within the map and against other maps

- Pushing either the theme, layout or modelling in a direction not seen in the franchise before

- Map interactivity; both active like buttons and levers to passive like glass and explosives

- include a lore which aims to further the personality of the map

- map specific items or objects

- a colour palette not shared by other maps

- animations, whether effects, or small npcs way in the distance or flowing water, something aside from players that moves.

I don't know the details though lighting and post processing effects take up a lot of the render allowance im sure, animation, interactivity, textures and models seem less explorative..or at least inspired, than before.
Oh, another thing I just remembered.... it was something that I suggested a long time ago, maybe even years before H5G was released.

Make the maps' environment random.

Changing the time of day is just adjusting a slider to change the lighting effects, drop shadow direction, etc. Before each match, the slider could be chosen at a random point or manually adjusted in customs and for tournaments. Additionally, having sun, clouds, rain, snow, sandstorms, etc. (depending on the map) would add a layer of diversity on top of that without having to redesign the entire map from scratch. (Looking at you "map remixes".)
Mr Vacha wrote:
First they need to stop making "forge" maps and have more dev maps.
343 has not made a single forge map in matchmaking. So their Forge vs Dev map ratio is currently 100% Dev maps.
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