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THE ART STYLE

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I always thought of the nanobot thing was just something 343 stated so that they wouldn't hear anyone whine about it.
But it doesn't hold up considering his mark on his chest piece was never fixed. It was pretty obvious it was just a new art direction for the armor.
I mean just look at the intro of Halo 4 with the cutscenes when Halsey was narrating. It showed the new armor in flashbacks and even when he got assigned Cortana. They certainly weren't hiding the fact that they were establishing that he's "always" had that armor.
Its been stated the appearance of both the Spartans and elites are not canon. They used the models to save money and time.
I am like the only person in the planet that liked the armor of the chief in Halo 4... but, choosing between that and an artstyle like Halo Wars 2, yeah, I prefer that one. There is so much I miss...
tsassi wrote:
If you're compiling your pictures in an attempt to disprove something, the task is fundamentally misguided.
For the screenshots that I'm taking, I'm more trying to side-by-side compare complexity, symetry, and "aesthetic noise" (as best can be told from graphical limitations) between Bungie's Forerunners and 343's. The issue that I'm trying to tackle is whether or not 343's Forerunner designs are "over-designed" compared to the overall design of Bungie's Forerunners.
You can of course give your own opinion, but since you're going to this much effort, might I suggest putting more attention on describing, and less on interpreting. The best service you could do to the community is to describe the similarities and, most importantly, differences between the styles, and is not so concentrated on whether you think one is over-designed.
So my next question for all of you, will there be Spartan IVs and if so will they still be in their Mjolnir gen 2 or will they change it to look more like gen 1
Odesses wrote:
So my next question for all of you, will there be Spartan IVs and if so will they still be in their Mjolnir gen 2 or will they change it to look more like gen 1
yes, there will be IV's and they will still be in gen 2 armor. probably will be some of the gen 2 armor based on gen 1. would still like to see some of the armors from 4 and 5 return, I like having continuity
Okay, so I've compiled a lot of different shots from Halo: CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4. I haven't included Halo 5 , as I remember it being said that that Halo 5 was "better" in terms of design. The original graphics were used for Halo: CE and Halo 2, so as to represent the designs in their original form.

Exterior Design

On the outside, a lot of Forerunner architecture seems quite similar. Angles and slants are present in all designs, with multiple segments and illuminated areas. Repetition of designs is something that is present in practically all architecture, though something I'm not counting is a repetition of textures as a result of low-graphics design. (e.g. the walls of the Threshold Mine in Halo 2). While Halo 4 is able to fit in more detail, it doesn't deviate too far away from the use of angled edges. Light schemes (while more present) still follow the same relative pattern of light blue, and even the orange colors used for Promethean structures are the same as when a Monitor or Sentinel attack - indicating aggression, which is the role of Prometheans. A lot of the difference seem to be the textures of the various structures; Halo: CE - Halo 3 has Forerunner structures that look more like concrete than metal, giving it an "aged" look. Current Forerunner materials, though, don't deviate far enough to be considered a grievous error, as they're closer to that of 343 Guilty Spark. Aesthetically, this conveys a more "living" feel to not just the architecture itself, but to the Forerunner culture as a whole, which is narratively the case with the Domain reemerging with Forerunner remnants.

Examples:

Structures on Installation 04
Threshold Gas Mine
The Cartographer on Installation 00
Tower facility on Installation 00
Branch of Installation 00, showing vast illuminations
Tower structures on Requiem
Distant facility on Requiem
Structure on Requiem
Structure base
Ramp up to Structure interior
Door: Requiem Structure
Door on Installation 04
Threshold Gas Mine door
Door on Installation 08
Exterior walls of Transit Structure on Requiem

Interior Design

The interiors of Forerunner buildings certainly has seen a progression of detail, but I don't think it's any greater of a leap than from Halo 2 to Halo 3. There's a change in the "material", but overall there's still platforms supported by light (or just a gondola a la Delta Halo) and the use of angled sections and slopes. The pictures that I took are from the Insider Flight, so the lights in Halo 4 are a bit intense, but overall I think they fit the vibe from both Halo: CE and Halo 3 in that there are interiors with overall gloomy darkness, and then areas where it's well-lit. The lights are a different design, but overall the interiors of Halo 4 are no more or less lit than those in past Halos.

Interior lightbridge, Installation 04
Entryway to tower, Installation 00
Interior of tower, Installation 00
Interior, Cartographer, Installation 00
Elevator (note the energy-beam suspension), Installation 00
Interior hallway, Requiem
Interior, transit facility, Requiem
Elevator, Requiem (similar to the elevator on Installation 00)
Interior, tower, Requiem

Overall, and I might have said this above, I think the biggest difference is the material depicted (surface texture), and the level of detail allowed through the progression of the Xbox's technology. The Forerunner aesthetic retains the same slants and angles, with a few curves here and there - rather than, for example, suddenly becoming smooth and exclusively curved like Covenant architecture - and has the same basic principles of "grey metal and blue or orange lights" that's been present since Halo 2.
Honestly if they go back and make the art style just like Halo Wars 2, that would be perfect. I think they really nailed the art style. The old H3 spartan armor looks like a power ranger suit to me now, I really love how 343i made the new spartan armor, I hope it doesn't go away. Plus I love Chief's new armor, makes him look badass. I miss how the Elites and the grunts and the old enemies used to look. If they copy Halo Wars 2 art style with the new spartan armor that would be perfect in my opinion.
Honestly if they go back and make the art style just like Halo Wars 2, that would be perfect. I think they really nailed the art style. The old H3 spartan armor looks like a power ranger suit to me now, I really love how 343i made the new spartan armor, I hope it doesn't go away. Plus I love Chief's new armor, makes him look badass. I miss how the Elites and the grunts and the old enemies used to look. If they copy Halo Wars 2 art style with the new spartan armor that would be perfect in my opinion.
They need to make spartan armor the way they made Omega Team in Halo Wars 2, it looks cool and could probably work with a modular system like Reach.
I haven't included Halo 5 , as I remember it being said that that Halo 5 was "better" in terms of design.
Said by whom? I mean, now that I've refreshed my memory from Halo 4, I can say that Halo 4 seems to stay generally truer to the original Forerunner aesthetic than Halo 5. Ignoring Halo 5 because some person thought it looked better kind of neglects half of the story. This is especially problematic since you're basing this on our discussion (mainly the aspects of Forerunner design I brought up). And even though I was talking about "343i's design", it's pretty clear I was concerned with Halo 5, and still am, because the criticisms I laid out above clearly don't apply to Halo 4. I admit that it was my bad for not realizing that 343i doesn't really have a consistent style in anything. Still, the more present issue—the Forerunner design in Halo 5—remains unaddressed.
The textures have always been may main issue with 343 era Forerunner architecture and thinking on it. Seeing a lot of the designs side by side really drives it home. Despite some of the intricacies of the geometry itself, the unceasing ocean of unbroken silver-white background often makes it all blend together in an unappealing mass. As simple and grey as some areas in CE could be, there are still often patterns and details built into the textures to break it up and keep even flat surfaces from feeling like little more than giant blocks.

Doing something about the flat, repetitive textures would go a long way to improving what 343 has done and bringing it more in line with the what we have seen in the past.
Okay, I can do a run through Halo 5 and take some comparison photos as well. For that I'll probably compare them to just Halo 4, since the issue seems to be 343's consistency.

WerepyreND wrote:
As simple and grey as some areas in CE could be, there are still often patterns and details built into the textures to break it up and keep even flat surfaces from feeling like little more than giant blocks.
I disagree. A repetition of texture (for example, the Threshold Gas Mine picture above) makes it seem more like giant blocks than having a higher detail texture that doesn't repeat as often. It's like when you go back to an old game and see the ocean, and it's very clear that there are squares of design just repeated over and over.
The texture differences is an advancement of graphical detail possible, not so much a planned design of how the Forerunner aesthetic should look. You find the same with the UNSC ship textures, and even the Covenant ships.
Okay, I can do a run through Halo 5 and take some comparison photos as well. For that I'll probably compare them to just Halo 4, since the issue seems to be 343's consistency.

WerepyreND wrote:
As simple and grey as some areas in CE could be, there are still often patterns and details built into the textures to break it up and keep even flat surfaces from feeling like little more than giant blocks.
I disagree. A repetition of texture (for example, the Threshold Gas Mine picture above) makes it seem more like giant blocks than having a higher detail texture that doesn't repeat as often. It's like when you go back to an old game and see the ocean, and it's very clear that there are squares of design just repeated over and over.
The texture differences is an advancement of graphical detail possible, not so much a planned design of how the Forerunner aesthetic should look. You find the same with the UNSC ship textures, and even the Covenant ships.
You're right the Halo 4/5 textures are not "repetitive" in the same sense that some of the CE/H2 textures are repeated, that would require there to be any sort of break in the objects at all. Its an unbroken, unrelenting ocean of silver. Despite the increase in resolution, they lack any sort of design details to assist in breaking up the image. You can complain about seeing repeating textures, but they still broke up the image.

There is a reason that certain games, Halo or otherwise, tend to stand the test of time better when it comes to visuals. Artistry can easily outperform technology in the long run. The little details in CE only grew more detailed and intricate going from H2 to H3, its what makes a lot of areas pop out from the background. 343 era architecture often feels like a step backwards when it comes to details within any given texture.
Halo is set in the future. It is not a fantasy drama it's futuristic sci-fi so it needs to look real as it would to the human eye. I felt Halo 5 looked like a cartoon and some of those plants and creatures were just not believable. Same goes for Spartan Armour especially when taking fire or power up. Halo 4 was set on/inside Requiem and I really though 343i portrayed this very well even as areas changed as we worked our way through the planet. The outside looked great (Mission Requiem) with stone walls having the strange jagged shapes with shapes embedded/molded into parts. When you looked at the sky (you did loo, did you?) you saw the feint outlines we see in Forerunner structures, like at the end of the Infinity video. Floors were consistent but slightly changed as you went to different areas and we had the huge interior when we were closing in on Diadact.

A blend of Halo Wars 2, Halo 2A and Halo 4 is what I think would best suit the story best and I really want the Halo 4 Cortana as I felt she was awful in 5, too human for and Ai. Having said all that I don't want to loose the close up details as 4,5 did and I want to hijack Wraiths please.
WerepyreND wrote:
You're right the Halo 4/5 textures are not "repetitive" in the same sense that some of the CE/H2 textures are repeated, that would require there to be any sort of break in the objects at all. Its an unbroken, unrelenting ocean of silver. Despite the increase in resolution, they lack any sort of design details to assist in breaking up the image. You can complain about seeing repeating textures, but they still broke up the image.
I don't think you're understanding the repetition of texture that I'm talking about.

Example from Halo: CEExample from Halo 2Saying that Halo 4 and 5 is an "unrelenting ocean of silver" is dramatic, but overall inaccurate. There are breaks in the geometry, clear lines in the structural composition, as well as lines of light to differentiate. There's even tans used. Pending examples from Halo 5, but there is a clear order to the Forerunner architecture in both 343 games.

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The little details in CE only grew more detailed and intricate going from H2 to H3,
And there's the same level of progression from Halo 3 to Halo 4. Halo 3's Forerunner architecture differs significantly even from Halo 2's. The previous Halo games "stand the test of time" as all things of such nature do, I suspect; a strong dose of nostalgia. I grew up with Halo, I've played it from the very beginning, and even I struggle with the art in Halo 1 and 2. Not just from poor graphics, but from a lore designed standpoint (of which hasn't even been touched on here). All of the designs have grown and diversified in equal measure; the design of Halo 4 and Halo 5 is only put under such extreme criticism, I imagine, in that it's a new studio. There are bound to be differences that come from that, but that does not mean - as shown, I feel - that the Forerunner aesthetics have separated so far from "the original" (which version?) so as to be unrecognizable as Forerunner.
WerepyreND wrote:
You're right the Halo 4/5 textures are not "repetitive" in the same sense that some of the CE/H2 textures are repeated, that would require there to be any sort of break in the objects at all. Its an unbroken, unrelenting ocean of silver. Despite the increase in resolution, they lack any sort of design details to assist in breaking up the image. You can complain about seeing repeating textures, but they still broke up the image.
I don't think you're understanding the repetition of texture that I'm talking about.

Example from Halo: CEExample from Halo 2Saying that Halo 4 and 5 is an "unrelenting ocean of silver" is dramatic, but overall inaccurate. There are breaks in the geometry, clear lines in the structural composition, as well as lines of light to differentiate. There's even tans used. Pending examples from Halo 5, but there is a clear order to the Forerunner architecture in both 343 games.

Quote:
The little details in CE only grew more detailed and intricate going from H2 to H3,
And there's the same level of progression from Halo 3 to Halo 4. Halo 3's Forerunner architecture differs significantly even from Halo 2's. The previous Halo games "stand the test of time" as all things of such nature do, I suspect; a strong dose of nostalgia. I grew up with Halo, I've played it from the very beginning, and even I struggle with the art in Halo 1 and 2. Not just from poor graphics, but from a lore designed standpoint (of which hasn't even been touched on here). All of the designs have grown and diversified in equal measure; the design of Halo 4 and Halo 5 is only put under such extreme criticism, I imagine, in that it's a new studio. There are bound to be differences that come from that, but that does not mean - as shown, I feel - that the Forerunner aesthetics have separated so far from "the original" (which version?) so as to be unrecognizable as Forerunner.
Oh, I've known what you are talking about with regards to "repetition" of specific textures. I just don't think it is really relevant. those textures still do more to enhance the image relative to the tech at the time than the flat coat of paint that pervades nearly all of 343 era Forerunner architecture at one point or another.

I'm glad you brought up geometry, because my problem with it is often that they do most of the heavy lifting with regards to differentiating shapes but because the textures leave so much to be desired, it all begins to blend together anyways. You can create as complex a 3 dimensional object as you want, but when the coating on top of it is so uniform the details start to get washed out, especially at a distance. Its why people tend to associate 343 era Forerunner architecture with having a overabundance of bright lights and floating objects, because those are some of the only things that stand out.

I honestly can't understand how you can see Halo 4 as the "same level of progression" with regards to textures especially given some of the pictures you included yourself like the tower interior of the arc compared to requiem hallway. When it comes to art "standing the test of time" quality is always going to have more mileage than raw graphical prowess relative to the time of its release. This isn't just about Halo, its the reason the art style of Wind Waker has so much more staying power than Twilight Princess. As impressive as the lighting, resolution, and detailed geometry of 343 era architecture can be, I still think its going to end up showing its age much faster than some of the past games, at least in certain respects. Much in the same way that the facial animations of early Halo games date them, the textures of the 343 Forerunner designs are going to date those games.

All that being said I don't really have much hope for the quality of further discourse if we are just going to devolve into vague suggestions of nostalgia blindness with regards to developers which is tired enough in gameplay discussions, let alone artistic merit.
WerepyreND wrote:
those textures still do more to enhance the image relative to the tech at the time
I really don't understand what you're getting at here. Enhance the image? They date the image is what they do. No object design these days uses that level of texture repetition because it's no longer needed.

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I'm glad you brought up geometry, because my problem with it is often that they do most of the heavy lifting with regards to differentiating shapes
The geometry is really what matters here in regards to a coherent Forerunner aesthetic.

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I honestly can't understand how you can see Halo 4 as the "same level of progression" with regards to textures
Because it is the same level of progression. From Halo: CE to Halo 2, Halo 2 to Halo 3, and Halo 3 to Halo 4. Detail goes up, design changes moderately, and the geometry stays relatively the same.

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All that being said I don't really have much hope for the quality of further discourse if we are just going to devolve into vague suggestions of nostalgia blindness
It's not vague at all. If the geometry and cultural aesthetic of - in this discussion - Forerunner buildings and structures is staying the same, then there's nothing that's going to risk it not "standing the test of time." It's a continuation of that standing. Is your beef with the textures? One would assume, then, that you'd have the same issue with the textures of UNSC and Covenant materials, yes?
WerepyreND wrote:
You're right the Halo 4/5 textures are not "repetitive" in the same sense that some of the CE/H2 textures are repeated, that would require there to be any sort of break in the objects at all. Its an unbroken, unrelenting ocean of silver. Despite the increase in resolution, they lack any sort of design details to assist in breaking up the image. You can complain about seeing repeating textures, but they still broke up the image.
I don't think you're understanding the repetition of texture that I'm talking about.

Example from Halo: CEExample from Halo 2Saying that Halo 4 and 5 is an "unrelenting ocean of silver" is dramatic, but overall inaccurate. There are breaks in the geometry, clear lines in the structural composition, as well as lines of light to differentiate. There's even tans used. Pending examples from Halo 5, but there is a clear order to the Forerunner architecture in both 343 games.

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The little details in CE only grew more detailed and intricate going from H2 to H3,
And there's the same level of progression from Halo 3 to Halo 4. Halo 3's Forerunner architecture differs significantly even from Halo 2's. The previous Halo games "stand the test of time" as all things of such nature do, I suspect; a strong dose of nostalgia. I grew up with Halo, I've played it from the very beginning, and even I struggle with the art in Halo 1 and 2. Not just from poor graphics, but from a lore designed standpoint (of which hasn't even been touched on here). All of the designs have grown and diversified in equal measure; the design of Halo 4 and Halo 5 is only put under such extreme criticism, I imagine, in that it's a new studio. There are bound to be differences that come from that, but that does not mean - as shown, I feel - that the Forerunner aesthetics have separated so far from "the original" (which version?) so as to be unrecognizable as Forerunner.
Blaming it on nostalgia is lazy. 343i gets flak for their designs because by Halo 3 Bungie had established a style that a lot of people liked, and instead of following up on it, 343i threw that all away, bit by bit. And I say Halo 3, because while I think the style in Reach is reasonably strong (keeeping in mind that the game has very little Forerunner stuff in it), it's a bit of a step down from Halo 3. Despite that, by the end of it Bungie knew their motifs, and they knew how to make variations around them. 343i knows the most obvious ones (and Halo 4 adheres to the ones it uses pretty religiuously), but they definitely ditched some of them in Halo 4. With Halo 5 they of course ditched some more, with the most noticeable one being the adherence to repetition of angles and parallel lines.

343i's style has become more organic over time. I think there are some hints of this in Halo 4, but the geometry predominantly build's on Bungie's style. However, this is Halo 5. It's not all of the Forerunner designs in Halo 5, but it contains the predominant aesthetic elements of Forerunner design in Halo 5. It is what I think of when I think of "Halo 5" and "Forerunners". It is the style I see eminating all the way from the Prometheans in Halo 4 (and I'd be inclined to believe that the only reason it wasn't the predominant aesthetic in Halo 4 already was that 343i wasn't bold enough yet for one reason or another). It has been capitalized on in Halo 5, and in my opinion, it's practically unrecognizeable. I would not count on myself recognizing what game this image is from if it didn't sport the 343i logo, and I hadn't paid any attention to Halo 5.
tsassi wrote:
Blaming it on nostalgia is lazy. 343i gets flak for their designs because by Halo 3 Bungie had established a style that a lot of people liked,
I'm not blaming anything on nostalgia? I'm saying that old graphics "stand the test of time" thanks to nostalgia. Yet graphics aren't reliant on aesthetics; I could make an 8-bit Forerunner structure and it would resemble the shared geometry that exists in all depictions of Forerunner aesthetic.

I also thought we were leaving out emotional arguments and pure opinions. That's the entire reason that I'm focusing on architecture alone, rather than bringing in the lore that goes behind all this. Saying "a lot of people liked this" is just as lazy as bringing in "the tests of time" and nostalgia. Ultimately 343 is a separate studio and is going to have a different art style, but what I'm showing through various shots of Forerunner architecture is that the structures themselves remain recognizable and distinct. Saying that "[by Halo 3 Bungie knew the motif]" also doesn't go very far, as that's just as far as Bungie went. We don't know if they would have changed it further and we can't know. From Halo: CE to Halo 3, we see a significant growth of not only Forerunner architecture, but also Forerunner culture. Halo 4 grew upon this in no more extreme way than Halo 2 expanded upon Halo: CE.

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With Halo 5 they of course ditched some more, with the most noticeable one being the adherence to repetition of angles and parallel lines.
I'm playing and photographing through Halo 5 now, and I'm noticing a lot of angles and parallel lines. A lot of the same geometric forms that we see in Halo 2, 3 and 4. 343's Covenant has grown more organic, I will agree to that, but their Forerunner aesthetic has remained mechanical and cold. The most organic that it's gotten are the Promethean Knights, yet even those retain a strong artificial feel.
Ultimately 343 is a separate studio and is going to have a different art style
Which is part of the issue, because Halo comes with all the baggage of an existing franchise, and a big one at that. What are the chances that you're going to create something as memorable and well-liked? With something so iconic it's basically guaranteed that you will get a lot of flak for significant deviations, because the original work sets such high standards.

Saying that "[by Halo 3 Bungie knew the motif]" also doesn't go very far, as that's just as far as Bungie went. We don't know if they would have changed it further and we can't know. From Halo: CE to Halo 3, we see a significant growth of not only Forerunner architecture, but also Forerunner culture. Halo 4 grew upon this in no more extreme way than Halo 2 expanded upon Halo: CE.
But it's pointless to talk about what-ifs. All I'm saying is that it's evident from Bungie's work that they had established the core parts of what makes a structure Forerunner, and they made variations around those elements. This is what we have up to Reach, and it's completely irrelevant to speculate whether Bungie would've eventually started using unicorns as a key part of Forerunner architecture.

I'm playing and photographing through Halo 5 now, and I'm noticing a lot of angles and parallel lines. A lot of the same geometric forms that we see in Halo 2, 3 and 4. 343's Covenant has grown more organic, I will agree to that, but their Forerunner aesthetic has remained mechanical and cold. The most organic that it's gotten are the Promethean Knights, yet even those retain a strong artificial feel.
If you manage to convince me that Halo 5 hasn't significantly deviated from the original design, then that's quite a feat. As I already said, I don't think Halo 4 deviates significantly from the original trilogy in terms of geometry, but that's not the present issue, because Halo 4 is in the past, and since then 343i has moved to something much more different. Halo 4 I can still swallow as Forerunner, even if it's far from my favorite incarnation, but as far as I can tell, Halo 5 retains very little of the aesthetic elements that Bungie used in their Forerunner design.
tsassi wrote:
All I'm saying is that it's evident from Bungie's work that they had established the core parts of what makes a structure Forerunner
Which seem to be angles, tall structures, and repetition of design. All of which are present in Forerunner architecture in Halo 4 and Halo 5.
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