1. Helix

      written by Ray Benefield

      By: GodlyPerfection

      Helix is my first official competitive map on Halo Reach. I originally designed the map in sketchup for Halo 3 and GunnerGrunt forged the H3 version. Due to Halo 3's very restrictive limitations I felt that the layout needed a revisiting to really show its potential. Helix is a BTB map that gets it's namesake from it's top down view of a spiral wrapping around an axis. Read on for a video flythrough and screenshots.

      There are 3 main travel paths from the base. The bottom level is fully terrain based and serves as an area to house vehicular combat. The center bridge is the most direct path from the base however when it hits the center column it splits into a ramp down to the bottom path and a ramp up to the top path with no direct access to the opposite center bridge. The center bridge serves as the fastest, but most dangerous infantry path since it has no cover at all. The top path serves as a longer route, but also serves as a choke point. The goal was if too many traverse through the top path players will "filter" themselves down to the lower paths.

      As for the maps weaponry there sits a plasma launcher as the top center incentive, a sniper rifle at the ends of the top path for each base, a plasma pistol at the base of the grav lift to the top path at each base, and a grenade launcher on the transition to the garage. There are also 3 needle rifle spawns on each side to offer mid range variety from the DMR starts of BTB. In each garage sits a warthog and two mongeese. The mongeese sit on 10 second spawn times to give players a vehicular mode of transportation in most scenarios.

      While the map may seem small size wise, it splits up combat fluidly and allows 16 players to move around comfortably. The openness of the bases serve to stop defenders from camping the flag too easily and also serve as an incentive to get in and get out of the base as fast as possible. The drop hole that is near the flag spawn serves as an instant cover for anyone who grabs the flag giving them a second more to get out of there without making it too easy. The helix serves to dissect the map and stops the sniper from being extremely overpowered. The top of the garage offers amazing height advantage as well as a HUGE sight line, but that sight line only covers one team's side. It is also devoid of cover so anyone on top of it must drop to receive protection.

      This map was made to be fully gameplay focused. All pieces were chosen for functional purposes while simultaneously serving some sort of aesthetic value. Each piece has a purpose and each decision was made carefully. I spent two hours alone choosing where the 3 needle rifle spawns would be on each side. I take the time to watch films from each persons perspective to understand how new players move and how old players move on the map to adjust accordingly. That is like 12 minutes for each of 16 people. ;) That is a lot of time, but I think it was well worth it. This map has seen 3 major iterations and countless changes. I hope that I did my job and brought you an experience that you can enjoy with your friends.

      Also this has been submitted to the Forgetacular Contest for the BTB category. Note that during the public beta the Falcons were removed as well as the grav lift access to the garage roof. This decision was made to remove the major framerate drop that was felt when flying in falcons to improve the map quality. It allows more focused combat on the ground though and makes the map much more action packed and interesting. Thanks for all who tested and gave your feedback.