Update [10/08/2012]: Changed rules of setting up your forum username from "with your username as your Gamertag" to "with a username that is representative of your gamertag (similar enough to be recognized)"
Why hello folks... GodlyPerfection here and I want to present to you the very first major forge challenge for Halo 4. I am a part of the Community Cartographers, a group of individuals who work directly with the 343 Industries Matchmaking Systems Team to bring the best community maps from various corners of the community and push them towards the chance of matchmaking integration. This challenge's purpose is to put your level design skills to the test and to not only give you a reason to create top notch quality maps, but to also assist you in making those creations the best that they can be.
Halo 4 will launch on November 6th, 2012. Thousands upon thousands of people will be playing right out the gate to delve straight into an experience that is sure to brighten their days. However as gamers, we know that over time we crave new experiences, new content, and new playspaces. This is where we come in as designers. During those first couple months of Halo 4 your goal is to create what will be a fresh and new environment for thousands of players that enjoy your typical 4v4 Infinity Slayer and 5v5 Objective gametypes (CTF, Oddball, etc.). It can be a remake, an inspired design, or an original design. The entry deadline for this challenge is December 31st, 12:00am Midnight Pacific aka New Year's Eve. You may only submit one map. But this isn't your typical contest so read below for how to participate...
Goals of this System
In my time as a forger, I've learned the true power of playtesting, community assistance, player feedback, map exposure, fan support, making friends, and various other things that result in the best possible chance of success for your content. So my goal is to emphasize these things throughout this challenge. This challenge is more about the process in which you create your maps than it is about the end result. The more you put into the challenge the more you will get out of it. Through out the challenge you will be learning, designing, playtesting, tweaking, critiqueing, and overall perfecting not just your own work, but also the work of others. What are you working towards? Well that I can't tell you quite yet. Consider it a decent size surprise. ;)
If your goal is to get your map(s) into matchmaking to improve the matchmaking experience for the Halo community then this is something you want to be a part of.
Through out the challenge you will have tons of opportunities to earn "points" that will be used in the final stage of the contest. There will be a public "leaderboard" of everyone in the contest, showing how many points each person has. The more points you have at the end of the challenge, the more sway you have in the final decision. Basically everyone participating in the contest will be able to spread their final points out among the finalists and the finalists are then ranked based on how many points were given to them. If your map happens to make it to the finalist stage, then you are free to dump all of your points into your own map. IF your map makes it to the finals. So the more you have, the better. How do you earn points? Well it depends on what phase of the contest we are in. During each phase you will have a couple ways to earn points, but every bit counts so pay attention and stay active. As time goes on and we progress through the phases of the challenge (especially with the launch of Halo 4) you will have more ways to earn points and you will compete with each other to gain as much of a sway as you possibly can to ensure the maps you want to succeed will do just that.
Below are the full details of Phase 1 which lasts until November 5th @ midnight Pacific. You will receive an XBL message when the full details for Phase 2 are released about a week before the launch. This is to ensure you focus on the current phase and not later phases. Below is a link to the spreadsheet with all current participants:
Phase 1: Pre-Production
If you haven't noticed there is still a WHOLE month until Halo 4 releases, but that doesn't mean you can't prepare yourself and earn points while you await the launch. The challenge is happening NOW... so why wait? Pretend you are a level designer for Halo 4 and the game is not created yet, you are only in the design phase. You are told to design a map to be made when the tools become available. Go...
During this phase of the contest you will gain points for completing the registration process for the challenge, reading and discussing various level design topics, and spending time creating a design/sketch/rough draft/etc for you to work off of as soon as Halo 4 comes out. Sounds easy enough right? The goal of this phase is to get you prepared to hit the ground running on launch day. Take this month to expand your knowledge, construct a blueprint, make friends, and ultimately prepare yourself to succeed in not just the challenge, but your Halo 4 forging career. Remember that your public image may play a crucial part in the final vote, being a douche could lose you valuable points in the finals. And the more of your friends that are participating and the more they participate the more points that are available for the final vote. Below is the points breakdown for the first phase:
- Register for the Challenge [25 points]
- You may register at anytime before the entry deadline; December 31st, 12:00am Midnight Pacific aka New Year's Eve. It is recommended that you register prior to this deadline in order to earn points.
- (Required) Add the first numerically available GT (so [A 01 H4 Forgers] first if their is space) to your friends list. ONLY ADD ONE OF THEM. They start with an A and a number in order to have them appear at the top of your offline friends list so they are easy to access. You can use the friends list of each of these gamertags to contact other forgers and playtest with them. You will not be added to the points leaderboard or receive points until you are accepted as a friend on one of these gamertags. This will also be used to send out updates for the challenge.
- (Recommended) Make sure your "Online Status" under your "Privacy Settings" for your gamertag on your xbox allows for everyone to see your online status; This is important for getting into playtesting sessions in later phases; You can change your Privacy Settings here (you have to login): https://live.xbox.com/en-US/Account/Settings
- (Recommended) Create an account at http://forum.ReachingPerfection.com with a username that is representative of your gamertag (similar enough to be recognized); This is important for access to the Halo 4 Forge Challenge #1 forum for most point acquisition options and so I know who to give points to
- Reply to a Level Design Resource thread on RP [2 points per thread]
- Every day before the launch of Halo 4 (last day being Nov 5th) there will be a new thread posted in the Level Design Resources section of the Halo 4 Forge Challenge #1 forum that contains a link to valuable information
- You can receive 2 points for every thread you reply to before the end of phase 1; November 5th @ midnight Pacific. A reply must be relevant and must have more characters than your typical tweet on Twitter.com (more than 140 characters). If I can post your reply as a tweet on Twitter then it will not count for points. URL links do not count towards your character total.
- Your reply will be "locked" with a "locked" icon to the right of it when it is counted for points. A locked post can no longer be editted. Feel free to continue the discussion with your peers afterwards.
- Post a pre-production thread for your design [30 points; one thread per participant]
- Post one thread in the Pre-production Workshop section of the Halo 4 Forge Challenge #1 forum that will serve as a place to gather all of the pre-production work for your single entry. You will not recieve points for any thread created after the end of Phase 1; November 5th @ midnight Pacific
- This thread can really contain anything to get the juices going and get you prepped to hit the ground running. None of this has to be set in stone and your map can be completely different come launch day, just get the juices flowing.
- Here is a list of potential things your pre-production thread can contain, this is by no means the only things you can do and doing multiple will help you in the end:
- Description of the type of gameplay you want
- Style requirements for your map; like "multi-leveled", "asymmetric", "uses vehicles", "arena style", etc
- Contextual story for your map
- Sketches of layout or structures you want on your map
- Reference photos for a style for your map
- A roughly built 3D model (sketchup, 3DS Max, Maya, Blender, etc.) for a starting point
- A map built in Reach or H3 forge to start as a starting point
- I will post in your thread when it is counted for points. I've posted a pre-production thread for my Halo 4 map, Think Again - H4 Successor to Think Twice, that I've been working on for a couple of months as an example. It will be updated over time with more stuff as Halo 4 approaches.
READY! SET! GO!Best of luck to all of you. I will be participating along side of you to discuss articles, help playtest, post example threads, provide feedback, and earn points myself (the same way as all of you) so I can participate in the final voting under the same rules as all of you. My map will not be eligible for nominations or winning so no worries. Email me at GodlyPerfection@ReachingPerfection.com if you have any questions, concerns, comments, problems, etc.
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