Halo: Composition is a multi-level campaign that takes place in the year 2555, between the events of Halo 3 and Halo 4. You will travel on a new adventure with a set of all new characters, uncovering unknown events that lead you to discover ambitions of the remains of the covenant after Halo 3. This will tie up with events that occur in Halo 4.
The mod uses the Halo Combat Evolved engine combined with Open Sauce.
So lets talk about what to expect from the mod.
The mod will indeed push the Halo engine to its full potential, maybe even beyond it. People who have been following my small amount of updates since 2012 know that I have been working with many ideas and experimenting with them in the engine.
The mod features brand new custom music. Thats right. I am working with a composer who I know personally who is also a die hard Halo fan.
(The team right now is very small, and we don't have the resources to focus on creating an entire brand new custom tagset for the mod, as much as we would love too. There will be content for both porters and people who like something new to enjoy.)
You will see some new prototype weapons and vehicles that were being developed between Halo 3 and 4, some that may have not of been seen in either of the games. This goes for both the UNSC and Covenant.
Like I said, the mod will feature brand new main characters. All I'm going to say right now is that you play as one of the first Spartan 4's. As for covenant, I'll go as far as saying that you may even encounter some different species of covenant than expected. Be sure to read the CE3 section.
This has been the best part on working with the mod, as the lead environment artist, I have been experimenting with new environments in the Halo engine that push the game to it's max. I have previous skill in current-gen engines, (Source, CryEngine, Unreal) and I have learned many things about making a level fun and look beautiful throughout the years.
The mod will feature many different environments, with brand new weather effects\particles to go along with them.
Each level is designed with deep thought and layout, and of course with a set of missions. These missions are what you would expect from any Halo mission. You can follow a mission easily, however there are many ways to do each mission (without getting lost), as well as plenty of non-linear space for the player to explore. Different play throughs may lead you to discover entire encounters you have missed, weapons, stranded allys and more. It's still the classic Halo experience, but not at the same time.
So when it was decided that we would do a demo for CE3, it was only after I accepted the offer that I realized how much work truly needed to be accomplished by the deadline. Because of this, a lot of stuff was left unfinished or unpolished. The sky box was thrown together in a matter of hours so the background would not be empty nothingness, the bsp had to be completely textured and UV'ed in a matter of weeks, and a short, but compelling narrative had to be written out.
I am very proud of the presentation, still, and I am happy to say that almost all of it's flaws have been addressed since. The silence in 2015 and 2016 was necessary to sort out internal issues. I'd like to clarify here, the "2015" at the end of the trailer was not a release date. For example, the pieces of level geometry that are not seen in the 2014 trailer were simply not fun. Something might look good on paper, it might look great, but if it's not fun to kill aliens in, it's not going to work and that was exactly the case here.
The level design process was different compared to how I would usually design a level. Usually, i'll jump right into 3ds max with an idea, make a rough idea of what I have in mind, and test it out in the game. If it works, I iterate upon that until it becomes what it is. With Rebirth, I took a different approach, I made some layouts in Photoshop, as most artists probably would, and went to work. One BSP followed this process, while the other followed my traditional process as seen in the demo. In the end, the unseen BSP was scrapped. A new design had to be made that followed the original concept of the level using my traditional methods. As an artist, it was necessary to experiment, now that I know what works best for me, i'll be sticking with it.
Meanwhile, the sandbox still did not exactly have an identity, as you can kind of make out in the demo. Halo 3 assets, Reach assets and Halo 4 assets were all thrown in. This was never apart of the plan, as all of the Halo 3 assets were planned to be thrown out the window and replaced with higher quality models. For example, there were custom Elites and Marines in the works, but they never made it in. Fast forward to now, the sandbox is nearly complete. After a lot of pondering and feedback from the demo, I have decided to go with a near classic Halo style. Both in the Art and game play. Nearly all of the assets in the demo have been replaced since then.
With Open Sauce, advanced lighting (Similar to that of Half Life 2's bump mapping and HDR) was being worked on during the projects development. In 2015, these tools became available. The level geometry that was already made was designed with this in mind, and once I got my hands on it, I spent a long while figuring out how it works. CE3 used the default lightmap system, the level was supposed to be rather grey and rainy, however upon further inspection when I was rendering out the advanced lighting, I realized that for whatever reason, the entire playing ground was having it's lightmap UV's being rendered at an almost microscopic scale. This has since been fixed, however the demo was plagued with this problem. (I thought it was just Halo's default out of date lighting system). Turns out it was Halo's out of date lighting system combined with the entire ground using a 32x32 low-quality lightmap. Awful.
You could ask me "What?! So much text but no pics?", it's down to the BSP's and story at this point and I've felt the fans deserve an explanation. After the demo, I've made the decision to show only what is complete, because things are always changing and I don't want to give a false presentation, as I feel we may have done a few years ago. As of now, I plan on doing Episodic releases, rather than one full blown package. We'll see as release gets closer. I also work a full time job and am currently the only dedicated member working on the project, so sometimes the project had been in slow motion for long periods of time. We had a few BSP guys come and go, and I have a guy doing hud and UI work when he can. Our sound and music guy is still in, but he is waiting on me for the go ahead to make new music. If you have any experience, please, feel free to let me know. You can message me on my Twitter account @Ki11a_FTW.
I'm looking for people experienced in these fields:
-Modelers (For assets and BSP)
-3rd person animation
I am capable of a lot of these things myself, but I am one man. There is loads of geometry and art I have created waiting to be pieced together into a seamless experience. I could use all of the help I can get.
Thanks! Hope to have some more news soon.
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