SPV3 is a total overhaul of the original Halo, adding new weapons, vehicles, enemies, features, graphics, extended levels, new levels, new story terminals and much much more. Featuring a total playtime of over 24 hours on Heroic and Legendary difficulties, SPV3 is the largest and most feature rich Halo campaign to date. And to top it off, it is built with gameplay as a focus first and foremost, meant to expand on yet capture what made Halo Combat Evolved one of the best first person shooters of all time.
Hello everyone, I Masterz1337 will be taking over this community update from Simon, as there is a lot of technical information to discuss today. We started these community updates planning to do them every other week, but that has not been the case. We were ready to publish our second update, detailing Firefight 2 weeks ago when suddenly… we hit an unexpected error that halted Firefight development to a complete standstill. Thus until we knew the cause for it, we postponed our update for you detailing firefight, as we were unsure what would have to change within it. So where does the mod stand right now?
If you’ve been in our discord or followed us on twitter, you may have learned there is a new project within SPV3 that is starting development, which we announced on discord about a week ago. This project is called Halo Legacies and joins the i04 Campaign, Lumoria Campaign, and Firefight as part of SPV3. Its progress in light of the problems with Firefight has quickly accelerated and it has finally left pre-production and has already resulted in some fruitful new features which will greatly improve both the Campaigns and Firefight in SPV3.
So let us start with the problem with Firefight. The good news is that the problem we have encountered is not something that is severe enough to result in the termination of that project. The problem is unique to my computer, and not that of the game content we are developing. What is basically happening, is that the tools are so old, they can only use 4 gigs of the memory allocated by windows during the compilation process. For whatever reason, my primary development machine is having problems allocating space for the content our tools need when compiling the map files. Other machines, do it fine. Sometimes my machine can do it fine too, it’s doing it fine as of this morning. But there is no telling when this issue will be able to be fully resolved, if its disappearance is temporary, or if it will become a permanent intermittent issue. It could fix itself as it did earlier today next time it shows up, it could mean replacing components in my computer, it could mean I will need to have a dedicated machine for compiling files and then syncing them to my main development station (which would be a pain in the butt). Firefight requires an extreme amount of data to compile, as it features every weapon we have and some new ones in it. The amount of space the tools need to allocate in memory to compile is much larger than a smaller map file, which is why we shifted focus to work on Halo Legacies.
Halo Legacies currently exists as a simple test map, where we are building new internal systems to support features never seen before in Halo. Being a simple test map with very little data, we don’t get any of the errors we have with Firefight which has allowed me to prototype a large number of ideas which until now have only been theoretically possible. One of the biggest ones is a rewrite to our backend systems which has been a problematic component of the mod for years. In SPV3 we have long had a number of scripts that controlled essential parts of the game. This backend has been responsible for things such as the vehicle health systems, armor abilities, new weapon behaviors, vehicle EMPs, over shield effects, health regeneration, sprinting and much much more. However, the way the system as written did not keep into consideration the limited resources of the game, and while very modular is not very efficient.
The plan was always to rewrite this system for future projects, but it is far too ingrained in our 17 existing missions to remove it completely and replace it with a better system (although some small parts of the new system can now be backported into the campaign missions). However, Firefight is a different story, and this new backend system can now be integrated into that, opening up not only further stability improvements and making working on it less of a headache, but more features as well. Firefight was already jettisoning parts of the old backend, and now we can completely remove the rest of it.
So, what about the patch for SPV3’s campaign that was planned to be released with Firefight? The good news is, its release has been accelerated and it will not be releasing with Firefight. As previously talked about, this update to the campaign will fix the remaining brightness issues and bring some fixes to bugs users have encountered. It will also have some minor other changes, such as changes to the Brute Plasma Pistol so it’s charged shot no longer will stick to shields, fixes an error with some incorrectly referenced bitmaps with the sentinel beams, and also improves performance and should SIGNIFICANTLY reduce some particle effects being culled by the game in combat. Perhaps the biggest previously announced feature was that the skulls, both new and old will be introduced back into the SPV3 Campaigns as well with this update. But there is one other major feature we have been sitting on which we wanted in 3.2 but unfortunately never made it into the project… and that is Ray Tracing for screenspace reflections.
Our lead technical artist Jazz has been working with Marty Mcfly, who you may have heard of for some of his amazing work with reshade to bring ray-traced screen space reflections to SPV3. It’s a slow and complicated process, and we’ll go into more detail on that in future updates. What this new visual feature lets us do, is have much more realistic reflections throughout the game. It’s so accurate, you can actually see the light of your energy shields reflecting as it moves on your gun, the reflection of the paints inside the POA reflecting off the side of your gun, and it even allows wet surfaces like the rainy swam of 343 GS to reflect the pelican and the light from its thrusters across the ground. But seeing is believing, and there is no shortage of things to see. Please note some of these screens are older than others or at the point in time they were taken had to be done at a lower resolution, but this will give you a great idea of what the game can look like with this and the other post-processing features on.
(Note you can see the individual item menu color's reflected on the side of the gun)
In these next 2, notice how as the energy shield moves it alters how much light is being reflected on the gun
Soon as we are done with incorporating ray tracing, we should be able to push this update out, and we very likely will be releasing it first as a public beta test in our discord. So if you haven’t joined our community, you definitely should. We don’t have a release date just yet, but we will let you know more as we know more. You can join our discord community here: Discord.gg
So going back to Firefight, and releases, we have no news or idea yet when the situation with Firefight will change. Production on it could start up again as soon as tomorrow, or it could take weeks to fully rectify the compilation situation. We also are unsure how we want to release Firefight. The initial plan was to do 3 maps, each with 3 variants (Spartan vs Covenant, Spartan vs Flood, Covenant vs Flood). We could drop it all at once, but we are considering a more staggered rollout possibly as a monthly thing. It could be something along the lines of Map 1, Spartan vs Covenant, and then Map 2 Spartan vs Covenant or Map 1 Spartan vs Flood. Or possibly 1.5 months between releases, and do Map 2 Spartan vs Flood and then Map 3 Covenant vs Flood as we rotate through development. Please do share your thoughts as this is one of the few times where I am incredibly indecisive, and we want to make sure these are rolled out in a way that maximizes your interest and playtime.
Finally, let’s touch on what you probably have been wondering about this entire update. What is Halo Legacies, and what can you expect? We are keeping our cards close to our chest for now, but we can say that it is another single-player project from us, but is NOT more campaign missions. We’re done with the campaign, we did 17 missions, we don’t want to do anymore. Halo Legacies is very much its own thing. It’s new and bold, and we think it will appeal to both our fans and critics alike. We welcomed people on our discord to ask questions to include in this update, and so we’ve answered the ones we can at this point.
No, not exactly. For fans of ours who remember our canceled ODST sequel, there are certainly ideas from that we continue to recycle and want to use. But no, this project is not related to that. It will have some elements to it which will be appealing to fans of ODST. ODST is my favorite Bungie game after H1, and you will definitely feel some influences from it. We’ve also had long talks about ways to do more stealth in Halo, as there is a lot of interesting stuff baked into the engine that is unused regarding it.
The project takes place on Installation 03.
Sc0Rpi0niTz asked: What you mean for "but it is single player in nature”?
It’s a continuation of what we’ve done in the Campaigns in Firefight in that you are fighting against Covenant and possibly other forces. No co-op, no MP. It’s designed to be a solo experience.
The sandbox and enemies you encounter will be larger in number than that you have had previously. The way we are planning to do things we think will both provide more of what people have liked while addressing the issue of the game feeling to bloated from others. We are taking a lot of direction from Apex Legends, in how they manage having multiple types of shotguns, pistols, rifles, automatics etc without one being better than another, but having certain players gravitate towards one over another.
No, no co-op or other players. This is simply you and you alone.
It is an extension of what we’ve done with SPV3. Artstyle will be remaining mostly the same, but you are on another Halo which gives us a chance to do some different types of Forerunner architecture. We want to go with a more H4/H2A look (but less shiny, more weathered), but it remains to be seen if doing that is worth the effort or if there will be enough time to do so. We do like our Forerunner worlds to look different and distinct, as you saw in the two campaigns in SPV3 3.2. Gameplay-wise, it will be built on top of SPV3 so expect more of the same and some things very different as well. Let’s put it this way, if what we are doing isn’t taking what people loved about SPV3 and isn’t also making it more interesting and offering new experiences built around the old, we won’t be doing it. We are certainly doing new things, including with movement, but this is not going to be our take on H5’s movement if that’s what you are asking.
The player in both Firefight and Legacy will be able to get ahold of the sword much like Thel does in The Commander. In Firefight it’s an armor ability you can earn. In Halo Legacies…. Well, it’s planned to be activated another way, but then it will function much the same.
Finally, we have 2 last goodies for you.
The first is a track from the revised SPV3 soundtrack, which will be released at some undetermined point in the future. You can check it out via Jafet Meza's twitter here: Twitter.com
The second is a developer diary I earlier today published to youtube, focusing on the "Cakewalk" area from AOTCR and 2 Betrayals. You can watch that here: Youtube.com
That's all for today's update. We'll do out best to deliver an update every week or every other going forward, and will update you on the progress of Firefight and the Campaign patch as more info becomes available.
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