Yes, that’s right, you don’t need your eyes checked; you’ve read that right, you don’t need your eyes checked – Custom Mapping Team is, in fact, back.
We know many of you were eagerly anticipating our last project, and we know we let you down. Why, you ask, should you trust us to come through this time around? Because we’ve got a new team put together, built not only out of CMT veterans but of new additions handpicked from the community’s best and brightest, all brought together for one reason: making what we believe to be the best Halo CE maps possible. There have been a lot of changes the past 2 years since we disbanded, and most are for the better, meaning we can finally realize our foremost devotion: finally finishing what we started.
If you know of CMT, you know about SPV2... and how we never finished it. We’ve got two years of 20/20 hindsight since we last worked on it, and one of the first things we've done was look at all the areas where it went wrong. We have a better-organized, better-disciplined team with a clearer vision – which will ultimately result in a better (and completed!) end product. As popular as the multiplayer maps have been, we love single-player, and it’s really the area where we can really push the game the most – as such, the reformed CMT will be focusing on single-player maps, in a project aptly named “SPV3”.
Part 2: The Big Details
So what is SPV3? Is it another mod of Halo 1’s campaign that you’ll have to wait years to play? Nope! A significant portion of SPV3 will be comprised of polished and completed versions of what we were working on with SPV2, and refining our tagset to accommodate that goal will be our first priority, but the real goal is to create a series of custom-built campaign maps based on events throughout the Halo franchise, and we hope to start on this in the not-too-distant future!
Now, you may be thinking, “this sounds all great, but between an entire campaign and custom maps, you can’t possibly finish any time soon!” Granted, our projects are never small, but we’re going to be doing something new this time around: to avoid the endless crawl that came with the original SPV2 project, we are opting to release maps incrementally, gradually refining and adding to the tagset until it is complete, similar to Ifafudafi's ASCM - but more about him later. Right now, the team is working on touching up Truth and Reconciliation, and we hope to have it ready for public consumption by the end of the year, if not sooner. We’ve got some cool things planned for it, including an all new exterior section. We also hope to have the .scenario done before the end of summer, and will release as soon as the rest of the tags for that level are in a polished state.
(If you don't remember what we did with Truth and Reconciliation last time, here's a quick reminder)
We will then move onto touching up our next SPV2 map (right now it’s looking like Silent Cartographer or Pillar of Autumn), and begin work on our first custom map. Hopefully come 2012, we will have several maps available to play, each at a higher level of quality than we have ever offered before, and offering exciting new stories and gameplay. If you’re worried about older maps being outclassed by new releases, we will also be updating the older SPV3 maps with a newly-compiled version at each new release, fixing any bugs and updating the tagset in that map, so every time you want to play SPV3, it will be using the latest, most refined tagset.
Part 3: We Have The Tags
Within our tagset, we've got some really neat things in development to once again push our gameplay in a new direction. We’re aware that as nice as our Brutes look, we were always at a loss as to how to fit them into gameplay, but we’re happy to say our new Brutes have a distinct gameplay personality, finally coming into a unique role rather than just serving as beefier Elite clones. Though incredibly tough, they have no shields, opting instead for reinforced helmets. Their large amount of health makes it difficult to kill them without headshots, but you'll need to shoot off their helmets before that becomes an option. If you don’t have a headshot weapon available, you’re going to have to be careful – they’re much more dangerous to the player expecting a fragile but agile Elite. To top this off, we are once again reanimating them, this time with a focus on expanding their movement options in battle. We’ve also added sharp shooter Jackals, which you’ll have to look out for in the new exterior BSP we’ve added to T&R. We’re also looking into having a Reach-style Skirmisher type variant of the Jackal as well which will be featured in upcoming maps, although it is unlikely they will be featured in T&R. And, as always, the Covenant forces sport many new ranks and abilities.
SPV2 had a lot of weapons - but not all were really ideal for first-person use, such as the hunter gun or sentinel beams. We have been successful in coming up with a new campaign-friendly way of doing support weapons, and as of now we plan on converting the flamethrower, the three hunter guns, and the two sentinel beams to being support weapons carried in third-person. We have three other weapons in the works that we’re not quite ready to talk about yet, but we can tell you it’s something a few of us have wanted to do ever since H2 Coagulation back in 2005. We’re not quite ready to show any pictures of these support weapons, as they are currently receiving a custom set of 3p animations.
We’re also looking into expanding the functionality of our guns. Back before H3, we had a lot of really cool weapon ideas, and with the constant onslaught of new Halo games we ended up losing focus on them and opting instead for uninspired clones. This time around, you can expect to see things from our guns you won’t in other Halo games - for example, our Brute Shot now has a secondary trigger which fires EMP grenades: they are perfect for disorienting a room full of enemies, but not so useful for damaging them. With our BRG, its role has been expanded by the Brute helmets, as it is the only weapon other than the sniper that can destroy a Brute's helmet and kill it with a single pull of the trigger. We’ve also brought back another weapon that was cut from SPV2 and given it a new role (which has the coolest charge effect out of any gun in any Halo game!), which we won’t spoil for you here but is highlighted a bit further down the post. I think you’ll all be satisfied with our many tweaks to the gameplay and what we’re doing with our weapons. Even classic “untouchable” vehicles are being looked into in getting weapon overhauls.
When we started back up, one thing that we noticed was seriously showing its age was the HUD. We designed our HUD with a lot of thought, but it’s old and low res, and nearly 5 years old. Everything is still in the concept stage, but what’s there is FANTASTIC, and we’re really proud of what’s been done so far; not only that, but we’re also interested in your feedback on it. For now, here is our initial concept, and you can see more in our HUD thread (check the bottom of this post for links).
Now, onto our team!
Part 4: Meet The Team
I am proud to say that the majority of the old team was happily eager to join back up from SPV2. The active team roster presently consists of:
The Old Boys
Masterz1337 - Team leader and gameplay design lead. I will be focusing solely on the gameplay and debugging this time around. I’m stepping down from HUD and particle work, as well as encounters and their related scripts; my successors are a few lines down.
Teh Lag – Modeler, animator, sanity checker and all-around tagset content guy. He's been behind a lot of the definitive custom CMT tags, had his hands in most of the team's tagset at some point or another, and will be taking a lead role in making the new tagset as clean and polished as possible.
Arteen - Lead BSP modeler. Most of you know him; he’s the genius behind many multiplayer maps, and has done many of our SP BSPs in the past. He, like a lot of you, wasn’t all to happy with some of the custom BSPs in the past, and he’s devoted to doing whatever it takes to making sure the new BSPs and encounters are of the highest quality.
Conscars - The brain behind many of our particles and skins ranging all the way back to SPV1, he’s back again and still helping us pump out amazing particle effects.
Dano – Yes, that’s right - he’s coming out of retirement! He’s already contributed more to
SPV3 than anyone else already, and it’s something that’s going to blow your mind.
The Middle Bros
Kirby - When something’s tough to figure out, Kirby has the answers. Kirby’s already helped come up with our new support weapon system, and he’s also had a breakthrough with FP legs we may pursue. He’s also been working on our Sparrowhawk, and has had some breakthroughs with making it function like no other vehicle in Halo CE before.
Sin0w - Sin0w joined up with us near the end of SPV2 when everything was falling apart, but he’s back now and has two more years of experience. Sin0w is in charge of music and sound for the mod, and is also taking over my role over for encounters and SP scripting.
ShadowSpartan - Technically he’s new to the team, but he’s done a lot to help us in the past and he’s going helping us with several behind the scenes things. He’s a brilliant guy and is the only active remaining member of Zteam.
The New Peoples
H3Freak - Our new HUD guy, he’s responsible for the images you saw earlier. He’s got some amazing stuff planned we haven’t shown yet, and has showed us things to do with the HUD we never thought possible. Keep an eye out for his work (bottom of the thread!!!), you’re sure to be impressed.
ODX – He's worked with Teh Lag in the past, and now he’s agreed to contribute his animation talent to our team. We’re really happy to have another talented animator to balance the workload.
Ifafudafi - You may know him from Another Stupid Campaign Mod, which had some stunning effect and particle work. He’s integrating his many of ASCM’s effects with SPV3, while improving both. There’s a lot of really neat stuff coming out from him, and we’re all really happy to have him on the team. He’ll be working closely with Conscars to deliver ever-prettier effects for SPV3. He’s put together a little vidoc for those of you who are interested in seeing what he’s been doing:
(And as with the HUD, you can keep up with his work in his Effects thread; again, check the bottom for links)
...So that’s our new team. We’ve got a lot of great talent, and we’re all happy to be working with each other again. The only person we’re still trying to recruit is CAD, who disappeared about 2 weeks before we reformed the team. (Our dear CAD, where have you gone!?) We also are happy to announce our partnership with another team: The guys behind Project Lumoria (you can also check out their latest work in their thread here. Obviously, our goals are very similar, and the teams will be closely talking between and contributing to each other. Both teams are dedicated to bringing you awesome single player experiences, and we feel there is much we can learn from Higuy, Lodex and their team..
So that pretty much sums out what we have planned, and what we have done. We’ve only been back for about two weeks, but we’ve already made enormous progress. Even now, there is an incredible jump in quality between the last SPV2 and the newest SPV3 builds, and we look forward to showing that to you as soon as we can.
But there is one more thing...
Part 5: The Sauce
CMT's SPV3 will support Open Sauce! We’ve been working closely with Kornman and Firescythe, and this is the second partnership we are announcing today. Thanks to Open Sauce, we will have a TON of new features in the mod available to you if you chose to install it. While we are building the mod with OS in mind, if for whatever reason you cannot/will not/don’t want to install or don’t like OS, the maps will still play normally for you. Though we do not plan to make Open Sauce a requirement we do expect to be taking advantage of a number of features it affords to users, while maintaining backwards-compatibility for those unable to run it (though at the expense of a few cool new features!) Players who use Open Sauce with our maps will be able to experience normal maps on objects (such as in Halo 2, 3 and Halo Reach), VISR mode, altered gravity, vehicle boarding, and possibly other fun features as well. We’ve only just recently got it working with our tagset, but here’s some of what we've been able to accomplish so far...
You also may remember the planned vehicle boarding for SPV2; thanks to Open Sauce the content we created for that feature will be featured in SPV3 as well.
Part 6: The Conclusion
And that's that! More information will come as it is available, and we will sincerely do our best to not let anyone down. We’ve got a new home on www.halomods.com/cmt so be sure to register on the forums. If you like CMT, this is where we will be posting the majority of our updates and several of our members have their own threads if you wish to discuss certain topics in depth. It’s worth checking out and it’s the only place where you will be able to have your voice be heard by all the CMT members. So get ready, everyone, tell your friends, your family, your school, your workplace, your pets, and whoever else you can think of, and let people know that CMT is back, because we're ready to show you how ten years of Halo are REALLY celebrated.
Oh right, and those links!
Ifafudafi's Effects Thread
h3freak09's HUD Thread
This post has been edited by teh lag: 27 July 2011 - 06:41 PM