The forge was originally hinted at before it's official announcement into Halo 3. At press meeting in which builds of the game were shown off the option "Forge" remained mysteriously in the menu screens. It was later revealed that the forge would be a map editor of sorts, hailed by Bungie as being the even medium between offering a map maker and dealing with the flood of unusable and worthless community created maps. Bungie also revealed that the Forged or edited maps will be uploadable to a player's file share from which other players may download it either in game or from Bungie's community portal on the website.
The forge itself is a map editor not a map maker; the difference being within forge players may edit the maps with existing objects, but may not alter geometry in any sense. This allows players to alter the maps in many drastic ways to either alter the experience in a minute sense or create an entirely new creation. Originally Bungie claimed that the community would edit any maps that had sever problems in them, but no major problems have been found.
Within the editor itself players start a typical game as Spartans or Elites. From there they can now actually see all of the spawn points and every piece of movable geometry as a blue identifier. Pressing up on the D-Pad brings the player to the editor mode in which they take the form of a monitor from the campaign. While in the editor mode the player may free fly around the map and pick up movable objects. They can access a menu of available objects to place on the map, and they may delete existing objects. Every map has a limit of "money" and every object has a cost. The total cost of the objects on the map may not exceed the money limit, however this differs for every map, typically the bigger the map is the more money that will be available. Beyond that players have found glitches in the game to access versions of the maps that have unlimited money however these must be downloaded from a player's file share. In addition to the money limit each object has a limit to how many might be placed on the map.
Many stages give the option of adding vehicles and weapons to the maps. While they do not always have the same options, every stage plays host to the majority of the weapons and every stage can support the mongoose. Some people have used the weapons to create artwork in the forge. This has led to it's own slue of both artistic works and problems arising in people's file shares.
Almost every piece of scenery is usable in the forge. Some maps offer many more options than some of the maps that are smaller, for example prior to Foundry, Last Resort was seen to offer the best suite of scenery objects. These are typically used to alter the maps in drastic ways to make either entirely different maps or neat variations.
There are a few mindsets that forgers have come to use when creating a forge map.
These forgeries are small edits to maps that preserve the existing integrity of the map. Typically this involves moving the spawn of an objective, weapon, or player to better suit the map and the style of play the map was originally intended to provide. This type of forging is the easiest because it is usually changes that the player has noticed through game play on the map.
When forgers attempt to take an existing map but make it work with game types it was not originally suited for. This type of forging is more difficult because it requires a preconceived notion of what they new intentions for the map are along with an idea of what changes would best bring about the new game play type.
New Map Changes
In this style of forging the player uses scenery and objects to take pieces of the existing map and create entirely new maps. This is done through typically blocking off portions of the map to create limited play spaces. Forging in this manner is the most difficult and requires the most time as the editor must not only have an idea for what the map will play like, they must also have come up with a manner for creating the map and balancing it.
With the advent of the heroic map pack Bungie brought Foundry into Halo 3. Foundry is a map that is completely comprised of movable objects, meaning that in the forge it is possible to completely redesign maps and effectively utilize the forge as a map maker. Players have used Foundry to create many interesting and amazing maps, some designed for the purpose of artwork, others for play. With Foundry came new scenery and the promise from Bungie that more content was coming. One of the biggest requests from players has been another Foundry style map with different textures and environments, preferably outdoor.
Forge filters, also called FX, are objects listed under scenery menu which comes in the Legendary maps, Cold Storage, and Mythic maps that change the camera shades. All the filters are as follows:
- Juicy - Everything is bright, vivid and colorful. Saturation is increased.
- Colorblind - Everything is displayed in grayscale.
- Gloomy - Everything is dark, shady, and somewhat desaturated.
- Nova - Everything is extremely bright and blurry, though really dark shadows look quite sharp.
- Old Timey - Everything looks like an old Western movie -- the contents of the screen are displayed in sepia tones and are even given a flickering effect, making the screen resemble an old film projector.
- Pen and Ink - Scenes are displayed as if they were drawn using an inkpen. Bright areas tend to look more like a grayscale version of the Nova filter.
Many players have taken advantage of the forge to create things Bungie may not have originally intended. This includes using the guns to create artwork. Unfortunately many of these creations were inappropriate for the game, and Bungie has had to bring the banhammer to those with inappropriate content in their file shares. Other players have used the movable objects to create in game artwork, the most popular being robots.
After studying player feedback from Halo 3, Bungie decided to heavily revamp Forge mode in Halo: Reach. On top of the normal array of maps available to edit, a special map called Forge World is included, which is a massive game world larger than any map Bungie has ever created before. Using this world, the possibilities are nearly endless. New features include the ability to have objects float in the air and the ability to "phase" objects into other objects.