Austin-based developer Certain Affinity has confirmed their work on upcoming Xbox 360 shooter, Halo 4. Collaborating with 343 Industries on Master Chief's latest adventure, Certain Affinity is working on Halo 4's mapmaking Forge tools. While the studio announced their work on Twitter, an updated Forge mode was shown off on stage during the Halo 4 panel at the Rooster Teeth Expo.
While the footage shown was of an unfinished user interface in Forge mode, a ton of new user-friendly functionality and improvements have been made. One such improvement is now when moving your cursor over objects, it highlights them green and displays their name, making it easier to manipulate a single object in a much larger pile. You can now also lock objects in place, ensuring that you won't accidently bump a meticulously-placed element out of its place.
The ability to duplicate objects has also been added, making it easier to build bridges and roads. Building those aforementioned bridges and roads is even easier now with the new magnet feature. Objects can be magnetized, making them easier to connect to other objects in pre-set ways. This allows for more focus on the actual creativity portion of Halo 4's Forge mapmaking.
The changes to Forge don't just include functional, but graphical as well. An all-new dynamic lighting system has been implemented allowing all Forge objects to accept shadows from the environment or other Forge objects. They also cast shadows on the environment meaning anything put down will be "a lot more integrated" with the environment. All of the objects in build mode, you won't see these shadows, but once you enter Player Mode, the shadows kick in.
"Player Trait Zones" allow builders to alter any player parameter for a portion of the map. When players enter that field, the Spartans traits, like run speed, jump height, and damage absorption, are effected by the set parameters. Whereas in previous map editors, the entire map would have to be changed to those parameters, now you can set only a small area to be effected. The last new object revealed was the "Grav Volume," a field which augments or reverses entirely the orientation of gravity for anyone who steps into it.
Forge is just one of the modes available in Halo 4. Other multiplayer modes include Spartan Ops, an episodic co-op adventure that takes place six months after the events of the Halo 4 campaign (more details have been leaked), and War games, the traditional competitive multiplayer component of Halo 4.