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Improving Immersion

I was impressed by Certain Affinity's work with the Forge 2A palettes. I want to discuss the specific changes I am looking for that I believe will help forgers create highly immersive maps. While a significant number of steps were taken with Forge 2A, it is my hope Forge 5 will finish the work that I envision.

Forge 2A's First Steps

Counter to immersion, the following did not return to forge:

  • Erosion's subterranean concept
  • pre-existing structures (they clashed with the palettes or simply got in our way)
  • rough and highly graded terrain of Erosion
  • Erosion grifball court, Forge World Coliseum (each too dark)
  • completely flat terrain
  • blindness of corners (forge island, was really a major defect, not a feature in any way)
  • poorly looking textures, unbalanced, dirty (forge island factory staple textures)

Supportive of immersion, the following were included in forge:

  • strong cohesion between the palette pieces (or at least most of them in the case of Forge 2A)
  • sand stone blocks (I would have preferred shiny, but it is still a great start)
  • flat area to forge on pre-existing canvas (we can roll our own now)
  • hill / terrain objects
  • lines are not running all over the surfaces of every block, visual noise is nearly completely eliminated
  • earth tone colors (sand stone) looks realistic and is highly immersive
  • splatter textures were not added (requested by some forgers, but would disrupt immersion)
  • flooring textures can now look more free flowing and continuous
  • wall textures can look solid and continuous
  • we can trim the top and bottom of walls
  • we can grade both the ground and the walls together
  • texture detail is balanced and clean
  • stone block edges are very subtle (more so than sandbox), which is critical for immersion
  • an invisible wall was not included (requested by forgers, but would out right destroy immersion)
  • an energy bridge was not included in the palette (requested by forgers, but it wouldn't work with anything but a forerunner palette)
  • glass alone (no window border) and in a couple of colors (but they are textured to give us visual cue of their presence)
  • game time geometry altering animated pieces (perhaps the most requested enhancement by the forging community)
  • natural geometry for heavy vehicular play (Superstition on Ridgeline was an attempt at this, Forge 2A will make it easy)
  • architectures supported with new palette: present day and ancient ruins (fantasy and space travel are not supported, but the big benefit is that our maps can now avoid the "forge architecture" of looking like nothing but blocks)
  • flat rock / stone surfaces for walls (the draw back is that most walls will be only stone)
  • keep magnets
  • add rendering gauge (asked for numeric gauge)
  • add back high precision editing and monitor zoom

Possibly Addressed With Forge 2A

The following are things that may need additional work, or may be addressed in other ways.

  • cohesion of skins between palette objects (not certain how varying the different pieces look)
  • fixed the game lighting (does it break like in Forge 4?)
  • additional elimination of budget constraints, improved rendering performance (this is XBox-1 after all)
  • correct file format to retain precision (Maybe this isn't necessary any longer with the 10x10)
  • homogenous texture for coliseum wall like on Forge World (may not be necessary with 10x10)

Additional Features For Forge 5

The following are things I feel need to be addressed to further improve the immersion of maps created in Forge 5.

  • Erosion Sunlight Ambiance near top hole, thought it might be interesting to have the lighting effect as a tool.
  • Space station palette come back but reworked to offer much greater horizontal and vertical movement.
  • sandy beach, and transparent water
  • mist over water
  • much more scenery objects as visual cues
  • street lights, street signs, asphalt
  • prefabs - get rid of the remake prefabs and offer structures like the two small buildings from Power House whose textures and floor plans will greatly increase realism and immersion in our maps
  • colors affecting entire surface uniformly rather than a line down the side (e.g., the entire stone wall is tinted light blue or light red)
  • colors affecting large blocks of the surface like the large blocks of paint on the dark gray walls of Countdown
  • colors need to include both soft tints of team colors and also earth tone colors
  • at the very least we need several different shades of earth tone colors of stone if we cannot alter the colors of the entire surfaces of the blocks
  • aging textures like rust, cracks, stains, and erosion; not game play looking splatters.
  • subtle textures like the flooring tiles we see through out Boardwalk
  • multi-texture flooring blocks (three simple blocks with six subtle and unique flooring textures each, we rotate up the texture we want and repeat it across our floors)
  • palette theme matches canvas theme - Forge 2A does this with Awash, but there is absolutely no cohesion between large stone blocks floating above a Halo ring on Skyward, or in deep space on Nebula. Those two canvases need corresponding palette pieces. Honestly, Skyward should have had a fully pristine Forerunner palette with little terrain to use only as interior terrain for a Forerunner space structure.
  • stairs only without landings or railing attached to them
  • shining sheet that pulses bright that we can attach to the surface of any wall or ceiling
  • paint markings that we can attach to walls or streets
  • similar doors of different sizes that look the same architecture
  • glass colors of various tints of blue, red, yellow, green, slate black, and tan; glass fully transparent, leaving the color as the visual cue that the glass is present
  • strong support for circular architecture (need more circular walls and corresponding circular floors, like the floor cap and how it was used on Hekau)
  • smoldering/burning vehicle remains on map rather than be removed by the garbage collector
  • gravity volume become a hill marker for sizing and shaping
  • flat marble textures to offer accenting textures to walls
  • planter caps for circular incline with rock on one side and grass on the other so we don't have to tediously fill the top with tin cup or rocks
  • cheap rods and columns so that we can make a chain of bars to shoot and see through and not kill our rendering performance
  • scenery objects like transformers, switch panels
  • cranes (forgers created a lot of these in Reach)
  • food court table and chairs
  • escalator, animated even to allow us to strafe while standing on them
  • solid circular tunnel walls with hatches
  • at least one majestic, bold, pristine forerunner palette, complete with energy bridge
  • elastic barrier to gently push players back into the play area