Introduction

 

 

The following interactive document is a general reference for editing Halo on the PC platform. The document has several sections with the majority of the document providing information, tutorials, and examples related to Multiplayer Level Design.

 

This document was written to appeal to individuals who are new to editing games and creating game content as well as those that are experienced at editing games for the PC.

 

Even though this document is written to encourage those that are new to the area of editing, it is suggested that the end user familiarize themselves with some of the basic tools and techniques used and discussed within the sections and tutorials contained in this document.  Familiarization with 3D arbitrary modeling using 3ds maxTM is strongly recommended as well as the use of 2D art programs (Photoshop®, Paintshop ProTM, etc...).

 

This tutorial only scratches the surface of what is possible with the Halo Editing Kit. We encourage you to actively participate in the Halo editing community and share your discoveries with others at Cortana.org. Halo Maps Note: The Cortana.org website no longer exists. You may use HaloMaps.org as a Halo CE community resource.

 

 

 

Section Descriptions

 

All sections and information can be accessed through the main menu on the left.  The main menu contains the following sections:

 

 

General

 

 

The following sections include general information as well as common or frequently used information that can be referenced quickly.

 

 

Technology Overview - A brief description on the engine and related technology used for Halo on the PC platform including hardware system requirements.
Creating a Development Environment -   This section explains what the editing kit contains, how to install and update Halo PC for editing, and how to install the Halo PC End User Editing Kit as well as how to set up directory structures and prepare Halo for content creation and editing. 
Development Tools Overview -   This section contains information on the tools and related programs necessary for content creation related to Level Design for Halo PC.
General Level Design Information - This section includes various standards, conventions and guidelines used in Halo Level Design. This section also contains editing information such as polygon counts for level models or meshes, per scene triangle counts and guidelines, and performance guidelines and suggestions.
General Model Information - This section includes various standards and conventions used in model creation as it relates to Halo Level Design. This section also includes editing information such as polygon counts, guidelines, and methods for trouble shooting and optimizing models.
Materials Overview - This section discusses the materials system used in Halo.  The materials or shaders are used to define the properties of the surfaces for which they are applied to as well as the rendering properties for the surface.  This section includes material naming conventions and rules, special material names, and special shader symbols or flags.
Halo Player Statistics - This section includes important values for the player such as the player Field Of View (FOV) as well as dimensions in real world and 3DSMax units for the player, player actions, as well for some common game objects such as vehicles and doors.
Console Command List - A list of valid command line switches and common console commands that are useful for Level Design for Halo PC.
Weapons\Ammo\Items List - A quick reference list of all weapons, associated ammo, and items by game name and tag name\location.  
Vehicles and Stationary Gun List - A quick reference list of all vehicles and stationary gun turrets by  game name and tag name\location.  

 

 

Level Design

 

The following sections includes specific information, tutorials, and examples on the creation and editing of game levels and environments and related subjects for Halo PC.

         

Multiplayer Level Design

 

 

The following sections include specific information, troubleshooting guides, tutorials, and examples on the creation and editing of Multiplayer (MP) game levels and related subjects for Halo PC. The sections are listed in the order in which they should be completed for tutorials.

 

General Overview - This section gives a general overview for the creation of Multiplayer (MP) Levels for Halo for the PC.  This section includes rules, guidelines, components and other useful information related to the creation and editing of Multiplayer environments for Halo and its various game types.

Level Creation -  Part 1 -   This section provides more detailed information on creating Multiplayer levels and environments and includes tutorials and examples.  Topics covered in the tutorials include the creation of a reference frame, material and shader usage and application, sealed world rules and explanation, and miscellaneous and general tips and suggestions.

Level Creation -  Part 2 -   This section is a continuation of Level Creation - Part 1 and provides more detailed information on creating Multiplayer levels and environments and includes tutorials and examples.  Topics covered in the tutorials and examples include more information on the Sealed World Rules, the additional creation of level geometry including structures, streams, and terrain features, a discussion on water and how it exists and behaves in Halo, additional applications of smoothing groups, the creation and placement of items such as light fixtures and ladders, the placement of visibility portals for rendering, an explanation of player clipping\containment techniques, and miscellaneous and general tips and suggestions.
Level Exporting  -   This section provides information and a tutorial on the export process from 3DSMax to the .jms format which is used to compile a Halo game level.
Level Compilation - This sections provides information and a tutorial on compiling an exported .jms file into a data tag format that can be manipulated by the Halo tools and eventually packaged to run in a Halo multiplayer game.
Level Data Manipulation in Guerilla - This section provides a tutorial on using Guerilla and information on this tool and what it is used for in relation to Multiplayer Levels. 
Radiosity (Lighting) - This section gives a quick overview of the radiosity lighting solution used in Halo.  Topics and tutorials include running the radiosity process on the level as well as information on the settings and options for radiosity, the creation of a lightmap for the level (.bitmap) and troubleshooting common problems encountered with lighting in Halo.
Population - This section covers the population or placement of objects in the level using Sapien.  Tutorials and information cover an overview of the Sapien tool, player spawn point placement and information, scenery object implementation and placement, vehicle and weapon implementation and placement, net game flags information and placement, and the manipulation and setting of BSP portal data including fog, sounds and weather effects.
Running a Game Level in Halo - This section provides information and a tutorial on preparing a user created level to run in a Halo multiplayer game as well as a discussion on the Halo Developer Mode.  The information and tutorial covers the creation of a .map cache file that contains the level and all tag resources needed to run the level in the game. 

 

 

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