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HDM Beta BloodGulch

Title: HDM Beta BloodGulch
Section: Modified Multiplayer Maps
Author: GnaM
Description: A bloodgulch variant with more realistic weapons

File Name: HDM-Beta-BloodGulch.zip
Media Type: Zip
Size: 7.2M  Date: 08/16/05
Map Size: Medium
Downloads: 1,747
User Rating: 8.0


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File Notes

This is the early stage of an ongoing weapon balance mod for Halo Custom Edition. The basic goal of the mod is to improve upon the balance of Halo 1 without resorting to the same sort of 'spray and pray' features as Halo 2. Rather than strengthen weapons by increasing volume of fire, weapons will be strengthened via accuracy. Thus, players are rewarded for aiming better and playing more skillfully, rather than just blindly spraying more bullets. Because this emphasis on skill and competition harkens back somewhat to Halo's forefathers in the sci-fi/fantasy competative multiplayer FPS genre, such as Doom, Quake, and Unreal, this mod has been titled "Halo Deathmatch" (or HDM for short) for lack of a better title.

This mod is about changing the weapon balance of the original levels, not creating new ones. This version of Blood Gulch was provided by TheGhost for public use, and that is why it is the first map, besides Tutorial, to be supported. However, since Halo CE maps can only be edited with the original scenario files, hopefully some other mappers who have remade original Bungie maps will gratiously donate their maps to my cause. Until that happens (if it ever does) this map is it.

Also, this version is titled "beta" because I plan to tweak a few things after play-testing it, before commiting to a "final version.


Here is a general list of features:

- The pistol is still the starting weapon, but it has been toned down. With 4-headshot kills, an 8 round magazine, decreased rapid fire accuracy, slower bullets, and bull's-eye staggered fire accuracy (aprox. 1 shot a second is optimal); the HDM pistol is much weaker than the original Halo 1 pistol or Halo 2 Battle rifle, and thus more apropriate for a starting weapon... However it is still moderately powerfull, and does not leave you completely defenseless beyond 10 meters, as the Halo 2 SMG and Magnum do.

- The Battle Rifle has been added (thanks to Wave of Lag, The Spartan, and Ace), but instead of firing 3 rounds at once, which are too easy to use and cannot be allowed to kill in less than 4 bursts for risk of being unbalanced...in HDM it fires single rounds, kills in 3 headshots, and carries 12 rounds per magazine, just like the original Halo 1 pistol. However, since it is not a starting weapon, it does not risk being over-powered.

- The Assault Rifle is more accurate when fired in bursts and single rounds, and can score headshots. With 12 headshots or 20 body shots required to kill, and a slightly decreased magazine (48 rounds) it bears some similarity to the Halo 2 Battle Rifle, but the bursts of the AR are only moderately accurate in comparison, and the new BR is single-shot, so the AR is far from redundant. The AR is geared towards close-mid range, while the BR is geared towards mid-long range.

- The Plasma Rifle has no spread and can score headshots (9 to kill). It no longer has an accelerating ROF, and fires at 600 rounds a minute right off the bat. Also, the number of rounds to fire without overheating has been adjusted to 27 instead of 22, to equal 3x the killing dose of plasma. Thus, the PR is now a force to be reckoned with in the right hands, and killing from a distance is about predicting, leading, and aiming, rather than just blindly rushing to point-blank range.

- The Plasma Pistol can also score headshots.

- The homing of the Needler has been reduced to almost nothing, but the damage has been increased. Now, it is something of an area-denial weapon. While the slow speed of the needles ultimately limits it's range, leading helps a lot, and it can excell at filling a hallway with incoming fire to surpress enemies.

- The Rocket Launcher carries 4 rounds per magazine, but the splash damage is only about half as strong. It only kills instantly with a very close hit, but since you have extra ammo, it is not really weaker, it just takes a different technique. Ultimately, as in Quake, Unreal Tournament, and Doom 3, the rocket launcher should be a power weapon promoting rescource control, but still take accuracy skill to use.

- The Fuel Rod Gun has a much slower rate of fire, but power is on par with the rocket launcher. It requires skill at arcing the projectile over distance, but travels faster and has a slightly wider blast radius.

- Grenade blast radius has been adjusted, so that only very close hits will cause enough damage for an instant kill (similar to the grenades in Halo 2 after the Auto-Update). Additionally, frag grenades deal more damage to health and less damage to shields, while plasma grenades deal more damage to shields and less to health.

- Concussion jumps (ie rocket jumping) can be performed with most of the explosives, with minimal self-damage, providing you time your jumps right. Just remember there's always a risk that you could either kill yourself or leave yourself exposed to the enemy with no shields/health if you screw up.

- The shotgun has tighter spread (all pelets land inside the reticle), but requires a headshot for an instant kill. Thus, it is still a close range weapon, but it takes a little more skill to use, and has a little more effectiveness at mid range, ultimately promoting good aim all around.

- Many of the weapons have new precision mini-reticles added in the middle of the big old ones. They aren't big enough to get in the way or be distracting, and they give you better accuracy at long range since you don't have to guess where the center of the reticle is while simultaneously trying to dodge incoming fire and aim at the moving target.

- The pistol has no zoom, the Assault Rifle and Plasma Rifle have 2x zoom, and the Battle Rifle has 3x zoom.

- The only weapons which have a cap on how far the projectiles travel are the needler, pistol, and shotgun (and they still travel pretty far before they stop). Generally, if you can see something and aim at it, it is possible to hit it. However, since you need to lead the target and compensate for bullet drop, this can be quite difficult at extreme ranges. Previously the AR, PR, and BR could not hit past 40 world units...now they can hit anywhere on the map!

- Spawn times for the Rocket Launcher and Fuel Rod Gun are down to 30 seconds instead of 60 seconds. This is to emphasize winning by being the best rocket user, rather than winning by being the only rocket user.


Known Bugs:

- The HUD Messages for the Battle Rifle tell you you're picking up pistols and pistol ammo. Since there are no pistol pickups on the map, it shouldn't be too confusing, but it looks bad. I would like to create new HUD Messages once I figure out how.

- The HUD ammo meter for the Pistol and Assault Rifle show empty spaces for the extra rounds you can't carry (because the mag size is reduced). This is functional, but will be replaced with new meters eventually.

- The HUD ammo meter for the Rocket Launcher only counts up to 2 rockets, even when you actually have 3 or 4. The graphic needs to be redone to show 4 rockets, and the counter needs to be reprogramed to count higher. I will do this when I figure out how. Untill then, deal with it.

- Number of hits to kill with the pistol and assault rifle in-game maybe not be exactly as listed above, because I haven't had a chance to test them yet. Once I get hard data on how the damage number values actually translate to hits and kills in the game, I will tweak them accordingly to match the plan. They shouldn't be too far off though.

- Plasma Bolts become invisible after about 150 yards or so, even though they can still cause damage. You can still see them coming from far away, but if you're not paying attention, it can look like you're suddenly getting blasted with plasma out of no where (they still make visible impacts on walls and players). Once I figure out how to make them visible for the entire time they're in the air, I will. Untill then, look out for incoming plasma in the distance.


Future Plans:

- Obviously, I'd like to fix the above bugs and redo all the changed HUD features so it looks polished.

- I would like to bring in a good Grenade Launcher to diversify the power projectile weaponry. I will probably end up using a Brute Shot model (when I find one), but it will act more like a traditional Quake GL, with a slower firing rate and more lethal projectiles. The grenades will be similar in damage and blast radius to the current HDM hand grenades, but they will be launched instantaneously, travel faster, bounce more, and explode instantly contact with an enemy.

- In the future, I may speed up movement slightly to emphasize dodging and skillfull manuevering. However, it will retain a sort of "slow, tactical" element, and never become quite as turbo-fast as other games.

- At times I have considered reducing the battle rifle to 4 headshots per kill, in order to allow fairly increasing the magazine size to 16 rounds. However, I have refrained from doing so in order to stay true to the original Halo 1 pistol. If I receive a lot of feedback asking that the BR be toned down, or that the magazine size be increased to differenciate it from the pistol, I may re-consider changing it from 3/12 to 4/16 again.

- I have also considered increasing the general magazine capacity of all weapons from 4x the lethal dose to 5x. This would mean 5 round rocket mags, 15-20 round BR mags, 60 round AR mags, etc. It would allow a single skilled player more capability to make multiple consecutive kills without being hampered by reloading. However, I have again opted to stay true to Halo 1 for now and stuck with 4x. If I get positive feedback on this idea, I may indeed upgrade to 5x.

- I've thought about adding ammo pickups (independant from weapon pickups) into some maps. It's rather ridiculous that the only way to get more ammo for a weapon is to go back to the only place on the map where it spawns. This will also add more considerations to rescource control and map routes, if done correctly. I will wait to see how things play out though.


Credits:

Thanks to Wave of Lag for his BR tags.
Thanks to TheGhost for his BloodGulch scenario files.


That's about it. Hope you like it. Feedback is welcome, so email, PM, or message me on the forums with your comments, suggestions, praises, or criticisms.

 

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