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Title: Portent
Section: Halo CE Maps
Author: EJ Burke

File Name:
Media Type: Zip
Size: 15.2M  Date: 04/30/06
Downloads: 70,107
User Rating: 9.0

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User Rating: 9.0

File Notes

1. Background Story

Two months before the Battle of Reach, routine spectrograph analysis of distant solar systems revealed a combination icy/terrestrial body approximately half the mass of Earth's moon. A survey team was dispatched to determine its viability for oxygen and mineral mining operations.

The planet, now referred to officially as "Summary", turned out to be far less mundane than its emission spectrum had portrayed. An intact, almost pristine, Forerunner outpost was discovered within 15 minutes of the survey vessel assuming its initial orbit. It resided in what was described as a "thermal pocket" defined by two bracketing fance-like scructures. Presumably, this was done in order to keep the structure from being enveloped by the glacial mass that covered 90% of the surface.

The results of radiometric dating determined that the structure was over 100,000 years old. Perhaps a little ancient for something in such good condition, but it could be somewhat explained by the arid conditions and regulated temperature ranges.

What couldn't be so easily explained was the fact that the planet itself was no older than the outpost. A fact which would have been revealed by the telescopic spectrograph if not for the relatively fresh coating of ice defeating an accurate geochronological measurement. Six billion years younger than the next youngest planet in the solar system, Summary's standing as a naturally occurring body was highly suspect.

Ultimately, the purpose of the installation couldn't be determined. Contact with the survey team was lost. Followup investigations have been delayed by circumstances of the Covenant War. Without physical, in-person investigation of the planet, the best clue as to what may have happened was uncovered in further telescopic study of the solor system.

An unidentified type of radiation was determined to have enveloped the entire system thousands of times in its history. Most of these emissions seem to originate from Summary. One of these radiation waves, however, seemed to have no discernable point of origin at all. Even more disturbing, it wasn't isolated to that distant solar system. Evidence of this burst of radiation can be found virtually everywhere in the galaxy.

2. Gameplay

The underlying concept behind Portent is a battle for higher ground. Players overlooking their opposition will feel safe and empowered, while other players struggle to gain the advantage.

Big Team CTF - The principle supported gametype. Players spawn in a safe location in their spacious fortresses. Direct assaults will be easy to spot and thwart, so it will be important to gain control of the map. The central tower will play a key role in allowing quick, on-foot access to the enemy flag.

Small Team CTF - With fewer resources to control territory, the battle is waged primarily in the bases. Frontal assaults with the warthogs should be the prevailing tactic.

Slayer - All players spawn around the central tower to keep the "biomass" concentrated and the action going. Players can spread out and retreat to the safety of the bases, if they choose, but they'll have a hard time racking up kills that way.

King of the Hill - Located on the lower floor of the central tower, the Hill objective is purposefully designed to be difficult to maintain uncontested control over. Every second of dominance will count and in team games, it will be important to have unselfish teammate on the top floor to keep their allies racking up hill time clean.

Oddball - Grab the skull and pick a teleporter to escape harrassment. When in trouble, toss the ball down the pit to keep it out of the enemy's hands temporarily.

Race - A complete design afterthought. It might be fun. Give it a try.

3. Weapon Tweaks

Assault Rifle - Lower rate of fire, higher damage per round, longer acceleration time to maximum bullet spread.

Plasma Rifle - Higher rate of fire, less heat per round.

Needler - Faster rate of fire, higher ammo capacity, lower needle spread.

The degree by which each of these adjustments were made should be regarded as slight. They are merely less useless than before. The pistol is still your best option for general combat.

4. Notes

I would have preferred to "seal up" the map with player clipping, but people seem to like stunts, so I left it open for that type of thing. Under default gametype circumstances this shouldn't affect gameplay, but it's impossible to tell. I doubt the map will become popular enough to ever really find out if the lack of clipping breaks the game.

Banshee spawns are reluctantly included, but they're hidden and you'll only be able to get to them if your server is set up for stunts. The banshee is completely outside the design of the map, so don't blame me if the map seems far less impressive while flying around in one.

Unfortunately, the radiosity quality of the lightmaps is debug-level. It takes over an hour to solve at a threshhold of 0.1. It would take over two days to solve at final lightmap quality. Given that it would probably take me a dozen attempts at quality 1 to get the lighting just right, I don't think it's worth the trouble right now. But it's certainly something I'd like to do for future releases -- after I upgrade to a dual core rig.

I'm leaving this map "unprotected". You can decompile it for curiosity or machinima purposes. Approval for any modded rereleases will be hard to come by and I'll be annoyed if you even ask. Maybe I'm being naive, but I don't think there's anyone out there that's going to willingly screw me over or disrespect my work. And if they do, they'll have a CE Community boot up their ass within 10 seconds. ;)


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