Monday, January 24, 2011

Custom Halo: Reach Map Variant: Spiral

As I've mentioned earlier, Halo 3 and Halo: Reach include a feature where you can edit the maps that you play on.[1] Some maps are very flexible, like Forge World [2]; others are not. One of the maps included in Halo: Reach is called Spire. It is one of the less tractable maps, but I felt that it needed a few modifications.

Spire features a huge structure, roughly in the middle of the map, which generates a force field around it. There are objects, called man cannons, which will whoosh you up to the top of the spire. The problem is: there's no way back down. So if you go up, not meaning to, or if you spawn up there, the only way you can engage in the firefight is to kill yourself by jumping off the edge. And that costs you (or your team) a point.

So I created a way back down. I placed four teleporter sending nodes (see yellow arrows) around the perimeter of the control room at the top of the spire. By walking into any of these you will be transported immediately to somewhere on the ground. This will both makes it so you can get back down but also so removes the stigma against using the top of the spire as a battleground.

At various points around the map I placed eight teleporter receiver nodes. I tried to space them out so that they're near previously established team bases but also cover the breadth of the map. Rather than have a given sender node always point to a given receiver node, I put them all on the same channel. So no matter which sender node you use, it will randomly send you to any one of the eight receiver nodes.

The teleporters in the bottom two images bear a little more explanation. For the one on the left, I initially wanted to put the receiver node on top of the metal structure above it. But I discovered that you couldn't get down from up there without hurting yourself. For the one on the right, it's at the farthest end of the map where there is usually little action going on. I figured sometimes you should lose a tactical advantage for teleporting off the spire. Since you can go up but also come back down, I named my custom map variant Spiral.[3]

Now you can snipe from the tower and then teleport away before your position can be discovered. Here you can see me shooting at Leann's dad.

The ability to get off the spire means that players are more willing to go up. Here you can see Leann's brother, who has been launched into the air by a man cannon, throwing grenades at me before he lands on the spire. This happened only seconds after I'd shot Leann's dad.

Leann didn't like being on the spire, so she took one of the teleporters, which dropped her off down on the ground, where she preferred to be. Before I created this map variant, this was not possible.


[1] For more info, see my review of Halo: Reach.

[2] The flexible maps in Halo 3 are called Foundry and Sandbox.

[3] If you have an XBox 360 and the game Halo: Reach, you can download the map variant Spiral here.

Image attributions:

All images are screenshots of the video game Halo: Reach, which is © Microsoft Corporation. They are presented here in the context of providing information about the product, and thus constitute fair use.


  1. What did you use to make the screen captures?

  2. Screen capture is a built-in feature of Halo 3 and Halo: Reach. You can also save clips but you have to upgrade your membership to be able to convert them into .mpgs