Quite a while back, me and my friend tried to make a machinima on the video game Halo PC. It was the Custom Edition version where users would use manipulation software to create their own maps, weapons, models, vehicles, you name it. Since we knew jack at the time about scripting and stuff, we tried making it using a crappy in-game camera where the camera and player couldn’t move at the same time and were controlled the same way, a shoddy video camera on a low quality screen and our high-pitched pre-pubescent voices as voice acting. Yep, you could see where this was going to end up.
Funnily enough we actually got three episodes done. I am NOT uploading them, I am keeping some of the dignity I have left! Obviously it would’ve been ten times easier with a capture card and a microphone, but instead we had a dark room, dusty monitor and the camera we were filming with was on top of loads of science and Guinness World Record books to keep it level with the dusty monitor. Not only that, my computer is now 12 years old.
OK, so we called it Halo: The Apocalypse, which is probably the worst attempt at trying to create a title for something whilst making it sound brutal ever. It was completely unscripted so at points we were going on about some random crap like ‘That tree is cool’ or humming the theme tunes of various television programmes. At the time it looked like a complete success. Looking back at it now, it was a complete disaster.
Of course, we are not talking about some awesome graphic enhanced game like Crysis, we are talking about Halo 1 on PC. The beauty of Halo: Custom Edition is it really gives independents the chance to show their creativity, and there are some amazing maps around that could wipe the floor with current Halo maps, provided they were more graphic enhanced and up to date, of course. I used to visit the community site all the time, downloading the latest popular maps and all sorts.
The most popular maps were absolutely frickin’ huge. Way bigger than most multiplayer maps that you’ll see in most games. You rarely ever had a big firefight. Well, that was the case on foot, as it took forever just to get to the centre of the map walking. But then they had awesome vehicles like Jets; jet battles were awesome, Longswords; which you see vaguely in Halo games, Mechs; which were freakin’ cool, and a Mythos; basically a slow-moving walker with an absolute beast of a laser beam.
Let’s talk Longswords. They could carry a lot of your team inside of them but few of the seats did things that were useful. The driver did most of the work, driving the vehicle whilst firing the main rocket cannon. But this vehicle had a trick up its sleeve. It has a nuke that could probably swallow up most of the Halo 3 map Construct whole. It made a squealing noise as it dropped, then a big BOOOOOOOOM! when you’d see a Warthog do a barrel roll across the canyon. It was mayhem. It was awesome.
Pelicans featured too. What was nifty about these was that hovering over a vehicle and pressing a button could attach the vehicle to its underside, able to transport a warthog from one side of the map to the other. Brilliant.
More Halo Custom Edition talk in the future, where I highlight maps and then talk about my experiences on them, such as Coldsnap, Hugeass, Yoyorast Island, Hydrolysis and many more.