Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Audley Enough: Respawned
Well hello there. It's been a while, no? Sorry about that. I kind of died for a bit. But the best thing about death in video games is that you usually respawn.
Speaking of respawning, that's what this entire Audley Enough entry will be about. Respawning in Halo 4. No fluff. Before I get started, I'm going to highly recommend you all take a visit to the past and read b0b43's Spawn Guide for Halo 3. It is what inspired me to do this, and it will explain things very clearly
First things first, I'm going to define a few terms and probably insult your intelligence:
Respawn Point: The bluish circles in Forge mode that indicate a potential spot for a player to respawn.
Influence: Measurable added weight to a respawn point from the game based off various factors, such as deaths, nearby players, or being looked at.
Forge Unit: A unit of measurement in forge to measure distances. 1 Forge Unit is the equivalent to 3m when looking through the scope of a DMR, Sniper, or through your VISR.
Respawn Zone: A volume placed in Forge mode to add or subtract weighting to an area of the map or a collection of spawn points. There are four types of Respawn Zones: Respawn Zone (heretofore referred to as RZ), Respawn Zone - Weak (RZW), Respawn Zone - Anti (RZA), and Respawn Zone - Anti Weak (RZAW). I will be using the abbreviations for these from here on.
IMMINENT DANGER: (Will Robinson). Explosives or projectiles targeting a specific spot on the map.
Natural Geometry: The landscape of the map that was hand-created by 343i/Certain Affinity and cannot be altered in Forge.
Forge Objects: Any map geometry that was placed in Forge, rather than part of the map's natural geometry.
Second things second. A basic explanation of the spawn system...as it has worked in Halo 3 and Halo Reach (not sure about prior Halo titles.)
Players can only spawn on Respawn Points. Each Respawn Point has Influences that add or subtract Weight from the spawn. Each Influence has a specific value, that, if measured precisely, can tell you exactly which Respawn Point (or group of spawns, as some may end up mathematically the same) a player will spawn on. Although there's very little time in a game to pull out your abacus and try to triangulate the spawn on a precise basis, knowing these influences' rough values helps you make an educated guess.
Okay. Now that we've got that out of the way...I'm going to make a few comparisons from Halo 4's spawn system to Halo Reach's spawn system, since that is the most recent Halo and the one most of you that are reading this are most familiar with.
In Halo Reach, if an RZ had been placed on the map, any spawns that existed outside of that would be ignored by the map (except for one bugged case which I won't go over.). The RZ was a way to say "Hey, Map, these spawns are the only ones that matter. Don't pay attention to those other spawns please." In other words, if there was a "Defender" RZ placed across half the map, all of the spawns inside it would be given to the "Defender" with zero chance of the Red team spawning outside of that RZ.
In Halo 4, this is not the case. The RZ works more akin to how it worked in Halo 3, where it has a specific positive weighting that it lends to the spawns within that respawn zone. In past Halos, this weighting has been enough to outweigh any other positive/negative influences (again, barring one bug in Reach) so that players would not spawn in an opponent's RZ.
Every Respawn Zone (any of the four) in Halo 4 adds (or subtracts) a specific, measureable weight to the respawn points inside it. However, if these weights are outweighed by other factors, players will NOT spawn in the respawn zone, whether it's an RZ, RZW, RZA, or RZAW. Using a single RZ will not guarantee a sided spawn for players in Halo 4.
If you want to 100% guarantee the sided spawns, without any potential for neutral emergency spawns, the laziest, safest way to do it is to set spawns on Red side of the map to "Defender" and spawns on Blue side of the map to "Attacker." However, I find this to be an arrogant way to handle the spawns, as it's a way of essentially telling the game you know better than it where a player should be allowed to spawn. I'm going to describe later in the article how to better handle this, once I've outlined the influences a little more.
Respawn Zone - Weak (RZW) is the influence value I used to measure the other values in the game. Everything was measured in terms of "How many RZWs does it take to outweigh this." Because this was the base unit I used, I have assigned it the value of "100" influence points in order to best represent the next influences I am going to describe.
Here's a list of the influences I have measured, and their approximate influence points on a respawn point:
Death*: -180 (I will explain the * afterward)
Nearby Enemy: -1950
Nearby Ally: +275
Enemy Line of Sight: -340
Allied Line of Sight: -75
Enemy Inside Respawn Zone: -175
Ally Inside Respawn Zone: +275
Note, that these are not EXACT values. They are rough estimates based off measuring them in testing in a vacuum (no other influences present). I will now explain a few terms a little further.
Line of Sight means, simply put, looking at a spawn. But you may be wondering "How do I know if I'm actually looking at the spawn or not? What determines how wide that cone is?"
Line of Sight's cone of vision is best described as "Any spawn visible on your screen while you are in the first scope of a Sniper Rifle." Meaning, if you scope in with your gun, and the respawn point is anywhere on your screen, you are influencing that spawn. And rather heavily, too. It's roughly a -340 weighting.
If there are ANY natural geometry or forge objects between you and the Respawn Point, you will not be negatively influencing the spawn. This means that if you are looking through a glass window at the spawn point, the game will not subtract 340 points from that respawn point.
Nearby Enemy means an enemy is within 9.0 Forge Units of a spawn. (Note: YOU CAN MEASURE THIS WITH VISR, DMR, or SNIPER RIFLE BY LOOKING AT A PERSON. 9.0 Forge Units is equal to 27 meters!)
Nearby Ally means an ally is within 12.0 Forge Units of a spawn. For both this and Nearby Enemy, there did not appear to be any stronger influence for being closer to the respawn point.
Being on the other side of a wall from the Respawn Point, whether it is natural geometry or a forge object does not take away your presence influence. Meaning: STUFF IN THE WAY DOESN'T BLOCK YOUR SMEXIFIED AURA OF RESPAWN AFFECTING.
"Inside Respawn Zone" explains itself. If someone is inside the respawn zone, all the respawn points in that respawn zone are affected. It applies to RZ, RZW, RZA, and RZAW.
And now for the asterisk: Death. Unlike in past Halo Titles, Death is not a flat amount in its entire set radius. Death has a maximum radius of influence of 12.0 Forge Units, just like a nearby ally. HOWEVER, the -180 estimated value ONLY applies within a 3.0 Forge Unit (9m) radius around the spot where the player has died. With each bit further away from that 3.0 unit radius, the death influence is decreased. Around 9.0 Forge Units, the death influence is a meager -50. So deaths only significantly affect spawn points if they are in the immediate vicinity of the spawns.
Death influence lasts for 7 seconds.
There are a few influences I have not measured, as I either forgot, could not reliably test them due to mechanical requirements, or did not consider they might affect respawns in Halo 4...they are:
1) IMMINENT DANGER. Because this requires some precise timing, it was very difficult to test with two controllers. Just know that this is a heavy influence and the game doesn't want to spawn someone into a grenade.
2) Nearby Objective. I know in Halo 3 and Halo Reach, the oddball negatively weighted spawns around it. I am not sure if this applies to Halo 4, as I simply forgot to test it prior to writing this article. It is likely the oddball still carries its negative weighting for spawns, though.
3) Nearby weapon ordnance. I did not think to test this while going through my initial tests (only just thought of it while writing this article.). It is possible that random ordnances or resupplied Initial Drops that have spawned near a respawn point may negatively affect it in order to reduce the chance a player spawns close to a power weapon.
And...back to creating "Sided Spawns" for a map -- (this section is for Forgers or settings-makers):
Instead of setting all spawns per side to a specific color, leave them neutral.
Now, stack 3 RZ (Respawn Zone / Strong Respawn Zone / whatever) on that team's third of the map and label the respawn zone for that team (Red side for Defender, Blue side for Attacker.)
Place an RZA (Respawn Zone - Anti) on that team's third of the map. Label it for the OPPOSING team. (Blue side should be labeled Defender, Red side should be labeled Attacker)
Now place some "emergency" spawns in the neutral third of the map that you have not yet placed influences for. Either put NO respawn zones of any sort on top of this, or place a single RZ-W (Respawn Zone - Weak) set to neutral.
The game -should not- use these spawns ever, but if a situation ever comes up where the game's math has decided "Well shit, there's no possible way for me to spawn them in that stack of Respawn Zones you placed." then the neutral respawn zones -should- always take effect before the Respawn Zone - Anti is even considered.
This is untested theory, but at the time of writing this, it is how the maps Solace and Adrift are set up for TylerHoyt's Competitive Settings.
That's...pretty much it. If you have any questions, be sure to post them in the comments below. I will answer them to the best of my ability.
If you would like to expand this guide, whether it be by adding pictures, or filling in any sort of gaps in my information, either ask me first, or make clear where credit is due. I'm not against someone coming along and making this pretty (Again, I'm a writer, not an editor or a magazine.)...and I'm all for any improvements into the accuracy of this information.
If you wish to post any of this information on your own Halo related website, please link back to my original article with merely a snippet. I wants my pageviews, cause I'm stingy.
Audley Enough, there will be no catchphrase this time.
Follow me on Twitter. @TiberiusAudley