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  1. If you've clicked this thread then you knkow what you're getting into: you wanna know the winners of the latest Meet Your Maker Forge Contest. So that's what I'm going to give you... After talking more about the contest first. This year's Meet Your Maker was centered around Big Team Battle with Assault Rifle and Magnum secondary as opposed to the Matchmaking loadout of Assault Rifle and Battle Rifle secondary. One of the main reasons for this decision was that the Battle Rifle dulls the effectiveness of vehicular combat in the game where as the Magnum is strong, but not nearly was powerful. Battle Rifles also take away from effectiveness of the weapons and power locations on the map. You already start with a precision weapon that has a decent red-reticule range and better smartscope range so players feel they don't even need to use a lot of the map's original assets. The Meet Your Maker BTB Forge Contest saw an upwards of 50 submissions this year making it the second largest Meet Your Maker since 2013. A lot of Forgers submitted multiple maps to this in hopes of winning the great prizes to be dealt including Arena REQ Bundles and signed poster by 343 Industries! From May of this year to the end of August, Forgers were laboring away at some awesome submissions to this big community Forge-off. It's important to note that for this Meet Your Maker, we took the top 3 maps as grand winners. And now we're gonna move on to those winners! (Did you read anything I wrote before this?) _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Echoes by The Grim Dealer Echoes is a canyon style BTB map reminiscent of older designs such as Valhalla, while also taking inspiration from Halo CE's campaign spaces. Echoes is notable for having much more geometry breaking up the canyon itself, establishing clear lanes of travel, blocking longer lines of sight, and allowing for greater vertical overlap. The lowland bases take inspiration from prior canyon maps but also improve on them, with a protected yet accessible interior and a large overhang that provides cover from the neutral banshee. Each base is outfitted with a Rocket Warthog, a Ghost, and a Wargoose. A Sniper and a neutral Spartan Laser can be found across from the banshee at top mid. Echoes plays best for Capture the Flag games, but also supports slayer. Echoes shows that there is always room to improve upon tried and true design formulas. By introducing new elements and finding solutions to the problems of its predecessors, Echoes succeeds at breathing new life into a classic genre. Traffic Jam by IMAROLLINGSTONE & STUNT ARTIST Traffic Jam is a smaller, urban BTB map inspired by the busy streets of New Mombassa from Halo 2 and Halo 3: ODST. The map is inversely symmetrical and split into several interlacing vertical levels, which are accessible to infantry as well as vehicles like the Rocket Warthogs and Ghosts. A large bowl between the bases offers open space for driving, as well as a fast yet dangerous flag route through the middle. A three-tiered structure in mid houses a SPNKR Rocket Launcher and also acts as a power position over each base. Roads and alleys snake off from the middle and around the backs of the bases, underneath them, and above them allowing for a variety of approaches on the flag spawn. Many tactical jumps allow for risky but quick routes in and out of the bases for those with the skill to pull them off. Traffic Jam was one of the most polished maps submitted to the contest, showing the importance of continuous testing. With its hilly streets, twisting tunnels, and sweeping overpasses, Traffic Jam is the epitome of an urban BTB map. Dispelled by TimeDipper Dispelled is a massive, forerunner-inspired map that accentuates the qualities of a classic BTB map. Its massive footprint and mix of sprawling hills and tight interiors harken back to maps like Blood Gulch and Waterworks. With a sandbox that features Scorpion Tanks, Wasps, Warthogs, Ghosts, and Wargooses, as well as an Incineration Cannon, Rockets, Sniper Rifles, and more, Dispelled offers a vast array of options for players looking to mix up their play styles. The many tunnels, catwalks, and man cannons make it easy for infantry to move across the map without being overwhelmed by the vehicular mayhem. Dispelled's primary objective mode is Capture the Flag, however it also plays very well for Slayer games. Dispelled proves that very large, classic style BTB maps can both support casual vehicular mayhem and competitive, strategic plays. By balancing so many different parts of the sandbox in one massive play space, Dispelled offers a huge variety of unique experiences to be had. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Thank you to everyone who participated and supported the Meet Your Maker BTB Forge Contest. Congrats to the winners and enjoy your awesome prizes! We encourage everyone to try these maps out when possible! Be ready for Meet Your Maker Weekend!
  2. HaloCustoms started as a site used for creating custom game lobbies and inviting friends using a unique RSVP system that made it easier for hosts than any other forum. It was developing in 2011 and fully launched by Insane54 with BigStack and TACTICS in 2012 along with previous members from ForgeHub and some entirely new members making up its starting population. The site has seen many additions and changes in format, features, and members since its launch. Forums HaloCustoms' forums have seen lots of use from its ever-growing population. Above are the on-topic forums for different discussions that take place on the site. There are directories to the Custom Games tab and Maps tab along with forums for discussion of each tab's content. The Media Stream is where all of HaloCustoms' official annoncements are made regarding Halo, HaloCustoms, and general gaming news. ShoutBox The ShoutBox is active with regular members like Sky, boomer, deathwish, and Steelgreen always occupying it (note: I am not responsible for the content of the ShoutBox). In the ShoutBox tab, members appear with blue names, staff members are orange, and admins are red. On the side you can always view a small overview of your profile including likes, posts, trophy points, and a list of online members. Lobbies This feature has seen two major changes over time. The original customs system was a list-style forum that allowed members to click on the lobby they desired to join and click an RSVP button to allow their name to appear on a list of attendees for that lobby. It involved a rating system for each lobby and had hosts reporting back to their threads to see who RSVP'd. The HaloCustoms 2.0 lobby system ran on a different page entirely and had the same essential features but a different style that seemed to have some slight issues and was less enjoyable for hosts. The latest version of the lobby system is an "improved version of [the] 'OG' custom games system." Above you can see the list of lobbies in a given week and use the same one-click style. Now though, with adderrson's help, members can now message hosts straight from their profile (along with a few other nifty features). Maps The Maps tab was not available at launch but quickly became one of the most popular features on HaloCustoms when it did. HaloCustoms has over 1500 maps in its library. It includes a rating system, discussions, map update logs, and map reviews. They even used to have a dedicated Review Crew. The Maps section is still widely used by Forgers. Streams Here's the latest feature implemented by adderrson on HaloCustoms. The Streams page hosts live streams from various streamers. Displayed above are featured streams based on the amount of viewers. You can see Ducain, Ogre 2, Biitersweet, and Jimbo above. A red number appears on the tab when someone from the site is streaming. As you can see, the streams can be sorted between the various Halo games and even others. Members On the Members tab, notable members can be viewed based on amount of posts, likes, trophy, points, maps, and staff members. We may even know someone at the top of a couple of these lists (@Zandril). Some may even recognize some of the other names up there that have not been seen in years. Meet Your Maker "The Meet Your Maker Forge Contest has always been a large-scale Forge contest attracting many different Forgers spanning all corners of the larger Halo Community bringing them together for the common goal of winning this massive battle royale of wonderful Halo map madness. The first Meet Your Maker Contest, the brainchild of previous Site Moderator Absolute Dog with the previous THFE, was a 4v4 core/competitive Infinity Slayer Forge competition hosted by ourselves in alliance with many big name Forgers such as Psychoduck, SaltyKoala, WARHOLIC, undr zid, and Spades N AZ. The second Meet Your Maker Forge Contest was a Dominion-based competition that brought out the best of the Dominion Forgers. Psychoduck created the third Meet Your Maker in conjunction with ForgeHub which took place on MCC's Halo 2: Anniversary. Now we have more presences involved in this year's contest than ever before. Hosted by HaloCustoms in association with us here at 343i.org and BTB.net with the support of well known YouTubers like UnsortedGaming, Ultimate Halo, Vetoed, and Zandril. We present to you the Meet Your Maker BTB Forge Contest." The latest MYM has come to a close and winners will be announced soon. YouTube The HaloCustoms YouTube Channel has map features and event highlights. This is where viewers can watch the winning map submissions from the Meet Your Maker BTB Forge Contest (along with other associated channels). You can subscribe here. Read a little more about HaloCustoms's admin @Psychoduck in our latest interview. We wish our good friends at HaloCustoms the best with their future endeavors and we're glad to have been on the administrative panel in such a large Forge competition! Readers, follow them on Twitter for lobby updates. Also please visit Halocustoms.com to register and meet some cool people. That's it for this week, read again Sunday for another CS.
  3. Hey guys thanks for returning for this week's interview. As listed in the title, this week's interviewee is a returning individual who has been many places in the Halo Community including here, ForgeHub, and now HaloCustoms as an admin of the site and working for 343 Industries. Read on about Psychoduck: DD: "Alright Psychoduck, you've been lots of places and done many things since we last had an interview. Let's focus on the online part first: you've been part of HaloCustoms since the beginning. Can you give us an overview on your road to HaloCustoms admin and the stops between?" PD: "As you mentioned, I have been with HaloCustoms since the site was founded back in December of 2012. When I joined the staff team, I was more focused on my YouTube channel, but I quickly fell in love with the HaloCustoms community and began looking for opportunities to cross-promote HaloCustoms and THFE to strengthen both and improve the experience for followers of each. This desire to work with other community groups extended beyond my own personal projects and helped set a precedent for partnering with other communities for the benefit of all involved. This helped open the door for some cool events like the original Meet Your Maker contest, THFE Throwback Weekends, and others. After a few years of juggling moderation, promotional, and event organization roles for the site, I stepped into an administrative role when some of the previous admins stepped down. Now my duties are mainly to ensure that we have our staff team pointed in the right direction, to pitch and organize events, and to handle some of our web development. My most recent projects have been bringing back an improved version of our 'OG' custom games system from back in the Halo 4 days as well as to organize and help judge the Meet Your Maker Big Team Battle Forge Contest. I've been fortunate enough to work with another admin, Adderrson, on the former and with the fine folks here, at BTB.net, and at several cool YouTube channels on the latter." DD: "You've had a long career in the online Halo Community full of twists, turns; bumpy rides but also really fun ones. Bringing back the original-style customs lobby system seems much more convenient in my opinion and I'm glad it's back. Much easier way of organizing a lobby and Adderrson has done a great job adding nifty new features like messaging members through their profile. So you brought up Meet Your Maker. Can you give us some specs on the competition?" PD: "This installment of the Meet Your Maker contest was intended to bring out the best of the best in terms of Big Team Battle Maps from the forge community. Matclan and I began discussing a BTB contest a while back, and summer is usually the best time to host these contests. We focused on Magnum starts for the contest due to the negative effects BR starts have on vehicle use and long range engagements in Halo 5. For this contest, we really wanted to branch out in terms of partners. Bringing 343Industries.org back into the mix was an obvious choice and we also partnered with BTB.net, Vetoed, ZannyVids, Ultimate Halo, and Unsorted Gaming for the first time. It's been exciting working with so many talented and dedicated people from around the community to make this event happen, and that talent and dedication has been reflected in the maps submitted. Right now, the judges are in the process of narrowing the maps down. We're looking forward to selecting and announcing the winners very soon." DD: "We're really excited to see the winners announced and get to play on these Forge maps filled with hours of dedication. I'm sure a lot of people want to know this since you are one of our Community Cartographers: do these maps get considered for Matchmaking if they win this Forge contest?" PD: "The Community Cartographer title is actually a little outdated. While it's true that I work with 343 to test and select forge maps for matchmaking, the system has changed somewhat. Maps are reviewed and pulled from a group of submission threads on Waypoint. I merely help narrow these maps down and run the testing and polish necessary to make the best ones matchmaking-ready. On that topic, I highly encourage everyone with forge map they're proud of to submit it to the appropriate thread over there; just make sure it's been tested and refined to a reasonably polished state before doing so! So, the short answer is that all Waypoint map submissions are given some degree of consideration for matchmaking. Will some of the contest winners find their way into the Big Team Battle playlist? Well... it seems entirely within the realm of possibility." DD: "That's really cool that you get to work with 343 Industries on a regular basis. So it sounds like winners of this contest are really having their efforts paid off with the great prizes being given and this possibility of maps being considered for multiplayer use. So is the Community Cartographer title outdated for you specifically because you do other work now or is it kind of not a the title that isn't really used anymore at all?" PD: "The Community Cartographer title in general doesn't really apply anymore. 343 will work with various forgers and community members where the situation calls for it. That, combined with the new emphasis on the submission threads, is a pretty big change to how things are done. At the end of the day, it was only ever a title anyway. We're all just community members helping bring fresh experiences to matchmaking and other aspects of Halo." DD: "A great quality that you have is that you're very community-oriented and community-driven which shows through the various inter-site events you've hosted like the Meet Your Maker Contests mentioned earlier. Do you have any upcoming events or updates that you wouldn't mind sharing?" PD: "I've been very busy with work lately, so I haven't been able to plan too far ahead in terms of future events. Wrapping up the Meet Your Maker contest is my main priority currently. I'm really looking forward to Forge coming to PC and seeing what kind of custom game community forms there. Past that... I guess we'll just have to see what the future brings." DD: "Hopefully the future brings HaloCustoms and 343i.org together again among other Halo Community members and entities for some more contests, events, and support. We love HaloCustoms on our site quite honestly. I'm here every day with always a tab always open. I also steal all your featured lobbies and put them on our calendar for our members to message hosts if they wanna join and have their streams set up for viewing. Let's throw a silly one out there before we close this one out Duck: do you ever get hatemail after playing a game online in Halo? If so, can you give us an example of some really bad XBL hatemail?" PD: "I'm not sure if some of the hatemail I receive is entirely appropriate to share. I did, however, receive a message simply saying "MOTHER?" recently." DD: "Oh boy. Well that's good enough then lol so Psychoduck let's wrap this up right. Do you have any messages or anything at all you wanna share with the readers?" PD: "I have nothing else in particular to share. Thanks for reaching out, and keep doing what you're doing!" Unfortunately, I was not able to press him for any inside information . Big thanks to Psychoduck for enthusiastically participating in this. He's so pleasant for such a corrupt, but handsome (/hint), guy. Thanks 343iCF and other readers for tuning in.
  4. The Meet Your Maker Forge Contest has always been a large-scale Forge contest attracting many different Forgers spanning all corners of the larger Halo Community bringing them together for the common goal of winning this massive battle royale of wonderful Halo map madness. The first Meet Your Maker Contest, the brainchild of previous Site Moderator Absolute Dog with the previous THFE, was a 4v4 core/competitive Infinity Slayer Forge competition hosted by ourselves in alliance with many big name Forgers such as Psychoduck, SaltyKoala, WARHOLIC, undr zid, and Spades N AZ. This ended in Redemption1272 (XDemption)'s victory with his map, Edifice. Creator of Fracture in BTB, Squally DaBeanz came in second place with his map that has transcended across almost all Halo games to date: Stigma. Our second runner up was made by one of our Community Cartographers formerly known as The Fated Fire- now Fated Fireman- called Black Site. The second Meet Your Maker Forge Contest was a Dominion-based competition that brought out the best of the Dominion Forgers. Not as many submissions but this was a very successful competition nonetheless. PA1NTS took first place with his map Monsoon. First runner up went to Xinshu's Sticky Fingers and second runner up was Typhoon by DUN3Z. Upon his departure from 343 Industries Community Forum, Absolute Dog handed the rights of the Meet Your Maker contest to trusted Forger and Community Cartographer Psychoduck. Psychoduck created the third Meet Your Maker in conjunction with ForgeHub which took place on MCC's Halo 2: Anniversary. Now we have more presences involved in this year's contest than ever before. Hosted by HaloCustoms in association with us here at 343i.org and BTB.net with the support of well known YouTubers like UnsortedGaming, Ultimate Halo, Vetoed, and Zandril. We present to you the Meet Your Maker BTB Forge Contest: Prizes This year we're taking the top 3 maps as winners for this competition. Each of the three winners will receive the following prizes. Video and written features from various partners associated with the contest A Halo 5 poster, signed by the team at 343 Industries An in-game Arena REQ Bundle Settings and Modes Maps should be designed for one or more of the following modes. Big Team Assault (Magnums) Big Team CTF (Magnums) Big Team Slayer (Magnums) Big Team Strongholds (Magnums) Deadlines and Details Maps must be created in Halo 5: Guardians' forge mode Maps already integrated into Halo 5: Guradians' matchmaking playlists are not eligible Maps created by staff members of HaloCustoms, 343Industries Community Forum, BigTeamBattle.net, and other associated partners are not eligible Maps must be posted in the map submission thread and follow all submission guidelines Maps must be submitted before 11:59 PM EST on July 31, 2016 Co-forging is allowed, but collaborators will need to select one person to receive any and all physical prizes Multiple submissions per person are allowed Maps submitted early may be edited and re-submitted prior to the submission deadline Judging Maps will be judged by a panel consisting of staff members of HaloCustoms, 343Industries Community Forum, BigTeamBattle.net, and associated partners The panel will include experienced forgers and level designers, big team battle experts, and professional players Judging will continue for a number of weeks following the submission deadline Maps will be judged on how well they support their primarygametype at the 8v8 player count Criteria include originality, replayability, performance, and level of depth and enjoyment of gameplay experience as determined by the panel of judges FAQ and Resources Q. Which groups are involved in hosting this event? A. HaloCustoms, BigTeamBattle.net, 343industries.org, Vetoed, ZannyVids, Unsorted Gaming, and Ultimate Halo.​ Q. Why Magnum starts? A. Related ForgeHub video​ Q. What elements should my map contain to be deemed 'finished'? A. Related ForgeHub video​ Q. Where can I go to get feedback on my map during the contest? A. What Are You Working On? thread​ Q. Where can I go to test my map during the contest? A. HaloCustoms featured lobbies​ Q. How many maps can I submit? A. As many as you like! Q. Can I submit remakes of maps from past Halo titles or other game franchises? A. Yes, but this is not recommended as creativity is one of the judging criteria. Q. Will my map have a higher chance of winning if it supports multiple gametypes? A. We recommend that you focus on designing your map around one or two modes. A jack of all trades is often a master of none.​ Submission Guidelines. This post has been promoted to an article
  5. The Meet Your Maker Forge Contest has always been a large-scale Forge contest attracting many different Forgers spanning all corners of the larger Halo Community bringing them together for the common goal of winning this massive battle royale of wonderful Halo map madness. The first Meet Your Maker Contest, the brainchild of previous Site Moderator Absolute Dog with the previous THFE, was a 4v4 core/competitive Infinity Slayer Forge competition hosted by ourselves in alliance with many big name Forgers such as Psychoduck, SaltyKoala, WARHOLIC, undr zid, and Spades N AZ. This ended in Redemption1272 (XDemption)'s victory with his map, Edifice. Creator of Fracture in BTB, Squally DaBeanz came in second place with his map that has transcended across almost all Halo games to date: Stigma. Our second runner up was made by one of our Community Cartographers formerly known as The Fated Fire- now Fated Fireman- called Black Site. The second Meet Your Maker Forge Contest was a Dominion-based competition that brought out the best of the Dominion Forgers. Not as many submissions but this was a very successful competition nonetheless. PA1NTS took first place with his map Monsoon. First runner up went to Xinshu's Sticky Fingers and second runner up was Typhoon by DUN3Z. Upon his departure from 343 Industries Community Forum, Absolute Dog handed the rights of the Meet Your Maker contest to trusted Forger and Community Cartographer Psychoduck. Psychoduck created the third Meet Your Maker in conjunction with ForgeHub which took place on MCC's Halo 2: Anniversary. Now we have more presences involved in this year's contest than ever before. Hosted by HaloCustoms in association with us here at 343i.org and BTB.net with the support of well known YouTubers like UnsortedGaming, Ultimate Halo, Vetoed, and Zandril. We present to you the Meet Your Maker BTB Forge Contest: Prizes This year we're taking thet top 3 maps as winners for this competition. Each of the three winners will receive the following prizes. Video and written features from various partners associated with the contest A Halo 5 poster, signed by the team at 343 Industries An in-game Arena REQ Bundle Settings and Modes Maps should be designed for one or more of the following modes. Big Team Assault (Magnums) Big Team CTF (Magnums) Big Team Slayer (Magnums) Big Team Strongholds (Magnums) Deadlines and Details Maps must be created in Halo 5: Guardians' forge mode Maps already integrated into Halo 5: Guradians' matchmaking playlists are not eligible Maps created by staff members of HaloCustoms, 343Industries Community Forum, BigTeamBattle.net, and other associated partners are not eligible Maps must be posted in the map submission thread and follow all submission guidelines Maps must be submitted before 11:59 PM EST on July 16, 2016 Co-forging is allowed, but collaborators will need to select one person to receive any and all physical prizes Multiple submissions per person are allowed Maps submitted early may be edited and re-submitted prior to the submission deadline Judging Maps will be judged by a panel consisting of staff members of HaloCustoms, 343Industries Community Forum, BigTeamBattle.net, and associated partners The panel will include experienced forgers and level designers, big team battle experts, and professional players Judging will continue for a number of weeks following the submission deadline Maps will be judged on how well they support their primarygametype at the 8v8 player count Criteria include originality, replayability, performance, and level of depth and enjoyment of gameplay experience as determined by the panel of judges FAQ and Resources Q. Which groups are involved in hosting this event? A. HaloCustoms, BigTeamBattle.net, 343industries.org, Vetoed, ZannyVids, Unsorted Gaming, and Ultimate Halo.​ Q. Why Magnum starts? A. ​ Q. What elements should my map contain to be deemed 'finished'? A. ​ Q. Where can I go to get feedback on my map during the contest? A. What Are You Working On? thread​ Q. Where can I go to test my map during the contest? A. HaloCustoms featured lobbies​ Submission Guidelines.
  6. So after Yoshi started heckling me about putting out more interviews I came up with the idea that I'd put out some failed and/or interviews that never got finished for one reason or another. The interviews never stop people it's just that sometimes I don't get replies and they die out because I can't keep reminding or pestering the interviewee and then after a while I don't even know if they're in the Halo community! So anyway, here's an interview I did with Dax from HaloCustoms when he was made an admin. DD: "Hey Dax, glad we could do this buddy. So first thing I wanna ask is how did HaloCustoms become your home forum?" DAX: "Hey Dan! Thanks for inviting me to do the interview! It's always a pleasure talking with you guys here at 343i.org. As for my relationship with HaloCustoms - it all started way back in January. I had gotten word from a few of the older ForgeHub members about this new site starting up called Halocustoms.com. So I went ahead and made an account, and next thing I know Insane54 sent me a private message asking if I was interested in becoming part of the staff. It all happened so fast, I was pretty surprised to say the least! But yea, over the past 6 months it's just been a fantastic experience working with everyone in the community. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere has made it hard not to call it my home." DD: "I know Insane used to be a veteran of ForgeHub and that's great to hear. Now I'm seeing you've been promoted to Admin! Congrats on that! Do you feel like you have more responsibilities now and a tougher job?" DAX: "Thanks! To be honest, I don't see things changing too much for me since being promoted to Administrator, other than having final say in some of the bigger site decisions. And even then, I'll discuss with the other Admins before anything is truly final. I don't look at it as being a "tougher job" or anything - I love the community we have there, so being promoted to the administration team is something I view as an awesome opportunity!" DD: "And that's wonderful Dax really. You guys have a strong team of Staff over at HaloCustoms and I'm glad I know most of you. So I don't know if this is confidential or anything but what's it looking like for the expansion of HaloCustoms? You guys are obviously a growing site and are well known for having such a unique and great idea for a site. Any new affiliates on the horizon or any upcoming projects?" DAX: "You mean, besides world domination right? In all seriousness though, there may or may not be some work being done to the custom games aspect of the site in preparation for the next Halo installment, but I think I've already said too much! Besides that though, we just plan on staying active and growing closer with all the awesome Halo communities out there." DD: "We will certainly be keeping our eyes open over here for that! Speaking of being active with the other Halo Communities, I know you guys recently had an FC vs HC game. What were the parameters of the contest and how'd it turn out? Did you take part?" DAX: "Indeed we did! A while back, undr zid (Forge Cafe's head admin) came to me with the suggestion of a little inter-community rivalry gamenight. It sounded like a super fun idea that we couldn't pass up! To make it even more interesting, we decided that the losing staff team would have to put up embarrassing avatars chosen by the winning community. Unfortunately, the HC staff didn't play as hot as I was expecting us to! Needless to say, Psychoduck wasn't so happy about his new Justin Bieber avatar... I don't want to spoil anything, but from the sounds of it, I think we're going to try and host more regular inter-community gamenights with other communities as well. So be on the lookout soon! " And that's where it ended. I asked another question and never got an answer and I don't know where Dax is currently but I miss him. Dax is a very nice dude who made it fun to visit HaloCustoms back in the day. This interview took place in October/November 2013. So yea, there are interviews that I consider "ongoing" that are almost 2 years old and there are interviews that are ongoing that are less than a month old. I'll post what I can find of these for now. Peace out people. Hail .
  7. April Fools is one of those holidays where most online communities can't help themselves but come up with something to tease and joke around with the members of their sites. The gaming community being among the biggest on the internet to do so. From fake news to forum pranks, the gaming community always gets its audience. Here are some examples of how the Halo Community got the April Fools mischief out of their systems last week. Our Affiliate Site, HaloCustoms got a few members good with their simple and eye-stinging April Fools Day prank. At first when you logged onto the site you would see bright colors that actually hurt my eyes to look at it in the morning. You could choose color schemes at the bottom which some found to be a cool feature but the original was a real eye sore like I said. Here's what I saw when I logged in: I'm pretty sure I died for a minute. Then I remembered HaloCustoms allowed for the switching of themes at the bottom of the page so I scrolled down and after two attempts I got back to the regular HC skin. As you can see there were two choices. I clicked the "HaloCustoms" style thinking it'd give me the original and it stayed as the horrible colors you saw above. So like an idiot, I went back and clicked it again thinking I must've messed something up only to realize that part of the prank was exactly that. What you had to do what choose the "April 1" style. Not my proudest moment . THFE does a video each year for April Fools to please their fans. Last year they did a hilarious video about changing their name from The Halo Forge Epidemic to The Used Silverware Epidemic and announced that they'd be selling used silverware because video games are bad . You can watch last year's video right here, it's a guarantee must-watch: This year The Halo Forks Epidemic did not fail to entertain their subscribers and fans again with their new update video. This year THFE showed us a new take on competitive gaming in Halo: Professional Flood. Major League Flood was started by Psychoduck's good friend who's a real pro at the Flood gametype XXProSnipesMLG420XX. Find out how you can become a MLF by watching the video below: And as for us here at 343i.org we didn't really do much. We had a major malfunction after Red was doing some site updates and something very private was exposed for all to see on the site. Unfortunately our Staff forums became visible to all members and they even took the liberty to post in them as you can see above. The first to notice was @HollowPseudonym who is now on permanent watch under the Moderators' eyes. Though I must say this wasn't the worst thing that could've happened to us especially on that day of all days. Our real April Fools Prank was staging a fake fight between D-38 Boss and Edward Kenway and then saying they were both shoutbanned (when in actuality it was really only Edward Kenway who was shoutbanned LOL). At least we got a laugh out of this mishap because people got to see what really goes on behind the scenes here. Here's an example of what I mean, given to you by our beloved Site Moderator, RedStarRocket: You see, it's not all fun and games here. Sometimes we talk about the serious stuff too. Twam was actually so annoyed that he just took off that day and was considering not coming back. He made Red the Admin and the rest of us Moderators and just straight up retired. Fishy Sparky Yes it was a historical event on the site. I'm just glad everything is back to normal. It seems everybody did an April Fools Day prank except for us? We'll just have to get you next time members .
  8. Hello guys thanks for clicking on the Wrapup again, we've had good stuff going on this week so let's get into it!: Primary Announcement: There is no Primary Announcement. Shocker. I know. Oxymoron. I know. COMMUNITY EVENTS JX and Fiends (Halo 4 Playdate) JX and Fiends has been postponed. Find out the new date and time by clicking above and make sure not to miss out! Events are always fun! This is unofficial so you will not be receiving the Gamer Award, HOWEVER it'll be as fun as any other Event and I do not recommend missing out. Thank you JXZAW and ShadowFiend for hosting! Ninja VS The Forum 2v2 & 3v3 Battle! Sign up quick because the next Ninja VS The Forum Battle is here and it's a tournament! Doubles teams and 3 man cells join and state whether they would rather play SWAT or Slayer in this upcoming Event. For rules and official dates, click above to find the sign up thread. Participants in the Ninja VS The Forum Battles get the exclusive Ninja VS The Forum Award: OLD VS. NEW Here's where our Community Events get real. It's the Golden Oldies vs the New Bloods. Anyone who joined from 2011 - 2012 against anyone who's joined from 2013 - 2014. It's going to be heated and, in my opinion, the old members have the upper hand at the moment. Newer members need to step up and get into this competition and earn some bragging rights! Event by Fishy. THFE Throwback Weekend Aw yea! The Halo Forge Epidemic is making this weekend even more epic for us by hooking up with HaloCustoms and hosting several lobbies where they're going to play some of the best customs on some of the best maps back from Halo 3. Find the list of lobbies here. Everyone who attends Community Events gets the Gamer Award: FEATURED INTERVIEWS Zandril - Top notch Forger from ForgeCafe. He's very active on the three amigo Affiliate sites: HaloCustoms, ForgeCafe, and here at 343i.org. Read Zan's story! FORGE Featured Map This here folks is TRED's 45th made by The Red Eyed Devil. Known for his race tracks, TRED was nice enough to submit this beaut to our map submissions forums. Click above for more stunning images of the map, this overview does not do the map complete justice. GAMING NEWS ForgeCafe - Beans By The Barrel You might be asking right now, 'What the heck does beans by the barrel mean and why is this section called that?' Well I don't know. But it's awesome news. It's a sweet update by the Admin of ForgeCafe, undr zid, about their new site and its future. Peep it by clicking their logo above. You might see an interesting mention in there! HaloCustoms Gets A Facelift HaloCustoms has just done some interesting maintenance on their site and it looks nice and new. It's different from their old site that's for sure but it's not drastic so don't be alarmed. They still run on Xenforo and it's still all about the customs and maps. Take a gander by clicking their name above. Steve Downes Retracts Statements About Halo 2 Anniversary, Microsoft Contacts Gamezone Just as the title says, Microsoft has contacted Gamezone, the site that did the original interview with Steve Downes when he said something that looked to be confirming Halo 2: Anniversary and asked them to republish what they say he was actually saying. Adam gives you the updated news in his article. Cover up on Microsoft's end? Hmmm. Xbox One March Update First Look Video Something beautiful is returning to Xbox Live that we wish it had since the Xbox One came out. Click above to find adam's article containing the video to see all the details! You didn't think I'd make it so easy that you wouldn't have to read his article did you? Xbox One Media Remote Officially Announced This pretty thing above is the new Xbox One Media Remote. As if it wasn't easy enough to navigate your Xbox One, Microsoft is releasing this handy gizmo to make it even easier. Read about its features in BZ's article. For more Gaming News check out the latest on our Front Page. HOT TOPIC This week's Hot Topic is one of the most touching stories I've heard in a very long time and comes to us from xx Femme xx. Femme is not the most active member but she is a fun member of the community here and dropped this little heart melting gem for us during the week. Short and very sweet, read Femme's story. Congratulations to you Femme! TOP 15: FEBRUARY Can you dig the new Top 15 image? I just got it off Google! Credit to Edward Kenway who can't go a single week without making it into the Wrapups for providing me with the last image. Now without further ado, here's your February Top 15: Caboose the Ace Death Rhino Ubetrol Fishy HaloGeek JL JXZAW Pbrabbit rrhuntington Self Destruct The Dumb Marine Twinreaper UNSC Spartan II Vaulting Frog Yang Xiao Long Zelda Honorable Mentions go to: Mr. Biggles and Halo5 follower Congrats all PODCAST The second edition of the Podcast was even better than the first if you can believe that. This week they had special guest Co-Head of Promotions and Events on the site and one of my good friends who is also one of the funniest people I know: D-38 Boss. Listen to the Podcast below and find the Podcast Index by clicking the section title where you will, not could, you will leave a like. And then you can leave your thoughts on either Podcast by clicking their links found in the Index. You've reached the bottom of the Weekly Site Wrapup. Now scroll back up and read it all over again. This post has been promoted to an article
  9. Hello guys thanks for clicking on the Wrapup again, we've had good stuff going on this week so let's get into it!: Primary Announcement: There is no Primary Announcement. Shocker. I know. Oxymoron. I know. COMMUNITY EVENTS JX and Fiends (Halo 4 Playdate) JX and Fiends has been postponed. Find out the new date and time by clicking above and make sure not to miss out! Events are always fun! This is unofficial so you will not be receiving the Gamer Award, HOWEVER it'll be as fun as any other Event and I do not recommend missing out. Thank you JXZAW and ShadowFiend for hosting! Ninja VS The Forum 2v2 & 3v3 Battle! Sign up quick because the next Ninja VS The Forum Battle is here and it's a tournament! Doubles teams and 3 man cells join and state whether they would rather play SWAT or Slayer in this upcoming Event. For rules and official dates, click above to find the sign up thread. Participants in the Ninja VS The Forum Battles get the exclusive Ninja VS The Forum Award: OLD VS. NEW Here's where our Community Events get real. It's the Golden Oldies vs the New Bloods. Anyone who joined from 2011 - 2012 against anyone who's joined from 2013 - 2014. It's going to be heated and, in my opinion, the old members have the upper hand at the moment. Newer members need to step up and get into this competition and earn some bragging rights! Event by Fishy. THFE Throwback Weekend Aw yea! The Halo Forge Epidemic is making this weekend even more epic for us by hooking up with HaloCustoms and hosting several lobbies where they're going to play some of the best customs on some of the best maps back from Halo 3. Find the list of lobbies here. Everyone who attends Community Events gets the Gamer Award: FEATURED INTERVIEWS Zandril - Top notch Forger from ForgeCafe. He's very active on the three amigo Affiliate sites: HaloCustoms, ForgeCafe, and here at 343i.org. Read Zan's story! FORGE Featured Map This here folks is TRED's 45th made by The Red Eyed Devil. Known for his race tracks, TRED was nice enough to submit this beaut to our map submissions forums. Click above for more stunning images of the map, this overview does not do the map complete justice. GAMING NEWS ForgeCafe - Beans By The Barrel You might be asking right now, 'What the heck does beans by the barrel mean and why is this section called that?' Well I don't know. But it's awesome news. It's a sweet update by the Admin of ForgeCafe, undr zid, about their new site and its future. Peep it by clicking their logo above. You might see an interesting mention in there! HaloCustoms Gets A Facelift HaloCustoms has just done some interesting maintenance on their site and it looks nice and new. It's different from their old site that's for sure but it's not drastic so don't be alarmed. They still run on Xenforo and it's still all about the customs and maps. Take a gander by clicking their name above. Steve Downes Retracts Statements About Halo 2 Anniversary, Microsoft Contacts Gamezone Just as the title says, Microsoft has contacted Gamezone, the site that did the original interview with Steve Downes when he said something that looked to be confirming Halo 2: Anniversary and asked them to republish what they say he was actually saying. Adam gives you the updated news in his article. Cover up on Microsoft's end? Hmmm. Xbox One March Update First Look Video Something beautiful is returning to Xbox Live that we wish it had since the Xbox One came out. Click above to find adam's article containing the video to see all the details! You didn't think I'd make it so easy that you wouldn't have to read his article did you? Xbox One Media Remote Officially Announced This pretty thing above is the new Xbox One Media Remote. As if it wasn't easy enough to navigate your Xbox One, Microsoft is releasing this handy gizmo to make it even easier. Read about its features in BZ's article. For more Gaming News check out the latest on our Front Page. HOT TOPIC This week's Hot Topic is one of the most touching stories I've heard in a very long time and comes to us from xx Femme xx. Femme is not the most active member but she is a fun member of the community here and dropped this little heart melting gem for us during the week. Short and very sweet, read Femme's story. Congratulations to you Femme! TOP 15: FEBRUARY Can you dig the new Top 15 image? I just got it off Google! Credit to Edward Kenway who can't go a single week without making it into the Wrapups for providing me with the last image. Now without further ado, here's your February Top 15: Caboose the Ace Death Rhino Ubetrol Fishy HaloGeek JL JXZAW Pbrabbit rrhuntington Self Destruct The Dumb Marine Twinreaper UNSC Spartan II Vaulting Frog Yang Xiao Long Zelda Honorable Mentions go to: Mr. Biggles and Halo5 follower Congrats all PODCAST The second edition of the Podcast was even better than the first if you can believe that. This week they had special guest Co-Head of Promotions and Events on the site and one of my good friends who is also one of the funniest people I know: D-38 Boss. Listen to the Podcast below and find the Podcast Index by clicking the section title where you will, not could, you will leave a like. And then you can leave your thoughts on either Podcast by clicking their links found in the Index. You've reached the bottom of the Weekly Site Wrapup. Now scroll back up and read it all over again.
  10. Be sure to get involved with HaloCustoms 1v1 Tounament. They are accepting player sign ups right now and the deadline is next Friday. The announcement video by Dax @ THN and ForgeHub. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sssy69nQtao
  11. Hello everyone my latest interview is with the newest member of the HaloCustoms Staff: Flying Shoe ILR. I've played with him before and he seemed like a really cool dude and I wanted to find out more about him and thought the Community would like the read. We mention relations between us and HC briefly and mostly talk about what he does. Enjoy: DD: "Hey Flying Shoe so how did you come across HaloCustoms back in December?" FS: "I first heard about it when it was just getting started. Insane was talking about it with Psychoduck and a few others and so I also came to hear about it. I was actually offered a staff position back in the beta days of the site, but I turned it down at the time because of school." DD: "Interesting! And a good segue into my next question. I want to ask you how do you think you got the position of Staff on HaloCustoms?" FS: "For a long time on Forge Hub I was a member of the Tester's Guild, and I was writing long, detailed articles on map design a weekly basis because of this. I've also been a fairly active member of the community for the last 3 years or so and in that time I've proven that I can deal with people fairly well, both in good and bad situations. I think those would be some of the main factors." DD: "Excellent. That's always something good to look for in Staff members. HaloCustoms is much bigger now than it was back when you joined. Have you noticed any major changes in the local community?" FS: "The community is still fairly similar as to when it started. It's much bigger of course, but for the most part people have been friendly and interested in the game and the site from the beginning to today. Everything is very loose here so long as no one is causing any problems, bot those have continued to be few and far between." DD: "That's awesome, yea one of the things that attracted me here most at first was how nice and interactive the Staff is and how dedicated everyone was to this site. Along with the way the RSVP system works. That I thnk is amazing. What do you feel the biggest difference is between HaloCustoms and 343i.org?" FS: "I haven't spent a lot of time on 343i, though I think the main differences is that Halo Customs is focussed on getting people into custom games primarily. The site also has a lot of other features common to Halo sites, such as sections for forge, discussion, etc... but the main feature here is customs, and therefore the point to get more people to play Halo." DD: "Definitely a noticeable difference between our sites. The lobby system on HaloCustoms is more convenient for that. So being affiliate sites, do you ever feel there's a competition between us?" FS: "I haven't really seen any major competition between HC and other sites. We've had a few friendly custom lobbies between members on other sites, but HC is more interested in cooperating between different halo communities." DD: "That's excellent man. Yea I never felt like our sites have had any competition but I ask because there was a member from HC who brought it up in our shoutbox recently and I wanted to see what someone on the Staff here had to say about that. So Flying Shoe how long have you been apart of the online Halo Community? Did you start at Forge Hub?" FS: "I found FH during the last year of Halo 3, about 11 months before Reach came out. I got Halo 3 a few months later and started forging on foundry and such, though I didn't have Xbox Live Gold until a few months into Reach. That's when I really started designing, testing, and polishing maps and posting them to Forge Hub. Over the next few years I kept at this, met a lot of cool people like Psychoduck and MockKnizzle, who are also staff here, and just slowly improved and got more integrated with the community. When Halo Customs was just starting up I jumped over here and made it my new "Hub" so to speak for forge and other things in the community." DD: "So a long time now I see, that's really great dude. So what's your favorite thing about Forging in Halo? Your favorite aspect of all that goes into Forging.' FS: "Well, a lot of what I love about forging is that it's very easy to make something tangible, something you can play within a relatively short amount of time with other people and something you can polish and feel good about. Other programs allow you to design in much greater detail exactly what you want, but forge allows you to take an idea from concept to playable product very quickly. I feel I have learned a lot from being able to build lot's of maps, realize both what worked and what didn't, and then apply that knowledge to my next designs. The fact that we have such a large community to help is another huge aspect of forge, as well as the fact that we can design for Halo, which immediately puts it a step above other in-game editors for me, even if they may offer more freedom." DD: "I have to agree with you. Being able to spontaneously change something in a map you or someone else Forged is a very handy aspect that Halo has over other games. So are you active on other game forums or is HaloCustoms where you reside?" FS: "I am slightly active on a few other Halo forums, as well as the website Polygon, but nowhere near as active as I am on Halo Customs. For the most part yes, this is where I reside. :)" DD: "That's great haha. Flying Shoe where do you think you'd be without HaloCustoms?" FS: "I might have gone over to The Halo Council. I know a few people over there and they have a good setup over there. If nothing else had worked I had considered just talking to people over XBL and keeping up with people." DD: "Well being Staff on HaloCustoms I think that you are doing much more for the Halo Community than if you were on Xbox just keeping up with people and since you do your part in the Halo Community, I decided to interview and let them know your point of view and what you're like as a member. So Flying Shoe to wrap it all up, what words of wisdom do you have for the members of the Halo Community? Maybe some who want to become Staff on a HaloCustoms like you." FS: "The best advice I can give there is just to be cool. The people that I'm most happy to see on HC or any part of the community are those people that have a level head, common sense, and enjoy being here and playing halo. Having a good attitude is everything. That's not to say that you can't have complaints about aspects of the game or community, but there is a difference between that and being a negative nancy. Also, always know where your towel is. Those things are damn useful." I have no idea what that last line about the towel meant but it was great! I think he had strong closing words that the Community should adhere to. Thank you Flying Shoe for taking the time to do this interview and I hope to see more of you around. And thank you 343i Community Forum for being you! PEACE.
  12. We're announcing a great controller giveaway here at HaloCustoms.com! Basically all you have to do is design a controller and post it -- then you've got a chance to win it! The controller you win will be the customized controller you designed, with the option of rapid-fire mod or not! You can enter the contest here: Controller Design Giveaway The controller I designed: And here it is in real life: Enjoy! Posted with permission from AD.
  13. HaloCustoms.com has announced the "Get a CLUE Forge Contest"! Use your forging skills to create a new map for play on the classic CLUE Gametype in Halo 4! Map limited by your imagination only!! All relevant information including rules, how to submit, and map requirements can be found HERE!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5rz5PRpf6E&feature=player_embedded
  14. I'm very proud of this one guys, I got Insane54 to take some time out to bang out a very wordy but very worthwhile read of an interview. I don't want to waste any time so without further ado, I give you Insane54, Community Manger at HaloCustom's interview: DD: "So Insane, how did you come to be Insane54?" I54: "I started going by "Insane" when I started my first administrative/community management position at 12 or 13 years old, and ever since then I've never changed it. Long story short, I left my co-leader position at a large clan in order to make my own -- they called me "insane" (for making that move). Because I was a snarky teenager, I called myself "Insane" because I thought it was ironic at the time. I've been managing successful communities since then, and never changed my name -- it's good luck!" DD: "I agree with you on that even though I'm not all that supersticious. It's also a cool name! So where exactly were you co-administrating at that age?" I54: "I honestly don't remember the name of it, unfortunately. I think it was AoE? Something like that. The game was Jedi Knight II and III (Outcast and Academy) -- fantastic games, especially with the Lugormod and Euka mods. They're old but it really got me into running a community and creating environments for roleplaying games. The mods allowed you to place any items from the game into the server dynamically, so we built an entire world on top of that, where you pressed a button and a door opened and closed behind you, credits money systems, "renting" a place to live, food requirements, quests, jobs, just about anything you can think of, we made. So, I had a background in both running a community and making custom things, and that made my transition to larger custom-content communities that much easier!" DD: "You have a long history in Site Administration and I think that's unkown to many people in the Halo Community. Where have you been Admin or any form of Staff on Halo websites before you became the Community Manager of HaloCustoms?" I54: "For about 3 years between Halo 3 and Reach (2008 to 2011), I had the opportunity to run ForgeHub as one of three administrators and the community manager. That was a really awesome experience, because I got to see what it was like growing from a small number to something like 70K members. I got used to working with companies (including an official affiliation with Bungie), running events, and overall nurturing the community to its maximum potential; having that experience is invaluable when I'm trying to work on my own projects. ForgeHub is where I'm "famous" from, so to speak; I got to know many of the big names in the Halo community and industry, I built some great relationships with several employees at 343i and Bungie, became one of the first Community Cartographers, got one of the first Bungie All-Stars, and I learned what works and what doesn't in large scale community management. Overall, I've found that I really enjoy connecting people who otherwise would have never met. I love offering resources that let you see the world in a way that had previously been blocked by restrictions, and opening up those resources for anyone to use. I love incorporating all of the different niches of Halo and bringing them together to an interface that they can all use -- that means that people from two different niches get to experience totally new things from each other! I had a few projects in the time between ForgeHub and HaloCustoms: I ran a short-term experimental community for artists intended to be "self run" called creativeFloh!. I took a lot of the concepts that I used on that website on HaloCustoms. I've also set up communities for a local electronic music promotion company and a college counseling company. Lastly, I'm completing my degree in Software Engineering, so that takes up a lot of my time. Personally, I almost always don't like being a staff member. I like having the power to shape the site, change things up, and actually matter; I find more often than not, communities just use their staff as moderation and bodies. That's why it was so important that I'm not only the guy running and managing the site, I'm also the co-founder and legal co-owner. As a perfectionist, I've built up a lot of frustrations about the ways different websites run themselves, and I've taken many of them into consideration when designing HaloCustoms. We really stepped back and took a long time to consider how we can best serve the Halo community, drew it all out on paper and whiteboards, and then we went and implemented it. I'm really happy with the results that we've been getting at HaloCustoms thusfar!" DD: "That's all something I hope the readers take the time to read through. You really are such a huge name in Halo and it's almost a shame that there are so many people in the Halo Community that don't know you or what you've done for it. I've told you before and I'll tell you again, I love the way HaloCustoms works. What made you decide to make a site based off of custom games instead of going back down the road of Forge? I know the two coincide but why HaloCustoms and not HaloForge, let's say." I54: "I considered a forge-based website, but there are several reasons I went for customs instead. First of all, Forge is a product of customs, not the other way around. That means that no matter how big forging is, it's only useful if there are people playing that map! In addition, there's not much to add to what's already in the Halo community. I mean, look at 343i.org's maps section, ForgeCafe, ForgeHub; everybody has maps. HaloCustoms actually has a maps forum as well, and I have some huge updates coming to it in the near future, but I see that as an aspect to customs. Forgers come to HaloCustoms to test their map, then post it, then stick around and play it. It all comes full circle, and we're really big about being a *companion* site. I absolutely don't want to steal a single member from another site, I just want to offer a resource to as many Halo fans as possible. So, test your map on our site, use our resource, and stay active on your own site -- that's exactly what I hope people do. People who just host games can also find new awesome maps to play, etc. I think you'll be seeing us growing our Forge community because forge is so vital to customs and vice versa. Most importantly, I wanted to offer something new. As far as I know, nobody has really designed a full-on open interface for creating, finding, and organizing custom games both short and long term. This resource means new people meeting new people -- it makes HaloCustoms almost a "waypoint" or "hub" where people from all over the halo community can come and play some customs with guys they've never met before. So, we're seeing AGL guys playing with Grifball guys, and they're sharing ideas and maps -- it's really heartwarming when a member says "I made a game and I had a full party for 4 hours and I learned all about X, Y, and Z", it's entirely the reason we made this website." DD: "Excellently said Insane and you certainly have the right idea when it comes to bringing the Halo Community together by making use of both our sites. So one thing that I really love about HaloCustoms is the RSVP system. How did you get it to link to Xbox.com? Did you need any permissions to do that and if so, did any of your connections help you to get that?" I54: "Everything you see on the site is normal permissions with a *LOT* of custom coding. When me and dev team were starting to build this website, we literally spent every waking moment online planning, coding, debugging, so on. I'd basically be waking up, making coffee, and getting back to coding until late at night, every night during my winter break. So we spent a lot of time making sure this website really works and feels as well as it possibly could. I firmly believe that if you're not moving forwards, you're falling behind; I'd rather fail 9 times and get it right once then not try something new at all. So we're always making big changes; always adding new features, removing things, editing things. Any given day you might see us release something big and awesome because we want to maximize how useful this site is. We place a ton of emphasis on focus and usability, but we want to have a strong, powerful engine behind all of that. I really like the RSVP system because you can go to any game and go "this game has 20 RSVPs, it's probably going to be packed" or "this game only has 5 RSVPs? I should tell my friends!" In addition to the fact that by RSVPing you're automatically linked to the host's gamertag, we've also got functionality that lets the host connect to RSVPs, so that a host can send a message to those who say they're going to come. Another feature that's been big recently is our "rate" feature -- if you RSVP to a game before it begins, when the game ends you can "rate your host" good or bad. When a host reaches 25 (total) Good Host ratings, they become a Gold Host -- they get a shiny gold gradient on their games which helps highlight them as "a go-to game". 343i.org's own Spades N AZ is one of our new Gold Hosts, with nearly 150 Good Host ratings. His lobbies often command well over 30 RSVPs, so many people trying to get in a game just to play customs. It gives you an idea of how crazy custom games can get, and it really values those high-quality hosts. You can check out the game calendar here, where you'll likely see several Gold Host's games: http://halocustoms.com/events/upcoming To be honest, most "connections" I've gotten are from people I've never met, they just see the site and they see its potential and how much it could mean for Halo's future. In this case, the best way to attract investors is to have a great product, not to know the right people. I've been in touch with lots of people, websites, and companies, and we've got a lot coming from that angle! Unfortunately nothing I can disclose at this time, but we will have some great free giveaways, contests, and tournaments coming up in the future" DD: "Wow your site has had an invaluable amount of time and effort put into it and I gotta say, Insane, it really shows. It's great to hear about the fact that big news and events are coming and I've seen how many people RSVP to Spades's Custom Game Night, it's ridiculous! How did HaloCustoms come to be involved with 343industries.org?" I54: "It was right after my site had launched -- we were like a week old and had something like 3,000 members already. I got a couple messages sort of randomly from Spades while I was playing in a custom game. So, after the game, him, Absolute Dog, and myself had some long chats on Skype discussing our sites, ideas, and possibilities, and now here we are with a great partnership. I'm really glad that we can be as close as we are with 343i.org, we share a lot of common ideas (warm, close knit communities), but have our differences (you guys focus on Halo overall, we focus on custom games and forge). We work together so nicely; gotta give Spades credit for making the first move on this one." DD: "Indeed we Absolutely Dogly do, shoutout to our very own Staff of Promotions and Events' Spades N AZ! That was a very huge huge huge move on his part, and I had a feeling we had a connection to you through him when I saw how active he was on HaloCustoms haha. Had you ever heard of the site before Spades had brought it to your attention? Maybe stumbled upon it by accident, anything at all?" I54: "As part of my job in being a community manager, I think it's vital to at least have knowledge of all the major players in the game. So, I did have a kind of vague understanding of 343i.org and had been stalking around every now and again, evaluating and considering options. However, I hadn't really thought of them as a worthwhile partnership until after Spades came to me and pitched the idea! That said, I'm always open to partnering with websites and communities! I feel like by bringing together many communities by partnership, that means that we get to throw activity to our partners, and they get to tell their members 'hey come here to set up custom games!'. By doing that, it reduces their own requirement to organize custom games (let's be honest, forum boards or threads doesn't really work) and delegates it to us -- and we're more than happy to be that resource! In addition, the more places that partner with us, the more we bring communities with different traits together on our interface!" DD: "I think with partnerships like the one we have with each other and the one each of us have with THFE, it's a HUGE stepping stone for the recollaboration of the Halo Community. Speaking of which what do you think of the Halo Community right now? Do you think people are too divided over Halo 4?" I54: "I'm a really big fan of Halo 4, I think its a wonderful title especially for 343i's first real thing. I'm really excited for what Halo 5 will be bringing us; if it lives up to my expectations it *will* be the greatest Halo game ever made, no questions asked. That said, I'm seeing a lot of the community complaining about small issues and it's like "come on guys, chill out, it's a good game!" It's not perfect by any means, but I sometimes wish we could all just get behind 343i and encourage them rather than complain about every little thing that doesn't go as well as we feel it should. I really do love the Halo community, if I didn't, I wouldn't have stayed as long as I have in it. I consider many of the friends I've made over Halo to be some of my best friends that I fully trust, which includes some members on my staff, the Halo Tricks cast, Xbox Live friends, etc etc. My only complaint of the Halo community is that we are so very fragmented right now. Everyone has a little niche that they belong to, and since their friends are from that niche, they only end up playing games of that niche's style and playing with the same group of friends. I'm really hoping with all this partnership that's been going on between communities that we'll be seeing more inter-community action going on to help combat that fragmentation in the Halo community and bring us closer together. One big thing I have set up on HaloCustoms is that the staff is entirely self-run. They're actually directed to, and I quote, "put awesome things on the front page". The staff is a really chill, relaxed group that I've handpicked, and some member will go "hey, I found this article/event/video on X site!" and write a little feature for it and put it right up on the front page and social media (Twitter and Facebook) within minutes. We have tremendous flexibility, and we love to feature other website's content! Our only criteria is: make something awesome! Make something new, unique, or just plain neat and we WILL feature it, no matter if we are your partner, no matter if its beneficial to us, no matter if you came to us or we just found it trolling around. We want to encourage and reward doing awesome, unique things! I think if more Halo sites picked up on encouraging awesome behavior rather than strict guidelines, we'd see a much less fragmented Halo community that could really push 343i forward to making the best possible products that they can. There's a lot of fantastic talent on that team, and there's infinite potential for what they can do given a supportive community." DD: "I really do enjoy seeing the way the Staff interacts with the community on HaloCustoms, you have quite a funny crowd haha. One of the articles I was extremely impressed with was the one Psychoduck put up of your Staff vs. Community Event. The idea of going through the footage and instead of just rendering it and putting it in the article he broke it down into parts using screenshots is just freaking brilliant and so creative. My hat is off to Psychoduck because that's better than any work I've ever done in News. It sure is awesome! Now, I have seen a lot of freedom on that site meaning no word censor filter and anyone can talk about anything in the shoutbox. What are a couple of the rules on HaloCustoms that members have to abide by if they can say or do whatever they want really?" I54: "The overarching rule on HaloCustoms is 'use common sense'. That's the rule that I abide by, the staff abide by, and we expect every member of the site to abide by. So, we take everything in context. Is this guy clearly trying to troll? Does he know what he's doing isn't okay on the site? Has he had a previous warning? I want to create a create a fun, warm community, and to do that we do need to do some moderation, but we try to limit that as much as possible. If somebody does something wrong, we prefer to edit or delete and then send a private message to say 'hey, don't do that man'. But if they're clearly just trying to troll or get around the rules, we'll be very strict with our moderation. For example, swearing is allowed, but if its offensive in context, we'll come to you and be like 'that's not okay man'; if you ignore us and keep doing it, we'll likely ban you. We want to make the site awesome for everyone, but at the same time, we don't go easy on people who try to break the warmness of the community. If you're not trying to troll, you'll have a good time; otherwise, you'll be seeing the back end of the banhammer very quickly. Obviously this means that a lot of 'what's okay' is determined by the staff, and I'm blessed to have such a close-knit staff team. They talk amongst themselves when there's a difficult decision and make the best overall decision together. In addition, we try to create an interaction between the staff and the person who did the action; that way they can argue or debate their case. In the end, our system is loose but it works really well as opposed to an almost lawyerly list of 'rules.'" DD: "I bet the members and Staff enjoy that very much . Insane, it's been an incredible interview. It's been awesome to hear your views on the Halo Community and our sites' partnership. Now I have to ask you, what are your words of wisdom for members in the community that want what you want?" I54: "I think a lot of members want that same feel of solidarity that we used to feel in Halo 2/3. I see many, many people coming on to HaloCustoms and introducing themselves with "I really hope this brings back that Halo 2/3 feel in the Halo community". I do think that the site helps to make that a reality, and by connecting all of our talents together, we can help increase the popularity of Halo as well as connect all of these smaller websites. So, if you run a website or group or company or clan, come to me on the website, twitter, facebook, email me (insane54@halocustoms.com), whatever works. I will do anything I can to help you get interconnected with the HaloCustoms family. We have different ways that we work with different entities -- we have a restricted 'sponsored groups' section that is great for showcasing the great small groups in our population, we have partnership opportunities for larger sites, and we have opportunities for websites to work with us. If you're just a single person (or a person with a few friends), join the site and get talking to us as well as playing games! We're all really friendly and every person who joins the community is helping us grow bigger and bigger. Also, word of mouth is hugely important to us. If somebody needs a map tested, or is looking for friends to play, or is otherwise just getting bored with Halo, point them towards HaloCustoms. We want to be what you think of when you think 'custom games'." Everybody give Insane54 a round of applaue he was excellent in giving us an in depth look at his site, our affiliate, HaloCustoms. I advise checking it out. Check it out but remember this is your home . Just kidding really though give it a look. Thank you 343i Community Forum it's taken me all day to get this out it's been so busy, the editing glitch screwed me so bad earlier I basically did this twice . Oh man, well once again thank you all for supporting these and I hope you read all of it. HAIL This post has been promoted to an article
  15. I'm very proud of this one guys, I got Insane54 to take some time out to bang out a very wordy but very worthwhile read of an interview. I don't want to waste any time so without further ado, I give you Insane54, Community Manger at HaloCustom's interview: DD: "So Insane, how did you come to be Insane54?" I54: "I started going by "Insane" when I started my first administrative/community management position at 12 or 13 years old, and ever since then I've never changed it. Long story short, I left my co-leader position at a large clan in order to make my own -- they called me "insane" (for making that move). Because I was a snarky teenager, I called myself "Insane" because I thought it was ironic at the time. I've been managing successful communities since then, and never changed my name -- it's good luck!" DD: "I agree with you on that even though I'm not all that supersticious. It's also a cool name! So where exactly were you co-administrating at that age?" I54: "I honestly don't remember the name of it, unfortunately. I think it was AoE? Something like that. The game was Jedi Knight II and III (Outcast and Academy) -- fantastic games, especially with the Lugormod and Euka mods. They're old but it really got me into running a community and creating environments for roleplaying games. The mods allowed you to place any items from the game into the server dynamically, so we built an entire world on top of that, where you pressed a button and a door opened and closed behind you, credits money systems, "renting" a place to live, food requirements, quests, jobs, just about anything you can think of, we made. So, I had a background in both running a community and making custom things, and that made my transition to larger custom-content communities that much easier!" DD: "You have a long history in Site Administration and I think that's unkown to many people in the Halo Community. Where have you been Admin or any form of Staff on Halo websites before you became the Community Manager of HaloCustoms?" I54: "For about 3 years between Halo 3 and Reach (2008 to 2011), I had the opportunity to run ForgeHub as one of three administrators and the community manager. That was a really awesome experience, because I got to see what it was like growing from a small number to something like 70K members. I got used to working with companies (including an official affiliation with Bungie), running events, and overall nurturing the community to its maximum potential; having that experience is invaluable when I'm trying to work on my own projects. ForgeHub is where I'm "famous" from, so to speak; I got to know many of the big names in the Halo community and industry, I built some great relationships with several employees at 343i and Bungie, became one of the first Community Cartographers, got one of the first Bungie All-Stars, and I learned what works and what doesn't in large scale community management. Overall, I've found that I really enjoy connecting people who otherwise would have never met. I love offering resources that let you see the world in a way that had previously been blocked by restrictions, and opening up those resources for anyone to use. I love incorporating all of the different niches of Halo and bringing them together to an interface that they can all use -- that means that people from two different niches get to experience totally new things from each other! I had a few projects in the time between ForgeHub and HaloCustoms: I ran a short-term experimental community for artists intended to be "self run" called creativeFloh!. I took a lot of the concepts that I used on that website on HaloCustoms. I've also set up communities for a local electronic music promotion company and a college counseling company. Lastly, I'm completing my degree in Software Engineering, so that takes up a lot of my time. Personally, I almost always don't like being a staff member. I like having the power to shape the site, change things up, and actually matter; I find more often than not, communities just use their staff as moderation and bodies. That's why it was so important that I'm not only the guy running and managing the site, I'm also the co-founder and legal co-owner. As a perfectionist, I've built up a lot of frustrations about the ways different websites run themselves, and I've taken many of them into consideration when designing HaloCustoms. We really stepped back and took a long time to consider how we can best serve the Halo community, drew it all out on paper and whiteboards, and then we went and implemented it. I'm really happy with the results that we've been getting at HaloCustoms thusfar!" DD: "That's all something I hope the readers take the time to read through. You really are such a huge name in Halo and it's almost a shame that there are so many people in the Halo Community that don't know you or what you've done for it. I've told you before and I'll tell you again, I love the way HaloCustoms works. What made you decide to make a site based off of custom games instead of going back down the road of Forge? I know the two coincide but why HaloCustoms and not HaloForge, let's say." I54: "I considered a forge-based website, but there are several reasons I went for customs instead. First of all, Forge is a product of customs, not the other way around. That means that no matter how big forging is, it's only useful if there are people playing that map! In addition, there's not much to add to what's already in the Halo community. I mean, look at 343i.org's maps section, ForgeCafe, ForgeHub; everybody has maps. HaloCustoms actually has a maps forum as well, and I have some huge updates coming to it in the near future, but I see that as an aspect to customs. Forgers come to HaloCustoms to test their map, then post it, then stick around and play it. It all comes full circle, and we're really big about being a *companion* site. I absolutely don't want to steal a single member from another site, I just want to offer a resource to as many Halo fans as possible. So, test your map on our site, use our resource, and stay active on your own site -- that's exactly what I hope people do. People who just host games can also find new awesome maps to play, etc. I think you'll be seeing us growing our Forge community because forge is so vital to customs and vice versa. Most importantly, I wanted to offer something new. As far as I know, nobody has really designed a full-on open interface for creating, finding, and organizing custom games both short and long term. This resource means new people meeting new people -- it makes HaloCustoms almost a "waypoint" or "hub" where people from all over the halo community can come and play some customs with guys they've never met before. So, we're seeing AGL guys playing with Grifball guys, and they're sharing ideas and maps -- it's really heartwarming when a member says "I made a game and I had a full party for 4 hours and I learned all about X, Y, and Z", it's entirely the reason we made this website." DD: "Excellently said Insane and you certainly have the right idea when it comes to bringing the Halo Community together by making use of both our sites. So one thing that I really love about HaloCustoms is the RSVP system. How did you get it to link to Xbox.com? Did you need any permissions to do that and if so, did any of your connections help you to get that?" I54: "Everything you see on the site is normal permissions with a *LOT* of custom coding. When me and dev team were starting to build this website, we literally spent every waking moment online planning, coding, debugging, so on. I'd basically be waking up, making coffee, and getting back to coding until late at night, every night during my winter break. So we spent a lot of time making sure this website really works and feels as well as it possibly could. I firmly believe that if you're not moving forwards, you're falling behind; I'd rather fail 9 times and get it right once then not try something new at all. So we're always making big changes; always adding new features, removing things, editing things. Any given day you might see us release something big and awesome because we want to maximize how useful this site is. We place a ton of emphasis on focus and usability, but we want to have a strong, powerful engine behind all of that. I really like the RSVP system because you can go to any game and go "this game has 20 RSVPs, it's probably going to be packed" or "this game only has 5 RSVPs? I should tell my friends!" In addition to the fact that by RSVPing you're automatically linked to the host's gamertag, we've also got functionality that lets the host connect to RSVPs, so that a host can send a message to those who say they're going to come. Another feature that's been big recently is our "rate" feature -- if you RSVP to a game before it begins, when the game ends you can "rate your host" good or bad. When a host reaches 25 (total) Good Host ratings, they become a Gold Host -- they get a shiny gold gradient on their games which helps highlight them as "a go-to game". 343i.org's own Spades N AZ is one of our new Gold Hosts, with nearly 150 Good Host ratings. His lobbies often command well over 30 RSVPs, so many people trying to get in a game just to play customs. It gives you an idea of how crazy custom games can get, and it really values those high-quality hosts. You can check out the game calendar here, where you'll likely see several Gold Host's games: http://halocustoms.com/events/upcoming To be honest, most "connections" I've gotten are from people I've never met, they just see the site and they see its potential and how much it could mean for Halo's future. In this case, the best way to attract investors is to have a great product, not to know the right people. I've been in touch with lots of people, websites, and companies, and we've got a lot coming from that angle! Unfortunately nothing I can disclose at this time, but we will have some great free giveaways, contests, and tournaments coming up in the future" DD: "Wow your site has had an invaluable amount of time and effort put into it and I gotta say, Insane, it really shows. It's great to hear about the fact that big news and events are coming and I've seen how many people RSVP to Spades's Custom Game Night, it's ridiculous! How did HaloCustoms come to be involved with 343industries.org?" I54: "It was right after my site had launched -- we were like a week old and had something like 3,000 members already. I got a couple messages sort of randomly from Spades while I was playing in a custom game. So, after the game, him, Absolute Dog, and myself had some long chats on Skype discussing our sites, ideas, and possibilities, and now here we are with a great partnership. I'm really glad that we can be as close as we are with 343i.org, we share a lot of common ideas (warm, close knit communities), but have our differences (you guys focus on Halo overall, we focus on custom games and forge). We work together so nicely; gotta give Spades credit for making the first move on this one." DD: "Indeed we Absolutely Dogly do, shoutout to our very own Staff of Promotions and Events' Spades N AZ! That was a very huge huge huge move on his part, and I had a feeling we had a connection to you through him when I saw how active he was on HaloCustoms haha. Had you ever heard of the site before Spades had brought it to your attention? Maybe stumbled upon it by accident, anything at all?" I54: "As part of my job in being a community manager, I think it's vital to at least have knowledge of all the major players in the game. So, I did have a kind of vague understanding of 343i.org and had been stalking around every now and again, evaluating and considering options. However, I hadn't really thought of them as a worthwhile partnership until after Spades came to me and pitched the idea! That said, I'm always open to partnering with websites and communities! I feel like by bringing together many communities by partnership, that means that we get to throw activity to our partners, and they get to tell their members 'hey come here to set up custom games!'. By doing that, it reduces their own requirement to organize custom games (let's be honest, forum boards or threads doesn't really work) and delegates it to us -- and we're more than happy to be that resource! In addition, the more places that partner with us, the more we bring communities with different traits together on our interface!" DD: "I think with partnerships like the one we have with each other and the one each of us have with THFE, it's a HUGE stepping stone for the recollaboration of the Halo Community. Speaking of which what do you think of the Halo Community right now? Do you think people are too divided over Halo 4?" I54: "I'm a really big fan of Halo 4, I think its a wonderful title especially for 343i's first real thing. I'm really excited for what Halo 5 will be bringing us; if it lives up to my expectations it *will* be the greatest Halo game ever made, no questions asked. That said, I'm seeing a lot of the community complaining about small issues and it's like "come on guys, chill out, it's a good game!" It's not perfect by any means, but I sometimes wish we could all just get behind 343i and encourage them rather than complain about every little thing that doesn't go as well as we feel it should. I really do love the Halo community, if I didn't, I wouldn't have stayed as long as I have in it. I consider many of the friends I've made over Halo to be some of my best friends that I fully trust, which includes some members on my staff, the Halo Tricks cast, Xbox Live friends, etc etc. My only complaint of the Halo community is that we are so very fragmented right now. Everyone has a little niche that they belong to, and since their friends are from that niche, they only end up playing games of that niche's style and playing with the same group of friends. I'm really hoping with all this partnership that's been going on between communities that we'll be seeing more inter-community action going on to help combat that fragmentation in the Halo community and bring us closer together. One big thing I have set up on HaloCustoms is that the staff is entirely self-run. They're actually directed to, and I quote, "put awesome things on the front page". The staff is a really chill, relaxed group that I've handpicked, and some member will go "hey, I found this article/event/video on X site!" and write a little feature for it and put it right up on the front page and social media (Twitter and Facebook) within minutes. We have tremendous flexibility, and we love to feature other website's content! Our only criteria is: make something awesome! Make something new, unique, or just plain neat and we WILL feature it, no matter if we are your partner, no matter if its beneficial to us, no matter if you came to us or we just found it trolling around. We want to encourage and reward doing awesome, unique things! I think if more Halo sites picked up on encouraging awesome behavior rather than strict guidelines, we'd see a much less fragmented Halo community that could really push 343i forward to making the best possible products that they can. There's a lot of fantastic talent on that team, and there's infinite potential for what they can do given a supportive community." DD: "I really do enjoy seeing the way the Staff interacts with the community on HaloCustoms, you have quite a funny crowd haha. One of the articles I was extremely impressed with was the one Psychoduck put up of your Staff vs. Community Event. The idea of going through the footage and instead of just rendering it and putting it in the article he broke it down into parts using screenshots is just freaking brilliant and so creative. My hat is off to Psychoduck because that's better than any work I've ever done in News. It sure is awesome! Now, I have seen a lot of freedom on that site meaning no word censor filter and anyone can talk about anything in the shoutbox. What are a couple of the rules on HaloCustoms that members have to abide by if they can say or do whatever they want really?" I54: "The overarching rule on HaloCustoms is 'use common sense'. That's the rule that I abide by, the staff abide by, and we expect every member of the site to abide by. So, we take everything in context. Is this guy clearly trying to troll? Does he know what he's doing isn't okay on the site? Has he had a previous warning? I want to create a create a fun, warm community, and to do that we do need to do some moderation, but we try to limit that as much as possible. If somebody does something wrong, we prefer to edit or delete and then send a private message to say 'hey, don't do that man'. But if they're clearly just trying to troll or get around the rules, we'll be very strict with our moderation. For example, swearing is allowed, but if its offensive in context, we'll come to you and be like 'that's not okay man'; if you ignore us and keep doing it, we'll likely ban you. We want to make the site awesome for everyone, but at the same time, we don't go easy on people who try to break the warmness of the community. If you're not trying to troll, you'll have a good time; otherwise, you'll be seeing the back end of the banhammer very quickly. Obviously this means that a lot of 'what's okay' is determined by the staff, and I'm blessed to have such a close-knit staff team. They talk amongst themselves when there's a difficult decision and make the best overall decision together. In addition, we try to create an interaction between the staff and the person who did the action; that way they can argue or debate their case. In the end, our system is loose but it works really well as opposed to an almost lawyerly list of 'rules.'" DD: "I bet the members and Staff enjoy that very much . Insane, it's been an incredible interview. It's been awesome to hear your views on the Halo Community and our sites' partnership. Now I have to ask you, what are your words of wisdom for members in the community that want what you want?" I54: "I think a lot of members want that same feel of solidarity that we used to feel in Halo 2/3. I see many, many people coming on to HaloCustoms and introducing themselves with "I really hope this brings back that Halo 2/3 feel in the Halo community". I do think that the site helps to make that a reality, and by connecting all of our talents together, we can help increase the popularity of Halo as well as connect all of these smaller websites. So, if you run a website or group or company or clan, come to me on the website, twitter, facebook, email me (insane54@halocustoms.com), whatever works. I will do anything I can to help you get interconnected with the HaloCustoms family. We have different ways that we work with different entities -- we have a restricted 'sponsored groups' section that is great for showcasing the great small groups in our population, we have partnership opportunities for larger sites, and we have opportunities for websites to work with us. If you're just a single person (or a person with a few friends), join the site and get talking to us as well as playing games! We're all really friendly and every person who joins the community is helping us grow bigger and bigger. Also, word of mouth is hugely important to us. If somebody needs a map tested, or is looking for friends to play, or is otherwise just getting bored with Halo, point them towards HaloCustoms. We want to be what you think of when you think 'custom games'." Everybody give Insane54 a round of applaue he was excellent in giving us an in depth look at his site, our affiliate, HaloCustoms. I advise checking it out. Check it out but remember this is your home . Just kidding really though give it a look. Thank you 343i Community Forum it's taken me all day to get this out it's been so busy, the editing glitch screwed me so bad earlier I basically did this twice . Oh man, well once again thank you all for supporting these and I hope you read all of it. HAIL
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