This Update is Unreal! Jul 13 - Rick
Yes, we have transitioned development to Unreal Engine 5!
What may surprise you is that despite the engine switch, we are already further in development than we were previously. This switch is less of a setback, and more of a slingshot, bringing us far closer to release than we were before.
Our goal with this blog is to explain where we are seeing huge advances, and where we will have to put in extra work in the transition. In addition, we’d like to show some of the customization features we are implementing into Installation 01. As always, if you have questions not covered here, please join us on Discord!
What was kept?
Art assets are easily the biggest thing that are able to be carried over. This is big for us, as we’re able to build systems in-engine and have art assets already prepared to implement. At this time, the primary asset that has not carried over is VFX.
Designs and learnings, while less tangible, are also easily brought over. While not immediately obvious, many may not realize that designing systems also takes time. These designs can be brought over, and the lessons learned along the way carry over, as well.
What did we lose? Where do we have to start over?
In our case? We had very little tangible progress on gameplay systems in Plasma, because so much time was spent on fundamental engine work. Meanwhile, Unreal is a fully featured engine and allows rapid progress on gameplay. For example, weapons, projectiles, and bullet magnetism were the first things we focused on and a first pass was implemented within a few weeks of making the switch. Matt really knocked it out of the park with this one, and it allows designers such as myself to get hands-on early to make sure these systems are perfectly tuned before release.
What did we gain?
Development is faster than ever before. Plasma Engine 2, while incredible, is still being built. The end result for that engine will be amazing, however, it did not match up with our own timeline. We’re excited to see the games that will be powered by the hard work done on Plasma Engine 2, and we wish our friends the best of luck, though we know their skill is more than enough to see them through release.
If you’d like to keep up with Plasma Engine 2’s development, please visit them here!
In Unreal Engine 5, all our efforts can be dedicated towards developing game features, since the engine is already mature. In addition, Unreal Engine is one of the most used engines in the industry, allowing us to expand our team. If you’re a Halo fan looking to create a PC-focused Halo experience, we’d love to talk to you.
A quick interjection here, between the time it took for the first draft of this blog post and the release,
the overall aim assist system has been iterated on several times, and Matt has given me more tools than I
Dress to Kill
Customization has been a major part of Halo for a long time, and with Installation 01 we are hoping to redefine the way players express themselves on the virtual battlefield. We’ll be talking about the ways you’ll be interacting with these systems at a later time, but we wanted to show you the different ways you’ll be able to customize your Spartan.
Please note: These are all subject to change, especially with regards to how you’ll access these systems.
Our Armory system is built from the ground up to allow for a huge degree of customization. We’ve been especially careful to make sure legacy customization is entirely intact while also adding new features whenever possible.
These features include, but are not limited to:
- Mix and match armor configurations.
- Custom paint colors via Hexcode.
- Configurable visors and armor lights.
- Armor patterns, compatible with custom paint colors.
- And more…
We’re very excited for you all to get your hands on this new customization system. While many of you are already aware, it bears repeating: These customization options will be earned through in-game efforts. We are currently exploring a number of options for how exactly you’ll unlock these customization pieces. This is not a confirmation for a progression system, but rather us being open about what we’re considering. If all goes well, we would like to include a progression system, however, our priority is getting players in-game as soon as possible.
Though, that’s not to say we haven’t already drawn up a few concepts. A post for another day! (Or maybe I’ll just spoil it on Discord! Who knows?)
Jafet Meza recently re-released Abstract Ingenuity for the Installation 01 soundtrack. This newer version is incredible, and I heavily encourage anyone reading this post to have this on as you read through!
You Make This Shoot House a Shoot Home
Observant readers may have noticed our new testing map! This was made by me (Agoat!) early on to have a quick space to jump and shoot in. It’s stuck around much longer than I expected. This map is going to shift and evolve over time, but for now, I hope you enjoy this quick look.
This map is not indicative of the map selection that the game will launch with, and is strictly for internal testing. But... we figure it’d be cool to show you all the same!
We promised transparency on our Discord, so here’s some early gameplay. We’ll be sharing a lot more as we go, but instead of waiting for a specific milestone, we figure we might as well show some fun clips.
We’re sharing this with a small request: Please understand that this is a work in progress and is considered pre-pre-alpha footage. Grenades don’t have both timers, maps need adjustments, animations are unfinished, etc. (Seriously, look how fast the grenades explode. Definitely not finished!) This is the nature of game development, and the game will look and feel better as we go!
Fun fact: I broke aim assist right before this playtest! It’ll be incredibly overpowered until I fix it!
George would be mad at me if I didn’t mention this, but this is the first pass of Traxus, and he built it while overcoming a handful of technical difficulties. The final map will be beautiful and scaled much better than it is currently, though he’s already done awesome work on this map, and I’m excited to see how he perfects it. If you’re not familiar, George Bandy built Solution, part of Infinite’s Forge playlists and easily one of the best maps in Infinite. He’s joined the team working on i01, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him!
We’re happy to share that we’ll be posting a lot more clips going forward. Not just the features coming along smoothly, but funny bugs and mishaps that happen along the way, too. We want you along for the ride!
- “Will there be wacky modes planned?”
- - @DxRias
We’ve also talked about having modes that “unlock” mechanics that may have restrictions, such as dual wielding. Though… you’ll have to wait a little before you see more of those. But rest assured, cool stuff inbound.
- “What does the armor taste like, asking for a friend (the friend is me)”
- - @GoseiSamurai
- “I saw the armor and weapon coatings in the previous image y'all shared. Are those actually planned for the game, or were the devs just messing around?”
- - @RednekGamurz
- “What's the prettiest map so far?”
- - @Whitestripe99
- “Is there any level of customization currently functional in i01?”
- - Apple303
- “Are the goals of the new I01 w/the new management the same? (Ex: the sand box/gameplay being a blend of 2 and 3, a forge experience, can play I01 on PC, Mac and Linux)”
- - @HaloNChill
- Additions and changes need to be rooted in classic Halo.
- Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
- Do not cling to something that isn’t working, no matter how much time you’ve invested.
In the case of the Spring Jump, it’s based on a physics interaction that has been in Halo since Reach. I wanted to bring this forward as a core mechanic so that we could better communicate to players that a unique action is taking place. It wasn’t in 2 or 3, but it’s a fun addition that compliments the experience without becoming the focus of the game. It is, however, based on tech used by the community. My own personal philosophy is that following the community is the best way to light the path forward. I hope you guys like it.
We still very much want to include some form of map editing/creation, though we are currently reviewing what options come with Unreal Engine 5. So, TBA on Forge… but with the best of intentions. We want to put as many tools in the hands of players as we possibly can.
Windows is our primary focus, as it has the most users. We do want to release on Mac and Linux, but we are laser focused on a release on Windows right now. This does not mean Mac and Linux are being cut, but they would come at a later time, as we really don’t want to hold back release. It’s worth noting that even on Unity, there would have been extra dev time to release on those platforms.
- “Will The Colorful donuts come in chocolate?”
- - Syla, Technical Designer
- - Apple303
- “Is Bean returning from retirement?”
- - @HaloNChill
It has my tag on it in this case because I put it together, but that’s 100% a Bean-themed nameplate! We’ll be sharing more stuff like this in the future, but Discord saw it already and I think it’s really cool.
- “Are there any plans for seasonal content? Battle Passes and maybe parts of maps that are themed differently or have easter eggs around events and also customisation items that aren't strictly in line with the Halo aesthetic but more recreational stuff?”
- - Amit
Currently, all player cosmetics are visually consistent. You may see something like cat ears, or a small gag, but we are currently keeping armor thematically consistent. Installation 01 isn’t canon to 343’s story or universe, but we’re being very careful about cosmetics pulling players out of the moment. Nameplates and similar items, of course, are not included in that statement.
With regards to easter eggs… why would we spoil anything???
- “is there any single player content no matter how small planned for the game?”
- - Blinky
- “Will we get to choose a body type (Reach/4/5) or will it be one size fits all? (CE/2/3)”
- - Sierra 199
- “Is game play going to be a MnK or controller centered experience?”
- - @HaloNChill
- “Is custom games going to be a thing?”
- - Skrappy IE
- “Health, Shields, and damage percentage values be as good as Halo 5's, or better?”
- - Skrappy IE
- “Have you considered individual weapon and grenade damage percentages? If not, how about now after this question?”
- - Skrappy IE
- “Will the game game have sprint, slide, and clamber? If not, will it be available for custom games? Will thrusters be a thing? If so, will it be built in, or an ability like 4, or Infinite? Is this going to be a custom games option only?”
- - Skrappy IE
- “What kind of roadblocks have you run into lately?”
- - Apple303
Join the i01 Team
The Road Ahead
Instead of monthly updates, we’ll be sharing new updates as they’re ready to be shown. This will include gameplay, features, you name it. Our goal is to be more transparent than ever before, and this includes the occasional peek behind the curtain, like with our test map above. Some posts will be big, others will be small. We do aim to have a Monthly Status Report but with staff limitations, we don't want to over promise and under deliver.
Thank you for joining us for this very important update.
If you want to track our progress (or make sure we're still alive), please check out our commits page
, which is automatically updated as we update our internal builds.
I’d like to personally apologize for the lack of blog posts in the last year. This project had major changes going into 2023, and we have been working hard to make Installation 01 the game you all deserve. I share this not to make an excuse, but rather to give an explanation for our silence.
From here on, you’ll be seeing more gameplay, more posts, and overall just more from us.
Talk to you soon,
Rick “Agoat” Aston