Last Forger Standing, The Flaming Ninja Challenge
I have to say editing all these interviews does make a Spartan a bit peckish at times. So I did what any good Spartan would do and sent Massaikur out for some munchies. (Note to Self: Do not send brother on anymore food errands). Needless to say, about three hours later I have a live duck sitting on my kitchen counter. At this point though I am pretty ravenous so I guess I’ll eat just about anything, live duck included. Correction: live talking duck. Ok, so being the cold heartless souls everyone thinks we are. Massaikur and I decide to give this feathered heretic an ultimatum; answer some simple questions or become dinner? And after some feather plucking as added incentive…Well, you will just have to read on to discover which option he chose….
1. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m Petetheduck and I like to Forge. Well, I like to create things in general; I like to draw comics, I want to write a novel, I’m trying to grasp iOS programming in order to create a game. I also created a child, if that counts. Basically, at any given moment, I am looking off in the distance, building something in my mind–the tricky part is getting those things out of my mind and into the real world. That is something I haven’t been too successful at.
2. When did you first start playing Halo?
A few days after it was released. I actually first became interested in Halo through an issue of PC Gamer and I followed it to its eventual home on the Xbox. Microsoft did a good job choosing Bungie because Halo was the reason I bought my first Xbox.
3. Of all the Halo series games, do you have a favorite, which one and why?
I think Bungie has successfully evolved Halo’s game play mechanics with each iteration, so when I go back and try to play the older games, I find myself wishing I had a newer ability or things behaved like they did in the newer games. So I would say that Halo: Reach is my favorite, just because of the way the game play mechanics FEEL. You can discuss story and matchmaking all you want, but for me, it’s all in the feel of the game.
4. What are your favorite UNSC and Covenant weapons to use?
If I had to pick a go-to gun in Halo: Reach, it would be the Needle Rifle. It has all the advantages of the DMR, but the added bonus of super-combining. I am absolutely terrible with a Sniper Rifle and when I DO pick it up, it’s mostly just to keep the enemy team from having it. My guilty pleasure is the Pro Pipe–I’m not very good with it, but when I do manage to pull off a sweet kill, there’s nothing as satisfying.
5. Do you have a preference for any multiplayer game types?
I like to play Team Slayer when I get a good group of friends on. I am not much of a fan of Objective game types. I loathe Free For All.
6. Is there anything you wish Halo had that it does not?
I don’t know if anyone will ever find a solution for managing the millions of pieces of community content that a game like Halo can generate, but features like Top Downloaded don’t cut it for me. It would be great to see a more useful community content sharing system implemented. I’d also like to be able to organize my Halo files, as right now I have to scan through all 90 or so Map Variants that are listed under Forge World every time I’m looking for a particular Forge World file.
7. How much Halo do you play on a daily basis?
Lately, not much actually! Mostly just enough to film something; whether, it’s an episode of Forge with Pete or some random thing for my website. I usually have a late-night matchmaking party about every two weeks–that’s about as much actual PLAYING as I do. I’m actually pretty far ahead with my Forging so I haven’t Forged much in a few weeks, although I do have some things on the horizon I need to build.
8. How long have you been a member of the Halo community?
I started at Halo.Bungie.Org way back in 2002. I was part of the original Halo tricking community, back when it was just a couple of guys doing awesome stuff and taking pictures of their TV screen with digital cameras. Frogblast was another huge name from that period in Halo history and it was a pleasure to be tricking alongside the likes of him. Today tricking has blown up into something so huge it’s too much to keep up with, so I’ve stepped away from that aspect of Halo.
9. Why Petetheduck and not Petethespartan?
I once had a duck named Pete. True story.
10. You recently started a Forge Series on Halo Waypoint, can you tell us about that and how it came to be?
Well, I had a few different Forge projects that I had been working on, but in the process of building each one I had started to burn out and wanted to move on to something new. And so I did, and eventually I had about 4 unreleased Forge projects that were all about 90% completed. So I started to think of what might be a fun way to share this handful of Forge projects with the community. I thought about finishing them all and posting them in one huge thread at Halo.Bungie.Org, or maybe releasing one each day for a week on my website, but I kept thinking that if I did that, the projects would quickly be forgotten about after a few days.
I also realized that Halo Waypoint didn’t have much Forge content on it and that these projects would be a great excuse to create a Forge-focused show that could appeal to lots of Halo players, whether they Forge or not. So I created a few episodes of Forge with Pete and sent them to BS Angel. Long story short, here we are. I don’t know how long the show will be around, but the feedback I’ve gotten just from the first two episodes has been great and I’m looking forward to sharing some of the other content I have planned. And I have to thank the Halo Waypoint team for hosting my show!
11. What is the purpose behind your show?
The show has a short and simple premise: show something that I made, and then show how I made it. In breaking down the mechanisms I use in Forge, I leave out the fine details in the videos because I don’t want to bore the audience, but I still want to give everyone an understanding of how the thing works. I think this is a good balance because if someone watching the video doesn’t Forge, they can play the map and be satisfied in knowing how it works. But if someone watching the video does Forge, they can load the map in Forge and already have an understanding of how each piece contributes to the overall function of the map in a general sense while they examine it more closely in person.
12. What gave you the idea for Last Forger Standing?
Project Runway; actually, the idea of building something, being judged, and being eliminated. A reality show in Halo! Last Forger Standing is the kind of contest that I wished I could have participated in myself, but no one else was doing it, so I decided to host.
13. Will there be a Last Forger Standing season 2?
I don’t have any current plans for a second season, but that could eventually change. The show had some pretty substantial complications at points with contestants dropping out and being disruptive. At the same time, 5 weeks was a long time to ask for contestants to participate, so I have to thank the contestants that stuck it out to the end! It was definitely a learning experience and I am pretty lucky that it turned out as well as it did.
But doing something like Forge with Pete is much easier, even though I’m the one doing the Forging! I think Last Forger Standing was a fun show and I hope people enjoyed it, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend other people to try to do a similar show without lots of contingency planning.
14. What made you want to start forging obstacle courses in Halo?
The inspiration came from the Ninja Warrior TV show. At the time, the only obstacle courses people seemed to make in Halo were jump maps–random objects floating above the ground that the player had to jump across. There was no variety and the maps were cosmetically disappointing, as they were almost all built in the enclosed space on Foundry. Just as I was getting ready to build the Flaming Ninja Challenge, this huge expanse was discovered in the sky above Blackout. This allowed me to build an obstacle course where falling meant death, not a leisurely walk back to the starting point. Coupled with obstacles that emphasized variety, the course was a pretty big–and pretty surprising–success.
The series isn’t perfect, but I’m proud of it. It was a learning process and I think Halo: Reach’s Flaming Ninja Challenge 2 is the culmination of everything I’ve learned, and I think it’s an excellent obstacle course!
15. What do you have planned for the next Flaming Ninja Challenge?
There won’t be a Flaming Ninja Challenge 3 in Halo: Reach. I’ve run out of tricks; I don’t want to keep recycling the same obstacles over and over. I want each obstacle course to be fresh and interesting. I took a slight detour with the Flaming Ninja Challenge Apr’11, creating a single player obstacle course for a contest–that was a lot of fun because it allowed me to create things I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, since none of the obstacles needed to be able to reset. You might see a few more things like that before Halo 4 comes out, but there won’t be another full-sized, proper Flaming Ninja Challenge in Halo: Reach.
16. What did you think of the Halo 4 stage demo at E3?
I didn’t want it to end! It was great. There are things that I could be critical of, but that’s nitpicking. Having had a few days to step back and look at the overall presentation, I am really excited to play this game that 343 Industries is creating. Did you happen to see my reaction video? I think it sums up what excites me the most about Halo 4.
17. As of June 7, 2012, 343 Industries has not released any information on Forge Mode in Halo 4, does this scare you?
They’ve confirmed Forge is in Halo 4, so I’m not too worried. At minimum, I would expect them to keep Forge equal to its Halo: Reach iteration. I would like to see some more support for creative Forging, like the kind of projects I’ve been sharing with Forge with Pete–like Battleship and Duck Hunt. None of those things could’ve been created without the Halo Ball game type, which itself has no place in traditional matchmaking. If they design Halo 4’s Forge strictly to create competitive multiplayer maps, it could really hurt creative Forging to lose a tool like Halo Ball. The good thing, though, is Halo Ball was added late in Halo: Reach’s lifespan, 343 Industries could similarly expand Halo 4’s Forge at a later date even if its shipping version is limited.
18. Are there any changes you would like to see done with Forge Mode in Halo 4 that would improve upon what Reach has now?
I think 343 Industries knows the phenomenon that Halo has become because of its fan’s creativity. There are fan-made Halo creations in nearly every shape and form you can imagine, and I would like to see them really embrace that with Forge. The kinds of maps that I’ve been building lately aren’t even remotely close to what Forge was intended to do. I think the best example I can give is the Rock-Paper-Scissors map I made in Halo. That shouldn’t be possible, and yet it is with just some teleporters and landmines. If teleporters and landmines can do that, imagine what more we could do if we could script game types or cross game type object label boundaries in order to create completely new games. Forge will always be primarily focused on building traditional multiplayer maps for predetermined game types, as it should be, but that doesn’t mean it should be limited to just that.
19. As far as Halo Community Forge creations are concerned, what do you hope to see in the next 10 years?
For fans to create essentially brand-new game experiences inside of the game of Halo. It’s going to require the tools from 343 Industries, but I think Halo can really be much more than the sum of its campaign and multiplayer–and I know the Halo community will jump on the opportunity to create experiences like single player maps through a Forge interface.
20. Other than Forge, is there anything else that interests you overall?
I really enjoy experiencing the Halo series’ story and there is nothing as fun as playing matchmaking with friends!
21. Any tips you would like to give to people just starting to use Forge Mode?
Experiment. I didn’t start out making good things–my first Forge projects were terrible. I kept trying, and kept trying different things and eventually found a niche. To this day I still don’t think I am good at making competitive multiplayer maps–so I don’t. I focus on what I am good at and keep improving that facet. Build what excites you and push yourself to improve.
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*End Note: The interrogators of this interview, Massaikur and PAraNoia817, are not sadistic people and we do not torture our interviewees (much) or in this case eat them! Petetheduck, Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with us and letting us share it with both our own fans, as well as, yours. Best of Luck to you!