A few days ago, Microsoft and 343 Industries announced that the next update to Halo Infinite would include an AI toolkit for the game's popular Forge user-created content. Today, they explained why it's so important.
The reveal comes via Xbox Wire, specifically from 343 Industries’ Forge lead designer Michael Schorr, who explains that the North Star for the feature is wave-based PvE experiences like Horde and Firefight.
The new feature will enable MOBA-type experiences and one of the engineers at 343 even prototyped a tower defense game. The tools are, according to Schorr, very flexible. He mentions that we may see "people remaking the intro battle when you first land on the Ring" and that's "huge."
Technical designer Connor Kennelly also explains that creators could add AI enemies to experiences they have already made or create new experiences entirely.
The toolkit has been in the works for 18 months and some of the game's campaign engineers were brought on board to help with it to build an AI wrapper (a kit that makes complicated functions easy to use) to help players interface with the tools.
The tools include node graph scripting with 100 nodes coming in Season 5 with about 75 just related to AI. The developers tried to enable creators to make crazy and wacky experiences with them. While it won't have all the bells and whistles that the developers used in the campaign it's "very powerful"
Creators can spawn AI, control where it navigates, and use the node graph to control it. They can make patrol routes, enemy spawns after a player dies, and much more.
We heard that Forge has been pretty massive so far, including 27 million custom matches; 2 million user-generated creations; and 40+ user-generated maps that have even been added to public matchmaking playlists.
Kennelly mentions that these 40 user-generated maps are on par with developer-created ones and that saves developers months of work while providing content for players to enjoy.
The addition of AI to player-generated content will not only provide further enjoyment to users but also help prospective game developers bolster their portfolios. As a matter of fact, many Forge level designers have been hired by 343 Industries, including Kennelly himself.
If you'd like to learn more about Halo Infinite, which is currently available for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One, you can read our review which awarded the game with an 8.5 out of 10. The update coming with Season 5 will launch on October 17, 2023.