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Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*
Posted By: Jordan117 <jmag117@gmail.com>Date: 11/24/09 4:13 p.m.


I'd griped some in the past about how it looked like Bungie was totally forsaking any geographical accuracy with regard to ODST's New Mombasa, but after getting a chance to look around the gameworld using the Firefight pancam glitch, I've found that the truth isn't so bad.

Here is a top-down view of the overall Mombasa region in the game:

region.jpg

And now, a satellite photo of modern-day Mombasa:

gearth.jpg

Look familiar?

animatedmw.gif

Looks like Bungie used an actual map of the region to make the cinematic environment. Interestingly, the coastlines are not the same -- it looks like the ones in ODST have been eroded away, with the silty areas around riverbeds replaced with water. More evidence for my old global warming theory?

Of course, there are some major differences. The entire peninsula northwest of the city is missing (presumably because you can't see that area in-game), while Mombasa Island itself is completely different. This is forgivable, I think -- when you move down to the player's level, function should dictate form. But it is pleasing to know that the city is in a specific geographic location. And since we know that, we can draw some interesting conclusions.

For instance, during the game, you never get a chance to see the other end of Mombasa Island. The area is always shielded by the massive cluster of skyscrapers in the city center. But with the pancam, observing this area is easy -- and there are some surprises:

city4.jpg

halo-2.jpg

Instead of empty space, we find smaller buildings that are oddly in a different style than the rest of the island. Brown, angular, relatively short? That sounds awfully familiar...

halo-2b.jpg

NewMombassa.jpg

So the cityscape you fight through in Halo 2 is in ODST -- it's just out of sight! This lets us place the area seen in Halo 2 in (rough) context, especially when paired with the line in the Uplift video on Waypoint that claims the bridge to Uplift Reserve is a few kilometers south of its "older brother", the suspension bridge you cross in Metropolis. Armed with this information, we can try to reconcile the two maps. Here's my attempt -- the Halo 2 street map is on the left, the ODST screenshot is on the right, and I've overlayed both of them with the points of interest I think they share.

comparison.jpg

It's rough, and the matchup isn't perfect due to scaling and skewing effects, but there's definitely space for it all to fit together. The old, brown, industrial buildings of Halo 2's New Mombasa are in the northwestern part of the island, hidden behind the gigantic sleek skyscrapers of ODST, which occupy the center. Meanwhile, the playable area of ODST ("Mombasa Streets") is to the south, with the ONI building sitting at the southern tip. The only thing that doesn't fit into the scheme is the space elevator, which has been moved from the island to the middle of the harbor.

A few other stray observations:

port.jpg

A cargo ship docking at the base of the space elevator.

tether_base.jpg

The base of the tether itself, which is surprisingly detailed considering how little you see of it in-game.

city2.jpg

The Mombasa Streets model.

city3.jpg

nmpd.jpg

A wide view and close-up of the NMPD HQ building.

kikowani.jpg

The flooded Kikowani Station corridors.

kongowea2.jpg

kongowea3.jpg

Views of Kongowea (the mainland northeast of Mombasa).

There are a few more images in my Picasa account if you want to see more.

picasalink.jpg


Message Index




Replies:

Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Jordan117 11/24/09 4:13 p.m.
     Amazing post!Leviathan 11/24/09 4:37 p.m.
     Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Azo 'Galvat 11/24/09 4:40 p.m.
     cool beans *NM*Hawaiian Pig 11/24/09 4:43 p.m.
     Awesome post, Jordan! *NM*GrimBrother One 11/24/09 5:11 p.m.
     Re: Damn, very nice indeed.Hedgemony 11/24/09 5:15 p.m.
     sweet!Hunt3r 11/24/09 5:17 p.m.
     So the Elevator ISNT on an artificial island.Riceatron 11/24/09 5:21 p.m.
     Wow, Thanks!Mercury 11/24/09 5:23 p.m.
     Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Bry 11/24/09 5:27 p.m.
           Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Mercury 11/24/09 5:40 p.m.
     Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Phoenix_9286 11/24/09 6:16 p.m.
     Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Stephen L. (SoundEffect) 11/24/09 8:06 p.m.
     EpicnessGeneral Vagueness 11/24/09 8:07 p.m.
     Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Archilen 11/25/09 12:27 a.m.
           Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Archilen 11/25/09 12:46 a.m.
     Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*elessar787 11/25/09 8:39 a.m.
     Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Archilen 11/25/09 10:01 a.m.
           Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Stephen L. (SoundEffect) 11/25/09 10:48 a.m.
                 Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Archilen 11/25/09 11:00 a.m.
                       Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Stephen L. (SoundEffect) 11/25/09 1:33 p.m.
                             Re: Exploring the geography of ODST *IMGs*Archilen 11/25/09 1:39 p.m.
     Which map/mission is that in ODST? *NM*Omega 11/25/09 10:45 a.m.
     Awesome job! *NM*Blackstar 11/25/09 1:09 p.m.
     I like this, you deserve: cake! *NM*BOLL 11/25/09 2:08 p.m.
           Re: I like this, you deserve: cake!General Vagueness 11/25/09 2:11 p.m.
                 Re: I like this, you deserve: cake!nash--housewares 11/25/09 2:22 p.m.
                       ROFL *NM*Louis Wu 11/25/09 3:41 p.m.
                             Not so fast...nash--housewares 11/25/09 4:38 p.m.
                                   Re: Not so fast...Louis Wu 11/25/09 4:46 p.m.
                                         Re: Not so fast...nash--housewares 11/25/09 5:23 p.m.
                             U laff now, mr! *NM*BOLL 11/26/09 1:51 a.m.
                                   Re: U laff now, mr!General Vagueness 11/26/09 11:13 a.m.
                                         Re: U laff now, mr!General Vagueness 11/27/09 4:09 p.m.
                 BOOOOOOLLLLLLLL *NM*Grey Wolf 11/26/09 9:27 p.m.
                       Re: BOOOOOOLLLLLLLLHawaiian Pig 11/27/09 3:50 p.m.
                             Re: BOOOOOOLLLLLLLLBOLL 11/27/09 4:09 p.m.
                                   I see what you did there! *NM*Vincent 11/27/09 4:20 p.m.
           cake or death? *NM*Miguel Chavez 11/25/09 10:21 p.m.
                 Re: cake or death?Gravemind 11/25/09 11:37 p.m.



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