glyphstrip FAQ button
Frequently Asked Forum Questions
 Search the HBO News Archives

Any All Exact 
Search the Halo Updates DBs

Halo Halo2 
Search Older Posts on This Forum:
Posts on Current Forum | Archived Posts

Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*
Posted By: Leviathan <>Date: 2/11/12 4:29 a.m.

Part One: Warming Up

An Introduction

Halo: Shield and Sword is a title that I’ve given to my Halo 4 “What If?” project. For every coming Halo game, I’ve always imagined what the game could be like: the story, the characters, the environments, the set pieces – heck, even the musical themes.

I thought I'd put a little more effort into it this time around, because, well... it's fun, and I've gotten the feeling you guys would like to see my doodles. :)

This is nowhere near the ambition of A Fistful of Arrows, nor is it even a comic book, this is a sort of... design document-brainstorm. This first entry will be a little different, but usually Shield and Sword posts will contain a lot of ramblings about where the story could go as I provide character designs, concept art, storyboards, and maps to illustrate my narrative.

Before I get into the campaign proper though, I'm warming up with the menus, and that's what this first entry is all about.

Halo 4’s Core Components

To know what menus to illustrate, I needed to know which menus would be needed for Halo 4. I listed everything out, and not-surprisingly, not much has changed. But I like to keep my thoughts organized in game design, even if it's something everybody already knows. So I created a flow-chart!

(Click image to enlarge)

-I selected a variety of colors to distinguish the menus on this diagram, which correspond to the colors I used in the menu mock-ups. I think after 6 games, most folks might be sick of blue in their menu, so I thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit.

-This diagram would be far more filled-to-the-brim with content, but Shield and Sword focuses on the campaign portion of Halo 4, so that's what I emphasized.

Alright, now that that's taken care of, let's get to it...

The Menus

All of the menus take place on or deal with the ship, Forward Unto Dawn. They show us where we’ve been, and also hints at the coming reveille for the player and Master Chief…

These would all be 3D environments that can be glimpsed from the campaign. In the menus themselves, you’ll only see them from a fixed viewpoint. But there will be machines moving, lights flickering, ambient sounds, and other subtle things to keep your attention while you navigate through the interface.

Main Menu

The mysterious ‘Legendary’ Planet spins on a horizontal (from this viewpoint) axis in a distortion of space. Lights twinkle on the surface, dotted lines connect to other pathways of light, and all the while the planet is swiftly tilting. Is it strange that it’s moving so fast? ... It’s almost unnerving.

The Gregorian chants are missing. The beginning track is a pattern of low notes and one ominous voice singing a hymn so slow and subtle, you can hardly grasp it.

(Click image for 1920x1080 .jpg with no titles)

After a few moments, the title and menu selection (which you scroll through) would fade in.

*Special thanks to Stephen Loftus for the Legendary Planet’s surface texture.


Campaign Menu

We glimpse the Master Chief in his cryo tube, where we last left him in Halo 3. It’s hard to see him, but you can just make him out through the ice. Steam is hissing around the contour of the tube’s hatch, as it prepares to awaken John.

(Click image for 1920x1080 .jpg version)

And after some time, Cortana makes an appearance. You can’t see much, but she’s frowning… Perhaps some red ‘rampant’ lines make their way across her code.


Matchmaking Menu

The Matchmaking Menu is a little different from the rest of the menus, simply because almost everyone, even the more campaign-interested, will be staring at this screen a lot while they wait to be match-made.

I’ve always personally gotten pretty bored with the MM menu in the past, so it’s time to put some extra work into this one so it’s still interesting a year down the road!

(Click image for 1920x1080 version)

So. You get a glimpse at Cortana’s thoughts. In the example above, we see her designs for modifying and upgrading Master Chief’s armor. Little comments appear near the relevant areas explaining some of the augmentations. It’s a 3D model too, so you can rotate it left or right after you begin searching for a game.

As you progress through the campaign, more models are unlocked, like the Forward Unto Dawn, Sentinels, Cortana herself, and other characters, ships, vehicles, and weapons you may encounter. Each model comes with its own set of comments revealing interesting facts about it. Basically, Stephen Loftus would love this.


Versus Menu

A bit more straightforward like the Campaign Menu, we see Master Chief’s Mark VI armor as Cortana runs a diagnostic on it. Machine arms from FUD’s vehicle depot have been requisitioned to make adjustments on the MJLONIR armor (ideas that Cortana has come up with during the slow drift).

(Click image for 1920x1080 .jpg)


Firefight Menu

Here we would see more machine arms gathering and stockpiling various weapons that were aboard the Chief’s half of the ship. Perhaps they remove the magazines and check the rifles, or possibly even modify the guns with more of ‘Cortana’s improvements’.

Oh, and I thought it would be nifty if you press right on a player in your party’s name, then the player list would slide left and reveal their Spartan model and some basic stats, sort of like in Reach.

(Click image for 1920x1080 .jpg)

*Background image uses a screenshot of Halo 3: Arm’s Race live-action short.


Forge Menu

What’s an AI going to do with 10 years of boredom? Scrap every unnecessary piece of metal and equipment from the ship and use such resources, combined with her own ingenuity, to upgrade all of Master Chief’s toys, and prepare him for his coming journey...

(Click image for 1920x1080 .jpg)

Here we see a Warthog in the vehicle depot being worked on. Sparks fly and bounce off the ground; the machines twirl and spin to complete their tasks; the sounds of a racetrack pit-stop echo across the garage.


Theater Menu

This is sort-of a variation on the Matchmaking Menu. We get a close-up shot of one of the AI holographic projectors, which cycles through the 3D models you’ve unlocked. The difference between this menu and the MM menu is that these are fully rendered and will perform one of their animations (if a character model), but do not show any of Cortana's comments, and cannot be rotated.

(Click image for 1920x1080 .jpg)

The default model is Cortana though, with her hands behind her back, and her face looking downwards. Something is coming, and she might just have an idea what...

And those are the menus! Of course the settings menu has its own pop-up interface, but being very similar to Reach’s, doesn’t require any special art or 3D environments.

Next Time…

We dive into the heart of what Shield and Sword’s all about, the walkthrough of the campaign levels! The Howling Dark, Shield World, Hub Station 42, Signal to Noise, The Monitor, The Reconciled, UNSC... Well, I'll probably only get through those first two or three in the next post. :)

Hope you enjoyed!


Message Index


Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*Leviathan 2/11/12 4:29 a.m.
     Whah! Crazy cool man. *NM*Sqorck 2/11/12 4:55 a.m.
     Looks pretty cool. *NM*Gravemind 2/11/12 5:31 a.m.
     Still reading, minor typo in matchmaking (trhuster *NM*scarab 2/11/12 5:31 a.m.
           And "Plalist." *NM*Gravemind 2/11/12 5:41 a.m.
           Yep. Caught it last night...Leviathan 2/11/12 12:55 p.m.
           And Scale Master *NM* *NM*ZackDark 2/11/12 1:00 p.m.
                 Hmm? *NM*Leviathan 2/11/12 1:28 p.m.
                 Re: And Scale MasterStephen L. (SoundEffect) 2/11/12 1:57 p.m.
           Typos fixed. *NM*Leviathan 2/11/12 7:44 p.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*scarab 2/11/12 6:00 a.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*Stephen L. (SoundEffect) 2/11/12 9:14 a.m.
           Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*GrimBrother One 2/11/12 9:19 a.m.
                 Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*SonofMacPhisto 2/11/12 11:48 a.m.
                 Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*Leviathan 2/11/12 1:41 p.m.
     Moving JPGs? SORCERY AND SHENANIGANS!MoltenSlowa 2/11/12 11:23 a.m.
     Amazing!Hyokin 2/11/12 12:21 p.m.
           Re: Amazing!Leviathan 2/11/12 1:39 p.m.
     I don't think you should do this.General Vagueness 2/11/12 12:21 p.m.
           Re: I don't think you should do this.Stephen L. (SoundEffect) 2/11/12 12:36 p.m.
                 Re: I don't think you should do this.General Vagueness 2/11/12 1:03 p.m.
                       Re: I don't think you should do this.ZackDark 2/11/12 1:05 p.m.
                             Re: I don't think you should do this.General Vagueness 2/11/12 1:12 p.m.
                                   Re: I don't think you should do this.Kermit 2/11/12 1:23 p.m.
                                   Re: I don't think you should do this.Leviathan 2/11/12 1:26 p.m.
                                   What's going on!?uberfoop 2/11/12 1:27 p.m.
                                         Re: What's going on!?General Vagueness 2/11/12 4:40 p.m.
                                               Re: What's going on!?Leviathan 2/11/12 4:58 p.m.
                                                     Re: What's going on!?General Vagueness 2/11/12 6:34 p.m.
                                                           This I agree with.Hyokin 2/11/12 6:57 p.m.
                                                                 Re: This I agree with.Hedgemony 2/12/12 12:26 a.m.
                                                                       Re: This I agree with.padraig08 2/12/12 12:44 a.m.
                                                                       Re: This I agree with.Hyokin 2/12/12 11:24 a.m.
                       I have a little more faith in 343 than that.padraig08 2/12/12 12:39 a.m.
           Uhhh, okay...Leviathan 2/11/12 1:18 p.m.
                 Re: Uhhh, okay...Stephen L. (SoundEffect) 2/11/12 2:01 p.m.
           Re: I don't think you should do this.Hyokin 2/11/12 1:36 p.m.
                 Re: I don't think you should do this.General Vagueness 2/11/12 4:50 p.m.
                       Re: I don't think you should do this.Hyokin 2/11/12 5:08 p.m.
           Legal status of fan fictionRC Master 2/11/12 1:42 p.m.
                 OMG, should have used preview! *NM* *NM*RC Master 2/11/12 1:43 p.m.
           Re: I don't think you should do this.padraig08 2/12/12 12:26 a.m.
                 +eleventybillion *NM*JDQuackers 2/13/12 10:06 a.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*pete_the_duck 2/11/12 12:44 p.m.
           HahaLeviathan 2/11/12 1:34 p.m.
     Very much enjoyed *NM*Beckx 2/11/12 1:01 p.m.
     You're crazy and I know itZackDark 2/11/12 1:03 p.m.
     Please hire this man! *NM*Kermit 2/11/12 1:25 p.m.
           Re: Please hire this man! ( I second this!) *NM* *NM*The Woaf 2/11/12 1:32 p.m.
                 I third this! (wait... can I do that?) *NM*Leviathan 2/11/12 1:40 p.m.
                       Re: I third this! (wait... can I do that?)Stephen L. (SoundEffect) 2/11/12 2:03 p.m.
                             I fifth this!!! *NM*Lawnmower172 2/11/12 3:56 p.m.
                                   There's a petition somewhere that says thispadraig08 2/12/12 12:46 a.m.
                                         Re: There's a petition somewhere that says thisHotIcePhoenix 2/12/12 12:19 p.m.
           Hired!The Lionheart 2/16/12 12:28 a.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*VAVA Mk2 2/11/12 6:41 p.m.
           Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*MoltenSlowa 2/11/12 9:44 p.m.
     OMG I just got itpadraig08 2/12/12 12:48 a.m.
     My Levi-copter goes "WINWINWINWINWINWIN"The Lionheart 2/12/12 2:51 a.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*stabbim 2/13/12 3:54 p.m.
           Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*Leviathan 2/13/12 5:00 p.m.
     Re: Shield and Sword - Part One *IMGs*Joony Joon 2/13/12 6:33 p.m.

contact us

The HBO Forum Archive is maintained with WebBBS 4.33.