Halo 5 Dev Hopes to Reduce Spawn Exploits

Plus, Microsoft says the massive-scale Warzone mode opens up a new can of worms as it relates to creating effective spawn points.

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Spawn exploits can be one of the most frustrating parts of an online multiplayer experience. It's good to hear, then, that Microsoft has taken steps with Halo 5: Guardians to ensure that spawning exploits and "sneaky advantages" related to spawning are kept to a minimum with the upcoming Xbox One shooter.

A new blog post on Halo Waypoint speaks to the matter of spawning in Halo 5 in great detail. Multiplayer design director Kevin Franklin reveals that 343 Industries worked with professional Halo players to create a spawning system that is fair, but acknowledges that this may not be a perfect system.

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"In Arena, we've worked very closely with pro team to make sure that we've fixed spawning exploits and sneaky advantages that could ruin your day," Franklin said. "If you find more post-launch, let us know and we'll get on to fixing them.

"If you have a bad one, even one out of 100, please let us know," he added. "I can promise that we care about them and will work to improve the system!"

Franklin went on to say that 343's goal for Halo 5's Arena mode was to provide a "fine-tuned, traditional Halo spawning system" that meets the expectations of regular and esports players alike. In addition, 343 isn't trying to do away with the legitimate strategy of controlling a map and its spawn points.

"To be clear, our goals are not to completely remove map control or spawn control from our competitive players, but to provide an experience that requires a balanced skillset to master, without a single strategy to dominate the enemy," Franklin explained.

Halo 5 changes things up, however, with the introduction of the 12v12 Warzone mode, which Franklin admits creates an "all-new set of spawning challenges" due to the volume and nature of the mode. Warzone lets players choose where they want to respawn, which further adds to the complexity.

"We want to ensure we spawn players in the action, but provide spawns safe enough for players to take a breather in what can often be a chaotic experience, especially late game," he said. "Throughout development, the Warzone team has been very passionate about evolving the spawn system--our design goals were simple, let players not worry about spawning if they don't want to, but provide control if they'd like to spawn close or far from the action, or at/near a specific team base."

According to Halo 5 senior software engineering lead William Archbell, because Warzone maps are so much larger than traditional environments, 343 realized that its fixed-point spawn system "wouldn't cut it."

"To solve that problem, we built a system that generates new dynamic spawn locations at the exact moment a player spawns," he said. "Using a hybrid of fixed locations and dynamic spawn points offers an improved selection of locations in any circumstance. Combining our battle-tested Arena spawning system and hybrid spawn points gave us the brand new 'Bro Spawning' you'll see uniquely when you play Warzone.

"Bro spawning works initially on the macro level," Archbell added. "The first stage is to find groups of players using clustering analysis to understand who is working together as a team. Each set of players is then evaluated to determine if it's suitable for a player to join by looking at a number of factors: confidence level in group directional heading, number of players in the cluster, combat status, and enemy player presence. Once compatible clusters have been identified it becomes possible to start generating spawn locations dynamically around that group."

This blog post goes into greater depth regarding Halo 5's Warzone spawn system.

Halo 5's release date is set for October 27. In other recent news, Microsoft has released the game's stunning opening cinematic and confirmed that its multiplayer mode won't have a voting or veto system.

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