LEGO Halo 3 Foundry Forge Kit (LH3FFK)

Ok, I've finally made enough progress on this to document it. I've used LEGO bricks to create my Lego Halo 3 Foundry Forge Kit. (I special ordered the bricks from LEGO's Pick-a-Brick site, and it wasn't cheap). Now I have a kit I can use to model Halo 3 levels easier than using Forge, which I can then model in Forge later.

New entries are going at the top, so be sure to continue to the end for the early pictures.

Tue May 6 18:10:06 EDT 2008

There were two blog entries that pointed at this page over the past few weeks:
The latter had asked me to give them three paragraphs of text for the blog entry. Since I elaborated more in those three paragraphs than on this entire page, I figured I might as well include the text here:

"Halo 3 has a feature that lets you modify existing maps, but it's limited in that it only lets you place/move/remove objects - you can't change the terrain. That limitation changed slightly when Bungie gave us the Halo 3 map "Foundry", a large warehouse where virtually every object in the room is removable, and the terrain is basically a big empty box. With Foundry, they essentially threw down the gauntlet and said "Here's a blank slate - go have fun and create something cool". Many of us have risen to the occasion, pouring hours upon hours into the art of placing virtual shipping containers, bridges, staircases, crates, and wire fences in that big empty box, all to create that one perfect sandbox to play in.

One day, while talking about some map ideas with my friend Aron at work, we found ourselves drawing whiteboard illustrations just to convey the ideas that were coming to mind. Someone had already created a PDF file showing a top-down view of the empty warehouse (and a bunch of paper cutouts of containers that were to scale), but that crude tool only allowed you to create these very two-dimensional maps, hugging the ground. Looking at the Lego constructions on my desk, Aron said what I'd already been thinking for a while - someone should do this with Lego bricks. A few days later I had the entire design modeled in Lego Digital Designer - my Lego Halo 3 Foundry Forge Kit (LH3FFK). Before clicking the check-price button to see how much the actual pieces would cost, I wondered to myself how much I could stomach.. I imagined the best case scenario: that 20 years from now I'd fondly remember that cool Halo Lego map thing I did back in '08, that I'd create a bunch of incredible maps we play every Thursday, that I'd have fun building and using it, and that at least a few people said they thought it was cool. How much would I pay for that? I thought, maaaaybe, at the most, umm.. ehh.. $300? I cringed at the amount, amazed that I'd let myself go that high. I clicked the button and saw $380. Doh!

After one initial scaled-down purchase ($80), a cost saving trip to the local Lego store, some more self convincing, a final big purchase from Lego's Pick-a-Brick website, and more than 30 days of waiting for overseas shipping, I now have my kit. It took two days to sort out all of the Lego pieces and build the LH3FFK pieces. It's incredibly satisfying designing levels by hand; Forge is great (and also satisfying), but actually holding the blocks and manipulating them just feels different. My favorite part about this whole exercise? When I was a kid, every time I built a Lego building or maze, I'd think "Man, I wish we could shrink ourselves down to that size and run around in there, climb this, jump off of that, and crawl through this". Now, I can! Well worth the price of ten pounds of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.

Now if only I could keep my daughters from turning my Big Arena map into a Lego tea party."

Mon Apr 28 19:57:11 EDT 2008

New pictures! This time, I took one of the maps I'd already made in Halo's Forge tool, and modeled it after the fact with the lh3ffk. The map is called Big Arena, and if you click that link it will let you download the map to your Xbox 360 so you can play it yourself.

Here are some side-by-side images.. Click the images for high-res versions (well worth it - much clearer than the thumbnails):

Big Arena - The Top
Top of Big Arena - side-by-side Halo / Lego comparison

Big Arena - The Underside (you can't get here in the game)
Underside of Big Arena - side-by-side Halo / Lego comparison

Big Arena - Wire-spool corner
Wire-spool corner of Big Arena - side-by-side Halo/Lego comparison

That was the best I could do with the wire-spool corner - I had to remove one of the 1x1 containers just to get the shot.. Part of the problem is that it models things so well that you can't even see the insides! I need to get one of those tiny cameras on a bendable wire. Then again, maybe I don't. :)

One note of interest - As you can see, almost every item im Big Arena had to float just so I had enough pieces to complete the map. That made this map a great worst-case test for me as to how well the LH3FFK would work with floating pieces. I grabbed a cup or two worth of transparent 1x1 plates to make the supports.

I even needed to make two new variants of my Fence Box.. My original Fence Box has the open side on top. Here, I had a case (that can be seen in the Underside picture above) where a fence box not only needed to rest on its side, but I needed to use it for support for invisible-floating-pillars for the containers above it. So I made a resting-on-its-side-yet-having-studs-on-top variant. I also had cases down below (visible in the floor in the Wire Spool room) where I needed Fence Boxes with the bottom side facing down, but again such that I could still build on top of it. I'll incorporate the few extra parts I needed into the next revision of the kit. I'm still working on getting a full model available for anyone who wants to do this themselves (and who's either alone or has a very, very understanding significant other). :)

Thu Apr 17 18:13:53 EDT 2008

Here are a few more pics: (click for larger version)

brickbag pic 1 brickbag pic 2 building the kit pic 1 building the kit pic 2

The Brick Bag shown in the first pic is the second part of the order. That bag was around $260 I think, and my first bag was somewhere around $80. You can order specific brick amounts like that at the LEGO Factory Pick A Brick page. You can also download the very-cool (and yet free-as-in-cost) LEGO Digital Designer application for Windows or Mac OS X (and the Windows version works fine under Linux using Wine).. That lets you build anything online, order the parts to be mailed to your house later, and they'll even provide assembly instructions and a box with a picture of your completed order. For my kit, however, I just went with the Pick-A-Brick page.

Thu Apr 17 13:43:34 EDT 2008

First, here's the completed kit:
Completed Kit

Here are two of each item, laid out (I'd actually taken this next picture far earlier, as initially I was only able to convince myself to purchase enough bricks for two of each item, until I was satisfied with the design):
Two of each

Here's the first map I built out of Legos:
first map

And here are some comparison shots of the Lego model and the resulting Halo 3 Map I made with it:

Jeff & Laurie's Page