Archive:Spartan Games - Kenneth Peters interview

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This is a collection of a few questions and answers Kenneth Peters did under the name VoidDancer on the Spartan Games forums prior to the old forums being made defunct.[1][2]



VoidDancer: Just checked the depot and while it could be rescaled in the level itself, the base of the Spire is 232.6 feet in diameter. Just FYI.

VoidDancer: I have done some back of the envelope calculations for UNSC fusion rockets (and thus, some estimates of fusion reactor output). Depending on the specific performance characteristics you think the ships should have the numbers are .... very high :) When you have kilometer-long ships pulling multi-G sustained acceleration the numbers get pretty crazy. We don't have any immediate plans to publish numbers to that level of granularity for various reasons, but do make every effort to be on the plausible end of science fiction when possible, and will even be correcting some numbers that are a bit on the wonky side (lighter-than-air starships, for example) in future works.

VoidDancer: Covenant ships are a tricky beast as their drive systems make heavy use of gravitics and you get into strange stuff like pseudoinertia.

VoidDancer: What the numbers really would be in terms of muzzle energy is a (relatively) trivial problem of determining some plausible propellant energy densities, but the delta between the game and "real world" numbers might look a bit odd to a casual reader. It's not that we don't think about the underlying technical architecture or want the numbers to be plausible, but sometimes the video game is just that and we need to prioritize the feel and excitement more than any numerical accuracy or scientific detail.

Questions and Answers 1[edit]

Khalus: A "few" lore questions for Kenneth Peters regarding Halo Ground Command, either to answer in this thread or take away for another format or ignore. Hopefully they haven't been answered before, I've dug through as many Canon Fodder articles I could find to make sure! These are proper nerd lore questions, be warned!

Khalus: 1. How does the Covenant organize its ground forces below fleets and the ministries? Prior to HGC we knew of Files, Lances and Legions. Now warhosts, hosts, demi-lances, chapters (Zealots) and such factor in. I ask this given the prior shrouded view of the Covenant's military compared to the easier to relate to UNSC's organization.

VoidDancer: 1. This is a bit out of scope for a forum post, but I will see about putting more info in a CF article. One of the issues here is that the Covenant doesn't have strict TO&Es that map well to our (and the UNSCs) tiers. It's actually no accident at all that the terms we use are those applied to less structured armies (e.g. a Covenant lance is functionally more analogous to a lance fournie rather than "squad."). For our purposes a lance is a group of low-tier/caste warriors led by an officer and a demi-lance is not (yes, that does mean the unit of three Ultras you encountered in Halo: Reach during 'Winter Contingency' is technically a demi-lance). A file is a larger 'administrative' grouping of low-tier warriors under the command of an officer. A warhost is analogous to a 'task force' and is not a permanent grouping. Legions are large 'administrative groupings of warriors under a high-tier officer and expected to be able to operate as a combined-arms force. Chapters are groupings of Zealots, each of which has varying interpretations of Covenant religious doctrine.

Khalus: 2. Do battlegroups like Hunting Hosts and such factor into the above organization?

VoidDancer: 2. They are descriptive terms for particular warhosts, some of which have proven themselves useful enough to be adopted by other fleets and legions.

Khalus: 3. Can you elaborate on how these are structured? E.g. a warhost usually consists of a X amount of lances, ranging to about X amount warriors and levies.

VoidDancer: 3. That is not how the Covenant military operates. The Covenant's ability to rapidly redploy using massed dropships--or even conduct direct landings with capital ship grav lifts--give them excellent strategic flexibility, though the Covenant does have issues keeping smaller detachments on-task due to their more devolved command structure.

Khalus: 4. With the above, what might a SDV or CCS be able to carry? (Understandable if that’s a Halo Warfleet spoiler!)

VoidDancer: 4. You can extract some information from Halo: Warfleet, but I am not going into detail on ship's troops (out of scope, wordcount limited). Keep in mind that even a relatively 'tiny' ship like the SDV carries a LOT of stands of infantry at Halo:Ground Command scale!

Khalus: 5. Are warhosts temporary or permanent?

VoidDancer: 5. Temporary, but the Covenant have no issue with using a warhost in an operation until it is completely destroyed.

Khalus: 6. How many vehicles usually constitute a lance?

VoidDancer: 6. Vehicles are not generally organized into lances, but are often deployed in mutually supporting pairs.

Khalus: 7. Can you throw out a few naming convention examples for warhosts and the like? Are there any forces we've encountered you'd like to namedrop (like "In this mission you fought against the warhost of a spectacularly grandiose title"?

VoidDancer: 7. These are evocative of their mission rather than having a naming convention or rule system.

Khalus: 8. Were Rho 'Barutamee's Devoted Sentries a zealot chapter or a smaller force of a parent chapter?

VoidDancer: 8. Many of Rho's troops were zealots (lowercase z), but only a handful were Zealots. Zealot are a breed apart and (almost) exclusively Sangheili, unlike more general roles such as Ultra, in which any caste could aspire to (e.g. Grunt Ultras). Rho and his Zealots were from the same chapter, but were not the entirety of their numbers (they are not Space Marine Chapters).

Khalus: 9. Were the Elite Storm class/role around prior to Halo 4?

VoidDancer: 9. Yes. The peculiarities of Hesduron martial traditions made it far more common in Jul 'Mdama's Covenant forces than was typical.

Khalus: That's all right now, thanks for your time!

Questions and answers 2[edit]

Khalus: First of all, thank you very much I have a couple of clarifications and follow ups to those if you don't mind.

VoidDancer: Terminology is used that maps to English approximations. The Covenant do not use the word "lance" in Sangheili. (Terms like lance, file, and legion were there from the beginning of Halo--heck, before the beginning--and we're not going to alter that.)

Khalus: 1. I look forward to a CF article on this. The information you provided is greatly enlightening, but a longer referable source would be greatly appreciated! Halopedia would need a cleanup of prior misconceptions (or out of date lore) regarding these revelations. Particularly these: ...yeah.

VoidDancer: 1. I don't directly update Halopedia :)

Khalus: 2/7. By that token, are warhosts just referred to as "Barutamee's warhost" or "Barutamee's hunting host" (I couldn't think of another Elite's name) or "Cleansing host of Glorious Intercession" and such? I'm zeroing in on this a bit because UNSC players can identify with their own forces easier by saying "212th ODST battalion", etc.

VoidDancer: 2. Both. Similarly, human military units are often referred to by their nicknames so it's not a completely different ontology.

Khalus: 6. Do these pairings have a name like the file or lance?

VoidDancer: 3. Will probably talk about this subject later, as there is gap between Story Bible and in-game presentation :)

Khalus: 8. To clarify, Devoted Sentries (as it appeared in Halo Fleet Battles) his entire fleet's ground forces or the force of Zealots?

VoidDancer: 4. Devoted Sentries are all of the personnel in his fleet. They had a shared identity and mission. Some fleets are more ad hoc and will not have that common bond.

Khalus: 9. Another clarification, Storm elites fought across the Prophet-led Covenant's military during the war with humanity but was predominantly a Hesduron thing? Thanks again!

VoidDancer: 5. No.