Orbital

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Orbital
Orbital bnet.jpg
Map overview

Game:

Halo 3

Map designation:

War Games Map_Set/: 420-6[1]

Location:

Quito Terminus, Quito Space Tether

Terrain:

Metal human walkways

Gameplay overview

Recommended number of players:

4-12

 
With a lot of situational awareness, and a little luck, hopefully the only thing you will lose is your luggage.

Orbital is one of three maps in the Mythic Map Pack designed for Halo 3.[2] Orbital, along with Assembly and Sandbox, ships with the Limited Edition of Halo Wars. It was released on Xbox LIVE Marketplace with the two other Mythic maps on April 9, 2009.

Setting[edit]

Main article: Quito Space Tether

Orbital takes place inside the docking-station for the Quito Space Tether, a space elevator above South America that transports cargo and people in and out of the Earth's atmosphere easily. The map is the setting of the Epilogue in Halo 3: ODST. The map contains plaques dedicated to Doctors Tobias Fleming Shaw and Wallace Fujikawa, the creators of the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine. Orbital also contains many aesthetic elements, such as windows showing the Earth, electronic devices like display screens, escalators, and even a video phone. Overall the map has a feel of advanced technology.[2]

Design[edit]

It is said to be best for asymmetrical objective games, like Capture the Flag and Assault, but also has some natural deadlocks that makes Slayer interesting and Infection "terrifying". It's essentially two overlapping hallways in horseshoe shaped levels, so each team can see the other one's spawn through a window above or below them, but they are separated. Both bases of the map have operable doors that are important for objective games.[2] It's a two-story map, and one base is located at the end of the second level hallway. The middle of the connecting horseshoes features a chasm which separates both sides, effectively forming a choke point that is crucial to hold.

It was reported in a Bungie Weekly Update that one part of the map has a deadly chasm, which can be easily traversed once it is "unlocked". However, this seems to have changed since that information was released, long before the map was ever shown. Orbital has several such locks and switches "to disable and enable access to various parts of the map". However, the only switches currently found in the map are the two door switches in either base (that only open the doors, and do not close them). Currently, there is no way to open up other sections of the map. Orbital has been described as cleanly beautiful, yet haunting and having signs of abrupt abandonment. The map has two exits out of either base, plus a small maintenance hallway leading to the upper level. This makes defending on CTF interesting.

Weapon placement[edit]

Battle Rifles are common throughout the level with two spawning on the starting bases of each side and another two near the middle of each side. plasma pistols are located on the bottom of the two escalators, Maulers are next to the equipment on the junctions, plasma grenades come in pairs scattered around the map, and a pair of Spikers are found in both hallways which connect the bases to the middle. There are also two plasma rifles located just next to the rocket launcher spawn. The two main power weapons on this map are the sniper rifle (on the lower side of the pit) and a rocket launcher (on the higher side), though it should be noted that both weapons have had their ammo decreased for balance.

Equipment is also found around; a bubble shield, a regenerator, and a power drain are put in strategic locations, with the bubble shield and regenerator spawning next to a Mauler and the power drain opposite the sniper rifle in the same junction.

There are two Mongooses on each base facing the operational doors (only closed in objective games), and a Ghost spawns at the attacking base during asymmetrical gametypes.

Orbital PA announcements[edit]

While playing on Orbital, a female and male voice can be heard every once in a while announcing things over a speaker (much like The Pit and Terminal). Note that these messages will play randomly even if the game is paused in theatre mode. Some of these lines are:

    • "Welcome to the Quito Orbital Elevator. Please refer to video monitors for current information."
    • "Please use caution. Don't fall in open elevator shafts."
    • "Possession of firearms at any orbital facility is strictly prohibited." (Ironic, since all players carry weapons, and weapons are freely available throughout the map).
    • "We advise you to be aware of your surroundings. If you see any suspicious activity or any unattended packaging, please call the Quito Orbital Elevator Security Hotline." (Ironic, since players are mainly concentrated on killing each other).
    • "Do not leave children unattended. Children should be monitored at all times."
    • "Upon request, all passengers are required to present their National Identity Certification papers to Quito Orbital Elevator authority personnel."
    • "Transportation of hazardous materials is strictly prohibited." (Ironic, since all players carry weapons, live ammunition, and explosives).
    • "Please remember to keep your children off the escalators."

Trivia[edit]

Production notes[edit]

  • Orbital, then known as "Moonbase Alpha", was in production as early as October 2007, and was later mentioned again in January 2008.[3][4] At this time, it was said to be something that would appeal to fans of the map Elongation. The map was later teased under the codename "Space Camp" in the 14/02/2008 Bungie Humpday Challenge,[5] before later being confirmed to be the same map as "Moonbase Alpha".[6] More details were later revealed in May 2008 alongside "Purple Reign" and "Smuggler", confirming the map's setting of a UNSC space station.[7] The first screenshot of the map was revealed in November 2008.[8]
  • The male that can be heard over the intercom is Bungie environment artist Chris Carney.
  • The view of Earth on some of the monitors is actually a screenshot from one of the Halo 2 trailers.

Easter eggs[edit]

  • Some of the computer monitors across the map make reference to Cairo Station.
  • Several terminals within Orbital have schedules on them labeled with the names of several notable locations in the Halo series, for example: Charybdis IX and Gilgamesh.
  • The lift at the bottom of the shaft has a total of 7 flashing lights.
  • By the escalator at red base, a newspaper clipping can be found on the floor reading, "Covenant on Earth!", similar to the crumpled newspaper on Longshore.
  • On the various screens around the map there are text boxes containing the standard Lorem Ipsum text.
  • There is a secret room just under and to the left of the rocket spawn.
  • The Orbital Skull can be found on this level.
  • At both entries, there are signs that say "Welcome" written in many languages.

Glitches[edit]

  • Through use of glitches, Orbital offers an opportunity for players to experience direct exposure to space in Halo 3, except for the Valhalla Banshee glitch found only in the Halo 3 Beta.
    • Many players have escaped from Orbital via the windows. Using teleporters, players can find their way to an invisible floor above the map, that allows the player to walk around. The death barriers above the map kill players instantly, but they are easy to avoid once a player determines their locations.

Gallery[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Halo Waypoint: Earth
  2. ^ a b c Game Informer December 2008
  3. ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update : 10/12/07 - My favorites are what I have already nicknamed Jodrell Bank and Moonbase Alpha.
  4. ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update: 1/11/08 - “Moon Base Alpha” – a codename only - is definitely still being worked on. It’s received some new lighting and different switches to enable and disable access to various parts of the map. We’re still playing it pretty often. It is a brutal map to play on, that may appeal to fans of Elongation, but is absolutely NOT a remake.
  5. ^ Bungie.net: Humpday Challenge: Toying With Macfarlane - While it’s not the prettiest map in all of Halo history (seriously, the upcoming map nicknamed Spacecamp very well might be, IMHO)
  6. ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update: 2/15/08 - In this week’s Humpday Challenge we mentioned a map called "Spacecamp" and its aesthetic beauty. Folks saw that and thought we were mentioning a brand new, never-before-talked-about map. We weren’t, the map we called Spacecamp is actually the map we’ve been talking about for a while now: Moonbase Alpha. While there are undoubtedly other maps in production, we didn’t just give away mention of a new one, we’re at least somewhat careful, sometimes. Moonbase Alpha’s lighting, decorators and general aesthetic continues to impress each time a new build pops up on my dev kit. A small garden of Ivy embraces a shrine in memory of the creators of the Shaw Fujikawa warp drive. And there are crates, oh yes, there are handsome crates.
  7. ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update 05/23/08
  8. ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update 11/21/08