Halo engine (Blam!)

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The Halo engine, colloquially called the Blam! engine by the community, is the proprietary game engine powering Halo. It was developed in-house at Bungie and has undergone significant evolution over the series' expansion. According to a Jason Jones interview, the engine has its roots in Myth:

Halo didn't begin as a strategy game but the engine it uses started out that way. The engine Halo uses began as a next-generation Myth terrain engine, with polygonal units.

By 2001's standards, the engine was fairly innovative and powerful, combining techniques like portal-based occlusion, radiosity, particles, AI and pathfinding, dynamic physics, advanced shaders, and a scripting engine.

Architecture #

For resource management, Halo loads map cache files which contain tags, the fundamental unit of resources.


Other games #

A Stubbs map extracted and re-used in CMT's Project Oddball

The Halo engine was not just used for the Halo series. Bungie co-founder Alex Seropian went on to found Wideload Games and used the engine for Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse. In fact, it is possible to extract tags from Stubbs using Refinery and recompile levels for Halo.

Another lesser-known use was in prototyping Shadowrun gameplay while its own engine was under development.