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Archive for June 24th, 2009


Tim “Timotron” Deen reveals (nearly) final patch list for Halo Wars


Tim Deen has updated his feedback thread on with the soon to be final patch notes. The title update is now in its final changes of testing and unless there are any sudden imbalances to be found you can take the notes below as pretty much being the final patch notes. Discussion on these should be directed to this thread where Robot will be looking over for feedback. The patch notes follows:

*** Note: Updated with final patch notes for the balance changes that I am sending in for final function/ bug testing ***

Balance changes:: 

1.  Gauss warthog gauss cannon damage bonus against units with heavy armor (Scorpions, Wraiths, Scarabs, Locusts) reduced so that tanks will stay as a viable option to counter warthogs.  

Final:: Gauss damage with a 0.6 modifier (down from 0.8), which is a 50.0% damage boost instead of a 100% damage boost against tanks over earlier warthogs.


2.  Warthog build time slightly increased to restrict how fast players can mass and replace warthogs during the game.

Final:: Warthogs will take 3 additional seconds to the build (25 seconds).


3.  Anders bonus to tech build rate reduced to further balance the leader. 

Final:: Anders research bonus changed to be 75% of the base time to research techs instead of the previous 50%.  (the cost reduction remains at 50%)  


4.  Base turrets attack and health boosted slightly to increase turret viability in early and late game.

Final:: We finalized on a 5% boost to base turret health and damage after extensive testing we feel that a small buff was warranted but that overall the turrets can function just fine in the early game but the player has to choose to use them and sacrifice some supplies.


5.  Elephant health increased to improve survivability and viability as a unit.

Final:: Elephants gain a 20% boost to health, which when combined with the infantry grenade buff works out rather well.


6.  Grenade/ Plasma grenade / RPG damage against medium armor (warthogs, ghosts, choppers, wolverines and cobras) increased to both better balance marines/ grunts against warthogs and to improve marines overall against players who try to turtle with wolverines and cobras.

Final:: Grenades gains 25% additonal damage against medium armor ground vehicles.


7.  Recycle basic cost return fixed to be 50% for constructed buildings.  (While a technically a bug, this directly impacts many slightly exploitive strategies)


*** Other items we have investigated internally ***

8. Investigated changes to the Arbiter rage power for heal and strength, but with internal data and looking closely at what we had time to do for the upcoming title update, we have decided the data did not warrent a change to the Arbiter at this time.

9. Investigated mainline infantry base damage against air but looking at the numbers and the data from games played, we feel that the infantry are within bounds for their role at this time.

10. Investigating reports of shield generator exploit that causes shields covenant base shields to re-raise during combat, we have a repro (thanks to those that sent in the repro steps) and we are looking at a fix now to hopefully include in the title update.  

11. As I have noted before the reinforcement exploit with cutter MAC blast is fixed in this title update.

*** One additonal change which impacts balance ***

12. *new*  Locked down bases when unlocked will now release units inside very quickly, which means that when under attack a player can now build a fighting force while locked down and then release them all at once instead of having them destroyed peacemeal.  Fighting off a rush or hiding what you a building against scouts is now a viable choice for both the UNSC and the Covenant.


note: there are other bug fixes in the title update as well but those will be covered when we wrap up the title update and write the final patch notes. 


Halo Wars artists blog – how to make Halo look like Halo… without Bungie!


Paul Slusser talks today about how the artists at Ensemble tackled the prospect of creating art for an existing IP. The blog notes that it was not a simple copy and paste from Bungies art files and that Ensemble had to put alot of work in from scratch designing art models for units and buildings. A good read, you can find an extract and link to the blog below:

First thing we always do is start gathering as much reference material as we can find; downloading screenshots from the internet, getting marketing material from Microsoft, and the most obvious one, asking Bungie for all their art files. That last one seems like a no brainer right? After all we are both part of Microsoft and they own everything, right? Nope. As it turns out it’s really hard to get in contact with someone at another studio to provide assistance, when that company was behind schedule on their latest installment of Halo AND we had no idea about the negotiations they were having with Microsoft about becoming an independent studio again. It didn’t take long to realize that our concept department would be on their own in figuring out this art style.

The UNSC and Forerunner had to maintain the same geometry angles throughout their structures and vehicles while the Covenant had to maintain the same curvy organic look in theirs. The UNSC vehicles and Spartan armor all had a similar green metallic look that we tried to emulate with our materials. Using a similar Army green with a broad, gold, specular highlight worked really well for our camera distance and sun angle.