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Archive for July, 2009


Halo Wars bucket changes and Leader powers part 2


Great news for all the Reinforcements fans! Robot Entertainment has changed the setup of the Halo Wars buckets so that Tug of War Team 3v3 and Keep Away team 2v2 are no longer available. These have been replaced by the ever popular reinforcements in 1v1 and 3v3 modes along with the existing 2v2. Anyone with Strategic Options DLC can enjoy the most popular game type of the pack, Reinforcements on Halo Wars right now! I’ll see you there later tonight!

In other news Marcin Syzmanski has completed part 2 of his very interesting blog about leader powers in Halo Wars. In this part he discusses the MAC Blast (my favourite), the complexity of the transport power and some closing thoughts about his role at Ensemble Studios and the implementation of leader powers as a whole. Recommended read with two more parts to come!

One major element that we wanted to add to the leader powers was some sort of arcade-style timing. We actually brainstormed some cool minigames, unique to each power, that would allow a skilled player to add a small boost to each power. For example, we prototyped a “golf swing meter” input method for MAC Blast that allowed an expert player to crank out a perfectly timed series of max-quality shots. Unfortunately, the realities of scheduling meant that we had to cut this feature – implementing the full array of minigames, in a polished and fun way, would simply have taken too much time.


Halo Wars DLC 2 “Historic Battles” – Out NOW!


If you haven’t already, get yourself on Xbox Live via your console or online at 
and download the brand new Map Pack DLC titled “Historic Battles” from Robot Entertainment. The map pack includes 2x 1v1 maps, a 2v2 and a 3v3 titled as follows:

  • Blood River
  • Barrens
  • Memorial Basin
  • Glacial Ravine

Each of these maps are excellent – trust me, ive played them! My personal favourite is Blood River. I think its the most “different” map of the pack. The distance between bases means you have to focus on spreading units out for defence.

Glacial Ravine is very similar to Frozen Valley in terms of the assets it uses but never fear! The huge mountains which split the map up leave a small gap in the middle making it difficult to use vehicles and large scale infantry. This is the map where we are going to see huge air battles. Its going to be interesting!

Memorial Basin is going to be an awesome map to show off the skills of infantry units with lots of cover and garrisons to store your Marines in.

Of course its not just maps included in the pack, theres also four new achievements:

• Tour Coming Through: Hot drop 50 squads to your Covenant Leader in a single game on Memorial Basin (30 points)
• Never Leave a Man Behind: Finish a game with 5000 net resources contributed to your teammates on Memorial Basin (15 points)
• Drain Cleaner: Kill 20 enemy squads with a continuous Covenant Leader Power on Memorial Basin (30 points)
• Killjoy: Disrupt 5 active Leader Powers in a single game on Blood River (25 points

My recommendation? Download immediately! The pack is well worth the 800 points and should keep you well entertained. See you on Xbox Live!!

Dont forget to discuss the DLC on the official forums!


Halo Wars title update 3 has been released!


Players who are signed into Xbox Live when loading Halo Wars today would have seen a message to update the game to the latest version. The title update adds banalce changes, bug fixes and groud work for the upcoming DLC Map Pack.

In case you have forgotten here are the patch notes for this title update:

Balance Changes:
– UNSC Warthogs Gauss cannon damage against tanks and other heavily armored vehicles reduced by 25%
-UNSC Warthogs build time increased by 3 seconds to 25 seconds
– Anders research time bonus decreased to 25% from 50%. Her Research cost bonus remains unchanged at 50%
-Covenant and UNSC turrets have 5% increased health and 5% increased damage
-UNSC Elephants have a 20% more health
-Grenade damage type now has 25% additonal damage against Warthogs and other medium armor ground vehicles.
-Recycle basic cost return fixed to be 50% for constructed buildings.
– 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 much more quickly than before
– UNSC Leader powers disabled at the start of Reinforcement Matches
-Players no longer receive points for team killing.
-Self Destructing/Recycling buildings now gives points to opponents

Bug Fixes:
-Players should now find it much easier to play System Link games
-Fixed Covenant Shield Generator Exploit
-Invisible Units should now have invisible health bars
-Players will no longer be able to scout opposing bases by using the area-select tool


Fancy creating your own Halo Wars music?


Stephen Rippy has put together a selection of “stem files” which are the break up of all the parts which make a Halo Wars music file. So for example the “Best guess at best” music is made up of “pads”, “leads”, “drums” , “base” and “effects” for example. You can then put these stems into your favourite audio editing program and get mixing!

Once your done i’m sure Stephen would like to hear! Drop him a line at his website with your creations! If you want to publish your files on the web then let me know and i’ll host them for you here. You can contact me on

Heres the link to get started:

Source: The Bonfire Studios blogs!

Have fun!


Lego Pottinger blog part 3 (of 4!)

Robot Blogs 

I think I have underestimated just how much work went into creating the Lego Robot logo. We are talking lots and lots of hours and struggle! Find out just how tricky it really is in part 3 of Daves blog!

Some snaps..




But the fun doesn’t stop there! Mr BigDog Dave Pottinger came up with the in-genius idea of theming each of the Robot letters – check out this Batman theme:


I know I published the final logo (and perhaps, maybe shouldn’t have, whoops!) but you cant zoom in and see the themes.. so for that you’ll have to tune into part 4 of Daves blog!

Dont forget to comment on the Robot website!


Halo Wars leader powers detailed (part 1)


Marcin Szymanski kicks off part one of a multiple part developers blog discussing the leader power designs in Halo Wars. The developers blogs contains some never seen before screenshots of the development along with some technical ins and outs about the design.

“We initially prototyped most of the powers in Halo Wars’ strong visual scripting system. This allowed us to get the powers up and running very quickly. It also helped us quickly iterate on the gameplay, because designers could jump right into script code to modify each power.

There were some areas, however, where the scripting system was slowing us down. It didn’t allow for very precise control over power execution, it didn’t support cool programmatic effects, and it was very difficult to debug. Being the greedy developers that we are, we decided that we wanted more! We could have retrofitted the scripting system to support the needed functionality, but it became clear that the right direction was to move everything into native C++ code. ”

Here is an example of the early Prophet of Regret leader power:


Read all about it on the Halo Wars website!


Halo Wars DLC 2 “Historic Battles” map pack release date set!


Here it is folks! Robot Entertainment have announced what all the Halo Wars fans have been waiting for since well.. the last DLC! “Historic Battles” is the name of the second DLC and this time we have a bunch of new maps as detailed below. Theres 2x 1v1, 1x 2v2 and 1x 3v3 maps along with 4 new achievements worth 100 gamerscore. The map pack costs a reasonable 800 points. Be ready to download on July 21st!

And here they are! :

Glacial Ravine (3v3)

Glacial Ravine

Memorial Basin (2v2)

memorial basin

Blood River (1v1)


Barrens (1v1)


The press release from follows:

You think you know every nook and cranny of every “Halo Wars” map? If you need to stretch out your UNSC or Covenant legs, mobilize your troops and report for duty at your next assignment in “Halo Wars,” the best selling real-time strategy game on any current generation console. Microsoft and Robot Entertainment expand the field of engagement with four new multiplayer Skirmish maps that highlight key turning points in the UNSC/Covenant war. Take on ruthless A.I. or live opponents in these brand new battlefields with the “Historic Battles” Game Add-on Pack, available on July 21 for 800 MS Points in all Xbox LIVE enabled regions.

“Historic Battles” expands the universe for “Halo Wars” fans with four new multiplayer maps with varied terrains for players to find their competitive edge by using unique features of each map. The four new maps include:

• Barrens (1v1 Map): Difficult terrain channels units into killing zones. The side that controls the Forerunner artifacts will have the advantage.
• Blood River (1v1 Map): Secure base locations on nearby cliffs overlook this naturally red-tinged river. The soldiers that fought over its two narrow crossings gave the river its name, which has since taken on a greater meaning.
• Glacial Ravine (3v3 Map): A snow-topped mountain range forms a natural barrier that cuts this region in half. Control of the two energy walls at the narrow central pass often determines the outcome of the battle, though clever use of the Sentinel Factories may play a role as well.
• Memorial Basin (2v2 Map): The high ground in the middle offers good cover for infantry, while the generally open terrain transforms organized battle plans into bloodbaths.

“Historic Battles” also adds four new Achievements worth a total of 100 points:

• Tour Coming Through: Hot drop 50 squads to your Covenant Leader in a single game on Memorial Basin (30 points)
• Never Leave a Man Behind: Finish a game with 5000 net resources contributed to your teammates on Memorial Basin (15 points)
• Drain Cleaner: Kill 20 enemy squads with a continuous Covenant Leader Power on Memorial Basin (30 points)
• Killjoy: Disrupt 5 active Leader Powers in a single game on Blood River (25 points)

“Halo Wars” is rated T for Teen by the ESRB and 16+ PEGI and is available worldwide. For more information including screenshots from the “Historic Battle” Game Add-on, visit or

I am very looking forward to playing these maps on Xbox Live! See you on July 21st!


Aloysius sheds light on the OOS / Maphack bans


Just in case you dont want to read through all the threads taking place on Age Community ive included below some extracts from Robot Entertainment Community Manager “Aloysius”. This should help clear up the Robot position on these bans and demonstrates that accounts do get re-evaluated when an appeal is requested and that programmers have indeed looked at the code behind hack detection. Here goes – (and yes, ive added some emphasis on key points)

  • We do not ban random people, we don’t just draw names out of a hat and ban people.  No one has ever been banned because we didn’t like them or “just because,” or anything like that.
  • We examine cheating reports and our server logs, and when an account has been using out of sync and map hacks, we take action against that account.  If you get out of syncs all the time when playing multiplayer, try reinstalling the game, and checking with your ISP to ensure that your connection is working properly.
  • We examine every account individually for OOS and Map hacking, and examine claims of innocence when the case warrants.  We have never reversed a ban for OOS / Map Hacking.  After this recent wave of OOS / Map Hacking Bans, the programmers who wrote the tools re-examined the code and ran tests and determined that the bans were valid.
  • We cannot release source code, our diagnostic processes, give access to our back-end servers, release private customer data or anything else that would compromise the integrity of our online environment as well as satisfy our legal protection.  We can’t really be “transparent” in our security practices so that we can stay one step ahead of the hackers.
  •  We already permaban the guilty, after investigation.
  •  We do not re-issue accounts for the people banned. We encourage everyone to maintain secure passwords and never give them out to anyone else, ever, under any circumstance.  ESO will never ask you for your password.
  • We can tell the difference between a normal OOS and one being caused by a hacking tool.
  • Normal OOSs can happen for a wide variety of reasons, bad internet connections, bad installs, bad other software, virus scanners kicking in during a game, etc.  We even had a case where every 600 seconds (10 minutes), someone would go OOS no matter what, 100% of the time.  They eventually got it fixed by calling their ISP.  They were not banned, even though they OOS’d in dozens of games.

All of this seems very satisfactory to me. Players should be reminded that the tools used to identify cheaters at Robot Entertainment are the same as those used at Ensemble Studios. For more information keep track of the discussion at AgeCommunity:


More Lego, more pictures and more Halo Wars map information!


Big update today from Robot Entertainment. Firstly the adventure continues in Dave Pottingers quest to install a Robot Entertainment logo made out of Lego. Its actually a very tricky thing to do.. now with the boards joined together the tricky task of getting all the lego pieces on to the board are soon to follow. Keep an eye on updates and see how its panning out over on the Robot Blogs.

Heres how its been left in this update:


But thats not all… theres a few new Robot photos featuring on the site one of which shows the construction of the “Biergarten” probably where alot of Robot folk spend thier time!! :


You can find the rest of the pictures at:


And also! Theres a new Halo Wars map update where Halo Wars map designer Justin Rouse talks about his top tips on the 1v1 map “Release”. Here’s a brief extract and link:

“Release is the only map where you have a little bit of “Control” over the flood in Halo Wars. You quickly learn that controlling the Consoles that release the flood is key to victory but many players make the mistake of using the flood as a solitary attack strategy.”

Check it out.

Theres a good few links on this post for fans to check out- blogs, photos, maps. I will sign off for now and probably play a game of Halo Wars whilst you chew through these updates!       – Until the next time!