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Posts tagged ‘Aloysius’

13
Jul

Aloysius sheds light on the OOS / Maphack bans

 art_houseburning1

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:

http://forum.agecommunity.com/forums/3/826478/ShowThread.aspx

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9
Jul

Banned from ESO? Here’s what you should do…

art_houseburning1

I have been reading the AgeComm forums and have had some emails from the community site and this blog with regards to possible “unjust” banning from the ESO service. Whilst I understand people feel strongly that they are innocent my understanding is that the tools used to collect data about ESO accounts are the same tools used by Ensemble since ESO’s introduction. With a 4 year record the ESO system is probably robust and correct in its reporting. However, if you have been banned and want to appeal heres some top tips…

  1. Ask yourself “why have I been banned”? Before asking Robot try asking yourself this question – have you noticed any unusual activity have you given out any login details? If you havnt cheated it doesnt mean someone else hasnt compromised your account and cheated under your ESO ID.
  2. Next stop- check your emails. You should receive an email from Age3support advising you that you have been banned, the reason why and the type of ban (temporary, permanent). Study the email carefully and make sure that you didnt do what the stats reported. Remember, Robot only ban on cumulative reports of cheating. You must understand that the results are probably correct and that there is a good possibility your account may have been compromised.
  3. Email back. Be sure to include your name, email, CD key and PID key (found in the “About” screen in game). Robot will investigate your query and will get back to you with more details. Remember to be polite and write in plain English.. I would advise against txt tlk. Robot should be able to clear up any reason why you have been banned and if there has been a mistake, will get you back online.
  4. Still un-happy? – Post in the forums. The Age Community is a great place to ask for help and members may be able to help find you the root cause of the ban. Never under estimate the community.
  5. Last resort.. If you feel you have been treated unfairly you can raise a formal complaint with Robot at the studios main contact email address (see thier website).

I hope these tips help people understand how they can go about getting information about why they may have been banned. As a reminder.. make sure that you dont:

  • Cheat on the ESO service using any hack tools or modified game files
  • Dont give out ANY of your account details.

Feel free to get in contact with me at dean@remember-ensemblestudios.com if you are still flummoxed on what to do. Or you can find me and lots more helpful community members at www.agecommunity.com. For those that have spoken or wish to get in contact with me remember that I am not an employee of Robot Entertainment and cannot speak on their behalf. This blog is run by an individual and any advice on this site or through my email is personal advice completely un-affiliated with Robot.

Not forgetting the Halo Wars readers..

As a side note, for Halo Wars readers.. DLC 2 is coming soon! Aloysius has teased it may be sooner than you think!

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7
Jul

Final Title Update 3 patch notes available for Halo Wars

halowars

Well here they are folks! Pretty much very similar to the proposed patch notes posted earlier.. some highlights are:

  • Team killing will no longer give points (hooray!)
  • Self Destructing buildings will give opponents points (similar to Age of Empires)
  • Warthog build time increased

And here’s the rest:

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

Discussion is rampant on the HaloWars.com forums!

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30
Jun

Bungie CEO: “Ensemble didn’t build a game with a community that carried it”

halo-wars-1

Some interesting remarks from Harold Ryan the CEO of Bungie who in an interview with Brier Dudley at the Seattle times said:

Q: It’s interesting how you’re mentioning Bungie like that. Are you now trying to raise the profile of the studio? Is this a step toward additional games beyond Halo and saying hey, we’re not just ‘Halo, we’re Bungie’?

A: Yeah, definitely. When you go back to the divestiture from Microsoft, that was when we started paying more attention to the Bungie brand. It means something – there’s now an existing game, Halo Wars, that wasn’t built by Bungie. There’s a big difference in the success – in sales, in the review numbers of the title. The Ensemble guys (who made Halo Wars) are great guys, they did a great job with what they did, but I don’t think they made a Bungie game. They didn’t build a game with a community that carried it.

It seems somewhat a harsh comment seeing as the Halo Wars community website has been online long before the titles launch and was lead by a fantastic community team at Ensemble Studios. One might like to point out that the community was damaged due to the Microsoft decision to close the studio. Obviously, any community will suffer when a company is closed. Today the community is lead by a sole community manager, Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley and Robot Entertainment has recently held a developers play night with the fans and a feedback thread asking for fan feedback on Title Update 3 fixes.

 Seattle Times article:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/2009397250_bungie_chief_on_odst_halo_4_na.html

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19
Jun

Continuing with the Halo Wars map blogs – “Docks” is added today

halowars

Today’s map blog update with the developers is the 2v2 map “Docks”. This time skirmish map designer Justin Rouse and Community Manager Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley take us through thier tips and experiences. The excerpt and link to the blog can be found below:

Because of the choke point and decent travel time from one side to the other early in the game, it’s pretty safe too boom up. This is why I really like using Cutter and elephant/marine rushing on this map. If I can setup my Elephant near the enemy bases and get it pumping I can slow down their boom sometimes, even keeping them off the open base location near their start area while my partner boom/techs freely.

Docks 2v2 (HaloWars.com)

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10
Jun

Robots react to community feedback with Halo Wars title update 3

halowars

A third title update is underway at Robot Entertainment and is once again aimed at addressing issues raised by the community at www.halowars.com . Community Manager “Aloysius” announced on the website today that title update 3 will fix some the most talked about issues including the nerfing of the Warthogs. Team killing will also be getting a review. You can find the full statement below, stay tuned for more Halo Wars title update news!

“We’ve been listening to fan feedback since our release of Title Update #2 and DLC pack #1 Strategic Options and are pleased to announce that we are working on title Update #3. TU #3 is aimed at balance changes and a few bug fixes. We’re looking in to a variety of things such as reducing the effectiveness of Warthogs, friendly fire/team killing and a few other balance issues. We’re also planning on making Invisible Unit’s health bars invisible, among other fixes.

Stay tuned for more details on the upcoming Title Update, including more details on the balance changes. “

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19
May

Robot delivers Halo Wars matchmaking changes in response to feedback

robotent1

Its great to see that fan feedback is respected by Robot Entertainment who have hours after the DLC’s release already implemented changes based on gamer feedback- thats fantastic. It is now possible to play 2v2 Reinforcements non-party!

I have just played a game myself and it is very fun! I encourage everyone to pick up the DLC and play re-inforcements online. You wont be disappointed!

Here is the word from Aloysius on the homepage of HaloWars.com :

Halo Wars DLC #1 ‘Strategic Options has hit the Xbox Live Marketplace, and fans are getting their first taste of the action. We at Robot feel that the new game modes, Reinforcement, Keep Away and Tug of War are best enjoyed as part of a team, so we put in a lot of team game searches. We realize that this leaves out some fans who do not play team games, so we are introducing a new system to rotate in different searches so that everyone can find a game type they want to play.

Players with the DLC who search for games will see 2v2 Reinforcement (non-team) tonight, and next week we will be rotating in 2 new search types, so that fans can play different 1v1 and 2v2 game types without having to be part of a team. We’ll be watching the forums and gameplay statistics to better align matchmaking with what fans want in future updates.

Check out the new DLC here Halo Wars DLC on Xbox Live Marketplace.

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5
May

“Board” to Death: A Day in the Life of a Concept Artist

es_logo_mainsite 

Whats was it like to be a conecpt artist at Ensemble Studios? Aloysius today published a new article on the HaloWars.com website detailing the expierence of Bart Tiongson. The concept art team at Ensemble were responsible for some fantastic pieces of art much like this one below:  (click to enlarge)

halo wars conecept art

You might think that in order to produce such fantastic art the team at Ensemble would be under alot of stress but ho ho ho.. you might be mistaken! Ensemble Studios was well known for being a great place to work. But having too much fun means not so much work… so how did the team deal with work vs play? Well.. about 50/50 actually – sounds like a good ratio!

You can find out more by reading the insigtful blog post below:

“Board” to Death: A Day in the Life of a Concept Artist

Published Tuesday, April 28, 2009 3:02 PM by Aloysius 
When I was first approached to write something for the website from a Concept Artist’s viewpoint, I thought that I would just do a generic, “day in the life of an artist”, type of write-up that we’ve all seen before. I thought about it. I figured I could sum up in a few simple sentences how concept art gets created and eventually put into the game. I could write about how we receive a written description of a unit, building or environment; how we create rough drawings of what we think a unit might look like; and then when one “thumbnail” is approved, we polish it so that the 3D modelers can build it, animators can give it life and then that unit can get put into the game.

In a nutshell, that is what a concept artist does. Quick, clean and summarized in a tidy little paragraph with enough time to spare to go watch the NBA playoffs.

Then I thought about it again. And I realized that it wasn’t that simple; at least not on Halo Wars and definitely not at Ensemble Studios.

You see, in order to create artwork at the highest level, you not only need a team that is talented, dedicated and stays on schedule, but you also need a team that meshes with each another. For that team to be successful in what they do, they need to have chemistry. So instead of writing about our daily tasks and attaching images of artwork, I decided to talk about what the team did that wasn’t on the task list and include photos that illustrated the “chemistry” that we had.

Throughout the studio there are white boards that are used for a variety of things like jotting down tasks and ideas, descriptions of units and keeping track of deadlines. The artists, on the other hand, had a different use for them. The concept guys would draw caricatures and create “inside joke” drawings on a daily basis. I would walk in the office and at the end of each day there would be new and often inspiring drawings on the white boards. While these boards’ original purpose was to have drawings, diagrams and written statements to help keep the team on track, the random imagery, humorous and often non-work-related material, probably kept the team more focused than unit descriptions or schedule dates and deadlines. It wasn’t long before other artists joined in on the fun as well. It wasn’t unusual to poke fun at each other, or crack a joke at someone’s expense. The ratio of laughing and having fun to drawing was probably an even 50/50. I absolutely felt that this dynamic was essential to create the top notch artwork that was done on the project. There were a lot of late nights and long hours, and without a sense of humor the team probably would have driven each other insane.

I’ve always felt that if you enjoy what you are doing and who you are doing it with, success will ultimately follow. Take a look at the art-work in Halo Wars and I think that you’ll agree that we were successful in what we set out to do: create a beautiful looking game. Laughing the whole time.

During my short time leading the concept guys on Halo Wars, I realized something- I did a heck of a lot more learning than I did teaching. Thanks to the Halo Wars concept team.
-b

Below are some examples of the crazy pix that these guys did… I’ve “edited” a few of them. :P

conceptart_fun1 
conceptart_fun2 
conceptart_fun3 
conceptart_fun4
conceptart_fun5 
conceptart_fun6

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20
Apr

More Halo Wars balance patch information – Boosting vampires, nerfing Hawks

halowars

Aloysius has revealed more information of balance adjustments in the upcoming Halo Wars title update. In simple terms the Covenant Vampires are getting a boost and Anders (who dominates the Top 100) is having the Hawks nerfed by making them more expensive. More details courtesy of Aloysius below:

We’re letting the cat out of the bag on a few more balance changes coming in the Title Update. The patch brings some balance changes mixed with bug fixes to Halo Wars.

The Covenant Vampire is getting a boost in the patch, with its attack damage being buffed by 15% with every upgrade. It’s health bonus and the special attack still remain a part of the upgrades.

The UNSC Leader Professor Anders is getting a slight whack with the nerf bat as well. Her Unique Unit upgrade, the Hawk, is being made more expensive, going from 900 to 1350 supplies. In addition, her Cryo Bomb upgrades are also going up by 50% at every level.

These changes should level the playing field in the UNSC/Covenant Air war. Stay tuned for more changes coming with the Title Update, as well as a date for when it’ll hit Xboxes near you!.

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13
Apr

Robot listens to fans with Halo Wars patch

A Halo Wars update is coming over Xbox Live courtesy of Robot Entertainment. A recent update on the Halo Wars website confirms that the first balance patch is on the way. Keeping with Ensemble style the patch is based around feedback from fans. Whilst there has been no Ask Sandy for this game, Ex Ensemble Studios members from both Robot and Bonfire have been active on the Halo Wars message board collecting feedback and helping members.

halowars

 

Just to point out though, this patch is NOT DLC

That’s right. You wont find any maps of new gameplay in the update it is just a balance patch for now. You can read the full statement from Robot’s Community Manager “Aloysius” below:

“We’re going to be releasing some information on the upcoming Halo Wars Title Update, or patch, here on HaloWars.com over the next few weeks. This Title Update fixes some matchmaking bugs, balances a few things inside and outside of gameplay, and adds a small feature that fans have been asking for. The Patch was developed around fan feedback, so hopefully players will be happy.

The first piece of news is that the Prophet of Regret’s speed on land has been reduced to match the other leaders. This helps balance the Prophet Rush that was stymieing a lot of players. The second piece of news is that the Flaming Warthog and the Honor Guard Wraith will now be available in Multiplayer battles against other players.

We’ll give you guys more bits of the update here on HaloWars.com so keep checking back. “

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