Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Dave Pottinger’


Monster Crew is now live on the App Store!

Hot on the heels of spooky Halloween, Bonus XP have now launched their first action packed game on iOS – Monster Crew! A perfect game for the season, Monster Crew launches with its first episode which sees Frankie complete his collection of cards, only for them to be accidentally sold in  garage sale by the typical local crazy scientist. In the first episode Frankie takes charge to get his cards back and travels to the scientists castle where things  end up not going quite to plan… Frankie ends up being turned into Frankenstein! Here beings Monster Crews strategy-platforming gameplay as Frankie sets about recovering his cards from the many levels in the castle. Read moreRead more


Coming soon from BonusXP – Monster Crew!

Hot on the heels of PeopleFun the latest mobile video game studio to form from Ex Ensemble talent is “BonusXP” formed by Dave Pottinger, John Evanson and Jason Sallenbach all of whom are Ex Ensembler’s. A little while ago they lifted the lid on their first soon to be launched mobile title “Monster Crew”.  The game is a strategic platformer game featuring combat and RPG elements. The story resolves around the young “Frankie” a boy who enjoys playing his “Monster Crew” card game. After having collecting numerous cards his collection is unfortunately sold by accident after a yard / car boot sale. Keen to get his cards back Frankie sets out on a mission to recover them. Turns out his cards are held by a mad scientist in a creepy castle. After setting about trying to get his cards back Frankie accidentally presses a button in the castle which turns him into Frankenstine, and here the adventure begins! Read moreRead more


Two new ex-Ensemble studios form: BonusXP and PeopleFun. Word Chums expected as launch title (Part 1)

VentureBeat has reported this week on two new studios forming from Ensemble Studios veterans. The first studio to be announced was “PeopleFun” a new venture from one of the key founders and CEO of Ensemble Studios, Tony Goodman. The other announcement was also from one of Ensemble’s long serving employees, Dave Pottinger who lifted the lid off his new studio “BonusXP”. These new studios are both small studios focussing on mobile gaming and join the line of many other ex Ensemble formed studios to enter the mobile market including the very successful “NewToy” and “Bonfire Studios” who were acquired by Zynga. So lets take a look at these exciting new announcements in more detail! Read moreRead more


Dave Pottinger quits Robot, moves to Bonfire


Jeremy W of the Halo Wars official community forum recently spotted the removal of Halo Wars lead designer, Dave Pottingers name from Robot Entertainment’s list of employees. Dave Pottinger was a long time member of Ensemble Studios and was present at the beginning with Age of Empires 1. Dave was fairly big on community engagement appearing on the Halo Wars forums and writing development blogs on the games official website. Dave was also responsible for the mammoth Robot Entertainment lego sign effort who’s blog remains on the studios website. Often a spokesman for game development at Robot Entertainment, appearing on voice and video chats about Halo Wars and post Ensemble, it is currently unclear why he has chosen to move to Bonfire Studios.

Dave has updated his post on Halo Wars forum pointing out that Robot was a great place to work, it just wasnt the things he wanted to be doing and Bonfire was more aligned with the projects they were undertaking.

Robot is a great place with crazy good talent.  A huge chunk of my best friends work there:)  Just turned out to not be the right place for me and where I want to go/what I want to do.

And I can still play with Legos no matter where I am:)

No matter where Mr Pottinger is placed, its exciting that he will still be apart of developing games with Ex-Ensemble people – keep an eye out for Bonfire news!


Halo Wars wins best Strategy game in G4TV gamers choice awards & Dave Pottinger looks back on the project


Great news for all Halo Wars fans and Ensemble-lites, Halo Wars the best selling real time strategy game on any current generation console has been awarded best strategy game in the G4TV gamers choice awards. Ensemble’s “Halo Wars” won the award ahead of the competition by a “huge margin“! Congratulations Ensemble Studios! You can watch the incredibly short, (and perhaps a poor show) video of the announcement below:

Considering this award now is a great time for Lead Designer Dave Pottinger to talk about looking back on the game discuss lessons learnt. So lets take a delve down these corridors and see what he has to say..


Delve down if you dare..

The first thing Dave looks at is the all important gameplay. If the gameplay isnt right you’ve got a BIG problem. Luckily Ensemble had already started on a console RTS project before working on Halo Wars by using Age of Mythology as a basis for testing out the platform and refining the key controls.

Start with good gameplay you know and then go from there. If you’ve followed Halo Wars, you know that we started the project by making Age of Mythology playable with a gamepad. Once we had that, we knew we had solid basic gameplay to rely on. That was essential.

Halo Wars is a huge project, we’re talking big big IP with lots and lots of fans following the series and many also taking the time to explore the details of the story though novels and other outside of game media. You know you don’t want to mess around with the basics when your working with Halo. Most of all you don’t want to upset this guy:


Had to understand the motivations behind the existing characters in order to create compelling new characters. We needed to realize where the canon was flexible in order to squeeze in the things we needed. And, in a few cases, we decided to go against canon to make a better game/experience (e.g. the Spartan’s shield and sound). I don’t know how we would have made those calls without tons of research, chats with Bungie, etc.

Another key fact was that sex appeal wins. People love cool trailers. People love big explosions. People love Halo Wars trailers without MAC Blast and Scarabs…. not so much. Having cool things to show off in videos like the MAC and Scarab played an important role in drawing people into the game and giving the RTS style a try. Boring marines vs grunts only management wasn’t going to get anywhere.

It an E3 demo or getting dragged into your bud’s living room because “YOU GOTTA SEE THIS”, cool graphics are always sexy

Making use of Microsoft’s army of testers was important. You cant get enough testing.

Console cert processes are a confusing black hole. We finish. We think. The discs get sent off. Time passes. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes it’s a good answer, sometimes it’s not. We were lucky that the Microsoft Game Studio testers we had were so good; they saved us countless headaches that would have killed us in cert.

The other major thing to get right, is quite importantly, balance. You cant ever stop balance testing, even post release.

Balance is never over. Ever. Well, maybe if the Arch of Time collapses and the continuum implodes. But, then the Lord Foul is probably still pissed about those OP Gremlins.

Dave concludes his blog post looking back at one of the most important reasons that made him proud to work on Halo Wars. The team at Ensemble Studios. Considering the studio knew they were closing 6 months before the game was released, everyone knew they were on borrowed time and that the future post Ensemble could be bleak. I cant imagine how tough it is to work in that environment and keep the quality bar high but the team at Ensemble did. Lets just refer to the news at the top of this post.. best selling and winning best strategy game awards. The team did an exceptional job – as a player you wouldn’t even know the pressures the team was under until the credits.

Passion beats Talent. Team beats Individual. Finishing Halo Wars was the hardest thing I’ve ever done professionally. For so many reasons, the project was just a ton of work to get out the door. Amid uncertain futures, the Ensemble team pulled together in a way that exceeded every possible expectation I had. I’m proud to say I worked on Halo Wars just because of that.

Be sure to check out the full blog on the website.


Major Xbox Live bug wipes out Halo Wars leader boards


A major Xbox Live bug has affected millions of Halo Wars players as yesterday the leader boards for single player, all multiplayer playlists and player TrueSkill was somehow mistakenly reset. News of the “whoopsie” are now being reported on gaming websites. Needless to say I am sure Robot Entertainment are working diligently with Microsoft to rectify the problem and hopefully restore the lost data. Community Manager Aloysius has posted the following on the Halo Wars homepage:

An Xbox LIVE technical issue wiped all Halo Wars Xbox LIVE Leaderboards earlier today. This includes all singleplayer, multiplayer and Trueskill™ leaderboards, as well as all matchmaking data. At this time it’s unknown if the data can be restored, resulting in the Halo Wars Leaderboards being reset to original Launch Day status. The Xbox LIVE team is investigating the cause, and they will provide an update to the situation as soon as possible.

We at Robot Entertainment apologize for the LIVE technical issue and any frustration players have experienced in having their statistics disappear from the Leaderboards.

I am sure that there are necessary backups in place and that these will be utilised to restore data. Community opinion is split however on the forums with many of the high ranking players being happy about the change allowing them to rank up higher than before and over take some of the non-active players in the leaderboards. Of course it is unknown how all the other players who dont visit the forums are feeling having their TrueSkill reset to 0. Dave Pottinger, Lead Designer had this to say:

Well, to be fair, we were talking about the best ways to nuke stale folks who were sitting on top of the boards but not active.  But, the plan was never to wipe active folks.  This mistake has complicated things a bit.

Correction: The failure was due to a problem with the XBOX Live servers not directly under Robot Entertainment’s control, but be assured its being looked at. Stand by for updates as the issue develops.


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!


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!