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Posts from the ‘Halo Wars’ Category


New Halo Wars rank numbers revealed!


Robot Entertainment Community Manager, Duncan Stanley has quickly updated the Halo Wars community with the proposed ranking changes for Halo Wars. Previously the ranking system stood as follows:

Rank Score Needed New Points
Recruit Play 1 Game Play 1 Game
Lieutenant 25,000 15,000
Captain 60,000 30,000
Major 140,000 60,000
Commander 310,000 120,000
Colonel 700,000 240,000
Brigadier 1,500,000 480,000
General 2,400,000 960,000

The idea behind this change is to help make the General achievement easier to attain whilst still being relatively difficult. Rest assured, in order to achieve this top achievement players will still need to play alot of Halo Wars. Feedback about this proposed change can be made in the official Halo Wars community forum. -  head over there and check out the discussion!


Robot to reduce the number of points to reach General rank in Halo Wars


Robot Entertainment Community Manager Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley has confirmed that Robot intends to reduce the number of points to reach the General rank in Halo Wars. The number of points to reach the rank currently stands at 2,400,000 exp. The number of points has been criticised by some players as taking an unreasonable amount of play time to achieve. In wake of the recent launch of Halo Waypoint on Xbox Live which tracks players achievements across all 360 Halo games (Halo3, Wars and ODST) this should make the top achievement more balanced with other games achievements. Currently the scoring system stands as follows:

Rank Score Needed
Recruit Play 1 Game
Lieutenant 25,000
Captain 60,000
Major 140,000
Commander 310,000
Colonel 700,000
Brigadier 1,500,000
General 2,400,000

Stand by for announcements for an adjusted scoring / ranking system!


Halo Wars achievement statistics


Robot Entertainment Community Manager Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley has today revealed some interesting statistics regarding Halo Wars achievements:

-More than 75% of all Halo Wars players completed the first mission of the campaign on any difficulty.
-Roughly 35% of players completed the single player game on any difficulty.
-About 7% of players collected all of the skulls in the single player campaign.
-2% of players completed the single player campaign on Legendary difficulty.
-Less than half a of percent of players have the General rank on Xbox Live.

The statistics come after Jason Pace, creative director of Halo Waypoint, the new hub for all Halo content on Xbox Live spoke to g4Tv about how only less than 1% of players has achieved all the achievements across Halo 3, Halo Wars and Halo 3 ODST. There has been some concern on various gaming websites that the general achievement may prove to be a sticking point as the achievement can take a very long time to achieve. This is echoed by the statistics provided by Robot Entertainment, where less than half a percent of players have obtained the general achievement which requires players to gain 2,400,000 worth of expierence points. G4tv made a follow up post based on the statistics provided by Robot Entertainment.

Will the achievement cause a stir amongst Halo players concerning its difficulty? Share your thoughts on the Halo Wars official forums.


Justin Rouse & Duncan Stanley complete the last of the Halo Wars skirmish map information pages – Frozen Valley


Justin Rouse and Duncan Stanley talk us through the last of the Halo Wars maps to be detailed on the skirmish map page. Frozen Valley the 3v3 map which was one of the first maps to be designed can now be found on with top tips from designer Justin Rouse and Community Manager Duncan “Aloysius” Stanley.


“Frozen Valley was the first 3v3 map designed during the development of Halo Wars. After Chasms, this was probably our most played map through internal playtesting. The layout went through one major tweak throughout development and that was the opening down between the teams that runs along the bottom edge on picture shown here. The first iteration had the hole as well as the mount near that bottom edge of the map extend all the way to the edge. Leaving a pocket only access through the middle by land units. It allowed the two bottom player on each team to build up safely. “

Take a look!


Paul Jaquays completes his Halo Wars skirmish map blogs with Terminal Moraine, Repository, and Crevice


Paul Jaquays now working at CCP North America as a Senior Level Designer has been blogging with Robot Entertainment Community Manager, Duncan Stanley to reveal some early developer screenshots and ideas which make up some of the Halo Wars portfolio of skirmish maps. Having already blogged about Pirth Outskirts attention has turned to his other map designs – Terminal Moraine, Repository and Crevice.

Terminal Moraine


I started map development by literally copying and pasting a large chunk the Alpha Base ruins into one corner of the map. This established a particularly unique landmark in that corner. These large landmarks in skirmish maps help players immediately know where they are and and let them navigate from point to point by in-game visual references. Ideally, each “corner” of any skirmish map is visually unique, and this was my design goal with Terminal Moraine

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Early 2007 saw the first completed version of Repository (then called “the Halo map”). Primarily developed by Ensemble artist Patrick Thomas, this was a land of subtle terrain blending, muted colors, narrow paths, rough terrain, and the unrestricted placement of bases and other buildings. Players captured Forerunner power stations to earn resources. Very little of what can be seen in this map survived into the final game. The effects guys put a lot of effort into river that runs through the map, including the appearance of moving water, waterfalls, and spray. But the game was about to undergo an extensive refit, resulting in play much closer to the final version and the need to totally rework this map from the ground up. The river, sadly, became an early victim to those changes.

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During development, Crevice shifted from the inside of the Shield World to the outside. To achieve this, I painted over a screen capture of the current version of the map, sketching out ideas for details on notebook paper. The design rework of the map had turned the central platform into a big hole. I suggested changing this into a playable area, a partially buried circular Forerunner platform. One feature I wanted to play up was the “bouncy-ness” of the warthogs, so where possible, I sculpted in small steps and shelves into the terrain.


Check out more map blogs from other Ensemble artists on the map page!

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Paul Jaquays blogs about Halo Wars map “Pirth Outskirts”


Paul Jaquays former artist at Ensemble Studios has blogged on the Halo Wars website with some additional concept art from the map design of Pirth Outskirts, a 1v1 Halo Wars skirmish map.

I developed the area as a remote vacation destination with mysterious ancient ruins, modern hotels, and dramatically steep, mist-shrouded cliffs into which breathtaking waterfalls poured majestically. On top of this, I layered the planet’s recent, tragic history. Covenant bombs had cut the area off from the cities and turned the man-made structures into smoking rubble.

It is not unusual for map designs to go through various designs before the final choice. Here you can see one of the earlier concepts for the map. You can click the image below to find text commentary on the image.


The end result of Pirth Outskirts appears below, quite a difference in terms of colour, waterfalls and buildings!


Paul Jaquays since Ensemble has moved onto CCP North America as a Senior Level Designer. Clearly CCP recognised the talent of this excellent artist and CCP can now enjoy quality levels and maps just like the one above!

Check out the full blog on where Duncan Stanley, Community Manager offers some top tips for the map!


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.


Last of the DLC maps “Blood River” is detailed along with more Clash of the Titans from Brad Crow

Robot Blogs

Justin Rouse and Duncan Stanley are back again on the website with top tips for players on maps from the DLC map pack “Historic Battles” available for just 800 points on Xbox Live. This time one of my favourite maps in the game, Blood River gets detailed.

With starting positions placed in opposite corners, up on a hills, and a river with only 2 crossings above it, even the inexperienced player can feel relatively safe at the onset of a Blood River match. Then there’s the look, we chose this map to be set inside of the Forerunner shield world simply because we didn’t have one in that location yet. We always intended to make sure players of all game sizes (1v1, 2v2, 3v3) have a chance/choice to play on all our worlds.

Says Justin Rouse, map designer at Robot Entertainment. Community Manager, Duncan Stanley continues with some professional gameplay advice:

If you can hold the middle and keep pressure on your opponent, you can spend some time building armor or flying units which can really turn the tide of a battle, especially against UNSC. If they build a flame thrower army to counter your infantry, some flying units can really tear them up.

Given how small the map is, it’s very risky to try to boom on this map, map control early on is much more important than going for late game heroics with super units.

So beware of the rushers in competitive play! Get the full scoop over on

In other news we have Brad Crow, an art bot from Robot Entertainments pods with his entry into the Clash of the Titans with Perseus confronting the Kraken:


Looking awesome as always from our favourite Art Bots. Be sure to leave a comment and check out the full blog post on the Robot website!


More art from the art bots and playtesting from David Leary

 Robot Blogs

Its been a busy week so apologies to readers for the lateness of updates here at Remember Ensemble Studios. Good news is though if you haven’t already been on the Halo Wars and Robot Entertainment websites youve been missing out on some juicy blogs and art. Kicking it off we have Robot and Ex Ensemble designer David Leary talking about playtesting which Ensemble was quite famous for in its development cycle. As always theres some cool pictures of the old Ensemble office in comparison to the new Robot play testing labs.


One of the Ensemble playtest rooms on the 16th floor


The new Robot Entertainment play test room

David Leary’s blog post is an informative look into just how Ensemble executed its much talked about play testing and is a good read over on the website. Or here’s a little snipped of the action:

“Managing a Halo Wars playtest session was a lot like herding cats. Some of the playtests were scheduled, but late in the project, a lot of sessions would get called on an as-needed basis. I’d page for testers over the intercom, but since everyone had other responsibilities, I’d often only get four or five people on the first call. Usually a second page would fill the rest of the seats. If that didn’t work, I’d start walking around the office – it was hard for my co-workers to turn down a personal request, especially if I groveled.”

Mean while over in Art Bot corner the Clash of the Titans is continuing with two entries from grand artists Won Choi and Bart Tiongson. First up we have Won’s Poseidon and Perseus almost painting look a like art below:


Bart Tiongson is next with his take on Medusa:


She’s looking much more “chilled” than she was in Chris Moffit’s scary picture!

If this outstanding series of art is anything to go by we can expect grand things from Robot Entertainment’s currently un announced game. But will it be mythology.. or something else all together?!?


Halo Wars DLC 2v2 map “Memorial Basin” detailed


Justin Rouse and Duncan Stanley are here again to talk about the 2v2 Halo Wars DLC map Memorial Basin.

Memorial Basin, the map based on a design of “excess”. The goal, instant action. First, the close proximity of players starting locations is the number one driving force causing players to mix it up with each other early. Second, hooks! There is an abundance of them littered all over the map. There are Reactor hooks tucked safely behind each team’s starting location, while Supply Elevators and extra Building sockets line the sides of the map between enemies. Cover locations scattered throughout the middle are good for mixing things up defensively or offensively.

Says Justin Rouse skirmish map designer at Robot Entertainment. Community Manager, Duncan Stanley continues with:

Memorial Basin is a great DLC map, a real change up from other maps in terms of strategy. Both teams are directly across from each other, making it really easy to hit and run. The open bases are great to grab early and get it going. I usually try to make my second base my economic base and my first base my unit producing base. All of the extra hooks lying around the map are also great to grab giving you a good bonus, and denyng your opponents any advantage.

You can experience Memorial Basin and three other brand new maps in the Halo Wars DLC “Historic Battles” for just 800 points available today on Xbox Live!

For the full blog post head over to :