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News Archives - March 2008

Blogging Bruce

Bruce Shelly has been blogging again - and this time he tells us about the patch progress, WCG, and software piracy.

Oscar Santos from our community team tells me that the patch is getting very close to shipping. We are waiting for the localized versions (international languages) to be tested and for our counterparts in Redmond to sign off on the work.

Response on the forums has been among the most positive for any patch we have done. Keys to that response seem to be twofold. First, the patch team addressed the single unit strategy where a player could succeed by building a single unit, say Crossbowmen. By reducing the Crossbow basic damage and increasing its bonus against the unit it should beat (infantry in this case), we made it very risky to use only this unit when other enemy units (specifically cavalry) were used against it. Now counter-units and combined arms armies should be much more useful, as we originally intended.

You can view it here! Or discuss it in our forums!

Yamrak Interview

GameReplays Interviews Yamrak

Who the heck is Yamrak? None other than the Producer here at Ensemble Studios that heads up our patching process. With the recent release of the 1.01 patch notes for Age of Empries III: The Asian Dynasties, the team at cornered him to answer some questions on the ins and outs of the patching process.

Check it out here! Or discuss it in our forums! You can also see a recorded game of yours truly vs Yamrak in early TAD!

Welcome JimXIX and General_II to the staff!

Lets all give a nice warm welcome to our two new staffers - JimXIX and General_II. Welcome aboard fellas!

You can welcome them in our General Discussion Forum!

RTS-L Season 2 Underway

The sign-ups are closed and the season is underway. Good luck to all clans participating and have fun!

RTS-L season 2 has begun! GL HF to any clans from HG that signed up!

Thanks to Mattlight who has been visiting our forums and keeping us up to date. For more information visit RTS-L Site!

Fan Patch 1.01

The folks with mymF have worked out a mod that resembles the changes proposed in the upcoming patch. Seems like a cool idea, but keep in mind, this is not official and some things may be off.

Hey we, the mymF 3, just created a fanpatch which uses the TAD 1.01 patch notes. However due to my own (rather poor) modding skills and some vagueness in the notes themselves I probably did not everything a 100% correct. The concerned issues are probably the following:
- Efficiency change of the dances. You can interpretate it in quite a few ways so I just tried to have 80% of the old value with the nerfed dances and the spawn time of a new warrior priest is now 75% of the old one.
- Pet changes. I read Wacko’s post on how Janeys are changed and applied this more or less on all other pets by halving their base hitpoints.
- I just changed the RI mentioned in the patch notes, not sure if e.g. Consulate Bestieros are also changed.
- You will notice that some of the ingame texts and information (age up politicians e.g.) are still the same. That’s because I didn’t changed the stringtabley.xml. However everything should work fine.

To read more about it go to our forums!

WCG 2008

The WCG 2008 event is due to take place in Cologne, Germany, from November 5th-9th at the Koelnmesse Event Hall 8, with the organisation expecting more than 700 players from approximately 74 countries.

As usual, the WCG put up its yearly poll, in which the community could select its favorite titles for the upcoming event.

Today, the list of official games has been released and it is as follows:

PC Titles:

Counter-Strike: 1.6
StarCraft: Brood War
WarCraft 3: Frozen Throne
Need for Speed: ProStreet
Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath
Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties
Red Stone

Old Poll Out - New Poll In

We'd like to thank you once again for voting in the last poll and through this helping to make HG a better place. We asked you "What aspect of this site should be improved upon the most?" - and those are the results!
* -Strategy articles (183 votes)
* -Scenarios/Modpacks downloads (128 votes)
* -Forums (77 votes)
* -Game info articles (58 votes)
* -Recorded games (50 votes)
* -News (49 votes)
* -Scenario Design/Modding articles (41 votes)
The great winner was Strategy Articles which, in the poll before that, was also considered one of the most important features we have to offer - that certainly says something about them! But remember that when that's the subject, YOU are our greatest contributor! Developed a new strategy recently? Then post it in our Strategy Central.

And now we ask you "What do you think about Patch 1.01 notes?" - in case you haven't seem the notes yet, you can read and discuss them here

TAD Patch in Final Stages!

The first patch for Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties is now in final testing and should be available in a couple of weeks. The patch focuses solely on balance changes for the latest expansion pack and will not effect either Age III or The WarChiefs. You can check out the full patch notes here!

Bruce Shelley Blog Update

This time Bruce Shelley comes with some good news about the upcoming patch, a few curiosities about Halo Wars development as well as some ES "crunch music" traditions. He also mentions that Greg "DeathShrimp" Street has left Ensemble Studios to pursue a dream of working on a major MMORPG. I'm sure that every "Age of" fan wishes him good luck.

Now read what he wrote about TAD's patch:
Oscar Santos, head of our community team, has told me that the design and balance changes for the long awaited first patch for The Asian Dynasties (patch 1.01) have been finalized. From this point, the patch will be built, playtested by ES and Microsoft, and verified by our Quality Assurance team and our beta playtesters while the localization teams are doing the translations. If no serious bugs are discovered, we expect to release the patch sometime “before the end of winter” as mentioned in a previous blog post. The patch notes will be posted soon by Thunder on the AgeCommunity site, so watch for those.
Sounds pretty good to me! Well, if you want to read more about Halo Wars, ES employees's music preference and a fancy elevator floor decoration, then click here! To discuss Bruce Shelley's comments, and probably to make predictions about the patch too, check out jaqrah's thread

Gordon Farrel's Blog

"SOLO: Essays and Commentary on the Art of the Single Player Game" debuts at HeavenGames! This new, semi-regular column on the art and theory of designing single player games will highlight important issues in the development of games, asking challenging questions about the nature of gaming, whether games will ever meet the criteria for art, and offering practical pointers on how the best single player experiences are created by designers.

SOLO is written by Gordon Farrell, a long-time professional designer of single player campaigns for AAA games such as Empire Earth and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. In addition, he has worked on strategy titles such as Caesar IV, Children of the Nile and BreakAway Games' Middle Eastern city builder, Arabian Lords. He is currently Lead
Writer for Reverie World Studios' first game, Dawn of Fantasy, due for release in Fall 2008.

HGS regulars will recognize Gordon's work as a staple of our download sections, from games as diverse as Age of Empires and Caesar 3, to both Stronghold 1, Stronghold 2 and Age of Kings. In addition to his HGS mods, he has highly-rated Civilization 4 mods uploaded at CivFanatics as well.

Gordon is on the faculty of New York University, where he teaches narrative theory for video games, theory of screenwriting, and advanced studies in dramatic art. He also lectures at Marymount Manhattan College in video games, script analysis, and theatre history. In 2002, Prima Games published his essay, "The Theory of Scenario Design." His
extensive professional and academic experience promises an exciting column filled with commentary on the art of games that will be both controversial and thought-provoking.