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Age of Empires III Heaven » Forums » General Discussions » Whither Ensemble Alumni?
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Topic Subject:Whither Ensemble Alumni?
SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 03-31-09 08:33 PM EDT (US)         
Way back in November, I was asked by members of the forums to let you know where we Ensemble folks would end up.

Four separate companies have so far formed from the ashes of Ensemble Studios. Robot Entertainment, Bonfire Studios, Windstorm Studios, and Newtoy.

I believe that Robot is the largest of the new companies, and much of the old Ensemble Studios upper management went to Robot. Bonfire is nearly as large. Windstorm is the mindchild of Dusty Monk, one of Ensemble's top programmers, and it is still quite small, though if I know Dusty it is likely to take off ere long. Newtoy was created by veterans Paul & David Bettner to create games for the iPhone. Their first game was Chess With Friends, and is a free download.

For byzantine contractual reasons, none of us were allowed to take new jobs for at least 60 days after leaving Ensemble (Robot might have been an exception to this), so Windstorm and Bonfire haven't really been able to start their engines yet, though I bet they hit the ground running in April.

Not everyone went to the new studios. I did not, for one, and there are plenty of Ensemble alumni in my position. We have been left in the happy situation of being able to take our time about finding new positions, because Microsoft, whatever its flaws, handed us an extremely generous severance.

For those who are still reading this - I, Sandy Petersen will start in April as a professor at the Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, teaching game design! From nearly the Guildhall's beginnings, I was involved as an unpaid consultant. I helped to design the curriculum, taught the occasional seminar, and was given the title of Guildmaster (along with other industry professionals, such as Randy Pitchford and Paul Jaquays). Anyway, when the forces of darkness conspired to rob the gaming world of Ensemble, the Guildhall made me an offer, and it was irresistable. I have always liked teaching (my favorite job at church is Sunday School), and I'm excited about doing this fulltime.

Thanks for a great community, and I will continue to peek in from time to time.

Sandy Petersen
AuthorReplies:
iTech64
Scenario Reviewer
posted 03-31-09 08:39 PM EDT (US)     1 / 27       
He's Blue..


well im glad to see that former ES people are happy

and also glad to hear the new businesses are already starting off well

iTech64
Rank: Captain
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Droideka_11
Skirmisher
posted 03-31-09 08:40 PM EDT (US)     2 / 27       
Great to hear from you. Its always good to hear from the renmants of ES

"Rot's given a free pass simply because he's Rot." - theferret
Cheesewiz
HG Alumnus
posted 03-31-09 08:43 PM EDT (US)     3 / 27       
Thanks for stopping by Sandy! It's great to hear that much of the old ES team is off on new projects, and it's especially great to hear that you've found another job that interests you! Good luck at SMU!

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Elpea
Hal
(id: lp_usa)
posted 03-31-09 08:50 PM EDT (US)     4 / 27       
For those who are still reading this - I, Sandy Petersen will start in April as a professor at the Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, teaching game design! From nearly the Guildhall's beginnings, I was involved as an unpaid consultant. I helped to design the curriculum, taught the occasional seminar, and was given the title of Guildmaster (along with other industry professionals, such as Randy Pitchford and Paul Jaquays). Anyway, when the forces of darkness conspired to rob the gaming world of Ensemble, the Guildhall made me an offer, and it was irresistable. I have always liked teaching (my favorite job at church is Sunday School), and I'm excited about doing this fulltime.
That is *awesome* Sandy . I believe that great things will come out of what was bad. We've now got 4 companies led by the genius behind our favorite games, and I believe that game design education has gained an extremely talented professor.

Congrats and good luck!

DarkFlame
Skirmisher
posted 03-31-09 08:52 PM EDT (US)     5 / 27       
It's sandy! <3

Oh wow, (ex-)ESers coming here with actual news brings back pre-AoM-release memories. Best of luck with your new endeavours and let's hope we'll see games as good as AoM and AoE3 sprout from the new companies

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mentork
Skirmisher
posted 03-31-09 08:59 PM EDT (US)     6 / 27       
teaching game design!
Remember to tell them not to make units with a long wind up time and mediocre range

Good luck! (Oh, and watch out for the kids with green Mohawks...)

[This message has been edited by mentork (edited 03-31-2009 @ 09:01 PM).]

CookieCrisp13
Skirmisher
posted 03-31-09 09:33 PM EDT (US)     7 / 27       
That sounds awesome sandy!

SMU- is that in Texas?

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CrazyLunatic
Veteran Musketeer
posted 03-31-09 10:53 PM EDT (US)     8 / 27       
good luck with new job

QUACK
LordKivlov
Royal Guard
posted 04-01-09 00:26 AM EDT (US)     9 / 27       
Wow, students in your classes must be pretty stoked on life to have you as their professor.

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mentork
Skirmisher
posted 04-01-09 00:50 AM EDT (US)     10 / 27       
Hold on guys, I'm going to apply for a game design degree at Southern Methodist University... brb...
A_US_James246
Scenario Reviewer
(id: James246)
posted 04-01-09 02:01 AM EDT (US)     11 / 27       
Thanks Sandy!
retribution1423
Skirmisher
posted 04-01-09 03:59 AM EDT (US)     12 / 27       
How come they made four different companies? would'nt it have been better to stay together as one?

Mudkips did 9/11 - The way I see it is, I'm playing this game for the fun of it, not to prove that I have a fiery E-wang of doom.
ultimitsu
Skirmisher
posted 04-01-09 04:33 AM EDT (US)     13 / 27       
I wonder whats the point, in 4 years MS will just buy robot again and disband it in another 4 years...

Myll_Erik
Seraph Emeritus
posted 04-01-09 02:00 PM EDT (US)     14 / 27       
Wow...I might have to come see ya next semester.

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StonewallJ
Seraph Emeritus
(id: Conquistador34)
posted 04-01-09 11:21 PM EDT (US)     15 / 27       
Thanks for the update Sandy, nice to know how everything ended up.

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
[][][][][][][][][][] Stonewall J [][][][][][][][][][][]
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SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 04-04-09 02:38 PM EDT (US)     16 / 27       
Mentork - Remember to tell them not to make units with a long wind up time and mediocre range.

Hey! There is a place for long wind-up times and mediocre range. How could you tell that mamelukes were awesome if there weren't inferior units to compare them with?

Cookiecrisp 13 - SMU- is that in Texas?

Look up Guildhall@SMU.

LordKivlov - students in your classes must be pretty stoked on life to have you as their professor

Not to inflate my ego too much, the students do seem pretty happy about it. Of course, they have yet to see the assignments I hand out …

Mentork - Hold on guys, I'm going to apply for a game design degree at Southern Methodist University

We teach a Masters in Interactive Technology for students who already have a Bachelor’s degree, and offer a certification for those who don’t. The work is the same except Master’s students also do a thesis. It lasts 17 months, is extremely rigorous, and graduates of the Guildhall have around a 95% placement rate within the game industry. There are three disciplines – art creation, software development, and level design. Now you know.

Retribution1423 - How come they made four different companies?

Because, in effect, we were forced to go back to the beginning and start again. These are all start-up companies, and start-ups don’t survive with 100 employees! Robot is the largest, partly because I believe they already have a contract to publish their next game, so they were able to be a little bigger.

Ultimitus - in 4 years MS will just buy robot again and disband it in another 4 years

If they pay the personnel of Robot as much as thay paid us of Ensemble when they bought us, it will be well worth it from Robot’s point of view.
Timerover
Skirmisher
posted 04-04-09 10:34 PM EDT (US)     17 / 27       
Thanks for the information, Sandy. I assume that the class you will be teaching at SMU is primarily aimed at computer games? Is this correct? I will be teaching a three week class through National Louis University in Skokie Center for Gifted in board game design. It would be interesting to compare notes as to what you are covering verses what I am doing to be doing.
Elpea
Hal
(id: lp_usa)
posted 04-04-09 10:41 PM EDT (US)     18 / 27       
@Sandy: ever thought of starting a blog or something similar? You seem so fit for that kind of thing .

SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 04-05-09 02:06 AM EDT (US)     19 / 27       
I will be teaching more than one class at SMU - I am a full-time instructor. I help teach the Team Game Project (in which students work in groups to create an actual game), plus I will teach two Game Studies courses. At least that seems to be the plan for now.

While I also teach a single-session seminar on board games it is more for "what can we glean from board games for video games?" rather than a celebration of board games as such.

[This message has been edited by ES_Sandyman (edited 04-05-2009 @ 02:07 AM).]

Myll_Erik
Seraph Emeritus
posted 04-05-09 11:53 AM EDT (US)     20 / 27       
Out of curiousity - do you plan to stay there or get back into the industry...or do you know yet? :P

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Inazuma
Skirmisher
posted 04-05-09 02:14 PM EDT (US)     21 / 27       
Hey Sandy, do you have any idea why they named the studio Robot Entertainment?

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SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 04-06-09 04:33 PM EDT (US)     22 / 27       
Myll_Erik - do you plan to stay there or get back into the industry?

Well, I actually turned down industry offers to go to the Guildhall. And I'm not actually "out" of the industry. That would be like saying that someone who teaches medical students is not in the medical field.

Inazuma - do you have any idea why they named the studio Robot Entertainment?

My understanding is that every single member of Robot E. is forced to have a cyborg chip implanted in his or her cerebellum, so that they will be unable to make mistakes (or take lunch breaks).

[This message has been edited by ES_Sandyman (edited 04-06-2009 @ 04:34 PM).]

Myll_Erik
Seraph Emeritus
posted 04-06-09 06:42 PM EDT (US)     23 / 27       
Sandy for the win

Veni, Vidi, Vici
Trample the Weak - Hurdle the Dead!
"It's kind of a...persnickety magic." Atzy
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DukeLeto
Skirmisher
posted 04-06-09 08:46 PM EDT (US)     24 / 27       
Myll_Erik are you still in Iraq? Good luck and thank you if you are! (starts intense political debate)
CookieCrisp13
Skirmisher
posted 04-06-09 09:25 PM EDT (US)     25 / 27       
My understanding is that every single member of Robot E. is forced to have a cyborg chip implanted in his or her cerebellum, so that they will be unable to make mistakes (or take lunch breaks).
You mean like Viper? :P

Proud winner of the FFA Winter Round '07!
[Judgε][Epic Thread]
My Vods:[One] [Two][Three][Four]
"with all the bling on a mandsabar you could win the game by paying the enemy to resign." IL
Myll_Erik
Seraph Emeritus
posted 04-07-09 03:43 AM EDT (US)     26 / 27       
Duke - yes I am still in Iraq. Only 2 months or so left though.

Veni, Vidi, Vici
Trample the Weak - Hurdle the Dead!
"It's kind of a...persnickety magic." Atzy
End of Nations!
End of Nations Community Manager
Inazuma
Skirmisher
posted 04-07-09 07:37 AM EDT (US)     27 / 27       
Ah I remember back in the day when I tried to get into Myll during the AOK/AOM days

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