Age of Empires 2: The Making of - version 1.01
Posted on 10/27/10 @ 05:57 PM (updated 11/03/10
Age of Empires 2: The Making of (v1.01) by Taichi San (aka Alexandra R.)
This project has been dedicated to bring several alpha and beta stages of age of empires 2 into today's game.
The game has undergone almost an entire conversion to the days back in 1998 and early 1999 when age of empires 2 was still in development.
What some people have only seen on pictures will be brought back to reality by reviving the amazing alpha style of the game featuring:
> Conversion of many units, buildings, terrains and other game object's graphics to beta style
> Interface changes like unit icons, new editor background look and new buttons
> Beta objects unhidden from the game in their full glory and graphics.
> Conversion to beta sounds including unknown civilization speech sounds
and much more
But the terrain graphics have been my most intensive project of all!
I managed to recover several terrain graphics to their full glory with cutting out their textures from over
27 alpha screenshots of the game with recombining and overlapping the textures til I got the complete
terrain tile sets back from the pre alpha without being required to own that version.
This unique project will reveal some pre alpha terrains that never have been shown in the real game before.
(so far I know off that noone posesses an older alpha than 00.09.07.0222 anymore)
Many weeks, dozens of hours went into the project by extracting, fixing, and re palette all frames.
Putting all frames into slps, adjusting the game's data file by adjusting all game's frames,
adapt dozens of graphic id's and importing deleting and replacing massive amounts of slp graphics. and other tasks..
I have also kept to a cool policy called, no aoe1 frames!
Yeah, the orriginal beta didnt had all it's unit frames created yet, so the designers decided to replace the unfinished unit frames with aoe1 graphics.
I removed all aoe1 frames and replaced them with similar beta frames from the units that ensemble studios (the creators) finished.
This makes the mod give a much better look as previous attempts to convert the game to betastyle failed due to limited time and the aoe1 frames.
I'm very happy to have this project come to an successfull end after doing almost 3 years of research of searching the entire web for beta versions
and screenshots from early stages from the game.
With over 30 hours of work I managed to extract the full terrain graphics from the pre alpha version by cutting out certain terrain textures
from over 27 screenshots to keep recombining the parts of textures by overlapping them til I got the complete textures.
One important note: This is a compilation of several stages of the pre release phase of the game.
I worked hard to fix most graphics to their best beauty but remind that not everything is perfect because the game was in development.
I hope you enjoy the game and make your new beta maps!
Tip: you can make customized random map scripts to make an extra cool beta look on the maps.
If you have questions or comments or just want to share knowledge on aoe2 you can add my msn, it's: email@example.com
Please inform me if you plan to use graphics from this project for your own work, thanks.
Credits go to:
> Oliver: Who brought me into editing aoe2
> Tommy: For helping me search beta materials on the web.
> Phatfish: For providing me with some beta's
> Shadowflare: For providing the 00.09.07.0222 beta
and ofcourse ensemble studios! I am so proud on your works but it's good that these things hopefully wont be forgotten.
If you think that you posess a pre release of the games age of empires 1/2+ exapansions, contact me immediately on the provided email
Extra note for uninstall:
> When you run restore.exe, it will extract the files to a new directory called "Backup" to prevent the modfiles from being overwritten automatically, so you can pick the files you want to restore from that directory.
V1.01: 04-Nov-2010: First problem fix round:
- Movement graphic of scorpion overlapped by modern version has been fixed.
- All dock problems have been fixed: Too big size, can't build, civilization graphics stuck at west europian.
- All problems have been fixed where units show slow dying graphics.
- Dirt Patches nolonger overlap other graphics.
- Sea Tower Graphics colors have been fixed.
- Town Centers are nolonger accidentally overlapped by some non beta graphics.
- All known errors with no working player colors are fixed.
- The Beta bridge graphics have been eliminated from the mod because their design itself was flawed and not just an anchor issue.
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this is going to be cool I might review after I see how well it was done
This is my first review
Unit graphics 3.0
A lot of soldiers have attack graphics from other soldiers the priest with relic walking north has problems some units have the same dying graphic well its just the making of so I shouldn't expect it to be complete the graphic ideas long ships look better the units have a new I mean old look but many of them are incomplete.
Building graphics 5.0
the buildings look more realistic especially the dark age ones. the second castle looks better and actually does something it makes a good map editor object
dirt 2 and three don't look anything like dirt one dirt one could be a little bit dark the trees and cliffs look nice I like the iron mine look.
historical accuracy I don't know becuase I have not used the age of empires original versions
add all the ratings together for 12 divide by 3 to make it an overall 4.0
you could make a mod that makes the old unit graphics complete and make the conquerers units to look more like the other ones
just a suggestion
This is awesome! The BETA graphics look so much better than the ones ES decied to use. Why didn't thewy stick wioth them?
I do have a problem though. I tried to use the restorething but when I went back onto ge of Empires the Mod Pack was still there. You may want to try and fix that.
Oh I see what you mean, no it extracts to a new directory called backup to prevent the modfiles from being overwritten.
If you run restore.exe, please check in the same directory where you have run the program or extracted the files to for a folder called "Backup" there you will find the 3 files that you can use to restore the game with
Thanks, I didnt knew this was an issue, so ill update the descriptions.
And yeah, atleast about the buildings and terrains, im very sure why es didnt atleast placed them in the game as eyecandy.
So that's why this project is my biggest mission to restore what is lost.
Oh yes I see. Sorry I should have checked that first. Thanks.
Age of Empires 2: The Making Of is a very unique Mod Pack. Over the Years many people have added Mod Packs that changes some of the Buildings or Units to the Beta or Alpha units that ES had originally made but they only added one or two Beta Buildings/Units. This Mod Packs adds them all in. After weeks of research Taichi San has found as many Beta Units and Buildings that she could and added them all into one Mod Pack. Taichi San has not only added Beta Objects but Old Beta terrains as well! In my personal opinion the Beta graphics look much more realistic and much better than the ones ES decided to use in the game. There are also new icons for the units. I'm not sure if Taichi San made these or not but they are very nice and much better than the original.
Though Taichi San did not create the Graphics herself she spent lot of time trying to find the Beta Units. The Beta graphics are very good quality and in my opinion better than the normal ES graphics. They seem a lot more realistic when moving and attacking. The only problem I can find is that some of the units don’t have dying graphics, the ones that do seem to have very slow dying graphics. The new icons too are much better as well. Overall the Quality of this Mod Pack is fantastic.
Very Clear Instructions are given for installing and uninstalling this Mod Pack. Taichi San has put the files needed into their own custom extractor which is easy to use and extract the files into their correct places. There is another extractor to extract the backup files to restore the old graphics. The Instructions Taichi San has given are clear, easy to follow and easy to understand.
The Mod Pack is very useful. it gives a change in scenery and a much better look to Age of Empires. The graphics make the game much more realistic and would make your scenarios much, much better.
A very good Mod Pack that has required alot of searching the web. It brings back the old Age of Empires from the 1998/1999 Beta testing. In my opinion much more realistic and much better!
God bless you Alexandra! That's wonderful that you lost all your time to restore Alpha. THANKS A LOT! By the way, as you wrote it, I think I'm gonna used some of those graphics for my mod, so I wanted to acquaint you(you'll have credits, obviously). THANKS again!
[Edited on 10/29/10 @ 01:55 PM]
Age of Empires 2: The making of is a half conversion of AOK. It contains graphics from the pre-alpha, alpha and beta versions of the game. There is a lot there to look at and you can immerse yourself quite well in what usually would only be viewable by looking at screenshots. Only now you get to play with it.
There have been a few beta mods before, usually containing castles and a few houses but this modpack contains a lot more than that. It includes a few new terrains, replaces 50% of the current buildings and replaces many new units with their alpha/beta counterpart.
You could certainly create some real medieval scenarios with this as it definately has a more rustic feel to it. It also comes with a few bits of added eye candy to vary your maps with a bit, aswell as the mountains and terrain.
It certainly is creative, it's certainly fun to look at (for a bit) but I can't forget that in some cases I don't get that wow factor. For example random map can feel a little disjointed sometimes with the clashing unit styles, the dark mud terrain does stand out a lot and even though through no fault of Alexandra, it doesn't always fit the scene well. It's hard to tell sometimes but OVERALL I can see why Ensemble called this a beta version and not the full version. Sorry to disagree with a couple people but I prefer the final version.
Never the less, I still liked the conversion enough to give it a 4, but there are still a couple things to do or add before it becomes 'useful' in itself as much as it possibly can, for now though it won't be getting a permanent install (which is a shame).
Overall the quality was very good. The way the mod was put together shows a lot of work went into it, especially copying all the buildings out of pre-alpha/beta screenshots and making them suitable for in game. I can't comment particulary on the actual buildings because they were all made by ensemble and it wouldn't be right to effect the score because of them. Some of them I prefer, some of them I don't but as anything it is a personal decision. I am probably just nit picking when it comes to detail but a couple of terrain issues struck out at me. I believe the pre alpha dirt 1 should have been used to replace dirt 1 not the mud. Although the mud could have still been in it. There were a couple of minor things such as the bridge anchors being slightly slightly off and also the dirt patch slp needs to be edited in genie so it doesn't overlap other objects, a couple of buildings are obviously bigger than the actual size so units walk through parts (saying that I feel this is probably better in a RM viewpoint than editing them to fit).
Instructions were easy, there are two files one to unzip the mod, and one to unzip the backup files. The one important thing I found though was the backup replaces your game with the ORIGINAL game files, not what you had there before. The only important files it replaces are the .dat files but if you had a mod installed before or a custom data file unless you backed it up you will have lost it.
In my personal opinion the beta mod is still in its beta phase. There are still things that can be put in the game (like the Japanese eye candy or pre alpha trees etc) to really put it all together. It's definately a great mod, and a lot of people will enjoy it, but for now, I still see it needs improving and probably released slightly too early to be complete. I imagine though, overtime it might get updated. Once all together and fully playable with I would give it a 5.
Keep at it!
In a sentence – A high standard mod. It certainly takes people back in time and allows them to create levels in an all new perspective, yet stays true to the way AOK is played.
In closing – A recommended download.
This modpack changes most of the Age of Kings units, buildings, and terrains, as well as some interface graphics, back to the Beta, Alpha, and Pre-alpha versions of the game. Many people have lamented the loss of these graphics and Taichi San has answered the call and this is the result.
While not horribly original, this is the first mod to completely convert AoK back to the pre-release versions. The terrains in particular I had never seen in a mod before, as well as a lot of the eye candy. Taichi San's refusal to use AoE1 units was also appreciated and a new concept. Novelty therefore, gets a 4.
Usefulness is very subjective due to designers' and players' personal preferences. I would consider it very useful due to the high demand for it and the doors it opens up. 5
The quality of the graphics themselves can't be faulted, since they are original ES graphics. The terrains however, took considerable time and skill to make them usable, especially given that they were made from screenshots! The anchors are placed well. The one issue I had was with the player colors. When I opened up the editor and placed units, the player color was automatically red for all units. When I tried changing the player color, it changed the color to blue, even when I had told it to change to green or any other color. I could not change it back to red or to any other color. This is obviously a significant issue that should be fixed, unless it's just my computer, which I doubt. Aside from this, excellent quality. 4.5
The instructions were clear, now that the confusion regarding restoring files has been cleared up. 5
Dark dirt terrain (which together with the cliffs can make amazing cavees)
Dark Age buildings
Overall, this is an amazing piece of work with few flaws. I highly recommend this for download.
This is a pretty good mod
i really appreciate it...
but i would like if you could fix the ''Docks'' and ''boats''
Villagers cant build docks with this mod...so play in water maps its very annoying...
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