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Topic Subject:Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
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Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 06-10-19 05:09 AM CT (US)         
So, the first trailer for AoE2: DE was just released and the game is coming out as early as this fall. More news will hopefully come out of the on-going E3.

So far DE is looking like a new HD expansion with a lot of graphical updates. My main concern personally is with backwards compatibility, if older scenarios and campaigns can be expected to be playable in DE, or if they decide to wipe the slate clean.

Thoughts?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOgBVR21pWg

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The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
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The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi

[This message has been edited by Lord Basse (edited 06-10-2019 @ 05:10 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
Major Helper
AoKH Survivor, Mr. White Teeth
posted 06-10-19 08:57 AM CT (US)     1 / 34       
Topmost thought is: was this needed? I mean, it's nice that AoK keeps on chugging, but, uh...

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Lord Sipia
Knight
posted 06-10-19 11:37 AM CT (US)     2 / 34       
Hmm. If I'm being honest, there's only so much money you can milk out of an old game, no matter how great it is or how much nostalgia people feel for it. I feel like Microsoft intends to keep piling straw onto the camel's back until it breaks, and that's a shame.

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Popeychops
"Cool" Huskarl
posted 06-10-19 02:07 PM CT (US)     3 / 34       
I'd like to be excited, I would, but I'm struggling. I guess it's just a sign that I've moved on to other things in life. Rather like AoK itself, I struggle with backwards compatibility these days.

Member of BlackForest Studios
Co-creator of Silent Evil (4.6) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2009 (Most Fave'd Multiplayer Scenario)
and The Seas of Egressa (4.8) Voted Best Multiplayer Scenario of 2010
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panel
Squire
posted 06-10-19 02:46 PM CT (US)     4 / 34       
The graphics obviously look more contemporary but at the same time they lose some of the charm.. to me at least. They look a little bit too polished, shiny, colorful. I much prefer the old style. Even the hd edition which managed to stay true to the original graphics.

hard to believe it will be backwards compatible at all with all this new stuff they seem to have thrown in, graphically speaking.
rewaider
Squire
posted 06-10-19 09:02 PM CT (US)     5 / 34       
Honestly, looks kinda meh.
Good thing it's on Xbox game pass, tho.

Would only be somewhat interested on it if they actually bother to overhaul the scen editor interface (and, obviously, add more effects, conditions, etc). Cause, you know, it's the only thing that's actually keeping AOK from being a completely dead game... But given the treatment that they gave it on AOE:HD I wouldn't be holding my breath

The Fall of Hummaria -- Teaser [4.2] -- Project's Thread
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[This message has been edited by rewaider (edited 06-10-2019 @ 09:03 PM).]

MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 06-11-19 05:55 AM CT (US)     6 / 34       
Aw, they redesigned the barracks. That thing was iconic!

That aside, it looks like AoE2 with somewhat better graphics. Emphasis on the "somewhat" - the water actually looks worse than in HD, for example.
The graphics obviously look more contemporary but at the same time they lose some of the charm.. to me at least. They look a little bit too polished, shiny, colorful. I much prefer the old style.
I'm not a graphics artist so I can't articulate what's wrong. Things just look cluttered: too much visual information is stuffed into the same bandwidth.

The original game had 256 colours, but Ensemble Studios were geniuses. They chose every colour carefully, so that you could 1) easily tell units apart from the background, and 2) easily tell units apart from each other.

Now the game has 2358623487236 colours and all of that's being lost. At 0:33 I seriously find it hard to tell the foot units apart. Some are halberdiers, some are huskarls, some are crossbowmen, but they all look the same to my eyes. There's a monk at the monastery, but I mistook him for one of the huskarls. I never had that problem with the original.

That collapsing Persian wonder was really something, though.
My main concern personally is with backwards compatibility, if older scenarios and campaigns can be expected to be playable in DE, or if they decide to wipe the slate clean.
AoE: DE lets you play old scenarios and campaigns. There's hope.

[This message has been edited by MawBTS (edited 06-11-2019 @ 05:56 AM).]

Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 06-11-19 06:03 AM CT (US)     7 / 34       
Topmost thought is: was this needed?
I'd say no, not really. It mostly feels like a cashgrab from Microsoft.
I'd like to be excited, I would, but I'm struggling.
Yeah, same here. It just seems pointless. The graphics are nice and all, but it just looks like an AoE2 mod for AoE3. I can't see myself designing and modding for it much, which is the part of the game I enjoy most.
The graphics obviously look more contemporary but at the same time they lose some of the charm.. to me at least. They look a little bit too polished, shiny, colorful. I much prefer the old style. Even the hd edition which managed to stay true to the original graphics.
I agree. The whole project just seems... meaningless. I'm still going to try it out but I can't see myself switching over permanently to it.
hard to believe it will be backwards compatible at all with all this new stuff they seem to have thrown in, graphically speaking.
I think making scenario files compatible would be possible, if they keep things like unit IDs and all consistent. But I'm less sure that they will bother with it. Not sure how they did it for AoE1: DE. Any compatibility for mods is out of the question though.
AoE: DE lets you play old scenarios and campaigns. There's hope.
Ah, that's some good news at least!

__[]_________
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The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi

[This message has been edited by Lord Basse (edited 06-11-2019 @ 06:09 AM).]

Basse
Squire
posted 06-11-19 06:40 AM CT (US)     8 / 34       
Topmost thought is: was this needed?
This is what the HD Edition should've been. Unless it doesn't fix obvious problems with the old versions and keep backwards compatibility, this is just a money grab. Although kept under shiny new graphics this time. I am more excited about Aoe4.

I will buy it anyway. It looks okay, although as Bart put it, some graphics are too indistinguishable.
Julius999
Imposter
posted 06-11-19 04:00 PM CT (US)     9 / 34       
What stands out to me is how ugly they made the pine trees look.

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[ All_That_Glitters | Pretty_Town_Contest | Other_AoK_Designs | AoE_Designs ]
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Mr Wednesday
Cavalier
(id: matty12345)
posted 06-11-19 04:52 PM CT (US)     10 / 34       
I think it's exactly what they should have done with HD years ago. The HD game added bad looking water, bad looking cliffs, and bad looking fire...and it was really successful. People were willing to accept a broken game just so they could play AoK again easily and with some sort of matchmaking. The volume of people who will want the definitive edition has to be really high.

I think you have to ignore HD and treat this one separately. It feels like yet another cash grab after an awful remaster and three expansions, but if it is actually good, it could wipe out a lot of the problems we have now. Imagine if it is compatible with old scx files. If it has some of the up functions thrown in. It could be a really clean, unifying version.

It will probably suck, but hey I'm optimistic for now until proven wrong.

"And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 06-11-19 05:25 PM CT (US)     11 / 34       
The track record they have from the HD version and the many bugs in AoE1: DE doesn't inspire much hope. But absolutely, if they do pull this off (and perhaps even have an option to use classic graphics, for backwards modding compatibility), it really could be a good development for the game.

__[]_________
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The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 06-12-19 02:37 AM CT (US)     12 / 34       
Hopefully they add lootboxes and microtransactions: the original game was really missing those. I'd love to buy a $19.95 Thanos skin for Genghis Khan.

I also want daily challenges. If you build thirty stables in Joan of Arc #4, you should get a badge with horse droppings on it. Emotes, too. Pressing E should make your villagers twerk and floss dance.
Fisk
Champion of AoEH
(id: Fruktfisk)
posted 06-12-19 05:07 AM CT (US)     13 / 34       
Regarding backwards comaptibility, judging from the treatment Age1 got some solution will definitely be implemented, but in our case it has been less than ideal. Loading old scenarios into the new game regularly results in playability issues ranging from minor to making the scenarios downright unplayable. Of course any design tricks are also bound to look less than ideal when reloaded with a new set of graphics. As a rule you can say that the more complex (i.e. some of the community's most well liked scenarios/campaigns) something is the more likely it is to break down when loaded into the new game engine. That being said Ingo van Thiel seems to have remastered his old works for the new game with relative ease.

Of course with us being the slightly more unpolished older brother, a definitive edition seemed like it could've been successful. We definitely needed it more than AoK, but the end result unfortunately turned out to be an even more unpolished product. While updates in the past few months have resolved some issues and brought a number of quality of life improvements, a lot of players are still scorned from the lack of communication post-launch.

Of course AoK has always been the more popular game and one would hope they learned a thing or two from the first DE, so it wouldn't surprise me if things turn out mroe favorably for you. MS may just have learned their lesson and will release the game on Steam directly instead of making it a Windows Store exclusive for the first year, in which case we might expect some influx of new players.

//The warrior of Isola

"I lack quotes that demonstrate Humor Intelligence or anything about me."

Pineapplefish
Cleidopus gloriamaris
panel
Squire
posted 06-12-19 06:10 AM CT (US)     14 / 34       
it has been less than ideal. Loading old scenarios into the new game regularly results in playability issues ranging from minor to making the scenarios downright unplayable. Of course any design tricks are also bound to look less than ideal when reloaded with a new set of graphics. As a rule you can say that the more complex (i.e. some of the community's most well liked scenarios/campaigns) something is the more likely it is to break down when loaded into the new game engine.
that's what I was afraid of. the Ensemble Studios campaigns will probably work, but that's not much of a consolation.
MawBTS
I ONCE PUT AN ENTIRE ORANGE INTO MY MOUTH
(id: Bart Pimpson)
posted 06-12-19 06:53 AM CT (US)     15 / 34       
Loading old scenarios into the new game regularly results in playability issues ranging from minor to making the scenarios downright unplayable.
Well, gg.

If problems occur in a game with no triggers and basic AI, there's no way we'll be playing AoKasino in AoE2E, let alone the GeniEd/Trigger Studio/UP v1.x stuff that came out afterwards.

You can probably remaster stuff, but I don't think it's the community's place to do that. And in 99% of cases, the creators are long gone and uncontactable.

It's sobering to think how little contact we have with the original 1999-2001 gang of designers. Name a famous designer from that period (except Ingo). Mark Stoker, The Downward Spiral, anyone. Nobody knows where they are. A couple have probably actually died IRL by this point.
Mr Wednesday
Cavalier
(id: matty12345)
posted 06-12-19 08:55 AM CT (US)     16 / 34       
a lot of players are still scorned from the lack of communication post-launch
Honestly, this is the biggest problem FE has as a studio. It is really understandable, as it's a lot of young people, without any formal training presumably on how to handle this stuff, and in many cases the fanbase may know as much or more about the game than they do. It's a tough situation, but it hasn't been handled great. I followed a bit of the AoE definitive edition situation and had the same thoughts you did.

I'm a big Dark Souls fan and a hearthstone fan, and if anyone thinks the age community is toxic, it's like a paradise of bunnies compared to those communities. Players are brutally critical. People with 300 plus hours in dark souls 3 regularly take to Reddit to explain in great detail why the game is complete garbage. And I don't know if there is an angrier, pickier, more resentful player base than Hearthstone's. But you should see the community representatives for Fromsoft and Blizzard react to and interact with these hostile people. They're super professional, always upbeat, always present and accountable, and things people rant about actually get changed.

I just think the Age remakes would do so much better if the developers regularly interacted with the old player fan base. Yes, it's going to feel toxic and negative for them...but that's the price of being an adult. I regularly have clients yell at me on the phone and I don't get to ignore them or I'd be out of work.

A lot of the problems the player base had with HD got addressed, just like you are saying happened with AoE, but only after most people felt used and fooled, and then it's too late.

Of course, who knows how much of all this is Microsoft's fault too. They seem to have awoke one day and realized they cared again about the age series and just started putting things in motion without really looking for what's needed.

"And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king

[This message has been edited by Mr Wednesday (edited 06-12-2019 @ 09:00 AM).]

Zetnus
Squire
posted 06-14-19 11:49 AM CT (US)     17 / 34       
https://www.reddit.com/r/aoe2/comments/bzq9ik/aoe2de_gameplay_livestream_starts_in_few_hours_at/eqxs349/

Apparently DE will have not have a Steam Workshop, and mods will instead run through ageofempires.com

Which, while being silly and annoying, is likely to help AoKH because we have the Blacksmith all set up an easy to use. Assuming of course that the backwards compatibility is sufficient for at least campaigns, scenarios and maps to work without remastering.

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Basse
Squire
posted 06-15-19 11:28 AM CT (US)     18 / 34       
Apparently DE will have not have a Steam Workshop, and mods will instead run through ageofempires.com
It would be nice if you could browse the mod/scenario/AI/RMS libraries from ageofempires.com in the game itself to download and install for easy access. Otherwise there is basically no difference from the Blacksmith
oliver
Squire
posted 06-17-19 07:36 AM CT (US)     19 / 34       
When Sandyman was doing interview threads, didn't he often say that they never gave the scenario editor much thought? That they just coded a barely functional editor for the designers to make the standard AoK/AoC with, and just added is a kind of afterthought to the game?

I wonder if things have changed since 1999, whether user-generated content is held in higher esteem these days. Of course backwards compatibility is important (because otherwise a huge chapter of AoK's history will go unnoticed by the DE's buyers), but a more realistic hope might be for an editor that allows for a new generation of designers to make their mark too.
Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 06-17-19 02:33 PM CT (US)     20 / 34       
Yeah, I remember that as well. Which makes it all the more fascinating that people have gone to such great lengths to push the boundaries of the editor for so many years now.

It would be nice if DE incorporated at least the all the progress made in HD and the UserPatch. I would welcome almost any additions, provided they don't compromise backwards compatibility. Stuff like cinematic mode, smooth & timed camera pans, saving information between scenarios etc. would be awesome.

__[]_________
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The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
Lord Sipia
Knight
posted 06-17-19 03:58 PM CT (US)     21 / 34       
I wonder if things have changed since 1999, whether user-generated content is held in higher esteem these days.
Certainly they have, sometimes to a fault (when developers heavily rely on community modders to polish their barely-QA-tested turd, for instance). Games are often marketed as having mod hooks or Steam Workshop integration. These are selling points to promote the idea that the game will have incredible longevity, and therefore more bang for your buck, due to the plethora of creations that devoted hobbyists will churn out.

Of course, I can't guarantee if Microsoft will have the same attitude here, but it would surprise me if they didn't; it could only benefit them, really, because it's clear this game would not be relevant still were it not for its community. But then again, the ones calling the shots in such a large business are often pretty thick-headed and far removed from their consumer base, so who knows.

"You can't open up the story of my life and just go to page 738 and think you know me."
--Arin "Egoraptor" Hanson (on judging people by their Google search history)

"It's hard to have an existential crisis when everything is so pretty."
--Dan "Danny Sexbang" Avidan
rewaider
Squire
posted 06-17-19 07:07 PM CT (US)     22 / 34       
IMO the best (and easiest, I suppose) way to bring AOK's scenario editor to a new era would be by adding an option (via a "insert script" effect) to integrate c++ scripts to it.
Throught it, it'd possible to acess variables like X unity's health, times its attacked, position and so on, which would open up infinite possibilities for things like stage based boss fights (the boss gets stronger once it gets to low ho), actual spell systems (by having acess to the unity's position) and much more.

The Fall of Hummaria -- Teaser [4.2] -- Project's Thread
Cavern Pirates -- The Treasure Hunt [4.6] -- Captain's Revenge
My Blacksmith
oliver
Squire
posted 06-18-19 03:11 AM CT (US)     23 / 34       
What are scenario editors like in other RTS games these days?

I'm still out of the loop, but I'm curious whether such a thing as a C++ scripting feature (or similar) has been considered in other games and had any success there. A balance between accessibility for the newbies and power for the more experienced designers would of course be ideal, but maybe that's wishing for too much ... developers have families too, I guess.
Basse
Squire
posted 06-18-19 05:15 AM CT (US)     24 / 34       
I think Dawn of Fantasy used Lua in their editor. StarCraft II use their own scripting language called Galaxy, similar to WarCraft III's JASS. A quick look here says Galaxy is based on C, but lacks some basic C functions such as pointers and standard libraries.
Mr Wednesday
Cavalier
(id: matty12345)
posted 06-18-19 01:24 PM CT (US)     25 / 34       
Really, I think a lot of these hopes are bit idealistic. If they can manage to deliver a sturdy and reliable multiplayer experience; some QoL improvements like seeing what is being researched, tracking production better, etc; an editor with say a few basic improved features (copy/pasting triggers for example is already done with AoKTS, just implement such a simple idea into the editor. Or add more modern terrain painting tools); and in the process not wreck anything like compatibility/pathfinding, well...that would be good enough for me to be excited.

"And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
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