You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register

General and Strategy Discussion
Moderated by HockeySam18, Barbarossa89, John the Late

Hop to:    
Welcome! You are not logged in. Please Login or Register.15 replies
Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » General and Strategy Discussion » Age of Empires IV and other exciting videos
Bottom
Topic Subject:Age of Empires IV and other exciting videos
Zetnus
Squire
posted 08-21-17 05:29 PM CT (US)         
The Windows YouTube channel is buzzing with exciting videos

Age of Empires IV announcement:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYwZ6GZXWhA

The History of Age of Empires:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4AfZqb9pxY

Making Age of Empires: Definitive Edition:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJCc62ZClzg

The Music of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL7dx4FoBSE

Edit:
Gamescom stream video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nBZO7WTSsI

......../\
......./ / / \ Check out my Blacksmith submissions as well as my stuff in the Steam Workshop.
....../ / /\\ \
...../ /_/_\\ \ Proud guardian of the Updated New RMS Guide <<<version 2.0 is out<<< and the Random Map Scripting Links and FAQ thread.
..../_____\\\ \
....\\\\\\\\\\\\\/ (unknowingly) the submitter of the 12000th item to the Blacksmith.

[This message has been edited by Zetnus (edited 08-21-2017 @ 06:00 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Cataphract887
Squire
posted 08-21-17 05:49 PM CT (US)     1 / 15       
I heard studio Relic has been called in for this project? Their latest project was something of a bomb but they have done decent work in the past. Could go either way.

Ah, more butchering of my childhood memories by greedy corporations...microsoft is probably most interested in the Esports nature of this title as a possible competitor to the starcraft, dota and lol franchises so i am worried they will take this in an ugly direction. Yeah i know its cynical and pessimistic lol but we see this a lot in the gaming industry lately.

So the video depicted a compilation of AoE, AoK and AoE3 era content...roughly 1000 BC to 1700 AD era being covered. How this content will be formatted into ages will be interesting...four ages again, or are we going Rise of Nations esque?

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

"Hard work is evil. Bitmaps are stupid. Working on a scenario for more than one afternoon is stupid. Triggers are stupid. Testing your own scenario is stupid. The world is stupid. You are the Greatest." -Ingo Van Thiel

[This message has been edited by Cataphract887 (edited 08-21-2017 @ 06:06 PM).]

Gen_Rhys_Dallows
Cavalier
posted 08-21-17 06:28 PM CT (US)     2 / 15       
So the video depicted a compilation of AoE, AoK and AoE3 era content...roughly 1000 BC to 1700 AD era being covered. How this content will be formatted into ages will be interesting...four ages again, or are we going Rise of Nations esque?
That slideshow of the old games, combined with the line "A new age is upon us" kind of makes me think they're going to move the timeline forward again; probably Industrial Revolution to WWII or maybe Cold War.

ARMY STRONG
"Rhys wins this thread." - Tsavong Lah | "Gen freakin wins." - Jon Rolos | "...Any mercenary force trained by you, Dallows, would be all kinds of awesome." - Flying Ace
Expanding Fronts Mod
Seonid
Squire
posted 08-21-17 08:56 PM CT (US)     3 / 15       
Relic has done some really good work. The Homeworld franchise is just about as iconic in its genre as AoK is. Dawn of War is good, and Company of Heroes and Dawn of War II were very good.

I'm not worried yet. I trust Relic to make a good game and respect the tradition of Age of Empires. Once I see actual gameplay trailers, I reserve the right to change my opinion on the subject, of course...
atrican
Squire
posted 08-21-17 10:52 PM CT (US)     4 / 15       
My (as usual, aesthetics-focused) stream-of-consciousness rambling on the stream video:

0:0:00
Stream begins with the Gray Sky remix. It's pretty snazzy. The song benefits from being played by real instruments.

0:4:50
Oh no, it's Tango Alpha Bravo. One of my nemeses, along with Shamburger.

Lead-in
0:29:20
After showing a vintage AoE commercial (that a netizen happened to have uploaded to Youtube last year) to whet our appetite, the camera cuts to the show floor.

A few months ago, I wrote,
Blizzard is a game company who counts StarCraft among its crown jewels, while Microsoft is a megacorp with thousands of priorities more important than a past bestseller. From what I've seen of statements by the people involved, whether it's Hidden Path Entertainment who ported AoE2HD, or Kevin Perry, the Microsoft manager in charge of PC games during the period from AoE2HD to Rise of Nations EX, it's clear they are all compassionate people with nothing but good wishes for these classics. Nonetheless, we can all agree the first factor has been far more powerful than the second, and their combined results have frequently been unsatisfactory."
It's obvious now that the priority of Microsoft has shifted towards AoE again, but that can come with its own pitfalls.

0:31:40
The show host enters via a red-painted torii. Ensemble never seemed to understand Japanese culture very well, but they had the sense of realizing the torii is a religious structure, and the entrance of the Iron Age Town Center was the wrong place for it. Nobody is around to pass this wisdom forward.

Also, to be more period-appropriate for AoE1, the torii could have used an unpainted wooden look. Which happens to signify the general problem with Iron Age Asian architecture in AoE: DE.

0:31:55
The torii is flanked by two performers, one in a red kimono, one in a blue Mongolian deel.

0:33:55
The host introduces the convention hall props as representing AoE: DE's regions: East Asia, Middle East, Mediterranean and Central Asia, plus tusks for Stone Age. I have a sneaking suspicion the region names are taken from AoE Wikia, since we all know Ensemble simply called the architecture sets Asian, Egyptian, Greek and Babylonian, and then arbitrarily gave Assyrians and Sumerians the Egyptian set. There's no sensible way of sorting them out. Ensemble also wouldn't know they had another "Egyptian" option in the Nubians, since Nubian study only came into prominence after AoE's release.

History of Age of Empires
0:34:30
Documentary starts.

Bruce Shelley's voice: "The sun was always shining in Age of Empires games. It was inviting." Which was a bit diminished by BHG's color designs in AoE3:TAD, severely marred by the environmental lighting in AoM:EE, and definitely ended with AoE: DE.

0:35:00
Tony Goodman and John Boog-Scott. A decent start.

0:35:26
Rick Goodman! The most unexpected person to appear here.

0:36:00
Bruce Shelley introduced via a closeup of the official AoE2 guide. You know what, I would really love to have ebook versions of all the official guides as Steam DLC to the Microsoft RTS franchise. They are not just campaign walkthroughs and outdated strategies, but also contain a huge amount of information from the developers.

0:36:08
Tony G on Historical Gaming Society, where he met Bruce: "I kept track of them, thinking one day I'd start a game company." He also said he joined it when in junior high, which... Wait, wasn't Bruce a postgraduate at the time?

Bruce then said, "fifteen years later..." Need to check the chronology, but not right now.

0:36:52
Bruce: "I wanted the randomly generated maps. I wanted the game to be different each time you played."

Meanwhile, a clip of AoE1 gameplay is shown. It has the hallmarks of a typical Youtube "history of Age of Empires" video: the language is in Spanish, the FRAPS framerate counter is in a corner, the resolution is 800*600 stretched to 16:9, and the fog of war has sharp 90 degree turns instead of rounded corners, due to it being an improperly installed pirate copy.

0:37:24
Oh, isn't that Joe Staten, writer of the Halo series? He shows up with the title "Creative Director, Microsoft". So this is our first representative for the future of AoE here.

0:39:32
Timothy Deen, "Former Engineer, Ensemble Studios". Also the only one from Robot Entertainment so far, where some of the most important people who made AoE what it is still are.

0:40:03
Paul Bettner. After the closure of Ensemble, he infamously spoke at GDC using the studio as an example of the pervasive crunch culture (extreme amounts of over-time work) in games industry, and earned a rebuttal from Ian Fischer, who argued Ensemble had managed crunch and kept it under control as well as they could.

Speaking of which, where's Ian Fischer? Sandy Petersen? They might be a little interview-shy, but what about Greg Street?

0:40:49
AoE2 represented by the Forgotten Empires trailer. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I kinda like the look of the centered interface, I just think the copied panels on the left side should not be flipped. Sure, it makes the border between them and the unit control panel flow better in some cases, but it also looks bad in too many more cases.

0:41:13
Now an AoE2HD clip. No interface, probably from a trailer.

0:41:40
Zooming out from the AoE2 cover art. As Sandy Petersen pointed out on AOKH, this was actually the homeliest cover art the series ever had.

0:42:29
Phew, they didn't skip over Age of Mythology. Represented by the Extended Edition trailer.

0:42:39
Paul Bettner: AoM "kind of had the most active and vocal community of any of the games we'd worked on." A very consolatory prize-ish description.

0:42:54
Phil Spencer on AoE3: "I think a lot of times you see games, teams, in their third or fourth iteration for them [to] really hit their stride, because so much of the 'what it means to just be a team working on a video game together' goes away, and becomes about focusing on the game itself." Everyone actually at Ensemble had complicated feelings about its growth, right?

0:43:10
Cysion, another future steward appears to praise the AoE3 campaign. Isn't the AoM campaign the best-loved in general opinion? Interface-less footage of AoE3 plays.

0:43:45
Dave Pottinger, quoting Bruce's "famous phrase" of "the sun is always shining on AoE" again, as the FE trailer plays.

0:44:05
Quinn Duffy, "Game Director, Relic Entertainment". Oh, so here is my blind spot. I only noticed that the FE team has yet to acquire the staff and expertise necessary for making a big-budget RTS, and the lead creatives behind Halo Wars 2 had largely left Creative Assembly, but underestimated the availability of Relic. It all makes sense now.

Meanwhile, game footage of AoE2HD plays.

0:44:22
Brief appearance of a very old Forgotten Empires footage with the bottom interface on the left side, a smudge on the right. Immediately followed by a AoM:EE trailer clip.

0:44:31
Cysion: "Age of Empires II was really built around user-made content." New footages of AoE: DE play.

Interlude
0:45:58
Documentary ends. No mention of Age of Empires Online, no time for Big Huge Games, Kevin Perry, or Gas Powered Games.

0:46:55
Adam Isgreen and Shannon Loftis are introduced. As far as I understand, they are the people actually responsible for driving forward and overseeing the revival of Age of Empires.

0:51:00
Isgreen continues to stress the educational value of AoE. He counted teachers who used AoE in the classroom among people who supported AoE over the two decades, and now mentions "with HD we've gone back" to correct historical inaccuracies.

AoE: DE Trailer
0:52:40
Most people who care about aesthetics must have already remarked that a stained glass is the wrong visual theme for the Antiquity; mosaics would be better.

0:53:21
Higher population limit, better pathfinding, all good and expected. Individual destruction animation for each building!? Even when I dreamt about better building destruction animations as a kid, I only wanted one culture-specific animation for each building size.

0:53:40
Yep, this is what Isgreen meant. The barebones Yamato campaign has been expanded with significantly more historical flavor, giving new context to the originally mostly fictional missions. The player is now identified as impersonating specific historical rulers. Too bad the architecture set that closest fit the Yamato is only found in AoE2, while their AoE: DE art style would be better for AoE2's Chinese civilization. Honestly, I have no solution for this either. It's simply an Ensemble legacy we are burdened with.

0:54:55
Release date: October 19, exactly 20 years later.

0:55:48
The building destructions all look uncanny, partially because they have to stay within the grid. I actually imagined a different way of getting around this issue back then...

1:12:39 on
As examples of KillerB and ZeroEmpires narrating competitive play, clips from both AoE2HD and AoE2 UserPatch are shown.

At the beginning of the stream, we saw there were people playing AoE3 at the venue, but this segment is strictly about AoE2.

New Announcements
1:23:19
"Actually we got two announcements!"

Definitive Editions for both AoE2 and 3. I've been thinking on-and-off about a plan to reuse most of AoE3's graphics, while completely reworking its game design, keeping the core but removing all the cruft Ensemble's troubled development process added, and BHG's attempts at twisting the formula further piled on. AoE3: DE sounds like it would be the opposite of that.

1:25:43
Grave trailer voice. Painted scenes of a classical battle, a Roman ceremony viewed from behind the emperor, just like the one in the Civilization Revolution intro, and nondescript medieval battles that got quickly passed over. There are no scenes of peaceful, idyllic life, even when the hosts acknowledged how big "foraging berries" was a part of AoE's appeal.

1:26:07
The AoE3 part begins. This means the bland paintings are replaced by the great works of Craig Mullins. Also means this part is the longest. Other viewers pointed out this segment is chronologically incoherent due to partially following AoE3's expansion pack order: TWC's Iroquois gunmen (18th century), transitioning to conquistadors at Tenochtitlan (16th), to the Sioux (19th), to AoE3's redcoats, then finally to TAD's Date Masamune (16th).

There's also AoE4 by Relic. As expected from observing how they talked about the big reveal before the show, this is the only information they are giving out. It will be a Relic game. It'll be fine.

All the new announcements bear a generic Age of Empires logo, but they will likely be replaced by tailor-made ones in time.

========

All in all, I wish the best of luck to the great people involved in the project to revive Age of Empires. I have deep admiration for Adam Isgreen's past contributions to the RTS genre, and have no doubt about the talents of Forgotten Empires and Relic. But I can't help miss the presence of a unifying force in Ensemble, whatever faults they might have.

[This message has been edited by atrican (edited 08-22-2017 @ 05:27 AM).]

ES_MattP
VIP
posted 08-22-17 00:57 AM CT (US)     5 / 15       
...
All in all, I wish the best of luck to the great people involved in the project to revive Age of Empires. I have deep admiration for Adam Isgreen's past contributions to the RTS genre, and have no doubt about the talents of Forgotten Empires and Relic. But I can't help miss the presence of a unifying force in Ensemble, whatever faults they might have.
@atrican - Seriously?
atrican
Squire
posted 08-22-17 02:47 AM CT (US)     6 / 15       
Oh hello, @ES_MattP! Sorry for bombarding you with the long ramble.

I'm happy to see AoE come back. But at the same time, I feel a deep worry that some parts of the project may turn into blindly carrying things forward, without reflecting on why things are the way they were, what could be changed, and what should not be thrown out.

For example (I've been meaning to write a long post, and this is only a sample of my topics), I can't see "the sun is always shining" in AoE: DE.

In AoE1, the marbles, the white Asian walls, and the robes of Priests are all shining white, while the Babylonian ceramic mosaics and Asian roof tiles are shades of bright blue. These are not only highly readable, extremely pleasant to look at, but also adds to an idyllic children's picture book aesthetic, and Tony G attributed that as the biggest factor behind AoE's success. It's one of the most important things AoE had going for.

And what about the wine dark sea to contrast with the bright lands? All screenshots so far have shown light-colored Command & Conquer water. If the goal is to give waters a lighter tone, why not use the same colors as AoE2?

That's an example of what I believe shouldn't be changed; I can also talk about what should. One of my biggest issues, which admittedly most people are unaware of, is about the Asian architecture set. FE's update of the Iron Age set in AoE: DE is entirely based on Chinese architecture post-16th century - green glazed roof tiles, colorful decorations and brick walls, when they could have used some inspiration from actual pre- to 200 CE Chinese buildings seen in indirect evidences and Chinese-produced films and TV series (most notably, they often have straight roofs). The worst part is, they do not fit the Yamato campaign at all, for which AoE2's Feudal-to-Castle Asian set would actually be the most appropriate; meanwhile, that same set is in fact less suitable for AoE2's period, even for Japan (every Feudal building there has chigi, which had lost its utility in Middle Ages, becoming a decorative element only seen on Shinto shrines).

Knowing both AoE1 and 2 would be remade again, it would have been better to plan beforehand. Ideally, the Yamato civ could have used a unique building set, but even without that, we could at least have avoided anachronistically upgrading from 16th century Chinese brick walls in AoE1, to significantly less ornate wooden houses in AoE2.

With the same foreknowledge, we could also have retired the good old Temple of Heaven as the Asian wonder, a 15th century building that thanks to TAD and Tale of the Dragon, has been remade four times in all four main AoE games, replacing it with something actually ancient.

I'm also very concerned for AoE3, which was not left in a very good state, and I have no idea who will be responsible for improving. Between a design update and an art update, I suspect AoE3 fans would be more interested in the former.

[This message has been edited by atrican (edited 08-22-2017 @ 04:04 AM).]

Zetnus
Squire
posted 08-22-17 02:54 AM CT (US)     7 / 15       
Matt, while you are here:
If the opportunity arises, can you make a push to have a full-map screenshot feature included in all these coming definitive editions?
It's a great feature in the Conquerors, and it is too bad it didn't work with the terrain system in HD Edition. I always load up my random maps in AoC to get nice mapshots to show on the Steam Workshop.

......../\
......./ / / \ Check out my Blacksmith submissions as well as my stuff in the Steam Workshop.
....../ / /\\ \
...../ /_/_\\ \ Proud guardian of the Updated New RMS Guide <<<version 2.0 is out<<< and the Random Map Scripting Links and FAQ thread.
..../_____\\\ \
....\\\\\\\\\\\\\/ (unknowingly) the submitter of the 12000th item to the Blacksmith.
todler
Squire
posted 08-22-17 04:04 AM CT (US)     8 / 15       
The building destructions all look uncanny, partially because they have to stay within the grid. I actually imagined a different way of getting around this issue back then...
What was your idea? Feel free to write your long post about AoE: DE
Cataphract887
Squire
posted 08-22-17 05:28 AM CT (US)     9 / 15       
@atrican - Seriously?
He isnt wrong. All these announcements make a chaotic and confusing presentation. I really cannot comprehend where all this is headed. Hopefully HD Edition isnt being abandoned as it still needs some fixing.

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

"Hard work is evil. Bitmaps are stupid. Working on a scenario for more than one afternoon is stupid. Triggers are stupid. Testing your own scenario is stupid. The world is stupid. You are the Greatest." -Ingo Van Thiel
Mahazona
Squire
posted 08-22-17 05:57 AM CT (US)     10 / 15       
In the aoe2 remake id like to see different unit skins regional vise,something many wanted for years.
atrican
Squire
posted 08-23-17 02:53 AM CT (US)     11 / 15       
What was your idea? Feel free to write your long post about AoE: DE
For the long posts: I'm now feeling nerve-wracking pressure on what to write .

For the idea, that was 18 years ago. Nowadays I can see that a one-size-fits-all animation will always end up cheesy, like everyone in Street Fighter II using the same "on fire" sprite, despite their great variation in body types.

For what it's worth, Asian buildings would be entirely engulfed in flames, creating an awe-inspiring pyre effect: a huge torch of fire, with dark silhouettes of wooden pillars and beams visible within. The pillars and beams then collapse.

I cannot recall with certainty what the ideas were for other sets, but they probably would involve sands and surface materials falling from the top (like caused by earthquakes or cannon blasts), followed by ceilings collapsing, then finally pillars.

[This message has been edited by atrican (edited 08-23-2017 @ 04:59 AM).]

local boi
Squire
(id: dragon14)
posted 08-23-17 04:06 PM CT (US)     12 / 15       
That sounds really cool

USA
katsup or mustard
AFFA the Cleric
Squire
posted 08-23-17 06:44 PM CT (US)     13 / 15       
I hope this Age of Empires IV will be like an Empire Earth/Riso of Nation gameplay with the Age of Empires II graphic engine...

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
MY GAME VERSION:

Age of Empires II The Conquerors 1.0 without any patches, just the ES release in August 24th 2000, proud to playing this game version!
Grubnessul
Squire
posted 08-24-17 02:51 AM CT (US)     14 / 15       
We could use a little bit better graphics, I think

Especially since graphics seem to be fairly trivial to make look good nowadays it seems.

For me an ideal AoE4 would go back to the bronze/iron age setting, using the home city system of AoE3.

[This message has been edited by Grubnessul (edited 08-24-2017 @ 02:59 AM).]

Saegan
Squire
posted 09-03-17 09:37 PM CT (US)     15 / 15       
Atrican, thanks for your writeup of the stream. I appreciated your stream of conscience commentary :P It helped give some beneficial organizational information to all of the announcements that were sparse on details.

While I am excited for the new AoEIV, I am not kidding myself regarding the fact that the only reason that M$ is focusing back on AoE is because of the $$. However like Seonid said, I hope that the devs making the game respect the classic that the AoE series is, and are able to make a fun game that is worthy to be part of the AoE series (probably an impossible task with all the hype and build up this game will have, but we can hope :P).

I think that the DE for AoE1 will be a welcome update to the game drawing hopefully a good many more players back to a fun game (An attack move command is always helpful!). I don't know if they are going to change this, but I would always like the farms to be changed from being annoying solid structures to like they are in AoC.

“Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation”
You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register

Hop to:    

Age of Kings Heaven | HeavenGames