Archived News From February 1998

Due to the old age of most of these news items, all hyperlinks have been disabled. It is also not possible to comment on any of news. They are presented in their current form purely for your reading pleasure - it's the closest thing to a time machine we can offer you!

News: February 28
Posted by Archangel on February 28th, 1998 @ 11:35 a.m.
With Trebuchet's, you will be able to select the location you would like to build them and the direction they will be facing and it will be built. Trebuchet's did not move and could not rotate, however they do a huge amount of damage. - Duncan McKissick - Ensemble Studios
IMO, rushes are a problem in multiplayer games where you either aren't teamed or don't have good teammates. For example, I got rushed today in a game by Assyrian archers in the Tool Age. My teammates gave me food and wood to fight off the rush and I proceeded to go to Bronze and teach the Assyrians a lesson with my hefty Minoan Composite Bowmen:) We're definitely focused on making the rushes more controllable for AOE2. - Dave C. Pottinger - Ensemble Studios

I for one would like to see "Rushers" disappear from AGE2 all together, or at least some type of early defense against them (wall, fences, pikes, etc...) I find games allot more enjoyable (from a Strategy Point) when it comes down to resource management and the give and take of warfare.

We have added a Wish List Voting Poll. A pretty simple voting area to pick (from a list) your favorite wish to be added to AGEII. All these ideas came from the Discussion and Wish/Dream Forums here and it isn't a complete list (by any means) of the over 1,100 "Wishes" suggested, but its a start.. Maybe in the next one we will added some different ones. - The Archangel

News: February 27
Posted by Archangel on February 27th, 1998 @ 2:32 p.m.

Looks like the Age of Empires II map area will have the option to view "only" certain items in the map like a "resource mode" and "unit mode" etc. Please keep in mind, the game is a long ways off and anything is subject to change. - The Archangel

News: February 27
Posted by Archangel on February 27th, 1998 @ 2:10 p.m.

There has been allot of emailing concerning the use of Age of Empires II Heaven information and graphics. Please direct all your requests to the Archangel. Heaven has help many Age of Empires Sites get started and we are more than happy to help with you a start on your AGEII site. - The Archangel

News: February 26
Posted by Vidguy on February 26th, 1998 @ 12:04 p.m.
This image could not be recovered.

WHOAH! Another Heaven exclusive! Only here on AOE II Heaven will you find an incredible image that will surely become a permanent part of your desktop! A new AOE II logo that is being used on T-Shirts was unveiled to the Heaven Staff just now! You can click on the tiny image on the right to see it in 640 X 480 splendor. Then you can download a zip file with either 640X480 or 800X600 resolution BMP files for your desktop wallpaper. A big thanks to Lord Soth for creating this masterpiece for our consumption! - Vidguy

News: February 26
Posted by Archangel on February 26th, 1998 @ 5:35 p.m.

Yea, I know it isn't an Ensemble Studios Game, but it just might be worth the extra effort to jump over to our friends at Gamestats and check out this latest Microsoft game. - The Archangel

Outwars - A First Peek
Outwars! Many gamers are waiting for news on this game which is being eagerly anticipated by players and those who love to spend their time finding bugs. Thanks to the generosity of Arbuthnot Communications/Microsoft, Gamestats got a preview of the beta version of Outwars and we are happy to bring you a first peek at this game. We have a load of great screenshots - some in larger format than you have seen before! - Justice T (Gamestats Editor)
News: February 26
Posted by Vidguy on February 26th, 1998 @ 9:50 a.m.
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Well, we have passed the 10,000 visitor mark here on AOEII Heaven! Who was the lucky individual you may ask? Well it was one of heaven's own angels, Omnivac! After some prodding I got him to snap a screenshot to prove it and here it is! Thanks to everyone who visited for making AOEII Heaven another huge success!

New civilizations have been added to our Civ page. This is a result of a post made by 2D and 3D Computer Animator, and self proclaimed "Social Engineer", Duncan McKissick to our forum. The 3 civs that weren't previously mentioned include:

  • Goths
  • Turks
  • Persians

Duncan also shared with me an unreleased early rendering of one of the ships, the Galley. It looks amazing! Chistopher Columbus would be jealous! We've been told that we should be getting some more unit images soon. Keep your eyes peeled to Heaven for these first impressions!

We've also updated our Zone friends.txt list to include most of the ES, Heaven and Gamestats staff. Download it here and then make sure you put it in your Internet Gaming Zone "common" directory. - Vidguy

News: February 25
Posted by Archangel on February 25th, 1998 @ 6:33 a.m.

I really had second thoughts about posting this one ;).. I applied myself.. but the recent "King the Wonder Dog" interview kind of took me out of the running :(... Oh Well... Here it is Folks!! The chance to join the fine folks at Ensemble Studios! Tell them Heaven sent you..

POSITION OPEN: assistant designer

Ensemble Studios is a growing game company located in north Dallas. Our current lead designers are Bruce Shelley (co-designer of Civilization and Railroad Tycoon), Mark Terrano (of Age of Empires fame), and Sandy Petersen (whose credits include work on Call of Cthulhu, Doom, Doom II, and Quake). So far, our only published game is Age of Empires, which is the top-selling real-time strategy game in the world.

Why join Ensemble? We're a family of developers, artists, designers, and managers all working toward a unified goal. We have an exhaustive hiring process to ensure there is a solid match between your skills/desires and our opportunities. Our goal is not to give you a job, but to help you create a career. In addition to a relaxed, team-oriented atmosphere, we provide:

  • Competitive salaries
  • A 401K plan
  • Stock options
  • Relocation assistance
  • Generous vacation time
  • Free pop
  • And a freezer full of frozen food!

Basically, we need talented and enthusiastic would-be assistant designers for bleeding-edge game development. You must have strong language & writing skills, the ability to get along well with diverse eccentric (but talented) people, buckets of creativity, and be able to think on your feet. If you love games and have always wanted to get into the gaming field, send us a resume now! If possible, also include an AoE level that you have designed, along with a paragraph or two about the level (for instance, why it is different or better than others, or the best way to experience the level). To get the ball rolling, please email, fax, or snail mail your resume, AoE level, and salary history to:

  • Sandy Petersen
    Ensemble Studios
    12655 N Central Expressway, Suite 1030
    Dallas, TX 75243
    spetersen@ensemble.net
    FAX: (972) 701-9078

* We do actually read every post on the Heavenweb forums and this group (actually, if you factor in how many ES people are out reading them, we read each one several times:). Please keep them coming! From time to time, I'll jump into the AOE2 wishlist posts here to make corrections to errors or if I see a lot of posts about the same thing. Generally, though, the wishlist posts here will be monitored and recorded, but not responded to on an individual basis.

BTW, In case you all missed it, full formations are definitely in AOE2...:) - dave

  • Dave C. Pottinger
    Engine Lead
    Ensemble Studios Corp.

* I was absolutely thrilled to see that a sequel to Age of Empires was already in the works (first saw this at Next Generation.)

The time periods covered in this sequel should propel this next title from Ensemble even higher than the First Age of Empires (which I play often and is FAR from being played out)

Over here at the Epic MegaGames cave we're busting to get Unreal finished. But when we get a chance to breathe you can bet that all the die hard gamers here will be slaughtering each other in Age of Empires once again. Just the mere fact that this sequel is well underway makes me howl!

That totally Kicks!!! - Myscha the sled dog

* Bruce Shelley has agreed to entertain a couple dozen questions from GameSpot News readers. So if you missed that recent Zone chat, this might be your chance.

- The Archangel

News: February 24
Posted by Vidguy on February 24th, 1998 @ 10:35 a.m.

Missed the Chat with Bruce Shelley on the Zone last night? Well, you can always count on Heaven to help you out! Fellow Strat-Master Angel, Hemlock compiled all the questions and answers from the chaos that ensued. Check it out here and see what Archangel missed in his earlier post!

News from the Underground ... actually on the Gamecenter Underground:

AoE II Debut... That grand-slam Age of Empires site, Age of Heavens, has launched a new Age of Empires II site, complete with the game's current features and screen shots. Also, check out Gamecenter's Gamestock report in Game News.

Our fellow Link Angel, Azoic has been busy compiling links related to AOE II and adding them to the evergrowing Town Center. So when you have read and memorized the entire text of AOE II Heaven, feel free to see what others have to say about this amazing game here. - Vidguy

News: February 24
Posted by Archangel on February 24th, 1998 @ 6:37 a.m.

What a gathering on the Zone last night! I will post what I can remember and what I was able to capture. The Zone is not to user friendly when it comes to copying text from a fast scrolling screen :(.. Some high lights:

  • You will not be able to destroy resources. There may be some way to get resources out of captured buildings and trade units.
  • No further patches to Age of Empires
  • New civs for AGE 2 are being decided. Probably Franks, Brits, Samurai Japan, Vikings, Mongol Hordes, and others.
  • Gunpowder weapons yes, but as late game high-end units. (Can we say Super Units)
  • Age 2 takes place in the Middle Ages. Think Knights, think long bowmen, think samurai for type of units.
  • No plans now for plague and morale, except units in formation will do better, possibly reflecting better morale.
  • Can't tell when the demo is coming. We have a lot of work to do yet. We hope to have it finished for Holiday 98. I would guess price will be same as AGE 1.
  • Working gates- yes. Moats and drawbridges are on the wish list, but probably not going in....
  • The maps will be 3x as large as the largest map in AoE 1 and the buildings will take up more space. Ensemble Studios is still playing around with how this will impact game play, etc.
  • The maximum map will be three times larger than biggest map in AGE 1. Takes a villager 8 Minutes to walk across. (Wow!)
  • THE AGES! Dark Age, Feudal Age, Castle Age, Gunpowder Age.
  • System requirements will probably go up mostly in the RAM department... 24 megs minimum, 32 megs recommended is likely. CPU 133-166.

These little bits of information is just making us beg for more! :).. Please remember all this is subject to CHANGE. Remember we are talking holiday time in 98, so just about any thing could happen between now and then.. - The Archangel

News: February 23
Posted by Vidguy on February 23rd, 1998 @ 3:30 p.m.

Getting close to "chat time" on the Zone! Have you done your AOEII homework before asking silly questions on the Zone tonight? If not, here's some tidbits from our Game Facts page:

Combat. Players can use military formations; advantages in direction facing and garrisoning add interesting tactical choices. Units are also smarter, with new artificial intelligence (AI) options like Guard, Patrol and Follow as well as multiple aggression levels. Boats can now carry either units or trade goods, and gamers can ram or board enemy ships to capture them.

Diverse cultures. Gamers command one of 13 mighty civilizations. These include Teutonic, Japanese, Byzantine and the raiding Viking, Mongol and Celt civilizations. Each civilization has unique attributes, buildings and technologies as well as a particular combat unit based on its historical counterpart.

So do your homework and read the Game Facts page and then head on over to the Zone to chat with the big guys at Ensemble! - Vidguy

News: February 23
Posted by Archangel on February 23rd, 1998 @ 6:32 a.m.

Today is the day at 6PM PST for the Age of Empires co-designer Bruce Shelley chat on the Zone. With Bruce would be other notable game creators like:

  • Duncan McKissick (computer animator and regular Zone player)
  • Matt Pritchard (graphics programmer)
  • Mario Grimani (AI programmer)
  • Paul Bettner (programmer on the Age2 team)

Games Domain has an Age of Empires II review? A okay read, basically just the GameStock press release from Microsoft. It can be had Here.

ACTIVE Site! I should say so, over 500 Messages Posted to the Forums for suggestions to Age of Empires II in the last 48 hours! If you are looking for ideas, please take the time to go to the Wish & Dreams Archives. This forum contains over 900 messages posts for ideas to Age of Empires and Age of Empires II some going back as far as November of last year. - The Archangel

News: February 22
Posted by Vidguy on February 22nd, 1998 @ 8:45 p.m.

Talk about an ACTIVE site! The forums are rocking and the guestbook is overflowing. I sure hope the Gamestats servers can handle the load! Here's a couple of gems from the forum and guestbook:

Who says that Ensemble Studios staff don't read the forums. Tony Goodman, President of ES responded to on contributor's wish list:

Thanks for the enthusisatic suggestions (thanks to all the early contributors).
Looks - Thanks. Its always an evolutionary process.
Trading - Land trade and off-map trade are two good possibilities for you diplomatic types.
Spying - Great possibilities. They might be on the possible maybe list. And I mean that.
Forest passing unit - I'm passing this on to Bruce, Marc and Ian.
Weather - We are planning on implementing a clear day concept. :) This is an interesting concept. We could reduce visibility and slow movement in a heavy rain. (??)
Any more suggestions?? (We dont always get to respond to all messages, We definately see every one!) Thanks - Tony

So there you have it! Even the Bossman reads what you are saying! This next one was from the Guestbook:

This page totally rocks!!! I can't wait for Ages 2, as well as all my friends...we are constantly playing on-line, but we have one question...how come there are no Romans???? Vikings will really kick tail feathers (cause I love to use ships). Keep up the awesome work!!!! - GrEmLiN

You got that right. After looking at that Dock screenshot (It is now my desktop wallpaper!) I can't wait to see what a viking ship will look like. As mentioned there may be a unique unit to each civ. Can't you picture a superior viking warship sitting in that gorgeous port! - Vidguy

News: February 22
Posted by Archangel on February 22nd, 1998 @ 10:20 a.m.

Yes.. It's true Heaven has the got the first Age of Empires II interview!! The ES Wonder Dog "King" has finalize his contact with Heaven. The negations for this interview went on through out the night, but we are happy to report here the KING interview was completed just minutes ago.

The price was high (A gross and half of Dog Biscuits, honorary Heaven wings and a date with a French Poodle) but Heaven will spare no expensive to bring you the latest and greatest AGE news First!

Go here for this very informative talk, Remember only Heaven has the news that the other Age Sites can only dream about. - The Archangel

News: February 21
Posted by Vidguy on February 21st, 1998 (Time Unknown)

What another day! By the time you read this we will have probably hit over 2000 vistors on our very first 24 hours open to the public! Make sure you take a look at the forums, they are going CRAZY! Even Tony Goodman, the president of Ensemble Studios is answering YOUR comments and suggestions!

So a big thank you to all of you for making this new site another one of Heaven's huge successes! Be sure to visit the Town Crier regularly for updates and news regarding this amazing game! - Vidguy

News: February 21
Posted by Archangel on February 21st, 1998 (Time Unknown)

How does it feel to be the King? - If you get a chance check out the overwhelming number of posts in the AoE2H Guest Book. The interest in AoE2 is sky high! - way up the clouds you might say :) - but that shouldn't be a surprise to any of us. Ensemble Studios is a company that prides itself on putting out a Top notch product and takes an active interest in what the "Fans" have to say about their games..

With less that 24 hours into our new Age of Empire II Heaven site, the response has been.. lets say has.. "Conquered the Hearts of Age of Empires Fans everywhere".

Over 2,000 visitors, 50 Guestbook entries, 70 emails to Heaven, & 200 message posts! But don't forget to also check our sister site Age of Empires Heaven for AoE2 information also. They have been posting information from the recent MS Gamestock show and have some real insights into the game.

Just to add to the "Rumors" about AoE2. We have added a little page on units in the game (Gleamed from the sharp eyes of Fans everywhere from the Screen Shots). This page can be found Here. So many questions and so little time :)...

I Just visited the Zone (Think the last time I was up there was last week) - seems there is a software upgrade to the Zone, about 1Mb file for the core download and 5Mb for the full download.. If you haven't been there for awhile, please stop by and upgrade before the Chat event on the 23rd..

The February 23: Chat with Age of Empires Co-Designer Bruce Shelley and Ensemble Studios.

Age of Empires co-designer Bruce Shelley returns to the Zone for a chat session on Monday, February 23. With him will be other notable game creators like:

  • Duncan McKissick (computer animator and regular Zone player)
  • Matt Pritchard (graphics programmer)
  • Mario Grimani (AI programmer)
  • Paul Bettner (programmer on the Age2 team)

Some of the "Other" Age of Empires Sites are making News posts about possible interviews with members of the Ensemble Team. Sounds pretty neat, but do you really want to see what the "Lead Designers" have to say? Naught! - We say in Heaven, You want the inside story (all dirt and rumors that go on inside of the Ensemble Studios Building) and thats what Heaven is going to give you!! - Yes we have managed to secure an one on one exclusive interview with the Ensemble Studios own Mascot!

Yes the ES Wonder Dog "King" has been in direct contact with my faithful companion "Sky Cloud". The negations for this interview are going on as we speak! "King" (Being the Dog he is) is asking for a "Little" payment in return for all the "Dirt" on the Ensemble Team. A gross of Dog Biscuits, honorary Heaven wings and a date with a French Poodle on are the table right now! - Hopefully these "Negations" will not drag on for to long. Keep watching this space for information on this newest development. - The Archangel

News: February 20
Posted by Archangel on February 20th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

What a Day!! As you can tell us "Angels" don't mess around, The first true Age of Empires II site is now on line! Please remember all information/graphics are "Early Design" and could change at any time.

Thanks to the work of the other "Angels" (Hamlet, Vidguy, Omnivac, Hemlock, Azoic, Fatcat & Alexander I) I was able to take the last three weeks off from my normal Age of Empires Heavens duties and put together this little "Mega" site. A special thanks to Vidguy for doing 20 different logos for all the Heaven sites, just seems like someone :) couldn't make up their mind on which one to use.

Yes, we have the Wishes & Dreams Forum on this site and on the AOEH site. You may see allot of "other sites" jumping on the wagon to offer a forum like this, but very few with over 800 suggestions already posted!

Don't forget Heaven is the place for News, files & information; we don't post pictures or news of Bill Gates with a pie in the face, the latest Hardware, or that I got an "A" on my last history test. ...ah forget that... I got some really kewl stories about my dog.. I will try to share them with you all in the next couple of days :)...

Remember Age of Heavens is your first and still your best source for all Ensemble Studios Games!

Enjoy yourselves, I sure have!! - Leave your comments/suggestions in the Guestbook or one of the Forums. - The Archangel

News: February 19
Posted by Archangel on February 19th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

In close cooperation with Ensemble Studios, Age of Heavens is Proud to announce the showing of early "Age of Empires II" Art & Game Information! These are very early graphics for the next rocking game from our friends at Ensemble Studios. As such, this very early production art and information is subject to change. - The Archangel

Vidguy and myself will be sharing the updating of the site and news sections. We will do "Our Heaven" best to keep you up to date on the latest "Happenings" & Rumors in the Age of Empires II world. - The Archangel