Archived News From May 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!

The news from May 30, 1998 could not be recovered.
Four New Pictures!
Posted by Omnivac on May 29th, 1998 @ 11:59 p.m.

Ancient Axemen (old graphics) getting showered by archers in a tower, a British Market with flags on top signifying the level of power and importance of a civs market. The more flags the more expensive, durable, and powerful the ressources are at THIS specific market. And a nice shot of the diamond-shaped map with the interface around it. More screenshots will follow. - Omnivac

Exclusive Pictures From Heaven @E3
Posted by Vidguy on May 29th, 1998 @ 5:10 p.m.

Head on over to the Heaven @E3 Images page for some exclusive pics taken by our Angels in Atlanta. Just four up there now, but many more on the way. - Vidguy

The Delirious Prose of Alexander I
Posted by Omnivac on May 29th, 1998 @ 5:00 p.m.

You can read Alexander's excellent writing skills once again in a new update. Some of his thoughts about the Ensemble dudes and dudettes and the fun he's having. Man, what am I doing here?

At first I though, these guys have had a hard day, the last thing they want to do is talk about what we live for: Age of Empires, Age of Empires II. For the second time that day I was way off base. They live for the game too and couldn’t stop talking about it and the cool vibes generated by winning that best strategy game award.

Oooh! Another little thing. his little words were lost in a 2 MEGS email. Guess what's coming up? Keep your finger on the mouse button, and refresh like you never refreshed before. - Omnivac

Holy Crusade and Tidbits
Posted by Omnivac on May 29th, 1998 @ 1:47 p.m.

More stuff coming our way. You can start dreaming about Holy Crusades with Priests holding Holy Relics leading Knights to war. Here's what DeepWater has to say...

Now I come to the Relics. I really like the approach the guys have taken with the Relics in the game. Relics will be scarce and a Relic can only be picked up by a Priest. No other unit will touch them because they are after all sacred. Some of the inherent bonuses of controlling a Relic are that if you house the Relic inside of a Church it will automatically produce gold for you. Another bonus of controling Relics is that if they are brought into a battle they will give a bonus to any unit within a certain radius of it.

Here's some historical info from Argent_Knight. Wether it will make it in the game or not remains to be seen:

Clergymen fought in the battles along side of the army. They were known to have maces due to the fact that they were not allowed to shed blood. The mace is more of a club-like weapon. It has a wooden shaft (sometimes iron) with an iron head that was block shaped. It might also have had knobs on it. This was designed not to draw blood but just to break bones and skulls and and internal bleeding.

Well, you know the drill by now, or you hardly come to the news page anymore <g> .Get the latest details in our exclusive Heaven @E3 page. - Omnivac

The Delicious Prose of Alexander I
Posted by Vidguy on May 29th, 1998 @ 12:15 a.m.

*Picking jaw up off the ground and wiping drool spots off the keyboard*
What do you mean you haven't been to our HOT Heaven @E3 coverage page? Just posted is a glorious story from ALexander I's first day at E3.

As I neared the location of stand 4420, I felt something in the air that immediately dispelled my long and unpleasant wait for the E3 pass in an instant and made me feel that I was about to stumble onto something of monumental importance.

Isn't that just BE-EWWW-TIFUL! We got at least two more days of the incredible writing talents of Alexander I and DeepWater, so don't miss a single report.

VIDGUY'S POINTS OF THE DAY

  1. The Raiding Civs. Can you say more fun than archer rushing a Yammie as he approaches a fast bronze!
  2. British Longbowman that can fire an arrow clear across the Georgia showroom floor.
  3. A Samurai Warrior that could put Ginsu out of the knife business!
  4. Mighty Morphing Viking Cavalry
  5. Equal Opportunity Villagers (very hip for the middle ages!)
  6. Big Brother Villager Alert
  7. Dave "The Executioner" Pottinger
  8. Alex and Deep Hard Rockin' with the ES dudes!

There ya have it. It was a blast today! Hope you enjoyed all this amazing information as much as we did. I think I'll be dreaming of British Longbowmen raining down a hail of arrows on those nasty Viking raiders trying to steal our women villagers ... oh wait...they don't discern about sex, as DeeWater said "it's totally random" ... and not that there's anything wrong with that! <grin> - Vidguy

Samurai=Wrong! Japanese=Right!
Posted by Omnivac on May 29th, 1998 @ 11:21 a.m.

The civilizations page is updated and the Samurai civilization has been changed to Japanese. It was kinda odd, like naming the English civ, the Knights or something. It's now clear, that with our Angels @E3 that they are named Japanese. Soon, all the civs names will have a link to their individual pages with enough stuff out the YING-YANG! - Omnivac

Exclusive Screens Coming!
Posted by Vidguy on May 29th, 1998 @ 9:55 a.m.

Got another email from Angel DeepWater from the E3 showroom floor this morning. Here's some of the more pertinent points in it:

Screenshots are coming. They snapped some with a digital camera and are also hoping to get some REAL screens, EXCLUSIVE to Heaven!

Garrisoning: "You can put up to 10 archers in one tower and the effects that it can create for defense are amazin'. Also it can take a good 30 or so archers to take out one bombadier tower with 10 archers in it...but once the tower drops to a certain level in hit points the archers are forced to evacuate the tower because of the fact it is engulfed in flames."

Gates: "It's also interestin' to note that your gate can kill your men as well as your enemies. As far as I know no person, vil or otherwise, can survive havin' the gate dropped on them."

Burning Buildings: "In AoE a lot of times we will just leave our buildin's burnin' if they aren't almost destroyed...less to worry about right!?! Well in AoE2 you can't do that...if you leave a burnin' buildin' unattended it will eventually burn to the ground. Also if the burning buildin' is adjacent to another building the fire can actually leap from buildin' to buildin' cause even more havoc and damage."

Special Powers: "Certain units will have special attacks. For instance certains Knights will be able to charge others for up to triple damage, and soldiers if standin' idle will lift their shields to protect themselves should they be bombarded by a volley of arrows from enemy archers."

Formations: "Also the units will instinctively form up in a sensible manner. If you have soldiers and archers in a group they will line up with the soldiers in front and the archers in the rear. If you have a group of Knights and one priest/monk. The Knights will form a box with the priest/monk inside for protection."

Remember, you heard it here first! WOW, now is all that too cool or WHAT? Check back later for the screenshots, I know I can't wait! - Vidguy

Sighting of the Monk Priest?
Posted by Omnivac on May 29th, 1998 @ 2:57 a.m.

Received an email from BravenIrish with some questions, a picture and cool words.

Hi Omnivac, it's me BravenIrish. Maybe you can help. On the Knights screen, there is some strange unidentified unit (at least to me). I've done everything. Zoomed it, seperated it from the background, sharpened it, blured it, etc. Anyway, here's what I came up with...

This image could not be recovered.
The unit leading the parade of Knights doesn't seem to be heavily armoured. Also, it was a real mystery to me as to what he is carrying. After checking it a few times, it resembled a cross or some sort of artifact. Maybe these could have some influence on either the villagers or possibly the Knights following. Or possibly a lower (higher?) member of the clergy? I still don't know.

I could be dead wrong on this. I'm sure you're real busy so I don't really expect a reply (MORE than welcome to if ya got time!). Great job keeping AOE gamers informed. Very much appreciated! OH, tell Vidguy the same thing too. Thanks for your time... - BravenIrish

Thanks for the nice words Braven, it is really appreciated. You're right about me, and other Angels being busy with all the stuff coming from E3 currently. You got better than a reply, you have found you way in the news. <g> I kinda agree with you that it is a clergy unit, maybe a hospitalier of some sort, or the rumoured monk priest. I'll try not to hallucinate too much this time, hehe! Keep watch in the news, Alexander I or DeepWater might come up with your answer in the following days, in our exclusive E3 coverage. In the meantime, I invite you and all the others to continue discussing in the forums about the new facts revealed, and what you think about them. - Omnivac

E3 Angels Well and Alive
Posted by Omnivac on May 28th, 1998 @ 11:45 p.m.

First day of the Electronic Entertainment Exposition is over. It was quite hectic and odd. Here's some impressions from our reporters Angels...

What a day! It's been both frustratin' and fabulous at the same time. The guys from ES are just great. They have really made us feel like part of the family and have even told me that they really consider us a part of ES... I know that made me feel good. I do believe Alex and I met just about everybody from ES today and there are quite a few of them... Hopefully we can make some good friendships out of this visit, but enough about how good of a time I'm having' right!?! You guys want the info...hehe - DeepWater

If anyone has a neural network download mechanism now is the time to test it on us because we have all the news, the thrills and more locked up in our grey cells. We will disgorge all in the course of the night. And we will keep on through the next days.

Wishing you and all the fans were here! - Alexander I

What are you waiting for? Go read about The Imperial Age, the raiding Celts, Vikings and Mongols and a Samurai taking down 5-6 Knights in a bloody battle. All the info you want in Heaven @E3 and more. - Omnivac

Teutonic Spy
Posted by Vidguy on May 28th, 1998 @ 11:30 a.m.
This image could not be recovered.

Well thanks to a reader who sent in this image we may be correcting our over-zealous Priest-lover, Omnivac. <g> Mursilis wrote:

I attached a picture of the so called "spy" along with a picture from the AVI of the tueton. To me it looks like he's NOT a spy but the Teutonic knight. See his cape his black helmet with the gold trim? :) Well that's what it looks like to me.

Many thanks Mursilis and others who have sent in comments about the screens and our coverage. Have you found anything in the screens or images that looks interesting? Send them in to Omnivac or Vidguy and we'll be sure to let the rest of the AOE community know! - Vidguy

First Look
Posted by Omnivac on May 28th, 1998 @ 10:21 a.m.

The palm goes to KillerDog of Unified Gamers Online. Although he took a quick peek, it was enough to say that the user interface has been improved with various map radar modes so you can choose to view type that you like. Look in Heaven @E3 for his entire comment. - Omnivac

More Interesting Observations
Posted by Omnivac on May 28th, 1998 @ 1:11 a.m.

Some more interesting observations coming from the new screenshots. This will be of interest to you since a lot of people have been talking about it in the forums.

This image could not be recovered.Who's this hooded man with grey cloak? Anyone spotted more spies hiding in the screenshots?
This image could not be recovered.If this is not a Battering Ram, then I am Angel Santa Claus.

Take note that these are my own hallucinations. Don't misconstrue them as actual fact!

HEAVEN @E3 OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Angels DeepWater and Alexander I are now on location in Atlanta, and Heaven@E3 will be updated as soon as information are received. Major updates will be here in the news, but the juicy details will be found there. Alex already sent his first email, writing about his late arrival, but more $$$ in his pockets. E3 exhibit hours today are from 7:00AM to 3:00PM PST. - Omnivac

Holy Castle Batman!
Posted by Vidguy on May 27th, 1998 @ 4:50 p.m.
This image could not be recovered.

I can't believe in all our excitement we forgot to mention the incredible images of buildings at ES' ageofkings.net. There is a "Western Set" listed there. You can see castles (like the one on the left) and buildings such as docks, towers, windmills ... oh just go look, everything is there! We'll have our buildings page updated soon, but don't wait, go look there!

BEAUTIFUL MEDIEVAL MUSIC
Will this day ever end? *WHEW* Well more news on one of my favourite subjects! Midi files! :) On the "Official Age of Empires II" site at Microsoft you can hear a very kewl midi that may be from the game. Has kind of a Celtic flare and you can even pick out the bagpipes. Click here to take a listen. - Vidguy

More Goodies For You
Posted by Omnivac on May 27th, 1998 @ 2:10 p.m.

New AVIs and new units have found a home in Heaven, for your viewing pleasure.

This image could not be recovered.

Cool looking Arquebusier with his "hook-gun". The dominant weapon of the period 1480 was a weapon of three or four foot overall length firing a ball of .3 - .7 inch of 15 to 30 gauge...mmm..somewhere. <g>. It was known as the Arquebuse, French reduction of the original German term, Hachsenbuechse. In simple words, this is a gunner.

NEW ENSEMBLE AND MICROSOFT SITES GOES LIVE!
You gotta see the new Ensemble Studios site. Yep! Another one. It seems the AOE world is busy everywhere. Most of the stuff we have now comes from this site, so a big thanks to them. Check the cool layout and information they have, they even have an expansion set section ready to be filled with other new goodies revealed at E3. Bookmark it and make your daily visit there. Ensemble will be sending pictures of the E3 show to be posted also.

Keeping up with the excitment, Microsoft launched also The official Age of Empires II Web Site. Is that a AOEII tune playing in the background?

CIVILIZATIONS REVEALED
Civilizations revealed in the historic section of the MS site

The Byzantines (476 to 1453)
The Celts (500 to 1500)
The English (500 on)
The Franks (509 on)
The Germans (919 to 1250)
The Goths (200 to 714)
The Mongols (1206 to 1405)
The Persians (220 to 651)
The Samurai (900 to 1868)
The Saracens (613 on)
The Sung (960 to 1280)
The Turks (1030 on)
The Vikings (500 to 1100)

Stay tuned as more facts, rumours and informations are revealed. - Omnivac

Heaven @E3
Posted by Vidguy on May 27th, 1998 @ 12:15 a.m.

As mentioned before we have two angels at E3 who should have arrived in Atlanta today. We've created a special section of pages called Heaven @E3 so we can store this vast wealth of information. So drop by the pages and familiarize yourself with them. We'll be sure to let you know on the Town Crier when we've updated those pages with any hot news from E3. I neglected to mention earlier that as well as the new MS/E3 site, ES has released it's Screenshots (same ones) as well on their site. I kinda like the little mouse over effects they have there, so be sure to check them out! - Vidguy

The Day The Earth Stood Still
Posted by Omnivac on May 27th, 1998 @ 12:01 a.m.

Man, are we serious or what? Sleeping in front of my computer waiting for my email sound to wake me up. - Omnivac

Interesting Observations
Posted by Vidguy on May 27th, 1998 @ 10:45 a.m.

Ok, so I've been DROOLING over the new screenshots. Aren't they GORGEOUS?!?! I've been zooming in a taking a poke around and have come up with a few observations that I'm sure will interest you:

This image could not be recovered.Female Villager? Sure looks like it doesn't it?
This image could not be recovered.A bombard? A guy with a canon type weapon anyways.
This image could not be recovered.This is how they will show units that have gone behind trees or buildings!
This image could not be recovered.A wolf! One of the new "wildlife" units.
Remember, these are just observations, and keep in mind during this "E3 Fever" that it is engulfing all of us, that it is still REALLY early in the development stages and many things will probably change. But ain't it BEAUTIFUL! - Vidguy

New Screenshots!
Posted by Vidguy on May 27th, 1998 @ 9:40 a.m.
This image could not be recovered.

The wait is finally over! We got it HERE! Microsoft and ES have released 6 new screenshots that they are showcasing at E3. MS has put up their E3 Website and is showing off the 6 screens, but why go there when you can get them RIGHT HERE! Click on the "Screens" section to find them in all their glory! Remember, you saw it here FIRST! So why would you go anywhere else for Age of Kings and E3 Information. We will have our very own E3 information page up later today. So be sure to check back to Age of Kings Heaven often over these next few days. The AOE world will be ROCKIN'! - Vidguy

The news from May 16, 1998 to May 26, 1998 could not be recovered.
News: May 13
Posted by Vidguy on May 13th, 1998 @ 3:45 p.m.

Almost forgot to mention this ... Our very own Archangel has been taking a little time out from Heaven but not from web design. He was lucky enough to be asked by ES to update their corporate website. Hat's off to Archy for landing that gig!

News: May 13
Posted by Vidguy on May 13th, 1998 @ 3:05 p.m.
This image could not be recovered.

Big news! The Ensemble Studios website has just undergone a major redesign (should be available to the public shortly). I have to say that it looks GREAT! Here's what Chris Campbell had to say about it:

What does Ensemble Studios have in common with Joan Crawford, Michael Jackson and that Face on Mars?

Well, they've all had a facelift! We decided to spruce up our web page! At a secret underground location (rumored to be underneath Texas Stadium) I'm told that we've had 10,000 chimpanzees working night and day on HTML code, hoping that they would come up with something. After getting The Tempest, a script for the next Batman film, they finally came up with some code that we can be proud of. I hope that you all enjoy our new look!

I also managed to snag a NEW image off the site to show you (with permission of course!). Looks like two versions of Knights/Cavalry and a Swordsmen of sorts! Keep up the good work ES! - Vidguy

News: May 13
Posted by on May 13th, 1998 @ 11:15 a.m.

Some great posts in the forum lately (even with some of the lunacy)! Here's a great post from Village Jester that includes some interesting ideas about the use of spies:

When he persuades units to defect, the unit becomes yours, to you the unit looks like yours (different colour etc.) however to the enemy it resembles one of his own men. You cannot control this unit, however you can track its movements, that is it has a little area where the fog of war clears around it. The enemy has no idea that there is a defector inside his empire, but you do. This little area of no fog also allows you to see many things. Say the enemy tells the defector to go forage for cherries and there happens to be several stables nearby, where he is pumping out knights readying for an attack against you, you will see this and prepare yourself. Or perhaps you see that your early raid damaged his economy more then you thought (he lost more villagers then u tought for example) and therefore know that he is no match for your new army.

Check out this post in it's entirety here or visit the whole forum and give us and ES your ideas. - Vidguy

News: May 12
Posted by Vidguy on May 12th, 1998 @ 10:25 a.m.

Well, nice slow day on the news front here at AOEII Heaven. Might have a juicy tidbit later in the day, but you never know as we grow this close to E3. Only 15 more days to go till E3 gets underway! Just a reminder Age of Heavens will have a presence there in the form of talented writers Alexander I and DeepWater. We hope to have daily reports, interviews and pictures from one of the top gaming conventions in the world! It's things like this that make you forget about Frauds and Losers. But I won't get into that here, but you could visit my cloud if you are ito things such as that *wink*

Speaking of Clouds ... there is a new one formed in Heaven and it's owned by none other than Granary Dude Extraordinaire, SpineMan. Be sure to check it out and even catch a glimpse of the lovely and talented SpineWoman! - Vidguy

News: May 11
Posted by Vidguy on May 11th, 1998 @ 4:01 p.m.

Well, we did it! We cracked the 125,000th visitor. Lo and behold the exact 125,000th person to visit AOEII Heaven was none other than Zone sysop extroirdinaire, +Hunan! Hunan is a faithful visitor to Heaven and a great promoter of the site on the Zone. So please join us from Heaven in thanking and congratulating him for winning this contest. Bring on the GODS! - Vidguy

News: May 11
Posted by Vidguy on May 11th, 1998 @ 9:45 a.m.

An interesting little note from Gamespot after talking with ES Engine Lead, Matt Pritchard:

Although Pritchard didn't talk much about AOE II, he did talk a little about the recent events with the networking problems under DirectPlay and how Ensemble had to custom build parts of the code that Microsoft didn't use in the final release of DirectX 5.0. He also mentioned how AOE was a big reason for Microsoft releasing 5.0a to the public - which was done to alleviate problems with AOE brought on because MS changed the DirectX code.

I imagine that they are probably working with the new beta of DirectX 6.0 now, or hell, maybe even helping write the code for it!

I can't believe it! There still is time to be the 125,000th visitor to AOEII Heaven. Just think, you could be playing with the GODS at ES just like Dave Torbert will be for being the 600,000 visitor at AOE Heaven. Check out the contests page for more details. - Vidguy

News: May 10
Posted by Vidguy on May 10th, 1998 @ 8:45 a.m.

Just got an email from Dave Kosak over at PlanetQuake:

PlanetQuake was covering the Computer Game Developers Conference in Long Beach California this past week. While there I managed to shoot the sh#$ with the Ensemble guys. Unfortunately, they weren't saying much before E3, and no new demos/screenshots were available. But I did get a nice interview with Mark Terrano, one of the lead designers on the project.

Here's a little snippet from it that tells us a bit more about the Gunpowder age:

Terrano: For us, Age of Empires I had "superunits" ... and we only have two gunpowder units [in Age of Empires II], and they're just superunits. It doesn't change gameplay that much, we're still focused on castles, knights, footmen, archers ... all the things you liked in Age of Empires. It really won't change the feel that much.

A nice little interview from Planetquake. If you haven't seen their site, I reccomend checking it out. A great layout and TONS of info if your into Quake or Quake2. Maybe Dave should have waited till later in the night after they had won the "Best in Show" award and see if the "truth serum" was taking it's effect on Mark. Then maybe he might have got some more juicy info out of him! <grin> - Vidguy

Posted by Vidguy on May 8th, 1998 @ 2:45 p.m.

Very slow day on the news front. Some interesting "action" in the forum that doesn't really bear repeating here. Just suffice to say that Chris Campbell "explained" things very well! <grin>

That 125,000th visitor is just around the corner. We should find out this weekend who the lucky person who will get to play the ES GODS. Don't forget to check out our contests page for more details. - Vidguy

News: May 7
Posted by Vidguy on May 7th, 1998 @ 10:15 p.m.

Getting awfully close to the 125,000 visitor mark! Don't forget that you can have your chance to play with the GODS (at ES) if you are the 125,000th visitor and send us a screenshot. For more information be sure to check out our contests page. - Vidguy

News: May 6
Posted by Vidguy on May 6th, 1998 @ 9:50 p.m.

Ok, I know everyone must be wearing a black armband today after hearing the "sad" news that Age of Empires II will be delayed now until Spring 99. C'mon people! There's a darn good reason for this and one that will benefit US, the game players. We have the official scoop from Chris Campbell at ES:

Yes, it's true. The schedule we were using was pretty aggressive to start with and at this point and time it was looking like we were going to have to cut features, units, etc. in order to make Christmas. (A typical game development cycle is 18 months so this delay actually puts us on average.) Cutting features wasn't a compromise that we wanted to make. We would rather have a game that would be twice as good as the original, than ship a game that wasn't finished just so I could buy a F50. Microsoft has the same vision and has been nothing but supportive. We're both committed to giving you the best there is in RTS gaming.

We also didn't want to wait until the last second to tell fans this bit of news. There's nothing I hate hearing more than getting word my favorite game has been delayed 3 or 4 times at the last second. In the end, I think you all will agree that you would have a title delayed only once early on to make sure that all the features that YOU want are in the game and that it has been fully tested to make sure all the bugs are out.

Finally, since you the fans have to wait a bit longer for Age 2 to get into your hands, I'll be working with the Angels to see if we can't do something to keep you occupied in the meantime.

Chris Campbell
QA Lead
Ensemble Studios

It just gives us more time to beta test this incredible looking game! Be sure to stay tuned to AOE II Heaven for all the details once the closed beta is released. We just can't wait until E3 gets underway and more information will hits the pipeline. We hope to have some exclusive coverage direct from E3 as one of our illustrious Angels, Alexander I, will be on site and will be sure to bring is some great stories from this incredible convention. - Vidguy

News: May 6
Posted by Archangel on May 6th, 1998 @ 8:40 p.m.

I leave for a couple of days.. and see what happens! - Looks like this is the official Patch B upgrade. Its the same file as the Patch B Beta, so if you have the Beta B patch there is NO need to download this one. This patch does have a install program, for those of you that have a hard time reading the readme.txt file or using an unzip program :)

It looks like also the release date is now sometime Spring 99. Well a couple of months more for a better game is always worth the little extra wait. - The Archangel

Age of Empires Patch v1.0b

--Language version: English, German, and French

Microsoft Age of Empires 1.0b is an upgrade of Age of Empires 1.0 that includes the 1.0a patch, along with several enhancements and bug fixes. These changes include:

  • Population Limits
  • Stand Ground Button
  • Attack Responses
  • Group Movements
  • Pathing Options
  • Allied Transport Loading & Boat Repair

Bug Fixes

  • Infinite Resources During High Latency -- Buildings no longer return more resources than they originally cost if you press the DELETE key several times during high latency.
  • Multiple Town Centers During High Latency -- You can no longer build multiple Town Centers if you delete your Town Center in the Tool Age or Stone Age and then quickly build several new ones during high latency.
  • Way Points -- Villagers no longer complete tasks at a way point that is not at a work site. The way point or villager must be at the actual work site (fishing spot, building site, etc.) before they can work. For example, you can no longer use way points to construct a building on the other side of a wall.

Version Compatibility
If you are playing a multiplayer game, all players must be using the same version of Age of Empires.

If you are playing a saved game, it must be from the same version of Age of Empires you currently have installed.

For a complete description of all the patch improvements, please read the readme file.

News: May 3
Posted by Vidguy on May 3rd, 1998 @ 4:23 p.m.

BIG update today! Here's a couple of juicy tidbits from our sister site, Age of Empires Heaven:

More Awards for Age of Empires

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences have announced the finalists for the first Interactive Achievement Awards, which are scheduled to take place on May 28 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Atlanta.

The award categories recognize outstanding achievement in PC and console entertainment software, ranging from games to edutainment titles. The finalists were selected by peer panel review boards composed of Academy members. There are 21 content categories, as well as the Interactive Title of the Year and four individual craft awards.

Age of Empires has been nominated for the PC Strategy Game of the Year, as well as the Interactive Title of the Year. Final balloting will take place by a vote of eligible Academy members.

Happy Birthday Gamestats Contest

Our great host, GameStats News Network, celebrate its first year anniversary. Hop over there and get all the latest news about every games unimaginable. GNN should be one of your daily stop on the Net if you want to be up-to-date. To thanks their wonderful readers for this great year, GameStats has a little contest with 5 simple questions to answer, and again some very cool prizes to win. Now let's start singing..err..mmm..well, Angels will toot their horns and let the others sing. :^) Happy Birthday GNN! from all the Angels in Heaven - Omnivac

GameStats is pretty proud of our first year of being online! We have grown exponentially and have become a destination for many thousands of readers every day. To celebrate and to thank you we are going to put on a special GameStats Birthday Contest!

The Grand Prize will be a Gravis Xterminator Gamepad! that's right, GameStats is going to let one lucky winner get their hands on a really cool piece of hardware that is not even going to be released until June! Talk about sweet!

600,000th Visitor

David Torbert is the lucky 600,000th visitor who will fight against the ES gods, with friend(s) of his choosing as allies. Be sure you'll know when the match is set, and afterwards, to read some comments and see some screenshots too. If you missed the target, don't despair. All you have to do is be the 125,000th visitor (or closest after it) to hit the main page of THIS site, Age of Empires II Heaven to be part of the team#2 to play against Ensemble Studios. Congratulations David!

On that note ... if you are getting antsy waiting for Age of Empires II to arrive in stores and have already completed all the scenarios that came with the game, make sure you stop into the Granary at Age of Empires Heaven. There you will find the LARGEST collection of scenrios and campaigns on the 'net! Hat's off to fellow angels, SpineMan, Grenadier and Zen who are doing a bang-up job there.

Also note that fellow Angel, Omnivac has opened up his little bank...er cloud in Heaven where he can explain to the world how much Vidguy owes him in gold. Be sure to pay him a visit <grin> - Vidguy