Archived News From July 1999

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!

Beta sign up results
Posted by Omnivac on July 29, 1999 @ 1:45 p.m.

HANKS again for participating in the Age of Empires II: Age of Kings beta sign up contest. As it sits, Age of Kings Heaven had the highest number of entries at 17,077. A grand total of 160,092 entries from all the participating sites over the four days that the sign up forms were live was recorded.

Here is the list of winners randomly selected from the pool of entries from Age of Kings Heaven. In the next couple of days they will each one of them receive email notifications letting them know they won and that they should be expecting the Age of Empires II: Age of Kings beta kits in the next 10 days.

Congratulation to the winners
Erickson Aurora IL USA
Matthew Guinta Tampa Fl USA
Jeremy Blawn Ormond Beach FL USA
Justin Holewinski Columbus Ohio USA
Michael Langlois Thunder Bay ON Canada
Phil Showalter Oxford MS USA
Daniel Frank Poway CA USA
Niall Mcfadyen West saint paul mb Canada
Daniel Samela Mesa AZ USA
Tim Crawford Riverside CA USA

Angel Omnivac
Gothic Addendum
Posted by Omnivac on July 28, 1999 @ 3:29 p.m.

F you haven't seen the Goths Showcase yet, then I invite you to check it out to learn more about them. If you have comments about them, you can always post in the Goths Showcase Comments thread in the forum. Ensemble Studios Designer Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen also posted an unedited version of the text he wrote for the Goth Showcase with more revealing facts, one of those being an omission of a civilization attribute in the showcase.

Population bonus (+10 population in Imperial Age)

Clarifications on multiplayer features

A lot of confusion has arise with the various multiplayer features for Age of Empires II: Age of Kings recently. Paul "Winter" Bettner clarified some information regarding them.

Saving a multiplayer game:
Anyone can initiate a savegame. It will display on all player's screens: "Saving multiplayer game...(Playername)" where "Playername" is whoever initiated the save. You can name the savegame whatever you like. The savegame cannot be loaded up single player, and to load it up in multiplayer requires at least 2 players of opposing teams. If any problems with communication are detected, a new dialog will pop up that will give the players the option to "Wait", "Continue Game", or "Save and Exit." so you will always have the opportunity to save the game and restore it if anyone has modem problems.

Replaying a recorded game:
We are currently debating the privacy issue of this feature, and we'll come up with a solution. I understand the concern of having your "Amazing-Methos-Fishing-Boat-Strategy" revealed. ;-) I also understand the potential benefits of catching cheaters.

When replaying a recorded game, you can select from a drop-down list, any of the players who were in the game. When you select a player, you will "become" that player in the replay and you can see his/her fog of war, click on their units to get hitpoint information, etc. However, the view information - that is where the player's screen was "looking" at any given time - is only stored for the client who recorded the game. For other players that aren't the local recorded one, the viewlock button is disabled (viewlock makes the screen move around just as the player moved it around during the game.)
- ES Communications Programmer, Paul "Winter" Bettner
Jump in the thread, and voice your opinion regarding recorded games, and whether of not we should be able to view a recorded game completely, or only from the perspective of the recording player.

Angel Omnivac
The Goths Showcase
Posted by Omnivac on July 27, 1999 @ 4:30 p.m.

HE eight Civilization Showcase of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings is now online at Gamespot, and it features the Goths. Learn about their civilization attributes, their Unique Unit, the Huskarl. Details are also given for the Galleon, War Galleon, and units you can recruit at the Stable, as well as the technologies you can research. As usual you will read several comments from the Ensemble Studios team, embellished with several new screenshots throughout the showcase. Don't miss it!

The Goths are very much an offensive civ that will swarm the enemy with waves of foot soldiers. If backed up by a strong line of archers and cavalry, the Goths will be hard to stop. However, if you can get to the Goths quickly enough, than they'll be hard-pressed to mount a credible defense against their attackers.

Cheaper Infantry
(Infantry -10% cost Feudal Age, -15% Castle Age, -20% Imperial Age)

Infantry strong against buildings
(All Goth infantry, including the Huskarl, get a +1 bonus against buildings)

Bonus against Wild Boars
(Villagers get a big bonus when attacking Wild Boars)
What do you think of the showcase? Share your thoughts in the Goths Showcase Comments thread.

Angel Omnivac
The straight dope on Siege Weapons
Posted by Omnivac on July 25, 1999 @ 1:00 a.m.

AN you survive without using Siege Weapons in Age of Empires II: Age of Kings? The answer is NO! Do huge armies of Siege Weapons slaughter all opposition on the battlefield? The answer is still, NO! Don't expect to see a repeat of Helepolis/Heavy Catapults killing everything in sight this time around. Siege Weapons will be needed to pierce Fortifications and they will need protection because on their own, they will be destroyed. Add to this that cost a lot more than the other units , and you can see it is a bad idea to send Siege Weapons alone. Here's Sandy Petersen explaining the subtle differences between the various Siege Weapons.

1) Trebuchets: no splash damage. Inaccurate. Slow-firing. Can't run away. Huge minimum range. Loses to a villager. Good at knocking down walls & buildings & towers, though. Useless/vulnerable without support.

2) Bombard Cannons: no or small splash damage. Inaccurate. Slow-firing. Not fast. Huge minimum range. In a recent test, longswordsmen were victorious over cannons in a 5vs5 test. When I tried light cavalry instead, 5 light cav defeated 5 cannons without suffering any losses. In fact, 5 light cav defeated 10 bombard cannons. When I tried 20 cannons vs. 5 light cav, the bombards "won", but lost 5 of their number to the light cav. Note that 20 light cav defeated 20 bombard cannons, too. *sigh* They're really good vs. towns, though.

3) Battering Rams: no one in their right mind thinks these will dominate the game. So I won't bother to demonstrate the fact. They are terrific, though.

4) Scorpions: these definitely benefit from use en masse. 5 light cav slaughtered 5 scorps, but 20 light cav died to 20 scorps. However, 20 cavaliers destroyed 20 heavy scorps, losing half their number. In any case, scorpions aren't really "siege weapons" -- they can't outrange towers, for one thing. They're actually a battlefield device (and were used as such in the Middle Ages). A single keep easily defeats 5 heavy scorpions trying to knock it down. Bombard towers are even more hideous vs. scorpions. Also, other siege weapons are effective vs. scorpions, so these weapons never get much of a chance to rule the field. You're likelier to see them in large groups than any other siege device, however.

5) Mangonels/Onagers: Inaccurate. Get radius damage. When I sent 5 champions vs. 5 onagers, the champions won. When I sent 5 champions vs. 20 onagers, the onagers won, but lost 4 of their number to the champions. Doesn't seem like armies of mangonels are going to rule the world any time soon. On the other hand, mangonels are terrific vs. missile-using troops.
- ES Designer, Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen

Another Beta signup in Heaven.

Tzar Beta sign up

Make sure you head to Tzar Heaven and sign up for the Tzar beta. Tzar is a fantasy-medieval realtime strategy game with a touch of RPG. You play one of 3 distinct races, European, Asian or Arabian. Your civilization and your economy will depend on your ability to harvest 4 different resources, master 2 different trade methods and defend your kingdom with powerful and unique warriors. Go to Tzar Heaven for more details.

Angel Omnivac
Recording a game
Posted by Omnivac on July 22, 1999 @ 3:35 a.m.

VER wanted to show a great game to your friends and fellow agers? Ever wanted to analyze one of your game and see how your opponents actually played during the game? Ever wanted to show a strategy instead of explaining it? Ever wanted to see the finals of big tournaments like the Rumble for Rome? Do not look any further because Age of Empires II: Age of Kings will supports recording a match. Players will be able to record a single player random map game, or a multiplayer game, or even a restored multiplayer game. Who's better than Ensemble Studios Communications Wizard Paul "Winter" Bettner to explain all the details.

Any client in the game can chose to record it. A game record is about 1 meg per hour of play. It all goes into one file, like a savegame, that can be given around to your friends to replay on their computers. It compresses INCREDIBLY well so expect that a full 2-3 hour game will fit into a .zip file smaller than 500k. To replay the game, you just put it in your /savegame folder and then select it as if it were a regular savegame and age2 will automatically detect it and start the replay.

Recording a game does not actually slow the game down at all during the gameplay. It will take a bit longer for the game to initially start up, but once your in the game, there is no speed hit. =)

The recorded game includes all of the actions for all of the players that were in the game (minus chats, for privacy reasons.) It also includes the view information for whoever was recording the game. In other words, you can look through that player's "eyes" and by clicking the "viewlock" button during the replay, the screen will scroll around just as the player moved it around when he/she was playing.

You can also select any other player to switch to during the replay (via a dropdown box), but viewlock will be disabled for players other than the one who recorded the game (view information is not passed around in a MP game.) Too see through a different client's eyes, you'll have to get their local recorded game from them.

You can click on units and buildings and get the exact information that the player had available during the game, such as the hitpoints of the unit, or how much percent done going to the next age the town center is, etc.

Flares and other notifications will also be shown during the replayed game.

During the replay, you can chose to pause, play slow, play normal, or fast forward the game. Rewind is not supported, but there is a "jump back to the beginning of the game" button. These buttons look alot like VCR buttons =)

There are also other replay controls which I'll leave as a surprise =)

I think the game record/replay will be a great feature to use to demonstrate strategies between players (such as posting a recorded game up on a forum for download), record tournament matches, or just review your own performance in a game.
- ES Communications Programmer, Paul "Winter" Bettner

Angel Omnivac
Honcho speaks!
Posted by Omnivac on July 21, 1999 @ 2:55 p.m.

NSEMBLE STUDIOS designer Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen was kind enough to answer some questions from the Agers about last friday Battle of the Kings between him and Chris Taylor against Bruce Shelley and John Romero. Sandy's battle name was Honcho and he played the Goths. Here are a few answers from him.

Q) How do the Goths "feel" and what was your main strategy when you played with them. Also, if you could explain a little more about team bonuses and their effect on gameplay?
A) The Goths feel like a school of ravenous rats or piranha fish. Or maybe army ants. My strategy was to attack whatever enemy was nearest me very early, while my ally, Chris, built up his forces for a later assault. I didn't even use my team bonus in this game (archery ranges build 20% faster)

Q) You did a feudal rush, but it hit at 14:00, that seems awful slow in comparison to ROR. Is this an average time for a good feudal rush?
A) I was not amazingly fast in my rush, as I'm not the most optimized player around. But it is also true that a Feudal Rush is slower in AoK than in RoR. Also, both Bruce & John were "fast" civs (which I and Chris were not), so I wanted to make sure I had a solid-enough army to make a difference before attacking, because I expected Bruce to put up some tough resistance, and probably slaughter my initial force.

Q) "IS SEIGE TONED DOWN?"
A) from what? If your question is, "Can you survive without siege in AoK?" the answer is "No.". If your question is "Do huge armies of siege weapons slaughter all opposition?" then the answer is still, "No."

Q) "ARE ARCHERS TONED DOWN?"
A) Did you watch the playtest? Notice that I didn't build a single archer? Notice also that when Bruce used his archers vs. my infantry, he started to get a pretty good kill ratio. Notice, finally, that when I started incorporating huskarls into my army, his archers started losing it.

For the hardcore fans who keep looking for small facts, Sandy gave up an interesting in his first answer. We now know that the team bonus of the Britons is Archery Ranges build 20% faster. You can read more comments from Sandy Petersen in the Honcho speaks! thread.

Angel Omnivac
2 more days to wait
Posted by Omnivac on July 20, 1999 @ 1:00 p.m.

HIS coming Thursday, July 22nd, 28 gaming websites from around the world will participate in the Age of Empires II: Age of Kings beta sign up contest. On that day, sign up forms will appear at an undisclosed time on all participating websites allowing you to enter to win your chance to beta test AoK. Approximatively 10 Agers will win from each participating site. Winners will receive the following:

  • A beta CD of the game, the manual and other help information.
  • Microsoft Report Bug Reporting Utility Software.
  • Exclusive access to a private Age of Empires II newsgroup where the game developers will answer questions and provide tips and tricks.
  • Exclusive access to the Age of Empires II MSN Gaming Zone beta lobby for multiplayer gaming.
  • Participation in multiplayer tournaments against other beta testers and the development team.

Be warned that signing up more than ONCE on a participating site will render your application void. You just need to sign up once. You're encouraged though to visit all the participating sites and submit a form at each one. You can find a complete list of the websites on the Microsoft Age of Empires II website.

Angel Omnivac
Wewp! interviews Sandy Petersen
Posted by Omnivac on July 19, 1999 @ 1:38 p.m.

N Friday July 16th, Johnny Tips of Wewp! Entertainment had the chance to visit Ensemble Studios in Dallas, Texas for their Grand Opening. He had a chance to take a look at Age of Empires II: Age of Kings which in his word, impressive. After the Battle of the Kings, he took the opportunity to speak with Designer Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen and do an interview with him.

The AOK Battlefield goes to Dallas

Webmasters BravenIrish and Thunder from the AOK Battlefield were there at the Grand Opening of Ensemble Studios last friday. You can read the first impressions of BravenIrish about the evening, and be sure to check back for a follow-up. You can also ask the Ager reps some questions about the evening, as well as what they think about AOK.

Battle of the Kings

You will find screenshots of the Battle of the Kings between Sandy Petersen and Gas Powered's Chris Taylor against Bruce Shelley and Ion Storm's John Romero here. You can read the chat of the game in the forum, thanks to LongLiveIslam.

Angel Omnivac
Age of Kings Beta
Posted by Omnivac on July 17, 1999 @ 1:15 p.m.

HE long awaited public beta test is just around the corner. FIVE days until you can sign up and get a chance to be one of the lucky 300 persons that will beta test Age of Empires II: Age of Kings and also play against the developers on a private Zone lobby and chat on a private newsgroup. Starting July 22, you will be able to sign up at 30 sites from all over the world and 10 people from each site will be randomly selected.

Age of Kings Heaven is also proud to annouce that it will be part of the 30 sites selected, so you better watch out the countdown because the banner above will be linked to a page where you will be able to sign up. It will stay live for 4 days, so don't forget to visit us between July 22 and July 26.

Angel Omnivac
ES hire a new producer
Posted by Omnivac on July 16, 1999 @ 6:55 p.m.

NSEMBLE STUDIOS, creators of the award-winning "Age of Empires" game franchise, announced today that it has hired game industry expert Joe Ybarra. A 17-year veteran of the games industry, Ybarra brings a wealth of knowledge in both management and design to the already seasoned Ensemble Studios team. The news comes prior to a separate announcement being made by Bruce Shelley during a chat with fans on the MSN Gaming Zone today, July 16, at 6pm PST.

Ybarra's credits include being employee number five and one of the chief architects of Electronic Arts; vice president and executive producer at The 3DO Company; and head of Microprose's design studios in Austin, Texas. He has also produced more than 30 computer and video game titles, including such classics as "M.U.L.E," "Bard's Tale I and II," "Julius Irving and Larry Bird Go One on One," and "Starflight."

Ybarra will join Dallas-based Ensemble Studios as a Producer, where will be involved in the daily management and direction of Ensemble's current and future projects, which include the upcoming "Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings," published by Microsoft.

Scheduled to release in October, "Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings" is the sequel to the award-winning, best-selling real-time strategy game Age of Empires. Age of Empires II spans a thousand years, from the fall of Rome through the Middle Ages.

About Ensemble Studios

Creator of the blockbuster hits Age of Empires and The Rise of Rome, Ensemble Studios is a premier developer of entertainment software. Ensemble Studios' world class talent includes design veteran Bruce Shelley, co-designer of Civilization, and Sandy Petersen, winner of the H.G. Wells Award and designer on both Doom and Quake.

Angel Omnivac
It's good to be the King!
Posted by Omnivac on July 15, 1999 @ 10:46 a.m.

HIS Friday, some of the industry's top game designers will gather at Ensemble Studios to compete in the Age of Empires II "Battle of the Kings" multiplayer beta tournament. Ensemble's own Bruce Shelley and Sandy Peterson will battle it out against Ion Storm's John Romero and Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor for top honors during the grand opening celebration of Ensemble's new studios in Dallas, Texas. The MSN Gaming Zone will post live pictures and updates from the tournament beginning at 6:30 PM (PDT) at http://events.zone.com/age2.

Bruce Shelley to Make Big Announcement During July 16 Chat on the MSN Gaming Zone

Prior to the tournament, the Zone will host a live chat with Bruce Shelley and Mark Terrano beginning at 6:00 PM (PDT), where an important announcement regarding Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings will be made to the fan community. The chat can be accessed from the Zone home page located at http://www.zone.com.

Scheduled to release in October, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is the sequel to the award-winning, best-selling real-time strategy game Age of Empires. Age of Empires II spans a thousand years, from the fall of Rome through the Middle Ages in which players control the destiny of humankind. The game keeps the epic scope of Age of Empires' game play while evolving the combat and economic features.

Additional information about Age of Empires II can be accessed at http://www.microsoft.com/games/age2 and the Ensemble Studios Web site located at http://www.ensemblestudios.com.

Angel Omnivac
The Persians Showcase
Posted by Omnivac on July 13, 1999 @ 9:35 p.m.

HE seventh Civilization Showcase of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings is now online. It covers the Persians, their Unique Unit (the War Elephant), their Wonder, and details on the Galleon, and the Archery Range. As usual you will read several comments from the Ensemble Studios team, with several new screenshots. Don't miss it!

The Persians are above average in the early game, with their wood and food bonus, and become a greater force later in the game, with faster working docks and town centers and the mammoth war elephant unit. In addition, the Persians excel on either land maps or naval maps. The docks bonus really helps the Persians crank out ships. In addition, they have a good technology tree that lets them build a good range of cavalry, archers, siege weapons, and ships.

Extra starting ressources
(begins the game with 75 extra wood and 75 extra food)

Super Town Center
(Has double Hit Points. Working 10% faster in Feudal Age; 15% faster in Castle Age; 20% faster in Imperial Age)

Super Docks
(Has double Hit Points. Produces Ships 10% faster in Feudal Age; 15% faster in Castle Age; 20% faster in Imperial Age)
What do you think of the showcase? Share your thoughts in the Persians Showcase Comments thread.

Angel Omnivac
Does the TC break the rush?
Posted by Omnivac on July 12, 1999 @ 5:36 p.m.

USHING is part of any RTS game and Ensemble Studios certainly don't want to kill the rush as an early strategy in Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. Some fans stated that garrisoning Villagers in the Town Center would kill this early strategy because of its protective abilities. While it's true that garrisoned Town Centers can be very impressive depending on the circumstances, the fact remains that while Villagers are hiding in it, they are not gathering ressources and to the rusher this is almost as good as dead villagers. The reasoning for an early rush is to cripple the economy of your opponent. ES Designer Greg Street has more comments on this.

The protective abilities of the Town Center are designed so that a rush is not overly devastating to the victim. Not only can you hopefully keep some villagers alive if rushed, but your villagers can return easily to work once the coast is clear, saving you valuable time of retasking them all.

Does the new TC break the rush? Only if the rusher sends in a small handful of archers and attacks the TC. (It is dumb to send archers in to attack any building.) As a rusher, what you should do is try to kill villagers while they flee to the TC. You'll get a few. Then, move away from the center of the town and destroy outlying buildings, particularly the useful ones like towers, Markets, and those that train soldiers. Alternatively, take your force and go nail someone else, since they probably sent their paltry army out to reinforce their ally or attack your home base.

If you have done a good job rushing and your victim's allies are not coming to help, then you can build military buildings or whatever in his town. As long as you are in someone's town, you may not be able to kill every villager, but their economy will be cut off. The TC defenses allow someone to endure a rush for a little longer. That is all.
- ES Designer, Greg "DeathShrimp" Street

AoE2.com interviews Don Gagen

3D Artist Don "Forkboy" Gagen was recently interviewed by Merlin at AoE2.com. You will find some laughs, personal info, some history and insight into the life at the Studios. Don also included 10 images of his work. Stop by AoE2.com to read the interview.

Gamedaily interviews Tony Goodman

President/CEO Tony "Bossman" Goodman sat down with gameWEEK contributing editor, Paul Palumbo, during a recent on-site interview and facilities walk-through to discuss how Ensemble Studios' internal organization is designed to both foster a family-like atmosphere while consistently cranking out hit products.

Angel Omnivac
Dead end units
Posted by Omnivac on July 09, 1999 @ 2:45 p.m.

LL the units in Age of Empires II: Age of Kings will have at least one upgrade, except for Fishing Boats, Transports, Trade Ships, Trade Carts, Villagers, and Monks. Even then, these units are not exactly "dead end" since they get a fistful of new useful upgrades. While a few lines of units get their final upgrade in the Castle Age, they will stay useful through the end of the game, as Sandy Petersen explains:

Light cavalry for instance get built in the Imperial age as raiders, anti-monk, and anti-archer units. Fully-upgraded elite skirmishers defeat fully-upgraded representatives of every non-siege ranged unit except the Mongol UU and Janissaries, so it's not clear to me that they're dead-end in the slightest. Interestingly enough, while elite skirmishers defeat elite longbows & are defeated by elite janissaries, elite longbows defeat elite janissaries. Rock-paper-scissors I guess. - ES Designer, Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen

Wallpaper from Ensemble Studios

If you want a new wallpaper for your computer, you can download one made by 2D/3D Artist Paul "Venom" Slusser. He used banners he designed for the Grand Opening of Ensemble Studios' new offices on July 16th.

Download the Wallpaper

Angel Omnivac
Microsoft Games Monthly Mailer
Posted by Omnivac on July 08, 1999 @ 2:45 p.m.

TRAIGHT from the Monthly MS Games Mailer, Age of Empires II: Age of Kings News:

This month looks to be quite busy for Age fans, as numerous events, announcements, and tournaments take place. To start things off, on Friday, July 16th, Ensemble Studios will be holding a special invitation only open house event to celebrate the opening of their new offices. While the event itself isn't open to the public, there are a few things going on there that Age fans should take note of.

First, a very special announcement will take place during this open house. What this announcement involves, well, you will just have to wait and see. Suffice to say that any Age fan worth his/her salt will find this information incredibly intriguing.

This announcement actually leads us to the second fan related aspect of the evening - a Zone Chat with Ensemble Studios Senior Designer Bruce Shelley and Lead Designer Mark Terrano. Fans will be able to tune into a special event Zone Chat Room and find out just what this upcoming announcement is, in addition to asking Bruce and Mark Age II related questions. The chat will take place from 6 to 6:30 p.m. PST on Friday, July 16th.

After the chat, Bruce and fellow Ensemble Studios Game Designer Sandy Petersen will battle John Romero of Ion Storm and Chris Taylor from Gas Powered Games in the first ever Age of Empires II Battle of the Kings. We will hopefully get several screenshots of this monumental matchup, so stay tuned for a Zone special events Web site the night of the open house.

In other Age related News, Age of Empires Heaven is hosting the Fall of Rome, a tournament of the Ages. It is touted as the "last great Age of Empires tournament." The tourney is scheduled to begin Monday, July 19th. To get all the tournament specifics, as well as sign up, go to the special Fall of Rome Tournament page at Age of Empires Heaven.

Angel Omnivac
Achievements Screen
Posted by Omnivac on July 07, 1999 @ 1:36 p.m.

T was bound to happen again sooner or later as this is a topic that has been discussed among the Agers since the early days of Age of Empires. Should the players be able to access the Achievements Screen during the game, and more importantly what should be revealed on that screen. Opinions on this are varying greatly with some players viewing the Achievements Screen as a great tool to predict the actions of their opponents, while others think all the "scouting" and information gathering should be done in-game only. As always, the best solution seems to be an option that the host of a game could toggle on/off.

The achievements screen and timeline at the end of a game are truly chock full of information that the hardcore will appreciate. However, being able to access this info during the game is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

I would be interested in hearing any feedback, pro or anti, about being able to get so much information about your opponents at the cost of diverting your attention from the game for a bit. Cool feature or screw?
- ES Designer, Greg "DeathShrimp" Street
What is your thought on this subject? Share it with us in the forum.

Angel Omnivac
Slow and defensive Teutons?
Posted by Omnivac on July 02, 1999 @ 12:05 p.m.

EUTONS have already been mistakingly compared with Age of Empires' Greeks (slow) and Babylonians (defensive), where some Agers foresaw an impeding doom falling upon the Teutons against such civs as the Japanese or the Chinese, or any other economic oriented civilization. Others stated that defensive bonus are not very helpful in a RTS game where the best defense is to strike the enemy first. Sandy Petersen shares with us some of his toughts on this.

First point: when I and Greg state that the Teutons are "slow" in the showcase, we don't mean they're "slow" economically. We mean that a Teuton army takes longer to march from their town to yours, because their units tend to be slower. Example: a Mongol army might be entirely composed of light cav, horse archers, and camels, meaning that it can gallop from one side of the map to the other in just a minute or two. The Teutons might complete their army just as fast as the Mongols, but once ready, it simply takes physically longer to get to where it's going.

Teutons are NOT necessarily a defensive civ, as I've pointed out elsewhere.

1) infantry is an _offensive_ weapon in AoK. When you see an enemy who'se building infantry, it means he's preparing for an assault to wipe out your town. Teutonic Knights, likewise, are offensive in nature. Of course, you can use them defensively in specialized cases (example: when your castle is under attack, you can pump out some TKs from said castle to fight the besieging army. This really sucks for the attacker, as I can state from grim experience.)

2) the fact that the teutons are hard to kill defensively means that they can spend _less_ effort on defense than other civs! They don't need nearly as many towers (they don't need any at all inside their town during Dark or Feudal, with their gross Town Centers). They don't have to worry so much about an enemy rush, because they're almost certain to survive it without much trouble, so they can emphasize building up their economy.

3) Because they need fewer towers, they get their castle earlier. Because they require fewer troops defending their town, they have a bigger attack force. Because their towns are so hard to kill, their foes' attacks are delayed by the need to get siege weapons or a more massive than usual army. While they're delaying, you can hit first or accumulate more resources.
- ES Designer, Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen
Here is another comment from Sandy, probably indicating a greater importance for the armor upgrades in Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. While battles will take approximately the same amount of time as in the prequel, units will have less hit points.

The hit points, armor, attack, movement speed, etc., of AoK units are all quite different than AoE. The only unit in AoK that I can think of that has the identical hit points to AoE is the villager. (Even he is very different in combat, though, because of a number of factors.)

As a general rule (with many exceptions), AoK units tend to have fewer hit points than AoE units. But they also tend to have more armor, which evens it out. Units in AoK take about as long to kill as they did in AoE, and that's what really counts.
- ES Designer, Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen
Angel Omnivac
Teuton Clarifications
Posted by Omnivac on July 01, 1999 @ 11:05 a.m.

NSEMBLE STUDIOS Designer Greg "DeathShrimp" Street made a few clarifications on the Teutons Showcase featured at Gamespot. The Teutons wil not have to rely on only their Unique Unit (Teutonic Knight), as they have access to other high-level unit commonly called super units in Age of Empires and Rise of Rome.

To clarify, Teutons *do* get the highest-level cavalry and infantry in the game. Their unique unit is not a cavalry, but unique units are not the same as super units. Many uniques have a special purpose, like the Samurai being good at killing other uniques.

If you think Teutonic Knights are slow, which they certainly are, combine them with Paladins. Paladins can threaten most every unit in the game, including many unique units. The penalty is that you are going to have to upgrade both cavalry and infantry lines if you want to top-out your soldiers.

While uniques are a lot of fun to play with and are quite powerful if fully upgraded, several ES playtesters do just fine without ever building a castle or uniques. There are still superunits in the game, like the Paladin, Champion and Arbalest, and they do just fine.
- ES Designer, Greg "DeathShrimp" Street

Animation Contest

Merlin at AoE2.com is very pleased to bring a new contest to the Ager community. You have eight weeks to cook up a little animation and have the chance to win some nifty prizes, including a gold copy of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. Visit AoE2.com for all the details.

Angel Omnivac