Archived News From August 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!

New Zone Unleashed
Posted by Washizu on August 31, 1999 @ 5:00 p.m.

The big news today is that the MSN Gaming Zone's new setup has been loaded.So far I have heard of a few problems, but they should be fixed soon.I know my own Zonefriend's list didn't show up when I logged on, but that's easy to fix.They have a profile system up now, where people can read info about you, what teams or clans you belong to, etc, along with your rating.

aloha_clanS.gif (15586 bytes)

I just looked up the list of Rise of Rome teams and found the Aloha Clan.  This will be a great tool for AOK Clans. Click on the pic for a larger and more detailed image.As you can see, it lets you edit your roster and give links to your website right on the zone.

 

 

Game Tropics AOK Preview
Posted by Washizu on August 30, 1999 @ 8:55 p.m.
Ogre from the Game Tropics network comments on AOK's exceptional graphics in his new preview:

All of the buildings in Age of Kings look almost real, just as they did in Age of Empires.This time around the buildings are to scale which separates the game from it's sibling.Buildings even have cool animated effects.These include smoke billowing out of chimneys, windmill blades turning in the wind, and even donkeys grinding corn into flour. - Ogre_GT

C|NET AOK Preview

Angel Washizu

Saw this on AOE2.com.Some nice words for Age of Kings on one of top sites on the net.

It seems to be a trend these days to follow up any game, good or bad, with some type of sequel. Many, disappointingly, are just rehashes of the first game, with exactly the same technology and perhaps some bells and whistles tacked on. Microsoft and Ensemble Studios' upcoming sequel to their stunningly successful Age of Empires looks to be a true sequel, however--preserving the gameplay that made the original so addictive while adding new features and improving and refining the old ones.

Hotmail Gets Hacked

Angel Washizu

Looks like some joker found a way to get into Hotmail.com and give access to everone's e-mail account to anyone who wanted it, spelling bad news for Microsoft.   Supposedly, it's fixed now, but if you want more information about it, especially if you use hotmail (it has 40 million registered users), check out the story on CNN.com.

Chat at WON Net!
Posted by Washizu on August 29, 1999 @ 10:55 a.m.
The World Opponent Network will be hosting a live chat filled with ES superstars, Ian Fischer, Herb Ellwood, and Mario Grimani.The whole thing will be heard through Real Player, so make sure you have the lastest version.It takes place on Spetember 1st, at 7:00PM PST.

Deathshrimp Speaks!

Angel Washizu

Here's a few comments from ES_Deathshrimp, also known as Greg Street:

On his favorite Unique Unit:
1) Currently it's the Teutonic Knight.

On the use of Monks:
2) I always build a few Monks because their healing is so convenient. If I am one of the 6 civs that gets Redemption, then I build many Monks so that I can convert enemy buildings when I go out to attack. If I am playing against Persians, Teutons or anyone making high-end cavalry, I make some Monks defensively.

On Mameluke strategy, for defense or offense?
3) The Mameluke is better at killing units than buildings, so he is a better defender or raider.

A Battle Story:
4) A short one. I played a team game as British with Goth as my ally. We went against a Celt and a Saracen. The Celt was the better player, so we gathered Longbowmen and Champions to attack him. Unfortunately, he managed to attack first. Fortunately, he attacked the Goth town (as any good player will do) where we were assembling. Goths are bad at defense, but my archers helped a lot. After we pushed the Celt back, we moved in on his town. My archers defended our trebs as we knocked the Celt back. The Saracen made a raid into my town with Horse Archers, but I fought him off. As the Celt retreated into the Saracen's town, the Saracen switched over to Skirmishers which stopped me cold. The Goth, however, had tons of Champions by now, and managed to treb the Saracen Castle down. It took us a bit to clean up because the Celt rebuilt all over the map. To be a jerk, I put up a Wonder but the Celt somehow managed to get 3 Camels into my town to kill the Wonder. I deleted it and killed the Camels with my villagers. We cleaned the map a few minutes later.

He later retracted the statement that Celts get camels, it was the Saracen player's camels that got into his town.

Monks only convert one unit at a time, though I think they will try and convert on their own if they are attacked even if you are not around to babysit them.

The Chu Ko Nu fires several shots one after the other, then takes a slight pause.

I can't remember if the Turk bonus applies to Bombard Towers, but in any case, Bombard Towers are not the ultimate in defense, because Trebs outrange them. They are great for controlling raiders or infantry that come into your town, but if that Wonder has a lot of time left and the enemy is just slowly advancing with trebs, then you better stop with the towers and make some cavalry to counter attack.

Byzantines don't need the building techs because of their hp bonus. If we gave the Byzantines all the techs, then they would tower, Town Center or Castle rush, or just build walls ten deep that you could not ever chop through even with multiple Trebuchets.

Sending a Monk into battle with units significantly increases the lifespan of those units, particularly if they have high hitpoints. Longbowmen and other low hp units tend to be killed before the Monk can heal them.

The Mangonel line and Bombard Cannons can kill your own units. I think Cannon Galleons can hurt your own units. Trebs may be able to, but they lack splash damage, so it is rare if it happens at all. Scorpions, Demo Ships and obviously rams do not hurt your units.

War stories take a long time to write. We will be testing 16 hours a day next week, so I will do some then.

Gamestats Talks to Mark Terrano!
Posted by Washizu on August 28, 1999 @ 10:45 a.m.
One of the Age of Kings designers, Mark Terrano, chatted with Kryptonite from Gamestats:

Gamestats: The scale of everything has grown tremendously in this latest version of Age of Empires.How can you increase the scale of the game so much and still move the pixels around as fluidly as they do?

MarkTerrano: We have some very talented people here who know the chips inside and out.We have some great optimization code and have also learned several lessons from our efforts on Age of Empires and the Rise of Rome expansion.

Gamestats: Has the AI system been completely redone or is it just an overhauled version of the system from Rise of Rome?

MarkTerrano: The AI code has been completely redone from the ground up.There are basically three levels and Sandy [Peterson] has done an outstanding job with it.   First, there is the strategic AI which defines the basic rules of the AI system.   Next comes the unit AI which decides things like which enemy it will target.   Finally you have the pathing AI which determines how the units will move and how they will arrange themselves in formation.

Gamestats: With everything moving more and more toward massively multiplayer online games, when will Ensemble Studios develop a persistent online real-time strategy game?

MarkTerrano: <smiles>

Read the whole interview here.

MSN Gaming Zone Gets an Update!

Angel Washizu

On August 30th, the zone will be go down at about 4AM EST.Early that morning, it will be back up with a new look, easier browsing, and some new features.The MSN Gaming Zone

1 Million Strong!
Posted by Washizu on August 28, 1999 @ 10:45 a.m.
Oh I almost forgot this! We just passed the 1 million mark!!!Did Mr. Million get a screen capture of the 1,000,000?If you did, send it in!I took a screen shot of one that was very close, but a little too late.
Honcho Speaks (again)!
Posted by Washizu on August 28, 1999 @ 8:45 a.m.
Sandy Petersen has been frequenting the forum quite often recently answering questions left and right.Here are his recent posts, laid out so you don't have to go around finding them:

Q) What kind of music and sound FX r there?
A) I really like them, but I'm an interested party. Suggest polling a beta-tester to see what they think.

Q) i know ppl say u guyz toned down siege and im sure ya did but in RoR standards how easy r siege to beat up compared to cost and effectiveness?
A) It's really hard to make comparisons between RoR & AoK, but I'll try.

BEATING UP SIEGE: It is much easier to kill siege in AoK than in RoR.

COST OF SIEGE: In absolute numbers, siege costs more in AoK, but that's not necessarily a fair comparison, since a lot of other units cost more too (a cannon galleon costs 350 resources all by itself!)

EFFECTIVENESS OF SIEGE: impossible to compare. Vs. most units, siege is way weaker than in RoR. It takes longer for siege to kill a building in AoK than it did in RoR, too. But on the other hand, they're the very best units of all for killing buildings! The simple fact that siege lacks all ballistics is profound in its implications.

Q) What language in AoK do the Vikings, Teutrons, Persians, and Celts speak?
A) Vikings = when I tell a viking villager to chop down a tree, he says something like "Timber hochvandi".

Teutons & Goths = speak the same language, which I presume to be German. When I tell a Teuton or Goth to chop a tree, they say something like "Hochsa" My son is taking German in school, but not me.

Persians = I assume Farsi, but for what it's worth, a lumberjack says something like "chew pore".

Celtic = sounds more like Scottish than Welsh to me. When I go for a tree, the villager says something like "Bone-it", which I enjoy immensely of course.

Q) how will ES find the extinct language of Old Norse and Medieval Persian?
A) By relying on our scholarly friends at MS, who for all I know have given us modern Swedish and Farsi.

Q) Is it actually too late to change any of the civ names and bonuses?
A) Names = yes. Bonuses = kind of. We can't change the bonuses as they now stand in the manual, but we can "adjust" them to some extent. Note that the bonuses in the older showcases were done before the bonuses became more-or-less fixed, so some have been changed outright.

-ES_Sandyman aka Sandy Petersen

I have a question.Who is it that does these voices?ES staff members?Family and friends of ES?Professional voicers?

Q) Can you tell us what has changed about the Persian advantages since the showcase, if anything?
A) I don't want to go back and look up what the showcase said. None of the civs have changed significantly. Persians get good town centers, an initial resource boost, and superior knights.

Q) What other units speak the language of the civ besides villagers?
A) All except mounted units, ships, and some siege (battering rams, oddly, speak).

Q) When you ring the town bell, your villers enter the TC. when you let them out, do they go back to their duties?
A) Yes, unless they cannot (example: their deer has rotted to nothingness, their building foundation was destroyed, etc.), in which case they go and stand at their previous location, idly.

Q) how many movies are in age of kings?
A) One, unless you count the opening sequences for the campaigns & scenarios, which are not animated, but done in "documentary" format. (I.e., papyrus pages turn, words appear, pictures fade in and out)

Q)can you record a game and make that an intro for a scenario?
A) No need to -- you can totally control all the movement of all units in scenarios you create if you like, so all you need to do is take control of a bunch of units, have them move & act like you want for your intro, then dissolve them into nothing and turn control back over to your player.

Q) What do the Wheel Barrow and hand Cart do?
A) they make their villagers better.

Q) Except, infantry what do the Vikings excel at?
A) Their heavy cavalry is nothing to write home about. They have good archers, though. Their siege is about average.

Q) is there an AoK technology similiar to logistics in aoe?
A) No. There was no need for it. I designed logistics for RoR explicitly because infantry was so disused. But in AoK infantry are one of the most popular unit types.

Q) can you recap tne team bonus for the ten civs showcased so far because gamespot didn't even explain or mention the ten civs team bonuses.
A) Sorry, that's above and beyond my call to duty.

Q) The AI not colonizing new islands sounds a little disappointing.. What will the computer player do when he's on an island and his resources run out, and there are islands left that are full of resources with nobody on them?
A) He uses his market to buy more ... Look, all I ask is that you play a game or two against the CP (on Hard mode) on an island map. THEN complain about how much the AI sucks.

Q) Is it hard to attack in AOK?
A) You cannot win the game without attacking.

Q) It seems that defense has become so strong, with early walls, garrisoning, towers, castles, building hitpoints and more. Does the games often end up with a wonder? Or stalemate?
A) Wonders show up about as often as in RoR. I've seen no stalemates. Defense IS strong, and the result is that ill-planned early attacks fail. But that's what the siege engines and cheap infantry are for. Games tend to last longer (Methos mentioned that his games usually last an hour instead of 20 minutes), but they end just as decisively.

Q) No offense Sandyman but by the time I am able to play a game against the CP on an island map it will be too late to "complain how much the AI sucks."
A) Okay, that's a fair point. Any beta-testers want to be informative on this subject to shane88?

Q) you say trebs have better range than longbowmen, are we talking 20 tiles here?
A) They can't shoot 20 tiles, but they have the longest range in the game, far outranging any archer, tower, or ship (except the cannon galleon).

Q) if the range is shorter, is there some way to judge if you are in a towers LOS before you unpack and start hurtling cows and villagers at your enemy?
A) In the first place, the treb's range is way further than a tower's, and in the second place yeah, it's easy to tell if you're within a tower's range, because it starts to shoot at you. (Note: packed trebuchets have mucho piercing armor, so a few shots won't hurt. Much.)

Q) Town bells....when you ring one in a town center, do all your villagers come running? Or does the town bell have a range for villagers to come?
A) Villagers within earshot of the town bell (which does have a range) run to garrison in the nearest "garrisonable" building. I.e. if there is a tower nearby, a villager will run to it instead of the town center.

Also, when you ring a town bell, does it ring the town bells for ALL your tc's, or just the one you rang.
A) just the one you rang. However if you have a second town center near to the first one, any villagers within earshot who are closer to the other TC will run to it.

Q) if you ring a town bell and more villagers than can fit into the tc come running....what do they do?
A) It's just like running to the bomb shelter during an air raid -- Devil take the hindmost. If this worries you, plop down a tower or two nearby.

Q) Are you able to get any work done on AOK with Agers asking so many questions?
A) Hardly any. But I only post when I'm copying something over or waiting for a playtest to finish, etc.

Q) are priests more important in AoK?
A) No. -ES_Sandyman aka Sandy Petersen

Whew!That's a lot to digest.I'll let you guys soak that up for a while.

I updated at bunch of the civ descriptions recently with comments from ES_Deathshrimp and ES_Sandyman. Check them out:

Byzantines
Celts
Chinese
British
Franks
Teutons
Goths
Japanese
Mongols
Persians
Saracens
Turks
Vikings
MPU Preview!
Posted by Washizu on August 27, 1999 @ 5:30 p.m.
Multiplayer United Sydney Australia previews the AOEII: Beta2;

"It really does appear that the developers have listened closely to comments from fans of the original. They have so well captured the feel of the initial game, while improving on it in every way possible. This does feel like a sequel, but a sequel worthy of its Age of Empires name and worthy of the right to be called a sequel. This is definitely not some minor upgrade to AOE. While a lot of the improvements are minor, the combination of all of these as well as the completely new civilizations and added features from special units and ability to garrison, to the market place's new functionality and production queues, advanced unit formations and improved unit groupings, as well as better unit movement AI"

It's an interesting preview to say the least. One quote that caught my eye was this:

"Now I'm not a single player kind of guy. I don't spend very long playing non-multiplayer games any more. If it can't be multiplayed I'm not interested for very long because I only really play games at LANs, and single-playing at a LAN is extremely dweeby.

AOE2 I'll make an exception for. You just WANT to work your way through the campaigns just to try everything out. The player is overwhelmed with a strong desire to learn all the benefits and pitfalls of each civilisation, from their unique units to the common units differing strengths and weaknesses."

Gamestats Previews Ranged Units!
Posted by Washizu on August 27, 1999 @ 5:30 p.m.
Lend your ear to our benevolent host, Gamestats, and their Ranged Units Preview.Here are a few interesting findings...

Cav archers are available in the third age and can be upgraded to heavy cav archers in the 4th age.

2nd age foot archers can be upgraded through Imperial.Archer -> Crossbowman -> Arbalest.No dead end in that tech tree, as were the tool age bowmen and axemen.

Missile weapons like the bow carried over into the Middle Ages from ancient times in most areas of the world. Northern Europe was an exception for many centuries because the dense forests of the region nullified the range advantage of bows. Throwing weapons like axes, javelins, and knives were more popular there. As the forests were cleared, use of the bow spread. Training with missile weapons took place at the archery range. The training of bowmen was especially favored in England where every town had an archery range and competitions were held each week to encourage practice. From its large pool of archers, England could easily recruit several thousand expert longbowmen for armies going to France. As crossbows and early firearms came into use, men were trained to operate these weapons at a modified archery range. - Gamestats Showcase

IGN Previews Barbarossa
Posted by Washizu on August 27, 1999 @ 5:30 p.m.
IGN follows up their showcase of the Joan of Arc Campaign with one centering on Barbarossa.

"The question you want to know is: was that enough? Is the will of one man enough to forge an empire?"
From the Age of Kings Barbarossa campaign -
IGN Barbarossa Campaign

Angel Omnivac in the Hospital!
Posted by Washizu on August 26, 1999 @ 1:30 p.m.
I hadn't seen Omni online for a few days, and this page hadn't been updated for almost a week when his sister informed us that he was in the hospital.Right now he's doing ok, and I'll try and keep you guys informed of how he's doing.
Saracen Showcase
Posted by Washizu on August 26, 1999 @ 1:30 p.m.
Gamespot keeps going with their civilization showcases.This time they focus on the Saracens:

The Saracens don't have the brute-force military or economic bonuses of civilizations like the Goths or Britons. Neither do they have the fast-start bonuses of civs like Japan and Persia. However, their bonuses, while subtle and later in fruition, are no less useful.

Their bonuses are as follows:

  • Market commodity trading is only 5%, as opposed to 30%
  • Transports have double hp and can carry twice as many passengers (40 passengers at the highest upgrade!)
  • Cav archers get +3 damage against buildings
  • Galleys attack 20% faster
  • Unique Unit:the Mameluke, a camel archer

Gamespot Showcase

Forum Comments

Sandy's Day from Hell
Posted by Washizu on August 26, 1999 @ 1:30 p.m.
Think being a famous game designer is all fun and games?Well, it is for the most part, but some days don't go your way, even for Sandy Petersen.

6:22 a.m.: My kids hold a "who can make the biggest rumpus in Dad's room" contest. I lose.

7:40 a.m.: The kids have all left for school. I peer at the clock. "Hmm. I can sleep another hour without being late for work." I think, and roll over in bed. My wife comes in and says she's off, won't be home for several hours. I respond in unintelligible gibberish.

7:45 a.m.: The dog races down the hall, onto the bed, pounds all over me, burrows under the covers, and starts having a growling, pawing fight to the death with one of my feet.

8:00 a.m.: I manage to drive away the Hound of the Baskervilles, who galumphs into the front yard and starts barking furiously. But I fall asleep anyway.

10:40 a.m.: My wife returns home and shakes me awake. When I realize how long I've overslept, I'm galvanized into action. Shower. Dress. Take anti-inflammatory medicine. Find cane.

10:55 a.m.: I hobble towards the car. I then realize that our hell hound has decided, in her evil, to break all of my children's hearts forever by running away. She knows that I, as the slowest Petersen, can never catch her, but I start looking.

Read the whole thread here.

Get well Omni!

The Barracks Units
Posted by Omnivac on August 19, 1999 @ 2:07 p.m.
Weapons were made and stored and soldiers drilled in the Barracks. During the late Middle Ages, the Barracks was incorporated within a Castle complex. It became also the part of the Castle where professional soldiers lived, ready to help defend the Castle or maintain order in the surrounding countryside.

Want to know more about the Barracks' Units and Technologies you can research in Age of Empires II: Age of Kings? Do not wait any further and go to the Gamestats Units Showcase featuring the Barracks this week.
Visit to the Studios
Posted by Omnivac on August 16, 1999 @ 4:07 p.m.
Last week, members of the GameSiege team made a trip to Ensemble Studios and had a guided tour of the offices with Michael "ArchAngel" McCart. You can read the report of their visit here.

Age of Kings Preview

A new (and very original) preview of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings can be found at Computer Games Online. A must read!

Honcho's Byzantine Article

Ensemble Studios designer Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen posted in the forum Honcho's Byzantine Article. This is the article he originally wrote for the Gamespot showcase.

The Byzantines receive no early-age economy, so they are not a fast-growing nation. However, their inexpensive counter units and sturdy buildings mean that they are rarely knocked out in the early stages of the game. Their one chance for a big edge over their opponents comes up in late Castle, when they can rise to Imperial much faster than any other nation (often, several minutes ahead of the next in line).

This imperial speed is more transient than one might think. You see, in Age of Kings, unlike AoE, there are no “free” imperial age units. In Age of Empires/Rise of Rome, a rise to imperial meant access to new units; fire galleys, war elephants, horse archers, etc. But every single Imperial age unit in Age of Kings must be accessed via an upgrade. Simply being Imperial confers no benefits in and of itself. -
Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen

Age of Kings Atrium

Xiphoid launched his new site for Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, Age of Kings Atrium. Be sure to check it out, and note also that the 100,000th visitor there will get a free retail copy of Age of Kings. Tell him Omni sent you.

Walk like an Egyptian

Be sure to visit our sister site Pharaoh Heaven. You have until August 20th to signup for the beta test of Pharaoh, the sequel of Caesar III.

Age of Kings Preview
Posted by Omnivac on August 13, 1999 @ 2:11 p.m.

OU can read a report of Gen Con 1999 at Strategy Gaming Online. Steve Lieb went to the Microsoft booth, and chatted with Bruce Shelley about Age of Empires II: Age of Kings and upcoming projects.

But lest you think that there was any sacrifice in the detail or esthetics, think again. AoK will no doubt be heralded as one of the most beautiful RTS games to ever hit the shelf. Units, structures, and even the terrain, have all been thoroughly done to the minutest degree - for example, the animation of the Frank special axe unit, the figure actually walks as if he's clearly carrying a really heavy axe to one side.

Angel Omnivac
Age of Kings Preview
Posted by Omnivac on August 12, 1999 @ 1:59 p.m.

HERE'S a new review of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings at Gamezilla. Among other things, you can see a complete list of the Unique Units, like the Celt Woad Raider and the Mongol Mangudai.

Age of Kings can stand alone, but is also a masterful sequel. The basic movement and controls are the same, but the storyline, units, features and graphics make this better than the original. Too many times the sequel does not add to the experience, but just rides its predecessors' coattails. Not so here! Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings will make its own mark on the gaming community. The game has not even been released and it is already on my list for game of the year. Obviously, there has been a lot of time spent making this game as historically accurate as possible, as well as fun. School curriculum developers everywhere could learn a few things from the guys at Ensemble Studios. Well done, Ensemble!

Age of Kings Quiz

Test your AoK Lore with a Quiz at Ogre's AoK Network. The quiz is 15 questions testing your knowledge of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. Good luck!

Angel Omnivac
Byzantine Showcase
Posted by Omnivac on August 10, 1999 @ 9:59 p.m.

HE ninth Civilization Showcase of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings is now online at Gamespot, and it features the Byzantiness. Learn about their civilization attributes and their Unique Unit, the Cataphract. Information onthe Docks, detailing the units you can build, and the technologies you can research there. As usual you will read several comments from the Ensemble Studios team, embellished with several new screenshots throughout the showcase. Don't miss it!

We've previewed eight civilizations so far, but in this, our ninth installment, we come to the most advanced of all civilizations in Age of Empires II, the Byzantines. As one half of the old Roman Empire, Byzantine was besieged by enemies who coveted her riches. However, while Rome fell, Byzantine did not. Indeed, it flourished for a thousand years after Rome fell. Those within its protected empire believed that it was a shining beacon of civilization amidst a sea of barbarians and foreign invaders.

Strong Structures (Buildings have 10% more hit points; 20% in Feudal Age; 30% In Castle Age; 40% in Imperial Age)

Cheap Counter Units
(Skirmishers, Pikemen, Camels are 25% cheaper)

Strong Fire Ships
(Fire Ships do 20% more damage per attack)

Imperial Age Bonus (Imperial Age costs 33% less)

Age of Kings Preview

You can also read the latest impressions of Gamespot about Age of Empires II: Age of Kings in their AoEII Beta Report.

But then again, it is this wealth of choices that will probably distinguish Age II as a deep and rewarding strategy game. Based on our admittedly early impressions, Age II looks very promising and is already a blast to play. Ensemble still has work to do in balancing the units and civilizations, but everything looks on track for a successful late-fall launch.

Angel Omnivac
Campaign Showcase: Joan of Arc
Posted by Omnivac on August 07, 1999 @ 2:17 p.m.

HIS morning I awoke to visions of fire and steel. These nightmares come more often now that I have seen my beloved France eaten away in years of war. I wandered through camp ignoring the new snowfall, but observing the wounds and weariness of every soldier under my command, observing the desperation in their eyes." -- From the Journal of Guy Josselyne, February 19, Army Camp near Vaucouleurs

this is a small excerpt from the Campaign Showcases featured at IGN. This week, the showcase is about the Joan of Arc Campaign, as well as a brief overview of the William Wallace Tutorial Campaign. Don't miss it.

Angel Omnivac
Age of Kings to be showcased at Gen Con
Posted by Omnivac on August 06, 1999 @ 6:53 a.m.

ICROSOFT announced today that Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings will be showcased at Gen Con this week. Additionally, Age of Empires co-designer Bruce Shelley will be available from 1:00 - 2:00 on Friday, August 6, to sign limited edition Age of Kings posters. Gen Con takes place in Milwaukee August 5 - 8, and is recognized as being the largest gaming convention in the nation for science fiction, fantasy, and general game-playing fans.

Other Microsoft titles being shown at Gen Con are Asheron's Call, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game from Turbine Entertainment scheduled for release this holiday; and Starlancer, a futuristic combat simulation game from Digital Anvil, scheduled to ship in early 2000.

Scheduled for an October 1999 release, 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 one of thirteen civilizations into greatness. 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 found on the Microsoft official
site
.

Vote now for Age of Kings

You can vote at Gamestats News Network on which Real-Time Strategy game are you looking most forward to? Head over there and tell them who's the KING!

You can also vote on Which of the following sequels are you most excited about? at Gamespot. Diefferent type of games, but Age of Empires II: Age of Kings is among the list.

Age of Kings preview

There's a new Age of Empires II: Age of Kings preview at GameReactor. You will need your Viking/English dictionary to read through the preview, but don't worry. You will be able to see new screenshots (Containing some old art though). Check it out.

Angel Omnivac
Secrets of the Sages
Posted by Omnivac on August 04, 1999 @ 7:07 p.m.

AME DESIGN: Secrets of the Sages". You should check this book by Mark Saltzman if you're interested in designing a computer game. It covers such topics as "Getting Started", "Creating your Masterpiece", "Ensuring Your Success", and finally "Getting in the Front Door and staying there". Secrets of the Sages also has comments by Ensemble Studios Team Members; Mario Grimani, Michael McCart, Chris Rippy, Matt Pritchard, Bruce Shelley, and Greg Street. You can order it at Amazon.com.

Angel Omnivac
Historical campaign showcases
Posted by Omnivac on August 03, 1999 @ 4:00 p.m.

TARTING on Friday, August 6, IGN starts a four part Historical Age of Empires II: Age of Kings Campaign Showcase Series. First out of the AOEII Menu is the "Joan of Arc" Campaign. Besides getting in-depth coverage on Joan, this first showcase will also hi-light the Learning Campaign "William Wallace". All showcases will have campaign comments by designer Greg "DeathShrimp" Street.

This showcase joins the on going Gamespot Civ Showcase Series. Plus "Drum Roll Please" Ensemble Studios has another series planned which will be appearing very soon (More on this later). So sit back as we will bring you all the details of AOEII: The Age of Kings in the weeks to follow.

Build your own Trebuchet

The Grey Company has a lot of information on Trebuchets, their use in ancient times, and even how to build one yourself with a lot of diagrams, mathematical formulas and pictures of modern trebuchets in action. Included in the Grey Co. pages is a list of 72 other sites divided into categories like historic exhibits, plans, home brewed trebuchets, and simulations. Also included in the links are several sites about ballistas, catapults, onagers, etc. AND lots of sites with plans! You have got to check it out!

Thanks to Charlotte S Farley for the link.

Complete list of Beta sign-up winners

You can find the complete list of the World-Wide Winners of the Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings Beta2 Program on the Ensemble Studios website.

Angel Omnivac