Archived News From April 2000

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!

Expansion Pack Civs Revealed
Posted by Washizu on April 30th, 2000 @ 1:12 a.m.
The current issue of Computer Gaming World (June 2000) has named the 5 new civilizations in Age of Kings: The Conquerors, almost a full two weeks before the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angelos, when they were supposed to be announced. The first place I saw this on the net was in our KORT forum posted by Relic_Robber. Along with the new civs, the new campaigns and some of the new units were mentioned:

New Civs:
The Huns
The Koreans
The Mayans
The Aztecs
The Spanish

New Units:
Halberdiers
Hussars
Turtle Boats
Petards

New Campaigns:
El Cid
Atilla the Hun
Montezuma
Eric the Red


Again, this information is based on the June issue of Computer Gaming World, and there will almost certainly be more units and techs than were listed here. The official annoucement will be made at E3 in two weeks.
Expansion Pack Fact Sheet
Posted by Washizu on April 29th, 2000 @ 8:50 a.m.
A big thank you to forumer BroacLanders for posting a great fact sheet on the upcoming Age of Kings: The Conquerors Expansion Pack, based on things revealed in quick ES interviews on gaming sites and quotes from developers like Sandy Petersen:
Since the "Ask Sandy" threads are so long and full of Irrelevant info, I thought it would be good to put it all together in one document so it will be easily accessible. Please help correct my list because I know my memory isn't perfect. Also please add things that I forgot. I think it would be really cool if we could get one "master list" that everyone could look at. Please only stick to facts and what sandyman has said, NO RUMORS. - BroacLanders

Here it is:
Ex-pack fact sheet (what we know so far)
Way to go Broac!
States Aprove Microsoft Split
Posted by Washizu on April 28th, 2000 @ 8:54 p.m.
According to CNN.com, the states bringing monopoly charges against Microsoft have reached a majority decision in approving the break up of MS into two seperate companies. Typical plans for this include an operating system company and a software company, putting things like MSN, Microsoft's internet provider, and Microsoft Games in the latter company. How will this affect shareholders? Typically, if MS were to be broken up, they'd get one share of each new company for every share they held of MS stock. How will this affect Agers? It probably won't, since MS Games is a fast growing part of MS's total revenue stream, you can be sure they'll be doing all they can to keep it from being stifled in any way.

Someone sent in an answer to a video problem that Nick had a few days ago! It turns out that running other directX program along with AOK is a bad idea:
I had this problem but it happened because DirectDraw was being used by another program, Intel's video cam software that sat in the tray. Once I turned this off, everything worked fine. Tell him to make sure that nothing
else is running that could possibly be using directdraw. - Todd Rogers
Thanks a ton! I'm sure Nick will appreciate that! It's always a good idea to close down as many programs as you can while playing AOK, ESPECIALLY ones that access the internet like ICQ and AOLIM.

Ager's HQ is having a party and you're all invited. This sounds pretty interesting, especially their "Who Wants to Be a Millionare" style trivia game:
Alas, the secret is revealed! Ager's HQ is hosting the Ager's Party! This awesome event will be jam packed with games, special guests, prizes, and best of all Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: AOK Style! This will be just like the original game, but Age of Kings questions and much more! We will have special guests, such as Merlin, Ogre, and Herb "CaptainInsano@ES" Marselas to ask the questions! There is much more to this awesome event, which is scheduled for Saturday May, 6! Only so much can be said in a newspost so visit Ager's HQ whole page of details, which can be found here! Thanks goes to AoE2.com, Ogre's AOK Network, Ensemble Studios, and AoKingdom.com!

If anyone of you want to add something visit the details please (http://www.agershq.com/party.shtml) Thanks for posting and expect updates with prizes, more information and reminds =)
Xynon
Ager's HQ
www.agershq.com


ES Moves to Pop 150 for Testing
Posted by Washizu on April 26th, 2000 @ 7:57 p.m.
In a surprising revelation by AOK designer Sandy Petersen, Ensemble Studios has decided to do most of their AOK: The Conquerors playtesting with a population limit of 150, twice that of their normal AOK pop limit of 75.
Q) When you say the TC will suck as an offensive weapon in the X-pack, do you restrict you comment to a pop of 75?
ES_Sandyman A) Most of our testing nowadays is done at pop 150.
Very interesting! This move to 150 probably came from preferred playing styles of fans. I know every game I've tried to get going at pop 75 has always resulted in complaints from at least one of the participants. To read all of Sandy's latest posts, head here. (Geeze it's hard to keep up with that guy! )

In other news, the good guys at MrFixit Online are gearing up for some big changes, including covering other games besides AOK:
MrFixitOnline.com has begun signups for their next big tourney: a 2v2 DM blood bath called "Battle for Supremacy"

Interesting civ rules means that every best of 3 games has a civ used only ONCE by each team. So, in a 3 game series, a team must use SIX different civs!

MFO's RM League is freezing team rosters today and the pre-season is over on Sunday - soon the main event kicks off with over 800 participants!

MFO opened up sections for Majesty and Star Wars: Force Commander recently - check out whey we like em

How "balanced" are Dock Units in AOK? Voice your opinion in MFO's latest Poll.

MFO SMACKDOWN! 6 last Friday had over 128 participants, check out the latest recorded games from that event.

All this and more at http://MrFixitOnline.com


Lastly, a big congratulations goes out to ES Artist Duncan McKissick and family on their new baby boy, Woad McKissick! Lets hope your late nights at ES have trained you well for the late nights of child care!
AOK News Across the Web
Posted by Washizu on April 25th, 2000 @ 9:54 a.m.
My Fanstock companion Merlin of AOE2.com has answered as many questions as possible about Age of Kings: The Conquerors:
Now that you know all the gory details about my trip to Redmond, Washington, it's time to say a few words about the topic of particular interest to all Agers. The AoE2 Expansion Pack : The Conquerors will change the way we all play the game, but the information is not for wide dispersal yet. Today's AoE2 : The Conquerors NDA QNA article is written under the restrictions of a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Out of respect for the wishes of Ensemble Studios, there are many details of the upcoming Age of Kings expansion pack The Conquerors that are not yet available to the public. Here I will ask the questions that can be given answers at this time, and even then only what can be mentioned will be in those answers. Brought to you by Merlin@aoe2.com


Great job Merl! One thing I'd also like to mention is the great job Mike McCart has been doing on the Ensemble Studios web site. It's getting PACKED with great articles and news of interest to the Ageing community. One thing you should DEFINITELY check out is the ES Open Journal. It has rants and articles from various ES team members, including a few things about Mike's trip to Fanstock and what games he's playing at the moment.
Letters to Washizu
Posted by Washizu on April 25th, 2000 @ 9:45 a.m.
Here are a few more e-mails I've recieved. The first is from a guy named Nick:
Hey buddee!

great site man! wish i had one, but hey, dont got the brains! anyway, AoE is the greatest game ever made, even better than Excite Bike! I just got a new vodoo video card ( a vodoo3 2000 to be exact) and now right before AoE begins its start sequence/movie it gives me some error message saying something like: 'can not iniciate video card.make sure that your card is compatible with direct draw' and when i checked it said that vodoo was compatible.

what the HELL is goin on? How can i fix this? can u help? i have aked
everyone and no one has info that can fix this!

sadly 'AoE'less, Nick
Well Nick, a Voodoo 3 should definitely be compatible with AOE and AOK. It could be a DirectX problem, but I think it may just be your video drivers. Try downloading the latest ones from 3dfx.com and if that doesn't work, install the latest version of DirectX you can get your hands on (the latest version in DirectX 7 I believe).

-----


I'm a newbie at AoK, although no stranger to rts, I was wondering which Civilization(s) are best suited to Economic Growth and Power, is hard economy a viable way to play AoK(as it is in starcraft/brood war)? Or is tech/defense a smarter playing strategy.

Also, is there a place where I can see the basic objectives of the game, as in, economy, tech, advancement and any precepts that one should learn before playing.

Thx-Jeff
Jeff, the best places to check out are the strategy sections of the various fan sites on the web. Our strategy articles are located here. Also, our strategy forum can be a great center for discussing which civs fit the best playing styles.

Hope that helps!
ICQ2000 Appears on the Scene
Posted by Washizu on April 25th, 2000 @ 9:36 a.m.
If you haven't heard already, ICQ2000a is now available for download from ICQ.com. I downloaded it today and so far it has been ok. It defaults to a look not unlike that of AOL Instant Messenger, but can be easily switched if you like the classic ICQ look better (which I do personally, but that's just me).

Also, I may have mentioned this before, but the beta version of Netscape 6 is out. I downloaded that today as well, and frankly, I'm not all that impressed. It still doesn't work quite right with Cascading Style Sheets, but hopefully it will before the final release. I remember the IE5 beta was notoriously bad with HTML forms, but it turned out much better in the long run. I'll do some tests to see which is faster, since that's the main reason I think most of us switched to IE in the first place. Netscape 5 was significantly slower than IE and even Opera. There was a delay for just accessing pages on the hard disk, which in my opinion, was pretty bad. Hopefully that will be gone, and today while I played with N6, it at least seemed a bit faster.
Thunder and Washizu Caption
Posted by Washizu on April 24th, 2000 @ 7:28 a.m.
I got some great captions from you guys on the picture of Thunder and I at Fanstock2000. Some of the common themes I saw were:
  • Picking up women
  • Picking up men (specifically ES employees )
  • Showing the effects of our beverages.


Fortunately, I got a fantastic one from longtime Heaven friend, Zanzard Lothar:
Some of the honorable mentions were:

-Eric Cortez-
Thunder: Hey, hey Butt-head, check it out!
Washizu: Whoa!!! She's hot!

-Jeff-
Thunder: I'm so tanked I feel like spraying everyone with that firehose.
Washizu: I'd like to see that.

-Ronald Dauphin
Thunder: No... I feel weird. Why are you purple and green?
Washizu: What is in this drink?

Thanks to everyone who sent in a caption. Zanzard, can you send me your address so I can send you these AOK trading cards?

E-mail
Posted by Washizu on April 24th, 2000 @ 6:39 a.m.
Here is where I look at some of the e-mails I recieved over the last day or two and talk about them. The first comes from Green Man concerning our strategy forum:
GreenMAn: I think that the quality of the posts are going downhill and very little has to deal with strategy. This fault i think you should fix. Thank You.
Well GM, we hear this every once and a while from forumers, and believe me, we're taking steps to improve the discussion forums, but the absolute best way to improve the posts in the strategy forum is to start good discussions yourself and promote intelligent points made by others.

--------

The next message comes from John:
John: Hello,

My name is John from the Netherlands.
I have Age Of Empire II, and I have a problem with the multyplayer games.

Here's the problem:

I'am using a internet connection with my cable, and I wanna play a multyplayer game with AOE II, so I go to the multiplayer game en choise there LAN connection (always for games on the internet), but now the problem is comming. He "Looking for games, but it takes about an haf an hour to look for a game on the Internet, he never found an multyplayer game, so waht can i do whrong.

Please help me because the games is most likely in multiplayer game
Unlike some multiplayer games, Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings doesn't have a built-in game finder. You'll want to check out the MSN Gaming Zone for your multiplayer needs. It's filled with loads of people just waiting to play against you, and the best part is that it's completely free to play AOK there!
Fanstock Fix
Posted by Washizu on April 24th, 2000 @ 5:52 a.m.
I was running out as I posted the link to my Fanstock Recap on Saturday, and didn't realize the link was bad until tonight when I returned. It is now fixed.
Fanstock 2000 Recap!
Posted by Washizu on April 22nd, 2000 @ 7:58 p.m.
This is the story of 23 webmaster, picked to go to Redmond, Washington. Their mission: Check out some great games and have a good time! Fanstock was microsoft's first showcase of their new games for fansite webmasters, and I've written up my account of the entire trip from start to finish. If you'd like to hear about games like Dungeon
Siege
, Loose Cannon, Freelancer, etc., then check it out here. We even got a chance to check out Age of Kings: The Conquerors, although all we can say until E3 is that it will be released September of 2000.
Fanstock and Age News
Posted by Washizu on April 22nd, 2000 @ 0:15 a.m.
Some more pictures of the event have been cropping up around the web. At MXMadness2.com, they have a ton of great quality pictures, including this nice one of Thunder and I. Can anyone think of a caption?

If your pic is funny enough, maybe I'll send you some AOK trading cards that I got from Tim Z. (sorry, your last name was wayyy too long to remember) at microsoft.


Microsoft shareholders were sent an open letter from chairman Bill Gates saying he thinks that MS will eventually come out on top after appeals are made, and that the government was too unorganized to reach a settlement, since the DOJ and the states couldn't actually agree on what they wanted. He cliamed the actions the DOJ would like to put on microsoft were "radical and unprecedented limitations on our business."

If you'd like to read it, here's a link. Also, if you check out some of those Fanstock pictures, there are a few of Bill Gates's home. Man that sucker was big.


Here's a question I got from a fellow ager:
hi
i am the webmaster of the g0ds site (http://g0ds.cjb.net) and i have a
webmaster question from u. my friend said u might be able to help me
i have all these pictures of age of kings units that i want to use on my
site but they all have white or black backgrounds do u know any way i can
maybe remoce this background and be able to use these pics?
plz answer me a.s.a.p. thank u

If you use photoshop, try "Select Color" and then select the background of the picture. When you have it selected, press delete and the background will be gone. Be careful about areas that may be colored the same as the background, though. Hope that helps!


If you are wondering why Sid Meier is doing a game on dinosaurs, head over to GGO.


Here's a great question that may or may not have been asked yet... Someone might want to throw it Sandy's way:
Ron StahlTheres the farm queue where you can make farms ahead of time but can you do the same for the fish traps?



At Fanstock this week, I got to check out Age of Kings: The Conquerors and since ES/MS wants to announce most of the details at E3, I can't say too much about it. What I can say is that it is very cool, and I think you guys will be surprised at some of the civ choices. What I can tell you is the expected release date:

September of 2000


I'm almost done my fanstock recap, so stay tuned for that one!
Thunder's Pictures
Posted by Washizu on April 20th, 2000 @ 9:30 p.m.
He's been complaining about the quality of his Fanstock pictures, but at least he had enough sense to bring along a camera. If you ever wanted to see what Merlin, Mike McCart, or myself look like, head over to part one of Thunder's Fanstock recap. Even though he lumped me in the smoker crowd, he clearly labled me a non-smoker And don't listen to him about how I let him win, I was under false impressions about the game settings (yeah that's it)

Allen Grey of The Call of Dereth has also put up a pretty lengthy post about Fanstock and his talks with Mr. Quazzar himself, Ken Karl.

Brian from Catch the Fever, who always loves to talk about Britany Spears and the WASSSSSUP guys , has a cool recap as well. Catch The Fever is the only site I've ever seen refer to their start date as their Born on Date, so you can guarantee it won't be skunked.
Fanstock 2000
Posted by Washizu on April 20th, 2000 @ 11:26 a.m.
I spent the past few days in the Redmond, WA area at a little event Microsoft calls Fanstock. It's sort of like their Gamestock event, but in this case it was for fansite webmasters rather than the general gaming press. I'm going to do a long write up about it soon (I'm very tired after they routed me from Seattle, to Houston, to Washington, DC and then lost my luggage, but I just want to say I had a fantastic time. I got to meet AOK Designer Bruce Shelley, ES webmaster Mike "Archangel" McCart, Steve "Vidguy" Cherrier, Sebastian Motte of MS Games, Chris Taylor and Jake McMahon of Gas Powered Games, and a ton of other fansite webmasters for various MS titles.

It was also a great pleasure to meet two guys I've known for a while, Thunder of the AOK Battlefield and Merlin of AOE2.com. I think Thunder already has some of his pictures up, so you'll want to check them out. One thing I'll definitely try and get a picture of is this great item given to each of us by Bruce Shelly and the rest of the ES team. It's a mini picture of AOE gracing its first magazine cover (Computer Gaming World, July 1998), incased in glass. I'm afraid to take it out too much before I find a safe place to put it.

We also got to meet the infamous Sheriff, and see his dry-erase board which was unfortunately blank ;), in person. He was hard at work playtesting and balancing along with their expert staff of agers.

As I said before, I'll do a better write up of it later, but until then I want to thank Leslie, DeEtte, and Steve from Arbuthnot Communications for putting together a great few days for us, Bruce and Mike for going out of your way to make the Age webmasters feel important, and to Sebastian, Beth, Chris, Ed and everyone at MS Games for making this event happen. Who knows, maybe this will be a regular event
Catching Up
Posted by Washizu on April 20th, 2000 @ 10:38 a.m.
Hey folks, thanks to our resident Rodent for covering my turf while I was away (I'll tell you about my trip very soon ). There's some cool stuff going on right now in the Age community, and hopefully I won't post anything Reck already went over.

Mr Fixit has some cool stuff going on (as usual):
Our DM 1on1 tournament has reached the finals! Elfanor and Calymar1 had some exciting games to get here and now face off in a best of 3 finals!

The RM League has reached the final pre-season round 4. Some fantastic games were played last round.

MFO GRUDGEMATCH - come vote for who you think should duke it out!

Come to http://MrFixitOnline.com to see more, including the best recorded games from the league and tournament in our new Weekly Spotlight!


An old friend of Heaven, Azoic has taken his AOK resource to the gamestats network! He's got a good recap each day of what's happening in the age community.

The Horizons Clan just had it's first birthday! Congrats to hZ_skipole and crew!

This is kind of neat idea. A site where no one person writes the news, but rather a collection of webmasters. It's probably a good way to get publicity for your site if you're just starting out:
Whats Up AoK Community

This is Huskarl from Elite AoK, a brand new web site which has just moved
to http://eliteaok.net-games.com, and is soon moving to
Http://www.Eliteaok.com as soon as I find a good reliable and cheap host or
redirecting URL, but I'm here to tell you I'm trying to start something in
which I believe to be brand new to the RTS community, It's called

Community News,
and the purpose of it is so any web site can post their news on my site,
basically site news of all the AoK Sites out there, it's not for AoK news
as I already have people doing that, JUST for news that is happening on
your site.

I think that it would bring traffic to everybody sites, and if other sites
start up a program similar to it, it will benefit every site that's joined
in the community even more. So I urge you to sign up and I will assign you
your own News Pro account just for your site.

If you have any suggestions please E-Mail me back but here are links you
will need to sign up, find about about rules, and see the page its self

Sign Up
Rules
Main Community Page
Main Page

Thanks for taking your time to read this and I hope you join up and start posting news about your site.


Got an e-mail from a guy with Win2000 problems:
The weirdest thing happened to me! I upgraded to win2000 at the
beginning of the week. Everything was working fine, but I had not
played Age of Kings yet.. Busy week. Last night I began my Joan of ark
campaign two (maid of the mist...) During game play, my computer
completely shut off - power outage..! THis was very disturbing - how
dare my computer interrupt my mission to unite France! Anyway, I tried
several things (taking the cover off to relieve heat, minimizing refresh
rates, etc.. My computer completely powers off about 5 min into the
game.. Let me know if other win2000 users have experience any problems!
Or what you would suggest.!

THanks
Ben
If games are really important to you, and you need Win2000 on your machine, I suggest having both on your machine if possible to avoid stuff like this. I've heard of a number of problems people had with Win2000, but I've heard of plenty where it works fine. Anyone else have thoughts?

Got this from our friend Zanzard Lothar (spell it right this time?):
Happy Easter! Well, it is almost Easter here in Brazil, so i guess it is over there as well. Keep Up the good work on AOKH, and wish Happy Easter for the other Angels too!
Thanks man! I'm toying with the idea of posting a lot of the e-mail I get right here on the news page. Do you guys like this or is it a waste of space?
Sidewinder Spotlight Tournament
Posted by Reckless Rodent on April 20th, 2000 @ 1:04 a.m.
Over on the MSN Gaming Zone, they are currently taking signups for their SideWinder Spotlight Tournament for Age of Kings. Here are a few details:

Sign your team up today and come back April 28 for the action! Play to win the SideWinder Precision Pro Joystick, a Freestyle Pro game pad and other Zone goodies!

And here's what you can win:

Gold Prize: Microsoft SideWinder Precision Pro Joystick

Silver Prize: Microsoft SideWinder Freestyle Pro Controller

Bronze: MSN Gaming Zone T-shirt
Patch news
Posted by Reckless Rodent on April 20th, 2000 @ 0:55 a.m.
Bet that got your attention . ES_Sandyman popped back into the forums for a quick Q&A session. Here's the snippet about the upcoming patch:

Q) I'm trying to piece together what will be included in the free patch as opposed to the Conquerors Xpack.
A) We are not yet sure which things are going to be in the patch, since it is not done yet. Certainly the outstanding bugs are going to be fixed, along with (at a minimum) the TCs being toned down.

Along with that, there's the usual sprinkling of info about what's going to appear in the X-pack:

Q) Will there be any new siege weapons in the caslte or siege workshop?
A) No.

Q) Is the bombard cannon being made stronger or weaker
A) the former.

Q) How many of the 5 new civs are *not* civs that originated or settled in Europe?
A) Three and a half.

Q) Would it be unreasonable to have the magyars in the x-pack? What I mean by that is, would they be out of place?
A) They would most certainly not be out of place. They were considered, and were strong contenders.

That's only a tiny amount of what's in Sandy's latest post. For more, take a peek here.
60% Gamers
Posted by Reckless Rodent on April 19th, 2000 @ 6:00 p.m.
This post is only very tenuously related to AOK, but it's reasonably interesting so I thought I'd go ahead and post it anyway. According to this article on the Adrenaline Vault, 60% of people in the US play computer games:

A new survey conducted at Peter D. Hart Research Associates has found that three out of five Americans age six or older, or about 145 million people, say they play computer or video games, and that almost half of these gamers--43 percent--are female. The survey results, which demonstrate the surging popularity of video games in American culture, were released today through the Interactive Digital Software Association, the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers and the owner of E3.

The rest of the article is here.
Grudgematch poll
Posted by Reckless Rodent on April 19th, 2000 @ 10:29 a.m.
Those chaps and chapettes over at MrFixitOnline have posted a new poll on their site. This one is taking the vox pop on which grudge match you'd all like to see most. Here are the current standings, after 329 votes:

29% Matty vs Sheriff
20% Koven vs Matty
12% Methos vs Out4Blood
8% Crexis vs Methos
8% Crexis vs Matty
7% Crexis vs LittleKnife
5% Don't Care
3% MrFixit vs Out4Blood
2% Elfanor (aka Kingdom4Points) vs Matty
2% None

Cast your vote at MFO.
Samurai Upgrades?
Posted by Reckless Rodent on April 19th, 2000 @ 10:27 a.m.
More Sandyman posting for this overcast, damp Wednesday morning (well, it is in Hannover anyway). This time, I've yanked some tidbits about the changes being made to the Japanese in the upcoming X pack:

Q) Will the Japanese be improved?
A) The Japanese are one of the few civs that have received outright improvements above and beyond the generic bonuses that everyone gets (like unique techs or new units). Specifically, we have noted that the mighty samurai is not especially useful in his main task of UU-killing. So we’ve upped his movement speed a tad (the same as a pikeman) and increased his anti-UU damage. You still may not wish to build them in preference to champs when you’re facing certain enemies, but by golly they’re better.

Q) Will the Japanese UT affect Samurai?
A) Actually, no it doesn’t.

He also made some more comments on 3D-related matters:

Q) What is the deal with AOE3? I heard it was only coming out for the xbox? This is piracy!! Blackmail!! Evil!!! Is it true? And if so, what is aoe3 all about?
A) our next RTS game, whether it be AoE3 or something else, is so far in the future that absolutely NOTHING is set in stone for it yet. Not even the platform. It is way too premature to have an opinion on.

As always, a veritable Pipe Roll of information from Sandyman, and you can find it here.
Sandy on 3D Engines
Posted by Reckless Rodent on April 19th, 2000 @ 10:21 a.m.
Angel Draco pointed out to me that Sandyman left the confines of his "Ask Sandy" thread to make some comments in this thread about ES's future 3D game plans:

I completely understand the concerns of people who are worried that we're going to destroy our looks by using 3D instead of the beautiful 2-D graphics we've had to date. The Bang! engine is NOT the 3-D you're used to. I wish I could show every one of you guys the way the engine looks right now, in the very primitive early stages of the game.
We pride ourselves on our graphics, and we know just how important the clean, bright look of the world is to our players. We're not a technology-driven company. We do things because we think it'll make the game better, not because its newer or more advanced.

A new wave of 3-D is coming, and it's not going to be the same as the old wave. Look at the film clips of Munch's Odyssey, or Black & White (of course it's possible that the Munch's Oddyssey clips are just cinematics). Bang!, which is going to come out after those games, will be that much more sophisticated.
Sandyman, cha cha cha...
Posted by Reckless Rodent on April 18th, 2000 @ 0:08 a.m.
Angel Washizu is off at some MS-related bash for the next few days, no doubt gladhanding all the MS and ES bigwigs (all for the benefit of you, our visitors, of course ). So, you're stuck with the mad hamster from Caesar III Heaven and Pharaoh Heaven until he returns.

Irrespective of who is doing the news, it seems like the forum train has become an express that's pretty unstoppable. However, Sandyman managed to clamber aboard earlier today to deliver some more pearls of wisdom like only he can:

Q) Has your team at ES ever discussed modifying the Technology Summary to include the techs researched by each player and the corresponding times?
A) Not really.

Q) How vulnerable are cav archers to lag now?
A) Lag has the same effects on them as it had before.

Q) With improved arbalests, will the brit arbalest be better than the longbowman?
A) No.

Q) I think you just killed champions. You improved Arbalest, Cav Archer, Scorpian, and more gun powder units.. and more anti-champion units
A) One of our most important concerns in playtest & design was that old units which were good would not suddenly be weakened to the opint of uselessness. It is true that champions are relatively weaker than before, because of improvements aimed at other units. But they are very much still worth building.

Q) Any changes to bombard cannons in the x-pac?
A) Yes

That's only a very small snippet, since Sandy's post is...umm...huge. Well worth reading though. Should you want to do so, you can take a peek here.
MS Scenario Contest Finalists!!!
Posted by Washizu on April 17th, 2000 @ 12:49 a.m.
I have here in my hand the nominees for Best Scenario, an award to be determined later in the month by game designers Bruce Shelley and Greg Street. The nominees and the sites that nominated them are:
Age of Empires II Deutschland nominates Andreas Marscheider

MrFixitOnline nominates Tijs Leenknegt

Age of Kings Reactor nominates Maximilian Kristiansen

Planet Age of Empires nominates John Weigand

AoE2.Net nominates Gregory Koteles

Aoe2-World.de nominates Reinhard Krüger

AoK Battlefield nominates Colin Pyle

AoK Univers nominates Ouradou Gilbert

AoE2.com nominates Mark Stoker


And the nominee from Age of Kings Heaven is....

Steve Ryan, who also placed first in Age of Empires Heaven's scenario contest with his entry, The Relay, of the few scenarios rated 5.0 by AOEH. I was a judge for that scenario contest, and it was one of the first jobs I ever had at AOE Heaven. Congrats to Steve and all the other nominees!
Attention Scientists!
Posted by Washizu on April 17th, 2000 @ 11:39 a.m.
Tired of the snobbery and elitism among your colleagues? Fed up with begging for grants? Feeling the pain of a job that offers little more than the satisfaction that your work may mean something to someone long after your death? If so, you have to read Dr. Greg Street's article written for Science's Next Wave Magazine.
So, how does someone with no experience get a job making games? First, realize that getting into computer game development is (as I used to say in science) non-trivial. The industry is as competitive as any. There are three basic career tracks: programming the code, digitally rendering the artwork, and designing the features and gameplay. I will carelessly brush aside the programming and artistic routes, since they require a great deal of education and talent, which most scientists probably do not have since they spent all of their credits pursuing other curricula.
Read the entire article here.

Also, in case you missed it, Archy has posted a Q&A with 3D programmer, Herb Marselas aka "Captian Insano":
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in the gaming industry?

A: If you want to be a game programmer:

- program early, program often
- get experience in all facets of programming: graphics, ai, networks, etc
- put together a demo of a game that shows that you understand how these parts fit together
- show other people what you're capable of, don't just talk about it
Read the whole Q/A here.
Holy Farms?
Posted by Washizu on April 17th, 2000 @ 10:27 a.m.
It seems that forumer Cata Phra Ct has come across an unusual, but useless, bug in Age of Kings. Monks can heal damaged farms, and when they do so, your wood supply decreases.
Cata Phra Ct: A very weird bug, Monks can heal FARMS!!!!!! Ok, I was playing a 2v2 game and I had castled first. I was getting a sizable assault force of knights, Longswordsmen and archers, when they raid the outskirts of my town, where my mill and several farms were. They injured several villies, damaged several, and killed a couple of my archers before they were put down. I send a monk over to heal those villagers, but I accidentally click a farm. And it is healed! I don't remember if it was using up wood, but it was wierd.

Midknight: geez, it heals FAST too... like 200 HP/sec.

RCF Day: LOL I just tryed it out and it heals at 1/2 the cost of building an actual farm(EG the far was near death yet in only took 27 wood to heal[repair]). THIS IS COOL!!! Thanks for letting us no man...IF this is a bug DON'T FIX IT it's cool.

Cherub Lobby: Interesting Bug but really quite useless.
I can’t remember the last time I repaired a farm !.. If they are burning I just get my guy to put on his asbestos suit and go on farming!


Read about it more in this thread. Personally, I think this bug is far from game destroying, or even game affecting. Farms almsost never need repairing since eventually they run out anyway. Nevertheless, ES will probably fix it in the x-pack, if not the next AOK patch.
A Big Wave to PC Gamer
Posted by Washizu on April 15th, 2000 @ 7:21 p.m.
Hey guys, glad you like the site! I've been hearing numerous reports of PC Gamer magazine contacting scenario designers who submitted their work to AOK Heaven. It looks like they're planning to include a number of scenarios and campaigns on the June issue's CD.
This Just In...
Posted by Washizu on April 14th, 2000 @ 1:24 a.m.
Got a few things to post before I head off to class. Mr Fixit Online is starting a new thing called GRUDGEMATCH that seems to be pretty interesting:
GRUDGEMATCH comes to MFO

GRUDGEMATCH. Here is where the rubber meets the road. MOFOs throw down and go at it head to head. Just like usual, only here MOFOs like you decide the matchups. Everyone votes and the most popular matchup becomes that week's official GRUDGEMATCH.

MrFixit Online


The Rolfe Clan recently had a get together and sent me the following press release:
My name is Rolfe_WJ_2 of the Rolfe Clan, age gamers since AoE

I am writing to tell you of our 1st clan meeting, held this April in London! yeah!

The Rolfe Clan had very humble beginnings, just two brothers who played in the zone who choose to share a common name. We had no plans to form a clan, but because we were fun to play with/against we soon had a few requests. Now we have around 35 active members, with many who have come and gone.

Anyway, thought that you might like to know the levels of friendship that we have gained, due in no small amount to the addictive nature of the age games )

In the photo you can see (left to right): Rolfe_Moss (Germany), Rolfe_Frenchy (USA), Rolfe_Morgana (Austria), Rolfe_Norvindus (Denmark), Rolfe_WJ_2 (UK - me!), Rolfe_Forsaken (UK), Rolfe_Confuzius (Austria), Rolfe_Lizzie (UK), Rolfe_TT (Norway), Rolfe_Crowly (Norway), Rolfe_Chaos (Norway) and last, but not least Rolfe_the_red (USA)

There is one very important guy missing from the piccy, that is Rolfe_d_2, since he is the other 'founding brother' (with me) and he was the guy holding the camera.

That's us standing outside the British Museum, one of our sober mornings )

I don't know if this is a first, that is to say that we are the first bunch to come from so many different countries to actually shake hands, and, erm...get drunk together. I don't know whether this is news worthy or not, just thought that you might like to see what an ugly bunch we are! If you want more details of our little trip (including the medieval banquet - serving wenches - sword fights - all that sorta stuff, we have the details hehe)

Sounds like a good time was had by all (especially the non-sober nights!)

In other exciting events, the Fanatic clan is back! They have a new website and hope to make an impact on the AOK Clan scene.
Hey Washizu this is KaBaN.. or FanatiC KaBaN

I don't know if you post news about Clans, but i would just like to say that FanatiC is back, and if you ever, by some unknown reasons run out of news to post you can always say that FanatiC is back!!!

The URL to the page is here.

Here is a VERY brief history of the clan:

This is a clan dedicated to the Age of Empires game series. We play on the Zone.com and always enjoy a fun game of AoK. The clan has a very rich history, dating back to its origin in November of 1998. It has been re-started on April 12th, 2000, after it fell apart September 17th, 1999.


Lastly, if you'd like to check out a program I wrote for my computer graphics class, go here. It 3D renders 3 spheres, with 2 light sources and lets you input values for things like color, sphere centers, etc. Hope you like it
New Strategy Articles
Posted by Washizu on April 13th, 2000 @ 2:46 a.m.
Our own Angel DarkKnight has posted two new strategy articles, one detailing the uses of the Goth civilization by Chris The Great, and the other the Chinese by Captian N. Both are nicely done, so check them out. All new strategy submissions should go to Angel Dark Knight.
AOK Nominated more than Meryl Streep!
Posted by Washizu on April 12th, 2000 @ 11:08 p.m.
The Adrenaline Vault reported today that The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has nominated Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings for 7 different awards, the most important of which being "Best Game of the Year". Can it defeat the likes of Homeworld, Soul Calibur, Donkey Kong 64, The Sims, Unreal Tournament, and the dreaded Pokemon Yellow? It certainly has to be a contender with the amount of nominations it recieved. Here's a quote fromt he Avault news post:
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, leads the field with finalist nods in seven categories, including: Game of the Year, Computer Game of the Year, Strategy Game of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Game Design, Outstanding Achievement in Game Engineering, Outstanding Achievement in Animation, and Outstanding Achievement in Character or Story Development. The developer of this title is Dallas-based Ensemble Studios; the publisher is Microsoft.
Wow, it seems like every department at ES can pat themselves on the back for this one!
Korean Government vs AOE
Posted by Washizu on April 12th, 2000 @ 6:19 p.m.
AOK Designer Sandy Petersen made a very interesting post today in the strategies forum noting the advantages and disadvantages of including the Koreans in AOK:TC, mostly notably some legal issues with the Korean government!
Disadvantages of Korea as an AoK civ:

1) not much influence outside Korea in our time period.

2) only fought other oriental civs (also true of Japan, but at least they're really well-known).

3) history and units not well known outside Korea.

4) Some Koreans very touchy about their homeland & history. I was flabbergasted to learn that some Korean gamers think that in AoE we _purposely_ made Japan stronger than Korea. Obviously it's not so -- even if Japan _is_ stronger in AoE, which is open to debate (they're for sure weaker in DM), it was only a civ balance problem, not a plot. Giving this semi-paranoid attitude on the part of a few Korean gamers, who knows what other land mines we might unearth inadvertently?

5) Some Korean officials are willing to use legal force to hurt us if we do something they don't like. They threatened to jail an MS rep there when we initially released AoE because the first version of the game had a scenario featuring Japan invading Korea. We changed the scenario, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't rankle. I mean, some British fans were a bit annoyed that the British only show up as villains in the AoK campaigns, but no one wanted to ban the game or sue our sails reps. (Most British fans, I'm happy to say, gloried in having such an important civ that it was featured in three different campaigns.)

Advantages of Korea as an AoK civ:

1) really cool history & units worth learning about.

2) millions of Korean gaming fans who are not to blame for the excesses of a few freaks & officious bureaucrats.

3) it's one of the most logical choices for a new oriental civ. Other obvious ones being Tibet and the Khmers.


Wow! If ES/MS ever needs it, I will testify that I could never complete the Yamato campaign in AOE
New AOK:TC Site
Posted by Washizu on April 12th, 2000 @ 3:26 a.m.
Just got this in from a fellow ager starting a new site devoted to the upcoming expansion to Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings.
Hi, my name is Daniel Taylor
I'm just letting you know about my new site- The Conquerors Castle. It's the first Conquerors site. (I Think)
If you wanna have a look at it:
The AOE2 Castle
Its my first site, but its a good one.
Octavia's AOK Gossip
Posted by Washizu on April 10th, 2000 @ 9:32 p.m.
I don't even know why I am posting this, because he claims our forums are doing badly , but forumer Octavia has a new site claiming to post the gossip of the AOK community. Well, looking at his news, he certainly has the gossip for the last few weeks down pat, so it might be a worthwhile stop once in a while for Age fans.

- Octavia's AOK Gossip
ROR World Championships
Posted by Washizu on April 10th, 2000 @ 9:27 p.m.
Got this from AOK expert Out4blood of Mr. Fixit Online. It seems they have the final four selected to go, so get your passports ready guys, you're going to Abu Dhabi!
ROR World Championships: Final Four have been decided...

Stalin, maimin_matty, BlackGrail, and jyden are our four qualifiers who will be flown to UAE to compete in the live event May 5-7. Go to http://mrfixitonline.com/readPosting.asp?PostingId=25761 for the results of the matches.

First place is worth $5,000. Good luck guys!
Contest CLOSED
Posted by Washizu on April 8th, 2000 @ 8:26 a.m.
No more submissions are being taken for the MS Scenario Contest. I've already had one scenario turned in late, and a few more that just made it. It looks like we got a nice group and we'll be working hard over the next few days to choose our winner. In case you are wondering how this whole contest works, let me explain. One winner from each of the ten participating websites will be submitted to Microsoft. Of those 10, the best will be included on the Age of Kings: The Conquerors Expansion Pack! The final list of people who submitted scenarios to me are:

Rob Bertorelli (recieved at 11:55 PM!)
Angry Artifact
Diego Shimohama Cinto
Jack Sun
James Hughes
sourcex6
Poilon
Colin Nickerson
Von Guilberth Le Magnifique
John Ilkos
Vertigo
Ivan Stummer
Jari Vaarma
AOK Punk Team
Mark Stoker
Tom Hand
Zanzard Lother
Wing Zero
Brent3001x
FrnkRlzZ0
William Starling
Adman2020
Michael Larcombe
John Weigand
Alejandro Gonzalez
Timothy Fisher
Osp
Diane Glowacki
Miguel Vasquez
maximilian kristiansen
DAC
Steve Ryan
Aaron Khoo
rabosch
Jari Vaarma
Greg Koteles
Mark Urbanowicz
Chris Jones
Denise Hart


Whew! That's a lot of entries. Once the contest is over, we'll enter each scenario into the blacksmith so you can all try them out. There are a number of famous designers in that list, and a few ambitious upstarts that may soon become famous. Thanks to everyone who submitted entries. If you sent me a scenario and I haven't told you it was past the deadline, LET ME KNOW ASAP at washizu@heavengames.com!
One Day Left for Scenario Contest Entries!
Posted by Washizu on April 7th, 2000 @ 1:40 a.m.
Thanks to all who have entered so far. If you still would like to participate, MAKE SURE you get your scenario to me today or tomorrow. I'm on EST, so after April 7th, 11:59 PM EST, I won't take any more entries, no matter what. I have recieved entries from the following people:

FrnkRlzZ0
William Starling
Adman2020
Michael Larcombe
John Weigand
Alejandro Gonzalez
Timothy Fisher
Osp
Diane Glowacki
Miguel Vasquez
maximilian kristiansen
DAC
Steve Ryan
Aaron Khoo
rabosch
Jari Vaarma
Greg Koteles
Mark Urbanowicz
Chris Jones
Denise Hart

If you sent in an entry before the time on this newspost, let me know ASAP.
Best ES Poll Ever?
Posted by Washizu on April 6th, 2000 @ 10:32 a.m.
Here is the newest poll topic at Ensemble Studios:
Of the Ensemble Studios Artists - Which one would you consider the Letting you sister or daughter date?
And the nominees are:
Herb Ellwood
Brad Crow
Chris Van Doren
Brian Sousa
Paul Slusser
Duane Santos
Chea O'Neill
Thonny Namuonglo
Duncan McKissick
Dave Kubalak
Bryan Hehmann
Don Gagen
Sean Wolff
Jeff Dotson
Scott Winsett

You can also choose to sell your daughter or sister into slavery, which will most likely take the prize. Make sure you cast your votes here. We all know we'd like our sisters/daughters to go out with webmasters before artists, but unfortunatly, none made the list
Big BANG! Baby
Posted by Washizu on April 6th, 2000 @ 3:52 a.m.
Here's a screenshot from ES's new BANG! engine:
Where did I get this? There's a great presentation at Ensemble Studios by Programmer Dave Pottinger on terrain analysis.

Scenario Pop Limit
Posted by Washizu on April 5th, 2000 @ 8:30 p.m.
ES_Deathshrimp gave us the good news today by letting us know that in AOK:The Conquerors, you'll be able to set the population limit up to 200 for custom scenarios!
ES_Deathshrimp:By popular request, this will be fixed for the Xpack. You still will not be able to choose a pop cap when playing a scenario, but the scenario designer can set a pop cap for his or her scenario.

As I say every time I answer this question, however, with this power comes responsibility. If you make a scenario with 7 CPs with 200 units each, then the game is not going to run well on even the mightiest of computers.



Sweet! You can read the thread he posted this in here.
Karen Rocks Out
Posted by Washizu on April 5th, 2000 @ 5:50 p.m.
It seems that Archy has been busy with some big crazy event coming up in May (wonder what it could be?), and he hasn't updated the Studios Team pages to go with the new layout yet, but the good guy that he is, he fulfilled Thunder's (from the AOK Battlefield) request and posted a pic of designer Karen Sparks (any relation to Wally Sparks by the way?). It seems as though she can play the guitar, which puts her high on the list in my book any day

Oh. was that was a pathetic excuse to bring up my MP3 site or what?

HUNdreds of Possible Civs
Posted by Washizu on April 5th, 2000 @ 0:16 a.m.
Seems like Archangel has been dropping a few hints here and there on the ES Gaming news. You might want to check it out.

Also, our good friends at the AOK Battlefield have interviewed Mr. Fixit from Mrfixitonline.com:
BravenIrish: What was the most embarrassing thing that had happened to you at MFO?

Mr.Fixit: That is EASY! Here it goes. When I setup MFO I identified a list of people I wanted as Editors. There was one person in particular that I knew was one of the best AOK minds around, but had an online persona of just plain evil Out4Blood had a strong reputation for no-holds-barred commentary. I approached him and asked if he was willing to join MFO with the condition that he put on a "kind" filter. [All fo us at MFO believe in respecting all levels of players - from expert to rookie]. He agreed (reluctantly, I *think* hehe). Well, about a month into our project we were still using the GX forum for a lot of communication and a post was made from Out4Blood about how much a dork I was and that I should shut up. I flew off the handle (ignoring the Mr.Fixit anger management from above hehe) and said "Thanks for joining MFO, but its over now." Not 2 minutes later I realized that the poster Out4Blood WASN'T the real Out4Blood (he had been SMURFED). Since I couldn't edit my postings on GX (unlike MFO), my reaction was DONE. Arrgghh. I posted a "yes I'm an idiot" post apologizing to o4b. He took it pretty well, but mentioned in an internal MFO post that he got "FIRED for being impersonated." That really stuck and we still use the "YOUR FIRED" lingo on MFO to this day. [By the by, it turned out to be pure genius for me to "hire" Out4Blood as he as helped to "push" MFO to higher and higher levels].
AOKH Passes AOEH
Posted by Washizu on April 4th, 2000 @ 11:56 p.m.
Amazingly, at some time yesteday, Age of Kings Heaven's hit counter passed its sister site's counter at Age of Empires Heaven. The counters increment once for every person who visits that day, but will not increment for multiple visits by someone in a single day. The fact that AOKH passed AOEH is a testament to the popularity of Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, and an increased presence in the online Age community.

Remember, MS Scenario Contest entries MUST be in to me by April 7th. No exceptions will be made. Make sure you also submit it to the other sites running the contest as well, to increase your chances of winning. A list of them can be found on the right navigation bar.

Once again, we're continuing the journey to good scenario design with ES_Deathshrimp's Ten Commandments of Scenario Designing:
3. Your Scenario Is Too Hard.

It just is. Designers (including myself) tend to root for the computer players, because that means we have done our jobs making them challenging opponents. Players like a challenge, but they also really like to win. Think about how many games you have actually finished from beginning to end. Now of the ones you didn’t finish, how many did you eventually put down because the missions were too hard?

As I said before, as the scenario designer you know the map like the back of your hand. You know the Orange player is going to attack at 16 minutes with Knights, so when testing, you probably train Camels without even thinking about it. Players don’t know anything about the scenario except what you tell them and players always tend to assume the worst. In a Random Map game, players have some idea of how the CP is doing since everyone starts with 3 villagers and a Town Center (well, except for the Chinese). In scenarios, players assume that all of that dark space on the map is filled with Bombard Towers and Siege Onagers. They won’t leave their town until you make them.

Scenarios should be fun because of the situations you put players in. They will never be fun just because the CP is so relentless and thorough in its attacks. If they wanted that, they would just play against 7 CPs on Hardest in a Random Map game.

How can you make scenarios easier? Give the player more resources or villagers. Allow him or her to advance to Imperial. Keep the CP from researching Murder Holes and other powerful technologies. A really nice thing you can do is keep the CP from constantly rebuilding his town. How many times have you invaded a CP town and knocked down a Barracks or even the Town Center only to lose all of your troops and find that the CP has rebuilt everything by the time you have come back? That’s not fun; it’s just tedious. Sieging gigantic CP cities just is not all that fun. If you want to make a siege, try and make it fast and furious. Historically, sieges lasted for months until one side was starved out. Personally, I would much rather be fighting an enemy than starving them.
Answer on the Atilla Campaign
Posted by Washizu on April 4th, 2000 @ 4:57 a.m.
ES_Deathshrimp e-mailed me shortly after I reported his mention of an Atilla campaign, presumably in AOK: The Conquerers. He says he made a mistake, and meant to say "Ghengis Khan" instead.
Washizu,

Oops, didn't mean to cause an uproar. I meant "Genghis 1" in my post. Guess I get all those raider civs confused. It's the scenario where the horde of Mongols rides in over the river. Ingo mentioned it earlier in the post: "By the way, the first Ghengis Khan scenario in the official ES campaign does begin with a cut-scene, doesn't it? I liked it. If I play a scenario and enjoy it, I remember it both for the gameplay, the map and the cut-scenes. However, that is just my taste."

The actual xpack campaigns I cleverly mentioned as __________ and __________.
Cheers,



Greg Street
Game Designer
Ensemble Studios
Age of Empires II: The Conquerors
www.ensemblestudios.com

Sorry for any confusion there too Greg!
$5,000 AOK Tournament
Posted by Washizu on April 3rd, 2000 @ 9:24 p.m.
Thanks to Reck for sending this my way. It's a big money AOK tournament, and there probably won't be that many people there, since I haven't heard about it until now. Signups are still available I believe:
Hello fair kings and queens. Journey with us from the fall of Rome through the Middle Ages leading one of 13 civilizations into greatness. HEAT.NET is proud to host your highness in this free-for-all for monarchy bragging rights. Your strongest strategies and your keenest wits are going to help propel you to the might and glory that you, and only you, deserve. Your enemies must know, after the dust settles, that your rule is final and that they, once proud and independent, now live with their necks firmly underneath your boot. So join us, fine leaders, and prove your worth in this battle to end all battles, The Reign of Kings!

When:
Monday, April 3rd through Sunday, April 9th, 6-8 PM (PST) each night.
Check out the full details here.
Commandment II
Posted by Washizu on April 3rd, 2000 @ 9:18 p.m.
ES_Deathshrimp put together a great set of commandments for scenario design. The second commandment uses my favorite Deathshrimp quote, "Red called you a monkey, go destroy his town." as an example of a bad story. Once again, I call on the great designers to come up with a great story based on this quote, maybe titled, "Wrath of the Red Monkey Caller":
2. Tell A Story.

This one may be obvious, but story is still probably the greatest difference between fun and mediocre scenarios. Players are more motivated to finish a scenario if they think that, for example, having Richard the Lionhearted complete his Castle at Galliard will establish English rule over France forever! To requote myself “Red called you a monkey—go destroy his town” is not the stuff of epic literature.

Age of Kings is a historically themed game, and the units and civilizations in the game lend themselves much better to retelling a famous battle than they do towards making a Lord of the Rings or Planet of the Apes scenario. As easy it is to look up information on the Internet, there really is no excuse not to do a little research into medieval history. However, if looking up historical dates and names feels too much like homework, at least try and make up an interesting story. Why are the two sides fighting? It is an invasion, and insult or a struggle for the crown? Are the two sides equally matched, or does one have numbers, leadership or better technology? If there are more than two sides to the conflict, are they loyal vassals, wicked turncoats or mercenaries available to the highest bidder?

There are tons of heroes in the scenario editor. Use them! There are also literally thousands of different victory conditions that can be produced with clever use of triggers. Obvious choices are getting a unit or hero across the map, kidnapping / capturing / stealing a unit or object and bringing it home, assassinating an enemy leader, destroying a strategic enemy building, or constructing a fortress to guard a mountain pass.

One last word on historical scenarios: don’t feel like you must force a player to recreate the actual historical outcome. Making decisions is part of game play. Maybe in your scenario the Mongols can succeed in invading Japan by sea, or perhaps Constantinople withstands the Turkish invasion to usher in a new golden age of the Roman Empire. Just because historically certain generals screwed up doesn’t mean your players must make the same mistakes!
Attila Campaign?
Posted by Washizu on April 3rd, 2000 @ 9:09 p.m.
Well, there were rumors of the Huns being an AOK:TC civ, and that seems to be confirmed now with ES_Deathshrimp's latest post in the scenario design forum, where he mentions an Attila campaign, as in Atilla the Hun:
1. To clarify a couple of points: I do like clever use of "cut- scenes" using triggers. What I wanted to do in my article was try and encourage fans that they can still make good scenarios without them and that they should not be scared away of making scenarios just because they have trouble getting the triggers working just right to make a cut-scene work.

I did use cut-scenes of a sort in Attila 1 and Joan 1 and Karen Sparks did some great ones at the beginning of the ___ and ____ campaigns in the Xpack. Funny how we always do it on scenario 1 of a campaign!

April Fools
Posted by Washizu on April 3rd, 2000 @ 3:09 a.m.
Caught at least one of you with my female monk joke
Yes!! my idea of a nun finaly got through. On every of those "what should be
in the x-pac" I always put a nun in. And some other stuff.

Cool webb page. Nice how you update. Cool formum.
There rundown:class

foxy

muhahaha
AOK TC News!!!
Posted by Washizu on April 1st, 2000 @ 9:10 p.m.
In an exclusive screen shot, AOK Heaven has been given the opportunity to reveal one of the new units in Age of Kings: The Conquerers. I'm proud in introduce:

The Female Monk
One Week Left in Scenario Contest
Posted by Washizu on April 1st, 2000 @ 8:51 p.m.
MS Press Release:
ONE WEEK LEFT IN THE AGE OF EMPIRES II: THE AGE OF KINGS GAME SCENARIO
CONTEST

Hear ye, hear ye! There is one week left in the Game Scenario Contest for
the award-winning, real-time strategy game, Age of Empires II: The Age of
Kings. Participants are invited to submit a custom game scenario which must
be based on the Charlemagne era. The contest takes place on ten Age of
Empires fan sites, and the deadline for submissions is April 7, 2000. The
ten winners (one from each site) will be announced on April 17, and the
Grand Prize Winner will be chosen in the first week of May.

The Grand Prize Winner will get his/her scenario included on the Age of
Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion pack CD and will also receive a series
of limited edition, high-resolution framed Age of Kings prints signed by
the game's senior designer, Bruce Shelley. The ten individual winners will
receive a selection of Microsoft games and gaming devices.

Age of Empires II, developed by Ensemble Studios, features new and improved
design features that quickly engage the casual player while offering more
intense and engrossing gameplay to satisfy the hard-core audience. Beginning
with minimal resources, players are challenged to build their nations into
great civilizations and defeat the enemy by making strategic decisions
throughout the game. Each of the 13 civilizations represented in Age of
Empires II, including the Mongols, Celts, Vikings and Japanese, features
distinctive attributes, buildings and technologies and a unique combat unit
based on its historical counterpart. In addition, Age of Empires II
features five campaigns based on the adventures of prominent historical
figures, including Joan of Arc, William Wallace and Ghengis Khan, that draw
players deeper into the game as they march alongside the hero to victory.

For more details and links to each of the fan sites hosting this contest,
visit:

MS Contest Page

The Ensemble Studios Web site is located at http://www.ensemblestudios.com/
Sierra Named Empire Earth Publisher
Posted by Washizu on April 1st, 2000 @ 8:42 p.m.
If any of you are interested in this upcoming RTS game being developed by Rick Goodman of Age of Empires fame, check out our fellow Gamestats affiliate, The Empire Earth Trade Center. Here is their recent press release on their new publisher:
SIERRA STUDIOS ANNOUNCES EMPIRE EARTHÔ

Epic Real-Time Strategy Game Spanning 500,000 Years to Ship in 2001

March 31, 2000 (Bellevue, WA) – Sierra StudiosÔ and Rick Goodman’s Stainless Steel Studios, Inc. today announced a new real-time strategy game in development, called Empire Earth™. This is the first title from Stainless Steel Studios, but not the first for Rick Goodman, who was lead designer for the best-selling and critically acclaimed strategy game Age of Empires™. Empire Earth is scheduled to ship in the first half of 2001.

Building on the success of Age of Empires, Empire Earth covers a much broader spectrum of time and incorporates far more advanced 3D technology. It also has several new features and gameplay elements that will deliver a more robust experience to the devoted real-time strategy gamer.

"We searched for the right publisher for over a year and are very excited to be working with Sierra Studios," said Rick Goodman, president of Stainless Steel. "Sierra Studios’ impressive strategy to work with strong internal development and the best third party developers is quite apparent by virtue of the deluge of awards and high quality games in their lineup."

"The scope of this game is very impressive – the best I’ve seen in this genre," said Jim Veevaert, vice president of marketing for Sierra Studios. "We are thrilled to be working with Stainless Steel Studios to bring Empire Earth to market and know if anyone can accomplish this enormous task, the folks at Stainless Steel will surpass our expectations."

No other real-time strategy game offers as comprehensive a setting or as customizable a gaming experience. The game combines stunning technology with robust, strategic gameplay in a setting that spans the history of the world. Empire Earth begins with the discovery of fire (circa 500,000 BC) and concludes several hundred years in the future. Empire Earth is arguably the most promising game on the horizon in the real-time strategy genre.
Zone Gives MFO the SMACKDOWN
Posted by Washizu on April 1st, 2000 @ 8:34 p.m.
Unfortunatly, the popular MFO Smackdown party was shut down recently, for Zone policy reasons. Here is what MFO editor Out4blood had to say in his press release:
Apparently Microsoft isn't happy with our support for their products and have shutdown our users from using the zone. Sorry guys, we will look for a better solution for our parties. MrFixit got banned just for asking questions For more details vist MFO at http://mrfixitonline.com