Archived News From July 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!

Undelivered Goods
Posted by Washizu on July 30th, 2000 @ 6:37 a.m.
Hopefully your campaign's lead character doesn't own a shipping business if you plant a bunch of these gaia scenario editor objects around. The busted American trade cart is a nice addition to the new things you can place in the editor.
Get Ahead in Scenario Design
Posted by Washizu on July 29th, 2000 @ 6:18 a.m.
I didn't post an eye-candy piece last night, so to make up for it, here are TWO of the newest gaia units in the scenario editor. The giant head is just about my favorite piece of new art in the editor. You can even rotate it to different angles! The road sign is also very nice, and I'm sure modpack authors will have fun changing that around. If you look close you can notice that the sign says something... a name perhaps? Who is this person? I know who it is, but do you? If so, then drop me a note with who they are and what impact they had on AOK.
Thunder Returns
Posted by Washizu on July 29th, 2000 @ 6:11 a.m.
Thunder of the AOK Battlefield was out of town for a bit, hence the slight slowdown in the site, but now he's back and updating the site as always. Make sure you stop by and check out his pic from Istanbul. He just has one posted now, but is getting the others up soon. He says he isn't going on a trip until he gets a digital camera, but let me tell you, don't get one like mine. It's a piece of garbage.
Gamecenter AOK:TC Preview
Posted by Washizu on July 29th, 2000 @ 6:05 a.m.
One of the largest game site out there, Gamecenter has posted an AOK:TC preview along with some nice screenshots as well.
Ogre's Campaign Showcase
Posted by Washizu on July 29th, 2000 @ 6:03 a.m.
Ogre saw a need in the net's AOK:TC information demand, and decided to showcase the AOK:TC campaigns. Be sure to check out this well written feature on his awesome site, Through The Ages.
Korean Showcase up at Gamespot
Posted by Washizu on July 27th, 2000 @ 5:50 a.m.
Whew, there has been tons of news this evening! Just when I thought it was safe to close my news script, I check the forum and see that Moocher brings word of Gamespot's published civ showcase on the new AOK:TC civ, The Koreans:
"The kobukson, or turtle ship, was the first ironclad in recorded history. With only a handful of these armor-plated behemoths, the Korean navy under Admiral Yi Sun-Shin was able to stave off a massive Japanese invasion fleet. In the Conquerors expansion, the Korean turtle ship fills the role of a battleship, since its true purpose is to kill other ships. Turtle ships are slow to build, slow to sail, and quite expensive. But as with Persian war elephants, if you let a Korean build up too many turtle ships, you will have a hard time stopping them. The Koreans rule the oceans." - Lead Designer Greg "Deathshrimp" Street
Read the whole showcase here.
ES_Sandyman v6.5
Posted by Washizu on July 27th, 2000 @ 5:32 a.m.
The Sandster is back from getting some R&R, and has decided to do some Q&A. This thread is filling up fast, so if you have a question to ask game designer Sandy Petersen, you'd better do it fast before the thread fills up to Sandy's 145 limit. He makes this request to ensure a final response from him in the thread, since the software only allows a total number of posts per thread to reach as high as 150.
Q) What was your favorite part of your vacation?
A) For a complete Petersen Vacation update, go to the ES website and look in the Studios Journal.
Q) I guess I'll just say that the X-Pack sounds awsome.
A) Take no prisoners, LoNgBoWmAn86. That’s one hard-hitting question.

Q) how much is the tarken bonus vs buildings
A) Pretty big. It’s even bigger vs. walls than buildings.

Q) A while ago i asked you about the most expensive UT and you told me the persian would be, did you guys decide to change this, or was it always the low cost it is now
A) We changed it.

Q) Do UU infantry units have a bonus vs eagle warriors
A) Yes.

Q) just wondering if there were any late changes or fixes that you guys have done to the game for balance reasons, or is the game pretty much all ready to go!, if any changes, can you explain
A) Yes there have been late changes. Explain? Sure. We did it to plug gaps, to fix bugs, and to ensure balance. Generally speaking, we tried to err on the side of NOT introducing a screw. In other words, we felt it was better to make a unit or technology too weak than too strong.

Q) don't you think it kind of bad not to give the persians heresy when it is clear that this tech could probably help them out the most(ie-elephants). This tech just seems expensive since you rarely get converted units, or i could be wrong! Monks are improved
A) We didn’t give the Persians Heresy for two reasons. First, it’s our experience that Persian players often try to re-convert their elephants, which Heresy would make impossible in a post-Imperial game. Second, we wanted Persians to have a weakness vs. monks, expecially now that their elephants are fast! Heresy REALLY hurts monks.

Q) where will the X-pac ship? What stores?
A) I believe that MS announced it would be available on August 25 in the USA and on September 4 in Europe. I don’t know what this means for the Pacific Rim, Canada, or other more exotic locales.

Which stores? I would expect any store that carries MS games should carry AoK:TC.

Q) is there anywhere I can get the xpac for a discount? Like ordering it from u guys or something?
A) actually, we at ES get our copies of the games several weeks AFTER it’s been released in the stores. We’re a very low priority for MS’s publishing end.

Q) Does a cataphract with logistica do tramble damage to the unit directly under attack???
A) I do not believe so.

Q) Do you still let your son come to the studios at sundays to play AoK or can he now play it at home?
A) He has been able to play AoK at home for months now. However, he has to come to the office to play AoK:TC. And I don’t bring them to the office on Sunday. Oddly enough, I strive to keep the Sabbath day.

Q) About how long time does a "defend the wonder" game take?
A) Depends on what you set the speed to and how many players there are (the clock gets longer for more players). Generally speaking it’s around half a hour or so.

Q) Do you suspect that Yucatan will be the next Black Forest map?
A) I think it will be very popular. It’s not as easily defended as Black Forest, but the huge food boost at the start is really nice. One good thing – an expert player can get a lot more out of shore fish, deer, and peccaries than can a rookie, so it’s not necessarily a newbie-friendly map. Skill rules, unlike Black Forest, in which any one can successfully wall off.

Q) What can a Paladin do that the Tarkan cannot?
A) Nothing. It is, however, superior to the Tarken in armor, attack, and hit points.

Q) How much would it cost if I ordered the x-pack fom your site? When would I get it? And is it possible for me to order it if I live in Sweden? How much more expensive would it be?
A) I didn’t even know you COULD order the X-Pack from ES directly. If you order it from our site I suspect it’s shipped from MS itself.

Q) How much gold do you start with in a nomad game?
A) 100, if you begin with “standard” resources.

Q) I'm a big Celt fan and was wondering why they didn't get Bloodlines and whether they would be able to compete against the other civs. They don't seem to benefit from as many of the new upgrades as the other civs (HCs, BCs, monks, archers, CAs). Sure their siege is a bit better but so is everyone elses and it seems like that is all they get. Following the ES x-pack tourney and seeing just about every civ played except the Celts didn't help my fears. Please tell me I'll still be able to play my favorite civ in the x-pack and be competitive.
A) Okay. You’ll be able to be competitive with Celts in the X-Pack. Bloodlines isn’t that big a deal as Vaidency has pointed out – it makes no difference vs. halberdiers, for instance. The Celt siege is not just a “bit” better, it’s colossally better. +50% hit points? 20% faster fire rate? Produced 20% faster? They’re terrifying. Roy Rabey, one of ES’s better players, uses Celts by installing Woad Raiders inside an army of rams. These super-rams plow through enemy towns like anything, and if he gets attacked, he just ungarrisons the woadies and eats up whoever was causing trouble. He doesn’t even bother to upgrade his woadies to elite, usually. If the enemy has lots of horses, he puts halberdiers in the rams, too. This plan usually only fails if the enemy is using bombard towers.

Also, with the new weaker Town Centers, the faster Celt infantry can actually be used in an early rush. Even their much-maligned sheep conversion gets used on certain maps such as Ghost Lake & Yucatan, where there are lots of sheep out there and everyone heads out to get them first thing.

Q) Is it still possible to edit the stats and names of heros through triggers?
A) Yes.

Q)Can fishing traps be queued like farms?
A) No.

Q)Could you enlighten us on the "Sprite Editor" we saw in those showcase screens a while ago? Is it a design tool or is it included in the x-pack?
A) It’s a design tool.
Read all this and more in, Ask Sandy ver 6.5.
Rock On!
Posted by Washizu on July 27th, 2000 @ 4:24 a.m.
Just like last night, I'm posting a new piece of art from the scenario editor. Just look at the detail in this rock. Whoever the artist was that made this obviously knows his stones, and I'm sure it will find a place in many of our future blacksmith submissions.

Don't worry folks, you have less than a month to wait!
Star Wars Mod
Posted by Washizu on July 27th, 2000 @ 4:20 a.m.
Our newest cherub, AOErat has does some astounding work with the graphics of AOK. That's right folks, he's made some serious progress on a Star Wars modification for Age of Kings. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Give him some feedback and suggestions on this awesome upcoming mod here in the Modpack forum.

Is it me or is the modpack community really turning on the juice these days?
New AOK Sites
Posted by Washizu on July 27th, 2000 @ 4:06 a.m.
Two new AOk sites have joined the community and here they are:
Hello fellow Age of Kings Lovers,

Hello, mt name on the zone is Travus_Maximus i have a website that has everything to do with age of kings it's really new so a whole lot of people aren't visiting tit only 200 and i am sure that most of them are me and friends so i'm here to ask u a BIG BIG favor is there anyway you could set up a link on your page for free i know you guys have a lot of people asking you that but it would be much apreciated and if not thats ok i already have a link set up from my page to your guys because you guys are are like the leaders of AOK Sites and i really look up to you. My page URL is this. Yes there are two 2 "s" after king. I messed up on the first site, so if not then thanx for your time and please give it thought.
No problem!
Wanted to let you know about my new AOK website, known as AOK Land. Check it out at: http://www.aokland.freeservers.com.

Sincerely,
KingBarbarossa
P.S. Please put it in your news. Thanks.

Conquerors Preview
Posted by Washizu on July 27th, 2000 @ 2:55 a.m.
This is the first "official" preview for the Conquerors, but alas, it's in French. They at least have a bunch of screenshots posted, so even non French speakers can get something out of it. Check it out here.

This being in French reminds me of going to lunch today. On the menu there was an interesting food item. Fish and Chips... with French Fries! Oh, we Americans get enough jabs from Europeans about this sort of thing, but this was pathetic!
No Wonder Deathshrimp is in the Lead
Posted by Washizu on July 27th, 2000 @ 2:46 a.m.
Defend the Wonder is one of the new game types in Age of Kings: The Conquerors, available in late August of 2000. Lead designer Greg "Deathshrimp" Street discusses this exciting new mode of play in the Ensemble Studios Designer Journal:
The game can be played on any of the Random or Real World maps, and the computer player can attack or defend as well. If you play on an Islands map, be ready for lots of naval action, while Team Islands or Baltic may have a nice mix of shore bombardment and transporting. On Ghost Lake, there is little room for forward bases, while Black Forest and Yucatan can give a defender a false sense of security (they forget that you don’t need to research Siege Onagers).
I have yet to play a game of this type, but if it's anything like King of the Hill, I'm sure I'll like it. I had two games of this type the other night with ES webmaster Mike "Archangel" McCart and Steve "Vidguy" Cherrier of MS Games. I took one of the two games, and I'm not the type to make excuses but the first game was played on the Norwegian type map, and I was in a very bad spot compared to my opponents at getting to the wonder. It was fun though!
Correction!
Posted by Washizu on July 27th, 2000 @ 2:30 a.m.
In my new civ descriptions there were a few tech tree typos. The new world civs do get some of the archer armor upgrades. I got them mixed up with the horse armor upgrades, which they obviously have no use for. Also, the Koreans do indeed get the thumbring. Sorry if anyone was seriously distressed by this
What the Hay?
Posted by Washizu on July 26th, 2000 @ 6:47 a.m.
I thought I'd leave you tonight with a treat from the Conquerors scenario editor. There are a number of new gaia objects and things to spruce up scenarios. This one is one of my favorites, a nice little haystack. Unfortunately, the full map screenshots are not working in this build of the beta, so I can't show you any of those. Oh well.

It won't be too much longer before AOK:TC hits the shelves. Let me offer you guys some advice. If you want to get AOK:TC on the day it's released, pre-order it from your local Electronice Boutique, NOT their online counterpart, EBworld, which has, in the past, been much slower than the local stores. If you can't find it in stores the first week of release, you'll probably have to wait another week or so, so that's why a pre-order might be a good idea. Look for it on August 25th, 2000.
Sandyman Found Alive and Reading!
Posted by Washizu on July 26th, 2000 @ 1:09 a.m.
Some of you have been asking... "hey, what happened to the Sandyman?" Well, it turns out he has been on vacation visiting some national amusements and catching up on a few books here and there... er make that a few dozen books, and 50-100 short stories. You can read about his trip and why his family left him to the flies in the Ensemble Studios Journal.
Who Wants to Be a Game Designer
Posted by Washizu on July 25th, 2000 @ 11:53 p.m.
Attention everyone out there who has played games and thought to themselves, "I could do better than this!" Stainless Steel Studios, maker of the upcoming RTS Empire Earth, is looking for a talented game designer, especially one with multiplayer experience. Here is their official ad:
JOIN THE TEAM THAT'S DEVELOPING PREMIERE REAL-TIME STRATEGY GAMES FOR THE NEXT MILLENIUM

Stainless Steel Studios, Inc., founded by Rick Goodman (creator/lead designer for Microsoft's award winning Age of Empires®), based in Cambridge, Massachusetts has embarked on developing real-time, multi-player strategy games for the next millennium.

Here's a unique opportunity to participate in the creation of innovative, top-quality game titles for one of the industry's top developers. Become part of a small, fast-growing game development company that is destined to become the industry leader in the real-time strategy game genre.

If you're a die-hard gamer who is hard working, self-motivated, energetic and you're interested in having major input into the creation of 'AAA' game titles, Stainless Steel Studios is looking for you!

We're looking for the very best designers, programmers, and producers in the industry. Check out our web site at http://www.stainlesssteelstudios.com.

Assistant Game Designer
Experienced game designers needed for our RTS title, Empire Earth.

Job requirements:
· Commitment to shipping AAA products
· Ability to communicate ideas clearly
· Excellent Writing skills
· Experience with a wide variety of RTS games
(Starcraft, Total Annihilation, Age of Empires, etc.)
· Works well in a team environment
· Knowledge of history
· A passion for games

You should have the following:
· Proven multiplayer game play experience
· Very detailed oriented, an eye for detail
· A great imagination
· A desire to be part of the team
· Excellent written and verbal communication skills
· Patience
· First – rate critical analysis skills

Contact: Dara-Lynn Pelechatz at ilovemyjob@stainlesssteelstudios.com.

All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential. We are an equal opportunity employer offering an excellent salary and benefits package along with an exciting stock option plan to qualified candidates.
If you think you have what it takes, be sure to send your resumes and inquiries to Dara-Lynn.
Matt Pritchard on Cheating
Posted by Washizu on July 25th, 2000 @ 5:18 a.m.
Ensemble programmer Matt Pritchard has written a terrific article for Gamasutra, the online game developer mag. His topic is cheating, and what are the best ways to prevent it. This is an absolute must read:
The aim of this article is to bring the subject of online/multiplayer cheating out of the shadows and talk about it in terms of real problems with real games and to help build a framework for classifying and understanding the various details.

Cheating hit closer to home for me while I was working on the final stages of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. Cheating online became a widespread problem with the original Age of Empires. Tournaments had to be cancelled due to a lack of credibility, the number of online players fell, and the reputation of my company took a direct hit from frustrated users. Unable to spare the resources to fix the game properly until after Age of Kings was done, we just had to endure our users turning their anger upon us -- probably the most personally painful thing I've experienced as a developer.
Read the whole article here. I also interviewed Matt a little while ago.
Sybex Conquerors Guide
Posted by Washizu on July 25th, 2000 @ 4:13 a.m.
Once again, Ensemble Studios and Microsoft have colaborated with strategy guide publisher, Sybex for the Conquerors Expansion. The new strategy guide contains the following:
The Conquerors Expansion adds 26 missions, 11 new units, 5 new civilizations, and a host of new tactics to the award-winning strategy epic Age of Empires II. Inside this guide, prepared with the full support of the game's developers, you'll find everything you need for single and multiplayer mastery of this robust real-time strategy game, including:

Comprehensive walkthroughs for accomplishing every objective in every mission

Hardcore strategies for building your economy and controlling your military

Detailed analysis of every civilization's multiplayer strengths and weaknesses, including civ-specific tactics from expert player Out4Blood

Insider info straight from Ensemble Studios' Greg Street and Karen Sparks

Plus: A full-color poster!
You can definitely pick one of these up at your local Electronics Boutique or Babbages, but if you're interested in buying direct from Sybex, head here.
AOK:TC Civ and Unique Techs
Posted by Washizu on July 22nd, 2000 @ 9:37 p.m.
I just received a preview copy of Age of Kings: The Conquerors Expansion pack, and all this week I'll be showcasing different areas and features included in this terrific AOK add-on. First off, we have the new and improved civ descriptions for the 5 new Conqueror civs, including a few bonus changes from our previous data, and a listing of all the techs and units not available to each civ.
  • The Aztecs
  • The Huns
  • The Mayans
  • The Koreans
  • The Spanish

Also, we now have a listing of all the new Unique Techs, a new feature in AOK:TC. Each civilization, new and old, gets a technology to research that no other civ has. Usually, but not always, it pertains to that civ's unique unit. These are intended for late game additions to your army and can sometimes tip the scales greatly in your favor, which is why they are quite expensive.
  • The Unique Techs
Ebay Auction
Posted by Washizu on July 22nd, 2000 @ 7:40 p.m.
I was surfing through ebay the other day and came by this book. I hope Charles Blitzer doesn't sue MS for copyright infringement
Animal Mod
Posted by Washizu on July 22nd, 2000 @ 7:37 p.m.
Wow, thanks to Cherub Socrates for pointing this out. Mechadestroyer is showing off the progress on his latest mod, which adds more animals to AOK. Sadly, all that can be edited are the looks of a unit, so therefore it is just copying over another unit's graphics, but these look very good. Just check out those monkeys! If you want to see the rats, ducks, gators, squirrel, and more, check it out here.
This Day in Age!
Posted by Washizu on July 21st, 2000 @ 7:11 a.m.
What was happening one year ago today in the Age community? Well, the news for July 21, 1999 looked a bit like this:
The AOK battle of the legendary game designers, Sandy Petersen, Bruce Shelley, Chris Roberts, and John Romero had just taken place and the Sandyman answered a few questions about how AOK was different than AOE:

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

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

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

Q) "ARE ARCHERS TONED DOWN?"
A) Did you watch the playtest? Notice that I didn't build a single archer? Notice also that when Bruce used his archers vs. my infantry, he started to get a pretty good kill ratio. Notice, finally, that when I started incorporating huskarls into my army, his archers started losing it.
It's fun to go back and read the kinds of things people talked about a while back. Also a year ago, people were getting psyched to see who would win a spot on the highly sought after beta testing group.
New ES Poll
Posted by Washizu on July 21st, 2000 @ 6:55 a.m.
Well, the results are in and most people think the 5 new civilizations in the expansion pack will have the biggest impact on gameplay. Personally, I think new units like the petard and the Halberdier will have the biggest impact (after the TC changes of course, but that was purposely left out of the poll). I went with the new units, because they effect almost every single game, whereas the new civs only affect the games they are in.

The new poll asks what ways would cause you to use the scenario editor more often. No, having it make fake IDs for you is not an option!
I would use the Age of Kings scenario editor more if:
  • There were more eye candy objects.
  • The trigger system was easier to use.
  • The computer AI system was easier to use.
  • It was easier to copy and paste terrain or triggers.
  • I could add my own art or objects
  • I could edit any object or civilizations.
  • I would never use a scenario editor.. - bring on the random maps!
  • If there was a tutorial or roll-over help explaining how to use it.
How come I get the feeling that the modpack nuts are going to be all over this poll. Cast your vote here.
Modpack Suggestion
Posted by Washizu on July 20th, 2000 @ 1:26 p.m.
Here is a reasonable plea to ES to enhance the modpack community:
Given that most gamers now own reasonably fast machines, and that hard drives are reasonably cheap, what if ES made the graphics.drs file larger and created a whole series of "slots" for extra units/buildings/gaia "others". These slots could be occupied by "placeholder" graphics that would allow modpack builders to change things without effecting existing units/buildings. Obviously it would not be possible to add new unique units, but it could be possible for medium/low strength non-player (mercenaries ?) units to be added.

The building slots should be say, 10 or 20 of each building size, from the smallest up to the cathedral size and occupied by the same buiding graphic in each slot, with just the SLP number being different, maybe also a built in selection list (editable ?) in the editor that said "extra building #1" etc. With the Gaia slots allowing us to add new rock formations, reeds, gravestones, signposts, gallows etc.

Just an idea, again, sorry to bother you like this, but at least now someone else knows what I think, and who knows, with your help or at least pointing me in the right direction for posting something like this, maybe some time in the future, ES will release a patch for the editor and game, and a new graphics.drs file that will allow us to do this, I wouldn't even mind paying a reasonable sum for the ability to do this.

Thanks for listening

Ken (Assassin)
I think this is a great idea, although the main argument I can think of against it is the bombardment of e-mails and bug reports they'll receive after putting in these replacement graphics. People will just assume they're in there, but weren't finished. If it's any consolation, in the Rise of Rome, they added a ton of new objects into the scenario editor, and hopefully ES isn't too strapped for space on the CD to do the same for AK:TC.
The Stars at Night...
Posted by Washizu on July 20th, 2000 @ 6:31 a.m.
Today, AOK:TC lead designer Greg "Deathshrimp" Street was probably sitting in his office watching the hit counter to his Real World map article get higher on the ES news page. Getting tired of watching the masses flock to his article, he looks out the window of his office pondering his terrific writing ability and enjoys the Dallas, Texas landscape for a few moments. Soaking in the beauty of the Lonestar state, it hits him. Doh! He forgot to include the Texas real world map in his analysis! If you missed the article to begin with, just pretend it was there all along

Check it out here. By the way, this story about Deathshrimp is only hypothetical.
BIG Huge AI Event!
Posted by Washizu on July 20th, 2000 @ 6:20 a.m.
Oh wait, umm... that's not ready yet

In an AI related story though, ES programmer Dave "Bigdog" Pottinger wrote an article on Artificial Intelligence for Game Developer Magazine.
" In hierarchical RTS AI, there are different layers to the AI. The strategic AI makes high-level decisions such as "What units should I train?" The tactical AI executes the orders given by the strategic AI in the best possible way, deciding things such as where to train the units requested by the strategic AI.

Usually, the strategic AI is evaluated far less fre-quently than the tactical AI. There’s often a third layer, which we’ll call entity AI." Entity AI represents the physical entities in the game, such as units or groups, and is manipulated by the tactical AI. Thus, the entity AI is usually processed more frequently than the tactical AI (particularly if the entity AI has combined AI and animation responsibility). "

Sounds great! Too bad we only have about a half a year before we were supposed have built HAL. Oh well, maybe that isn't so bad after all.
Shed Me Some Skin
Posted by Washizu on July 20th, 2000 @ 6:12 a.m.
If you use the Windows Media Player for sound files, you might want to check out the latest skin from Microsoft. Of course, it has an Age of Kings theme to it!

Check it out here.
MS Games has a Big Mac Attack
Posted by Washizu on July 20th, 2000 @ 6:09 a.m.
It seems the inclusion of Bungie into the camp over in Redmond has made an impact. I read this on ES web this morning:
MICROSOFT TO FORM AN ALLIANCE WITH NEW COMPANY TO BRING KEY MICROSOFT TITLES TO THE MACINTOSH

NEW YORK - July 19, 2000 - Microsoft Corp. today announced its intent to form a games publishing alliance with a new startup company headed by Peter Tamte, who was the founder of MacSoft, former senior director of worldwide consumer marketing for Apple Computer Inc. and former executive vice president of Bungie Software Products Corp.

The proposal, announced at the MACWORLD Conference & Expo, enables the new company to bring select Microsoft® games to the Macintosh platform.

Among the first titles expected to be published for the Macintosh include the best-selling real-time strategy game "Age of Empires® II: The Age of Kings®," as well as new versions of "Links™ LS" and "Flight Simulator." These award-winning, well-established franchises have collectively sold approximately 10 million licensed units worldwide. In addition, the highly anticipated action game "Halo," currently in development at Bungie Studios, is scheduled to appear on the Macintosh as well as being published by Microsoft on the PC and Xbox.
ES webmaster Mike McCart added "Please don't ask, we have no another information on dates or when this would happen. Typically, Ensemble doesn't port their games to other systems, but Microsoft did license another company to do a Mac version of AOE, and Konami is doing an Dreamcast version of AOK. What this means is that ES probably has little control in where the Age series ends up, hence why they can't answer any questions on what systems it will be out for How about a Gameboy port? hehe
C|NET Purchases Ziff Davis (ZDNet)
Posted by Washizu on July 20th, 2000 @ 6:03 a.m.
In a giant internet merger, C|NET acquired Ziff Davis. The relevence to gamers is that Ziff Davis owns one of the largest gaming sites, Gamespot. As long as they keep up their civ showcases, I'll be happy
Trebmania!
Posted by Washizu on July 19th, 2000 @ 5:26 a.m.
No, it's not a city in eastern Europe! Ever since Captain Kidd built his model egg launching trebuchet at Ensemble Studios (read about that here), Trebuchet-mania has been sweeping the Age community:
Saw the update on the treb model, and thought I would share some of my favorite treb links.

The NOVA special on Trebs
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lostempires/trebuchet/

Pictures of a Treb destroying a VW
http://members.aol.com/kdauer/thepast.htm

Trebuchet.com
http://www.trebuchet.com/

The Math of trebs and WinTreb (treb simulator)
http://members.home.net/dimona/

Jamie "MightyHalfred" Clark

PS: Great page, BTW. I really appriciate the work you all put into it.
Thanks MightyHalfred. Here's a good idea for building your own trebuchet... K'nex!
hey washizu, Capp'n kid inspired me to build a treb too, only i built one. Mine is rather small, but can launch lego guys about 15 feet. My counter weight is a bucnh of rocks and weighs under 1 lb which is reason for the short range. mine is also on wheels for easy mobility. its made out of K'nex too my mom has a digital camera so i might be able to get you a pic soon. i hope you can get my little machine fromt page coverage, cause i built it from scratch with no directions and it looks exactly like the ones in AOK (well, maybe i had some help from AOK, but not much, the trebs are kinda small on the computer screen) ill get back to you later, my next Email
will have the same heading.

thanks a lot for your time,
Ken
zone name Black_wrestler5,
owner of The BlacKnights
This is the Story...
Posted by Washizu on July 19th, 2000 @ 5:10 a.m.
of 9 maps, picked to ship with Age of Kings: The Conquerors this September. This is what happens when maps stop being polite, and start being real. Ok, that was really, really corny. The Real World maps have been showcased in the awesome Ensemble Studios Designer Journal. The nine maps are:
  • Briton
  • Central America
  • Byzantium
  • Italy
  • Iberia
  • France
  • Mideast
  • Norse Lands
  • Sea of Japan

Read about the maps and get the inside dirt from the lead designer himself, Greg "Deathshrimp" Street.
New Scenario by Ingo Van Thiel
Posted by Washizu on July 19th, 2000 @ 5:01 a.m.
Most AOK scenario lovers were all over Ingo Van Thiel's scenario The Quest, and even Computer Gaming World Magazine gave it a nice write up. If you're still hungering for more, you'll definitely want to check out the sequel to The Quest, titled The King's Best Men.

Also, Angel Spineman has made a few changes in the blacksmith's recent update listing. It now displays improvements or fixes to existing files, so you'll know when something gets changed. Pretty slick eh?
Kidd Tosses Eggs and Golfballs on ES Roof, Boss Doesn't Mind
Posted by Washizu on July 18th, 2000 @ 4:57 a.m.
This might have been posted by Reck earlier in the week, but this is definitely something you want to check out. Ensemble's QA Lead, Mike "Captain" Kidd, built his own model trebuchet and tested it out on the roof of Ensemble's office building. It really made me want to head out to the garage and build my own, but then I remembered that I could barely reconnect the torn power cord on my CD player. It ended up with a big lump, like a snake who just ate a mouse, but it worked. Read Kidd's article here.

You can also check out the ES sound crew's trip to the zoo to record animal noises. They spoke with some lions, bugs, and even a penguin! (Is a Linux game in their future?) Maybe they were recording last minute AOK:TC sounds, but my gut feeling is that it's for one of their next games, and let's just say that you don't see too many lions and penguins in outer space or even modern age strategy games
AOKingdom Gets a Makeover
Posted by Washizu on July 18th, 2000 @ 4:44 a.m.
It seems the Da Stimulator watched a few episodes of Jenny Jones and decided to give his site, AOKingdom.com a brand new look. Be sure to take a look for yourself.
Music For the Ages Review - Part 2
Posted by Washizu on July 17th, 2000 @ 2:56 p.m.
Xynon at Ager's HQ recently reviewed the Music for the Ages CD he won in an Ensemble Studios contest:
This CD is a fantastic CD because it covers 3 games in one 17 track CD. This music is a great reminder of the old AOE and ROR days and the fun times then. If you have this CD or More Music from the Ages you should be lucky because you can't find much better game music anywhere. If you don't have this cd take watch over Ensemble Studios because they plan to have an online store to purchase these CDs. Whatever you do, turn on the music in your Age game playing. You'll notice how great it really is. " - Xynon
MFO Happenings
Posted by Washizu on July 17th, 2000 @ 2:50 p.m.
What's that rumble in the distance? It's the sound of a booming age community! How fast can you reach 200 villagers?
Time to clean-up the RM League (22 teams dropped, 73 in the "danger zone"). The league is moving into its second half as action heats up and "dead" teams get dropped.

The Battle For Supremacy DM 2v2 tourney has only 6 teams left, soon to be only 3 as these top teams face off this weekend with $850 in prize money at stake.

How fast can you build 200 villagers? The best time wins $50 on July 29th, stop by to join the contest!

MrFixitOnline.com just got a facelift to better support the various MFO sites including Diablo 2, Majesty, AoE, AoK, and Force Commander. Counterstrike (yes, a FPS at MFO!) is next!

MFO is building a ladder! There is major debate on what model to use and we need your help to sort it out!
Check out MrFixit Online.
Scenario Tutorial
Posted by Washizu on July 17th, 2000 @ 2:46 p.m.
Are you new to the world of scenario design? The punks can show you some of the tricks of the trade over at ScnPunk:
This is the Downward Spiral, co-webmaster of SCN PUNK. I was hoping you'd announce at AoKH the completion of a huge new map-making article at SCN PUNK. Strider, a fellow punk, has written a four page long map-making article. The article has been entitled the "Beginners' Tutorial." After reading this article, all newbie mapmakers should become expert campaign authors in a matter of days. Please report this to public through the AoKH news board. I'm sure many mapmakers will find it useful. Read the entire article here atAoK PUNK. Go to the Scenario Design section, then to the miscellaneous section. There Strider's "Beginners' Tutorial" can be found along with many other great map design articles!
Ensemble AOK:TC Site Updated
Posted by Washizu on July 16th, 2000 @ 6:27 a.m.
New info has been inserted into the Ensemble Studios Conquerors Expansion section, including the exact unit stats for some of the new additions. Is it me or are the link counters on Archy's news posts getting higher and higher?
Back From The Midwest
Posted by Washizu on July 16th, 2000 @ 4:56 a.m.
After spending a week in the midwest with relatives, and one unexpected night in Milwaukee, I'm back for your regularly scheduled broadcast. Thanks to Angel Reckless Rodent for filling in the gap for me. I was supposed to be home yesterday, but due to some heavy storms, my plane had to take on extra fuel, and to take on the fuel, they needed to drop some weight. Luckily, we were still on the ground and the airline offered a free round trip airfare and a hotel room for the night to 4 people who volunteered to get off the plane. So, my brother, my girlfriend and I exited and collected our free ticket. I, of course, shouted "Viva Las Vegas", but my girlfriend seemed interested in visiting either Seattle or Arizona, so we'll see where it eventually takes me. Back to the AOK!
Bruce Shelley Interview
Posted by Reckless Rodent on July 13th, 2000 @ 11:54 p.m.
While I was wibbling...erm...surfing around ES's site I noticed that About.com has given Bruce Shelley the once-over about the upcoming AOK x-pack, The Conquerors. Snippet time:

Ned: Did you consider any civilizations that did not make it into The Conquerors? Which ones?

Bruce: Yes, we considered a number of other civilizations such as the Incas, Italians, Magyars, and Slavs. We made our choices based on which were most interesting and marketable. Remember that our goal is to entertain and thus be commercially successful, not recreate history.
Want to work for ES?
Posted by Reckless Rodent on July 13th, 2000 @ 10:11 a.m.
If so, then this could be your big chance - they're looking for a PR Manager at the moment. Here's what they're looking for in terms of qualifications:

  • Self-motivated, self-starter
  • Results driven
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills a must!
  • Must have broad experience and understanding of all facets of the marketing discipline including market research, product positioning, pricing, promotions, sales and distribution.
  • Minimum 3 years games PR experience, 5 years total PR experience
  • Four-year degree in a related field required; MBA highly desirable.
  • Creative thinker with interest in entertainment software highly desirable.

  • If you're thinking "hey, that sounds just like me!", then you can pick up more information on this page.
    Aztec Showcase @ GameSpot
    Posted by Reckless Rodent on July 13th, 2000 @ 9:38 a.m.
    Thanks go out to the AOKindom guys for letting me know that GameSpot have posted their Aztec Showcase which, as always, gives a little historical background and then launches into a discussion of what their techs and units can do. Here's a little snippet:

    Villagers Can Carry +5 More Resources
    The last Aztec bonus is a modest one for their villagers, and it aids in resource gathering. Aztec villagers, whether fishing, hunting, farming, mining, or performing other duties, can carry five more resource units than other civilizations' villagers. The bonus is helpful early on when you start out, when resources are at a premium and you can't afford to lay down too many mills or lumber camps as excess drop sites for resources.

    Another quick piece of news that I'll tack on here, although it's not strictly AOK-related. The Empire Earth Facility has posted a movie detailing some aspects of gameplay in Empire Earth (I know Washizu's pretty excited about this one, and he posted something about it a while back ).
    Byzantine Q&A
    Posted by Reckless Rodent on July 11th, 2000 @ 10:09 a.m.
    ES's Greg "DeathShrimp" Street has put up a pretty long Q&A about the Byzantines, and how they will be affected by the upcoming AOK: TC expansion. You can read the whole shabang here, and here's a little snippet to get your mouth watering:

    Q: The Cataphract was a cool idea for a unit in Age of Kings, but they were too expensive for what you got.

    A: Yep. We overhauled the Cataphract for the Xpack. They attack a little faster, do more damage to infantry, and are virtually immune to Pikemen and Halberdiers. Cataphracts beat infantry in greater than 1 to 3 odds. You really can't use infantry to stop Cataphracts. The Cats also got a great Unique Technology, Logistica, which gives them trample damage. Cataphracts do 5 points of damage to all units around them (ignoring armor), including the unit they are attacking!
    ES Studios Journal
    Posted by Reckless Rodent on July 10th, 2000 @ 11:15 a.m.
    A couple more articles have been added to ES's studio journal:

  • First off, we have this article by Soundmeister Stephen Rippy, detailing a little trip he and the rest of the sound dept took to the zoo recently.
  • Mike Kidd has also written a report on a golf ball-launching trebuchet that he built recently.

    If you have any AOK news you'd like to see posted here, then please send it to me using the link in the headline. If you sent Washy any news over the past couple of days, then I guess that might as well be re-sent to me as well.
  • On the Zone...
    Posted by Reckless Rodent on July 10th, 2000 @ 11:09 a.m.
    Just a quick little update from everyone's favourite (or perhaps not) emergency newswriter here at HGS to let y'all know of a tournament signup which it going on right now on the Zone:


    Where Spotlight Tournament 1

    When 7/10/2000 5:00:00 PM PST

    Host Dec@zevents

    Sign up today then come back July 10 for your chance to win great prizes! After signing up, please arrive in the Spotlight Room by 4PM (PST) to check-in (required). To view prizes go to: http://www.logocatalog.com/zone/
    AOKB Double Interview
    Posted by Washizu on July 5th, 2000 @ 4:19 a.m.
    Thunder and Bravenirish of the AOK Battlefield teamed up to interview Ensemble QA Lead Mike "Captain" Kidd and AOK:TC lead designer Greg "Deathshrimp" Street on the gameplay changes in the upcoming Conquerors expansion pack:
    BravenIrish: Do you think that the Conquerors Expansion will change Age of Kings as much as the Rise of Rome expansion did for the original Age of Empires or more? Why?

    Captn: More. More new civs. Many new units. An entire new world and jungle map art set. New sound and music. New technologies for every existing civilization. Significant changes to the forward building/booming economic strategies. Relics are more important (gold generation), and trade is improved with the caravan research, so it becomes much more important to establish these late-game gold generators, and to deny them for your opponents. The new game types like King of the Hill, maps like Ghost Lake, and the nomad map add totally new styles. It feels like a very, very different game once you get beyond the first few minutes. And then, there are the smart villagers. Sure, it was tough to play a competent game of AoE after three months on RoR, but trying to keep your farms productive and your villagers working in AoK is really, really tough after getting used to smart villagers and farm queues.
    Read the whole interview at the AOK Battlefield.
    Random Map Scripting
    Posted by Washizu on July 5th, 2000 @ 4:09 a.m.
    One of the most exciting new features of the Conquerors Expansion Pack is the ability to script your own random maps. You'll be able to tell the game to generate a certain number of sheep, the percentage of land and water, and what units (or buildings!) you want to start with. AOK:TC lead designer Greg "Deathshrimp" Street has written an article on random map scripting for the ES Designer Journal:
    In addition to all of the official maps that ship with the Xpack, we included two new map scripts so that you can go down line by line and see how we created various map features. These map types are Hallowed Ground and Trade Routes.

    Hallowed Ground is a Coastal-like map where each player starts with a Monastery and 3 Monks. There are 20 Relics—per player—scattered across the countryside. Obviously you don’t have to worry about Relic victories or ever running out of gold. You may be in danger of a Dark Age Monk rush, though.

    Trade Routes follows a similar concept, but in this case each player has a Market to start with and several Trade Carts. Not only can the Trade Carts provide you with some gold almost immediately, but the Market allows you to buy or sell resources in Dark and early Feudal. Are these two maps fun or even fair? Who knows, but they certainly are different.

    I cannot wait to see what crazy maps fans are able to evolve. We also hope to periodically provide new maps on this website as well. You guys are going to be busy….

    Multiplayer nuts who never bothered with AI or scenario editing might finally get hooked on something other than RM or DM games once this is put in. Read the whole article here.
    GameSpy Arcade
    Posted by Washizu on July 5th, 2000 @ 3:50 a.m.
    A few of you have been sending in e-mails to get me to promote the new GameSpy Arcade matching software. Here is a news piece sent in by Vikingbrad concerning Gamespy arcade and a recent Australian AOK tournament:
    GameSpy Arcade launched -
    GameSpy have launched they're arcade client that allows uses to find other players on the Internet. It support dozens of different games from First person shooters to card games and strategy games including Age of Kings. It is an alternative for people who don't like the Zone. Get it from http://www.gamespyarcade.com/download (The initial download is 158K but when it installs it downloads another 8MB) It has similar features to the Zone client but extras like where in the world each player is from, quick links for downloading Demo games and its free!

    Age of Kings Australian Champion -
    After eight gruelling rounds in the PlayNOW! Age of Empires II Tournament Strategist (aka Justin Toh) defeated all comers to become King of the PlayNOW! Rage of Empires Tournament.
    As a matter of fact, Strategist did not lose a single game out of any of the rounds. With his great skill he has managed to earn great cash and prizes.

    Or to be exact:
    AU$1000 cash
    Pizza Haven Pizza for a year (52 Large sized Pizzas)
    1 x Age of Empires II poster signed by the games developers
    1 x Age of Empires II t-shirt
    Second place went to PsylnseR who won:
    Year supply of Cokebuddy (365 x 600mL Buddy)
    1 x Age of Empires II poster signed by the games developers
    1 x Age of Empires II t-shirt
    Man, who the heck could eat pizza every day for a year? (besides my old roommate Brian, who probably could if it was white pizza) Thanks for the news Vikingbrad.
    Ogre Interviews Sandy Petersen
    Posted by Washizu on July 5th, 2000 @ 3:45 a.m.
    Long time age webmaster Ogre, of his fairly new site, ThroughTheAges.com, has scored an interview with the game designer we all know and love, Sandy Petersen aka ES_Sandyman. He talks about what makes a "gamer", how to write your own ticket into the industry, and where games are headed:
    Ogre: In your opinion what does the future of gaming holds for both gamers and developers?

    Sandy: Gaming is at a crossroads. We must now decide which direction we are to go. Are we to follow the Hollywood route, of endless sequels, massive egos, big budget, watered-down, mass-market media? Or are we to emulate the comic book industry, with a handful of near-bankrupt design houses squabbling over an ever-shrinking audience addicted to ever-more-specialized products? Or the book industry, with a huge variety of specialized items spread across a huge range, with publishing houses devoted to both mass-market and niche arcana?

    I think the answer is up to gamers, mostly. Publishers & developers will just "follow the money".
    Well said! Personally, I hope quality games continue to be released to a profitable audience, but sadly when games like "Who Wants to be a Millionare" and "Babie Makeover" are some of the top selling games, we could be in trouble. Read the whole interview with Sandy here.
    ES Happenings
    Posted by Washizu on July 3rd, 2000 @ 2:51 a.m.
    As will be for a while, the Battle Cry contest is still going strong over at Ensemble Studios. In addition to this, you can also check out their new poll on what changes will make the biggest difference in the expansion pack besides the changes to the Town Center. Most people seem to think the new civs will have a large impact, but personally I think new units like the Halberdier and the Petard will change things even more dramatically, since they are likely to affect every game. The poll can be found right on their main page.
    About Bruce Shelley
    Posted by Washizu on July 3rd, 2000 @ 2:43 a.m.
    Bruce Shelley was interviewed by one of my favorite websites, About.com. I'm in no way affiliated with about.com, I just enjoy the amount of information they have presented in clear and helpful ways. I routinely browse the site for perl, HTML, SQL, and javascript resources. Anyway, they interviewed AOK designer Bruce Shelley on the upcoming AOK expansion pack:
    Ned: How did you select the new civilizations?

    Bruce: First we considered an overarching theme for the expansion pack. We did not have an idea equivalent to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. We decided on The Conquerors as our theme. That led to choosing some interesting civilizations not included in the first game, especially ones that were conquerors like Spain, the Huns, and the Aztecs. We added the Koreans and Mayans as foils for our conquerors. We wanted at least two civilizations from the New World and the Koreans were a great competitor of both Japan and China in Asia.
    One cool thing is that I convinced Ned Jordan to remove the AOE trainers from the About.com guide to strategy games a while back.
    Music for the Ages CD Review
    Posted by Washizu on July 3rd, 2000 @ 2:31 a.m.
    Xynon must have got his CD faster than most, as he already has a review posted at Ager's HQ:
    Over at Ager's HQ, they have reviewed the More Music from the Ages CD, which features AOK: The Conquerors music. Xynon also setup an interview with Sound and Music lead, Stephen Rippy. The review and interview have been integrated within the review for one great read. Included are pictures, quotes, and separate thoughts and tidbits for each of the 14 tracks. Be sure to read the details to this Ager's HQ exclusive review at this link. Here is a clip from Xynon, which came from the review:

    "I first got the CD from winning the Caption Contest at Ensemble Studios. It came in the mail with some bubble wrap, which I will use for a rainy day. I opened the packaging and inside was the More Music from the Ages CD. I then quickly ripped off the cellophane cover. Of course, it came in a jewel case and the front cover were drawings of conquering warriors. The cover art was made by Chris Van Doren and Sean Wolff. On the back of the CD there was listed 14 tracks that were on the CD. A nice picture of the Ensemble Studios logo was to the left of that and copyright at the bottom..."
    You Can't Stop the Funk
    Posted by Washizu on July 1st, 2000 @ 8:08 a.m.
    Congratulations goes out to the winners in the Internal ES AOK:TC Tournament. It seemed like a lot of fun and intense competition for the studios team members. I know the fans had a lot of fun following the games and predicting the outcomes. QA lead Mike "Captain" Kidd did a great job in his write ups of the games. These game descriptions can be extremely time consuming to put together, but fans like us eat it up.

    Here's a little profile on the winners:
    The Men Who Funk Forgot:

    Greg "Deathshrimp" Street: Lead designer on AOK: The Conquerors Expansion Pack. Created most of the scenarios/campaigns for Age of Kings and helped AOK receive one of its many awards at E3 based on these scenarios. He has a PhD in Marine Biology, and was (surprise surprise) a marine biologist before becoming a game designer.

    Rob "Xemu" Fermier: A fairly recent addition to the studios team, he worked previously for the now defunct Looking Glass Studios and was a programmer on their hit title, "System Shock". He is currently working on one of the two upcoming projects at Ensemble Studios, and my hunch is that it's the non strategy game A while back, he was mentioned in a gamestats editorial as a real "gamer's gamer". Check that out here.

    Duane "Saint" Santos: An outspoken 3D artist for Ensemble Studios, and in my opinion one of the best trash talkers in the group. His patented, "Oh no, what happened?" after beating opponents senselessly in games ranging from Street Fighter 2 to pool has demoralized even the most rigid competitors.

    Thonny Namuonglo: Ahh.. after this week I am now able to spell Namuonglo on the first try He's a talented 3D artist for Ensemble Studios and was instrumental in winning many of the games this week. He worked on buildings and units for Age of Kings, and we hope to see more of this work in future ES games.

    The game descriptions can be found here:
    http://www.ensemblestudios.com/openjournal/

    One thing that was especially cool for the final match was that they actually RECORDED some of the trash talking and made it available in MP3 files. You can download them from the screenshot directories (link provided in the game summary), but unfortunatly they bleeped out some of the curses

    We got to read some good games, meet some new ESers in the forum (ES_Scout, ES_Xemu) and get everyone all pumped up for the expansion pack. Sounds like this tournament was a good idea, and producer Harter Ryan is to thank for initiating it.
    Deathshrimp Showcases the New Maps
    Posted by Washizu on July 1st, 2000 @ 7:15 a.m.
    This article in the Studios Designer Journal was put up a little while ago, but they just added some pics to it, making it a lot easier to determine what the maps look like:
    Yucatan is the opposite of Scandinavia. In the lush rain forest, there is plenty of food--double the starting amount of berries, deer, boar and turkeys! Broken rivers cross the map, along with heavy patches of jungle, offering some defense, but nothing to the degree of defensibility of Black Forest. Because of the initial resources, booming is very tempting on Yucatan, but it also can allow savy players to orchestrate devastating early attacks. Everything in the early game is accelerated on Yucatan. If you are used to playing with Knights, Crossbowmen and Battering Rams, be prepared to see more Paladins, Arbalests and Bombard Cannons as everyone can finally afford them.


    Head to the new map type descriptions at ES.
    Greg Street Goes Spanish
    Posted by Washizu on July 1st, 2000 @ 7:08 a.m.
    So you read the recent Spanish Showcase at Gamespot, but thought to yourself, "Well, that was nice, but being the hardcore, number crunching, statistic munching, strategy dunking ager that I am, I need more. I need specific numbers and comments made for people who already know the game well, not causual softcore gamers." Look no further.
    Battle Cry Contest Going Strong
    Posted by Washizu on July 1st, 2000 @ 6:54 a.m.
    If you haven't submitted your best battle cry to Ensemble Studios yet, make sure you get over there and try to win an AOK:TC hat. One of my batlle cry entries was chosen the other day. I thought it was pretty good myself, but you be the judge:
    If you should feel death's icy kiss upon your lips, spit in his face and carry on, for every step you take away from the abyss is another day your sons will have air in their lungs and food in their bellies. Every swing of your sword is another month of your daughter's song. Every punctured heart of the enemy is a lifetime of stories told and glory earned.
    Head on down to start crying.
    AOKH Named #1 AOK Site
    Posted by Washizu on July 1st, 2000 @ 6:49 a.m.
    Thanks to Danny Ferraro for naming Age of Kings Heaven the number one site on the net for Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings. Make sure you stop by Dan's site to check out his rankings.

    The Top AOK Sites
    It's a School Day in Columbia
    Posted by Washizu on July 1st, 2000 @ 6:43 a.m.
    Angel Alexander is an English professor in Columbia, South America and uses AOK to help teach his students good communication skills. You'll definitely want to check out this article about the home town of his students. There are plenty of pictures of the article's subject and of his fine students. What a good looking bunch!
    Deathshrimp Quotes
    Posted by Washizu on July 1st, 2000 @ 6:35 a.m.
    Want to hear what AOK:TC lead designer Greg "Deathshrimp" Street has to say on the upcoming Conquerors expansion pack? Head here:
    Q) Will Aztecs and Mayas have lamas unit ?
    [Greg Street] Llamas are native to the mountains of South America, not the Central American rain forests where the Aztecs and Mayans live. If we had Incas, then we would certainly have included llamas. Instead, we offer turkeys, jaguars, javelina and macaws in the rain-forest terrain set.

    Q) Is there still a lot of surprise for us in TC ?
    [Greg Street] Yes! Both us and the media have been focussing on large changes, such as new civilizations and units. However, there are a lot of other tweaks and bug-fixes that will make the game easier to play. For example, we fixed a bug that kept Monks from healing groups correctly, and we added color to the chat messages so that you can tell who you are talking to. We also made the computer players smarter when they ally with you and more challenging when you play against them.
    AOK: A New Era
    Posted by Washizu on July 1st, 2000 @ 6:21 a.m.
    An old AOK site is starting back up again:
    I restarted my Age of Kings site Age of Kings: A New Era. You have probably
    heard of it. It was once ranked #8 on the top 10 Age of Kings sites of all time back in the day. I have been working on it hard lately with the coming of The Conquerors. I have renamed it A New Era: The Conquerors. It is still under major production and revamping. But take a look and tell me what you think. Its gonna be awesome when completed. And I would highly appreciate if you post it in the news!
    A New Era: The
    Conquerors