Archived News From June 2001

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!

No Black Forest in Blind Random RM
Posted by Reckless Rodent on June 30th, 2001 @ 9:43 a.m.
After discussion in the AOK:TC Beta Patch Forum, there has been a certain amount of discussion over the inclusion of Black Forest maps in Blind Random RM games. According to ES's Captn_Kidd:

The inclusion of Black Forest in Blind Random was a mistake. It has been fixed for the patch release.

Click here for more, and thanks to Chooch for the heads-up. I'll be babysitting here for the next couple of days while Thunder's away, so if you want anything posted here, please feel free to drop me a line.
Tavern: Party Reminder & Chris Pulls Plug...
Posted by Thunder on June 29th, 2001 @ 11:27 p.m.
Now playing in the Tavern, Angel Chris has packed his bags and left! He pulled the plug on his computer not long ago and is busy moving to a new cloud. He'll be back soon, but you can pop into the Tavern to check out his tearful farewell. You will also find the latest information on this week's Forum Party event, which will take place tomorrow! ...bon voyage Chris! ; )
How Do You Like Your Snow?
Posted by Thunder on June 29th, 2001 @ 10:41 p.m.
A lot of scenario designers have been up in arms about the changes to the mini-map brought on in the Conquerors beta patch. All open terrain, including snow, has been changed to green in the mini-map. Obviously, this was intended to make spotting resources and other important features easier, but doesn't help scenario designers much when they are placing different types of terrain to get a certain look for a map.

Well, Shane_the_Hun has called the question and it's now time to let loose and vote: Vote on snow showing up on mini-map ...I'm not sure they'll have time to make an option between the two, but that'd be nice... ; )
Dave Pottinger Takes On Tech TV!
Posted by Thunder on June 29th, 2001 @ 6:19 a.m.
Well with Bruce Shelley out of town today, Ensemble Studios Technical Director Dave "Big Dog" Pottinger will be talking AI with the Tech TV folk in his place. It's a strange coincidence that we recently linked to Dave's AI article at Gamasutra a few days ago, but as it's getting a little long in the tooth it'll be great to hear the latest on artificial intelligence!

Do note the new time for the interview is at 1:30pm CST. According to my quick math, that's at 7:30pm GMT, and 2:30pm EST. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that the interview takes place as planned this time around. ...aha...bump Bruce and they send in the Big Dog...pitty those poor Tech TV people! ; )
Microsoft Holds Together...
Posted by Thunder on June 28th, 2001 @ 8:36 p.m.
The big news all over the place this morning is the U.S. Court of Appeals upholding findings that Microsoft did enage in illegal conduct, but isn't about to break up the company.
"In a 125-page decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sent an order to breakup the software giant back to a lower court. However, in a victory for the government, the appeals court also largely upheld a previous ruling that Microsoft illegally maintained a monopoly."

Source - Appeal: Microsoft stays together
Big news that has kept the Tech TV folks very busy so that interview with Bruce Shelley was cancelled. We're still waiting for confirmed information on when the interview has been rescheduled for. Stay tuned.... ...latest word is Bruce may be out of town tomorrow...so we might have another ES dude taking his place... ; )
Bruce Shelley Bumped To TechTV Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on June 28th, 2001 @ 7:07 p.m.
If you've had enough of Tech TV's coverage of the latest Microsoft ruling, you can take a break. Bruce Shelley will not be interviewed today as was the plan, so that the Tech TV people could focus their coverage on the ruling.

No time has been determined for another try with Bruce tomorrow, we'll keep you posted. ...they had time for comic books in between MS segments but none for Bruce...c'mon! ; )
Final Real World Map Download...
Posted by Thunder on June 28th, 2001 @ 6:50 p.m.
Last, but certainly not least, Ensemble Studios offers the final real world map for download. You can snag Iberia, aka Spain, here from the ES map collection, along with any of the other real world maps included with the game. ...are ya'll enjoying Tech TV? A lot of help I was with that broken link, sorry folks... ; \
**Update**
Do you have a real world scenario map of your own making? Well it could earn you an Age of Mythology t-shirt! For more information, check out the ES news page.
Bruce Shelley Talks Tech Tomorrow!
Posted by Thunder on June 28th, 2001 @ 2:06 a.m.
Airing tomorrow on Tech TV will be a talk with Ensemble Studios Senior Designer Bruce Shelley about the artificial intelligence that drives the Age series:
"While the rest of the world waits to see Hollywood's take on sentient robots, join Ensemble Studios Designer Bruce Shelley tomorrow on TechTV's "TechLive" at 11:30 AM CDT for his thoughts on how AI is used to make the Age series of games so real, players think they're going against Bruce himself (or maybe) real players."

Source - Studios News
Well that's a bright and early show here, so you folks over the pond there won't have to be up into the wee hours of the morning to have a listen. Now, 11:30 am CDT is about 5:30pm GMT, and 12:30 pm EST, although you may want to double check that since I am timezone impaired.

There may or may not be discussion of Age of Mythology AI, although talk of the future will surely come up, so tune in and we'll see! ...blast it...I'll have to get up early for that one...cursed time! ; )
Fan Folk & E3...
Posted by Thunder on June 27th, 2001 @ 11:36 p.m.
I've only been to the Electronic Entertainment Expo a couple of times, so I'm no expert on the big show, but I did find IE Magzine's recent article on the event a very interesting read. The article, called "E3 Entry Policies Too Lax, Attendees Say", discusses developer and publisher reaction to violations in the convention age restriction and how it seems anyone and their dog can register:
"An obvious concern is if the IDSA is having an increasingly difficult time policing registrants—given that nearly anyone with a few bucks can register or anyone with a website can get a media badge. Others question whether the organization is willing to sacrifice some of the show’s exclusivity in exchange for the registration fees and sustained attendance numbers.

A solution isn’t easily determined. Some have suggested the adoption of a split format, much like the Tokyo Game Show, a three-day event that is strictly controlled so that confirmed trade attendees have exclusive access for the first day, while the remaining two days are open to the public. In E3’s seven-year run, there haven’t been signs of major format changes.

Until attendance is better managed, many industry pros will question E3’s utility—and 2001 saw some companies vacate the main halls in favor of better controlled (and less expensive) meeting rooms."


Source - E3 Entry Policies Too Lax, Attendees Say
There were certainly quite a few people weaseling their way into the event this year, and we saw several getting caught by security. It's definately true that some people who walked through the halls at E3 probably shouldn't have been there and I can see why publishers and devlopers would be unhappy with enforcement of convention policies.

On my way home I sat next to two people who attended E3, a fan and a software buyer. Buyers are one of the main reasons for the event, besides legitimate press of course. As the guy to my left, the fan, talked about how cool Halo was and about other Bungie games, the guy on my right, the buyer, discussed the lack of educational software (his field) and how E3 has changed over the years. Who do you think a publisher would like to be talking to their upcoming title about more?

Meeting rooms have certainly become more popular, as some very big titles were only being shown to select people by appointment. This may well be a growing trend. Give the article a read, and be glad you're not in the shoes of the E3 organizers. ...let a few angels into E3 and see what happens? ; )
Beta Patch Feedback Deadline Looms...
Posted by Thunder on June 27th, 2001 @ 11:33 a.m.
For all Agers who've been testing out the Conquerors beta patch over the last three or four weeks, be sure to keep in mind that the deadline for feedback is coming up quick. You have until July 1 to throw in your two cents into our Beta Patch Discussion Forum, because at that point the Studios crew returns their headphones to full upright position and complete the final version of the patch.

If you've been having "out of sync" errors while trying to play patched games, make sure you stop into this post to help find a solution to that problem. Also, be sure to check out this post by Mike "Captn" Kidd on just what sorts of things the Studios would like information on at this stage. ...the patch...you can get it now, without a Doctor's prescription... ; )
Hearty Congrats All Around...
Posted by Thunder on June 26th, 2001 @ 11:38 p.m.
The winners of Ensemble Studios' scenario design contest, which were just announced yesterday, seem to have gotten over the shock and excitement of being one of the talented few. Greg "DeathShrimp" Street has just stopped in to offer his congratulations:
"I know this is the stereotypical thing to say, but we really did have a hard time choosing the winners. There were several scenarios that received top scores from the judges and we had to have a few long discussions to sort it all out. I think it's okay to reveal that the identities of all the scenario designers were kept secret from the judges.

It was great to see the quality of the submissions. Congrats to all the participants!"
- Greg Street

Source - Contest winners are up!!!
As mentioned yesterday, we're playing the waiting game until next week. That's when we'll have the chance to download and play these top notch scenarios.

None other than Gordon Farrell, third place winner and a scenario designer working on Empire Earth, also dropped into this post to tell the tale of re-working an existing scenario of his for the competition. He only found out about the contest a few days before the deadline, yeow! ...loading units in and out of Longboats, too cool...must go find the original and play it... ; )
AoM Preview Repeat...
Posted by Thunder on June 26th, 2001 @ 8:12 p.m.
If you've already read the GameSpot UK AoM Preview and seen their screenshots, then you've already read and seen everything in the latest AoM preview at PC GamePlay. The articles are identical, so they contain the same information and errors. Two previews to be taken with large grains of salt folks. ...just like poor food, poor previews seem to come back on you... ; \
Zone Updates Age II Lobbies...
Posted by Thunder on June 26th, 2001 @ 7:47 p.m.
What do you think? Just goto the Zone and see the difference! They've certainly made it more Conquerors looking, that's for sure.

Drop by one or both of these forums and share your thoughts:

  • AOKH: Zone Start Page for TC changed
  • AOK.CC: The New Zone?

AI: Back To The Future...
Posted by Thunder on June 26th, 2001 @ 8:51 a.m.
Late last year, while we were still calling Age of Mythology by its code name, RTS 3, Gamasutra posted a couple of great articles on artificial intelligence. This article in particular, the second in a series, contained a contribution by ES Technical Director Dave "Big Dog" Pottinger with some details on how AI will be progressing in future game titles, including AoM. Now that many months have passed since we reported on this information and we know a lot more about RTS 3, or Age of Mythology as it's now called, it may have been lost in the shuffle with screenshots or cultures. Here we had our first mention of an extensible scripting language that will drive many game features including AI, easily worth a second look:
"For Ensemble's third real-time strategy (RTS) game, creatively code-named RTS3, we've spent almost a full man-year so far developing a completely new expert system for the CP [Computer Player] AI. It's been a lot of work taking the expert system (named, also creatively, XS) from the in-depth requirements discussions with designers to the point where it's ready to pay off. We've finally hit that payoff and have a very robust, extensible scripting language.

The language has been so solid and reusable that, in addition to using it to write the CP AI content, we're using it for console and UI command processing, cinematic control, and the extensive trigger system. We also expect to use XS to write complicated conditional and prerequisite checking for the technology tree; this way, the designers can add off-the-wall prerequisites for research nodes without programmer intervention. Finally, we will also use the XS foundation to write the script code that controls the random map generation for RTS3. The exciting aspect of XS from a tools standpoint is that we will have XS debugging integrated with RTS3's execution. For fans who used the Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (AoK) expert-system debugging (a display table of 40 or so integer values), this is a huge step up, since XS will significantly increase the ease with which players can create AI personalities."


Source - Game AI: The State of the Industry, Part Two
Further into the article Dave talks more about computer player AI in AoM, and how designers will have the ability to scale back its abilities if the game is coming to an end for the computer player. The AI will be dynamic, adjusting to how long the game has been going on, or how many losses it has taken and inflicted.

As exciting as this information was back then, having seen the amazing world in which this fantastic AI and scripting language will strut its stuff has only escalated that feeling. Give the article a good read if you haven't already, it's certainly worth it. ...RTS 3...XS...ya, the names may not be supa cool, but the end product sure the hell will be... ; )
Heroes Of The Ages Winners!
Posted by Thunder on June 25th, 2001 @ 10:48 p.m.
Having sifted through the entries and taken a little extra time to award the very best, the Ensemble Studios gang have finally chosen the winners of their Heroes of the Ages scenario design contest!

First place was claimed by Joseph Daniel Gillum with a scenario by the name of "Canute's Saga". Second place went to Kosta Fomenko, and third was claimed by Gordon Farrell, a few names you may well recognize. You'll find the complete list of winners here, including a couple of honourable mentions. Congrats to all of you fellas!

Sometime next week we'll be able to play the winning entries, so keep your eyes peeled for those gems. ...offer your congrats or jeers here in the scenario design forum... ; )
Tantilizing AoM Answers...
Posted by Thunder on June 25th, 2001 @ 0:01 a.m.
None other than Greg "DeathShrimp" Street made the rounds in our AoM discussion forum this afternoon, clearing up a few things in the process. The first issues he tackled were terrain and Monks. There has been some debate about the recent changes to the AOK mini-map in the beta patch, which made all open ground one colour instead of multiple colours for various open terrain types. The question popped up regarding what Age of Mythology's mini-map will be like, and a very interesting responce snuck in there regarding Monks:
"1.Will the terrain act like the terrain in the AoK:TC Beta Patch?

DS: We are still trying to decide on this one. On the one hand, the minimap needs to be as informative as possible, and including too many colors for terrains can obscure important objects, like units and resources. On the other hand, a lot of players want to see the terrain on the minimap and scenario designers want to make attractive minimaps.

2.Will there be new terrains like mud, lava, rocks?

DS: Mud and rocks most likely. We have a lot of terrain textures in the works just because the more realistic terrain in AOM demands more realistic-looking ground cover. Lava? Hmmmm. Not too many great battles took place around lava fields.

3.Will there still be monks?

DS: No comment. This would give away too much about some unannounced features.

Wololo,

ES_DeathShrimp www.ensemblestudios.com"


Source - Terrain and monks
Now there's a teaser! Cue wild speculation on just what Greg is trying to hide.

He also stepped into a thread that contained questions brought on by a recent preview. There were some odd comments in it regarding fog of war that were causing some confusion about just how it would work in AoM:
"They may have been talking about terrain effects on unit LOS. In some 3D games, a unit cannot see an enemy if that enemy is behind a hill. While that feature might work for some games, we don't think it improve AOM. Since you can't actually see what your units are seeing, it is sometimes hard to figure out whether they should be able to see certain units or not. The result is usually that units flash in and out of the screen, which can be disconcerting. There is enough to worry about with AOM combat without adding this complication.

We have not changed the fundamental way that black map and fog of war works for AOM."
- Greg Street

Source - Fog of War
Yep, as forumer sidgu has said, that clears up all doubts quite nicely. Thanks very much for stopping in Greg! If you'd like to stop in too, just click here to jump to our AoM discussion forum. ...some previews provide more questions than answers... ; )
Tavern: Three Party Favours...
Posted by Thunder on June 24th, 2001 @ 11:59 a.m.
A few good things happen in threes. Our Forum Party yesterday resulted in a trio of 3 on 3 games for me, all of which were hard fought and fairly lengthy games. There's a long meandering write-up of each of the games to be found in the Tavern, and a nudge to the Forum Party Post for further war stories from party goers!

Ahhh but pictures say it all don't they? If you want more than just a war story, you'll find the three recorded games in our downloads section. ...yes, witness first hand as I eventually sorta kinda stop a bombard tower push... ; )
Notable Articles in the University
Posted by Socvazius on June 24th, 2001 @ 0:19 a.m.
The University is rich in well-written articles, but some just stand out above the rest. They deserve proper recognition, and the new Notable Articles section gives it to them. It lists all of the must-read, extremely well-written articles that any AoK player would find helpful. Although some of the articles are old with some images not present, the content and writing of them are superb. So be sure to check out the listed articles on your next visit to the University.
TTA Advances To A New Age!
Posted by Thunder on June 23rd, 2001 @ 11:04 a.m.
I just tripped over another one of Ogre's bricks, recently hurled through my window. The note attached revealed a very cool new look for Through The Ages, giving it a more ancient feel in the spirit of Age of Mythology:
"Well here is Ogre's big secret finally launched. Probably most of you are saying, "This is the big secret?". Yes, Ogre has been planning on doing this for a long time. Each section actually has its own design. The only ones that share the same one are the Age of Mythology, Strategy, and Main Site sections. All others are different in their own way, yet follow the same template. Plus you will notice that there are now a few new areas added and some updates to many of the sections. The biggest edition is probably a new section on Ensemble Studios. Afterall this site was originally created as a tribute to the studios and its games. Please, if you find any bugs, let the Ogre know." - Ogre
Make sure you stop in for a look see while the site still has that new design smell about it. It's a feast for the eyes I tells ya. ...for the love of Jeebus, someone teach Ogre to make a paper airplane... ; )
Beta Patch Status...
Posted by Thunder on June 22nd, 2001 @ 10:53 p.m.
Designer Mike "Captn" Kidd dropped into the Beta Patch Discussion forum to give us an update on how the final patch is coming along, and what kinds of troubles they are wanting us to look for right now:
"We're doing our overall stability testing on the patch now. At this point, it's not likely that we'll be doing any further balance changes or feature additions, we're making sure we haven't broken anything and that the game runs reliably.

You've all been a huge help so far, beyond our expectations. We've made a number of changes that were the direct result of suggestions and observations on this forum and MrFixitOnline. Now, we need your continued help in a few areas:

1) Out Of Sync errors. See Matty's posts on this subject. If you're seeing frequent OOS's, please post the information he requested.

2) Anything that crashes the game. Please report crashes in this forum.

3) Any new bugs or balance issues that have a major impact on the game.

We're trying to get this patch finalized and in play as quickly as we can. Thanks again for all your help!"


Source - Thanks for the help so far, here's what we still need:
Matty is still collecting out of sync information in this post. If you have been experiencing an unusual number of OOS errors with the Beta Patch, please try to provide him with your system specs and as much information as possible. ...sounds like we'll have the final patch in our hot lil' hands in no time... ; )
Clearing Up AoE III Rumours...
Posted by Thunder on June 22nd, 2001 @ 8:49 p.m.
I've had a few e-mails from Agers wondering when there Age of Empires III wil be released, and it has been rumoured that Ensemble Studios has been secretly working on a third AoE title for sometime. Allow me to direct your attention to a recent post by Greg "DeathShrimp" Street which addresses these issues:
"We have not been working on AOE3. We will see what things look like when we finish AOM. There were a lot of game elements we wanted to try that we didn't think would work in AOE's historical theme. AOK feels sometimes like a race to the best economy, so we wanted to try some solutions to that style of play. They actually are turning out to be a lot of fun." -Greg Street

Source - Forum: surprise, surprise
This is sounding like a common theme among RTS games of late. Less focus on economics and more on beating your opponent into the ground. Battle Realms and Warcraft III are a couple of other titles that are heading in a similar direction.

At anyrate, to sum up once again. The ES folks have not started work on an AoE III just yet, but it is very likely that they will eventually get around to it. ...our thanks as always to the busy ES folks who stop into the fansite forums to answer questions and such! ; )
Tavern: Party Planning...
Posted by Thunder on June 22nd, 2001 @ 12:27 a.m.
The latest from the ripe lot in the Tavern are the details for our weekly Forum Party which will get underway tomorrow! Plop yourself down at the bar for more information on the where and when of this event.

If you've been looking for people to play beta patch games with, the Forum Party is the perfect time and place! Let's give it a thorough workout this weekend. ...I've yet to be scout rushed...would someone do the honours? ; )
Ogre's Personal Demon...
Posted by Thunder on June 22nd, 2001 @ 6:53 a.m.
No, he's not battling the bottle -- not that I know of anyway. Ogre, of the famed fansite Through The Ages threw another of those rocks through my window this evening with the standard note attached. He wished to let everybody know that you can download Theseus here, the game he helped bring to life in College. The game is a 57mb download, half the size of some of those insanely huge demos you find nowadays. ...I can goto EB, buy a game, play it, and return it faster than I can download some of the demos... ; )
Suit Up!
Posted by Thunder on June 22nd, 2001 @ 1:17 a.m.
Forumer knghtofthecross has shared a little project he's been working on in this forum post. It's a big bad suit of armour straight out of the middle ages! He's provided a link to pictures of his creation, which is quite stunning to say the least. Let us know when you get it finished! ..."Do you want to fight?" ..."Them's fightin' words!"...thanks to Angel Chris for the link! ; )
Beta Patch: Sorting Syncs...
Posted by Thunder on June 21st, 2001 @ 7:24 a.m.
You may have heard about beta patch users suffering from an usual number of out of sync errors, or you may have experienced this problem first hand. Matt Scadding, ya that's maimin_matty in his civilian dress, is sampling Ager opinion to see what may be causing the OOS issue for some people:
"Hey all, I am trying to investigate an Out of Sync issue I have heard about.

I was wondering how many people felt they were getting more Out of Syncs? How often do you feel that you used to go OOS, and how often do you feel you are going OOS now?

To help track down this problem the following information would be extremely helpful.
Operating System (win98, winME, etc.)
RAM
Video Card
Sound Card
In the game that OOSed were you the host or a client?
Internet Connection type
Modem Type (if dial up)
Any other machine configuration or insight would be helpful"
- Matty

Source - Out of Sync issue-read inside on how to help
The source link above is the place to head if you're having OOS issues with the patch. Let's see if we can't give ol' Matty a hand here and track down what's going on. ...hmmmm, have had one or two OOS games myself now that I think about it...I'll see how things go at the Forum Party on Saturday... ; )
A New Guide to The Franks
Posted by Socvazius on June 20th, 2001 @ 11:43 p.m.
A guide to the Franks written by The Dragon Reborn has been added to the University. This article follows the same quality that The Dragon Reborn's previous Teuton guide has. It includes information on the basics of the Frankish civilization, and is a very good review or introduction to the Franks
Age Of Kings Heading For Macs!
Posted by Thunder on June 20th, 2001 @ 11:24 p.m.
Just revealed today, Age of Kings will finally make the leap to the Mac platform! Westlake Interactive just made the announcement (thanks Blues News) that this was their previously unnamed project that they've had in the works for awhile now:
"Westlake proudly announces a new project we've been working on for a while- Age of Empires II.

Age of Empires II is the sequel to the award-winning, best-selling real-time strategy game Age of Empires. Age of Empires II spans a thousand years, from the Dark Ages to the late medieval period, in which players control the destiny of humankind from the fall of Rome through the Middle Ages.

Age of Empires II will be published for the Mac by Bold, a divsion of Destineer Studios."


Source - Westlake Interactive Announces Age II For Mac
There doesn't seem to be any mention of a release date, but at long last we know that it will finally happen! ...'bout bloody time! ; )
ES Gamer Plays On...
Posted by Thunder on June 20th, 2001 @ 11:14 p.m.
There's quite a new site on the block here covering the Age series of games. One of the fellas from ES Gamer dropped a note to many Age sites announcing their presence to the world, and to say howdy! You'll find information on every game by Ensemble Studios at the site, right from the original AoE to their current game under development, AoM. Be sure to stop in and give their place a look see. ...Thor is stalking me I swear...peaking out at me on most Age sites! ; )
Matty Invades Quebec...
Posted by Thunder on June 19th, 2001 @ 9:42 p.m.
Well, he was invited so I'd say it makes it more of an expedition to Quebec, but I'll leave the hair splitting to my barber. Matt Scadding, aka famous Ager maimin_matty, was invited to the province of Quebec, which is located in eastern Canada, several weeks ago for a weekend of Conquerors action with an Age clan! The not so tall tale can be read here at the ES site, complete with pictures of some real life Agers. ...either Matty has developed a studder, or the article is a bit repetitive... ; )
Age Of Mythology Wins Best Strategy Game!
Posted by Thunder on June 19th, 2001 @ 7:00 p.m.
The winners of the 2001 E3 Game Critics Awards have been revealed and yes, Age of Mythology beat out the rest of the strategy game field to take home the prize:
"Best Strategy Game
Age of Mythology
(Ensemble Studios/Microsoft for PC)
Ensemble Studios has proved with the Age series that you don’t need buzzwords like 3D to sell RTS games when those games are backed by and beautifully detailed and balanced representations of the historical units. By pulling its next RTS, Age of Mythology, into the 3D age, the developer has lost none of the graphical fidelity, and in fact managed to use the engine effectively to weave a more involved and character-driven storyline. Using the popular mythologies of the Greeks, Norsemen and Egyptians, there’s plenty of scope for legendary creatures to be at the forefront of fast, tactics-driven online skirmishes.

-- Rob Smith, Associate Chairman, Game Critics Awards;
Editor in Chief, PC Gamer Magazine"



Source - 2001 E3 Game Critics Awards: Winners
You'll likely remember the Strategy game nominees included such big time titles as Civilization III, Battle Realms, Warcraft III, and Republic: Revolution which came in as the runner-up for the award. Our congrats to the Ensemble Studios crew!

Last year it was Black & White that took home the big award for Best of Show, this year it was the GAMECUBE walking away with that honour, or should I say strutting! Ouch for the Xbox! You can check out the full list of award winners in all categories here at the winners list. ...they were obvioulsy after innovation last year with their pick of Black & White as best of show...not sure what they were going for this year...the cube is hardly innovative... ; )
Zone Events Reminder...
Posted by Thunder on June 19th, 2001 @ 11:02 a.m.
The big Zone Conquerors event for June has gotten underway! There are still several days left of preliminary action to decide who gets one of the sixteen spots in the final showdown on June 23rd, so that's plenty of time to smack someone about with your gauntlet and wade into the fight. For more information on how you can get involved, head over to the Zone tourney page. The first place finisher will be awarded a fair bit of coin, $150, while second place takes home $75. ...June BUGS...terrible name for any software related event! ; )
Puppy Preview Of AoM...
Posted by Thunder on June 19th, 2001 @ 10:43 a.m.
The only gaming website that gives out fire hydrants as awards, the ever Happy Puppy, has turned a wet nose towards Age of Mythology. Their all too brief AoM preview sums up their E3 findings in that happy go lucky style, with an interesting passage that jumped up and barked:
"Reinforcing your human army with griffins, giants, cyclops, and at least 20 other uniquely talented mythological creatures, is also good for kicks. As if that's not enough, you can also seek out hidden treasures, such as the Golden Fleece and Hade's Helm of Invisibility while traveling across vast terrain, over rough seas, or through creepy underworld domains, all of which look amazing."

Source - Happy Puppy Previews Age of Mythology
I don't think we've seen much that looks like an underworld domain as of yet, but it sounds like the place to find Hades. It's a tantilizing lil' preview, which includes all of the standard screenshots from E3, and in addition an odd mention of Mariah Carey. ...I didn't think they allowed pets into E3...OH, and a big thank you to Angel Nazgul for putting a collar on this news item and sending it my way... ; )
Rough Ride...
Posted by Thunder on June 19th, 2001 @ 10:20 a.m.
You may well have noticed we were having some technical difficulties today, which turned into some server down time for a few hours. Things are getting back to normal here slowly but surely, thank you to all those who sent in e-mails expressing concern and reporting unusual events from sections of this site. The worst appears to be behind us, so we should all be able to go about our business here in Heaven normally. ...now on with the show... ; )
ES Contest: Still Judging...
Posted by Thunder on June 18th, 2001 @ 11:44 p.m.
The many folks who entered Ensemble's scenario design contest will have to bite their nails a little longer. As was announced today on the ES site, they'll be taking a few extra days to determine who takes home the new PC:
"Due to the volume of entries received, our judges are going to need a few more days to finish giving all of the scenarios the attention they deserve. To give them the extra time, we're going to push the announcement back a few days. Winners will now be announced on the 26th of June.

I know that everyone is excited to know who the winners are -- we apologize for making you wait longer."


Source - Ensemble Studios Contest Page
Those that haven't entered will have to wait just as long to play the winning entries as well. Keep your fingers crossed that we'll be able to download them not too long after the judging! ....I'd be mighty surprized if Zanzard Lothar isn't amongst the winners once again.. ; )
Tavern: Double Party Posts & AOM Cheers...
Posted by Thunder on June 18th, 2001 @ 2:35 a.m.
Well there's more than a few folks hanging out in the Tavern this evening sharing their war stories. You'll find tales from the DM & RM gatherings with a little Age of Mythology on the side. A collection of known AOM info caught Angel Chris' eye, so draw a little closer to the Tavern keg for more. ...actually a triple party post day...but Mario Tennis hardly counts eh? ; )
Caption Contest Winner!
Posted by Thunder on June 17th, 2001 @ 2:08 a.m.
This Ager has won a prize in most of the contests I've run! Thankfully I didn't have to sift through all of the entries to determine a winner in our E3 Caption Contest, but Zanzard Lothar still came out on top. You can view the winning caption, as well as five or so other clever captions that were tempting the judges to swing their way at our contest page.

My thanks to all those who took the time to enter the contest, it was a lot of fun to check my ol' e-mail while it was going on! ...and of course thank you to Player_Theta for her assistance! ; )
The Koreans: A Civilization Guide
Posted by Socvazius on June 16th, 2001 @ 9:08 p.m.
A new guide to the Korean civilization by Yong Jin Chang has been added to the University. As with all well-written civilization guides, it is a good introduction to the Korean civilization for new AoK: TC players. Even if you aren't new to the game, the article is still a nice review of this civilization.
Thumbs Up From Angel Chooch...
Posted by Thunder on June 16th, 2001 @ 7:23 a.m.
Like me, you may not have had a chance to view all of the Age of Mythology movies that have hit us all at once, especially those larger files! Well Angel Chooch has given a big ol' thumbs up to the batch of mpegs that can be found at the Japanese site forgamer.net. Included with a large batch of videos from E3 are five AoM flicks, that get a glowing endorsement from Chooch:
"They are some awesome movies that are so much more high quality than any movies that have come out so far. I've seen some awesome stuff in these movies, even though they lack sound. I'm going to list some of what I saw, and if I didnt catch something, post it..." -Angel Chooch

Source - If you havent downloaded the movies from the Japanese site yet...
Click on the source link above to check out the extensive list of AOM features that are shown in the movie clips! If you've got the time, check these flicks out! ...unlike Roger Ebert, Chooch doesn't need a side-kick... ; )
Tavern: Forum Guides & Parties...
Posted by Thunder on June 16th, 2001 @ 4:04 a.m.
Lots going on in our Tavern today, with news of our weekly Forum Party and the latest works by Angel Chris as he tries to guide HG forumers down the path of quality posts. Kick open that door and stride into the Tavern for more. ...ya gotta take life by the horns...and the same goes for Angel Chris...go get 'im! ; )
AoM & More E3 Videos!
Posted by Thunder on June 16th, 2001 @ 3:13 a.m.
Now playing at several sites near you are a whole whack of Age of Mythology movies, still ripe off the vine from this year's E3!

GameSpot's Movie & Interview: In the usual GameSpot Live fashion, the video is streamed so it doesn't show the fluid motion of the units very well, but you do get a guided tour of the demo (some of it) by one of the ES dudes. (not sure who it is...might be The_Sheriff)

forgamer.net's FIVE AoM Movies: (Japanese site) The file sizes are all pretty big, ranging from just below 9mb, right up to almost 60mb mpegs! I haven't tackled any of these files yet, but you can be sure that the visuals will be a walk, skip, and a jump ahead of anything streamed. They've also got a stack of videos from many other games such as Empire Earth & Star Wars: Battleground. (link came via MFO who got it via this PAOE post, thanks all) ...looks like a must to bring a camcorder to E3 now... ; )
**International Conquerors Tournament**
Posted by Thunder on June 15th, 2001 @ 10:44 p.m.
This just came in over the wire, you may want to sit down for it. The Microsoft folks have arranged for an international Conquerors tournament to take place this year with national championships to weed out the would-be conquerors and send only the best of the best to the final showdown for $50,000us! The official press release reads as follows:
"CONQUER THE WORLD AND WIN $50,000 IN THE AGE OF EMPIRES II: THE CONQUERORS INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT

Microsoft today announced the debut of the Age of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tournament, which will award $50,000 to the player who emerges victorious in a glorious battle for world supremacy. Over fifteen countries will hold individual tournaments via the MSN Gaming Zone, LAN events, or local partners mid-July through September 28, 2001, to crown a national champion who will receive prize money and represent their country in the world finals. This would-be-conqueror will be sent to compete in the world finals in Redmond, Washington on October 24, 2001, which will be hosted by the legendary game designer Bruce Shelley, among others.

More details, including the official rules and sign-up information for each country, will be available next month.

Age of Empires is one of the most successful strategy game franchises in history, having sold over eight million units worldwide. The series has received numerous awards including AIAS Strategy Game of the Year awards for Age of Empires, Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, and The Conquerors Expansion; as well as the prestigious AIAS PC Game of the Year for Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion challenges gamers to wage war on an epic scale with all-new civilizations, unique units and technologies, and campaigns based on infamous conquerors such as Attila the Hun, El Cid and Montezuma.

More information about the Conquerors Expansion is available on the game's official Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/games/conquerors/, or on the Ensemble Studios site at http://www.ensemblestudios.com/."
- Mike McCart
Just which fifteen countries are going to be involved remains a mystery as of now. Get out there and practice, the national events will start before you know it and you'd better be in good gaming shape! ...$50,000 US dollars is a lotta money no matter where you live! ; )
Teuton Civilization Guide
Posted by Socvazius on June 15th, 2001 @ 7:49 p.m.
The Dragon Reborn has written a great guide to the Teuton Civilization. It includes a wealth of information, from the use of their bonuses to the passage of the ages as that civilization. It's a nice introduction of the Teutons for those new to the game, and a good review for those who are seasoned players.
El Cid #5 Walkthrough
Posted by Socvazius on June 15th, 2001 @ 7:41 p.m.
Forumer Canis Rufus has submitted a walkthrough of the 5th El Cid scenario to the University. It shows players an alternate way of winning the scenario. Rather than building a wonder, you can defeat Count Berenguer and win. This scenario shows you how to do it. So if you like to crush the opposition rather than staying at home and building a wonder, this walkthrough is for you.

  • El Cid #5 Walkthrough (By Canis Rufus)
  • Age Of Misinformation...
    Posted by Thunder on June 15th, 2001 @ 7:22 p.m.
    You may remember the cover of the german magazine PC Games that we commented on back on June 11th with Age of Empires III on the cover. Well, the rumours started flying shortly thereafter that a third AoE game was in development, and going by the title of Age of Discovery. It all came to a head this morning when Daily Telefrag posted this article declaring "Age of Discovery unvieled." Not true.

    As mentioned back on June 11, the article in PC Games is actually about Age of Mythology and not AOE III. You can now see the corrections made to the Daily Telefrag article, which includes Mike "Archangel" McCart stepping in to help clear things up.

    In the comments section of the Daily Telefrag article, the Editor-in-Chief of PC Games magazine stepped up to the plate with the following comments:
    "1. Yes, we have a big exclusive story about Age of Mythology.
    2. Yes, we called the game Age of Empires 3 on the front cover and only in the front cover because we intended to generate interest and Age of Mythology was not know enough at the time of print. Of course, in the strapline on the front cover the game is referred to as Age of Mythology.
    3. We never spoke with Stuart Moulder, hence there can't be a quote from our magazine regarding the mysterious "Age of Discovery".
    4. Before you post further rumors or misleading interpretations of our magazine, please contact us to get bullet proof information. "
    - Florian Stangl

    Source - Daily Telefrag: COMMENTS
    Speaking of misleading information, some would certainly consider it misleading to have Age of Empires 3 on the front cover of a magazine that doesn't contain any information on such a game. Not to mention, that the game hasn't been announced as in development.

    So, so sum up. Age of Mythology good for Spring 2002. (don't expect it for Christmas, despite what EB says) Daily Telefrag bad. Age of Empires III good. (though not in development or called Age of Discovery yet) PC Games bad for putting something knowingly false on the cover of their magazine. ...big thanks to Angel Chooch for waking me bright and early this morning with this news...what a way to start off the day! ; )
    Caption Contest Deadline...
    Posted by Thunder on June 14th, 2001 @ 10:31 p.m.
    Make sure you've sent in your entries for our E3 Caption Contest by the deadline of 3pm EST tomorrow! (that's noon PST, 8pm GMT)

    The winner will be announced on Saturday, and his or her winning caption will be revealed along with some of the other great entries that we've received. For the complete rules and information, visit our contest page pitch. ...most entries have been...relatively clean...going to be tought to judge! ; )
    EA's Industry Insider: Herb Marselas...
    Posted by Thunder on June 14th, 2001 @ 9:00 a.m.
    As mentioned earlier, those blokes at Evil Avatar are indeed big fans of Ensemble Studios, so it really didn't take long before an ES dude was featured in their latest industry insider installment. It's the man formerly known as "killme", programmer Herb "Captain Insano" Marselas:
    "1. How long have you been in the gaming industry? What other game companies have worked for in the past (ones that you're not embarassed to mention)?

    I've been in games for about 6 years or so. I started working at Microprose in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Then, I worked at Intel where I went around and helped a lot of game developers make their games run faster. For the last 3 years I've been here at Ensemble Studios."


    Source - Industry Insider: Herb Marselas
    An all too brief mini-interview, but much is learned of Herb's current role on Age of Mythology, his favourite games, and a lil' about his life outside the hallowed halls of the Studios. Keep an eye peeled for future installments in this lovely series at Evil Avatar. ...Herb must work up a sweat hauling that pole ax everywhere...wonder if he fit it into his suitcase for E3... ; )
    Hungry Mythological Bears...
    Posted by Thunder on June 14th, 2001 @ 8:44 a.m.
    War stories are a blast to read, but with a game that's not out yet we can easily settle for one of those crazy tales from playtesting sessions. Some of the stories we heard while AOK was in development included ships sailing onto the land as if it were water and units like Knights suddenly dishing out area damage. With some talk in our AOM Forum regarding what wild animals may be included in the game, Greg "DeathShrimp" Street told us a tiny tale of deranged bears, one of the many types of animals we'll find in Age of Mythology:
    "There are bears. Right now they are really agressive and tend to come into your town and kill everyone. They are kind of homicidal right now, because they just slaughter any living thing they see and don't seem too concerned about actually eating anything.

    Players started bear luring into enemy towns, but then everyone started to appreciate it because bears do have a lot of food."
    - Greg Street

    Source - Gaia wild animals
    Several members of the Ensemble Studios crew have also been very active in our Beta Patch Discussion Forum in the last few days. You can be sure that they are keeping a close eye on that forum until the testing period ends at the end of this month, so do drop in and share your thoughts on the results of the beta patch. Heck, they asked for it! ..."...we have plenty of exciting features to talk about in AOM. You guys haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg." -Greg Street...sounds like the berg is starting to come together... ; )
    Tavern: DM Forum Gathering...
    Posted by Thunder on June 14th, 2001 @ 1:24 a.m.
    The latest and greatest to be heard in our Tavern are the sordid details for a fun gathering for the DM forumers. This Friday is the day, so if you're looking to get together with fellow forumers and have a wee fight or two, stop into the Tavern for more information. This would also be a good chance to get in some beta patch DM games if you haven't already, so drop by if you get a chance. ...only about two weeks left to evaluate the patch and give feedback! ; )
    Turbo Tourney!
    Posted by Thunder on June 13th, 2001 @ 10:57 p.m.
    There'll be some fast and furious action tonight at MFO's Turbo Tourney! Registration begins in just a few hours from now for this 1 on 1 event. You'll obviously need the beta patch to get involved, as the Turbo setting is a new feature added in the patch. For the complete details check out the event page. ...as always, best of luck to one and all... ; )
    GameSpot UK's AoM Preview!
    Posted by Thunder on June 13th, 2001 @ 8:23 p.m.
    They had a chance to talk with Bruce Shelley and Ian Fischer, and they've got their hot little hands on plenty of game art and some new screenshots. All of this has resulted in a two page Age of Mythology preview across the pond at GameSpot UK which is not nearly as informative as the pre-E3 preview that you'll find at the other GameSpot. There seems to be some confusion as to what's going on with the number of civilizations, which is nothing new to us, but there's no confusion around their lovely screenshot gallery. You'll find some unit images which were in the CGW magazine preview of AoM as well as the first screenshot seen of what appears to be a Catapult type unit in action!

    There aren't a lot of details on AoM just yet, as many aspects of the gameplay are still up in the air, but Lead Designer Ian Fischer does share some of their goals for making multiplayer a more player friendly experience:
    "In re-considering and revamping the multiplayer aspect, Ensemble's focus was simple. Said Ian Fischer: 'We think the area to improve upon is in making the multiplayer world an easier place to get into and in making the whole process less daunting for players who don't spend eight hours a day perfecting their strategies. Hence, our goals for Age of Mythology's multiplayer game involves delivering an experience as rich and as varied as what we've provided in Age of Empires and Age of Kings, having eliminated the tedious aspects of getting into a multiplayer game.'"

    Source - GameSpot UK's Age of Mythology Preview
    Stop in for a look see, but if it's game details you're after check out the pre-E3 GameSpot AoM preview or our own Age of Mythology preview. Both of these articles are written from first hand experience and contain a lot more game information.

    Thanks to the big boys at Blues News for giving us the goods on this one. ..."...we'd wager some serious coin that Goths, Celts, Greco-Romans, Assyrians, Greeks and Babylonians will feature somewhere in the final shakedown." ...either this is pure specualtion or they've got some inside information... ; )
    Modpack: North America To Arms!
    Posted by Thunder on June 13th, 2001 @ 10:21 a.m.
    Another very cool mod pack that will soon be available was announced a few hours ago. Big Travis has decided to take AOK ahead a few hundred years and changed a whole swath of units, buildings, heroes, and ages! The full list of changes and additions can be found in this post, along with several screenshots, but to help set the scene here's a few of the units available:
    "Heroes
    Admiral Yi sun Shin= The Endeauver
    King Arthur= James Cook
    Duke De Alichon= Sieur Roberal
    William Wallace= James Wolfe
    Will the Conquerer= Mel Gibson (the Patriot?)
    Sir John fatsfof= Marquis Montcalm
    Richard the Lionhearted= George Washington
    Renayld de Chatilon= Samual de Champlain.

    Units
    Jassinary= Musketeer
    E jassinary= E Musketeer
    Champion= Bayonet Soldier
    Hand Cannoneer= Rifleman
    Bombard Cannon= Mobile Cannon
    Turtle Ship= Cannon Ship
    E Turtle Ship= E Cannon Ship"


    Source - North america to arms!
    Where can you download this creation? Well, with any luck, you'll be able to get it from our Blacksmith, and you'll be off fighting on the frontiers of the New World in no time! We'll provide a link to the exact spot in the Blacksmith as soon as it is available there. ...Mel Gibson, a hero is AOK...who saw that one coming? ; )
    Sandy Has The Answer...
    Posted by Thunder on June 13th, 2001 @ 2:36 a.m.
    Game designer Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen, currently employed at our fav house of game development Ensemble Studios, has continued to drop by and answer questions posed by fans. The latest Q&A batch contains information on everything from here to eternity, which includes a few bits on some Age titles:
    "Q) How do you feel about the recent release of WildFire Studios Romans at War Mod (I'm on WFS)? Do you like it? Does ES object to the modding of the game? Does Microsoft?
    A) I like it. I don’t think anyone at ES objects. I don’t know what MS thinks. If they really cared they’d probably take steps to stop it. Since they haven’t …

    Q) What kind of system will AoM be optimized for
    A) We will follow our practice of ensuring that it runs on as many systems as possible.

    Q) What civs have been implemented thus far in "AoE XVII: Age of Aliens"?
    A) Martian, Cytherian, Selenite, Californians, and Hollow Earth. I don’t know if we can fit in the others in the time remaining.

    Q) Will there be any Slavic civ in AoEXVII:AoA?
    A) The Slavs appear as gaia units on every map in AoA, of course.

    Q) If you wanted to play Custom scenarios, What type of scenarios would you play? I mean like RPG, B & D...
    A) S & M.

    Q) Why didn't you guys make a campaign for every civ?
    A) Lack of time. Remember that most of the campaign design has to take place AFTER the game is almost all finished (every balance change alters all scenarios already written). It takes a month or more to do a campaign. We have four campaigns in AoK. Would you be satisfied to have us delay the ship of the game by 9 more months in order to get a campaign for each civ?"
    -Sandy Petersen

    Source - Ask Sandy 7
    Our thanks to Sandy for his dedication in visiting and answering the questions in these posts. Pop in and query the man on the game, the business, or something else that tickles your fancy.

    On a bit of a side note, Evil Avatar has launched an industry insider series today, with their first victim being Kenn Hoekstra. This will be an interesting series to keep an eye on, as those blokes are pretty big fans of ES. ...gotta go eat...mmmmmm, eat... ; )
    AoM Skins ICQ...
    Posted by Thunder on June 12th, 2001 @ 6:09 p.m.
    When things are a little slow, make your own news! That's exactly what DisturbedRoach of the AoM Center has done with a new skin for ICQ. It looks quite fetching, with Thor peeking right through your contacts list. You can view an image of the results of this new skin and or download it right here.

    DisturbedRoach has also created a post regarding his ICQ skinnng here in our forum, a good place to go if you've got a question, suggestion, or wish to post feedback. ...skinning defenceless software programs...oh the horror of it all... ; )
    AoM At A Newstand Near You...
    Posted by Thunder on June 11th, 2001 @ 7:32 p.m.
    For anyone outside of North America, it's been difficult to get your hands on magazine previews of Age of Mythology but that's all changing right now. NO, this preview is NOT of AoE 3, it's actually Age of Mythology with some more great artwork by Ensemble Studios' David Cherry. This cover is from the german magazine, PC Games, one of many gaming magazines that's sporting AoM preview materials!

    AoM has crossed the Atlantic, so keep a sharp eye out for new previews in your favourite gaming mags over the next few months! ...just about had a heart attack when I first saw that cover...but no, Archangel says it's an AoM preview... ; )
    Final Four At Planet AoE!
    Posted by Thunder on June 11th, 2001 @ 10:50 a.m.
    Coming into orbit briefly was Xiphoid from the planetary body far far away, Planet AoE. He stayed just long enough to transmit his tidings and this message regarding his Path of the Conqueror tournament:
    "Spanning over two and a half months and starting with nearly 250 players, some being the best in the world, our 1v1 RM Path of the Conqueror Tournament has progressed through its six preliminary rounds, an amazing 1,500 matches, and it has come time to announce probably the most exciting part of the tournament: the four players out of those starting 250 that will make the break to the semi-finals and continue the path to the title of Conqueror, which only one can take in the end. It's my pleasure to announce that StorM_Requiem, StorM_Rising, StorM_Panther, and Mimmox will be advancing to the semi-finals in one of the hardest and largest fields ever seen by any Age tournament. Read the full details on the big event at PlanetAgeofEmpires" - Xiphoid
    Yes indeed, they've got a quality field of players over there, as seen by some of the big names who didn't advance to the semi-finals! Make the trip on over to visit Xiphoid and see how this big event shapes up. ...turbo tourney anyone? ; )
    Tavern: Post Patch Party...
    Posted by Thunder on June 11th, 2001 @ 4:11 a.m.
    Well, it wasn't meant to be an all patch party, but there really were an aweful lot of IP patch games going on yesterday! In fact, I played nothing but patch games the whole day and you'll find post party thoughts in the Tavern along to links with more war stories and patch feedback! ...first public beta anything in the history of age, isn't it? Wahoo! ; )
    Counter-Strike Designer Addicted...
    Posted by Thunder on June 10th, 2001 @ 8:39 a.m.
    Word came in from Angel Washizu, who's evidently still surviving out there beyond Heaven's pearly gates, that Gamasutra posted an interview with Minh Le, the furious force behind Counter-Strike. The Gama gang held him hostage until he admitted what most people already know about themselves, he's a Conquerors addict:
    "Gamasutra: What kind of games do you play when you do have time?

    Minh Le: Lately I've been really interested in Age of Empires 2: the Conquerors. I've been so addicted to this game it's nuts. That's crazy - it's really that good.

    Gamasutra: So you like real time strategies, you like first person shooters - do you like every genre?

    Minh Le: Not so much. I'm not too big a fan of real time strategies, actually; it's just Age of Empires that's got me addicted. I think in general I strictly stick with first person shooters. I'm not an RPG guy. I used to be but they require too much time, and when you're busy, you just don't have time for RPGs. I used to play them a lot when I had a lot of free time"


    Source - Gamasutra Interview Minh Le
    Don't worry CS fans, a counter-terrorist team came to his rescue and Minh is now free to work on his next project with Valve. Just goes to show that even the most dedicated FPS player can get bitten by the Age bug. ...another good Vancouver kid... ; )
    Patched Versus Unpatched...
    Posted by Thunder on June 9th, 2001 @ 6:07 p.m.
    For those of you hesitating to download the beta patch for the Conquerors because your pals may not have it yet, don't fret! Although the patched version is not compatible with the unpatched version of the game, you can still run the regular unpatched version of the Conquerors by either using the same shortcut you used before, or going into the "age2_x1" folder in your Age II directory and running the "age2_x1.exe".

    The patched exe is located in your main Age II folder (with the obvious name of "empires2_beta_patch.exe"), but of course the patch creates a shortcut for you as well. The ES crew is looking for your feedback in our patch forum, so let them know what you think! ...go ahead and grab the patch, everyone else is doing it... ; )
    Path to unpatched EXE


    Path to patched EXE
    PATCH Me Up: Beta Patch For Conquerors!
    Posted by Thunder on June 9th, 2001 @ 3:25 p.m.
    If you were up early waiting to see what all the rumbling from Ensemble Studios is about, you'll not likely be going back to bed for quite some time! As is the tradition, the ES folks have packed a boatload of fixes and additions into this and you can see the full list of results right here. There's also all sorts of helpful links on the ES patch page, including to feedback forums (stop into both!) and the readme file.

    LINKS: Download Conquerors Beta Patch (2421kb)

    -MFO's Patch Feedback Forum
    -AOKH's Patch Feedback Forum (now online!)

    This time around the readme file is well worth downloading! Here are the changes to gameplay, technologies, and units as outlined from that file:
    "README
    This beta contains numerous bug fixes & play balance changes. Some of the more obscure bug fixes are not listed here.
    To speed the release of the patch, this beta does NOT incorporate language localization. If you install the patch over a non-English-language version of Age of Kings, then some phrases and descriptions may appear in English.

    PLAY BALANCE & ADJUSTMENTS
    · Open ground is always green on the minimap, even on snow or sand terrain.
    · Black Forest no longer turns up if you select Random Map or Land Random.
    · Farms can be queued to 40.
    · Fish traps now provide food at a faster rate, about equal to shore fish.
    · All archery range units (except hand-cannoneers) now do +1 additional damage to spearman-line units.
    · Camels are now as quick to train as spearmen.
    · Viking Berserks now move as fast as pikemen.
    · Celtic Woad Raiders now move faster (they run faster than Eagle Warriors who lack Squires).
    · Bombard Cannons do +80 additional damage to buildings.
    · New Multiplayer-only map type "Blind Random". This selects randomly between a number of different map types, and you are not told what kind of map you are playing on.
    · Aztecs now get free Loom
    · Castles now take 200 build points to construct instead of 150.

    Turbo Random Map
    · To play this new Turbo style, select "Turbo Random Map" from the Game Type menu in either singleplayer or multiplayer mode.
    · In this mode, all buildings work 2.5 times faster except when building econ units (fishing boats, trade ships & carts, villagers).
    · All econ units gather 2.5 times faster and carry 2.5 times as many resources.
    · Villagers construct buildings 2.5 times faster except for castles, towers, & wonders.

    Korean changes:
    · Shinkichon now increases onager range by +1 instead of +2, but also adds +30 building damage
    · Turtle ships have additional armor vs. galley-line ships & heated shot
    · Korean Villager LOS increased by +1 additional
    · Turtle ship artwork is changed to be more realistic
    · war wagon and elite war wagon range is reduced

    Feudal Age changes
    · Scout cavalry get +2 attack once Feudal starts
    · Scout Cav produced from stables are now Aggressive stance
    · Loom provides +1 additional Pierce armor
    · Palisade walls get +3 additional Pierce armor

    Naval Warfare changes
    · Galleys now take 60 seconds to produce (War Galleys & Galleons still take 45 seconds)
    · Fireships & Fast Fireships have additional armor vs. galley-line ships
    · Fireships do additional damage vs. turtle ships

    Technology changes
    · Treadmill Crane, Masonry, Architecture, Hoardings, Fortified Wall, Guard Tower, and Keep have had their stone cost replaced with wood or food. Now these technologies only cost food & wood.
    · Theocracy only costs 200 gold
    · Shipwright now also decreases ship build time.
    · Parthian Shot now does additional damage to spearman-line units in addition to the extra cav archer armor.
    · Heated Shot now increases tower damage times 2.25, and adds +4 to anti-ship damage for castles.

    BUG FIXES
    · Male Mayan farmers are now as good as females.
    · Imperial age houses now have normal house armor.
    · Villagers will now walk around farms normally if stopped and started again (the infamous "farm bug").
    · Monks no longer heal garrisoned units
    · Computer opponents no longer always switch to attack the opponent with the highest score. That is, they initially attack that opponent, but then they will keep attacking him for some time afterwards, even if his score drops.
    · Teuton Monk Resistance now works properly, so researching Faith is beneficial to them.
    · On Nomad maps, Persians, Huns, and Mayans are now getting the correct starting resources.
    · Computer opponents now build lumber camps next to bamboo
    · Town centers now always take damage from bombard towers"
    NOTE: The full readme, which you can download here, also contains a list of random map scripts by ES that are included with the patch.

    The bug fixes are nice to see, but what always catches my fancy are those tweaks and changes to units and technologies! Snag the patch so we can do some in-depth test at our Forum Party games! ...by in-depth testing of course I mean play around and have fun... ; )
    Tavern: Top 20 & Party Reminder...
    Posted by Thunder on June 9th, 2001 @ 4:08 a.m.
    Latest blurbs from the Tavern are mighty interesting! Angel Zen has been busy counting posts and has come up with a list of the top twenty forumers. A lot of late night counting went into the list I am sure so do stop in for a looky loo. You'll also find the details for our upcoming Forum Party, all this and more in the Tavern! ...wow, too much talking from HG staff, get to work and stop yer posting guys!! ; )
    Look Familiar? Check In Tomorrow...
    Posted by Thunder on June 9th, 2001 @ 0:36 a.m.
    The image bellow was just sent over, bearing a striking resemblance to a certain Korean warship. The Ensemble Studios crew, being the sneaky devils that they are, are up to something folks! Tomorrow will be a good day to start being an early riser, stop in for more specifics then here at AOKH and AOK.cc! ...feeling slow as a Turtle ship... ; )

    Care to share your theory on what's coming or what this bit of art is? Drop in on this forum post: Mysterious Mutated Turtleboat!?!

    E3 Gallery Four: Last Call!
    Posted by Thunder on June 8th, 2001 @ 9:46 p.m.
    The fourth and final of our photo collections is now online, recounting the final day of E3 2001. Gallery four contains some photos of some things we didn't actually go to the show to see but had to have a peak at before we left!

    My thanks to all of those who've entered our E3 Caption Contest so far! There have been some hilarious entries and we're looking for more, so keep 'em coming! ...must run and hide in a game of TC...Angel Spineman will be out to get me for revealing his hidden passion for sheep... ; )

    Links:
    Gallery one
    Gallery two
    Gallery three
    Gallery four

    E3 Caption Contest
    RM Tourney First Round Brackets...
    Posted by Thunder on June 8th, 2001 @ 7:08 p.m.
    Things are all set for round one to begin our RM tournament! Angel MeatLoafX has posted the brackets here for everyone to have a gander at. Be sure to stop in and take note of your opponent if you're playing in this event!

    It looks as though some very good players will be meeting in the early rounds, so best of luck to one and all and may the best Ager win! ...Ensemble Studios has already unleashed the wrath of gods...the gods of randomness that make your RM/random civ games hellish if you make them angry... ; )
    Pre-Orders!
    Posted by Thunder on June 8th, 2001 @ 7:00 a.m.
    A note just flew in from Xynon, the news man at AoE Center, and he's tracked down a couple of interesting things at www.ebgames.com.

    Firstly, you can now pre-order Age of Mythology, which is selling for $44.99. (that's in US dollars of course) There's no box art at the moment, but they have a projected release date of December 3, 2001. That's probably a bit of wishful thinking as the official word is still Spring 2002.

    Secondly, the game by Lucas Arts that is powered by the Age II game engine, Star Wars: Battleground (or is it Galactic Battleground?) is also available for pre-order. No box art here either, but the projected release date looks right on the mark, currently set for November 17, 2001.

    Thanks muchly for the heads up Xynon! If you haven't visited the AoE Center lately, stop in and see what's new. ...AoM in 2001 would be pretty sweet, but they'll be shipping it "When it's done"...so any release date is just a big guess... ; )
    E3 Pic Caption Contest!
    Posted by Thunder on June 7th, 2001 @ 8:51 p.m.
    I'm taking a page from Angel Washizu's book, as it seemed whenever he went on a trip it would be followed by one of these contests. There are many pictures from our E3 2001 Gallery that could have served as inspiration for a caption contest, but my pal Player_Theta was just fine with having her mug involved so that clinched it.

    You've got a little over a week to come up with some witty dialogue for Theta and I to be saying, or a witty phrase to describe the scene. (no image editing required) Your witty work could win you a copy of the Official Conquerors Strategy Guide! For a larger copy of the photograph, some examples from an Ensemble Studios caption contest, and the complete rules, visit the E3 Caption Contest page. ...my thanks Theta for keeping me company in this... ; )

    E3 Caption Contest
    July's CGW: AOE III?
    Posted by Thunder on June 7th, 2001 @ 11:03 a.m.
    The good soul that he is, Angel AoErat shared this lovely little quote from his July issue of Computer Gaming World:
    "The head of Microsofts PC division, Stuart Moulder, said that Ensemble will develop another AGE OF EMPIRES game. AGE OF EMPIRES III will be historically based, as opposed to Ensembles AGE OF MYTHOLOGY which includes fantasy elements. The setting for AGE III hasn't been decided yet, although Moulder said the age of discovery - with it's sailing ships, conquest of new worlds, and plentiful men with rifles - is under consideration."
    Well it appears that Ensemble Studios will eventually pick up where they left off after the Conquerors expansion pack, to the delight of history fans everywhere! Certainly the focus of the ES gang is largely on their upcoming title Age of Mythology, but an AoE III appears to be a twinkle in Bruce Shelley's eye. ...along with "Health Inspector Tycoon"... ; )
    PC Gamer's AoM Interview!
    Posted by Thunder on June 7th, 2001 @ 7:19 a.m.
    It's a bit of an elderly interview, but the PC Gamer gang had a chat with Bruce Shelley and Greg Street regarding Age of Mythology. (thanks Voodoo Extreme) The interview was conducted before Microsoft was announced as the publisher and it seems before AoM had a title, however there are some very interesting comments regarding development plans and the AoE series:
    "PCG: Considering the critical and commercial success of Age of Kings, many fans of your games will be puzzled why your are not doing a straight sequel to Age of Kings. How come?

    BS
    [Bruce Shelley]: The principle reasons for not doing a straight historical sequel are differentiation, innovation, and passion. The press started almost every review of AOK with the comment that there was not much new in the game. We felt the press let us slide with that game because it was done very well and there actually was a lot of innovation (much of it subtle, like recording games for review). We felt that our next game had to be clearly somewhat different and innovative. At the same time we didn't want to stray too far from the historical framework that has been so successful. Data from focus groups actually said that a mythology game was more highly rated than any straight historical topic we offered. We think it is critical that our people be very passionate and motivated about what they are doing. Many of our people had been working on historical RTS for 6+ years and wanted something new. The mythology topic with its god powers, heroes, and mythological was an exciting change. We also wanted a topic that could really show off the BANG engine, which the mythology features will do. "

    Source - PC Gamer's AoM Interview
    There has been some speculation that the BANG engine may be used for other games types and in this interview Bruce Shelley also mentions that the BANG engine could be used in a different genres! It's a great engine, one we will no doubt see future ES games based on, and one other companies may also be looking to license, as in the case of Star Wars: Galactic Battleground, which uses the 2D Age II engine. ...Evil Avatar was speculating that it could be used in an Ultima Online style massively multiplayer RPG... ; )
    Wallpaper Winners Announced!
    Posted by Thunder on June 7th, 2001 @ 6:57 a.m.
    This newsflash came in from Ogre, strong man at Through The Ages, a few hours ago. They've narrowed down their mountain of entries in the Conquerors wallpaper contest and the top three entries have been singled out for their rewards:
    "We have winners! Yep, that is correct, Ogre has finally finished up judging all of the entries. There were about 100 entries. Of course it was hard for Ogre to pick the ones he thought were the best. Sometimes it's not easy trying to run a contest. So without further bla bla from Ogre, here are the winners.

    1st Place: Francis Marquis

    2nd Place: Borgboy

    3rd Place: Nic Cardella

    Prizes:

    1st Place Winner

    Age of Empires II Expansion: The Conquerors T-Shirt.

    Behind The Scenes of Age of Empires DVD.

    A copy of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings and Age of Empires II
    Expansion: The Conquerors.

    Wallpaper posted on Ensemble Studios and Game Tropics Network websites.

    2nd Place Winner

    Age of Empires II Expansion: The Conquerors T-Shirt.

    Wallpaper posted on Ensemble Studios and Game Tropics Network websites.

    3rd Place Winner

    Wallpaper posted on Ensemble Studios and Game Tropics Network websites.

    Ogre asks the ones who have won first and second place to contact him via email and confirm their snail mail addresses. Afterall, you would not want the prizes not arriving at your doorstep!"
    -Ogre
    Hearty congratulations to all of the winners! Do make sure to check your mailing address before you send it in to Ogre, as we've recently had a prize returned because the winner gave us the wrong address. Doh! Head to Through The Ages to check out the winning wallpapers. ...that one with the Hun wonder is pretty sweet... ; )
    E3 Gallery Three!
    Posted by Thunder on June 6th, 2001 @ 9:14 p.m.
    Another photo gallery of our E3 adventures has been put together detailing the events on day two of the big show! We spent quite a bit of time asking questions at the AoM booth, but also snuck in some play time on a PS2, Angel Zen played his first game of Empire Earth, and we had dinner with a bunch of friends. The write-up and photos await in E3 Gallery Three! ...Neil Diamond forever! ; )

    Links:
    Gallery One
    Gallery Two
    AoM Stone Free...
    Posted by Thunder on June 6th, 2001 @ 9:38 a.m.
    Since discovering that stone will not be a resource in the upcoming Age of Mythology, quite a few people have been wondering why it was removed or asking that it be put back in. The current resources in AoM are the standard wood, food, gold, and favor added as a new one. Well Greg "DeathShrimp" Street has stopped in and given us the reasoning behind the decision:
    "It isn't just having to manage your villagers collecting 5 resources, it's also having to remember that some units, buildings or techs cost Food and Wood, others cost Food and Gold, others cost Food and Favor, others cost Gold and Stone...it just got to be too much to remember, like having a telephone number that was 26 digits long.

    We didn't remove Stone because it was realistic to do so. We wanted to remove a resource, and Stone made the most sense because there is almost always plenty to go around.

    Believe me, you're going to have enough to do in AOM without worrying about 'stone mines'."


    Source - AoM Forum: Why not stone?
    There's quite a few elderly folks that play Age games, and I'm glad to see they are keeping them in mind. (some can't remember their loved ones names anymore) So at this point stone is definately out as a resource and the ES firing squad gets set to take aim at whatever else gets in their way. ..."Anything that hurts gameplay will be blindfolded and shot." - Greg "DeathShrimp" Street... ; )
    Fiery New AoM Screenshots!
    Posted by Thunder on June 6th, 2001 @ 2:38 a.m.
    An odd place to find new screenshots of Age of Mythology, but you won't hear anyone complaining I am certain. nvidia.com has posted a batch of six screenshots, several of which are certainly new! Our thanks to forumer LordLucas for sharing his findings with everyone in our AoM Forum.

    The new screenshots all feature units and buildings from the Greeks, including a great one of a Fire Giant in a low light situation! You can see this monster feeling the burn and lighting up a nearby Fortress and some towers. ...jump straight to sceenshot 5 if you're desperate to see the Fire Giant... ; )

    Zone June Events!
    Posted by Thunder on June 5th, 2001 @ 9:52 p.m.
    The Zone crew has updated their Tournament Page and are preparing for the big ol' clash! (for folks in the US & Canada anyway) You can play in any or all of the four preliminary tournaments that run from June 18-21 and the top four finishers in each of these events will be invited back to play head to head on June 23rd for the big showdown. Here's the settings for this event that you may wish to get familiar with over the next couple of weeks:
    "Game Settings are as follows (all rounds):

    1 vs 1
    Game Type: Random Map
    Map Style: Standard
    Location: Random Map
    Map Size: Tiny
    Difficulty: Moderate
    Population Limit: 200
    Starting Age: Dark Age
    Reveal Map: Normal
    Game Speed: Normal
    Victory Condition: Timed (500 Years = 45 Min)
    Lock Teams: Disable
    Cheats: Disable
    All Tech: Disable
    Record Game: Enable

    Disconnects: 2 Disconnects from same game = Forfeit"


    Source - Zone: Official Rules
    There you have it! As always, good luck to one and all who enter and for more information or to get yourself signed up, enter the Zone's Tournament Page. ...insert Twilight Zone music here... ; )
    AoM Q&As...
    Posted by Thunder on June 5th, 2001 @ 9:39 a.m.
    A pair of websites have gotten ahold of Ensemble Studios folks for their comments on various aspects of their current project Age of Mythology.

    Stop number one is at the AoM Center, where Greg "DeathShrimp" Street has tackled many a burning question about the game:
    "Q. There has been some confusion about how Greeks gain favor, could you explain?

    DS: You assign villagers to pray at Greek Temples and they "gather" Favor. The advantage is that Greeks can get a big Favor boost when they need it, but the disadvantage is those villagers could be gathering Food, Wood or Gold instead.


    Q. Will there be a consequence for low favor?

    DS: Your god won't punish you, but he or she won't be granting you any assistance either. Currently, it is still possible to win the game with no Favor--you just concentrate on human soldiers instead."


    Source - Age of Mythology Center
    There's quite a stack of questions and answers there, right on the front page too so they are impossible to miss!

    Then there is stop number two, HQ Gaming, where Kingkerry has put together a write up of ES's recent past and looks to the future. He's managed to snag a comment from Bruce Shelley to add to the mix, as Bruce shares the goals that are driving the design of AoM. ...this is going on my wish list for Sphinx abilites... ; )
    New ES Random Map: Seasons...
    Posted by Thunder on June 4th, 2001 @ 9:11 p.m.
    It's been a little while since we last found a new random map script for download at Ensemble Studios, but Mike "Archangel" McCart sends word that a new addition was just added to their collection! None other than Kevin "The_Sheriff" Holme has whipped up a map for all seasons:
    "As you can probably guess by the title, this new random map is based on the 4 seasons in a year. When you play Seasons, it has a 25% chance of loading up a Winter map, Spring map, Summer map, or Autumn map. Each map uses the same land shape, though resource placement and terrain types are unique to each season - its 4 maps in 1!

    I tried to design this map so that each season required the use of a different strategy. Its set up so that 2 teams will be divided by a wide river. Exactly how you use the river in your strategy is dependant upon which season it is. In Summer, there is a huge drought. The river is low and is covered in shallows..."


    Source - ES@Seasons
    It sounds like a great map for some Forum Party games! Make sure you stop in a check out the full description on what shape the map takes in all of the seasons, or better yet, download it and get some game time in with it. ...wonder where he got the inspiration for that map...only two seasons in Texas...really hot and sizzling... ; )
    Double Spot Shot...
    Posted by Thunder on June 4th, 2001 @ 8:31 a.m.
    The sharp shooters at GameSpot have a couple of Age related write-ups on their site for the moment, one a result of reader feedback and the other looking for some.

    The reader's best multiplayer games list is a result of polling us gamers and no surprise that only the best of the best games made the list. Coming in at number seven out of ten is Age of Kings (slash its expansion pack), beating out the likes of Quake if you can belive that! Blizzard fans were out in force for this poll. Coming in third in the results is Half Life: Counter-Strike and a surprising second is Diablo II. Number one? Starcraft!

    The Question of the week looks back at E3 as the head G-Spot honchos share their list of games that caught their eye at the big show. Unfortunately, we only get to make one choice in their poll asking ye olde post E3 question: What's the best game of E3 2001?

    As you may have already guessed, Age of Mythology is an option in the voting but is trailing some other big name titles at the moment. Current results of that poll have Warcraft III leading the way, followed by Civilization III and Unreal Tournament II. Don't take too long to decide, the polling stations won't remain open forever. ...nothing takes stains out of carpet then a double does of spot shot... ; )
    Tavern: Trading & Post Party...
    Posted by Thunder on June 4th, 2001 @ 4:22 a.m.
    The latest buzz in the Tavern covers some new ideas for Trade Carts in AoM and our Forum Party tradition of sharing war stories in the aftermath of our games. There's always a free stool for you in the Tavern, pop on over and plant your behind. ...0-2 in forum party games this time around...DARN, I don't think they were recorded... ; )
    Tavern: Party Times...
    Posted by Thunder on June 2nd, 2001 @ 9:37 a.m.
    The weekend is finally upon us and many are gearing up to pop into our Forum Party for a few games and a bit of smack talk today. If you're interested in attending, you'll find all of the details you'll need to know about this lil' weekly event in the Tavern. The place to celebrate a victory, or cry in a pint of beer at your defeat. See you on the battlefield! ...PVP unleashes the wrath of god... ; )
    New AoM Screenshot: The Crossing!
    Posted by Thunder on June 2nd, 2001 @ 7:03 a.m.
    The latest Age of Mythology screenshot is available at Ensemble's AoM site. It shows a battle between a Greek and Egyptian army in the water between two pieces of land. There are many mythological units in the fray, including the man flinging Cyclops in the image to the left. There are also a couple of new units, one which looks much like a Cyclops and the other I'm not so sure about.

    See for yourself! Goto the ES screenshots page and click the right arrow a couple of times to get to the new screenshot! ...thanks to Archangel for the prodding to goto the site... ; )
    E3 Gallery Two!
    Posted by Thunder on June 2nd, 2001 @ 4:21 a.m.
    Another batch of images and stories from our adventures at E3 this year is now online! E3 Gallery Two contains pictures of some well known Age folks and my experience playing Empire Earth for the very first time:
    "Things were pretty quiet and I was dropping a lumbercamp type building and a barracks when in rolls an enemy tank! Player_Theta kindly informed me that Bazookas counter Tanks pretty well, so I started cranking them out. Unfortunately, the Tank was very difficult to take out (much like a Knight) and killed many of my villagers. I finally killed off all of the enemy tanks (about 3 total) and sent my Bazookas into the enemy town..."
    There's nothing like a good war story, and unfortunately that is nothing like one. The computer kicked my butt pretty thoroughly! For photos and the aftermath, our latest gallery awaits:

    Gallery One
    Gallery Two ...made just a lil booboo there on one of the captions for the pics...was kinda funny so left it in... ; )
    ES Poll: Hissing Cockroaches...
    Posted by Thunder on June 2nd, 2001 @ 3:53 a.m.
    Yes, the debate rages on and has now spread to the Ensemble Studios website in the form of a poll. The burning question that still begs an answer is: "Why did Ensemble Studios' Sound and Music Department record Hissing Cockroaches?" There has been much speculation on this topic in the AoM Forum but our options have been boiled down to these:
    • Hissing Cockroaches are replacing Wolves on Age of Mythology Maps.

    • No one was sure what else the Norse cavalry should ride.

    • Them's good eatin'.

    • AOE 3: Bruce Shelley's Wild Kingdom

    • When you play roach hisses backwards you hear -Wololo-.

    • ES' secret project is really -Health Inspector Tycoon-.

    • All this talk about hedgehogs and bandicoots made ES want to get their own mascot.

    • ES just won the rights to the -Land of the Lost- franchise, so they need lots of Sleestak sounds.
    Leading in the polls right now is the roaches replacing wolves in AoM. Stop in at the Ensemble Studios site, treading carefully, and cast your vote. ...naw, they can't replace wolves...they make too much noise to sneak up on villes... ; )
    Press Release From AOMA...
    Posted by Thunder on June 2nd, 2001 @ 3:36 a.m.
    Take heed all AgeTooners:
    "The Age of Mythology Archive is sponsoring the first ever AOM AgeToon Contest, to run from June 1 to June 30. The basic idea is that participants submit AgeToons to the AOMA during the month of June, to be judged later on by a small team of AOMA Staffers. They will be judged on Creativity, Originality, Quality, and Humor. The three best AgeToons will be chosen, and the creators will be awarded prizes.

    Everybody is eligible for entry, and US residents may receive prizes if their AgeToon makes it into the top three. All toons must be submitted on or before 11:59 June 30, 2001, Eastern Standard Time."

    Official Rules and Prize information can be found at the AOMA AgeToons Contest Page.

    Also, the AOMA is launching the first ever Age of Mythology Newsletter! The AOMA Newsletter features comprehensive information, links, graphics, articles, features, and much more. It is delivered, via e-mail, every week, and is the first of its kind. Signup information can be found at the AOMA Newsletter Page."
    - PErFeCTiON
    Mod: Rome At War!
    Posted by Thunder on June 1st, 2001 @ 8:17 p.m.
    Storming the Mod world today is a terrific looking piece of work by Wildfire Studios! There's just no way to describe the results of this mod that will do it justice, so stop into this post for screenshots and more information on where you can download it from.

    It has been in the works for quite sometime, and it looks like it was well worth the waiting! ...thanks to Angel Chris for this jaw dropping news... ; )
    AoM E3 Movie, Ready The Popcorn!
    Posted by Thunder on June 1st, 2001 @ 8:03 p.m.
    Czech website BonusWeb has 6+ minutes of video footage of the Age of Mythology demo from E3 2001. (thanks Voodoo Extreme) It's a 22+ meg download, but you'll get the tour of the game by Ensemble Studios' Pete Parisi! ...you'll probably have to grab the codec to play it too...add another 700kb to your downloading time there... ; )
    New Age of Mythology Screenshot: Amazing Wildlife!
    Posted by Thunder on June 1st, 2001 @ 2:13 a.m.
    The latest screenshot to be released at GameSpot is a MUST see! Although I spied a crocodile in the E3 demo, they were not fully submerged as in this new screenshot. They've described it wonderfully in this paragraph:
    "The new screenshot shows off more of the game's advanced visual effects, such as translucent water, footprints, and realistic vegetation. It depicts a desert oasis with a large statue of a sphinx, and soldiers, hippos, and crocodiles can be seen partially and fully submerged in the water."

    Source - GameSpot: New Age of Mythology Screenshot
    In addition to the great looking wildlife is some terrain that really sets the scene well. Reeds and other types of vegitation give the water, which isn't your standard blue, a swampy look. It definately makes you want to get your hands on the scenario editor at the very least. ...they just keep getting better and better don't they? ; )

    **Update**
    Forumer Steven spotted the new screenshot and created a topic for it in our AoM forum. Add your two bits about this latest screenie in this post.
    Bug: Anchor Your Farmers...
    Posted by Thunder on June 1st, 2001 @ 0:17 a.m.
    The webmaster at FOPT Clan has made an interesting discovery regarding farmers. (thanks AoK.cc) His findings seem to have been supported by other players, so let's take a closer look at what he's found:
    "here is the deal:

    usually, when you are farming your villagers are running around on the farm to gather food and then deliver it at the towncenter or mill.

    now, if you let a villager drop food at towncenter or mill and send him back to the farm, the villager stands ground and delivers food MUCH faster and this *BANG* till the farm is running empty. imagine the deal with teutons and chinese in your team!

    ok, this needs some micromanagement but the effect is that your farmers work much faster (even faster than hunters or fishermen) which means more food in less time and after all a big economical advantage."
    - Webmaster FOPT (aka Strawberry)

    Source - FOPT Clan (goto Forums and view "MUST READ: New secret farming bug found!")
    This certainly speeds up farming significantly, and as mentioned elsewhere, would be a very interesting tactic to use with the Chinese and their farming bonus.

    Apparently the crew at Ensemble Studios have known about this bug for awhile already. There's been no word on a patch for the Conquerors and or AoK. ...doh, stuck at school so I can't try it out... ; )