Archived News From September 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!

Galactic Battlegrounds Heaven!
Posted by Thunder on September 30th, 2001 @ 10:50 p.m.
The upcoming release of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, a RTS game based on the Age II engine, peaked the interest of several Angels here in Heaven. That interest turned into crippling anticipation when we started to see fantastic screenshots and read of some of the great units that you could create, that came straight out of the films! The result of all of this culminated in the opening of a brand new site dedicated to the game:
"HEAVENGAMES LAUNCHES STAR WARS: GALACTIC BATTLEGROUNDS HEAVEN

September 30, 2001 - HeavenGames LLC announced today that it has launched Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Heaven ( http://swgb.heavengames.com ), the latest in its series of special-interest sites for real time strategy games.

Slated for release in November of 2001, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game developed by LucasArts, based on the engine developed for the award-winning Age of Kings series by Ensemble Studios/Microsoft. The game covers the Star Wars expanded universe, witnessing the birth and demise of the Imperial Empire, and the legends of the Jedi & Sith.

Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Heaven will be dedicated to featuring extensive coverage of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds before and after its release, and will bring you the latest news on the game.

Overseeing the operation as Site Director for SWGB Heaven will be Michael "AoErat" Zander. Zander previously operated a fan site, "SW: GB Imperial Garrison", dedicated to the game, and was a perfect fit for the new Heaven site. Working alongside Zander will be HoYin "Zen" Au, Technical Director; and Tom "Spineman" Mescher, Downloads Director. The three have been actively involved in the gaming community for more than 4 years."
Best wishes to Angel AoERat and all of the crew over there an the spanking new site. May the force be with you! ...I was disappointed they included the Galactic Empire and Rebels in the demo...Trade Federation and Wookies are my favs! ; )
MS Tournament Results...
Posted by Thunder on September 30th, 2001 @ 10:47 a.m.
The final event that was scheduled to take place on the Zone in the MS International Tournament went off with some hitches yesterday. It was the French qualifier, and apparently a player who had been knocked out in an earlier round managed to continue playing, which caused some problems. Thanks to Magellan and our friends at aok-conquerors.com, you can read up on all of the sordid details. (in french or english, or both if you wish) At any rate, you can't keep a good player down and NG_DeathKnight ended up walking away the champion! He'll be heading to the finals in Redmond, which isn't that far away now. (Oct 24th)

Here's our list of finalists, which is getting close to that final figure of fifteen. We're still looking for results from the Netherlands, Australia, Taiwan, and Singapore:

GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK)
SUD_Tkenobi (Argentina)
PN_Gary__Payton (Brazil)
Le_Duke_Of_Soda (Denmark)
__Mossar (Korea)
FAT_SWEDISH_BOY (Sweden)
DjiNN_crouvex (Germany -unconfirmed)
NG_DeathKnight (France)
Forum Party Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on September 29th, 2001 @ 3:37 a.m.
Our weekly Forum Party is taking place tomorrow, and all are invited to join us for some fun games! You can find all of the details on the where and when in the very lively Forum Party Post.

Stop in if you get a chance, and better yet, hang out and play a bunch of games with fellow forumers and the odd AOKH staffer. See you on the battlefield! ...that's me...an odd AOKH staffer... ; )
Galactic Battlegrounds Demo!
Posted by Thunder on September 29th, 2001 @ 2:12 a.m.
For those of you interested in seeing what the Lucas Arts crew has done with the Age II engine, GameSpot has a 70 MB demo of the game now available for download!

The game has been impressing many an Age fan with cool artwork, and causing many a Star Wars fan to rub their hands in anticipation. Give it a look! ...NOT a glorfied Mod...there are many major gameplay changes from Age and great unique art for each civ...and yes, you can kill Gungans! ; )
Just One Of Those Days...
Posted by Thunder on September 28th, 2001 @ 10:59 p.m.
We all have them. Days when nothing seems to go right, and things that can go wrong, do. ArrangedEarth was looking for some horror stories in this post at AOMH, from people who work at Ensemble Studios. Greg "DeathShrimp" Street and Chris "Swinger" Rupp laid out more than a few scenarios of things that do and have given them headaches on the job. Stop by and read up on their worst, and just plain bad days slaving away on games. ...sing..."Always look on the bright side of life..." ; )
MS Tournament Results...
Posted by Thunder on September 28th, 2001 @ 12:25 a.m.
There was a smurfy conclusion to the qualifier for Sweden yesterday. FAT_SWEDISH_BOY beat out _RIP_Strider to claim a trip to the finals of the MS International Tournament. It takes a very good player to beat Strider, who is a player that quite a few had picked to win this event. You can check out the final brackets here on the Zone to see how things played out.

I'm not sure this has been confirmed anywhere, but word is that DjiNN_crouvex, at long last, has claimed the spot in the finals for Germany. He won the first qualifier, and played the winner of the second German qualifier, which was added after much confusion over the check-in time.

Assuming we've got our story straight, our growing list of finalists looks like this:

GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK)
SUD_Tkenobi (Argentina)
PN_Gary__Payton (Brazil)
Le_Duke_Of_Soda (Denmark)
__Mossar (Korea)
FAT_SWEDISH_BOY (Sweden)
DjiNN_crouvex (Germany -unconfirmed)
Recorded Game: Argentina Finals...
Posted by Thunder on September 27th, 2001 @ 8:09 p.m.
Our thanks to Rick M. and Mike "Archangel" McCart for passing along the final game in the Argentina qualifier for the MS International Tournament. It features the champion of Argentina, Tkenobi, in fine form in this Viking vs Viking battle.

You can grab the game here in our recorded games section.

On a final note, pardon the pun, best of luck to all players duking it out in the qualifier for Sweden right now! ...still looking into who won the German spot in the finals... ; )
Quebec LAN Event...
Posted by Thunder on September 27th, 2001 @ 11:14 a.m.
Early in October, the province of Quebec will be the site of a LAN party, featuring AOK and quite likely the EE demo! (thanks AoK.cc) maimin_matty will be on hand for the action, as well as plenty of other Agers to shake your sword at. For more information, visit quebecpc.com/aok/. Play nice! ...bon chance tout le monde... ; )
Latest Addition To ES Team...
Posted by Thunder on September 26th, 2001 @ 8:45 a.m.
The winner of the "Heroes of the Ages" scenario design contest, held by Ensemble Studios earlier this year, has joined the Studios team! Known to fellow forumers as UndiscoveredBum, he dropped by our AOK Scenario Design Forum this evening and has been heartily congratulated by one and all:
"Thanks guys. Its been a few hectic months after the 'Heroes of the Ages' contest but I'm having tons of fun and learning a lot here.

I would like to thank everyone at AoK Heaven for hosting a place where you can really hone your skills and get great feedback on your work.

Keep designing!

-DiscoveredBum-"


Source - Congratulations to a AokHeaven member in...
Best of luck with your new position Joe!

You can download his winning entry in the scenario design contest, and the other top rated scenarios, here on the ES site. No doubt we will be seeing more of his work in the upcoming Age of Mythology! ...thanks Angel Rasher for the heads up...and the rest of the scenario designers out there who share my jealousy... ; )
MS Tournament Update...
Posted by Thunder on September 26th, 2001 @ 7:52 a.m.
Take two of the German qualifier for the MS International Tournament is a "GO!" today. They are still taking sign-ups as of right now, so if you're quick you'll still have a shot at getting your name in. Good luck to everybody, and be sure to take note of the start time and check-in time, which you can find here.

Tomorrow, the qualifier for Sweden is set to begin. Make sure your affairs are in order if you're taking part in that event! ...because you just may be on your way to Redmond for the finals... ; )
Rage Of The Dutch Fisherman!
Posted by Thunder on September 25th, 2001 @ 11:18 a.m.
This was becoming something like the Duke Nukem Forever of the Age scenario world, but at long long last it has arrived! As announced by the SCN Punks, this campaign, which has been in the works for years, has finally been completed and is ready to be played. The list of things included reads like a whole new game description:
"-6 mission(half voiced), about 20 hours of gameplay time.
-12 cutscenes(no voices though)
-Non Stop music which will make u FEEL the story.
-Non Stop Sound FX, this has never been tried before, nor for AoK nor for StarCraft, hope u like it and don`tm ind extra 20megs
-Epic Story(whatever that means anyway)"


Source - SCN Punk
It is a hefty download to say the very least, with plenty of sound files to go around. The campaign has taken so long to finish, and is just so massive, that it has peaked the interest of quite a few players. Head over to the SCN Punk site for more information and download options. ...here's a fun post looking at the lengthy history of ROTDF... ; )
Vote Virus...
Posted by Thunder on September 25th, 2001 @ 10:42 a.m.
Just another heads up on the virus front, courtesy of ZDNet. With lots of emotion and opinions on what kind of responce the USA should have to the terrorist attacks, this virus may claim a few poor PCs:
"The virus appears with the subject line: "Peace between America and Islam!" and the body of the e-mail reads: "Hi. Is it a war against America or Islam!? Let's vote to live in peace!" Perry said.

When the attachment entitled "WTC.exe" is opened, the virus deletes all the files on the computer's hard drive and sends copies of the original e-mail message to every address listed in the computer's address book, he said."


Source - ZDNet: Vote Virus
We received some positive feedback from the last virus heads up we gave, so we thought a further warning about this latest one to make an appearance couldn't hurt. ...hopefully updates like this will be few and far between... ; )
Apple Age Interview!
Posted by Thunder on September 24th, 2001 @ 10:37 p.m.
Catch a new interview with comments from ES designer Greg "DeathShrimp" Street here at apple.com. It is, of course, to promote the upcoming October release of AoE II Gold for the Mac, and also includes Peter Tamte's two cents. He is the president of Destineer Studios, which is responsible for this port.
"The original Age of Empires was a major success on the Macintosh, and both Tamte and Street expect nothing less with this release.

“We’re excited about it,�? Street says of AOE II: Gold’s imminent release for the Mac. “A good friend of mine felt bad for having to apologize to me for uninstalling the first Age of Empires on his Mac because it was interfering with his work too much. I can’t think of a nicer way to hear about someone not playing my game.�?


Source - Apple Games AoE II Gold Interview
Of further interest to Mac users is the system requirements, which are also part of this article. We'll see all of you Mac users on the battlefield shortly! ...sys requirements are pretty low...no G4 needed here! Thanks for Archangel for the heads up... ; )
Forums Up And Down...
Posted by Thunder on September 24th, 2001 @ 9:40 p.m.
For those of you who've had troubles accessing our forums in the last few hours, they are once again up and running! You can all stop in once again and post away. ...post on proud beauty... ; )
Forum Party Wrap Up...
Posted by Thunder on September 24th, 2001 @ 1:01 a.m.
Thanks to everybody who came out for a game or two! There were lots of games to go around, and in my case, most of them were long hard fought battle royals. Drop by the one and only Forum Party Post for tales of victory, defeat, and treachery.

Unfortunately, depending how you look at it, my first game wasn't recorded. It was a team islands game was turned into a 3 on 2 for the enemy when one of our team members went for dinner in the Feudal Age. Doh!

Actually, my second game was a 3 on 2 as well, but it really showed how recovering from a rush can really win the game for you. It was a coastal map, with Enriquillo (Celts, and in the pocket), The_Terminator1 (Mayans), and me (Aztecs) versus Fire_Wake (Franks), CSA_P_O_Hebert (Celts and in the pocket), and sarmis_Sala (Huns).

It was shaping up for be a good game. I rushed Fire_Wake with Eagle Warriors, and was able to take his town. Hebert sent a mass of knights at my army there, and thankfully not into my town, but I held on thanks to my Monks and Enriquillo, so we had all of the resources there.

At the 29 minute mark The_Terminator, who was doing very well at taking out a forward base near his land dropped. I asked if Enriquillo wanted to throw in the towel, but got no response, so I figured I hang around as long as he did.

Near Fire_Wake's town, Hebert built up a ton of buildings, blocking our progress with Champions, Heavy Scorpians, as well as Siege Shops, Barracks, Houses and just about anything else he could build. On the other side of the map, Sala and Fire_Wake moved into Terminator's territory, claiming his resources and moving slowly towards Enriquillo.

Despite Hebert's and my own best efforts to move forward into each other's territory, we couldn't move anywhere. It was a stalemate that lasted for the entire game, and sucked up most of my gold. Fire_Wake, who had recovered well from my raid also joined in the attacks and defence on this side of the map. If he had thrown in the towel, the game would have surely had a different outcome. (I think he actually had the largest army in the game!)

Enriquillo was helping me with Hebert and Fire_Wake, but Sala was making slow and steady progress towards his town. Eventually, she began to pound at his buildings with Trebuchets, Tarkens, and whatever else she could throw at him. Slowly, we were losing ground there, despite my best efforts to help out. It was a hard fought and GG all!

Hope to see you all again next week! ...fully upgraded Aztecs Pikes are great fun...created so fast and pack a serious punch! ; )
Game Powered Fundraiser!
Posted by Thunder on September 23rd, 2001 @ 10:44 a.m.
How does picking up some cool games and helping out with a good cause sound? The Game Rankings guys are holding a fundraiser that will allow you to do both. Mike "Archangel" McCart passed along the link, and revealed that Ensemble Studios is one of a great many companies which has made a donation to this cause:
"Game Rankings has teamed up with several Gaming Companies and eBay's Auctions for America program to raise money for The September 11th Fund! Gaming companies from around the world are sending me boxes of games to list on eBay to raise money for this cause. All proceeds from the auctions go to the September 11th fund and there is no charge for shipping!"

Source - Fundraiser
There are some great titles available, including some signed copies of the AoE Gold Edition. Please do what you can to help out. ...whether that's donating a game or two...or bidding on a great deal... ; )
Forum Party Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on September 22nd, 2001 @ 3:23 a.m.
Our weekly Forum Party event will be taking place tomorrow! All players are welcome to stop in and have some fun games with fellow forumers and an AOKH staffer or two. Standard settings, crazy settings, Nomad, shimo, anything goes!

If you'd like more information on when and where to particpate, read up on this event in the Forum Party Post. See you on the battlefield! ...I'll be the guy getting smacked around by NS_Smack... ; )
Finalist Interviews On The Zone...
Posted by Thunder on September 22nd, 2001 @ 1:11 a.m.
The gang at the Zone has done a few interviews with some of the finalists in the MS Interntaional Tournament. Those interviewed so far include the champions from the USA (Gx_Iron), Canada (Crexis), UK (SHS_North), and last but not least mighty Belgium (Elfanor).

The questions range from favorite civlizations, what they have planned for the $50,000, to their thoughts on the final game that earned them the win in their qualifying tournaments. A pretty fun read! ...and if you're the one who stole Crexis' zone name, you'd better watch out... ; )
Through The Move...
Posted by Thunder on September 21st, 2001 @ 10:25 a.m.
It is something that any webmaster fears, dreads, and hates to do more than once in a lifetime. It is the truly horrid...server move!

A stone, with note attached, was tossed through my window late yesterday evening that announced the return and successful move of Through The Ages. Webmaster Ogre sent along word they are back at it:
"It took longer than Ogre had anticipated to move the site to the new server. But Through The Ages is now back online! Hopefully most of the bugs have been weeded out. Please if anyone finds any errors on the site please let Ogre know. Also look for more updates as this week concludes as far as content is concerned. Right now Ogre is just happy to say that he is finally back! About darn time " - Ogre
Welcome back to the land of the living to TTA and all her crew. May your days be merry and bright, and may talking in third person never go out of style. ...pardon my borrowing/butchering of "White Christmas"...and I hope all our Jewish readers have had a happy start to their new year! ; )
MS Tournament Results...
Posted by Thunder on September 21st, 2001 @ 1:27 a.m.
No less than three qualifying tournaments have concluded of late, which means there are now three more players heading to the finals of the MS International Tournament.

Denmark: the qualifier was played today, with Le_Duke_Of_Soda coming out the winner! You can view the results here on the Zone.

Korea: one of the powerhouse nations when it comes to RTS games has wrapped up their qualifier. Grunt defeated Koven to claim a trip to the finals in October, as noted in this post at AoK.cc by __Daan.

Brazil: another nation which had a strong field of players, with PN_Gary__Payton rising to claim the crown. Thanks to FOX_Dio for the update.

These three join the growing list of finalists who will be fighting for thousands of dollars in prize money in Redmond:

GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK)
SUD_Tkenobi (Argentina)

A friend of mine also pointed out an article on Crexis that appeared in the local paper in Victoria. The article discusses his gaming history and his chances at picking up $50,000 in the finals. You can read it right here. ..."But before you dismiss the tournament as a meeting of global computer geeks..." hehe, there's that stigma that Korean gamers have shed... ; )
You Know You've Made A Killer Mod When...
Posted by Thunder on September 20th, 2001 @ 8:12 p.m.
Forumer Shadow Phoenix spotted the top notch Rome at War mod pack burned onto a CD and for sale in a store! You can read up on his report in this post. The post contains comments from Angel Spineman and Angel Draco on the legality of it all, and how it isn't the first time something like this has occurred. ...a fantastic mod, maybe too good for its own good... ; )
MS Tournament Update...
Posted by Thunder on September 20th, 2001 @ 6:56 a.m.
All of you who have registered for the Denmark qualifying tourney, the winner of which goes on to the finals of the MS International Tournament, will want to take note that your event gets underway today! It is a small field, with just under 90 players registered, but there are some talented players who will be battling for top spot. Make sure you show up well in advance of the start time in order to check-in. For more information on this event, head to this page.

Now open for registration is the French qualifier! You will have until September 26th to sign up for this event which is slated to begin on September 29th. Bon chance! ...end of September is going to be tourney mayhem on the Zone...Germany, France, and Sweden will all have their qualifying events then... ; )
Virus Info...
Posted by Thunder on September 20th, 2001 @ 3:46 a.m.
Every once in awhile we get another big bad reminder to keep our anti-virus software up to date. The latest has come in the form of the Nimda virus, which has been infecting home users and servers alike. Over at ZDNet you can find a collection of articles on this virus, describing everything from what it does to who's at risk.

Common sense is great anti-virus protection too. Opening .exe or .vbs e-mail attachments that arrive from people you do or do not know is never a good idea. If you don't have any anti-virus software, snap some up! ...there's even decent freebie anti-virus software out there, so no excuses... ; )
MFO Back In Action!
Posted by Thunder on September 19th, 2001 @ 6:55 p.m.
As many of you noticed, Mr.Fixit Online had some down time yesterday evening thanks to a dirty little virus that hit their server. Thanks to the dedicated staff over there, the site is now back up and running normally. Stop on in and pay them a visit! ...great work fellas! ; )

Update
MFO staffer blue_myriddn dropped by this post in our forums with an update on the MFO situation:
"Actually, we are going to be down again. The virus was a bit of a pain and we also had a group hack into our servers. *Not* a fun week to go live with a new look.

We should have things cleaned up by the end of the week though"
Mac Age: Two For One...
Posted by Thunder on September 18th, 2001 @ 7:44 p.m.
Another great piece of news for those awaiting the release of Age of Empires II for the Mac came yesterday. It was recently announced that the Mac version of Age II will also include all of the civs, campaigns, and tweaks in the Conquerors expansion pack as well!
"Destineer Studios / Bold announced today that the forthcoming Age of Empires II for Macintosh will include the The Conquerors Expansion, the original AoE 2 expansion pack, as part of its release. We here at Westlake are very pleased to be able to provide the additional civilizations, units, technologies, and campaigns of this great game. The resulting Age of Empires II: Gold Edition for Macintosh will contain the same elements as its Windows counterpart and retail for the same price.

As previously noted, AoE II hit the Beta stage earlier this month; we hope to bring it to completion in the very near future."


Source - Westlake Interactive: Age Gold Edition
That's a heck of a great deal for Mac users, who will also be able to run custom scenarios and campaigns that were created using the PC version of the game! ...looks like the looooong wait for a Mac version is almost over... ; )
MS Tournament Update...
Posted by Thunder on September 18th, 2001 @ 9:29 a.m.
Tomorrow at 22:00 GMT, registration will close for the Danish qualifier! You'll have to hop to it if you want a chance at getting to the finals of the MS International Tournament. The Danish qualifying tourney will start the day after registration closes, September 20th.

Also on the tourney front, the fellas at AoK.cc got the scoop that the Argentina qualifier, which was not held on the Zone, has a winner. SUD_Tkenobi will be going to Redmond for the finals, representing Argentina! He is added to the growing list of great players who'll shortly be battling for $100,000 in prize money.

GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK)
SUD_Tkenobi (Argentina)
New Staffer Graces Heaven...
Posted by Thunder on September 17th, 2001 @ 11:59 p.m.
A very warm welcome to ArmageddonUnlimited, who has joined the team here at AOKH! He will be working his tail off with the one and only Winston in the Strategy Forum on a special project:
"We welcome, Armageddon Unlimited, as a new Heaven Games Staff member.
His job is to create, and maintain the Strategy Forum Ladder System. He will be moderating these threads and will be setting it up based on playing and a full system. Due to this being official, both AU and myself are not on the Ladder.

During the next few days, AU will be setting this up (as you already have seen). Please support him and enjoy the new Ladder system."
- Winston

Source - Welcome a new HG Cherub
The ladder has been underway for some time, but is currently undergoing some changes and evolving thanks to feedback and ArmageddonUnlimited.

Drop by this post if you'd like to welcome AU aboard! ...great work Winstone and AU! ; )
Golden Visions & Gold Editions...
Posted by Thunder on September 17th, 2001 @ 10:41 a.m.
For those considering picking up the Age II Gold Edition that hit store shelves awhile back, you'll be interested in reading up on the review at GameVisions. Eventhough Age II is getting on in years, it is still tough to find a better RTS game on the market:
"Overall, AOEII Gold Edition is a massive bundle for the money value. Regardless of the game's visible age, it is still one of the most tactically intriguing classic RPGs you could get, and it is certainly a long-lived one. In addition the Gold bonus materials are certainly an enhancement."

Source - GameVisions Age II Gold Review
The overall rating earned was 93%, which is none too shabby. Pop on over and check out the full review, which is a thorough four pages long. ...he did thrash on Age II a bit in general, not realizing how different AoE and AoK play...but I s'pose we can forgive him since he likely hasn't played nearly as much of either as we have... ; )
Mod: Axis and Allies...
Posted by Thunder on September 17th, 2001 @ 2:51 a.m.
The latest big mod by Big Travis has been available for a few days now, and is getting generally positive reviews. Axis and Allies brings new units, such as tanks, airplanes, and various infantry types, as well as buildings and campaigns. Check out the description page for images and information on this mod. ...with the release of the Return to Castle Wolfenstien MP test, lots of folks are in the mood for some Axis and Allies battles... ; )
Forum Party Wrap Up...
Posted by Thunder on September 16th, 2001 @ 10:15 p.m.
Quite a few Agers seemed to call it a day early yesterday, so there were many more games underway at the earlier start time. I managed to sneak into a trio of games including a pretty good Nomad game which I'll try and get posted in the recorded games section later on today. There's already quite a few games from yesterday posted, check them out!

The teams in my first Nomad game were NS_SkySpirit (Mongol), NS_Smack (Japan), and Tonto_TNK (China) versus SLAYER_SERVANT (Teuton), CC_Honochio (Goth), and me (Saracen). My start was just plain bad. I wasn't near the open water and walked around for a long time looking for a good spot for my TC. In fact, I think everyone else was done constructing their TCs when I had finally started work on mine, but by that time I tracked down a dozen sheep and had a fantastic spot. SkySpirit plunked his TC down by three boar, a place I nearly dropped by TC, and I was just seconds away from stealing one but he got them all!

Both of my allies, Honochio and SERVANT, were saying they had plunked down their TCs close to the enemy. SERVANT was right between Smack and SkySpirit, and both of them beat him to the Feudal Age and began building towers on him. Thankfully, SERVANT was Teutons and after he had used his villagers to destroy several enemy towers while he was getting to Feudal, he then set down a forest of his own super towers and amazingly held both enemies off. Honochio rebuilt his TC elsewhere, leaving the top of the map to TNK, who attacked Honochio's remaining buildings in the Feudal Age. It was an empty town though, so TNK didn't do any damage to Honochio.

I tried to take some pressure off of SERVANT by attacking SkySpirit in the Feudal Age, and I had him in trouble when I beat him to Castle and started taking out his TC. But he and Smack were a good team, with Smack coming in to help him out. Both of the NS guys then started dropping Castles, which stopped my attacks dead.

SERVANT held his town remarkably well, until Smack hit Imperial and broke out the Trebuchets. His original town was slowly leveled, but he was firmly planted in the middle of the map with many stone and gold mines. Both Smack and SkySpirit turned their attention to me, but thanks to help from Honochio and my Bombard Cannons --great treb killers--, we hung on for awhile. I resigned as TNK and Smack began to treb SERVANT and me in the middle of the map, while SkySpirit was trebbing my town into the stone age. GG all, well fought!

For more war stories and impressions from the Forum Party, check out the always lively Forum Party Post and I hope to see ya next week. ...a lil NOmad is good for your soul... ; )
Forum Party Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on September 15th, 2001 @ 1:32 a.m.
The guy on the horse swinging a dirty big sword hails the coming of another Forum Party! Players of all skill levels are welcome to join us tomorrow for some games on the Zone. You'll find all of the details on the where and when in the Forum Party Post, as well as room for any questions you may have about the event.

We had a grand showing last week, here's hoping you have some time to stop by. See you on the battlefield! ...will try to post a recorded game or two on Sunday... ; )
Denver LAN Event...
Posted by Thunder on September 14th, 2001 @ 11:26 a.m.
If you live in the Denver area, RookKev has been organizing an event that will surely prove to be a great diversion this Saturday night. From 6-10pm tomorrow, you'll have your chance to play games with fellow Agers in a lag free LAN environment! You can find all of the details in this post.

RookKev has helped to organize a previous Age event, in the same cafe I think, that proved quite a lot of fun. It was even attended by Mike "Archangel" McCart of Ensemble Studios, although it looks like they'll be partying without him this time around as he's busy with AoM stuff. Definately try and stop by if you have the chance! ...a 56k users dream... ; )

Update
Organizer of the event, RookKev sent word that this is a new venue, and he will have some Age/gaming materials to distribute amongst those who participate!
AOK For Mac Reaches Beta!
Posted by Thunder on September 13th, 2001 @ 8:14 p.m.
The developers who are working on Age of Kings for the Mac have recently announced another major milestone:
"Age of Empires II has reached the Beta milestone. Current development is focused on optimization and bug squashing. When complete, the game will support Mac OS 8.6, Mac OS 9, and Mac OS X with a single application program. You will also be able to download and use custom campaigns developed for the PC version of the game.

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


Source - Westlake Interactive
A great bit of news for Mac users was the line about custom campaigns (scenarios most likely as well) made for the PC version working for the Mac version! I'm not sure if the compatilibity will go back the other way, as Macs are generally much much better about being able to read/use PC materials than PCs are with using Mac materials.

Given that it has already reached beta status, it will likely be in stores in time for Christmas. ...big THANK YOU to YDB for the heads up... ; )
Random Map Reviews...
Posted by Thunder on September 13th, 2001 @ 2:36 a.m.
No doubt you are familiar with the player created scenarios and campaigns being reviewed in our Blacksmith. Beyond that, you'll now find reviews of player created random map scripts by Cherub Thurdl, and a few other folks with RMS experience. Check out our random map section for reviews of great new maps, that will add to your gaming experience. ...nothing like a funky new map to liven things up... ; )
Tournament Reminders...
Posted by Thunder on September 12th, 2001 @ 9:14 a.m.
A couple of reminders today for those who are getting set to battle for a spot in the finals for the MS International Tournament.

Germany: your re-qualifier will get underway today! You can still sign up for this event, if you hurry. Be sure to check in at 17:00Uhr and 18:00Uhr, which is the hour before the event will start, at 18:00Uhr or 16:00 GMT.

Sweden: registration closes for your qualifier today at 22:00 GMT. This is your last chance, so make sure that you have signed up for a spot in the finals! ...no word on these events being delayed or rescheduled due to the events yesterday in the US...I s'pose the show must go on... : \

Update
The gang at AoK.cc have been made aware that the German qualifier that was to be held today has been post poned until September 26. The check-in and start times remain the same, the day of the event has just been moved back to the 26th.
WTC Destroyed...
Posted by Thunder on September 11th, 2001 @ 9:29 p.m.
You've likely been watching or listening to news reports on the planes that have crashed into and destroyed the World Trade Center buildings in New York this morning. News sites across the internet have been bogged down with people trying to find information on the unbelievable events in that city, and even gaming and technology sites have been offering what information they can find. (I've been reading up on things at ZDNet and lots of links and information at Blues News)

There are places in the US and Canada (perhaps in other nations as well) to donate blood, which is in high demand in New York right now. Check with your local news or blood bank or Red Cross and please do what you can to help out. ...hard to find words to describe... : |
MS Tournament: German Qualifier Pt II...
Posted by Thunder on September 11th, 2001 @ 2:25 a.m.
For all of you who were set to participate in the German qualifier for the MS International Tournament, but missed out on the event due to timezone confusion, you'll have another crack at it! (thanks www.ageofkings.cc) You can now register for this re-qualifier, which will see the winner of this event take on the winner from the last German qualifier.

Make sure you note the start time and check-in time, which you can find here. ...maybe they should come up with a "Zone Time" for all Zone events... ; )
Battle For The Norwegian Crown!
Posted by Thunder on September 10th, 2001 @ 11:59 a.m.
Miffed because your country was not included in the international tournament? Well perhaps you can follow Norway's lead! Arve Kvaløy sends word that an event has been arranged to decide who's the best of the bunch in Norway, with a cash prize to offer some more incentive:
"Grand Norwegian Tournament! Great prizes for a total of 10.000,- norwegian kroners.

Since Norway havent been allowed participation in the International Tournament, we have made our own tournament to find the Norwegian Age of Empires Champion. The tourney starts Saturday 6th of october and is open for all norwegian players of all ages free of charge (and you wont have to write essays either).

The tourney is sponsored by Microsoft, AkersMic and PCPro with great prizes for the profesional gamer.

More information at http://www.kingsofnorway.com or email tourney@kingsofnorway.com"
- Arve Kvaløy
Thanks for the note Arve, and here's my traditional good luck wishes to all those who'll be battling for the crown in this event! ...perhaps Potejon will come out and defend his crown... ; )
AOKH Reviewed...
Posted by Thunder on September 10th, 2001 @ 11:13 a.m.
We're constantly getting feedback from readers of this site, but Angel BullsWool spotted a full on review in a gaming magazine. Have a look at the transcript of the PC Powerplay Gameguide review of AOKH, which was done awhile back, before our new design was implemented. Hopefully the changes have further added to the ease of use around here.

Many thanks to all of the contributors --staff, scenario designers, mod designers, forumers, readers, strat writers-- who take part and keep us going. ...thanks BullsWool...now go one before I start to cry... ; )
Forum Party Wrap Up...
Posted by Thunder on September 10th, 2001 @ 10:36 a.m.
A little late, and a little short, but I thought I'd share a war story from our weekly Forum Party which was held back on Saturday. There were quite a few games being played, and I got mixed up in four of them. It could have been more, but my ISP dropped me like a bad habit right at the start of a 4 on 4 game.

My first game pretty much summed up how things went for me. It was a grand team islands game, which is one of my favourite maps. It was a random civ 4 on 4 war, featuring Ozymandias2001 (Vikings...lucky draw there), Tonto_TNK (Japan...nice water civ too), Player_Theta (Aztecs...haha), and Tonto_BNC (Saracens...another nice water civ) versus Tonto_Alyantis (Britons), GNon42 (Mongols), wcc_timber47 (Goth), and me (Persia...I was happy with that!). Whew, big teams featuring a couple of guys I had never played with before.

Things are pretty quiet for the first 10 minutes or so, as is generally the case on team islands. I haven't played much of late, so I've forgotten those little things that become habit if you play regularly. I started gathering my boars very late because I couldn't see them, and this put me on pace for a very slow feudal time. I spotted BNC's docks right across from me in the Dark Age, and he hits Feudal well ahead of me. My fishing fleet, although fairly small, is sunk pretty quickly and I begin a long battle for the sea. On the other end of our island, Alyantis is being hit on the water by Player_Theta, who gains the upper hand and goes for a landing. The war on the water looks bleak, but I'm still in it, that is until TNK shows up with another group of galleys to add to BNC's fleet. This galley war has gone on for over 15 minutes when BNC advances to the Castle Age. My ally, timber47 sails a few fire ships my way to help out, but BNC upgrades to War Galleys, and sinks our combined fleet with ease. With the water in the other team's control, the landings began. Player_Theta on one end dropping barracks, and BNC drops a pair of stables on my end and dreaded knights enter my town. Stuck firmly in the Feudal Age and with little in the way of resources, I tribute what I have away and bow out of the match.

It was a rough first game, well fought by the enemy. Afterwards, SWAT_War and I had a nice quiet 1 on 1 game which he let me win. Thanks for cheering me up War! There were a host of other games that included Vidguy --who worked on this very site many moons ago-- MurphGuitar, RLMA_Gangsta, Matt_Stanec --the tower king-- and a host of others. Thanks to all those who popped in for a game, and stop into the Forum Party Post for some more views on the big batch of games that were played! ...my skill has sunk to the level where games are a long slow death...must find time to practice! ; )
Action At Tsunami Studios!
Posted by Thunder on September 9th, 2001 @ 2:54 a.m.
This message was brought to you by The Conquistador! Anyone interested in the fine art of scenario design will want to take note of the re-opening of this particular site:
"*** Tsunami Studios Press Release: The Tsunami Group Grand Re-Opening ***

I am pretty sure that some of you know, but for the rest of you, you probably haven't heard that The Tsunami Group, subdivision of Tsunami Studios, has been ripped up and rebuilt. Under the same directory, it now has a much better look. Why the redesign you say? Because TTG needs to prepare itself for Empire Earth, Age of Mythology, and some others. However, with a new site comes new mission goals and projects (we haven't finished putting up the projects yet), and of course, new people. If you are interested in The Tsunami Group, or Tsunami Studios at that, please contact us at kub_inquizative@hotmail.com for Tsunami Studios and stan_the_conquistador@hotmail.com for The Tsunami Group. And it doesn't matter if you want to join as a student or a staff, or instructor of the students, as long as you express interest. Our goal is to reach out to the community, not create some sort of exlusive club. So use the emails and links listed above if you want to contact us or just want to visit us. Thank you for your time

P.S: Glory of the Tang (Destiny of a Dynasty contest 2nd place) and Qi Ji Guang VS the Japanese Pirates (ES "Heroes of the Ages" contest honorable mention) will be available for download soon at The Tsunami Group

Signed, The Conquistador
Emperor of The Tsunami Group"
- The Conquistador
Looks like a good place for an aspiring scenario designer to get his or her feet wet, while learning from their fellow designers. Pop on over to TTG site and have a look at their latest design. ...all this tsunami talk is making me a lil sick...sea sick... ; )
Siege Engines...
Posted by Thunder on September 8th, 2001 @ 3:45 a.m.
While poking around on Slashdot.org yesterday, Angel Zen and our bud Ben Garvey (who used to go by Angel Washizu right here on this very news page for a long time) found a great site all about siege engines from way back when. At www.siege-engine.com you'll find models, kits, and pictures from pumpkin throwing competitions that feature Trebuchets, Onagers, and more. Those competitions look like great fun, and some folks have really gone all out and created some huge Trebs!

A forumer here at AOKH also threw some images of his own model Trebuchet quite awhile back. GODs_Wrestler130 has shown off his monstrosity below and sent along this description:
"In all, I have maybe 4 different versions of trebs, but I like this one best. I actually have a chassis that looks exactly like the treb from AOK. This one has a sling on it, which GREATLY improves the firing range. I was first inspired to make a treb when Captn_Kid from ES posted his egg throwing one a while ago. and to all them lego lovin forumners out there, this is what makes K'NEX rule :P, I can knock your lego castles down with little tiny rocks . as you can see, my ammo is in the forground, and in one, you get a closer view of the arm and the sling. The sling is made from "basement light 'pull strings'", and a piece of old dress shirt. This particular model of Treb was whiped together in about an hour, my first one (the one from AOK) took maybe a total of 8 hours in total engineering/build time."


Important Forum News!
Posted by Thunder on September 7th, 2001 @ 8:13 p.m.
We are soon to have a merger of two forum databases here in Heaven. It is important that you have an up to date and active e-mail address in your profile that we can reach you at, otherwise you may loose your forum account!

For a more detailed explanation of what is happening and why, check out Angel MeatLoafX's post here in the OD forum. ...people must realize that technology is not to be feared...especially advances in brewing! ; )
Timezone Confusion...
Posted by Thunder on September 7th, 2001 @ 4:11 a.m.
The German qualifier for the finals of the MS International Tournament apparently started just a bit early today, causing quite a few players to miss out on their chance to compete. There was a mix up regarding the timezones, and enough people were left out of the event that it appears they Zone crew will be running another qualifier at some point. More of the gory details can be found in this post by FOPT_Strawberry.

We will have to wait awhile yet to find out who's going to be representing that nation in the finals. The Official Tournament Forum would be a good place to get some updates on this from the folks in charge, although I'm not sure if that will happen as that forum has been mighty quiet. ...to heck with timezones...let's go with a world time! ; )
Shelley & Meier: Historical Accuracy...
Posted by Thunder on September 7th, 2001 @ 0:33 a.m.
The dynamic duo, Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley, designers of many famous game titles, are featured in this New York Times article (must register to view, but that takes all of two seconds) entitled, "In Historical Games, Truth Gives Way to Entertainment". The debate over historical accuracy in the Age series has gone on for years, and continues with upcoming titles such as Civilization III and of course Age of Mythology. Both Sid and Bruce explore their reasoning behind putting history in the back seat:
"Mr. Meier believes that giving players too much information can make the game too arcane or controversial for its own good. For that reason, the historical data used to construct the simulations seldom run deeper than the content of an illustrated history book for children.

Another software designer who spends his research time in the children's aisle is Bruce Shelley, a former assistant to Mr. Meier who has since been one of the creators of Age of Empires. Like his former mentor, Mr. Shelley believes that the staying power of such games relies on forgoing the restraints of accuracy for the sake of entertainment. He said, "It's like that famous quote from John Ford," who once remarked that it is more important to film the legend than the truth."


Source - NY Times: In Historical Games, Truth...
No doubt some non children who play RTS games will be a little put off by the reference to children's books, but it is a way of thinking that has yielded some fantastic games. Afterall, gameplay is king with game buyers. The full article is an interesting read, even containing a lil' ol' mention of HeavenGames. ...great lead paragraph for the article too... ; )
Microsoft, Together Forever...
Posted by Thunder on September 6th, 2001 @ 8:33 p.m.
The publisher of the AoE series, and now owner of the developers Ensemble Studios, is no longer under threat of a break up. The change in government in the US has given Microsoft a little more breathing space:
"The Bush administration, reversing the Clinton White House legal strategy against Microsoft, told the software manufacturer Thursday it no longer seeks to have the company broken up.

The department also said it will not pursue the bundling issues in its protracted antitrust suit against the software giant."


Source - Yahoo! News
Stop in and read up on the full article for all the exciting legal and political talk. ...and then go buy MS stocks... ; )
Connnnn!........Khaaaan!
Posted by Socvazius on September 6th, 2001 @ 3:07 a.m.
After more than a month of dealing with Viruses, access code problems, a screwed up net connection, and everything else that could ever happen to me and my computer, I'm finally back on the job, updating the University and whatever else the slavedriver Thunder makes me do ;-) . So anyone that has sent me an article that hasn't been put up yet in the past 2 months, please send it again. My email is socrateius@heavengames.com... I couldn't think of an interesting news title that actually had anything to do with the article :-p
Ogre Is On The Move!
Posted by Thunder on September 5th, 2001 @ 11:03 p.m.
...and he's taking his websites with him. Ogre, the head cheese at Through The Ages is currently working on a server move, which is never a pleasant thing. So, he threw an extra large brick through my window with the customary note attached:
"Yep that's right Through The Ages will be changing servers here real shortly. Reason? Well Game Tropics Network is no longer going to be around here in a week or two. It will soon be known as Ogres's Network. Of course its much more than just a name change. With this move, the forums will be down for possibly Thursday through Saturday. Minimal downtime is expected for the site or maybe none at all. Ogre shall keep everyone posted on this, so please check the site often.

The Ogre says: Don't worry! Through The Ages isn't leaving the net "
- Ogre
Here's hoping the server move goes off without a hitch! ...because I'd hate to see what he tosses through my window if it doesn't... ; )
Patch: Korean 1.0c
Posted by Thunder on September 5th, 2001 @ 10:52 p.m.
The last version of the 1.0c patch has now been posted for download, this time in Korean. It is also available in Japanese, German, Spanish, Italian, French, and finally ye olde English. Make sure your copy of the Conquerors expansion is up to date with the latest patch! ...otherwise you are trainer bait... ; )
Tournament Registration Reminders...
Posted by Thunder on September 5th, 2001 @ 11:19 a.m.
Sticking with the topic of the MS International Tournament today, here is some important information for those Agers in Germany and Sweden.

Registration will close for the German qualifying tournament at 22:00 GMT today. If you're a resident of that country, don't pass up your chance at a trip to the finals in Redmond, and that $50,000 grand prize! [Hmmm, it seems sign ups closed early?] The tournament will get underway at 18:00 GMT on September 6, but you may want to double check that time.

Registration is now open for the Swedish qualifier! You have a week to make sure your name is on the big list. ...registration for German event was to close on Sept 5, 22:00 GMT = Sept 5, 17:00 EST...sun is just rising on the east coast right now : \

Link: Official Tournament Forum
Aussie Tournament Oddity...
Posted by Thunder on September 5th, 2001 @ 9:16 a.m.
When I first read ArmageddonUnlimited's post regarding entrance into the Australian event for the MS International Tournament, I thought it was a joke. It's not often that you are judged on your creative writing to gain access to a tournament, but that is apparently the case here:
"First, they is only allowing 3 of our eastern states to participate (Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland). Fortunately for me - I live in Victoria at least.

Then, we got to write in 25 friggin words or less what we love best about The Conquerers in order to get selected to be one of the 50 that gets to compete for that state - that's right 50!!! Not based on skill - not based on game knowledge - but apparently rated by a 'panel' of MSN peoples who gonna judge it for creativity (what da hell do they actually want though?!?!?)."


Source - Australian section of 50kTourney...
Well, this news has been making the rounds on Age sites (The Gamers Box, AoK.cc) and the reaction is pretty much as expected, anger and frustration. Aussie experts could potentially be left sitting on the side lines for this tournament, while a player with a creative flare for writing competes. It seems winning that tournament will take much more than playing skills.

Now, a Brazilian event with two rounds of DM doesn't sound so out of the question, does it? ...double check the settings for your national event...and cross your fingers you won't get any nasty surprises... ; \
Roger Wilco & GameSpy...
Posted by Thunder on September 4th, 2001 @ 12:06 a.m.
The guys behind some of the best/most popular match making software on the net have geared up to give us something a little different. GameSpy announced today that they are bringing us a new and improved version of the original RW voice chat software:
"Roger Wilco is a "virtual walkie-talkie" that allows people to talk to each other, strategizing or hurling challenges, while playing multiplayer games online. GameSpy has re-tooled Roger Wilco using its own GameSpy.Net technology, a robust set of tools and backend services that power some of the gaming industry's most immersive multiplayer experiences."

Source - GameSpy Daily
The benefits of being able to tell your ally exactly what is going on in the heat of battle without having to type are well known. This may be something worth looking into for you and your chums.

Roger wilco is available as shareware, and you can choose to register it for a yearly fee of $19.95. Yep, that's not a one time payment. You can download it here, a modest 770kb. ...haven't used RW in well over a year, but it wasn't half bad at the time... ; )
Age Marathoner!
Posted by Thunder on September 3rd, 2001 @ 10:00 a.m.
Just thinking about it makes me tired. Age_DeathKnight played an insane 49 games over the course of the weekend event to win it all! Right on his heels was the runner-up, FOPT_Elderberry who went 29W and 6L in his 35 total games.

Stop in at AoK.cc for blue_myriddn's wrap-up of the event, and check out the final standings for a look at just how close the race for top spot was. ...wonder how much coffee/Red Bull DeathKnight went through... ; )
A Few Good Agers...
Posted by Thunder on September 3rd, 2001 @ 9:43 a.m.
In need of some help, TheWill, who heads up aoe2.com, has put out a call for men and materials, so to speak. He's looking for a sturdy crew to overhaul the site and set it on a new course. Do drop in on aoe2.com if you an lend a hand! ...Blizzard tantilizes us with another: World of Warcraft ; )
Gold Edition Sighting...
Posted by Thunder on September 3rd, 2001 @ 9:14 a.m.
For those extremely patient bargain hunters or Age collectors out there, I've sighted the AoE II Gold Edition here in Vancouver, Canada. It was in great quantities at my local EB, and they also had the original AoK with a $30 rebate, which is quite a steal. Since Vancouver is on the left coast, it is very likely that it has already been available for sometime in the eastern parts of Canada.

This certainly isn't very exciting news if you don't live around here, but it does go to show that it is becoming widely available. Check in with your local software dealer as they may already have it in stock! ...ack, Myll _Slaghter informed me The_Piemaster was DQ'd from the MS tourney...for shame dude! : P
SHS_North, King Of UK!
Posted by Thunder on September 1st, 2001 @ 8:41 a.m.
Things seemed to go as planned today in the UK qualifier in the MS International Tournament. That's right, we have another name to add to the list of players heading to Redmond for the finals! The recorded game is available here at AoK.cc. It was a Viking vs Viking affair which saw _steve13579 (aka SHS_North) defeat _UKAK_Grim in a ways over 45 minutes.

The next national qualifier will be Germany, on September 6th. Registration is still open for this event, until September 5th, so make sure you sign up if you haven't already.

Current list of finalists:
GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK) ...ack, The_Piemaster made it to top 16 in the UK event...great job dude! ; )
Forum Party Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on September 1st, 2001 @ 1:27 a.m.
All are welcome to attend our first Forum Party for the month of September! Tomorrow we will be gathering on the Zone for some fun games of AoC, just pop into the weekly Forum Party Post for all of the details on where and when.

Party games are great for playing with odd or fun settings, and they'll also keep you in good gaming shape for...tournaments! ...ongoing, or upcoming... ; )