Archived News From October 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!

ES Spotlight On Magellan & Dallas!
Posted by Thunder on October 31st, 2001 @ 9:16 p.m.
There's a two for one spotlight special today at Ensemble Studios, where they have another feature on fansite webmasters. Magellan and his brother Dallas work on a whole network of french websites, including several Age related sites:
"Magellan (left in the picture)

Full name Frédéric C.
Nick name: Magellan
Co-founder of the french Age of Empires series fan site "Alliance-Francophone"
Site title: Team manager, Public relations.
Home town: Lyon, France.

Interests/hobbies:
Internet, real time strategic games and of course the fan site we are running since august 1998. Beyond internet I especially like to meet and chat with people from all horizons. Like most of french people I like good food and wine. This is the reason why it has always been hard for me to become a good player at Age of Empires (playing with a cigar in one hand and a glass of cognac in the other one doesn't help multitasking). I like movies too and I own tons of DVDs, especially american movies.

...

Dallas (right in the picture)

Full name: Sylvain C.
Co-founder of the french Age of Empires series fan site "Alliance-Francophone"
Real job: IT Consultant
Site title : Editor in Chief, Lead Programer and Designer.
Home town: New York City

Interests/hobbies:
RTS games (started with Populous a while ago) though I don't play that much now, since running a gaming portal such as the Alliance Fancophone Network keeps me quite busy. I used to be a good player at Age of Empires / Rise of Rome though no-one really fears me now I'm also addicted to my guitar and I even had a Rock'n Roll band in France before moving to New York, so maybe I'm the next Bono and the public is not prepared for that yet, hehe. Above all I love spending some time with my old friends from school."


Source - ES News
The full article is available at the ES News page, and you can pay a visit to these two fellas at their many websites. Their Age sites include aok-conquerors.com and age-of-mythology.com, both well worth visiting! ...drinking and gaming...tsk tsk... ; )
Funky Settings For MS Finals!
Posted by Thunder on October 31st, 2001 @ 7:45 p.m.
Continental has been thrown out the window for the MS International Tournament from here on in! The finalists have a new list of maps to deal with, and we have a chance at listening in on the play by play of the games by some of the Ensemble Studios team:
"Microsoft today announced the official settings for the Age of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tournament Finals. Sixteen finalists from around the world will meet face-to-face in Redmond, Washington on Wednesday, November 7, to compete for a total prize pool of almost $100,000. One conqueror will emerge victorious and walk away with the grand prize of $50,000. Live play-by-play coverage of the world finals will be hosted by several members of the Ensemble Studios development team, creators of the Age of Empires series. To participate, visit the Zone Theater Chat room (http://zone.msn.com/zzzz/auditorium.asp) on November 7 from 12pm to 3pm PST.

The tournament will consist of a single elimination bracket in which opponents will be determined by a random drawing. Each match will be played using Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion and the following settings:

Map Style: Standard
Location: Archipelago (first round)
      Arabia (quarterfinals)
      Mediterranean (semi-finals)
      Highland (finals)
Resources: Low
Difficulty: Standard
Population Limit: 200
Starting Age: Dark Age
Victory Condition: Standard
Map Size: Tiny
Reveal Map: Normal
Game Speed: Normal
Lock Teams: Enable
Cheats: Disable
All Tech: Disable
Record Game: Enable"
Some very interesting map choices, but no doubt the experts who've qualified will have no troubles with them. Best of luck to all of the players in these final rounds of the event, and may the best player win!

I live pretty close to Redmond, and will hopefully be hitching a ride down to see the finals with my pal Vidguy, to get a first hand look at things. With a little luck, I'll be able to send in a bit of news while down there, so stay tuned! ...Archipelago...a very odd little map that...will make things interesting! ; )
Forum Findings...
Posted by Thunder on October 31st, 2001 @ 9:27 a.m.
While sifting through the festive forums, great decorating job Angel Zen, I bumped into a post by Gordon Farrell. He's been at work on Empire Earth scenarios, but as work on that game has wrapped up, he's gone back to his roots, so to speak, and has released a new campaign for AoK:TC:
"As Britain Lay Bleeding: A Pendragon Saga #1

Britain is in a time of deep crisis. She lies defenseless as hordes of barbarians swoop down from the north. But out of this anguish, a new ruling family will arise. It is the House of Constantine… the royal family that will eventually produce a legendary monarch known as King Arthur. This campaign tells the story of Arthur’s royal house decades before he himself was even born. Here you will encounter the villains and heroes who shaped the early history of the Arthurian Age: Constantine the noble, Vortigern the ruthless, Guithelinus the holy. Witness the birth of Merlin and the invasion of the Saxon horde. The Pendragon Saga begins here."
Many of you probably know Gordon from his previous scenario work here in the Age community. His creations have been top notch, so if you're into grabbing a great campaign, look no further. ...if you're celebrating Halloween, be safe and have a great one! ; )
WCG Results...
Posted by Thunder on October 30th, 2001 @ 11:47 a.m.
With the huge final event in the World Cyber Games set to take place on December 5th, many of the national qualifying tournaments have begun. As reported on AoK.cc, the mighty Koeans and the Japanese have wrapped up their qualifiers, with RD_Champion and HALEN winning these events respectively.

The battles continue for a trip to the US finals on MFO's WCG Ladder. Debaser, Gx_Iron, Nox_Jinx, and a host of others are all attempting to be at the top when the ladder closes on November 4th!

From Planet AoE comes word that the qualifier in Belgium has also been completed, and Elfanor walk away the champion once again! He also won the MS International qualifier, and will be in Redmond in less than a week to compete in the finals. You'll find a write-up complete with recordings here, courtesy RTS Holland.

Results from the recent French qualifier can be had at www.aok-conquerors.com, which was quite the show. Some familiar names were involved in that event, strap on your french dictionary and drop by for the full story.

There is also an impending rumble this week in Canada. Beginning on November 2nd, and lasting through to November 4th, the Canadian qualifier will be taking place at the Ontario Science Centre. A few of the Age players currently registered include these heavy weights: Iwillwinu (aka Christhebest, current #1 on AoK.cc's ladder), Crexis, Youngunz, Lightning_Cn, _RCF_Joe, and _riZen_Magi who gave Christhebest all he could handle in their western Canadian qualifier but came in runner-up. It will be very interesting to see who rises to the occasion out of this group! Check out the WCG Canada site for more info, or to see who else is currently registered.

As always, best of luck! ...I think the winner of the WCG event should face the winner of the MS event for the title of "Champion of the Universe"... ; )
New Ladder Champ!
Posted by Thunder on October 30th, 2001 @ 0:33 a.m.
There is quite a fight brewing for top spot on the AOKH Ladder, with yet another new champion on top for the start of this week! TITAN_Perun strung some victories together and managed to dethrone Myll_Slaghter, who was sitting on the top rung of the ladder last week for the second time. The current standings are:
  1. 144: TITAN_Perun
  2. 137: Myll_Slaghter
  3. 136: _Final_Boss
  4. 131: cow_gone_mad
  5. 124: Canadian2002
  6. 121: magicmel
  7. 112: Doink/112: lummir
  8. 111: Time_Itself
  9. 109: Canadian_CrayZ
  10. 108: Stendecca


Source - AOKH Ladder
That's a pair of crazy Canadians that we now have in the top ten list. Watch out for those two!

Drop in on the Ladder Post for more information on how to get involved. ...afraid of heights myself...not to mention that headless horseman in our title pic...eeep! ; )
Spotlight Turned Off...
Posted by Thunder on October 29th, 2001 @ 8:48 p.m.
We won't be having any spotlight features on Ensemble Studios staff for the next few days as Mike "Archangel" McCart is out of town. He did manage to post a great looking Age of Mythology screenshot with his farewell message, just pop over to the ES News page and have a look see. Spotlights should resume towards the end of the week. ...spotlight this: MotherDown ...band I've seen a few times 'round these parts... ; )
Forum Party Wrap Up...
Posted by Thunder on October 29th, 2001 @ 3:41 a.m.
Well, they did it again! Congratulations to Petard_Rusher and his drunken partner Nomadz_magicmel who once again won our 2 on 2 tourney held at the Forum Party. We had some great teams involved, including _Lavalamp and the infamous SeekDefeat, who'll shortly be on his way to Redmond for the finals in Microsoft's International Tournament. It was kind of an anti-climax when this team pulled out of the competition, but perhaps they'll be back! You can find the completed brackets in this post.

Also, a big thank you to magicmel who uploaded some lovely recorded games from this event. You can see the winning team in action in several games, just drop in on our recorded games section and nab those. (If you had troubles downloading those games earlier, try again...Angel Spineman has patched the problem!)

If you haven't had enough tournaments, there's a couple you may be interested in that are gearing up right now. Posted here, is a planned event for the next forum party. There's also another 2 on 2 event in the works, which you can find more about in this post. Best of luck! ...taking a break from tournaments myself...whew! ; )
Forum Party Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on October 26th, 2001 @ 8:15 p.m.
Tomorrow we will be taking to the Zone for some games with fellow forumers! All are invited to stop in and participate, in a few friendly games or our 2 on 2 mini-tourney. You'll find all of the important details in this post.

While you're in the forums, take a look at this post by former master of this domain, Ben "Washizu" Garvey, which provides a link to a great trebuchet story, complete with pictures. ...human cannon balls have nothing on those guys! ; )
Games Gone Gold...
Posted by Thunder on October 26th, 2001 @ 7:45 p.m.
Work on a couple of promising titles has recently wrapped up, and they are now being duplicated a zillion times and put into their little boxes.

Empire Earth: officially announced as gold today, we should start seeing this game in stores around November 13.

Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: the RTS using the Age II engine went gold awhile ago, and will be in stores early in November. ...did some beta testing on SWGB...it was very exciting to see what the LucasArts team did with this game... ; )
ES Spotlight On REV!
Posted by Thunder on October 26th, 2001 @ 6:42 p.m.
a.k.a. Reverend, and formerly Archangel. It looks like ES artist Duncan "REV" McKissick has a nickname for his nickname. He is currently standing in the ES spotlight, thankfully, fully clothed:
"Short Bio:

You mean my 'rap sheet'?

  • Public nudity - I accepted a dare from Paul Slusser (another artist here), I lost.
  • Vandalism - I didn't like the looks of that statue.
  • Public nudity again - Paul won another bet.
  • Public Intoxication - We were seeing if you could get drunk by sucking beer thru a straw with your nose.
  • Public nudity and vandalism - I was body painting.
  • Public intoxication while vandalizing in the nude - I'll spare you the details.
  • Received 1st place in pie eating contest 1980 state fair. "


Source - ES News
While reading through the rest of the article, don't miss out on taking a closer look at Duncan's picture. There's a whole lot of little images and text on his monitor, a mysterious chart near his keyboard, and many "pills". ...looks like a picture of his son on the far right...Furious Woad McKissick! ; )
2on2 Mini-Tourney!
Posted by Thunder on October 25th, 2001 @ 11:26 p.m.
The settings for our latest Forum Party mini-tournament have been posted! Once again, it will be a team event, so grab yourself a partner before Saturday. The tourney will be run during this Saturday's Forum Party on the good ol' Zone, but there's a few differences in the settings from our last team tourney. The civilizations will be random, and we'll be using Kevin "The_Sheriff" Holme's custom random map ES@Seasons_V2 — one of my favourites! Will Petard_Rusher and magicmel turn up? This duo defeated all comers in our last team event, or will a new team show up to dethrone them?

For complete settings, sign-up, and all that where and when information, stop into this forum post and have a read. Best of luck! ...ES@Seasons makes a great NOmad map too...don't tell The_Sheriff but I ripped out the TCs and wolves and played with the resources and starting spots...just between you, me, and the lamp... ; )
WCG France: The Big Show!
Posted by Thunder on October 25th, 2001 @ 8:32 p.m.
It will indeed be quite a show as some of the best players in France fight for a chance to go to Korea for the World Cyber Games, and a shot at those big bucks! This event will be open to spectators, but if you can't make it Magellan will keep us informed:
"After 8 lan everywhere in France and an online tournament, organized by "Alliance Francophone", 16 players will face this week end (october 27/28) to win 1 of the 3 places for Korea. This event will take place in a theater in Paris, featuring most of the best french players like Darq_Sundin, Djinn_Mali, Ng_Deathknight, Storm_Tamock, Weird_Nitro...with a referee from the "Alliance-Francophone". That final selection will be open to the public and some of the games will be shown on widescreen. All details and live results on www.aok-conquerors.com. " - Magellan
For directions, maps, and coverage, make sure to stop in at www.aok-conquerors.com. The event will be in a Paris theatre, a lovely building judging from the picture, so if you're in the area this weekend, you may be able to take in this show first hand. ...best of luck to all the players who've made it this far! ; )
ES Spotlight On BooBoo!
Posted by Thunder on October 25th, 2001 @ 7:28 p.m.
He looks like a BooBoo, so that's what we're going with. The owner of two nicknames, Pete "BooBoo" Parisi is featured in the Studios' latest spotlight article, and has lots of exciting things to say regarding his work on Age of Mythology:
"Full Name: Pete Parisi
Nick Name: BooBoo, Meat
Joined Ensemble Studios: August, 2000
Job Title: Artist
Home Town: San Jose, CA

Currently working on:
God Powers, Special Effects, Myth Units, Scenario Objects. Gage Galinger and Herb Marselas have created an amazing in-game particle system for doing all the special effects in AOM. Its very cool stuff. I can't wait until we can start showing off all the environmental and god power effects the team has been working on. Imagine an entire army being sucked up by a tornado : )"


Source - ES News
With my luck, it would likely be my army getting sucked up! Needless to say, take a good long look at what's on Pete's monitor. Not only is there a window into the AoM world, but a very interesting looking menu open as well. The dry erase board looks like it has been cleaned up, so doesn't reveal much, but there also is a bit of AoM artwork sitting just below his monitor, a postcard perhaps? Take a look and judge for yourself.

The full spotlight write-up on Pete can, of course, be had from the ES News page. ...didn't feel comfortable calling him meat... ; )
ES Spotlight On SirLANcelot!
Posted by Thunder on October 24th, 2001 @ 10:41 p.m.
We've reached the middle of the week, which means that the Ensemble Studios spotlight series blinds another Age webmaster. This week the spotlight falls on SirLANcelot, long time webmaster of aoe2.de, a top notch fansite, German or otherwise:
"Full Name: Stefan Beyer
Nick Name: SirLANcelot
Job Title: Zivildienstleistender :-)
Home Town: Bad Harzburg/Germany

Interests / Hobbies:
I really like to work on my AGE web sites: AOE2.de started in the spring of 1999 and we are about to launch our Age of Mythology Network within the next weeks (well, at least I hope so...). Though it seems that I spend at least half the day on the internet, there are definitely several other things I love to do: Drawing, playing the piano and the trumpet, enjoying German beer with friends )... "


Source - ES News
You'd be hard pressed to find a better hobby than enjoying German beer with friends. Ok, perhaps jogging or cycling or swimming or polo, and, well that list will go on for awhile. Ramble your way over to the ES News page for the full spotlight feature as I did. ...I spy, with my balding eagle eye, some of Angel Zen's handy work hanging in a certain RIPMAN's office... ; )
A.I. Guy Responds...
Posted by Thunder on October 24th, 2001 @ 7:52 p.m.
The manly men at Voodoo Extreme arranged for ION Storm's artificial intelligence guru Paul Tozour to answer some of their reader's questions regarding this all important aspect of games. Paul is currently at work on the A.I. for Thief III, but found time to tackle quite a few questions. AoK was even mentioned a couple of times, in a positive way. Ensemble Studios was able to do quite a lot with very low system requirements:
"Scrote: Does more and better AI directly result in higher system requirements?

I would say that the answer is usually no. Quite often, the opposite is the case. Better AI usually requires less processor power. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true.

There are very, very few game AIs that really require huge amounts of processor power. Probably the most demanding AIs are the massive real-time strategy games that perform pathfinding for potentially hundreds or dozens of units across a gigantic landscape simultaneously.

But it’s not a limiting factor for most games, and as I said before, if you can’t run your AI on a Pentium 3, you’re doing something wrong."


Source - Ask The A.I. Guy
There's quite a bit of talk about scripting and the future of A.I., making for some interesting reading. The article can be found here, stop in for a look. ...lots of Thief III fans looking for info, but who can blame em... ; )
FOPT's Farewell Tourney...
Posted by Thunder on October 24th, 2001 @ 3:58 a.m.
Sign-ups are open now for FOPT Clan's final AoC tournament. It looks like they'll soon venture off to play Empire Earth, so this is their farewell to the game.

You'll find the settings and sign-up information at www.fopt-clan.de. It will be a 2 on 2 arabia event, and will take place on November 10th. There are two requirements that players must have in order to be able to compete:
"1.) Be available (online) for gaming on Saturday, November 10th, starting at 19:00 h pm CET (CET means Central European Time - this is 13:00 h pm EST for our american friends).

Length of the Tournament depends on the number of teams but it shouldn´t last longer than about 6 hours).

2.) Have a rating above 1700 in Age of Kings: The Conquerors at the moment you sign up (Zone-profiles will be checked!)."


Source - FOPT Clan
That rating requirement will serve to keep the competition tough, and the numbers fairly small. If you qualify, stop in, read up on the settings and grab a partner before signing up. ...doesn't take long to get over 1700...you have time to break that number before sign-ups close... ; )
ES Spotlight On LordSoth!
Posted by Thunder on October 23rd, 2001 @ 6:16 p.m.
We've been seeing this guy's work for many years now. Sean "LordSoth" Wolff, the current Ensemble Studios spotlight victim, has been with the studios for many years, even working on that ol' title Age of Empires. His role at the studios has changed somewhat recently, as you'll note from his job title:
"Full Name: Sean Wolff
Nick Name: LordSoth
Joined Ensemble Studios: Feb., 1996
Job Title: Marketing Artist
Home Town: Sussex, New Jersey

Currently working on:
As part of our new Marketing Department, I work on all forms of marketing materials (from Ad Designs to Weekly Screen Shots) and the occasional "Game Art"."


Source - ES News
Elanor, his car, is a great looking machine and Sean's spotlight includes a fair bit about her. I'm sure Sean would agree she deserves a spotlight of her own. You know where to go, the ES News page has the full article. ...Elanor my dear...dump that guy and come over to my place... ; )
Ladder Standings...
Posted by Thunder on October 22nd, 2001 @ 11:39 p.m.
There have been some big moves on the AOKH Ladder in the last week. Some new players have broken into the top ten, and Myll_Slaghter is back on top as the ladder champion! Here is the current top ten:
  1. 136: Myll_Slaghter
  2. 131: Canadian2002
  3. 130: _Final_Boss
  4. 128: TITAN_Perun
  5. 123: cow_gone_mad
  6. 121: magicmel
  7. 115: DMWC_Warlock
  8. 112: Doink/112: lummir
  9. 111: Time_Itself
  10. 109: Orphan Maker

There you have it! Some big wins by Canadian2002 launched him into second place, and TITAN_Perun has been moving up steadily. If you'd like to see the full ladder standings, or are interested in joining, drop in on the ladder thread in the Strategy Forum. ...lost my Islands tourney game to ArmageddonUnlimited this morning...was a close game, but my island newbieness killed me...gg! ; )
ES Spotlight On David?
Posted by Thunder on October 22nd, 2001 @ 7:25 p.m.
Those producers sure are no nonsense type people. David Rippy, a member of the famed Ensemble Studios team, is the latest to be featured in their spotlight series. Unlike most other members of the studios he is without a nickname, but not a sense of humour:
"Full Name: David Rippy
Joined Ensemble Studios: Part-time from Day 1, Full-time April 2000
Job Title: Producer on "Age of Mythology"
Home Town: Spring, TX

What do I do:
I'm the Producer on "Age of Mythology." "Producer" is kind of a strange title for anyone not directly involved with the gaming industry. People always think of the "producer" as a fast-talking, golden tanned, sunglass-wearing, life of the party Hollywood-type. All of this is completely true J, but I also have things to do like bring the project in on time, manage the budget, hire the right talent, ensure a AAA quality title, and buy the beer. Like any job, it has its highs and lows, but all in all, it's a fantastic job and I'm incredibly lucky to have it."


Source - ES News
The full spotlight article on David awaits you at the ES News page. Make sure you stop in and have a good long look at the picture too, there's an interesting chart right in front of David.

This all begs the question, ok maybe not all of it, what is Ensemble's other producer, Harter Ryan working on? ...tech tree prototype was my guess...keep an eye on AOMH for info on a new screenshot today... ; )

Update
A little angel at the Studios informs me that Harter Ryan is now the big bad executive producer, and Chris Rippy is producing their other super secret title.
UK WCG Qualifier Cancelled...
Posted by Thunder on October 22nd, 2001 @ 3:45 a.m.
Hopes of saving the World Cyber Games UK qualifier are now officially gone. BritZ_Nannia has let us know that although the qualifier is no more, they may still run an AoK tournament for those registered. Stop in and read up on the situation here. ...many thanks BritZ_Nannia for the update... ; )
Forum Party Wrap Up...
Posted by Thunder on October 22nd, 2001 @ 3:10 a.m.
The 1on1 mini-tourney saw Pertard_Rusher walk away the winner yet again! He even defeated his partner in our previous 2on2 tourney to take the crown, so big congrats to PR and thanks to KUBLA_Khan for running the event. You can grab the recorded game of the finals, where Pertard_Rusher defeated Canadian_2002, from our recorded games section. I'll be running another tournament next week, stay tuned for the settings later in the week.

I'm not sure how many games people played with the UK AOK gang. I played in one game that turned into a 3on4, with us being the four. We still weren't a match for Chichiri, UKAOK_Jim and Krusty_Kev. It was a highlands map, and random civs all around. A certain AOKH forumer who was playing with the UK guys dropped not long after the game started, cruelly giving us a ray of hope, but they made pretty short work of us anyway. Here's hoping we get a rematch next week! ...and some much needed practice! ; )
Forum Party Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on October 19th, 2001 @ 10:55 p.m.
If you have quite recovered from last week's festivities, do join us again this Saturday for our Forum Party. We will be playing in some friendly matches with the fellas from UK AOK, who are normally hanging out in Agincourt with us. It will be a nice change from beating each other up. Those of you who are tournament hungry, will also have the chance to compete once again, just pop on over to the Forum Party Post for the details.

Whether this is your first Forum Party, or your tenth, stop on by and have a few games! ...I'll be busy playing losing my first round game in the Islands tourney...wish me luck! ; )
Sandy's Winning Streak...
Posted by Thunder on October 19th, 2001 @ 7:24 p.m.
Our thanks to Ensemble Studios designer Sandy "Sandyman" Petersen for still stopping in to answer fan questions! You can check out his latest responces here, which include an AoM war story of his fifth consecutive win and his two cents on the Bang! engine that powers the game:
"Q) Does ES enjoy working with the Bang! engine more than the AOK engine?
A) Yes, immensely. The Bang engine is far more powerful and much better designed.

Q) will ES be using Bang! for all their future games, or will you go back to the AOK engine once in a while?
A) I would be very surprised if we ever went back to the AoK engine. I expect that we’ll use Bang! for the next couple of games, then move on to a new engine."
- Sandy Petersen

Source - Ask Sandy 10
Their new engine is certainly a big change from their previous Age engine. It's not only a 3D engine, but one that produces some amazing looking scenes. If you've been keeping up with the latest AoM screenshots, you've seen the wonderful waterfalls, underwater coral reefs, lapping waves, swamps, and more.

Stop in and ask Sandy a question or two if the notion strikes you. He may not be able to answer your question, but you can be certain he'll be reading it. ...he'll be shot or worse...yelled at if he spills the beans and answers some sensitive questions... ; )
ES Spotlight On Scout!
Posted by Thunder on October 19th, 2001 @ 6:03 p.m.
It's another one of them there content designers! Karen "Scout" Sparks worked on the campaigns for the Age II expansion and is now working on that big ol' campaign for Age of Mythology. As lovely as she is, take a look see at what's on her monitor. We get another look at what appears to be a scenario editor in the big picture. It's got more menus than you can shake a stick at, all of which she is no doubt putting to good use:
"Full Name: Karen Sparks
Nick Name: Scout
Joined Ensemble Studios: November 15, 1999
Job Title: Content Designer
Home Town: Dallas

Interests / Hobbies: Oh, all the normal stuff: travel, reading, watching movies, playing games (most any type - board games, role-playing games, card games, yard games, computer games). I also like making things; I'm very much a project person. The coolest project I have going right now is an 11' sailboat that I'm making from scratch. Oh, and I like sailing too, so that'll be a bonus when the boat is finished.

Currently working on: The mighty Single Player Campaign for Age of Mythology. Hang onto your hats folks, you're gonna dig this."


Source - ES News
Make sure that you stop in at the ES News for the complete feature on Karen. Those naval folks really get around! ...can anyone make out what's written on those sticky notes? ; )
Virus Watch...
Posted by Thunder on October 18th, 2001 @ 10:30 p.m.
Virus news from the team at ZDNet today. This latest worm may format your hard drive come November 11th, and comes in various forms:
"A worm disguising itself as a security patch for Microsoft products will in fact reformat the victim's C: drive. The Redesi worm spreads by e-mail under a number of guises, and is set to trigger on November 11, 2001. But not all PCs are vulnerable to the worst of its effects, and there is an easy way to stop the damage."

Source - 'Redesi' worm reformats hard drives
The ZDNet article is quite informative, so be sure to stop in a give it a read. You may save yourself a few headaches and it gives you a good idea of what kinds of e-mails to look out for. ...Outlook...incubator for viruses... ; )
SKD Comeback...
Posted by Thunder on October 18th, 2001 @ 9:13 p.m.
That other dynamic duo, SKD_Destroyer and SKD_Seige, are looking to bring their clan out of retirement. If you're on the look out for a group to join, you may want to give them the once over:
"The SKD Clan is now starting back up and is looking for members. After a three year idle they hope to get back to their normal 30-40 members. To join please ZM SKD_Seige or SKD_Destroyer. Our homepage is being rebuilt so it is still in the "Dark Age" But it still will tell you the info you need. The homepage is http://www.angelfire.com/sk3/skd/index.htm" - SKD_Destroyer
ES Spotlight On DrJest!
Posted by Thunder on October 18th, 2001 @ 8:06 p.m.
Today's ES spotlight falls squarely on Jeff "DrJest" Ruediger, a relatively new programmer at Ensemble Studios. His current projects list isn't terribly long, but for Age of Mythology fans, it will certainly make you sit up and take notice:
"Full Name: Jeff Ruediger
Nick Name: DrJest
Joined Ensemble Studios: April 2001
Job Title: Programmer
Home Town: Topeka, KS

Currently working on: All God Powers, Terrain Decals, and the Scenario Editor Water and Cliff tools, and the 10 yr. high school reunion."

Source - ES News
It would have been nice for a list of "All God Powers", but we'll have to make do with the mention of a couple of scenario editing tools. With the most recent screenshot of the game showing some amazingly detailed water in AoM, it's not all that surprising there's a specific tool to deal with it.

As always, the full spotlight feature can be found at the ES News page, and if you haven't stopped in at the ES Team page in awhile you may be surprised. There are quite a few new names there, showing that the studios has continued adding to their team over the last few months! ...I spy with my little eye, an AoM poster to the left of DrJest... ; )
Punk Scenario Design Database...
Posted by Thunder on October 18th, 2001 @ 11:31 a.m.
Looking to tackle scenario design and bring a story or idea to life in the AoK world? Well, you certainly aren't alone! Quite a few e-mails have been coming my way of late with questions about AI, triggers, or "How did they do that?" regarding scenario eye candy.

For any newcomer to the AoK scenario editor, make sure you stop in at the SCN Punk site. They are a great team of scenario designers, creators of some amazing campaigns, as well as authors of a host of great articles on how to use triggers, create scenario eye candy, and just about anything else you'd want to know about creating a cool scenario. Do yourself a favor and stop in for a read, you won't regret it. ...my day as a scenario designer is long behind me... ; )
UK WCG Qualifier...
Posted by Thunder on October 18th, 2001 @ 0:57 a.m.
It looks like there may not be an AoC WCG qualifier in the UK, unless some people turn up who wish to play. As of right now, it's not on, but if you're a resident of the UK there is still time to change that. BritZ_Nannia has been in contact with the organizer and posted the latest information on how you can get involved right here in the forums. ...always hate to see an event end like this...c'mon UKers, step up and register! ; )
ES Spotlight On Xiphoid!
Posted by Thunder on October 17th, 2001 @ 6:00 p.m.
Today marks the day for another Ensemble Studios spotlight on a fansite webmaster. This time around, Xiphoid, supreme ruler of Planet AoE, has sent a transmission that includes a little information about himself, and a new site he's been working on:
"Full Name: Brandon H. Falls
Nickname: Xiphoid
Created PlanetAOE: 01/00
Job Title: Site Director, College Student
Home Town: Waynesboro, Virginia
Attending: Virginia Tech University
Studying: Information Technology

Currently working on:
PlanetAgeofMythology and the accompanying forums. Having gone through years of webmastering and site changes, I think I've finally pinpointed the things visitors want the most and are willing to keep coming back for more. What are they? You'll just have to stick around for PAOM."

Source - ES News
Many of you may remember Xiphoid's Atrium AoE sites, which were absolutely gorgeous to look at. He was working on those, one for AoE and one for AoK, eons before PAoE was launched, so he's been around for quite some time.

Do stop in at the ES News page for the full feature. ...and now for something completely different...a lil PVP... ; )
Another Reality Show?
Posted by Thunder on October 17th, 2001 @ 1:15 a.m.
There was a rather interesting bit of news on GameSpot this evening that announced a weekly television series on computer and video games in the works for next year. It's not another show that will spew game publisher press releases, or get Joe and Fred to play the latest PS2 title and tell you their deep thoughts. This coming show will revolve around a championship series, with a grand prize of $100,000:
"The first-ever televised computer and video games championships is currently in production and scheduled to debut next year. The Olympic-style tournament will be split into 13 weekly episodes featuring qualifying and semifinal rounds in different genres on both PC and console game systems, culminating in a championship title and grand prize of $100,000."

Source - GameSpot:The Electronic Games coming next year
Hilarious thoughts of Starcraft and Counter Strike players trash talking each other spring to mind, during Survivor style pre and post game interviews with competitors. It will be very interesting to see how successful and or popular this project is, and what format they use!

Currently, I had no luck finding out what games would be involved, and www.theelectronicgames.com, the official site, provided little in the way of information. ...the Starcraft players at the last tournament I attended were very entertaining...pouting, swearing, trash talking...in comparison, the Age crowd was tame! ; )
MS Tournament: Final List Of Finalists...
Posted by Thunder on October 16th, 2001 @ 9:06 p.m.
Less than a month away now is the finals in the MS International Tournament. On November 7th, a group of some of the best AoC players (over 18) from around the world will be battling for some big bucks in Redmond. The gang at Ensemble Studios have just posted a list of finalists, and included a 16th player from Switzerland to even out the field. You may remember much earlier this year, the Swiss held a qualifier of their own. The finalists are listed by real name only:
"Jerry Terry (U.S.)
Sunny Sihota (Canada)
Paul Clarke (U.K.)
Thomas Gross (Germany)
Vignon François (France)
Jonas Hasselrot (Sweden)
Magnus Harald Haslebo (Denmark)
Gaspard Gilot (Belgium)
Tim Taminiau (Netherlands)
Norson Shiniti Saho (Brazil)
Byung Geon Kang (South Korea)
Tanya Cowan (Australia)
Alex Wang (Taiwan)
Marcelo Ikegaki (Argentina)
Hong Delin (Singapore)
Christian Gebhart (Switzerland)"


Source - ES News
The finals are only about three weeks away now, and no doubt these sixteen finalists are starting to get sweaty palms. Best of luck to all of them in the big event! ...Redmond is not far away from where I live...perhaps I'll be able to thumb a ride down... ; )
ES Spotlight On Gage Of Empires!
Posted by Thunder on October 16th, 2001 @ 8:55 p.m.
Getting right to the point, no that's not a typo. Gage "Gage of Empires" Galinger is the latest of the Ensemble Studios crew to be beaten with the ES Spotlight:
"Full Name: Gage Robert Galinger

Handle: Gage Of Empires (say it with authority!). Although, I've been considering a l33t name like -={ I |20oLZ UR VV3rlD }=-. The rest of my handles aren't appropriate for posting here, as they contain mature content and adult situations.

Joined Ensemble Studios: March, 2001

Job Title: Programmer

Quote: I don't have any clever quotes. But if you were to listen to me as I am playing a game of AOM, you would hear me say such insightful things as: "Damn!" and "Help!!!" and "#@!#$ Dave is forward building on me again!!!" and "Die! Die! Die!" My favorite movie quote: "We are men of action. Lies do not become us." -Westley (a.k.a. The Dread Pirate Roberts)"

Source - ES News
Get the full scoop on Gage, what he's working on, what he's worked on, and ever so many more colourful cusses at the ES News page.

With tomorrow being Wednesday, the next spotlight will be on some poor Ager webmaster. ...oh heck, perhaps it'll be a wealthy Ager webmaster... ; )
Snakeless Ladders...
Posted by Thunder on October 16th, 2001 @ 3:32 a.m.
Things are finally shaking up a bit on the AOKH Ladder. Myll_Slaghter has been dethroned as the ladder champ, replaced by _Final_Boss, who has been adding to his point total in a big way over the last couple of weeks. Here's the top 10 right now:

  1. _Final_Boss
  2. Myll_Slaghter
  3. cow_gone_mad
  4. Cypselus
  5. magicmel
  6. Valan
  7. Orphan Maker
  8. lummir
  9. Mieszko I
  10. Crosswind
Source - AOKH Ladder


If you're looking for ladder games, our Forum Parties are a pretty good time to do that. Quite a few of the regulars to that event are also part of the ladder.

On a side note, if you signed up for the King of the Islands tourney, the brackets have now been posted here. Best of luck to all! ...I know I'll need it... ; )
ES Spotlight On Xemu!
Posted by Thunder on October 16th, 2001 @ 0:55 a.m.
Today's ES spotlight, available at the ever ready ES news page, falls on Rob "Xemu" Fermier, ace programmer. In fact, he is the Lead Programmer on a little game called Age of Mythology, and he's shared some of his favourite websites, games, books, numbers, and more in his write-up:
"Currently working on: Lead programming at ES is a mishmash of code architecture, game design, management, and actual codeslinging. Lately I've been working on a lot of our "cultural differentiation" systems, the conversion system, and the combat comparison tool. Lots of prep is going on for our M8 crunch, as well."

Source - ES News
Well that's a mouthful of projects he's got on the go now isn't it? The "conversion system" has certainly peaked my interest, but we'll not doubt be waiting awhile for details on that.

For the full spotlight article, including Rob's bio, be sure to stop in at the ES news page. ...Xemu...that's pronounced something like, "Zeeeemooooo" ; )
Mini-Tourney Recordings...
Posted by Thunder on October 15th, 2001 @ 8:57 p.m.
Big thank you goes out to magicmel for submitting all four of the recordings from his great tournament run on Saturday! As you've heard, he and his partner Petard_Rusher claimed the victory with their Persia and Goth combo. Head over to our recorded games section and snap up the mini-tournament submissions.

It was a little disappointing to see Petard_Rusher's Man-at-Arms walk through a little hole in Knights_Q2's wall in the final game, doh. He was successfully walled in except that one little section. ...damn those walls...had an ally of mine "helping" to wall a shallow crossing once...our jumble of walls left a nice little gap and I got slaughtered... ; )
Forum Party Wrap Up...
Posted by Thunder on October 14th, 2001 @ 10:57 a.m.
Our 2on2 mini-tourney went of with very few hitches! A big congrats to the team of [Cherub]Petard_Rusher and magicmel on winning the event! The NOmadz guys were picked by many to win, and they didn't disappoint. They met the duo of Tonto_Stendecca and Knights_Q2 in the finals, a team that came away with some victories against several tough opponents. Hopefully we can guilt some of these guys into sending in the recorded game of the finals!

You can see how things unfolded in the tourney by heading on over to this post, which comes complete with brackets and plenty of slaps on the backs for the victors.

No tournament is planned for next week's party, but we'll see what kind of mischief we can get into otherwise. ...like tackling forumers from another site... ; )
WCG: USA Qualifier Info & More!
Posted by Thunder on October 13th, 2001 @ 9:46 a.m.
At MFO, they have finally announced the much anticipated details on their qualifying event for the World Cyber Games US finals! They will be using their ladder system as the benchmark, with the time table looking like this:
"- October 13 - MFO Event Kickoff. Start playing ladder games (see below)!

- November 1 - MFO Ladder Closes. Ladder is closed down to prepare for the weekend bash.

- November 3 - MFO Online Finals begin. Show up at 12 noon (Age of Kings) or 2 PM (StarCraft) to compete in the online finals. The top 54 ranked players who show up get to compete.

- November 4 - MFO Online Finals finish. The final 12 players duke it out for the 3 free trips to California.

- November 9-14- Finals in Korea Town, Los Angeles California. The top 3 players (who won free trips) compete in a large offline event to determine the winners of free trips to Korea. All gamers are welcome and invited to attend the event.

- December 5 - WCG Finals in Korea. The big shindig where players compete for a pot of $300,000."


Source - USA WCG Qualifier
Up for grabs is a trip to the US finals for three AoK players and three SC players. Of course, if you sweep the US finals, you'll be on your way to Korea for the international show down and a shot and the thousands of dollars!

If you're in the Toronto area on November 1-4, you'll definately want to take a shot at winning the Canadian qualifiers and jet off to Korea. For more information, check out the latest here: www.wcgcanada.com

The AoK UK qualifier is on November 4th, and will be taking place in Maidenhead. For registration info and the like, get your butt over to: www.worldcybergames.org.uk

These are just the events that have been brought to my attention by various organizers. There is a whole world of qualifiers going on, and there's no better place to start looking for information than at the Official WCG site. Good luck! ...looking through some ol' AoMToons...this one is just a classic! ; )
Forum Party Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on October 13th, 2001 @ 2:14 a.m.
How could you possibly forget? Just in case you have, the always reliable Forum Party Post is back with all of the details for this week's fun!

A special note about this week's party is a 2on2 mini-tournament which will be taking place along with regular party games. Grab a partner and check out this post, which contains information on how to sign up as well as the settings. Good luck to one and all! ...tentative limit of 16 teams for entry...first come, first serve! ; )
ES Spotlight On Nando Calrisian!
Posted by Thunder on October 12th, 2001 @ 6:20 p.m.
It looks like being chained to his desk since August of 2000 has finally got to the poor fella. Andy "Nando Calrisian" Cotnam is today's ES spotlight feature:
"Full Name: Christopher Andrew Shooting Red Feather Cotnam (the third)
Nick Name: (Internet Handle) Nando Calrisian
Joined Ensemble Studios: August of 2000
Job Title: Artist/ Animator
Home Town: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Interests / Hobbies: Counting things, chewing things to a point, felling trees and teasing the elderly"


Source - ES News
Head on over to the news page for his lengthy short bio, complete with beavers, croc wranglers, and Mr. Goodman. ...after reading his bio...you'll probably be as speechless as I am... ; )
Saturday 2on2 Tourney!
Posted by Thunder on October 12th, 2001 @ 0:55 a.m.
The settings for our 2on2 mini-tourney have now been posted here. The random land map is our pick for the battlefield, and the rest of the settings are pretty standard.

The event will be taking place this Saturday at our Forum Party. Sign-ups will begin in the Agincourt lobby at 3:30pm EST (8:30pm GMT, 12:30pm PST). For more information on the event, read up on it here and be sure to share any questions or suggestions you may have. ...you may be able to grab a partner in the lobby before the tournament starts...don't sound too desperate though, or you might get stuck with a Schmuck! ; )
WCG Update...
Posted by Thunder on October 12th, 2001 @ 0:12 a.m.
As the date nears for the December finals for the World Cyber Games, there are quite a few regional preliminary events that are about to take place. Keng "Kengbo" Lam has just sent word that the finals for the UK events is coming up at the following times and places:
"Counter-Strike at Nottingham on Sat 27th Oct 2001
Quake 3 Arena at Maidenhead on Sun 28th Oct 2001
Unreal Tournament at Nottingham on Sat 3rd Nov 2001
Age of Kings at Maidenhead on Sun 4th Nov 2001
Star-craft at Leicester on Sat 10th Nov 2001
Fifa 2001 at Leicester on Sun 11th Nov 2001

Registration is up at the UK WCG website: http://www.worldcybergames.org.uk and the rules and hopefully the attendance list should be up soon."
- Keng Lam
The main WCG site has links to all sorts of regional preliminaries. November 1-4 is the Canadian finals and the folks at MFO will be holding an event in which the top sixteen players will go to the US final preliminary. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on that soon. ...christhebest won the western Canadian preliminary and will no doubt be running into YoungGunz (Eastern winner) in the final... ; )
MS Tournament Results: Our Finalists!
Posted by Thunder on October 11th, 2001 @ 5:54 p.m.
We now have a complete list of fifteen finalists! Big thanks to Enriquillo for keeping us updated on the Dutch qualifier, and sending word that the winner was decided a short time ago. Myth_Osiris (aka ShangVictory) has claimed the final spot for the showdown in Redmond, which will be taking place on November 7th. Even if you aren't fluent in the language, check out this site for more info, as they've got an amazing picture of their setup which includes plenty of monitors. It's quite impressive!

So here you have them folks! The finalists who will be doing battle for the big bucks in Redmond on November 7th:

GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK)
SUD_Tkenobi (Argentina)
PN_Gary__Payton (Brazil)
Le_Duke_Of_Soda (Denmark)
__Mossar (Korea)
_ZhaZ (Sweden)
DjiNN_crouvex (Germany)
NG_DeathKnight (France)
SeekDefeat (Singapore)
Kaohen (Taiwan)
Darq_Ladywoogy (Australia)
Myth_Osiris (Netherlands)
ES Spotlight On DiscoveredBum!
Posted by Thunder on October 11th, 2001 @ 5:44 p.m.
Formerly AOKH forumer UnDiscoveredBum, Joseph "DiscoveredBum" Gillum designed his way into a position at Ensemble Studios! The ES spotlight series shines on him today, revealing that he is also a Molecular Biologist, no kidding:
"Short Bio:
I've always been an avid gamer and had dreams of designing games for a living, but to make sure I wouldn't be living with my parents forever I went to Penn State and studied Molecular Biology. After graduation I landed a job at a well known children's hospital in Dallas doing genetic research to discover genes that cause different diseases in kids. During this time I was designing AI scripts and scenarios as a hobby and ended up winning the ES "Heroes of the Ages" contest which, among other great prizes, got me an interview and a job."


Source - ES News
Dreams do come true eh? A great story that is, and you can find out more about Joe on the ES News page today. ...I dunno, General Zod has a nice ring to it...but we went with DiscoveredBum... ; )
Island Tourney Ahoy!
Posted by Thunder on October 11th, 2001 @ 3:47 a.m.
Forumer TeutonicBB_838 is organizing an islands tourney, and you've got until Monday to get yourself signed up! If your galley rush is to die for, and your inflatable water wings are snuggly fastened, make sure you don't miss out. It should be fun! ...settings for our Forum Party mini-tournament will be posted tomorrow...you will need a partner so grab one qvik! ; )
MS Tournament Results...
Posted by Thunder on October 10th, 2001 @ 10:53 p.m.
We're just about finished compiling our list of finalists! There's just one qualifier that has yet to wrap-up, and it is set to be decided tomorrow. The Dutch finals will see Myth_Osiris taking on NoX_Casanova, who are some definite contenders. You can see them both in action in their semi final games in our recorded games section thanks to Enriquillo!

The crew at AoK.cc have a finalist amongst them! Darq_Ladywoogy managed to win the qualifier in Australia, and will be joining the other fourteen finalists in Redmond. There were some pretty funky settings and rules at that event, read up on what went down over at AoK.cc.

GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK)
SUD_Tkenobi (Argentina)
PN_Gary__Payton (Brazil)
Le_Duke_Of_Soda (Denmark)
__Mossar (Korea)
_ZhaZ (Sweden)
DjiNN_crouvex (Germany)
NG_DeathKnight (France)
SeekDefeat (Singapore)
Kaohen (Taiwan)
Darq_Ladywoogy (Australia)
Q&A With Seekdefeat!
Posted by Thunder on October 10th, 2001 @ 8:20 p.m.
As a finalist in the MS International Tournament, Seekdefeat has endured the standard Q&A session. The price of fame is high isn't it? This guy could very well be $50,000 richer in less than a month, check out how he got into AoE, his fav civ, and more in his Q&A session below.

LINKS:
- Seekdefeat Q&A (Singapore)

- Tkenobi Q&A (Argentina)
- Gary__Payton Q&A (Brazil)
- _ZhaZ Q&A (Sweden)
- DjiNN_crouvex Q&A (Germany)
ES Spotlight On Ogre!
Posted by Thunder on October 10th, 2001 @ 6:29 p.m.
Ogre? Yep, that'd be the same Ogre of Through The Ages, responsible for more than a few broken windows around Heaven. The folks at Ensemble Studios have included him in their spotlight series due to the major support he has given them over the years:
"Full Name: Eric M. Lizotte
Nick Name: Ogre
Job Title: Webmaster/A+ Computer Technician
Home Town: Anderson, South Carolina

Short Bio:
I have been playing computer and video games all my life, just about. My fondest memories of gaming probably have to go back to Atari 5200. Oddly enough I never owned a 2600 and the 5200 was a gift. But I sure did like that system. Besides games however, I also enjoy writing stories and such. Usually it's stuff dealing with sci-fi and fantasy. Currently, I am trying to write my own sci-fi/fantasy book series. Another thing that I really enjoy, as mentioned in interests and hobbies, is riding roller coasters. There is nothing like hurling down steel or wooden track in open cars at 50+ MPH ;-)"


Source - ES News
Stop in at the ES News page for the full spotlight feature on the rocking hurling Ogre.

Next Wednesday it looks like they'll be featuring another webmaster type fellow, no doubt from another Age site you visit daily. ...the most handsome Ogre I've ever seen... ; )
MS Tournament Finals: New Date!
Posted by Thunder on October 10th, 2001 @ 1:29 a.m.
For those of you anxiously awaiting the final clash of some of the best AoC players in the world, you're going to have to wait just a little longer. The finals for the MS International Tournament have been bumped back about two weeks. Here's the updated information, courtesy the always busy ES News page:
"Age of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tourament finalists compete for a share of over $100,000 in cash/prizes on Wednesday, November 7 in Redmond, Washington (USA). The first runner-up wins $20,000 but only ONE player will walk away with the title of The Conquerors International Champion and the grand prize of $50,000 US cold hard cash!"
No doubt this is to ensure that all of the finalists have plenty of time to get their passports and travel plans in order to make the hop to Redmond. We'll shortly know all of the finalists, stay tuned for an updated list later in the week. ...wonder what kind of format they'll have for the finals...hmmm ; )
ES Spotlight On dCypher!
Posted by Thunder on October 9th, 2001 @ 6:35 p.m.
Today the blinding Ensemble Studios spotlight blinds one of their many artists. Chris "dCypher" Van Doren is a damn good FPS player, but when he's not gibbing anything that moves he's tackling all sorts of art issues that spring up:
"Full Name: Chris Van Doren
Nick Name: dCypher
Joined Ensemble Studios: 01/98
Job Title: Technical Artist
Home Town: Uhh… I’ve lived far too many places to call any one home, but I’ll go with New England.

Currently working on: I spend the majority of my time getting the art in AoM working properly and firefighting the daily issues that revolve around broken art. I also spend a bit of time supporting ES’s other mystery project with either direct support or advice and direction from knowledge gained on AoM as they ramp up their process’ and pipeline.."


Source - ES News
You'll find a short bio and a desperate plea for a BigTrac in the full spotlight article on the ES News page. ...a fellow Load Runner fan! ; )
Q&A With Argentina Champ!
Posted by Thunder on October 8th, 2001 @ 11:43 p.m.
We have a further sneak peek of a Q&A today with one of the finalists in the MS International Tournament. Tkenobi managed to claim the crown for Argentina and will be playing some of the best 18+ year old players in just a few weeks! He is a man of few words and much skill. See what he has to say in his Q&A session which is listed below with some of his fellow finalists!

LINKS:
- Tkenobi Q&A (Argentina)

- Gary__Payton Q&A (Brazil)
- _ZhaZ Q&A (Sweden)
- DjiNN_crouvex Q&A (Germany)
Tourney Pics From Singapore!
Posted by Thunder on October 8th, 2001 @ 10:31 p.m.
There is a massive gallery of pictures from the Singapore qualifying tournament which was held a week ago available at STARHUB. The event was won by SeekDefeat, who posed for a few himself.

They also have posted a tentative schedule of events for the finals, which are currently slated to take place on October 24th. ...looks like the finalists will be dining at Daniel's Broiler...that's worth the trip alone! ; )
AoK PS2 Review...
Posted by Thunder on October 8th, 2001 @ 10:23 p.m.
You may remember Angel Zen and Player_Theta tackling the PS2 port of Age of Kings back in May at E3. Many of their gripes have shown up in GameKult's PS2 AoK review (in french), including the recommendation of buying a mouse with the game. They don't seem to have too many problems with the game design, but more with the very low resolution and tiny window. The game still earned quite a few stars despite that, and the screenshots in the review give you a good idea of what you're getting into. (thank you to ES Webmaster Archangel for the link) ..."My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea that they are laughing at him..." - Clint Eastwood : o
ES Spotlight On Bigdog!
Posted by Thunder on October 8th, 2001 @ 6:17 p.m.
The latest in Ensemble Studios' continuing spotlight series reveals one of the old old old timers from the company. Dave "Bigdog" Pottinger joined the company eons ago, when they were at work on the first ever Age game. His position in the company allows him to get his fingers into many of their projects, AoM included of course:
"Currently working on: As technical director, I spend a good chunk of my time managing the programming staff (HR stuff, reviews, mentoring, etc.). Ideally, I split my energy across all of our projects, helping manage and advise the technical efforts. I'm also involved in strategic company stuff as part of the management team (and one of the "Ensemble Old-Timers").

Currently, I'm spending just about all of my time working on the Age of Mythology AI systems. This includes both the computer player AI and general unit AI systems (everything from what happens when a bear attacks your villager to some of the really cool complex group behaviors that we're adding to the game this time).

We have a lot of really neat stuff in the game already, with more cool AI content and code coming on-line everyday. Mike Kidd is doing the bulk of the CP AI scripting for the game, using a new proprietary language that we developed for this project. For those of you who did AI scripts for our previous games, I think you'll be ecstatic when you see some of the things you can do now… Mike has been able to pull off some real cool things in the new language."


Source - ES News
Also in today's spotlight you'll find a super abbreviated bio, and a great ramble about the excitement that AoM is generating within the company.

Later today, the other continuing series from the ES folks will yield a new AoM screenshot. Drop by AoM Heaven for more information on that. ...nice long weekend in my neck of the woods...hope you are as lucky and enjoying yourself! ; )
Forum Party Wrap Up...
Posted by Thunder on October 8th, 2001 @ 4:06 a.m.
Our Forum Party took place just yesterday, and many of us snuck in a few fun games. You can check up on some of the outcomes in the Forum Party Post. Thanks to those of you who battled through the Zone update and came out to beat everybody up!

At next week's forum party we hope to run a fun mini-tourney, just for a change. More details will be available soon! ...good Feudal Age fighting Fire_Wake...was an exciting game! ; )
Fight For Norway...
Posted by Thunder on October 7th, 2001 @ 10:31 p.m.
Registration has closed in the Kings of Norway tournament and the battles have begun! They are using a swiss style format, which means lots of games for the over 50 registered players involved:
"The tourney matches is a "best of 3 fights" with one home match (choose map), one opponent choosen map and one random map game. We are following the swiss system with 1 point for winning match and 0 points for loss. Then the contestants vil be rematched for 2 more rounds (a total of 3 qualifying rounds). The 8 best players have to fight eachother in 2 groups of 4 players and the best 2 player from those 2 groups goes to semifinals. This way we are ensured a lot of games and action, and we will reduce the "luck factor" to ensure that the Norwegian "King" sits on the throne based on skill and knowledge alone.

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

More information at www.kingsofnorway.com
An official AOM Fan-site"
- Hrafn
As always, we wish all of the would be kings the best of luck! Keep your browser tuned to the Kings of Norway site for the latest on this event. ...you may need to bring along a translator... ; )
Forum Party Tomorrow...
Posted by Thunder on October 6th, 2001 @ 4:01 a.m.
Join your fellow forumers for some games tomorrow in our weekly Forum Party event! There's no sign-ups or entrance fee, and all are invited to participate. You'll find all of the details in the Forum Party Post.

If you haven't been on the Zone for awhile, you'll want to leave time for a major update. They've changed a few things around, such as not being able to run Zone Friends while not on the Zone, and you'll have a bit of a download. ...gawd forbid you should use ZF to keep in touch with your friends...who play on the Zone... ; )
Mod: Lord Of The Rings!
Posted by Thunder on October 5th, 2001 @ 9:11 p.m.
No doubt this news will excite Tolkien fans! Josef_Bugman has been hard at work on a fantastic looking mod, inspired by the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien. He has several buildings in the works, which you can get a look at in this post, and big plans for much more! ...wicked rock, paper, scissors strategy site...with an online trainer!! www.worldrps.com... ; )
ES Spotlight On Slussman!
Posted by Thunder on October 5th, 2001 @ 6:14 p.m.
The latest in the Ensemble Studios spotlight series focuses on artist Paul "Slussman" Slusser. He's one of the many talented folks currently at work on Age of Mythology:
"Full Name: Paul Dean Slusser
Nick Name: Slussman
Joined Ensemble Studios: April '99
Job Title: Artist
Home Town: Chicago

Short Bio:
Born just outside of Chicago in Arlington Heights. Lived in Memphis and Reno before moving to Dallas in '88. Graduated High School from Grapevine High. Attended Tarrent County Junior College and University of North Texas seeking a degree in Computer Science. Decided programming wasn't for me and transferred to the Art Institute of Dallas. I began interviewing with several gaming companies around the Dallas area and was most impressed with Ensemble. Was lucky enough to get hired after graduation and the rest is history."


Source - ES News
That's quite an about face, going from programmer to artist! Make sure you pop on over to the ES News page and check the full write-up, which includes a few details on his current project. ...worst quote EVER... : P
Five Million Milestone...
Posted by Thunder on October 5th, 2001 @ 3:56 a.m.
A special thank you today to all visitors, contributors, forumers, and staffers who have helped keep this site going over the many years! The list is a long one, really really long. As many have noticed, we have just passed the 5,000,000 visitor mark. That's certainly no small feat for a fansite, and we hope you'll all continue to stop by. You know we'll do our best to make it worthwhile to do so.

Thank you! ...cheers to Archangel, founder, and Vidguy...who are old and grey now, but may still remember the site back when they swung the doors open on it, and those early days in '98... ; )
MS Tournament Results...
Posted by Thunder on October 5th, 2001 @ 1:50 a.m.
We have some further results from a MS International Tournament qualifier, and even a bit of photographic evidence that was passed our way. The winner of the Taiwanese qualifier is Kaohen, who will be joining a long list of other players who have earned a spot in the finals in Redmond. The big bash for the bucks will be taking place on October 24th!

We're just awaiting two more qualifying events to wrap up, Australia and the Netherlands.

Finalists:

GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK)
SUD_Tkenobi (Argentina)
PN_Gary__Payton (Brazil)
Le_Duke_Of_Soda (Denmark)
__Mossar (Korea)
_ZhaZ (Sweden)
DjiNN_crouvex (Germany)
NG_DeathKnight (France)
SeekDefeat (Singapore)
Kaohen (Taiwan)
ES Spotlight On Quasta!
Posted by Thunder on October 4th, 2001 @ 6:35 p.m.
Now here's a fellow Angel Zen and I bumped into when we were at E3. He told us everything he could about the huge Age of Mythology campaign, which he is working on, that will be made up of a huge number of scenarios. This is quite a change from all previous ES titles which shipped with multiple campaigns of a handful of scenarios. So today, we are introduced to none other than:
"Full Name: Jeff Brown
Nick Name / Handle: Quasta
Joined Ensemble Studios: July 2000
Job Title: Content Designer
Home Town: Santa Cruz, California

Ramblings:
/Ramble mode on. …AOM is already a blast to play and I can't get enough of it. I was never very good at TC but want to up it a notch for AOM. I love making Cyclopes…. Currently running a D&D 3rd Edition FRPG campaign for 4 work friends, which has been a blast. 6 sessions so far, we only play if everyone can make it (thus tough to schedule, even here after hours); everyone is about 3rd level now (each playing different new character classes I made up) and just beginning to get into the thick of bigger world events and the like. Wish I could open it up to more ES folks but I have a set vision for this particular campaign and am trying to maintain a rich and detailed world and just can't budget time for more than 4 players with this goal.… Helping Sandy Petersen and other Ensemblites develop characters for a LARP for coming ES in-house fun -- I'm sure Archangel will tell everyone more about down the road a bit…playing Max Payne and a Barbarian in Diablo II lately…hope this fantabulous weather here in Dallas holds because my bro and his family are coming to town soon. We'll hit the State Fair, Dallas Aquarium, a great chili dog place we found, and of course ES for a brief tour. …Really enjoying Band of Brothers and Once and Again (my wife loves it…OK I admit it I think it is terrific too), and looking forward to LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring. May it be ¼ as cool as Tolkien's classic book. …Guess what my handle means (good luck) and I'll send you the two-tone rock on my desk that I found in Italy. /Ramble mode off. /For now. : )"


Source - ES News
Evidently, Jeff was born a rambling man. Be sure to drop in on the ES News page for his complete introduction as well as those of several other ES dudes. ...I hope you all caught that bit about "ES in-house fun"...hmmmmm ; )
Signed AoE Gold Edtion!
Posted by Thunder on October 4th, 2001 @ 10:27 a.m.
The Game Rankings fundraiser is plugging along, having already raised some $4000 for the September 11th fund. They are doing this by auctioning off donated games, and among their current games up for bids is a copy of the Age of Empires Gold Edition, which includes the original AoE and the RoR expansion pack, that has been signed by the developers! They've already auctioned off a couple of these, for quite a bargain too. Stop in and place your bids on these, or any other games that catch your interest. There are even plenty of console titles available. ...bidding on AoE gold closes on Oct 9 and the starting bid is $30... ; )
Q&A With Brazilian Champ!
Posted by Thunder on October 3rd, 2001 @ 8:41 p.m.
The folks at the Zone have been conducting a Q&A with each of the finalists in the MS International Tournament. You can view some of these Q&As here, with the likes of Crexis (Canada), Elfanor (Belgium), and Gx_Iron (US).

Once again, we have another sneak peek! This time Gary__Payton, the Brazilian champion tells us about his plans for the $50,000, the story of the game that got him to the finals in Redmond, and more.

LINKS:
- Gary__Payton Q&A

- _ZhaZ Q&A
- DjiNN_crouvex Q&A
ES Spotlight On Bugs911!
Posted by Thunder on October 3rd, 2001 @ 7:30 p.m.
Over at Ensemble Studios, they are continuing their series on their team, which has vastly increased in size over the last year or so. Today, they blind one of their new designers with the spotlight:
"Full Name: Jerome K. Jones
Nick Name: Bugs911
Joined Ensemble Studios: 08-06-01
Job Title: Game Designer
Home Town: St Louis, Missouri.

Currently working on: Currently focusing on AoM single player campaign, along with the entire game."


Source - ES News
No small task there! The AoM campaign will be made up of some forty scenarios, or so the story goes.

For the full spotlight, which includes a short biography, a fav games list, and more, stop over at the ES News. ...quick scan of the background in the pictures shows nothing revealing...drat! ; )
HG Zoo Tycoon Preview...
Posted by Thunder on October 3rd, 2001 @ 1:24 a.m.
Not quite the Agerific previews we usually post about, but this may peak some interest. We've put together an article that takes a look at Zoo Tycoon, which is due for release this fall. If you're a Tycoon type gamer, this is right up your alley. ...pleasantly surprised by the game... ; )
Mac AoK Page...
Posted by Thunder on October 2nd, 2001 @ 10:36 p.m.
For those of you anxiously awaiting the Mac version of AoK, Mike "Archangel" McCart, the divine ES Webmaster, sent along a link to the Bold Homepage. There you'll find their AoK site that contains some game information and a link to a trailer for the game.

Also of note is this prediction: Coming Late October 2001 ...trailer didn't want to run for me...but give it a go... ; )
ES Spotlight On Captn_Kidd!
Posted by Thunder on October 2nd, 2001 @ 8:28 p.m.
This looks like a new series from the Ensemble Studios crew, featuring none other than the Ensemble Studios crew! Mike "Captn" Kidd was the first victim to be thrust into the spotlight, who is a heck of an Age player and currently working on an impossible project:
"Full Name: Mike Kidd
Nick Name: Captn Kidd
Joined Ensemble Studios: February, 2000
Job Title: AI Designer
Home Town: Chicago? Milwaukee? Madison WI?

Currently working on: AI scripting for Age of Mythology. If the computer player isn't fun, it's my fault. Or maybe Dave Pottinger's. ;-)"


Source - ES News
Whew, we're all pulling for ya!

You can check out the full spotlight article on the ES News page, including a short bio and more. We can also look forward to being introduced to more members of the vastly inflated ES team in the coming days and weeks. ...that's either a pic of his dog on his desktop, or one hell of an AoM monster... ; )
AOKH Ladder Launches!
Posted by Thunder on October 2nd, 2001 @ 10:50 a.m.
The day finally arrived! After plenty of input from a great deal of people, ArmageddonUnlimited has unleashed the AOKH Forumer's Ladder!

There are currently quite a few skilled players storming upwards, with the current Ladder Champion being Myll_Slaghter. There is quite a large group of players nipping at his heals though, who will be doing their best to capture the crown. Among them are magicmel, who did very well in our Nomad Tournament, cow_gone_mad, a highly skilled player without a doubt, Doink, a grizzled vet, and a great many others.

You can find out how to get involved, as well as check out updated ladder rankings, in this post. Best of luck one and all! ...especially ArmageddonUnlimited, who looks like he'll have his hands full...HG staff not allowed to particpate, hrmph! ; )
Q&A With German And Swedish Champs!
Posted by Thunder on October 2nd, 2001 @ 0:01 a.m.
The folks at the Zone have been conducting a Q&A with each of the finalists in the MS International Tournament. You can view some of these Q&As here, with the likes of Crexis (Canada), Elfanor (Belgium), and Gx_Iron (US).

We've managed to snag a sneak peek at the Zone Q&As with the brand new German and Swedish champions, DjiNN_crouvex and _ZhaZ! It's the same question format as the previous Q&As, so there's not too many shocking admissions, except for _ZhaZ's criminal past:

LINKS:
- _ZhaZ Q&A
- DjiNN_crouvex Q&A
MS Tournament Recorded Games!
Posted by Thunder on October 1st, 2001 @ 10:34 p.m.
We now have a decent collection of recorded games from the many qualifying events in the MS International Tournament. You can now watch the top players from many countries, including US, Canada, France, Brazil and more, fight it out for a chance to go to Redmond for the finals!

Special thanks goes to Paradox for uploading many of them, and ES Webmaster Mike "Archangel" McCart for passing along some of these great games. You'll find the lastest additions in our recorded games section. ...more tournament updates to come! ; )
MS Tournament Results...
Posted by Thunder on October 1st, 2001 @ 7:48 p.m.
More results are popping up from the few remaining tournaments! In just over three weeks, all of these players will be in Redmond battling for the huge first prize of $50,000, and that lil' runner-up prize of $20,000. No doubt, there will be a little bit of fame to be had as well.

My thanks to mrbunglez for sending word that the Singapore champion as been decided! SeekDefeat was the one left standing after the dust had settled, and will be heading off to Redmond.

I'd like to thank Enriquillo for sending in an update on how things are going in the Netherlands qualifier. He sent along this link to the brackets, showing that they still have a few rounds to play as well as a few words on who's still in contention:
"...keep an eye out for ShangVictory (aka Myth_Osiris) and de_rat who defeated the mighty Pinobal (1902 rating). Devilz_Grolsch got kicked out by DwaRf Syth (aka MIB_Obelix)." - Enriquillo
There is no doubt that the Dutch will be sending a strong contender to the finals! We should know who that is on or around October 11th.

Below is the list of finalists, which is only short by a few names now. It has been updated by removing smurf names and placing in the real deal where possible:

GX_Iron (USA)
Crexis (Canada)
Elfanor (Belgium)
SHS_North (UK)
SUD_Tkenobi (Argentina)
PN_Gary__Payton (Brazil)
Le_Duke_Of_Soda (Denmark)
__Mossar (Korea)
_ZhaZ (Sweden)
DjiNN_crouvex (Germany)
NG_DeathKnight (France)
SeekDefeat (Singapore)
50,000 Wonder Through AOWH...
Posted by Thunder on October 1st, 2001 @ 7:20 p.m.
Congratulations to the crew of Age of Wonders Heaven, which has recently received its 50,000 visitor. They have been busy rocking the AoW world with a tournament, and scouting for information on the upcoming sequel! Keep up the fine work o'er there fellas! ...a very young site compared to this old beast eh? ; )
Forum Party Wrap Up...
Posted by Thunder on October 1st, 2001 @ 3:43 a.m.
To the delight or disappointment of many, I don't have a single war story to share from our Forum Party. You'll have to rely on Enriquillo and the Forum Party Post if you're interested in tales of guts and glory. We were having a great 4on4 pop 75 game, but believe it or not we threw in the towel due to terrible lag. The rest of my games were cut short as a result of disconnections.

Thanks to all those who came out to battle lag and ISP problems with me. I hope the rest of you got some fun games in and will be back next Saturday! ...such a shame...I was in some really fun games when I heard that dreaded sound of the modem hanging up... ; \