Archived News From February 2004

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!

FOPT's 'Girls Gone Wild' Tourney
Posted by Aro on February 29th, 2004 @ 10:12 a.m.
The FOPT Clan, famous for their many AoC contests, is holding a tournament for all of the AoK female gamers. You can sign up here, or if you want more information, check out the FOPT Tourney Info page.

Thanks to FOPT_Strawberry for the news.
DiGiT's Upcoming AoK Trigger Studio
Posted by Aro on February 27th, 2004 @ 0:46 a.m.
First comes the Campaign Extractors, proving very useful for all designers who want to take a look at how the designer created their scenario. But there always has been one thing that they could not do - extract the AI that the campaign uses if it's embedded inside of the campaign itself. This has always been a nuisance to many, until now....

A forumer named DiGiT has created a program that can do just that - extract AI files from campaigns, including the Ensemble Studios in-game campaign AI files that many have been eager to check out over the years (or me, at least ;-)). What is this program? The AoK Trigger Studio, which is still in development, but has an Alpha version available for download at it's website.

If you want to check out the developments the author has made, check out the discussion thread that has been put up. This program, though buggy at the moment, will most likely be a big help the many designers out there.
RTS League DM Season 5 Sign-Ups
Posted by Aro on February 26th, 2004 @ 2:57 a.m.
The RTS-League is now accepting applications for their upcoming new season for AoC DeathMatch games. How long do you have left? You have until the 1st of March. Here's the minimum requirements quoted from the site...
I want to remind the DM clans about the minimum requirements:
- 6 players
- an active forum
- a site containing a memberlist.
Full details on this can be found in the rules. Read these rules before you enter your application.
You can read the rules and read their FAQ if you want more information. You should also take a look at this post in their forums for information. You have until the 1st of next month to sign up, so hurry while you still can!
DGDN Conquerors Bash II
Posted by CrystalCrown on February 24th, 2004 @ 0:44 a.m.
Due to the enormous success from the previous party, the Dragon Gaming Design Network has again decided to host a Conquerors Bash! For those of you that missed it last time, this event consists primarily of playing custom multiplayer scenarios with fellow scenario designers. Although it will be hosted by DGDN, everyone is welcome to participate. The party will be held this coming Saturday on February 28, so don’t miss it! For more information, please visit this thread.

The Dragon Gaming Design Network is one of the oldest and most reputable scenario design teams in the Age of Kings community. The team boasts a large and friendly group of members, and their site contains a vast amount of resources including numerous articles, projects, and other utilities for download.
Blacksmith Feature
Posted by Anastasia on February 23rd, 2004 @ 3:42 a.m.
~Castaway II~ by KeLar is a challenging RPS campaign with an engaging theme reminiscent of Robinson Crusoe, and The Swiss Family Robinson. A classic tale of survival on an uncharted island, and is skillfully told through two well-crafted scenarios.

The campaign begins as an impressive cut-scene scenario where we discover the island that is the backdrop for the playable scenario. There in the Prologue and it's portrayal of events surrounding a previous castaway, players learn the fate of one Rodney York, who just years before was stranded on the mysterious island.

In the next playable scenario we meet our hero Jonathan in the opening cuts as he embarks on a seaward voyage. The young privateer leaves his love Josephine with a promise to return, but he is destined to cast away on the same island that Rodney York was years before.

The stars by which one navigates disappear into a raging storm, and soon after the remains of Captain Scaggs ship lie atop a rocky shore, it's hull crushed and scattered by the crashing waves. Our hero Jonathan rises from a sandy beach head and the game of survival begins.

The game play consists of a series of objectives that creatively represent elements of the classic theme that one might expect. Exploration is essential to achieving the objectives, but while one is finding water, and other necessities they must contend with hostile natives.

This is well-balanced game play, and strategy is key to winning in the game. Finding the right strategy can be difficult and saving or restarting is virtually unavoidable. Playing on Moderate, players will find that situations can get real hairy -- real quick in regard to fighting the fixed enemy.

This is one of my favorite campaigns, and I've played and achieved victory on all levels. Still, I suggest playing on Moderate or even Standard as these suit the game play's exploratory aspect that creates an element of surprise to all the combat. Players are free to advance the one hero class unit (Jonathan) to anywhere on the island, but the jungle has eyes and players can expect to restart if they stumble into an enemy unprepared.

~Castaway II~ is an update of an earlier version of the campaign. The many fantastic features were crafted in excellence by KeLar, only there is a climbing cliffs and mountains aspect that exists only if the second scenario is not saved at any point.

Saving the game often would be the normal advice for the kind of challenges found in the playable scenario, but to restart at the begining will ensure the climbing feature. I believe the game can be completed without the climbing, but if a player has the patience to play each time from the beginning, they will find the cliff climbing and the game play is well worth the experience. Either way the classic RPS adventure, and Best of AoK campaign is sure to please. Survive and help Jonathan to keep his promise in ~Castaway II~!
Free Windows Security Update CD
Posted by Aro on February 22nd, 2004 @ 6:05 a.m.
Microsoft has recently released a free CD with all of the critical security patches released through October 2003, including information to help you protect your CD. In addition to this, you will also recieve a free antivirus and firewall trial software CD. If you're one of the many people who have slow connections or cannot download the updates from the 'Net for whatever reason, this is the CD for you. You can order this free CD by using this order form.

Please note, this CD is only available for Windows XP, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Windows 98 Second Edition (SE).
GameSpy Title Fight Poll
Posted by Aro on February 22nd, 2004 @ 0:02 a.m.
GameSpy is holding a poll over at their website asking you "What Age of- game do you like best?" The options are Age of Empires, Age of Kings, or Age of Mythology. Which one do you prefer to play? Vote now by going to the poll here. Want more information about the many Title Fight polls GameSpy will be holding? Check out this page.

Spotted @ Mr FixIt Online
Your Most Unusual Victory
Posted by Aro on February 21st, 2004 @ 5:59 a.m.
Have you ever had an unusual victory while playing AoK? GamerGuy713 posted up a thread in the General & Strategy Discussion forum asking that very question, and I'm sure everybody has had at least one. Here's an example posted by Qazitory...
Was a 4v4 game with some friends of mine. Civs random, full random, which came out highlands. At first we were winning, landed them. Since we had balanced the teams beforehands, my team had a couple of not really good players, so to say. So the tide changed after a while, when the enemy recovered. We were pushed back to our own side, and the other flank started crumbling already, they had been landed.
Then someone in our team starts building a wonder. At first I yelled at him, since he didn't tell us anything about it. It was in a very bad position, so I started to build another wonder.

The enemy advanced slowly but steadily on the other flank. I had been fighting 2v1 for a longer while at my crossing and after some time they broke through. I built the couple of screenwidths between the crossing and my wonder full of barracks and archery ranges (I was Mayans). With serious trash spamming, I managed to keep them out, but they were gaining ground a tiny bit at a time.

Now the enemies on the other flank had already destroyed the other wonder and were coming for me. My allies were doing as much as possible to keep the enemy far from my wonder, but they managed to deploy trebs in the range of my wonder. Too late though - if they had had 2-3 years more the wonder would've gone down.

I've never seen a game in which a team built two wonders at the same time, and actually won.
If you have any games won with unusual or close-call circumstances, feel free to post them up.
Solving the Mystery of AoK
Posted by Aro on February 19th, 2004 @ 3:00 a.m.
The question many people want answered is probably "What magic has made and still keeps Age of Kings so popular?" Well, we just might find out. storycreator has recently posted up a thread/poll in the Scenario Design forum asking that very question, and has put up five questions and several possible answers for a few of them. I think storycreator describes what the poll is about better though...
Since Age of Kings hit the shelves in late 1999 years have passed and several new games have been released. But today Age of Kings' scenario design community is the most active one.
I think it is time for a little poll to learn to know why Age of Kings why this is the case.
What is the magic that made and still keeps Age of Kings so popular?
Feel free to answer the poll, and maybe we might get an answer to that question.
zyxomma100's Random Tips
Posted by Aro on February 16th, 2004 @ 6:32 a.m.
zyxomma100, a frequent posted in our forums, has posted up a thread in the Scenario Design forum that gives you some random tips you should follow to make a better scenario. While the thread itself is humorous, it also gives you invaluable tips for when you're still in the design process. Here's the first three tips listed:
1. When debugging your scenario, always test it as if the player is purposely trying to screw the triggers up. Go ahead, delete units to see if you forgot to make the player lose. Please, search for unwanted holes in your barriers. And never assume a unit is going to die just because it seems like it is in an insurmoutable position. You'd be surprised what some creative people could do to win battles...

2. Never underestimate the power of elevation. It can help align map copied buildings. It adds much needed strategy to single unit RPGs. And it looks nice, and adds realism.

3. Terrain mix. A Grass 1 map never looked good
...
Want to read more? For the rest of the tips, feel free to take a look at the rest of the thread.
The Tsuniversity - Back in Action
Posted by Aro on February 15th, 2004 @ 6:42 a.m.
Berserker_Jerker has posted up a thread in the Scenario Design forum announcing the return of the Tsuniversity, a very large collection of design-related articles assembled by Tsunami Studios members as well as other people from the many design communities out there. Hosting many design articles for games such as Age of Empires II, Age of Mythology and Empires, I have a feeling it will become as successful as it was in the past. Here's a quote from the thread...
The Tsuniversity (TSU for short) is a satellite of Tsunami Studios, a design team for RTS games like Age of Kings and its successors, Age of Mythology, and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, etc.

It is our goal at the TSU to serve the design community by writing tutorials and articles on various aspects of design. Helping both new & experienced designers with quality articles on various subjects.

We do not only write articles on our own. We also encourage everybody who wants to share his/her knowledge to send articles to us. We promise to present them in a professional way so a large community will profit from your work. And above all, we will credit you as the author, and not ourselves.

Look on the TSU as an excellent source of knowledge and ideas when designing your scenario. Many experienced designers have written the already comprehensive lists of articles we have, and this list is growing all the time. So next time you are looking for inspiration, how to do that trigger trick, or just looking to broaden your horizon, then pay The TSU a visit. I assure you it will be time well spent. And don’t forget to add The TSU to your favorites.
Scenario Design Poll
Posted by Aro on February 15th, 2004 @ 4:44 a.m.
da_hobo has posted up a thread in the Scenario Design forum with a small poll, which asks an interesting question. Do you prefer to design a map, and then do the trigger work? Or do you prefer to do the map bit by bit, working both on the map and the trigger work as you go along? Here's the statistics for the poll so far:
Map, And Then Trigger Work-
|||| |||

Bit By Bit-
|||| |||| |||| |||
It seems the majority of the scenario design forumers prefer to work on their maps bit by bit, outnumber the "Map And Then Trigger Work" designers by 10 votes. What do you prefer to do? Feel free to add your own opinion to the thread.
Ideas to Make the Perfect Game
Posted by Aro on February 14th, 2004 @ 6:54 a.m.
Afonso Henriques has posted up a thread in the Age of Empires III Discussions forum asking for ideas about various subjects a new AoE game by ES could have. Here's the suggestions the author listed for the resources that could be included in a new game:
RESOURCES:
Wood
Food
Stone
Gold
Iron( for weaponds and some other things )
Water( essencial, if player cut off your water suplies it will be very difficult to continue to made new units.Water can be collected in lakes, rivers, but NOT in the sea)
(Rare Resources like in RoN )It can be for example:sugar, slaves ( horrible I know but it hapenned didn't it), wales( sea lions or focks), spices, diamonds, ivory, cotton, salt, silver, tea...
Have an suggestion or idea that you want to share with everybody else? Feel free to post them up in the thread, and the author is willing to paste them up on the main post.
World Clan League Update
Posted by Aro on February 13th, 2004 @ 5:07 a.m.
The Legion Clan has posted up a World Clan League update on their website. It's an important announcement, so I'll post it up in case any clans are participating in the WCL:
We're starting the 2nd week of WCL. Some clans are showing inactivity and we want to remind them that if they don't show up in this 2nd week, they will get booted from WCL. For the other clans, congratulations for participating in the 1st week matches, and good luck in this 2nd week.
...
We also decided to change a bit the rules (take a few minutes to read all the rules), so now players can use rather Patch 1.0c or 1.0d, as Patch 1.0d is not as effective as it used to be.
The schedule for the rest of this week can be found here, and the modified rules can be found here. Good luck to all of the clans that have joined!

Spotted at the Legion Clan Website
DGDN Conquerors Bash!
Posted by Aro on February 10th, 2004 @ 11:36 p.m.
DGDN member Darkmaster has posted up a thread in the Scenario Design forum announcing the DGDN AoK:TC Party, hosted by the Dragon Gaming Design Network, one of the oldest and best design teams around. This party will be held on the MSN Gaming Zone in the Agincourt room. What kind of games will this party have? Quoted from the thread...
As some of you may know, Multiplayer Custom Scenario Night, a tradition of AoKH, is held every Saturday at about 7 PM EST. Many of those who partake in this event are DGDN members. To increase awareness of multiplayer gaming, I announce to you the DGDN Conquerors Bash!

The day will be Saturday, February 14. As for the time, I've tentatively set it at approximately 5 PM EST (10 PM GMT), but these can be changed. We'll be playing RPGs to bloods, B&D scenarios to whatever type you can dream of (well, not really :P)!
When will this be? Saturday, February 14th if you didn't catch it above. Check out the thread for more information. Be there or be square. (;-D)
AoE II: TC Designer Journals Back Up
Posted by Aro on February 10th, 2004 @ 3:28 a.m.
Over at the Ensemble Studios, the Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Designer Journals are back up for the public to check out. What are these articles about? These articles, by Conquerors Lead Designer Greg Street, gives you his design thoughts while creating the maps in TC, as well as in-depth unit and map information. Be sure to check them out. They are helpful for all of the new players out there.

Spotted at Ensemble Studios
What's Your Skill Level?
Posted by Aro on February 8th, 2004 @ 7:50 a.m.
TOAO_Tarzan has posted up a thread in the General & Strategy Discussion forum asking you "What do you think your skill is in AOC?" With it, he listed 7 options for you to choose from.
1. Newbie
2. Brook
3. Grook
4. Inter (Very advanced Rookie )
5. High Inter
6. Excelent (but not expert)
7. Expert
What do you think you rate as a player, whether it's against the Computer or against people online at the Zone? Feel free to add your own skill level or comments. I can't be the only Newbie out there. ;-)
Mori's March Madness Tourney
Posted by Aro on February 7th, 2004 @ 6:02 a.m.
The Mori Clan is going to hold an AoC tournament on March 12th, with the players going against eachother 1 on 1 playing on both Custom and Standard maps (although it is unstated which will be played on the most). A requirement that should be noted - you will be required to download the 1.0d patch when signing up to prevent cheating. This patch is not supported by Microsoft (nor made by ES), so it could affect your computer or could not. Now to the prizes...
1) The Barbarians, 2 Volume DVD + $100 USD
2) The Barbarians 2 Volume DVD + $50 USD
3) The Barbarians 2 Volume DVD + $25 USD
4) The Barbarians 2 Volume DVD + $10 USD...
Even the 10th place winner will get a prize. Want more information about this tournament, such as rules and where to sign up? The clan has put all of these conveniently on one page. You only have until the 29th of this month to sign up, so sign up quickly. Good luck to those of you who join!

Spotted at Mr Fix-It Online
AoKH's Newest Angel
Posted by Aro on February 4th, 2004 @ 11:36 p.m.
I would like everyone to welcome Tanneur99 as Age of Kings Heaven's newest Angel. His excellence in doing his previous Blacksmith duties proved that he was ready to take a step-up in his work here at AoKH. Tanneur will be working as the Downloads section administrator, and will keep doing his current Blacksmith work too. Hmmm... It's been a while since someone has turned red here. About time. ;-)
Age of Units Contest
Posted by Aro on February 3rd, 2004 @ 10:57 p.m.
Ever want to get prizes for describing your dream unit? This is your chance. Planet Age of Mythology is holding a contest in cooperation with the creators of the Age series Ensemble Studios and Eagle Games that asks you one thing - Can you describe a new unit for a new game? It can be anything, real or unreal. Here's a quote from PAOM's website:
It’s a new fresh year. We’re all waiting what for new game Ensemble Studios has in production. *hint* To do something with the time we have now, before drooling over a new game, we’re presenting a great contest!

Your task is to create a new unit for an "Age of" game. This could range from a Titan to a Gaia unit (as in nature) or just a simple pike man, let your imagine run wild! We do want a serious unit though. Humor is nice, but we don’t want it in this contest. keep those idea’s though, you never know what we might come up with. (different contest) This is what we want you to come up with:

A name for your unit.
Complete stats for it.
Possible upgrades.
Concept art (3D, scanned, paint).
What building is it trained in?
What do other civ's need to counter it? (Its weaknesses)
Background information. (history, origin)
Which civ(s) have it
If you need more information, just take a look at their site. Now let's go right to prizes, the basis of all good contests (;-D).
-Grand prize
Signed copy of AoM: The Titans.
1 copy of War! the video game.
Titans t-shirt.
-Second prize
The Age of Mythology board game.
1 copy of War! the video game.
Titans t-shirt.
-Third prize
1 copy of War! the video game.
Titans t-shirt
-Fourth and on
A choice out of the following we have left;
4 Titan t-shirts
2 copies of War! the video game.
5 copies of War! board game
Sounds like a good deal for all of you players who are eager for a new Age game and have tons of ideas. Check out the PAOM website to find out more about this contest.