Ask Sandy I

Article written by Sandy Petersen
Originally published on 09-22-1999 ; updated on 03-13-2017
Tags: General Info, Ask Sandyman, Interviews

Q) What kind of music and sound FX r there?

A) I really like them, but I'm an interested party. Suggest polling a beta-tester to see what they think.

Q) i know ppl say u guyz toned down siege and im sure ya did but in RoR standards how easy r siege to beat up compared to cost and effectiveness?

A) It's really hard to make comparisons between RoR & AoK, but I'll try.

BEATING UP SIEGE: It is much easier to kill siege in AoK than in RoR.

COST OF SIEGE: In absolute numbers, siege costs more in AoK, but that's not necessarily a fair comparison, since a lot of other units cost more too (a cannon galleon costs 350 resources all by itself!)

EFFECTIVENESS OF SIEGE: impossible to compare. Vs. most units, siege is way weaker than in RoR. It takes longer for siege to kill a building in AoK than it did in RoR, too. But on the other hand, they're the very best units of all for killing buildings! The simple fact that siege lacks all ballistics is profound in its implications.

Q) What language in AoK do the Vikings, Teutrons, Persians, and Celts speak?

A) Vikings = when I tell a viking villager to chop down a tree, he says something like "Timber hochvandi".

Teutons & Goths = speak the same language, which I presume to be German. When I tell a Teuton or Goth to chop a tree, they say something like "Hochsa" My son is taking German in school, but not me.

Persians = I assume Farsi, but for what it's worth, a lumberjack says something like "chew pore".

Celtic = sounds more like Scottish than Welsh to me. When I go for a tree, the villager says something like "Bone-it", which I enjoy immensely of course.

Q) how will ES find the extinct language of Old Norse and Medieval Persian?

A) By relying on our scholarly friends at MS, who for all I know have given us modern Swedish and Farsi.

Q) Is it actually too late to change any of the civ names and bonuses?

A) Names = yes. Bonuses = kind of. We can't change the bonuses as they now stand in the manual, but we can "adjust" them to some extent. Note that the bonuses in the older showcases were done before the bonuses became more-or-less fixed, so some have been changed outright.

Q) Do the Persians get a fully upgraded transport(holding 20 units)?

A) Sorry. Too specific and I'm too lazy to look it up. If they don't they can just build two transports. I think they do, though. They have good ships, as I recall.

Q) Can you tell us what has changed about the Persian advantages since the showcase, if anything?

A) I don't want to go back and look up what the showcase said. None of the civs have changed significantly. Persians get good town centers, an initial resource boost, and superior knights.

Q) What other units speak the language of the civ besides villagers?

A) All except mounted units, ships, and some siege (battering rams, oddly, speak).

Q) When you ring the town bell, your villers enter the TC. when you let them out, do they go back to their duties?

A) Yes, unless they cannot (example: their deer has rotted to nothingness, their building foundation was destroyed, etc.), in which case they go and stand at their previous location, idly.

Q) how many movies are in age of kings?

A) One, unless you count the opening sequences for the campaigns & scenarios, which are not animated, but done in "documentary" format. (I.e., papyrus pages turn, words appear, pictures fade in and out)

Q) can you record a game and make that an intro for a scenario?

A) No need to -- you can totally control all the movement of all units in scenarios you create if you like, so all you need to do is take control of a bunch of units, have them move & act like you want for your intro, then dissolve them into nothing and turn control back over to your player.

Q) What do the Wheel Barrow and hand Cart do?

A) they make their villagers better.

Q) Except, infantry what do the Vikings excel at?

A) Their heavy cavalry is nothing to write home about. They have good archers, though. Their siege is about average.

Q) is there an AoK technology similiar to logistics in aoe?

A) No. There was no need for it. I designed logistics for RoR explicitly because infantry was so disused. But in AoK infantry are one of the most popular unit types.

Q) can you recap tne team bonus for the ten civs showcased so far because gamespot didn't even explain or mention the ten civs team bonuses.

A) Sorry, that's above and beyond my call to duty.

Q) The AI not colonizing new islands sounds a little disappointing.. What will the computer player do when he's on an island and his resources run out, and there are islands left that are full of resources with nobody on them?

A) He uses his market to buy more ... Look, all I ask is that you play a game or two against the CP (on Hard mode) on an island map. THEN complain about how much the AI sucks.

Q) Is it hard to attack in AOK?

A) You cannot win the game without attacking.

Q) It seems that defense has become so strong, with early walls, garrisoning, towers, castles, building hitpoints and more. Does the games often end up with a wonder? Or stalemate?

A) Wonders show up about as often as in RoR. I've seen no stalemates. Defense IS strong, and the result is that ill-planned early attacks fail. But that's what the siege engines and cheap infantry are for. Games tend to last longer (Methos mentioned that his games usually last an hour instead of 20 minutes), but they end just as decisively.

Q) No offense Sandyman but by the time I am able to play a game against the CP on an island map it will be too late to "complain how much the AI sucks."

A) Okay, that's a fair point. Any beta-testers want to be informative on this subject to shane88?

Q) you say trebs have better range than longbowmen, are we talking 20 tiles here?

A) They can't shoot 20 tiles, but they have the longest range in the game, far outranging any archer, tower, or ship (except the cannon galleon).

Q) if the range is shorter, is there some way to judge if you are in a towers LOS before you unpack and start hurtling cows and villagers at your enemy?

A) In the first place, the treb's range is way further than a tower's, and in the second place yeah, it's easy to tell if you're within a tower's range, because it starts to shoot at you. (Note: packed trebuchets have mucho piercing armor, so a few shots won't hurt. Much.)

Q) Town bells....when you ring one in a town center, do all your villagers come running? Or does the town bell have a range for villagers to come?

A) Villagers within earshot of the town bell (which does have a range) run to garrison in the nearest "garrisonable" building. I.e. if there is a tower nearby, a villager will run to it instead of the town center.

Q) Also, when you ring a town bell, does it ring the town bells for ALL your tc's, or just the one you rang.

A) just the one you rang. However if you have a second town center near to the first one, any villagers within earshot who are closer to the other TC will run to it.

Q) if you ring a town bell and more villagers than can fit into the tc come running....what do they do?

A) It's just like running to the bomb shelter during an air raid -- Devil take the hindmost. If this worries you, plop down a tower or two nearby.

Q) Are you able to get any work done on AOK with Agers asking so many questions?

A) Hardly any. But I only post when I'm copying something over or waiting for a playtest to finish, etc.

Q) are priests more important in AoK?

A) No.

Q) if you guys need any more testers, i'm not doing anything, and im in dallas....

A) e-mail me.

Q) I noticed that some of the units from AoE were substituting for the AoK unfinished versions a while back. Does this mean that AoK units have the same number of Animation frames as the ones from AoE?

A) No.

Q) Are the game graphics still stored in .SLP format?
Inside the .DRS files, I mean? Does AoK even use .DRS files anymore?

A) How would I know? The artists do that, not me.

Q) Many people have been asking for the Age limiter(gives a limit to what age you can go in multiplayer)

A) I have replied in at least two other threads about how to limit the age in multiplayer and shan't do it again.

Q) Many people have been asking for the Wonder Bonus this would make player greatly consider building a wonder even on conquest especially in deathmatchs.

A) Why should we care if wonders aren't built in conquest?

Q) I was wondering you said that the persians cavs were superior but in what sense since they only get a cav bonus playing team games

A) I'm not supposed to talk about team bonuses yet, but you are making a totally false assumption here.

Q) Whats your fav UU just out of curiousty

A) I don't really have a favorite. Few designers do -- our goal is to make the units comparable, and if we fell in love with a particular UU, there would be risk of our making it too good. So my favorite UU is pretty much any one I haven't used in a while.

Q) does the computer always build the same exact walls around his town or does it vary from game to game?

A) The computer player calculates the most efficient route around his town, utilizing cliffs, rivers, and forests to help wall in, so his walls look very different from game to game. Example: on a riverine map, he might only wall off the shallows. He _will_ wall in resources that look good to him, too. Also, if he chops a hole through a forest that is serving as part of his wall, he'll fill in the hole with a wall segment. Also, if the most efficient wall doesn't have any sections long enough for a gate, he'll adjust it to provide room for a gate. Last but not least, he will NOT build a wall at least half the time, because he has other plans (like, he's rushing or saving up for a castle, etc.)

Q) Can you talk a bit about the Teuton's navy?

A) They do not have a great navy. Which is, I admit, not historical when you think about the Hansa and such, but ...

Q) I heard that AOK will be localized in many languages as was AOE, do you have the list of the languages that AOK will be available?

A) No. But I _think_ the official initial languages are French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Japanese. I could well be wrong so flames to me are useless.

Q) With the implementation of SafeDisc protection, is it possible to join a multiplayer game without the cd?

A) Wasn't it always possible? You just had to have 1 CD per 3 players, right?

Q) Can you guys move to Los Angeles so I can be a Beta tester?

A) I lived in Los Angeles for two years. Haven't I suffered enough?

Q) Is there any chance that you can add 200 pop limit for the AI, so if we set it in singleplayer that the AI will also build at it?

A) I have answered this question before. The AI will build up to a pop limit of 200 if you set it. I _thought_ that feature was in the beta. If not, it's in the current version of the game, so don't sweat it.

Q) Will there be another battle of the kings?

A) I don't know. Doubtful though.

Q) i doubt Sandyman would want his e-mail address posted on here.

A) Correct.

Q) Please speak about "Arabian"; "Fortress"; "Black Forest"?

A) Arabian: desert terrain with oases. No rivers.
Fortress: coastal-type map in which everyone starts with a walled-in town.
Black Forest: inhabited clearings in a sea of trees. The clearings are connected by pathways. It's easy to wall in, and no one ever runs out of wood. No or very little water.

Q) Can you convert buildings?

A) By researching Redemption, which is also how you convert siege equipment. (Which can't be done till then!)

Q) Will the Computer AI know what to do if it is in a Map Like Cutthroat?

A) We have three cutthroat-like random map types in AoK. They are: Migration, Gold Rush, and Crater Lake. The AI is able to participate in all three, but it is not fully up to par in Migration or Crater Lake.

Q) can you explain the difference between bombard towers and regular towers

A) bombard towers require different upgrades, are different from the regular tower line, and shoot cannonballs. They also have a minimum range which, unlike regular towers, cannot be eliminated via murder holes.

Q) the normal range for a Longbowman, not an Elite, is 4.

A) I guess this has changed since Grey Wolf's version, since this is no longer the case.

Q) dear oracle, is it in my future to get in touch with Mr. Peterson?

A) Not if you keep spelling his last name wrong.

Q) Why doesn't Bruck (Bruce Shelly) visit this forum?

A) I do not police Bruck's web habits.

Q) Do you want another Battle of the Kings?

A) I am indifferent. I play AoK whenever I want, so the only reason for a B. of the K. would be to feed (or *****) my ego, which is swollen enough, thank you.

Q) Will ES throw a HUGE party when AoK releases?

A) Yes. We just learned the date for the party today, and are all clearing our calendars for it.

Q) Why do so many people not like Los Angeles? I love LA.

A) Where else have you lived?

Q) The Persians had great priests in RoR, but in AoK their monks are the worst. Is this change historically correct or just for game balance?

A) When in doubt, assume game balance where ES is concerned. However, giving Persians inferior monks in AoK is fairly accurate, seeing as the bulk of the Persians immediately converted to Islam when it arrived, evidently seeing it as significantly superior to their old ways.

Q) What is the date for the release party?

A) Everyone who is to be invited will receive an invitation, including the date.

Q) Something I noticed in AOE was that the computer would never repair their damaged ships.. will they in AOK?

A) Nope. We find this to be generally cost-ineffective. They do, however, repair walls, gates, castles, towers, wonders, and town centers, but not unless the damaged building has been free from attack for a minute or so (except for wonders).

The CP in AoK builds, defends, and attacks wonders. Owing to a bug introduced by yours truly, he does NOT build wonders in the beta, and I'm not sure how he is at attacking them. But he does all three now. In addition, he collects the relics for a relic victory. Frequently enough that savvy testers now immediately grab up a relic as soon as they can to prevent the CP relic win.

Q) How are the AI files partitioned - Is there one for [Map Type A].[Civ Type 1].[Difficulty Level Easy] and then all permutations?

A) No. They are partitioned much more efficiently. Example:
map loads.per, difficulty loads.per, civ loads.per, are all loaded separately independently.

Q) How large (in line count) is the typical AI file?

A) They range enormously. The random-map AI is pretty colossal, though. I'm too lazy to count up and add together the lines in each of the 20-30 files included in the AI.

Q) Based on a previous post, I concluded that the AI scripts are written in LISP. Is a full LISP interpreter used (meaning a full implementation of the language) and shipped with the game?

A) For questions like this, I recommend asking ES_PlasticBrain. I just use the script language he created to govern the AI.

Q) Will the computer be able to tell the difference between standard and conquest games?

A) Yes. He does not build a wonder in a conquest game.

Q) On the computer not repairing damaged ships [long and somewhat obvious example cut] ...

A) Yes I know it is sometimes good to repair damaged ships. The decision to have the computer NOT repair damaged ships was a choice we consciously took, based on the principle that not repairing would be the right thing to do most of the time.

Q) I've heard your archers can't hurt your own troops even if the archer misses and the arrow touches one of your guys. Is this true? If so, why? How about gunpowder units?

A) Yes. Gunpowder too. Why? Because it is Not Fun to shoot your own guys, and archers are weak enough in AoK.

Q) If I cry really hard will you send me AoK right now?

A) No.

Q) Are you able to start "post imperial" in multiplayer games?

A) Yes.

Q) Sandyman said that these 3 civ (Turk, Teuton, Persian) are EQUALLY good in the DM???

A) I did NOT say that they were all exactly equal. I said that Teutons & Persians were strong DM civs as well as Turks.

Q) Teutons recieve good Defence bonus so they won't get rushed in the early games and stuff.

A) No one gets "rushed" in DM, unless they're totally stupid.

Q) In Imperial Age, Teutons are equally good as the Turks.

A) How do you know? Have you played the game? The Teutons ARE good in DM, but their nice defensive towers are useless vs. Turkish bombard cannons. When I play Teuton vs. Turk in DM, I build knights, not towers.

Q) Persian recieve good economy bonus including the extra food and wood and the docks and TC bonus.

A) These bonuses are almost totally useless in DM.

Q) Now Turks, they don't recieve any kind of military, economy, or defence bonus in the early games.

A) There is no "early game" in DM.

Q) what is an effective use of the vikings on a waterless match...it seems that the berserk gets his lunch eaten by most strong infantry...

A) Have you tried them? My experience is that berserks are fine infantry. When I'm Viking, I don't even build other barracks units once I have a castle.

Q) why would you build knights with teutons, and not paladins?

A) I think of them all as "knights", since in the AI I refer to them as the "knight-line".

Q) do the teutons still get free murder holes? i have had other sources say this is no longer so

A) In the first place, what would it matter? Either they'd get murder holes or something else as good. In the second place, your sources are misinformed.

Q) Do trade carts select and travel the shortest distance between two markets, or can they be set to follow a certain (safer, guarded) route?

A) I don't know. Perhaps using waypoints would work. When I have problems like that, I simply build a new, better-situated market, and path from it.

Q) What lines are the various UU's part of?

A) the logical one. The Janissary is, of course, a hand-cannoneer variant. The mameluke is a stable unit.

Q) What about the cataphract? Heavy Cavalry?

A) There is no "heavy cavalry" in AoK.

Q) I agree with your policy of giving camels only to those civs that would have had them historically, but does this somehow hurt european civs?

A) We took that into account when designing European civs.

Q) do the teutons have strong cavalry? If they do, is it because they get all the upgrades, or because they get a bonus? Do teutons have good seige?

A) There is a whole Gamespot focus on Teutons. Check it out.

Q) Is an Elite Berserker good against anything, I mean, is the Elite Berserker useful at all?

A) Compared to what? Yeah, they're useful, and if you're a viking you'll build them.

Q) Are Woad Raiders better than Berserkers?

A) In a over-simplified test, 5 woad raiders beat 5 Berserks, but 20 woad raiders lost to 20 berserks. In practice, all bets are off, because the combat test program I used did not include stuff like civ bonuses (example: both woad raiders & berserks get special bonuses which the program did not reflect). I would say that the two units are pretty much equal, except against archers maybe.

Q) Do Longboats still dominate in post-imperial?

A) Cannon galleons are popular too.

Q) Do the Vikings get played a lot at ES?

A) Yes. In fact, just today we were trying out some random maps & I insisted the testers all do random civs. Chris van Doren briefly protested because he wanted to be a Viking (note: and he knew that the map might be all-land).

Q) 8 TK's killed approx 20 berserks, and he didnt even have all the upgrades..

A) Teutonic Knights kill everything. It's not fair to compare berserks to them. TKs are like centurions in AoE. To defeat them, you DON'T run up and chop at them. You shoot them down like dogs or convert them. No other infantry unit can defeat a TK, not even samurai.

Q) Will the AI build multiple town centres in singleplayer games?

A) Yes.

Q)In aoe and ror the lag delays the commands you give to the units, Is this still in AoK?

A) If you know a way to keep lag from delaying commands you give units in multiplayer, please inform our programmers at once. Better yet, tell Bill Gates and I promise he'll make you a millionaire.

Q) In multiplayer does everyone need a 56k modem to play on the Big Maps?

A) I don't know.

Q) Every since you day of living hell did you ever recover from the pull of ebay?

A) I have never returned to eBay.

Q) I saw in a preivew (somewhere) screenshots with someone playing as the Vikings, they had the same Tile set as the Goths and Teutons do. I thought they had a raider Civilization Set

A) This question has been answered extensively elsewhere.

Q) do Berserks regenerate like the ones in Warcraft 2?

A) I don't know how they regenerate in Warcraft 2.

Q) IN a battle of 20 longbowmen vs 20 mamelukes...who wins? by how much?

A) On paper, the mameluke is way better. It's faster, has more hit points, and does more damage to a longbow than he receives in return. HOWEVER, the longbowman costs less than half as much gold, has twice the mameluke's range, and when mamelukes are garrisoned in castles or towers, they don't add to the buildings' attack (longbowmen do, of course). So ... it's not really a fair comparison -- like berserks vs. TK, it's apples vs. oranges. I will say this, though. If you don't manage your longbows you'll lose big-time. But if you _do_ control your longbows in combat, and get the whole group to aim at the mamelukes one by one, you can kill a mameluke with every volley. One final note: the elite mameluke is a LOT better than the regular mameluke. The elite longbowman is not that big of an improvement. This means that a British player can reasonably choose to get the upgrade later, when he can afford it. A Saracen player pretty much has to scrimp and save to buy the elite mameluke upgrade as soon as possible, or he's cheating himself. (Persians have this problem, too, except it's even worse because the elite elephant upgrade costs a LOT of money.) This "should I buy the elite upgrade or not" is one of the hidden bonuses in the game. Huskarls don't need it as early, for instance, like longbows.

Q) is a set route for unit/s still in? Can I make an army of my units, put them in formation, and then make them march in a square shape around the outskirts of my village until I intervene?

A) Yes.

Q) Do you like Nine Inch Nails (the band)?

A) No, I can't stand Trent Reznor's music and think he's an untalented opportunistic ****.

Q) Teuton towers even with their great civ attributes lose to Turkish bombard cannons. So my question is how much or how little does civ attributes effect DM play?

A) Turkish bombard cannons outrange teuton towers, which is why the latter lose to them. But when you consider that when the Turks can destroy other people's towers just by running up infantry and beating on them, the Teuton towers start looking good again. Civ attributes affect DM play differently than in normal games, but they still affect it.

Q) Has there ever been the consideration or does the future prospect exist for a hospital or medicine building whereby troops can seek healing whilst garrisoned.

A) It seems unlikely, considering that units will slowly heal from damage when garrisoned in ANY building in AoK (they heal fastest in castles, though).

Q) Do you watch Judge Judy? What's your favorite sport? What does "encharcamiento" mean in Spanish?

A) These questions are inappropriate for the "ES Sandyman Questions" thread, which is theoretically devoted to questions about the game, with an occasional question aimed at my personal life.

Q) Are the TK's modeled after the Knights Templars and such?

A) No. They are modeled after an organization named (get this) "The Teutonic Knights". To see a terrific movie involving the Teutonic Knights, rush out and rent ALEXANDER NEVSKY, the greatest medieval action film ever made. All the armor & weapons in the film are identical to the real armor & weapons used in 13th-century Russia & Germany. The action is pretty realistic, too. For instance, the forces of the Knights (who are the villains) are portrayed as outnumbered by, but generally tougher than, the heroic Russians they face in battle.

Q) Can Paladins be converted or do they have a high resistance to priest conversions?

A) Despite D&D, the historical use of the term "paladin" had nothing at all to do with a priestly or a particularly religious warrior. Except that all good knights were supposed to be religious. Paladins are no more resistant to priests than any other unit in AoK.

Q) Do you use ICQ? and can if so can I have your # so I can send you messages whenever your online?

A) I have an ICQ number, but I very rarely respond to or check it. No you can't have it. I wish I didn't have one.

Q) Sandy what do you think of Pharoah?

A) I rarely get excited about upcoming games unless I know what the company has done before. Thus, I am looking forward to MONSTER RANCHER 2 (I enjoyed the first one). But having not played much by the PHARAOH guys, I await its release with detached interest. I hope it's good, though.

Q) Will it be hard for me to learn AoK's AI scripting from scratch?

A) Yes, but don't worry about not learning AoE's .per files; the system in AoK is thoroughly, fundamentally, different. However it is DEFINITELY a non-trivial AI language, and not for dilettantes. It is extremely powerful and adaptable.

Q) How do Frankish Axethrowers compare to Arabian Mamelukes in terms of hp, range, and attack? (I'm trying to find counters for Mamelukes.)

A) Frankish Axethrowers are inferior to Mamelukes one-on-one, but they only cost about half as much. Generally speaking, archers, scorpions, towers, castles, pikemen, and infantry are good vs. Mamelukes. If the mamelukes do the shoot-and-scoot thing, infantry/pike can have troubles, but if the mamelukes are running away presumably your knights can get into action.

Q) I loved Alexander Nevsky! The teutonic knights looked REALLY ghostly at one point. It was GREAT!! You should ALL watch it.

A) Alexander Nevsky was directed by Sergei Eisenstein, one of the top ten film directors of all time. The music was specially composed for the film by Prokofiev, one of the all-time great music composers of the century. The film was funded by Stalin's Russia, which means that the battle scenes have thousands upon thousands of realistically-armed-and-equipped knights, infantry, crossbowmen, etc. going at it. The final battle on the ice of Lake Peipus has to be seen to be believed. Another realistic touch -- despite the awful villainy of the Teutonic Knights in the film (they throw babies into fires, murder old men, etc.), when their surviving leaders are captured after the Battle on the Ice, the Russians do not execute them, but ransom them. Also, the very start of the film has some Mongols show up briefly, and they are pretty darn terrific-looking, too, despite the fact that they are only a bit part.

Q) Will there be functional .cty files?

A) .cty files? Are these the files that teach the CP how to lay out its town? If so, they're not being used in AoK. The CP has to figure out how to layout its town all by itself. It does a good job, however, and you can modify stuff -- example, you can choose how large to make the town on a moment to moment basis. I use this when building a wonder, for instance -- I shrink the town size down to a 10 tile radius, delete farms (to give me room), build the wonder, then restore the town's size back to the original. This lets the CP always place its wonder right in the middle of its town.

Q) Why aren't the buildings and trees in AoE to scale like in AoK?

A) to save memory.

Q) I think the maps are big enough to support larger buildings and trees. Is there anyway to change the size ratio?

A) Sure. We just did it, by designing a whole new game.

Q) Can you qeue your own units?

A) Yes.

Q) The AI can technically "see" what you're doing in a scenario, right (so if you made a certain unit in mass, it could counter it)?

A) Only if you explicitly command it to cheat in this manner.

Q) Is repairing a queue, so you could make the AI repair a boat after it was severely damaged?

A) No.

Q) Can you make queues based on the time and how many resources some player has?

Q) Can you do queues based on the hp of a unit/building?

Q) Can you make numerous responses for one action?

A) ?? These questions make no sense to me. AgesofKings1984 seems to making some assumption that is invisible to me but which doubtless would explain these questions.

Q) Can you make an AI player "talk"?

A) Yes.

Q) What UU is the Huskarl Able to take down

A) The archer ones.

Q) Are there still Scenario Instrucion Maps (Mapdefault)

A) ??

Q) Are there tons of scenaro editor extras (Wrecked Ships Bridges etc. No specific number)

A) Yes.

Q) are ruins and/or discovories still in the game?

A) No.

Q) Are there any scenarios with only military units?

A) Yes.

Q) How about scenarios with only non-villager units (military units, monks, trade carts, etc...).

A) Yes.

Q) Are Instruction maps still in the game or do they just pop up when the game starts?

A) What are you talking about?

Q) Is there anything that replaces Ruins/Artifacts in aok?

A) Artifacts = Relics. There is no replacement for Ruins, unless you wish to explicitly place such a thing in a scenario (which is easy enough to do).

Q) How long will it take you to fix all of th bugs beta testers reported to you?

A) We're mostly already done.

Q) Qeues based on hp:Based on a specific units hp, you could cause a cetain reaction. For ex., once some unit has either lost a certain amount of hp or a certain % of hp, a priest is qeued to heal him.

A) AgeofKings1984 not only refuses to spell "queue" correctly, but uses it in a different manner from myself. When a priest is within range of a damaged unit, it automatically starts healing him and continues doing so until he is healed, then goes to the next one. The only queues in AoK are building queues and construction queues. I.e., you can "stack up" a number of units in a building and a villager-builder will keep hammering on new foundations so long as any are within his LOS.

Q) Ques based on time and how many res a player has:After the clock has reached a certain amount of time, the AI will say "You have wasted your pitifull time .....(the name of your player), now you shall die". or, after a certain amount of time, you made make the AI do something, such as produce x amount of a certain unit. On res., you could cause a player to react to how many res you have. For ex., as soon as you reach 1200 wood, the AI attacks your vills.

A) The first two are possible, using the AI scripts. The third is not possible, because the AI doesn't cheat and so can't know how much wood you have.

Q) Numerous qeues based on a single action: As soon as you have done a, the AI will respond by doing b, c, and d.

A) This is possible, so long as action "a" is something that the AI could know about. I.e., if you started building a wonder, he would be aware of it. If you had a bunch of barracks, he (probably) would know about it (because of his scouts). But if you were researching Chemistry, he would have no way to tell. Note: you could, of course, write a scenario with triggers that would fire when the player got to 1200 wood or when he start researching Chemistry. Triggers can do almost anything.

Q) What do you like most about the game?

A) The panoply of units.

Q) How has working so hard on the project affected you?

A) I have not been able to shake my chronic sinus/bronchial infection because of lack of rest.

Q) Have you taken up any bad habits as a result?

A) I drink way too much Coke.

Q) What are you going to do when aok is finished?

A) Go to New Orleans.

Q) in the new editor you will be able to use the triggers to make them put a house here, a barracks there etc?

A) Yes. In fact, this is done in many of the scenarios included with the game.

Q) Am I invited to the Release Party?

A) How would I know?

Q) Why do the Saracens need/have so many counters for heavy cavalry?

A) Try it, you'll like it.

Q) This may have been a rumor, but at one time wasn't there a trade workshop, what did it do?

A) The tradeworkshop was in a very early stage of AoE. It produced "luxury goods" that you traded in for gold or something useless. It was basically a way to circumvent gold-mining and give excess villagers something to do (they went inside the workshop and didn't come out).

Q) Is the wolf noticeable different than the lion in AoE.

A) The wolf is significantly different from the lion in AoE. One major alteration: he generally won't bother you if you stay in your starting area. If a villager leaves his town to walk across the map, a wolf will frequently get aroused and go on the hunt to get that villager. The result is that it is a little tougher to forward-build a barracks in the Dark Age.

Q) Could you list a couple scenario extras?

A) I'd rather wait till the game came out and let you find them for yourself.

Q) I've heard that the Celts have like faster firing siege weapons. Why not just give them an extra range for their pikes, extra damage for their pikes, or military +10% more Hit Points per age, since their were hardier than most people?

A) What's wrong with better siege?

Q) I doubt this is so but, when you say the the Byzantines get +10% more buildings hit points per age do you mean something like this? House = 1000 HP, +10% = 110 +10% = 1210 +10% = 1331 +10% = 1466. It wouldn't be that much over what I think what you have now.

A) A Byzantine building in the Imperial age has 1400 hit points to another civ's 1000. In essence, he gets +40% in Imperial. If you don't think that a ;;;building with 2800 hit points is significantly better off than one with 2000 hit points, I guess we'll just have to disagree.

Q) Because the Byzantine UU is a cavalry unit, will they get that one tech that makes horses go faster, and all other horses techs, like +damage +armor?

A) One of the few missing Byzantine techs is one single tech that, in fact, does apply to their cavalry.

Q) What is the exact name given to the artist who design AoK?

A) Scott Winsett, Brad Crow, Duane Santos, Thonny Namuonglo, Duncan McKissick, Sean Wolff, Jeff Dotson, Chea O'Neill, Paul Slusser, Herb Ellwood, Don Gagen, Bryan Hehmann, Brian Sousa, Chris Van Doren, and Chad & Eric Walker.

Q) Did you guys put in heros with your own name, like Sandyman the Paladin. 16 damage, 5 armor, 2 piercing armor, 200 Hit Points? Something like that?

A) I sure hope not.

Q) Is there still a 'town bell' in the TC that calls all the villagers home when someone attacks?

A) This question has been answered elsewhere.

Q) What part of the process are you in of the creation of AOK?

A) My major life function was to create the AI scripts that control the random map computer players. In addition, I have advised the lead designers, playtested, run playtests, participated in design discussions, and generally used my intelligence, guided by experience, to improve AoK as best I could.

Q) How long does a battle last in AoK?

A) If by "battle" you mean a game it depends on how many players are in the game. A typical 4x4 game lasts maybe 1.5 game hours, which means that at "normal" speed it's around an hour of real time. It can last significantly longer though, up to 3 or more hours of game time. The average length of a game of AoK is longer than the average length of a game of AoE, mainly because it is much harder to KO a player in the first two ages. Thus, the average AoK game lasts as long as a longer-than-average AoE game.

Q) I noticed lots of people whine about their favorite civilization not being powerful enough. I sure hope that ES relies on its own judgement when it comes to balancing the civilizations and units rather than listening to these kids who just want to win some pointless deathmatch with their favorite civilization.

A) I hope so, too. Except of course for the Celts and Vikings which, as my own personal ancestors, ought to be promoted and bonused far above the norm. (j/k)

Q) On the testing front which ecoonmic bonus of the chinese do the experts find more useful?

A) You should ask them (the experts I mean). Personally, though, I love having the extra 3 villagers at game start. The cheap research is good, but you don't really notice it because by the time it kicks in, you're very busy. One effect on me has been that when I'm Chinese I'll often put off some useful-but-expensive upgrade if I think I'll be advancing in age soon, so it'll be cheaper. So paradoxically I'm often _less_ technological when I play Chinese. At least until I hit Imperial.

Q) Do u ever use the saracens if it is not a water map and if u do how do they fare vs. the other civs?

A) Why would I not use the saracens on a land map? Because they have a boat bonus? They're perfectly effective on the land with their terrific market and cav archers. In some ways they're better on land than water, because boats cost wood & gold and archers cost wood & gold, and so on a water map their main units keep competing with one another for resources.

Q) Have there been any bugs reported to you yet that have made your brain start leaking?

A) Yes. Fortunately I keep a roll of paper towels on my desk to clean up the mess.

Q) What is the biggest difference between de Aoe and the Aok campaigns?

A) The AoK campaigns are all historical, and tell a story.

Q) Sandyman, we just wanted to say here that we really appreciate the time and effort you have put aside to answer our questions

A) You are welcome, Zen, bearing in mind that I sometimes cannot be present.

Q) is any Unique unit better at destroying buildngs than siege weapons?

A) No individual unit can deliver more damage to a building than a ram, onager, bombard cannon, or trebuchet.

Q) Does AOK have a release date?

A) We'd be a pretty sorry company if we didn't.

Q) Are there any foreigners working at ES?

A) Some people at ES are foreign-born. I think we're all American citizens, though.

Q) Are there any brazilians working at ES?

A) Not to my knowledge. My wife speaks fluent Portuguese, however.

Q) does the frank axethrower do meele damage just like Infantry, but woth range?

A) Yes.

Q) Does any non-unique unit do trample damage?

A) No, unless you count the radius effect of an onager or similar blasting device.

Q) Are siege weapons good to defeat anything other than buildings and walls and tower?

A) You can fire at anything with a siege weapon.

Q) other than the hand cannoneer, bombard cannon, cannon galleon and cannon tower, are there other gunpowder troops?

A) Not yet.

Q) are the hand cannoneers a unit that does the same role of a previous unit in a better way?

A) If you mean, does a hand cannoneer replace arbalests, then the answer is "kind of". They both are ranged foot units, but they have some pretty important differences, too. Arbalests outrange handgunners & have more hit points, and a faster firing rate, plus don't have a minimum range. Arbalests also cost slightly less gold & cost wood instead of food. Once handgunners are available, some people keep making both units. Some only make gunners. Some never bother to get gunners, and stick with arbalests.

Q) Which units can the Woad Raider take on resource wise?

A) This would require extensive and tedious testing of the kind I am not willing to do at this moment.

Q) How do you kill (elite) Mamelukes and win resource wise?

A) shoot him with crossbows, handguns, or onagers. Hit him with camels or pikemen. Force him to go up against towers or castles -- they're murderous on Mamelukes.

Q) Is the game too unbalanced at high pop limits (ranged units start to dominate)?

A) We think not.

Q) What was the seed number of the Battle of the Kings map?

A) I have no idea.

Q) Did you make the Battle of the kings map a Scenario with the release of the game?

A) Gee, it was just a random map, created at that instant for us to play on. I think it was Coastal, if that helps.

Q) Will you be back for Age 3?

A) Me personally? I'll still be working here if we do an Age3...

Q) Will ES release a AoK video a week or 2 before AoK comes out like you did for RoR?

A) Dunno.

Q) In AoK will there be a unit to replace hoplites and Phalanxs or Centurions.Or are hoplites now Pikemen Etc.

A) The only unit in AoK that resembles hoplites at all is the Teutonic Knight. The classic hoplite doesn't really have an equivalent in the middle ages.

Q) Will Microsoft ask you (ES) to make an expansion?

A) All I will say is that MS was pleased with the success of RoR.

Q) Does the gatehouse in AoK still hold units like towers?

A) No.

Q) When Garrisoning injured units, does any priest (when garrisoned with them) heal them along with the building's healing rate?

A) I do not think so ...

Q) Is unit LOS affected by buildings in AoK? In other words, does a scout running along the outside of a wall get a free vision shot at the town's contents?

A) No. AoK is only a 2-D game. The CPU hit necessary to get real LoS in AoK is terrifying, especially when you consider things like terrain height (if I'm on a cliff can I see over the wall?), obstacles, trees, etc. etc. You'd probably end up with a pop cap of about 20 units.

Q) Will all gate types be the Portcullus type or will we see "big wooden doors" on some of them?

A) We like portcullises. And big wooden doors have some pretty big problems: 1) which way do they swing open? 2) what if units are in the way? 3) what if they hit a tree? etc. etc. Portcullises make everything so much easier, and they look far more "medieval" to boot.

Q) Are sheep found always in equal clumps?

A) Sheep are found in groups of 4 or 2.

Q) What determines the color of outline for units hidden behind buildings?

A) the player's color. Thus, the green player has green outlines to his units.