Ask Sandy XVI

Article written by Sandy Petersen
Originally published on 04-20-2000 ; updated on 03-13-2017
Tags: General Info, Ask Sandyman, Interviews

Q) Will there be jellyfish in AOK:TC?

A) Deathshrimp is the current design lead on AoK:TC, so if there aren’t jellyfish, he’s to blame. I did everything I could to get them in.

Q) don't you think that the tetus are overpowered in the x-pac?

A) of course not.

Q) who has better arbs? Briton or new archer civ?

A) Briton

Q) who has better cavalry? Franks or new cav civ?

A) Franks

Q) who has more tech? Byzantines or new generalist civ?

A) Haven’t counted.

Q) who has better cav. archers? Mongols or new cav archer civ?

A) Mongols.

Q) what does the new infantry civ get?

A) increased attack.

Q) Has your team at ES thought about adding more castles to AOK?

A) No.

Q) How did your team envision the Keep being used in AOK?

A) We thought that at certain times players might want to have extra strong towers. Not every game, though.

Q) How many regular military (not produced in castle) units will be added?

A) Four or so.

Q) You guys are in the final tweaking and stuff in the Expansion pack already? Does that mean that it could come out sooner than Fall 2000?

A) Its release date is going to be based on MS & ES financial needs and the marketplace.

Q) will cav archers in general be improved, or will it be improved for only few civs?

A) They are improved by means of a couple techs, so that civs that need cav archers can get good ones, and civs that don’t, won’t.

Q) Why do my War Elephant die to the enemies 10 pikes?

A) Because indestructible units tend to upset game balance.

Q) Why do the AI villagers storm my tower in his base when I have several archers guarding it?

A) Because he’s desperate. He only does it if he has no soldiers at all.

Q) I have never seen the comp build a wonder, why?

A) Beats me why you haven’t seen it. I’ve seen him do it. He’ll probably do it more often in the X-Pack.

Q) Will any of the new civs be a REAL good water civ, better than vikings?

A) Two of the new civs are quite good on the water. I’d hesitate to say they were better than vikings, but they’ll certainly give vikings a run for the money.

Q) Did any of the civs in AOK use any of the new units?

A) Every civ in AoK gets at least one of the new units.

Q) I'm almost the only one in school that plays AOK, which means that I have no one to play modem games against, what shall I do about this

A) Either evangelize the game to your pals, play against strangers on the Zone, stick to singleplayer, or find buddies here in the forum to play against.

Q) what will the Russian UU be?

A) I have never so much as hinted that Russia would be in the X-Pack.

Q) Do you like calamari?

A) I love calamari.

Q) At this stage of development of the xpack, can any civ still be added or removed?

A) No.

Q) Are you getting ready for E3?

A) We are already done getting ready.

Q) Is it possible for a lord of the rings compaign?

A) not unless we want to pay a REALLY BIG royalty.

Q) Do you think the Goths are weak?

A) The Goths are just the way we like them. We knew they would never be one of the most popular civs, but we also knew that some people would really really like them. We wanted the Goths to be controversial, and they are.

Q) Do you think it would be a good idea for MS to market AOK as not only entertainment software, but as a teaching tool as well?

A) Please. Let us stick to entertainment.

Q) Are the civs/civ in the "new region" one of the conquered or conquerers?

A) can’t they be both? I mean there are plenty of one-time conquerors who became conquered.

Q) Don't you think that Byzantines should benefit in some way from trade or diplomacy?

A) Byzantium historically was surrounded by enemies, and was not particularly trade or diplomacy oriented. Before I get jumped on for saying this, yes obviously Byzantium had sophisticated trade & diplomacy, but it didn’t depend on it for survival. Take Venice as an example – without trade, Venice would die. Byzantium wouldn’t.

Q) For your job, do you a) just design the game or b) also do the work (though one could hardly call it that) of programming the game?

A) I can’t program a line of code.

Q) Have you worked on any games other than AoE/RoR/AoK/TC?

A) Er … yes. As far as computer games go, I worked on Civilization, Doom, Doom 2, and Quake, among others. Hows that?

Q) Will there be any new boats? Will there be a new civ with a boat bonus?

A) Yes. Yes.

Q) I assume from his photograph, Greg Street must have some problems with traditional keyboards. Maybe he is the test person of special Microsoft ergonomic keyboards.

A) We plug a cable directly into Greg’s brain from the computer, so he doesn’t need a keyboard.

Q) Why almost everybody is asking about the X-pack

A) Beats me. The “ask sandy” wasn’t just supposed to be X-Pack stuff, but anything at all they would like to know about ES and how we do things.

Q) Agree or disagree: chess with a clock, and especially blitz chess, is an RTS game.

A) Depends on how short the clock time is.

Q) Need any programmers with extensive gaming experience?

A) Check out our web site. All job openings are listed there.

Q) Does the Mongol hunting bonus apply to just Deer, or to Boars as well?

A) Both

Q) Say you tell the "smart villager" to build a house, the house is right next to his farm. Once he completes the house will he go back to his farm?

A) No. He’s not THAT smart.

Q) Have you heard the music for AOK:TC yet?

A) Yes. I even own two CDs full of it. I like it very much.

Q) For the capture the wonder game, what kid of wonder will be there?

A) It is a randomly chosen wonder from the 18 now in the game. I think, but am NOT certain, that it is never a wonder of the civs participating in the game.

Q) Has Es ever though of putting AOK on Nintendo 64?

A) We consider everything.

Q) Have YOU ever been to Canada?

A) Sure, I love Canada & Canadians. My jab about archaic language was just about the excess “u”s that Canadians like to add onto certain words like humour, colour, and so forth. Actually, the only part of Canada I’ve been to is Vancouver, but it was terrific. Especially the rabbits.

Q) Will the diplomacy be better in SINGLE player?

A) Way better.

Q) I hope you won't feel unwanted when all the AoK:TC info is revealed at E3

A) It will be a huge load off my shoulders. Well … actually, it will probably heat up the speculation to fever pitch. Plus everyone who didn’t get their pet civ into the game will get all mad at me.

Q) Do you like living in Dallas?

A) I actually live in Rockwall, one of the suburbs of Dallas. But yes I like the area. Except for the fact that it has no mountains. (I grew up surrounded by mountains and always miss them.)

Q) What state in the Union would you most like to live? Which state the least?

A) At the moment, Texas. I’d rather not say which is my least favorite, for fear of offending forum members who come from it.

Q) Did ES feel that Hand Cannoneers were one of the underused units that needed to be "tuned up"?

A) Yes.

Q) There was considerable talk about adding an upgrade to the pikeman line. Was there also consideration for an upgraded skirmisher?

A) For the skirmishers? There was some for a while, and we actually put one into the game, but then it was removed, because archers aren’t really that big a threat in AoK. Adding a super archer-killer would upset more things than it would help.

Q) what do you think about Simón Bolivar and the South American independence war?

A) I view it as a great pity that they weren’t able to create a united South American nation.

Q) What do you think about Union Gen. George Brinton McClellan performance during the Civil War, specially during the Peninsula/Seven Days campaign?

A) McClellan was excellent at organizing an army and making it fit for battle, but he fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the war he was fighting, and was a big coward to boot. He actually whipped Lee almost every time they fought, but then McClellan would freak out and retreat, proving that he’d been beaten morally. What a jerk. He probably prolonged the war by a year or more through his personal problems, not to mention his egotism.

Q) When you came to Canada, did you … Find the people more friendly(that is a widely shared view)? Notice that we say "eh" a lot(also widely shared view)?

A) I did not find the people any friendly than in the US. I think that this theory comes from Americans who come from big cities (where no one is friendly) and go to Canada (where there are few big cities). Rural and Southern Americans are just as friendly as any Canadians I’ve ever met. Canadians did say “eh”, though, to my amusement. I didn’t actually expect them to.

Q) Are Queen, Pope, Cardinal units added in the X-Pack?

A) Give us a break. MS lawyers made us change the hats on the Janissaries. If they saw that we were able to attack and kill the pope in the game they would all immediately have heart attacks and die.

Q) Will there be any new heroes?

A) Yes.

Q) Is ES gonna release an official ES strategy guide?

A) We don’t publish strategy guides. Probably someone will, though.

Q) What's YOUR favourite civ that didn't make it?

A) Philistines.

Q) Were you surprised by the success of Doom?

A) Yes. We thought it would do okay, but we were stunned at the magnitude of that “okay”.

Q) Had Jubal Early's raid on Washington succeeded in capturing the city, do you feel it would have dramatically altered the course of the American Civil War?

A) There are a lot of events way likelier to have altered the course than Jubal’s Raid. Like Antietam, Atlanta, Pea Ridge, or the Vicksburg campaign. If Jubal had captured the city, it would have been a stunning upset to the North, and might have brought out the peaceniks in droves, demanding a negotiated end to the war.

Q) If you HAD to seriously **** off and suffer the wrath of one of the following people, who would it be: Caligula, Torquemada, Robespierre or Kenny G?

A) Robespierre. His method of execution is quick and humane.

Q) Who is your favorite James Bond villain?

A) Goldfinger

Q) Who is your favorite Bond girl?

A) Either Pussy Galore or Domino.

Q) will Pikemen be toned down slightly?

A) Hmm. Most folks are asking to have them improved.

Q) How are you so cool?

A) Air conditioning.

Q) will we be able to determine if an enemy's ram is garrisoned or not?

A) A garrisoned ram has a flag, just like a boat or a house.

Q) Will any civs from AoK get a new unit that isn't part of the Xpac added to their army?

A) No.

Q) Do you get a lion share of profit when ES releases games or just a little?

A) ES invests its money in doing better games, not in lining our pockets. *sigh*

Q) What did you actually do at ID when Doom was in production?

A) Designer. I designed all the levels in Episodes 2 & 3, and two of the levels in Episode 1. Plus I helped design the monsters’ hit points and attacks, chose their names, and many of the weapons used by the player.

Q) Any new colors?

A) No new player colors.

Q) Is there a game format where each person gets a hero they have to protect depending on civ?

A) Sounds like Regicide.

Q) Are the non UU new units going to be upgrades of other units or actual new units?

A) Both

Q) What is your favorite unit and UU unit in AOK?

A) It's one of the new ones.

Q) are Teutons really as powerfu; as people say they are?

A) At the moment.

Q) Will TC have any new terrain?

A) Yes.