GameSpot '99 Superchat (Pg 1)

Article written by GameSpot
Published on 03-13-2017; updated on 03-13-2017
Tags: General Info, Interviews, Online Events

+SCGekko> Welcome the the Gamestock '99 SuperChat -- Tonight's topic in this room will be Age of Empires II -- The Age of Kings. Our guests this evening are Bruce Shelley (Bruce@ES), Mark Terrano (MTerrano@ES) & Matt "maimin_matty" Scadding (GrandEmperor @Age)...

+SCGekko> we are still looking for Mark i think...

GrandEmperor @Age> you just one lucky guy bruce :)

GrandEmperor @Age> hey mark T from ES is here

Bruce@ES> I'd rather be lucky than good

GrandEmperor @Age> hehe well what about being both bruce ?

+SCGekko> welcome mark!

+SCGekko> here we go :)

+SCGekko> ...first some short "bios" for those of you not familiar with our guests... Bruce Shelley is one of the "founding fathers" of Ensemble Studios, the team that developed Age and Age 2. Bruce has been in the gaming business since the Bronze Age...

MTerrano@ES> Thanks,glad to be here - its been a great event so far.

Bruce@ES> To tell you the truth we work very hard at ES to be in a position to get lucky

+SCGekko> ...seriously, he started developing board games in 1980 and then computer games in 1987, working on some of the biggest titles ever, including Civilization, Railroad Tycoon, and the first PC game I ever bought, F-19 Stealth Fighter...

+SCGekko> Welcome Bruce!

+SCGekko> Mark Terrano has also been involved in the gaming industry since the early 80's... He started at Ensemble Studios in 1995, writing the multi-player code for AoE. For Age 2 he has moved from the technical to the design side --- as Lead Designer for AoK...

+SCGekko> Welcome again Mark!

Bruce@ES> Thanks. Its great to here, though I am amazed its raining outside in Seattle.

+SCGekko> Raining in Seattle? no way!!!

+SCGekko> Matt "maimin_matty" Scadding is the recently crowned Grand Emperor of Age in the Zone's "Rumble for Rome" tournament, earning a reputation as one of the best AoE players in the world. Matt is here to give the "player's perspective" on Age 2...

GrandEmperor@Age> i miss the snowy streets of my quiet ontarion town\

+SCGekko> welcome Matt!

Bruce@ES> I'm serious. I think they're up to 39 straight days.

GrandEmperor @Age> thanks gekko

+SCGekko> ...all that being said --- let's get on with the Chat! --- Please move into the "Waiting" line by clicking on "Chat" then "Ask a Question". Due to the number of people here, please pre-type your questions so we can get to as many of you as possible...

MTerrano@ES> (wonders how to pre-type his answers :)

magus_aoe2_net> The "know it's going to be asked question"... It's killing me to know, when (Realitively) will the AOK public beta test be released? - Magus, news@aoe2.net GA

GrandEmperor @Age> we all knew that would be the first question i think

MTerrano@ES> Sebastien says to get back to us (him!) in the Spring :/

magus_aoe2_net> is that the answer?

MTerrano@ES> The product is going to be on the shelves this fall so he was being evasive there I think.

magus_aoe2_net> well there goes my second question ;)

GrandEmperor @Age> it's gonna be worth the wait magus

magus_aoe2_net> ok thats all :)

+SCGekko> thanks magus...

GrandEmperor @Age> thanks magus :)

LORDS_ROCK> What are some examples of the different civilization paths, and how they effect the statistics and strength of the civilizations in Age of Kings: Age of Empires II. GA

Bruce@ES> We feel the same way know that we did six months before finishing Age I. Age II is going to be great.

+SCGekko> Mark... car to take that one?

Bruce@ES> Chris Di Cesare please go away. Far Away!

MTerrano@ES> We've gone a little farther with some of the Civilization changes - the Chinese for instance have reduced cost technologies and start with more villagers. The bonuses are along the lines of what you saw with Age of Empires, generally.

Bruce@ES> Mark T's keyboard died.

+SCGekko> Follow up LORDS ROCK?

LORDS_ROCK> no thats about it

Bruce@ES> Each civilization has a unique unit, a unique wonder, and their units speak the local language. German units speak German, for example.

MTerrano@ES> Whew. Back again (those hardware guys are speedy). Having a unique unit with each civilization changes things a bit as well.

AOEH_sting_> First of all, I wanted to say hello to everyone and what a glorius day this is. :) here is the question...

AOEH_sting_> so I keep hearing rumours that the release date of AoK is being continually pushed back, is this due to major revisions or something else? And here is question 2, relating to question 1, is MS responsible for anything having to due with the release date?

MTerrano@ES> Thanks Bruce - he got it!

Bruce@ES> We elected to take the time to make Age II extraordinary. It was our decision. Just guessing here, but I bet MS would have liked to have had it last year. A mediocre game is a disaster. We want it to be special.

MTerrano@ES> The extra time was definitely worth it...so many new things, so much improved over Age1.

AOEH_sting_> I agree, and if the wait is for a better game then it is worth it

AOEH_sting_> do I get one more quick question? :)

GrandEmperor @Age> the wait is for a for more then just a better game.....an amazing game

+holzmeister> ga sting.

Bruce@ES> Besides, we took a little time to do Rise of Rome, and that was win for everyone.

+SCGekko> sure Sting...fast...

AOEH_sting_> Are you working on some way to decrease the amount of lag in games?

AOEH_sting_> ok im done now, thanks guys

+SCGekko> thanks sting...

Irish_Knight> What will be the most noticeable changes in the new scenario editor? Roads? Hero Editor? and what does MS do in Aok/AoE?

MTerrano@ES> Some general improvements in performance will help the game overall. The communications core has had some improvements as well....folks with a 'spotty' ISP or international phone connection will be pleased to know that we DO have multiplayer save and restart.

MTerrano@ES> Scenario Editor - beautiful new terrains, buildings that can only be seen in Scenarios.

Irish_Knight> what new terrains?

MTerrano@ES> I can just give you a little bit on this - but the new expert-system driven AI will be exposed to scenario writers - it is just fantastic.

Bruce@ES> New maps for the scenario editor too, like the Black Forest- everyone separated by trees.

MTerrano@ES> New map types - and for terrain graphics - you've seen the screen shots probably on the Gamestock part of the zone.

+SCGekko> thanks Irish Knight.... Omnivac... go ahead...

AOEH_Omnivac> Hi guys. thanks for your time and this cool chat event. It has been hinted that possibly, agers will be able to use "pre-fab towns" in multiplayer games (Starting with a small town already built). How will this work exactly?

GrandEmperor @Age> anyone think they can make an AI that can take down maimin_matty?

+SCGekko> sounds like a challenge

MTerrano@ES> One of the new map types starts with a pre-built town, stable, barracks, etc. For players who want to skip some of the early build up - you have a pre-built area with walls, gates, and towers - just add units & mayhem.

AOEH_Omnivac> About the gates, how will you ensure that players use them and not use the AoE/RoR method (delete a section of wall, get units out, rebuild wall). If this can be done, then it defeats the purpose of gates... (?)

AOEH_Omnivac> Cool

MTerrano@ES> You select it just like any of the other random map types.

MTerrano@ES> If people want to delete and build walls over and over again rather than popping in a gate - then they can. Once you chop an enemy catapult in half with your gate - you'll be hooked.

crissi0> when does age of the empires 2 come out?

+SCGekko> thanks Omnivac... Crissi0 go ahead....

Bruce@ES> Scheduled for this fall. We are confident it will make. Its a lot of fun already.

crissi0> thanks

+SCGekko> hmmmm...i think "this fall" is all we are gonna get for now folks...

+SCGekko> thanks crissi.... shodowlord... go ahead

ShadowLord_110> What is the best Unit in AOE 2 The strongest most powerful and fast?:) And how when the Beta comes how can i get it?

MTerrano@ES> Wow, that's hard to say. The most powerful siege unit is the Trebuchet - but it has a liability that you have to pack it to move it.

+SCGekko> Matt... maybe you can enlighten us on your opinion of the best AOE2 unit?

MTerrano@ES> The Samurai is a fast foot unit that attacks like mad. Each has its strength and weakness though.

GrandEmperor @Age> ummmm how about my favourite unit

GrandEmperor @Age> as usual i LOVE seige weapons

ShadowLord_110> ok

Bruce@ES> We deliberately design so there is no best unit. All have strengths and weaknesses. Rocks breaks scissors, cuts paper.

MTerrano@ES> My favorite is probably the Scorpion Ballista.

GrandEmperor @Age> they have this amazing trebuchet which is kind of like the catapult

+SCGekko> Thanks for the question Shadowlord... Reeces... go ahead...

FS_Reeces> I heard from some sites that roads will be in AOE2. Will they appear over time after people have constantly walked over the path, or does it cost stone??? And do the roads, if they are in the game, look like the ones in AOE1? P.S. Down with MA clan!

MTerrano@ES> Of course seeing those battering rams moving toward your town is enough to make the best player shudder.

Bruce@ES> I like the Turkish Janissary hand cannoneers.

+SCGekko> i see weveryone has a favorite... just like AoE 1

MTerrano@ES> Roads can be created in the scenario editor to dress up your maps, but they are not automatically created in Age2

FS_Reeces> ok, thanks

GrandEmperor @Age> i like the men and women villagers

FS_Reeces> I think that's all for me???

+SCGekko> thanks Reeces... Zanzard Lothar... go ahead...

Zanzard_Lothar> Is there going to be a learning campaign in AOK, just as there was in AOE? GA

MTerrano@ES> Yes - but the learning campaign will be more exciting than in Age1.

Zanzard_Lothar> can i ask another question?

+SCGekko> sure a quick ione

Zanzard_Lothar> What colors can players choose in AOK?

MTerrano@ES> We've done a lot to improve the approachability of the game for new users also - using the 'Grandma Test' - when grandma can come up and start having fun without cracking the manual, we're there.

Bruce@ES> We are considering William Wallace (Braveheart) for the learning campaign.

Zanzard_Lothar> Thats my last question. Thank you.

MTerrano@ES> New colors are Purple and very Dark Green. (replace the hard-to- see brown)

+SCGekko> thanks Znazard...

+SCGekko> Mokupuni....ga

Aloha_Mokupuni> Im lucky 13th in line OK to everyone and anyone at ensemble: By visiting the web sites we can pretty much find out all the up to date details on AoK so I am not gonna ask you great dudes a question that I can just lookup somewhere...

Aloha_Mokupuni> Actually I dont know what to ask, I never really look at games until they are released. OK enough blabbing away, I guess Ill ask.... "if" you ever get a lunchbreak between programming, whats your favorite thing to have for lunch? ...

Aloha_Mokupuni> (also now that Im on the lunch theme: were there any cool features you thought of while you were eating, then immediatly had to stop lunch and just write down those cool ideas that could make the next "best game of the year" even better?...

+SCGekko> sheesh... you been waiting a while huh?

Aloha_Mokupuni> and dont kick me yet gekko :P

MTerrano@ES> In our new office we have a great little cafe - and plenty of time to discuss features while we wait for microwave treats (though our local go-out food has got to be either BBQ or Mexican)

GrandEmperor @Age> ummmmm nothing i don't eatlunch i would skip lunch and play AoE hoping i could hold off the hunger til dinner

Aloha_Mokupuni> And on a side note: Hello everyone I know in this chat, I am angel_zeus from aoe heaven also known as aloha_zeus. Visit these links: age.gamestats.com and www.geocities.com/~alohaclan.

Aloha_Mokupuni> And real quick, about the buildings you can only see in the scenarios, I think I saw these in a pic, there were white tents on the battlefield.. I thought they were kinda new. *can I type fast or what? THE END*

MTerrano@ES> The kind of features that usually come up in lunch discussions are how to make the units easier to control.

Bruce@ES> We eat of lot pizza, barbecue, and Tex-Mex. Dinner was delivered everynight during crunch time- two weeks, 7 days a week, 10 AM to midnight.

Aloha_Mokupuni> D O N E

+SCGekko> so...matty's secret revealed...

+SCGekko> NO LUNCH!

Aloha_Mokupuni> :)

MTerrano@ES> The tents are just one. I'm going to let the other scenario specific buildings be a little surprise :)

+SCGekko> thanks Mokupuni....

+SCGekko> Sorry folks, but due to the large number of people wanting to ask questions, we will not have any further follow-ups, if you have another question, please return to the "Waiting" line and hopefully we will get back to you...

Bruce@ES> Tents (pavilions) are scenario editor units only.

TDA_Masta> Hi, First off, I would like to say Hello to my good Sysop pals out there, almost all of them in the moderator category, and I would love to know what the best area to get to know in AoE or RoR that would make us the best AoK player?.

+SCGekko> Masta, my friend... fire away...

TDA_Masta> Hi my Bud Gekko

TDA_Masta> Second, what is going to be the best civilazation for Death Match games, and Regular games, and I heard that the trees grow back, is there any truth to that?

Bruce@ES> Build up phase. The strongest economic player usually wins.

TDA_Masta> And my final Quesiton, what is going to be the best addition to the game (like villagers, maps, and civilizations) that was not included in AoE or RoR, and what is the cost going to run around?

TDA_Masta> I type real fast!

Bruce@ES> Trees are not growing back.

TDA_Masta> (or I have them on macros!)

+SCGekko> thanks for the questions TDA Masta...

TDA_Masta> I would like to say goodbye to all the Sysops watching, and moderating, and would also like to thank the people at ES that developed a new game that lots of people are waiting for. Thank you for taking the time to answer my Quesions.

Hole6> Is there going to be any chance of monks or priests having an anti-conversion upgrade to protect other units from conversion? Is anything going to be done with conversion ability-weaker or stronger than AoE? ES, visit Mist's Town more. We have new ideas!

GrandEmperor@Age> thanks masta

Bruce@ES> We want the game to end sometime. Best civ is yet to be discovered. We hope no civ is ever thought to be best.

MTerrano@ES> For Deathmatch - I'd have to be Turks with their gunpowder unit bonus.

MTerrano@ES> 'Faith' makes your troops very hard to convert with enemy monks.

Hole6> Thanks for answering my question and real quick, will you be able to take over enemy gates?

+SCGekko> i think they are deciding on the gates as we speak....

+SCGekko> oh well ShadowLord ugo... go ahead...

ShadowLord_Ugo> How far Age of Empire will go,? , and in AOE2, we goona see gun Shot? if so, the unit will die on the spot?

Winter@ES> =)

Bruce@ES> Sorry for the delay. Gates can be converted at this time. Might change.

+SCGekko> and that's NOT Bill Gates, BTW...

MTerrano@ES> Haha.

Bruce@ES> We have a few primitive gunpowder weapons. Bombard cannons and hand cannoneers. They don't necessarily kill with one shot.

ShadowLord_Ugo> But do u think aoe will go far?

MTerrano@ES> Like the other units, they have their strengths and weaknesses.

+SCGekko> Thanks Ugo....Welcome to Desperado, Royster and Winter from ES :)

Bruce@ES> I think AOE II is going around the world in five languages!

+SCGekko> FS Maverik...you are up...

Bruce@ES> DEsperado is the lead programmer on AOE II

desperado@ES> hola :)

FS_Maverik> I was wondering if there will be an option for raiders to be like animals that are controled by no player. Maybe every once and a while there would be some raiders that come onto the map and attack your town. ----Down with the MA clan!

Bruce@ES> We don't think random events, like the raiders you describe, are good design. Increases player frustration for no gain.

+SCGekko> thanks Maverik... go ahead Co Pilot....

CoPilot_1> Hello Bruce, What are your plans for cheats in AOE 2?

+SCGekko> good question CoPilot...

+SCGekko> any more camaros in our future?

Bruce@ES> We not thinking too hard about cheats until we get closer to being really done. my best suggestion right now is Vikes on Bikes. A hard-hatted Viking on a big chopper.

+holzmeister> ROFL

+SCGekko> COOLNESS! you could call them Heaven's Angels... oh wait... nevermind...LOL

+SCGekko> Maddog... go ahead

MK_Maddog2020> ok

MK_Maddog2020> will there be a civ you can get only by a code

MK_Maddog2020> like a cheat

Bruce@ES> That would be an incredible amount of work for one cheat code.

MTerrano@ES> I'm going to side with Bruce on this - we really do wait until we've done all the important stuff before we think about Cheats...though everyone has their favorite suggestion.

+SCGekko> thanks Maddog... Marcoon... go ahead....

Marcoon> "Are Castles going to be pretty much like Town Centers in AoE? If so, in what ways?"-"And can you build more than one Castle?" "And, is there a demo in the future?" GA

MTerrano@ES> For AoE I suggested 'Age of Umpires' that would turn the clubmen into baseball players with bats...

MTerrano@ES> Castles are a building separate from the town center - you train your unique unit there along with other technologies.

+SCGekko> Sorry folks, but due to the large number of people wanting to ask questions, we will not have any further follow-ups, if you have another question, please return to the "Waiting" line and hopefully we will get back to you...

+SCGekko> and about that demo?

BadMoon@ES> ;)

__HyPeR_> I thought being one of the raiding civs, Vikings, would be a blast, but will they be able to compete with the others? Will the boats be able to 'ram' other boats? Will there be more buttons when you select a boat? Sorry bout multiple Q's.

Bruce@ES> There will a demo but way in the future. Probably after the game is released.

MTerrano@ES> Boat combat has some improvements (I'm not going to comment specificially on any one Civ right now)...

MTerrano@ES> We have boats that explode (boom!) I love catching units on the shallows with my demolition ship.

MTerrano@ES> A few other improvements in naval combat also to make it a little more exciting and varied than in AoE...we're having some good boat games now.

+holzmeister> ga AoE2

AoE2_Net> Hello, How many scenarios are there (roughly) for each civ? and secondly What are some of the features the music in AoK will have? ie. different music for each civ? - Thanks for the time, PsyThrax, AoE2.Net

Bruce@ES> Badmoon is ES financial controller. Checking up on my expense report pal?

+HelpU2> Evening Powerovrya

powerovrya> hi,whats up with the outlaws? id love to see a rogue staring at my villager from under a tree.....or whistling at my females...assaulting caravans, stealing my livestock, not to cause crippling damamge, but losing a vill. every once in a while...

MTerrano@ES> Each civilization has its own voice cues - if you play the Teutons, you hear German. - There isn't civ specific music - but we do have some sound cues that are played special for your Civ.

powerovrya> also, tell us about eye cndy in aok

powerovrya> candy

BadMoon@ES> I'm watching after you bruce!

+HelpU2> Eat no donuts

Bruce@ES> Outlaws are gone for now. We couldn't make them work in an acceptable manner for the work involved.

Eat_No_Donuts> Hi Everybody

Eat_No_Donuts> Evening

Eat_No_Donuts> Will there be actual voice communication in Aok Muti? And secondly, can you guys give examples of some of the Technologies and what they do that we haven't seen? Lastly, will the unitspecifications come with a unit animation in the lower left box as well?

Bruce@ES> Bad Moon: I sleep better at night knowing your on the job!

MTerrano@ES> (If you ask 3 I get to pick one to answer, right?) - One of the technologies that I really like is the Town Bell...

BadMoon@ES> Thanks Bruce! You're my idol!

MTerrano@ES> When you are being attacked, you can ring the town bell and your villagers run inside your buildings - after you dispatch the invasion, you ring the bell again and they go back to work.

James_Bond006> Hi guys, I was just wondering how many people could join a multiplayer game? And can you build bridges? ga

Bruce@ES> 8 player multiplayer. you can save and restore Multi games.

Bruce@ES> No bridges. Maybe next time. Sound simple but actually a complex problem. Thats what Tim Deen told me anyway.

+holzmeister> ga Potejon. :)

Potejon> 1. For us that don't live outside the US and Canada is it true that European release will be 6 months after the US release or when like a day after or before (hoping)? and 2. How will raider civs be in multiplayer, are there any diffrences? GA

Potejon> I will also say thanks that you did not make this game demanding a huge comp with 3d card

Bruce@ES> Europe should be less than one month after US.

+holzmeister> Ok, ga Braveheart!

Braveheart_High> What's up with the new strategies in AOE2? I've heard differen't things, but are the strategies differen't from the origonal AOE (does each civilization have different strategies?)like shield walls? -Highpriest http://all.at/aoe

+holzmeister> and wb Torgo. :)

Torgo@ES> Thx!

Bruce@ES> Nothing like that now. The game will play very much like AOE 1. We are making subtle changes, for sure. Think about how ROR changed AoE !. then think about taking almost two years to reconsider and move to a new time and place

_hoplite_> hey ensomble studios guys keep makin kick ass games cause i luv to play em :) every game like aoe and ror that i have spent bout my whole life playin and im very happy to get aok thanks ensomble studios :) :) you guys rule cant wait for aoe 3 ;) ;) ;)

+SCGekko> thanks BraveHeart... Hoplite... go ahead....

Bruce@ES> Thanks Mom..

Scavenger_Kid> Good evening!! First of all, thank you for the time!! Secondly, I have just *one* question for ES about the "Regicide". Will there be an individual unit for the King/Queen in that mode ? btw. the farms look awesome!!The sheeps look delicious!! Muhahahah !

Scavenger_Kid> *drool*

MTerrano@ES> In regicide - if you kill the king that player is out. There is a specific unit to kill.

+SCGekko> thanks Scavenger... good question...

+SCGekko> go ahead Ares 32...

Ares_32> First of all I would like to say my school LOVES your game. We come in early to play it on our LAN. Any way is there any way I can become a beta tester without moving to Dallas or winning a contest ? And what about voice cmmunication?

GrandEmperor@Age> looks like we are almost at the end folks.....think we only have time for 2 more questions

+SCGekko> yeahwas about to call the end there...sorry folks...

+holzmeister> ------ Hoping Rico has a good one. :)

MTerrano@ES> We don't have any specific voice-over-internet things to talk about - but there are some 3rd party tools that people are allegedly using to do VOI with Age. It should work with Age2 as well as far as I know.

Torgo@ES> For the internal testing, yes, you have to be in the Dallas area.

+SCGekko> Rico... go ahead...

Rico_weasle> hi

Rico_weasle> whats the dif between dallas trials and beta trials

+holzmeister> We got time for one more?

Torgo@ES> Good question. We're looking more into some usability issues. MS has a much larger trial planned for looking into some other issues.

+SCGekko> WP 2Fast... go ahead... unfortunately... we will have to let the ES guys go after this question if they have to...

MTerrano@ES> I'm not the authority on this - but the Dallas trials will just involve some people coming up to our office and playing in the evening. It is a separate deal from the Beta program entirely (i.e. we pick up the pizza bill for the Dallas trials :)

Winter@ES> mmm pizza

WP_2FaSt> why isnt there going to be a public beta ?

+SCGekko> AOE2 AND Free Pizza... gamer heaven....

+holzmeister> *sigh* :)

Bruce@ES> We got to go to another press event. Thanks for having us. Enjoyed chatting. We appreciate all the great AoE fans on the ZONE.

+holzmeister> Thanks Bruce!

Royster@ES> Bye Guys!

+SCGekko> thanks Bruce and Mark and Matt...and the rest of the gang...

Torgo@ES> Don't worry. MS has some great plans in store for a public beta. I'm not privy to all the details yet.

GrandEmperor @Age> thanks guys you had some great questions

+MrSnappy> Thanks to all of our SPECIAL guests and to all the players for such great questions

+SCGekko> ohhh.... a big hint right at the end....

+SCGekko> you allhad some great questions and really showed up to support AOE2 we really appreciate it... thanks :)

+holzmeister> Thanks everyone!

GrandEmperor @Age> remember everyone

GrandEmperor @Age> matty loves ya

+SCGekko> thanks Matty...see you on the Zone!

+MrSnappy> thanks Matty :)

+holzmeister> Thanks Matty.

GrandEmperor @Age> and start saving up for AoK

GrandEmperor @Age> in fact

GrandEmperor @Age> start saving up for all the MS games getting released

GrandEmperor @Age> CHECK OUT THE GAMESTOCK site

GrandEmperor @Age> and start salivating for the demos

GrandEmperor @Age> bye all

Winter@ES> Thanks for coming everyone. You guys rule =)

+SCGekko> yes everyone there is a link on the main Zone page to the Gamestock sites...

+MrSnappy> thank you and good night everyone

+SCGekko> Good night all! Hope to see you all again soon!

+jmk5> Good night all....thanks!

+holzmeister> Good night everyone!

+holzmeister> So which of you at ES is the best player anyway?

KillMe@ES> right now on AoK, probably me :)

Royster@ES> Wow!

+SCGekko> ok TDA Masta.. you can go play some ROR now...LOL :)

Royster@ES> How modest.

+holzmeister> Cool. Is Bruce any good or is he just a developer? hehehehe

KillMe@ES> Oh, and Roy's 2nd best as of 11 am today

+holzmeister> :)

Royster@ES> That's right! We are "Da Men".

+holzmeister> We'll see one of these days. hehehehe

+SCGekko> What's the longest game so far at the Studios?

KillMe@ES> Umm. hard to say. They separate us out by "skill of player"

KillMe@ES> The longest game was a blackforest that lasted ... like, 5 or 6 game hours.

+holzmeister> Sheesh.

+SCGekko> OUCH!

+holzmeister> Is that as opposed to real hours?

+holzmeister> lol

KillMe@ES> it was about 4 or 5 real hours

KillMe@ES> we play at 1.5 speed

+holzmeister> That is a healthy game.

+holzmeister> That is what I like. 2.0 is just out of control for me. hehehe

+SCGekko> awwww man, and you get paid for that....was it overtime? LOL

+holzmeister> I need a job like that.

+holzmeister> When I visited AAS at MS, it was like the promised land to me. lol

KillMe@ES> what - is - "overtime"? It was about 2 am when we finished

KillMe@ES> playtesting is actually really hard

+holzmeister> I'd volunteer for it and I bet there are a few others here that would too. lol

Winter@ES> yah..

+SCGekko> i'll bet... get any blisters on your mousing hand?

Royster@ES> One day Winter might playtest.

KillMe@ES> you need to keep track of everything you and your opponents are doing the entire time. and try and gauge how the balance is, eg: 10 pikemen vs 4 palladins, etc

+holzmeister> Now what do each of you do in ES if I may ask?

+holzmeister> I see. That would be hard. Not too much time left to enjoy it. Do you ever get to just play or are you sick of it by then?

Winter@ES> I playtest every day on my 7 machines =)

Winter@ES> I play myself =)

+holzmeister> That must be nice. :)

+holzmeister> Who wins? ROFL

KillMe@ES> I program ... um .... "stuff"

Winter@ES> uhm.. usually I kick my ass

Winter@ES> ;)

+SCGekko> LOL Winter...

KillMe@ES> royster is our awesomely capable network guru

+holzmeister> KillMe, AI or art or???

Royster@ES> And I think I'm the base-line newbe for playtesting sessions.

+holzmeister> lol

Winter@ES> KillMe is our master of all things Graphics =)

KillMe@ES> plasticbrain is the brains of the AoK AI

KillMe@ES> that's 3D to you, bud

Winter@ES> yup =)

+holzmeister> I see. How many people are working on this project give or take?

+holzmeister> I suppose I should have guessed what plasticbrain was. lol

KillMe@ES> there's about 8 programmers and about as many artists. then a few designers, and everyone playtests. some of us playtest almost every day

KillMe@ES> someone wants to know if they can still ask questions for whatever time remains?

+holzmeister> Not really a very big team then. Are there any of you that are new from AoE?

+holzmeister> I suppose that is up to you folks.

KillMe@ES> I just started 6 mnths ago. Portland, OR was too rainy

+holzmeister> I'm kind of having fun here. *grin*

KillMe@ES> i got tired of the mold and mushrooms on everything

+holzmeister> lol

+holzmeister> I live in Seattle. This is a horrible winter too.

+SCGekko> you guys want to take a few more questions? it's up to you....

+SCGekko> i know you all have AOK games waiting on you somewhere...

KillMe@ES> sure. we may be guarded in what we say :)

Winter@ES> hehe

+holzmeister> ok, here we gol.

+SCGekko> cool....

Watergun> Will unit and building build times be changed?/Will trees still form defensive barriers? Can gates/walls go over a river?

Watergun> I LOVE YOU!

+SCGekko> Watergun... go ahead...

Winter@ES> Trees still act as a defensive barrier in AOK =)

KillMe@ES> bld times depend on the unit/tech

KillMe@ES> next ?

+SCGekko> just a note to all the people in the room... the official chat has ended... but some of the guys from ES have agreed to stay and chat for a bit...

Winter@ES> heheh, dont worry there is quite alist of waiting people =)

dieHARD_OWN> ohh yes im here:) ....do you have plans for an xpack for aok? is there an age3 coming? and do you guys at ensemble have any other games being created? thanks guys:)

KillMe@ES> we'll think about that after we ship AoK

KillMe@ES> first things first!

+SCGekko> man...the pressure must be killing you guys... already they want more!!!

ES_SS> when dose it come out???

+SCGekko> ES SS go ahead...

+SCGekko> ooops you did :)

Winter@ES> When it's done! =)

ES_SS> man i was so close the one time but it butted me o

+SCGekko> it happens... even i got dumped out of the chat for about 5 mins at one point :)

ES_SS> and i have a problem with my comp

+SCGekko> tech chat is right down the hall....thanks for coming out...

+SCGekko> Satamas...ga

KillMe@ES> am I back?

KillMe@ES> yes

KillMe@ES> next?

+SCGekko> Satamas... you have a question?

+SCGekko> oh well... next...

+SCGekko> Da Baron... ga

Winter@ES> hmm, next =)

KillMe@ES> batting 1000

+SCGekko> hello? is this thing on?

atlantis101> hehe. :) I think I am the only one awake lol

+SCGekko> atlantis...

+SCGekko> you're up...

KillMe@ES> what's your question?

atlantis101> 2 questions. What is your favorite strategy to use in winning Age of Kings, and what was your inspiration for making this sequel?

KillMe@ES> Just like AoE/RoR, your strategy depends on what civ you are. I try and play a different civ every day.

KillMe@ES> The inspiration is probably: a new Age, and more Age (of Empires)

+SCGekko> thanks atlantis,...good questions...

+SCGekko> jihad joe... go ahead...

jihad_Joe> In a multiplayer game will you start out with lets say a Town Center like building and some villagers or what? Is the gender of the villagers random or do you pick male or female, do they have any unique feature ? How hard is this AoK project?

Winter@ES> My inspiration in developing Age of Kings is to capture the incredible fun of Age1, and to double it =)

KillMe@ES> You start out basically the same as AoE. Villagers are randomly male/female.

+holzmeister> That is one tall goal but a worthy one Winter!

KillMe@ES> Winter can tell you how hard(?) it is

Winter@ES> uhm.. =) Lets just say I still got a bunch of things to work on tonite =)

+SCGekko> ok... moving along... hehehehe

+holzmeister> :)

plasticbrain@ES> Getting battering rams to enemy town while suporting them with hand-to-hand units is tactically a good move :)

KillMe@ES> especially if you build right behind their town :)

Winter@ES> but dont build right behind their town in the first few minutes of the game ;)

+SCGekko> sounds delightfully evil...Muhahahaha!!!

KillMe@ES> that doesn't stop me :)

+SCGekko> Zanzard... GA

Zanzard_Lothar> There were many people complaining that "AOE was too unbalanced". Has anything been done to AOK about this? And are foreign countries going to receive AOK in a short or in a humongous amount of time? That's all, thank you.

KillMe@ES> it's 9 minutes into the game, and I think you hear me knocking

+SCGekko> hey! are you guys playing right now?

BadMoon@ES> the goal is simultaneous world-wide release

KillMe@ES> We're certainly always looking to as many people as possible to get balance input, and the public beta will help as well. Bruce said earlier that the foreign shipments would be ~1 month or less after US

oK_Perseus> Hi first of all AOE is my life. also i have started a AOE web page called Reign Of Perseus. (http://members.tripod.com/perseus_aoe) sorry :) anyways i was wondering do you ever look at fan sites? also...

+holzmeister> ga Perseus.

oK_Perseus> what suggestions could you give me

Winter@ES> I look at fansites all the time!

KillMe@ES> yes. I visit AOE heaven and Mists everyday

plasticbrain@ES> I do

oK_Perseus> to improve my site. What do you look for in a great aoe site. also i would like to do some interviews for my site with you guys. Is there any way i can contact you guys? sorry for the amount

Winter@ES> hey nice looking site perseus =)

oK_Perseus> thanks

oK_Perseus> wow that really is good to heat

Royster@ES> Call 1-800-BAD-MOON for an interview.

oK_Perseus> hear

+holzmeister> lol

KillMe@ES> I like both sites since the chats are really active.

BadMoon@ES> gotta see the kids sometime - thanks for the dedication and support from everyone!

BadMoon@ES> see ya!

Winter@ES> Night brian!

+holzmeister> Thanks BadMoon!

+SCGekko> thanks Badmoon...

KillMe@ES> you can always send mail to us, or to our webmaster

KillMe@ES> later brian, please sign my expense report!

+holzmeister> ga hole6

Hole6> What is happening with the whole Raider civ. game? And is the unique unit for Vikings Berserker or Longboat? What other unique civ units are there? Don't forget we need more info at Mist's Town, thanks Killme!

BadMoon@ES> you guys rock! i'm on the biz side so I can say this without bragging - we've got the best group of guys on our team in the world: Very dedicated, talented and great all around people!

BadMoon@ES> they are why Age is so good!

BadMoon@ES> thanks guys!

BadMoon@ES> see ya later!

KillMe@ES> Raider civs are still under construction, so it's hard to say

+SCGekko> keep in mind folks that this is now an unofficial chat...and the guys from ES may not be able to fully answer all your questions...

KillMe@ES> There's tuetonic knights, I don't know which other ones we've talked about :)

KillMe@ES> next?

+SCGekko> we really appreciate the Ensemble guys for sticking around too, BTW....

Hoomooerectus> ok

+SCGekko> Go ahead...

Winter@ES> plerbus

Hoomooerectus> will the map zoomable or turnable?

+SCGekko> zokanta

KillMe@ES> no. it's still 2d

plasticbrain@ES> With elevation, though

+SCGekko> folow up?

Hoomooerectus> will there be any improvement on the map?

KillMe@ES> very very cool elevation

plasticbrain@ES> Matt spent a lot of time making those hills pretty

Winter@ES> The new "terrain-mapping" stuff which you see in the screenshots is an incredible feature coded by our own Optimizer, Matt Pritchard

KillMe@ES> the maps look awesome

IronXCross> Do the Katmai instructions in Intel's Pentium3 chip offer any benefits to a game such as AOE which uses a 2D architecture? Are you guys programming special support for the P3? Thanx! (the new screenshots look GREAT by the way!!!) GA.

plasticbrain@ES> It allows you to have passable farms on the elevation.

+SCGekko> and so the P3 questions begin... LOL

KillMe@ES> not really. KNI and 3DNow! mainly help matrix multiplies, which we don't do a tremendous number of

KillMe@ES> if intel approached us, i doubt we'd say no

+SCGekko> i hear that KillMe... I hear that... next question....

CoR_Duke> Hey, guys, what skills and what degrees do I need to have to get the job like you do, and second....Do you know when approximately AoK comes out?

KillMe@ES> AoK ships this fall

Winter@ES> Really depends on the field you're looking into Cor

Winter@ES> =) Art, programming, design?

Winter@ES> Biz?

CoR_Duke> programming

KillMe@ES> I've got a BS in CS from MD, and a minor in Archaeology.

CoR_Duke> oh

CoR_Duke> hehehe

Winter@ES> A great portfolio, experience, or provable talent really helps too =)

KillMe@ES> it's not all school work, it's what you show you can do

CoR_Duke> what languages?

KillMe@ES> english

KillMe@ES> :)

+holzmeister> lol

+SCGekko> thanks Duke... start hitting the books...and the compilers...

Winter@ES> We develop primarily in C++, with ASM as well

+holzmeister> I think he meant. . . . . . . . . .

KillMe@ES> we use C/C++/assembler

+SCGekko> DevilZ ...GA

Winter@ES> Visual Studio =)

DevilZ_Angel_> Do ES have any plan for a ROR patch or Xpack? Also may i ask u guys to check out the aoe msg board at gamers.com?It was the old Shaitan msg board. Sandy,Truck and others used to post on there.

KillMe@ES> I read gamers.com/aoe, but I haven't seen anything I could contribute to since I haven't played RoR in a while

+SCGekko> thanks DevilZ...

Winter@ES> DevilZ: We are always looking to make our games the best they can be.

+SCGekko> almost there Archaic...almost there... heheeh

+SCGekko> Cardinal... GA...

Th_Cardinal> Can yall tell us the Unique Unit of the Byzantines. If not can you maybe tell all the animals that will be able to be domesticated or is it only sheep. Thanks alot guys: ) (Killme thanks for posting at AoK Heaven)

+SCGekko> thanks Cardinal... good questions...

KillMe@ES> sheep is the only thing you can domesticate - at this very moment ;)

+SCGekko> Baaaaaaa

+SCGekko> would you like some mint jelly with that?

KillMe@ES> There's still other animals you can hunt.

Winter@ES> mmm mutton

+SCGekko> Jerec... GA

KillMe@ES> i'd rather have lamb than mutton, but no one in TX apparently knows how to cook either :)

+SCGekko> oh yeah...the Byz unit...any hints?

plasticbrain@ES> It has legs :)

KillMe@ES> it kills things real good

+SCGekko> if they did, KillMe... they would probably Mesquite it to death...

+SCGekko> mmmm Legs....

+SCGekko> that's a good hint... heheeh... so we know it isn't a manatee...

KillMe@ES> does it matter, when you hear: "Hey! I'm in your town!"

KillMe@ES> next?

AoEH_Archaic> Woo hoo! Thanks to KillMe, Plastic, Royster, and Winter for staying after to answer some more questions! I, as well as the rest of the AoE community, greatly appreciate it. Now, as for my question: How will the multiplayer game saving feature work?

AoEH_Archaic> And, what are some other neat options that go along with the multiplayer saving?... thanks again!

KillMe@ES> it works really well (thanks Winter!). Then you just restore the game

+SCGekko> thanks Archaic...and keep up the good work at AOE Heaven...

AoEH_Archaic> ty :)

+SCGekko> follow up Arch?

KillMe@ES> he;s gone

+SCGekko> guess not... Servant you are up..

Servantlife> 1. Does the king and queen fight? 2. Can units climb the mountains, go through forests? 3. Will you ever come out with a patch which lets you save multi games in AOE or ROR? Thanks! GA

KillMe@ES> 1. only if he stays out to late. 2. only if there's a place to walk 3. it's too difficult to retro-fit

+SCGekko> good questions Servantlife... HOplite... you are up again...

_hoplite_> heres a dumb question but whats your favorite game age of empires, rise of rome or orrrrr age of kings and why did it get the name age of kings aoe 2 would been better in my book :) just wondering!!!!

+SCGekko> Charcoal... fire away...

Riot_CHARCOAL> how can u guys put up with all of these questions? arn't your fingures about to fall off or something? i know your keyboards have got to be covered in fingure sweat.... eww... anyways.......

Riot_CHARCOAL> In AoK will there be any form of "Wonder"?, because when i search through web sites and look at prieviews it shows Castles. Do Castles = Wonders in AoK and if they do, how long does the Castle have to stay up before you win the match? thanks for your tim

Riot_CHARCOAL> also...

KillMe@ES> we use MS natural keybds

plasticbrain@ES> I type for a living :)

KillMe@ES> You can see wonders on the new screenshots. I think that's a euro wonder

plasticbrain@ES> Wonders are still in.

+SCGekko> sorry Char... i bumped you a bit too early...

Riot_CHARCOAL> does the new building sizes in aok make it harder to play a fast dm game?

+SCGekko> your follow up?

Riot_CHARCOAL> and its ok gekko..

KillMe@ES> not really, the maps are much larger. look at the portion of the minimap the screen shots take up on the posted pics

plasticbrain@ES> Also there is more passable space around buildings = units can get closer.

+SCGekko> yeah, i caught that... how long does it take a villager to get from one side of the map to another on the largest map size?

KillMe@ES> days :)

KillMe@ES> actually, it's probably 5 mins

+SCGekko> does he need to pack some mutton for the trip?

plasticbrain@ES> That's what the sheep are for

KillMe@ES> no, he'll probably get eaten on the way anyway

+SCGekko> cool...

+SCGekko> Kaotic Peon... go ahead...

Kaotic_Peon> How is lag going to be handled (don't know if this has been asked yet havn't been hear long)?Please visit http://www.westshareservices.com/sys/ this is my tribute to all the wonderful sysops...

+SCGekko> something everyone wants to know... Lag....

KillMe@ES> Winter?

KillMe@ES> I'd browse that URL right now, but I'm afraid NT will freak out again, *sigh*

+holzmeister> lol

KillMe@ES> Well, mail winter and ask him about lag, he seems to be out right now

Winter@ES> Im sorry, Im back now

KillMe@ES> lagging?

+SCGekko> WInter... Lag and how to kill it... your opinion?

Winter@ES> Hehe.. lag can be an insurmountable problem on the internet for some users... however Age2 has many features to help users deal with it..

+SCGekko> free aDSL for everyone would fix it maybe?

Winter@ES> For example, a new Ping collumn in the multiplayer setup screen, to help warn of problems with a user's connection early on =)

+SCGekko> way cool winter... that will help tons I think...

Sir_Pike> Just out of curiosity... How many new techs are there? That Town Bell sounds awesome! Keep up the good work! A suggestion for the next game in line...Age of Explorers. :) Thanks!

+SCGekko> Sir Pike... fire when ready

KillMe@ES> pike?

Winter@ES> and of course the multiplayer save and restore lets you get out of sticky internet situations =)

KillMe@ES> looks like we'll run about another 15 mins on this.

+SCGekko> that save and restore is gonna be a god-send...

KillMe@ES> unless you're already losing

+SCGekko> yeah... didn't think about that...LOL

+SCGekko> then again...i don't lose much :)

KillMe@ES> wait! let me restore the game and finish getting my butt kicked :) lol

Winter@ES> The auto-save is a really interesting thing.. imagine being able to go back in time 5 minutes and make different decisions ;)

+holzmeister> That will be very cool.

plasticbrain@ES> Paul is being modest. He actually re-worked quiet a few comm algorithms to improve recovery.

KillMe@ES> it's magical what Winter has done

plasticbrain@ES> As result dropping is less likely.

KillMe@ES> next?

+SCGekko> all hail Winter!!!!

+holzmeister> Well done guys. :)

Winter@ES> awwww =) thanks =)

Ares_32> I got an idea! Make this chat session a weekly event. Perhaps even (please) distribute the beta to the people who are here and we can report the bugs during the weekly chat session. Also i worship u guys from ES along with the guys who are the moderators.

+SCGekko> Ares 32...GA

Ares_32> U guys rock!

KillMe@ES> um, *blush*. Thanks. We're just trying to do our jobs and make a product that you'll like

Winter@ES> no YOU guys rock!

+SCGekko> thanks Ares... but it's the players out there that made the game and the zone what it is...

+holzmeister> :)

KillMe@ES> if you didn't give us your input, and support us, we wouldn't be here today

+SCGekko> Spectre... go ahead...

Riot_Spectre> will there be different seasons or weather? and will there be a unit that only one civ can get? and finally will gates have hitpoints and how will they be converted or will they? sorry for the amount of Q's and thanks!

+holzmeister> Well, if you guys hadn't made the best real time strategy game of all time, we wouldn't have supported you. :)

+SCGekko> (sorry I am speeding through here... trying to get everyone in...)

KillMe@ES> No seasons, do to the tremendous art overhead.

Riot_Spectre> dang

KillMe@ES> each civ will have a unique unit

Riot_Spectre> cool

KillMe@ES> gates can be torn down

joe_memo> 2 questions. Will there be bridges/what resources will we have to collect.. will there be plenty of non-gold units?

KillMe@ES> hmmmm ... battering rams

+SCGekko> thanks Spectre... good questions...

KillMe@ES> no bridges, they're very complicated. units are a combo of what you see at the top of the screenshots

joe_memo> thanks

+SCGekko> i'm gonna accelerate this to the "lightning round"

KillMe@ES> go!

ShazamPower> 1) Will there be pirates wandering the seas (with a head and crossbones black flag) or some sort of other pirates? 2) Is there a population limit?

Winter@ES> Well Im going out to meet some guys from some other game companies now for a drink =)

KillMe@ES> 1. no. 2. it's configurable

+SCGekko> diehard

dieHARD_OWN> Hey again guys, got a few more for you pick one or all :) How did you guys get to this field and on this project? and have you guys tried pez in your diet its good for late nights I'll hook ya up:) and with the bigger maps will the stratigys to build up

dieHARD_OWN> and not attack so tool rushing or whatever the early age is called be impossable? ~~also visit http://www.gibbed.com/nation but u dont have to the graphics arnt done yet:( we the longest clan in this game:)

KillMe@ES> let's cut it off at Jerec and get everyone in

KillMe@ES> pez is chalky white goodness for all

+SCGekko> mmmmm mutton flavored Pez.... think about it....

Winter@ES> goodnight everyone!

Winter@ES> thank you all for coming!

Winter@ES> See ya soon =)

+SCGekko> later winter... thanks for hanging...

+holzmeister> Thanks so much guys.

KillMe@ES> if you're going to apply to a game company, it's best to show a demo of something or art work, etc

+SCGekko> A8... GA

Winter@ES> my pleasure guys =) Byebye

Winter@ES> and girls =)

KillMe@ES> there'll always be a rush, just sometimes it's harder

plasticbrain@ES> Garisoning help against rush

KillMe@ES> unless I get there first

+SCGekko> please have you questions typed out ahead of time for speed...

A8_11_85> Hi, I have three questions.... Anynew resources? What are some of the cheats or ideas? Last, I heard that thje animals are going to reproduuce what is the word on that? -A8_11_85 AoE Kingdom

KillMe@ES> i don't think so. cheats won't be really worked on unil the end. animals, don't, um, reproduce :)

+SCGekko> DOTO... GA

+holzmeister> lol, I'd hate to see the art work for that. lol

DFA_DoToMoS> Are there going to be any new multiplayer victory conditions, something like the wonders and artifacts for AoE. Also, will there more cinematics in the campaigns?

+SCGekko> hehehe

KillMe@ES> you'd be suprised what artists find the spare time to do

+holzmeister> That is a nice teaser. :)

+SCGekko> don't go there KillMe... ewwwww

+SCGekko> or should that be ewe?

KillMe@ES> yes, there'll be new things like regicide for mp. I'm not sure how many cinematics there will me

+SCGekko> (sheep humor)

KillMe@ES> ick :)

oK_Perseus> do you guys have any online jobs for me at ES. even though i live in canada? also what requirements do i need to work at ES? do i have to be good at pencil drawing? ( i suck at that) also would you be willing to help me with my strategy section...

+SCGekko> Persueus... GA

oK_Perseus> at http://members.tripod.com/perseus_aoe ??

+SCGekko> man you guys are fast

KillMe@ES> everyone at ES is very close. everyone (with a couple of exceptions) lives here in Dallas.

Royster@ES> Archangel would be the one to contact regarding help with your site.

KillMe@ES> you can check the jobs section for requirements on our web site. most artists are trained by the Dallas Art Institute

palanao> Most people at mists town know me as LoneGuano just to get that out of the way but here's my question: All of us at mists town really REALLY want to see some Monty Python cheats in the game, is there any possability of that happening?

KillMe@ES> ... or the Kirby comic book school thing

palanao> and what will some of the animals be?

KillMe@ES> thanks for the input, it'll be a while before we work on cheats, though

+holzmeister> Monty Python would be very cool. You could have a killer bunny rabbit. :)

+SCGekko> Hey all...the guys need to go and they stayed an extra hour or so... we will be cutting off questions after washizu....

KillMe@ES> animals include sheep, fish, deer, etc

+holzmeister> With big teeth. :)

Hoomooerectus> is it hard to write object-oriented in AOK? And what program do you use to create 3d buildings? :-)

plasticbrain@ES> Having Monty Python cheats, hmm sounds like copyright problem

+SCGekko> it's only a flesh wound...

KillMe@ES> writing good code is purely based on thinking, then coding

+SCGekko> GW...GA

_AA_GWmaster> hey guys wussup, i have two questions... One is what are the boats gonna be like. And the other is, can you put guys in towers and walls now... Thanx alot. :0)

KillMe@ES> we use Kinetix 3D Studio MAX

KillMe@ES> boats will be the convex hull things that float in water and kill things

plasticbrain@ES> More boat types that RoR

+holzmeister> lol

KillMe@ES> you can put guys in towers and other stuff

plasticbrain@ES> Towers yes, walls no

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