Second Zone Chat

Article written by Harter Ryan, Ian Fisher, Mark Terrano, and Sandy Petersen
Published on 03-13-2017; updated on 03-13-2017
Tags: General Info, Interviews, Online Events

With Harter Ryan, Ian Fisher, Mark Terrano, and Sandy Petersen

+juliagal> To make the chat eaiser to read, you might want to go to options and change the font and style I have mine set at 11point -- much easier on my eyes.

+juliagal> If you would like to ask a question, choose Ask Question from the Chat pull-down menu. This will place your Member ID in the Waiting mode in the column on the right.

+juliagal> When it's your turn, the Moderator will say "ga" which means "go ahead"

+juliagal> and your Member ID will be bumped up to Asking mode.

+juliagal> You will then be able to ask your question of the guest.

+juliagal> Use points of emphasis (that is, three periods, ". . .") at the end of your question if you run out of space and would like to ask more.

+juliagal> When done with your question, type "ga" so our guest can answer.

+juliagal> At the Moderator's discretion, you may get one follow-up question. Follow the same format as noted above ("Flup" means "follow up" or do you have another question or comment.)

+juliagal> "NOQ" means "no other questions" - if you say that a moderator will move you back to watching. Or you can move your self by going back to the Menu and choice "Don't Ask".

+juliagal> After the follow-up question, the next person in the queue will be recognized. Please wait until your Member ID shows in the Asking category before sending your message.

+juliagal> Our chat will begin in 25 Min (it is now 5:35pm PST)

Sandyman@ES> Now what?

Sandyman@ES> Turned my privacy off. Is that right?

harter@ES> Yes

+Debbee> Welcome all, here's a few chat tips:

+Debbee> To make the chat eaiser to read, you might want to go to options and change the font and style

+Debbee> I have mine set at 11point -- much easier on my eyes .

+Debbee> When you need to ask a question or make a comment go to the menu and choose "Ask a Question" This will move you to the "Waiting" area.

+Debbee> A moderator will move you to "Asking" and then you will be able to speak.

+Debbee> When a moderator says "GA" that means "go ahead" and ask your question or make your comment.

+Debbee> "Flup" means "follow up" or do you have another question or comment.

+Debbee> "noq" means No Other Questions (that you are done).

+Debbee> Welcome AGER's from around the World!!! We are honored to have Ensemble

+Debbee> Studios representatives Harter Ryan, Mark Terrano, Sandy Petersen, and Ian

+Debbee> Fischer join us tonight!

+Debbee> These are the guys responsible for the awesome new game ... Age of Empires

+Debbee> II, The Age of Kings.

+Debbee> Let's start out with a brief introduction of each of our Guests :-)

+Debbee> Harter Ryan, aka harter@ES, has worked for Ensemble Studios for two years

+Debbee> and served as the Producer for "Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings" as well

+Debbee> as "Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome Expansion Pack".

+Debbee> A life-long board and computer gamer, Harter has a degree in Management from

+Debbee> the University of Oklahoma and worked as a programmer, Team Lead, and

+Debbee> Process Specialist with Mobil Oil for almost ten years prior to joining

+Debbee> Ensemble Studios.

+Debbee> Mark Terrano, aka MarcoPolo@ES, has always had a fascination with

+Debbee> multi-player and social content...

+Debbee> designing a computer-based multi-player game in 1983 and developing for MUDs

+Debbee> and Audiotext (Telephone) entertainment as well.

+Debbee> Mark hooked up with the Ensemble crew in 1995 when he heard about a game in

+Debbee> development and wrote all of the multi-player code for Age of Empires.

+Debbee> On the design side, Mark's broad range of talents fit in well with the

+Debbee> collaborative environment at the Studios and he moved from the Technical to

+Debbee> Design side full-time after Age of Empires hit the streets.

+Debbee> Mark's latest project was Age of Empires II and current project.... well,

+Debbee> it's one he will only describe as "something that will turn RTS gaming on

+Debbee> its side".

+Debbee> Sandy Petersen, aka Sandyman@ES, has been a game designer for about fourteen

+Debbee> years. Until the Fall of 1988, he worked for Chaosium Inc., a game company

+Debbee> for whom he designed (or co-designed) Call of Cthulhu, Elfquest,

+Debbee> Ghostbusters, RuneQuest and a whole mess of supplements.

+Debbee> In 1988, Sandy switched genres from paper to silicon chip and became a

+Debbee> designer for MicroProse Software.

+Debbee> There he designed Lightspeed, and Hyperspeed, and co-designed Darklands and

+Debbee> the infamous Dr. Floyd's Wacky Windows.

+Debbee> In 1993, Sandy went to work for id Software, where he designed levels and

+Debbee> monsters for the infamous Doom game, which achieved the much-envied status

+Debbee> of having outraged a congressional subcommittee.

+Debbee> After Doom, he worked on Doom II and Quake.

+Debbee> In the summer of 1997, Sandy joined Ensemble Studios, where he worked on the

+Debbee> game you see before you tonight, Age of Empires II, The Age of Kings.

+Debbee> Ian Fischer, aka IFischer@ES, has been with Ensemble Studios since June,

+Debbee> 1997. Prior to coming to Ensemble, Ian was an United States Navy Rescue

+Debbee> Swimmer (SAR).

+Debbee> When asked what his favorite part of AoE is, Ian replied:

+Debbee> "Getting to hear the Tim Deen excuse generation machine churn to life on

+Debbee> those rare occasions when he loses (also taking credit for his defeat

+Debbee> although I never saw him in the game).

+Debbee> Witnessing Chris Van Doren quit 35 seconds into any given game because of a

+Debbee> crippling and completely unfair random map (he started with one villager too

+Debbee> far from his town center, his shore fish looked sleepy, a bird flew over his

+Debbee> town, etc.)

+Debbee> Also, hearing everyone in the office screaming back and forth during a

+Debbee> game -- when people are that excited, you know you have a good game.

+Debbee> What a great line-up of Guests!!

+Debbee> I know you're all anxious to ask your questions, so let's get started.

+Debbee> Remember, one question per "turn"... thanks!

+Debbee> ga IClan First question

IClan_Emporer> First of all I'd like to say hi! :)

MarcoPolo@ES> Hello IClan!

IClan_Emporer> And my Question is after seeing all of these fan-created AOE sites, and even AOE clans, like my glorious website which I am sure you would love, what do you think of all this? ga

IFischer@ES> In general, do you mean, "what do we think of what AoE has become?"

IClan_Emporer> I mean what do you think of what the fans are doing?

IClan_Emporer> ga

Sandyman@ES> The only way designers have of justifying their existence is by making fans happy & enthused, so we are invariably thrilled with this kind of response.

IFischer@ES> I think that it is fantastic. We get a massive amount of feedback from our fans regarding what they want to see in our future games...

IClan_Emporer> Do you think that they dug deeper than even you did when you created the game?

IFischer@ES> Seeing clans form and web pages spring up shows us that people really like what we've done, it is nice to see that people like our game so much.

+Debbee> ty IClan

Sandyman@ES> They dig deeper in some ways, not in others

+Pawfangs> Please Have you Questions ready to Cut and Paste... ty!

+Debbee> ga pencil

pencil0> When is the next major age of empires tournament, for Age of empires 2 like the rumble for rome tournament? What well happen when age of empires runs out of ages to use, what well your next game be? What well the expansion pack for Age 2 be about? flup

pencil0> and

+juliagal> Please remember, one question per "turn". Lots to get through... and so little time! :-))

IFischer@ES> How can we run out of ages to use?

IFischer@ES> We'll just make stuff up!

Sandyman@ES> we don't know when the nexst major tourney will be. At least I don't.

Sandyman@ES> If we "ran out" of ages, we could always start over again.

Sandyman@ES> The expansion pack for Age2 isn't even announced yet. Isn't this quesiton a bit premature?

+Debbee> Be on the look out for announcements on the AOK 2000 World Championships!

pencil0> Can I ask 1 more?

+Debbee> thanks pencil

+Debbee> ga Blaze

BLAzE_Josh> hey I would like to know when the demo fo AoK will be out and where I can download it?ga

harter@ES> The demo for AOK will be out next month.

BLAzE_Josh> ok thanx

+Debbee> ga Leader

LEADER_KLLS> hello everybdy!!! :) I love AOE AND AOK "When is the age kings going to be available in canada?" ga

Sandyman@ES> Sadly, I don't think anyone at ES knows much about when AoK will be out in Canada.

harter@ES> In the coming month, I believe.

LEADER_KLLS> ok cool thanks

+Pawfangs> AOE2_Merlin , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> COngrats Merlin!! Whqat a great prize!

_NightCrawler_> what gave you the idea of Demolitions ships? Did they use them back in days..pack a ship up with 8 tons of gun powder and then ram then into a boat? =) I lik ethem just wondering what crazy guy came up with the idea..and i like the differnt languages

+Debbee> ga night

IFischer@ES> Yes, they are historical...

IFischer@ES> The actual idea came from our playtesters I believe (we originally had a ramming ship in their place).

MarcoPolo@ES> I think the languages add a lot for me as well. I know from AoE we were always going WoLoLooooo in the halls and things - the voice adds a lot to the feel of each civilization. Microsoft's office in Ireland got language specialists from all over the...

_NightCrawler_> all i understand is the turkish

MarcoPolo@ES> world to record the languages. For me they just add a lot to the feel of the different civilizations.

Sandyman@ES> Is it good turkish?

_NightCrawler_> yeah

+Debbee> ty night

Sandyman@ES> whew

+Debbee> ga taco

taco55> Does Ensemble Studios currently have any plans for future games, and if so, what types of games are planned? ga

harter@ES> Yes, we are working on future titles but I'm afraid we're not ready to announce them, yet.

+Debbee> ga Corradok

Corradok> Have you notice that there is a serious "Out Of Sync Error" on the multiplayer game? Is yes, what cause such an error and is there any way we can prevent it? Also, is there a patch for this coming soon? ga

MarcoPolo@ES> To get the games to have many units playing simultaneously - the game runs independently on all machines. Every few seconds they check each other to make sure these games are still synchronized or 'in sync'. If the games don't match...

MarcoPolo@ES> the out-of-sync problem occurs. If there is a problem with the game we'll track it and fix it. There may be a problem with people with pirated copies - if the games are even slightly different it will go out of sync. In the last weeks of testing...

MarcoPolo@ES> we played hundreds of games without having this problem happen once. MS test team and our progrmaming staff here will be right on top of any problems we find with the game.

Corradok> Will a dual CPU computer increase the performance of the game? ga

harter@ES> We don't have a patch effort underway, as the game hasn't really been released very far beyond the USA as of now.

+Pawfangs> Stan_Man , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> ga EOD

EOD_WayCool> Hello! i want to know if they will sell aoe/ror/aok on one pack? just like the gold pack that have aoe/ror. ga

MarcoPolo@ES> We don't have any special support to handle dual CPUs. As far as they make your computer process faster though - we'll take advantage of any special speed. Maybe another day we'll have a few of the optimization specialists or something on...

MarcoPolo@ES> to answer some of the technical questions in more detail.

harter@ES> Eventually I'm sure there'll be a bundle pack, but that's a long way away.

+Debbee> ga trackbear

TrackBear> My Question is “Will there be any strategy (or inside scoop) within the strategy of the game…” Such as Fish being the fastest food resource and turning a 15minute bronze time to a 12minute bronze time. You don’t have to say what it is and exact times, I w

TrackBear> I was just wondering if the speed to all gathering is the same or is there a twist like in Age of Empires.

IFischer@ES> There are multiple strategies. We get asked "which is the best" a lot -- none of them are "The Best". Different strategies are better in different circumstances.

Deep_Dracula_> First of all hi.My question is how do you feel about warez of Aok being distributed from websites ??

Deep_Dracula_> ive seen them alot

harter@ES> Well, obviously we're not happy about warez versions of our games.

+Debbee> ga Stan

Stan__Man> Hi.. I visited ensamble studios last month.Now that AOK is out are you going to try to make a fix for trainers and I am hopeing that there are no cheat codes for AOK

MarcoPolo@ES> We learned a lot about trainers, cheaters, and the like from AoE. Lead programmer Angelo Laudon working with the other technical staff plugged every hole we could think of, built a little extra armor on. I was encouraged to read...

harter@ES> We are working on the AoE/RoR patch right now, and you can look for an announcement on it in the next month.

Stan__Man> thank YOu

MarcoPolo@ES> one of the trainer writers from RoR that AoK was officially 'Trainer Proof'. High praise from someone who knows the back doors nearly as well as we know the front doors :)

+Debbee> ga Vader

AoK_Lord_Vader> Hey guys! Its a real pleasure to be chatting with you people today(c: My question is since Age of Empires has been so succesful, do you think that there will be an Age of Empires 3 and Age of Empires 4?

AoK_Lord_Vader> Also do you guys know my brother Jamie Evans, who has been a test lead for Age of Empires for 3 or 4 years? AND IF SO. Could please talk him into getting me a copy of AoK? hehehe. ga

harter@ES> I think all of us enjoy working on Age of Empires games and hope to continue doing so in the future.

Sandyman@ES> we all know jamie

Sandyman@ES> But you can do your own dirty work

harter@ES> He's pretty tight with his money.

+Debbee> ga Cattle

MarcoPolo@ES> Man, if your own brother can't get you a copy...what hope do I have :) Jamie was a wonderful test lead on the MS side - the entire group pulled a tremendous effort over the past 2 years.

CattleDung> Do you think the next trend in RTS's will be towards 3D accelerated graphics features (ie. 3Dfx/Open GL)? If so will future releases of the AOE series include this?

CattleDung> ga

Sandyman@ES> Yes we think the next trend may well be towards 3D.

harter@ES> Undoubtably. It's fair to say that the whole marketplace is moving towards 3D. However, you don't need one for AoK!

+Pawfangs> SiegeSan , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> ga hunted

_HuNtEd_> HI Guys love ur games... here are my questions...Why did u do away with the hoard command?? Also i never recieved my cards that i was supposed to get when i pre-ordered the game why is that?? ga

MarcoPolo@ES> The cards are between you and the dealer where you bought the game. They were done as part of a promotional pre-order program - talk to the store for them.

IFischer@ES> We did away with hoard when we revised the formation system -- staggered provided the same functionality and we didn't see a need for the duplication.

+Debbee> ga kudas

Kudas_> Hi, I was wondering if you guys thought the scenario deathmacth will be as popular as it was with aoe and ror if so do you think it will, will it be as standard set up and build as it is in Aoe…

Kudas_> Ie if your playing 3v3 in aoe: 2 people have to play choson and 1 hittite do you think there will be such strong civs as aoe had…and how it was you had to build in such an order or you lost. noq Ie if your playing 3v3 in aoe: 2 people have to play choson

Kudas_> and 1 hittite do you think there will be such strong civs as aoe had…and how it was you had to build in such an order or you lost. noq and 1 hittite do you think there will be such strong civs as aoe had…and how it was you had to build in such an order o

Kudas_> you lost. noq you lost. noq

+juliagal> NOTE: We'll be playing "AoK Trivia" at the end of this chat! Winners get a chance to BEAT ES and MS folks at their own game!! :-)

MarcoPolo@ES> I think Deathmatch will be even more fun - and with more challenges than in AoE. Ian did a superb job working with the testers to balance the game - so I'd be surprised if there is 'one superior strategy'. The team bonuses throw another twist into...

MarcoPolo@ES> all multiplayer games. There are special deathmatch rooms on the Zone now too.

+Debbee> ga matty

XxMATTYxX> first of all I would like to say hello and thank u for bringing us this great game on behalf of the Xx clan....

IFischer@ES> Thanks

XxMATTYxX> i noticed u made AOK more defensive,whitch is good.Do u think this will eliminate the tool rush?...ga

IFischer@ES> I don't think we made it more defensive, just more defensive in some places...

IFischer@ES> We didn't think it was fun for people (and a lot of people agreed when asked) to lose the game after 8 minutes of play because someone was in their town. ..

IFischer@ES> So we made some changes to make the rush require more skill -- it isn't dead but it is riskier, which is what we wanted.

+Debbee> ga Majin

Majin_Piccolo> Man how come you guys try and switch up on us? I personally do not like Age Of Kings because of it's cartoonyness. I do however like the line of sight addition and the town bell also. And also, can you play AoK with a copied CD? I heard u cannot..........

Majin_Piccolo> and also, if you rush in the game, it just shows how good you are and if you can stay alive after that then you are really good

harter@ES> You're right -- you can't play with a copied CD.

IFischer@ES> That is correct, you cannot play with a copied CD... not sure what you mean by the "cartoonyness".

+Debbee> ga Dr

IFischer@ES> Agree with you about pulling off the rush, however.

Dr_CaNcEr> before I ask my questions(two short questions ready to paste) congrats for the trully great AOE and ROR (hopefully AOK too)... and I would like to report a historical mistake u have made in AoK(last part of my question)

Dr_CaNcEr> Our gaming Network received a large numbers of emails complaing about trainers and bugs of AOE/ROR; we were unable to solve the problem or answer the questions as we were unable to come in contact with your company! Aren't you supposed to favor a good ...

Dr_CaNcEr> public image? We still receive more than 10 emails a day about trainers and bugs of the game. As a news network we were not meant to support the game I believe....

Dr_CaNcEr> The Byzantine wonder is shown in the game after its modification by the Turkish civilisation... Agia Sofia didn't look like that back then.... ga

Dr_CaNcEr> Do you think you will port any of your games to Linux in the near future? and who was responsible for the leak of the alpha version? ....

Dr_CaNcEr> ga

+juliagal> We'll answer one of those

+juliagal> take your pick guys :-)

+juliagal> you'll have to get back in line for the rest, Cancer, sorry

MarcoPolo@ES> The wonders and other buildings are all based on architectural elements from various buildings, but aren't meant to represent specific buildings. Some elements are from different time periods than the game represents. The game is historically based...

MarcoPolo@ES> but shouldn't be used as a replacement for research, study, or your own research on the Web. There are 13 different wonders in the game.

MarcoPolo@ES> We have always 'bent' history to make the game more fun, more interesting, or to fit within the screen :)

+Pawfangs> AOKH_Omnivac , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> Be sure to watch for announcements of AOK 2000 World Championships! In a few minutes you will have a chance to win a game with ES and MS staffers!

+Debbee> ga mushroom

MushroomPeople> hiya, I got a question about the new civs...Are they ALL historically correct? I mean, what's with the goths? and uh....ya know +pawfangs, if you wanna "accidentally" pick me for a copy of AoK, I'll appreciate it and lova ya forever! :*) ga plz

IFischer@ES> They aren't anything approaching historically accurate; they are inspired by historical elements...

IFischer@ES> The Goths, for example, didn't have enough troops to garrison what they conquered in the real world...

IFischer@ES> So they would destroy all of a city's defenses when they took over...

IFischer@ES> That way they could retake the same location with less difficulty when they had to come back...

IFischer@ES> Hence, no walls in the game.

+Debbee> ga tec

tec_ES> hi.You guys have made a great game i don't do my homework because i have to play it ..what kind of units did you take out of the game that you found not to be fun to play?? ga

MarcoPolo@ES> We mentioned earlier how the ramming galley was replaced by the demolition ship. In that case there was a call on which was more fun, and which had more tactical possibilities. The demolition ship...

MarcoPolo@ES> can be used to kill units crossing the shallows or standing on the shore line - so we dropped the ramming ship.

+Debbee> ga chicken

tHeFunKyChicKeN> Let me start by saying thanks for making great games to play over the years......My Q is...

tHeFunKyChicKeN> it now seems that the tool rush or feudal rush is more of a challenge....what age and which military units do u like to use for a effective early game rush? ......and about what time do u feel most confidant to start your attack? ga it now seems that th

Sandyman@ES> The AI will rush in Feudal about a third of the time. When there are multiple AIs, almost always one will rush, to delay you while the rest build up

tHeFunKyChicKeN> so just watch the Ai?

Sandyman@ES> I stick with infantry for the early rush myself, by the way

Sandyman@ES> I stick with infantry for the early rush myself, btw

Sandyman@ES> I stick with infantry for the early rush btw.

MarcoPolo@ES> Sandy is having some problems with his connection for the rest of the answer...

+Pawfangs> Celtic_Dog , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

Sandyman@ES> Infantry are good rushers because they can destroy outlying buildings.

+Debbee> ga eagle

AOEKINGS_Eagle9> I have 2 questions that are easily aswered -what time period is the next aoe game gonna take place in ? and when and where can i get the trail version of aok ?- i may not be getting it for as long as 2 months ga P.S - AOEKINGS IS THE COOLEST CLAN

harter@ES> We haven't announced a next game so I don't have any information for you about that. The Trial version will be out next month.

+Debbee> ga merlin

AOE2_Merlin> First, I wish to decline the prize I won and let another Ager win instead. I already get lots of free stuff, including the game and soon the poster and strat guide. Please pick another random name and let someone else enjoy this new Age of Kings.

AOE2_Merlin> Superb Job ES ! Question -- What is it like at the Studios now that AoE2 is in the stores? Business as usual, already stressed out working on new projects, or still coming down from the rush of releasing the game? --- GA

MarcoPolo@ES> You're a gracious one Merlin - I'm sure a lucky Zoner will be thankful for your generosity. As to the work environment - we all got a week off to recuperate and get some rest after we went Gold. People are spending a little time to get their...

MarcoPolo@ES> PCs upgraded, their offices cleaned, and catch up on playing all the *other* games that have come out in the last few months. And of course, we're working away on our next games.

harter@ES> Things are picking up as people return from their vacations.

Sandyman@ES> that's the producer talking.

harter@ES> Except me -- I got to stay home.

IFischer@ES> Paid bills, slept, moved boxed from last time I moved out of apartment out of car, back to work.

+Debbee> We only have time for a few more questions, but stick around for your chance to "Play the Developers"!

+Pawfangs> ScurveyHerb , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> ga evil

EvilYoshua> Simple question I hope, why is it only a host can record multiplayer games, this feature seemed exciting to me, but was disappointed when I learned that only the host could record (at least with Zone games)

EvilYoshua> One more afterwards if I may ?

+Debbee> Sorry 1 per customer :)

MarcoPolo@ES> Some people might not want their 'secret play style' recorded - actually only the host chooses if the game will be recorded or not - it is recorded on all players machines.

MarcoPolo@ES> The record game feature is a lot of fun - we've enjoyed analyzing our victories "And this is where I hit his town with 20 fully upgraded elephants" - and our defeats -to see what to do better next time.

+Debbee> ga Stomp with the last question

Stomp_N_Romp> First, games from Ensemble and Blizzard are the only one I buy sight unseen with total piece of mind. Thank You for being 50% of my gaming security blanket. :-) Question: What do you forsee the effects of Sovreign from Verant being twords future RTS...

Stomp_N_Romp> games, and how many massively multiplayer games do you think can be supported at once? ga

IFischer@ES> How many channels do you want on your TV?

IFischer@ES> :)

Stomp_N_Romp> :)

Sandyman@ES> Embarrassingly enough, some of us (including me) have not heard of Verant's Sovereign.

+Debbee> I'd like to thank our guests for spending time with us tonight, we all enjoyed it!! I'd also like to thank all of you for being here! See you next week, Good Night All!

MarcoPolo@ES> I put it down on my list though :)

Sandyman@ES> bye all

MarcoPolo@ES> Thanks for hosting us, and thanks to all the fans - we'll see you out there on the Zone.

harter@ES> Thanks.

IFischer@ES> Thanks, everyone.

+Debbee> Now Juliagal will give you all a chance to win a game with a developer!

LEADER_KLLS> ok cool thanks

+Pawfangs> AOE2_Merlin , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> COngrats Merlin!! Whqat a great prize!

_NightCrawler_> what gave you the idea of Demolitions ships? Did they use them back in days..pack a ship up with 8 tons of gun powder and then ram then into a boat? =) I lik ethem just wondering what crazy guy came up with the idea..and i like the differnt languages

+Debbee> ga night

IFischer@ES> Yes, they are historical...

IFischer@ES> The actual idea came from our playtesters I believe (we originally had a ramming ship in their place).

MarcoPolo@ES> I think the languages add a lot for me as well. I know from AoE we were always going WoLoLooooo in the halls and things - the voice adds a lot to the feel of each civilization. Microsoft's office in Ireland got language specialists from all over the...

_NightCrawler_> all i understand is the turkish

MarcoPolo@ES> world to record the languages. For me they just add a lot to the feel of the different civilizations.

Sandyman@ES> Is it good turkish?

_NightCrawler_> yeah

+Debbee> ty night

Sandyman@ES> whew

+Debbee> ga taco

taco55> Does Ensemble Studios currently have any plans for future games, and if so, what types of games are planned? ga

harter@ES> Yes, we are working on future titles but I'm afraid we're not ready to announce them, yet.

+Debbee> ga Corradok

Corradok> Have you notice that there is a serious "Out Of Sync Error" on the multiplayer game? Is yes, what cause such an error and is there any way we can prevent it? Also, is there a patch for this coming soon? ga

MarcoPolo@ES> To get the games to have many units playing simultaneously - the game runs independently on all machines. Every few seconds they check each other to make sure these games are still synchronized or 'in sync'. If the games don't match...

MarcoPolo@ES> the out-of-sync problem occurs. If there is a problem with the game we'll track it and fix it. There may be a problem with people with pirated copies - if the games are even slightly different it will go out of sync. In the last weeks of testing...

MarcoPolo@ES> we played hundreds of games without having this problem happen once. MS test team and our progrmaming staff here will be right on top of any problems we find with the game.

Corradok> Will a dual CPU computer increase the performance of the game? ga

harter@ES> We don't have a patch effort underway, as the game hasn't really been released very far beyond the USA as of now.

+Pawfangs> Stan_Man , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> ga EOD

EOD_WayCool> Hello! i want to know if they will sell aoe/ror/aok on one pack? just like the gold pack that have aoe/ror. ga

MarcoPolo@ES> We don't have any special support to handle dual CPUs. As far as they make your computer process faster though - we'll take advantage of any special speed. Maybe another day we'll have a few of the optimization specialists or something on...

MarcoPolo@ES> to answer some of the technical questions in more detail.

harter@ES> Eventually I'm sure there'll be a bundle pack, but that's a long way away.

+Debbee> ga trackbear

TrackBear> My Question is “Will there be any strategy (or inside scoop) within the strategy of the game…” Such as Fish being the fastest food resource and turning a 15minute bronze time to a 12minute bronze time. You don’t have to say what it is and exact times, I w

TrackBear> I was just wondering if the speed to all gathering is the same or is there a twist like in Age of Empires.

IFischer@ES> There are multiple strategies. We get asked "which is the best" a lot -- none of them are "The Best". Different strategies are better in different circumstances.

Deep_Dracula_> First of all hi.My question is how do you feel about warez of Aok being distributed from websites ??

Deep_Dracula_> ive seen them alot

harter@ES> Well, obviously we're not happy about warez versions of our games.

+Debbee> ga Stan

Stan__Man> Hi.. I visited ensamble studios last month.Now that AOK is out are you going to try to make a fix for trainers and I am hopeing that there are no cheat codes for AOK

MarcoPolo@ES> We learned a lot about trainers, cheaters, and the like from AoE. Lead programmer Angelo Laudon working with the other technical staff plugged every hole we could think of, built a little extra armor on. I was encouraged to read...

harter@ES> We are working on the AoE/RoR patch right now, and you can look for an announcement on it in the next month.

Stan__Man> thank YOu

MarcoPolo@ES> one of the trainer writers from RoR that AoK was officially 'Trainer Proof'. High praise from someone who knows the back doors nearly as well as we know the front doors :)

+Debbee> ga Vader

AoK_Lord_Vader> Hey guys! Its a real pleasure to be chatting with you people today(c: My question is since Age of Empires has been so succesful, do you think that there will be an Age of Empires 3 and Age of Empires 4?

AoK_Lord_Vader> Also do you guys know my brother Jamie Evans, who has been a test lead for Age of Empires for 3 or 4 years? AND IF SO. Could please talk him into getting me a copy of AoK? hehehe. ga

harter@ES> I think all of us enjoy working on Age of Empires games and hope to continue doing so in the future.

Sandyman@ES> we all know jamie

Sandyman@ES> But you can do your own dirty work

harter@ES> He's pretty tight with his money.

+Debbee> ga Cattle

MarcoPolo@ES> Man, if your own brother can't get you a copy...what hope do I have :) Jamie was a wonderful test lead on the MS side - the entire group pulled a tremendous effort over the past 2 years.

CattleDung> Do you think the next trend in RTS's will be towards 3D accelerated graphics features (ie. 3Dfx/Open GL)? If so will future releases of the AOE series include this?

CattleDung> ga

Sandyman@ES> Yes we think the next trend may well be towards 3D.

harter@ES> Undoubtably. It's fair to say that the whole marketplace is moving towards 3D. However, you don't need one for AoK!

+Pawfangs> SiegeSan , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> ga hunted

_HuNtEd_> HI Guys love ur games... here are my questions...Why did u do away with the hoard command?? Also i never recieved my cards that i was supposed to get when i pre-ordered the game why is that?? ga

MarcoPolo@ES> The cards are between you and the dealer where you bought the game. They were done as part of a promotional pre-order program - talk to the store for them.

IFischer@ES> We did away with hoard when we revised the formation system -- staggered provided the same functionality and we didn't see a need for the duplication.

+Debbee> ga kudas

Kudas_> Hi, I was wondering if you guys thought the scenario deathmacth will be as popular as it was with aoe and ror if so do you think it will, will it be as standard set up and build as it is in Aoe…

Kudas_> Ie if your playing 3v3 in aoe: 2 people have to play choson and 1 hittite do you think there will be such strong civs as aoe had…and how it was you had to build in such an order or you lost. noq Ie if your playing 3v3 in aoe: 2 people have to play choson

Kudas_> and 1 hittite do you think there will be such strong civs as aoe had…and how it was you had to build in such an order or you lost. noq and 1 hittite do you think there will be such strong civs as aoe had…and how it was you had to build in such an order o

Kudas_> you lost. noq you lost. noq

+juliagal> NOTE: We'll be playing "AoK Trivia" at the end of this chat! Winners get a chance to BEAT ES and MS folks at their own game!! :-)

MarcoPolo@ES> I think Deathmatch will be even more fun - and with more challenges than in AoE. Ian did a superb job working with the testers to balance the game - so I'd be surprised if there is 'one superior strategy'. The team bonuses throw another twist into...

MarcoPolo@ES> all multiplayer games. There are special deathmatch rooms on the Zone now too.

+Debbee> ga matty

XxMATTYxX> first of all I would like to say hello and thank u for bringing us this great game on behalf of the Xx clan....

IFischer@ES> Thanks

XxMATTYxX> i noticed u made AOK more defensive,whitch is good.Do u think this will eliminate the tool rush?...ga

IFischer@ES> I don't think we made it more defensive, just more defensive in some places...

IFischer@ES> We didn't think it was fun for people (and a lot of people agreed when asked) to lose the game after 8 minutes of play because someone was in their town. ..

IFischer@ES> So we made some changes to make the rush require more skill -- it isn't dead but it is riskier, which is what we wanted.

+Debbee> ga Majin

Majin_Piccolo> Man how come you guys try and switch up on us? I personally do not like Age Of Kings because of it's cartoonyness. I do however like the line of sight addition and the town bell also. And also, can you play AoK with a copied CD? I heard u cannot..........

Majin_Piccolo> and also, if you rush in the game, it just shows how good you are and if you can stay alive after that then you are really good

harter@ES> You're right -- you can't play with a copied CD.

IFischer@ES> That is correct, you cannot play with a copied CD... not sure what you mean by the "cartoonyness".

+Debbee> ga Dr

IFischer@ES> Agree with you about pulling off the rush, however.

Dr_CaNcEr> before I ask my questions(two short questions ready to paste) congrats for the trully great AOE and ROR (hopefully AOK too)... and I would like to report a historical mistake u have made in AoK(last part of my question)

Dr_CaNcEr> Our gaming Network received a large numbers of emails complaing about trainers and bugs of AOE/ROR; we were unable to solve the problem or answer the questions as we were unable to come in contact with your company! Aren't you supposed to favor a good ...

Dr_CaNcEr> public image? We still receive more than 10 emails a day about trainers and bugs of the game. As a news network we were not meant to support the game I believe....

Dr_CaNcEr> The Byzantine wonder is shown in the game after its modification by the Turkish civilisation... Agia Sofia didn't look like that back then.... ga

Dr_CaNcEr> Do you think you will port any of your games to Linux in the near future? and who was responsible for the leak of the alpha version? ....

Dr_CaNcEr> ga

+juliagal> We'll answer one of those

+juliagal> take your pick guys :-)

+juliagal> you'll have to get back in line for the rest, Cancer, sorry

MarcoPolo@ES> The wonders and other buildings are all based on architectural elements from various buildings, but aren't meant to represent specific buildings. Some elements are from different time periods than the game represents. The game is historically based...

MarcoPolo@ES> but shouldn't be used as a replacement for research, study, or your own research on the Web. There are 13 different wonders in the game.

MarcoPolo@ES> We have always 'bent' history to make the game more fun, more interesting, or to fit within the screen :)

+Pawfangs> AOKH_Omnivac , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> Be sure to watch for announcements of AOK 2000 World Championships! In a few minutes you will have a chance to win a game with ES and MS staffers!

+Debbee> ga mushroom

MushroomPeople> hiya, I got a question about the new civs...Are they ALL historically correct? I mean, what's with the goths? and uh....ya know +pawfangs, if you wanna "accidentally" pick me for a copy of AoK, I'll appreciate it and lova ya forever! :*) ga plz

IFischer@ES> They aren't anything approaching historically accurate; they are inspired by historical elements...

IFischer@ES> The Goths, for example, didn't have enough troops to garrison what they conquered in the real world...

IFischer@ES> So they would destroy all of a city's defenses when they took over...

IFischer@ES> That way they could retake the same location with less difficulty when they had to come back...

IFischer@ES> Hence, no walls in the game.

+Debbee> ga tec

tec_ES> hi.You guys have made a great game i don't do my homework because i have to play it ..what kind of units did you take out of the game that you found not to be fun to play?? ga

MarcoPolo@ES> We mentioned earlier how the ramming galley was replaced by the demolition ship. In that case there was a call on which was more fun, and which had more tactical possibilities. The demolition ship...

MarcoPolo@ES> can be used to kill units crossing the shallows or standing on the shore line - so we dropped the ramming ship.

+Debbee> ga chicken

tHeFunKyChicKeN> Let me start by saying thanks for making great games to play over the years......My Q is...

tHeFunKyChicKeN> it now seems that the tool rush or feudal rush is more of a challenge....what age and which military units do u like to use for a effective early game rush? ......and about what time do u feel most confidant to start your attack? ga it now seems that th

Sandyman@ES> The AI will rush in Feudal about a third of the time. When there are multiple AIs, almost always one will rush, to delay you while the rest build up

tHeFunKyChicKeN> so just watch the Ai?

Sandyman@ES> I stick with infantry for the early rush myself, by the way

Sandyman@ES> I stick with infantry for the early rush myself, btw

Sandyman@ES> I stick with infantry for the early rush btw.

MarcoPolo@ES> Sandy is having some problems with his connection for the rest of the answer...

+Pawfangs> Celtic_Dog , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

Sandyman@ES> Infantry are good rushers because they can destroy outlying buildings.

+Debbee> ga eagle

AOEKINGS_Eagle9> I have 2 questions that are easily aswered -what time period is the next aoe game gonna take place in ? and when and where can i get the trail version of aok ?- i may not be getting it for as long as 2 months ga P.S - AOEKINGS IS THE COOLEST CLAN

harter@ES> We haven't announced a next game so I don't have any information for you about that. The Trial version will be out next month.

+Debbee> ga merlin

AOE2_Merlin> First, I wish to decline the prize I won and let another Ager win instead. I already get lots of free stuff, including the game and soon the poster and strat guide. Please pick another random name and let someone else enjoy this new Age of Kings.

AOE2_Merlin> Superb Job ES ! Question -- What is it like at the Studios now that AoE2 is in the stores? Business as usual, already stressed out working on new projects, or still coming down from the rush of releasing the game? --- GA

MarcoPolo@ES> You're a gracious one Merlin - I'm sure a lucky Zoner will be thankful for your generosity. As to the work environment - we all got a week off to recuperate and get some rest after we went Gold. People are spending a little time to get their...

MarcoPolo@ES> PCs upgraded, their offices cleaned, and catch up on playing all the *other* games that have come out in the last few months. And of course, we're working away on our next games.

harter@ES> Things are picking up as people return from their vacations.

Sandyman@ES> that's the producer talking.

harter@ES> Except me -- I got to stay home.

IFischer@ES> Paid bills, slept, moved boxed from last time I moved out of apartment out of car, back to work.

+Debbee> We only have time for a few more questions, but stick around for your chance to "Play the Developers"!

+Pawfangs> ScurveyHerb , Congratulations!! You have been selected at random to receive Free Copy Of AOK and an AOK Poster!! Please email your name, postal address and telephone number to zevents@microsoft.com to claim your gift

+Debbee> ga evil

EvilYoshua> Simple question I hope, why is it only a host can record multiplayer games, this feature seemed exciting to me, but was disappointed when I learned that only the host could record (at least with Zone games)

EvilYoshua> One more afterwards if I may ?

+Debbee> Sorry 1 per customer :)

MarcoPolo@ES> Some people might not want their 'secret play style' recorded - actually only the host chooses if the game will be recorded or not - it is recorded on all players machines.

MarcoPolo@ES> The record game feature is a lot of fun - we've enjoyed analyzing our victories "And this is where I hit his town with 20 fully upgraded elephants" - and our defeats -to see what to do better next time.

+Debbee> ga Stomp with the last question

Stomp_N_Romp> First, games from Ensemble and Blizzard are the only one I buy sight unseen with total piece of mind. Thank You for being 50% of my gaming security blanket. :-) Question: What do you forsee the effects of Sovreign from Verant being twords future RTS...

Stomp_N_Romp> games, and how many massively multiplayer games do you think can be supported at once? ga

IFischer@ES> How many channels do you want on your TV?

IFischer@ES> :)

Stomp_N_Romp> :)

Sandyman@ES> Embarrassingly enough, some of us (including me) have not heard of Verant's Sovereign.

+Debbee> I'd like to thank our guests for spending time with us tonight, we all enjoyed it!! I'd also like to thank all of you for being here! See you next week, Good Night All!

MarcoPolo@ES> I put it down on my list though :)

Sandyman@ES> bye all

MarcoPolo@ES> Thanks for hosting us, and thanks to all the fans - we'll see you out there on the Zone.

harter@ES> Thanks.

IFischer@ES> Thanks, everyone.

+Debbee> Now Juliagal will give you all a chance to win a game with a developer!

+juliagal> All games will be played with same settings...

+juliagal> please watch here closely!

+juliagal> I'll repost the matchups

+juliagal> All games will be played in Imperial Horizon Room

+juliagal> Icy_Bear/ACE_340 vs Winter@ES/Xemu@ES

+juliagal> _NightCrawler/_U_GonNA_Die vs TimZ@MS/Ugdo_9@MS

+juliagal> PS_FunnyTale/SA_DAB_MAN vs desperado@ES/MilkManDan@ES

+juliagal> LittleKnife/BIsForBob vs Royster@ES/The_Sheriff@AOK

+juliagal> Cronus__/LordByte vs Pilgrim@MS/plasticbrain@ES

+juliagal> taco55/game_over vs Batman@MS/CaptainInsano@ES

+juliagal> _HuNtEd_/FWH_SIR_LANCE vs aoetrain@ES/dCypher@ES

+juliagal> Tyrant5 vs germ@MS

+juliagal> Here are the game settings for each of the "zoner vs ES/MS" games:

+juliagal> Game Type: Random

+juliagal> Map Type: Random

+juliagal> Map Size: Medium

+juliagal> Difficulty: Moderate

+juliagal> Resources: Standard

+juliagal> Population: 75

+juliagal> Speed: Normal

+juliagal> Reveal Map: Normal

+juliagal> Starting Age: Standard

+juliagal> Victory: Timed Game/500 yrs(40 mins)

+juliagal> All boxes on bottom should be UNCHECKED

plasticbrain@ES and pilgrim@ES
vs
LordByte and Cronus___