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Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » General and Strategy Discussion » Are many people aware of the original Age of Empires 2 graphics?
Topic Subject:Are many people aware of the original Age of Empires 2 graphics?
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posted 01-15-11 08:55 AM CT (US)         
I'm not sure if there are many long termers here (by long termers I mean original Age of Empires 2 fans who were around with its inception) but the game actually had different graphics to what you see in the final game. This version was scrapped, and to be honest with you I find the original graphics quite appealing. I will try and find the original magazine pictures and scan if for you.

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[This message has been edited by ELiTE TEUTONiC (edited 09-12-2011 @ 09:14 AM).]

posted 09-24-12 01:32 AM CT (US)     1001 / 1201       
Leif Ericson > Yay!

Kind of squeaked over the line with that 4-character post there.

I will chime in and say that I don't think the original AoE and AoK would successfully translate directly into a F2P model with all their depth and complexity intact. The underpinnings of AoK - the complex simulation engine, would be a very difficult to port to a web browser/remote server model.

As to weather or not a 2D RTS could be successful today - I don't know. Conventional wisdom says it has to be 3D.. but if the 2D was good enough, would enough people care enough to keep it from being successful? I have to admit that I have a pro 2d bias, so I'm not the one who is going to see it most accurately. Still AoK is a product of it's time. A really great one, but it was only during that era that it probably could have been made the way it was.

Tetsuo Shima's post was most interesting. There really are (at least) two large camps of people who play AoK - those who take multiplayer seriously and focus on the competition, and the single player gamers who find the content more interesting.

Anyway, we made it to 1000 posts! Yay!

Regarding another game (Age 4?) in the Age of Empires series... I have *NO* idea what Microsoft will do in the future. I know they know they have a good IP in Age, but that's all. It's unclear what their corporate vision for future gaming is between Windows 8 and Xbox Next and tablets, and who knows what. Given that, there are probably a lot of different ideas for IP development there, but possibly no way for *any* of them to pursued as currently envisioned. It's a big and complex company. I have no idea.

As for speculation on other things, I can not comment on anything at this time.
posted 09-24-12 04:55 AM CT (US)     1002 / 1201       
Regarding 2D/3D real strategy games, my personal opinion is that any 3D game can hardly beat 2D game in matter of overall overview of what`s going one on the field (unless some new concept comes out into the play), and that is one of the most important things here.

When I look at Age of Empires II, battles, unit position on the field, in the clash of the fight, behind the buildings - it`s really easy to make a difference between the units, and pinpoint their position (that "border" in player`s color making it all much easier, too).

When I look at Age of Empires Online, it looks so confusing, having a huge mixture of colors forming a mass that`s not so easy to recognize - though this feeling might be partially because I`m not familiar with AoEO units as I`m with AoC (Age of Empires II: The Conquerors) ones.

The point is - 3D brings in so much more details, so much more possibilities to enhance the visual experience - but in terms of gameplay experience more is not necessarily better! Having so much (unneeded) distractions just makes it hard to focus on what`s going on, on your strategy in real-time, which is what the core thing is... (Engineers here know a true value of generalization/specialization, when used correctly )

Warning - chess comparison again - those that love the game might own a unique piece set, with real human figures as knights, kings and queens, etc, but you`ll hardly see them enjoy everyday playing with anything else than a classic "Staunton" set, or something like that, "easy on the eye"... for a reason

Age of Empires II just gave us like the best of both worlds - astonishing details of in-game graphics, a true piece of art (some of the buildings still surprise me with something I haven`t spot before), while keeping the visibility really great (not to say perfect, because having units/buildings behind a southern forest is a bit problematic). A hard thing to beat in 3D, not impossible, but not yet done, in my humble opinion. (And no, being able to rotate the view does not make it easier, just more confusing, one more (unneeded) thing to concentrate on)

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[This message has been edited by BugA_the_Great (edited 09-24-2012 @ 05:01 AM).]

AoEO Seraph
(id: Kastor)
posted 09-24-12 05:35 AM CT (US)     1003 / 1201       
I think the statement about 3d is only half true.

Overall I think what does make 2d games stand out is their perspective, not their dimension.

3d games don't have an isometric perspective, that's what kills the overall overview. It doesn't matter as much whether the unit you look at is a 3d model that has been pre-rendered into a bitmap or whether it's rendered in real time by your graphics card.

Take 0ad game perspective: Link. It looks nice, but there's no way you can play like that.

Compare that to 3d games with a nearly isometric perspective, and you will get the overview you need and want: ANNO 1404, for example.

And what about Kickstarter, Matt? I guess there are enough 2d fans still out there who could make it happen.

[This message has been edited by Alexastor (edited 09-24-2012 @ 06:46 AM).]

local boi
(id: dragon14)
posted 09-24-12 06:05 AM CT (US)     1004 / 1201       
jeez alex, you've converted me. I never realized that because I never compared these side to side, but wow your completely right. I hope you don't mind, but this just became a legitimate concern now that I saw the huge difference, hollered at 0 a.d. forums asking if they will impletement isometric view - I do want to play that game when it's finished!
update: The 0 A.D. people replied to me pretty fast. they have isometric after all, at least I think. But that comparison, still huge.

katsup or mustard

[This message has been edited by local boi (edited 09-24-2012 @ 07:10 AM).]

posted 09-24-12 01:41 PM CT (US)     1005 / 1201       
don't really need an AoK port to modern times. the game was simply designed too technically well at release, unlike starcraft which had horrible pathfinding, huge UI limitations, and other problems which could easily be improved in a sequel.

they would have to make a full remake with a new engine and beautiful graphics which requires a huge budget.

as for multiplayer, the community isn't really that big, and the game is too broken in terms of balance / competitiveness. if they make a brand new game, then they could get enough popularity to just live off the casuals who want to build up slowly and fight with huge armies, but i don't think that type of multiplayer lasts.

AoC is played like Starcraft (build orders, reliance on unit micro, predictable games, requiring lots of speed) but without the balance / matchmaking / pace.
they would have to make it way faster and have near-perfect balance to even compete with Starcraft or they would have to provide a unique experience that appeals more to strategists.
Jetkill Fastmurder
(id: Mayank Sharma)
posted 09-24-12 09:45 PM CT (US)     1006 / 1201       
3D is not all that bad. I've been playing Medieval 2: Total War for 6 months and I find no problems with its 3D battle map. It helps me plan the battle more, as I can see behind me and as far as my units can see. (The camera is still restricted) I think if done properly, it brings a sense of realism to the battle.

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posted 09-25-12 07:54 AM CT (US)     1007 / 1201       
Total war is an entirely different game, its not comparable.
local boi
(id: dragon14)
posted 09-26-12 04:15 AM CT (US)     1008 / 1201       
I've found an image, but I've noticed a strange thing about it! Look in the top right, what kind of cavalry are they? And there are also 2 rocks in front of the lines of trees that I'm sure aren't in the game. Heck, I think even the water and road and dirt 2 look a bit diffrent.

katsup or mustard

[This message has been edited by local boi (edited 09-26-2012 @ 04:19 AM).]

posted 09-26-12 05:24 AM CT (US)     1009 / 1201       
IIRC those Paladin like cavalry with lances are heroes.
posted 09-26-12 05:43 AM CT (US)     1010 / 1201       
Those rocks look to be from aoe1. The cavalry are from the alpha/beta and were used for some heroes, and editor only units I think. I think sir John Fallstof or something like that in one of the missions of the alpha/beta Joan of Arc campaign missions used that graphic.
AoEO Seraph
(id: Kastor)
posted 09-26-12 07:06 AM CT (US)     1011 / 1201       
I think they were meant for Paladins or maybe even French Paladins (the Franks had French Paladins as their UU IIRC).

Fallstaff uses a different graphic than those, btw. If you look closely they are way bigger than the other units.
posted 09-26-12 08:41 AM CT (US)     1012 / 1201       
In the alpa version I played, paladins already had a graphic, a very ugly one, and it was not that one, and I'm pretty sure it was Falstoff with that graphic. But there were more than one in the editor using that graphic.
Taichi San
posted 09-26-12 04:37 PM CT (US)     1013 / 1201       
Hey tompsoncs, it's that old known beta right? (09.07.0222)
If it is an diferent version please report immediately to the aoe2 beta headquarters located at my computer :P

and yeah, that image resembles one of the latest beta's but didnt knew those aoe1 rocks were still in it, thanks for this new picture because it wasnt at my huge collection yet


Matt Pritchard, can you confirm or try to dig up at what date/(time) the tests took place with the large maps?
Maybe theres still an old beta version out there with the support for bigger maps

and yes.. I won't blame you but its over 1,5 years lol since I asked you first time if you had time to upload pics and materials from the beta's of the game, but I guess your forbidden to upload/send these software or did you really never had time to, please let me know
posted 09-26-12 05:26 PM CT (US)     1014 / 1201       
After paying a visite to Phatfish' aoe beta site, I'm pretty sure it's the alpha version:

At least these units look very much like that version I played:

On the other hand, this ship was not in my version:
whilst Phatfish has put that in the same alpha version.

Looking at the screenshots it surely wasnt the early beta, because the castle is different. And it's not the prealpha either.

I think it was an alpha version comparible to what Phatfish calls alpha2, alpha,3 and so on till 6. Earlier versions or later versions have things I know for sure that werent in it.

[This message has been edited by Thompsoncs (edited 09-26-2012 @ 05:38 PM).]

Leif Ericson
Seraph Emeritus
posted 09-26-12 09:05 PM CT (US)     1015 / 1201       
That screenshot was almost certainly taken from an alpha/beta version of the game, but both of those alpha/beta graphics are in the graphics files (definitely the lancer - not sure about the rocks). They just aren't enabled in the actual game, so a modpack could easily remake that screenshot.

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Taichi San
posted 09-27-12 08:00 AM CT (US)     1016 / 1201       
Do you still have the beta on your harddrive?
Please mind to upload since its a beta version anyways
posted 09-27-12 01:07 PM CT (US)     1017 / 1201       
This water looks awesome!!

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posted 09-28-12 01:50 AM CT (US)     1018 / 1201       
Yeah, those rocks are a straight copy + paste from aoe1. They are quite common in the game, used as ground embellishment. As you can see they are half the size of the AoK gold mines in the upper right corner, which makes sense because a lot of the buildings and gaia units were re-made much bigger for AoK.

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posted 09-28-12 10:26 AM CT (US)     1019 / 1201       
@ taichi

I'm not sure where I left that cd or if I even have it. If I still have it, it will be at my parents house. Btw, I remember having attempted to install it again, but the installer didnt work on vista/w7 64 versions.

It was quite a weird version in any case. Jannisaries turned into aoe hoplites when they attacked, knights looked very strange and became aoe cataphracts when they attacked, frankish axeman became aoe axeman. All the unit graphics were different from the final version, good thing because they looked bad. But the buildings, especially the castles werent that bad, but even those were improved.
posted 09-28-12 06:38 PM CT (US)     1020 / 1201       
The units turning into other units when doing something was pure "Stand-in" Art... the (final) art for those units and/or animations hadn't been gotten to yet by the art department, so other existing art was used because something was needed so that playtesting could take place with those units.

All part of the iterative development process and not having one aspect of the process (new units, testing play balance) being held back by another part (art asset production).
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posted 09-28-12 07:54 PM CT (US)     1021 / 1201       
In other words, placeholder sprites. Yeah, I see that a lot in beta total conversions.

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[This message has been edited by Lurkur (edited 09-28-2012 @ 08:10 PM).]

Taichi San
posted 09-29-12 06:19 AM CT (US)     1022 / 1201       

I guess you missed my question for you because there were loads of replies since it was written, so here they are:

> It's almost 2 years back that I asked if you had time to upload some beta/development materials, but I guess youve been very busy or was/is it a legal issue? please let us/me know.

> Do you also know about what time the bigger maps were tested? Maybe if those screenshots you posted earlier have still their original creation date in their file properties you could pinpoint the exact time for us

> Do you also have any clue what the compass and minting technologies were meant for?

> What is the best description you can give about those outlaws? Were they plundering trade carts or something like that? anyways they have/had an very interesting effect.
Maybe its still possible to get back their functions since alot of secrets are simply still there within the game because most features like boarding ships have never been removed, but just hidden, or links within the unit datafile simply being reset/removed but their function still being there.

> Also aoe1 had an very unique technology called martyrdom, it enabled priests to instantly converting a unit when they are killed/die. Putting the technology back into aoe2 had no effect for so far I saw, so could you maybe give more hints about it? I also suspect the technology works on an hardcoded unit id, but I must still test that theory because I suddenly came up with it while I was writing this post :P

Please let me know matt, im a true fan of all your works.

By the way, I was able to import and .cty file into aoe2 scenarios and came to the conclusion that they still work!
Was aoe2 intended to have city files? Because predefined city's can be really cool in certain scenarios or campaigns because you can let the computer player build very specific structures that way what with ai isnt possible, so cty files could be the hugest support of ai's tho theyre unfortunately predictable and thats probably the reason they never made it
posted 09-29-12 08:17 AM CT (US)     1023 / 1201       
I also remember there was a horse archer in the scenario editor that fired catapult stones. Were they some kind of cheat unit?
Jetkill Fastmurder
(id: Mayank Sharma)
posted 10-05-12 11:41 PM CT (US)     1024 / 1201       
If I am not being too intrusive Matt, may I ask how the salary system at Valve works?

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posted 10-06-12 11:06 PM CT (US)     1025 / 1201       
Jetkill> Uhm, People show up and work, and get paid a couple times a month?

Taichi San> Not a legal issue, but I probably can't revisit the topic until post-Christmas. It'll all be good, I promise.

Taichi San> Around 2002

Taichi San> Compass & Minting - no idea

Taichi San> Outlaws were a brief experiment that was rejected in playtesting. Many of those experiments that didn't make the final cut were not fully deleted from the database or game. I have no memories of the specifics, beyond being similar to wolves.

Taichi San> The code to execute martyrdom was probable removed or commented out.

Taichi San> AoK stared out with the AoE (RoR) code base. I believe that .cty files were leftovers from AoE ?

[This message has been edited by ES_MattP (edited 10-06-2012 @ 11:08 PM).]

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