Archived News From August 1998

Due to the old age of most of these news items, all hyperlinks have been disabled. It is also not possible to comment on any of news. They are presented in their current form purely for your reading pleasure – it’s the closest thing to a time machine we can offer you!

The news from August 26, 1998 to August 31, 1998 could not be recovered.

Historical and Etymological Origins of an Infamous Anglo-Saxon Gesture
Posted by Omnivac on August 25th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

The ‘Car Talk’ show (on NPR) with Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers have a feature called the ‘Puzzler’, and their most recent ‘Puzzler’ was about the Battle of Agincourt. The French, who were overwhelmingly favored to win the battle, threatened to cut a certain body part off of all captured English soldiers so that they could never fight again. The English won in a major upset and waved the body part in question at the French in defiance. The puzzler was: What was this body part? This is the answer submitted by a listener:

Dear Click and Clack,

Thank you for the Agincourt ‘Puzzler’, which clears up some profound questions of etymology, folklore and emotional symbolism. The body part which the French proposed to cut off of the English after defeating them was, of course, the middle finger, without which it is impossible to draw the renowned English longbow.

This famous weapon was made of the native English yew tree, and so the act of drawing the longbow was known as “plucking yew”. Thus, when the victorious English waved their middle fingers at the defeated French, they said, “See, we can still pluck yew! PLUCK YEW!”

Over the years some ‘folk etymologies’ have grown up around this symbolic gesture. Since ‘pluck yew’ is rather difficult to say (like “pleasant mother pheasant plucker”, which is who you had to go to for the feathers used on the arrows), the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative ‘f’, and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute are mistakenly thought to have something to do with an intimate encounter. It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows that the symbolic gesture is known as “giving the bird”.

And yew all thought yew knew everything!

Thanks to Dutch for the smile. <g>

New looks on the Net
Posted by Omnivac on August 25th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

Merlin informed me that has transformed itself with a complete redesign of the layout.

New features have been added, and the entire contents of the site have been re-organized. We welcome your feedback on the new look, and hope that these changes will make it easier to navigate through our large collections of graphics, animations and information relating to the three games produced by Ensemble Studios. – Merlin – Wizard

Check out also the Ensemble Studios site, sporting a new layout. Well, check it every hours as it changes look as much as a War Elephant changing his “blanket’s” color when stuck between hordes of Choson, Babylonian and Egyptian Priests.

Real history of the AoK period
Posted by Omnivac on August 23rd, 1998 (Time Unknown)

andyhre, our resident history teacher posted a very long thread about the history of the middle ages. It’s a great ressource to have new ideas for the game, whether this should be a new tech, or the super-unit of the Franks should be that.

The establishment of fortresses at Hertford and Witham (911-12) secured the frontier, but was also the first tentative step in the conquest of the Danish colonies south of the Humber. The Danes retaliated by raiding from Leicester and Northampton in 913. Despite the intervention of a Viking fleet from Brittany, Edward and his sister Aethelfled (Aethelred’s widow) began an offensive in November 914, which continued until all the Danish colonies south of the Humber sumitted in 920. Although Aethelfled’s campaigns were mainly against the Welsh and Norse settlers in north-west England, she played a vital role in Edward’s success by dividing the Vikings so that they could not present a united front.

Without much news lately about Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, at least you’ll get an awful lot to read. andyhre wrote some good comments too about different topics, and how it should be incorporated in AoK and invite you to reply. Go to the history class. If you don’t like to read or do not like history, then I suggest you avoid this thread, hehe. Good work andyhre.

Stable 3D rendition
Posted by Omnivac on August 20th, 1998 (Time Unknown)
This image could not be recovered.

The 3D rendition gallery continue to fill up, this time with a Feudal Age’s Stable from the Western European building set. You can find other 3D renditions in the buildings section, as well as some in-game shots of various buildings from the Far East set and Western European set.It is interesting to note also that not a single pixel of the Raider set and Middle East set have been shown so far. While we can easily picture what they will look like, I can’t wait to see them in their full splendor.

Sacre Charlemagne is worried
Posted by Omnivac on August 20th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

From the forums, the king of Franks posted some worries about super-units and raider civs…

I saw a very worrying thing in the alpha decree : it seems no unit – or even super-unit – is a match for the Samurai and his fellow the Teutonic knight, and even more if they are fully upgraded.

To take the example of the longbowman, he’s actually no match for those 2 tanks (and in the case of the samurai, a ligntning-speeded tank !

How will you manage to balance the non-raider civs ? – Charlemagne

The story behind this is that DeepWater took notes when he was at E3. About three super-units were shown (Longbowmen, Samurai and Teutonic Knights). Their stats presently might havewell been changed, so nothing can be really based on that. In the end, all will be balanced and with ten more super-units, other civs will have something to fight back with.

As for the raider civs, they might be in trouble in the Imperial Age as they will peak during the Castle Age. Raider civs are for more agressive players attacking early. I guess we can view it as a Yamato-Hittite relationship, where the Yamato Player wants to end it in Bronze or early Iron because once in Iron, the Hittite player will crush the Yamatos. Should be interesting, particularly team games with mix of raider and normal civs.

On a final note, the Age of Kings: An Alpha Decree shoud be taken lightly. All the information there might be different from the final version of the game. The Alpha Decree is the last minute known information about the game, and you can expect to see it changes a lot untill next spring.

New Forums operational
Posted by Omnivac on August 17th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

The new forums of Heaven’s Gaming Sites are now “semi-open” for business. Try them out and tell us what you think and start posting there.

You will notice a few changes, one being a loading time much much faster than the older ones. Second, only four forums will remain and will all be accessed from both Age of Empires Heaven and Age of Kings Heaven. One forum for Age of Empires/Rise of Rome, and another one for Age of Empires II:Age of Kings. The two others are the Scenario Editors forum, and Veni, Vidi, Vici (VVV as we call it) for the AOEH Net Campaign and other multiplayer events like the Ultimate Ager Tourney.

One of the MAJOR change is that you must register to post in the forums, but don’t worry it is free. When you register also, if you want to make it easy for the future, be sure to click yes for storing your name & password in your browser memory (otherwise you will have to type your username and password once per browser session).

Then look at the new features, and you will see it’s very cool. It might be odd at first but the way it works is much better than the older forums. Go to the HGS Forums and start posting today.

New Quests in the GTSG Contest
Posted by Omnivac on August 16th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

Hamlet is hosting weekly trivia at his cloud, Guess The Strat Game. Check out his five new quests this week and see if your GTSG lore is what you think it is.

Aahhh – you made old Hamlet disappointed! Nobody came even close to the right answers in the Guess The Strat Game contest. And to think that one of the questions were “only” from one of the best selling strategy titles of the year. Yeesh!! Do we really have to call for the heavyweighters over at ES to help you guys??

Well go and see the right answers in Hamlet’s Cloud, GTSG Section – and get no less than 5 (five) new quests for this week. I have made at least some of them real easy – I think :-). – Hamlet – Tech Angel

The Townmeister back on duty
Posted by Omnivac on Agust 16th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

Azoic is back in action after a hot summer, fighting forest fires. Please, be patient while the Town Center get back up-to-date. If you are a webmaster and have an Age of Empires and/or an Age of Empires II: Age of Kings site, verify if your link is in there. If not and you wish to be listed, drop an email to Angel Azoic, and provides all the information required. Welcome back Azo!

Another Ensemble Masterpiece
Posted by Omnivac on August 13th, 1998 (Time Unknown)
This image could not be recovered.

Here’s another new 3D rendition of a building from the fine folks of Ensemble Studios, courtesy of the Keep Shooting site. Admire in all its splendor the Imperial Age University of the Far East building set. Once again, the artists didn’t spare any details on this one, and it looks simply amazing. With all the recent Rise of Rome fury, it’s nice to find new stuff for Age of Empires II: Age of Kings to show you. We’ll do our best to keep you updated with all the latest information available. It’s still a long way till spring 99, but slowly we are getting there. I already see on top of the hill the soldiers of huscarl Omnivaric the Goth sharpening their broadswords, ready to ransack unsuspecting towns. My cavalry is….mmmm??? what?.. (looking at a white ceiling)

A thankful note from ES
Posted by Omnivac on August 12th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

Here’s some nice words from Paul Bettner.

“Thank you to everyone who contributes a suggestion via the HeavensWeb Multiplayer suggestions link. I receive them all in my mailbox and although I don’t have the time to respond to all of the great suggestions, ideas, compliments and criticisms, I read all of them and appreciate all of the wonderful ideas that the Age of Empires community has to share! We are all working very hard to bring this game to life and make it the incredible game you expect. Once again, thank you for the great input! ” – Paul Bettner – Communications Programmer

Heaven and all the fans from around the world would like to thank you too, Paul, for this great opportunity to share ideas with the Ensemble Studios team. You’re a great bunch of guys and we all appreciate it.

There will be a new link shortly, with a totally different subject. Be sure to check back regularly. And on another note, Heaven will soon have new forums (faster for one) where the ES dudes will continue to make some apparitions, answer your questions, and listen to your suggestions. Hope you will like the new changes. <g>

Writer of the lost talk
Posted by Omnivac on August 12th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

Alexander Jones made it back from the jungles of the E3mazon last June, only to have his “treasure” stored in a big warehouse full of numbered crates. Well, we have found it again and wanted to share with you the interview with Mark Terrano, done by Angel Alexander I at E3. It may be 2 months old, but it’s still readable.

Yeah, the people that rush like it and the ones that don’t are concerned! We don’t think a rush strategy lets you explore the full potential of the game. We would like for a lot of the combat to take place in the third age and the fourth, the Imperial Age, where it really does get interesting, where we have a lot of variation in the units-a lot more things to destroy. Now the raiders may be a little earlier, they may be at the end of the second age, peaking towards the third age.

If you want to know about dedicated gameplay fine tuning, hollow victories,chill-out time in the beginning of Age II, reforestation, Age in Space, Heavenly compliments and love and humility at ES, then hop in to the lost interview with Mark Terrano.

AoK Uber Article
Posted by Omnivac on August 10th, 1998 (Time Unknown)
This image could not be recovered.

This month, you can find in stores a German gaming magazine called PC Player – special 1/98, which is about game previews for 98/99. There is a Uber section concerning Age of Empires II: Age of Kings with new screenshots and other eye candies. They even filmed at E3 some 10 MB of medieval action where you can see Knights in battle, as well as those cool Trebuchets doing their dirty job. Also, provided that you can understand more than just Michael Schumacher and Grosser Preis von Deutschland, you’ll find a lot to read too.

This image could not be recovered. This image could not be recovered.

Wishlist Addendum
Posted by Omnivac on August 7th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

Some news from Dave again, keeping us updated on the Age of Empires II: Age of Kings status with more little tidbits.

Auto farm rebuilding
Auto farm rebuilding is something we’ve been playtesting a lot. The jury’s still out on it, though…

UMC (paying for maintenance of units with ressources each and every ? seconds/minutes)
What you’re describing for unit supplying is what we call unit maintenance cost (to avoid confusion with the use of supply as in supply lines to support outposts from the main city). UMC is something that we tried in AOE1; it royally sucked. It’s on the wishlist as something to reevaluate (in the name of realism), but it’s probably unlikely to go back in. It doesn’t solve the pop cap, either (i.e. let you remove the pop cap). Someone who has enough resources to butt up against the pop cap will inevitably have enough resources to initially build a lot of units to go way over the pop cap with a UMC limit as the ‘pop cap’. The problems with this are: it’s incredibly annoying to do the math about how many units you should be building when your resource levels fluctuate, it’s very frustrating to have your units become less effective/die/whatever due to momentary drops in resource levels (e.g. upgrading ages generally wipes out your food store), it’s just more complexity. Suggestions on how to deal with these problems are always welcome:).

We are looking at some minor mods to the wonders for AOE2…

Movement in relation to armor (better=heavier=slower)
This is currently being looked at already:) – Dave C. Pottinger (ES, Engine Lead)

The last point is very interesting and brings us back to the age old dilemna, fast and light armored OR slow and heavy armored. I think game issues like this are very interesting when they have pros and cons effective all the time. This way players have to concede some advantages as they have new weaknesses and not the same strengths as before.

The Trade Workshop
Posted by Omnivac on August 5th, 1998 (Time Unknown)
This image could not be recovered.

Another new rendition from Ensemble Studios, the Trade Workshop can be found at The Temple Remastered in all its great glory. Nothing is known about the exact nature of the Trade Workshop at this moment. Clearly, it is related to your economy, and maybe it’s the building where the villagers build the trade goods that you can sell later for profit? With an enhanced economic model, Age of Empires II: Age of Kings should please the empire builders, and will lead to interesting multiplayer games. Supporting allies economically should have a bigger impact than in Age of Empires.

Realism vs Gameplay?
Posted by Omnivac on August 4th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

The debate that will never end. Mention realism in a message, and you’re sure to attract a lot of attention. A lot of people also expressed concerns about various issues, giving the pros and cons of friendly fire, line of supplies, moving ressources and so on. All this in the balance of realism vs gameplay.

The bottom line is that Age of Empires II: Age of Kings is a “historical” game, so you won’t see flying horses and two-headed giants. I think it’s normal to build the game from there. Naturally, it is a game and we should give Ensemble Studios more credit than they deserve. If it’s not worth it and add nothing, or very little to the game, then it won’t make it in the final version. If it is too complex (read a lot of clickings for simple tasks), it won’t make it too. And to reassure you, here’s a post from Dave found in the AoE Newsgroup.

We’re always looking for ways to make the game more real and less complex at the same time… This suggestion usually gets canned due to complexity issues (in other words, yes, it’s more real, but given the added gameplay complexity, it’s probably not worth it).

“More realistic” is always on the wishlist, though, so we’re always working towards that. – Dave C. Pottinger (ES, Engine Lead)

Message from the Capital
Posted by Omnivac on August 4th, 1998 (Time Unknown)

The Age of Empires community on the net has found once again one of its lost lamb. Here’s Caliban on why? and where?…

I have started up a new Age of Empires II : Age of Kings page at a temporary host. Due to the fact that may last position at Medieval Age of Empires has become inactive once they turned into the Dawn of Kingdoms. Now that their host (Gamerslink) is having a massive server switch and they are no longer in business from what I was told. So therefor I decided to create and run my own AOK page called The Age of Empires II : Age of Kings Capital or The AOK Capital for short. The current URL is and will change very shortly while I work things out. Everything is up with many new interesting features. I advise you to give it a visit and try it out. Your suggestions will be welcome. Thanks alot! – Caliban (The AOK Capital)

Pay him a visit and tell him that Omnivac sent you. <g>

A Bigdog lost in the woods
Posted by Omnivac on August 3rd, 1998 (Time Unknown)

Rumours are flying again, and quite frankly what can we do about them? Nothing, hehe until Ensemble Studios say something about it. Here’s a little tidbit from Dave C Pottinger about the number of players in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, and the map sizes.

Nope, it’ll still be 8 players, FWIW, playing on the largest maps is actually a little big:) We’ve had games where we can’t find each other… – Dave C. Pottinger (ES, Engine Lead)

Nope, it’s not the secret barking of BigDog. FWIW means For what it’s worth. I’m really looking forward to the mega large maps. With the new economic model, it should really please more the civ builders out there. And don’t worry if you’re a fast-action type of player. AoEII will certainly have its share of options, so you could always play a smaller map size as well as using various deathmatch options.

Schnoz is looking for a few good soldiers
Posted by Omnivac on August 3rd, 1998 (Time Unknown)

And the best one will end up with a free copy of Starsiege.

Sign-ups begin now for the first ever Cyberstorm2 tournament. First prize is a copy of Starsiege when it’s released in September.

The tournament begins Firday Aug. 7th, and the first stage runs until midnight Saturday Aug. 15th, at which time, the top 16 players go on to a double elimination round.

Sign up at Schnoz’s Starsiege Universe