Archived News From June 2000

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!

150 Signs of Newbieness
Posted by Washizu on June 30th, 2000 @ 4:17 a.m.
Mindtrip 84 started a funny thread in the forum on how to spot those ever present newbies on the Zone. His goal is to reach 150, and I believe he has about 125 so far. Only 25 slots left, so get your newbie spotting strats posted quick Some of my favorites are:

3: You think Regicide is a type of insect repellent.
5: You build a dock in an Arabia map.
11: Get one villager to kill the “sheep”, then realize that it was a boar (It was behind the mill, not my fault ).
40: You play the Vikings and complain that you can’t get the Wheelbarrow upgrade.
48: In a mediterranean game you wall all the way around the sea, trapping the transports of your allies.

Actually, I just realized this is a really old thread, but it’s still funny nonetheless.

Day 2 of the ES Tournament
Posted by Washizu on June 29th, 2000 @ 11:53 p.m.
The 4 remaing teams squared off today in the internal ES Tournament. “Pray for Mojo”, featuring programmer Tim Deen, designer Sandy Petersen, producer Harter Ryan, and programmer John Evanson defeated “Agenda of Rage”. Some screenshots are currently available at Ensemble Studios, including one of the huge map screenshots we’ve come to love from the x-pack (side note: Not many people know this, but ES programmer Matt Pritchard was responsible for this little innovation in screen capturing). The write up should be available tomorrow or even later tonight. Pray for Mojo’s captain, programmer Tim Deen has written an analysis on the civs he chose for the match and you can read that here.

In the other matchup, “The Men Who Funk Forgot” capsized “Boat in Progress” in a surprise win. Many expected “Boat’s” Captain Mike Kidd to lead them to the promise land, but it was not to be. Later on, the recap will be posted here. “Funk” is a team made up of AOK:TC lead designer Greg Street, programmer Rob Fermier, and artists Thonny Namounglo and Duane Santos.

Spanish Showcase
Posted by Washizu on June 29th, 2000 @ 6:08 a.m.

Gamespot continues its civ showcase tradition with the Spanish:

At Ensemble Studios, general consensus is that the Spanish have the best team bonus. Those who don’t use trading to supplement their income will see the error of their ways as soon as they play the Spanish in a team game. By returning 33 percent more gold per trip, the Spanish trade cogs and carts can significantly boost gold income for you. Says Street, “The combination of a Spanish ally and the Caravan upgrade with a map-spanning trade route can literally bring in 10,000 or more gold over the course of a game.”

Head over to Gamespot right away!

Day 1 of the ES Tournament
Posted by Washizu on June 29th, 2000 @ 0:30 a.m.

The battle lines were drawn and the teams dared each other to step over them. Undoubtedly, some trash talking occured between teams with names like “Boat in Progress” and “The Men Who Funk Forgot”, but in the end, four teams remained:

Game 1 was won by “Agenda of Rage”, who fended off a feudal attack by “Ladies Choice” and eventually built a wonder:
Recap by Mike “Captain” Kidd

Game 2 was won by “Pray for Mojo”, who defeated “Gone Fishin” with the help of designer Sandy Petersen filling in for art director Brad Pollard:
Recap by Mike “Captain” Kidd

Game 3 was won by “The Men Who Funk Forgot”, defeating “Tim Sucks” in a team islands game. The game recap, once again by Mike “Captain” Kidd will be posted tonight:
Recap by Mike “Captain” Kidd (coming soon, but screens are available)

Game 4 was won by “Boat in Progress”, defeating “Thwad”. This was the only game I missed in the pre-game predictions, and I should have known better than to bet against the Kidd ;):
Recap by Mike “Captain” Kidd (coming soon, but screens are available)

A few of the ES dudes (and dudettes) did some trash talking on our forum, especially when they didn’t agree with my picks. I made 3/4, so that ain’t too bad.

New Cherubs
Posted by Washizu on June 28th, 2000 @ 4:57 a.m.
We’ve taken on a number of new cherubs lately, and I thought I’d give them a nice mention here in case you run into them in the forums. Cherubs are the green forum members who help out the Angels by doing odd jobs around AOKH. The latest ones are:

Cherub Socrates, formally EPS_CoCreator: Campaign walkthroughs.
Cherub chris_the_great: Forum moderation and survival guides.
Cherub Cheerful Chum: Forum moderation
Cherub Iron Heart: Forum moderation

Welcome to the staff guys!

ES Tourney Predictions
Posted by Washizu on June 28th, 2000 @ 4:07 a.m.

I’m probably going to be dead wrong on this, but I have posted my predictions for the upcoming internal ES tournament, along with a semi-detailed anaylysis of the round one match ups based on reputation and games I’ve played with various ES folk.

The ES dudes aren’t allowed to make bets on the games, but there is no stopping any of them from making comments on our predictions, so I encourage all the fans to get in there and participate in our own little tourney of game predictions. Remember, don’t edit your post after the first round, or people will think you cheated

Head here to read my predictions and post your own.

Head here to check out the bracket.

Congrats to RAPenrod
Posted by Washizu on June 28th, 2000 @ 3:15 a.m.
RAPenrod was the first to reply to my contest last night with the correct answer. In picture 1 was AOK designer Bruce Shelley, and in picture 2, Bruce was joined by designers Mark Teranno and Ian Fischer.

You Know the Drill
Posted by Washizu on June 28th, 2000 @ 3:09 a.m.
The Sandanista himself is back again doing his Q/A with the fans. The latest thread is right here, and as Sandy Petersen says, “you know the drill”:

Q) with faster, stronger, quicker cav archers is it possible to use them without any support to just harrass effectively, say, 4 to 5 losses per sorte, without taking any losses yourself? I love harrassing, but im sorry to say im loosing alot of my units when i do it, and it usually ends to their favour, but im hoping I can pull it off in AOKTC.
A) well of course it all depends on how smart and prepared your enemy is. If he’s completely walled off, or has light cav waiting for you, then your cav archers won’t do such a hot job (unless you have something up your sleeve, in turn, like petards to get thru the wall or a camel or two alongside your archers). But yeah, generally speaking a good player can frequently pull off a quickie raid with 4-5 cav archers and get away scot-free.
Q) did you or would you ever consider making changes to the castles
A) We considered everything, but we decided we were pretty happy with castles as they stand.

Q) Hay Sandy,just the guy I was looking for! This probably is a question you were waiting for, but can you delete my Aztec worst nightmare post?
A) No. I’m not even a Cherub, let alone an Angel. In effect, I’m just another fan posting in the forum.

Q) How do you feel about the Britons in the X-pack. Are they still a civ you would pick for example?
A) Well, as I’ve said before, they have never been a civ I’ve been particularly partial to … But people who DO like the Brits are still playing them.

Q) There are several posts in this forum saying the Koreans suck, can you give us your opinion on them?
A) Obviously I disagree. Look, the major two complaints vs. the Koreans are (A) that their units are expensive and (B) that they are slow. They are marginally faster than Franks & Vikings, whom nobody disses, and if their units are expensive, they are also highly useful.

Q) When is the next showcase going to be?
A) This week.

Q) Can you give me an estimate of the ratio of Halberdiers needed to kill Frank Paladins?
A) 3:2, and 4:3 for non-Frankish.

Q) What population limit do most ES experts recommend for best game play nowadays?
A) We strongly advise you play at a pop cap & player number which doesn’t hose your machines lag-wise.

Q) Do trebuchets actually work for cutting trees?
A) Yeah but they work slow because of their crappy accuracy.

Q) how popular are Teuts. with your playtesters, and how do they fare on the new maps
A) They do just fine. Their newly-super castles are not to be sneered at and their fine monks are quite valuable with the new monk technologies.

Q) What do you think about new mamelukes?
A) They’re extremely potent. They’re one of the units we worry about play-balance-wise, because if you get enough mamelukes together in an attack force, you can still pretty much do a one-unit army. Nothing really has a huge advantage over mamelukes, you see. On the other hand, as UU they take a long time to amass, and they cost a fortune. And of course there are still a few units that have a small advantage over the mammies.

Q) Why aren’t the Incas (or quechuas) in the X-pack?
A) We could only add one architecture style, so it was either Incas OR Aztecs, and the advantage of the latter was that we could also have the Mayans with the same buildings.

Q) Is the xpack going to be avaiable world wide in September?
A) I am not privy to MS’s marketing & sales decisions.

Q) Is “Eric The Red” a scenario? Wasn’t supposed to be a campaign?
A) The name of the scenario is “Vinlandsaga”. If you want to do a whole campaign about it, be my guest.

Q) How will Mayan and Aztecs stand up against Hand Cannons? Archers?
A) Mayans are totally unafraid of archers. Aztecs a bit more, but only a bit – they have pretty good elite skirms & eagle warriors are more vicious than light cav vs. archers. Hand-cannoneers are a little scarier, but I haven’t yet seen a meso-american player defeated solely by enemy HCs.

Q) Just wondering here, would an Aztec army of Jaguar Warriors, Eagle Warriors and Champions be good against any army without Paladins?
A) Maybe not an army of cataphracts …

Q) What is the most effective counter now for Champion floods?
A) Jaguars kill the most champs dollar-for-dollar.

Q) Do the Persian UT place a mouse behind the Elephant so it moves faster? Or how else would they do?
A) They feed the elephants powerful diuretics.

Q) The xpac is already done other than some minor tweeks, so this doesn’t really matter, it’s just to make some people happy out their. AND Fine then Shenlong, it doesn’t really look like he gives a care, about are questions
A) Jeez Marf lighten up. I only posted the topic an hour ago. Am I supposed to constantly monitor it every second so I can see your questions and instantly respond? And as far as I can see the title of this thread is “Ask Sandy” not “Sandy Wants Your Advice for the X-Pack”. Get a grip.

Q) Is BOOMING straight to Imperial in AoD a good strategy without attacking in Feudal or Castle first?
A) What is AoD? If you mean AoK, I advise you to ask the experts. If you mean AoK:TC, then I can only say that I’ve seen lots of playtesters here try that strategy and be successful with it. But I’ve also seen them try it and get slammed, so it’s risky. But I think that’s good – I think that booming right to Imperial OUGHT to be risky.

Q) Does thumb rign affect ships ?
A) No

Q) what is it exactly that designers do?
A) We do the stuff that’s neither programming nor art.

Q) what do you have to do to become a designer
A) manage databases, construct scenarios, script AI, balance units, oversee playtests, discuss art, write design documents, come up with product visions, for a few.

Q) and what all programs do the artists use?
A) I think it’s posted somewhere. In an interview with one of our artists, or possibly on our website in the Jobs section. Or both.

Q) what advice do yuo have for someone that has visual basic that can’t figure anything out that wants to create games
A) decide whether you’re a programmer, a designer, or an artist, and then go fill the other two slots.

Quick Picture Contest
Posted by Washizu on June 27th, 2000 @ 6:45 a.m.
The late night owls will have a head start on this one. We dug up two old pics from a 1998 issue of Computer Gaming World. If you can correctly identify the ES dudes in the following pictures, we’ll send you a free Heaven t-shirt.

Pic 1

Pic 2

Good luck!

Empire Earth News
Posted by Washizu on June 27th, 2000 @ 4:59 a.m.
Empire Earth is an upcoming RTS game being designed by Rick Goodman, formally of Ensemble Studios and now with his own company, Stianless Steel Studios.

*movie link temporarily removed*

There is also a brand new preview of the game at Thanks to Nazgul Lord for alerting me to the preview.

Buenos Dias Agerinos!
Posted by Washizu on June 27th, 2000 @ 4:52 a.m.
If spanish is your native language, you might want to check out this new AOK site:






ES Events and Articles
Posted by Washizu on June 27th, 2000 @ 4:47 a.m.
Lots of things have been happening over at Ensemble Studios. There is the upcoming internal ES tournament, the “Battle Cry” contest, and the latest designer journal article by AOK:TC lead designer Greg “Deathshrimp” Street talking about some of the new map types they have in store for the Conquerors expansion.

The Downward Spiraling Interview
Posted by Washizu on June 27th, 2000 @ 4:35 a.m.
He took his name from a nine inch nails album, and took off as a great scenario designer. The Downward Spiral is finishing up his epic saga, The Nexus Campaign, and to promote it he has done an interview with The Cartographer:

I thought I should share this news with the large AoK community. I’ve recently made an interview with the creator of “The Nexus”, The Download Spiral. The Download Spiral is one of the currently best and well known map desinger, and I think that almost everybody have heard of his campaign “The Nexus”. Read more about his past, presence and future here.”



Lighthouse Creations
Posted by Washizu on June 27th, 2000 @ 4:28 a.m.
Looks like the punks have got some competition

Dear Angel Washizu,
AoK Punk is no longer the only productive Map Design team. Lighthouse Creations, the team I lead, has recently released our first scenario – “From Prince to Renegade”, and that scenario already got a wonderful 4.8 review score at the Blacksmith! One can read the scenario description here. One can read the great 4.8 review here. Finally, the scenario is available for download here.

Just thought that it should make the front-page news.


Head of Lighthouse Creations



Leters to Washizu
Posted by Washizu on June 27th, 2000 @ 4:06 a.m.
Haven’t done this in a while, so I figured I’d make a go at answering some letters again. At work today I realized I did something dumb in the lone news post I made yesterday. I said “I meant to post this earlier, but was tied up for most of the weekend…” and just the other day I criticized webmasters for saying “sorry for the lack of updates”. hehe. You can’t be perfect I guess Anyway, here are the letters:


I was just wondering, that at your site ‘ Age of Kings Heaven’ ( great site!!) is it possible to download the expansion civs? If so, how? Or is it an expansion pack that includes all of these expansions? If so, how much? Thanks!

Yours Sincerely,

I get this question more and more it seems. The Conquerors expansion pack will be available in stores this September, possibly late August according to EB.

I’m a great fan of the AOE series but i was wondering if there was a
possibility of adding more nubians civilizations to the games. I’m talking about civilizations like the Asante and The Zulu. According to historians, the Zulu empire built by Shaka was as large as the empire built by Gengis Khan. It was even more militarized and more war-oriented. I’m sure that adding it to the list of civilizations would have make a great impact. It’s also a great idea for a new campain. Even Civilization2 has the Zulu empire in its list. So why not AOE1 and AOE2 or even a possible AOE3? If it’s possible, you could even look at the miniseries “shaka zulu”(1986) for bibliographies and costumes.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for the making of such good games. Izangoma.

Just so everyone has this clear, no one at Age of Kings Heaven is employed by the developers of Age of Empires and Age of Empires 2. If you are looking to send feedback to them, they can be found at the Ensemble Studios website. I can not speak for the designers, but I think adding in a civ like the Zulus, and adding them in well, would have needed far too many game changes. The Aztecs and the Mayans will be different enough already without any stable units and the addition of new lines of infantry.

Hi. I have a quick question for you if you don’t mind. Ok, here it goes, …
when I am playing age of kings I get really, um, frustrated when I reach the 200 population limit. I hate that, is there any cheat or patch that will get rid of that limit? I would really appreciate an answer. Thank you for your time.

As far as I know, the 200 population limit is as high as you can get. Just be glad you can raise it that high Pre-patch Age of Empires only allowed you 50 units.

I love AOE2!!!!! But I have been having some problems lately, with
multi-player on The Zone/ip games. I have a cable modem and in the middle of a game on The Zone or an ip game it will suddenly say “disconnecting… (out of sync)” save and disconnect me, It happens VERY often almost all the time. Can you help?? It would be greatly appreciated!!


One thing I have heard is that you might need a 10/100Mbyte Ethernet card with your cable modem as opposed to just a 10Mbyte card, no matter what your connection to your cable network is. Hope this helps. Toon Contest
Posted by Washizu on June 26th, 2000 @ 5:38 a.m.
I meant to post this earlier, but was tied up for most of the weekend. is trying to bring back the toon contest after Elite AOK closed its doors. They had been organizing the one before. is reviving the idea of a Shared Age Toons Contest and is contributing prizes for Ager websites to award out for the best toons submitted. There will be 12 winners, entries will judged by a panel of webmasters, one from each website that participates. Since has 9 Ager websites hosted presently, all 9 are eligible to bring one webmaster to the Toons Contest Panel, which leaves 3 wildcard spots for other sites.

We can accept the first three Ager websites who express an interest in being a part of this contest, and if any of the 9 GG Ager sites choose not to join in the fun there could be more spots open. 12 prizes and 12 sites sounds about right to me, each site choosing it’s own winner for the list and the toons with the highest marks will win the top prizes. Contest starts on our Canada Day holiday, July 1st, and rules and a list of participating sites will be provided before then.
Ager Toons Contest Prizes
(courtesy of ES and

  • AoE2 : The Conquerors T-Shirt
  • AoE2 : The Conquerors Ball Cap
  • AoE2 : The Conquerors Mouse Pad
  • AoE2 : The Age of Kings Game
  • AoE2 : The Age of Kings T-Shirt
  • AoE2 : The Age of Kings Mouse Pad
  • AoE2 : The Age of Kings Poster
  • Age of Empires : Gold Edition
    (includes Rise of Rome Expansion)
  • Ensemble Studios T Shirt
  • Ensemble Studios Ball Cap
  • Music From the Ages CD & More Music From the Ages CD
  • Pack of 12 AoE2 Civ Trading Cards

Microsoft AOK:TC Site Opens
Posted by Washizu on June 24th, 2000 @ 4:41 a.m.
Microsoft’s Brad Shelton has put together a great looking site for the upcoming Age of Kings expansion pack titled, The Conquerors. Here is their press release for the grand opening:



Microsoft today announced that the official Web site for Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion, is now live here. Slated for release in September, this highly anticipated expansion for the award-winning Age of Empires II adds five new civilizations, including the Huns, Aztec, Mayan, Korean and Spanish.

The official Conquerors site offers gamers a wealth of information,
including a detailed features list outlining new additions to game play, such as ship formations, ram garrisoning, farm queuing and smart villagers. The site also features a selection of in-game screenshots, AVI, historical background information for each of the five new civilizations, and details on each of the four new campaigns.

Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion is the official add-on to the best-selling, real-time strategy game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. Focusing on legendary leaders, The Conquerors challenges veterans and novices to wage war on an epic scale with all-new civilizations, unique units and technologies, and campaigns based on infamous conquerors such a Attila the Hun, El Cid and Montezuma. The game allows players to ride alongside the Hun invasion of Europe, battle the Moors in Spain, and preside over the siege of Tenochtitlan. Gamers can also relive eight other battle that became turning points in history, such as Agincourt, Manzikert and Hastings, with such conquerors as Henry V, Yi Sun-shin and Erik the Red.
Each civilization has unique attributes, buildings and technologies, as well as a unique combat unit based on its historical counterpart.

Developed by Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion features the expertise of Bruce Shelley, co-designer of the Age of Empires series. The Ensemble Studios Web site is located at

Check out the official Conquerors site.

Interesting AOK Facts
Posted by Washizu on June 23rd, 2000 @ 2:41 a.m.
AOK designer Sandy Petersen started a great thread in our AOK General Discussion Forum (this guy is knee deep in the fans isn’t he folks?). The thread is all about the weird and/or interesting things you might not know about AOK:

1) The Janissary hats were changed just half an hour before the game was due to go gold.

2) A trebuchet stone that is about to splat a sheep converts the sheep to its color just before it hits.

3) Hawaiians, Maori, and Hurons were all considered for X-Pack civs.

Read the whole thread here, where many have added in their own quirky findings.

Sandy Spotted at TTA
Posted by Washizu on June 23rd, 2000 @ 2:31 a.m.
An old friend of Heaven named Ogre had a visit on his great site Through The Ages from none other than Sandy Petersen. If that weren’t cool enough, he sent a few bits of information Ogre’s way on the AOK: TC map types:

Sandy Petersen sent me an email today with great info about the map types that will appear in the Aoe2 Expansion Pack : The Conquerors. You heard it here first, and a big thanx goes out to Sandyman, the ES king of Ager info.
Here is the quote from that email:

“You have a great site, and while sitting here admiring it I had the thought of giving you some possibly useful info to add to your Map Types in the X-Pack section.

Eight “normal” random maps have been added. These are Arena, Ghost Lake, Mongolia, Nomad, Oasis, Salt Marsh, Scandinavia, and Yucatan. Of these, Arena & Nomad do not show up when Random or Random Land maps are chosen.

In addition there will probably be at least two Custom random maps. Custom maps are the category where maps go that you have scripted yourself, or downloaded from other peoples’ websites. These are true random maps, not scenarios, but with the starting conditions that the creator wishes. The two Custom maps included “to start you off with” are Hallowed Ground and Trad Routes. The titles might change. These are quite unusual maps, as the titles may indicate.

And of course there are the Real World maps about which enough has been said elsewhere.”

Head on over to Through the Ages.

A Dock Defense
Posted by Washizu on June 23rd, 2000 @ 2:26 a.m.
A few days ago AOK designer Sandy Petersen told an interesting AOK war story about his buddy Brian Reynolds, one of the designers of Alpha Centauri.

Some comments.

Brian Reynolds of BigHugeGames, an AoK fan and friend of mine, once told me of his glorious victory in a match on Arabia by plunking down a half-dozen cannon galleons in an oasis and using them to hold off the enemy until his wonder finished ticking down. – Sandy Petersen

Read it on the forum here.

Crimson Skies Fansite Contest
Posted by Washizu on June 23rd, 2000 @ 2:06 a.m.
Have you been looking to start up a fansite, but aren’t sure which game you’d like to devote your countless hours of free time to? Crimson Skies, being developed by Fasa and published by Microsoft is a really cool over the top fighter ace type of game. I’ve seen this game a bunch of times now between Fanstock and E3, and it’s a lot of fun. Microsoft is having a contest to see who can make the best fansite, so maybe now is the best time to get into it:



All-New Crimson Skies Site Features New Content and Fan Site Creation

Microsoft today announced the launch of the all-new Crimson Skies Web site at The site features a host of new content, including “classic” radio shows about the game’s air pirates, an interview with the game’s producer, new screens shots and images, and Spicy Air Tales, a serialized novel about the game’s characters. And, in celebration of the launch of the new site, Microsoft is kicking off the “Best Crimson Skies Fan Site Contest,” featuring two grand prize trips to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, to meet the design team behind this innovative game.

The “Best Crimson Skies Fan Site Contest” runs now through July 14, and winners will be announced shortly thereafter. To enter the contest, webmasters must create a Crimson Skies fan site that is dedicated to the Microsoft PC version of the game. They must also prominently display the Crimson Skies logo and meet the criteria to achieve an “everyone” rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board ( Entries will be judged by the game’s designers and will be based on the following criteria: unique design of Web site, quality of site design, originality, and appropriateness to theme of the game. To help webmasters get started, a Fan Site Kit (FSK) is available for download on the Crimson Skies site. The FSK contains al available artwork, multimedia, logos and screen shots. A variety of runner-up prizes will be given away; including admission into the beta program, copies of the retail version of the game and other Crimso Skies-branded memorabilia. The contest is only open to legal residents of
the United States and Canada. See site for official rules and details.

The new Crimson Skies site offers a unique look into the Crimson Skies
universe. Gamers can tune into Radio Dial and hear the latest air pirate stories of adventure and intrigue, or flip through the pages of Spicy Air Tales to learn about the audacious characters that make up the game. From the Rogues’ Gallery to the interview with the game’s producer, John Howard, the official Crimson Skies Web site promises to both entertain and enlighten. To experience the Crimson Skies site, go to:

Halo Petition
Posted by Washizu on June 21st, 2000 @ 10:23 p.m.
No, this has nothing to do with Angels, or Heaven, or anything AOK related. The news of Microsoft’s buyout of Bungie has prompted a petition to the folks at Bungie, who claim they have full control over what platforms their upcoming game, Halo, will be released to. The petition organizers want to get as many signitures as possible in support of a PC version of Halo. Earlier today at work, I signed the petition when it had a about 500 signitures, but at the time of this news post there are five times that number, indicating just how strong the demand is for this game. If you’d like to sign it, head over here and make your voice heard.

Deathshrimp Knows Nomad
Posted by Washizu on June 21st, 2000 @ 1:51 a.m.
Any of you who were around in the AOE days remember a particularly fun map type everyone used to play for kicks once and a while. It was called Nomad, and you started with just a single villager, and no Town Center. Ensemble Studios left out this map type in AOK for some reason, but have luckily included a modified version for the Conquerors Expansion pack, available September 2000. This new version of the Nomad map type is a map all its own, meaning you can’t play island or black forest nomad. It is similar to a coastal map, but has no wolves, according to lead designer Greg “Deathshrimp” Street. Hehe one time when playing AOE, my good friend Angel Omnivac was killed by a lion in nomad before even building his Town Center, effectively losing the game in under 20 seconds. This would have been bad enough, but we were playing with the MAP REVEALED! I guess he had a deathwish hehe. Anyway, here is the great article by Greg Street discussing the awesome new Nomad map.

ES Battle Royal
Posted by Washizu on June 20th, 2000 @ 11:26 p.m.
AOK Producer Harter Ryan has lain the plans for a civil war of epic proportions. Teams will be chosen, battles will be fought, and in the end, one team of Ensemble Studios team members will be left to claim victory in Age of Kings: The Conquerors Expansion, due this September. Here are the details of the internal ES tournament:

You’ll be pleased to know that we will once again be holding an internal ES tournament, this time to celebrate the Age2 Expansion Pack “The Conquerors” .

We will have the team drawings on Monday, June 26th, immediately following the Monday morning company meeting. You do not need to be present to be included, but you must let me know by email if you have a conflict and still want to participate.

Here are the rules:

The dual objectives of this tournament are Total Victory and Fun for Everyone. Single-elimination tournament, just like the NCAA basketball tourney. Losers Walk and Winners Talk (and get to play the next day :-).
4 player teams will be composed of randomly drawn names from a hat. In the event that we have a team that is not fully staffed with a real live human player, it will get filled with CP’s playing at Hard. I realize that this may actually be a desirable outcome for some teams, but remember it’s random draw so no whining.
The tournaments will be balanced by the Tournament Director (that’s me), but depending upon how many teams we have some team(s) may get a first round bye. I promise this is no real advantage, as having real experience playing together helps.
The first player drawn for each team will be the “Team Captain”, with all of the respect, privileges, and responsibilities incurred by that job. This mainly means that they are responsible for getting their team to the playtest area on time for their scheduled games.
Games will be scheduled daily at 10AM, Noon, 2 PM, and 4 PM. If you are not present when the game commences, your place will be taken by a CP playing at Moderate (unless you are playing in a game with a team that was assigned a CP player at Hard, then you’ll get that).

They aren’t allowed to make bets, but WE CAN! Once the teams are announced, we can try to pick the winners of each round and see who gets the closest.

In other news, the new contest at ES for the AOK:TC hats will be for the best battle cry. I never get a chance to make battle cries, although when I play I do a lot of crying.

The Germanic Dragon
Posted by Washizu on June 20th, 2000 @ 3:09 a.m.
Thanks to the AOK Dragon team for translating some of the detail on the European Scenario Design Contest. They went to a lot of trouble, so hopefully it will help you guys out:

You’ve asked for some kind of a translation of the most important things on the website. Well I’ve decided to participate with my scenario design team, and we have someone that speekd German, so he gave me a list of the most important things. Here it is:[begin of translation]


– single player scenario
– own stroy line
– historical or ficitve context
– own AI for computer players including working triggers
– own sound, fitting to the scenario

overall rules:
– everybody who lives in the swiss or the eu can participate.
– only maps/cars/houses that were created by the person itself may be
– it is allowed to make several entries in the same category.
– if there is more than one author all have to be listed.
– all entries are made as a zip-file in the approproiate form.The file must also contain a “readme.txt” what contains at least the following informations:name of the author(s),date of creation and the name of the map

– with the submitting the author gives ltd the unrestricted rights to use of the file and its content.
– the author keeps the copyright.
– ltd obliges to show the name of the Author at every

criteria of exclusion:

– submissions wiht unethical or illegal, especially racistical content.
– submissions in the wrong category.
– submissions from persons who entered wrong gamesweb-member informations.
– submissions that were recieved after the 10.08.2000 23:95
– submissions that doesn’t fit the special requirements of the special category.
– submissions that weren’t submitted through the appropriate form.
– submissions that were made public before the recieving, for example in the internet.
– submissions that weren’t made in the right format (as a zip-file)

4.general rules:
– this rules are accepted by the participation in the contest.
– the course of law s impossible.

[end of translation]
if you want to participate you must first register here.

After that you have to enter your username and password at the bottom of the site at here.(you also have to check the lower checkbox)

This translation is made by The Great Alexander, member of AoK Dragon.

Rodrigo, Head of the AoK Dragon Team

Bungie Jumps to Redmond
Posted by Washizu on June 20th, 2000 @ 2:59 a.m.
I am probably the last site on the net to post this, but one of the most exciting developers in games, Bungie, was just bought by Microsoft. Bungie hit fairly big with strategy game fans by releasing Myth, and Myth 2, and it is in the process of developing probably the best first person shooter game on the horizon, a gem called Halo. I sat through the Halo movie at E3 this year, and I got to tell you, this is the type of game you upgrade your PC for. It was incredible. Hopefully we will still see it for the PC, but rumors abound that it will be released for the xbox only now, although no official word has been made. *crosses fingers for a PC release*

Many were very surprised at the purchase, especially because of Bungie’s commitment to releasing games for multiple platforms, especially the Mac. Here is the official press release:



REDMOND, Wash. – June 19, 2000 – Microsoft Corp. today announced it
acquired Chicago-based Bungie Software Products Corp., a leading
independent developer of action oriented computer and video games. As a result of this acquisition, Microsoft gains exclusive publishing and
distribution rights to select Bungie-developed titles, including the highly anticipated sci-fi action epic “Halo.”

“This acquisition reflects our commitment to growing our business with a strong portfolio of quality games for the PC and Xbox platforms,” said Ed Fries, vice president of games publishing at Microsoft. “Bungie’s highly talented team consistently delivers award-winning games, and we’re looking forward to supporting their creative spirit here at Microsoft.”

Bungie’s development staff will become an independent development studio within the Microsoft Game Division, where it will retain its unique character and edgy personality. Microsoft expects the Bungie team to play a key role in the development of content for the Xbox platform, creating the kinds of innovative technology that have defined its character. The team will also continue developing titles such as “Halo,” a revolutionary action game recently nominated for four E3 Game Critics awards, including Best of Show, and heralded as “the first truly amazing game of the next millennium,” by top online games Web site Gamespot.

“This is an opportunity to combine the strength of two outstanding software companies: Bungie’s talent for creating great games and Microsoft’s strength in distribution,” said Alexander Seropian, founder and CEO of Bungie Software Products. “Microsoft will provide us with the resources and infrastructure we need to continue to build great games and make them available on a worldwide scale. We are also looking forward to helping define the Xbox platform, which may soon be the world’s premier game console.”

Milkdud Chooses…. Wisely!
Posted by Washizu on June 20th, 2000 @ 2:41 a.m.
I got a ton of entries for this little contest. Much more than I anticipated. Everyone seemed to have trouble with #2, even though it was a fairly recent game. It was Total Annihilation: Kingdoms, developed by the now defunct Cavedog. A lot of people thought it was Invictus. Number 10, a game designed by Sandy Petersen for Microprose, was also a bit tricky because it was pretty old in the realm of computer games. Here are the answers:

1. Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome
2. Total Annihilation: Kingdoms
3. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
4. Caesar III
5. Baldur’s Gate
6. Half-Life
7. Unreal Tournament
8. Homeworld
9. Half-Life Opposing Force
10. Hyperspeed
11. Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome
12. Age of Empires
13. Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
14. Vampire: The Masquerade- Redemption
15. The Sims
16. Asheron’s Call
17. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear

Congrats to Milkdud on winning the Heaven t-shirt. I received five correct answers, but Milkdud’s was the first one I got. The rest of the guys can brag that they know most of the games I own (I could have been REALLY mean and pulled old game boxes out of the basement… SU-25 Stormovik would have stumped ALL of you!):

The other correct answers came from:
Alex K
Super Peon
Rob Fermier aka Xemu of Ensemble Studios

A lot of you asked why I have two copies of the Rise of Rome. As I mentioned the other day, one is signed by ROR/AOK designer Sandy Petersen. 🙂 Thanks to everyone who entered.

Keep the Guesses Coming…
Posted by Washizu on June 19th, 2000 @ 3:25 a.m.
A few of you are pretty close, but most people seem to have trouble on #2, #7, and #10. 10 should be pretty hard, but 2 was a recently released RTS game and 7 was one of the best 3D action games ever. Keep trying, as no one has sent in all the right answers yet.

As for these annoying pop-up ads… I’m sorry, we honestly can’t do anything about them at the moment. I just want to mention that WE don’t like them at all, and if given the chance, we’ll get rid of them.

Guess the Games!
Posted by Washizu on June 18th, 2000 @ 9:22 p.m.

Here is another picture taken with my new cheap-o-rama digital camera. It’s a collection of some of my PC Game boxes. Can you name every game in the pile? Whoever identifies all of them (full titles please!), and gets the answers to me first will win a Heaven t-shirt.

Click on the image for a larger version and then get crackin!

Herb Marselas on Game Optimization
Posted by Washizu on June 18th, 2000 @ 9:15 p.m.
ES 3D programmer Herb “Captain Insano” Marselas wrote an article for the this month’s issue of Game Developer Magazine. Also discussed in the issue are 3D fluid algorithms and a Vampire: The Masquerade postmortem. Vampire is a pretty cool game, btw, although I really hope the save anywhere patch is released soon. I hate not being able to save my game anywhere I choose.

European Scenario Design Contest
Posted by Washizu on June 18th, 2000 @ 9:05 p.m.
I just got this press release from Psycho_Napp of I thought I’d mention that anyone is available to win the prizes, not just Europeans, although the site is in German. If any Geramn speaking agers want to tranlate some of the trickier details for us, I’m sure people would appreciate it:


With the exclusive Mapper2000-Contest launches
an editing-contest where you can prove your creativity and compete
with other players. You have the possibility to present you abilities
to a broad public and win prices worth more than 3.500 Dollar.

>>> Mapper 2000-Contest –

You can build and create maps, cars, houses or scenarios in the
following categories:

– Age of Kings
– Anno 1602
– Counterstrike
– Earth 2150
– Formel 1 2000
– HalfLife
– Quake Arena
– Racing Simulation 2
– Settlers 3
– Sim City 3000
– Starcraft
– Team Fortress Classic
– Unreal Tournament


Though the websites language is german, all people from europe
can participate and win the prices.

thx in advance

Bis denne

Vitus Hoffmann aka Psycho_Napp
GamesWeb.COM, Deutschland

New Empire Earth Units
Posted by Washizu on June 18th, 2000 @ 9:01 p.m.
Joffe from the Empire Earth Net Center has some rendered units from the upcoming epic RTS, Empire Earth:

We’ve now got the first unit from Empire Earth, rendered specially for us
by the Stainless Steel Studios staff. It’s the Henry Grâce Ă  Dieu
destroyer. It looks completely great! More rendered units will come to us
regularly from now on!

Please post this in your news, the detail level on the unit pic is outstanding!

Jorgen “Joffe” Bitzekis
Lead Webmaster

And Another One Bites the Dust…
Posted by Washizu on June 18th, 2000 @ 8:55 p.m.
One of the newer AOK sites, Elite AOK, is closing its doors in order for the webmaster to concentrate more of his time on the Elite Starcraft site. It’s sad to see it go, but that’s the way things are in this industry. At least Elite AOK has the dignity to close, rather than get neglected for weeks and then have someone say “Hey, sorry for the lack of updates…”

Here’s a tip for upcoming webmasters. Never apoligize for lack of updates. It has to be the lamest, most over used, common cliche among newsies, especially in game sites. Anyway, good luck on Elite Starcraft.

Daily Radar AOK Dreamcast Preview
Posted by Washizu on June 18th, 2000 @ 8:49 p.m.
Thanks to EBI_Revitman for sending this in. The guys at Daily Radar, mostly ex-PC Gamer types, are previewing Age of Empires: The Age of Kings for the Dreamcast. After reading through the article, with quotes like, “Though we haven’t played the Dreamcast version of this game” and “There is no word yet on whether the game will offer a multiplayer level or be compatible with SegaNet”, it left me wondering whether it was worth it for them to post this “preview” at all. The only real fact about the Dreamcast version they printed was that Dreamcast AOK is being developed and published by Konami. I learned this year at E3 that Microsoft and Konami have a mutal agreement for porting games between PCs and consoles (Microsoft is bringing Metal Gear Solid to the PC). So, if you have lots of time to kill or are a Dreamcast owner who knows nothing about AOK (who the article was intended for I imagine, but is probably not reading this news post), head over to Daily Radar.

Starcraft Tournament
Posted by Washizu on June 18th, 2000 @ 8:34 p.m.
Here is some general RTS new for you guys… There is a big Starcraft Tournament going on now over at If you’re interested, here are some of the details:

The NuclearWinter Gaming Network (NWGN – is holding a Starcraft: Broodwar tournament, which is being sponsored by 3DFX. Prizes included gameboy titles and Voodoo boards. The tourney will be played on, and the first 128 contestants to sign up will be seeded for play. The tournament page can be found here.

Washizu Gets Digital
Posted by Washizu on June 17th, 2000 @ 0:30 a.m.

My cheap-o-rama digital camera arrived today from and I can finally show you guys two of the coolest things that have come into my possession these last few months. First, on the left you see the awesome CGW cover encased in lucite, given to me by AOK Designer Bruce Shelley and ES webmaster Mike “Archangel” McCart. It was the first magazine cover for Age of Empires 2, and I was honored they’d give one of these to me. On the right is one of the cool AOK: TC hats you can win very soon in the latest Ensemble Studios contest starting June 26th.

New AOK:TC Unit Descriptions
Posted by Washizu on June 16th, 2000 @ 4:51 a.m.
There will be 11 new units in the Age of Kings expansion pack available in stores this September (possibly late August), and thanks to our own Cherub Broaclanders, the king of cutting edge TC info, we have some nice descriptions and pictures of the new units.

Check it out here. Be sure to also check out the Expansion pack civ descriptions, as a few new pics were added to them as well, including the Aztec wonder

Mayan Trade Cart
Posted by Washizu on June 15th, 2000 @ 8:08 p.m.

When I was at E3, ES artist Scott Winsett talked about how a number of people commented on the fact that the new world civs had no stable units, but still had a horse drawn trade cart. He said that if this many people just walked up and noticed this at E3, it was a pretty good indication that a LOT of people would notice this as well. It seems that the rest of the team agreed with Scott, and as you can see, the villager drawn trade cart is quite a cool looking unit. I can’t wait to see it animated! Click on it for a larger image.

Head to the AOK: The Conquerors section at Ensemble Studios.

Archy Needs Your Contest Ideas!
Posted by Washizu on June 15th, 2000 @ 7:29 p.m.
Today in the Ensemble Studios Journal, Mike “Archangel” McCart wrote that he needs your input on coming up with new contests that won’t force everyone at ES to stay late just to go through all the entries.

Wow, Our More Music from the Ages Music CD Contest was a big sucess! We received over 200 entries (thats more than 500 different captions – as you could supply up to five captions per email) on the last weekend of the contest. More than 700 total entires, 1200 captions for the whole contest period.
As it’s almost impossible for me to answer each and every Contest Winner questions about when the CD will be sent, so here is the scoop;

All CD’s will be sent within two weeks of today. As I do have some help on this, you should really see them sooner than that, but to play it safe 2 weeks is a good bet.
So whats the deal with the New Contest that starts on the 26th of June?

1. We will be giving away 5 AOKTC Caps each day for that week. These are the same caps that were made for the ES team for E3, and IMO very cool.

2. Are we doing another bubble caption Contest? – Doubtful, we all love to read the captions and the contest was fun to do, but did require allot of extra time each time just to update the webpage with all the winners, and the hours spent reading each and everyone of them.

3. So? So? – Yes so we decided to do something we hope will be just as fun for the fans as it is for us. Thonny S. Namuonglo, 3D Artist came up with a few ideas we are pushing around. Here is his list of ideas for the Cap Contest:

a. We have them submit a picture of them doing something creative and fun with their Age1 or 2 boxes or something Age related.
b. Fans could draw something related to Age (we could supply a theme).
c. They could make some kind of comic strip with the in-game art
d. They could use our web pictures and make something funny with them
f. How about who can come up with the best in-game taunt?
g. Do like David Letterman and give the top ten reasons why Age is the best game(can be humorous)
h. How about asking what they would do for an Age cap? Not that we’d ask them to of course (i.e. eat a gallon of mayo, swim around the world, …)
Some good ideas from Thonny, and some of them seem like allot of fun also.

As we have a little time before the 26th, we would like to hear from the fans on what type of contest they would like. One thing to think of thou, is to ensure your contest idea is easy and fun for all AGE groups. Some of our fans are very young and some about my age (24

I started a thread on the AOK Heaven Forum to hear your suggestions.

– Archangel

If you’d like to throw your thoughts into the mix, head to the thread he started.

Matt Pritchard Interview
Posted by Washizu on June 15th, 2000 @ 4:31 a.m.
Today at Age of Kings Heaven, we have an interview with Ensemble Studios programmer Matt Pritchard, who worked on both Age of Empires and Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings. He was nice enough to answer a number of my questions concerning his start with ES, the AOK patch process, and why they call him the “Optimizer.”

Check out the interview.

Mayan Showcase Posted
Posted by Washizu on June 15th, 2000 @ 4:09 a.m.
Ok, well I thought it would have been posted much earlier in the day, so that’s why I mentioned it last night. The Mayan showcase at Gamespot is now up for all to see:

“The Mayans have one of the best economic bonuses in the game: Their resources last longer. Call it conservation, or sustainability, or being at one with their environment, but the Mayans can make their resources last a long time. If a Mayan chops down a tree with 100 wood and then carries 10 wood away, the tree will have 92, not 90, wood left over. Or consider that most civs will get 5600 gold out of their starting pile of seven gold mines, but the Mayans will get 6720 gold. This may seem to only have a great effect in the Imperial [Age] when everyone else is resorting to trade, but it also allows the Mayans to get a lot of resources out of their starting sheep and berries. Mayans also don’t have to relocate as often. It doesn’t hurt that the Mayans have cheap walls, which lets them play defensively and still have enough stone for castles, outposts, and town centers.” – Lead Designer Greg “Deathshrimp” Street

Check out the whole showcase here.

New Modpack Forum
Posted by Washizu on June 15th, 2000 @ 3:45 a.m.
Scenario designers and modpack junkies need not fear of rubbing shoulders anymore! At Angel Rasher’s request we have now set up a Modpack Forum to deal with the increasing number of modpack related posts in the scenario design forum.

A modpack is a change in the code of the game to alter how the game looks or plays. Currently, the only aspect of AOK we can change is the graphics. To learn how to do this, the best place to check out for now is our new forum!

SCNPunk Grand Opening
Posted by Washizu on June 14th, 2000 @ 7:02 a.m.
Complete with it’s super flashy intro, the top AOK scenario design team has just opened its multi-game website, devoted to designing scenarios for AOK, Starcraft, and Dark Reign 2. Any scenario fans should keep this site on their favorites list and make it a daily stop. They also host a few other scenario design teams, such as AOK Dragon, 7Z, and AOKasino.

Presenting the all new SCNPunk

New Age2oon Script
Posted by Washizu on June 14th, 2000 @ 6:22 a.m.
We are currently testing a new Age2oon script, and of you’d like to give me a hand fixing the bugs, check it out here. I added 37 new toons to the gallery today, so you can laugh at them while you help me look for broken images and dead links. Thanks guys.

Gamespot Showcase Today
Posted by Washizu on June 14th, 2000 @ 5:41 a.m.
The Mayans go under the microscope later today, as Gamespot gets the inside scoop from the AOK:TC designers on how they were designed and what styles of gameplay cater to their bonuses and tech trees. As of right now, the showcase is not up yet, but if you’re reading this during the day, you probably want to head over there and look for it.

Look for the Gamespot Mayan Showcase.

Ensemble Studios Caption Contest
Posted by Washizu on June 14th, 2000 @ 5:31 a.m.
It’s almost wrapped up, and Archy has posted half of the last batch of winners. The last caption was an AOK:TC screenshot containing some Viking Bezerkers and the new Hun Tarkans. Congrats to all the winners, and if you entered, you’ll probably want to head over there and see if you won.

Check out Ensemble Studios.

If you did win, make sure you follow these directions:

If your a previous winner, please send a email, with “Contest Winner” in the subject line, to the Webmaster with your full mailing address. These will be checked against your winning entry email address.

There will be a brand new contest starting June 26th, and the prizes include some of the new Age of Kings: The Conquerors hats. I snagged one of these at E3, and they are pretty nice.

Change of Plans for Ogre
Posted by Washizu on June 14th, 2000 @ 5:24 a.m.
Our good friend Ogre has had to make a few changes in his Country Contest, and you can see the modifications below. He needs you entries, so make sure you get them in:

Ogre has changed the concept of the Country Contest. Basically this paragraph Ogre has taken from the contest page explains all:

“Big rule change going on and new idea. Today Ogre says we are going to do this contest different. First off you will be able to design any map you wish when you want and turn it in. As long as it is one of the countries listed in the country table. Now here is where it gets interesting. The same rules apply as you must have triggers in your scenarios. For now on the due date for all completed scenarios will be July 31, 2000. Read the entry rules below:

1) All entries must be sent to in zip format. You can use PKZIP or WinZip to create these file types.

2)In the body of the email letter please put your name or nick name and give a short summary of your map.

3) And finally all entries must be received by July 31, 2000.


Originally I was going to have a prize a week. But since this is going to now be a one shot deal and there will only be one winner, there can only be one prize. That prize is the Ogre’s Prize Pack. In it will be an Ensemble Studios T-shirt and cap. Also the winner will get a courtesy copy of AOE II which they can give to a friend. Last but not least would be a free copy of the Official AoK Strategy guide. Well if this is not enough incentive I don’t know what is.”

Links: Contest Details


Eric (Ogre) Lizotte
Game Glow/Game Tropics Co-Webmaster

AOKingdom Forums are Operational
Posted by Washizu on June 14th, 2000 @ 5:21 a.m.
Da_Stimulator had some time in his busy schedule of Thunder and I owning him at AOK to get his forum up and running (just kidding Stim, it was only one game and you played well ) If you haven’t checked out yet, you should. It’s a pretty nice site.

Call of Cthulhu for the PC
Posted by Washizu on June 13th, 2000 @ 5:01 a.m.
Some screenshots were just released for the upcoming First Person Horror game, Call of Cthulhu, which every ager knows was a pen and paper game designed by AOK designer Sandy Petersen. It seems, however, that they give plenty of love to this H.P. Lovecraft fellow, and none to the Sandyman. Ahh well, the Age fans all know who really put the Call into Cthulhu.

AOE Appears on Television
Posted by Washizu on June 13th, 2000 @ 4:44 a.m.
Surely some of you will think this is a dumb news post, but hey, what do you want, it’s a slow news day. Angel Draco sent word of seeing AOE on TV tonight:

Did anyone watch that show tonight called “The 1900 House” where PBS has recreated a house just like it was in 1900 and a family is going to live like they did in the 1900’s for three months? Anyway, they showed the family’s 9 year old kid playing on his computer, and he was playing Ag of Empires! I couldn’t tell if it was ROR or not.

Nice catch there Drac, and congratulations on graduating from law school!

New AOK Wallpaper
Posted by Washizu on June 13th, 2000 @ 4:42 a.m.
Forumer Shenlong has created some AOK:TC wall paper that shouldn’t put a choke hold on your bandwidth like the ones you’ll find at Ensemble Studios (although they are worth the choke ).

Grab the paper from his Geo-cities account.

The Empire Campaign
Posted by Washizu on June 13th, 2000 @ 4:31 a.m.

A forumer named TheOminous is putting on a pretty cool little 8 player skirmish right now called “The Empire Campaign”. In it, you conquer areas of a game board by engaging in AOK battles. The current game is going on right here in the AOK Discussion forum. The rules can be found here.

Sounds like a fun way to play AOK!

Expansion Pack Release Date
Posted by Washizu on June 12th, 2000 @ 7:33 a.m.
A lot of people have continued to ask me when AOK: The Conquerors Expansion Pack will be out. The official release date is early September, but Electronics Boutique is saying August 25th, so they could be leaving themselves a bit of a buffer to make sure they ship on time. The expansion pack will be in stores, and probably cost $20-$30, and possibly lower with a rebate of some kind. You will need a full version copy of AOK to run the expansion pack.

New Empire Earth Units
Posted by Washizu on June 12th, 2000 @ 7:26 a.m.
The guys at the Empire Earth Net Center have just announced some new units that will be in the upcoming RTS game, Empire Earth. EE is being desiged by Rick Goodman, who had a hand in designing Age of Empires. Lending him a hand are some of the top Age talent on the web, including Age expert Methos and a number of top notch scenario designers. Anyway, check out the new units here.

Letters to Washizu
Posted by Washizu on June 11th, 2000 @ 7:29 a.m.
I have a feeling this is going to be a long installment here, as I’ve got a number of letters to sort through. The following letter gave me a good laugh when I read it this morning, so I’ll start off with it:

ahem. You think making Microsoft follow fair business practices is extreme? I suppose it is extreme relative to the punishment usually enacted on a multi-billion dollar corporation. Hell, they can usually get away with killing people. But it’s high time they paid for thier crimes, even if Microsoft isn’t nearly the worst one. They didn’t kill anyone but– well actually I bet they did. Some of the laid of workers probably starved in the streets or commited suicide, and the benefitless
temps can’t afford medical insurance. And besides being unethical, they also were commiting (obviously) illegal acts. Now that Microsoft has been punished, thier will be greater competition, products will be more compatible and less of an ass-pain, most likely cheaper, and all around better. Of course, then someone else will probably get another monopoly and we’ll be back where we started. And they will probably be able to bribe-er, give ‘campaign contributions’ in the right places and be immune to punishment. Ah well. – zach bouricius

First, let me start off by saying that I believe Microsoft probably did make a few shady moves to position and keep Windows as the dominant PC operating system. If they really did things that were illegal, than they should be punsihed accordingly. What the government wants to do is break apart Windows from MS software, so Microsoft has a harder time giving us free software. How the heck this benefits consumers is beyond me, because..
A) MS will still have a monopoly (in their definition of not counting MacOS and Linux) on PC operating systems
B) Seperating the software and OS departments may cause prices for one or the other to rise.

Your arguments are based on perceptions of MS and other big companies, and aren’t really based on any facts that I’ve ever heard of, but hopefully you’ll be right and they will be less of an “ass-pain” in the future

Hi im having a problem. When on the zone i cant host custom scenarios. if the people dont have it, it says______ does not have it when i try to launch but it wont load when i click in. if i try with someone who has it, it says
this scenario is not vailid or somethin like that. I love playing warrior blood and i cant host my own version please help.

PS: it is a legal disk that i purchased so thats not it. – ThreeElevenMan

Hopefully someone with a little more experience with this will send me a note. Personally, I’ve always had some problems with multiplayer scenarios. Sometimes if you make changes, the new version won’t download to the other person’s machine, meaning you have to rename it or tell the other players to delete it before trying out the new version.

Hiyas i was wondering do you know any .mid to .wav or to .mp3 converters? – Aidan Healy

P.S Kick ass site! a job well done to you and all the angels

Thanks! The program that I use a lot is found at

Dear Washizu,
I was wondering if you knew if the expasion will have an option like in starcraft where you click the attack button, tell your units where to go, and they attack everything on the way so you don’t have to watch your units every step of the way to your enemy.
Thanks for your time. – Frankie

The patrol button works sort of like this, but I don’t believe ES is adding anything exactly like what you describe. Next, plenty of people wanted to help out our HTML hungry friend:

In response to that letter regarding html help and so on…. – even though how much it sux and lack of options, is best for starting webmasters, as it has a few html tutorials, and some special features, and is easy to manage. has in depth html tutorials covering all aspects of it, and also easy to follow tutorials on frames, tables, javascript, css and more has some very good tutorials also

Just thought these might help


I was just browsing the current news, and I see you posted some letters form a guy wanting to learn HTML.
There’s also an excellent site, which sports some ace tutorials for just every single web-based languages.
It helps you get started but doesn’t go too deep sadly…there’s also but they don’t have tutorials as such.
Otherwise, if he’s looking for a book I use the – for Dummies series which are the best I can find in my opinion. They cost roughly $30 which is I agree quite a lot but they come with a CD, tutorials, HMTL history, editing tips such as what to do and not, and they are pretty big. They can be found in most bookshops but if not can be ordered from or their own site,
Hope this helped !
‘Chris the Great’

Thanks guys, I bet a lot of AOKH readers can get some use out of those resources.

do you know if there is gonna be a total annilation option in the exp….? i love to take down everthing even the fish traps …I want to leave no trace of there excistance..???? – lithiumxsl

Like to play genocide eh? I say leave the fish traps there, because that way fish will still get caught in them and just die there, leaving even LESS of a trace of their “excistance”. Hehe. I don’t think there will be this option, BUT there might be an unofficial AI patch to let you do this.

That’s it for me tonight folks. Sorry about the Blacksmith being down. We are doing what we can to get it working again, but there is no ETA on when it will be back up. One thing is for sure, the problem WILL be eventually fixed, so stay tuned.

New AOK: TC Fact Sheet
Posted by Washizu on June 10th, 2000 @ 3:17 p.m.
Cherub Broaclanders has once again assembled all the known AOK: The Conquerors info into one forum thread, making it easily available to everyone. He updates it very frequently, so make sure you check it out often.

Check it out here.

Zeus Heaven Goes Live!!!
Posted by Washizu on June 10th, 2000 @ 3:05 p.m.
I’m proud to announce that the latest Heaven site in the city building series (Caesar 3, Pharoah) has just gone live. The third installment by Impressions and Sierra centers on mythical ancient Greece, and is named after the king of the gods himself, Zeus: Master of Olympus.

Make sure you all stop by and give Angel Reckless Rodent and his crew a nice warm welcome.

Zeus Heaven

Blacksmith Down (again)
Posted by Washizu on June 10th, 2000 @ 2:53 p.m.
Problems still persist with our MySQL server following the recent lightning attack. It seems that it only likes to run for about a half hour before taking an indefinite break We are doing everything we can to try and get our downloads sections working again, but as of right now there is no ETA on when it will be back up.

Latest Sandy Posts
Posted by Washizu on June 10th, 2000 @ 2:51 p.m.
Everyone’s favorite forumer, AOK designer Sandy Petersen has made a number of recent posts in the forums:

  • Comparision of the Masai and the Zulus here
  • Defending the Byzantine navy here
  • Discussing the Korean War Wagon here
  • Clarifying the Aztec bonuses here
  • and how the Mayans are going to give the Chinese a run for their money here

Cherub Dimitrios on Byzantine History
Posted by Washizu on June 10th, 2000 @ 7:22 a.m.
The moderator of our History discussion forum, Cherub Dimitrios, wrote up a nice article on the history of the Byzantines. If you’re a history buff, or just a Byzantine fan, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Elite AOK Interview with Washizu
Posted by Washizu on June 10th, 2000 @ 5:31 a.m.
I recently did an interview with the webmaster over at Elite AOK. I talk a bit about how I got into doing this whole fansite thing, and some of my opinions on the Age community:

Huskarl: How did your site become popular?

Washizu: Heaven has had a long tradition of doing quality fansites, so that certainly helps. If you’re trying to break into a community as tight as Age is getting, try working on a small niche instead of another “do everything” site. Becoming a success in one area is hard enough, but if you succeed there, you can more easily branch off to other things.

Read the whole interview here.

David Cherry Gets Stimulated!
Posted by Washizu on June 10th, 2000 @ 4:52 a.m.
Da_Stimulator recently interviewed newly hired concept ES artist David Cherry. Dave is a really nice guy and I got to talk to him for a bit at E3 one night. From the looks of his work, he seems like a great replacement to the talented Walker brothers who must have left Ensemble Studios some time in the last few months. Anyway, enough of my chatter! Check out Da_Stimulator’s interview for

Da_Stimulator: Whats the work environment like at the Studios for you?
[David Cherry]: The environment here is stimulating, energetic, and comforting. The offices themselves are extremely comfortable, one might even say luxurious. If you need something, it is provided. Right away. No questions. But it is the people that make the enviroment. The art team, programmers, designers, management–everyone here is someone I would have chosen for a friend had I met them somewhere else. That is a rare thing. These people mesh together well, too. They communicate. They respect one another. And they share ideas. Add to all that the wonderful level of skill that these

Read the whole interview here.

Posted by Washizu on June 9th, 2000 @ 6:30 a.m.
Tonight someone sent a bunch of AOK webmasters a version of the dreaded I Love You virus, with the subject heading Fwd: Joke. If one of these Age webmasters opens it up, it may quickly spread among the community. BE VERY CAREFUL about incoming e-mail attachments, no matter who they come from. Thanks.

MFO Smackdown
Posted by Washizu on June 8th, 2000 @ 6:58 p.m.
Hurry up and sign up for the latest Smackdown event at Mrfixit Online: is hosting a 2v2 tournament this Friday at 8:30 PM EDT. This is “lucky 13” for MFO-SMACKDOWN and will involve $400 in prizes. Come join the fun and party late into the night with us.

See all details, settings, rules, etc at

Ogre interviews Thonny
Posted by Washizu on June 8th, 2000 @ 6:53 p.m.
Good old Ogre interviews 3D artist Thonny Namuonglo on getting into the gaming business, the games he likes to play, and what he’s currently working on:

Ogre: Many gamers are interested in 3D graphics and artwork. What advice would you give on how to get into this field of work?

Thonny: There are a lot of schools that teach computer graphics so I’d recommend taking classes. I think employers mainly look for formal training and/or work experience. When taking classes you have to put in a lot of extra effort too. Don’t expect that you’ll find a position just because you did all of your assignments. I’ve reviewed many demo tapes and I can certainly tell who has been giving up their weekends to make a really nice demo tape. Employers want people who work hard and put in extra time and effort in to their demo because they do the same for the games they work on.

Ogre: What are your favorite computer and video games?

Thonny: I really enjoy playing RPG’s. Of course I play a lot of Square’s RPG’s. I enjoy FPS’s too like CounterStrike. You can also see me out on the zone playing Age2 under the name ‘NeonGenesis’. Hmm…I hope I just didn’t ask for a beating. Oh well.

Read the whole interview here. One comment on Counterstrike, a popular mod for Halflife: Almost everyone I talked to at E3 this year was all over it. Between the ES dudes who play it all the time, Microsoft’s expert AOK playtesting team, and the guys from Gearbox (creators of Halflife: Opposing Forces), all I heard about was how cool Counterstrike was. I played it a lot when it was first released, and it is a lot of fun, but I was surprised to see the following it has. I think the future is bright for those Counterstrike modsters.

Charlemagne Scenarios Posted
Posted by Washizu on June 8th, 2000 @ 1:42 p.m.
Finally, now that our database is back in full swing, thanks to the efforts of Imperious Rex of Gamestats and our own Angel Zen. We’re proud to announce that we have some of the best entries to the recent Charlemagne Scenario Contest, including the winner Anno 782 – Saxon Revolt. Our nomination was Steve Ryan’s Karl Der Grosse. Here they are:

  • Charlemagne’s Destiny by Von Guilberth
  • Charlemagne and the Conquest of Lombardy by Maximilian Kristiansen
  • Der Sachsenkrieg by Reinhard KrĂĽger
  • Charlemagne, king and emperor by Tijs Leenknegt
  • Anno 782 – Saxon Revolt by Andreas Marscheider
  • The Covenant by Gregory Koteles
  • OSP Charlemagne by Colin Pyle
  • The Story of Charlemagne by Ex-T
  • The Spanish by March Mark Stoker
  • Karl der Grosse by Cherub Lobby aka Steve Ryan

Greg Street Comments on KOTH
Posted by Washizu on June 7th, 2000 @ 11:15 p.m.
King of the Hill is the name of one of the exciting new gameplay modes in Age of Kings: The Conquerors Expansion, due in Early September (or August 25th according to EBworld). Lead designer Greg “Deathshrimp” Street has written up a nice article on KOTH type games and what you can expect when playing them. Deathshrimp uses KOH as the abbreviation for King of the Hill, but I just like the look and sound of KOTH too much :

In the center of the map is the Monument, which looks like a Wonder from a random civilization. The Monument cannot be destroyed, and you cannot build within 3 tiles of it. You win the game by controlling the Monument. As soon as someone’s units enter the 3 tile range of the Monument, a countdown starts. If the countdown reaches 0, whoever controls the Monument wins. In a team game, the whole team wins. In a Last Man Standing game, only one player can win. However, control of the Monument can change if an enemy players gets a unit near the Monument if the controlling player has no units near the Monument (probably because they have all been killed). Garrisoned units don’t count. The Countdown then has a few years added to it to give the first player a chance to regain control. In games where teams are evenly matched, the Monument can change hands three or four times, and the sheer number of decaying bodies in the center of the map makes for some great screenshots (letting you use that most excellent new Xpack feature to take shots of the entire map)

Only being able to build 3 tiles from the “monument” is interesting, and must be a new addition, because when Thunder and I played a KOTH game at Fanstock, I was building walls right next to it. The full map screenshots should be awesome as well.

Read Deathshrimp’s entire article here. I can’t wait until this thing ships!!!

The Captioneers
Posted by Washizu on June 7th, 2000 @ 11:04 p.m.
Once again, 10 lucky agers picked up copies of “Music for the Ages” CDs in the Ensemble Studios caption contest. 3D artist Brian Sousa was caught sleeping on the job, but helped the following get their hands on some CDs:

  • Raimon
  • Matthew Costner
  • Screwball
  • Eric J.
  • Oystein Boe
  • Foxy
  • Josh Knatz
  • Denny Dukes
  • Sean Sanders
  • Jeff Lambert

Congrats guys. IT support dude Jake Dotson is next in the crosshairs, so get in your captions!

Microsoft Splits
Posted by Washizu on June 7th, 2000 @ 10:32 p.m.
Much like the female chariot rider in Gladiator, Microsoft was split in two today. Microsoft is the worlds largest software company and, of course, the publisher for Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings. Will it affect the Age series at all? Probably not. Personally, I think the sanctions being brought against them are rather extreme. Check this out:

The provisions include:

  • Requiring Microsoft to license Windows to PC makers under uniform prices and terms according to a schedule accessible to the government and those PC makers;
  • Barring Microsoft from interfering with the way PC makers set up start-up screens, the Windows desktop, preferences, and Internet connection wizards;
  • Requiring the company to disclose technical information about its operating systems to independent hardware and software companies so that those companies can design products that are compatible with Windows;
  • Prohibiting Microsoft from degrading the performance of “middleware” made by other companies. Middleware is software that operates between an operating system and another type of software application;
  • And restricting the company from binding middleware products, such as a Web browser, to its Windows operating system unless access to that middleware can be removed by PC makers or end-users.

Read all about the ruling here.

Conquerors Box Revealed
Posted by Washizu on June 7th, 2000 @ 7:13 a.m.

The box art looks pretty spiffy doesn’t it? Personally, I like it more than the AOK box cover. I wasn’t a huge fan of the overused “3 head” design, but I like this one a lot. Personally, I think Rise of Rome had the best cover art of the Age series, but maybe that’s because I have a copy signed by Sandy Petersen . Ok, enough bragging on my part.

You can check out the Age of Kings: The Conquerors screenshots that were released at E3 right here. Thanks to Xynon of AgersHQ for alerting me to the TC cover.

Music for the Ages Winners
Posted by Washizu on June 7th, 2000 @ 2:53 a.m.
ES artist Don Gagen and friend Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story fame were pictured yesterday in the caption contest at Ensemble Studios. Ten lucky agers will be blasting some Agerific music this summer from their cars and living room stereos:

  • Peter Christensen
  • Mighty Pirate
  • Seth “Xynon” Pinedo
  • Jason Schippnick
  • Jonathan Wright
  • Douglas Stevens
  • Christopher Bartlett
  • Esper Olesen
  • Craig Regester
  • Zanzard Lothar

My buddy Zanzard was kind enough to get my name in the listing once again, even though one of my entries wasn’t picked.

5. Not fair! Washizu got a picture with Raven, the Xbox girl, and i got stuck with Buzz Lightyear! – Zanzard Lothar

My girlfriend would have been much happer had that pic been with Buzz Check it out here.

Sandy Speaks on Jaguar Men
Posted by Washizu on June 6th, 2000 @ 5:45 a.m.
This was posted recently in the forum by everyone’s favorite forumer, Sandy Petersen:

When you look at the Jaguar Warrior with a paler background (such as grass or dirt) you can clearly see that he carries a wooden haft with sharp black shards protruding from it. Because of the limitations on the size of the unit (he’s only a few pixels tall, after all), it’s not instantly clear whether it’s a club or an obsidian-edged sword, but if you’ve ever seen a picture of one of those Aztec swords, it’s immediately clear that that’s what he’s carrying.

I define weapons by what they do, not what they’re constructed of. Since the Aztec weapon is designed to cut and slice instead of crush, it is tactically more like a sword. And if a fan wants to insist it’s a club — no big deal. Aztecs used war clubs, after all. And I seem to recall some people on the forums asking for “macemen”.

Check out what all the discussion was about here. Personally, if I saw a guy coming at me with a jaguar on his head, you better believe I’d be running the other way no matter what he had in his hand!

Letters to Washizu
Posted by Washizu on June 5th, 2000 @ 11:08 p.m.
Once again, I’ll answer some of your letters publicly. I like doing it this way, so I don’t get 100 e-mails, all asking the same question.

Dear Washizu,
I have admired your site ever since the making of AOK. I would like to
make my own webpage, and was wondering if you knew of some books or
anything in HTML that you found to be the most helpful and understandable to you. I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me on this.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get your nickname???

One of the best resources for Perl and HTML is For HTML, check out, and you should be able to find things like tag listings. You can always check out, who actually control HTML. As for my nickname, it comes from the movie, Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa. Washizu was the “MacBeth” type character in the movie, and was a Samurai.

Is there a patch which allows you to design scenerios with greater than 75 pop limit. And if there isn’t if there is way please tell me how to. Thx much for any help.

Currently there is no way to do this, but it will be enabled in the expansion pack, available this September.

Vic Picks the Brain of Captain Insano
Posted by Washizu on June 5th, 2000 @ 10:57 p.m.
Not even a newborn baby can keep Herb “Captain Insano” Marselas off the interview track. The latest Q/A session comes from a guy named Vic:

Victor: Does ES have any future plans for games past RTS3?

ES_Captain_Insano: We think that we have a good idea of what we (and people like yourself!) find fun in an RTS game. I think that we’ll continue to make new RTS games as long as we can continue to find interesting ways to move the genre forward and keep you interested.

We also have thought a lot about how we could apply the quality of design and gameplay features that people have come to expect from our RTS games to other games. We don’t have any specific plans beyond shipping AoK/TC and RTS3 at this point, but we have hired the talented, award winning, artist and illustrator David Cherry. You can see some of his work here.

Let your imagination do the rest.

Read the whole interview here, and stop by the rest of vic’s site here.

New Caption Contest Winners
Posted by Washizu on June 5th, 2000 @ 10:47 p.m.
30 more agers won “Music for the Ages” CDs after coming up with some hilarous captions for Ensemble Studios team members. Now that Xemu and the support crew have been taken care of (what DO you guys use that little robot for anyway?), 3D artist Don Gagen and his friend Buzz Lightyear are next on the agenda. Head here to enter the contest.

Huns Tech Tree Posted at ES
Posted by Washizu on June 5th, 2000 @ 5:00 a.m.
Archy must have slipped this one by us. One of the new Conquerors Expansion Pack civilizations will be the Huns, and the complete tech tree for them has been released here on the Ensemble Studios sitemap.

Blacksmith/Downloads Update
Posted by Zen on June 4th, 2000 @ 8:36 p.m.
Our Database server is up, and those sections should be functioning now. Wahoo!!!

Blacksmith/Downloads still down
Posted by Zen on June 3rd, 2000 @ 2:53 p.m.
I’ve been getting quite a bit of email about errors in the Blacksmith and Downloads section. Our Database server is still down after the “Fryday” lightning strike at our ISP. We will let you know as soon as we know when it’ll be back up.

Deathshrimp Disects the Huns
Posted by Washizu on June 3rd, 2000 @ 6:00 a.m.
Hehe, I’ve had this newspost waiting to go for almost 24 hours now while we were down. Thanks to Angel Zen for posting a message earlier. I guess God was tired of us giving Heaven a bad name Anyway, here is what I have been trying to post all day:

Greg “Deathshrimp” Street made an update to the Studios Journal yesterday concerning the Huns and just how good they’ll be. He’s interested in hearing your opinions on this, so make sure you start up some threads in the forum.

If you are up against a Hun, at least you have a good idea of what you are going to be hit with. It’s a good idea to train some Spearmen or Camels early just in case of a Cav Archer or Knight raid. It also makes sense to hit a Hun early since, like the Goths, they are better at offense than defense. Even late in the game, if you can’t stop that horde of Tarkans or Paladins outright, you can attack the Hun town and attempt to shut down their slow cavalry production. Of course, being the Huns, they will just likely rebuild in some corner of the map. If you make large armies of Halberdiers or Camels, the Hun player is going to have to switch to another strategy, only to find that there really aren’t alternatives.

So what do you think? Are the Huns the new civ everyone wants to play, or a one-trick-pony useful only to those who play nothing but heavy cav? Are they doing to be too good against the Aztecs and too weak against the Saracens? Will they rule in Deathmatch with the house bonus? I look forward to seeing thoughtful analysis in the fan site forums!

You heard the man, get cracking! Check out the whole journal update here.

We’re Back!
Posted by Zen on June 3rd, 2000 @ 5:44 a.m.
Any news of our demise is greatly exaggerated… our ISP got hit by lightning early Friday morning, and they’ve been racing to get their entire network back up to speed. It’s interesting to think that with all this technology in the world, networks can be brought down with the power of nature… (zzzzaap! “Warning: You just got hacked by an act of God.”)

However, they’re still working on restoring the rest of the network, so some parts of our site might not be readily accessible yet (i.e. Blacksmith) We’ll post an update when we’re fully back online.

Music for the Ages Winners: Day 2
Posted by Washizu on June 1st, 2000 @ 11:17 p.m.
Congratulations to the next 10 winners in the “Music for the Ages” caption contest.

  • Eric W Edwards
  • Tack
  • ironLotus
  • Besim Huskic
  • Joe Berman
  • Ben K.
  • jackpot
  • Peter Yu
  • Kevin Clark
  • Mike Roellinghoff

Nice job guys! Jeff Dotson had to go through a whole bunch of entries today to pick the 10 winners, but lets see if we can tie up Rob “Xemu” Fermier all day tomorrow He’s next on the list for caption contests.

In other ES news, a big congratulations goes out to Herb “Captain Insano” Marselas and his wife on their new baby, Julie Elizabeth Marselas. All of us at Heaven wish the Insano… er I mean Marselas family the best of luck!

In even more ES news, the Archangel has said that the next civ showcase will be released on June 10th, and it will cover the new Mayan civilization.

Music for the Ages Winners: Day 1
Posted by Washizu on June 1st, 2000 @ 6:45 a.m.
The first day winners of the Music for the Ages Caption Contest were announced. The following 10 people won a “Music for the Ages” CD:

  • Fozby
  • Scott X
  • Julia
  • Van Do
  • Seth Pinedo
  • Anthony Ojeda
  • Enrique Orduno
  • Jean-renĂ© frĂ©chette
  • Daniel Creeron

What? You only count 9? Me too. It turns out that the 10th guy was so funny, they want him to send in a caption for all the upcoming pics instead of giving him a CD right away yeah, that’s it.

To read all the cool captions, head to the ES news page. The two captions I submitted were, “I had to order the vegatarian lunch didn’t I?” and “Tony Goodman’s new “Hide and Seek Tuesdays” aren’t as fun as I thought they’d be.” Hope you guys like them and make sure you send in a submission for artist Jeff Dotson’s picture.

Huns Showcase @ Gamespot
Posted by Washizu on June 1st, 2000 @ 6:08 a.m.
Similar to their Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings civilization showcases prior to its release, Gamespot is showcasing the upcoming civilizations in The Conquerors Expansion. The first up for grabs is fearsom Huns:

Many of their bonuses and abilities are designed to promote raiding and quick strikes. In fact, the Huns have one enormous bonus that is a huge economic boon. The Huns do not need to build houses! Although they start with 100 less wood, they never have to worry about building houses to accommodate a larger population. Says Street, “Start a 150 pop cap game, and your indicator will say “4/150.'” The Huns can thus use the wood that others spend on houses for building barracks and farms and rushing to the next ages. A Hun player can race to the Castle Age fairly quickly thanks to this bonus.

Check out the whole showcase.