Archived News From March 2001

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!

Tonto Festivities…
Posted by Thunder on March 31st, 2001 @ 12:12 a.m.
Today is the big celebration for Tonto Clan! Their bash will get underway at 10pm EST, and you can find all of the details here. Everyone is invited to partake!

Our best wishes to all Tontos, and I hope you’re all around to celebrate many more such milestones. Join them in the Manzikert lobby if you’d like to help them celebrate. …or crash the party…no streaking permitted, this means YOU Chooch! ; )

Enter The Norselands…
Posted by Thunder on March 31st, 2001 @ 8:56 a.m.
Recently added to Ensemble Studios collection of blank, yet functional, Real World Maps is the Norselands. It encompasses the Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark area of the world, and is just waiting for a talented designer to put in some terrain.

As usual, the map I voted for finished runner up in the polling. France, Iberia, and the Mideast are the remaining maps to be posted. While you’re there downloading, vote in the poll to decide which of the trio will be offered next. …you try thinking up a little comment when it’s 10:55pm and you’re still at school…I dare ya! ; )

Tavern: Forum Party & Latin Laughs!
Posted by Thunder on March 30th, 2001 @ 9:48 p.m.

The sword swinging knight means that it’s Forum Party time once again! Heads up though, the events will be held in the Manzikert lobby on the Zone tomorrow instead of our usual hang out. Head to the Tavern for the complete details as well as a few laughs as Lt_Surge99 shares some latin with us. …you guys have to give me all the gory details in the Forum Party Thread as I’ll be MIA tomorrow… ; )

Listen In!
Posted by Thunder on March 30th, 2001 @ 12:38 a.m.
The man, the myth, the legend, Kingkerry of Kingkerry’s Courtyard will be having a chat with Sandy “Sandyman” Petersen this evening at 5pm CST, which is 6pm EST and 11pm GMT. If you’re inclined to listen in, you can find out how right here. The show won’t be listed until it’s up and running at the slated time, so don’t worry youself if you don’t see it at the moment. …giving a talk myself in a few hours on copyright law and the net, something both my audience and I will be sleeping through… : O

Best Of AoK!
Posted by Thunder on March 30th, 2001 @ 12:06 a.m.
One of the many great features in our scenario and campaign loaded Blacksmith is the great big Best of AoK list. It contains many of the highest rated scenarios, mods, campaigns, random map scripts, and multiplayer maps that have been sent in. You’ll find the section ripe with big name designers such as Gordon Farrell, who’s working on campaigns for Empire Earth, SCN Punk Team, the talented band of designers, and Inquizative, the winner of a recent map design contest held by Ensemble Studios.

You’ll find all sorts of gems on the list, everything from a World Map to an amazing Monestary. There’s few, if any, places on the internet with an equal selection of quality AoK downloads as the Best of AoK! …poke around on this site long enough, and you’re sure to find something cool…that monestary is just awesome… ; )

AoK Training Center: Improve Your Play…
Posted by Thunder on March 30th, 2001 @ 11:39 a.m.
A new section recently added to the AoK Command Center is another center unto itself. At UGD’s Training Center you can gain the advice and teachings of expert players, such as DMer illusionS and great RMers such as DBD_Jinx. You may be lucky enough to win a free lesson, otherwise you’ll have to inquire about their pricing. …I’m beyond lessons…I need miracles! ; )

In The Tournament Zone…
Posted by Thunder on March 30th, 2001 @ 5:39 a.m.
The Zone is continues it’s string of tournament madness with a team RM event! Grab your pals and be ready to rumble at 5pm PST on April 2nd, which is 8pm EST. This event is for residents of the US & Canada only though, but with any luck they’ll have another international tournament at some point in the near future. Check out the rules and sign up here.

The big ol’ tournament at Planet AoE is now underway as well. Good luck to all those involved and stay tuned for recorded games as the talented field fights it out for the big bucks! …it’s been touch and go with our server over the last day, seems like we’re ok now… ; )

Seeking Sandy…
Posted by Thunder on March 30th, 2001 @ 3:07 a.m.
We’ve had a visit from ES designer Sandy “Sandyman” Petersen, who posted a whack of answers to fan questions in this thread. There’ve been a lot of history fans voicing concerns about RTS3, one of the many subjects he addressed:

“Q) What do you think about all the criticism about RTS3 being a fantasy game and that most AoE/AoK players will be very disapointed in the game and perhaps not even buy it?

A) We have not announced ANYTHING about RTS3 at all except for one (1) measly screen shot. Fans can speculate all they want in a vacuum, but I don’t see why unsupported random musings should affect anything ES does. Do you? “ -Sandy Petersen

Source – Ask Sandy 3

Please note that there’s a fresh new thread to query the Sandman, Ask Sandy 4. Drop in for answers, or share your questions. …quick, jump into my Hoover and let’s get crazeh… ; )

More From The Studios: GDC & Jobs…
Posted by Thunder on March 29th, 2001 @ 12:40 a.m.
Not to be overshadowed by news of the screenshot of RTS3 is another new job opening at the studios. The latest is for a Content Designer, which will certainly be of interest to the many talented scenario designers out there! For a complete listing of positions currently open at ES, check out their Job Opportunities page.

There’s also been an update to the ES Designer Journal, which now sports Bruce Shelley‘s presentation from the 2001 GDC. He provides a set of guidelines for making a successful game, compiling his 20 or so years worth of experience into a list of golden advice. You can also check out his Power Point presentation, either view it online or download it. …drat, I knew I should have finished my Wars of the Roses campaign… ; )

!!! RTS3 Screenshot !!!
Posted by Washizu on March 29th, 2001 @ 6:37 a.m.

Ensemble has hit just the beach! After allowing some time for Age fans to pick up a copy of the latest Computer Gaming World, Ensemble Studios has posted the first ever decent screenshot of RTS3, the code name for their next strategy game.

The screenshot depicts some cool effects of the bang! engine. For example:

1. Notice how you can see through the water. You can easily see the land sloping down into deeper waters. You can even make out submerged sections of the sea monster very faintly.

2. Units swimming (or floating dead) in the water.

3. A unit coming out from inside the boat. Notice how he’s halfway in and halfway out, and not just appearing on shore next to the boat.

4. Lizard-man sort of unit. Seems to be dressed in an Egyptian robe. [Update: It seems I have been informed that it is probably not a “Lizard-man”, but instead the Egyptian god Anubis, the jackal headed god of the dead. Thanks to WoadRaider for pointing that out ]

5. Units include an archer, a villager-type unit, and a halbredier-type unit.

A few questions also come to mind:

1. Is the sea-monster a player controlled unit or an world controlled animal?

2. The units don’t seem to have much in the way of color coding for the player number, although they do seem to have a yellowish tint in some areas. Why is this?

3. Are these units hunting the sea-monster? Are the fleeing it and reaching shore just in time? Is the sea-monster trying to mate with their vessel?

Want to comment on this new piece of information? Do so here.

Scenario Pick of the Week by Jerusalem
Posted by Washizu on March 28th, 2001 @ 11:25 p.m.
Thanks to Cherub Jerusalem for going through and choosing a great entry for a Scenario Pick of the Week:

Detective’s Apprentice
by The Pyromaniac
Description | File | Review

Howdy and welcome to “The Pick of the Week”, a new AoKH sub-section. Here you will read the occasional critique of an exceptionally good scenario, campaign, or whatever we see fit to be featured on the main page. Rather than being a review, this sub-section is supposed to be more of a reccomendation to download something. It is a revival of the AoEH “Pick of the Week” section, one that was a highlight for many Agers at the time.

Our first Pick of the Week is a whodunit named “The Detective’s Apprentice”. You start out as a recently laid-off detective’s apprentice, working with his friend to start their own detective business in the capital, getting into trouble with kidnappers, mobsters, armies and more.

I like TDA because it is a rather original rpg-like scenario in the Blacksmith. While most just require a use of force and enough obedience to do this for one person and that for another, playing scenarios like TDA wouldn’t do without some attention to details,
common sense and use of the large gray material we have inside our skulls.

The Detective’s Apprentice is fun because you get a variety of different kinds of missions, humerous introductions and in-game comments, an interesting use of lost units (it really looks like it rains!), and a side b scenario named “Cliff Hideout”.

The Pyromaniac testifies about himself that his first name is Michael, he is 15 and he lives in “sunny ole England”. Enjoying sports, hanging with friends, cars and drawing, Pyro got the idea for Detective’s Apprentice after playing the board game “Cluedo”.

A definate download!

– Cherub Jerusalem

William Shatner Is A Loser?
Posted by Thunder on March 28th, 2001 @ 10:08 p.m.
Warning, you may bust a gut, or flee the room in terror! ironLotus posted in the Ask Sandy thread that he spotted a list of spooky celebrity websites at Daily Radar. Among them was which features Mr. Shatner’s picture fading in to the music when you lose a game of Age of Kings!

Stephen “Big_Al” Rippy, who composed the music, popped into the thread to confirm that it was indeed the tune he wrote:

“Sorry to jump in on your thread, Sandy – just wanted to address ironLotus’ comment. 🙂

Quite a shock! That is a piece of our music. I wrote it in my apartment in Austin three or four years ago; who knew that it would one day be the personal theme song of the great James T. Kirk?! (Or T.J. Hooker, depending on your preference.)” – Stephen Rippy

Source – Ask Sandy 3

If you get a chance, do visit, it’s well worth it. It may take a few tries to get the introduction screen to load up as his server appears to be having troubles getting beyond warp two. …you HAVE to see it to believe it… ; )

RTS3 Crumbs
Posted by Washizu on March 28th, 2001 @ 7:39 p.m.
There wasn’t much RTS3 info in the power point presentation Ensemble programmers Mark Terrano and Paul Bettner gave to the recent Game Developers Conference, but I did manage to find a few little things:

Recorded games
–Good for testing, great for end users
Sync info embedded in recorded games for RTS3

This probably means that the cause of dreaded sync errors will be easier to detect in an analysis of the recorded game.

RTS3 Multiplayer – The Goals
•Builds on the success of age of empires I & II –All the same features and design requirements of our previous strategy titles: internet play, large diverse maps, thousands of controllable units

•3d –RTS3 is a fully 3D game, with interpolated animation and non-faceted unit position and rotation

More players –Design called for the possibility of >8 player games

•TCP/IP support –56k TCP/IP networked players are our target

•Support for home networks –Nats, firewalls, and other network configurations should be supported

RTS3 Multiplayer – Realizations

•Same core network model – the synchronous simulation

•3D implies more stringent animation requirements

•Get the multiplayer system online as soon as possible – iterative playtesting is key

Most of this was already known, but it sounds like RTS3 is coming along nicely. I wish I could have seen Mark and Paul give the presentation. must… pick… up CGW today.

Those Little Extras…Contest!
Posted by Thunder on March 28th, 2001 @ 10:14 a.m.
The recent news post by Mike “Archangel” McCart has had a few little extras attached to it! First off, Herb “Captain Insano” Marselas has answered some questions regarding his work week, attire, and some programming related questions. Way down at the bottom of the same post you’ll find a picture of artist Chris Van Doren. Big bad VD looks like he’s holding a little something in his hands in the picture, check out this tid bit from the Archangel:

“The happy young lad to the left is (of course) long time ENSEMBLE 3D Artist Chris Van Doren. Chris seems to have a habit of changing his web picture every 3 or 4 months. That’s not a problem as we all look forward to see Chris in latest Dallas Designer Clothes.

But, I am a little concerned about what Chris THINKS he is holding in his hands, I have no idea. But the first fan to send in a caption or telling me what they think Chris is holding will go home with a Age of Empires II: The Conquerors T Shirt.”

Source – ES News

An easy way to get yourself some new duds, but be quick about it! Click on the source link above and scroll all the way down to the bottom for the picture of VD and the all important e-mail address. …Archangel is a sly one isn’t he… ; )

ES Presentation From GDC!
Posted by Thunder on March 28th, 2001 @ 7:53 a.m.
One of the lectures given at the 2001 Game Developers Conference was given by ES designer Mark Terrano (marco…polo) and programmer Paul Bettner. You can find the Power Point portion of their presentation in the latest update to the ES Programmers Journal:

“Moving a few units around in your multiplayer game is an easy concept to grasp, but the challenge of tracking thousands of units over a modem connection is an entirely different matter. This session opens the hood on the Genie engine, the technological foundation of the Age of Empires series. We further delve into the multiplayer implementation of the next-generation BANG! engine. We discuss some of the lessons learned and the evolution of the networking code throughout development of the Age of Empires titles. The presentation covers useful tools, testing methods, and a few horror stories from the network code development of both engines.”

Source – Programmers Journal

You can view their Power Point goodies online, or download them. There’s also a couple of pictures of the dynamic duo from the conference. …don’t bump your head on the frames… ; )

Tavern: Election Brawls…
Posted by Thunder on March 28th, 2001 @ 2:35 a.m.
The latest from the drunken folks in the Tavern involves the election of a Strat Forum president. The list of candidates and voter debates are available to one and all. Be an informed voter! …*hanging chad joke deleted*… ; )

Virtual PC And AOK
Posted by Washizu on March 28th, 2001 @ 1:57 a.m.
I got this question from Derrick Grant. Has anyone been sucessful running AOK on a Mac’s virtual PC, or even with the new MacOS X?

Do you know if it is possible to run AOE2 on a Mac G4 320 Mb ram) with Virtual PC 4.0, in Windows 98. I got the combined set of CD-roms including the Conqur. I can install the program in Virtual Windows 98 but when I want to start up the program it gives me an error that the CD is being shared by another device. I have tried all the CD-rom fixes on the MS site. Do you know anyone who has gotten this to work? The older AOE work well.

Any help on this would be appreciated.

QA Position Open At Studios…
Posted by Thunder on March 27th, 2001 @ 2:41 a.m.
The position that has belonged to some great Agers, including Mike “Captn” Kidd, is open once more at Ensemble Studios. If you think you’ve got what it takes to hunt down bugs and make sure games are balanced, check out the job description and send in your resume.

In addition, Mike “Archangel” McCart posted this bit of information on the recent revelation that an RTS3 teaser appears in the May issue of Computer Gaming World:

“On a completely unrelated subject. Yes, there is RTS III information in the May Issue of CGW, No ENSEMBLE STUDIOS will not comment on anything related to RTS III at the present time (Don’t worry, the time is not far off), and please don’t scan and post images from the May Issue of CGW on the web. CGW is copyrighted material. Thanks (Hope that saves me answering a few dozen emails tonight . – Archangel”

Source – ES News

Well, Kevin “The_Sheriff” Holme is still listed on the Studios Team page, so perhaps they’ve added another QA position, or he’s moved on to something else at ES. Best of luck to those who apply! …balancing an RTS…much like balancing, very hard to balance…things… ; )

Posted by Thunder on March 26th, 2001 @ 11:59 p.m.
A couple of posts regarding an RTS3 teaser in the May issue Computer Gaming World. Jugg10 posted a bit of a teaser of his own this thread, listing descriptions of screenshots included. This has been confirmed by Mike “Archangel” McCart!

There was also another post regarding this at Through The Ages! Keep an eye on your newstands, and more in following issues of the magazine. …everything exciting happens as I am supposed to be leaving for school! ; )

Scenario Design: Punk Candy…
Posted by Thunder on March 26th, 2001 @ 10:26 a.m.
A batch of seven new articles are available at the Scn Punk site covering various ways to make your maps and scenarios look outstanding. Everything from impassible bridges, waterfalls, and orchards is covered with tips from veteran map makers like Enrique Orduno and Shadow Angel. Visit the Punks for more on this and word of a new promotion for one of their own. …no joke, my neighbours dog is names “Punky”… ; )

Introducing Keira “specialK” Erhard!
Posted by Thunder on March 26th, 2001 @ 0:25 a.m.
Kaiser at, SirLANcelot has sent word that his site is not only back online after some down time, they’ve just started a new series all about the ES Team. …and the pitch:

“Today, we went online again, which may just be of interest for you, if you recogized we were offline some weeks . I just wanted to tell you we started a new series today, from now on, we are going introduce the ES-team to our visitors. From time to time, seven questions are asked ES-employees, everytime the same. This time, Keira Erhard has answered them for us – there is an english version available, as well, you can find it here:

SirLANcelot (webmaster)”

Great idea! There’s a lot of folks who keep the Studios running that we don’t often hear from. Keira works on the financial side of things at the Studios, which can apparently be pretty “CRAZY!!!”:

6. Whose ES-guy’s office/workplace is next to yours?

Since we are in the middle of massive construction with our expansion, I room with the other ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ Shay Girard (Cameron Diaz) and Leslie Yeager (Drew Barrymore). Our office is next to our CFO, Brian Moon, aka – Charlie.”

Source – interviews Keira Erhard

Yes, for those of you who flunked out of German Class, or have never heard of Germany, there is a version in english as well. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more Q&A sessions! …only found six questions myself… ; )

Tavern: Forum Party Wrap Up…
Posted by Thunder on March 25th, 2001 @ 10:47 p.m.
Hear the tall tales of forum party battles from late last night at the Tavern, complete with recorded games for download! I got myself into a couple of real brawls yesterday, some very good games. Hope to see you all again next week! …bring your pointy party hats, we’ll be celebrating Tonto clan’s birthday… ; )

Benelux Tournament: The Best Of The Best…
Posted by Thunder on March 25th, 2001 @ 9:14 p.m.
If you live in the Benelux area, this tournament will be of note. It is a 32 player event that begins in April, hosted by MFO and CF Clan. This 1 on 1 random map event will be open to the 32 players with the highest ratings, which will surely make it an expert showdown! Some players of note already signed up are Myth_Osiris and NoX_Casanova.

If you’re looking to get involved in this clash, or keep tabs on the results, click here for more information. …only 11 registered at the moment, one guy with a 1600 rating too…plenty of room for you! ; )

Interview: Dave Pottinger Does AI!
Posted by Thunder on March 24th, 2001 @ 2:43 a.m.
The gang at Gamasutra have got a handle on Dave “Bid Dog” Pottinger and peppered him with questions a plenty on programming AI. The interview covers a wide variety of AI types, from random map, pathing, and computer players. The interesting issue of non-linear campaigns was even brought up, with an RTS3 connection:

Is there any way that you could affect player choice so that they can have an effect on the Campaign story lines?

“… Despite the kind of cool factor that as a hardcore gamer I love that I can influence the story, the type of games you play where you can influence the story generally tend to have less powerful stories. We’re aiming at a big, broad mass market who, in reality, seem to care very little about non-linear stories. As we get more advanced I think we have options to change that. As the art form goes through maturation we can figure out, and this is certainly a focus for RTS 3, now that we’ve done more campaigns from Age I to Age II and the Conqueror’s we feel really happy with where our campaign quality is from a very linear standpoint. Actually one of the interesting things about RTS 3 is that we’re trying to introduce some non-linearity to the story.

The flip side to that is that the campaigns in Age have always been a part of the experience. We are always happy to say that we put a lot of things in the box. The random map is where we’ve always hung our replayability hat both for multiplayer and for single player. We’re talking about random campaigns for RTS 3 to help take that feature to the next level. I can’t say too much more about that… But it’s a hard problem you know? In an area with a linear mechanism, how do you take a story and generate it randomly so that it’s any fun to play? You know, it’s not where 95% of the story is exactly the same but instead of capturing the Sword of Fubar, you’re capturing the Cup of Fubar. We wouldn’t do that because that’s not a very quality implementation. The goal for RTS 3 is to be the best single player experience ever in any game on any platform. That’s a very high goal to achieve and I think that we can get close if not achieve it.” -Dave Pottinger

Source – Gamasutra Interviews Dave Pottinger

This is definately a must read as Dave goes into some pretty great detail on different AI. They’ve got some big plans for RTS3, hopefully they’ll make the cut and actually be implemented. …like a handicapping system…gotta have it for slouches like me… ; )

Tavern: Forum Party & Video Shots!
Posted by Thunder on March 23rd, 2001 @ 10:43 p.m.

The echo through the AOKH Tavern hall at the moment is news of our impending forum party and some pictures from the Behind the Scenes Video, courtesy headly1. For party information and or eye candy, pull up a stool and drop in. …those expecting posts from Sandyman must have missed the pictures of him partying at the GDC…he’s outta town folks! ; )

Pictures, Awards, And Rumours From GDC!
Posted by Thunder on March 23rd, 2001 @ 8:35 a.m.
There’s all sorts of action going on at this year’s Game Developers Conference, and ES webmaster Mike “Archangel” McCart is in the thick of things! He has updated the ES news page with posts on awards, independent games, pictures of the ES crew having a good time, and the list of ES folks giving lectures at the conference.

Why were they having a good time? The booze? Maaaybe, but also the Conquerors Expansion pack won for Best Strategy Game, beating out some big time competition! Click here for the full list of awards winners and pictures form the ceremony. Congrats to the ES fellas once again!

Rumours? Yah, but not ES related this time. Daily Radar is reporting that Crave Entertainment has sold all of its PC titles in the works to that gaming giant, Electronic Arts! They had some major up and coming titles, including Battle Realms, an innovative strategy game under development. …check out the pictures of Tony Goodman giving the tearful acceptance speech…hehe, he got me goin’ too… :. )


Is the PC Dead? There’s a question that’s been asked a lot recently with all these high powered consoles coming out. A panel of major players in the games industry, including Bruce Shelley (Ensemble Studios), Ed Fries (Microsoft Games), and Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts) tackled this very question at the GDC. You can find pictures and the thoughts of these fellas here on Daily Radar. A great read for those interested!

Look Familiar?
Posted by Thunder on March 23rd, 2001 @ 7:26 a.m.
The readers of the old AoK Battlefield are a loyal bunch, always have been. Although the site may have been closed, some folks are determined to keep the friendly forum spirit. Their new forum looks very much like the one created for AOKB, it’s downright scarey. Drop in and have a boo! …almost got that imitation right…forums just load a little too fast… ; )

More From MFO…
Posted by Thunder on March 23rd, 2001 @ 7:12 a.m.
Looks like we’re now getting the latest Mr.Fixit Online press releases in the ususal timing fashion once again, now if only I could post them in the same way we’d be all set! Here are the AOK related bits, the stuff that’s going down at right now:

This week’s Smackdown tourney will be Saturday at 2 PM – join us for wild settings in this weekly AOK tournament.

Our 19th Live Game Clinic was completed with a 1v1 between _RCF_RiDeR vs NoX_Sesami. Clinicians: DBD_Jinx, DaRq_Lopri, MonkeyUpUrs, _ViRuS_Slayer and _ViRuS_KoRnaCuS.”

Any majesty fans out there? The MFO fellas have just openned the doors on a site that you’ll be wanting to visit, You’ll find information a plenty of the new expansion pack that has come out for that game as well. Drop in for the grand opening! …didn’t like majesty much myself, but got it for something like $5 when I was in Istanbul…got my money’s worth! ; )

Rubbing Elbows At GDC…
Posted by Thunder on March 22nd, 2001 @ 6:23 p.m.
A whole bunch of the Ensemble Studios crew, over forty of them I believe, are out of town at the 2001 Game Developers Conference right now. Mike “Archangel” McCart posted a brief news update from there in San Jose, California with the current goings ons. He’ll hopefully be giving us the goods on the big awards show that’ll be taking place and perhaps a few pictures too, although those will likely have to wait until he gets back. …hmmm, thought the awards went on the 23rd but Archy says tonight…stay tuned… ; )

FlatRock Crushes Competition…
Posted by Thunder on March 22nd, 2001 @ 11:11 a.m.
Last night’s tournament on the Zone featured a final showdown between FlatRock and FlippantDuke, with the Rock coming out in better shape. The field of 365 registered participants included some very skilled players, and you can check out how everybody made out on the tourney page here.

Best of luck to all the German Agers who will be going head to head in a Zone Tournament on March 24th! …I’m guessing you’ve got to be living in Germany…you’ll likely get the boot if you’re a German living in another part of the world and enter that tourney… ; )

Tournament Reminders…
Posted by Thunder on March 21st, 2001 @ 7:06 p.m.
Keep a sharp eye on the Zone Tournaments page as there have been a whole heap of these events lately. In fact, there’s an RM 1 on 1 tournament that goes tonight! Click here for more informtion on that one. There’s a little over 320 players registered right now, good luck to one and all!

Don’t forget that on March 24th, the first test of the Zone‘s global tournament system will take place! This will hopefully lead to more tournaments for players outside the US and Canada! If you’re in Germany, you can sign up to take part in that event here. Let’s all hope that this test goes off without a hitch. …hey, if we can run a tourney for players around the world, anyone can… ; )

Word On The Street At MFO…
Posted by Thunder on March 21st, 2001 @ 6:23 p.m.
Better late then never! Due to some yet to be determined problem, Mr.Fixit had to hand deliver the latest press release from Mr.Fixit Online:

Join MFO in this project to provide hardcore gamer reviews of the current crop of Real-Time Strategy games. These reviews will involve playtesting by MFO staff and fans, and will cover in-depth analysis that any serious RTS gamer would want to know: Details

Some new optional subscription programs are available for MFO fans to help keep MFO online. Details

Round 2 ends today as this major DM tourney moves to round 3 with only 32 players left from the field of 112: Bracket A, Bracket B

This double-elimination tournament of the top 32 AOK players in the UK and Ireland hits round 2. CoT UK

Sam_DeathWalker shows how a DeathMatch Huns Rush is done: Details

I for one can certainly see the value of MFO game reviews. We’ve seen plenty of reviewers at other sites declare the Expansion pack unbalanced because of those Spanish Conquistadors or some other civilization/unit. A team review by some actual RTS players would be much more informative I’d say. …I swear some reviewers are total newbs to a genre… ; )

Working on a Project? Need Help?
Posted by Washizu on March 21st, 2001 @ 9:03 a.m.
Zul asked me to mention his upcoming scenario project based on The Odyssey and it got me thinking… how many of you guys out there are trying to start projects like this and could use some help? Send me a short description of your project and a link to a website or a forum post with more information. Be sure to include “Age Project” in the subject, and it can be any Age related modpack, random map script, AI file, website, etc. must.. finish.. Java assignment…

Tavern: Tournaments & Sandy’s Latest Feats!
Posted by Thunder on March 20th, 2001 @ 11:29 p.m.
The latest of the slurred updates in the Tavern cover the most recent posts by Sandy “Sandyman” Petersen and tournament news from the Deathmatch forum! As always, anyone with an empty glass is welcome to stop in for your fill of forum suds. …if you’ve got a full glass, I have to hold it for you while you read…I won’t spill any, honest! ; )

Deathwalker’s Hun…
Posted by Thunder on March 20th, 2001 @ 10:52 p.m.
One of the more recent recorded games available at was posted by DM expert Sam Deathwalker and illustrates an all or nothing Hun rush. He calls it his “Hun Sell Everything” strategy, which is somewhat self-explanatory, however, check out the recorded game to see how he pulls this off! …ya gotta see Sam’s sig over there too…whew boy! ; )

“RTS III information in a few weeks…”
Posted by Thunder on March 20th, 2001 @ 9:13 a.m.
Those are the words of Mike “Archangel” McCart folks — I’m not making it up, honest! The Ensemble Studios Media Relations dude was making a test post using their lovely news posting script, as they’ve been doing some server juggling, and added in some questions from the mailbag. The one at the very end leapt out and screamed:

Fan Question: I’ll try for short-and-sweet. age of kings was worth waiting for, as was the conquerors xpansion, however i have only criticism; i love the castles, but was disappointed to see no moat-making facility or siege weapons to overcome them. that’s it. you guys did a great job and i can’t wait for the next era of AoK, when is that out, by-the-way? can you post details on the site, thanks.

Archangel Answer: Thanks. You will find RTS III information in a few weeks on our website (and in other Media).”

Source – ES News

The “and in other Media” bit could mean any number of things, such as printed magazines, gaming sites, or fansites, so do keep your eyes peeled in the weeks and month ahead. We’ll be doing our best to give you all the heads up when any information is released.

One mailbag question was asking about information on the AoE card game as well. The best, and as far as I know the only, fansite devoted to the card game can be found here: …ok truthfully, the answer didn’t leap up and scream, I did… ; )

The Battle Is Over…
Posted by Thunder on March 19th, 2001 @ 11:15 p.m.
The little site that could has closed its doors. The staff at AOK Battlefield have sent word that they are retreating and calling it a day. They recently have had domain name problems, and before that, yearly hosting problems.

The site was certainly a cornerstone in many Ager lives for some years, including my own as I worked there for a year and a half or so. The current staff did a great job of keeping the site going despite the problems that seemed to plague it from the beginning.

Our friends at the Battlefield, best wishes on whatever new heights you set your sights on. … ; \

Planet AoE Tournament!
Posted by Thunder on March 19th, 2001 @ 12:38 a.m.
Sign ups are underway in Planet AoE‘s latest tournament, the Path of the Conqueror! The winner will be taking home $350 in US coin, some pretty hefty change indeed. The tournament is a 1 on 1 random map set up, with the Koreans being verboten, and or banned:

“All players from this site and all around the community are welcome to enter and players of all skill levels for that matter. Novices will get a chance to play better players and possibly capture a big upset and experts will find a nice bag of prizes, including $500, and a extremely smoothly running tournament. Sign up now at the link below. If you’re not a forum member of PAOE, you’ll have to register first and wait a few hours for your name to be added to the member database.

Sign up for the 1v1 Path of the Conqueror RM Tournament

Source – Planet AoE

The top four finishers will be awarded cash prizes and ES Behind the Scenes DVDs. For more details on the settings and tourney format, hop a drop ship and head to the planet. …I think they had some brief server troubles at PAOE a few hours back but everything seems to be rough and ready now for sign ups! ; )

Tavern: Forum Party Wrap Up…
Posted by Thunder on March 19th, 2001 @ 2:06 a.m.
Nurse your bruises with a pint at the AOKH Tavern. There’s some war stories and a few pictures from yesterday’s forum party posted there, as well as the chance to share your tale of glory or defeat! See ya’ll again next week. …hopefully we’ll all be in better shape, no more St.Patrick’s partying for another year… ; )

News ES Map: Paradise Island…
Posted by Thunder on March 18th, 2001 @ 10:53 a.m.
The Ensemble Studios gang have released another random map script in their ever growing collection! The latest sounds a little like a Yucatan island, judge for yourself:

“The Paradise Island Random Map creates a large island with a broad beach. In the center of the island is a small lake, and in the center of that lake is a tiny island with a mountain, some Relics, and some Jaguar guardians. Silent stone heads lie buried in the undergrowth–remnants of some past civilization that couldn’t resolve their differences with their neighbors either. There is abundant food in paradise–plenty of berry bushes, boar and a sea full of fish. The food on the map creates one of the most striking changes in gameplay, because going up through the first few ages is easy, but gold starts to become limiting later on (then again, there are all those Relics in the middle…).”

Source – ES Random Map Downloads

Alas, it would have been a great map to try out at our forum party, but there is always next week. Download the new map and take it for a spin, you’ll need to practice up for our next party. …the answers to our Ager Quiz have been posted…thanks to Cherub Enrique Ordunno and Angel Washizu for helping provide the challenging questions and answers! ; )

Quiz Winners List!
Posted by Thunder on March 18th, 2001 @ 4:04 a.m.
At last all of the entries in our Ager Quiz have been marked and the prizes have been divided up! The top scorers got to have first choice of course, and there were just two entrants who managed to get all twenty questions correct. Chubby Fingers and Daniel T. each got 100% on their quiz and had first choice of the prizes! Ryan M. was ever so close to perfection, getting a very respectable nineteen questions correct.

The average score for the quiz was about 12.8 out of 20. Look for the answers to be posted on the quiz page later tonight so you can see how you did.

Now here’s our winners list! So I don’t have to chase you all down, if you’re listed as a winner, please send me your mailing address so we can send out your prize as soon as possible. If you don’t, I’ll be in touch with you as soon as I can:

  • Behind the Scenes at ES DVD –Chubby Fingers
  • Behind the Scenes at ES DVD –Daniel T.
  • Behind the Scenes at ES DVD –Yan L.
  • More Music From the Ages CD –Frederick L.
  • More Music From the Ages CD –feedback
  • More Music From the Ages CD –Undead99
  • Ensemble Studios Hat –Albert L.
  • Ensemble Studios Hat –Matthias
  • Ensemble Studios Shirt –Mithras (medium)
  • Ensemble Studios Shirt –Hal (medium)
  • Ensemble Studios Shirt –Benjamin S. (medium)
  • Ensemble Studios Shirt – Raynelle H. (small)
  • Ensemble Studios Shirt – Chris U. (small)
  • Age of Empires 2 Shirt –Ryan M.
  • Age of Empires 2 Shirt –Zanzard Lothar

Congratulations to all our winners! If you scored 13 or better you were in a draw for the last remaining T-shirt, as all the DVDs and CDs went to those with the best scores if they so desired. We’ll be sending out your prizes as soon as possible! …old man Washizu really came up with some tough questions from the dark ages…of age… ; )

Rolfe Turns Two!
Posted by Thunder on March 18th, 2001 @ 3:41 a.m.
Our hearty congratulations to all members of the Rolfe Clan which is celebrating its second birthday this weekend! Not many clans remain in tact with as much success as you guys have, especially one founded by brothers. Drop in on their clan site if you get a chance, it’s pretty snazzy. …my brother Lightning and I don’t get along nearly as well… ; )

Flurry Of Zone Tournaments…
Posted by Thunder on March 17th, 2001 @ 12:09 a.m.
The folks at the Zone are organizing quite a number of tournaments! I can’t remember them going this tournament heavy for any of the other Age games. Could they be gearing up for a big world wide tournament? The recent addition of their global tournament system would lend support to that. You can be one of the first to test it out on March 24, providing of course that you’re German.

In addition, this Wednesday the 21st will see another RM tournament for folks in the US and Canada. Not only that, tomorrow there’s a 2 on 2 arabia DM event! Grab a partner and head to the Zone Tournament Page for the goods on all of the above. …Happy St.Patrick’s Day to one and all…for goodness sake don’t over dose on the green food colouring…Guinness is best left black anyway… ; )

Forum Party Tomorrow!
Posted by Thunder on March 16th, 2001 @ 11:33 p.m.
The latest news echoing through the AOKH Tavern is a call to arms. Drop in for the details on the forum gathering tomorrow and see ya there! …wearing of the green is optional… ; )

Campaign Contest Finalists!
Posted by Thunder on March 16th, 2001 @ 8:55 p.m.
The judging in our Destiny of a Dynasty campaign contest is ongoing, but Angel Rasher announced that two finalists have been decided! With about 4-5 campaigns still being reviewed at the moment, this list of finalists is expected to grow:

“As promised, I will be keeping you up-to-date on the judging process as soon as any info becomes available. Well, now that the reviewing process is nearing completion, there have been two entries that have qualified for a spot in the finals! Without further ado, the finalists that have been announced thus far are:

Three emperors and two dinasties, by Andres_age
Glory of the Tang, by Stan (aka The Conquistador)”
-Angel Rasher

Our Forum: First Two Finalists Announced!

Congrats to both of these designers! Stay tuned for more on the finalists and eventually the winner. …and best of luck to Rasher in the hockey championship…in the words of Don Cherry, “He’s a good Canadian kid.” ; )

Ager Quiz: Results Pending!
Posted by Thunder on March 16th, 2001 @ 7:49 a.m.
Thanks to everyone who entered our Ager Quiz this week! The deadline has passed this evening, so we will not be accepting anymore entries.

I’m sure you’re all anxiously awaiting the winners list, and the correct answers if you were really puzzled. Saturday will be the day for the announcements regarding the fifteen winners, and the answers will be shared with all then as well. It may be later on Saturday as I’ll likely take a break from going over the forty or so entries to get beat up in a forum party game or two. …hard to believe some people failed…ach! ; )

Star Wars Preview!
Posted by Thunder on March 16th, 2001 @ 3:27 a.m.
Right off the bat here, this is not Star Wars: Battleground. This Mod for Age of Kings, aptly titled Star Wars Modpack, being worked on by our own Angel AoErat was the subject of a recent post in the forums. AoErat gave us a brief progress report, but also a batch of new screenshots that’ll knock your socks off:

“Tell me what you think. Feel free to ask questions.

Some facts:

– This modpack will replace around 10-15 units.
– A couple buildings and terrain.
– New sounds.
– A full set of campaigns and multiplayer scenarios.
– And lots more
-Angel AoErat

Source – Star Wars Modpack – Preview

Eat your hearts out LucasArts! This particular Mod has been in the works for quite a long time, a real labour of love I am sure. Be sure to check out the progress. …for SW:B fans, this will help to pass the time until it’s release this fall… ; )

Zone’s Global Tournament System!
Posted by Thunder on March 15th, 2001 @ 8:45 p.m.
Hey! A Zone tournament that isn’t limited to players from the US or Canada? Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of these in the future, depending on how the first run of their global tournament system goes. The test run is only open to German players and will take place tomorrow, March 16.

Wednesday March 21, they will be holding another tournament, a 1 on 1 RM affair. This one is for US & Canada residents only, and as always, be sure to read the fine print.

To sign up for either of these events, head to the Zone Tournaments page. Good luck all! …about time! ; )

Ager Quiz: Time Remaining…
Posted by Thunder on March 15th, 2001 @ 4:27 a.m.
For all those of you who are planning on entering the Ager Quiz, for a chance to win some cool prizes, take note that the deadline is just a little over twenty-four hours away. If you’re having troubles finding some of the answers, I suggest you try the AoE Heaven and Ensemble Studios websites. The archives at AoEH are pretty extensive to say the least.

The official deadline is 11:59pm EST on March 15, so make sure you’ve sent in your entry no later than that! …I haven’t been keeping up with marking them…it will be interesting to see if anyone gets 100%… ; )

Gamestock 2001…
Posted by Thunder on March 14th, 2001 @ 11:37 a.m.
In past years Gamestock was big news for us Agers. It is the event where the Microsoft Games people give the press a look a their new titles. As this year there is no Age game being shown it’s a bit of a downer, but drop in a take a peak at their game line-up, some of which will be on the shelves for the holidays. Dungeon Siege is looking even more marvelous, if that’s possible, and we’ve had a peak at some titles for the Xbox. Check out the Gamestock site for the latest! …Mechcommander 2 LOOKS good…but man the recent games in that series haven’t been so good…I’ve returned them all for one reason or another… ; \

Lights, Camera, Sandyman…
Posted by Thunder on March 13th, 2001 @ 9:34 p.m.
A little of the Sandyman to brighten your day? Sandy “Sandyman” Petersen, designer with ES, has taken some time to drop in on our forums to answer questions. He obviously can’t answer all of them, he’s got to work sometime, but we appreciate him dropping in to do what he can. Mike “Captn” Kidd has also popped in today to give his two cents on skirmishers, an interesting post with an economic minded responce from GUNS_N_ROSES. Here’s a bit from Sandy:

“Q) Which angle of view (the angle, from which the player looks onto the map) is more fun or more useful to play: a movable one or a steady one (where the “camera” all the time uses the same angle)?

A) The underlying situation is that if you REQUIRE a player to move the camera angle to play the game, this means that sometimes things are concealed behind trees, woods, etc., which means that players won’t know when to shift the camera angle in the first place, so they can see missing stuff. To ensure they’re not surprised they’ll be forced to constantly move camera angles. Personally, I’d prefer to have it at least be possible to play a 3-D strategy game without ever moving the camera eye.” -Sandy Petersen

Source – Sandy Answers Your Questions

Drop in and see what else Sandy has to say. He’s commented on system specs for RTS3, or lack thereof, and all sorts of other stuff. where’s my pants… ; )

Gamers Talking To Kaiser_Willhelm…
Posted by Thunder on March 13th, 2001 @ 7:46 p.m.
A new interview has been posted at with one of the top AoK players in the world. Kaiser_Willhelm has a chat with a couple fellas about civs, flushing, and the like. Drop in and check out the interview with the Kaiser. …I think his middle name is flush… ; )

gOf Moves In…
Posted by Thunder on March 13th, 2001 @ 7:29 p.m.
We received a grumpy note from a certain Grumpy Old Fart announcing that their forums have moved to some new heavenly digs. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

“gOf forums go to Heaven!

No, they’re not dead, we have just relocated to new
premises at It is fitting that we
should return here, just over a year after our
conception at Age of Kings Heaven. Please join us
there for some (hopefully) good discussion.

To post in our new forums, use the link from our
homepage at or go directly to

Hope to cya around -gOf_Elethiomel

Well, things just got a whole lot more pungent around here. If you were wondering what that smell was, now you know. …welcome to ya gOfs… ; )

New Contest: 10-4!
Posted by Thunder on March 13th, 2001 @ 11:54 a.m.
Roger that. TS_Arkon sent along word that the french site Le Temple Des Strateges is hosting contest that challenges players to gather an army of 10 paladins and 4 trebuchets as quickly as possible. That limits your civilization options just a wee bit, but could be pretty interesting. If you think you’re up to the task, click here for the complete details.

Tavern: Party Time Poll…
Posted by Thunder on March 13th, 2001 @ 11:13 a.m.
I know some folks out there aren’t happy with the current times that kick off our Saturday forum parties. It’s tough to accommodate everybody, as this global village is pretty big. If you are looking for change in the existing party times, or the addition of a new one, check out the Tavern for the goods on how you can voice your ideas on the subject. …can’t please everybody, but we can try… ; )

ES Invades 15th Floor!
Posted by Thunder on March 12th, 2001 @ 10:42 p.m.

With all of the hiring that’s been going on at Ensemble Studios, things must have been getting a little bit cramped. Their new office space is almost complete and Mike “Archangel” McCart has taken quite a few pictures to share with us on the news page. There’s offices, funky lighting, a bar, and perhaps some two way glass? Perhaps one of the most interesting pictures is of their new Usability Lab, but makes sure you stop in on their news page to check out all the new pics of their pad. …perhaps some lucky Dallas area people will be invited in to help test things out… ; )

Contest Catch Up!
Posted by Thunder on March 12th, 2001 @ 9:10 p.m.
We’ve got a couple of contests running at the moment with deadlines coming up fast.

The Ager Quiz deadline is coming up on Thursday, the 15th, at 11:59pm EST. I’ve looked at about half of the entries so far, and there has yet to be an entry with a perfect score. A few have come close, but there’s still room for you to guaruntee yourself a prize!

Another deadline that is coming up quick is for the The Life Of Khan:History Essay Contest, being run by Cherub_Dimitrios. Get your entries in no later than March 19th for that one!

Finally, Angel Bingmann will be holding another event in the AI Tournament League starting on March 26. Make sure you pop in for all of the details on that event, and stay tuned for the results! …winners for the Ager Quiz will hopefully be announced on Friday… ; )

Tavern: New Section Hot Off The Press…
Posted by Thunder on March 12th, 2001 @ 8:56 p.m.
With Angel Chris back from his trip, the AOKH Tavern is once again the hotspot to find the latest on forum happennings. In addtion to weird stuff and party stuff, a new section just added today will keep us up to date on the daily craziness in the OD forum. Grab a pint, and stop in on the Tavern for the new section introduction. …a fitting place to hide out I thought…filler-up Chris… ; )

Bits From The Blacksmith…
Posted by Thunder on March 12th, 2001 @ 1:59 a.m.
The latest update in our Blacksmith, home of all sorts of scenarios and campaigns, gives us the goods on some of the latest addtions to that section. Drop in and check out work by Angel Tyrael as well as Lighthouse Creations, which are bound to be fine works. Angel Rasher also gives us an update on the judging of our Destiny of a Dynasty campaign contest, all this and more in the Blacksmith. …I wonder if the Red Sea actually parts in that Moses campaign…only one way to find out… ; )

GDC Prep & Sea Of Japan Map!
Posted by Thunder on March 11th, 2001 @ 8:38 p.m.
The Game Developers Conference is coming up fast and the gang at Ensemble Studios are preparing to be in the thick of things. This conference is for game developers to share ideas, rub elbows, and the like. Here’s the goings on at the ES building from Mike “Archangel” McCart:

“Real busy around ENSEMBLE these days. We are very close to outting the finishing touchs to our additional new office spaces on the 15th floor. Just about the same look and feel of our spaces on the 16th, and this floor also includes a 16 player play center (Testing Center/MP). Another cafe, more conference rooms and War rooms. Of course some cool artist working rooms and offices. We see if I can get some pictures to share with everyone this week.

The team is also gearing up for GDC. As always, ENSEMBLE will be out in force with 41 or so of the team there. The rest of the folks will stay in Dallas to keep us on track with our current projects. If all goes well, I hope to at least bring you some pictures from GDC.

Royster [Roy Rabey] is putting the final touches on the new ESWEB server, we hope to have the time to transfer our web files and test this week. The server is faster and should serve up the ES webpages a wee bit better.”

Source – ES News

In addition to all those goings ons, the Sea of Japan edged out the Norse Lands in the poll to decide which real world map would be posted for download this week. While you’re dropping in to pick it up, vote to decide next week’s download! …not to influence voting or anything *cough* FRANCE *cough*…pardonez moi ; )

MFO Team Tourney Results!
Posted by Thunder on March 11th, 2001 @ 8:22 p.m.
The dust has settled and the winners have walked away with their pockets loaded with loot! The AoK Command Center team tournies for both RM and DM were played out yesterday and you can check out the results for both, including recorded games! There were few surprizes in the RM event with the #1 and #2 seeded teams meeting in the finals, but things went a little different on the DM side of things. Congrats to the winners! Stay tuned for news of next months tournament.

RM Results
DM Results

Forum Party Wrap Up…
Posted by Thunder on March 11th, 2001 @ 8:14 p.m.
As is the case for many of us at times, I didn’t have time for many games, which was probably for the best. I played in a pair of games and was trounced in both of the standard RM games, despite the efforts of some strong team mates.

It seems that IClan_Flamingo had the game of his life yesterday though. His war story starts off with, “I had the best shimo game yesterday!“. He was playing with some forum heavy weights and recounts the brutal shimo slaughter in all it’s glory. Read or share your forum party stories here in the forum party thread, and see you all next week! …I’ll bring my trouncing stick… ; )

Contest: Ager Quiz!
Posted by Thunder on March 11th, 2001 @ 4:01 a.m.
As was announced at our forum parties this evening, there’s a brand new contest here in Heaven that celebrates the Age of Empires series and the Ager community! The Ager Quiz is a collection of twenty questions about the Age of Empires series, its developer Ensemble Studios, and also our sites dedicated to these games. If you’re a long time Ager, the quiz may be pretty easy, but if you’re new to the community, many of the answers can be found online and in the games!

There’s some nifty prizes up for grabs, some you may expect like ES t-shirts, but one we’ve never given out before. There’s three DVDs available that contain the ES Behind the Scenes Video in all it’s uncompressed glory! Imagine the quality with which you’ll be able to scan the artwork on the walls. I have to imagine, as I don’t have one! Get yours by taking the Ager Quiz. In addition, there’s also a few More Music From The Ages CDs, which are getting harder to find.

The deadline for entries is Thursday, which gives you some time to do research. Good luck all! …brings back some of that early Age nostalgia… ; )

Psychology in the University
Posted by Socvazius on March 11th, 2001 @ 0:00 a.m.
I, Angel Socrateius, have rewritten my old Psychological Manipulative Techniques article. The old article received several complements, so I felt that it deserved a rewriting.

  • Psychological Tactics II (By Angel Socrateius)

    The new version has a few new tactics to mess with your opponent’s head, plus the old tactics were rewritten and a few things were added in order to make them more easily understood.

  • AOKB Where Are You?
    Posted by Washizu on March 10th, 2001 @ 0:45 a.m.
    Almost immediately after asking this question publicly, AOKB newsie “the_freak” responded by saying it was a domain name problem. BravenIrish is the owner of the domain, and he hasn’t been reachable. If you are reading this Braven, give Rookev and the_freak a call!

    Until then, the_freak has informed me that the site can be reached using the IP address, although their forums are unusable:

    4 Million 🙂
    Posted by Washizu on March 10th, 2001 @ 0:15 a.m.
    Well, I guess in my feverish studying for exams I somehow missed the 4 million mark on our counter. It’s been a great ride and it seems like it wasn’t even that long ago we passed 3 million. In case you were wondering how exactly our counter works, it counts each IP address once per day, so if you check this page more than once per day, it will only count you once unless you visit with a seperate IP address. This site has come a long way since it was started so many years back.

    Thanks to everyone who makes this site what it is. We have a great staff here at AOKH, and we hope our readers enjoy the site as much as we do.

    Unfortunately, in the past I decided to do away with screen shot contests to determine who was the 4 millionth visitor. Photoshop pretty much kills the validity of anything submitted, and every time we held a contest like that, we’d get doctored shots. Make sure you stop by our forum party tomorrow, as I’m sure Angel Thunder will make it a great event. Sadly, I’m going home tomorrow, and will be gone for a week, so I won’t make the party.

    See you on the battlefield.

    btw, does anyone know why AOKB is down?

    Forum Parties Tomorrow…
    Posted by Thunder on March 9th, 2001 @ 11:02 p.m.

    Aside from the usual battles and fun at our Saturday forum parties, this week we’ll be revealing a new contest there as well! The address of the contest page will be posted for those attending the forum parties, and then later on that evening here on the news for everybody.

    The details on the forum parties are the same as ever…

    Where: in the Agincourt lobby on the Zone

    When: Saturday the 10th
    Party One Starts at 4pm EST (1pm PST, 9pm GMT)
    Party Two Starts at 9pm EST (6pm PST, 2am GMT)

    The forum party thread is here. Due drop in and make a few battle plans! …MIA, Chooch! ; )

    A Visit From The Sandyman…
    Posted by Thunder on March 9th, 2001 @ 8:42 p.m.
    One of the game designers from Ensemble Studios, Sandy “Sandyman” Petersen, has stopped in to answer some questions today. Many thanks to Sandy for dropping by and leaving us with a few gems such as:

    “Q) is the concept of experience being introduced at some point in ES’s RTS games?
    A) I hope not. I’ve never ever seen it implemented in a way that I thought was fun.

    Q) In RTS3 will I be able to select a unit and see from its perspective? Similar to RPGs or FPS.
    A) While any 3D engine permits this ability in theory, I really strongly doubt it. There’s just no utility to it. If anything, it’s detrimental to the player in an RTS game.

    Q) What’s going on in Duncan McKissick’s office right now?
    A) A dreadful fetid odor is seeping out from behind the closed door, accompanied by loud rhythmic thumping noises, moans of pain, and flashes of green light that eerily resemble that spooky glow from underneath the bottom step of escalators. Duncan has told us in the past not to intrude when he’s having one of these ‘sessions’, and we’re happy to oblige.”

    Source – Our Forum: Sandy Answers Your Questions

    Duncan is either into a FPS game or…well let’s not go there. Duncan McKissick is one of the Studios artists, and I think the Art Lead on RTS3, although I’m not 100% sure of that. I am 100% sure though that you can drop in on Sandy’s thread and ask him a question or two. TGIF mania hits the forums… ; )

    The Gauntlets Have Been Dropped At MFO…
    Posted by Thunder on March 9th, 2001 @ 8:05 p.m.
    Here’s the latest heads up from Mr.Fixit on the battles being waged over at Although we’ll be on the sidelines for some of these events, we can still have those instant replays in the form of recorded games:

    “Watch as 112 of the top Age of Kings DeathMatch players in the world duke it out to be the DM Grand Champion.
    Current stars and some “older” stars are in the list as well as some wildcards, should be very interesting.
    Player lists, seedings, and official brackets are online here.

    The Clash of Titans – UK and Ireland expert-only tournament has begun.
    Watch the invited 32 experts duke it out to see who is the best in
    UK and Ireland. All games will be available for download as well!
    Player lists, seedings, a forum, and official brackets are online here.

    Congrats to the winner of our DM 1v1 Blast tournamnet: TheSithGoat. AOKcc is now running several events on a weekly basis!” -Mr.Fixit

    Not to be forgotten in all of this event news is their team tournaments which will be getting underway tomorrow! You’ll find links to those under our events/contest listing to the right. …SithGoat…so that’s what Darth Maul was… ; )

    Thank You Lords And Ladies…
    Posted by Thunder on March 9th, 2001 @ 10:48 a.m.
    It’s been a few years in the works, but we’ve now had over 4 million visitors pass through our pearly gates here at AoK Heaven. A big thank you to all of those who’ve particpated, contributed, and been apart of this little corner of the Ager community.

    As a newer face on the staff here I’ll leave have to leave the mushy tribute and sob filled speech to one of the veteran staffers. I’m sure Angel Washizu has one of those up his sleeve somewhere. ; )

    There will more than likely be a special event in the near future to help celebrate the past and present of the site and Age of Empires, something that long time Heaven visitors may get a real kick out of. …age has its benefits…my 4 millionth pun ; )

    DM Events…
    Posted by Thunder on March 8th, 2001 @ 10:23 p.m.
    The recent DM tourney held on the Zone had nearly 500 registered players, and seems to have gone over well. PlatinKing defeated a certain _UnKnOwN_xpert in the finals to take home the crown. You can check out the results from the tourney right here.

    It also appears that the MFO folks are holding a 1 on 1 DM event this very evening. Here‘s the details on this all arabia bloodbath. Their DM Grand Champion event is now underway, one to keep an eye on for great clashes by expert DMers! …for those with a hankering for Star Wars: Battlegrounds info, you may want to check out the PC Gamer mag…as noted in this post by w_h_i_t_e_kid… ; )

    Evil Avatar Starts Subscription Program
    Posted by Washizu on March 8th, 2001 @ 8:53 a.m.
    You will still be able to read Evil Avatar for free, but if you appreciate EA and would like to support it, you can buy a yearly subscription for $20. Here is what you get:

    Subscribers will immediately gain an “Elite Avatar” title in the forums. They will be automatically entered in monthly contests for non-shitty prizes. They will receive non-shitty discounts on EA merchandise. Best of all – if enough people subscribe – thanks to some fancy cookie action, in the near future subscribers will not have ANY ads on their pages – their dollars will have blown them away.

    Banner ads are simply not paying enough for anyone these days, and EA definitely has my respect for giving something like this a try. I hope they make a pile of money so huge they can swim in it like Scrooge McDuck.

    I have a few questions for our audience. Would you support your favorite fan sites with a small yearly payment? It might not necessarily be this site, but in general. I can think of a few that I would certainly pay to see updated more often (Old Man Murray comes to mind). For more info on Evil Avatar’s subscription program, head here.

    Ever Been Ashamed of Your Hobby?
    Posted by Washizu on March 7th, 2001 @ 7:31 p.m.
    Vidguy sent me an interesting rant from game-revolution about how game developers, game critics, and gamers themselves get the old “raised eyebrow” from the rest of society. This was my favorite line from the article:

    N’Sync sells 5 million copies of a CD, and they become super-mondo-hypa-mega-stars I can’t have killed no matter how hard I try (they can’t prove a thing…legally). Meanwhile, Gran Turismo sells 10 million CDs at twice the price, and it doesn’t get a ten second sound byte on the local evening news.

    In my opinion, this happens because unlike the movie and film industries, the game industry is not lead by good looking, stylish people. It is lead, however, by extremely smart people. Maybe that tells us something about why games aren’t as accepted. It’s possible that we wouldn’t really enjoy a world where games are as acceptable as the latest movie or have grammy-esque award shows on TV with John Carmack and Dennis Rodman presenting awards together. How would this change our games?

    Sandy’s Answers
    Posted by Washizu on March 7th, 2001 @ 7:12 p.m.
    AOK designer Sandy Petersen continues to answer your questions in his “Ask Sandy” thread. Topics range from evolution to what age he thinks the average RTS gamer is (I guess I am exactly average):

    Q) is there gonna be more unique units in rts3?
    A) Kind of. Not in the way you’re thinking.

    Pretty interesting. It seems logical that ES will go for a more StarCraft feel for the civs. No, not space warfare, but rather having more significant differences between the civs, rather than just different bonuses, tech trees, etc.

    Q) what do you think the average age of an rts fan is?
    A) 22

    Q) Do you approve or disapprove of us making modpacks?
    A) Me personally? I wish there were more.

    Q) I’ve started using the new garrisoning rams feature, and noticed that each ram holds only four infantry rather than five. that’s kind of annoying ’cause I build my army squads in groups of 10. any reason why the rams shouldn’t hold 5 infantry?
    A) So one can act as a guard?

    It’s kind of like hot dogs & hot dog buns, eh? Anyway, on to solutions – (1) build rams in groups of 5. Then your army squads will divide evenly into them. (2) build siege rams, you’ll find that each ram then holds 6 infantry.

    Q) what do you think of as the future of turn-based computer gameplay?
    A) I think it’s doomed.

    Q) Do you think there’s any future in the gaming indudstry for Java or do I really need to learn C++ if I want to become a game programmer?
    A) Beats me. No one at any company I’ve worked at knew only Java, though.

    Q) Is there gonna be more formations in rts3? will there be more ferious animals in rts3?
    A) The reply to both is “if they’re fun”.

    Q) Will the graphics be like Brave Heart the cpu game?
    A) RTS3 looks nothing like Braveheart.

    Q) What is your favorite unit out of aoe,ror,aok,aoc?
    A) Alligator.

    Q) What is Nemesis?
    A) ES’s second project, due for release some time after RTS3, and NOT an RTS.

    Q) Do the frame rate lowers down when there are many units in the screen?
    A) Of course. Duh. RTS3 has to obey the laws of physics.

    Q) how much does RTS3 slow when u have a standart 3d card? Do RTS3 requires a 3D card? Or it has software rendering as well?
    A) A lot of these questions aren’t answered yet – the game is in a very preliminary stage. The code is not optimized or cleaned up at all. The ultimate plan is for the game to be playable by as large an audience as possible, as with our other games.

    Q) Does the samurai unit commit suicide just before it dies?
    A) Only if he’s in danger of being captured.>

    Whew! I fit in two seperate posts from Sandy, but there was a lot of stuff I left out. If you have a burning question for him, ask away.

    Song Title Saga Winners!
    Posted by Thunder on March 7th, 2001 @ 9:33 a.m.
    The winners of Stephen “Big Al” Rippy‘s spontaneous contest have been announced! Agers were challenged to come up with a fascinating and or funny tale behind the name of “Flavor Cats (In the Comfort Zone.)” which is the title of a tune for RTS3:

    “I am now calling the contest officially over – a little late, but I was running errands.

    Thanks for your entries. I had quite a good laugh – I won’t tell you which bits are close to the truth.

    Time for the winner…(ahem)…

    Kingkerry, Vertigo, David, TheToph, Zanzard Lothar, CC Honochio, and ShinDock all tie for first place and will receive signed copies of both ‘Music From the Ages’ CDs.” -Stephen Rippy

    Source – Our Forums: Where can I get the CD…

    There were some pretty tall tales indeed! Congratulations to all of the lucky winners, and drop in on the thread to check out the clever and inspired entries. If ya’ll thought that was a whacky title for a song, check out the play list on those Music from the Ages CDs that are coming at you. …thanks to Zanzard Lothar for the note regarding the winners… ; )

    Tonto Has A Birthday…
    Posted by Thunder on March 7th, 2001 @ 7:15 a.m.
    The famed Tonto Clan is having a party to celebrate their first full year in existence! Join them on the Zone Saturday, March 31st for a speech, some games, some chat, and more fun:

    “Hey everyone, Tontos, gOfs, AOKHers, everyone else! Sorry if this message sounds a little impersonal, because the same copy is being posted in many different forums.

    Tonto Clan is having a birthday party to celebrate the first anniversary of our existence. The actual date is on March 11, but the party will be held on Saturday, March 31 at 7:00 PST (that’s 10:00 EST). It will be a slightly late birthday.” -Tonto_Samurai

    Source – Our Forums: Important — Please Read!

    Congrats to all the Tontos on this major milestone! Few groups have every had such a large positive impact in our forums and the community. Check out the source link above for the full invitation, and remember to bring your pointy party hat. …thanks to Tonto_Isbla for the link to Tonto’s forums… ; )

    Tourney Talk!
    Posted by Thunder on March 6th, 2001 @ 9:25 p.m.
    For Deathmatch fans, the Zone DM Tourney gets underway this very evening. Make sure you are signed up before 4pm PST (7pm EST) today and are around during that time for check-ins. Good luck everybody!

    We can also expect some tournament news from Planet AoE in the not too distant future as Xiphoid has a bundle of prize money burning a hole in his pocket! …just to add to the mix, I think we may have an Age contest for the end of the week… ; )

    This Little Angel Went To Market…
    Posted by Thunder on March 6th, 2001 @ 3:49 a.m.
    You’ll now find the fourth installment in Angel Alexander I‘s article on markets and all things related at HeavenGames Main. There’s another healthy dose of great photographs as he investigates more of the foods you can find for sale, including those you may encounter when you are pinching your pennies.

    Alexander seems to have had another run in with Dark Angel who’s made another prediction on just when that new HG site will be coming online. Drop in for the latest gossip! ….lots of new strategy games coming out…wonder which one this new site will cover… ; )

    Talkin’ RTS At GameSpot…
    Posted by Thunder on March 5th, 2001 @ 10:33 a.m.
    The GameSpot editors seem to be eating and sleeping real time strategy games of late. To go along with part one of their History of RTS Games, their head honchos are discussing what makes their fav RTS games truly great. You can find their varying opinions here in their Question of the Week. You also have the chance to write in to their team and give them your two cents, so let em have it! …for me it’s the same thing I look for in every game, replayability…have to get my moneys worth… ; )

    MFO & ES Team Up For Team Tourney!
    Posted by Thunder on March 5th, 2001 @ 8:31 a.m.
    Another new partnership for Ensemble Studios as they team up with the Aok Command Center to present a team RM and team DM tournament! There’s cash prizes up for grabs in these 2 on 2 events that will get underway in just a few days. This announcement comes courtesy of Mr.Fixit, chief handyman at MFO:

    “AOKcc TEAM LADDER has kicked off a Team Ladder for both Random Match and DeathMatch play. Dominating the RM ladder is a team called “Noryang” with mega-experts such as Koven, Mozory, RD_Chamption, Jinx, Grunt, Anycall, and Seri. They are 27-0! (Yikes). There just might not be any team on the planet who can challenge these guys. In an unusual move, the always-interesting Sam_Deathwalker has *hired* his DM ladder team – “SDW’s Professional Mercenaries” – they started with 14-0 streak, but had a recent surprising loss to [pG|DM] who *also* had a recent loss to Dizaaaamn! (who’s only loss was SWD’s team – lol) – making things at the top very interesting

    Players of all levels can play in the team ladders – join us in the Zone ladder rooms! Teams of sizes 2 to 20 can play in this open schedule event.

    AOK Random Match Team Ladder tournament (3/10/2001 1:00 PM EST):
    2on2 RM Info

    AOK DeathMatch Team Ladder tournament (3/10/2001 2:00 PM EST):
    2on2 DM Info


    Our first monthly tourney will happen next Saturday (3/10/2001) at 1 PM. With $500 in prize money,

    **sponsored by Ensemble Studios!!**, we hope to have a great time in this competition. Look for monthly tourneys in our team ladder. We are running both a Random Match and DeathMatch tourney.
    Many thanks to Ensemble for sponsoring our very first Team Ladder Tourney!”

    Check out the information links above to find out how to sign up, more about prizes, and how to get involved! Of course, there’s always lots going on at, here’s a run down:


    – Check out the Mongol Power Flush by Raven989. This detailed article includes step by step strategies and recorded games to show you how powerful this Mongol Feudal Age attack can be!

    – HOTKEYS – check out a detailed article on maximizing your hotkeys. With several example, you can easily configure your keyboard to only use one hand and sharpen your skills.

    – NoX releases a GRUSH build order. Including demo games, this shows some awesome AOK Feudal water warfare action.

    – The AOKcc “Mapster” team has been busy with 26 custom maps as well as another 168 (yes, 168) maps by AOKcc fans – that should keep you busy for a while


    Similar to our RM CoT, ran last year, AOKcc will be running a tourney to decide who is the best DM player on the planet. Unlike last year, this tourney has open enrollment – so stop by if you think you got what it takes to compete.


    With over 11,500 games now, AOKcc keeps up the Spotlight action where you can find the best of the best quickly. Check out top DM experts MaJoR_|Y|urder and Elfanor duke it out, see 2v2 DM action with MaLiCiOuS vs Elfanor/astro (with a long game review), and the highlight of the month: team ladder action between Dei and StorM (the top 2 teams in the ladder at the time) – can you lose sea, get landed, and be behind in a wonder and WIN? It is a close call down the the very end – really exciting game.


    – Congrats to winners of the second MFO Blind Date tourney: gOf_Alexander / LaeHM_Nike. Another fun tourney with expert smurfs.
    – Congrats to the winners of MFO SMACKDOWN ~5! AoW_Coors/_Iketh_ Runners up: DjiNN_IsTheBest/ZeN_WiseOldMonk”

    Now let that all sink in for a brief moment as there’s always more where that came from. Best of luck to all those who take part in the 2 on 2 tourney this month, and as they always say, one good flush deserves another.

    For those of you in that tournament frame of mind, there’s a DM tournament taking place on the Zone tomorrow. Make sure you’ve signed yourself up and are ready to rumble! …I go into school on a Sunday and all hell breaks loose…well, at least there wasn’t another earthquake here… ; )

    AOK:TC Wins PC Gamer Award
    Posted by Washizu on March 5th, 2001 @ 0:46 a.m.
    In the March issue of PC Gamer, Age of Kings: The Conquerors was named “Best Expansion Pack” beating out Halflife’s Counter-Strike and The Sim’s Livin Large.

    Thanks to AznKnightmare for pointing this out. Here’s a scanned image of AOK:TC’s award.

    maimin_matty Does Paris
    Posted by Washizu on March 4th, 2001 @ 9:10 p.m.
    Age legend Matt “maimin_matty” Scadding recently took a trip to France for a little bit of sightseeing, a bit of gaming, and a lot of bellydancing!

    AF stands for Alliance Francophone. This was perhaps one of, if not the, largest Age of Empires clans in the world. At one point there were more then 250 members! Unfortunately, part of being a clan with 250 people makes organization difficult. So from the Alliance Francophone many smaller clans were created, among these is a clan by the name of the Paladins. These are a group of people dedicated to keeping their group small and trying to meet together in events around Europe. It is this special group of people, who extended an invitation to me to travel to France, meet them, talk with them and play with them.

    First a multi billion dollar corporation showed me a little love. Then a wealthy Arabian prince flew me to his palace. Now, a small group of French players have pooled their money together and flown me to Paris, France!

    Wow, what a trip.

    Check out matty’s French adventure here, and also make sure you stop by the AF website. I hear the fries are mighty good there.

    Byzantium Map Now Available
    Posted by Washizu on March 4th, 2001 @ 8:57 p.m.

    Ensemble has just released its real world Byzantium map in their ongoing series. The previously released maps (Italy, Caribbean, Texas, and Britain) can be found here

    Make sure you vote on which map you’d like to see next in their poll. The choices are France, Norse Lands, Mideast, Sea of Japan, and Iberia. I’m still waiting for the New Jersey map

    Forum Party Wrap Up…
    Posted by Thunder on March 4th, 2001 @ 8:33 p.m.
    The fates were conspiring against me yesterday as my party experience was hit by out of sync games and disconnections. Thankfully a few fellas have popped into the Forum Party Thread to tell the tales of their wins and losses.

    I did enjoy a game on a map of Europe created by Rolfe_Gothic, although the teams were uneven from the start. I started on the boot of Italy which made it tough to find room to build, but dedkrikit came in with his massed War Wagons and helped to clear a little room for me. We were finally able to stop his massed wagons with three of us using Elite Eagle Warriors, Cavalry, and a bit of Siege. Koreans are a scarey civ to be sure!

    Thanks to all for the games, and do stop in next saturday for another forum party. Have a great week! …I was shocked by how many Eagle Warriors came out of that fight with the War Wagons alive…tough little cookies! ; )

    RTS History…
    Posted by Thunder on March 4th, 2001 @ 8:10 p.m.
    The GameSpot crew have put together an article on the history of Real Time Strategy games. Part one of their featured article covers the genre from the beginnings up until 1998, which saw the coming of StarCraft.

    It seems that they’ve steered pretty much clear of the Age of Empires series, however; it is a fine read for RTS fans with an interesting look at those early days. …take a look at those super low rez screenshots of the first RTS games… ; )

    Herb Marselas Interview
    Posted by Washizu on March 3rd, 2001 @ 9:52 p.m.
    Imperio SUD has done an interview with ES programmer Herb Marselas. Thankfully, they have an English version available for us:

    Q) Units currently retain their same strengths, speed, etc. even after losing 99% of their hit (life)points. Will that ever change as to make that part of warfare more real to life? What effect could that take on the present engine?
    A) Something like that wouldn’t necessarily make the engine more complicated, however, it would certainly make game balancing more complicated, and it might confuse some amount of the people who might play the game without a good way to show that kind of change in the unit’s performance.

    Q) We know that in RTS3 all terrain, units, buildings, etc are being designed in 3D. What aspect is the hardest to design or work with for you?
    A) I think all of our designers and artists have actually found it easier to work fully in 3D. The designers more features for their scenarios, and the 3D graphics really express directly in the game what the artist is creating in 3D Studio MAX.

    Read the entire interview.

    RTS 3 Resources
    Posted by Washizu on March 3rd, 2001 @ 9:35 p.m.
    How many resources will RTS3 have? A forumer asked this question to Sandy Petersen in his latest “Ask Sandy” thread, and here is what he had to say:

    Q) In Rts3 is there gonna be more resources than basic wood,food,gold, and stone?
    A) we have had lots of discussion on this subject. The big question is whether adding more resources makes a game more fun. Personally, I think the answer is no, but testing will show the truth.

    Sandy also answered a few other vague RTS3 questions such as

    Q) are you taking suggestions to make rts3 better?
    A) We read the forums continually for such ideas. Ideas posted directly to us are ignored. We care about ideas that get a lot of discussion or generate a lot of interest, not random thoughts pulled out of the blue. Basically, the more people that talk about a given idea, the likelier we are to try it out in playtest.

    Q) Are you currently play testing rts3?
    A) Yep, as I’ve said before in this very thread. It’s fun, too. We’ve been testing it 1-2 times a day. On Monday it was me & Karen Swanson vs. Roy Rabey & Karen Sparks. Me & Swanson double-teamed Sparky and were able to win the game.

    Q) what are we gonna expect from rts3?
    A) the same TYPE of game and play style that you’ve gotten in the past from ES. However:

    1 – you should expect it to be more fun than our previous games (as only stands to reason if you agree that AoK was more fun than RoR, and TC was more fun than AoK).

    2 – you should expect it to look fantastically better than our previous games (we have no other excuse for going to the 3D engine, and our art team is much larger, more experienced, and more talented than ever before)

    3 – you should expect it to be better-balanced, with more interesting/useful options than before. We keep learning.

    If we fail to live up to these expectations, then we suck and we deserve to lose our fan base.

    Q) Are yall planning on branching out in to any other types of games other than RTS ones?
    A) We will keep doing RTS games as long as they keep selling. They are our bread and butter and are the foundation of our company’s success. However, we make no secret of the fact that we are interested in starting up another game line, which would NOT be RTS. The exact nature of that line has not yet been made public. However, it’s safe to assume it won’t be a text adventure.

    Q) Are you gonna make the villagers in rts3 talk english?
    A) Villager sounds are not yet in the game.

    So this means that RTS3 is definitely far along in the development cycle for playable games. This isn’t a big shocker, as ES has said in the past that they try to get their games playable as soon as possible to take advantage of early testing and feedback from their company playtests. The fact that he says they are playing team games may suggest that they are well beyond playing RTS3 for bug squashing alone. I can’t wait to see this game in action.

    Big_Al’s Big Contest!
    Posted by Thunder on March 3rd, 2001 @ 10:20 a.m.
    In a recent post, Cherub Cheerful Chum was inquiring as to how one obtained some Age music, and ES‘s own Stephen “Big Al” Rippy has given us the chance to win a copy of both Age music CDs! Click on over to this forum thread for the title of one of the RTS3 music tracks, and if you can create a worthy story of how the name was arrived at, you’ll walk away a winner. The deadline is this coming Monday, so put pen to paper and have at it! …many thanks to forumer fhertlein for the heads up… ; )

    Forum Parties Tomorrow!
    Posted by Thunder on March 2nd, 2001 @ 10:27 p.m.

    That mounted knight swinging the dirty big sword signals the coming of another round of forum parties! Send the parents or kids out to the movies and join us for some fun.

    The usual times and places are still good to go. Meet up in the Agincourt lobby on the Zone at the time that is best for you. Party One starts bright and early at 4pm EST (1pm PST, 9pm GMT) and Party Two begins at 9pm EST (6pm PST, 2am GMT). The start times are not written in stone, so drop in when you can.

    As usual, some silly fool has started a Forum Party Thread to plan a battle, make a challenge, and discuss other such party related things. Hope to see you on the battlefield tomorrow! …I’ll be the villager building a Castle 7 tiles away from Chooch’s TC…give me a tap on the shoulder and say “HI” ; )

    Concluding Contests…
    Posted by Thunder on March 2nd, 2001 @ 10:38 a.m.
    The latest event in the AI Tournament League wrapped up shortly before all this Star Wars business entered the scene. Congrats to Keita and SlakTheEldar who came out on top in the 1 on 1 and team brackets respectively! Both put together scripts which went undefeated though-out the competition. Drop in on Angel Bingmann and the AI Tournament League for results, and the details on the next event which is a mix of land and water maps. March 26 is the date set for that next clash, be sure to have your AI script at the ready.

    Another contest here in Heaven has some judges working aweful hard. The Chinese Campaign Contest doesn’t have a winner just yet, as the extended deadline for entries made for an extended evaluation period. Angel Rasher will notify us when the judges have come to a decision, and he can finally let them out of the dungeon …basement. …will have to get a bombard or two of ale to celebrate the end of mid-term exams…CHEERS to all suffering through the same! ; )

    AOK Sales Remain High
    Posted by Washizu on March 2nd, 2001 @ 6:53 a.m.
    According to Gamespot, PC Data’s top ten games of the week are as follows for the week of February 7-11, 2001:

    Rank / Title / Publisher / Average Price
    1 / The Sims / Electronic Arts / $43
    2 / The Sims: Livin’ Large / Electronic Arts / $29
    3 / Roller Coaster Tycoon / Hasbro Interactive / $28
    4 / NASCAR Racing 4 / Havas Interactive / $46
    5 / Hoyle Casino 2001 / Havas Interactive / $27
    6 / Diablo II / Havas Interactive / $39
    7 / Age Of Empires II: Age of Kings / Microsoft / $44
    8 / Roller Coaster Tycoon: Loopy Landscapes / Hasbro Interactive / $28
    9 / NBA Live 2001 / Electronic Arts / $39
    10 / Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 / Electronic Arts / $43

    Anyone want to take bets on what game will knock The Sims off the top spot? Some good candidates are Tribes 2 and Black and White, but you want to know which game I think has the best shot? The Sims: House Party expansion due out sometime this month. 😉

    Congratulations to Microsoft and Ensemble Studios for putting out a game that appeals to (and satisfies!) both hard core and casual gamers alike.

    New AOK Battle Hymn
    Posted by Washizu on March 1st, 2001 @ 7:54 p.m.
    Long ago, “The Rolfe Mix” gave agers an electronic remix of their favorite AOE sounds and music. A new version for AOK has been put out by the Rolfe Clan, and although it’s a bit long, it gets good about 3 minutes into it:

    Hi, I hope you remember “The Rolfe Mix” for Age Of Kings because they have a new one out… The EBI_Clan has a “Clan-Song” call the “EBI Battle Hymn” I would like to know if you can post a message with a link to the site on your main page….. Thanks Jim Davies aka Rev_it_man

    Download this mp3 file from the Rolfe Clan website, and crank it up!

    Bruce Shelley Q&A…
    Posted by Thunder on March 1st, 2001 @ 7:16 p.m.
    He’s been making the rounds at several news sites to clarify the partnership between Ensemble Studios and LucasArts. Lately, Bruce Shelley stopped in for a chat with the STOMPED crew:

    Stomped: First, is Star Wars Battleground the mysterious game project you have code-named “RTSIII” or is that another game?

    Shelley: No. RTS III is an internal project, our third major RTS release.

    Stomped: Creating a sci-fi RTS game is certainly a bit of a departure for Ensemble. What are the main challenges do you see in creating not just a sci-fi game but a game set in the Star Wars universe?

    Shelley: The design is in the hands of Lucas Arts. The challenge for Lucas is to make a fun game while staying within the bounds of the Star Wars universe. Those boundaries may actually be a help, keeping the features within a recognized limit.”

    Source – STOMPED’s Q&A With Bruce Shelley

    Hop on your speeder, and drop in for the whole question and answer session. As for specifics on the Star Wars: Battleground game itself, we’ll likely have to wait until E3 in May this year for more detailed information on units and such. …as much as I am leary of Star Wars games like Force Commander, this one has some great potential…they’ve started with a strong foundation in ES’s engine… ; )

    AOK Legos
    Posted by Washizu on March 1st, 2001 @ 2:05 p.m.
    Ballista Turtle’s website has a nice picture collection of lego figures posing as AOK units. You can check out the Plumed Archer, Samurai, Chu-ko-nu and more right here What? A news story that doesn’t mention that Star Wars Battleground is using the Age of Empires engine?

    Atilla scenario #1 help
    Posted by Socvazius on March 1st, 2001 @ 1:20 a.m.
    Forumer Bob_003 has written a walkthrough to the 1st atilla scenario. It is long and well-written, and a great read for anyone that needs help with that scenario.

  • Atilla #1 walkthrough(By Bob_003)

    There are some nice screenshots in there that you can look at, and give you a better idea of what’s being described in the article