Ask Sandy I

Article written by Sandy Petersen
Published on 09-22-1999
Tags: , ,

Q) What kind of music and sound FX r

A) I really like them, but I’m an
interested party. Suggest polling a beta-tester to see what they

Q) i know ppl say u guyz toned down siege and
im sure ya did but in RoR standards how easy r siege to beat up
compared to cost and effectiveness?

A) It’s really hard to make
comparisons between RoR & AoK, but I’ll try.

BEATING UP SIEGE: It is much easier to kill siege in
AoK than in RoR.

COST OF SIEGE: In absolute numbers, siege costs more in
AoK, but that’s not necessarily a fair comparison, since a lot of
other units cost more too (a cannon galleon costs 350 resources
all by itself!)

EFFECTIVENESS OF SIEGE: impossible to compare. Vs. most
units, siege is way weaker than in RoR. It takes longer for siege
to kill a building in AoK than it did in RoR, too. But on the
other hand, they’re the very best units of all for killing
buildings! The simple fact that siege lacks all ballistics is
profound in its implications.

Q) What language in AoK do the Vikings,
Teutrons, Persians, and Celts speak?

A) Vikings = when I tell a viking
villager to chop down a tree, he says something like “Timber

Teutons & Goths = speak the same language, which I presume
to be German. When I tell a Teuton or Goth to chop a tree, they
say something like “Hochsa” My son is taking German in school,
but not me.

Persians = I assume Farsi, but for what it’s worth, a
lumberjack says something like “chew pore”.

Celtic = sounds more like Scottish than Welsh to me. When I go
for a tree, the villager says something like “Bone-it”, which I
enjoy immensely of course.

Q) how will ES find the extinct language of
Old Norse and Medieval Persian?

A) By relying on our scholarly friends
at MS, who for all I know have given us modern Swedish and

Q) Is it actually too late to change any of
the civ names and bonuses?

A) Names = yes. Bonuses = kind of. We
can’t change the bonuses as they now stand in the manual, but we
can “adjust” them to some extent. Note that the bonuses in the
older showcases were done before the bonuses became more-or-less
fixed, so some have been changed outright.

Q) Do the Persians get a fully upgraded
transport(holding 20 units)?

A) Sorry. Too specific and I’m too
lazy to look it up. If they don’t they can just build two
transports. I think they do, though. They have good ships, as I

Q) Can you tell us what has changed about the
Persian advantages since the showcase, if anything?

A) I don’t want to go back and look up
what the showcase said. None of the civs have changed
significantly. Persians get good town centers, an initial
resource boost, and superior knights.

Q) What other units speak the language of the
civ besides villagers?

A) All except mounted units, ships,
and some siege (battering rams, oddly, speak).

Q) When you ring the town bell, your villers
enter the TC. when you let them out, do they go back to their

A) Yes, unless they cannot (example:
their deer has rotted to nothingness, their building foundation
was destroyed, etc.), in which case they go and stand at their
previous location, idly.

Q) how many movies are in age of kings?

A) One, unless you count the opening
sequences for the campaigns & scenarios, which are not
animated, but done in “documentary” format. (I.e., papyrus pages
turn, words appear, pictures fade in and out)

Q) can you record a game and make that an
intro for a scenario?

A) No need to — you can totally
control all the movement of all units in scenarios you create if
you like, so all you need to do is take control of a bunch of
units, have them move & act like you want for your intro,
then dissolve them into nothing and turn control back over to
your player.

Q) What do the Wheel Barrow and hand Cart

A) they make their villagers

Q) Except, infantry what do the Vikings excel

A) Their heavy cavalry is nothing to
write home about. They have good archers, though. Their siege is
about average.

Q) is there an AoK technology similiar to
logistics in aoe?

A) No. There was no need for it. I
designed logistics for RoR explicitly because infantry was so
disused. But in AoK infantry are one of the most popular unit

Q) can you recap tne team bonus for the ten
civs showcased so far because gamespot didn’t even explain or
mention the ten civs team bonuses.

A) Sorry, that’s above and beyond my
call to duty.

Q) The AI not colonizing new islands sounds a
little disappointing.. What will the computer player do when he’s
on an island and his resources run out, and there are islands
left that are full of resources with nobody on them?

A) He uses his market to buy more …
Look, all I ask is that you play a game or two against the CP (on
Hard mode) on an island map. THEN complain about how much the AI

Q) Is it hard to attack in AOK?

A) You cannot win the game without

Q) It seems that defense has become so
strong, with early walls, garrisoning, towers, castles, building
hitpoints and more. Does the games often end up with a wonder? Or

A) Wonders show up about as often as
in RoR. I’ve seen no stalemates. Defense IS strong, and the
result is that ill-planned early attacks fail. But that’s what
the siege engines and cheap infantry are for. Games tend to last
longer (Methos mentioned that his games usually last an hour
instead of 20 minutes), but they end just as decisively.

Q) No offense Sandyman but by the time I am
able to play a game against the CP on an island map it will be
too late to “complain how much the AI sucks.”

A) Okay, that’s a fair point. Any
beta-testers want to be informative on this subject to

Q) you say trebs have better range than
longbowmen, are we talking 20 tiles here?

A) They can’t shoot 20 tiles, but they
have the longest range in the game, far outranging any archer,
tower, or ship (except the cannon galleon).

Q) if the range is shorter, is there some way
to judge if you are in a towers LOS before you unpack and start
hurtling cows and villagers at your enemy?

A) In the first place, the treb’s
range is way further than a tower’s, and in the second place
yeah, it’s easy to tell if you’re within a tower’s range, because
it starts to shoot at you. (Note: packed trebuchets have mucho
piercing armor, so a few shots won’t hurt. Much.)

Q) Town bells….when you ring one in a town
center, do all your villagers come running? Or does the town bell
have a range for villagers to come?

A) Villagers within earshot of the
town bell (which does have a range) run to garrison in the
nearest “garrisonable” building. I.e. if there is a tower nearby,
a villager will run to it instead of the town center.

Q) Also, when you ring a town bell, does it ring the town bells
for ALL your tc’s, or just the one you rang.

A) just the one you rang. However if
you have a second town center near to the first one, any
villagers within earshot who are closer to the other TC will run
to it.

Q) if you ring a town bell and more villagers
than can fit into the tc come running….what do they do?

A) It’s just like running to the bomb
shelter during an air raid — Devil take the hindmost. If this
worries you, plop down a tower or two nearby.

Q) Are you able to get any work done on AOK
with Agers asking so many questions?

A) Hardly any. But I only post when
I’m copying something over or waiting for a playtest to finish,

Q) are priests more important in AoK?

A) No.

Q) if you guys need any more testers, i’m not
doing anything, and im in dallas….

A) e-mail me.

Q) I noticed that some of the units from AoE
were substituting for the AoK unfinished versions a while back.
Does this mean that AoK units have the same number of Animation
frames as the ones from AoE?

A) No.

Q) Are the game graphics still stored in .SLP
Inside the .DRS files, I mean? Does AoK even use .DRS files

A) How would I know? The artists do
that, not me.

Q) Many people have been asking for the Age
limiter(gives a limit to what age you can go in multiplayer)

A) I have replied in at least two
other threads about how to limit the age in multiplayer and
shan’t do it again.

Q) Many people have been asking for the
Wonder Bonus this would make player greatly consider building a
wonder even on conquest especially in deathmatchs.

A) Why should we care if wonders
aren’t built in conquest?

Q) I was wondering you said that the persians
cavs were superior but in what sense since they only get a cav
bonus playing team games

A) I’m not supposed to talk about team
bonuses yet, but you are making a totally false assumption

Q) Whats your fav UU just out of

A) I don’t really have a favorite. Few
designers do — our goal is to make the units comparable, and if
we fell in love with a particular UU, there would be risk of our
making it too good. So my favorite UU is pretty much any one I
haven’t used in a while.

Q) does the computer always build the same
exact walls around his town or does it vary from game to

A) The computer player calculates the
most efficient route around his town, utilizing cliffs, rivers,
and forests to help wall in, so his walls look very different
from game to game. Example: on a riverine map, he might only wall
off the shallows. He _will_ wall in resources that look good to
him, too. Also, if he chops a hole through a forest that is
serving as part of his wall, he’ll fill in the hole with a wall
segment. Also, if the most efficient wall doesn’t have any
sections long enough for a gate, he’ll adjust it to provide room
for a gate. Last but not least, he will NOT build a wall at least
half the time, because he has other plans (like, he’s rushing or
saving up for a castle, etc.)

Q) Can you talk a bit about the Teuton’s

A) They do not have a great navy.
Which is, I admit, not historical when you think about the Hansa
and such, but …

Q) I heard that AOK will be localized in many
languages as was AOE, do you have the list of the languages that
AOK will be available?

A) No. But I _think_ the official
initial languages are French, Spanish, Italian, German, and
Japanese. I could well be wrong so flames to me are useless.

Q) With the implementation of SafeDisc
protection, is it possible to join a multiplayer game without the

A) Wasn’t it always possible? You just
had to have 1 CD per 3 players, right?

Q) Can you guys move to Los Angeles so I can
be a Beta tester?

A) I lived in Los Angeles for two
years. Haven’t I suffered enough?

Q) Is there any chance that you can add 200
pop limit for the AI, so if we set it in singleplayer that the AI
will also build at it?

A) I have answered this question
before. The AI will build up to a pop limit of 200 if you set it.
I _thought_ that feature was in the beta. If not, it’s in the
current version of the game, so don’t sweat it.

Q) Will there be another battle of the

A) I don’t know. Doubtful though.

Q) i doubt Sandyman would want his e-mail
address posted on here.

A) Correct.

Q) Please speak about “Arabian”; “Fortress”;
“Black Forest”?

A) Arabian: desert terrain with oases.
No rivers.
Fortress: coastal-type map in which everyone starts with a
walled-in town.
Black Forest: inhabited clearings in a sea of trees. The
clearings are connected by pathways. It’s easy to wall in, and no
one ever runs out of wood. No or very little water.

Q) Can you convert buildings?

A) By researching Redemption, which is
also how you convert siege equipment. (Which can’t be done till

Q) Will the Computer AI know what to do if it
is in a Map Like Cutthroat?

A) We have three cutthroat-like random
map types in AoK. They are: Migration, Gold Rush, and Crater
Lake. The AI is able to participate in all three, but it is not
fully up to par in Migration or Crater Lake.

Q) can you explain the difference between
bombard towers and regular towers

A) bombard towers require different
upgrades, are different from the regular tower line, and shoot
cannonballs. They also have a minimum range which, unlike regular
towers, cannot be eliminated via murder holes.

Q) the normal range for a Longbowman, not an
Elite, is 4.

A) I guess this has changed since Grey
Wolf’s version, since this is no longer the case.

Q) dear oracle, is it in my future to get in
touch with Mr. Peterson?

A) Not if you keep spelling his last
name wrong.

Q) Why doesn’t Bruck (Bruce Shelly) visit
this forum?

A) I do not police Bruck’s web

Q) Do you want another Battle of the

A) I am indifferent. I play AoK
whenever I want, so the only reason for a B. of the K. would be
to feed (or *****) my ego, which is swollen enough, thank

Q) Will ES throw a HUGE party when AoK

A) Yes. We just learned the date for
the party today, and are all clearing our calendars for it.

Q) Why do so many people not like Los
Angeles? I love LA.

A) Where else have you lived?

Q) The Persians had great priests in RoR, but
in AoK their monks are the worst. Is this change historically
correct or just for game balance?

A) When in doubt, assume game balance
where ES is concerned. However, giving Persians inferior monks in
AoK is fairly accurate, seeing as the bulk of the Persians
immediately converted to Islam when it arrived, evidently seeing
it as significantly superior to their old ways.

Q) What is the date for the release

A) Everyone who is to be invited will
receive an invitation, including the date.

Q) Something I noticed in AOE was that the
computer would never repair their damaged ships.. will they in

A) Nope. We find this to be generally
cost-ineffective. They do, however, repair walls, gates, castles,
towers, wonders, and town centers, but not unless the damaged
building has been free from attack for a minute or so (except for

The CP in AoK builds, defends, and attacks wonders. Owing to a
bug introduced by yours truly, he does NOT build wonders in the
beta, and I’m not sure how he is at attacking them. But he does
all three now. In addition, he collects the relics for a relic
victory. Frequently enough that savvy testers now immediately
grab up a relic as soon as they can to prevent the CP relic

Q) How are the AI files partitioned – Is
there one for [Map Type A].[Civ Type 1].[Difficulty Level Easy]
and then all permutations?

A) No. They are partitioned much more
efficiently. Example:
map loads.per, difficulty loads.per, civ loads.per, are all
loaded separately independently.

Q) How large (in line count) is the typical
AI file?

A) They range enormously. The
random-map AI is pretty colossal, though. I’m too lazy to count
up and add together the lines in each of the 20-30 files included
in the AI.

Q) Based on a previous post, I concluded that
the AI scripts are written in LISP. Is a full LISP interpreter
used (meaning a full implementation of the language) and shipped
with the game?

A) For questions like this, I
recommend asking ES_PlasticBrain. I just use the script language
he created to govern the AI.

Q) Will the computer be able to tell the
difference between standard and conquest games?

A) Yes. He does not build a wonder in
a conquest game.

Q) On the computer not repairing damaged
ships [long and somewhat obvious example cut] …

A) Yes I know it is sometimes good to
repair damaged ships. The decision to have the computer NOT
repair damaged ships was a choice we consciously took, based on
the principle that not repairing would be the right thing to do
most of the time.

Q) I’ve heard your archers can’t hurt your
own troops even if the archer misses and the arrow touches one of
your guys. Is this true? If so, why? How about gunpowder

A) Yes. Gunpowder too. Why? Because it
is Not Fun to shoot your own guys, and archers are weak enough in

Q) If I cry really hard will you send me AoK
right now?

A) No.

Q) Are you able to start “post imperial” in
multiplayer games?

A) Yes.

Q) Sandyman said that these 3 civ (Turk,
Teuton, Persian) are EQUALLY good in the DM???

A) I did NOT say that they were all
exactly equal. I said that Teutons & Persians were strong DM
civs as well as Turks.

Q) Teutons recieve good Defence bonus so they
won’t get rushed in the early games and stuff.

A) No one gets “rushed” in DM, unless
they’re totally stupid.

Q) In Imperial Age, Teutons are equally good
as the Turks.

A) How do you know? Have you played
the game? The Teutons ARE good in DM, but their nice defensive
towers are useless vs. Turkish bombard cannons. When I play
Teuton vs. Turk in DM, I build knights, not towers.

Q) Persian recieve good economy bonus
including the extra food and wood and the docks and TC bonus.

A) These bonuses are almost totally
useless in DM.

Q) Now Turks, they don’t recieve any kind of
military, economy, or defence bonus in the early games.

A) There is no “early game” in DM.

Q) what is an effective use of the vikings on
a waterless match…it seems that the berserk gets his lunch
eaten by most strong infantry…

A) Have you tried them? My experience
is that berserks are fine infantry. When I’m Viking, I don’t even
build other barracks units once I have a castle.

Q) why would you build knights with teutons,
and not paladins?

A) I think of them all as “knights”,
since in the AI I refer to them as the “knight-line”.

Q) do the teutons still get free murder
holes? i have had other sources say this is no longer so

A) In the first place, what would it
matter? Either they’d get murder holes or something else as good.
In the second place, your sources are misinformed.

Q) Do trade carts select and travel the
shortest distance between two markets, or can they be set to
follow a certain (safer, guarded) route?

A) I don’t know. Perhaps using
waypoints would work. When I have problems like that, I simply
build a new, better-situated market, and path from it.

Q) What lines are the various UU’s part

A) the logical one. The Janissary is,
of course, a hand-cannoneer variant. The mameluke is a stable

Q) What about the cataphract? Heavy

A) There is no “heavy cavalry” in

Q) I agree with your policy of giving camels
only to those civs that would have had them historically, but
does this somehow hurt european civs?

A) We took that into account when
designing European civs.

Q) do the teutons have strong cavalry? If
they do, is it because they get all the upgrades, or because they
get a bonus? Do teutons have good seige?

A) There is a whole Gamespot focus on
Teutons. Check it out.

Q) Is an Elite Berserker good against
anything, I mean, is the Elite Berserker useful at all?

A) Compared to what? Yeah, they’re
useful, and if you’re a viking you’ll build them.

Q) Are Woad Raiders better than

A) In a over-simplified test, 5 woad
raiders beat 5 Berserks, but 20 woad raiders lost to 20 berserks.
In practice, all bets are off, because the combat test program I
used did not include stuff like civ bonuses (example: both woad
raiders & berserks get special bonuses which the program did
not reflect). I would say that the two units are pretty much
equal, except against archers maybe.

Q) Do Longboats still dominate in

A) Cannon galleons are popular

Q) Do the Vikings get played a lot at ES?

A) Yes. In fact, just today we were
trying out some random maps & I insisted the testers all do
random civs. Chris van Doren briefly protested because he wanted
to be a Viking (note: and he knew that the map might be

Q) 8 TK’s killed approx 20 berserks, and he
didnt even have all the upgrades..

A) Teutonic Knights kill everything.
It’s not fair to compare berserks to them. TKs are like
centurions in AoE. To defeat them, you DON’T run up and chop at
them. You shoot them down like dogs or convert them. No other
infantry unit can defeat a TK, not even samurai.

Q) Will the AI build multiple town centres in
singleplayer games?

A) Yes.

Q)In aoe and ror the lag delays the commands
you give to the units, Is this still in AoK?

A) If you know a way to keep lag from
delaying commands you give units in multiplayer, please inform
our programmers at once. Better yet, tell Bill Gates and I
promise he’ll make you a millionaire.

Q) In multiplayer does everyone need a 56k
modem to play on the Big Maps?

A) I don’t know.

Q) Every since you day of living hell did you
ever recover from the pull of ebay?

A) I have never returned to eBay.

Q) I saw in a preivew (somewhere) screenshots
with someone playing as the Vikings, they had the same Tile set
as the Goths and Teutons do. I thought they had a raider
Civilization Set

A) This question has been answered
extensively elsewhere.

Q) do Berserks regenerate like the ones in
Warcraft 2?

A) I don’t know how they regenerate in
Warcraft 2.

Q) IN a battle of 20 longbowmen vs 20
mamelukes…who wins? by how much?

A) On paper, the mameluke is way
better. It’s faster, has more hit points, and does more damage to
a longbow than he receives in return. HOWEVER, the longbowman
costs less than half as much gold, has twice the mameluke’s
range, and when mamelukes are garrisoned in castles or towers,
they don’t add to the buildings’ attack (longbowmen do, of
course). So … it’s not really a fair comparison — like
berserks vs. TK, it’s apples vs. oranges. I will say this,
though. If you don’t manage your longbows you’ll lose big-time.
But if you _do_ control your longbows in combat, and get the
whole group to aim at the mamelukes one by one, you can kill a
mameluke with every volley. One final note: the elite mameluke is
a LOT better than the regular mameluke. The elite longbowman is
not that big of an improvement. This means that a British player
can reasonably choose to get the upgrade later, when he can
afford it. A Saracen player pretty much has to scrimp and save to
buy the elite mameluke upgrade as soon as possible, or he’s
cheating himself. (Persians have this problem, too, except it’s
even worse because the elite elephant upgrade costs a LOT of
money.) This “should I buy the elite upgrade or not” is one of
the hidden bonuses in the game. Huskarls don’t need it as early,
for instance, like longbows.

Q) is a set route for unit/s still in? Can I
make an army of my units, put them in formation, and then make
them march in a square shape around the outskirts of my village
until I intervene?

A) Yes.

Q) Do you like Nine Inch Nails (the

A) No, I can’t stand Trent Reznor’s
music and think he’s an untalented opportunistic ****.

Q) Teuton towers even with their great civ
attributes lose to Turkish bombard cannons. So my question is how
much or how little does civ attributes effect DM play?

A) Turkish bombard cannons outrange
teuton towers, which is why the latter lose to them. But when you
consider that when the Turks can destroy other people’s towers
just by running up infantry and beating on them, the Teuton
towers start looking good again. Civ attributes affect DM play
differently than in normal games, but they still affect it.

Q) Has there ever been the consideration or
does the future prospect exist for a hospital or medicine
building whereby troops can seek healing whilst garrisoned.

A) It seems unlikely, considering that
units will slowly heal from damage when garrisoned in ANY
building in AoK (they heal fastest in castles, though).

Q) Do you watch Judge Judy? What’s your
favorite sport? What does “encharcamiento” mean in Spanish?

A) These questions are inappropriate
for the “ES Sandyman Questions” thread, which is theoretically
devoted to questions about the game, with an occasional question
aimed at my personal life.

Q) Are the TK’s modeled after the Knights
Templars and such?

A) No. They are modeled after an
organization named (get this) “The Teutonic Knights”. To see a
terrific movie involving the Teutonic Knights, rush out and rent
ALEXANDER NEVSKY, the greatest medieval action film ever made.
All the armor & weapons in the film are identical to the real
armor & weapons used in 13th-century Russia & Germany.
The action is pretty realistic, too. For instance, the forces of
the Knights (who are the villains) are portrayed as outnumbered
by, but generally tougher than, the heroic Russians they face in

Q) Can Paladins be converted or do they have
a high resistance to priest conversions?

A) Despite D&D, the historical use
of the term “paladin” had nothing at all to do with a priestly or
a particularly religious warrior. Except that all good knights
were supposed to be religious. Paladins are no more resistant to
priests than any other unit in AoK.

Q) Do you use ICQ? and can if so can I have
your # so I can send you messages whenever your online?

A) I have an ICQ number, but I very
rarely respond to or check it. No you can’t have it. I wish I
didn’t have one.

Q) Sandy what do you think of Pharoah?

A) I rarely get excited about upcoming
games unless I know what the company has done before. Thus, I am
looking forward to MONSTER RANCHER 2 (I enjoyed the first one).
But having not played much by the PHARAOH guys, I await its
release with detached interest. I hope it’s good, though.

Q) Will it be hard for me to learn AoK’s AI
scripting from scratch?

A) Yes, but don’t worry about not
learning AoE’s .per files; the system in AoK is thoroughly,
fundamentally, different. However it is DEFINITELY a non-trivial
AI language, and not for dilettantes. It is extremely powerful
and adaptable.

Q) How do Frankish Axethrowers compare to
Arabian Mamelukes in terms of hp, range, and attack? (I’m trying
to find counters for Mamelukes.)

A) Frankish Axethrowers are inferior
to Mamelukes one-on-one, but they only cost about half as much.
Generally speaking, archers, scorpions, towers, castles, pikemen,
and infantry are good vs. Mamelukes. If the mamelukes do the
shoot-and-scoot thing, infantry/pike can have troubles, but if
the mamelukes are running away presumably your knights can get
into action.

Q) I loved Alexander Nevsky! The
teutonic knights looked REALLY ghostly at one point. It was
GREAT!! You should ALL watch it.

A) Alexander Nevsky was directed by Sergei Eisenstein, one of the
top ten film directors of all time. The music was specially
composed for the film by Prokofiev, one of the all-time great
music composers of the century. The film was funded by Stalin’s
Russia, which means that the battle scenes have thousands upon
thousands of realistically-armed-and-equipped knights, infantry,
crossbowmen, etc. going at it. The final battle on the ice of
Lake Peipus has to be seen to be believed. Another realistic
touch — despite the awful villainy of the Teutonic Knights in
the film (they throw babies into fires, murder old men, etc.),
when their surviving leaders are captured after the Battle on the
Ice, the Russians do not execute them, but ransom them. Also, the
very start of the film has some Mongols show up briefly, and they
are pretty darn terrific-looking, too, despite the fact that they
are only a bit part.

Q) Will there be functional .cty files?

A) .cty files? Are these the files
that teach the CP how to lay out its town? If so, they’re not
being used in AoK. The CP has to figure out how to layout its
town all by itself. It does a good job, however, and you can
modify stuff — example, you can choose how large to make the
town on a moment to moment basis. I use this when building a
wonder, for instance — I shrink the town size down to a 10 tile
radius, delete farms (to give me room), build the wonder, then
restore the town’s size back to the original. This lets the CP
always place its wonder right in the middle of its town.

Q) Why aren’t the buildings and trees in AoE
to scale like in AoK?

A) to save memory.

Q) I think the maps are big enough to support
larger buildings and trees. Is there anyway to change the size

A) Sure. We just did it, by designing
a whole new game.

Q) Can you qeue your own units?

A) Yes.

Q) The AI can technically “see” what you’re
doing in a scenario, right (so if you made a certain unit in
mass, it could counter it)?

A) Only if you explicitly command it
to cheat in this manner.

Q) Is repairing a queue, so you could make
the AI repair a boat after it was severely damaged?

A) No.

Q) Can you make queues based on the time and
how many resources some player has?

Q) Can you do queues based on the hp of a

Q) Can you make numerous responses for one

A) ?? These questions make no sense to
me. AgesofKings1984 seems to making some assumption that is
invisible to me but which doubtless would explain these

Q) Can you make an AI player “talk”?

A) Yes.

Q) What UU is the Huskarl Able to take

A) The archer ones.

Q) Are there still Scenario Instrucion Maps

A) ??

Q) Are there tons of scenaro editor extras
(Wrecked Ships Bridges etc. No specific number)

A) Yes.

Q) are ruins and/or discovories still in the

A) No.

Q) Are there any scenarios with only military

A) Yes.

Q) How about scenarios with only non-villager
units (military units, monks, trade carts, etc…).

A) Yes.

Q) Are Instruction maps still in the game or
do they just pop up when the game starts?

A) What are you talking about?

Q) Is there anything that replaces
Ruins/Artifacts in aok?

A) Artifacts = Relics. There is no
replacement for Ruins, unless you wish to explicitly place such a
thing in a scenario (which is easy enough to do).

Q) How long will it take you to fix all of th
bugs beta testers reported to you?

A) We’re mostly already done.

Q) Qeues based on hp:Based on a specific
units hp, you could cause a cetain reaction. For ex., once some
unit has either lost a certain amount of hp or a certain % of hp,
a priest is qeued to heal him.

A) AgeofKings1984 not only refuses to
spell “queue” correctly, but uses it in a different manner from
myself. When a priest is within range of a damaged unit, it
automatically starts healing him and continues doing so until he
is healed, then goes to the next one. The only queues in AoK are
building queues and construction queues. I.e., you can “stack up”
a number of units in a building and a villager-builder will keep
hammering on new foundations so long as any are within his

Q) Ques based on time and how many res a
player has:After the clock has reached a certain amount of time,
the AI will say “You have wasted your pitifull time …..(the
name of your player), now you shall die”. or, after a certain
amount of time, you made make the AI do something, such as
produce x amount of a certain unit. On res., you could cause a
player to react to how many res you have. For ex., as soon as you
reach 1200 wood, the AI attacks your vills.

A) The first two are possible, using
the AI scripts. The third is not possible, because the AI doesn’t
cheat and so can’t know how much wood you have.

Q) Numerous qeues based on a single action:
As soon as you have done a, the AI will respond by doing b, c,
and d.

A) This is possible, so long as action
“a” is something that the AI could know about. I.e., if you
started building a wonder, he would be aware of it. If you had a
bunch of barracks, he (probably) would know about it (because of
his scouts). But if you were researching Chemistry, he would have
no way to tell. Note: you could, of course, write a scenario with
triggers that would fire when the player got to 1200 wood or when
he start researching Chemistry. Triggers can do almost

Q) What do you like most about the game?

A) The panoply of units.

Q) How has working so hard on the project
affected you?

A) I have not been able to shake my
chronic sinus/bronchial infection because of lack of rest.

Q) Have you taken up any bad habits as a

A) I drink way too much Coke.

Q) What are you going to do when aok is

A) Go to New Orleans.

Q) in the new editor you will be able to use
the triggers to make them put a house here, a barracks there

A) Yes. In fact, this is done in many
of the scenarios included with the game.

Q) Am I invited to the Release Party?

A) How would I know?

Q) Why do the Saracens need/have so many
counters for heavy cavalry?

A) Try it, you’ll like it.

Q) This may have been a rumor, but at one
time wasn’t there a trade workshop, what did it do?

A) The tradeworkshop was in a very
early stage of AoE. It produced “luxury goods” that you traded in
for gold or something useless. It was basically a way to
circumvent gold-mining and give excess villagers something to do
(they went inside the workshop and didn’t come out).

Q) Is the wolf noticeable different than the
lion in AoE.

A) The wolf is significantly different
from the lion in AoE. One major alteration: he generally won’t
bother you if you stay in your starting area. If a villager
leaves his town to walk across the map, a wolf will frequently
get aroused and go on the hunt to get that villager. The result
is that it is a little tougher to forward-build a barracks in the
Dark Age.

Q) Could you list a couple scenario

A) I’d rather wait till the game came
out and let you find them for yourself.

Q) I’ve heard that the Celts have like faster
firing siege weapons. Why not just give them an extra range for
their pikes, extra damage for their pikes, or military +10% more
Hit Points per age, since their were hardier than most

A) What’s wrong with better siege?

Q) I doubt this is so but, when you say the
the Byzantines get +10% more buildings hit points per age do you
mean something like this? House = 1000 HP, +10% = 110 +10% = 1210
+10% = 1331 +10% = 1466. It wouldn’t be that much over what I
think what you have now.

A) A Byzantine building in the
Imperial age has 1400 hit points to another civ’s 1000. In
essence, he gets +40% in Imperial. If you don’t think that a
;;;building with 2800 hit points is significantly better off than
one with 2000 hit points, I guess we’ll just have to

Q) Because the Byzantine UU is a cavalry
unit, will they get that one tech that makes horses go faster,
and all other horses techs, like +damage +armor?

A) One of the few missing Byzantine
techs is one single tech that, in fact, does apply to their

Q) What is the exact name given to the artist
who design AoK?

A) Scott Winsett, Brad Crow, Duane
Santos, Thonny Namuonglo, Duncan McKissick, Sean Wolff, Jeff
Dotson, Chea O’Neill, Paul Slusser, Herb Ellwood, Don Gagen,
Bryan Hehmann, Brian Sousa, Chris Van Doren, and Chad & Eric

Q) Did you guys put in heros with your own
name, like Sandyman the Paladin. 16 damage, 5 armor, 2 piercing
armor, 200 Hit Points? Something like that?

A) I sure hope not.

Q) Is there still a ‘town bell’ in the TC
that calls all the villagers home when someone attacks?

A) This question has been answered

Q) What part of the process are you in of the
creation of AOK?

A) My major life function was to
create the AI scripts that control the random map computer
players. In addition, I have advised the lead designers,
playtested, run playtests, participated in design discussions,
and generally used my intelligence, guided by experience, to
improve AoK as best I could.

Q) How long does a battle last in AoK?

A) If by “battle” you mean a game it
depends on how many players are in the game. A typical 4×4 game
lasts maybe 1.5 game hours, which means that at “normal” speed
it’s around an hour of real time. It can last significantly
longer though, up to 3 or more hours of game time. The average
length of a game of AoK is longer than the average length of a
game of AoE, mainly because it is much harder to KO a player in
the first two ages. Thus, the average AoK game lasts as long as a
longer-than-average AoE game.

Q) I noticed lots of people whine about their
favorite civilization not being powerful enough. I sure hope that
ES relies on its own judgement when it comes to balancing the
civilizations and units rather than listening to these kids who
just want to win some pointless deathmatch with their favorite

A) I hope so, too. Except of course
for the Celts and Vikings which, as my own personal ancestors,
ought to be promoted and bonused far above the norm. (j/k)

Q) On the testing front which ecoonmic bonus
of the chinese do the experts find more useful?

A) You should ask them (the experts I
mean). Personally, though, I love having the extra 3 villagers at
game start. The cheap research is good, but you don’t really
notice it because by the time it kicks in, you’re very busy. One
effect on me has been that when I’m Chinese I’ll often put off
some useful-but-expensive upgrade if I think I’ll be advancing in
age soon, so it’ll be cheaper. So paradoxically I’m often _less_
technological when I play Chinese. At least until I hit

Q) Do u ever use the saracens if it is not a
water map and if u do how do they fare vs. the other civs?

A) Why would I not use the saracens on
a land map? Because they have a boat bonus? They’re perfectly
effective on the land with their terrific market and cav archers.
In some ways they’re better on land than water, because boats
cost wood & gold and archers cost wood & gold, and so on
a water map their main units keep competing with one another for

Q) Have there been any bugs reported to you
yet that have made your brain start leaking?

A) Yes. Fortunately I keep a roll of
paper towels on my desk to clean up the mess.

Q) What is the biggest difference between de
Aoe and the Aok campaigns?

A) The AoK campaigns are all
historical, and tell a story.

Q) Sandyman, we just wanted to say here that
we really appreciate the time and effort you have put aside to
answer our questions

A) You are welcome, Zen, bearing in
mind that I sometimes cannot be present.

Q) is any Unique unit better at destroying
buildngs than siege weapons?

A) No individual unit can deliver more
damage to a building than a ram, onager, bombard cannon, or

Q) Does AOK have a release date?

A) We’d be a pretty sorry company if
we didn’t.

Q) Are there any foreigners working at

A) Some people at ES are foreign-born.
I think we’re all American citizens, though.

Q) Are there any brazilians working at

A) Not to my knowledge. My wife speaks
fluent Portuguese, however.

Q) does the frank axethrower do meele damage
just like Infantry, but woth range?

A) Yes.

Q) Does any non-unique unit do trample

A) No, unless you count the radius
effect of an onager or similar blasting device.

Q) Are siege weapons good to defeat anything
other than buildings and walls and tower?

A) You can fire at anything with a
siege weapon.

Q) other than the hand cannoneer, bombard
cannon, cannon galleon and cannon tower, are there other
gunpowder troops?

A) Not yet.

Q) are the hand cannoneers a unit that does
the same role of a previous unit in a better way?

A) If you mean, does a hand cannoneer
replace arbalests, then the answer is “kind of”. They both are
ranged foot units, but they have some pretty important
differences, too. Arbalests outrange handgunners & have more
hit points, and a faster firing rate, plus don’t have a minimum
range. Arbalests also cost slightly less gold & cost wood
instead of food. Once handgunners are available, some people keep
making both units. Some only make gunners. Some never bother to
get gunners, and stick with arbalests.

Q) Which units can the Woad Raider take on
resource wise?

A) This would require extensive and
tedious testing of the kind I am not willing to do at this

Q) How do you kill (elite) Mamelukes and win
resource wise?

A) shoot him with crossbows, handguns,
or onagers. Hit him with camels or pikemen. Force him to go up
against towers or castles — they’re murderous on Mamelukes.

Q) Is the game too unbalanced at high pop
limits (ranged units start to dominate)?

A) We think not.

Q) What was the seed number of the Battle of
the Kings map?

A) I have no idea.

Q) Did you make the Battle of the kings map a
Scenario with the release of the game?

A) Gee, it was just a random map,
created at that instant for us to play on. I think it was
Coastal, if that helps.

Q) Will you be back for Age 3?

A) Me personally? I’ll still be
working here if we do an Age3…

Q) Will ES release a AoK video a week or 2
before AoK comes out like you did for RoR?

A) Dunno.

Q) In AoK will there be a unit to replace
hoplites and Phalanxs or Centurions.Or are hoplites now Pikemen

A) The only unit in AoK that resembles
hoplites at all is the Teutonic Knight. The classic hoplite
doesn’t really have an equivalent in the middle ages.

Q) Will Microsoft ask you (ES) to make an

A) All I will say is that MS was
pleased with the success of RoR.

Q) Does the gatehouse in AoK still hold units
like towers?

A) No.

Q) When Garrisoning injured units, does any
priest (when garrisoned with them) heal them along with the
building’s healing rate?

A) I do not think so …

Q) Is unit LOS affected by buildings in AoK?
In other words, does a scout running along the outside of a wall
get a free vision shot at the town’s contents?

A) No. AoK is only a 2-D game. The CPU
hit necessary to get real LoS in AoK is terrifying, especially
when you consider things like terrain height (if I’m on a cliff
can I see over the wall?), obstacles, trees, etc. etc. You’d
probably end up with a pop cap of about 20 units.

Q) Will all gate types be the Portcullus type
or will we see “big wooden doors” on some of them?

A) We like portcullises. And big
wooden doors have some pretty big problems: 1) which way do they
swing open? 2) what if units are in the way? 3) what if they hit
a tree? etc. etc. Portcullises make everything so much easier,
and they look far more “medieval” to boot.

Q) Are sheep found always in equal

A) Sheep are found in groups of 4 or

Q) What determines the color of outline for
units hidden behind buildings?

A) the player’s color. Thus, the green
player has green outlines to his units.