Ask Sandy V

Article written by Sandy Petersen
Originally published on 10-22-1999 ; updated on 03-13-2017
Tags: General Info, Ask Sandyman, Interviews

Q) Whose idea was it to have the "." key bring up vills that were not working

A) I don't recall. Not me. Maybe Tim Deen or Angelo Laudon.

Q) 1st is minimum range. it is mentioned in the manual that Longbows and hand cannoners have a minimum range, but when i play,

A) Longbowmen & hand-cannoneers do not have a minimum range. This was changed just before release. The only non-siege units with a minimum range are skirmishers, cannon galleons, and certain buildings pre-murder holes.

Q) was there a particular reason ES changed capacities, or was it for balancing, or was it to make some of the civ bonuses fair?

A) Yes we had a reason in mind. The reason was, of course, for balancing the various foodstuffs.

Q) When I have a group of archers selected, in the enemy town, currently engaged with enemy units, and I change their stance to stand ground, why do they continue to chase after

A) I never use stand ground. I agree it does not work intuitively. Supposedly, a 'stand ground' unit will only follow attackers if it's moving at the time. So you need to have it stop before stand ground works in the manner desired.

Q) If I have a vil chopping wood near a TC, and then have him build a farm at the TC, what happens to the wood he was carrying?

A) Nothing, until you task him to do something different from chopping wood, building, or repairing. Once he becomes a farmer, he 'throws away' the wood and it is lost.

Q) If I garrison vils in a TC, do they automatically deposit whatever they were carrying?

A) Yes.

Q) I have heard rumor that a vil carrying berries will discard the berries if told to hunt a deer/boar. Please tell me this is not the case!

A) Sorry. Drop off your berries at the mill before going on a hunting trip.

Q) Are team bonuses available just to the respective civ that happens to be in a multi-player game, or is the bonus given to all teammates?

A) Everyone on your team gets the bonus. Even if you're the only one.

Q) I would really like someone, or you to collect all your answers and post them in a new thread

A) This has been done several times by other people. I do not do it myself. You are welcome to make the effort if you like. Note to people who want to catch me in an inconsistancy: have fun!

Q) I think that sea battles are a little unbalanced. In my opinion fire ships kill rather easily Galleys. And Galleys kill easily Demolithion Ships. The problem is that demolition ships are not that efficient against fire ships.

A) We think they're balanced just fine. The sea battles are not just a simplistic transitive relationship A > B > C > A, any more than the land battles are. Galleys have uses beyond fire ships, and so we don't mind them losing to fire ships. For one thing, galleys can attack land targets. Fire ships tend to clump themselves when attacking, so demolition ships can often get more than one. Also, demolition ships have other virtues beyond killing ships. Ever catch a formation of archers fording a stream with a demo ship? I have

Q) The manual is absolutely correct about the history of fire ships except the fact that only Byzantines used the Greekfire.

A) Arabs (i.e., Saracens) also used the classic Greek Fire extensively. They learned how to do it from the Byzantines. But the game's fire ship represents more than just the classic Greek Fire. It also represents the many other forms of fire ships that were used, including firepots that were hurled or dropped onto other ships' decks.

Q) history is on our side. We will bury you." -Nikita Khrushchev 1979

A) He said this in 1959, not 1979. He was dead in 1979.

Q) Have you by any chance read gutter_rat's testing results of the elite chu-ko-nus and can you explain the discrepancy between the +%60 damage that elites do vs walls and the much lower damage they do against armored targets.

A) Contrary to my previous posts, I have recently discovered that each additional arrow of the chu-ko-nu (beyond the first) does only 3 points of damage. This is modified by the archery upgrades, however. But if you don't upgrade your chuck, then each arrow is a flat 3 points. This means, of course, that anyone with 2+ points of piercing armor takes only 1 additional damage point per volley arrow that hits him (past the first, which does a base 8 damage). Incidentally, this also applies to towers & castles. Also note that a chu-ko-nu has an 85% chance to hit. If it misses, the arrow lands somewhere in a 3x3 tile area (and could conceivably hit the original target). And of course ballistics throws everything off, so the waters are pretty muddied here.

Q) First, what aspect of AoK do you personally find the most fun and/or interesting?

A) Unit interaction

Q) Second, if you had Ultimate Power, is there anything in AoK you would have changed?

A) It would have been far less defensive in nature.

Q) Since I answered this question Sandyman, do I get an exlusive preview to the expansion pack?

A) Ask MS's marketing department. It's up to them.

Q) MS wouldn't mind if you told us what year the xpack and aoe3 are going to come out would they?

A) Of course they would mind, especially before they're even announced. A little logic will expose when the X-Pack must be released, however.

Q) What do you think of all this talk of the millennium?? There are some threads that say it won't occur until 2001.

A) I hereby state that in my opinion, the first century A.D. had only 99 years in it, and thus went from 1-99 A.D. Therefore the second century started in the year 100, which is why in my opinion the new millennium begins in 2000, which seems emotionally right anyway.

Q) Who were the four Acmeist poets who lived during the early 20th century in transitional Russia, considered the only true voices of uncensored writing during the 'terrible years' referred to in Akmatova's poem "There are four of us".

A) I never said I couldn't be stumped by obscure trivia. Good heavens, anybody can ask me some ridiculous question such as 'How do you say 'where is the bathroom' in Oubykh?' (Oubykh is the world's rarest language, possibly even extinct now.) or 'What are the names of the wives of the Byzantine Emperors of the 6th century'. But when a person asks a question like that - you don't really want to know the names of the four Acmeist poets; you already know them. It's not a real question and it's not a fair question. So there. Nyaah nyaah nyaah.

Q) Was the leaning tower of Pisa built that way or did it get that way over time?

A) It was not built that way, but sagged to nearly its current position soon after its construction. It keeps sagging a little every year, and if it is not somehow stabilized, it will eventually fall over.

Q) could you post some refrences that the aok team used for thgis game

A) a good place to start are Hans Delbruck's classics, Warfare in Antiquity, The Barbarian Invasions, Medieval Warfare, and The Dawn of Modern Warfare. These are available in trade paperback.

Q) I would hardly call anyone lazy if they did not choose to read through 600 or more posts to find the one answer they were looking for

A) But I still insist that I'm too lazy to answer the same question multiple times.

Q) The Spice Girls or Slayer?

A) Slayer

Q) Status Quo or Savage Garden?

A) Savage Garden

Q) Motorhead or Celine Dion?

A) Celine Dion (my daughter loves her).

Q) Why is this named Stump the sandyman?

A) Because I have a pegleg?

Q) In the future, do you expect all PC games to be online "persistant world" games, will they be a majority, or reserved to just a few titles at a time due to the unique difficulties supporting this type of game?

A) It depends on how far in the future you want to go.

Q) Is the firepower of a building different based on the type of unit that garrisons it?

A) Yes.

Q) If I try to play a death match game, the game ends as soon as I hit Feudal. This is weird since there usually isn't any fighting by then. Any ideas?

A) Play with a lower pop cap and at a higher difficulty

Q) Will you/could you add the pavise as protection for crossbowmen? Will you/could you add the chained wagons that were common in Hussite Armies?

A) No/Yes, in both cases.

Q) A few suggestions for civs <left out>

A) Actually, in-house, we have probably already thought up every single civ that has been suggested on the net, and a few that have not been. The X-Pack is not in any way suffering from a shortage of civ ideas. Quite the reverse.

Q) Any thought to adding units of mercenaries

A) Yes, but I do not think it will be done. It adds a UI complication that is not worth the bang for the buck. Besides, who's to say that the troops you normally hire (by paying gold & food) aren't mercenaries?

Q) Did you consider implementing unit specific efficiency ratings a la Myth If so, did you leave it out due to space efficiency, programming problems, just seemed worthless, or what?

A) Space efficiency.

Q) You stated somewhere that some team bonuses are cumulative. Which ones?

A) They're never cumulative with themselves. Only with other bonuses. Example: if you are Frankish & have a Chinese ally, then you get +45 food in farms that get free upgrades.

Q) Is it possible to write a topic about how to use the triggers

A) Yes. I'm not going to do it. I don't have time.

Q) Who was the better James Bond... Pierce Brosnan or Sean Connery?

A) In order from best to worst, the Bonds were Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby, Pierce Brosnan, and Roger Moore. (I'm not counting Casino Royale as a Bond movie.)

Q) Do you have any opinions on the recent Microsoft monopoly verdict?

A) Yes. I think that Microsoft may well have been abusing the advantage it gained via its operating system and that _despite _ this, the government is probably wasting its time.

Q) How does the computer determine the "winner" of an infantry "tie"?

A) No one ever attacks each other at _exactly _ the same time in AoK. There are no ties.

Q) Can I come to ES?

A) Of course not.

Q) what is the address?

A) we're in the Ericsson Building on highway 75.

Q) Is it possible to make the fighting more enjoyable to watch

A) zoom up to 800 x 600.

Q) the Wars and Battles are not always won by the biggest or best army. Also in Man to Man single Combat there was at least a bit of LUCK involved! So my Question: can you maybe implement a little random in the damagae ratio that units will inflict?

A) Wars are not always won by the biggest or best army, but when they're not, it's hardly ever because of luck. The fledgling U.S.A. did not defeat the British because of luck. Nobunaga did not win his first important battle (at 1:12 odds) because of luck. North Vietnam did not defeat the U.S. & ARVN armies because of luck. The British did not win at Agincourt, nor the French at Orleans, because of luck.

Now here are some historically significant questions for y'all. I am going to list a series of battles. The question is, why are these battles HUGELY important, and who were the opposing sides? Every player of AoK would be better-educated by knowing about these fights.

Tannenberg (NOT the one in WW1, the medieval one)
Ain Jalut

Q) How about miniskirts or even thong bikinis for the female villagers?

A) We could then add a new cool civ bonus - pulchritudinous female villagers! I make no suggestion here as to which civ should have it.

Q) You consider Roger Moore the worst bond? Must be alot older than me

A) Why? All the Bonds except two are post-Moore. I don't think that his movies are the worst Bond movies, nor that his villains were the most inferior villains. Only that he, Moore himself, was the worst Bond.

Q) A mormon who will listen to slayer now I have seen everything

A) I don't actually like Slayer at all. But the choice was between Slayer & the Spice Girls. When I want hard stuff, I go for the throat and listen to Bauhaus or Laibach, instead of dinking around with wussy dillettante no-talents like Slayer and practically all modern metal bands.

Q) Tannenberg: Germans (Teutonic Knights) vs. Alexander Nevsky

A) Nope. Nevsky fought the Teutonic Knights at a different place, and a different time. The film 'Alexander Nevsky' is terrific, though.

Q) Paladins, especially Frankish, are extremely powerfull, in that it takes 3 pike's to kill one.

A) It doesn't really take 3 pikes to kill one - two pikes are almost exactly a match for one. They barely lose; at the end of the fight the Frankish paladin only has 12 hit points left. If you attack it with three pikes, you have two almost totally unharmed pikes left alive after killing the paladin, so three pikes are a BIG edge over the paladin - you lose about 1 for 1 that way, which really sucks if you're the Franks, since cavalry cost more than twice as much as the pikes. Paladins have a lot of disadvantages - they have real trouble destroying walls and buildings, for instance, they are very expensive and slow to build, and there are a lot of counter-units vs. them.

Q) What sort of armor do Huskarls wear to give them their incredible resistance to arrows? Or is it just a arbitrary game mechanic?

A) Plastic. Of COURSE it's an arbitrary game mechanic. Everything in AoK is a game mechanic, and it is all arbitrary in that we pick what we like and don't like.

Q) How will Cthulhu do in the New Hampshire Primary?

A) No matter who ostensibly 'wins', Cthulhu will be the _real _ victor.

Q) was grapeshot even in use during this time

A) Not formal grapeshot, but everyone fired clusters of gravel, nails, and other tidbits out of their cannons when the going seemed good.

Q) who had the largest empire (land mass) of all time?

A) Mongols. Also had the fastest rate of advance of any army of all history.

Q) your Timothy Dalton ranking can NOT be excused

A) Pshaw.

Q) Mongols are a good guess, but it's not them (greatest land mass of an empire).

A) It certainly is. At their peak they controlled all of what is now Russia & the Ukraine, all of what is now China, plus Afghanistan, Persia, and huge hunks of the middle East. No one has ever controlled more total land mass than that, not even Spain at her peak. England's not in the running, even with Canada, Australia, India, and her various other colonies she is way behind the Mongols.

Q) Not to down Gamespot but will you, es host the civ showcases for the x-pack?

A) I do not know. It's possible we won't even have civ showcases, as such.

Q) (Largest Empire) It was Great Britain, circa 1900.

A) I've read Paul Kennedy, too, and I'm still going to claim the Mongols were it. Here's why: many of the nations that are counted as part of the British 'Empire' really weren't. Example: Egypt & Iraq, among others, while under British protection, had their own governments, armies, and policies. Also, by 1900, Canada and several other Commonwealth nations were by now independent sovereign nations with their own governments, i.e., no longer colonies. If you want to count the entire Commonwealth as part of the British Empire, even then there is doubt, seeing as China is far larger than Indo-China, and the frozen wastes of Russia, while perhaps not formally claimed by Mongols (what was?) were certainly under their sway. So I'm sticking to the Mongols.

Q) When do you think DVD will become the norm in the gaming community?

A) Within the next eighteen months. I predict the changeover will take less time than the switch from floppy to CD-ROM.

Q) And which genre do you think will have the first taste of DVD?

A) roleplaying or adventure games - they need the extra space badly for their lengthy cinematics. A number of such games (such as Riven) already are on multiple CDs. Using fewer DVDs would save them money, and that's the bottom line.

Q) What do you think about some online stores selling AOK almost half the listed price? ($55 right??)

A) Doesn't bother me. We get the same royalty from MS no matter what. For all I care, they can give it away free.

Q) What do you do at work now since AOK has been release?

A) I'm lead design on a project that has not been announced officially yet.

Q) Which great medieval movies would you recommend?

Here are my top ten!

1 - ALEXANDER NEVSKY - this is possibly the best medieval film ever made, even though it is in Russian and subtitled. Terrific battle scenes (which were stolen and rotoscoped for that pathetic Lord of the Rings film). Music is great, too - they got Prokofiev himself to score it. The Teutonic Knights and their sinister monks are terrifically villainous, and all the armor & weapons are absolutely historical.

2 - THE SEVEN SAMURAI - another really good foreign film. Toshiro Mifune is quite possibly the best action star that ever lived. This movie is really long, but worth every bit. Has some extremely funny moments, as well as some really poignant ones.

3 - KAGEMUSHA - this is the tale of the Shadow Warrior. Lots of great medieval japanese action (including some gunpowder), and a really wonderful battle scene at the very end. Lots of panoply and very colorful.

4 - THE LAST VALLEY - takes place during the 30 years war, which is kind after our time limit, but still works out okay. People are still using swords & spears in combat, though gunpowder is making more of an impact.

5 - THE VIKINGS - Kirk Douglas is great! Ernest Borgnine is great! Janet Leigh is great! Tony Curtis is ... er, well, at least he doesn't spoil the picture. Castles are besieged, longships rampage across the sea, drunken vikings engage in axe-throwing contests with human targets, men are thrown into wolfpits to be devoured alive. What else could anyone want in a viking flim?

6 - TARAS BULBA - okay, it's another 17th century film, not truly medieval, but it's pretty close, and who can object to seeing Yul Brynner as a Cossack? Sadly, Tony Curtis is once again in the film, but at least he dies at the end. Sorry if that spoils it for you.

7 - EL CID - the tale of the great Spanish hero. Sophia Loren & Charlton Heston go at it hammer and tongs. Watch for the excellent fight between the Cid and a bunch of guys on horseback - the Cid uses a ball and chain to amazing effect.

8 - EXCALIBUR - for all its flaws, this is still a fine version of the Arthurian legend in my opinion.

9 - SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD - yes I know it's a fantasy film. So what?

10 - RICHARD III (1955) - Laurence Olivier. Claire Bloom. John Gielgud. Ralph Richardson. What more do you need? Note - I also love the 1996 version of Richard III, starring Ian McKellan, but it's set in the 1930s, making it Un-medieval, except in philosophy.

Q) have you seen the Messenger already? If yes, what did you think about it? If no, are you planning on seeing it?

A) I have not seen it yet. My co-workers who have seen it have commented on it, and they have been negative enough that I'm willing to wait for the video.

Q) Hey Sandy Would you call your self a "LADIES MAN"?

A) not in front of my wife.

Q) In AoK the fishing boats can build any foundation(foundation set by a villager) and the villagers can build fishing traps. Is this(builder boats/vills-fish traps) an intended feature in the AoK game?

A) No. It's a bug and we plan to fix it real soon now.

Q) Whats your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story? I think mine is probably the Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

A) Mine is The Outsider.

Q) I noticed in another earler Q&A that you mentioned Bruce Campbell. Did you ever see the movie Evil Dead II? hehe one of my favorite movies of all time. Did you see it and what did you think of it if you did?

A) I have seen every single Evil Dead film. I think that demonstrates what I think of it.

Q) It there any truth to the popular obscenity "F***k You!" originating in the words "Pluck Yew"?

A) No. The word 'F**k' comes from a Germanic root word and has nothing to do with the word 'pluck'. There are claims that the obscene gesture commonly known as 'the bird' may derive from English archers during the 100 years war, and this may even be true, but sadly no good history of obscene gestures has ever been made. At least not that I know of. Incidentally the 'F' word is _definitely _ not from 'For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge'. That's a fairy tale. Fun though.

Q) You are very open minded Yet you had a temple wedding wich implies that you are not just a casual Mormon

A) I like to think that 'open-minded' and 'good Mormon' go together.

Q) Just to put an end to this almighty imbalanceing paladin in low pop games can you put a little in about how to use the terrain and choke points and the use of combined arms. As well as carefull planning of homebase layouts.

A) Sounds like you already know how. Paladins cost 75 gold & take 30 seconds to produce. Pikemen cost 0 gold and take 22 seconds to produce. Even the upgrades for Pikemen. Paladins suck at taking down stone walls. Look with amazement at what happens to paladins attacking walls if you shoot at them with bombard cannons or mangonels. If you have shallows, wait for paladins to come partly across and hit them with a demo ship. It won't kill them, but they'll only have about 10 hit points left and be easy meat for your pikes. Horses have so many counter-units, and cost so much, they are actually quite hard to win with, in my opinion.

Q) What is your most preferred, if any, civilization in AOK? Why?

A) Goths are the most fun for me. I try to ensure all are fun to play, though.

Q) What is your least preferred, if any, civilization in AOK? Why?

A) Teutons and Byzantines, because they're very defensive minded and I find that kind of play dull. But I realize that we have to have defensive civs in the game and many players like this kind of action. Yes I realize the town center push is an offensive maneuver, but it's a slow-moving, siege-like offense, and dull to me. That is the most important reason I'm working to thwart it.

Q) What is the original purpose, if any, for the Trade Workshop in the map editor?

A) We almost had a trade workshop in the game. It got pulled, but we left in the building art for scenario designers to have fun with.

Q) I heard a new edition of RQ is coming out. Is it true? Has it come out? If not, when?

A) I heard this too. It is not out yet.

Q) Do you get bored answering questions here?

A) None of your business.

Q) Why was the Huskarl decided on as a UU. (as opposed to a normal unit everyone could have)

A) Hey, YOU try to think up a unique unit for the Goths. Once we'd invented it (an anti-archer infantry), we had to think of a name.

Q) if I send a tradecart to someones market and it returns home, the person with whom I traded also gets some gold. Is this correct?

A) Yes.

Q) Could you include the pope in the x-pack?


Q) when repairing a bombard cannon, what does the villager actually repair, the cannon or the guy with the cannon?

A) he repairs the little wheels it rolls on.

Q) Duh Sandy listening to Laibach and bauhaus ? Now I am getting curious, could you mention some more bands you like. Although I don't know your/mormon polical views, or how active you are political regarding bands, but a mormon listening to Laibach seems like a contradiction to me

A) Mormonism is a religion, not a political system. I keep both politics and religion out of my music. I do object to vulgar language in my music.

Other bands or musicians I really like: 1 - Tom Waits
2 - The Nits
3 - Brave Combo
4 - Tarika Sammy
5 - Beatles
6 - Huur-huur-tu
7 - Philip Glass
8 - Cat Stevens
9 - The Beatles
10 - Jean Michel Jarre

If any forumers have heard of all these groups, I take my hat off to you.

Q) What year did Constantinople Fall??

A) 1453 to the Turks. It fell several hundred years earlier to the Crusaders, but they gave it back.

Q) What is the atomic weight of gold?

A) This is trivial to look up.

Q) Isn't the new bond girl hot? Huh, Huh??

A) No. I hate her. In fact, I hate BOTH the Bond girls in the latest Bond film. I thought Robert Carlisle was good, though.

Q) What sign did Constantine get from the sun??

A) The cross

Q) What does S.P.Q.R. stand for? Huh, Huh??????

A) The People and Senate of Rome.

Q) What year did Napoleon retreat from Moscow? Huh?

A) late 1812

Q) What's you're favorite type of arhitecture? Huh, Huh??

A) Aztec-Mayan

Q) What was Lawrence of Arabia's nationality??

A) He was a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Q) What the **** is that thing on Gorbachev's head?

A) A birthmark, also known as a port-wine stain. There are various techniques available to plastic surgeons that can greatly diminish or eliminate such marks. I regard it as a mark of Gorbachev's strength of character that he did not resort to these. In the same way I think it's idiotic for balding men to wear toupees or get hair transplants, etc.

Q) Will some of the strategies that humans use be incorperated in the ai in the patch or xpack?

A) I hope so.

Q) Sorry, but you're wrong. The first century started in 1 and ended in 100 and the 20th century will end in december, 2000.

A) Sorry right back to ya. Since there was no year 0, we can state whatever we like about the first century, so you can go croak.

Q) You can believe 2+2=5 and have good arguments (in your opinion) for that, but it's wrong.

A) this is true about statements of fact but it is NOT true about human creations such as the concept of a century. The number '2' is seemingly a natural value. But a century is no more than an arbitrary invention, as is the time it starts.

Q) When was the 'Battle of Poltava'? Which countries participated? Who were the victors and who were defeated? What were the names of the leaders for the countries? Now I've given you trouble, haven't I?

A) Not at all. The Battle of Poltava is one of the most important battles of history, and I'm well up on it. It took place during the Great Northern War which lasted from 1700-1721. Poltava happened in 1709, and basically ended the war in the Russians' favor, though fighting dragged on for another decade. The Russians fought the Swedes, and at Poltava they soundly trounced the Swedes, who were led by Charles XII, one of the most brilliant military leaders ever (apparently not quite brilliant enough, though). Peter the Great was, of course, the Russian tsar, who also led on the field, brilliantly advised by his officers. The Swedes were crushed, losing their entire army except for 1500 men (over 30,000 casualties, mostly prisoners). The Russians lost only 4500 out of 80,000.

The battle of Poltava is one of the most critical battles in European history. Until Poltava, Sweden was a world power to be reckoned with, and Russia was a primitive backwater. Charles XII even invaded (and defeated) Poland and Denmark before attacking Russia, because he viewed them as more dangerous foes (he was obviously wrong, in retrospect). After Poltava, Sweden became the bucolic backwater, and Russia leapt to the forefront of world importance, a position which it has held ever since. Even after its near-collapse economically, what Russia thinks & does is of crucial importance to the world, and what Sweden thinks & does is only of local interest (no offense to any Swedes in the forum - I _ like_ Sweden). This situation is a direct result of the battle of Poltava.

Q) Who was the female pope?

A) There wasn't one, but the legend calls her Pope Joan.

Q) do you mean to imply that bands such as Soundgarden, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains, Stabbing Westard, Filter, Nirvana, Pantera, and Metallica are wussy dilettantes who are incapable of meaningful artistic expression?

A) Correct. You are absolutely right in what I wanted to imply. Except for Metallica, who has some good stuff. None of these bands will be listened to in fifty years' time. Bauhaus will still be of interest. Anyone who'd compare Bauhaus to Love & Rockets needs to do some serious musical transplanting.

Q) In hopes of a magyar civ in the expansion pack for AoK, name the seven Magyar founding fathers

A) there is no hope for a magyar civ in the expansion pack.

Q) A millennium is, by definition, 1000 years. To say that the first one had 999 years is not correct

A) A millenium, as a construct of the human imagination, is whatever humans wish it to be. Since the vast majority of humans using the western calender obviously wish to celebrate the millenium on Jan 1, 2000, it must be then.

Q) Who came up with the idea to make Age Of Empires?

A) It was a group decision in which Brian Sulllivan, Bruce Shelley, Tony Goodman, and Rick Goodman were all heavily involved.

Q) will the AI figure out (or the expack AI) that I want my camels attacking cavaliers in general, and my Chu-Ko-Nu to attack pikes

A) The unit AI is generally aware of this, and tries to target the units it has the best chance to kill. It also tries to attack units that are close by, and the conflict between these two goals sometimes leads to it doing less-than-optimum targeting. Also it doesn't try to target units outside of its search radius.

Q) How does it feel to be so popular?

A) I get plenty of attacks from people in the forum too, so 'popular' is maybe not the right word. Perhaps 'notorious' is better.

Q) I notice that (when you commented on your game, we got to see) you said you were britons and you hate(or maybe disliked) them. How could you not have a favorite civ, but it you can really dislike one? Or maybe I read it the wrong way.

A) I try really hard to make all the civs balanced & equal, but I admit some are more equal than others.

Q) Naval battles were improved but I hardly find any player that wants to fight these. I love naval battles myself. Could you do some "propaganda" on this subject to have more players sinking ships.

A) If the addition of many new types of ships, naval bonuses, and ship upgrades aren't enough to make naval warfare interesting, I don't know what would work. I suspect that the changes in AoK have not popularized ships any. However, for people who DO like ships, the naval warfare is far cooler. In other words, the same small percentage of people enjoy naval fights as in AoE, but now they're having more fun than before.

Q) Does everyone look like a cowboy in Dallas i.e. John Wayne.

A) We all look exactly like cowboys, except without the costume.

Q) give the fantastic level of graphics / animation in this game, any plans to improve the graphics of walls built over hills?

A) We have talked seriously about this. Sadly, it appears that to do this right, we would have to give up a bunch of other stuff in the supposed X-Pack, and this other stuff we all agree is much cooler.