Ask Sandy VI
Published on 10-27-1999
Tags: Ask Sandyman, General Info, Interviews
Q) A good idea for the expansion pack would be if you could
have a seprate listing of villager population and military
A) This is already available. Click on the mini-map filters.
You even get the villagers & military broken down by job.
Q) In real history, however, in the begining of 16th century,
the knights were already not the main battle force. Even smaller
groups of pikeman and hand canoneers could devastate a knight
A) Not hand-cannoneers, but pikemen could. Hand-cannoneers
(i.e., musketeers) were still regularly broken by shock cavalry
in Napoleonic times, when they had bayonets.
Q) have you considered various African civs for AoKs Xpac?
A) Yes, they have been considered. Trust me. We’ve considered
every possible civ for the X-Pack. There have been no suggestions
from the forum about possible X-Pack civs that we had not already
carefully pondered. If what you want is reassurance that we
thought about your faves, you have it.
Q) Have you ever read Lord of the Rings
A) Of course
Q) Did you guys know what was going into the x-pac before the
game went gold?
Q) What was the intro like before you cut some stuff out
A) Too long and flaccid.
Q) What was the name of Alexander the Great’s favorite
A) Bucephalus was his most famous horse. I have no idea if it
was his favorite.
Q) What are some good books concerning battles and the civs
during the time of AOK?(I’m looking more for story books than
A) I read extremely little historical fiction.
Q) Is your favorite thing to do when you get home from work
read answer these questions
A) No way.
Q) Do you think that more UU’s [gad, I love those] will be
added in the ex.?
A) At least one for every new civ, right?
Q) Do you think Psyke should get a smaller sig?
A) I can skip over as much text as he wants to post.
Q) Coke or Pepsi?
A) I prefer Coke, but do not think this is a universal
Q) How many ‘multiple arrows’ do the E. Longboat and the
Longboat shoot? Do they both shoot the same amount?
A) four. Yes they both shoot the same amount.
Q) What is one thing you would take out of the game if you had
the choice to do it?
A) berry bushes
Q) I’m just wondering, I dont see the Scorpion as useful as
the old Ballista/Helepolis… How come they made it so weak?
A) we didn’t like the sight of huge armies of war machines
dominating the field.
Q) When an infantry attacks a building, they get an ‘attack
bonus vs buildings’, how much more attack bonus do they actually
get? Do different infantry get more attack bonus?
A) Different infantry units get different amounts of attack
bonus. Example: a militiaman gets +1. A Champion gets +3.
Q) Do you play much deathmatch or regicide?
A) Yes. No.
Q) Which do you consider the most fun in your opinion…
deathmatch, regicide, or random map?
A) Random map, in general, but playing random map exclusively
is kind of like eating nothing but hamburgers at every meal
because you like them.
Q) When you tested the game, do you test death match too? If
so under how much pop? 75 pop?
A) We tested deathmatch under a variety of pop caps. However,
we realized that it is impossible to balance AoK at all pop
settings in all game types and map types.
Q) What happened to Nomad setting? Did you guys not like
A) Correct. It may return, however. It was a major screw if
you were Chinese, with 6 villagers wandering aimlessly about to
keep track of.
Q) Always remember quality is better than quantity!
A) This is true. However, a certain minimal amount of quantity
is essential for us to be able to continue quality.
Q) My little sister is at a pyjamas party, she sleeps over
there, and, listen here…THERE ARE BOYS AT THAT PARTY!!
What in all holy **** should I do?? Maybe go there and beat
some of them up?
A) Contact the relevant boys before the pajama party and tell
them you will rip out their lungs if they mess with your sister.
Also make sure that your parents know that your sister is going
to sleepovers with boys. It is primarily their responsibility,
after all. Don’t worry that this will make you a “fink” – it’s
okay for siblings to rat on their younger siblings. Even
Q) BTW, do you have 10 kids?
A) No, I have 5 kids.
Q) I would say beating them all up is a bad idea.
A) Obviously this is from one of the boys in question. Don’t
listen to him, Daniel. Stick to your guns. Also remember that
since this is your little sister you’re talking about, the boys
should be younger, punier, and less ruthless than you. And don’t
beat them up in front of your sister for crying out loud, that
will make them heroes to her. Beat them up in private behind a
dumpster. She need never know.
Q) Do you know the origin of the days of the week? ie the
A) In English, yes. They are named after a variety of
different things — Moonday, Tiw’s Day, Woden’s day, Tyr’s Day,
Frigg’s Day, Saturn’s day, and Sunday.
Q) Being a (mostly) former board wargamer
A) You too? I’m glad to see other wargamers enjoying AoK.
Q) When will we be able to watch AOK games real time instead
of through “recorded game” mechanism?
A) I am not a programmer.
Q) What is the theme of the X-Pack?
A) I haven’t even officlally admitted that there is going to
BE an X-Pack yet.
Q) You hate my favorite band
A) I probably sounded more negative than I really feel about
them. It just irks me on occasion when someone praises some
newbie death metal band and knows nothing about the history and
roots of hard rock.
Q) I’m glad to see that you’ve become very moody lately,
A) Hmm. Actually, my last two postings were made when I was
sick with a cold, which probably influenced my world outlook.
Q) You said you are currently working on an unannounced
top-secret (I added that part) project of ES. Is this unannounced
project AoK related, or a seperate game ES is working on?
A) Nice try. I’m not THAT sick (as to be tricked into
answering this question).
Q) How was it hearing your pals @ work recording themselves in
A) The non-English language stuff was not done in house. It
was done by people who actually (supposedly) spoke the languages
in question. In Ireland.
Q) Can you make a unique archer unit that can kill any alive
unit with one shot, but with really low accuratcy, and expensive
A) Certainly. It’s called a trebuchet.
Q) One more thing, can some tell me where Sandyman answer
A) I answer them from Texas.
Q) Do you at least realize Nirvana started all that is today’s
A) ?? How about the Beatles? How about the Rolling Stones? Tom
Waits? There are bands far more influential than Nirvana. I do
admit that Nirvana is pretty influential though.
Q) What war or event do you think marks the end of the Age of
Kings period and the begining of a new era?
A) It is not just one single event, but a multiplicity that
take place over a century or so:
1 – Byzantium falls
2 – America is visited by Columbus and the colonization craze
begins, to the detriment of the non-European world.
3 – Martin Luther begins the Protestant Reformation
4 – the Feudal system dies as cities & merchants rise in
5 – modern-style diplomacy appears in Italy and starts to create
the concept of the modern nation.
Q) I believe Sandyman is wrong when he says Nirvana won’t be
around in ten years
A) I said 50 or 100 years not ten years. Nirvana will still be
listened to in ten years. The Beatles will still be listened to
by my grandchildren, though.
Q) Did you like the 80’s movie Flesh & Blood by Paul
A) I did not see it. If it has Rutger Hauer in it I’ll have to
look for it. I love Rutger Hauer.
Q) Since expansion pack CDs require much lesser storage space
than the original game would it be possible to put the full
length intro video on the expack CD, if possible in a little
A) I’ll ask.
Q) What I really would like is that for multiplayer all
players don’t need a CD anymore so I could play my own music CDs
for background music as well
A) You only need the CD at the very start of the game. You can
then replace it with your own CD. It starts playing on track 2,
Q) Your movie lists are decent, but i think you have to have
All Quiet on the Western Front (original 30s) and Heaven and
Earth, not the english but the Japanese war saga. Das Boot,
decent but kinda German
A) My list was supposed to be medieval movies. I do agree that
All Quiet on the Western Front (original) is the best war movie
ever made. Except maybe for Duck Soup.
Q) what are your fav games?
A) Banjo & Kazooie, Dungeon Master, Ultima III, World in
Flames, RuneQuest, and Cosmic Encounter are some of the most
important games in my life.
Q) It’s nice to see someone else who appreciates Bauhaus.
A) Are we so rare? I played Stigmata Martyr for my son and he
was blown away. “This was written before I was born?” He couldn’t
Q) I’ve been arguing with a friend about Ronald Reagan.
A) I think he was a below-average domestic president and a
good foreign one. We’ve had plenty worse domestic presidents,
though (worst of all was James Buchanan), and I think he was
better both in foreign & domestic policy than the men who ran
against him. I admit he was no genius, but intelligence is no
guarantee of a good presidency. (Carter & Wilson were among
our brightest presidents, and their terms were
Q) is there a hotkey for stuff such as loom, or
A) I don’t think we have any hotkeys for research items in
AoK, because they generally are very expensive, and you can only
do them once, so we want you to be sure you’re getting it.
Q) what is your opinion on a seperate limit for villager
A) I think it removes one of the fun balancing bits from
Q) Since the Age of Empires series is selling so well right
now, I think, do you think that the series will extend to the
A) The game’s style does not well fit the modern age. Starting
out with a town center and a few villagers just doesn’t seem
right for a WW2 sort of game. Certainly we could make changes to
better fit AoE to the modern times, but these changes would have
to be so broad that it would no longer be an Age game, in my
Q) Hey you ignored me this time
A) Read the topic heading – I reserve the right to ignore any
questions at any time by anybody for any reason.
Q) during history, the weather has played a major part in the
outcome of some battles
A) This is true, but weather is a random element not under the
control of the participants and therefore invariably unfair.
Also, weather is not such a big element in medieval and ancient
wars, because they tended to campaign only during the good
Q) Are you a Republican? Whom do you want to be president?
A) I’d rather not bring modern politics into the forum, only
the politics of history.
Q) Sorry if I sounded offensive or cynical towards you
A) Hell, how can I take offense from such an attitude? I’m
notoriously sarcastic and if I couldn’t take it as well as dish
it out, that would be a fine kettle of fish.
Q) How do you feel about the Clintons? How do you feel about
Bill Clinton? Do you cringe when you see him? Have any of your
friend’s met him (I could have, but chose not to. My friend and
his family did choose to meet him and his family however)? Do you
think Hillary (sp?) should be running for office in my state? Do
you think she should win? Do you think she will win?
A) well, I didn’t want to bring up modern politics, but I
believe that Bill Clinton is a personally despicable individual
who has had generally benign domestic policies, and some
significant foreign successes. To quote the Book of Mormon, he
“did justice unto the people, but not unto himself.” I believe
that when the facts came out last year he should have resigned
his office – Gore would have continued Clinton’s policies,
Clinton would have been a heroic martyr instead of a power-hungry
jerk, the Democratic party wouldn’t have had to suffer all those
logical flipflops, and the country would have avoided the
impeachment carnival. I think Hilary is a remarkably competent
and intelligent woman many of whose policies I personally
disagree with. In general, I try to vote for a person who I think
is competent rather than for his or her policies. I know that’s
kind of aberrant – nowadays in the USA you’re supposed to vote
for the slogans. But I’ll vote for a person I disagree with if I
think the person is honest and competent.
Q) I think Wilson was a great president in terms of Domestic
and Foreign. It was the senate that hurt him at that time.
A) I absolutely disagree. He made his own enemies in the
senate. Lodge agreed to _approve _ the League of Nations, if
certain provisions were attached. Rather than compromise, Wilson
let the League bill die. In addition, he ran for his second term
on the basis of “He Kept Us Out of War” and immediately plunged
us into one of the most idiotic and bloody wars of the century.
He was a terrible president. He meant well, and he tried to do
good, but he was unable to carry out his plans.
Q) Just please try to limit the joke questions you reply
A) Those are the ones I enjoy answering the most.
Q) Do you ever spell favorite with a u?
A) Never. I completely reject the British style of spelling
English words. Heaven knows the American style of spelling has
plenty of flaws but it’s a little closer to phonetic than the
Q) do you ever anticipate being hauled before a congressional
subcommitee to answer charges that you have created a product
that causes mental health problems?
A) Games I worked on have already been shown in Congress as
examples of wickedness and turpitude in the game industry. I do
not think I’ll be personally ever hauled before a subcommittee –
I’m not a game company owner, and congress seems to be of the
impression that the guy owning the company somehow knows all
about what that company does.
Q) I love the book “Art of War in the Western World”
A) Me too. Archer Jones is one of my favorite military
Q) will you stop answering questions about age of kings if
your “ask Sandyman questions” topics continue to generate so many
off aok topic questions?
A) Ask Sandyman does not have any off-topic questions. No
question is off-topic in this thread.
Q) I often come across idle computer villagers and units.
A) villagers should be idle only briefly between tasks, except
when the computer is thinking really hard. In the worst case
(i.e., biggest map, highest pop cap) the computer should never
have to think more than a minute or so before tasking an idle
villager. Computer military units are often idle, waiting for the
order to attack or defend.
Q) the campaigns are great; how are the expansion campaigns
A) If we had admitted to doing an expansion pack, I would be
able to tell you that the campaigns are among the slowest things
to do, so they would not be very far along yet.
Q) do you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? do you watch Mystery
Science Theater 3000?
A) I never watch TV.
Q) What do you see in technology in the next 10 years ?
A) I expect computer games will be replaced by internet-savvy
high-power console machines. And of course DVD will be
Q) What are your views on MP3s ?
A) I, personally, listen to CDs instead of MP3s.
Q) What are your views on PC software piracy ?
A) It’s an excellent way to ensure that PC software will be 1)
expensive, 2) low-quality, and 3) unoriginal.
Q) The Beatles or the Stones?
A) Beatles. The Stones did as much or more for rock music as
did the Beatles, but the Beatles did it earlier and better.
Q) Since you DID read Lord of the Rings, what did you think
A) I loved it.
Q) Do Heated Shots have any effect on seige weapons against
water units? against land units?
A) Heated Shot only affects towers.
Q) What’s the story between ES and Ireland?
A) Microsoft’s localization group is located in Ireland.
That’s where they do their translation work.
Q) Are there any plans to make a program either added in the
expansion pack or posted free for download that would help create
A) No. AI scripting is immensely complicated and is only used
by a tiny handful of people. It would be an enormous amount of
work to generate a program to help create the AI, and since we’re
already moving to an utterly different AI system for our next
game, it would be largely wasted.
Q) Have your ever read The Prince?
A) Many times.
Q) Do you think Machiavelli would concur with you on Burger
King over McDonald’s?
A) He would prefer Burger King’s food, but admire McDonalds’
Q) Is Burger King a man-thing with meat cooked on fire, cause
my wife and every woman I know prefers McDonald’s?
A) McDonald’s has cleaner stalls and more polite personnel.
Women don’t care about food quality. Therefore the fact that
Burger King food is far better holds no weight with them.
Q) I’m having problems knowing how to get the enemy to come
straight at you in the map editor when doing unit testing.
A) If there’s only one enemy unit, it will try to act as a
scout. Give the enemy a scout cavalry somewhere on the map (it
will always pick a scout cavalry to use as its scout if it can),
and the remainder of the units you give the CP will behave more
Q) Sounds like you go to BK without the wife civ too. Is it a
Stone Age thing of eating charred, flaming meat, or do we men
like so merely because our wives do not?
A) Actually, when I eat out with my wife I prefer to go to a
regular nice restaurant and eat Thai or Indian food. Fast food
doesn’t cut it for a date night for us middle-aged guys.
Q) is the real reason Centaurs were left out of the game
because MS didn’t want them eating dolphins?
A) Centaurs were left out of the game because the MS guys
thought we were making fun of them. What with having humans who
were also horse’s rear ends, you see.
Q) Would it be possible to draw each unit differently for each
Q) why there are no design credits in the AoK manual?
A) I think it’s stupid, too, and MS has been told so.
Q) can I get a new flappy thingie where you see all the techs,
civ bonus if I’ll spilled coffee over it?
A) Try MS. They print and distribute the things.
Q) no major battle happened in Tours. you should probably
refer to the battle of Poitiers in 732 where Charles martel
beated and stopped the Maurs invasion. i am correct or should i
learn my french history again ?
A) The battle of Poitiers in 732 is called Tours in most of
the English-speaking world. There is a battle which we
anglophones call Poitiers, but it refers to an English victory
during the 100 years war.
Q) all archers have a probability to miss their target; is it
the same for all civs, in particulary japanese ?