Ask Sandy XVII

Article written by Sandy Petersen
Originally published on 04-24-2000 ; updated on 03-13-2017
Tags: General Info, Ask Sandyman, Interviews

Q) How many new campaigns will be included in AoK: TC? Will each campaign center around a new civ?

A) Four. All but one.

Q) Does ES have any plans to develop either a non-AoE related game or a non-RTS game in the near or distant future?

A) We do not plan to be an exclusively RTS game company for the rest of our existence.

Q) How important is Easter from mormons?

A) We like it fine. We don’t really have any official church holy days, but we celebrate Christmas, Easter, and so forth in keeping with the traditions of the countries in which we live. We don’t think the Easter Bunny is a malignant sign of heathenism or anything like that.

Q) Where did you grow up? You mentioned mountains.

A) Utah.

Q) Which is a better pet, a cat or a dog?

A) There is overlap. Some cats are better than some dogs, and vice versa. It also depends on the owner’s temperament.

Q) You said that garrisoned rams will have a flag like a transport ship or a house. So, are now houses garrisonable?

A) I said a “house”? Oops. Sorry. Meant to say tower or castle or something. I was on painkillers last week so my answers may have been kind of mixed up. Houses are still not garrisonable.

Q) You said you was in the designing team of DOOM. So, why did you choose those names to the monster (like Cacodemon), and the name of the main Character (Sgt. Joe)?

A) I liked those monster names, and thought they were evocative. I didn’t name Joe.

Q) Did ES consider having an African civ like Ghana, Mali or Songhai?

A) Yes.

Q) Why are all of the politicians rich people? Why are most of the rich people rich because they inherited it from their parents? Doesn't that make the government not have many different view points?

A) First off, not all politicians are rich, but most of them are at least upper-class. Plenty of rich people didn’t inherit it from their parents. In the US, it’s a surprisingly large percentage. A democratic government composed of mostly upper-class well-educated people may not have all the possible viewpoints represented amongst it, but it’s still better than a monarchy or outright oligarchy.

Q) What Did you do in Civilization ?

A) Playtest.

Q) I have another book which tells me that it was Viking raides up Frankish rivers in the late 9th. century which first prompted the Franks to develope heavy cavalry. Can you collaborate or refute this?

A) Well, since Charlemagne was before this time and he had already instituted heavy cavalry in the Kingdom of the Franks, I would say this must be refuted. I agree that heavy cavalry developments were accelerated by Viking & Magyar raids, though.

Q) What kind of books do you like reading?

A) Mostly non-fiction. Science or sometimes history. I do read some fiction though. I especially like Tony Hillerman and Rex Stout.

Q) 2Which movie do you like best-THe First knight or Excallibur

A) Well, the movie I like best is Casablanca. But Excalibur is definitely superior to First Knight.

Q) what came first, the chicken or the egg?

A) The amniote egg evolved many millions of years before the first chicken.

Q) How did you actually get into game design in the first place?

A) I backed into it by accident.

Q) What is your favorite player color?

A) Green

Q) will any of the new civs get full siege?

A) None of the new civs get full siege.

Q) what's the meaning of life?

A) Man is that he might have joy.

Q) Will Longbowmen or other UUs get a faster rate of production? Because as it is to mass produce them, you need multiple castles, and since stone is very limited, you have to put casltes in spread out strategic locations, making massing UUs very hard. So unless they get a faster production rate, I'd rather just have 6 Archery ranges and crank out arbs instead of longbows.

A) Good. That’s exactly how we planned it. Incidentally, UUs do take somewhat less time to produce than an equivalent unit of the same type from a normal production point. For instance, a Longbowman takes 19 seconds to produce, and an arbalest takes 27 seconds. (Not counting Conscription.)

Q) Will there be seige towers in The Conquerors? Weren't they a very important part of seige warfare

A) Siege towers were pretty rare in the middle ages.

Q) How come this time we can't play TC with the original AOK cd?

A) I don’t know. I find it very annoying.

Q) are any of the new civs economic powerhouses?

A) Yes.

Q) Has ES/MS considered making AoE freeware?

A) I seriously doubt it.

Q) Would ES consider in future games having more patch-oriented releases and fewer expansions?

A) “Fewer” meaning presumably “zero”, because we’ve only done one (1) expansion per game so far.

Q) Why is it that paladins are a very dominating unit in AOK? In the hundred years war they were slaughtered by bowmen at crecy and agincourt (i think) and the war of the roses they were little used in favor of archers, billmen, and light cavalry?

A) As I’ve pointed out numerous times, the victories of footmen at crecy & agincourt were highly unusual, and were considered so at the time. They were not normal battles, but amazing upsets. For every Crecy, there are a dozen Bannockburns, in which knights absolutely slaughtered foot archers. The war of the roses featured plenty of armored knights. The number dwindled as the war went on because they were all killed off in the various conflicts.

Q) What is your opinion of the Stanleys? Were they being smart, treacherous, or both at Bosworth?

A) It’s hard to tell. At least one of my sources says that their charge was actually aimed at Richard’s enemies, but that they got mixed up en route, and crashed into Richard’s forces instead, then claimed to have planned it that way all along when Henry was victorious. In any case I find it hard to claim that anyone could be “treacherous” by refusing to assist the arch-traitor, friend-murderer, and tyrant Richard III.

Q) Are any of the buildings being increased in size or hitpoints or armor?

A) Nope.

Q) I know that the new units will either be upgrade of other lines or different units all together but, will any new units have their own line? Begining in fuedal or castle with upgrades going up to imp or castle?

A) Yes, one non-unique unit is a new line, but it’s not generally available.

Q) What age will the new units be available.

A) Castle.

Q) In ROR 3 of the 5 new units were counter units. Are the x-pack units going to be mostly counter units as well.

A) No.

Q) Are any of the new units non-gold units.

A) Yes.

Q) Will the European English release (usually Irish) of TCs work with the American release of AOK?

A) ?? Is there some reason it might not? It never even occurred to me that there might be an incompatibility.

Q) Does ES have any job openings?

A) Look at our web site.

Q) Will the pikeman be somewhat improved against war elephants?

A) Improved? 51 points of damage per hit isn’t enough?

Q) Will the new civ that is an economic powerhouse be a european civ?

A) No.

Q) Any chance that an option will be added that allows the host to set a hard limit on the number of TCs?

A) We’ve already gone ahead with our own solution to the TC problem and are very happy with it. For what it’s worth, various aspects of our solution have been discussed in depth on the forum and so, in effect, you guys are responsible for the nature of our fix. Congrats.

Q) Any chance that an option will be added that removes the ability of buildings to fire at other buildings.

A) No.

Q) Last time I asked which US State you would least like to live in

A) Hawaii.

Q) Did you create more than just the five civs that will be in the X-pac for playtesting, then weed them out?

A) We created the names of the civs first, then worked and reworked them practically to death.

Q) You kicked around the idea of an elite skirmisher?

A) The Genitour. He was basically a mounted skirmisher. But, like I said before, we decided that archers didn’t need another counter-unit.

Q) If you and I were to play AoK: TC (Arabian map) right now, and I picked the Franks, what civ would you pick?

A) The Saracens.

Q) Will messages from specific players be in that player color?

A) Yes.

Q) Is it possible that maybe the Saracens will have stronger camels so they can take a Frank paladin?

A) You’re going to love the Saracen UT.

Q) Do you personally think that now, that the C.A has been 'improved' that people will use it more often in combat?

A) Players far more skilled than I now use C.A.s quite regularly in AoK. The CA’s period of power seems to be in late Castle through mid-Imperial. In late Imperial, the CA’s power starts to drop off some. I predict that people who refuse to use C.A.s at all in AoK will suffer much the same fate as people who refuse to use Champions. Or who refuse to use Paladins. Etc.

Q) do u think the change wont really affect the impact C.A will have, since we have arablests and h.canons for attack.

A) I think we’ll see a lot more cav archers than in the past, but arbalests & hand cannons will still show up. After all, only certain civs get worthwhile cav archers.

Q) I also hear arabelists have bonus v.s C.A, so basically C.A will appear to be useless

A) Who told you that?

Q) Do you think you have made a dramatic 'improvement' on C.A? if so, acan u say what it is?

A) Yes they are vastly improved. They move faster, fire faster, and are created faster. They also get the benefit of a new research item that boosts their armor. They are not the super-game-ending-killer-unit of all time, but who would want that? They are now a viable, even a strong unit well worth that 70 gold.

Q) What hockey team do you want to see win the cup?

A) Any team but Dallas.

Q) In AOK:TC is the scenario editor going to change a lot or a bit?

A) A bit.

Q) In AOK:TC will the Random map generator add gaia stuff?

A) Yes.

Q) Why doesn't the Byzantins get any trade bonus?

A) 1. they were famous for their religion & deceitful politics, not their mercantile efforts. 2. They didn’t need it.

Q) How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

A) He’d chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

Q) Why don't you do what cavedog did and release a new unit every month or so?

A) Our game is balanced very differently from theirs.

Q) Why, Why, WHY Did you make it so the CPU resigns as soon as you start the game?

A) It was a mistake, ok? Not intentional. Get the current patch to fix the problem.

Q) Does the inclusion of the Franks in AoK rule out the inclusion of the Normans in AoK:TC?

A) The Normans are ruled out because they were a comparatively small nation that did not do that much historically. Yes they conquered England, but that was a backwards, unimportant island at the time. Even if we restrict ourselves to European nations, the Lombards, Moors, Slavs, Spanish, and Burgundians were all far more important and interesting than the Normans.

Q) What do you think prompted the Maya to abandon their cities?

A) Shub-Niggurath

Q) will there be any new buildings ?

A) As I’ve said before, no, unless you count the new wonders.

Q) why does advancing with the chinese cost the same, whil they have their cheaper technologies ?

A) Game balance.

Q) when enabling all techs, most bonuses disappear, like frankish cheap castles, free mill upgrades and other stuff. will this be fixed, or is it ment like that ?

A) It is working the way it is intended to.

Q) which unit do you believe is the most usefull unit in castle age ?

A) Besides villager? Probably the knight.

Q) SINCE THE SCANDINAVIAN VERSION IS NOT TRANSLATED IN ANY WAY, can you see any reason that it will be late in scandinavia ?

A) Nope. The folks to complain to are the MS representatives in Scandinavia. Whoever they are.

Q) Will animals reproduce themselves? and how about trees?

A) Nope. We like it fine the way it is.

Q) Any improvements to Cataphract?

A) The Byzantine UT grants a significant boost to the Cataphract. So big that we had to tune it down after seeing the Byzantines run rampant over everyone else for a week or two. They still get the cool bonus, but it’s not quite as terrifying.

Q) Why don't you like Hawaii?

A) It’s really hard to visit anywhere else (you need to take a long plane ride), and I’ve heard that prices are high.

Q) What do you have against the Dallas Stars? You live in Dallas...don't you?

A) Yes I live in Dallas, but I think it’s absolutely idiotic that Dallas has an ice hockey team.

Q) Is it not a good thing that "newer" teams win the cup to increase the audience for hockey?

A) Why should I care if the audience for hocky gets increased?

Q) If you worked at another company, what would it be?

A) Before I worked here, I was at id Software. If I couldn’t work there either … dunno. Maybe I’d try to start my own.

Q) What civs, units, techs, and bounses didn't make it into Aok?

A) I’ll list one of each: Burgundians, composite foot archers, a tech that gave monks the ability to convert other units, and an infamous bonus that gave one civ monks in the Feudal age.

Q) why was the ability to trade with of map places taken out?

A) It was breath-takingly dull and un-used.

Q) how come archer armor gets the same protection as infantry armor?

A) Game balance.

Q) Will you be making improvements to the recorded games?

A) Yes, you will be able to see the chats made during a recorded game, plus you’ll be able to set “chapter” markers in a recorded game, so you can skip ahead to a cool place in the replay.

Q) why are you waiting till E3 to release info on TC?

A) Ask MS’s marketing department. It is not a decision I necessarily agree with nor was involved in making, but I will abide by it.

Q) I think a set of user made RM's would be great!

A) There is a new scripting method allowing users to invent their own RMs. Plus we’ve added a number of cool new RMs of our own.

Q) Will the Samuri be improved in the X-pac?

A) Yes. They are faster-moving and their bonus vs. UUs has been increased.

Q) Why are youse being evil commies wanting to be in the taking over of the USA of America?

A) Relax. Sit back. Give in to the dark side my son. Soon the teachings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin will make sense to you and you’ll become One Of Us.

Q) didn't the English win the battle of Crecy because the Longbows, that were developed in the wars in Wales, were completely superior to any other archer of the day as far as range, accuracy, and rate of fire?

A) No. The English shot up the Genoese, because the English were standing still and the Genoese had to march up towards them while under fire, then load and fire. Most of them didn’t get even a single shot off. Before they could get organized, the French rode them down. The English would have won at Crecy even if they’d had somewhat less brilliant bows.

Q) How many languages do you speak?

A) Only one and a half, but my wife speaks four.

Q) Do u think pokemon sucks?

A) I have nothing against pokemon.

Q) Do you agree that an African civ that is not in the maghreb will be extremely difficult to do.

A) Yes.

Q) How come Mike Kidd is missing from the ES web site?

A) He is? (Quick check.) I’ll be darned. He is. I have no idea why. He’s pretty new, but still ought to be there. I’ll fire off a quick e-mail to him.

Q) A while back you stated that 2 1/2 civilizatiosn in the X-pac were from Europe

A) Actually I said 1 ½ were from Europe.

Q) Why, exactly, do you have the Byzantines speaking Latin in AOK?

A) It was their official state language, a majority of their population did not speak Greek, it helped maintain the feel for a continuation of the Roman Empire, and I like Latin better than Greek.

Q) have you ever read the Dune series, but Frank Herbert? excluding the mediocre House Atreides, I believe it to be the greatest science fiction series of all time

A) I have read much of the Dune series (basically the first three books), but I consider the Foundation books the greatest SF series of all time.

Q) Since the TC has been toned down, can it still be used as a somewhat effective offensive weapon?

A) It sucks bad as an offensive weapon, now.

Q) has the ex-pac added any new unique strategies?

A) Yes. And I predict many more will arise after its release.

Q) How many of the ex-pac civs have we guessed right in this forum?

A) All of them.

Q) Can you give us a hint what the Frank UT does?

A) It is called “Bearded Axe” and it increases the range of throwing axemen. Their UT was somewhat less powerful than that of some civs because the Franks don’t need pumping up.

Q) If the Russians had not pushed the Mongols out of the Asian steppe, do you believe that the Mongols would have entered Western Europe and conquered it?

A) No. They had already gone into Europe and beaten everybody. By the time the Russians pushed out the Golden & the White Hordes the Mongols were no longer a serious threat to Europe.

Q) you believe that the massive hitpoints of the buildings in AOK have made it little more then a ancient sim city?

A) This is a leading question. No I don’t. Do you?

Q) If Hitler had knocked out the radar system of the British before the United States had entered the war, do you believe that the Germans would have been able to force the English to give up?

A) Given the enormous amout of damage the Germans were able to take from strategic bombing without giving up, I don’t think that mere bombing of England could have made Churchill give up. Destruction of the British radar sites would have meant Luftwaffe could have devasted much more of England’s industry, but fundamentally the Germans didn’t had effective long-range bombers. To make England surrender, Germany needed to invade them, not just bomb them. Of course, if they _could_ have invaded, England would have been occupied almost immediately. They had no serious defenses except the English Channel. But even the occupation of Great Britain might not have meant a surrender – Churchill planned to go on fighting from Canada, Australia, etc. But clearly that would have been only minor fringe resistance. Germany would, in effect, have won WW2 in the West. Would bombing the radar sites have given Germany the air superiority it needed to invade Great Britain? I don’t know.

Q) Why was the use of fire left out. Archers used flaming arrows to quickly destroy buildings

A) Research chemistry.

Q) If a duck walks head first into a cannon is it really murder?

A) Only if the person who fires the cannon is also a duck.

Q) The English channel played a big part in helping to keep England safe from outside invaders. However, isolation is sometimes a bad thing. Ex: China. So, if this is true why were the British able to conquer most the world with a island the size of New Jersey.

A) The fact of their island existence meant they built a powerful navy, and that’s what they used to colonize elsewhere. The Dutch navy was as powerful and diverse, but the Dutch were always distracted by the threat of continental wars, so they couldn’t use it as freely. The French were mainly a continental power, who never really got their navy together and effective. The Spanish and Portuguese alone worked on their navy and exploration as effectively as the British, and so the Spanish and Portuguese alone had foreign colonies to rival the British.

Q) How true is it that sappers were mainly infantry soldiers and not villagers or serfs

A) Almost always true.

Q) Finally, if you were a hot babe and I was a hot dude would you slap me?

A) Keep your hands to yourself, big guy.

Q) for the x-pack, has ES removed (or made automatic, from age to age) the upgrades that have been found to be superfluous in post-release gameplay? Stuff like hoardings, heated shot, etc.

A) No. Just because an upgrade isn’t used every game doesn’t mean it’s not sometimes handy.

Q) How much does experience on the Zone, in tournaments, on strat websites like mrfixit etc. influence ES' direction with AOK?

A) Enormously.

Q) Besides the obvious financial benefits, are you making your games for the gamers or strictly for yourselves?

A) For ourselves. We want to be proud of what we do. Gamers who love the games validate that pride, and so they are important too, but fundamentally we do games because we love the games, not because we love the gamers.

Q) Why did the artists put pants on the Woad Raiders instead of kilts?

A) They didn’t wear kilts. But we call them “trews” not “pants”.

Q) Why didn't any of the early discoverers of the Americas stay?

A) The plumbing sucked.

Q) Does the USA vs. Microsoft case have ES worried?

A) Not in the slightest. Even if the US decided that MS needed to be carved into small edible bits and fed to chimpanzees, ES would still be in business. We might have to find another publisher, though.

Q) are the civs that were dropped before the release of AoK the same civs basically that are in the x-pack

A) No.

Q) Will any additional farm upgrades be available?

A) No. The farm queues plus crop rotation seem to give us all the farming fun we could ask for.

Q) Will there be any improvements in the town bell? If you have multiple TCs, currently ringing the town bell results in far greater numbers of peasants garrisoning into the nearest TC than you had intended

A) We figured players would rather have too many garrison than too few.

Q) Is it your opinion that the widespread availability of pikemen has made War Elephants essentially useless?

A) Of course not.

Q) Are you Mormon? If so, how many wives do you have?

A) Mormons with more than one wife are automatically excommunicated from the church for good.

Q) hope changes to the cavalry arecher line will be implemented in such a way that the civs that used them should benefit from them.

A) They are. Goths, Britons, and so forth do not get the new cav archer research items that make them (cav archers, that is) worth purchasing.

Q) Can ES program a clone "Sandy" so that you don't have to be bothered by our questions anymore?

A) I keep begging and pleading for them to do this, but no dice yet.

Q) Hey Sandy does will the x-pac let you choose a easy computer and a hard computer in the same match?

A) No.

Q) What's the address for the Mormon's family history web site?

A) I don’t know. Try Yahoo.

Q) Why are the Helvetians not in the Expansion Pack?

A) We already have plenty of Europeans represented.

Q) in what age are the UT's available for research?

A) All but one are in the Imperial Age.

Q) Does the computer cheat on hardest?

A) Yes. He gets 500 extra of each resource each time he goes up an age.

Q) Why where u on painkillers?

A) Foot surgery.

Q) Will the X-Pack add ANY new counter units?

A) It seems to me that everything that needs a counter already has one.

Q) Why did you choose the name Sandyman?

A) I am called “Sandy” by everyone who knows me. “Sandyman” seemed a logical extension.

Q) Whyd you name catapuls as mongonels/onagers and ballistas as scorpions?

A) Because catapult-like devices were normally called “onagers” or “mangonels” and no one called “ballistas” that after Roman times. We gave them the later names to help distinguish them from the AoE weapons. After all, the AoK mangonel is really quite different in use and tactics from the AoE catapult, ditto the AoK scorpion and the AoE ballista.

Q) When you say the TC will suck as an offensive weapon in the X-pack, do you restrict you comment to a pop of 75?

A) Most of our testing nowadays is done at pop 150.

Q) Don't you think Chinese should have a healing UT of acupuncture?

A) Only if a healing UT is the best way to boost the Chinese in a fun, balanced manner. (Personally, I don’t think it is.)

Q) the civs bonus tha would give them monks in fudal, was that civ a european civ?

A) I think so. But that was a loooong time ago. It might have been the Byzantines.

Q) Obviously you are going to slightly tweak the AI because of the new civs and reasearch's. My question is is at vastly improved over the standard AI in the current version of AOK? Yes or no?

A) People here say it’s tougher to beat than before. What else can I go by? It does advance up through the ages much faster than before.

Q) Why dont you and M$ release the patch already?

A) It’s not done.

Q) How come the Portugal didn't become part of Spain like the rest of the Iberian Kingdoms did?

A) It did, for a century or two. Portugal got exhausted in foreign wars and Spain took over for a while. It was never formally annexed, though, and after Portugal got its act together, they warred on Spain and regained their independence. Spain, at that time, was feeling kind of weak itself. I think one reason Spain never conquered Portugal is because the Spanish had other fish to fry – after all, they owned not just Spain but also Belgium, Austria, big hunks of Italy, and almost the whole of the New World. Most of their wars weren’t aimed at the Portuguese (who were basically friendly trading partners), but at the Dutch and French, who were real threats. Fundamentally, Spain’s national goal from about 1500 to 1650 was to dominate all of Europe. Conquering Portugal would not help them in that goal. It might even hurt them, because they’d have this running sore in their backside during their campaigns against England, the Dutch, the French, and the Ottomans. Also, once the Protestant Reformation came along, their interest in dominating Portugal became even slimmer, because at least the Portuguese remained good Catholics.

Q) Dont you think Portugal is a contender/candidate to be in the X-Pack?

A) Look. My wife speaks Portuguese (she lived there for a year and a half). My brother-in-law is Portuguese. I have lots of ties to Portugal. But despite all of Portugal’s importance, there are a number of other civs that deserve to be in the X-Pack more than the Portuguese. Even if all we count are European civs.

Q) the portuguese and brasilian dont have a Civ that they can call their own.

A) The function of AoK is not to provide every fan with a civ they can call their own. Good heavens, none of the civs are the U.S. and you don’t hear us complain.

Q) Would you pay $1000 per each extra hour of time each day?

A) If I could afford it.

Q) Are you in Mensa?

A) I have not joined Mensa, despite several offers.

Q) Will the X-Pack add new heroes to the Scenario Editor/Maker and if so will they all be from the new Campaigns?

A) Yes, and I don’t think so.

Q) I bought AoK in Korea. would it work if I bought The Conquerors in Canada?

A) It ought to .

Q) Are you writing the AI scripts for TC? What improvements can we expect to see from the Computer player?

A) Yes I’m writing them. He is faster at progressing through the ages and a lot of old bugs that hindered his effectiveness have been fixed. He is now more difficult to beat at “Hard” and “Hardest” level, but he should be about the same at Moderate, Easy, & Easiest.

Q) Sandy, do you like the way Asimov finished up the series? I just reread it, and I'm still struck by how profoundly the series turns after that little twenty-year break between Second Foundation and Foundation's Edge.

A) I think that what happened is that Asimov changed his personal politics during the break, and so he wrote the final volume to reflect that. To some extent I think he betrayed his former self, if you get what I mean. But I liked the final volume too.

Q) Call of Cthulhu was an awesome game, its still sitting in sight of me as I write this! ;-) Now maybe if you can convince ES to do a CoC game of somesort.

A) Maybe some day.

Q) Will there be a dramatic improvement on the computer's style of play?

A) When the computer is doing a Castle-Age Rush now, he usually gets to Castle in 17-18 minutes. How’s that for an improvement?

Q) Do you believe in aliens?

A) Certainly. But I have seen little convincing evidence that they’ve visited Earth in historical times. I also don’t think that real aliens would be humanoid at all. Look at the vast multitude of different forms of life on Earth – how many are humanoid? I see no reason to believe that an alien would look any more like us than a ctenophore or a palpigrade does.

Q) Are you guys at ES considering doing a second expansion?

A) We have not ruled anything out. We would only do a second expansion if we (1) could do it without impacting our upcoming products and (2) could think of a really cool (and salable) theme to tie it together.

Q) Has ES considered increasing the Line of Sight of the Outpost in order to increase its usage

A) Yes.

Q) Feudal rushes with towering resources is a pretty good and useful strat. Were feudal towers meant to be used in this way?

A) We have nothing against using watch towers in this way. Obviously we knew it would be a possibility because it was done in AoE, and we did nothing to prevent it in AoK.

Q) I know how much of a setback it can be when it is pain with the feet.You tend to take them for granted until something comes along to bring you to reality.good luck and good rehabilitating

A) Thanks. Your good wishes are really appreciated.

Q) won't there be a huge advantage for the civs with crop rotation? I mean, farms with crop rotation last a lot longer. When you multiply this by 15, the difference will be seriously noticable! Won't civs without crop rot be too much disadvantaged?

A) No more than they are now. If anything, civs without crop rotation are better off with farm queues than they used to be, because they can more easily queue up a line of farms in the mill than go wandering around their home town re-clicking on all the expired farms. Sure a guy with crop rotation doesn’t have to click on his mill as often, but re-seeding farms is no longer that big of a deal.

Q) Is this a real possibility in the short, medium, long term future of Sandyman Games? Will you take it public?

A) Not at all. The question was what I’d do if I wasn’t at ES. I really love ES. Our other employees are like brothers (or, in a few cases, sisters), and I would need to be dragged away from here kicking and screaming. I would certainly never leave of my own volition.

Q) Will the new user scripts replace existing RM definitions or add to them?

A) You add them as new custom maps.

Q) Who do you consider to be the best AoK player in ES?

A) Probably Captain Kidd.

Q) Why does MS's video get played befor ES's in the cinimatics before the game?

A) So you see ours last, in hopes it’ll get stuck in your brains. (Actually, I don’t know why ours is second. Maybe it’s contractual.)

Q) What does MS have to do with AoK?

A) They do some of the playtesting, and all of the marketing and production. Also translations into different languages. They even provided us with the various languages for the villagers to speak.

Q) What College did you go to?

A) Brigham Young University, UC Davis and UC Berkeley.

Q) Do you speak any languages besides English?

A) I have some extremely rusty Russian lodged in my memory. I minored in Russian in College. Of course, that was 20 years ago.

Q) If you were to travel back in time what time period would you go to?

A) Either the late Cretaceous or the mid-Triassic.

Q) I have heard you are a mormon. Did you have to do two years of missionary service? My dad, a pastor, said that that is what all mormon's have to do.

A) The missionary work is voluntary. You don’t have to do it, and many mormons don’t. You also pay for your own keep during the mission; i.e., the church doesn’t support you. Usually your family helps out financially, though. As it happens, I did serve two years. One of my brothers also went on a mission, but the other one didn’t. I would say that more than half the active mormon boys go on a mission, and way less than half of the girls.

Q) Did the name Cacodemon used in Doom some from your time at Rune Quest? If so, is Cacodemon from some mythology?

A) The word “cacodemon” is a perfectly good English word, and simply means an especially noxious demon. Mostly I just like the sound of it.

Q) What does farm queuing actually do?

A) Lets you “stack up” a bunch of farms at the mill, and then your farmers automatically replant a farm when it expires, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

Q) Will Arbalests be improved to the point that it is worth playing 2.5 times the cost of a champion (especially as the vikings) to build them?

A) Arbalests cost 2.5 times as much as a champion? They cost Champions cost 60 food, 20 gold. Arbalests cost 40 wood, 45 gold.

Q) was 'Out Of Sync' on multiplayer designed to catch people out who were using trainers?

A) Actually, yes it was. That’s not the only reason it ever goes out of synch though.

Q) you reference evoution. Do you beleive in either Darwinian evolution or post-creation evolution?

A) I am a big fan of Charles Darwin, and think that the Origin of Species is one of the great scientific books ever written. I think that believing in an ab nihilo creation makes God a big prankster, hiding away all those evidences of a billions-year-old Earth just to fool us modern humans. And I don’t believe in that kind of God.

Q) Are monks going to have the ability to auto-attack/convert enemies who come in rangE?

A) No, because when a monk attacks it takes away something from that monk (i.e., he has to recharge), and so the player should be in control at all times. Yes this sometimes leads to problems, but we’d rather have the problems be a player’s fault than the computer making the wrong decision on his behalf.

Q) Saracens will be improved since they are a very non used civ?

A) Saracens are not being improved directly. Several units that they rely heavily on are improved, however.

Q) Will Goths be able to build walls?

A) No.

Q) How many times did you prefer the TC from AOK?

A) I’m afraid this question does not make sense to me.

Q) are the byzantines gonna get a desent economic atr?

A) By and large we’re not changing old things about the game. We’re adding new ones. We like the Byzantine economic bonus just fine.

Q) the byz gonna have a replacement for the blast furance they are missing?

A) You’ll just have to struggle along without it. That is sort of the purpose in having a tech tree after all, so that not every civ gets every upgrade.

Q) are there gonna be more heavy cavalry base civ?

A) We already have the Franks.

Q) does es considers changing from 2d to 3d for the future rts games hopefully aoe3?(hope not)

A) Yes we are moving to 3-D for our future games.

Q) do you intend to make the camel more powerful againstother than cavalry?

A) If we made the camels more powerful, then why would we need cavalry?

Q) Who's your daddy!?

A) Dr. Robert J. Petersen, M.D.

Q) Since it is an expansion pack, Will it be full priced (49) or be less?

A) I imagine it will be comparably priced to RoR.

Q) Can you play a Aok:TC against a AoK player?

A) No. For instance, if you were to run one of the new random maps or build a new unit, the two games would be totally incompatible. But you still will have your old executable, so once the X-Pack is installed you can choose which of the two games you want to run. Thus you can still play old AoK against your friends who haven’t bought the X-Pack.

Q) Finely, whats the function of AoK?

A) To provide stimulating intellectual pleasure to people in a semi-historical reality.

Q) How different can the new units be, you practically thought of everything.

A) We still had a few tricks up our sleeves, but you’re right. It was much harder creating the Conquerors units than it was designing the RoR ones.