Chat with Ian Fischer and Chris Rippy


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ArchangelM: HI Fish
ES_Fish: Hey
ES_Fish: What's going on?
ArchangelM: We only go the word out a couple of hours ago - but tomorrow should be better
ES_Fish: This is pretty neat.
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ArchangelM: Fish - how many of the scenarios are you responsible for?
ES_Fish: Hard to answer
ES_Fish: Hang on
ArchangelM: Telcontar - are you going to cut and paste this thing for us?
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ES_Chris: Howdy
ES_Fish: Hey, Rip!
Telcontar: ok, if my Netscape does not crash :)
ArchangelM: Hey Chris
ES_Chris: Hwy
ES_Fish: About the scenarios...
ES_Chris: Hey
Telcontar: Hi
ES_Fish: I did a lot of the multiplayer but Chris Rippy did the vast majority of the single player
ES_Chris: Vast
ArchangelM: nice to hear I thought Chris had something to do with the sounds also?!?
ES_Fish: I was actually hired after most of them were complete, so I ended up testing them all
ES_Fish: Yes, Chris is our sound guru.
ES_Chris: Yes, I'm also the sound guy
ES_Chris: Bossman says hello

Telcontar: why did you decide to create your own language for AoE?
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LaserEdge: 'Lo all.
ES_Chris: Good question..we wanted to have an early "sounding language",but not a real known language. So, AOE speak was born.
Telcontar: some words sound like a weird Swiss German dialect :)
ArchangelM: I heard it was based on you when you were a baby - is this true :)
ES_Fish: This has become the biggest question generator...
ES_Chris: Me as a baby, huh.. Most sounds are just "latin sounding" words that we made up. There aresome secrets in there too.
ES_Fish: Shhhh!
ArchangelM: Tells us how the demo scenarios differ in game play from the gold version
ES_Chris: Completely fresh scenarios. We felt like we didn't want to cheat the demo player when hebought the game, so he gets a whole new set of them.
ES_Fish: One of the things you'll notice, however....
LaserEdge: I have a couple of questions for the AI master. ;)
ES_Fish: Is that the demo scenarios (by their nature) are forced to consistof a lot of the game elements
ES_Fish: Which in the full version are more spread out...
ES_Fish: Dave isn't here for the AI but Chris and I have a decent understanding of it so shoot...
ES_Chris: Ian is the master of the demo! He did quite a bit of work on the history and design.
ES_Chris: You owe me 5 bucks
ArchangelM: go ahead
ES_Fish: Thanks
ES_Fish: am were
ES_Fish: :)
ES_Fish: (sorry, inside jokes)
ES_Fish: AI questions?
LaserEdge: I know programing AI is a difficult challenge in RTS games. I know AoE's AI is self adapting. What approach did you take? Alife, GA's etc???
ES_Chris: Fish..
ES_Fish: The self-adapting portion really didn't come into play for us
ES_Chris: in the scenario world that is
ES_Fish: As far as designing scenarios is concerned, that is
ES_Fish: The adaptation routine creates a file on every user's system
ES_Fish: Data based on your performance under certain conditions is savedthere and the AI looks to itin certain situations
ES_Fish: So, if you do the same thing every time, he knows and changes...
LaserEdge: I see. So your behavioral modeling the human player to some extent?
ES_Chris: It is possible to have scenarios with this info of the user inmbedded, so when you make yourown...
ES_Fish: Note that I am not the AI guy, so Iwhat I'm telling you is what I understand... Take it for whatit is worth...
ES_Fish: Yes
ArchangelM: Ok Chris - The music in Age of Empires is extremely different from music used in other games. What was the inspiration behind the music? The music reportedly is rooted from many of the civilizations included in the game, how is this so?
ES_Fish: (need more coffee...)
ES_Chris: Cool. The music was actually done by my two brothers, David and Stephen..
LaserEdge: Gimme some FoOd! ;)
ES_Chris: They did a ton of research on the cultures, their styles, and their instruments..
ES_Chris: and created some very remarkable tunes using sampling technology on the instruments and realinstruments too.
ArchangelM: I guess I will take that as answer... Whats the story of the flying Dutchman?
ES_Chris: He likes catapults!
ES_Chris: and no pants
LaserEdge: What about the big bug that was found with transports?
ES_Chris: Yeah, I saw that today. Interesting. I'll have to try it myself.
Telcontar: which is not a bug in the first place, but a fiendish and crafty abuse of the diplomacy system
ES_Chris: Love those workarounds :)
ES_Fish: Its a feature!
ES_Fish: Not really....
LaserEdge: Any of you had a chance to play TA or DR? What do you think of them?
ES_Fish: I've played a little of both
ES_Chris: I've not had much playtime on either, but I've heard good things.
ES_Fish: Some likes / some dislikes....
Yokel: The units in TA look a little abstract; takes getting used to
Telcontar: Europe's largest game mag has chosen AoE as the game of the month (before TA and DR).
They prefered AoE :)
ES_Fish: Woo Hoo!
ES_Chris: Pretty cool huh. We've gotten some great reviews lately..
Yokel: History Department at Chico State (Calif) likes the demo a lot
LaserEdge: I think DR has the best unit AI among DR, TA and AoE. AoE is the most fun of all IMHO.
ES_Chris: Go Chico State!
ES_Fish: I'm a more strategic player so I didn't like TA's (very nearly) all-combat model
ES_Fish: I like some of DR's unit AI but some of it ruins the game for me...
LaserEdge: Fish : You must be like me. More a creative thinker and not a click fest person.
ES_Fish: I won like the first 6 missions by pumping out units and assigning them all "search and destroy"...
ES_Fish: Yeah, I'm not a click fest guy...
Telcontar: some people criticized that the sound tracks were too short (30 minutes total). Will the expansion have more music? perhaps 2 cds, one for installing, one for playing?
LaserEdge: It is obvious most of the AoE development team is the same way. It shows in the product.
ES_Fish: Yeah, one of our big concerns was ensuring that it didn't become a click-fest....
ES_Chris: On the soundtracks: Don't forget you have both redbook and midi. Pull the cd out and you get a whole new set.
ES_Fish: The problem now, as we look at new design ideas, is that as we grow more complex we still have to have a certain level of simplicty and action involved...
ES_Fish: A lot of people like this aspect and we don't want to lose them....
ES_Fish: Recently, we've had some great ideas for melding the two styles...
Telcontar: can you tell us a bit about the expansion or AoE2?
ES_Fish: AoE2 = secret
ES_Chris: Shh
ES_Fish: It hurts me to have you ask, however...
LaserEdge: That is the cool thing about hind sight. You know what to do better the next time around.
AoE probably gave you many cool ideas you didn't implement because of time.
ES_Fish: I'd really like to talk...
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ES_Chris: Plus everyone's feedback here has been an inspiration to us.
ES_Fish: Plus our design staff rocks -- these guys are studs.
ES_Chris: Fish? A stud?
LaserEdge: Cool!
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ES_Fish: Well, in training.
ES_Chris: Hey Voodoo
Voodo: hey
IRex: Greetings all,
ES_Chris: Hey Irex
LaserEdge: I just have one real request of ya. Make sure you stay diehard gamers before your next RTSproject.
ES_Chris: Of course!!!
ES_Fish: Have you guys started making your own levels?
ES_Chris: Yes, I made several.
LaserEdge: I know it is hard to lose sight in difficult project sometimes.
ES_Fish: Not you!
ES_Chris: Yeah, but there's always time for games!
LaserEdge: HeHe. ;)
LaserEdge: And there is time to be thinking about them when your not playing. ;)
IRex: Is the same team going to be at work on AoE2?
ES_Chris: Is that an indirect AoE2 question? Sneaky...
IRex: Sorry, I missed the start.
IRex: I'll rephrase that
ES_Chris: Cool with me!
ES_Fish: Again, any of you done your own levels?
IRex: Our staff have done a few ES_Fish
IRex: Nothing to write home about
LaserEdge: I haven't yet. Still having a blast in multi! Gotta love the coop mode
IRex: Letting 2 players play the one civ was a great idea.
ES_Fish: If you have anything you think is good, send them to me please
LaserEdge: The coop mode is a feature I have been wanting since C&C came out.
IRex: Sets AoE apart in yet another way
IRex: ES_Fish -- I'll go through them tomorrow. This is Imperious Rex from GameStats by the way.
ES_Chris: Cool. I'm glad you're playing coop! Its cool communicating with your partner to win the game
Telcontar: will more than 8 players be able to play in AoE2 (e. g. 32 players with 8 tribes)?
ES_Fish: We had some indestructable teams when we tested co-op...
ES_Fish: One guy to build, one to fight and so on...
ES_Chris: More sneaky AOE2 talk...
LaserEdge: I think coop will start a new tourney format.
IRex: As far as you know will IGZ remain free for AoE?
IRex: A lot of readers are writing in about that.
Voodo: pc gamer said it would be
ES_Fish: I asked MS that question yesterday...
ES_Chris: As far as I know..but I'm an ES guy so..
Voodo: stuff like Asheron's call will be charged
LaserEdge: I have a question about the network code. Is AoE's network code independent of protocol?
ES_Fish: The answer I got was that it will stay free for AoE and for the majority of their game
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ES_Fish: They will implement a fee structure for some of their online onlies, however.
Olm_Napp: Hiho
ES_Chris: Will have Mark, network questions next week probably
LaserEdge: Chris: Thanks. Just noticing Kali IPX play is more reliable than IGZ.
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Olm_Napp: yeah much more
Olm_Napp: best is direct tcp imho
ES_Fish: Bye!
ES_Chris: I'll be here another 15 minutes
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Olm_Napp: did anyone ask why there is no multiplayer save option ?
IRex: It will likely be busier tomorrow Chris. Short notice today
ES_Chris: This is fun, so cool.
IRex: It slowed down gameplay Olm
Olm_Napp: what saving ??
IRex: Yes Olm
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Yokel: Excellent idea to have scheduled meetings. I'll tell my friends, and they'll tell theirs, like the shampoo commerical.
IRex: goto and choose interviews and then Dave Pottinger
Olm_Napp: pressing f10 and then return will slow down the game ?? how this come ??
IRex: It explains it Olm
Telcontar: many people have also asked for a different format of the screenshots. I know that gif is too slow, but will we see pcx screenshots in the expansion?
IRex: save stops your game for a couple of seconds....
Olm_Napp: i read this but it doesnt make sense
Olm_Napp: well if someone drops and its not saved it crapples a 2h game
Olm_Napp: much worse imho
ES_Chris: I'm not sure what the screen shot scoop is.
Olm_Napp: aoe is not that fast paced
Voodo: I have yet to buy the game, I was wondering if the ai path finding in the retail version is better then the trial version?
IRex: Yes it is Voodo
IRex: later all
ES_Chris: Yeah, you'll be quite happy with the pathing and ai in the final
Yokel: quit
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Olm_Napp: it has some problems in bigger groups though...
Voodo: I don't mind other ai things but path finding, ihmo, is the most important
Olm_Napp: but that was the same in ra and c&c
ES_Chris: Its tough stuff, thats for sure.
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Olm_Napp: what about that patch ms announced ?
Olm_Napp: what will be fixed in it?
Ender77: Good question
ES_Chris: We'll have to see on that...sorry to be vague.
LaserEdge: The path finding algo's still get stuck one and a while. I have seen a villager got back a forth in
front of a tree out in the middle of no where before with the retail version.
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Olm_Napp: well if u implement a save option all would be VERY happy :)
Mark7: hey
ES_Chris: I'll make a note..
Olm_Napp: i know had about 5 2h games which just crashed before the final battle this really sucks
ES_Chris: Hey Mark7
LaserEdge: I think the path was indirect across the tree. IE southwest to northeast.
Olm_Napp: what about a scenario cd, someone mentiod some really interesting campaign are missing e.g.
hannibal against rome etc.
Olm_Napp: or the up and downrising of the roman empire
Olm_Napp: i dont miss the patrol feature btw.
ES_Chris: That's why we've got the editor. I'd love to see some really cool stuff that you guys do withhistorically correct scenarios and campaigns...
Olm_Napp: yeah true
ES_Chris: It'd be cool to compile all of the best user campaigns in one place, like a cd.
Olm_Napp: btw: why cant u print out maps with the scen editor ?
Telcontar: will we see a sound editor some time?
LaserEdge: There is one civ I though you would do. What about the Celts?
ES_Chris: I dont think we have any plans for a sound editor.
Voodo: someone will probably some up with one sooner or later
ES_Chris: We weighed a bunch of different civs when designing Age..unfortunatly some were left our forone reason or another.
Voodo: eer come up
Olm_Napp: ah ur really sure that boats are restitant against convertion ? i saw my triremes converted in3 seconds by ONE priest
Telcontar: I'd also like to see some group commands, like gathering all units, keep or break up formations etc.
Olm_Napp: yeah or a spreading command
ES_Chris: Boats can be converted.
Olm_Napp: sure but THAT FAST ?
LaserEdge: Chris: Boat are twice as resistant to conversion aren't they?
Olm_Napp: not to my experience...
Voodo: seeya
Telcontar: the time is not constant ... go to my page
Olm_Napp: yeah i know
ES_Chris: I'm not sure what the % is, but they are tough. Researching all of the priests options were help do it faster.
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Olm_Napp: but a boat in 3 sekonds ? this shouldnt happen to a resistant unit
LaserEdge: Okay. Thaks for supporting your fans.
Olm_Napp: thx chris for comming
ES_Chris: I'm off. See you guys same time tomorrow.


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