Interview With Chris Rippy
And Ian Fischer From Ensemble Studios

Ian Fischer : Hello!
Chris Rippy : yo yo yo
Rob : Hey boys

Rob : Well thanks for the camera picture, im editing it now! :)
Chris Rippy : does it need editing? ;-)
Rob : Oh yeah crhis it does man!
Inferno : I love the new camera :)

Rob : Right, can you guys introduce yourselves and tell us what exactly you do
Chris Rippy : I'm Chris Rippy, the Sound Director of Ensemble Studios..Ian?
Ian Fischer : : My name is Ian Fischer, I'm an asst. designer at Ensemble Studios. I'm currently working with Mark Terrano and Bruce Shelly on Age of Empires II.
Rob : wow thats cool

Rob : Shall i open the questions... Telcontar - How long was your break after AoE was finished? Looking at the new screenshots, you must have been working day and night since then :)
Chris Rippy : For me, I took about 2 weeks off before I really got going again.. Then its been full-on from then on.
Ian Fischer : I took about 2 weeks as well -- I came into the office at the same time only I played games all day...
Rob : Well a really successfull day then!
Chris Rippy : :)
Ian Fischer : Exactly
Chris Rippy : "research" is a tough job
Ian Fischer : Yeah, somebody has to do it.

Rob : ha ha.... Chris, are your sound effects generated artifically or do you use exisiting footage?
Chris Rippy : some come from libraries, and then are heavily mutilated. Other come from "thin air".
Ian Fischer : Tell em about the elephant sound, Chris.
Rob : I wont even comment about that!
Rob : Please carry on
Chris Rippy : I dropped a fake tree...and the elephant died.

Rob : :) Do you both have input into the game or is it set out from the start?
Chris Rippy : Ian..
Ian Fischer : Everyone here has input into our games. The designers probably have a little more input as we exercise direct control of the design but everyone has to buy off on our decisions.

Rob : I see, does this method work well or is it very hectic?
Ian Fischer : Its a good system -- everyone has something to contribute. Plus, we listen to you guys a lot.
Ian Fischer : It works exceedingly well, we have a very tight team.

Rob : May i ask - will an editor be published with the game or a way of altering units and details? either with aoe, or aoe2?
Chris Rippy : We will include an editor with Age 2; as for what it can edit, that has yet to be determined.
Rob : Sounds good, as this may add more dimesions to the game

Rob : Mist - There was a strange language developed for AoE. Will the units have different, sound effects this time? Will they be english? And will the tribes have differend sound effects, because they are said to be all dramatically different.
Ian Fischer : Chris:
Chris Rippy : That's actually still up in the air at this point. We're gonna test everything, so the best option will hopefully show its head somewhere in the process.

Rob : Vidguy - The game is looking fabulous so far, guys! I've heard about one form of "winning" is protecting a queen or king. How will that come into play?
Ian Fischer : That's one we're having fun playtesting now but, since it is still early, "mums" the word.

Rob : How Long have you both been in the gaming industry, what other what other projects have you worked on?
Chris Rippy : I've been in the industry for 3.5 years...all with ES.
Ian Fischer : I celebrate my first year as a professional game designer in June.
Rob : wow, thats very good for a relative new comer

Inferno : Have you guys used many of the ideas and things people would like to see from the forums, and wishlists?
Chris Rippy : Yes, we always keep up with what our players want in a game...
Ian Fischer : (wishlist question) everyone here is a gamer also so many of the things that you want are things that we want -- works out nicely.

Inferno : AoE2Battl - What books are you using most on the game... as in bibiographies?"
Chris Rippy : Ian can probably better this one, but there are about 100 books on the shelf for Age 2 alone.
Rob : Are they from all countries or mainly from the UK?
Chris Rippy : US, UK.. name it.

Loopy : Caliban2 - Are you planning on making a variety of new animals to give the game character like you did AoE?
Loopy : .. like Boars and Bears?
Ian Fischer : No boars -- new animals, however.
Chris Rippy : good eatin', and scary too.
Loopy : Cool :)
Ian Fischer : The animals are also smarter this time around.
how so ... "smarter"?

Rob : Can you name the tribes to be used in this great sequel?
Chris Rippy : not at this point... sorry.

Inferno : Are there going to be different legendairy items? Stuff like king arthurs sword... and etc.?

Chris Rippy : I think Ian's last responses were: yes, no, no, yes, maybe..

Rob : Caliban2 - Are there going to be different Land types you can choose when you play like , Forest, Desert, Iceland, etc?
Loopy : Excellent question.
Ian Fischer : There will be numerous land types and map types.
Rob : Vidguy - recently someone uncovered an image, and submitted it, of a Volcano in AOE1, while converting the SLP files. Was that from a "lost" Minoan campaign maybe? or...???
Rob : Yeas as well as other images and weird files of a republic age
Chris Rippy : Don't know about a volcano.. pretty sure we never did that.
Chris Rippy : I just asked Duncan...we did do a volcano...
Loopy : Never thought we'd find it, eh? :)
Chris Rippy : these things were just never cleared out from some of our testing.
Inferno : the volcanoe looks good anywase
Chris Rippy : you are tricky..
Chris Rippy : duncan says thanks.
Ian Fischer : Now that I know you're looking, I'll make sure I stick some fun stuff in there. :)

Rob : Omnivac - Will terrains affect spefically movements and production (like farms) ?
Ian Fischer : Undetermined.

Rob : Telcontar - Will there be a sequel to AoE2 that continues the timeline?
Ian Fischer : Ask me that in 6 months :) , no tellin' at this point.

Rob : Vidguy - Where do you see the future of RTS games going? Will AOEII be "groundbreaking"?
Chris Rippy : RTS games will just get better and better. More of everything, I'm sure (units, buildings, etc), better sound, better graphics, and hopefully, smell-o-vision!
Ian Fischer : We try to make all of our games groundbreaking. Personally, I see the future of RTS following the future of all game types: as computers get more powerful, the worlds we can provide our players grow as well. In three years, when my 333 is a low-end machine, the RTSs we play will be very different from those seen today.

Vidguy : Personally I think AOE IS groundbreaking
Ian Fischer : Me too.

Chris Rippy : Thanks for coming out today guys. Hopefully we can do this again soon! See ya!
Chris Rippy : Thanks for setting this up, Rob... goodbye
Mist : Great job!

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