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E3 highlights from 1998

(May 28 - May 31)

E3 archive news from the E3
AoE2 buildings high res, about 200 KB/picture
Screenshots (high bandwidth) high res, about 200 KB/picture
Screenshots (low bandwidth) low res, about 50 KB/picture

E3 links about AoE2/AoE expansion

June 2

AoE2 preview at Gamesmania

"AoE2 is being improved by phasing out some of the more tedious Micromanagement. (...) For example, the economic system plays a larger role with the addition of global market. Here, you can sell or buy the resources you need to build things. The market corresponds to logical market needs. (...) You can even economically dominate the game by deliberately flooding or starving the market. If you've got money to spare, why not buy up all of one resource? Dave said that Ensemble is testing these kinds of scenarios right now for game balance. He also said (get this) that Ensemble would take about 9 months (!) to test the game prior to release. (...)
What's really cool about gates is the wonderful possibility for treachery they present. Go into someone's castle as a "guest" and you are really vulnerable. (...) The gate can crush anyone underneath."
For the full preview, go to Gamesmania's AoE2 preview from the E3. I appreciate the long test phase very much, because it will leave room for new ideas, not only for quick bug fixes.

May 31

AoE expansion - new info
OGR.com has new information about the AoE expansion set:

"There are four new civilizations. The new civilizations are Carthage, Palmyra, Macedonia and Rome. (...)
Along with the four new civilizations, there will be several new units to choose from including the camel rider, the spike chariot, the slinger, warship and armored elephant. New buildings will also be constructed, over 25 to be exact, including a Roman Wonder of the World.
AOE fans will get three new campaigns to play made up of a total of 20 new scenarios; the campaign will focus on the rise of Rome. To add a bit to the single and multiplayer gameplay, larger map sizes will be included; some new map types include mountainous highlands, a large island, the Mediterranean Sea and a peninsula.
Finally, AOE players will be able to listen to all new musical tracks."
This is much more than just a few new scenarios and pictures - the new units will definitely breathe new life into the game. I can't wait to see the first screenshot of a camel rider :)

Hot AoE2 info
This is from OGR's AoE2 preview:

"The towers can now be filled with a few units. We were shown one cannon tower that fired large boulders; after placing in five English Longbows, the tower also fired five additional arrows at a time. (...)
New animals and fish inhabit the world, providing precious food. New creatures (all nicely animated) include deer, wolves and dolphin. (...)
Other new units: the spy, who looks like a darkly colored unit to you, but to other tribes, it looks like one of their peasants. That should definitely add some interesting elements to scouting. No word if the spy will be able to perform any sabotage tasks. (...)
A new way to "convert" will be seeking out damaged buildings. If you knock an enemy building down to under 25%, the building becomes open to everyone. The first player to get a peasant to the building and repair it to 50% will capture the structure."
Cool - "our" spy made it into the game! There are many new ideas in AoE2, and there is still plenty of time to add new stuff.

May 30

More screenshots
Ensemble Studios has revised their page, having now more screenshots of AoE2 at their page. There are a few previews of AoE2 buildings and more high quality screenshots available now. The screenshots are quite large, even though I have compressed some a little bit, but they are worth the download time. The screenshots are not recommended for impatient people, because you will still have to wait a year for the game ;)

New AoE2 info
The current version of AoE2 has now four ages: Dark, Middle, Castle, and Imperial. Of course this can again change (AoE1 had seven ages during the early development). Single player campaigns will involve historical campaigns such as the Crusades.
Taken from e3news.com.

New AoE2 feature: "radar"
No, it is not a new unit brought into AoE2 from the present :) It is a new part of the user interface that will now serve as "minimap". It should make navigating easier. With increasing map sizes, using a conventional minimap is increasingly difficult, so such a radar with different zoom levels is a fine thing. The user interface has always been one of the strongest parts of AoE, and so it will be with AoE2.

May 29

More news about the expansion
It should be shipped "in time for the 1998 holiday season. The Expansion Pack focuses on the ancient Roman Empire and delivers new civilizations, unique units and additional campaigns, including the rise of Rome." (from the latest press release)
This means we will finally have a Roman tribe! It will probably have to be cut down a bit in its strenghts or it might become the ruling tribe of all tribes...

Not much AoEII news yet
The press release does not contain any new information:

The Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings game spans a thousand years, from the Dark Ages to the late medieval period, in which players control human destiny from the fall of Rome through the Middle Ages. Starting with minimal resources, players must build nations into great civilizations. Players can win in several ways, including conquering enemy civilizations, accumulating wealth by extensive trading and diplomacy, building and defending wonders of the world, or protecting a king or queen. Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, developed by Ensemble Studios, was designed using the expertise of Bruce Shelley, co-designer of Age of Empires and the hit strategy game Civilization.

New AoE2 screenshots from the E3
With the cool screenshots script from Mike Wheeler, the page is always up to date when new screenshots are posted. There are a couple of new screenshots, showing an overview of the landscape and the buildings that AoE2 will have. The fact that there is no user interface visible may be a sign that AoE2 is yet far from being completed. I guess they will launch it at the next E3 ;)

May 28

E3 has started
All producers of games will be there, and of course also Ensemble Studios. Their new titles have been announced at the E3:
"Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, the sequel to the surprise strategy hit of 1997. Microsoft also announced that there will be an expansion disk for AoE1 out in time for Christmas."
So, we finally have a release date for the expansion set! You can get more E3 news at the Gamesmania main page and many other game pages.

Last update: 98/06/06

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