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E3 highlights from 1998
(May 28 - May 31)
E3 links about AoE2/AoE expansion
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. (...)
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.
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."
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
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 :)
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
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. (...)
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.
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."
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.
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 ;)
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
Rise of Rome -