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Age of Empires Heaven » Forums » Age of Empires / Rise of Rome / Definitive Edition » Historical Accuracy of Age of Empires / Rise of Rome
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Topic Subject:Historical Accuracy of Age of Empires / Rise of Rome
coffeeholic
Clubman
posted 01-13-10 05:20 AM ET (US)         
Hi, I'm doing a research on the effect of history-strategy games on one's historical knowledge, let me ask a few questions.

First, do you think people learn from playing games that have historical elements?

Second, how accurate do you think the historical factors of AOE? (%)
AuthorReplies:
The Dark Archer
HG Alumnus
posted 01-13-10 05:35 AM ET (US)     1 / 28       
With some of the historically based scenarios in the granary I have no doubt that at least some people have learnt about history while playing with AoE. Simply because they had to learn the history to design the scenario on it.

As for accuracy I personally could not say due to the fact that I haven't studied it very in depth myself.

Also welcome to AoEH coffeeholic

The Dark Archer

"Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein
"I once met a girl who looked like a camel" - Rasteve
Death of the Morads | AoEH Design Series II | Out From the Cliffs
coffeeholic
Clubman
posted 01-13-10 05:46 AM ET (US)     2 / 28       
The Dark Archer // Thank you, I really appreciate your oppinion XD
Thompsoncs
Clubman
posted 01-13-10 06:11 AM ET (US)     3 / 28       
Aoe does contain some historical elements although it can't possibly be called historical accurate. I rather think people who are interested in history are more likely to play games like aoe. Of course, Dark archer is right, that for desinging some people need to do research. I was always interested in Rome's history and I already knew quite a lot about it, but when I started the Roma project I really needed to some more research, since I wanted it to be as accurate as possible. Most people however, prefer nice gameplay, so that has to be good too.
The Dark Archer
HG Alumnus
posted 01-13-10 06:20 AM ET (US)     4 / 28       
I shouldn't forget about the people that are inspired to learn history from AoE too. It may not teach it to people itself but it can lead people to history.

The Dark Archer

"Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein
"I once met a girl who looked like a camel" - Rasteve
Death of the Morads | AoEH Design Series II | Out From the Cliffs
Fisk
Champion of AoEH
(id: Fruktfisk)
posted 01-13-10 08:37 AM ET (US)     5 / 28       
Well, I got most of my historical knowledge from various computer games, and AoE is one of my favourites. Even though it can't be cited as historically accurate it is still pretty good for a start.

//The warrior of Isola

"I lack quotes that demonstrate Humor Intelligence or anything about me."

Pineapplefish
Cleidopus gloriamaris
Trisolo
Clubman
(id: scenario_t_c)
posted 01-13-10 12:42 PM ET (US)     6 / 28       
I myself was a history major student at university, and now I am studying a master degree in history as well. By now I will never say Age of Empires is creditable in term of historical accuracy, but this game undoubtedly contributed a lot in simulating me to take up my profession.

As a matter of fact, in the help file of AoE, it had already been stated by the creators of the game that “The names of companies, products, people, characters, events and/or data mentioned in Age of Empires and its documentation are fictitious unless otherwise noted”.

Member of Tsunami Studios
Scenario T.C.: “Yes, the traitors can’t be terminated.”
Richard Ames: “Scenario_t_c should take care of them in a succinct but humorous fashion.”
Don Jorge de Leon: “Ave Trisolo! Vive Trisolo!”

[This message has been edited by Trisolo (edited 01-13-2010 @ 12:45 PM).]

Gumble
Clubman
posted 01-13-10 06:58 PM ET (US)     7 / 28       
Generally the Campaigns/Maps posted by the fans of AoE tend to have a much stronger Historical accuracey flavour about them. There is in fact a design competition going on right now with historical accuracy (within reason) as part of its paramaters.

for example Gumble's pre-columbian Meso-america campagin features both known history and local mythologies and cultual stories concerning their own history. Afterall only 4 codices remain that tell the history of the Mexica and archilogical evidence.

Too many people say far too much about Gumble. They also claim Gumble says far too much which isnt true.

One man's truth is another man's lie. Seek TRUTH to escape this moral mire.

'Experts' try to analyse human behaviour and the human condition and make grand conclusions. - Its the same as the guy who explains why a joke is funny and kills the joke.
MrCheeze
Clubman
posted 01-13-10 07:49 PM ET (US)     8 / 28       
Not being very interested in history I usually skip most of it, but I've still probably learned a bit. Assuming it's fairly accurate which I don't know if it is.

"Mrcheeze your genius but not quite a Gumble-kind-of genius." - Gumble
"We're all friendly here except MrCheeze but he means well" - Ninetales (Not exact words)
"Gumble has no words for you, you’re boring now. -underrated- that’s a joke, Gumble is OVERSTATED." - Gumble
(Not even sure what he was saying there)
Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 01-14-10 01:35 PM ET (US)     9 / 28       
My interest in the history of humanity started when i played Age of Empires Expansion Trial.

In geberal i would say that the help files are a good starting point if you know nothing about history, of course there are a few mistakes and the information could be deeper, but remember this is a game from the 90's and for me they did a nice work.

Inside the game and playing the campaigns one could learn some details and intersting facts however there are 2 things i regret depply: The inaccuracy in some scenarios from the Ascent of Egyp campaign, specially in those where the Hyksos are mentioned, and the very shallow and generic information provided in the Yamato empire of the Rising sun Campaign.
Basse
Clubman
posted 01-14-10 01:41 PM ET (US)     10 / 28       
I've always been interested in history and somehow I just fell in love with Age of empires when I was 5 years old
Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 01-14-10 02:08 PM ET (US)     11 / 28       
5 years? i thought the game was made for people 12 years old and up :b
Basse
Clubman
posted 01-14-10 02:31 PM ET (US)     12 / 28       
My brother was 12

I just played it instead of him. Well he played to but mostly I played it ^^
DarkBerserk
Clubman
posted 01-14-10 06:16 PM ET (US)     13 / 28       
I just fell in love with Age of empires when I was 5 years old
O_O I was like 5 or 6 years old when I started playing the game, and because of that I like history
Masarius
Clubman
posted 01-15-10 10:43 PM ET (US)     14 / 28       
Hi, I'm doing a research on the effect of history-strategy games on one's historical knowledge, let me ask a few questions.

First, do you think people learn from playing games that have historical elements?

Second, how accurate do you think the historical factors of AOE? (%)
That's an interesting research topic - is this for a university or high school assignment or just personal interest?

I'm currently doing a Masters degree in archaeology and I can safely tell you that the game itself has little historical accuracy. Here are some examples;

- Many of the units have inaccuracies with regards to modelling and rendering, often being depicted with incorrect armour, weapons etc... (the phalanx unit is a good example).

- The game engine does not make use of formations meaning that battles are often chaotic rather than organised. Furthermore infantry units which were traditionally part of, and only effective as, a highly disciplined formation are depicted as being highly effective as individual soldiers and being used as such by the civilisations in question (again using the phalanx as an example).

- The evolution of civilisation as it is depicted by the game is completely incorrect - no effort is made to simulate the evolution of society from band level to tribal level to chiefdom to state. Likewise the way the player builds up their civilisation from a single town to a sprawling city with no input from other groups is incorrect. For examples the processes of fragmentation and integration are not simulated nor are the inputs from satellite towns and camps in the development of city states and the development of political and religious ideas. Furthermore the development of civilisation is depicted as very static (things happen in the same predetermined order regardless of the environment or interactions between groups), whereas in reality the development of civilisations was fluid.

- The games time scale is completely off. For example evidence suggests that the oldowan tradition (the earliest stone tools) began around 2.6 million years ago. The stone age ended, at its earliest (if you count the beginning of the chalcolithic as the end of the stone age, which many do not), at 4000B.C. This means that the entirety of human history from the end of the stone age to now has only been 6000 years, while the stone age existed for some 2.6 million years, yet in Age of Empires the ‘stone age’ is perhaps the shortest age of the game!

- The development of some technologies are depicted as occurring at the wrong time or as not having enough impact on the development of civilisation.

- Diplomacy is almost not simulated at all, nor is political unrest, plague etc... all things that had huge impacts throughout history.

If you’re interested in finding further reading on any of this stuff you should take a look at the book ‘Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice’ by Renfrew and Bahn. Another good book is The Human Past: World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies by Scarre. Both are very good entry level text books in archaeology.

The truth is that game developers have to make a lot of exceptions to historical accuracy in order to make games enjoyable or playable – indeed I would suggest that a game that had to stick 100% to historical accuracy would also be the slowest paced and most boring game on the planet. As such I would also suggest that the Age of Empires should not be considered of any practical value as a way of learning about human history as the historical accuracy of the game has been intentionally toned down in the interest of game play.

That said though, as others in this thread have indicated, these games are excellent at stirring up interest and while not historically accurate the fun game play elements make people interested in finding out more about the civilisations depicted

Check out my blog!
www.masarius.com
The Dark Archer
HG Alumnus
posted 01-15-10 11:52 PM ET (US)     15 / 28       
As such I would also suggest that the Age of Empires should not be considered of any practical value as a way of learning about human history as the historical accuracy of the game has been intentionally toned down in the interest of game play.
I'd disagree that it should not be considered of any practical value as a way of learning about human history. The game play and representation of the units should not be considered yes but the historical information contained in the stories and history sections of some of the custom campaigns here at AoEH do have practical value.

The Dark Archer

"Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein
"I once met a girl who looked like a camel" - Rasteve
Death of the Morads | AoEH Design Series II | Out From the Cliffs
Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 01-16-10 12:46 PM ET (US)     16 / 28       
Inded AoE was the first RTS which included actual History facts in its conbtent. And I see it as a ignition spark, it started something for me and for some other fellas i know, here at AoEH and elsewhere.
Gumble
Clubman
posted 01-16-10 09:38 PM ET (US)     17 / 28       
ANOTHER NEW ZEALANDER!

Is this the only place where New Zealnd outnumbers her foes (other than Fiji)???

as for Masarius's comments, while true what he hasn't taken into consideration is the limtations of creating AoE. Back in the 90's to make a game that has individual units, social and technological development timeline, and internation relations for each major civilization would be nearly impossible with the gaming technology they had access to. At a commercial level such a game would be difficult to market anyway.

Today has much higher standards, and computeriesed war games HAVE to be correct in terms of Historical convention.

And the Phalanxs are a great example of inaccurracy considering they are a millitart formation OF Hoplites rather than a specific unit. However in creating a fair and balanced array of units what general heavy Infantry unit can take have the placeholder between the hoplite an a Centurian that is present in most major cilization's armies. This is a large issue when creating games as most cilization's troop types are highly specialised to terrain, culture, and contempery millitary strategem percific to them. How do one mainstream this?

Too many people say far too much about Gumble. They also claim Gumble says far too much which isnt true.

One man's truth is another man's lie. Seek TRUTH to escape this moral mire.

'Experts' try to analyse human behaviour and the human condition and make grand conclusions. - Its the same as the guy who explains why a joke is funny and kills the joke.
jarekxz
Clubman
posted 01-18-10 10:54 AM ET (US)     18 / 28       
Some historical matters are true, especially in the scenarios descriptions during playing campaign. Although, there are some absurds. I laughed very hard when I saw phalanx in the Yamamato campaign. Good to know that Japans had hoplites ...
Fisk
Champion of AoEH
(id: Fruktfisk)
posted 01-18-10 11:15 AM ET (US)     19 / 28       
ANOTHER NEW ZEALANDER!

Is this the only place where New Zealnd outnumbers her foes (other than Fiji)???
This can't be right, one of you has to be a sheep.

For the japanese phalanxes I find it pretty strange that alot of the iron age units and techs were in fact unique for a specific civilization, while available to a lot of other civs. Having the greek and macedonian Centurions being better than the romans, who were the only ones who would actually have centurions, who weren't even a specific military unit but just a commander for the legions.

//The warrior of Isola

"I lack quotes that demonstrate Humor Intelligence or anything about me."

Pineapplefish
Cleidopus gloriamaris
jarekxz
Clubman
posted 01-18-10 12:56 PM ET (US)     20 / 28       
Yes, there's more of this kind of absurds. How could Minoans have hoplites, if they didn't exist when this battle formation was invented? Etc, etc...
Nacht Jaeger
Clubman
(id: RCM7525)
posted 01-19-10 11:18 AM ET (US)     21 / 28       
The biggest inaccuracy is probably that no soldier ever looked like the Phalanxe/Centurion unit. Despite a few quirks for the sake of gameplay, it's a reasonably historical game.

Nacht Jaeger - Ex AoEH Angel
Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 01-19-10 12:54 PM ET (US)     22 / 28       
And how about Sumerinas, Minoans and Hittites with catapults and ballistae? they were invented in Syracuse in the 4th century BC and those civs didn't make it to the iron age.

also Petrobolii in bronze age?...yeah right.
skald
Clubman
posted 01-20-10 02:51 PM ET (US)     23 / 28       
I know the original topic concerned learning about history from merely playing the game, but I must mention another factor in learning from this particular game because it has an Editor. Designing an accurate historical scenario requires you to do Enormous amounts of research in history to get the right stuff, and then more research in languages to get the right names for people and things, and then research in literature to say things the right way. I have learned a whole lot about history from designing scenarios, none of which I have submitted of course : )
Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 01-21-10 05:31 PM ET (US)     24 / 28       
good point skald, indeed it's always good to play a campaign when one know that the designer did his(/her?) "homework"
skald
Clubman
posted 01-21-10 06:25 PM ET (US)     25 / 28       
Thank you Mr. Suppy. Actually TDA already made this point, I just shamelessly stole it and elaborated upon it!
Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 01-23-10 01:23 PM ET (US)     26 / 28       
Oh well thank thanks to TDA for pointing it
Gubbubu
Clubman
posted 04-11-10 10:05 AM ET (US)     27 / 28       
To be quite concrete, I have heard about triremes from AoE first, if I hadn't played First Punic War campaign maybe I never learnt what kind of ship it is :-).
Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 04-11-10 12:50 PM ET (US)     28 / 28       
yup AoE ignited the spark for my interest in history even tho not 100% hoistorical accurate let's remember that it was the first RTS game thatincluded real history facts.
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