News Archive 1997


December 31 News Index ] [ Main Page ]

Rumor or Fact ?
Ion Storm Vs Unreal Team at Age of Empires


Interesting side note here – Imperious Rex (The mighty Master of Gamestats) is offering to send a block of cheese to the winner of this possible match up? Cheese? – Whats the deal with the Cheese, IRex? – The Archangel

Modem to Modem Connection
Help me to Connect!
Need step by step directions on how to set-up modem to modem direct play. I’ve only done it once, took forever! When we did connect, tried so many different ways we could not remember how we connected! Followed Age of Empires directions,(not very detailed), but still can’t connect. If I’m the host with CD, do I call the person, or do they call me? Do I use their computer access number? I’m confused! I know it must be something simple, just missing it! 
– Grim

Ok here’s the step by step instructions to setup a modem to modem multigame. First both players choose the modem-modem option. At the show games screen the one with the CD chooses create game, names the game, and presses the answer button and waits till the other person calls. The caller chooses show games, types in phone number and calls. The modem connects and both should be brought into the chat room to setup the game. That’s all. One thing thought if you have problems with connecting the modems you have to make sure both players have their modems with compression on and hardware control not software control selected. Happy gaming. Please post if further problems occur. – Kublai99

Scenario Designer Question
Invisible Demons
I’ve got a tip for everyone that’s building scenarios. I placed an invisible demon on my map by accident and I couldn’t delete it. The only way I could get de invisible demon out of my map was placing water on the place it was supposed to be on the map. Is there another way? – Marc van Buren

Mutant or Non-Mutant Age of Empires? – Follow up
Re: Mutants and !mute
The reason this will fail to quell the uproar is most taunt spammers know the counter !nomute command. And those that didn’t will now . If you remember as you are preparing to exit a game set sound volume to off, then adjust it when in the next game. – Stephen

Ah – the !nomute command! – another trick to use – is just to kill the other tribe, that seems to shut them up also 🙂 – The Archangel

Age of Empires Comment
Learn and learning
Learn from your mistakes. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it (losing). This sounds simple but it IS true. Constantly evaluate your wins and losses. Reproduce winning strategies and ditch losing ones in the nearest granary. – KingJim

New Ager Comments
I think the best way to destroy the computer player is to take some catapults and get em. But, that is not all. I like to wait until the computer is really powerful and has allot of was elephants. In the mean time, I build walls and towers all around my town, just so he cant attack me very well. If he attacks with War Elephants, the best thing to do is take a priest and convert them and then repair the wall. Then I take some Heavy Catapults and Heleopolis’s and destroy him. I think it is the best to have around three computer players and the map on large islands. That works the best for me! – Ryan Rehm

Age of Empires Strategy Tips – New Agers
Concentrate on one unit and upgrade it all the way and then make a huge army. Unit’s final upgrades cost a lot of resources but the building requirements remain the same. – The Pharoh

Age of Empires Fan Sites
Age of Strategy – Hey, my name is Andrew Alfonso, and I am currently making a web page titled Age of Strategy for the game Age of Empires. As the title implies, it’s a page dedicated mainly to strategy, both single and multiplayer. It will discuss strategies for each of the civilizations in AoE as well as some universal strategies I have made myself while playing this game for the past two months (Picked up the demo and I couldn’t help myself but buy it :). I would really appreciate a link to my page on your page if that’s possible at all. Right now only the main page and a page for system requirements are up, as it’s the holiday season still and I’ve only had 15 minutes to work on it. So far it looks pretty good to me, considering it was done in 15 minutes :). I will be compiling strategies by myself and also asking others for their assistance in this page, as full credit will be given to each person who gives in a submission. You can help me gather information by putting a link up to my page so that other strategists can see and submit their ideas. Thanks in advance – Andrew Alfonso

Max’s Ages of Empires Page – Another beginning Age of Empires Site. Webmaster didn’t send me any information about it, but its worth the time to check it out.  The Archangel

December 30 News Index ] [ Main Page ]

Ummm.. – Ensemble Studios?
No Word from our fine team at Ensemble Studios,

Maybe they are working on their own FirstPersonShooterGame :).

Of course if you remember the last game between Ensemble Studios & Ion Storm… Let see now, how can I say this is a Heavenly sort of way :).. Well… I will just put a little “Twist” on that greatDaikatana Ad wording they have running in the Gaming Mags and say “Ensemble Made Ion their Spiteful Woman.” – The Archangel and the PG rated Gaming Page

Oh No! – Ion Storm Plays Age of Empires
But I knew that 🙂 – Double Oh here – They visit Heaven also 🙂
So, Unreal thinks they know AOE… sounds like a FirstPersonShooterMaker AOE showdown to me :). 
Of course you know 
Ion Storm loves AOE and the HEAVEN and ENSEMBLE and love challenges so I think I’ll send a little Challenge E-mail out to Myscha and see if they are up for a Beating.

– DaBug, Ion Storm

Ion Storm website – Daikatana website – Don’t tell anyone, but The Archangel visits the Ion Storm Website daily. The webmaster there actually has a sense of humor 🙂

Unreal Team Plays Age of Empires
Better yet – They visit Heaven 🙂


We play it all the time when we’re not working on Unreal!!!

– Myscha the sled dog, Tallahassee, FL USA

Unreal Com – A great website for Unreal Information! – The Archangel

IRex one ups the Archangel!
Bad day in Heaven
I am sadden to say 
IRex of the Almighty Gamestats Clan, catches The Archangel sleeping. The 29th December News was a mess (Yes – even more than normal). Two small points, but IRex has posted them on theGamestats main page so his millions of visitors can make fun of us.

1. Round Farms 
Peons? – Yes its Villagers! – I wonder if the gentlemen that sent me that post has been playing another game, besides Age of Empires – if you have – Shame Shame on you!

2. Start Quick – Finish First 
Click on the stable. – Your one age short there – not available in Stone Age, unless you have changed the default start ups

Our mission in life now, is to read Gamestats news page daily and send The Archangel each and every error you find on their main page. The best “Kick them When they are Down” error will be posted in Heaven.

Mutant Age of Empires?
Lord Oboeist sent this in, I thought it was common knowledge but I guess I just thought it was :).. Tried of people calling you names? – me too! 🙂 Try !mute to crash those “Naughty” little taunts that your inferior gaming partners send you. I tired the !mute command on Area-S, but the command seems to only work on normal computer players – The Archangel.

Age of Empires Heaven “Granary” Download Area
Hamlets – It’s Done, It’s Done, It’s Done – Thank Heaven
Today alone I have received 9 scenarios/campaigns and 1 utility (“AOE Population Limit Editor”). In all we have 52 Multiplayer, 35 Single and 17 Campaigns and that’s incredible when you consider that the game has only been out for a short time. The Granary – Hamlet

Sorry Hamlet! – I just wanted to say Hamlet has done a job above and beyond his “Heavenly call to duty“. AoE Heaven now has the largest collection of AoE Scenarios and the nicest place by far to storage them! Check out The Granary daily for all the latest in your Age of Empires Downloads! I “The Archangel” will not be posting information about scenarios (or any downloadable files) in this news area again. The Granary has their own updated information area that gives you all the details as only they can. Please drop Hamlet a line and tell him what you think of this new look!

On a side note, all files were sent directly to Heaven and NOT downloaded off other AoE Fan Sites. Heaven’s policy is to NOT to take user submitted files, graphics, text, etc off of other Fan Sites without author and/or webmaster permission– The Archangel

Age of Empires Question
Multiplayer & IP Direct Play
Ok its about playing over the net I think I’m doing everything right but I’m not real sure.This is what I do I go to multi player and then I go to Internet TCP\IP Connection for Direct Play then I click Show Games but a small box appears at the top of the screen and ask me to put the Computer Name or IP address of the session host or leave blank to search.Please if you can tell me what to do there or what I have to type.Oh and another thing if I go to create game it allows me to create a game but I dont know if I should just sit there and wait for someone to join my game so we can play or if something is wrong. Thank You – REAPER

In the box that comes up you need to enter the IP address of the computer you want to play against. This is what someone has to do if they want to join a game you have created. What this basically means is that you will need to arrange with your gaming partners to play at a specified time and then, when you log on, use something like ICQ or AOL Instant Messenger or the Zone to tell them what the host’s IP address is. Then they can enter this is in the appropriate box. When they do that, the computer will search that IP for games and should hopefully show you the host’s game. Select it and click Join.

You probably want to know what your IP address is in the first place. Typically this will be assigned to you by your ISP when you log on, and will be different each time you go on the Internet (unless you have a static IP address). To find out your current IP address, click Start|Run and type in “winipcfg” without the quotes. Press enter and a box will come up with various bits of info. including your IP address. It takes the form of, e.g., Good luck. – Jagusti, Sage of Empires

Age of Empires Strategy Tips
Multiplayer & Chariots
After playing some of the best opponents out there, and honestly learning from my mistakes and defeats…I have finally found the true civ I was looking for. Egyptian! What’s so good about them? Fully upgradable Chariot Archers, Priests and another 30% hit point bonus to all chariots. Most AOE gamers find the chariot weak and easily defeated but, group them together in units of 6 and voila…carnage central. Upgrade through the market to Craftsmanship and the Government Center to Alchemy and ballistics as soon as possible. This pretty much makes your units unstoppable. I’ve actually played loads of games where I’ve built only peasants and chariot archers and swept up in under 30 minutes. Give it a try and let me know how you like the sweep! (eritnos!!) – EL_GIMPO

Age of Empires Patch Problems – One possible Solution
“Error during extraction, Check the drive for available disk space”. 
I found the solution, I believe there is a bug in the AOE patch. If you have a lot of temp files in your //Windows/temp directory then the patch will say you don’t have enough disk space. The solution is either you empty your //Windows/temp directory or rename it to something else, and then make a new folder as temp in your Windows directory. When you are finished with the patch you could rename it back. – Kit Gwong

Age of Empires Strategy Tips – New Ager
Catapults & Ballista
tapults and ballistas are the most devastating weapon in your arsenal if you use them correctly build about 4 catapults ballistas etc and around 10-15 axemen put the catapults behind the axemen and obliterate their city. – De Butcher

Info on Pop Limits…. 
Lower Pop Limit – Less Lag
I have already tried the pop limit set at 35 in the Net. I and one of our group allied against 2 CP (we wanted to see if the computers also respected the limit, or if it was only for humans). We turned full visibility on and here’s the results: (CP= Computer Player).

The pop limit (as set) will also apply to the CP. If you lower the pop cap, the game will have MUCH LESS LAG (we were playing with Pings in excess of 500 ms, which is normally fatal to game play…) and the chance of dropout will diminish. Playing against humans will still be very fun (more, because of less lag), resources will last longer, so you will have more battles. Playing allied against the CPs is much easier, because the CPs will still build too many Villagers (it will think it still has the 50 unit limit) so it is advisable to increase the number of CP (from 2 to 3 or 4…). Since the CP does not “delete” Villagers, this will make them weaker, so play more CPs in each game to compensate…

In conclusion: For Internet MP, I advise you to lower the pop limit to 35/40, which will greatly improve the stability of the game. – Leo.

Age of Empires Fan Sites
Age of Empires Domain by Doug Not much there yet, but a great mid music file 🙂 for a new Age of Empires Fan Site. – Drop by and pay them a visit.

December 29 News Index ] [ Main Page ]

Age of Empires Strategy Tips
Round Farms 
We’ve all seen the farm building strategy where you place your farms in a circle around your granary, leaving one little gap between two of the farms so that peons can get inside the circle. However, with 8 or 9 farms and 8 or 9 peons, this is sometimes time consuming since many times you have peons who position themselves to the side of the farm while they’re building it, as opposed to standing directly between the farm and the granary. In other words, you are unable to line up your next farm right by the first farm because the peon building the first farm is in the way. Then you have to go through the trouble of re-positioning your peon before you build your next farm. The solution to this is simple. Instead of giving 9 peons 9 commands to build farms, give the 9 commands to 1 peon. Have him place down the 9 farms, and as long as you’re quick, you can make the circular arrangement with no problems whatsoever. Then get your other 8 peons and distribute them among the 8 other farms, while the 1st peon works on the 9th farm. This should save you a little bit of time and hassle (and we all know how important the slightest edge is in a game). – Caspian


Age of Empires Strategy Tips
Start Quick – Finish First 
Beginning the game in multiplayer mode is perhaps the most crucial time, for if you fall behind you’ll be quick meat for aggressive opponents. Starting with your three villagers, immediately click on your town center and create another. Then build two houses quickly, using all three of your villagers, and after that is done, a stable. Click on the stable and create a scout. This way you can use your villagers to do other tasks while you explore your continent with the scout. Docks are also advisable early on, as soon as possible, to rapidly gain control of the seas. Just be careful not to build a dock on a closed lake if you haven’t explored the territory. Also, make sure you build at least a few warships, for defense and enemy coastline bombing. Lastly, when you have reached a point where you feel comfortable attacking, build layers of walls around your city, with towers at regular intervals. With enough towers it is possible to hold off an entire army while you send off a massive offensive to claim victory. – Nik

Age of Empires Fan Sites
Aoe Mongolian Clan by IRN_Vaider (leader of the AOE section) A great start on a nice Age of Empires Fan Site. – Drop by and pay them a visit.

The IRN started out as a little zone xvt squadron of about 15 members..we had wars and alliances and all that good stuff….Then when xvt(x-wing Vs tiefighter) lost interest the IRN went out to find a new game to keep it around the zone; we ended up with TA,Star Fighter,and yes AOE…Since I was a long term member in the IRN and serving it well the leader (Varrus) gave me the right to rule and run the AOE section of the game. I took it . To me clan is just a medium group of players who would play all the time in the zone and have allie and wars…certainty you can’t have a squadron in aoe so I though clan worked the best. – Vaider

Got a Fan Site that is not listed in my Links Section? Send me an email with the name of your site and the URL and I will post it up for you.
– The Archangel

Message ” HELP” Forum Index Display Configuration 
Did you know, you can use the “Search/Personalize Display” form (found at the top of all the Message Forums) to search for messages which include certain keywords or which were posted at a particular time or by a particular individual, and/or to select the manner in which you wish the messages in the index to be displayed. (If your browser supports and is set to accept “cookies,” your preferences will be remembered the next time you visit!).

The Help Forum should be one your first sources for “Help” information and then the Heaven Tips Pages. The Help Forum Archive is a good place to start to look for information also. The Archive contains messages from the normal Help Forum, when that forum has reached its 800 messages maximum. – The Archangel.

Opitions of Listing of Messages – 
(A chronological display will put the newest messages at the top of the list. A standard threaded display will put the newest messages at the bottom. A reversed threaded display will show messages in a mixed order: ‘First’ messages will be arranged with the newest at the top, but responses will be arranged with the newest at the bottom. Though awkward, this is the default index style of many Web-based bulletin boards, and is the style with which many users are most familiar. A compressed listing will show on the main index page only the first message of each thread.)” 
– Try the (Compressed “Threads Only” Listing) if you want the old style message board look – The Archangel.

December 28 News Index ] [ Main Page ]

Age of Empires Fan Sites
Scribbb’s Empire Nicely Designed Site – Well worth the time to check out.

On a site note here, I saw on Scribbb’s Page this little note,

“Anyone know if there is any rule about scenarios, I was looking around today at a few sites and saw a scenario I sent to one person up on 2 other sites. By all means I don’t mind having my scenarios passed out, that is what I made it for, but I do think some credit is due to the author.” – Scribbb

Well Scribbb, I don’t know about any rules, but Heaven does not take scenarios or files from other sites, without the authors permission, and to my knowledge we have not done this yet. I have seen files/graphics etc posted on other Age of Empires Fan Sites from Heaven, but “Gamestats” handles this with an one on one email to the webmaster of the site to cease that practice unless credit it given to the author. Some of the larger graphics and “Gems” were given to Heaven with special permission of use by Ensemble Studios and Microsoft, but they still seem to pop up on other sites for time to time.

We (Heaven) have given permission to a couple of Fan sites to use information/graphics from here to get them started on a Fan site and proper “Credit” notices have been given on those sites. Also if Heaven uses “News Items” from other fan sites, we use the common practice of giving a credit line, please see Gamestats or Area-S for good examples of how this is done. – The Archangel

Got a Fan Site that is not listed in my Links Section? Send me an email with the name of your site and the URL and I will post it up for you.
– The Archangel

Age of Empires New Ager Cheat Tips
Finding your Enemies 
To find your enemies use the cheat REVEAL MAP and NO FOG so you can track the enemies so you can find their weak points and you could reinforce yourself when they attack. – killer

Age of Empires New Ager Strategy Tips
A way to kill a enemy is to get to iron age and upgrade to the best guard tower. Next get a lot of workers about 20-30, now make sure you have a lot of stone and take the workers into the enemy base and make a lot of towers around the city don’t worry about the workers getting hurt the guard tower on there side will fire at the making of the your guard tower. – Ron Kamradt

Age of Empires Strategy Tips
Early Navy 
If the scenario you are playing has a lot of water, then you can win early with a strong navy. In the tool age let at least 10 of your 16 villagers collect wood. Also, build a fishing boat and use it as a scout. Once you get enough food to get to the stone age put the rest of your villagers to work getting wood. You may even want to build another dock and pump out as many scout ships as you can. After you get about 4 or 5 go become a major nuisance to the other player. You can then return your villagers to their normal work and build a conventional army. The crippling effect that your navy will have is tremendous. – JDB

Age of Empires New Ager Strategy Tips
Early Food 
A quick way to get a lot of food is by sending out 3 villagers to kill a elephant, you might lose 1 villager, but an elephant gives 300 food and a villager costs 50. – Interdutch

Well, I think a sure bet is to send 5 villagers – and chances are you willn’t lose any of them. – The Archangel

December 27 News Index ] [ Main Page ]
Best Real-Time Strategy – E3 Awards
Age of Empires (Microsoft/Ensemble)
Just as there was a pressing need for a non-biblical ancient history adventure that Spartacus filled brilliantly, so too does Age of Empires fill the need for bringing the ancients to real-time strategy gaming. Ensemble has done a admirable job creating gameplay that delivers more involved resource management than Red Alert, but builds in less to be concerned about than Civilization II. With three major cultural groups to choose from, plus numerous sub-cultural choices from there, you can play as Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Shang, Minoans, Sumarians and many more. Unlike C&C and its clones, the animated figures are larger and their animations are wonderful to watch.  
George Chronis, PC Games 

Total Annihilation (GT Interactive/Cave Dog) 
Dark Reign (Activision) 
Age of Empires (Microsoft/Ensemble) 
Starcraft (Blizzard)

E3.Net (Electronic Entertainment Expo)

This may be old news for most of you, but The 1998 Electronic Entertainment Expo (1998 E3 Expo) is coming May 27 – 30, 1998 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Age of Empires New Ager Strategy Tips
Temples & Loins 
One thing I like to do to the AI player after he builds a temple is send a Scout all over the map, getting close enough to several lions to get them to follow, then head for his town center, hitting “Delete” to cause him to dissapear just as the pissed off lions enter town. Since the priests can’t convert the lions, it gets a bit messy for the AI player.
 – VorpalKreep

What’s Your Favorite Random Map type? – Results

Type Sex Occurrences Percent(Rounded)
Highland Male 74 times out of 302 25%
Highland Female 4 times out of 302 1%
Small Islands Male 30 times out of 302 10%
Small Islands Female 2 times out of 302 1%
Inland Male 55 times out of 302 18%
Inland Female 2 times out of 302 1%
Coastal Male 61 times out of 302 20%
Coastal Female 4 times out of 302 1%
Large Islands Male 65 times out of 302 22%
Large Islands Female 4 times out of 302 1%



– The Archangel

December 26 News Index ] [ Main Page ]
Age of Empires New Ager Strategy Tips
Resource Garthering
To begin the game with an extra advantage send your peasants to gather resources near the center of the map immediately. Later in the game you can use the nearby resources with the protection of well built walls or fortification. This also cripples other players when they run out of resources. –  Ziggy

Walls & Priests
One strategy I find useful when up against 2 or more computer opponents is to wall yourself in and then get to the bronze age make 2 priests and use them to convert the enemies men and then start to build up a navy if its water map and attack their buildings on the coast,also their villagers ,fishing boats,and if you have a good force go after their own attack ships or dock. – killer

Overrun and Destroy
One of my favorite tactics is the OVERRUN AND DESTROY tactic. If someone keeps attacking me with ships, I will make about 7 or 8 men and send them to chop wood. Then I will build maybe 5-8 ships, the more the better. I send them all at once to the enemy dock, destroying any ships along the way. If any of my ships are destroyed, I build another. Then I have them all attack the dock at once. It overwhelms them and they can’t repair fast enough. Once it is destroyed, I string my ships along their coast and if they start to build another dock, I destroy it. Try it, it works! The same strategy works for land battles, too, especially with catapults and ballistas, helepoli. – Lathan Hopsecker

Temple & Seige Workshops
I like to stay out of the computers way until I build a Temple and a Siege Workshop. Then I study Heavy Catapult and then helopolis. Then I make about 5 Priests and 10 Heavy Catapults and helopolis and build a few cavalry just to defend the catapults. Then I send the Priests out first to convert any dudes just sitting around. Then I move the Priests away and send in the rest of my guys and destroy their town. If you go and they have War Elephants, send the Priests back to convert them, they are very easy to convert. Try This. IT WORKS! – Ryan Rehm

Age of Empires Heaven New Pages & New Look – Tips/FAQs/Help
Hemlock Adds New Pages 
Age of Empires Heaven Tips & Help Page area has added a couple of new pages – Microsoft Help Pages & some new FAQs & Strategy Pages. Take a look around, Hemlock has done an outstanding job on these pages and promises us more to come soon! – The Archangel

Age of Empires Christmas Present
Dear Archangel, my fellow AOE’r :-),
I just got AOE for Christmas. I run it on my 486 DX2/66 mhz, and let me say, the speed is pretty decent! The cinematics are kinda of bad, but it still runs. What I would like to say in this email is maybe if possible, would be to publicize that AOE would run at a good speed as long as they have:
486 66 Mhz
16 Ram
80 MB Free HD Space
Double speed cd-rom (if they dont mind or care about the cinematics)
Win 95 and the usual
Thanx for your time! 
– Victor aka Kalistos

Age of Empires Patch – Pop Limit
Getting a lot of questions on this one – and here’s the answer: The Pop Cap Limit is adjustable in Multiplayer only. – Matt Pritchard – Graphics Engine and Optimization Specialist (Ensemble Studios)

Age of Empires Strategy Comment 
The Assyrian Tribe
My favorite tribe is the Assyrians. I do not hear much about people using the villager as a scout. His speed allows you to find your opponent early ( you must do this to attack them in the tool age so he does not get past you to the more advance ages where the Assyrians are disadvantaged). Many a lion races I have seen. With early scouting and finding your opponent you can archer his villager, putting him behind if not killing him out right. IMHO – Guyvii

Cheats and Priests 
The Assyrian Tribe
A way to boost your priest’s hit points to 1200 and really increase the speed is to enter the cheat code hoyohoyo, then upgrade your priest with Polytheism and Mysticism. Make sure the race you are using has these upgrades and do not upgrade before entering the cheat code. – Obi-Wan

Age of Empires Fan Sites
Kooky’s Age of Empires SIte will be opening 1 Jan 98. Please stop by and take a look around.

Got a Fan Site that is not listed in my Links Section? Send me an email with the name of your site and the URL and I will post it up for you.
– The Archangel

December 25 News Index ] [ Main Page ]

Age oEmpires Heaven – Strategy For All Agers!

Submit Strategy Tips – Here & Patch – Here
“See you on the Battle Field”

No Updates Todays – It’s Xmas in Heaven!

December 24 News Index ] [ Main Page ]
Age of Empires Heaven
Yes, even the almighty Heaven is going to slow down for the Holdays. We will be around, but only posting as we have the time. All of Heaven’s Angels wish you a happy Holdiay(s). “Zakko, Hamlet, Hemlock, Vidguy, and Alexander I”. – The Archangel

A very special thanks to the people at Ensemble Studios (The “Bossman” & his group of Dudes), Gamestats (IRex, his Dino-mite Tech Staff and all of his fine gaming sites!), Microsoft (Mark Thomas, Chris Di Cesare & Gang), arbuthnot   communications (Lesli & her BOLD MEDIA ALERTS & Candy!), the thousands of daily visitors to Heaven & of course Mr. Grinch… that have made Heaven what it is today!

Age of Empires Heaven New Download Area
Grand Opening! Welcome to The Granary
Age of Empires Heaven brand new Download area. Take a look around. You will discover a lot of changes everywhere – but it should still be pretty simple to find your way around the area. Most importantly, scenario’s are now grouped into Single- and Multiplayer stuff. The Granary now holds the largest collection of Age of Empires Scenarios and files on the Internet.   – Hamlet

A special big Heaven thanks goes to Hamlet for all the hard work he has put into this during the holidays! – The Archangel

Age of Empires Patch
A new patch has been released for Age of Empires! You should definitely download this patch to play Age of Empires on the Zone. The patch is for the English, French, German and Spanish versions of the game. The patch greatly improves pathing, unit AI (artificial intelligence), and other multiplayer game enhancements. Units under attack will now automatically notify all friendly units (including allies) within a certain radius. Catapults and Catapult Triremes will no longer fire when they are in stand ground mode. This patch will upgrade your version of the game from 1.0 to 1.0a, so download the patch now at the Zone! or Here at Heaven! (Msaoe10a1.exe)

More Christmas Humor – NO – Wait! – Its Alexander I’s Review of a Hamlet Scenario!
The Middle East Peace Process Scenario

Scenario Name: The Summit
Author: Hamlet
Playability: human vs. AI: 5/5
human vs. human: 4/5
Creativity: 5/5
Balance: 4/5
Overall Score: 5/5
Miscellaneous: human multi-tasking is advised

Before I set out on a description of my latest journey through one of the adventurous, ‘heavenly’ scenarios let me set the mood once again. If you notice any pauses in my writing flow it’s only because I’ve heard a sub-tropical bird call after I removed the AoE CD. I then pop out the CD caddy to investigate only to discover that the bird call is real. I swear that Ensemble recorded that lilting, rolling call right here—probably from the same bird–it’s so real. Yes, I’m in the South American sub-tropics (actually, we can dispense with the ‘sub’ part: it’s about 31 Celsius in the shade). The next thing I know, I catch myself repairing our fortifications (perimeter walls) and checking out the local wildlife for food (our 2 strangely skittish, resident felines) and eliciting foreign language responses from the locals when I ‘click’ on them (Spanish-speaking villagers prompted by me to finally understand what I want from them). Folks, you’ve gotta watch out for this mingling of reality (whatever that is) with Age of Empires. Before you know it, you will be in the AoE Twilight Zone—reincarnated as a catastrophically careening catapult (no, no, anything but that)! Now let’s see what a tragic figure has to offer us in his scenario.

It had to happen sometime: the perfect score. There is always a problem with giving a perfect score: where do you go from there? Well firstly, the score is not entirely perfect, but close enough. Secondly, I can’t think of a more complete rendering of a scenario that is more deserving of a resounding 5 out of 5. And, lastly, it is entirely possible that there are more ‘perfect’ scenarios out there so they will simply also get a perfect score.

Hamlet is a pretty chatty guy in the Shakespearean play. Accordingly, Hamlet provides us with great lengths of explanatory dialogue. Both scenario description and hints are copious and quite rightly so. Any player attempting to play The Summit would do well to read and heed them carefully. Plots thicken like molasses in winter and then some. He has also taken the time to map out the entire Mediterranean Sea area and indicates the important locations of the forces at war in this particular play. A professional touch that makes you think that you are playing a scenario originally shipped with the game. Actually, I don’t think that this is true. The scenario is better than most of the ones included on the CD.

The map of the scenario itself is of course a meticulous rendering of the Mediterranean Sea provinces as well. The time and dedication it must have taken is astounding. Its plot is carefully thought out and exquisitely woven into gameplay. For example, the peace orientation of the objective is beautifully portrayed in the opening ‘scene’ of the scenario. The game focuses on a master priest who releases a lovely, semi-circular, white flurry of seven doves that head out to sea. That all is not well in the State of Tyre becomes obvious when moments later a massive hawk pursues the doves. Again you would do well to heed this ominous warning too.

The principal idea of The Summit is exactly that. Get your two pushy priests to the summit peace conference and you win. Sounds kind of wimpy, doesn’t it? Famous last words is all I can say. Let’s just say that Middle East peace initiatives are easier in real life than winning this scenario. Saying that gameplay is challenging in this scenario is much like saying that Arafat may find the peace process rather taxing. But then Arafat is only fighting two sides, not five. Now you are starting to get the idea of just how much of a challenge this scenario is.

After the doves drift off you have time to see that your empire has been split into three parts and they all come under attack, usually at the same time. You really do have to divide up your attention among them initially. For those of you who are like me and like to take things one at a time, here are some tips when playing in moderate mode (there is no way I will play this in any harder mode). First quickly go to your northern settlement. Initiate one of the temple upgrades and paste those cats to the ground. This will keep things stable there for some time. Now go to your Cartage colony in the west and do another temple upgrade. Pull your ships closer under protective fire from the towers and use your priest to convert one of the ships already attacking you. This should keep things in balance there for a while too. You can build a priest later to heal your hero priest. Now go to your main province of Tyre. Again pull in your vessels under the protective fire of your towers and the elephant archer unit. Do another temple upgrade here as well and get those villagers working on the farms, berry bushes and woods. Convert one or two enemy ships but watch out that you don’t lose your second master priest in the process.

What this has done for you is gained you some time and established somewhat of a protective perimeter. It’s a good idea to get to the Iron Age as quickly as possible because, among other things, you are going to need some heavy stomping elephant units and support to wipe out the Egyptian wonder that they always build early on. Be sure to take out those darn priests (4 of them) before attacking the wonder or you will have elephant footprints all over your face. Be prepared for heavy opposition. My best bet for winning the scenario is to then build up a defensive navy with some nice units and villagers and drop them off at the summit site. Then go back and do the same for the Cartage priest. If he’s died in the meantime you’ll know about it because you will be dead too.

Don’t like this type of approach? Well try out one of Hamlet’s strategies: don’t fight, just slip by the ‘towering’ opposition with both priests and you’ve won. You just know that Hamlet is being straight with us here of course, because he has recently become one of Heaven’s Angels. And we all know that angels are angelic and wouldn’t lead us down hard paths, now don’t we? Right? Yeah right!

Mucho multi-tasking is not my thing but I love the scenario. It has that richness of decent historical accuracy, fine detail (some of which I’m sure I missed) some mysticism, lots of suspense and mega strategic potential options for playing this one people. Do you want all this and are you an advanced player who knows what to do if he/she has bitten off more than he/she can chew? Then try out this well designed, well thought out best scenario that Heaven has to offer so far. – Alexander I (Heaven’s Own Traveling Thesaurus)

Alexander I – We seem to have a problem here! – You gave Hamlet’s Scenario a higher rating my my own! – Lets TRY to remember, I am the “Archangel”, you guys are just plain run of the mills “Angels”. – The Archangel

You can find all of Alexander’s Wisdom on the VIdguy’s Pages here!

December 23 News Index ] [ Main Page ]
Age of Empires Patch
A new patch has been released for Age of Empires! You should definitely download this patch to play Age of Empires on the Zone. The patch is for the English, French, German and Spanish versions of the game. The patch greatly improves pathing, unit AI (artificial intelligence), and other multiplayer game enhancements. Units under attack will now automatically notify all friendly units (including allies) within a certain radius. Catapults and Catapult Triremes will no longer fire when they are in stand ground mode. This patch will upgrade your version of the game from 1.0 to 1.0a, so download the patch now at the Zone! or Here at Heaven!

Microsoft Age of Empires 1.0a Readme December 1997 © Microsoft Corporation, 1997

Microsoft Age of Empires 1.0a is an upgrade of Age of Empires 1.0 that includes several enhancements and bug fixes.  Note: If you are playing a multiplayer game, all players must be using the same version of Age of Empires.  Microsoft Age of Empires 1.0a includes the following changes:

Population Limits
 — If you are playing a multiplayer game, the game host can increase or decrease the 50-unit population limit by adding the Limit= parameter to the Age of Empires command line. For more information about this feature, see “Changing the Population Limit” later in this Readme file.


Stand Ground — The Stand Ground button prevents Stone Throwers, Catapults, Heavy Catapults, Catapult Triremes, and Juggernaughts from firing. For all other units, the Stand Ground button causes the unit to remain in its location and fire at military units, boats, buildings, and walls within its range.


Attack Response — When a unit is attacked, all units and allied units within two tiles of the unit under attack respond, even if the attacking unit is out of their sight. Villagers that have been assigned a task but are no longer working now react to attacks.


Bug Fixes
Group Movement — Grouped units no longer stop when they bump into each other. Also, movement has been improved so a group of units can move through narrow passages more efficiently.


Pathing Options — There is now an option to choose how many pathing possibilities your units calculate when moving a long distance across the map. The higher the pathing setting, the more paths a unit considers. Higher values also require faster computers. To change the unit pathing in a single player or multiplayer game, click the Settings button before you start the game. Or, from within the game, click the Menu button, and then click Game Settings.


Note: This feature is primarily designed to improve pathing performance on high-end computers. The improvements listed under “Group Movement” (above) significantly improve pathing, so you might want to get a feel for these improvements before you change the pathing settings.


Difficulty Level — The difficulty level is restored if you save a campaign game, exit to Windows, and then restart the game.


Town Centers — If your Town Center is destroyed before the Bronze Age, you can no longer use the SHIFT key to build multiple Town Centers until you advance to the Bronze Age and build a Government Center.


Multiplayer Games — Several fixes were made to increase the stability of multiplayer games. Players are dropped from games less often.


Allied Transport Loading and Boat Repair — In order to use allied transports and repair allied boats, both players must set diplomacy to Ally (click the Menu button, and then click Diplomacy). You can no longer attack enemy boats by selecting the player as an ally, luring the boat to shore to repair or load units onto it, and then changing the diplomacy setting to enemy so you can attack.


Changing the Population Limit
Note: Changing the default population limit is not recommended or supported.

Increasing the population limit decreases game performance. For example, with a 50-unit population limit, the potential number of concurrent units in an 8-player game is 400. With a 200-unit population limit, the potential number of concurrent units in an 8-player game is 1600. This increase in the number of units can seriously degrade overall game performance.

If you are playing a multiplayer game, the game host can increase or decrease the 50-unit population limit by adding the Limit= parameter to the Age of Empires command line. If you are playing a multiplayer game through Microsoft’s Internet Gaming Zone, the game host must also add the Limit= parameter to the Age of Empires registry. Players can check the population limit of a multiplayer game by looking for the Population Limit setting that appears in the Settings list after they join a game.

To add the Limit= parameter to the command line in the Age of Empires shortcut



1. In Windows 95, click the Start button, point to Settings, click Taskbar, click Start Menu Programs, click Advanced, and then double-click Programs. -or-
In Windows NT, right-click the Start button, select Open All Users, and then double-click Programs.
2. Double-click Microsoft Games, and then double-click Age of Empires.
3. Right-click the Age of Empires shortcut, click Properties, and then click Shortcut.
4. In the Target text box, type Limit=x after the existing command line text. Type the population limit instead of the letter “x.” For example, to set the population limit to 65, type Limit=65. You can type any number from 25 to 200. The default setting is 50. Parameters must be separated by a space; capitalization is not important.


To add the Limit= parameter to the Age of Empires registry for multiplayer games using the Internet Gaming Zone

1. Click the Start button, and then click Run.
2. Type Regedit, and then click OK.
3. Double-click Hkey_local_machine/Software/Microsoft/DirectPlay/Applications/Age of Empires/CommandLine.
4. In the Value data text box, type Limit=x after the existing command line text. Do not remove the word “lobby” from the command line. Type the population limit instead of the letter “x.” For example, to set the population limit to 65, type Limit=65. You can type any number from 25 to 200. The default setting is 50. Parameters must be separated by a space; capitalization is not important.


Warning: Games saved in Age of Empires 1.0a cannot be played using Age of Empires 1.0. If you attempt to play a 1.0a game using version 1.0, your computer will freeze.

Age of Empires Heaven
Yes, even the almighty Heaven is going to slow down for the Holdays. We will be around, but only posting as we have the time. All of Heaven’s Angels wish you a happy Holdiay(s). “Zakko, Hamlet, Hemlock, Vidguy, and Alexander I”. – The Archangel

Some Christmas Humor
SANTA CLAUS: An Engineer’s Perspective 
I. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per house hold, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each. 

II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second — 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour. 

III. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the “flying” reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or even nine of them — Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch). 

IV. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance — this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion (cool word don’t ya think) joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accellerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g’s. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. 

V. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he’s dead now. – Fury

Age of Empires Fan Sites
Age of Empires Trial Central now this is something different – worth your time to visit if your usingthe Trail Version (STILL) of AoE.

Got a Fan Site that is not listed in my Links Section? Send me an email with the name of your site and the URL and I will post it up for you. – The Archangel

Age of Empires New Ager Strategy -or is it a Comment?
When playing in a death match put resorces on high, reveal map, and put a full tech tree. Now even if your villiage dosen’t have the option to research some thing they will with full tech tree. Another tip is to try to capture all the ruins, if your enemy dosen’t capture one before 2000 years ( about a minute) you automaticly win. – Scooter

Age of Empires Comment – Leo, Leo, Leo – What are we going to do with you? – Part II
You are all invited for a session of bashing, because I am about to SHOCK you all. I WANT THE POPULATION LIMIT LOWERED. Yes. To no more than 15 or 20. WHY?….

Here’s why: 
I had enough of huge melees in RA. I had enough of huge groups, only fairly controllable. 
I WANT BEAUTIFUL SMALL BATTLES, where each unit is a critical asset and each tactic is a battle of thought and swiftness. 
I am human, my eyes and mouse-fingers are only “normal”. There’s a limit to where you can be and how fast you click… 
I enjoy SMALL BATTLES and skirmishes, where each unit counts and combined arms is the thing to go for. 
I think that each unit in AoE is so beautiful that it deserves that you take care of it individually, with the attachment you devote to an art object. Not as a number in a big shapeless group. 
I want to be able to micromanage every aspect of combat – this is only possible with a limited number of units. 
I want to be at par with the computer – it never sends out a crowd, why should I?… 
I want to stop the nonsense of the CP having dozens of nearly-invincible Sumerian cats… 
Oh, and I want ALSO, much faster times for training replacements. 
In summary: I want the population limit CUT INTO LESS THAN HALF! 
Have Joy, you all. – Leo

Counter Point by Gamestats own IRex!
Hrmmm, (IRex is never for a lost of words 🙂
Lowering the 50 unit limit only benefits those that cannot handle larger numbers of units. I personally have 3 or 4 groups of military units on the go at any one time.

Cavalry to take out cats, archers.
Chariot Archers to eliminate pesky priests.
Elephants to draw fire and to take down hordes of foot troops.
Priests to covert the heathens to the wisdom of Imperious Rex.

A lower unit limit would not allow me to do this and games would end up being “guessing games” to see who picks the correct rock, paper, scissors combination.

Using your troops effectively with combined arms is what makes a good player great. Lowering the limit would not allow this. How would you harass with chariot archers while attacking with elephants and covering with priest with a lower limit?

I normally run with 28 villagers so I can only get 22 military tops off the start anyway.

Just my 4 cents. It’s Canadian money. I need more. – Imperious Rex

Well IRex has spoken! – What do you think? Should we have a poll? Do you really care? And why are we playing AoE, when we could be playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors”? These are other questions will be answered soon! – The Archangel

December 22 News Index ] [ Main Page ]
Bruce Shelly Chats on the Zone
On Monday, December 22, at 6:00 P.M. Pacific Time in the Tournament Room, the Zone will host a special chat event with Age of Empires co-designer Bruce Shelly. Bruce has been a game designer for a number of years, having previously worked with the incomparable Sid Meier at Microprose. Now Shelly and Ensemble Studios have created one of the great all-time strategy games, and this is your opportunity to talk to one of the men behind the scenes. This is a big Zone event, and we’re expecting a LOT of people to check it out, so be prepared.

Read our moderated chat rules and get your questions ready. Take a break from your holiday shopping and come visit us on the Zone to talk with Bruce Shelly!

Moderated Chat Rules 
1. Log into the Tournament room at 6 p.m. Pacific Time to chat with Bruce Shelly.
2. Once there, no salutations please.
3. Benjo will act as the moderator.
4. If you have a question or statement, type/send a single question mark (?).
5. This will put you into the queue.
6. The moderator will recognize the next speaker with a: ” ga.” GA stands for Go Ahead.
7. You will then be able to ask your question. Use a “…” at the end of your question if you run out of space and would like to ask more. When done with your question, type “ga” so our guest can answer.
8. You will get one follow-up question. Follow the same format as noted above.
9. After the follow-up question, the next person in the queue will be recognized. Persons may also be notified if they’re on-deck (the next person to be recognized), and those individuals can start typing their message. Please wait to send your message until the moderator has recognized you.
10. Breaking any of these rules may result in forfeiture of your place in the queue.

Get your questions ready for Bruce! – the Zone

Age of Empires New Ager Strategy – Hoplites
Hoplites are very good, make many Academies to keep pumping out Hoplites (especially in a Death Match.) Hoplites can destroy a stone thrower in three hits, and the stone thrower can’t throw stones that close. Make a wall around your town, and make only one small, but large enough for catapults, opening so if a enemy is coming in to the opening you just attack him with a whole pack of Hiplines– Troy

Age of Empires Comment – Leo, Leo, Leo – What are we going to do with you?
You are all invited for a session of bashing, because I am about to SHOCK you all. I WANT THE POPULATION LIMIT LOWERED. Yes. To no more than 15 or 20. WHY?….

Here’s why: 
I had enough of huge melees in RA. I had enough of huge groups, only fairly controllable. 
I WANT BEAUTIFUL SMALL BATTLES, where each unit is a critical asset and each tactic is a battle of thought and swiftness. 
I am human, my eyes and mouse-fingers are only “normal”. There’s a limit to where you can be and how fast you click… 
I enjoy SMALL BATTLES and skirmishes, where each unit counts and combined arms is the thing to go for. 
I think that each unit in AoE is so beautiful that it deserves that you take care of it individually, with the attachment you devote to an art object. Not as a number in a big shapeless group. 
I want to be able to micromanage every aspect of combat – this is only possible with a limited number of units. 
I want to be at par with the computer – it never sends out a crowd, why should I?… 
I want to stop the nonsense of the CP having dozens of nearly-invincible Sumerian cats… 
Oh, and I want ALSO, much faster times for training replacements. 
In summary: I want the population limit CUT INTO LESS THAN HALF! 
Have Joy, you all. – Leo

Counter Point #1
What a curious thought .. lowering the population limit, to minimize the risk and predictability (?) of huge melees, and to maximize the beauty of war (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms).

I haven’t thought about it for long, but there is something appealing in this idea of yours, Leo. I very rarely have more than 35 units on the go at once, including my villagers. Generally about 15 military units is sufficient if handled correctly. If you don’t have 20 more to co-ordinate, then you can do a much better job because you have less to worry about. Small is beautiful, in this case.

But 15-20 maximum … including villagers? This would horribly unbalance the game in favour of Shang (or is it Sumerian? – I don’t have the details at hand) or any other race who has villager bonuses. You cannot build an empire ith a total of 15 villagers AND military units.

There was a post a short while ago that suggested a limit for villagers, and a different limit for army units. Two separate limits of about 15 each would be superb. This would seriously increase the tactical elements of the games, as well as the strategic aspects (I can no longer build 25 villagers and exhaust that gold mine in 5 minutes, or blitz that wonder up; maybe I should start putting up towers and kerb my population growth because I have fewer villagers gathering food, etc%, or at least, team games. There would have to be better collaboration between players (allies) to balance their armies with complementary troops. The exchange of resources (friendly tributes) would have to be better utilized and the co-ordination of troops would be paramount to avoid being slaughtered by teams who do communicate.

At the end of the day though, if anything like this should become a part of the game, it should be optional (as should any increase). But I have my doubts as to whether anything like this will be implemented by Ensemble. The 50 unit limit is a good number. It allows like-minded people to play large battle-oriented games, or small skirmish-type games. Making the limit optional may make it difficult to find people who are willing to play with fewer units or unlimited troops. Too many user-definable parameters can compromise the generally friendly way in which the game is played multiplayer (too much arguing about which variant to play, etc) – it’s bad enough with deathmatch and cheats sometimes.

Apologies as ever for the extended delivery. If you have made it to the end, thanks for reading. – Jagusti, Sage of Empires

Counter Point #2
I would agree, but lowering the limit would make it too difficult to take down walled up towers and other fortifications. – Paul Hauskins

I’ll raise you one Counter Point
The Towers would have a limit, too. Yes, I would set that limit too, but remember that cats can take about any tower… So, with less mobile units to defend them, they would be more at ease to take care of the towers…– Leo

Counter Point #3
All I can say is, try getting the iron age with 15 villagers, and see how long it takes you. I am in no mood to sit around for 2 hours waiting to save up 2300 food, and 800 gold, plus more food for villagers, wood for buildings, stone for defense, and more food and gold for military units. Each game would either NEVER get past bronze, or would take 3-5 hours longer, dumb if you ask me. If you want small skirmishes, attack with small groups. I have a friend who has a uncanny ability to do huge amounts of damage with the smallest attack forces, its really scary, and if you like small attacks I’m sure you could do this too. – Messiah

…and Villagers would be set apart. Villagers could, of course, have a reasonable limit (say 30, 35…) This would speed it up.– Leo

Counter Point #4
One way to step back and enjoy the combat aspect of the game would be to play at slow. I enjoy playing at slow, gives you more time to enjoy the game then just trying to build units fast and killing your opponent. I know that nobody else plays at slow, so I usually always kick it to fast, and I find it easy enough to control in combat, but not exactly enjoy. If someone puts a game on very fast I usually attack right away and they are a newbie and die, or I fail and at least they game is over fast, because very fast is for those that don’t ‘enjoy’ the game on as many levels as I do. – Ender

Ah.. This “little” exchange is now taking place in the “AoE Designers Forum“. Here is another “Two Cents” from Heaven on this subject; I enjoy the 50 units level myself, it makes AoE the true Strategy game it is. I also enjoy playing the game on a “Slower” speed. But limiting the combat units to lets say 20 or so and villagers to another 20-30 (also limiting the towers to a dozen or so) does open up a whole new “Strategy Option”. What I would like to see (In the up and coming Patch?) is an option to set your units level, whether it 20 or 200 units. – The Archangel

PS – Thanks Leo for your comments! Leo has been another long term user of Heaven and a frequent Forum poster and also one big pain in ###### (###### Forum script kicked in again ;).. Just ###### Kidding Leo!

December 21 News Index ] [ Main Page ]

Age of Empires co-designer Bruce Shelly on the Zone
December 22 at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Age of Empires Question – New Ager
I just started playing – a random game – I just got out of the stone age and cannot figure how to make a market. any suggestions? Thanks – Mark Furlong

The market doesn’t appear in the same list as the other building types. You need to click on the right-arrow to the side of the other buildings, and you will get a new list of buildings. At first, it will only be a market, but in the later ages other buildings will appear on this “second page” of building possibilities. – Sandy Petersen (Ensemble Studios)

Age of Empires Comments – Popular Maps 
With WC2, we know the popular puds are GOW, Friends, POS… What about aoe? Do the players play random maps? – Thanks. – Mr. Bean

Well, we just had a poll concerning this issue. Seems that most people like the scenerios, because sometimes the random maps give a player an unfair advantage. – Patrick Sullivan

Here’s is the results of that poll if you missed it: – The Archangel
What’s Your Favorite Single Player Game?
Scenario, Random Maps, Death Match, Campaign, Age/Sex: (Totals)

Scn (04), Random Maps (009), Death Match (02), Cpn (06): M 13-Under: (21)
Scn (04), Random Maps (032)Death Match (09), Cpn (14): M 14-16: (59)
Scn (05), Random Maps (011), Death Match (02), Cpn (14): M 17-19: (32)
Scn (06), Random Maps (023), Death Match (04), Cpn (14): M 20-25: (47)
Scn (06), Random Maps (030), Death Match (05), Cpn (15): M 26-30: (56)
Scn (01), Random Maps (007), Death Match (00), Cpn (08): M 31-35: (16)
Scn (04), Random Maps (000), Death Match (00), Cpn (01): M 36-40: (05)
Scn (01), Random Maps (002), Death Match (01), Cpn (05): M 41-50: (09)
Scn (00), Random Maps (001), Death Match (00), Cpn (00): M 51-Over: (01)
Scn (31), Random Maps (115), Death Match (23), Cpn (78): Total (247)

Scn (0), Random Maps (01), Death Match (0), Cpn (00): F 13-Under: (01)
Scn (0), Random Maps (01), Death Match (0), Cpn (00): F 14-16: (01)
Scn (0), Random Maps (01), Death Match (1), Cpn (00): F 17-19: (02)
Scn (0), Random Maps (02), Death Match (0), Cpn (03)F 20-25: (05)
Scn (0), Random Maps (01), Death Match (0), Cpn (00): F 26-30: (01)
Scn (0), Random Maps (01), Death Match (0), Cpn (01): F 31-35: (02)
Scn (0), Random Maps (00), Death Match (0), Cpn (01): F 36-40: (01)
Scn (1), Random Maps (00), Death Match (0), Cpn (00): F 41-50: (01)
Scn (0), Random Maps (00), Death Match (0), Cpn (01): F 51-Over: (01)
Scn (1), Random Maps (07), Death Match (1), Cpn (06): Total (15)

For what it’s worth, we here at ensemble play mainly random maps. This might be because we rarely play two-player games, so any unfair advantages are generally equalled out between the two sides. We also get a lot of input from folks that like the random maps — in fact some of us were surprised to learn that most of the folks in AoE Heaven like the scenarios. Live and learn, I guess.

Coastal maps are also very popular among us, because they let the naval civs use their advantage, but there’s lots of places to put wonders & towns that are out of range of the cat triremes. – Sandy Petersen(Ensemble Studios)

Here goes my two cents – I play mostly random maps (Highlands). The “Swamp” areas between different areas of the maps are nice choke points to hold off the other tribes early in the game.  – The Archangel

Age of Empires Question – Difficulty Levels – Start with Different Resources?
It does start with more resources. There are no documentation’s anywhere that I have seen about this. I think to make it a little harder as you change the difficulty it changes the personality for the computer opponent to amore aggressive personality. Is this true anybody? – Brian Chau

Well, that makes sense for “hardest” because I did presume the computer does not cheat, so I was trying to figure out how the heck it got to Tool Age in under 4 minutes. 🙂 I can typically beat 4 computer opponents on hard starting with normal resources (200/200/0/200), but one computer opponent in a death match can periodically cause me trouble. Two is very difficult to beat. There ought to be some tangible descriptions of the differences in difficulty somewhere… for example, I know moving from moderate to hard lets the computer predict where a ballistic weapon is being fired to and allows it to move out of the way. – Tom

It’s too many small changes to really list here (we basically tweak just about every one of the AI variables). For example (as you’ve noticed), at the higher diff levels, we allow the CP to “hear” the catapult firing sound and “see” the map light up where the catapult is. He then moves his units out of the way. On the lower diff levels, we make him ignore that message. Other small differences would include how many units the CP puts into groups to attack you and how he makes up that group, etc. Everyone has pointed out the diff between Hard and Hardest already. it might help to give the rough guide to progression to Iron Age for the different levels (this assumes unhindered progress for the CP, i.e. no attacking from you or other CPs:):
Easy – Iron Age in 60 minutes
 – Iron Age in 45 minutes
– Iron Age in 30 minutes
– Iron Age in 25 minutes 
– Iron Age as fast as possible

The other major diff is that on Easy and Easiest, the CP will almost never initiate attacks. – Dave C. Pottinger (Ensemble Studios)

Age of Empires Strategy – Walls and Towers
Since I am a defensive player. I think it’s always a good idea to build a wall around your base and fully upgrade it to fortification as soon as possible. I have found that the best team to do this is Shang, since they have the 900+ wall. Then behind the wall, build a few towers. Another good tip to tower building is that if you have resources directly behind the wall build the towers closer together for more protection for any villagers that might be gathering those resources. Between each tower put 2 cats., for destroying anything that could do a great deal of damage to your wall/towers, and at least 2 bowmen(of any type, preferably composite bows. ),for dealing with those masses of men. About 3 spaces behind all this put 1 priest, for anything that u see fit needs to be hoya-ed If you are a defensive player like me then this is the best protection you could have. – Razor

Age of Empires Comments – Blame the Beer! 
I’ve discovered the source of the “dancing peasant” problem — BEER. Fermented beverages were among the earliest and most important discoveries of civilization; Ensemble is obviously trying to increase the realism of the game by allowing the “background” invention of beer. Peasants get drunk, and start impromptu street dances.

Solution: Vice squads, assigned to root out those beer makers! This would provide those old clubmen with jobs during advanced ages. Or maybe a “prohibition” technology, researched at the Government Center… – Scott Robert Ladd

I’ve instituted a no drinking policy while at war, however during farming and hut building I allow a few drinks – Ant

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