News Archive 1998 April – September


September 8, 1998
10:00PM EST – UAT2 Sign Ups Deadline Approaching Fast!
The UAT2 Schedule is posted on the Zone!  Games will begin September 14th and will continue to October 8th with the Semi Finals starting the week of October 12 & the Playoffs will be on October 17th and October 18th.
You can only play ***one*** time per week so you need to decide if you want to play teams, or singles and on what day and time you will be available from the list on the Zone.   Here is the gaming schedule.

Week of September 14th 
First game Random Map, Large, Coastal, Reveal Map off, default start, default resources, pathing default, Fixed positions off, cheats off.
Second game, Random Map, Medium, Large islands, Reveal Map off, Bronze Age Start, Resources High. Pathing default, fixed positions on, cheats off.

Week of September 21st 
First game Deathmatch, Medium, Highlands, Reveal Map off, Iron Age, Pathing Default, fixed positions on, cheats off. NO SIEGE UNITS ALLOWED – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED J 
Second game, All setting left up to player except, you pick your opponents civ. For team matches, they do not necessarily have to be the same civ.

Week of September 28th 
First game, Random Map, Small, Large Islands, Reveal Map Off, Nomad, Medium resources, Pathing default, Fixed positions on, cheats off.
Second game, All setting left up to the players, except, No fast civs. This means that you cannot choose Assyrian, Yamato, or Shang. (as before I’m leaving Phoenician in.

Week of October 5th 
First game, Deathmatch, all options left to players. Cheats must be off.
Second game, Large, Inland, Reveal map ON, Fixed positions off, Tool age start, Resources medium, pathing default, cheats off. (Please do not wall inside your opponents town… )

Make sure to visit the Zone for the Tourney rules, Room Etiquette & all the rest … and don’t forget to sign up right away … you only have a few more days left!

Rise of Rome Box Uncovered
If you haven’t read the news from Ensemble Studios today, then you’ll be glad that you saw this!

Ensemble Studios just released the New Box Cover for – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™ .

Be sure to stop off at Ensemble Studios News page to peek at the new box cover or just click on this thumbnail to see it full screen in all of it’s glory.


Forums News Roman Legions & Slingers
Our Heavenly Forums have produced some more great information. Today I found a few more posts from Sandy Petersen Designer of Ensemble Studios – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™ on Roman Legions & Slingers!

ES_Sandyman posted 09-08-98 12:11 CT (US) 
Roman Legions varied in size, but were typically from 3000-7000 in size. The Praetorian Guard in Rome consisted of several double-strength legions, but they rarely fought except in civil wars. 
A Centurion was a Roman officer. For most of the Roman Empire’s existence, a centurion was in charge of either 80 or 160 men, depending on whether he was in the first cohort (160) or one of the other cohorts. He was assisted by Dekurions, each of whom was in charge of about 10 men. The Centurion was a tough soldier, and was usually promoted from the ranks.
A Phalanx was a very different kind of structure from a Legion. The closest thing they had to an officer was a file leader, who was in charge of his file of soldiers. The leader, who was supposed to be the best soldier in the file, stood in the last rank. (The second-best soldier was in the front rank, third-best in the second rank, and so forth, down to the worst soldier in the second-to-last rank). 

ES_Sandyman posted 09-08-98 12:24 CT (US) 
The question was asked how Roman legions do vs. academy. 
Roman legions are better than Choson vs. academy. Roman legions attack 1.5 times as fast, while Choson have 1.5 times the hit points. This means that they are functionally identical vs. other melee units. However, Choson does not get chain mail, which makes them slightly inferior.
However, vs. missile units Choson is better, even though Rome gets the shields. The extra hit points are so nice. This has been pointed out here.  

AoELoVeR posted 09-05-98 16:36 CT (US) 
to ES_Sandyman. Why don’t you have a upgrade for a super slinger, like a bronze age upgrade and iron so he can take on other units, like say the end result is 1,000 food 400 gold 600 stone so his damage is more than 2 say like 20 and range is more than 4? to 10 etc 

ES_Sandyman posted 09-08-98 13:36 CT (US) 
Okay. Increase the slinger range to 10, and increase damage to 50 (why not?). Let’s also triple his hit points to 75. I now suggest we build this unit at the Siege Workshop and call it a Stone Thrower.

ES_Sandyman posted 09-08-98 13:31 CT (US) 
I can’t add much to what Rikk said above, but note that simply upgrading the slinger with shields & siegecraft enhances him proportionately far more than other units. Example: a slinger with full upgrades increases his attack from 2 to 5; a 150% increase. Most units don’t get anywhere like that kind of improvement. At maximum efficacy, a slinger has an attack of 5 (7 vs. archers), 5 piercing armor, and a range of 6. With Logistics, you can afford twice as many of them, and they’re the fastest unit to produce in the entire game (only 24 game-seconds). If you’re facing an enemy who has an archer-only army, slingers stay viable even into the Iron Age. Of course, if they have any sense, they’ll add a cav or scythe chariot or something to back up their archers which is bad news to slingers, but what the heck.

Keep those forum posts coming … it’s much better reading than the same old RoR previews. JMHO  – Algernon

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 September 7, 1998
10:50PM EST – The Last Showcase
This week’s showcase item is the Continental Map.  Here are a few choice snippets from Sandy Petersen – Designer: of 
Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™ and a little sample of the goodies that you’ll find when you visit Ensemble Studios Showcase for the complete story!

The Continental map consists of a single large island surrounded by a fairly wide expanse of water. The island is sometimes subdivided by rivers (but not always!). Everyone starts the map kind of close to each other, because the total land area of the map is significantly smaller than a “normal” map.
Hence, early scouting is very important, and early walls or towers equally so. The Tool rush is easier to pull off, and can be deadly — be sure to pump out a slinger or two from your barracks before heading on to Bronze.


With Rivers Without Rivers

This is one of the hardest maps to pull off a Wonder win because of the cramped space. 
Also because of the lack of elbow room, the “extra” random goodies are sometimes clumped into “super-piles” of resources, where a single screen holds 6-7 elephants or whatever. Look for these. Your enemies don’t deserve to have them, and you do, so be sure to aggressively fight over such deposits..

– Sandy Peterson –

MPOG RoR Preview
John F. Graham of the MPOG NewsVault has posted a good feature summary preview of the Ensemble Studios – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™.  Here is a little of what he has to say.

The Age of Empires: Rise of Rome Expansion Pack is perhaps one of the most anticipated add-ons this year.
If you are one of the many people that are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Age of Empires II, you’ll at least have something to keep you entertained while you wait. There’s a lot to look forward to with this add-on.

Be sure to stop off at MPOG and get the full story … it really is a great recap of all the new  Civilizations, Technologies, Units & Map Types. – Algernon

New Picks of the Week
Be sure to grab your weekly dose of single player action with this week’s Picks of the Week.   The single player scenario of the week was created by a Siege Workshop and Granary cherub, Frank Steidel.  Don’t miss this oppotunity to check out one of his best works. – SpineMan

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 September 6, 1998
11:00PM EST – 
Random Civilization!
This weekend Ensemble Studios has a Showcase featuring Random Civ’s from – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™.  Here is a quick look at what Sandy Petersen – Designer: The Rise of Rome had to say about this new & interesting game setting.

In Game settings, when you choose your civ, there are now 17 options. Sixteen are the ordinary 16 civs (the 12 old civs plus 4 new); the 17th is “Random”. If you select this as your civ, you will not know what your civ is going to be until the game starts.
Furthermore, the other players won’t know what your civ is going to be until then. The randomness is total — all 8 players could turn out to be Yamato (unlikely, but possible).
After the game starts, we recommend you immediately hit the Diplomacy button to see what the other player(s) have turned into. That way if you are Babylon and your opponent is Assyrian, you can start planning to set up towers right away …

I have to agree that this is going to be a great addition to the game, it should help some of those Ager’s out there who never play anything but one of the fast civ’s.  I would think that this will be a “must play” in future Ultimate Ager Tournaments!

Bruce Shelley & Sandy Petersen to Answer Your X-Pack Questions
Be sure to check 
Ensemble Studios News Page for the latest information on how to get your questions answered by Bruce & Sandy!

There’s been a lot of anxious murmuring about the Age expansion pack. Thankfully, the designers of the game have agreed to take pity on us and leak a bit of information. Watch the Age of Empires News page next week, where we’ll be sending out a call for brief questions. We’ll select a few especially intriguing ones to send on to Ensemble Studios and then post them on the Zone with Sandy and Bruce’s answers. Impress the Big Guys with your Age savvy!. 

Great work ES!  You know, Ensemble Studios really go out of their way to be nice to us gamers.  I for one really appreciate it  & want to say thanks – Algernon

Download Award-Winning Scenario to Conquer Ancient Iberia
Ensemble Studios makers of – Age of Empires® & The Zone have teamed up to deliver another great downloadable scenario.  Created by 
David Ramos Lopez of Zamora, Spain & judged the best of the bunch by Bruce Shelley

Lucha por la Conquista de la Peninsula Iberica” (Fight for the Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula) was the winning entry in a recent Age of Empires scenario-building contest judged by Bruce Shelley. Interestingly, the scenario’s author, David Ramos Lopez of Zamora, Spain, had to borrow the Age CD from a friend, both to learn the game and create his entry for the contest. Well, he can finally give the disc back. For his trouble, he won an Age Gift Pack, which includes his very own copy of the game. Felicitaciones (congrats), David! 
Seeing that Spain isn’t used much as a setting for computer games, David decided to create an Age map of the Iberian Peninsula, complete with major rivers and mountain ranges, the Straits of Gibraltar, and the horn of Morocco. You can find the Scenario Page here.

Be sure to stop off at Microsoft’s Internet Gaming Zone to read more & to pick up a copy of the Winning Scenario. – Algernon

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 September 4, 1998
8:45PM EST – Millionth Visitor Prizes Given!
Well thanks to Angel Omnivac all the prizes are now given away … Here are all of the winners listed one more time, with the grand prize winner on top.

Joseph Knight – Age of Empires
Lewis (aka Solmu) – Baseball 3D
KaTj – Motocross Madness
Daniel Granath – Close Combat: A Bridge too far
Dennis Klinkenberg – Urban Assault
Eddie Aldrich – Outwars
Michail Gavrielides – Precision Racing
Salam – Microsoft Golf
Angelos Vourlidas – Revenge of Arcade
Allan Jagos – Monster Truck Madness 2

Congratulations to the winners and I hope you’ll enjoy your new game. Omnivac will contacting all the Winners to send their snail mail addresses so that Heaven can ship their prizes!

Computer Games Strategy Plus
If you have your copy of the Oct Issue of Computer Games Strategy Plus, you might want to flip to page 54 and check out the nice screen shot of game & preview of the Ensemble Studios – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™.

Age of Empires® is now going where you always wanted it to go: Rome. In addition to the Roman Empire, this official Expansion Pack also includes the legendary civilizations of Palmyra, Macedonian, and Carthage, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Test you mettle with new units like the crafty Camel Rider, powerful Scythe Chariot, fearless Slinger, and punishing Fire Galley – all on new and challenging maps.
Plus, this highly anticipated Expansion Pack features four new campaigns and production queues to carefully plan your historic civilization’s growth.

Be sure to stop off at Ensemble Studios News page to glimpse the screen shot & your local store to pick up a copy of Computer Games Strategy Plus to get the full story.

Forums News
More from our Heavenly Forums.  Today I found
 a few more posts from Sandy Petersen Designer of Ensemble Studios – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™ and also a very interesting one from Heaven’s own Angel Omnivac!

PippinTook posted 09-02-98 00:37 CT (US) 
I know that they used blade on it’s side of the wheel, but doesn’t that mean u can’t have much infantry of ur own too? and it also mean ur chariot have to stay apart from each other… wouldn’t that make them dead meat to archers? 

Rikk posted 09-04-98 05:01 CT (US) 
With any luck they will do the same radius damage as Elephants do (damage allied/enemy units but not your own). Actually, the allied damage is kinda lame, but in some bizarre way it makes sense.. “Hey, our general never told his general about the scythe rush.. this could hurt…”
Like any non-arrow unit, they would be sliced up by arrow units without their own arrow units for backup. But if it’s anything like running an ele into a bunched up group of archers, it should be fun! 8) -Rikk 

ES_Sandyman posted 09-04-98 12:14 CT (US) 
They do the same type of damage as elephants. Once I killed about ten of my ally’s archers with my scythe chariots. I was destroying some enemy buildings, and his archers just came filing by, walking past me to get to the middle of the enemy town. Instead, they dropped dead one by one as they walked past. I saw it happening and didn’t realize what was killing them at first. When I figured it out, it was too late. Sad. 
Anyway, scythe chariots are a terrible scourge for archers — they kill them as fast or faster than war elephants and their speed means they are right there in amongst the archers. 

Rikk posted 09-04-98 05:33 CT (US) 
I don’t know marketing or any of that, but I know any expansion pack that changes everything from the first second of gameplay is going to essentially make a new game. I would pay $35 for the expansion pack. It might be good to throw in a strategy guide or something along with it, to make it more palatable.
Would a one-box “AoE Gold Edition” be far behind? Stick everything in one install, so for I dunno, $59.99 I can get AoE with the expansion on one CD, with one manual. 

Nelm posted 09-04-98 10:01 CT (US) 
Was recently in a Best Buy in the St. Louis area and saw AoE for $23.95. So either the price is beginning to fall a bit or they are trying to get people to buy it in anticipation of the xpac. 

ES_Sandyman posted 09-04-98 12:08 CT (US) 
I’m sure that an AoE+RoR bundle will happen someday, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. AoE sales are still extremely strong, and we expect sales to go up even higher when RoR comes out. This means that stores have little incentive to discount AoE, except perhaps as a loss leader to entice you inside. Generally heavily-discounted games are those that are near the end of their lifespan. AoE, nearly a year old, shows no signs of senility. 
I do realize that our non-U.S.A. customers pay extra, and I wish this wasn’t the case. I can only say that it’s neither Microsoft’s nor Ensemble’s fault and that we would change it if we could. Also to reiterate, RoR should be less expensive than AoE even in Norway. 

Nelm posted 09-04-98 10:17 CT (US) 
I have read in several places now that Shang are extremely unbalanced in Rise of Rome. This has come from people that have apparently played the beta (legit beta testers I don’t know) and are posting on the Shaitan forum. One such article is here in the Age of Empires section at the bottom of the page. Is ES going to address this prob and balance the Shang? The Yam and Asy villagers have been slowed but nothing has been done to slow the Shang down, plus they get all the new upgrades and all but one of the new units.   Nelm 

ES_Sandyman posted 09-04-98 11:57 CT (US) 
I don’t know why people assume that we never tried out the Shang in our playtests. In the new RoR, it is far likelier to get to Iron than before. Because of this, the Shang have to assume that they’ll be in iron for the last part of the game. In Iron, Shang blows toads. In fact, the reason that we gave Shang so many of the new units was because they were so weak in RoR. 
Shang is dependent on early attacks to KO opponents. The slingers render Tool rushes difficult. Camels (available to most races) render Bronze rushes difficult. Most races that lack camels have some other kind of relevant bonus (example: Choson & Romans get good towers, Yamato are fast enough to keep up with Shang, etc.). 
Greek have trouble with Shang 1-on-1, but it’s no worse than in the old game. Probably better because slingers mean the Greek can at least slow down chariot archers. 
Life’s not fair, and neither is RoR, but I really don’t think Shang is as dominant as some of our fans fear. I do think that Shang will rule the roost for the first week after the game comes out, but after that, anti-Shang strategies will start coming out and hamstring them. 
Incidentally, here’s a handy analysis of why Yamato is not crippled vs. camels: 
Yamato cav cost less than camels. 12 Yamato cavalry + toolworking + leather armor cost the same as 12 camels. However, cavalry with these upgrades are able to fight equally non-upgraded camels. This is why we did not give camels to Yamato — if they parley their cheaper food cost into improving their horses, they have little to fear from camels. 

Irish_Knight II posted 09-04-98 10:31 CT (US) 
Ok. They say to stop the bowmen rush in ROR, use new Slingers. Why don’t we then Slinger rush? 

ES_Sandyman posted 09-04-98 11:33 CT (US) 
You can still archer rush (kind of) if you take some axemen or scouts along with your archers. Of course, this dilutes your rush, which is kind of the point. 
We have tried many many slinger rushes in RoR in our tests. It is the least effective rush imaginable. In fact, one of the leading antidotes to the slinger rush we’ve found is to attack them with your villagers! Villagers do 3 points of damage per hit — slingers only do 2, and they have the same number of hit points. Pretty sad, in a way.!

With all of these great forum posts coming in it’s getting really hard to choose which ones make the news.  – Algernon

Roman Set more Buildings!
Ensemble Studios has offered up some more pictures from – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™ Here is a quick look at the Roman
 Market Place, Towers & Houses.


Can you see the detail & Craftsmanship in these buildings?  I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

GODS News of the day:
Here’s a little news from Seraphim Gold.  GODS now has the RRT2 Demo available for download and, GODS also announces a new game by Interactive Magic ~Shadow Company. – Algernon

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 September 3, 1998
9:00PM PST – ECTS 1998
ECTS is Europe’s biggest and best interactive entertainment trade event. 
The ECTS Interactive Entertainment Awards are the most respected and comprehensive recognition of talent, achievement and innovation in the European entertainment software industry.
Now in its ninth year, the ECTS Awards will once again be determined by the industry and leading journalists from across Europe. The 1998 Awards will also play host to the prestigious CTW Marketing Awards.
The voice of Europe’s consumers will be heard as part of the far-reaching voting process. They will be voting for their favourite game of the year right across Europe as part of eight special reader awards co-hosted with some of Europe’s leading games magazines.
The ECTS Interactive Entertainment Awards 1998 will take place on the first evening of ECTS 98 at 7.30pm on Sunday 6th September at Chelsea Football Club, London. There will be a complimentary press reception at the Awards which will commence at 9pm.

Just guess what RTS software is up for several of this years awards 

Digital Entertainment Online RoR Preview
Digital Entertainment Online has posted a good (even though it’s a bit short) preview of the Ensemble Studios – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™.  Here is their bottom line.

Players looking to get more out of Age of Empires should keep an eye out for this upcoming expansion package as it promises to be a worthwhile addition.

Be sure to stop off there and get the full story.

More Forums News
More from our Heavenly Forums.  Today I found
 a few more posts from Sandy Petersen Designer of Ensemble Studios – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™ and also a very interesting one from Heaven’s own Angel Omnivac!

JeffTL posted 09-03-98 13:07 CT (US) 
I have a suggestion for RoR: Scythe Chariot Archers. They’re just Chariot Archers with scythes. Does anybody like the idea? 

ES_Sandyman posted 09-03-98 13:12 CT (US) 
I like the idea. The problem is, how do you tell your chariots whether you want them to hang back and pelt the foe with arrows, or to charge up and slash them to ribbons? AoE does not support units with more than one attack mode.

ES_Sandyman posted 09-03-98 14:16 CT (US) 
Well … here are the things Greek gets that could lead to different strategies than Minoa, at least once the Iron Age is reached: 
1) Good walls, guard towers, & ballista towers; all far better for tower attacks & guarding wonders. 
2) better priests. At least Greek priests are worth making, unlike Minoan. 
3) Heavy cavalry. This is probably the biggest difference. Minoa has no fast units at all. Greek has only heavy cav, but these are a perfectly reasonable early Iron weapon that, as it happens, is fairly effective vs. archers.
Anyway, there you have it. Are these differences enough to make Greek better than Minoa? I doubt it, but they’re enough to make them different which, after all, is the point.

And now: X-Pack changes that disproportionately help the Greeks: 

1) Slingers to hold off chariot archers & archers.
2) lessened ballistics for garfields — now, garfields still kill everyone’s hoplites except the Greeks, making the Greek speed increase quite significant.
3) the existence of fire galleys. Greek own the only warships that are faster than fire galleys. So now the Greek speed advantage at sea is actually worth something.
Now, I’m not idiot enough to think that this means that the Greeks are now dominant. The changes have made the Greeks better, but they’re still clearly an underdog civ. I do believe that they are enough better than before to be viable.

Angel Omnivac posted 09-03-98 00:41 CT (US) 
I was going through all the new features and announcements of the expansion pack, and found out what the beginning of games will be like, assuming a team game (3v3, 4v4)
Presently, in AOE it looks like this:

As the game begin… pressing HC to start building a new villager in Town Center.
Select 2 vills and start building a house.
Send the third vill exploring.
Press F11 (for the timer) and click S at the bottom to show players and scores.
Select chat, click Allies only to enable it.
Press enter and type “@xx” where is xx is my position.
Read the positions of my allies as they write em up while going back to controlling my villagers…

In ROR, it will be…
As the game begin, press HCCCC to start building a villager and queueing 3 others.
Select 2 villagers to build a house, and send the third one exploring.
Press F11 (for the timer) and click S at the bottom to show players and scores.
Returning to my villagers, looking at the diamond map where my teammates’ TC are (hence knowing their locations), and if talking then i can press enter already as ally chat is already enabled… Cool!

So Omni, it looks like in RoR it will be a lot easier to manage your peons … err Villagers (sorry I just couldn’t resist) … that will mean more time to manage our troops.  Maybe I will be able to kill all those old men now, without losing any of my Elephants!  Well only if I send the scythe chariots in first.  – Algernon

1:53PM PST  Millionth Visitor Already Given!
I was sitting in front of my computer still asleep and almost choked myself while drinking my coffee. After all, it was only 10 hours or so after the contest began. I received 1,267 emails in this time period and as you may have figured it out by now, we have our winners…almost.

Lewis (aka Solmu) – Baseball 3D
KaTj – Motocross Madness
Daniel Granath – Close Combat: A Bridge too far
Dennis Klinkenberg – Urban Assault
Eddie Aldrich – Outwars
Michail Gavrielides – Precision Racing
Salam – Microsoft Golf
Angelos Vourlidas – Revenge of Arcade
Allan Jagos – Monster Truck Madness 2

Congratulations to the winners and I hope you’ll enjoy your new game. Some may have noticed that no Age of Empires’ winner is posted. Well, for it you have to send in ONE EMAIL the NINE URLs where the 9 buttons can be found. Good hunt!

Ultimate Ager 2 Tournament
Here’s your second chance to prove to the world that you are the Ultimate Ager. The tournament is open to 256 of the best AOE players and at the end, only one will stand on top. Will Kleitus, the current title holder be able to keep his…ahem… beard?

Every Tuesday through Friday, 9/15 – 10/16, Finals 10/17 – 10/18. The purpose of this Tourney is to decide the Ultimate Ager. The true winner of this tourney will have proven himself/herself on the field of honor under various civilizations and circumstances. All are welcome to apply, but is not intended for applications by rookie Age of Empires players. If you think you have what it takes to become the Internet Gaming Zone’s Second Ultimate Ager, step up and be heard. Good Luck to you all. – hunan_host

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 September 2, 1998                   
9:00PM PST 
 Millionth Visitor Giveaway!
In honor of Heaven’s one millionth visitor, we are giving away 10 Microsoft games to Heaven’s fans! You read correctly – you can win a free copy of one of the following Microsoft titles: Age of Empires, Baseball 3D, Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far, Microsoft Golf, Monster Truck Madness 2, MotoCross Madness, Outwars, Precision Racing, Revenge of Arcade, or Urban Assault.

We have placed buttons representing each prize somewhere within AoE Heaven. The button will have a graphic of the game overlaid with the angel graphic depicted above. All you have to do is find the button and click on it to send an email to Omnivac who will award your prize. The person who emails us first will win! Do not change the subject line – we need the exact subject line to verify your prize. You will not find a button for Age of Empires – to win that coveted title, you must be the first to find all of the other 9 buttons! To claim this prize, please send an email with the 9 urls where the 9 buttons can be found…do not send 9 separate emails. The buttons can be located anywhere on a page, they will not necessarily be at the top. However, you will be happy to know there are no buttons on description pages of the Granary so you don’t have to go through all 700+ pages there 8^).

The news will be updated as prizes are won so please, do not send emails out for games that have already been claimed. There is a limit of one prize per person and any member of Microsoft, Ensemble Studios or Heaven’s staff cannot be a winner. Be sure to visit all the various sections of Heaven and while you’re there, check up on all the latest news in each area. Much has changed recently and all sections deserve a fresh look. Good luck and a big thank you to Steve Cherrier, and Chris Di Caesare of MicroSoft for being cool dudes and supplying Heaven with these prizes! – SpineMan

Granary Update
Big Granary update today including 6 new campaigns, 4 new single player scenarios, 3 new multiplayer scenarios, 2 new utilities, and 245 new taunts!  Also uploaded today is the highly anticipated Persian Wars 6 campaign from Gordon Farrell and Jerry Caldwell.  Great work guys!

Gamezilla RoR Preview
Gamezilla has posted a very nice preview of the Age of Empires Expansion:  The Rise of Rome.  Be sure to drop by and take a look.

Ensemble Studios Gigantic Map Showcase
This week’s showcase item in the Gigantic map.  Read the snippet below from Sandy Peterson and then visit the Ensemble Studios showcase for the complete story!

The largest map available in Age of Empires is the Huge map. This is 200 tiles 
by 200 tiles. The new Gigantic map, available in the X-Pack, is 250 by 250. 
This is 56% bigger than the Huge map, so there is app. 50% more random 
gold mines, stone mines, fish, gazelles, lions, etc. on these maps.

For Continental and Mediterranean maps there is even _more_ land because 
the size of the water on these maps pretty much stays constant from map to 
map, so the land is disproportionately greater to fill the space. On the other 
hand, Island maps have more ocean than before, because on these 
maps the _land_ stays fairly constant in surface.


Gigantic Huge

The drawback is: these maps are so big they strain a slower machine’s processor. 
I personally recommend that if you only have a Pentium 90 with 16 meg, 
avoid 8 player games on gigantic maps.

– Sandy Peterson –

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 September 1, 1998
9:00PM PST 
 The Contest Count Down 
GameStats is proud to announce that they are going to give readers a chance to move into the 1990’s with a contest where you can win a Canopus Pure3dIILXvideo accelerator card!  The contest ends On Friday September 4th, so you had better hurry up & enter right away!

Heaven’s Net Campaign   only has 2 months remaining…  If you want to Win a copy of the highly anticipated Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™ by being the highest rated player, you had better join up now!  Otherwise at 12:00 midnight PST November 3rd, two days before the X-pack comes out, you’ll be saying “Why didn’t I WIN”.

Heaven’s Scenario Design Contest is in it’s final month.  There will be two winners who will be awarded a copy of Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™.  All campaigns must be submitted before 11:59PM PST, September 30th 1998 & the results will be announced during the month of October, and campaigns made available for download once the judges have rated them all.

Funeral for a Friend :^(
Well no one died, it’s just that Christian “Cherub Viking” Merz has resigned his Heavenly post.  Unfortunately, his reason for this (ummm… I guess I have to give one 🙂 is his new packed schedule (For all who didn’t know: he’s now a freshman {that’s right, class of ’02} in High School — Moreau Catholic HS)  Best of luck Viking, I’m sure you’ll be missed … especially when there is a game to be played! – Algernon

Buildings … The Roman Set
Ensemble Studios has offered up some more pictures from – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™ Here is a quick look at the Roman Barracks & Archery Range.


More from the Forums of Rome
More from our Heavenly Forums.  Today I found 14 more posts from Sandy Petersen Designer of Ensemble Studios – Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome™Here are just a few cause there is no way I can fit all 14 of them on the news page!

LittleKnife posted 08-29-98 22:31 CT (US) 
Just a question for ES: were you supposed to be able to see tree cutting and hunting though the fog of war? If this was intentional, then why? You can’t see berries or stone/gold mines. This may be the main reason people don’t like reveal map games.  If this is a bug, then will it be fixed in ROR?

ES_Sandyman posted 09-01-98 16:00 CT (US) 
The tree cutting is a bug and it is fixed in RoR.

xela44 posted 08-29-98 10:06 CT (US) 
Will there be a french version of Rise of Rome? If yes, will it be available soon after the Original? If no, will the english one be compatible with the french AoE?

ES_Sandyman posted 09-01-98 16:09 CT (US) 
RoR will be translated into every language that AoE was translated into. This is one of the reasons that there is a delay before the game’s release — so French, German, Italian, Japanese, etc., gamers get the game at the same time as those nasty English-speakers.

Mughs posted 09-01-98 01:15 CT (US) 
When I attack against enemy and notice it too strong, I retreat my troops to better position and start to bring reinforcements immediately from my town. Battle starts again when enemy attack, and I must retreat because these reinforcements are stuck behind trees. So, is path finding improved in RoR ? 
Other question: Is farming queued ?

ES_Sandyman posted 09-01-98 11:14 CT (US) 
Pathfinding is improved over AoE. The maps in AoE are so huge and so complex (and so random) that our pathfinding algorithms will never be perfect, but they _are_ better. In addition, we have added some useful features: 
If you order someone to go help work on a building or to kill an enemy, and the building is completed or the enemy killed before the guy gets there, he still keeps on walking to the site you clicked! In other words, you won’t have your moron cavalry stopping short halfway to the battle because the archer they were targeted on died. Ditto for your villagers walking to the just-completed granary. 

Farming is not queued. However, when a farm “expires”, it makes a distinctive sound to alert you to the fact. In addition, you can click on Home or the middle mouse button to go to the last sound queue you heard. It will cycle through the last five sounds if you repeatedly click.

So Omni what do you think … Is this format a little easier to follow?  – Algernon

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