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Ensemble Studios Chat 16Oct97

ES_Fish: Ian Fischer (Ensemble Stuidos)
            ES_Chris: Chris Rippy (Ensemble Stuidos)
            [ES_Fish joined channel AofE]
            ArchangelM: HI Fish
            ES_Fish: Hey
            ES_Fish: What's going on?
            ArchangelM: We only go the word out a couple of hours ago - but
            tomorrow
            should be better
            ES_Fish: This is pretty neat.
            [Yokel joined channel AofE]
            ArchangelM: Fish - how many of the scenarios are you responsbile for?
            ES_Fish: Hard to answer
            ES_Fish: Hang on
            ArchangelM: Telcontar - are you going to cut and paste this thing for
            us?
            [ES_Chris joined channel AofE]
            ES_Chris: Howdy
            ES_Fish: Hey, Rip!
            Telcontar: ok, if my Netscape does not crash :)
            ArchangelM: Hey Chris
            ES_Chris: Hwy
            ES_Fish: About the scenarios...
            ES_Chris: Hey
            Telcontar: Hi
            ES_Fish: I did a lot of the multiplayer but Chris Rippy did the vast
            majority of the single player
            ES_Chris: Vast
            ArchangelM: nice to hear I thought Chris had something to do with the
            sounds also?!?
            ES_Fish: I was actually hired after most of them were complete, so I
            ended
            up testing them all
            ES_Fish: Yes, Chris is our sound guru.
            ES_Chris: Yes, I'm also the sound guy
            ES_Chris: Bossman says hello
            Telcontar: why did you decide to create your own language for AoE?
            [LaserEdge joined channel AofE]
            LaserEdge: 'Lo all.
            ES_Chris: Good question..we wanted to have an early "sounding
            language",
            but not a real known
            language. So, AOE speak was born.
            Telcontar: some words sound like a weird Swiss German dialect :)
            ArchangelM: I heard it was based on you when you were a baby - is
            this true
            :)
            ES_Fish: This has become the biggest question generator...
            ES_Chris: Me as a baby, huh.. Most sounds are just "latin
            sounding" words
            that we made up. There are
            some secrets in there too.
            ES_Fish: Shhhh!
            ArchangelM: Tells us how the demo scenarios differ in game play from
            the
            gold version
            ES_Chris: Completely fresh scenarios. We felt like we didn't want to
            cheat
            the demo player when he
            bought the game, so he gets a whole new set of them.
            ES_Fish: One of the things you'll notice, however....
            LaserEdge: I have a couple of questions for the AI master. ;)
            ES_Fish: Is that the demo scenarios (by their nature) are forced to
            consist
            of a lot of the game elements
            ES_Fish: Which in the full version are more spread out...
            ES_Fish: Dave isn't here for the AI but Chris and I have a decent
            understanding of it so shoot...
            ES_Chris: Ian is the master of the demo!  He did quite a bit of work
            on the
            history and design.
            ES_Chris: You owe me 5 bucks
            ArchangelM: good ahead laseredge
            ES_Fish: Thanks
            ES_Fish: am were
            ES_Fish: :)
            ES_Fish: (sorry, inside jokes)
            ES_Fish: AI questions?
            LaserEdge: I know programing AI is a difficult challenge in RTS
            games. I
            know AoE's AI is self adapting.
            What approach did you take? Alife, GA's etc???
            ES_Chris: Fish..
            ES_Fish: The self-adapting portion really didn't come into play for us
            ES_Chris: in the scenario world that is
            ES_Fish: As far as designing scenarios is concerned, that is
            ES_Fish: The adaptation routine creates a file on every user's system
            ES_Fish: Data based on your performance under certain conditions is
            saved
            there and the AI looks to it
            in certain situations
            ES_Fish: So, if you do the same thing every time, he knows and
            changes...
            LaserEdge: I see.    So your behavioral modeling the human player to
            some extent?
            ES_Chris: It is possible to have scenarios with this info of the user
            inmbedded, so when you make your
            own...
            ES_Fish: Note that I am not the AI guy, so Iwhat I'm telling you is
            what I understand... Take it for what
            it is worth...
            ES_Fish: Yes
            ArchangelM: Ok Chris - The music in Age of Empires is extremely
            different from music used in other
            games. What was the inspiration behind the music? The music
            reportedly is rooted from many of the
            civilizations included in the game, how is this so?
            ES_Fish: (need more coffee...)
            ES_Chris: Cool.  The music was actually done by my two brothers,
            David and Stephen..
            LaserEdge: Gimme some FoOd!  ;)
            ES_Chris: They did a ton of research on the cultures, their styles,
            and their instruments..
            ES_Chris: and created some very remarkable tunes using sampling
            technology on the instruments and real
            instruments too.
            ArchangelM: I guess I will take that as answer... Whats the story of
            the flying Dutchman?
            ES_Chris: He likes catapults!
            ES_Chris: and no pants
            LaserEdge: What about the big bug that was found with transports?
            ES_Chris: Yeah, I saw that today.  Interesting.  I'll have to try it
            myself.
            Telcontar: which is not a bug in the first place, but a fiendish and
            crafty abuse of the diplomacy system
            ES_Chris: Love those workarounds :)
            ES_Fish: Its a feature!
            ES_Fish: Not really....
            LaserEdge: Any of you had a chance to play TA or DR?    What do you
            think of them?
            ES_Fish: I've played a little of both
            ES_Chris: I've not had much playtime on either, but I've heard good
            things.
            ES_Fish: Some likes / some dislikes....
            Yokel: The units in TA look a little abstract; takes getting used to
            Telcontar: Europe's largest game mag has chosen AoE as the game of
            the month (before TA and DR).
            They prefered AoE :)
            ES_Fish: Woo Hoo!
            ES_Chris: Pretty cool huh.  We've gotten some great reviews lately..
            Yokel: History Department at Chico State (Calif) likes the demo a lot
            LaserEdge: I think DR has the best unit AI among DR, TA and AoE. AoE
            is the most fun of all IMHO.
            ES_Chris: Go Chico State!
            ES_Fish: I'm a more strategic player so I didn't like TA's (very
            nearly) all-combat model
            ES_Fish: I like some of DR's unit AI but some of it ruins the game
            for me...
            LaserEdge: Fish : You must be like me.    More a creative thinker and
            not a click fest person.
            ES_Fish: I won like the first 6 missions by pumping out units and
            assigning them all "search and
            destroy"...
            ES_Fish: Yeah, I'm not a click fest guy...
            Telcontar: some people criticized that the sound tracks were too
            short (30 minutes total). Will the
            expansion have more music? perhaps 2 cds, one for installing, one for
            playing?
            LaserEdge: It is obvious most of the AoE development team is the same
            way.    It shows in the product.
            ES_Fish: Yeah, one of our big concerns was ensuring that it didn't
            become a click-fest....
            ES_Chris: On the soundtracks: Don't forget you have both redbook and
            midi. Pull the cd out and you get
            a whole new set.
            ES_Fish: The problem now, as we look at new design ideas, is that as
            we grow more complex we still
            have to have a certain level of simplicty and action involved...
            ES_Fish: A lot of people like this aspect and we don't want to lose
            them....
            ES_Fish: Recently, we've had some great ideas for melding the two
            styles...
            Telcontar: can you tell us a bit about the expansion or AoE2?
            ES_Fish: AoE2 = secret
            ES_Chris: Shh
            ES_Fish: It hurts me to have you ask, however...
            LaserEdge: That is the cool thing about hind sight. You know what to
            do better the next time around.
            AoE probably gave you many cool ideas you didn't implement because of
            time.
            ES_Fish: I'd really like to talk...
            [IRex joined channel AofE]
            ES_Chris: Plus everyone's feedback here has been an inspiration to us.
            ES_Fish: Plus our design staff rocks -- these guys are studs.
            ES_Chris: Fish?  A stud?
            LaserEdge: Cool!
            [Voodo joined channel AofE]
            ES_Fish: Well, in training.
            ES_Chris: Hey Voodoo
            Voodo: hey
            IRex: Greetings all,
            ES_Chris: Hey Irex
            LaserEdge: I just have one real request of ya. Make sure you stay
            diehard gamers before your next RTS
            project.
            ES_Chris: Of course!!!
            ES_Fish: Have you guys started making your own levels?
            ES_Chris: Yes, I made several.
            LaserEdge: I know it is hard to lose sight in difficult project
            sometimes.
            ES_Fish: Not you!
            ES_Chris: Yeah, but there's always time for games!
            LaserEdge: HeHe. ;)
            LaserEdge: And there is time to be thinking about them when your not
            playing. ;)
            IRex: Is the same team going to be at work on AoE2?
            ES_Chris: Is that an indirect AoE2 question?  Sneaky...
            IRex: Sorry, I missed the start.
            IRex: I'll rephrase that
            ES_Chris: Cool with me!
            ES_Fish: Again, any of you done your own levels?
            IRex: Our staff have done a few ES_Fish
            IRex: Nothing to write home about
            LaserEdge: I haven't yet.    Still having a blast in multi!    Gotta
            love the coop mode
            IRex: Letting 2 players play the one civ was a great idea.
            ES_Fish: If you have anything you think is good, send them to me
            please
            (ifischer@ensemble-studios.com)
            LaserEdge: The coop mode is a feature I have been wanting since
            C&C came out.
            IRex: Sets AoE apart in yet another way
            IRex: ES_Fish -- I'll go through them tomorrow.  This is Imperious
            Rex from GameStats by the way.
            ES_Chris: Cool. I'm glad you're playing coop! Its cool communicating
            with your partner to win the game
            Telcontar: will more than 8 players be able to play in AoE2 (e. g. 32
            players with 8 tribes)?
            ES_Fish: We had some indestructable teams when we tested co-op...
            ES_Fish: One guy to build, one to fight and so on...
            ES_Chris: More sneaky AOE2 talk...
            LaserEdge: I think coop will start a new tourney format.
            IRex: As far as you know will IGZ remain free for AoE?
            IRex: A lot of readers are writing in about that.
            Voodo: pc gamer said it would be
            ES_Fish: I asked MS that question yesterday...
            ES_Chris: As far as I know..but I'm an ES guy so..
            Voodo: stuff like Asheron's call will be charged
            LaserEdge: I have a question about the network code.     Is AoE's
            network code independent of protocol?
            ES_Fish: The answer I got was that it will stay free for AoE and for
            the majority of their game
            [Olm_Napp joined channel AofE]
            ES_Fish: They will implement a fee structure for some of their online
            onlies, however.
            Olm_Napp: Hiho
            ES_Chris: Will have Mark, network questions next week probably
            LaserEdge: Chris: Thanks.    Just noticing Kali IPX play is more
            reliable than IGZ.
            [ArchangelM left channel AofE]
            Olm_Napp: yeah much more
            Olm_Napp: best is direct tcp imho
            ES_Fish: Bye!
            ES_Chris: I'll be here another 15 minutes
            [ES_Fish left channel AofE]
            Olm_Napp: did anyone ask why there is no multiplayer save option ?
            IRex: It will likely be busier tomorrow Chris.  Short notice today
            ES_Chris: This is fun, so cool.
            IRex: It slowed down gameplay Olm
            Olm_Napp: what saving ??
            IRex: Yes Olm
            [Ender77 joined channel AofE]
            Yokel: Excellent idea to have scheduled meetings. I'll tell my
            friends, and they'll tell theirs, like the
            shampoo commerical.
            IRex: goto http://www.gamestats.com and choose interviews and then
            Dave Pottinger
            Olm_Napp: pressing f10 and then return will slow down the game ?? how
            this come ??
            IRex: It explains it Olm
            Telcontar: many people have also asked for a different format of the
            screenshots. I know that gif is too
            slow, but will we see pcx screenshots in the expansion?
            IRex: save stops your game for a couple of seconds....
            Olm_Napp: i read this but it doesnt make sense
            Olm_Napp: well if someone drops and its not saved it crapples a 2h
            game
            Olm_Napp: much worse imho
            ES_Chris: I'm not sure what the screen shot scoop is.
            Olm_Napp: aoe is not that fast paced
            Voodo: I have yet to buy the game, I was wondering if the ai path
            finding in the retail version is better
            then the trial version?
            IRex: Yes it is Voodo
            IRex: later all
            ES_Chris: Yeah, you'll be quite happy with the pathing and ai in the
            final
            Yokel: quit
            [IRex left channel AofE]
            Olm_Napp: it has some problems in bigger groups though...
            Voodo: I don't mind other ai things but path finding, ihmo, is the
            most important
            Olm_Napp: but that was the same in ra and c&c
            ES_Chris: Its tough stuff, thats for sure.
            [Yokel left channel AofE]
            Olm_Napp: what about that patch ms announced ?
            Olm_Napp: what will be fixed in it ?
            Ender77: Good question
            ES_Chris: We'll have to see on that...sorry to be vague.
            LaserEdge: The path finding algo's still get stuck one and a while. I
            have seen a villager got back a forth in
            front of a tree out in the middle of no where before with the retail
            version.
            [Mark7 joined channel AofE]
            Olm_Napp: well if u implement a save option all would be VERY happy :)
            Mark7: hey
            ES_Chris: I'll make a note..
            Olm_Napp: i know had about 5 2h games which just crashed before the
            final battle this really sucks
            ES_Chris: Hey Mark7
            LaserEdge: I think the path was indirect across the tree.     IE
            southwest to northeast.
            Olm_Napp: what about a scenario cd, someone mentiod some really
            interesting campaign are missing e.g.
            hannibal against rome etc.
            Olm_Napp: or the up and downrising of the roman empire
            Olm_Napp: i dont miss the patrol feature btw.
            ES_Chris: That's why we've got the editor. I'd love to see some
            really cool stuff that you guys do with
            historically correct scenarios and campaigns...
            Olm_Napp: yeah true
            ES_Chris: It'd be cool to compile all of the best user campaigns in
            one place, like a cd.
            Olm_Napp: btw: why cant u print out maps with the scen editor ?
            Telcontar: will we see a sound editor some time?
            LaserEdge: There is one civ I though you would do.     What about the
            Celts?
            ES_Chris: I dont think we have any plans for a sound editor.
            Voodo: someone will probably some up with one sooner or later
            ES_Chris: We weighed a bunch of different civs when designing
            Age..unfortunatly some were left our for
            one reason or another.
            Voodo: eer come up
            Olm_Napp: ah ur really sure that boats are restitant against
            convertion ? i saw my triremes converted in
            3 seconds by ONE priest
            Telcontar: I'd also like to see some group commands, like gathering
            all units, keep or break up formations
            etc.
            Olm_Napp: yeah or a spreading command
            ES_Chris: Boats can be converted.
            Olm_Napp: sure but THAT FAST ?
            LaserEdge: Chris:   Boat are twice as resistant to conversion aren't
            they?
            Olm_Napp: not to my experience...
            Voodo: seeya
            Telcontar: the time is not constant ... go to my page
            http://games.nextlevel.net/cartho/age/conversion.shtmll
            Olm_Napp: yeah i know
            ES_Chris: I'm not sure what the % is, but they are tough. Researching
            all of the priests options were help
            do it faster.
            [Voodo left channel AofE]
            Olm_Napp: but a boat in 3 sekonds ? this shouldnt happen to a
            resistant unit
            LaserEdge: Okay.    Thaks for supporting your fans.
            Olm_Napp: thx chris for comming
            ES_Chris: I'm off.  See you guys same time tomorrow.

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