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Topic Subject: Previously unknown beta uncovered
posted 09-02-21 09:22 AM ET (US)   
Not often you get a newspost the following day on AoEH, the last time this happened was during the height of AoEH. A previously unknown beta version of Age of Empires has been uncovered, and it's pretty nice! I was hoping to collect a little more info and record more differences before posting this, I have only been able to play this build for a day or two. Since Nocomonda couldn't wait with posting the announcement, here you go. It is very close to completion but still has quite a number of differences.

The cd-rom and case which includes this late beta.

This is most likely the closed beta test version that was send out to the public. How do I come to this conclusion? It is known that official external beta testing started very late during development as stated on Telcontar's old website. This build seems to resemble that since it is only 6 weeks away from completion (final release build is dated 25th of September 1997). I am almost certain that this is where we got the Nuke Trooper and Gaia Horse templates from back in the early days of designing. Designers back then were eager for more of these secret hidden units, because they were special (still are, in a way!). Nowadays, you have access to all possible hidden units through the Composite Editor.

Hero 8 to 12 are available in this beta version.

For more screenshots, view this part of the Gallery!

Build number:
Build creation date: 14th of August 1997

Notable differences from the final release build include:

- Intro video has some different music mid-way.
- Additional catapult sound is heard in the intro music.
- Player colors are different on the achievements screen.
- Button colors are different or may change during play.
- All Trees have 10 HP. Forests use older tree models.
- Gold mines contain 300 gold instead of 400.
- Tribute system does not require a Market.
- Diplomacy and Menu buttons are still offset by a slight margin.
- Selection buttons have a round graphic instead of the x or v.
- Old cheat codes are still used.
- When a Priest has successfully converted, an additional Wololo sound is played.
- Yamato campaign is unfinished, and also missing the instruction bitmap on Mountain Temple scenario.
- Several spelling errors.
- Alt-tabbing out usually results in a crash or freeze.

- Player starts with higher resources, notably gold and stone.

- Several unfinished Multiplayer maps.

- The editor background often obscures the map when selecting something from drop-down menu (e.g. Victory conditions).
- Civilization drop-down menu in the Player section is in a different position.
- Blank instruction bitmap resembles the Mediterranean, specifically Greece and Turkey. Does not come with the game.
- Several beta units available from the Unit section: Horse, Nuke Troopers, Catapult Missile, Hero 8 - 12.
- Invisible Demon is called Demon.
- Several unfinished or unused .PER and .AI files.

There are probably quite a few more changes but these are the ones that are most apparent.

You can download the closed beta campaigns and the (multiplayer) scenarios from the Granary.

It is quite amazing that this even surfaced after so many years!
posted 09-02-21 09:27 AM ET (US)     1 / 7  
If you want to play this beta build yourself, you can find it at the internet archive.

Then, you need to apply the parameter GAMECD to the shortcut, and change your computer date to August 1997 for it to properly start. Have fun playing!

DO NOT POST LINKS DIRECTLY TO THIS BETA SINCE THIS IS AGAINST THE CODE OF CONDUCT. Doing so will result in a ban. You are free to discuss any discoveries or differences. Thank you.
posted 09-03-21 05:24 PM ET (US)     2 / 7  
Oh wow never seen before spelling errors!

//The warrior of Isola

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

Cleidopus gloriamaris
posted 09-04-21 00:26 AM ET (US)     3 / 7  
Intro video has some different music mid-way
I'm interested in this. Is it significantly different? It is a melody that already appears in one of the various released songs (MIDI + Redbook)?

StormComing (to me): "Seems like you're way under-ranked"

Check out my series of guides for the scenario editor in the link below! | Best Otto TR score

The definitive collection of my scenarios, along with my scenario editor walkthrough, recorded games, and much much more!
posted 09-10-21 05:51 AM ET (US)     4 / 7  
It's new music you haven't heard before, not from the redbook or midi music tracks.

[This message has been edited by PhatFish (edited 09-10-2021 @ 05:52 AM).]

posted 10-13-21 06:05 PM ET (US)     5 / 7  
Nice find after so many years!

There is this reddit thread where the uploader says:

I Was Gifted an Original Age of Empires Beta CD

Hi all!

I was gifted this for my birthday because I’m known for collecting obsolete hardware and software for fun.

This one disc from August 1997 in particular really stood out, I briefly searched online and yielded no immediate similar results. Do any of you know anything about these?

Long story short, I want to make sure this gets archived if it hasn’t already been before. It’s always fascinating seeing what changes were made over time and if there’s anything special on the disc.

posted 10-21-21 07:05 AM ET (US)     6 / 7  
posted 12-08-21 12:57 PM ET (US)     7 / 7  
This version looks interesting, it makes you want to test it.

[This message has been edited by PhatFish (edited 01-08-2022 @ 04:32 PM).]

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