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AoERoR/Definitive Edition/Return of Rome
Moderated by Suppiluliuma, PhatFish, Fisk, Epd999

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Topic Subject: Age of Empires 1 Beta / Pre-Release / Alpha
posted 12-23-23 08:49 AM ET (US)   
Hello everyone.

My name is Michael, I have been playing Age of Empires 1 on and off for much of my life, it was the first game my family owned as it came with our PC. Sometime later I got myself Age of Empires 1 together with Rise of Rome and much later I also got myself the definitive edition on the Microsoft Store and Steam, which I regret.

Anyway, I wanted to ask how one is supposed to get ahold of the development versions of Age of Empires 1. I have looked around the internet and couldn't really find anything. Archive does not have any of those versions and Betaarchive only has limited access - which I do not have.

I am of course talking about those versions that have different icons, different HUD and vertical health bars, versions that visibly differ from what we got in the end.

I have also looked around the forum only to be greeted by dead links and websites that no longer work properly, such as Pico-Games and others. No matter where I looked on this forum I could not find anything of use and apparently the moderator PhatFish even hosted some of it a while ago on his own website? That of course is also inaccessible now.

I know that it's a difficult topic to be hosting and linking those versions, doing so in the forum is against the guidelines and may result in a ban. Therefore I am not asking for any links, I am asking for any other kind of help I can get.

No matter how miniscule the changes are from the final product, I am just very much interested in those versions in the same way I am interested in Betas of my other favorite games.

There has to be some way to access those versions also in the name of videogame-preservation.

Obviously it would be for private use only, I just want to see for myself and play what can be played. This is my first post here and none of you know me or my name, so it might be difficult to trust me on this. I can only say that I have no malicious intent whatsoever and I have just always wanted to play and see for myself.

Anything really would be appreciated very much.
posted 12-24-23 11:15 AM ET (US)     1 / 3  
Here you go friend(s). Enjoy. These are my farewell presents to you - this is my entire development collection of Age of Empires, a total of around 21(!) different dev versions:

AoE Alpha:

AoE Alpha 2 4 1997 (has 8 different alpha builds, all are similar though.)

AoE Betas:

AoE Beta 4 24 1997

AoE Beta 4 29 1997

AoE Beta 6 6 1997

AoE Beta 6 13 1997

AoE Beta 7 6 1997

AoE Beta 7 16 1997

AoE Beta 7 17 1997

AoE Beta 7 25 1997

AoE Beta 8 15 1997

RoR Beta:

RoR Beta 7 17 1998

Trial/Demos (remember, these are also Beta versions, they are based on older builds):

CGW Demo

AoE Trial Version

RoR Trial

And to get some of the betas running, use compatibility mode (win7 or older, with admin rights):

This is from an old article on a... website, which is a proven successful super-simple method of removing the AoE and RoR CD protection using a .hex editor:

In ecx is the pointer to the name of the CD currently in your CD-ROM, in
eax is the pointer to the expected name : "AOE"

If the compare succeeded, the result of the complete function is "01",
else it is zero.

To patch "Age of Empires", this function has to return "01" every time
it is called. No problem for us, of course: let's look at the top of
the function :

:004D6550 81EC0C020000 sub esp, 0000020C
:004D6556 53 push ebx
:004D6557 56 push esi
:004D6558 8B410C mov eax, dword ptr [ecx+0C]
:004D655B 57 push edi
:004D655C 55 push ebp
:004D655D 8BF1 mov esi, ecx
:004D655F 8B8808040000 mov ecx, dword ptr [eax+00000408]
:004D6565 85C9 test ecx, ecx
:004D6567 750A jne 004D6573 <--blast this one
:004D6569 B801000000 mov eax, 00000001
:004D656E E9E5000000 jmp 004D6658 <--jump to the end

As we can see from the small piece of code above, the only thing which
is to do, is to blast the jne at 004d6567. If this is done, the function
will always return "eax = 01".

Alternatively, for some beta AoE .exe's, the parameter GAMECD may be used to get around the CD protection, add this to the shortcut to the executable (thanks to Litude for this one).

Unearth the treasures inside, discuss them and keep AoEH alive.

Goodbye :)

PS: Fck M$.
posted 12-24-23 11:24 AM ET (US)     2 / 3  
posted 12-24-23 08:15 PM ET (US)     3 / 3  
Hello PhatFish!

When writing my post I did not really know what type of answer I could expect and this most certainly was the last thing I would have expected, especially since I heard in other forum posts, that you specifically are unlikely to ever share any of the beta stuff.

As soon as I get the time, I will have a look at all of this, I have been waiting for this for - ahem - AGES.
I really am grateful for you sharing all of this, it means a lot to me and it really makes me happy.

I just now wonder what you mean by farewell? Are you leaving this forum for good?

Thank you so, so much!
Age of Empires Heaven » Forums » AoERoR/Definitive Edition/Return of Rome » Age of Empires 1 Beta / Pre-Release / Alpha
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