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Ensemble Studios Chat 17Oct97

[MS_Stuart] Stuart Moulder
– Manages the group that does action and strategy games.
[ES_Chris] Chris Rippy – Sounds and Scenarios.

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olm_napp: thought this was
ArchangelM: hey Stuart
olm_napp: hi Stuart
MS_Stuart: HI!
ES_Chris: Hey whats the topic for tonight?
olm_napp: whats ur function at ms stuart ?
MS_Stuart: I manage the group that does our action and strategy games
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ArchangelM: MS – how was AoE different from the other games you handled?
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MS_Stuart: Best game yet, for one. <g>
MS_Stuart: Seriously, it is the biggest game in the sense of the most depth….
MS_Stuart: and the most to play balance and test.
olm_napp: yeah…
MS_Stuart: Action titles tend to be more straightforward with fewer combinations of things
MS_Stuart: to worry about going wrong or hurting play balance.
MS_Stuart: Age is pretty amazing with how much is in the box….
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olm_napp: how important was it for u to get the game out before starcraft gets to the shelfs ?
MS_Stuart: You have campaigns, 12 tribes, random maps of various sizes and types….
ArchangelM: How do you stack up the sales of AoE with your other “Action” type games?
MS_Stuart: And then you have a scenario editor and multi-play.
MS_Stuart: Starcraft Q first…
MS_Stuart: We couldn’t really worry about competing products so much as getting Age right.
MS_Stuart: As it turned out, they slipped and we didn’t which is great. But if we needed to take more
time and they…
MS_Stuart: shipped first, I am confident in AoE and it’s ability to stand out.
MS_Stuart: shipped first, I am confident in AoE and it’s ability to stand out.
olm_napp: yeah me too
MS_Stuart: On sales….
MS_Stuart: We’ve had one action title over 450k units and another over 750k (these are worldwide)…
MS_Stuart: AoE isn’t there yet, but we’re building them as fast as we can!
olm_napp: is it true u had more than 200k preorders of the game ?
MS_Stuart: We don’t normally talk a lot about specific sales on titles, but I can confirm that worldwide
orders in hand…
MS_Stuart: were over 200k. Well over. <g>
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AoECentral: Hello Ladies.
ArchangelM: Hey Central
olm_napp: Hello
ES_Chris: Hey\
MS_Stuart: Next Q?
olm_napp: Did u start worldwide shipping already or are u hitting only the american market right now ?
ArchangelM: Will MS/ES be release cheat codes for AoE anything soon
AoECentral: I scoured three shops in Vancouver, Canada… couldn’t find Age of Empires =)
MS_Stuart: Cheat codes? Are there cheat codes? Chris? ;– >
olm_napp: well u can turn cheats on and off so there should be some :))
MS_Stuart: You should hear about these over the next few weeks. Not long now.
ES_Chris: I know there are a lot more boxes in Dallas than there were earlier in the week, so hang in there.
MS_Stuart: WW shipping has started….
MS_Stuart: the first shipments were UK, Germany and US. *Germany* was the largest initial
MS_Stuart: But US will surpass it in the next few weeks.
olm_napp: only the english version of the game or are u producing international (like german) language
versions too
olm_napp: well didn hit germany yet 🙂
MS_Stuart: Foreign language versions are….
olm_napp: they say tuesday …
MS_Stuart: German, French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Portugese (Brazilian)
ArchangelM: I don’t have the gold version yet :(… But I know of the flying dutchman as reporting on a
couple other AoE sites – is there others – and can they be accessed thru the scenario editor?
ES_Chris: How do you say “Tomaka” in German?
MS_Stuart: Tomaka, Ja
MS_Stuart: The Ja is hard to hear. <g>
MS_Stuart: When we ship, we ship to distributors….
AoECentral: Does anyone know what size in KB most scenarios should weigh in at?
MS_Stuart: It varies from disti to disti as to how long it takes them to get it to shelf.
AoECentral: (without fancy intros etc)
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ArchangelM: 32k to 55k are some posted on my site
ES_Chris: Scenarios can be under 500k quite easily…usually abot 250-300k
olm_napp: btw chris: when in the game the kavalery says “we move” this wav sounds exactly the same
as in war2 a paladin who says “we move” too :))
Madcow: hi all
AoECentral: I already have my maps planned out on paper… need to get the game now! =)
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ES_Chris: “we move”..hmm I’ll check on that.
MS_Stuart: same actor, I guess……
olm_napp: yeah its funny i first though wtf wrong game or what :))
Sleeper: are any of the creators here
ES_Chris: yep
MS_Stuart: God *is* here. ;– >
MS_Stuart: Oh, you mean the real creators….
olm_napp: hehe
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AoECentral: Are there any special components in AoE release version to assist in tournaments on IGZ
for example?
olm_napp: in the early beta there was a feature where u could play the game in a window why u ripped
that of ?
MS_Stuart: Not sure if you will need special components, but there will be tournaments….
MS_Stuart: One thing we will be doing is making the uploading of your score automatic to help with this.
ES_Chris: Its faster when its in full screen because of DirectX
MS_Stuart: It helps performance to be full screen. We can take advantage of DirectDraw.
MS_Stuart: As long as you can buy a new PC for a million other users, I’m cool with this.
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olm_napp: isnt it faremost the so called “wintel” alliance which wants to get people buy faster pcs :))
MS_Stuart: My job is selling as many units of cool games as I can…..
MS_Stuart: So I worry more about people being able to buy and play the games right now.
AoECentral: Stuart: Heh, keep bringing on games other than Hover then we’ll have a deal =)
MS_Stuart: Someone else has the job of making you buy a faster PC. <g>
MS_Stuart: Ouch!!!!!
olm_napp: :))
MS_Stuart: <my feelings are hurt now>
MS_Stuart: <G>
LaserEdge: You would think the drive for faster CPU’s would be lessened by all the multimedia
accelerators on the market. This doesn’t seem to be the case.
MS_Stuart: Problem is that most tasks in games like Age….
MS_Stuart: are CPU bound, not graphics bound. So graphics accelerators help, but don’t eliminate the
MS_Stuart: on the CPU.
olm_napp: i dont have any problems with aoe …after getting me 64mb of ram though
olm_napp: with 16meg it was quite….SLOW 🙂
MS_Stuart: Great!
MS_Stuart: You should buy NT now!
olm_napp: yeah i know
Archmike: besides the flying dutchman – is there any other treats to look forward to?
AoECentral: Any of the ES guys have any comments on what tips they learned in creating scenarios? =)
ES_Chris: Views expressed by Stuart do not neccessarily reflect those of Chris
LaserEdge: Your right about RTS games like AoE. 1st person shooters still have to model physics and
and the 3d layout of the enviroment.
MS_Stuart: Yeah, Chris codes on an old C64. Go figure.
LaserEdge: Those all require good CPU power.
LaserEdge: AI is key on CPU speed too.
LaserEdge: AI is key on CPU speed too.
olm_napp: hehe yeah tell us chris on what machines do u work at ensemble ?? did u get ur pII 300 for
that job ?
ES_Chris: On scenarios: practice, practice, practice. POay attention to the behavior as much as you can..
MS_Stuart: LE, absolutely. When you think about what Age does each game cycle, it’s amazing.
LaserEdge: Wonder if anyone is ever gonna make AI accelerators.
ES_Chris: and dont be afraid of the .ai and .per files. Change them and feel free to make your own from
MS_Stuart: It’s called a Pentium II
ES_Chris: I’m on a 133 btw.
olm_napp: on work or at home ?
ES_Chris: Sound guys dont get the coolest stuff. Just the biggest speakers.
LaserEdge: Stuart: You could go beyond a P][ and build a processor that will specifically handle GA’s,
Fuzzy logic, etc.
MS_Stuart: <don’t be afraid of…> It’s your game, break it any way you want!!!! <G>
olm_napp: btw: do u have to GO to work or did ensemble already implement HomeWork via an Intranet
MS_Stuart: LE, yep, but who would buy it?
ES_Chris: I work from both work and home.. Home when I’m doing all the death sounds.
MS_Stuart: I think at MS and ES, HomeWork means Work IS your Home. No need to go anywhere.
ES_Chris: Amen
LaserEdge: Stuart: The game market isn’t ready for such a device. Only in science apps and engineering.
olm_napp: hehe
olm_napp: may i aks what ur future project are ? are u hitting right to AOE2 or doing something different
between ?
LaserEdge: Such a device would be very useful in verification engineering.
ES_Chris: 10 more minutes, then its off to dinner
MS_Stuart: <Actually, Chris is on an old P60, we just labelled it a 133 to make him feel better>
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AoECentral: Stuart: Just like Jerry and his size 32 pants! =)
MS_Stuart: On AoE2….
MS_Stuart: We haven’t made any official announcement yet and THIS ISN’T ONE, but…..
olm_napp: So ensemble will let publish aoe2 by Microsoft again ?
MS_Stuart: you might expect that really succesful, very cool games usually get one.
ES_Chris: hmm..
MS_Stuart: AoECentral, what?
AoECentral: Stuart: Jerry Seinfeld joke.
ES_Chris: Cool…stumped us.
MS_Stuart: Ahhh….. we don’t get to watch TV in Seattle. Rains too much and kills the reception…
ES_Chris: Serrinity Now!
olm_napp: Chris why didnt u implement a print function for printig out maps ?
AoECentral: We just got 16 new channels in Vancouver… move the campus up here =)
olm_napp: so many people are now playing ONLY random maps cause they dont know the scens…
LaserEdge: What was the teams favorite AoE victory condition? Wonders??? Artifacts????
MS_Stuart: Vancouver? Washington? Or the other one? <g>
ES_Chris: Wonders are my favorite
olm_napp: so babylonians is ur favorite tribe then ?
MS_Stuart: LE, total and complete eradication of the opponent. That would be the favorite.
ES_Chris: On the map printing, I think ctrl+f12 will capture the screen as a .bmp
MS_Stuart: Personally, I wanted to be able to salt the earth after I destroyed the farms….
ES_Chris: Summerians
LaserEdge: Chris: HeHe. Mine too. I won a FFA last night by build the great pyramid.
ES_Chris: Cool. I like their farms and cats.
olm_napp: yeah double farm production is neat
MS_Stuart: and their sheep!
MS_Stuart: Chris is lonely…
ES_Chris: bahhad joke
AoECentral: It’s was so sheeeeep (cheap).
LaserEdge: Did anyone on the team ever win a multi game by holding all the ruins?
ES_Chris: gettin kinda punny now..lets talk more Hover!
AoECentral: Hover!
MS_Stuart: So….. about those Ruins!!
ES_Chris: yes..we’ve won by Ruins before. Artifacts too.
MS_Stuart: I’ve never seen a Ruin victory. Chris?
ES_Chris: see above
olm_napp: never played the come and get me scen ?
olm_napp: best way to win there…
LaserEdge: I take it there is story behind one of those victories. 😉
olm_napp: get thos artefacts and dig in 🙂
AoECentral: I love building intricate wall systems =)
MS_Stuart: On artifacts…. In maps with water, putting them on a transport can be handy…..
ES_Chris: Sounds like you’re enjoying the multiple victory conditions. I’m glad you guys are giving
everything a shot.
olm_napp: yeah thats e very cool feature
olm_napp: same as playing in the same tribe
LaserEdge: I love converting transports. 😉 Last night I converted one just after it was load with enemy
units. His own catapult fire at it and sunk it. It was funny.
ES_Chris: cool
MS_Stuart: transports are a double-edged sword. Also cool to convert a loaded transport and delete it.
AoECentral: I’m just starting to exploit/learn the way of the priests.
MS_Stuart: The Tao of Priests. It should be a book.
olm_napp: btw. comverting we tried out this: from 10 conversions on a boat (which is resistant) 6 lasted
only 3 seconds this is very fast imho….
ES_Chris: They are definatly worth spending time on. They can be quite an asset.
olm_napp: chris u are away of the transport bug ?
LaserEdge: I think the priests can be a broken unit in the right hands.
olm_napp: aware this is
MS_Stuart: LE, you mean a game breaking unit?
ES_Chris: I saw a post on the transport bug yesterday. I’ll take a look at it this weekend.
LaserEdge: Yea.
MS_Stuart: They are super powerful, but very vulnerable. Remember Chariots and Chariot Archers.
ES_Chris: 5 more minutes then we gotta chow.
olm_napp: and very exensinve :=
olm_napp: expensive ehe
ES_Chris: Nice balance of power.
LaserEdge: Yep. If you use them in a mutli combat force they can be nasty.
MS_Stuart: Combined arms is the way!
olm_napp: yes it is thats what makes this game so great each force and tribe has its counterpart
olm_napp: well at the beginning an army of 10 bowman will quite whipe out anything
LaserEdge: Only if the egyptians had ballista’s.
olm_napp: if u find ur opponent fast enough ;=)
AoECentral: If you have a series of towers/wall and no enemy with large movable force then bring in
catapult surrounded by priests healing it.
ES_Chris: sounds like some plans are being formed!
MS_Stuart: Last question?
AoECentral: Anyone?
ES_Chris: What is your favorite color?
AoECentral: grey. concealed nicely on some maps.
MS_Stuart: Blue, I mean Red.. ARGH!
ArchangelM: Thanks guys – see you Monday? Same time Sane Channel?
ES_Chris: Thanks for coming guys! We’ll see you again on Monday, same time!
AoECentral: Roger.
olm_napp: yeah thx cu
MS_Stuart: Thanks!
MS_Stuart: Bye!
AoECentral: Thanks for coming to answer our questions!
olm_napp: bye
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