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September 3, 2010

Dave Kubalak talks about AOEO art style. Plus news about PAX

  

Robot Entertainment’s art director Dave Kubalak has been blogging about the art style in Age of Empires Online. There is no denying that the art style is very different in AOEO compared to Age 3 and even Age 1 which was set in the same time zone. If you would like a trip down memory lane the below screenshots compares the Age 1 days with the new look AOEO. 

 

(Click to enlarge

The excellent blog describes in detail Robot’s vision plan for the game and how the changes make the experience much better for the user.  The vision plan is as follows: 

  1. Create a timeless, bright, and visually appealing game that can technically run on a wide range of PCs, and still look good for years to come.
     
  2. Create a bold and more graphic look with a lot of character. That means a lot of different things.
  3. Less obstructive user interface and a more ‘graphic look’ to our iconography
  • Make the terrain vivid, but less ‘noisy’ so the buildings and units ‘pop’, and are easily identifiable.
  • Explore exaggerated and unique silhouettes to create a large variety of units and buildings. This helps give even inanimate objects more character and appeal.
  • Use animations, in addition to the units’ unique proportions, to better differentiate and emphasize roles and classes
  • Give the world and its inhabitants character and ‘life’, creating a digital terrarium for the player to control

Looking at the various in game screenshots it is clear how these points have been addressed. Units are now much bigger and are intentionally not in proportion to the size of buildings.  Buildings are much more unique with a very distinguishable look making them much easier to identify at a glance. Animations of units are also very unique and the amount of screen view has vastly increased with the removal and transparency of the UI. 

You may be wondering how these changes impact the user, for that you should head over to the full blog on the Robot Entertainment website where Dave goes into alot of detail about the changes  – a must read for any Age fan! 

Read the full blog


 

In other news.. PAX 

Two of the Justin’s from Robot Entertainment, Justin Korthof and Justin Moe are on the way to PAX this weekend. Community Manager extraordinaire Justin Korthof will be hosting his own community manager panel titled “So I have this website”. The panel includes Justin Korthof from Robot Entertainment and a number of other Community Managers including Jon Goff from 343 Industries who looks after HaloWars.com. The blurb of the panel is as follows below as found on Justin’s blog at www.sixokay.com 

You’ve spent the time and money building your community site, and now you’re looking to take it to the next level. Maybe you want to get a job as a professional Community Manager, or maybe you’re just looking for tips on how to get publishers to pay more attention to your site. Whether you’re just starting out, or have been running a site for years, this panel is the best place to get your questions answered. Together, these community managers have represented some of the biggest franchises, developers, and publishers in the game industry, and most of them started out just like you – running a fan site. 

Panelists include: Justin Korthof [Community Manager, Robot Entertainment], Matthew Pruitt [FPS Community Manager, Electronic Arts], Jon Goff [Community Manager, 343 Industries], James Stevenson [Senior Community Manager, Insomniac Games] 

Place/Time/Date: Sunday, September 5th, 12:30pm in the Wolfman Theater 

I wish Justin the best of luck with his panel and look forward to reading more about it. There is no doubt about Justin’s passion with online communities and this is evidenced by the outstanding job he has been doing at Robot Entertainment so far in team work with Duncan Stanley and others. 

Age of Empires Online will be playable at PAX so anyone lucky enough to be going should check out booth number 670 for a chance to play with six stations in total.


 A note about AOEO beta invites

There have been concerns on Age Community and other sites about the way the process works. Currently the first wave has gone out and if you were in the first wave you should of had an email by now advising you of your download key. The waves are a random lottery irrespective of the answers you put in the questionnaire, providing that you are 18+ years of age everyone has an equal chance of getting in. The second wave is expected soon. MGS is stated that they plan to do waves over the coming months so I would expect there to be a wave every month so keep your eyes peeled.  If you did not get a key this time keep an eye out for another wave soon. I’ll keep this blog up to date with all the beta invitation information and wish you all the best of luck getting in!

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Related posts:

  1. Robot Entertainment responds to AOE-O community questions – will continue to support AgeCommunity.com
  2. Robot Entertainment panel at PAX Prime
  3. Microsoft Game Studios details the AOEO Beta invite process

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