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Posts from the ‘Age of Empires’ Category

5
Jan

Age of Empires 3 Complete Collection released on Steam!

Great news for Age of Empires 3 fans! Today Microsoft Studios have announced the release of the compete Age of Empires 3 collection on Steam. The full collection includes Age of Empires 3 and both expansions, The Warchiefs and The Asian Dynasties and is available on Steam today with a 50% discount on the price. The standard price is £29.99 but the game is £14.99 with this time limited launch offer. Currently the complete collection is available in stores for around the £22 price range so there is good value in picking up the Steam edition with the discounted price. Read moreRead more

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4
Aug

Prawny interviews Ryz0n over at RTS-Sanc

Age Community, or “AgeCom” for short has had numerous moderating personalities over the years to name a few we have the likes of Yeti, Paragon, Lethe (Aloysius), MrMilo, SOLUS, Thunder and various others. Yesterday Prawny over at RTS-Sanctuary interviewed the current AgeCom moderator Ryan “Ryz0n” Chaply. So if your’re hanging around AgeCom and want to find out a little more about the famous moderator, check out this interesting interview which includes information about how Ryan became moderator for the peaceful land that is AgeCom. Read moreRead more

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22
Apr

Bruce Shelley talks about the evolution of social gaming. Plus more AOE-O animations and Robot swag!

Recently the legendary Bruce Shelley has been in talks with Gamasutra along with Brian Reynolds another industry veteran about their roles at Zynga in the social gaming space. Brian Reynolds before joining Zynga worked at Big Huge Games which collaborated with Ensemble Studios on the Age of Empires 3 Asian Dynasties expansion. Bruce and Brian had also worked closely with each other in the past on Sid Meier’s civilisation games. Now they are both re-united again at Zynga where is has become clear that the company is hiring industry veterans to push their gaming business forward.

When talking to Gamasutra Bruce detailed how he was recommended to join after the company was looking for designers from the “Sid Meier School of Design” era. Read moreRead more

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18
Jan

Slight ESO maintenance changes and downtime consultation

Just a quick note for all Age of Empires 3 players. Ryz0n the community manager at Microsoft who are now running the support for Ensemble Studios Online have announced the times for ESO maintenance is changing slightly. Previously On the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month, ESO underwent scheduled maintenance with Robot Entertainment. Going forward this maintenance will occur on Tuesdays between approximately 10AM PST (GMT -8) and 12PM PST.

There are some discussions about ways users can be better informed about this downtime. You can read about the downtime and the announcement plans over at Age Community:

http://forum.agecommunity.com/forums/thread/908610.aspx

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3
Jan

Robot Entertainment signs off from Age Community

January 3rd 2011 marks the day when Robot Entertainment officially retires from Age Community both the forum support and the support for ESO. Robot took over the support for Age Community and ESO shortly after Ensemble closed its doors In February 2009, the support in place at Robot was similar to the support offered at Ensemble. Microsoft has decided to take operations of Age 3 in house and will be lead by some of the same Community team behind Age of Empires Online plus a dedicated community administrator for Age Community. Read moreRead more

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22
Dec

Microsoft to take over Age Community

Unfortunately, the time as come for Robot Entertainment so sign off on Age Community and hand over day to day support for community operations to Microsoft Games Studios. The transition starts today, with Ryz0n Ryz0n is not online. Last active: 12-22-2010, 2:12 PMtaking the reins as community support moderator. Ryzon commented:

The folks here at MGS are transitioning into supporting the AOE community.  Along those lines, I’ll be working on forum administration, account support, and generally keeping everything running as well as possible.  Our goal, as we move through the transition period, is to make the user experience change very little and have the service chug along without any issues into the foreseeable future. I’ll be coming up to speed and working with Robot on the community, server issues, and support for the titles. Read moreRead more

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10
Sep

Are you a Vintage AgeCommer?

Have you been a member on Age Community before February 2009 when Robot Entertainment took over the reigns? Well if you were you can now get your very own “Vintage” badge on the Robot Entertainment forums. It looks pretty snazzy as below:

Read moreRead more

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10
Sep

Rob Fermier blogs about Age of Empires programming history

 

Hot on the heels of Ian Fischer’s blog about AOE-O design and Dave Kubalak’s blog about the vision behind the new Age of Empires game, long time Age of programmer come lead programmer at Robot Entertainment, Rob Fermier talks us through the history of the Bang engine which has powered each Age game since 3D graphics started with Age of Mythology. Before the bang engine came along Ensemble Studios were using another in house 2D engine called “Genie”. By around 1999 and before Ensemble acquisition by Microsoft, Ensemble were playing around with a new 3D engine which later became known as Bang. This engine was first used with Age of Mythology taking the Age series into 3D for the first time:

The first iteration of the Bang engine produced these graphics in Age of Mythology

The same Bang engine was used again for the expansion pack Age of Mythology - The Titans. When Age of Empires 3 came along the engine underwent significant improvements:

For Age of Empires 3 (2005) it received some major upgrades – a modern shader-based rendering system, physics integration, new particle effects, and numerous unit sim improvements.   Several expansion packs also were built to enhance those games, leveraging the extensibility and flexibility of the Bang engine.

After the extensive work put into the engine Age of Empires 3 turned out graphics looking more like this:

But its not all about graphics, a game engine comprises of many different parts which make up the whole thing. For example you have graphics, sound, music, UI, AI, scenarios, triggers, databases and more. There is alot going on behind the scenes of an Age game. In fact the engine is over 1.2 million lines of code. Although not all these lines are serious pieces of code, as Rob points out there is Ensemble humour buried in the code. -

(Click to enlarge)

I am certain this Ensemble style humour will continue into Robot Entertainment’s edits of the engine!

The blog finishes up with a few words about the future of the engine with Age of Empires Online and the new features it brings:

As you play Age of Empires Online (sign up for the Beta here), the technology powering your game experience is a mix of brand new online tech, new gameplay systems, and battle-tested core RTS mechanics that we have been constantly improving for over a decade.   It is always amusing to come across a comment from yourself in 1999.  Game technologies are often abandoned after a few years, so it has been very rewarding to work with this particularly robust game engine for so long.

As always, this is just a summary of the full blog post and I recommend everyone check out the full posting on the Robot Entertainment for more information and “fun facts”!

 http://www.robotentertainment.com/blog/detail/Brief-History-Time-and-Age-Engine

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9
Sep

Age of Empires Online Beta wave 2 out today!

If you’ve signed up for the Age of Empires Online Beta and haven’t got in yet, well now is the time to start checking your emails as CosyGOODkNIGHT of the new Age of Empires Online forum announces:

I’m pleased to announce that we’re sending out another wave of Beta invites today!  Please keep in mind that it can take several hours for our system to push out all the emails.  You can check your inbox incrementally throughout the day or sit in front of your computer obsessively mashing the F5 button, I’ll leave that decision to you.  Best of luck!

http://forums.ageofempiresonline.com/forums/thread/5932.aspx

I also wish everyone the best of luck getting into the beta – its an awesome game!

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8
Sep

Correction: Halo Reach has multiple forums

 

For those who have read my ranty post regarding the new AOEO forums I have received an email advising of an incorrect fact regarding the following text:

“It would be like Halo Reach detaching from Bungie.net and setting up shop somewhere else”

As it turns out Halo Reach has multiple community sites as follows:

That’s right, there are three official community hubs for that one game and its franchise. Personally, I feel having three official community sites for a franchise is a negative as it splits the community three ways unless people have three accounts for checking three separate forums. It is my opinion that one centralised community for a game series developed by the same (or similar) developer helps keeps the community together and increases the audience size.

Nonetheless readers should consider the above information when reading my previous blog post.

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