Age of Empires / Mythology
Below you can find a summary of the Age series by myself. You can also see Ensemble’s words at describing each game.
In the beginning
Age of Empires was the first game to be produced by Ensemble Studios and was released in 1997. At the time there were many futuristic RTS games on the market and Age of Empires was based on a historical setting which helped the series stand out from the rest. The game was developed and lead by Bruce Shelley, Tony Goodman and Dave Pottinger with music by Stephen Rippy. Age of Empires required alot of resource gathering and management and players had to decide whether to use these resources to build an army or to spend on technology. Online play was available on Age 1 via Microsoft Gaming Zone. Typically there were three types of online players of Age of Empires:
- Turtling (Building up a large base and spending resources on defence)
- Rushing (Building lots of low tech units very early to interrupt the resource gathering of other players)
- Booming (Focusing on economy by creating lots of villagers and having a very high income of resources)
The first Age of Empires game focuses on the Roman Empire and players worked through the Stone Age up until the Iron Age. Age 1 was very well received and gained many positive reviews even winning Strategy Game of the Year at the AIAS. An expansion pack followed in 1998 continuing where the first left off by exploring the rise of the Roman Empire and was dubbed “Rise of Rome”. The game once again achieved many excellent reviews with some commenting it felt like a whole new game. Age 1 and its expansion premiered Ensemble as an outstanding RTS developer and lead them onto…
Released just a year after Rise Of Rome Age of Empires 2 the “Age of Kings” was released. This game was set in the middle ages and was designed on the same game engine “Genie” as Age 1. Upon its release the game was incredibly popular and sold over 2 million copies in just three months and achieved rave reviews. Enhanced graphics and AI were just some of the technical improvements of the game. 5 whole new campaigns and 13 new civilisations plus the addition of a village idle button and villager garrison in Town Centers greatly improved the games playability. Winning both Strategy game of the year and Computer game of the year at the AIAS awards Age of Kings may well be Ensemble’s most successful title to date. An expansion pack was released in 2000 titled “The Conquerors” and added a further five more civilisations and four new campaigns.
Slight change of tack
Having developed 2 games and 2 expansion packs for Age of Empires which have both used the same graphics engine Ensemble decided to take a different route for their third game. Age of Mythology was the next title and introduced a new game engine called “Bang”. Upon release of the game there was once again critical success and a million copies were sold by just the fourth month and the game has an aggregrate review rating of 89%. Age of Mythologies campaign mode was much longer than Ensemble’s previous games spanning 32 scenarios. Mythology also introduced a new online server called Ensemble Studios Online, or ESO for short. Age Of Mythology was nominated for two awards at the AIAS.
With the great advances in computer CPU and graphics power Ensemble Studios were able to make a graphically rich Age of Empires game without the worry of hardware limitations as much as before. The Havok Physics engine was used to increase the realisim and animation of buiding destructions. Age 3 is a sequel to Age 2 and takes place in the New World. As per other Age games players had to start their civilasation from just a settlement with a handful of villagers and build up to a glorious empire. A new version of Ensemble Studios Online (ESO2) enabled players to hop online and battle with oponents with similar skill sets with the ranking system. One of the biggest changes was the introduction of Home City cards which allowed players to send shipments of resources, units or technology.
An expansion pack “The Warchiefs” was then worked on by Ensemble and was announced on March 7 2006. The expansion pack went gold on September 2006. The Warchiefs added three new civilisations, more maps, campaigns, units and copper and tin mines along with much more. A player could now “revolutionise” their city where by all villagers turn into militia and the player can send unlimited war based Home City cards.
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