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Age of Empires
Aoe fuchs.png
Age of Empires series logo
Genre(s) Real-time strategy
Developer(s) Ensemble Studios
Big Huge Games
Publisher(s) Microsoft Game Studios
First release Age of Empires
1997
Latest release The Asian Dynasties
2007
Spinoffs Age of Mythology (The Titans)

Age of Empires is a series of computer video games developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The first title of the series was Age of Empires, released in 1997. Since then, seven titles and three spin-offs have been released. The titles are historical real-time strategy games, and their gameplay revolves around two main game modes: random map and campaign. The games are set amidst historical events. Age of Empires focused on events in Europe and Asia, spanning from the Stone Age to the Iron Age; the expansion game explored the formation and expansion of the Roman Empire. The sequel, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, was set in the Middle Ages, while its expansion focused on the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The subsequent three games of Age of Empires III explored the early modern period, when Europe was colonizing the Americas and several Asian nations were on the rise. A spin-off game, Age of Mythology, was set in the same period as the original Age of Empires, but focused on fictional elements of Greek, Egyptian, and Norse mythology.

The Age of Empires series has been a commercial success, selling over 20 million copies.[1] The popularity and quality of the games has earned Ensemble Studios a strong reputation in real-time strategy gaming. Ensemble collaborated with Big Huge Games on Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties. Critics have credited part of the success of the series to its historical theme and fair play; the artificial intelligence (AI) players fight with less "cheating" than in many of the series' competitors.[2]

Contents

Common gameplay elements

An Iron Age civilization (in red) under attack in a beta version of the original Age of Empires. The screenshot shows dead enemy units (in blue) and buildings on fire as a result of battle damage. A Greek phalanx has been selected, and its unit data is visible in the bottom left corner.

The Age of Empires games belong to the real-time strategy genre, with the exception of the turn-based Age of Empires: The Age of Kings and Age of Empires: Mythologies for the Nintendo DS. The series features two recurring modes of play: "random map," and "campaign." "Random map" is described by lead designer Greg Street as a "hallmark" of the series.[3] In this mode, the player selects a civilization and plays on a randomly created map, most of which are based, at least loosely, on a real-world geographic area.[3] A variation on random map is "deathmatch," where players begin with large amounts of resources and fight until only one side remains. A "campaign" is a series of interrelated missions with a specific storyline.[4] Earlier games in the series included several campaigns; however, Age of Mythology was an exception to this trend, with one campaign.[5] Games in the series also offered multiplayer game options, via LAN and modem connection. Age of Empires, The Age of Kings, and their expansions, also offered online play via the Microsoft Gaming Zone (the Zone), though this ended on June 19, 2006.[6] Age of Mythology, Age of Empires III, and their expansions, offered online gameplay via Ensemble Studios Online (ESO), a system similar to MSN's Zone.com and Blizzard Entertainment's Battle.net.[7][8]

The missions in a campaign generally follow a historical setting and focus, but do not strive for absolute historical accuracy.[9] For example, while Germany in the early modern period—when Age of Empires III was set—was largely Protestant, the design of the German church building is Catholic.[9] However, in The WarChiefs, the design team did take great care to ensure they portrayed Native Americans as accurately as possible, and relied on expert historians for assistance.[9] Age of Empires games use historical figures and units that are relatively well-known, but also include several "strange or exotic military unit[s]," to make the games more interesting.[10] This effort, however, was not extended to The Asian Dynasties.

Games

The games in the series focus on historical events throughout time. Age of Empires covers the events between the Stone Age and the Classical period, in Europe and Asia. Its expansion, The Rise of Rome, follows the formation and rise of the Roman Empire. The Age of Kings and its Nintendo DS spin-off follow Europe and Asia through the Middle Ages. The Age of Kings' expansion pack, The Conquerors, is set during the same period, but also includes scenarios about the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Age of Empires III and its first expansion, The WarChiefs, take place during the European colonization of the Americas. Its second expansion, The Asian Dynasties, follows the rise of Asia in the same period. The series' spin-off, Age of Mythology, and its expansion pack, The Titans, are set during the Bronze Age, but focus on mythology as their themes, rather than history.

Main series

Age of Empires, released on October 26, 1997, was the first game in the series, as well as the first major release from Ensemble Studios.[11] It was one of the first history-based real-time strategy games made,[12] utilizing the Genie game engine. GameSpot described it as a mix of Civilization and Warcraft.[13] The game gives players a choice of 9;civilizations to develop from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. The expansion pack, The Rise of Rome, published by Microsoft on October 31, 1998, introduced new features and four new civilizations, including the Romans. Although the two games had contained many software bugs, patches resolved many of the problems.[14][15]

Age of Empires was generally well received, despite some highly negative reviews. GameSpot criticized a confused design, while Computer and Video Games praised the game as strong in single and multiplayer.[16] The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences named Age of Empires the 1998 "Computer Strategy Game of the Year."[17] For several years, the game remained high on the sales charts, with over three million units sold by 2000.[18] The Rise of Rome was not as popular: it had only sold one million units in 2000,[18] and attained 80% as an aggregate score from Game Rankings.[19]

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, released on September 30, 1999, used the Genie game engine, and had gameplay similar to its predecessor.[20] Age of Kings is set in the Middle Ages, from the Dark Ages to the Imperial Age. It allows players to choose one of 13 civilizations, from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.[21] Microsoft published the expansion, The Conquerors, on August 24, 2000. It added new units and five new civilizations, including two Mesoamerican civilizations; the Maya and the Aztec.[22] The expansion also introduced the concept of technologies that were only available to certain civilizations. The Age of Kings was a bigger critical success than the first two games, with Game Rankings and Metacritic scores of 92%.[23][24] Microsoft shipped out more than two million copies to retailers, and the game received numerous awards and accolades.[25] Critics agreed that The Conquerors expanded well on The Age of Kings, though issues of unbalanced gameplay were raised.[26] The Age of Kings and The Conquerors won the 2000 and 2001 "Computer Strategy Game of the Year" awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, respectively.[27][28]

Age of Empires III, released on October 18, 2005, was built on an improved version of the Age of Mythology game engine with the most significant changes being the updated graphics engine and the inclusion of the Havok physics middleware engine.[29][30] The game is set in the period between 1421 and 1850, and players can choose one of eight European nations. The game introduced a large number of features, such as home cities. Described by Ensemble Studios as "an important support system to your efforts in the New World," home cities helped provide the player with resources, equipment, troops, and upgrades. They could be used across multiple games, and upgraded after each battle; it was compared to a role-playing game character by Ensemble Studios.[31] The first expansion to Age of Empires III, The WarChiefs, was released October 17, 2006. Most gameplay changes in the expansion pack were small, but it introduced three new civilizations, with a focus on Native Americans.[32] Most notable was the introduction of the WarChief unit.[33] The second expansion, The Asian Dynasties, went on sale October 23, 2007. It was a jointly developed product; Big Huge Games helped Ensemble Studios develop the game, with Brian Reynolds joining Bruce Shelley as lead designer.[34] The game expanded the Age of Empires III universe into Asia, and introduced three new civilizations.[35] Reception towards Age of Empires III was mixed; Game Revolution described it as "about as much fun" as a history textbook, while GameZone argued it was "one of the best looking games, much less an RTS game, that is out on the market currently".[36] It sold more than two million copies, and won the GameSpy "real-time strategy game of the year" award.[37][38] The WarChiefs failed to equal the success of its predecessor, with a lower score on both Game Rankings and Metacritic, and The Asian Dynasties' score was lower still with 80%.[39][40][41][42]

Several collectors' editions of Age of Empires III included a hardcover artbook. The last page of the artbook has a pictorial depiction of the series; the Roman numerals below each panel range from I to V, indicating the series would include an Age of Empires IV and Age of Empires V. Ensemble Studios employee Sandy Petersen said the image "was total speculation on [their] part."[43]

In 2008, Microsoft announced they were closing down Ensemble Studios following the completion of Halo Wars. Some of its employees would form a new team as part of Microsoft Game Studios.[44] Kevin Unangst, director of Games for Windows, denied it was the end of the Age of Empires series, telling The San Francisco Chronicle "we're very excited about the future potential for Age of Empires".[45] Edge confirmed, in an interview with Microsoft's corporate vice president of interactive entertainment, Shane Kim, that Microsoft continued to own Age of Empires and that they had plans to continue the series.[46] However, Bruce Shelley wrote in his blog that he would not be part of any new studios formed.[47][48]

Spin-off games

Age of Mythology focused on mythology rather than history. It shared several elements of gameplay with the main series,[49] and was considered a part of the series, despite its different focus.[50][51] The campaign in Age of Mythology tells the story of an Atlantean, Arkantos, and his quest to find why his people are out of favor with Poseidon.[52] Microsoft published the game on October 30, 2002,[53] and its expansion, The Titans, on October 21, 2003.[54] The Titans featured the Atlanteans as a new civilization.[55] Its campaign is shorter than previous expansions, and centers on Kastor, son of Arkantos, who falls for the lies of the titans and frees them from Tartarus.[56] Age of Mythology sold more than one million units in four months.[57] It scored 89% on Game Rankings and Metacritic.[58][59] The Titans failed to equal the sales success of Age of Mythology, although critics rated it highly.[60][61]

Backbone Entertainment developed Age of Empires: The Age of Kings as a turn-based game for the Nintendo DS. Majesco published the game on February 14, 2006. It is similar to other turn-based games, such as Advance Wars, but with a gameplay based on its PC counterpart.[62] Age of Empires: The Age of Kings scored 80% on Game Rankings and Metacritic.[63][64] Konami brought a game of the same title to the PlayStation 2 around five years earlier than the DS version, but the game had little promotion, and sold poorly.[65]

Development

Historical elements

The development phases of the Age of Empires games were similar in several ways. Due to the games being based on historical events, the team often had to do large amounts of research.[66] However, the research was not in depth; it "was not ... a good idea for most entertainment products" according to Age of Empires designer Bruce Shelley.[66] Shelley also said that Ensemble Studios took most of the reference material from children's sections at libraries. He pointed out the goal was for the players of the game to have fun, "not [its] designers or researchers."[66] At the Games Convention Developers Conference in 2007, Shelley continued with this thought and explained that the success of the series laid in "making a game which appealed to both the casual and hardcore gamer."[67] Shelley also remarked the Age of Empires games were not about history in itself, but rather "about the human experience;"[67] they focused not simply on what humans had done but on what they could do in the future such as "going into space."[67] Ensemble Studios developed Age of Mythology in a different way than the previous two games. The team had worried they "couldn't get away" with a third historical-based game, and chose mythology as the setting after they had discussed several options.[68]

Artificial intelligence

The artificial intelligence (AI) used in the Age of Empires series has been developed and improved regularly by designers. AI specialist Dave Pottinger noted the development team gave the AI in the original game a very high priority, and spent over a year working on it. He said the AI in the game relies on tactics and strategies to win, instead of "cheating" by giving bonus resources to itself, or tweaking its units to be stronger than normal.[2] Pottinger later noted that the Age of Empires series team took great pride in their AI playing a "fair game".[69] They also gave the AI for The Conquerors a high priority, the result being the "smart villager" feature, which was highly popular in subsequent games of the series. After building a structure that stores or produces resources, smart villagers would proceed to collect resources related to the structure, such as crops from farms or ore from stones.[70] The Titans lets players use an AI debugger when creating custom scenarios; players can change the settings of computer players and make them act according to certain patterns.[71] More basic changes to the AI had previously been available in the series' first two games.[72]

Music

Stephen Rippy has been the series' music director since the first game. He has had occasional help from his brother, David Rippy, as well as Kevin McMullan.[73] He created the original music in Age of Empires with sounds of instruments from the periods in the game.[74] These sounds came from actual instruments, and their digital samples.[74] The tunes were the result of extensive research on the cultures, styles, and instruments used.[74] Rippy said sound development on The Age of Kings was easy, since there was knowledge of the instruments used in the Middle Ages. Therefore, they were able to reproduce the tunes for the soundtrack of the game.[75] In Age of Mythology, an orchestral instrumentation was used, instead. According to McMullan, the team also collected large numbers of audio recordings from zoos, and created "a massive sound library of [their] own material."[76] The music of Age of Empires III was similar to The Age of Kings, in which the team used more historical instruments; Rippy noted the team used instruments such as "bagpipes and field drums" to give it a realistic feel.[73]

Collaboration

Ensemble Studios worked together with Big Huge Games to develop The Asian Dynasties, Age of Empires III's second expansion. This was the first joint venture for both teams. The reason for them doing so was compatible schedules: Ensemble Studios was busy with other projects—particularly Halo Wars—while Big Huge Games' real-time strategy team had few projects at that time. Big Huge Games did most of the work, but Ensemble Studios designers Greg Street and Sandy Petersen joined in the brainstorming, and had control over the final product.[77] Both studios had roles in testing the game before its release.[78]

Reception and legacy

Aggregate review scores
As of June 17, 2008.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Age of Empires 87%[79] 83%[16]
The Rise of Rome 80%[19]
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings 92%[23] 92%[24]
The Conquerors 88%[80] 88%[26]
Age of Empires III 82%[81] 81%[36]
The WarChiefs 81%[39] 80%[40]
The Asian Dynasties 80%[41] 80%[42]
Age of Mythology 89%[58] 89%[59]
The Titans 84%[60] 84%[61]
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings (Nintendo DS) 80%[63] 80%[64]
Age of Empires: Mythologies (Nintendo DS) 79%[82] 78%[83]

The Age of Empires series has been a commercial success. As of 2008, five of its games have each sold more than one million copies. According to Gamasutra, Age of Empires had sold more than three million copies, and The Rise of Rome sold one million copies as of 2000.[18] Around the same time, Microsoft announced that they shipped over two million copies of The Age of Kings.[25] In 2003, Microsoft announced the sales of one million copies for Age of Mythology.[57] By 2004—prior to the release of Age of Empires III—the Age of Empires franchise had sold over 15 million copies.[84] On May 18, 2007, Ensemble Studios announced that two million copies of Age of Empires III had been sold.[37] Games in the series have consistently scored highly on video game review aggregator websites Game Rankings and Metacritic, which collect data from numerous review websites. As noted in the table to the right, the highest rating game is Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, receiving a 92% score from both sites.[23][24]

Critics have credited Age of Empires for influencing real-time strategy (RTS) games such as Rise of Nations, Empire Earth, and Cossacks.[85][86] Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds was also influenced by the series: it utilized the Genie game engine, as Age of Empires and Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings had, and was considered by critics to be a very close replica to the games; IGN began their review with the statement "I love Age of Star Wars, I mean Star Empires. Whatever it's called, I dig it."[87] and GameSpot wrote that "fundamentals of the Age of Empires II engine are so intact in Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds that veterans of that game can jump right in."[88] In October 2005, Shelley commented on the impact of the series. In a GameSpy interview, he explained that parents would "tell Ensemble Studios that their kid is reading books about ancient Greece because they enjoy playing with the triremes so much, or that they want to check out books about medieval history because [the] game taught them what a trebuchet was."[9]

Shelley has said the key to the success of the games was its innovation, rather than imitation of its peers. He also claimed the unique elements in the games "helped establish the reputation of Ensemble Studios as masters of the real-time strategy genre."[89] Mark Bozon of IGN wrote in his review of The Age of Kings, "The Age of Empires series has been one of the most innovative real-time strategy games for PC in the last decade or so."[90] Gamenikki called Ensemble Studios "the developer that started it all" when they talked about how much Age of Empires III had done to advance the real-time strategy genre.[91] Shelley has acknowledged the success and innovation of Age of Empires helped to ensure Ensemble survive its early periods since startup.[92] In 2005, Shelley complained of critics holding an "innovation bias" against the series; citing the 60% score from Computer Gaming World, he said that despite Age of Empires III being "perhaps the best selling PC game in the world," reviewers expected "something really new," and rated it harshly.[93]

Bungie Studios chose Ensemble Studios to develop Halo Wars, which is an RTS game in their Halo series. They said one of the reasons they chose to work with Ensemble was because of the "awesometastic" Age of Empires series.[94] They also noted that Ensemble was the perfect choice "to realize the original vision of Halo," which started life as an RTS.[94]

Notes

  1. ^ Bruce Shelley (2008-08-22). "Age Series Passes 20 Million Units Sold Mark". Ensemble Studios. http://www.ensemblestudios.com/blogs/bshelley/archive/2008/08/22/age-series-passes-20-million-units-sold-mark.aspx. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  2. ^ a b "Dave Pottinger". Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/games/empires/behind_dave.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  3. ^ a b "Age of Empires III Q&A". 3D gamers. July 26, 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-02-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20060212012644/http://www.3dgamers.com/sp/articles/more/124/. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  4. ^ "Age of Empires II: The Conquerors, Attila the Hun Campaign". IGN. August 4, 2000. http://pc.ign.com/articles/083/083131p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. "The fourth campaign is a collection of individual battles from the medieval period" 
  5. ^ "Age of Mythology". Ensemble Studios. Archived from the original on 2008-02-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20080216190441/http://www.ensemblestudios.com/Games/AgeOfMythology/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  6. ^ "Beyond the Zone – MSN Games Looks to the Future". Microsoft Gaming Zone. June 19, 2006. http://zone.msn.com/en/general/article/genbeyondthezone.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  7. ^ Juan Castro (June 16, 2004). "Play Age of Mythology: The Titans for Cash". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/523/523907p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  8. ^ "Age of Empires III Guide (PC) - Cards". IGN. http://guides.ign.com/guides/721644/page_4.html. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  9. ^ a b c d Allen 'Delsyn' Rausch (October 14, 2005). "Art & Design: The Alternate History of Age of Empires III". GameSpy. http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/age-of-empires-iii/658725p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  10. ^ Andrew Auseon (September 20, 2007). "A History Lesson". IGN. http://blogs.ign.com/MS_AgeOfEmpires/2007/09/20/66808/. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  11. ^ Jeff Sengstack (February 14, 1997). "Age of Empires Preview: Microsoft takes a stab at the golden age of wargaming". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/ageofempires/news.html?sid=2554687. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  12. ^ Bruce Shelley (April 9, 2007). "Play Age of Empires - Study History in College". Ensemble Studios. Archived from the original on 2008-02-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20080217021055/http://www.ensemblestudios.com/blogs/bshelley/archive/2007/04/09/play-age-of-empires-study-history-in-college.aspx. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  13. ^ T. Liam McDonald (1997-10-27). "Age of Empires Review". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/ageofempires/review.html?sid=2537895. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  14. ^ James Holland. "Age of Empires". PC Gameworld. http://pcgames.gwn.com/reviews/gamereview.php/id/21/p/0/title/Age_of_Empires.html. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  15. ^ "Age of Empires Downloads". Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/games/empires/downloads.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  16. ^ a b "Age of Empires (pc: 1997)". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/ageofempires. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  17. ^ "Computer Strategy Game of the Year". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 2008-01-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20080128231921/http://www.interactive.org/awards.php?winners&year=1998&cat=199817#199817. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  18. ^ a b c Matt Pritchard (2000-03-07). "Postmortem: Ensemble Studios’ Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings". Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20000307/pritchard_pfv.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  19. ^ a b "Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome". Game Rankings. http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/66971.asp. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  20. ^ "The Art of Empires" (.doc). Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/features/gdcarchive/2000/terrano.doc. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  21. ^ "Civilizations". Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/games/age2/civilizations.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  22. ^ Elliott Chin (2000-06-14). "Age II: The Conquerors - The Mayans Showcase". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/ageofempires2thece/news.html?sid=2588234. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  23. ^ a b c "Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings". Game Rankings. http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/63605.asp. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  24. ^ a b c "Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (pc: 1999)". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/ageofempires2theageofkings. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  25. ^ a b ""Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings" Crowned No. 1 On Holiday Sales Charts Around the World". Microsoft. 2000-01-27. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2000/Jan00/CrownedPR.mspx. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  26. ^ a b "Age of Empires II: The Conquerors (pc: 2000)". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/ageofempires2conquerers. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  27. ^ "Computer Strategy Game of the Year". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 2008-01-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20080128231941/http://www.interactive.org/awards.php?winners&year=2000&cat=200020#200020. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  28. ^ "PC Strategy". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 2008-01-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20080128231931/http://www.interactive.org/awards.php?winners&year=2001&cat=200119#200020. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  29. ^ Steve Butts (2005-03-09). "Age of Empires III". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/594/594629p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  30. ^ David Adams (April 4, 2005). "Havok in Age of Empires". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/601/601488p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  31. ^ "Home City". Ensemble Studios. http://www.ageofempires3.com/age3/GameFeatures/HomeCity.aspx. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  32. ^ Steve Butts (2006-03-17). "Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs: Ensemble's lead designer Sandy Petersen answers our questions". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/696/696777p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  33. ^ Allen 'Delsyn' Rausch (2006-08-08). "Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (PC) Preview". GameSpy. http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/age-of-empires-iii-expansion-pack/724116p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  34. ^ ""Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties" Gets Ready to Expand Into the Eastern World, Goes Gold". Ensemble Studios. Age Community. http://www.agecommunity.com/press.aspx?PressReleaseID=173. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  35. ^ Allen 'Delsyn' Rausch (2007-05-23). "Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (PC) interview". GameSpy. http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/age-of-empires-iii-the-asian-dynasties/788618p2.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  36. ^ a b "Age of Empires III (pc: 2005)". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/ageofempires3. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  37. ^ a b ""Age of Empires III" Expands Into the Eastern World This Fall". Ensemble Studios. Age Community. 2007-05-18. http://www.agecommunity.com/press.aspx?PressReleaseID=161. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  38. ^ "PC Real-Time Strategy Game of the Year". GameSpy. http://goty.gamespy.com/2005/pc/index15.html. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  39. ^ a b "Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs". Game Rankings. http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/932253.asp. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  40. ^ a b "Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (pc: 2006)". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/ageofempires3thewarchiefs. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  41. ^ a b "Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties - PC". Game Rankings. http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/939516.asp. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  42. ^ a b "Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (pc: 2007)". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/ageofempires3theasiandynasties. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  43. ^ Botolf (2006-05-03). "Age 4 and 5?!?". Age of Empires III Heaven. HeavenGames. http://aoe3.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forums/display.cgi?action=st&fn=1&tn=25506&st=181#post182. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  44. ^ Levi Buchanan (September 9, 2008). "Microsoft Shuttering Ensemble". IGN. http://au.pc.ign.com/articles/908/908973p1.html. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  45. ^ Lou Kesten (September 15, 2008). "Game news: Microsoft to close 'Halo Wars' studio". The San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/09/15/entertainment/e144955D60.DTL. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  46. ^ Joe Keiser (September 10, 2008). "Kim: We Still Believe in PC Games". Edge. http://www.edge-online.com/features/kim-we-still-believe-pc-games. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  47. ^ Bruce Shelley (September 22, 2008). "Ensemble Studios Closing". Ensemble Studios. http://www.ensemblestudios.com/blogs/bshelley/archive/2008/09/22/ensemble-studios-closing.aspx. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  48. ^ Brendan Sinclair (September 24, 2008). "Ensemble dev speaks out on closure". GameSpot. http://gamespot.com/news/6198093.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  49. ^ Greg Kasavin (2002-11-01). "Age of Mythology review". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/ageofmythology/review.html. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
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Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Age of Empires
Box artwork for Age of Empires.
Developer(s) Ensemble Studios
Publisher(s) Microsoft Game Studios
Engine Genie Engine
Latest version 1.0c
Release date(s)
Genre(s) RTS
System(s) Windows, Mac OS, Windows Mobile
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer
Rating(s)
ESRB: Teen
OFLC: General 8+
System requirements (help)
CPU clock speed

90MHz

System RAM

16MiB

Disk space

90MiB

Video RAM

1MiB

Expansion pack(s) The Rise of Rome
Followed by Age of Empires II
Series Age of Empires
This is the first game in the Age of Empires series. For other games in the series see the Age of Empires category.

Age of Empires (often abbreviated to AoE or AofE), is a history-based real-time strategy computer game released in 1997. Developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft, the game uses the Genie, a 2D sprite-based game engine. The game allows the user to act as the leader of an ancient civilization by advancing it through four ages, (Stone Age, Tool Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age) gaining access to new and improved units with each advance.

Originally touted as Civilization meets Warcraft, some reviewers felt that the game failed to live up to these expectations when it was released. Despite this, it received generally good reviews, and an expansion pack, Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome was released in 1998. Both the original Age of Empires and the expansion pack were later released as "the Gold Edition".

Age of Empires requires the player to develop a civilization from a handful of hunter-gatherers to an expansive Iron Age empire. To assure victory, the player must gather resources in order to pay for new units, buildings and more advanced technology. Resources must also be preserved, as no new resources become available as the game progresses, meaning, if you cut a tree down, the tree will not come back.

Twelve civilizations are available, each with individual sets of attributes, including a varying number of available technologies and units. Each civilization has technologies unique to them, so that no civilization possesses all the technologies possible within the game. The civilizations are sorted into four distinct architectural styles, based on East Asian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Greek architecture, which determine their in-game appearance.

A major component of the game is the advancement through four ages. These are the Stone Age (Mesolithic/Paleolithic), the Tool Age (Neolithic/Chalcolithic), the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Advancement between ages is researched at the Town Center, and each advancement brings the player new technologies, weapons, and units.

Table of Contents

Getting Started
  • Before starting
  • Gametypes
  • Beginning of the game
Major topics
  • Time periods
  • Civilizations
  • Buildings
  • Units
  • Victories
Campaign
  • Ascent of Egypt
  • Glory of Greece
  • Voices of Babylon
  • Yamato Empire of the Rising Sun

editAge of Empires series

Age of Empires (The Rise of Rome)  · Age of Empires II (DS) (The Conquerors)


Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Age of Empires

Developer(s) Ensemble Studios
Publisher(s) Microsoft
Release date PC:

September 9, 1997 (NA)
Mac:
1999 (NA)
Gizmondo:
Cancelled (EU)

Genre Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Age rating(s) ESRB: T
Platform(s) PC, Mac, Gizmondo
Media CD
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough


This article is about the first game in the series of the same name. For more on the series, see Age of Empires series.

Age of Empires, abbreviated to AoE or AOE, is a historical real-time strategy computer game released in 1997. Developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft, the game uses the Genie engine, the same 2D sprite-based game engine used by Age of Kings and Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds. The game allows the user to play as the leader of a historical tribe or civilization from the Stone Age up until the Iron Age.

Contents

Gameplay

Massive battle between two armies

Age of Empires consists of various single-player scenarios in which the player is required to complete specific objectives. Campaigns are a collection of scenarios which are completed in a linear fashion. The original Age of Empires included 4 campaigns, based on Egyptian, Greek, Babylonian and Yamato civilisations. Besides the campaigns, the other main type of single player gameplay is the 'random map' mode (where the map is generated randomly).

Multiplayer

Age of Empires features online and network play with up to 8 players simultaneously. A mix of random map and death match games have been popular among online players, including some death match variants where players only use specific units (e.g. 'Legions') or a combination of restrictions.

Civilizations

In AoE, twelve civilizations are available, sorted into four distinct architectural styles which determine their in-game appearance:

Yamato/Asian Babylonian/Mesopotamian Egyptian/Fertile Crescent Greek/Hellenistic
  • Choson
  • Shang
  • Yamato
  • Babylonian
  • Hittites
  • Persian
  • Assyrian
  • Egyptian
  • Sumerian
  • Greek
  • Minoan
  • Phoenician

Ages

A major component of the game is the advancement through the ages. There are four ages: the Stone Age (Paleolithic), the Tool Age](Neolithic), the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Researched at the Town Centers (for a considerable cost in resources), age advances allow for the availability of more advanced buildings, units and technologies. In order to advance from one age, two buildings from the current age must be built, and the player must have the required food (and gold in later ages) available in their stockpile.

Technology

Technological advances come in many categories, such as military upgrades (better armed and armored units), economic upgrades (e.g. increasing the rate of gathering resources etc), religious upgrades (e.g. faster conversion rates for priests etc) and infrastructure upgrades (e.g. stronger fortifications). As basic technology research is completed, more advanced technologies may become available. Some technologies are not available to certain civilizations.

Technology plays a very important role in the strategy of the game. As a civilisation progresses through the ages, technology becomes more and more expensive.

Units

Villagers are the most basic units in Age of Empires. Their primary function is to collect resources. Food is acquired by hunting, foraging, farming, and fishing. Villagers can also construct buildings and repair both buildings and naval vessels.

Priests are non-combat units which can heal allied units or "convert" enemy units (in which case the target unit changes allegiance). Infantry units, such as clubmen, swordsmen, and hoplites use melee combat to attack at short range. Mounted units include chariots, cavalry), and war elephants. Archers, mounted or on foot, attack at range. Siege units are of two types: catapults and ballista.

Buildings

The Town Center is one of the most important buildings in the game. Here villagers are created, and age advancement is researched.

Military units are created at specific buildings relevant to their discipline (e.g. archers are created at an archery range). All sea units are created at the docks.

Wonders

Wonders of the four cultures

Wonders are enormous monuments representing the architectural achievements of the time. They require huge amounts of resources to build and are constructed very slowly. Wonders do not produce units or allow research. When a wonder is completed, a countdown timer begins. If the wonder is still standing at the end of the timer, the builder wins the game.


Age of Empires series
Age of Empires | Rise of Rome
Age of Empires II | The Conquerors | Age of Kings
Age of Empires III | The War Chiefs | Asian Dynasties
Spin-offs
Age of Mythology | The Titans
Units
AOE:Age of Empires | Age of Empires II | Age of Empires III
AOM: Age of Mythology
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Simple English

Age of Empires is a series of real-time strategy computer games made by Ensemble studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios.

History

There are three games in the series so far. These are: Age of Empires, Age of Empires II, and Age of Empires III. There is also a spinoff game called Age of Mythology. It is very similar to Age of Empires, but players can also control monsters like the cyclops.

Gameplay

In Age of Empires, the player usually guides a small tribe of people to build a city and destroy their enemies. The player could also try to be friends with them and start trading with them.








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