April 2002 Archives

April 27, 2002 Posted @ 5:58 AM | Angel Nojd
AoW2 Balance Tweaks
Lennart Sas tells us about recent balance tweaks to the game:
New Freestrike rules:
  • Flyers/non-flyers can't free-strike each other.
  • No free strike if the destination is next to the unit

    New Item Teleport Cost:
  • 25 Mana per Item level + 2 Mana * HexDistance
  • Phase take 2/3 of the moves. (leaves one strike after phase)
    We're looking into the other 'hot' issues too.
  • Keep the feedback coming!

    April 25, 2002 Posted @ 2:54 AM | Angel Draco
    Beta Demo - The First Week
    Roughly one week ago the long-awaited Beta Demo for Age of Wonder's II: The Wizard's Throne was released, and what a week it's been! Our Beta Demo Feedback forum has exploded with over 2000 posts in that time, and the email address Triumph Studios posted for feedback (aow2beta@godgames.com) must be bursting at the seams. FilePlanet notes the demo has already been downloaded 15,675 times! Who knows how many other thousands of times it has been obtained from mirror sites.

    When posting in the Feedback Forum, please remember to use descriptive thread titles so the developers and other players scanning the forums can quickly locate relevant posts about your issue. Also, try to combine multiple comments so as to minimize the overall number of threads the developers have to comb through. Finally, please keep your feedback civil. Whining will get you no where; heed the advice of lead programer Josh AoW:
    Melodrama, or worse yet, personal attacks, do not hold much sway. Well reasoned arguments, and anecdotal accounts of gameplay, would be a better course of action if what you really want is not just to vent, but to see a change in the game before the full release.

    We watch this forum quite closely, and are paying attention to the discussions going on here. They will point us at the things we'll want to reevaluate before release. Does this guarantee a change? No. We will examine the issues raised on the forum that we feel have the greatest merit, and decide what to do from there. Keeping posts concise and without the clutter of emotional outbursts gives any point you argue a better chance of being heard. Make things combative, and the point will often get lost.
    The first week with the Beta Demo has been great; it has the makings of being a game for the ages. Let's all have a good time playing Age of Wonders II!

    April 24, 2002 Posted @ 9:31 AM | Angel Draco
    Heavenly Birthday
    Happy Birthday to HG's own Cherub Blackmane, celebrating his 18th birthday today! Stop by his forum party and wish him well!

    April 23, 2002 Posted @ 1:26 PM | ChowGuy
    Are we having fun yet?
    It's been a few days now, and the dust is starting to settle. Lots of players making lots of comments, mostly favorable, but as expected several bug reports that we hope will be fixed in the general release. Warlock has resurfaced in a couple of threads, and already has the first version of his soon to be famous unit list up, along with catches on a number of things others have overlooked. Good to see he's still plugging away.

    As for the release itself, one of the biggest topics seems to be that the Random Map Generator will not be included in the initial release, but may come out later. There have been a number a threads here in the forum on the subject, and it's dominated the USENET groups, but at this point discussion is moot. Josh AoW has stated
    Random Map Generator is looking very unlikely to make it into the initial release. It is simply too much work to get working well, and releasing it in a partially finished state is not something we want to do.
    There may however be random terrain generation for user created maps. That will go a long way toward making the map-makers job easier, and ultimately perhaps toward a supply of quality maps to play.

    On the brighter side, if you haven't been able to download the Demo, or overlooked the offer on the startup screen, Triumph is offering a special deal on pre-orders. $10US off the list price, plus a bonus CD. You don't even need the Demo to get in on it - the links are available here. It only works if you pre-order from EBgames or Gamestop though.

    April 23, 2002 Posted @ 1:18 PM | Angel Draco
    AOW2 Preview @ Wargamer
    Wargamer has posted a new preview of AOW2. This preview is a "post beta" preview and covers all the basics, but in a twist, adds a ton of commentary and quotes from PopTop Executive Producer, Franz Fels and other PopTop devs, which I haven't seen in any AOW2 preview so far. Comments on the campaign, the background story, and those expensive cut scenes we've all heard so much about abound:
    Campaign scenarios are strung together with some of the finest digital animation cut scenes to date. Although these interludes are brief (a total of three minutes, at a price tag consisting of 15% of the game's budget, according to PopTop's Phil Steinmeyer in his column on p.98 of the April, 2002 Computer Games Magazine) they do an excellent job advancing the story line. While the cut scenes are certain to attract the attention of various passers-by at the major trade shows, PopTop's Mark Asher suggests a more practical use. "For me, cut scenes are like a reward for successfully completing a portion of the game, the payoff for a job well done."
    Click here to read the entire preview.

    April 18, 2002 Posted @ 9:45 PM | ChowGuy
    Beta Demo: Day One
    24 hours into the Beta, there have already been over a hundred threads started in the Feedback section, but surprisingly few bugs, most of them as Josh AoW points out dealing with specific driver problems. Video problems in general are the big thing, this game has a lot going on, and DirectX troubles seem to be the biggest source of problems. Angel Draco has "stuck" several threads at the top of the forum, including comments on posting rules, mirror sites, and lists of known problems. Everyone should start off with these before diving into the rest of the message base, and please remember, there is already a section for general discussion. Gameplay suggestions, "wh00t" comments and other things can go ther, try to keep the Beta section for technical and problem reports. The Devs are paying attention to both sections, but obviously with the release coming up soon, error fixes in the engine will likely take precedence over enhancements or unit balance features.

    April 18, 2002 Posted @ 2:44 AM | Angel Draco
    Mirror Sites for Beta Demo
    Long line at FilePlanet? Two new mirror sites for downloading the 96MB AoW2 Beta Demo have been posted. Check out the Beta Demo Feedback forum for the links!

    April 17, 2002 Posted @ 4:55 PM | Angel Draco
    Beta Demo is Out!
    It's been a long time coming fans, but the Beta Demo for Age of Wonders 2 is finally out!! It's a 96.8MB monster, and you can get it from FilePlanet.

    Once you've gotten in a few turns, hit the Beta Demo Feedback forum to let the Developers know what you think! Be sure you check the "sticky" threads first!

    April 16, 2002 Posted @ 6:07 AM | Angel Draco
    AOWH - One Year Old Today
    Happy Birthday to us! Age of Wonders Heaven opened its virtual doors one year ago today. Has it really been a whole year? This site, the Staff and our gaming community has grown by leaps and bounds since then and I'm eternally grateful to everyone who has helped make AOWH the great place it is today!

    The list of people who keep oil in this machine is long and distinguished. Special thanks to Spineman for giving my idea for AOWH the proverbial 'green light' and his awesome downloads section, Hamlet for his design of the site, Zen for his design contributions, forum administration and for putting up with seemingly endless ICQ messages from me, and Jayhawk for his web mastering advice.

    Of course, where would AOWH be without our dedicated Staff who contributed all of the excellent content AOWH now offers? My heartfelt thanks to Cay, Nojd, Blackmane, The Jerk, Bluecollarheaven and ChowGuy for their hard work, dedication and for putting up with endless amounts of nitpicking from me.

    Last but not least, my sincere thanks to you, The Fans, who visit our site and make our community the strong group it is today. This site could not exist without your support. And of course, who could forget the lovely and talented developers at Triumph Studios who take the time to visit our community and listen to our feedback.

    It's been a great year! The future promises to be even better. Stop by the Forum Party and join the celebration!

    April 16, 2002 Posted @ 5:56 AM | Angel Draco
    Lennart Sas Interview at ActionTrip
    For those of you who haven't already seen it, ActionTrip has interviewed Lennart Sas, lead designer of Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne. Some interesting game play features were revealed, like this bit about artifacts in the game:
    AT: Since we're discussing magic, can you reveal more details and specifics about the artifacts and the way they're utilized?

    LS: Artifacts are carried by wizards and heroes and can be found at exploration sites or gained by completed quests which the wizard receives from spirits; deity-like figures. They range from offensive and defensive weapons, to rings and "use items." Also, wizards are able to teleport items between heroes, at a high price of course.
    Read the whole interview here, then discuss it in our AOW2 Forums!

    April 12, 2002 Posted @ 2:01 AM | ChowGuy
    The hot new wizard portraits
    With the fourth weekly edition of IGN's "Behind the Magic series we have three more wizards - two male and one very sexy look "ancient Elven woman." Which taken with the previous portraits has prompted some of the fairer members of the forum into a bit of discussion as to whether there is an incongruity here. The illustrious Josh AoW has added his comments, pointing out that the wizards/leader portraits and the hero portraits are very different things but drop by, take a look, and let us know where you stand on the matter. If nothing else, as Angel Draco says "At least they're not complaining about teleporters....."

    April 11, 2002 Posted @ 2:43 PM | Angel Draco
    Dutch Interview with Lennart Sas
    The Dutch game site Gamers.nl has posted an English translation of its recent interview with Lennart Sas, lead designer on Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne. As Triumph Studios nears completion of the game, Lennart talks about wrapping up the development process, the difficulties in getting start-up capital for its Netherlands-based game company and teases us with some game features. Here's a snippet:
    There are a lot fundamental changes. The list of new features will give you the feeling that you are a great sorcerer like Gandalf or Sauron who builds a great kingdom, which you can suit to your own ideals.

    Age of Wonders II has a form of role-playing on a large scale. Along with more magic and combat related skills, your wizard has empire-management skills which, for example, make you a good trader, a peacekeeper or even a bloodthirsty hawk. You are in charge of the kind of magic you shape your country with, what kind of races live in your cities and with the kind of spirits you work together with.
    Keep in mind this interview is a loose translation from the original, Dutch interview, so expect some grammar anomalies. Give it a read, then discuss it with other fans in this thread on our AoW2 forums!

    April 11, 2002 Posted @ 12:04 AM | Angel Draco
    Behind the Magic: The Wizards - Part 4
    PC.IGN has posted part four of its "Behind the Magic" series highlighting the Wizards in Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne. The final installment features Nekron the Death sphere wizard, Tempest the Air sphere wizard and Serena the Life sphere wizard. Here's a snippet about Nekron:
    Driven purely by appetite and hunger, Nekron sweeps the world of any of life's impurities, bringing sweet, decisive, unbiased death to all. His cities are populated only by Undead slaves, freed from the irritating habit of independent thinking or wavering obedience. He appears pale as death, his limbs thin and skeletal, with the grinning face of a skull. He is drawn to places of great suffering and seeks to bring all to a similar fate.
    You can read the entire article here, then discuss it in our AOW2 Forums!

    April 10, 2002 Posted @ 1:02 PM | ChowGuy
    Here comes the Glutton [Gulp]
    The Devs have been back once again. Lennart's interview prompted a thread about the new Glutton and Pheonix units, in which Josh AoW had this to say:
    Here's some info on how it works right now (subject to change):

    Swallow: The unit comes out with 1HP if freed. If the Glutton eats another unit, or the combat ends, the unit is digested, and is permanently killed.

    Resurgance: The Phoenix returns with 25% HP. If the Phoenix's corpse is destroyed, it cannot return from the dead.

    Meanwhile Arnout reports that "There are no teleport or towngate spells in AoW2" which should eliminate at least one of the major exploits hard-core players have long complained about. Seems the devs have been listening. Now if they could just get that demo to us ...

    April 9, 2002 Posted @ 12:22 PM | Angel Draco
    Lennart Sas Interview
    Lennart Sas, lead designer for Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne was interviewed by HomeLan, where he touches on all aspects of the game, such as the background story, gameplay, scenario editor, engine improvements, new races and building features. Here's a snippet:
    HomeLAN - What are some of your favorite new units you are putting into Age of Wonders II?

    Lennart Sas - The Glutton is one of my new favorites. Itís a giant slug with a vast appetite and a bad temper. If it gets lucky, it can swallow an enemy whole. This doesnít kill the unlucky victim outright, however, and he can be freed upon defeating the Glutton.

    Another new unit is the Phoenix, which will respawn when killed, either after 3 combat rounds or when your side is victorious.
    Click here to read the whole article, then discuss it in our forums. Lennart and the entire Triumph Studios dev team are frequent visitors and love to read your feedback!

    April 6, 2002 Posted @ 6:33 PM | ChowGuy
    Welcome Arnout!
    It's been a busy week here on the forums, with a new VIP and several of the other developers posting. First of all of course say welcome to Arnout from Triumph Studios. He is of course the brother of Lennart Sas, and one of the scenario designers you may recall from the original AoW. He and RayB AoW waded in with some thoughts on the teleporters in the Rollin Rollin Rollin thread, which seems to have stirred up quite a bit of interest. Hey people, cut these guys some slack, they're on our side! On the plus side for us all he had this to say about the Editor:
    Yep, in the editor had a set of brushes for wood, stones etc. So you don't have to edit every single tree
    Everyone who has suffered through building a map with huge forests will appreciate that, as will those of us who only play them.

    RayB, Josh AoW, and Lennart himself also graced us with some insights on the new artwork, specifically on the distinction between the hand painted and computer generated portraits for some of the characters in the game. Read about it here and check out some of the portraits yourself. See what you think. Josh had some things to say about the New Interface as well, including this:
    The interface and fonts scale with resolution, and the map is zoomable... so higher resolutions have a lot going for them...
    Which should be good news for fans who have high resolution video but lack the huge monitors to go with it.

    April 5, 2002 Posted @ 2:03 PM | Angel Draco
    First Look: AoW2 Gameplay Trailer
    What's the next best thing to playing the AOW2 Beta Demo? Getting a chance to see actual game play itself of course! While the world waits for the demo's release, you can preview one minute and thirty seconds of gaming goodness, along with hearing some of the background story to Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne. Check out the 2MB AoW2 Gameplay Trailer, then discuss it in our forum!

    If you post news on your own websites about the Gameplay Trailer, please do not directly link to the file. Provide a link to our main news page at http://aow.heavengames.com , or our AoW2 Resources page. Thank you!

    April 4, 2002 Posted @ 10:12 PM | Angel Cay
    March 2002 Monthly Challenge Winners
    All entries for the March 2002 Monthly Challenge have been processed, and it's time to announce the winners! Thanks to everyone who entered the contest and helped Frodo deposit his precious ring into the cracks of Mount Doom.

    Congratulations to the 4 winners who completed the task in only 6 days:

    Queen Elquein
    Snow Leopard

    For a complete list of results, check the March 2002 Monthly Challenge page.

    April 4, 2002 Posted @ 8:09 AM | Angel Cay
    April 2002 Monthly Challenge
    The challenge for April 2002 is to conquer the map Valley of Wonders (Monthly Challenge April 2002). Your objective is to capture all 4-hex cities.

    Please submit your game save for the winning turn to Angel Cay before 23:59 US Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 30th, 2002.

    Results for the March 2002 Monthly Challenge will be released shortly -- I just need to finish sorting through the entries!

    April 4, 2002 Posted @ 12:14 AM | Angel Draco
    Behind the Magic: Part 3
    PC.IGN has posted part three of its "Behind the Magic" series highlighting the Wizards in Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne. This week's installment features Mother Mab the earth sphere wizard, Karissa the Fire sphere wizard and Anon the Life sphere wizard. Here's a snippet:
    The unquenchable Karissa burns with the powers of Fire. She possesses the power to burn the hearts of men, while her beauty enrages her Orc minions to savagery. When bored she may command her orcs to fall upon their own swords, warring against their own kind, thus her subjects are battle-hardened brutes that glory in carnage. She appears unto men as a scantily dressed, voluptuous woman with flaming red hair. Undisciplined men who behold her beauty will leave their allegiance in hope to pursue their boiling lusts, while those who resist are impaled upon the spears of her Orcs.
    You can read the entire article here, then discuss it in our AOW2 Forums!

    April 3, 2002 Posted @ 7:22 PM | Angel Draco
    Ginette & Hadberz in Heaven
    Many long-time AOW players fondly remember Kristen's AOW website as the place to go for custom-made scenarios. Sadly, Kristen's site was lost--along with the code--and can never be rebuilt. Luckily, however, a vast majority of her maps could be found at Ginette Vandal's and Hadberz's sites.

    Ginnette and Hadberz have since moved on to other projects, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of Angel Nojd, those scenarios live on here at Age of Wonders Heaven in our new Ancient Maps archive! You can access these gems from the Ancient Maps link in our left-hand Navigation Menu under "Downloads," and enjoy speedy downloads from our dedicated HeavenGames downloads server.

    Weighing in at a hefty 55 MB, too many maps to count from some of the most famous authors of the community are available, including 10 scenarios made by Triumph Studios' writer, Ray Bingham. (give "Isles of Luck & Loss" a try!)

    Check out some of the first and best user-created scenarios in AOWH's Ancient Maps archive as we tick off the days until the release of the AOW2 Beta Demo!

    April 3, 2002 Posted @ 6:55 PM | Angel Draco
    "Most Wanted" Game
    AOW2 is currently enjoying the #1 spot in ToTheGame's "Most Wanted" poll (even beating out Neverwinter Nights!) with a user rating of 6.89 and 333 votes. Thanks to everyone who voted for AOW2!

    April 3, 2002 Posted @ 6:49 PM | Angel Draco
    Worthplaying AoW2?
    Worthplaying.com has posted an overview of Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne. It sums up the "story so far," bullet points major game features, and has 3 screenshots at uber-resolution.