News Archives: 2001
AOW2 Coverstory In Computer Games Magazine
Forumer Moebius spotted Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne on the cover of the new February issue of Computer Games magazine. Several other upcoming turn-based strategy games are featured as well, such as Heroes of Might & Magic IV, Warlords IV, Warcraft III and Warlords Battlecry II in the magazine’s theme this month: who is the new “Master of Magic?”
LeagueAOW: New Home For MP Gaming
Online multiplayer gaming for Age of Wonders will soon have a new home at the recently launched LeagueAOW. All of the content sections are not up yet, but the site is looking good! Check it out at www.LeagueAOW.com. LeagueAOW uses a point system where you can track your progress against other gamers in a variety of MP and hot seat online gaming competitions. It will eventually support AOW2 when it is released.
LeagueAOW is the brainchild of AOW vet Der_Waggs as a replacement for the defunct Starlance combat league that recently closed. Backing up Der_Waggs at LeagueAOW are a number of experienced gamers: Argammon, Bethgael Amberhair, Elquein Jaradcel and SkullKing will all be administers of the new LeagueAOW.
You can ask questions and discuss matters relating to the new gaming league in our designated LeagueAOW – Online Multiplayer Games forum. Be sure to add your name to AOWH’s ICQ/People List (using your registered forum name) to quickly check when your fellow gamers are online and ready to rumble! See you on the battlefield!
New Official AOW2 Site Opens
A very Merry Christmas indeed! Triumph Studios gave us all an early Christmas gift by launching the newly redesigned Official Age of Wonders II website! Check it out at:
There is a ton of stuff at the new site, like the pre-release beta demo sign-up, music downloads, game features and even more new screen shots! Be sure you check out the two music MP3 downloads, composed by Mason B. Fisher; beautiful! Visit the new official AOW2 site now and then discuss it in our AOW2 Forums!
Josh on AOW2 Game Engine
Lead programmer Josh Farley laid down some info on the 3D game engine used for Age of Wonders II and its capabilities in our forums. Here’s a snippet:
The movement of objects, as well as all of the particle effects, are in 3D-space. So arrows arc properly, units walk up and down slopes, particles can move with gravity and depth, etc. AoW1 had a very simple particle system. AoW2 has a much more complex and powerful particle-effect engine, capable of some really spectacular real-time effects. The screenshots only give you a hint of what 1000’s of particles animating at 100FPS looks like.
You can read his entire post by clicking here.
Two New AOW2 Previews!
Here is a sample from the Gamespot preview (with 41 screenshots!):
AOW2 features a revamped graphics engine that blends two-dimensional sprites with full three-dimensional backgrounds, but also boasts a random map generator, a streamlined interface, and a series of other improvements that you’d typically find in a sequel. The development team at Triumph Studios has also made an effort to place more focus on the role-playing and empire-building elements in Age of Wonders II–though, fans will find that most of the gameplay from the original game remains intact.
After you’ve cleaned off all the drool from your keyboard, hit the IGN preview!
As fun as the tactical portion of the game is, the version of empire building presented in the game is “much more detailed” than it used to be according to Josh. In the various towns there are “Forges for building items, libraries for researching faster, halls of enchantment to give extra skills and abilities to the units coming out of the town. You also have the ability to upgrade the town structures themselves, things like barracks, which give you access to better units.”
I’m overwhelmed by the number of new units (Dracolich!). Gamespot is listing a March 2002 release date; a few short months away! Discuss all of this new information and post your questions to the developers in the AoW 2 General Discussions forum!
AoW2 Presented by… Microsoft?
Bloomberg.com is reporting that Microsoft may be eyeing Take-Two Interactive as a possible acquisition. Take-Two recently acquired GOD Games (which published AOW1) and publishes some of the top-selling games today, like Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto 3 and Stronghold:
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. may be a take-over target for Microsoft Corp., which wants to become a major player in the video-game software market, Business Week said in its Inside Wall Street column.
Take-Two, which publishes “Grand Theft Auto 3” and other titles, is an attractive acquisition because it’s undervalued compared to competitors such as Electronic Arts Inc. and Activision Inc., the magazine said, citing an unidentified strategist with an investment bank.
Take-Two President Paul Eibeler didn’t want to say whether Microsoft is interested in buying the company, Business Week reported. Microsoft, which earlier this year started shipping its Xbox video-game console, couldn’t be reached to comment, the magazine said.
Microsoft burst into the game publishing business just a few years ago with the award-winning Age of Empires series developed by Ensemble Studios (who just unveiled a revamped website with new Age of Mythology screen shots. Check ’em out!)
Refocusing Gameplay In AOW2
Ray Bringham, Triumph Studios writer, stopped by the forums to comment on the story of AOW2’s single-player campaign, and on one of the primary changes in gameplay between AOW1 and AOW2; less focus on race vs. race and more focus on player vs. player:
In AoW2 the races aren’t as predominant in terms of the tendency of the enemies as are the wizards themselves… There are still varying races, but they take a backseat to rival Wizards and the [quest for the] Wizard’s Throne.
…I think that’s a fundamental change from AOW (AoW was very set upon races, humans were forced neutral, etc), and one that I think will work well, as this way you could have rebel factions from any race, it’s the leaders that make them your enemy or not, with the races being less constrained to hate your guts.
Nightmare Before Christmas
In an effort to bring peace on earth and good will towards all, there will be a December fun map instead of a December Challenge: Silverleaf’s Christmas Nightmare.
It is a busy time of year for many of us, what with parties, greeting cards and shopping to be done. There are also countless toys to be made for Santa to deliver to all the children of the world.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t know that Santa’s famed Magic Toy Shop is really a sweat shop, where the poor worker elves slave way 16 hours a day to produce toys while being constantly watched by the evil dark elf overseers in Santa’s employ. If the elves don’t work hard enough, the dark elves feed the slackers to the monstrous Bumbles who inhabit the ice caverns.
The situation is grim, but one elf, Binky, has had enough of Santa’s cruel ways and is ready to toss off his shackles and lead the worker elves to freedom! You must help Binky lead the worker elves’ revolt and take back the Toy Shop!
Silverleaf’s Christmas Nightmare has a hilarious storyline and cast of characters. Christmas Nightmare is a short, medium sized map for a single player that everyone should be able to complete in one sitting during this busy holiday season. Enjoy!
Devs Around The Forums
A few Developer sightings in case you missed them! Hit the links to read the full threads.
Lennart Sas on mounted archers:
There will be a Tigran Catmaster, which shoots arrows from the back of a sabretooth and the Archon Charioteer.
Wazzz on spell casting and wizard towers:
If your wizard is in the tower, sure, he can cast spells in a wide area, but NOT the whole map. This makes for interesting choices, if an important battle is outside your ‘domain’ you can risk getting your wizard out of safety and bring him closer. But his range will decrease significantly, so it will take several turns to get to the site of the battle. And yes, building a tower is quite expensive.
Josh Farley on 3D zooming:
Tentatively (still experimenting a bit), the mousewheel is used to zoom in/out, and the middle button is used to reset the zoom level to the default. This seems useful, w/o tying anything vital to a button that some people simply don’t have.
Between the screen-edges, the arrow-keys, the events list, the next party/structure buttons, and the scanner, there seem to be plenty of ways to move the camera to where you want it.
Visit the AoW 2 General Discussions & Suggestions forum to post your questions to the developers!
PBEM WC Singles Quarter-Finals
Angel Cay tells me the PBEM World Cup 2001 Singles Event Round of 16 has been completed, and the Quarter-Final matches have been drawn! All matches will use the map Urgath (AOW PBEM World Cup 2001) (Multiplayer Map #99).
SMC01 – Caitiff vs Aim22
SMC02 – Kris Lighthawk vs Thrashbarg
SMC03 – The Incomparable vs Warlord Keldon
SMC04 – Frogman vs Argammon
Congratulations to the Quarter-Finalists, and good luck! Quarter-Final matches will be distributed the week of Monday, December 3, 2001.
PR For AOW2 Picks Up
Lennart Sas has said PR for AoW2 is picking up and indeed it has! Lennart is all around the forums dropping comments and hints about Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne.
Check out several of the most recent topics in the AoW2 General Discussion forum for Lennart’s comments. Here’s a small sampling!
Lennart on the new Tigrans race:
The Azracs got crushed by the human empire and their god got angry at them, but are not completely exterminated.
The Tigrans are designed to replace [the Azracs] in AoW2, they also have ancient Egyptian influences. The cat’s stealthy and
predatory nature make for an interesting set of units.
Lennart on the defender’s initiative:
All defenders get the initiative in AoW2. This way attackers are able to cast unit enchantments before the battle, defenders in the first round. So both parties are able to protect units before the first shots are fired. Also this gets around an attacker performing annoying and unbalanced hit and run tactics with the defender not able to do anything.
Strong rumors point to a lengthy computer gaming magazine article on AoW2 comming soon. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we find out when and where it will be!
Planet of Wonders Closes
A sad day for the AoW community. Gamemania’s Planet of Wonders fan site for AoW2 was arbitrarily deleted from its host, VirtualAve. You can read Gamemania’s closing statement here, and can post any comments in this thread of our Community Forum.
There is some good news though! Gamemania conducted an interview with Lennart Sas (lead designer of AoW2) and has posted it his closing statement page. Some exciting stuff, especially the announcement of the 12 races that will be present in AoW2! Looks like the Azracs and Lizardmen have been replaced with the Draconians and a new race called the “Tigrans.”
Here’s a snippet:
Q: How will the magic system differ compared to the original AoW?
A: During the game, wizards can walk the lands exploring, or leading battles, but most will reside in the safety of their wizard’s towers, giving the ability aid armies by casting spells over distance and wield the most powerful of all spells: the domain enchantments. For example, a Death Wizard can wrap his domain in darkness, a fire wizard’s domain can engulf any intruder with fire, while a life wizard can have a healing aura protecting his armies.
You can discuss the game revelations in the interview in our AoW2 General Discussions forum.
Finally, in a seperate thread, Josh Farley has stated there will be no rotating camera angles in AoW2, but you will be able to zoom. Read it here.
New Look & Community Section for AOWH
In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re sporting a new look here at AOWH courtesy of the talented work of Angel Nojd and advice from Angel Zen! Extra thanks to Nojd for all of his formating work, ironing out the spacking kinks and for putting up with all my nit-picking!
Besides the slick new graphics, check out some of the links in our new Community section!
Maintained by Angel Cay and Cherub Jerk, here you can get all of the latest information on the various competitions and tournaments run by AOWH, like the PBEM World Cup and the Monthly Challenges! Cay has been working hard filling up this section with great content and all the rules for the AOWH Tourneys, so browse around!
The People List service allows you to post your ICQ status so that anyone (whether you have ICQ or not) can check the list to see who’s online and perhaps contact them for a quick MP game! You can add other information to your People List profile as well, like your home country, screen names for AIM, Yahoo Pager and MSN Messenger, as well your MS Gaming Zone or Gamespy Arcade handle. Click the Show People link to see comments posted by everyone registered on the list about what types of games they’re interested in playing. Big thanks to Angel Sandamnit for programing the People List!
Curious about the AOWH staff? Profiles of the Heavenly ranks will be added soon!
If you have a website and would like to link to us, we have some graphics here for you to use!
Please share your comments about the new changes to AOWH in our Feedback Forum.
From everyone here at AoW Heaven, we want to wish you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Josh Teases About Dungeons
Josh Farely, Triumph Studios programmer, snuck into the forums and made some cryptic comments about how Dungeons and “Challenge Sites” (the working title) will work in AoW2: The Wizard’s Throne:
“Challenge Sites” is my own term, dunno if we’re going to use it or not, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t appear in the manual… But it’s pretty accurate. These sites will not be about dungeon crawling. Instead, they will revolve around “passing a challenge”, which in our world, means defeating some enemies under “special circumstances”… Quests will also offer the ability to gain rewards, and Sites and Quests can be linked… and that’s all you’re getting out of me for now
Forumer Black Knight followed up with this comment, which got an approval from Josh that BK was on the right track:
“Special circumstances” like using no magic, or no magic of a certain kind… or ONLY using magic… or only taking inside particular creatures… or the hero must be alone.
Stronghold Heaven Launches
The newest corner in Heaven is now open! The gang at Stronghold Heaven have been a busy bunch, creating walkthroughs, a great forum and everything else you’ll need to make your fortress rock solid. Look for a new Downloads section soon as well!
“HEAVENGAMES LAUNCHES STRONGHOLD HEAVEN
November 17, 2001 – HeavenGames LLC announced today that it has launched Stronghold Heaven ( http://stronghold.heavengames.com ), the latest in its series of special-interest sites for city-building strategy games.
Current available in stores everwhere, Stronghold is a castle-building game developed by FireFly Studios, and published by Take2 Interactive. The game allow gamers to design, manage, defend their castles, and sieging others. It features an extensive 18-mission military storyline involving a country devided by four enemy war lords; your goal is to help re-unite the country and restore the rightful king, currently held to ransom in a foreign jail. Stronghold also includes a 5-mission economic campaign, numerous single-map missions, and a scenario editor.
Stronghold Heaven will be dedicated to featuring extensive coverage of Firefly Studio’s Stronghold and bring you the latest news, maps, strategies and walkthoughs to the game.”
Don’t know much about the game? Try out the demo! It gives you a pretty good idea of how the economics and warfare works. setting the enemy on fire with flaming pitch is a little too much fun!
New AoW2 Units Revealed
Lennart Sas, Lead Designer, has released two new animated units exclusively to AoW Heaven that will be featured in AoW2: The Wizard’s Throne, due out in Spring 2002. Check out the Animated Units link on the AoW2 Resources page to take a gander at the new and improved Halflings Leprechaun and the never before seen Frostlings Mammoth units!
Lennart had this to say about the new units:
“The Leprechaun is the special unit for the Halflings. It has a new displacement ability making it hard to hit. Special units are available when you fully upgrade a town. They aren’t really linked to a size level as they were in AoW1. The Mammoth is a level 3 military unit for the Frostlings; it can crush walls.”
This news is especially exciting as it confirms the Halfling and Frostling races’ appearance in AoW2!
Also, stay tuned to AOWH News for some more exclusive AoW2 goodies that will be released later in the week!
November/December Monthly Challenges
There are TWO new Monthly Challenges for you to test your metal against! This month AOWH highlights a Warlock’s Rules map and a PBEM Co-Op map. All the info need is in the Rules thread in the Competitions & Tournaments forum.
You can download the maps here:
Single Player Challenge
Fall of Gondolin (Nov. 2001 Monthly Challenge)
Two Player Co-Op Challenge
All Things Unequal (Nov. 2001 Monthly Challenge)
Remember that you have to submit progressive saves for the Single Player Challenge. Check the Rules thread for all the details. Have fun and good luck!
Monthly Challenge Nears End
First, a hearty Happy Halloween to everyone! I hope you all get tons of candy tonight! I’ll be attending a costume party later tonight by myself!
Back to business though, today is the last day of the month and that means the October Monthly Challenge is drawing to a close! Make sure you get those last minute entries into Angel Cay ASAP!
The Round Two of the PBEM World Cup Singles Event has begun and some of the forumers are engaging in some friendly speculation about who will emerge victorious from the field.
There is also an engaging debate about whether the Highmen or Undead have the upper hand in the Singles Round Two map, “Two Rivers.” Join in!
End of Singles Event Round One – Wild Cards Posted!
The first round of the PBEM World Cup Singles event has ended and the wild card players have been posted by Angel Cay in the World Cup Matches/Results thread of the Competition & Tournament forum.
Congratulations to the Singles Event Round One winners and Wild Card players who will be advancing to Round Two!
Round One Winners
The next round of games will be launched this Sunday, October 28, 2001 and the field of battle will be a customized version of the Two Rivers map, created by Cherub Jerk. Big thanks to this map’s play testers for their input!
The End Is Nigh!
Angel Cay reminds everyone that the AOW PBEM World Cup Singles Event Group Stage will come to an end this Wednesday, October 24th, 2001. If you are involved in a match that is not completed by that date, then you must forward YOUR turn as well as your game password (if you used one) to Cay@Heavengames.com. All unfinished games will be distributed to a 3-judge panel who will
determine by a majority vote who the winner of the match is.
Points to remember:
Results of judges decisions will be posted as soon as the panel has
reached a majority vote. Post any questions in the AOWH Competitions & Tournaments forum!
New Poll At Planet of Wonders
Planet of Wonders has posted a new poll, asking fans: “Do you like the idea of a Pioneer unit?” The Pioneer Wagon is a new unit featured in AoW2: The Wizard’s Throne that will be replacing the Builder unit. You can check an animated version of the new Pioneer unit in the AoW2 Resources section.
Josh On Custom Map Sizes in AoW2
Triumph Studios programmer Josh Farely stopped by the forums to explain why user-made maps are limited to a specific number of sizes. Here’s a snippit of his comments:
Memory is a HUGE issue. AoW2 maps are VERY complex, and consume a great deal of memory (much MUCH more than PocusFr speculated). Allowing any size map would lead to situations where maps wouldn’t run on systems above the stated required specs. Additionally, the CPU power required to play these “huge” maps would also be enormous, as AI, pathfinding, and gfx loading would bring any system to its knees.
Visit the AoW 2 General Discussions & Suggestions forum to read the entire piece.
Monthly Challenge Update & New AoW2 Features
If you downloaded the October 2001 Monthly Challenge map, The City, BEFORE 8:30 PM (central) on Saturday, October 6, you have to download the new, revised version. One of the victory conditions was not enabled, resulting in some people being able to finish the map unusually quickly.
We’re also discussing some of the new features of AoW2 in the AoW 2 General Discussions & Suggestions forum. Triumph Studios programmer Josh Farely has posted a few comments about how the new Pioneer Wagon unit will affect game play and the new Map Editor features we’ll see in AoW2: The Wizard’s Throne. Stop by and add your comments to the discussions!
Announcing the “Monthly Challenge” Competition!
A new AOWH competition is being launched today: The Monthly Challenge! The monthly challenge will be a competition to finish a selected map in the least number of days possible. Each month a new challenge map will be made available from the AOW Heaven map archive.
The Monthly Challenge for October 2001 will be to complete ffbj’s The City (Monthly Challenge October 2001) in the least number days. Hit the link above grab it from the Single Player Downloads section. Be sure you read the rules in the Competitions & Tournaments forum!
New AoW2 Units Revealed – Exclusively from AoW Heaven!
Lennart Sas, Lead Designer, has released two new units exclusively to AoW Heaven that will be featured in AoW2: The Wizard’s Throne due out in Spring 2002. Check out the Animated Units link on the AoW2 Resources page to take a gander at the new and improved Spider Queen and the new, never before seen Pioneer unit!
Announcing Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Heaven
The upcoming release of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, an RTS game based on the Age of Empires II engine, peaked the interest of several Angels here in Heaven. That interest turned into crippling anticipation when we started to see fantastic screenshots and read of some of the great units that you could create, that came straight out of the films! The result of all of this culminated in the opening of a brand new site dedicated to the game:
HEAVENGAMES LAUNCHES STAR WARS: GALACTIC BATTLEGROUNDS HEAVEN
September 30, 2001 – HeavenGames LLC announced today that it has launched Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Heaven ( http://swgb.heavengames.com ), the latest in its series of special-interest sites for real time strategy games.
Slated for release in November of 2001, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game developed by LucasArts, based on the engine developed for the award-winning Age of Kings series by Ensemble Studios/Microsoft. The game covers the Star Wars expanded universe, witnessing the birth and demise of the Imperial Empire, and the legends of the Jedi & Sith.
Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Heaven will be dedicated to featuring extensive coverage of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds before and after its release, and will bring you the latest news on the game.
Overseeing the operation as Site Director for SWGB Heaven will be Michael “AoErat” Zander. Zander previously operated a fan site dedicated to the game, and was a perfect fit for the new Heaven site. Working alongside Zander will be HoYin “Zen” Au, Technical Director; and Tom “Spineman” Mescher, Downloads Director. The three have been actively involved in the gaming community for more than 4 years.
Be sure to visit their forums to set up MP games and discuss strategy from the demo!
Best wishes to Angel AoERat and all of the crew over at the spanking new site. The Force is strong with this site!
The Games Are Afoot!
The AOWH 2001 PBEM World Cup competition is underway! All of the games were started yesterday and the action is fast and furious! [whisper]well, as fast and furious as a PBEM game can be[/whisper].
If you’re a competitor, be sure you post your turn logs in your assigned forum! Visit the AOWH Competitions & Tournaments forum to follow the games!
The winner of the Banner Contest will also be announced soon!
A Nation Mourns
Earlier today, Heavengames went “black” in honor of the minutes of silence observed across the nation on this National Day of Mourning. I myself attended services at noon today and it was an incredible experience. I stood on the sidewalk outside of SS Peter & Paul Cathedral in Naperville, Illinois today, because that was as close as I could get. People were spilling out of the largest church in the county in a very moving display of solemnity and support for one another in these difficult times. My heart and prayers go out for the family of the 5000 victims and the rescue workers searching the rubble for survivors.
2001 PBEM World Cup Maps Available For Download
The two maps going to be played in Round One of the 2001 PBEM World Cup are now available for download in the Multiplayer Maps section. Blood Isles will be used for Singles Event play, and Thinreed Lake will be the battleground for the Doubles Event. Both maps are modified versions of the standard maps that originally came with Age of Wonders.
You can get all the latest info on the PBEM World Cup by visiting the new Competitions & Tournaments forum! Check out the rules, parings and results!
Any turn logs from the World Cup should be posted in the Competitions & Tournaments forum, and not in the regular PBEM Forum.
The games will begin on Monday, Sept. 17, 2001. All of the first round games will be initiated by the official game starters, all 98 😮 of them!
Almost time to close the books!
The deadline for signing up in the AOW PBEM World Cup 2001 is almost here! Only 33 hours left until all entries are closed and the games begin! Sign-up for Singles and Doubles ends on Sunday, Sept. 9!
Visit the PBEM Forum to sign up for the games!
Don’t forget about the PBEM Banner Contest! Deadline for entries is also Sept. 9!
Heavengames In The News
Congrats to Angel Thunder, the webmaster of Age of Kings Heaven, who was quoted in a recent New York Times article about historical accuracy in RTS games and includes comments by Sid Meier (Civ II & II) and Bruce Shelley (Age of Empires, Age of Kings). You may have to register to read the article (not sure), but it’s a super-short process. Here is Angel Thunder’s glory:
For the most part, Mr. Meier said, strategy gamers, who tend to be 18- to 35-year-old men, do not see much of a problem when it comes to the games’ veracity. “The historical aspect of these games is just the icing on the cake,” said Graham Somers, a 22-year-old college student in Vancouver who runs an Age of Empires fan site called HeavenGames. “I have a definite love of history, and certainly sending an army of knights and battering rams into an enemy town has a historical basis, but the main thing is it’s a lot of fun. They are games, after all.”
Click here to read the full article.
New Unit Statistics Page for TS and WR & PBEM Banner Contest
Angel Nojd has just completed his exhaustive work on the Unit Statistics pages! Nojd has done a fabulous job compiling all of the statistical information on every one of the game units for both the standard game (Triumph Studios or “TS”) and for the adjusted units appearing in the popular Warlock’s Rules (“WR”) mod pack.
Warlock’s Mod pack incorporated several of the “lost units” that were cut from the final release of the official game like the Werewolf, Lizard King, Lich and the unused Leader units. It also adjusted the strength of many other units. Click here to learn more about the Warlock’s Rules mod pack and visit the new Mod Packs & Warlock’s Rules discussion forum.
Click on the UNITS link in the navigation bar to check out the new Unit Statistics page!
In other news, the 2001 PBEM World Cup Banner Contest is well underway! You can see a listing of all the entries so far in the AoW General Discussions forum. Post your entry today, the winner gets a FREE Heavengames T-shirt!
2001 AoW PBEM World Cup Tournament & Banner Contest
Cherub Cay, the man who brought you the Slugfest games, has put together one heck of a PBEM tourney! It’s country against country in these games! Here’s all the info directly from Cay:
- The AOW PBEM 2001 World Cup will feature both a Singles (1-vs-1) Event and a Doubles (2-vs-2) Event. Both events are open to all, and are now accepting entries. The closing date for entries is Sunday, September 9th, 2001 at 23:59 EDT (US Eastern Daylight Time).
The first round will be Monday, September 10th, and first round games will be distributed on Tuesday, September 11th.
All contestants may enter either or both events, but may enter each event only once. Contestants are requested to submit separate entries for each event. After your entry has been accepted and added to the list of entries (below), please check to ensure that all details are correct.
Doubles Event Contestants who wish to enter the Doubles Event are required to find their own partner. Both partners on a Doubles Team must represent the same country. Only one partner from the Doubles Team should send an email entry for the team. If you wish to enter the Doubles Event, but do not have a partner, then check the list of Singles Event Entries for individuals from your country.
You can talk about the preliminaries of the competition in the World Cup Discussion thread.
The winners of the 2001 PBEM World Cup will get Heavengames T-shirts and a custom forum title declaring them the 2001 PBEM World Cup Champion!
Finally, AOWH is running a side contest to design a custom banner for the World Cup competition. The deadline for submissions is the same date as for the World Cup entries and will be judged by the AOWH staff. Check out some examples of what we’re looking for in posts 50 and 72 of the World Cup Discussion thread. You can enter the banner contest as many times as you want. Email your submissions to Angel Draco.
The Success of a Game is Measured by the Strength of its Community
In a recent op-ed article by Colonel Lai at Stomped.com, the Colonel examines the Decline of Online Gaming Communities, using the recent closing of the Counter-Strike message boards Playway.net as a case study. The author examines how the positive attitude of a gaming community is inversely proportional to the success of the game, and that success can only be measured by the number of long-time players that play the game.
The root of the problem can be traced back to two factors: Age/immaturity, and “online invincibility”. As more games are catered to a broader spectrum of gamers, gaming communities must accept, albeit sometimes unsuccessfully, the according attitudes and respect, or lack thereof, that comes with the broader range of players. Most young players don’t know the unwritten code of online gaming, and as a result, they act they way some act in real life: without general respect for authority. While immaturity may be a factor, others with no web experience or people who are just hell bent on wreaking online havoc gain a sense of online anonymity when they log into a server. Because they know they can’t be physically attacked for their behavior online, they choose to infuriate gamers who are there for good clean and respected fun. While some may contest that online invincibility and age may be interconnected, it isn’t a requirement for a 14-year-old to act like an ass, and being 30 doesn’t mean you can’t be one.
In the end, it is the people who developed the games who suffer when they see their years of work being flamed upon by irresponsible flamers. Most of all, it is the people who put their hard earned money and time into creating and maintaining these web communities who get burned each time they have to deal with a complaint of a gamer acting in a disrespectful way.
Click here to read the full article.
Internet Email Accounts for PBEM Games
The Play By Email (PBEM) forum has exploded lately with lots of new players discovering the gem that is Age of Wonders. There must be 25 games going on right now! As forumer QuestionC put it, “opening a game here’s like tossing a slab of beef to a crocodile pit.” 😛
PBEM vets know that having your turns sent to an internet-based email account is a good idea as some game files can reach sizes of 1 MB or more, which can clog up you regular email account very quickly. Multiply that by 10 games and you’ve got 6-10 MB in your account on a regular basis!
PBEM veteran Frogman has found an excellent free internet-based email account called Mail2World.com with a 10MB storage limit:
- I found a pretty highly rated site with a 10 Meg limit called mail2world.com They have over a thousand different mail2[country] extensions and my new web [email] address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I can collect my [other] email with a pop server on the mail2usa account as well. I checked a couple email rating sites and this one was the highest approval rating at 96%.
Sounds good to me! Check out Mail2World.com if you’re in the market for a new internet-based email account!
Wizard Towers, Wizards & Heroes in AoW2
Josh Farely, Triumph Studios programmer, stopped by the AoW2 Forums this weekend to clarify some things about the difference between Wizards and Heroes, and how the range of spell casting will work in AoW2: The Wizard’s Throne.
Josh on spell casting range .
The Wizard Towers (which are built in cities and are upgradeable) act like a network or web, allowing your wizard to extend his influence into far-away lands… You use your Heroes and armies to conquer lands beyond the reach of your wizard, build/capture a Tower, and “voila!”, the Wizard can start acting on the new area.
The big fun occurs when two cities within range of each other each have Towers belonging to opposing Wizards… (which will occur often when empires collide, especially since you can build new cities if one isn’t available to you)… This is when things get really nasty… and fun.
Josh on Wizard and Hero units:
Wizards are definitely NOT front-line units, and anyone who tries to use them as such, will be sitting around watching the game unfold for the rest of people who still have empires. Additionally, Heroes themselves have been tweaked for greater balance. While they are still your most powerful combat units, they are no longer nearly as able to take on large groups of enemies on their own, especially at lower levels.
Post your questions to the developers in the AoW2 General Discussions forum!
Guidelines for Developing Successful Games
Angel Thunder over at Age of Kings Heaven alerted me to a wonderful article posted at Gamesutra written by Ensemble Studios’ Bruce Shelley, the designer of the incredibly popular Age of Empires RTS series. In his article, Guidelines for Developing Successful Games, Bruce offers a collection of his ideas and advice, geared towards making a great selling game. It really is a “must read” for any future employee of the gaming industry!
Update on GODGames’ Departue
In case you missed it, our affiliate Planet of Wonders has a quote from Lennart Sas regarding GODGames closing its doors. It looks like Take Two will be publishing Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne. Click here to check it out.
Improving the Single Player Campaign in AoW 2
RayB, writer for Triumph Studios, stopped by our forums to comment on improvements made to the single-player campaign in Age of Wonders 2: The Wizards Throne.
“One of the problems we ran up against in the old campaign, however, was because we started with the Halflings as a beginning race, we found that many folks had a hard time winning the very first few scenarios. I think we’ve taken that into account this time, and with the Tutorial and Campaign we currently have, we don’t start you with a weaker race immediately, though we do try to create the feeling of building and growing and getting stronger, we leave the Halflings til a bit later, allowing the player to become more familiar with some of the less subtle elements of the game first, and then challenging them with a race whose focus is less upon military achievement.”
Click here to view the entire thread.
What’s Up With GODGames?
Our affiliate site, Planet of Wonders, came across this article recently posted at Gamespot.com, reportng that GODGames (“Gathering of Developers”) will soon be closing its Texas based operations. GODGames was the publisher of Triumph Studio’s original “Age of Wonders” game and was set to publish “AoW2: The Wizard’s Throne” next spring. Hopefully this will not seriously affect the long-term development of AoW2. Here’s a clip:
Founded in 1998, GodGames was supposed to be an indie publisher fueled by some of the best and brightest developers, pumping out triple-A hit after triple-A hit. But the reality was something quite different, in part because of a lack of financing and a strange brew of games that never really delivered on the promise of making GodGames the Rolls-Royce of publishing labels. While there were certified hits such as Railroad Tycoon 2, other games like KISS: Psycho Circus and the Blair Witch Trilogy seemed to be a far cry from the blockbuster and seminal games once promised to be GodGames’ mainstay.
Click here to discuss this topic in the AoW2 General Discussion Forum.
Voice Chat & 3D Graphics in AOW2
Josh Farley stopped by the AOW2 AOW2 General Discussion Forum to talk about some of the new game features we’ll see in Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne.
Josh on Voice Chat:
“I just dropped in support for Voice Chat into our network code, so you’ll be able to babble at each other freely if you wish.”
Josh on 3D Graphic Terrain:
“Zoom levels are adjustable, and make use of hardware filtering to smooth the gfx…
The gfx in AoW2 are done in a similar style to AoW1, some pre-rendered (like units), and some hand-drawn (like trees and portraits). There has been very little change in the way we create our graphics; they’re just bigger, with more details, and more frames of animation… People w/o 3D cards lose a few fancy features; filtering would be one of those.”
Visit the AoW2 General Discussions & Suggestions Forum to post your own questions to the developers.
Gamespy Interview with PopTop’s Phil Steinmeyer
PopTop Software will doing the artwork for the cut scenes of Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne. In a recent interview by Gamespy.com, Phil Steinmeyer talked a bit about AOW2 while discussing some of PopTop’s other titles Railroad Tycoon II, Tropico and the action-packed Max Payne:
- PopTop’s artists have been having fun creating the cut scenes for Age of Wonders 2. Triumph is doing the coding and design, but PopTop is adding some artwork. Phil also is excited about the game. He’s seen a post-E3 build. “It looks phenomenal. I think it’s going to be a great game and will really be enjoyed by fans of fantasy strategy.” I know he wanted to compare it to Master of Magic, but he caught himself just in time. You don’t invoke the names of classic games like that lightly.
Inverted Terrain in AOW 2
Josh Farely, AOW2 Programmer has alluded to the fact that graphics for underground terrain will be spruced up in AOW2: The Wizard’s Throne, including implementation of 3D graphics. Hopefully, this means that typically “surface” tiles will be able to be placed using the Map Editor. Click here to read the full thread and to post your own comments to the developers.
An Angel Gets His Wings
Congratulations to Angel Nojd, who has traded in his Cherub wings in exchange for more work! 😛 Nojd has done a fantastic job since joining AOW Heaven just over a month ago, but he’s been one of the most active members of the AOW community since the game was first released.
Nojd will be overseeing the Links, Game Images and working on all of the graphics here at AOW Heaven, and he will be a tremendous help as we gear up for AOW 2! You can offer your own words of cheer to Angel Nojd in this thread!
Josh Farely On AOW2’s Game Interface & Random Maps
Josh Farely, programmer for Triumph Studios, stopped by the forums with some comments about random maps and the revamped interface for Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne.
Josh on Random Maps:
- “I am doing the coding for the random map generator in both the World and Tactical [combat] modes… and yes, I (and Len) did think of the intelligent placement of players.”
Josh on the new Game Interface:
- “The % of the screen that the map takes up is quite a bit larger in AoW2. Those 3 windows at the bottom hold all of the information you’ll need, except when managing cities, when the two sides of the screen can be taken up by additional info… So there are no popup windows for events, chat, etc. Eliminating the popups, and streamlining the interface were our focal points, and IMO it’s working really well, but eventually you’ll get to decide for yourselves.”
Visit the AoW 2 General Discussions & Suggestions forum to discuss this and post your questions to the developers!
New Website for the Warriors of Humas Starlance Unit
The Warriors of Humas, led by Der Waggs and Zirengia Twoblade (aka, BlueCollarHeaven) are an active Unit in the Starlance AoW Combat League, a community that plays AOW multiplayer games online.
Game Images and Strategy Section Updates!
AOW Heaven has received two HUGE updates that you have to check out!
The Strategy Section has received a huge influx of new articles for your reading pleasure! RayB’s Guide to Better PBEM Games and Frogman’s Secret Guide to changing the Turn Order in PBEM games. There have been extensive updates to the Little Known Game Play Tips and Beginner Strategies as well! Also added were all of the “Hot Keys” to speedup your play and how to enable the Cheat Codes (great for testing out your custom-made maps!).
AOW Game Images
This section been completely overhauled thanks to the incredible graphic work of Cherub Nojd! Check out tons of Animated Units and the Lost Images of AOW. This section is especially cool, as you can see units and building structures that were cut from the game, as well as screen shots from very early builds of the game, back when it was known as “World of Wonders.”
Finally, under the Portraits of the protagonist characters, you can read four original stories by RayB, writer for Triumph Studios, that were only included in the Official AOW Strategy Guide (including the long-lost tale of Sirdanc the Changed!).
Update On AOW2 Music
Warlock’s Rules & Happy 26th Birthday to Draco
136 of you have downloaded Warlock’s Rule-set, which is a fan-made mod that changes significantly changes and improves upon the gameplay of Age of Wonders. If you haven’t tried it yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! You can get the mod in the MISC Downloads section.
There are several maps made exclusively for Warlock’s rules that you should be sure to check out: The Fall of Gondolin and The Mirror of Galadriel by Fingers; Sojourn (based on R.A. Salvatore’s famous dark elf, Drizzt) by Im2good; Hunters of Blood II and State of War by Dix; and last but not least, Guild War part I by Queen Elquein. You can tell if a map was made for Warlock’s Rules by checking if there is a “Y” in the “WR” column of the Downloads listings.
Remember that maps created using Warlock’s modified editor cannot be played with the original game, so get Warlock’s Rules today! If you have any problems with installation, post a question on our Forums.
One final note, Happy Birthday to our own Angel Draco who turns 26 today!
First Look! AOW2 Animated Units!
Wow! Another AOW Heaven Exclusive! Lennart Sas, designer of AOW2, was kind enough to share two new animated units from the upcoming Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne! Visit the AOW2 Previews page to check out the Female Fire Wizard and Goblin Wyvern Rider! The colors, shading and detail are incredible! The fluid motion of the Fire Wizard’s cape looks fantastic! The Nymphs definitely have some competition in the wardrobe department!
Discuss this spectacular artwork in the AOW2 General Discussion forum and post your questions to the Triumph Studios development team.
Eeek, a new Cherub!
…and a new newsie…
Age of Wonders Heaven has just managed to sign on it’s third Cherub! Please welcome Cherub Nojd to our illustrious ranks! You can do so here.
Ginette Vandal’s Map Archive Is Reborn
Nojd has breathed new life into Ginette Vandal’s AoW Archive. Its new home has slick new graphics and a friendly interface. Update your bookmarks with the new address: http://labrador.askus.se/~bmy/aow/ginette/index.html
- “This site was originally built by Ginette Vandal. She has now moved on to other projects, so I ‘adopted’ it. I’ve done a few modifications, but I don’t intend to continue working on it, just keep it online in its current state. If anyone wants to take more active care of it, send me an email.”
Nojd/Ginette’s Archive has a French flavor to it, along with thumbnails of all the maps surface levels. Give it a hit!
No Converting AOW1 Maps to AOW2
Josh Farley, Programmer for Triumph Studios, stopped by the AOW2 General Discussion forum recently and responded to forumer Merovech’s question about the possibility of converting current maps for AOW1 for use in AOW2:
- “Sorry, but AoW2 maps are VERY different than AoW1 maps… AoW2 maps have different sizes, different map objects, 3D terrain, and a ton of less obvious internal differences… It’ll be far easier to remake your favorite AoW1 maps by hand than it would be to make a conversion routine. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the new toys the AoW2 maps allow, along the way.”
Click here for more! Stop by the forums and post your questions and suggesstions for the developers of Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne.
Why HeavenGames Was Down On Thursday
All HeavenGames websites were unavailable on Thursday from 10:30 AM until 12:30 PM, because of an error in the compressor code. The compressor ZIP’s up pages (.shtml, .html, .php, and .cgi) before they get sent it to the browser. Your browser already has the functionality built in to uncompress that data and display it properly… Sometimes the compressor just dies, and that’s what happened on Thursday. Our techs have talked with the people that made it and made a change to the source code to prevent the problem from happening in the future. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
New Custom Maps For Download
Tons of great maps have been recently added to the Downloads section by some of the best map-making authors.
In Single Player maps, check out some fun “Small” sized maps like Jason’s Lord of Nightmares; great for a “quick” 2-3 hour game.
In Multi Player maps, check out any of the maps by legendary authors Jason and Dix. Some of my favorites are Jason’s Lord of the Rings: Reign of Terror, Coming of the Dread Lord, and All Things Unequal. Also be sure to check out Dix’s Hunters of Blood I and II and A Journey Into The Dark.
Last, but not least, check out The Forgotten Evil by BlueCollarHeaven and Uprooted, the last AOW1 map created by Triumph Studios writer Ray Bingham.
Remember to please post an online review of any maps you play to give the authors feedback about their work. You can rate and post a review by clicking on the Desc. link for a particular file to bring up the Author’s Description page, where you’ll find a link near the bottom of the page to “Post a Comment.”
Lennart On Gods & Magic
Lennart Sas, from Triumph Studios, stopped by the Age of Wonders 2 Forum to answer some questions about the upcoming sequel.
Lennart on Magic & Spellcasting:
We thought of rifts as a different state of nodes. Ie a node could change into a rift )and the otherway around) when a certain spell is cast, or perhaps when a node is razed. These rifts whould have a moderate area of influence. Perhaps a great rift spell could grow.
Lennart on Gods & Nature Spirits:
The NPC spirits won’t bother with you if you don’t bother with them. The Spirit of Nature might however set people up against eachother like asking a life player break an allience with a forest buring fire mage (for a reward). They are more into meddling then fire and brinstone justice. Their primary role in the game is quest generation.
There’s also an interesting debate in the AOW General Forum about which Level 2 Cavalry Unit is the best. Go stick in your $0.02!
Return Of RayB – Campaign Details Disclosed!
RayB, writer extraordinaire for Triumph Studios, made a triumphant return from computer oblivion recently and stopped by the forums for a chat! He answered some questions about the new Campaign for AOW2:
Q: Is the campaign a multi-branched, confusing network of choices, etc.?
A: It is considerably more simple in structure. I won’t give details though. While the multiple branching was a novel thing from AOW, it was a major pain to do, and for the sake of all the great stuff they’re cramming into the game AoW2 itself, things are being kept simple. (Though it will still be fun, Fun, FUN!)
Click here for more! Ask the developers your AOW2 questions on Heaven’s Forums today!
Details on Draconians
Lennart Sas stopped by the forums to share some exciting info about the new spell/map object “High Winds,” used to keep flying units out of certain areas. He also gave an overview of several units from the new Draconian race in AoW2: The Wizard’s Throne:
“The main problem with map objects of this type was with visualization, as they need transparency/blending to both show the underlying terrain and look nice. You probably have noticed that placing lots of Clouds of Ashes and Poison Clouds together slows down the game a lot. For editable high-winds lots of these objects would be needed in order to seal areas off. Luckily in AoW2 we’ll be able to do more of this stuff, so high winds (both as map object and spell) should be able to make it in.
Click here for more and info about the Draconians!
New Wallpaper at Planet of Wonders
Our affiliate site Planet of Wonders has two great items of interest. First is a thoughtful article by Gamemania titled ” Balancing High,” where he discuss several balancing aspects of AOW1, and balancing can be improved in the sequel. Here’s a taste:
“Gone are the days of Warcraft and Command and Conquer, where spear men is just orc’s archer. The game competition is getting tougher, and the balancing standard is now higher. Game with high balancing will sure be more interesting and entertaining, and it will make the game stands out from the crowd of low balanced games.”
Second is a fabulous new AOW2 wallpaper custom made by Dexter, combining several images from the available AOW2 screenshots and highlighting the units we’ve seen so far. Grab it from POW’s Downloads section now!
Summer 2002 Release Date For AOW2?
The Stratos Group has posted a new AOW2 Preview. Nordramor shares his thoughts on Triumph Studios’ upcoming sequel to Age of Wonders after spending some time with it behind closed doors at E3. Find out why he’s looking like a rabid goat waiting to play it at the Stratos Group’s E3 coverage site. Sadly, Nordramor quotes a tentative release date for early Summer 2002:
“The slew of new features being added/tweaked from the original is in direct response to many fan requests/suggestions. The developer, Triumph Studios, has shown quite a lot of dedication to their fan-base, and Age of Wonders 2 looks like it will be a product of the development team’s skillful crafting of the fan desires into something fun. For fans of fantasy-based strategy games, Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne could be a godsend. Tentative scheduling puts the game out slightly prior to Summer 2002.”
Fire-up ‘dem PBEM games! We’ve got a long haul until next Summer. Discuss AOW2 and post your questions to the Triumph Studios developers in our AOW2 General Forum.
First AOW2 Wallpaper For Download
A HeavenGames exclusive! Check out this incredible AOW2 wallpaper that is waiting for you in the Misc. Downloads Section right now! Available for both 800×600 and 1024×768 resolutions; you will not find this wallpaper anywhere else on the Internet except at AOW Heaven! Thanks so much to Lennart Sas for sharing this preliminary artwork with us! It’s on my desktop right now! I will be staring at it longingly until AOW2 is released! 🙂
Strategy Section Début
The Strategy Section is now open! Read a few articles to help you improve your game! If you have any ideas for a gameplay strategy or map editor article, or a “guide” to playing any of the races, send it in!
Josh & Lennart Back From E3
The Triumph boys are back from E3 and are all over the AOW2 General Forum answering questions about all the exciting new information and screenshots released for Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne.
Some good stuff about Combat Mechanics is here.
Forumer Nordmar got a good look at the demo playing at E3 and provided a ton of information in this thread. Here’s a sample:
Post your questions to the developers in our AOW2 General Discussion Forum!
Adrenaline Vault Screen Shots
The Adrenaline Vault has posted several new screen shots. Check out the God of Nature!
Looks like the player used some sort of fire spell or fire alter on the world map, which burned away lots of the forest, which has angered the God of Nature and now the player has to build a temple to appease the God! View the large version here!
Fan Preview @ Planet of Wonders
Planet of Wonders has posted a fan preview by Dexter:
Read the full preview here!
Danc’s Preliminary Report From E3
Danc has returned from E3 and participated in several Q&A sessions with the boys from Triumph Studios. Read his preliminary report in the forums. Here’s a sample:
Q: Will there be racial traits?
A: Yep. Cities of a particular race will get certain inherent bonuses.
Q: Random Terrain/map generator?
A: Yep. They are really concerned about making it somewhat balanced. This is going to be a tricky problem, but they have a lot of good ideas.
New AOW2 Previews From E3!
Now that E3 is in full swing, news about AOW2: The Wizard’s Throne is coming in fast and furious! Already two new previews with new game info and screen shots. Check out GameSpy’s preview for some incredible, never before seen screen shots and new game info. The new hero portraits are beautiful!
Also visit PC IGN’s preview for screenshots and some exciting new information about the use of magic and the introduction of deities.
Post your comments about this exciting new info and ask the developers questions in our AoW2 General Discussion & Suggesstions Forum!
Vote For AoW2 – Show Your Support!
GOD Games has a poll where you can vote for what game you’re most looking forward to learning about from this year’s E3 Expo. Go Vote for AoW2 right now!
Hi-Res Screen Shots Added
Hi-Res (1024 x 768) versions of the six new E3 preview screen shots have been added to the AoW2 Previews section. Check them out now.
New Home for Ginette’s French AoW1 Map Archive
Ginette’s French\English AoW1 map archive has a new home. Give it a hit at: AoWDanval.com. Ginette’s site is unique in that you can preview what each map looks like before you download, as images of all surface level mini-maps are posted. That takes a lot of work, so don’t let it go to waste! Give AoWDanval.com a hit today!
New Patch for AoW1 in “Medieval Madness” Bundle
AoW1 was recently re-released (along with two other games) in a bundle called “Medieval Madness.” Several people have had trouble installing this version of AoW1 or getting it to run on their systems. Josh Farely tells us that a new patch will be released soon to address these problems, so stay tuned!
If you’re having problems running the AoW bundled with “Medieval Madness,” post your questions in our Technical Help Forum. Josh has already been able to help several people get the game runing smoothly on their systems. Check out the Map+Draw Errors thread where Josh has already answered several technical questions.
Q&A with Lennart Sas on E3 Preview Screen Shots
Lennart Sas, lead designer for AoW2 answered a few questions about AoW2 and the 6 new screen shots at the GOD Games E3 preview. Post your questions to the developers in our AoW2 General Discussion Forum:
Q: Will “inherent weaknesses” be included, in addition to the many resistnances that were in AoW1, such as resistance to fire, poison, cold, ect.?
A: Weaknesses are already implemented.
Q: Is the red lady [in the screen shot] a wizard or is she some sort of fire queen?
A: She’s a wizard.
Q: Are those winged creatures in the desert [screen shot] Draconians?
Q: what is the larger horned creature among [the Draconians], a demon?
A: Also a draconian. This is a wingless draconian, the “Crusher.”
Q: What are the little golden balls [in the screen shot]? Are they just the representation of the number of steps needed to take in order to move from hex a to hex b or is it some sort of spell?
A: Movement dots. The yellow ones is the area a party can walk. In Combat the dots are color-coded incated the number of attacks after moving.
Q: You have said that the wizard will be involved in a battle even if he’s not actually on the battlefield. Is the [combat screen shot] showing that?
A: Yes, that is Merlin casting spells in a battle over long-distance, from his wizards tower.
Q: When will we see more screen shots?
A: There’ll be more after E3.
New AOW2 Screen Shots & E3 Info!
G.O.D. Games’ official E3 site is previewing a new game each day. Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne is featured today! Seven new screen shots are featured, including the map editor interface, tactical combat and the over worldmap. The graphics are stunning!
The E3 Expo is the largest gaming trade show of the year where the industry flaunts their upcoming releases to the media. Heaven Games will be attending E3, which takes place May 17-19 in Los Angeles and you can bet that we’ll will be stopping by the Triumph Studios trailer, where we will get a chance to play a single-player demo, view in-game video and get an exclusive screen shot package! Watch our exclusive report after the convention!
New Info On AOW2!
Developers Josh Farley & Lennart Sas answered a few questions in our AoW2 General Discussion & Suggesstions Forum:
Lenart on Building New Cities
Gamemania asked: Does being able to build “wizard tower” from our city indicates that we will be able to build other buildings for our city (barracks, dragon lair, armory, etc)?
Lennart Sas: Yes, other structures can be constructed in cities. Also, towns can grow and new ones can be founded.
Josh on the Role Leader & Hero Units:
I think you might have confused the Leader (now called the “Wizard” in AoW2), and the Hero…The Wizard will be less likely to roam around the world, as they are most effective when casting spells from their Towers. Even when not physically at a battle-site, Wizards can affect the outcome with their spells.
Heroes are a totally separate set of units. They are expected to lead their party of units into combat, mixing a variety of combat-oriented skills to make sure their side comes out on top.
Josh on the A.I. in AoW1 & AoW2:
The AI (at higher levels) gets advantages to increase his ability to compete with human players… Infinite Gold & Mana? Nope. He gets an “allowance” each turn (varies by AI level) from an external source (a rich uncle, for example). It isn’t infinite at all, although Emperor AI on smaller maps probably will have enough to do everything he wants, so it may seem infinite to you…No matter how good an AI is, human players will be better. So there will always be a need for these bonuses to add to the single-player challenge for expert players.
The good news is that AI work on AoW2 has already begun, and AI work on a sequel is always easier, since we’ve got all the knowledge from working on AoW1’s AI to build on. I won’t make any promises, but I’ll be surprised if AoW2 doesn’t have a significantly better AI than AoW1, especially in terms of “exploitable” flaws…
Josh on Unit Sizes & Screen Res in AoW2:
Units are much larger in AoW2. Of course, the lowest screen resolution has also increased from 640×480 to 800×600, but overall the units (and scenery as well) will be larger and more detailed on-screen. And they get even bigger in Combat…
Josh on Magic Spheres & Races:
Players in AoW2 are more closely linked to Sphreres of Magic (since they’re Wizards) than to Races.
Visit our AoW2 General Discussion & Suggesstions Forum right now and ask the developers your AOW2 questions!
Fanstock 2001 Recap & Sigma Preview
Angel Washizu from Age of Kings Heaven spent 3 days up at Microsoft last week for their annual Fanstock event, checking out this year’s upcoming Microsoft games. Part One focuses in on his first day there with great detail, and finishes with a preview of Relic Entertainment’s exciting new RTS “Sigma: The Adventures of Rex Chance”. Sigma is being published by Microsoft and is scheduled for a Spring 2002 release. Washizu has some great pictures posted from the event as well. Click here to check it out right now!
AoW Heaven Affilliates with Planet of Wonders
AOWH is happy to announce our recent affiliation with Planet of Wonders. PoW is the first fan sited devoted to covering the forthcoming sequel to Age of Wonders, AoW 2: The Wizard’s Throne. Check them out for all the latest tidbits on AoW 2 and new screen shots as they are released. Stop on by and vote in their current poll: Which current AoW race should be removed from AoW 2?
AOWH will still be your #1 community resource for downloading custom maps for Age of Wonders and (eventually) AoW 2: The Wizard’s Throne. Visit our forums to meet other players and post questions to the developers of AoW2, Triumph Studios.
More Q&A On AoW2 With Josh Farely
Some more Q&A about AoW2 with Josh Farely, Programmer for Triumph Studios:
Q: Is the core design of AoW 2 basically finished?
A: As far as the basic features, scope, and such… yeah, AoW2’s design is already done. Smaller features, and tweaks to the design, will still be added as needed…
Q: Will there be multiple figure units (e.g., Masters of Magic)?
A: No, we toyed with the idea, but the animation for such a “set” of units would have been a pain, and the tiny units would not have looked nice at all. It also introduced a number of tricky rules that we decided were better off left out.
Q: Will real-time or sim-turn tactical combat (“TC”) be implemented; basically anything that speeds up turn based TC?
A: Not in the design. Combat, and TC specifically, will be improved upon, but we’re not making an RTS here. Other games do a fine job of presenting twitch gaming; we’ll leave it to them.
Q: Will the defending army be able to retreat?
A: Not likely, as they still have nowhere to go, and their retreat presents a possible exploit. There will be game play enhancements designed to prevent some of the AoW1 TC exploits we’ve heard tell of, besides adding some extra strategic options to the battle…
Q: Will there be walls with battlements on/behind which units can be stationed. Or at least some improvement to AoW wall defense mechanic?
A: There will be improvements to the wall system from AoW1. City fortifications in AoW2 should present a better strategic advantage to the defender, while also presenting less of a delay to the overall pace of the game. And that’s all I’ll say about this one for now…
Q: Will there be hero classes?
A: Players will not be required to attend schooling about Heroes. :p
Q: Will there be city micromanagement?
A: We don’t like micromanagement. That said, there is room to improve the role cities play in AoW without descending into micromanagement hell.
Q: Please make magical creatures only available through a “summoning” spell and not produced at a city.
A: Races will feature a lineup of units that matches their race better than in AoW1. Additionally, magic will play a larger role in AoW2. What any of that has to do with your question, I’m not sure.
Q: Will there be a smaller number of resources (i.e., gold/mana/population)?
A: This is map-dependant.
Q: Please don’t include any stupid units (e.g., penguins, fairies, etc.)
A: One man’s stupid unit is another man’s favorite unit. If you tossed a little green goblin with Grover’s voice into a game and made him a feared mage/warrior, I’m sure some people would call him stupid. Besides, there is no greater joy than to overrun your opponent with a horde of Dire Penguins, all the while screaming “WAAAAAAK!” at him, even if that isn’t what a penguin sounds like… 🙂
Q: Don’t include Highmen, Azracs and Frostlings, or at least some of them.
A: I don’t believe we’ve publicized our final race listings yet. Stop trying to get me in trouble! 🙂
Whew, I think I made it through that minefield intact, but I guess time will tell still… 🙂
Two New Cherubs In Heaven!
I am pleased to announce our two newest staff members at AoW Heaven: Cherub Cay and Cherub Blackmane. You will find each of them moderating several of our forums. Click here to give them a quick “Congratulations!”
More On Mod Packs & AoW2 Map Editor
Triumph Studios Programmer, Josh Farley, recently responded to some questions about mod packs and total conversion utilities for AoW1. He also hinted at a more powerful map editor for AoW2 and also plans for AoW2 expansion pack material (something AoW1 never got).
Q: I was wondering if Triumph will release utilities allowing AOW1 to be fully modded. If they would, either publicly or in a more controlled, licensed format, I would be very interested in putting a team together to form a true total conversion, modifying the rule set and other basic aspects of AOW. . . .what I’m hoping for is something akin to Valve’s Worldcraft Editor, allowing for changes in the basic structure of the game, rather than just the constituent components.
A: I don’t make the decisions on these kinds of issues, but I can say that the problem with “total conversions” support are many…
- Time – it takes a great deal of it to make our internal development tools usable by outside parties. Sure, we could dump them on people w/no instructions and no “user-friendliness”, but we don’t want to do that, as any product we put out there reflects on us. We would also have to add an ENORMOUS amount of code to support every possible setting players could enter, and make every aspect of the game “open” instead of “locked in” (hard-coded)…
- Compatibility – tracking down user problems is hard enough, w/o having to worry about which of an infinite number of user modifications they’re running on their system. There are ways to solve this, but they add to #1…
- Expansions – we would like to be able to produce additional AoW2 products after the initial game, w/o having to compete w/numerous free products on the net. The AoW2 engine is possibly the most advanced engine of any game in our genre, and we’d hate to have to abandon it prematurely because our own “open” system makes it unprofitable to continue development on it…
You may or may not agree with this reasoning, but these, and a few other lesser reasons, are what we’re thinking. Of the 3 issues I mentioned, the biggy is #1… TIME. We will already be spending a great deal of it on the AoW2 Editor, which will hopefully incorporate everything that 95% of our players would ever want. Spending the additional time on “opening up” the system, would force us to spend less time on other aspects of AoW2, which would hurt the game much more than help it…
Making a game is a balancing act. It would be great to be able to put every option for everyone, but the developers who try to do that usually end up serving you french fries with your drive-thru order…
Q: There’s a lot of potential for AOW2 to allow for the modding scene that existed with Half-Life, thereby extending the lifespan of the game immensely. As I understand it, AOW2 and AOW1 are similar in structure, therefore experience with modding AOW1 would allow a team to be well prepared for modding AOW2. Make sense?
A: The Half-Life model isn’t really applicable here, as FPS games sell in much larger numbers than games in our genre, allowing them the financial leeway to experiment… We intend to allow a much greater level of control and storytelling in the AoW2 editor, all controlled with an extremely user-friendly interface, which should appeal to a greater number of people than tools that only accomplished programmers can use/understand…
Q: What about the editor? Assuming you’ll be doing something similar to AoW2, would it be too difficult to allow map makers to “set custom map” for specific cities, dungeons and the like?
A: That would require editing of the TC Maps, which is not likely to be supported. TC Maps are largely generated dynamically, and the ones with preset layouts also have dynamic elements and specific setup requirements. They would also require another set of Multi-Player compatibility checks, and so on… We have plans to increase the power mapmakers have over the game in many areas, but this is unlikely to be one of them…
Q: While you say that it wouldn’t be likely or possible that we’d have an open system, could we perhaps be allowed to tweak stats and skills for custom maps? Inherent flying? Inherent Spell Casting V, and all that?
A: You can customize heroes & leaders already in AoW1… as for other tweaks, settings, and “RPG” aspects, we’ll be trying very hard to incorporate as many of these kinds of features as we can. Many will make it for certain, since we’ll need them for our own Campaign.
Win a FREE copy of Cossacks
The Angels at Cossacks Heaven send word there is only a week left to get yourself entered for a chance to win a free copy of the English version of the game! It’s simply the luck of the draw, so break out your lucky bunny foot and head to their contest page. Deadline to enter is April 30 and the winners will be announced on May 1.
There are five copies of the game to be awarded, so your odds are winning should be pretty good. Best of luck!
Support Your Local Slice of Heaven
Here’s a request from Up High.
We don’t ask a lot of you, other than to behave nicely on the forums but we do have another request. You can help us keep HeavenGames up and running by taking a quick look at the following page: Heaven Games Merchant Partners.
If you ever need to buy something from one of our partners, like say a book through Amazon.com, please enter the merchant’s site though the provided links, as they will help us to keep our little slice of Heaven from disappearing into oblivion.
2010 – An Age of Wonders Odyssey
We had a pretty good first official week here at AOW Heaven. Thanks to everyone who helped make AOWH a reality and to everyone has contributed to the begining success of AOWH!
New Patch For AOW1?
“If I knew that the changes would fix the issues some people are having with multi-player, it would probably be worthwhile to spend the (rather large) amount of time to re-work and re-code some aspects of AoW to work around network limitations.
The problem is that I do not know if it would work, so we could end up taking valuable time away from AoW2’s development, and end up with absolutely nothing to show for it. That’s just a bad gamble by any reasoning.
The number of players in a game will definitely affect [multiplayer] stability. All it takes is one connection between any two players being bad, and the game will seem sluggish, or disconnect often. In a 4 player game, there are 6 separate connections… in an 8 player game, you have 28 separate connections.
If any 1 out of those 28 connections goes bad, it will mess up the game… if more than one of them is bad, you get some serious problems… and if 1 player in that 8-player game has a bad modem/ISP/software/etc, then you get 7 bad connections.
Note that we did completely re-code the DirectPlay system in one of the patches, to fix problems that affected many more systems than this problem seems to. Sadly, that was also caused by bugs/missing features in the MS DirectPlay architecture, which is one reason I’m suspicious about that as a possible cause in this case.
I don’t recall hearing much about this…. We tested LAN quite a bit, including me on my personal 2-PC LAN. Of course, in addition to normal testing, I played some TC-only multiplayer (small map with just a clump of big armies to force a 3-4 player scrum) with my friends on the Internet, and that hasn’t stopped some people from having problems with Internet play.
Programmer, Triumph Studios
AOW only $9.90!
That’s right folks, CompuExpert.com has Age of Wonders for only $9.90! What a bargain! It just doesn’t get any better than this!
Support AOW Heaven by using this link to visit CompuExpert.com when you buy!
New Forums Added & Site Updates
Several new forums were added today: Guilds, Story Board and Bugs/Tech Help. AOW Heaven wants to support the Starlance League and Guilds in anyway we can, so send in your suggestsions today or post them on our forums!
Welcome to the all new Age of Wonders Heaven!
This site is primarily intended to serve as a resource for AOW players to download new, custom-made maps for single or multiplayer games, and to serve as a gathering place for AoW fans. Our automated online submission form makes adding maps to our archive quick and easy! Just click on the “Submit a File” link on the navigation bar to the left and fill out the online submissio form! Your map will automaticall appear in our archive list within 24 hours!
Our forums use the latest Ultimate Bulletin Board software, are super-fast and incredibly stable. Please visit the forums and register your screen name today!
Age of Wonders is a turn-based fantasy game, similar to Heros of Might and Magic or Masters of Magic, only it combines the best elements of strategy, adventure and roleplaying. It features 12 unique fantasy races, over 50 different heroes with upgradable abilities, dozens of spells and scores of locations to explore. In this game of conquest, players employ strategic and tactical skills to command troops in capturing vital locations and defeating enemies in a captivating single player campaign or compete with friends in multi-player scenarios.
If haven’t yet tried Age of Wonders, it’s a great game! Try out the Demo today! As mentioned earlier, it’s turn-based, but you can play in real-time against others in online multiplayer games, or play one turn at a time using the Play-By-Email (PBEM) style, which Angels Jayhawk and Jaytan and I really enjoy. It makes checking your email every day a lot fun!
Welcome to the new Heaven, try Age of Wonders today!