Big Daddies, the Missing Beastie and where to find them

I was lucky enough to to get a ticket for yesterdays event and flew over from the UK on Saturday especially for it. Jenny has confirmed we can share details. I first played this game 19 years ago and I have a love for it that transcends video games and have formed real life relationships with it, as did many players. I remember more that one real life couple who met through the game and one where the community raised money when one of our number had a motorbike accident. Putting my cards on the table, I am massively biased in favour of this game.

The event took us back to the beginning, to a recreation of a stone age village:-

And showed us the start screen:-

Surrounding the main stage and banks of PCs, divided into different regions of the worlds running AOE:DE and other games of the series, were bespoke side games such as:-

Here, if you could get the token (dropped from the top) into the ‘Roman Civ’ bracket you received an AOE branded cape.

In the centre fans could sign blocks of wood to contribute to a fan built pyramid which was later split between all the attendees in the ‘goody bags’, which I thought was a beautiful idea of community engagement:-

Second from the right someone has written ‘Colombia’ on a tile which made me think of @KingDarBoja

Interestingly there wasn’t a rush for the PC’s running AOE:DE and having spoken to some of the attendees it appeared as if there were quite a few who were not original AOE fans and others who were intent on winning some of the prizes up for grabs, 1080 gtx graphics cards and fabulous steel replica Corinthian helmets (again incredible creativity from the organising team and generosity). I’m not into the whole baying geekery or the strange e-sports style interviews myself and a lot of it was in German so I focused on playing the game.

It was actually easy for me to get a chance to play the game surprisingly, spare PC’s were available. We got our hands on a demo level where we had no starting villagers but lots of resources (almost like DM) and an objective of destroying an enemy wonder behind lots of walls.

Starting position.

Thinking of the main issues that the community has been asking about I tried to find the answer to the question ‘are they updating farms?’

Well the answer is yes, they are ‘walkable’:-

Here my centurion is walking over an enemy farm.

The next question I wanted to answer for the community was whether the farms could be queued or whether they had infinite food, for this I needed a granary but I didn’t have one and neither did I have a TC or a villager and neither did the enemy have any villagers visible. However, to the bottom left of the map were two idle allied yellow villagers, so I simply shipped three priests in a heavy transport next to the villagers, changed diplomacy to neutral and converted them, bringing them back to base to build a TC and Granary. I had also tested the historic cheat codes to find out that they worked e.g reveal map and then realised that I needed a Town Centre to spawn some historic favourites:-

Big Daddies, also showing the new demolished building terrain, blood effects etc

I also confirmed that there was no way to ‘queue’ farms at the granary and that farms still had finite food as we expected (though someone suggested it). as it was post iron age the farms had too much food in them to exhaust in the wonder time limit to see if you could right-click to rebuild them (as in AOK):-

Note:- I also found a few bugs in my play through, if you look at the above screenshot the build tower symbol next to the wall in the top right was missing, if I clicked the missing image I could build towers however. Path finding also needs some work as getting the starting two priests on the ford into the heavy transport was tricky and when moving Big Daddies enmass across the ford one got stuck ‘spinning around’ as it did in the ‘old days’. Also double clicking on starting scenario units of the same type as ones you subsequently built didn’t select all of those type (which I think was an issue in the original, showing how they have built on it)

In terms of zoom levels, the graphics up close were stunning, the only two units I didn’t really like were the deer and the villagers, with the rest looking amazing and beautifully rendered. I also located an animal that we were previously struggling to find in other screenshots which shows how much loving care and attention has been put into the game:-

My picture of the video on my phone doesn’t really do the alligator justice but I can’t seem to upload videos to show you guys it’s incredible movement. The way it moves and flexes its muscles along the lapping waves on the shore was stunning. Just like in the original, alligators (unlike lions) do not attack gazelle, as I scared some next to the alligator to test. It also appeared as if the gators could move over wall foundations which was interesting as if all units can do this (like on farms) then it might make protecting against rushes (tool rushes in particular) harder as in the original foundations stopped units, allowing you to block off incoming axemen by quickly laying some unbuilt foundations (though I suppose it could have been a bug). If this is intended it will likely appeal to our far eastern players many of whom on Gameranger ban walls completely.

In totality the game looked beautiful and a faithful upgrade to the original, the event was really well organised with lots of care and attention, it would have been great to have had the same room filled with all the ‘true fans’ from these forums but I appreciate we are all from around the world.

At the end we were given a ‘goody’ bag:-

A beautiful gold beer stein, a satchel, a lanyard, a free download code for the game (not the beta - I could cry lol) and another community members block from the pyramid, mine was signed Tortellini (anyone know him/her?).

When leaving I walked past Cologne Cathedral and noticed flights of white doves lit from below swooping and diving onto insects, almost like mini angels, it was a beautiful end to a a lovingly crafted and expertly organised evening. The series is in good hands.

Sorry for the badly written English, I got into Stansted London at 7am this morning to travel into take some cases to court and suffering from lack of sleep my brain is fried!

What an awesome post Mystic, really glad they made such an awesome event for everyone,…I am so jelly!

And I agree, I feel the love the community organizers and especially Forgotten Empires have for AoE. I feel like everything is in good hands after yesterday’s event.

@Raw1812 said:
What an awesome post Mystic, really glad they made such an awesome event for everyone,…I am so jelly!

And I agree, I feel the love the community organizers and especially Forgotten Empires have for AoE. I feel like everything is in good hands after yesterday’s event.

Cheers @Raw1812 , time for bed for me haven’t had sleep for over 36 hours now except for a quick hour nap earlier:-

Eyes red right after the event 10:30pm in Cologne ish:-

8:45am this morning on the train in London redder still:-

Now they look something like this:-

:wink:

I also spotted the enemy Town Centre in Cologne:-

Electronic Arts HQ. Hopefully one day the former members of Westwood Studios (Adam Isgreen working on the DE is a former member) will storm this building and get the rights to one of the other great but abadonned RTS’s - Command and Conquer (nowhere near as good as AOE though) and bring another venerable series back to life. I joked when we sailed past that this building will never flood as it’s likely the walls are made out of the returned copies of Tiberium Twilight and thus impenetrable :slight_smile:

Absolutely amazing post Mystic! I’m jealous I didn’t get to go - I would’ve loved to, but alas I have to focus on other things right now. That satchel looks awesome, and so do those beer steins!

Hehe, so crazy I was in Cologne as well on the 21st but I was obliged to get back to my country before the event started. I also scouted that enemy TC! Let’s raid it someday soon :slight_smile:

(Great post, loved the info).

So that means … Big Momma should be also in the game? :smiley:

Great post and information about the game, too bad I hadn’t enough trade carts for getting some gold to travel at event. By the way, the colombian guy must be one of those folks that I have been searching over here, not everyone knows about AOE in my country (where I live people think it is just a simple game).

Also :lol: at your eyes (and you look younger that I expected) and that bag was amazing, I want that beer stein :lol:

By the way, those building icons reseembles some AoM icons.

Those seige workshops really are bland-ish. Hopefully they are still unfinished ;p The WIP units inside really help to identify among the same-same roofs they all have ;p

The building icons I’m not so sure about. Maybe they want to streamline them (look a lot like AOE2 etc), but I really like the old portions of building ones. I guess I prefer to see that I’m building a building and not a chimney, a roll of bread, a piece of steak, or a book with an olive leaf.

Anyone know if the AoE3 icons are similar to the AOE2 icons?

Would have been fun to be there. Though the whole “prize-front” thing would have tempted a lot of people to hang around the stream areas for the entire day instead of looking at the booths! But, it’s not worth 1000’s of gold to go to that event from my town!

AOE 3 icons are totally different of AOE2 ones. They looks like a frontal photo of the building with a goldish glow.

Great post! Good info!

Thanks guys I think we can all look forward to the future of the series :slight_smile:

I hope they leave the cheat options out of the game. The cheats just opened the door for a myriad of cheat programs in multiplayer.

Even without cheat codes, people still managed to hack spawn units at houses etc. The cheats are there to test scenarios. Can you imagine trying to see what the enemy is doing without reveal map and no fog? Steroids gives a fast overview of the AI city and army building. Pow is good for looking at destruction of buildings (no hit effect). The others can be used more for testing when the game is being built, and are left in for fun.

@Penelinfi said:
Even without cheat codes, people still managed to hack spawn units at houses etc. The cheats are there to test scenarios. Can you imagine trying to see what the enemy is doing without reveal map and no fog? Steroids gives a fast overview of the AI city and army building. Pow is good for looking at destruction of buildings (no hit effect). The others can be used more for testing when the game is being built, and are left in for fun.

Left in for fun?
Let’s review AoE history and the effects of cheats in multiplayer(Ensemble’s inability to patch the cheats because MS hamstrung them), because MS resisted making game updates. Many of these cheat programs simply enabled cheating in non-cheat enabled games. Cheating kills player moral and people just quit playing.

It’s not “fun” to compete against someone with unlimited resources that can see everything you do. Knowing that someone is cheating is different from being able to prove it. Clueless people will even step up and defend the cheater. I can remember once, I just knew it and resigned to take a quick screenshot. At less than 3 minutes, another player was up 2 vils on everyone in a default settings game. When I resigned, what I was was a dock, 3 FBs, 5 houses, a granary, no storage pit and no strags cut.

Cheats aren’t “fun”

Unfortunately, they are fun to the majority of people who play the game, and where cheats are not enabled by 3rd party programs. Again, they are also tools used to test scenarios.

Hopefully this DE has better anti-cheat. Voobly apparently has a pretty good system in place! Will be needed with all these “kids” coming to play mp and taking the lazy option of searching for cheats in the multiplayer…

Yup, hate to admit it but I feel like AOE III is the game with more players cheats that I have seen, even so this is due to the little support that has had compared to the AOE 2.

Interestingly, I can’t see a recorded games feature on the main menu screen as that would obviously catch anyone suspected of using cheats illegally. Personally, as I’m an almost exclusively a multiplayer I’m not keen on cheats being in the game, but it was a bit of fun at Gamescomm. I think @Penelinfi has a good argument on the scenario testing front for them being in the game. Cheats are really a 1990’s console gaming thing really.

The source of the cheats argument : 36:52

Did you feel that the path finding was better than the original game or was it more or less the same? Did they increase the number of units you can select?

@EzyWin said:
Did you feel that the path finding was better than the original game or was it more or less the same? Did they increase the number of units you can select?

Pathfinding has been improved, that was in one of the new trailers, In RoR, you could select up to 24 units at a time - this has been increased to 36 in DE (looking at the 14 min IGN gameplay).