News Archive - Sept 2002
Josh: Been there, Done That
Posted by ChowGuy @ 8:23 PM
While not revealing anything overly specific, Triumph's Josh Aow has been around to say a few things about the recent 1.2 patch, his take on the current crop of games, and possible future directions.
In response to the question "Any plans for more patches?" he noted only that
Patches are worked on in reaction to users finding issues.Later, in response to remarks that patches were required only because Game Developers were not doing a proper job of QA [Quality Assurance] in the first place, and expansions merely a way to increase profits by fixing what should have been done properly to begin with he added:
Perhaps my standards were lowered by that run of games a year or so ago which liked to delete your entire hard drive, but I was thinking just the opposite.Indeed Josh, and the impressive list of changes made in the last two patches, most simply to satisfy the requests of die-hard fans rather then for any actual game-stopping bugs, shows how much the Devs at Triumph do in fact care about making the best product possible.
As to possible future directions, he had this to say about supporting a rotatable3D Terrain engine such as that used in Neverwinter Nights:
As 3D technology continues to improve, I'm sure we'll be looking at taking greater and greater advantage of it in future products. In the immediate future, it would raise the minimum system requirements too high, but that bar gets raised a bit further every day. To properly do realtime 3D terrain, you have to move the entire engine to full 3D, which for a game like AoW2, would require either a magnitude greater hardware power than currently exists, or signicantly reduced graphical quality.And finally, for those who are concerned about "Does patch 1.2 update the editor to 1.2 ?", he notes:
The editor was updated, it probably just didn't have it's version number incremented...
Well, OK. Just keep up the good work Josh. We don't need no steenking numbers anyway ;)
What's New In Scenario Design Hall
Posted by Angel Bluecollarheaven @ 12:32 AM
Three new pages are up in our Scenario Design section.
1) A Detailed Explaination On How Triggers Work
This short and concised article explains step by step, how triggers set off the events.
2) Script for a Random Event Generator
Talon-Thorn demostrates how to make a random event generator using the editor. This has been added in our Event Scripts Database subsection.
3) AOW2 Mapmakers' Gallery
This gallery will feature screenshots of unique landscapes created using the AOW2 map editor. If you are interested in submitting your screenshots, here's how:
Now Playing: Tech Help From Josh
Posted by Angel Draco @ 5:09 PM
Triumph Studios programmer Josh Farley has been very active in the Tech Help forum, so if you're encountering any difficulties with the game or with the new v1.2 patch, post your problem (along with your computer's specs!) and you can be sure to get some help.
Here's some advice Josh offered about installing the new patch while in the middle of the campaign:
Some changes may not take effect on save games in the middle of a map. For a campaign game, that would mean until that scenario is completed. If things still aren't right when you start the next map, I'd suspect that your system failed to overwrite the files properly, perhaps because of a system setting related to read-only files, or more likely because of interference from background tasks (especially virus checkers and compression utilities). You might try rebooting, shutting down all background tasks manually, and installing the patch again.And here are some useful tips for people encountering graphic errors when running the Scenario Editor:
That sounds like either a driver or memory issue. The editor runs in windowed mode, while most games do not, so comparing them is even less pertinent than with the game itself. I'd suggest rebooting and shutting down all background tasks before running the editor. You might also make sure that your desktop is set to 16-bit color, and disable Direct3D (Ctrl-R within the editor). Also, different driver versions will likely behave differently. For Nvidia's Detonator drivers, I've found v29.41 to be by far the most stable in all the games I run, including AoW2.You can find this and more in our Tech Help and Bug Reporting Forum.
ESCmag.com Reviews AoW2
Posted by Angel Draco @ 4:51 PM
ESCmag has posted their "review" if you could call it that of AoW2, giving it a 5/10. Its more of an editorial than a review though, criticizing the linear AoW2 campaign, as opposed to the multi-branch campaign in the original AoW, and barely scratches the gameplay features. You can read it here; try not to laugh when you read the last sentence...
Bits and Pieces from Josh
Posted by ChowGuy @ 7:15 AM
Triumph's Josh Aow has let a revealed a few more little known details. In reply to long-time Ager Edi on a question about maximum damage from the Geyser Spell & Physical Protection he points out that:
Geyser is an auto-hit spell, it works differently. Half of the damage is automatic, and ignores weakness/protection. The other half is affected, so 6 would be a correct max DAM in that situation.He goes on to list "Suffocate, Deep Fissure, and Geyser..." as "auto-hit" spells which work this way.
To Magog's question about randomly populated exploration sites which sometimes say "Weak" in-game instead of "Average" as indicated by the Editor he replied that
AFAIK the editor is listing a setting, where the game is listing the actual strength of the actual units that have been randomly generated. There is some variance in what units get generated.To which otime adds the helpful observation that
Some vault may turn from average to weak. This happens when they were unsuccessfully attacked, but some vault unit gets killed. Thus, the game reports the actual strength.
Earlier, he noted when asked about what if any files needed to be manually saved ala Warcraft III when de-installing and reinstalling that
AoW2's Uninstaller will also leave your savegames behind. They are all you need to backup to save your progress...For those who are unaware, this means for example, that registry entries or player profiles are not used to keep track of campaign records. All information needed information is included in the save or autosave file as you progress, and only the most recent save file is ever needed to continue on to the finale, or return to the "special phase" maps if you previously passed over them.
v1.2 Patch is out!
Posted by ChowGuy @ 1:56 PM
Here it is, officially! Josh AoW posted today that the patch is now out on the official Take2 site with a direct link here.
His thread goes on to report the major changes, plus a few additions. The list is too long to reproduce in full here, but includes among other things the following New Features
-In the Realm display, double-clicking a City in the list now selects the City.There is also an extensive list of fixes and balance changes. He further notes that
The patch works on all languages, releases and versions of AoW2.For more, come to the Aow2 General Discussion Forum.
Scenario Design Hall - Detail Guides to AOW2 Events and Movie Files
Posted by Angel Bluecollarheaven @ 3:54 AM
Talon-Thorn, with assistance from Josborne, has written up an excellent guide on all the Events available for use in the Editor. This Events guide contains detailed descriptions on the events and the various setting associated with them.
Josborne has also submitted a descriptive list of AOW2 movie files associated with the PlayMovie event. You can use this list as a quick and easy reference to select for which movie file to use in your events.You can view this list of AOW2 movies here or at Josborne's homepage.
Thanks to Talon-Thorn and Josborne for their excellent work!
Josh: patch and expansion questions
Posted by ChowGuy @ 7:39 AM
Triumph Developer Josh Farley has once again taken time to address the forum concerning patch and expansion questions, repeating as he has noted in the past:
There are unlikely to be any additional features added in a patch.That would, one might assume, cover any additions to the user interface, new dialogs, or graphic elements for either the game or the editor, since as he has indicated in the past there will be no such changes in the patch. While steering clear of stating that any expansion is currently in development he goes on however to add:
Almost anything is possible in an expansion, if user demand is high enough. The harder the feature is to implement the more demand there would need to be. Only a few items (like adding back in Azracs/Lizardmen) go against the design of the game, and would not be possible.And as to the release date for the patch itself he has this to say:
The patch is in final testing now. It has taken a bit longer than expected, because it's a single patch for all languages, countries, and versions of the game, so required additional testing. Barring any problems, it's only awaiting a final go-ahead, and should be ready... yep, you guessed it... soon.The forum staff and membership here greatly appreciate your forthrightness Josh, and understand fully that your first priority is to make sure the patch is ready and that work on an expansion, if there is one, proceeds smoothly. Thank you, once again, for spending your free time here with us.
Arrrr! Avast, ye scurvy Agers!
Posted by Angel Draco @ 1:13 PM
Shiver me timbers! Today be Talk Like A Pirate Day! Ye'd best smarten up yer lubberly tongue, or face a taste o' me magic cutlass! So me hearties, snatch yer pirate name, strike up a chanty and scuttle the scourage of the Valley of Wonders. Don't be runnin' a rig now or go splicin' the mainbrace, ye swabs!
AOW2 Reviewed in Computer Times - "Game of Wonders"
Posted by Angel Bluecollarheaven @ 8:09 AM
Computer Times, a supplement of The Straits Times (Singapore's main local English newspaper) has a review for The Age of Wonders 2 today.
A few sniplets from the review by Solomon Lim:
"Age of Wonders II is a turn-based strategy game that will fill your days with fantasy and wonder."
Read the full review on the online version of the Computer Times here.
Nothing there that I can see
Posted by ChowGuy @ 4:52 PM
Once again a question has come up about how the combat system works. This time, in relation to "random" hit and damage rolls which are uniformly repeatable in small scale TC battles after reloads in the Something Wrong with this Picture thread. After a (hopefully) lucid explanation of how random numbers in games are generated from a seeded sequence, Josh AoW added this
AoW1 and AoW2 random numbers work the same way in this regard. The only way to change the outcome is to do something different beforehand. In simultaneous turns, it is common for the AI to get one or more (or less) moves in while you're starting the combat, which can change the results.This however prompted additional questions about whether this repeatability could be exploited in PBEM games by trying cases on one machine until you found one you liked, then duplicating and sending that as your turn from another. In response Josh noted
In PBEMs, the accuracy with which you would have to mimic your previous turn would be incredible, as you would have to reproduce every minute action identically to keep the results the same. You would be spending many hours trying to cheat at a friendly game. Additionally, there are some other factors in the code that I have not discussed (intentionally) that might throw a monkey wrench into that plan. All in all, there are easier ways to cheat if you really want to.To which we can all reply as ager Flitter did:
"Perfect, our games are safe. Thanks Josh"
Community Spotlight - German AoW2 Site
Posted by Angel Draco @ 12:11 AM
The German AoW2 fansite www.aow2maps.de has recently relaunched with a slick new look!
This well-designed German community site features a map archive, forum, poll and chat room. You can also sign up for their email newsletter that will alert you to when new maps have been added to their site. Stop by and say 'Hello!' if you speak German that is...
Rise of Nations Heaven Launches!
Posted by Angel Draco @ 1:04 AM
Yet another new Heaven site rises above the horizon, shining forth oogles of resources and RTS goodness! ...sorry, got a little carried away there.
Seraph Obsidian and his crew have been working their wings off to put together this fantastic new Heaven site in record time! You can expect to find a ton of great info about the upcoming Rise of Nations game, and be sure to stop by the forums, which are already hopping after just 24 hours! Here's the official press release:
HeavenGames has launched Rise of Nations Heaven (http://ron.heavengames.com), the latest in its series of special-interest community sites for Real Time Strategy & Citybuilding games.Check out the new RoNH, then stop by the forums and say "Hello!" You can use your registered user-name in any HeavenGames forum.
The Old and the New...
Posted by ChowGuy @ 8:40 AM
As the fall television season approaches, we all once more eagerly anticipate the "end of the re-runs." Some things however are worth hearing and updating again. One that pointed out here long ago, and addressed in the v1.1 patch, is an installer problem in the AoW1 1.0 release CD affecting the Editor, specifically, the ability to create custom libraries. Triumph's sikbok noted in the Editor - Hero Libary as far back as 24-Jun-02:
Until the patch is out, if you want to make a hero lib just make diréctory named 'User' in your Aow2 dir. The editer will automatically save the libary to this 'User' directory.It appears however that problems still remain for some users, and developer Josh AoW recently offered this advice for all users:
I would suggest shutting down and restarting the editor (if it's already running), then starting a new (blank) map, before making major changes to the Hero Library. Then close the editor (no need to save the blank map) and restart it to use the library.Thanks for that, Josh. Nothing like a good step-by-step how to on things at time. Here's hoping you're not too LMK'ed to get the next updates finished though.
But not everything these days is old news or how-to's. Here's another recent post from Josh concerning the problem several agers have reported of Pestilence acting oddly
From the upcoming v1.2 patch notes:Ah, Good riddance to bad clouds!
And finally, concerning the problem of Fire Wizard's Halls of Enchantment resulting in Death by Lava that has popped up in a number of games, notably the Fire Mastery (Fire2) campaign scenario, we have the simple acknowlegement
Yup, known and fixed for the next patch.Succint is good too.
Scenario Design Hall: Spawn Unit Behaviors and AI Blocks
Posted by Angel Bluecollarheaven @ 5:30 AM
Talon-Thorn has written a short summary of what the various AI behavior settings of units spawned through events. Take a look at them here.
A look at the AI block function. This is adapted from a scenario design forum topic. I think you may find some use for its interesting properties. Read about it here, and if you like, continue the discussion in this thread.
Slowly Dripping Faucet
Posted by Angel Draco @ 10:37 PM
Triumph Studios programmer, Josh Farley, has been teasing us seemingly every day with more info about what will be included in the soon-to-be-released v1.2 patch. Drip, drip, drip.... come the hints. The suspense is terrible I hope it will last. Josh let slip this info today:
"AoW1 AI ignored concealment as well, so there is no change there. Also: The gold cost of Hurry has been doubled."This announced change to Hurrying Production will undoubtedly have a great impact on many player's strategy; it will be interesting to see how the change plays out in multiplayer.
Josh also had a follow-up comment regarding the design decision to take AoW2 in a different creative direction than AoW1:
I just wanted to make our philosophy more clear, so people don't have unrealistic expectations. We're not interested in remaking the same game over and over with minor tweaks and technological improvements. George Lucas may enjoy that kind of thing, but we don't.If we don't see an RMG in the forthcoming v1.2 patch, then this is the most definite statement yet that an AoW2 expansion pack is in the works!
Josborne's Events, Triggers, Conditions Reference List
Posted by Angel Bluecollarheaven @ 1:01 AM
Josborne has kindly let us reprint his reference lists here in our Scenario Design section. "It's a list of all of the events, triggers and conditions and the values that you can set for them. Nice for when you want to plan things or need to reference something and don't want to open the editor." he says.
Take a look:
You may also view this list on his geocities homepage. Thanks Josborne, this is certainly very useful.
More from Josh
Posted by ChowGuy @ 8:26 PM
And now for some not so vague pronouncements. There's been a lot of speculation, and more then a little pouting, about what should or should not be in any forthcoming patch or expansion. Developer Josh AoW has finally been prompted to write in the My two cents on what should be in the expansion" thread
A note: any item whose main reasoning for being added to AoW2 would be "cuz it was in AoW1"... is NOT likely to be added.Argue all you want, at the end of the day, he and Lennart are the ones whose two cents matter most.
Not to be outdone...
Posted by ChowGuy @ 8:24 PM
As noted here earlier, Josh posted in the AoW2 is *not* a direct sequel thread 'The story isn't my area of expertise, sorry." It is however, the area of expertise for of rayb AoW who has now gifted us with the following:
The Black Water Lake was a large body of water in a swampy delta, where the Lizard Folk made their domain. Blackwater Lake was just a portion of the river delta that all eventually deposited into the sea. When Nimue was unleashed upon the world, she was enraged at the humans who had almost completely obliterated her lizard folk followers from the face of the Blessed Continent, through their expansive settlements. The humans, pushed out of the Valley of Wonders, chose to displace the Lizardfolk who were seen as opportunists and hostile. They also displaced the Azracs. But I digress...
Well Ray, at least we can't call that vague!
Scenario Design Hall - How To Make A "Random" Map
Posted by Angel Bluecollarheaven @ 10:55 AM
Our Cherub Jerker (The "Jerk") has come up with a wicked new idea. In How To Make A "Random" Map, Jerker shows us step by step how to go about creating a simulated "randomized" map. Amazing as that sounds, it is actually a good way to make a playable random map within a few hours! Check it out.
I have also added a new five-part article on the use of story elements in AOW2 scenario design. It's fairly introductory, just some examples of how you can add story/instruction value to your maps. Read it here.
Lastly, a new page in the Interview and Commentary section about some sites and online utilities that scenario designers may find useful. These can be external resources for ideas that you might want to explore. The very short article is here. Have fun.
Just Joshing around
Posted by ChowGuy @ 2:12 AM
Still no release date on patch 1.2, but at least in response to a question concerning the release of a Polish version patch, Triumph's Josh AoW had this to say
I'm not sure if/where the Polish v1.1 made it public, but v1.2 will be a worldwide patch for all previous versions, so you'll be covered.He has also made a few comments in the Events Editor needs a Day Counter thread, noting among other things, that while not perfect perhaps, the Editor's capabilities are far beyond those of the AoW1 editor, and adding encouragingly, though vaguely as always
That isn't something that would be likely to get added in a patch, but if and when there's another AoW2-related project, we'll keep it in mind...Perhaps less encouraging, to Ager Beren V at least, in the AoW2 is *not* a direct sequel thread he noted
The story isn't my area of expertise, sorry.But on the brighter side he also pointed out that
A note: The AI bonuses at harder skill levels are -smaller- than they were in AoW1.although what exactly that had to do with the discussion he didn't mention. Must have our daily ration of vagueness, eh? C'mon, just a little hint?
New Pub in Town!
Posted by ChowGuy @ 11:47 AM
Interest continues to grow in The Aow/Aow2 Heaven Hall of Wonders Interactive Role Playing forum. The call is still out though for more experienced players and GM's to build lands and worlds there. To help matters along, Ager and GM Kaji has arranged space for Farman, the Barman of The Prancing Pony Inn to set up shop there.
Here Newbies, Players, GM's and Storytellers may gather to raise an ale and a song to old adventures while also plotting new. Or put another way, your one stop shop for Q & A, good times and sharing ideas.That about says it all, except that you needn't even be an Age of Wonders fan, there's plenty of room here for all. But Farman doesn't like barroom brawls or food fights, so keep it civil. Although Dark Angel officially denies any Heavenly influence, rumors persist that Farman has high powered contacts in low places - specifically, the club he keeps under the bar.
So drop in to say hello, ask questions, participate in, or just hear a good tale. And maybe have some pie while you're at it. Ale on tap. Milk on udder.
Cazuul's "A Touch Of Love To Your Maps"
Posted by Angel Bluecollarheaven @ 8:22 PM
Cazuul has contributed some pics of the map he is working on to our Scenario Design section to demostrate how a little more effort and loving touch can add interesting and aesthetic quality to the map terrain. He uses a combination of tiles on the same hex to create special effects. You can view this mini-gallery of beautiful map terrain here.
New Strategy Articles
Posted by Angel Draco @ 1:07 PM
We have two new Strategy Articles for you in the Library.
Check out these new articles and more in the Strategy section of our Library. Look for two more strategy articles on Monday!
Posted by Angel Draco @ 1:11 PM
Ager Polaris X is creating a Forum Heroes Library consisting of custom-made heroes based upon (you guessed it) forum members! Scenario designers will be able to download this collection and add the custom heroes to their maps; a great way to personalize your maps to the local crowd!
There are about 12 heroes entered so far, but another 20 or so are needed. It's easy to include yourself in the Forum Heroes Library. Just create a customized hero by assigning points and skills for a level 1 or level 2 hero. Post your hero's name and stats in this thread of the forums. So don't delay, add your hero today! I just had to say that...
Scenario Design Hall - Overcoming The Obstacles Of Creativity
Posted by Angel Bluecollarheaven @ 6:09 AM
Queen Elquein shares with us her thoughts on overcoming mapmaking idea blocks and design burnout in an interview. Although the article discusses on the experiences in AOW1, I think this article is still useful for AOW2 scenario designers.
Read the 2-part interview article here.
(For those who are interested in viewing the screenshots of Elquein's AOW1 map, Athendore, you can view the AOWH version of this article here.
Next Patch 4: Are we THERE yet?
Posted by ChowGuy @ 9:46 AM
Well not quite, but here's the latest bit from Josh AoW in the AoW2 General Discussion Section's Two weeks to patch thread:
Here's a couple of items from the upcoming patch notes that should make you guys happy...Elsewhere recently, he has confirmed fixes in the Destroy All 4 Gates thread and in response to Scenario Design maven Bluecollarheaven's Exploration off causes a 10 second freeze-up report.
LeagueAOW Tourney Underway
Posted by Angel Draco @ 12:01 AM
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