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Age of Empires III Heaven » Forums » General Discussions » Ask Sandy XXIV
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Topic Subject:Ask Sandy XXIV
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SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 10-19-09 01:52 PM EDT (US)         
the latest incarnation of Ask Sandy. All questions are possible.

1) Who is Sandy?
A) Sandy Petersen, a designer at former Ensemble Studios. He was design lead on Rise of Rome, The Conquerors, and the Warchiefs. He was part of the design team on Age of Emipres II and Age of Empires III. He has worked on numerous other games, and has been in the digital game industry since 1988.

2) What is Sandy doing now?
A) He teaches game design at The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University.

3) What are Robot / Bonfire up to?
A) Sandy will not answer ANY questions about Robot or Bonfire's plans -- he knows and likes the people who work there, and wishes them well. They deserve the right to make their own press releases.
AuthorReplies:
Hoop Thrower
Skirmisher
posted 07-08-10 09:12 PM EDT (US)     226 / 238       
Did you ever consider adding non-north american natives on the Warchiefs? The Incas are pretty famous and important and of course the Mapuches could had been an interesting civ.
Darthcast
Skirmisher
posted 08-05-10 09:15 PM EDT (US)     227 / 238       
Hey Sandy.

I just started playing Halo Wars again. And noticed, again, how unbelievable awesome the UI and controls are. I'm actually very interested in UI design and consider it one of the most underestimated things in game and software design.

I remembered something you said:
[...] clearly the year that was spent by Tim Deen and Angelo Laudon working on the interface was a good job.
And I wonder if you happen to know something about what they did, how they did it etc. Eg. what books did they read beforehand and what kind of research they did... Would be really great to get some book recommendations or something... anything.

And I've got another question:
Two of my favorite games are Wizardry 8 and Jagged Alliance 2. Both belong, imo, to the very best games of their respective genre and are absolute masterpieces of game design. How sad that the creators seem to have disappeared from the surface of the earth mysteriously... oops, straying from the point again.
Well... did you play Wizardry 8 and/or Jagged Alliance 2 and what's your opinion?

Play my scenarios! You won't believe how much fun they are!
StormComing
Skirmisher
posted 10-06-10 04:21 PM EDT (US)     228 / 238       
No ways.

You sir, have my deepest gratitude and respekt.

I grew up on age of empires II... i went through puberty on the AOE II expansion pack... and i procrastinate through college on AOE III... ha.

So... thank you.

My question would be... what exactly was your involvment helping design AOE 2? any memories or experiences you want to share... certain aspects of the game you specificly worked on...?

ESO: StormComing/SoulSong
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Activity: Retired (GG peace out)
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Pretor54
Skirmisher
posted 11-01-10 10:29 PM EDT (US)     229 / 238       
Q:Somewhere I read that TAD wasn´t planned by ES, the only xpack that ES planned was TWC. How was that story?Did BHG say "Hey, Age3 needs Asian civs", or somethin'?

But you'll have to forgive me. I'm a noob, and I do noobish things, you may be a pro now, but you were noob once. Are you going to deny it, Frenk?
The leader that dies in a last stand will (usually) be remembered forever. The leader that did NOT die (in a last stand) won't be remembered, cuz he didn't die for his homeland.
SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 11-09-10 11:57 AM EDT (US)     230 / 238       
I know I haven’t written for months, but here I am again to answer the last few queries. Sorry about the delay.

1)The AOE 1.0c/ROR 1.0a Save Game crash bug is a commonly discussed topic on the AOE Heaven Forum. Since the only retail version of AOE/ROR still available [known as the Collector's Edition] has the late patched exes and a lot of AOE/ROR players play the Collector's Edition [not having old disks of the earlier versions], this is a pretty big issue.
A – you have my sympathy. I hate crash bugs as much as everyone else. I can’t do anything about it though – and since MS broke up the ES team I’m not sure what we could do either.

2)what else do you want in a game if re/bonfire/other ensmble studios break offs, make a game?
A – well, they DID break off and make games. I’m excited to see them.

3)Where do you plan to retire to?
A – I hope to die in the saddle, still working on games.

4)Would you host us a Call of Cthulhu-game if I begged pretty enough?
A -well maybe. But you have to take away the Jefferson “quote” from your signature, since it’s actually not by him.

5)what part of AOE3 should be changed? As in, civilizations, maps, revolutions
A – I’d only change balance issues, not major features. Additions are changes I guess and I’d like to see more civs, and maps.

6)what program did u use to make all the AoE, RoR, AoK, Aok:C, AoE3, AoE3 WC, and AoE3 AD
A – they were programmed in C++

7)Who have the rights to the AGE series, since it is no more Ensamble Studios, Is it Microsoft?
A – it has always been MicroSoft. The right to the “age of empires” name was never owned by ES.

8)Did you ever consider adding non-north american natives on the Warchiefs?
A – yes. In fact the original design spec had Incas, but we decided that we could only do three civs, not four, so Incas went by the wayside.

9)I remembered something you said: “[...] clearly the year that was spent by Tim Deen and Angelo Laudon working on the interface was a good job.” I wonder if you happen to know something about what they did, how they did it etc. Eg. what books did they read beforehand and what kind of research they did.
A – I don’t know of any books they read. It was just trying out interface after interface, experimenting non-stop and seeing how things worked on the screen. They played console RTSs like Pikmin and Herzog Zwei. It was all very practical, with almost no theoretical aspects.

10)what exactly was your involvment helping design AOE 2?
A – I managed the campaign design, I had lots of input for the main body of the game (weapons, units, upgrades, etc.), and I designed all of the enemy AI. Then I was the lead designer on The Conquerors and was responsible for everything.

11)Somewhere I read that TAD wasn´t planned by ES, the only xpack that ES planned was TWC. How was that story?Did BHG say "Hey, Age3 needs Asian civs", or somethin'?
A – MS said they wanted another expansion pack, but we didn’t feel like we had enough bandwidth to do it ourselves. BHG were friends of ours, and were big fans of the Age series, so we felt they would be able to pull it off. The logical extension was Asians – we almost did Asians instead of native Americans for the Warchiefs, after all.
Maffia
AoE3H Seraph
(id: fred_ernie)
posted 11-09-10 02:25 PM EDT (US)     231 / 238       
Thanks Sandy, great to see you're still popping in.

This month I have mostly been playing Dishonored Death of the Outsider and Darkest Dungeon
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What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
[This message hasn't been edited by fred_ernie (or Maffia) (not edited 12-29-2005 @ 09:57 AM).]
Myll_Erik
Seraph Emeritus
posted 11-10-10 04:09 PM EDT (US)     232 / 238       
Indeed - thanks a lot Sandy.

Veni, Vidi, Vici
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Pretor54
Skirmisher
posted 11-15-10 08:04 PM EDT (US)     233 / 238       
More questions!
Why the convert feature of the priests was removed?

Who wrote the Campaign's story?

What did that HUGE change in graphics between AOK and AOM/Age3?

Why did the armor had that change, from an unit having pierce, hand and siege armor, therefore defecting at least some damage (the defense system of Aom) to the defense system of Age3 (Just 1 type of armor, creating more fragile units in certain moments, and unvincible units in others)?

How did you get hired by ES?

Hey, more spam:
Why did you drop Incans as a civ for TWC?
Have you met ES_Paragon?

But you'll have to forgive me. I'm a noob, and I do noobish things, you may be a pro now, but you were noob once. Are you going to deny it, Frenk?
The leader that dies in a last stand will (usually) be remembered forever. The leader that did NOT die (in a last stand) won't be remembered, cuz he didn't die for his homeland.

[This message has been edited by Pretor54 (edited 11-17-2010 @ 10:04 PM).]

Krakenbits
Skirmisher
posted 07-06-11 10:36 PM EDT (US)     234 / 238       
Considering Sandy hasn't been asked a question in half a year, it's unlikely he still reads this, but if you are:

Q: What are your impressions of Robot Entertainment's "Orcs Must Die!" and did (or do) you have any creative part in the game (maybe a consultant or an ideas guy)?

[This message has been edited by Krakenbits (edited 07-06-2011 @ 10:38 PM).]

sigmatta
Skirmisher
posted 07-31-11 01:47 PM EDT (US)     235 / 238       
Hoping that Sandyman will pop up sometime to answer those now rare questions...
I was always wondering about available civilizations in AoE series,like why we have 3 greek civilizations-greeks,minoans and macedonians-arent they basically same civilization(greeks)?Arent Carthage same as Phoenicia and palmyrans-never heard of them...why is India missing from first 2 ages and why no love for italians(im sure they werent that bad).Would be nice knowing these odd choices(IMO).
Thanks.
Hoop Thrower
Skirmisher
posted 07-31-11 04:39 PM EDT (US)     236 / 238       
Yes, I'd like to extended that question to the warchiefs too, choosing aztecs and sioux indeed feels like odd choices, the first because the units seem kind of uninspired (all of them are named basically war - something) and the second because they barely fit the timeline (they were almost instantly defeated by the Spanish) when even keeping the native american theme there were many better choices to make, like Maya, Inca, Mapuche, etc...
Also, it feels like the game had some kind of strong vias towards north america, featuring more than twice maps from there than south america, without mentioning the native distribution on the south american maps is odd at best (Tupi in Pampas? Zapotecs in orinoco?)
In resume:
Why were the aztecs and sioux chosen on the warchiefs over other possible civs?
What's up with the few availability of and odd native distribution in south american maps?

Team member of wotta, the latin american mod with many new features for the game!

HoopThrower in ESO
anterior2
Scenario Design Expert
posted 07-31-11 06:11 PM EDT (US)     237 / 238       
Why did you gravedig this thread?

StormComing (to me): "Seems like you're way under-ranked"

Check out my series of guides for the scenario editor in the link below! | Best Otto TR score

The definitive collection of my scenarios, along with my scenario editor walkthrough, recorded games, and much much more!
Krakenbits
Skirmisher
posted 08-06-11 10:49 AM EDT (US)     238 / 238       
Another question(s)
Sandy please come back

What are your opinions on the Age of Empires Online business model? Would you have taken the series in that direction? Do you think it was necessary for the survival of the franchise to do so?
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