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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:
Mariomasta RJK
Skirmisher
posted 10-27-09 09:23 PM EDT (US)     26 / 238       
Do your students respect you or see you as friendly in your class? Do you feel teaching game design is much different than standard classes such as English/mathematics

Tashunuke Prowlers, since they were considered Sioux's "Best Unit", how come they were never given a guard/imperial upgrade? Likewise, how come Dog soldiers were only available via big button/home city. This would not make sioux in any way OP, just improve long awaited boosts that sioux deserves.

DISTISOP
ESO: Blitzkrieg_Mario
Prefered civs: Hell, I like them all.
Rank: TWC PR 18 (master sergeant) TAD PR 17, Vanilla PR 12

Clan: Triple Entente
Favorite games: Dofus, AoE 3, Tremulous, CoD 4, SSBB, Urban Terror
Roderic
Skirmisher
posted 10-28-09 10:01 AM EDT (US)     27 / 238       
@ Mario

Don't forget the war dance which spawns dog soldier insanely.

Milita est vita hominis super terram et sicut dies mercenarii dies ejus (Job VII:1)
SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 10-28-09 03:42 PM EDT (US)     28 / 238       
1)Missile armed cav would be quite cool, guys with bazookas sitting on horses
A)Actually bazookas on horseback would be totally do-able - rocket weapons don’t produce any recoil (which is why you see missiles mounted on so many light chassis vehicles). However, the pedant in me forces me to point out that if you use the word “missile” in the old sense, it includes everything from rocks to spittle to bullets. And if you are trying to use it in the modern military sense, then bazookas don’t fire missiles. They fire rockets. “Missiles” in modern parlance, have some kind of guidance system, be it ever so primitive. Rockets don’t.

2)Did you participated in the choice of the flora and/or terrains for the maps?
A)Actually, yes. I even went to the trouble of looking up photos of specific south American trees and such.

3)Didn't you get disappointed with the AI development for the naval warfare?
A)My only defense is that the naval warfare in ALL the Age of Empire series was flawed. Maybe someday we’d have figured it out, but Age II wasn’t the time.

4)Do your students respect you or see you as friendly in your class?
A)Is this an either-or question? I don’t rule with an iron talon, if that’s what you’re wondering, but neither do I suck up to the students. I try to be professional, helpful, and even-handed.

5) Do you feel teaching game design is much different than standard classes such as English/mathematics
A)Beats me. I’ve never taught English/Mathematics.

6) Tashunuke Prowlers, since they were considered Sioux's "Best Unit", how come they were never given a imperial upgrade?
A) do you really think an imperial upgrade would make the difference in the Sioux? Surely any improvements to their civ needs to happen at an earlier state.
Mariomasta RJK
Skirmisher
posted 10-28-09 04:18 PM EDT (US)     29 / 238       
Well just in general, I mean it seems weird that every unit that you can make aside from the tashunuke have an guard/imperial upgrade, as these would actually allow the sioux to somewhat compete late game, and take out and skirm civs/cannons civs late game

DISTISOP
ESO: Blitzkrieg_Mario
Prefered civs: Hell, I like them all.
Rank: TWC PR 18 (master sergeant) TAD PR 17, Vanilla PR 12

Clan: Triple Entente
Favorite games: Dofus, AoE 3, Tremulous, CoD 4, SSBB, Urban Terror
CrazyLunatic
Veteran Musketeer
posted 10-29-09 00:29 AM EDT (US)     30 / 238       
nobody uses tashunke in fortress so i don't see why anyone would in imperial anyway...

Alright here's my question:

What made you become interested in gaming industry?

QUACK
superayush
Skirmisher
posted 10-31-09 09:41 AM EDT (US)     31 / 238       
why is grenadiers rate of fire so slow?

"when starting a war it is not what right that matters but
victory"
retribution1423
Skirmisher
posted 11-01-09 08:46 AM EDT (US)     32 / 238       

1) I am currently at The University of Surrey studying music and would like to look into designing music for games, what sort of path do you think would be the best way into that after i finish my degree?

2) How involved were you in the creation/selection of the music for aoe?

3)Do you play aoe3 on-line? if you do/did what is/was your rank?

4) You said aoe did not use a counter system in one of your previous threads (which i thought it did), then said it was another system, i dont really understand what that other system is, care to explain please?

Thanks for this thread, its really cool to hear your answers on this sort of stuff

Mudkips did 9/11 - The way I see it is, I'm playing this game for the fun of it, not to prove that I have a fiery E-wang of doom.

[This message has been edited by retribution1423 (edited 11-01-2009 @ 08:50 AM).]

SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 11-01-09 01:12 PM EDT (US)     33 / 238       
1)it seems weird that every unit that you can make aside from the tashunuke have an guard/imperial upgrade, as these would actually allow the sioux to somewhat compete late game
A)I repeat – do you think it’s late game that the Sioux should be boosted. It seems to me that their mid-game is the right time.

2)What made you become interested in gaming industry?
A)I backed into it by accident. Not everyone chooses their career in a carefully prescient manner.

3)why is grenadiers rate of fire so slow?
A)In a desperate attempt to add variety to the narrative, we decided that not every unit should have an identical fire rate. The Grenadier’s attack factor was boosted in an attempt to make up for the slower rate, but I guess it still didn’t meet your high standards. Sorry.

4) I am currently at The University of Surrey studying music and would like to look into designing music for games, what sort of path do you think would be the best way into that after i finish my degree?
A)Getting into games by doing music is pretty tough – musicians are the least-numerous members of the team. To do a full-on game like Age of Empires takes 30-50 people, but only 1 of them has to be a musician. In fact, because of this, a lot of game studios don’t even have any musicians working for them, and they hire freelancers to do the work. As a result, there are a number of musicians who work freelance for the industry, though almost all of them do other things on the side. Or maybe it’s the game stuff that’s “on the side” if you get my drift.

5)How involved were you in the creation/selection of the music for aoe?
A)I was happy to leave it up to David and Chris Rippy.

6)You said aoe did not use a counter system in one of your previous threads (which i thought it did), then said it was another system, i dont really understand what that other system is, care to explain please?
A)We use a non-transitive system. It is certainly related to a counter system, but is not exactly the same. Sometimes the Age system is termed Rock-Paper-Scissors, but you can have more than 3 units in the relationship.

[This message has been edited by ES_Sandyman (edited 11-01-2009 @ 01:16 PM).]

superayush
Skirmisher
posted 11-02-09 00:28 AM EDT (US)     34 / 238       
isn't howdah taking 6 pop a bit too much?
and mahout lancer 7(with fact it has reduction against HI which even cuirassier don't have :O)

"when starting a war it is not what right that matters but
victory"

[This message has been edited by superayush (edited 11-02-2009 @ 03:56 AM).]

The Jackal
Skirmisher
posted 11-02-09 02:28 AM EDT (US)     35 / 238       
isn't howdah taking 7 pop a bit too much?
Yes. That's why a howdah is 6 population.
Roderic
Skirmisher
posted 11-02-09 07:30 AM EDT (US)     36 / 238       
In comparison to the animal food sources in the wilderness, the vegetables are only represented by the red berry bushes. Have you ever though in adding some diversity like blackberries, fruit trees or mushrooms?

It's quite fun to see that the red berry bush are the AoE series' item that have been present in all the games. Do you remember how did you came up with the idea? Is it based in some specific bush?

Milita est vita hominis super terram et sicut dies mercenarii dies ejus (Job VII:1)
Ussyless
Skirmisher
posted 11-02-09 11:16 AM EDT (US)     37 / 238       
Hi sandy, i have a few questions for you.

firstly, if you look at age of empires 1&2, the games are quite a bit simpler, cut wood, mine gold, mine stone etc...
in aoe3, it introduces a heck of alot of new things, and the gameplay isnt really at all related to any of the previous games, age of empires 3 is hugely different from aoe2, and aoe1, an entirely different game with completely different gameplay (i also dont like that settlers dont need to bank their resources when gathering),is it really an AOE game, or just a new RTS?

SHIPS- im sure everyone has noticed, the ships in aoe3 move around very oddly, whats up with those?

CHAT ROOOMS- im not sure if theres an option to turn it off, but whenever i am in a chat room, every two seconds i get a request that pops up that cant be avoided, i've had people just sit there and spam it at me... seriously, how did you not see that being abused

FORMATIONS, i really hate how these were done, theres a bunch of different modes, trample mode, stagger mode, how could this possibly be better than how aoe2 did it? a visual display of the formations, along with a set of stances, stand ground, defencive, etc, what were you thinking O_O

anyways, i bought this game, expecting it to be similar to aoe2, it wasnt in any way =P

thanks for reading sandy, if i think of anything else, ill post again
SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 11-03-09 12:16 PM EDT (US)     38 / 238       
1)isn't howdah taking 6 pop a bit too much? and mahout lancer 7
A)using pop to control a unit’s frequency is in fact would pop is FOR.

2)In comparison to the animal food sources in the wilderness, the vegetables are only represented by the red berry bushes. Have you ever though in adding some diversity like blackberries, fruit trees or mushrooms?
A)They’re there in the little prizes you can pick up on the map.

3)It's quite fun to see that the red berry bush are the AoE series' item that have been present in all the games. Do you remember how did you came up with the idea? Is it based in some specific bush?
A)Well, it was based on two things. First, we wanted it to look different from the background plants, and so “red” was an obvious color that jumps out at you. Second, they are basically “meatberry” bushes, since it all adds to the same pile of food, so it made sense that way too. It’s not based on a specific real type of bush.

4)if you look at age of empires 1&2, the games are quite a bit simpler, cut wood, mine gold, mine stone etc... in aoe3, it introduces a heck of alot of new things, and the gameplay isnt really at all related to any of the previous games, age of empires 3 is hugely different from aoe2, and aoe1, an entirely different game with completely different gameplay (i also dont like that settlers dont need to bank their resources when gathering),is it really an AOE game, or just a new RTS?
A)It’s really an AoE game. You cut wood, mind gold, farm, etc. I don’t see how you say it’s “hugely different”. The units work the same way as always, and the economy is basically the same. I’m sorry you don’t like the little additional simplification that settlers don’t bank their resources – the reason we left this out was because the economy was slightly more complicated, and so we wanted to make at least one aspect easier.

5)the ships in aoe3 move around very oddly, whats up with those?
A)They’re bigger than in previous Age games, so their pathing is different.

6)whenever i am in a chat room, every two seconds i get a request that pops up that cant be avoided, i've had people just sit there and spam it at me... seriously, how did you not see that being abused
A)we left it in specifically to annoy you personally.

7)FORMATIONS, i really hate how these were done
A)Sorry.

8)i bought this game, expecting it to be similar to aoe2, it wasnt in any way
A)hogwash. It is economy-focused, features a town center with villagers, has units which relate to each other in a rock-paper-scissors manner, has towers, resources are wood, food, and gold, and food is gathered by hunting, gathering, fishing, and farming. It has counter units, and unique civ bonuses that aren’t too extreme. Even the parts of Age 2 that were sucky (like the naval combat) are sucky in this one. It is TOTALLY an Age game.
Roderic
Skirmisher
posted 11-03-09 12:26 PM EDT (US)     39 / 238       
It is TOTALLY an Age game.
Don't forget the meatbush...

Milita est vita hominis super terram et sicut dies mercenarii dies ejus (Job VII:1)

[This message has been edited by Roderic (edited 11-03-2009 @ 12:27 PM).]

legio1984
Skirmisher
posted 11-04-09 11:27 AM EDT (US)     40 / 238       
Do you think that a naval combat system like this could work well in AOE?

http://www.gametrailers.com/video/naval-combat-rise-and/8471
SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 11-06-09 09:55 AM EDT (US)     41 / 238       
Q) Do you think that a naval combat system like this could work well in AOE? (link to video)

A) I will just say that even Age of Empire's naval combat could be made to look good in a video. It's reality that's the issue.
CookieCrisp13
Skirmisher
posted 11-06-09 11:37 AM EDT (US)     42 / 238       
What was your favorite strategy when playing Age III?

Did any of your play testers (including yourself) think or play like online players did in Vanilla? Were you able to predict the general pattern of why players chose the 500 wood age up all the time, etc. How did that affect how you developed TWC and TAD?

Proud winner of the FFA Winter Round '07!
[Judgε][Epic Thread]
My Vods:[One] [Two][Three][Four]
"with all the bling on a mandsabar you could win the game by paying the enemy to resign." IL
superayush
Skirmisher
posted 11-07-09 00:45 AM EDT (US)     43 / 238       
should Sioux rifle riders have a bit more range as they serve as skirmishers too

"when starting a war it is not what right that matters but
victory"
SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 11-10-09 10:27 AM EDT (US)     44 / 238       
1)What was your favorite strategy when playing Age III?
A)Part of the reason I was so sucky at playing Age III is that I didn’t HAVE a favorite strategy. I’d keep mixing and matching, switching out tactics and trying experimental things. So I never got good at any one strategy.

2)Did any of your play testers (including yourself) think or play like online players did in Vanilla?
A)Probably at times. Once 100,000 people start playing the game, they come up with strategies beyond the ability of even the most sophisticated playtesters to detect. At least if the game itself has depth and complexity which I feel safe in saying Age has.

3)Were you able to predict the general pattern of why players chose the 500 wood age up all the time?
A)Nope. We picked several different options for the age-up specifically because we weren’t sure what was best. We had hoped that there would be different options that would be good for different strategies.

4) How did that affect how you developed TWC and TAD?
A)We knew that the new civs would require new strategies, so we tried to make sure that there were a variety of options available for them, so that these strats could be flexible.

5)should Sioux rifle riders have a bit more range as they serve as skirmishers
A)so they should be fast AND long-ranged? Shouldn’t they cost significantly more in such a case?
Mariomasta RJK
Skirmisher
posted 11-10-09 05:12 PM EDT (US)     45 / 238       
In its first year of being released, about how many people played online on Vanilla ESO?

DISTISOP
ESO: Blitzkrieg_Mario
Prefered civs: Hell, I like them all.
Rank: TWC PR 18 (master sergeant) TAD PR 17, Vanilla PR 12

Clan: Triple Entente
Favorite games: Dofus, AoE 3, Tremulous, CoD 4, SSBB, Urban Terror
mocorongo
Skirmisher
posted 11-11-09 08:14 AM EDT (US)     46 / 238       
Correct me if I´m wrong, but i think it was in one of your previous AoE3 "Ask Sandy" that I read something about Ensemble testing a version of the game without the aging feature. What were the good and bad things about it?
The Crazy Idiot
Skirmisher
posted 11-15-09 11:27 PM EDT (US)     47 / 238       
Where would you have liked to have taken the series (thematically and in gameplay) had Ensemble not been shut down?
SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 11-16-09 05:51 PM EDT (US)     48 / 238       
1)In its first year of being released, about how many people played online on Vanilla ESO?
A)Beats me. I had access to all this information at one time.

2)Correct me if I´m wrong, but i think it was in one of your previous AoE3 "Ask Sandy" that I read something about Ensemble testing a version of the game without the aging feature. What were the good and bad things about it?
A)No, it’s true. The original plan was for the ages to advance automatically over time. You would not spend money or time on it – it would just happen.

One advantage is that players could focus on getting the most out of their current age. And when the time for the change-over happened, players had big choices – do they keep spending on old, weak units, hoping to kill the enemy off early in the next age, or do they save their money, and buy a good army next. It also simplified overall gameplay (obviously).

The disadvantages were first that it took away a strategic choice from the players, and second that it felt less like an “age” type of game.

3)Where would you have liked to have taken the series (thematically and in gameplay) had Ensemble not been shut down?
A)Well I’m a big world war II buff, but I also think it might have been cool to go back to a previous time period, The three places I thought Age could go in the future that most excited me were:

First, I really liked the home city innovation, and I would have liked to see a lot more of it, with more options and differences.

Second, I have always had a dream plan of having a persistent world, with different players each running their own separate realms and trying to conquer the world – perhaps in cooperation with one another. Almost like an MMO, but shorter in time, because someone could actually succeed in a conquest, which would end the game. Of course then another would start up. It would be a little like the old PBM games that were popular in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Third, I would want to add a self-balancing feature. The basic idea is that players would bid production bonuses to be (or avoid being) a particular civ. Basically, you’d make a bid, and whoever bid the most would get his way. For instance, assume Babylonians sucked donkey goober – how much of a production bonus would you be willing to give someone who was going to play them? Say you offered 5%, but your opponent offered 8%. Since he offered more, YOU would be the Babylonians in the upcoming game. But you’d have an 8% production bonus, so it would presumably be fair. ESO would have to list the current “ratings” of all the civs, like a stock market.

Obviously details need to be worked out, because there are more than two civs in an Age game. But it would lead to civs being balanced regardless of civ bonus, and it would even let us design civs that everyone agreed were inferior (like the French or Italians in WW2, say). Civs could be designed based on history instead of a need for balance.
existoid
Skirmisher
posted 11-17-09 07:21 PM EDT (US)     49 / 238       
why is your first-born son so incredibly handsome?
SandyMan
VIP
(id: ES_Sandyman)
posted 11-18-09 01:50 PM EDT (US)     50 / 238       
he takes after his mom.
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