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Thursday, August 13, 2009
Classic Postmortem: Age Of Empires
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Gamasutra has posted a classic postmortem article from its archives. Originally released in 1998, the postmortem reveals the story behind Ensemble Studios' Age Of Empires real time strategy game. The article includes discussion of multiplayer, artwork, performance, and a list of which elements did and did not work.

Obviously, Age of Empires didn’t start out looking like the final product. Despite some accusations, Dawn of Man (AoE’s original title) wasn’t created to be a Warcraft II clone. (In fact, Warcraft II wasn’t released until after AoE’s development was well underway).

Instead, the final design was evolved and refined over time, with a few significant design events along the way. One of the best things I think you can have in a game company is a staff that plays a lot of different games.

This was true of our staff at Ensemble, and was helped in no small part by programmer Tim Deen’s habit of buying and actually playing almost every new PC game as it came out. It was Tim who brought Warcraft II to the attention of the rest of the Ensemble staff. At that time, many of AoE’s game elements, such as resource management, empire building, and technology research, were taking clear shape.

However, we didn’t really know what to do about combat. Warcraft II was a splash of cold water in the face, waking us up to how much fun real-time combat could be. Several times a week, the staff would stay late to play multiplayer Warcraft. These impromptu events continued until AoE reached the point in development when it became more fun to play than Warcraft.
Visit the page below to read more.

Gamasutra: Age Of Empires Postmortem
Ensemble Studios
Age of Empires

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