Age of Empires

0AD – Open Source Age of Empires – Wait, what?

The original Age of Empires, from Ensemble Studios and published through Microsoft, is one of my favorite games. In fact, I feel AoE, is one of the best games written.

Make no mistake, AoE is still available on Steam in the AoE HD Edition. While I have mixed feelings about how Microsoft has handled this title and their treatment of the original devs, it’s a great game and can be had for cheap during a Steam sale. However, it’s not available for Mac or Linux.

Or is it?

After making a comment about AoE, I was told there was 0AD, an open source project to bring an AoE style game back to life.

I immediately jumped on board, downloaded a copy, and 0AD absolutely looks and plays like an AoE themed game. If you didn’t know better, you would say the band got back together and released this as the next game in the series. The buildings, play style, tech tree, hunting, farming, and building of troops should all be completely familiar. And that’s awesome.

I’ve just started to play through the tutorial and get my feet wet. But, I am absolutely thrilled to see a project like this. The fact I can play 0AD on my Mac is incredibly satisfying.

Now that I have honed my wood cutting skills, mined some stone, run through the golden wheat fields, and stalked a camel to use for food, I’m going to dig deep and try my hand at combat. If 0AD really is anything like Age of Empires, I should be screaming for mercy and wondering why I have no resources by the time I upgrade to the second age.

0AD

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Good Heavens! Age of Empires II: HD Edition is on Sale for $4.99! 75% Off

Well ain’t this something, Age of Empires II: HD Edition is on sale for $4.99. If you missed the Steam Summer Sale or your trying to convince a buddy to join in a game, now’s the time to pick up a copy. This is a really good deal for a game for a smash hit of a game. I’ve talked a lot about the game and you’ve seen my epic failures, but don’t let that stop you! You know, I wish they would set up some AoE tournaments like they do for Dota 2, I would love to see some teams go head to head in some town sieging action. I used to know some guys that could build and rush another civilization in 15 minutes or so. It was a little freakish!

But anyway, grab a copy while it’s at this low price.

If you want the full Monty then spring for the Age of Empires Legacy Bundle. This gives you Age of Empires II HD with The Forgotten Expansion pack AND it gives you ALL of Age of Empires III Complete Collection. This the game and both Expansion Packs. That’s the complete bundle of AoE for $13.74. This is the Summer Sale price and is an amazing sale! 75% Off is nothing to sneeze at!

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Some real gems in the Steam Summer Sale – Age of Empires II – The RTS lives on!

The RTS genre may not be with us anymore, but the classics that defined it are all on Steam. If you’re a fan of Age of Empires like I am, check out this massive sale. Age of Empires II HD Edition which is the Age of Kings and the expansion pack for it, Age of Conquerors are on sale  for a mere $4.99. If you want to get The Forgotten Expansion you can get all of it for $7.49. That is insanely cheap! If that’s not enough for you, check this out. There is the Age of Empires Legacy Bundle which is the full monty and includes – Age of Empires III: Complete Collection, Age of Empires II HD, Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. I mean damn! That is the whole damn collection in one fell swoop. That’s amazing. And it’s $13.74. For less than $15 you can get some of the best RTS ever made!

If you truly want it all you can get Age of Mythology for $22.49, but if you go over to Steam and vote AoM could drop by 40% and only cost $18. Nice savings there.

I really do miss Age of Empires and the RTS genre. There were some great games that came out during that time period. We had Age of Empires, Rise of Nations and Empire Earth. It’s a damn shame that every one of those studios is not shut down and completely defunct.

But you can still play the games and they going strong!

Age of Empires II HD Edition
Age of Empires Legacy Bundle

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From Age of Empires to Rise of Nations

An article about Microsoft’s plans to make Age of Empires for the mobile platform, including the iPad had me longing for the days of what I consider to be one of the best series of games made – Age of Empires. I spent hours playing both Age of Empires and Age of Kings (including all the expansion packs). I feel this was a watershed series of games for Microsoft. At the time, Microsoft wanted to be a game publisher. They wanted that “Home” market and needed more than just Flight Simulator and Links. Along comes Ensemble Studios and hits their first game right out of the park. It wasn’t just a “decent” or “alright” title, it was fantastic. It had great graphics, awesome music and sounds, a complex and exciting skill tree and it was a great single player as well as multi-player network game. At the time, when it hit 6pm, the corporate network was alive with AoE.

There was also the spectacular Rise of Nations. Sure, it was a “spin off” of Age of Empires, but it added a slew of it’s own features. You had to push the borders of your territory instead of just lifting the “fog of war”. It also covered more time had military units with flame throwers, machine guns, humvees and ultimately, nuclear bombs. It took was a fantastic single player and multi-player game. We had many, many epic battles with both of those games on the corporate network.

Talking about the games got me all nostalgic and I went to the old CD case binder and low and behold I still have my Age of Empires and Age of Kings CDs. But try as I might I couldn’t find my Rise of Nations discs. I know damn well and good I wouldn’t have thrown them out. I’m sure they’re in some box at the bottom of a closet just waiting to be unearthed. But have no fear, a quick trip to Amazon revealed a packaged edition of Rise of Nations and the Thrones and Patriots expansion pack. I bought a copy for a mere $8. I can’t wait for that to get here so I can give it a go.

I’m going to try and install Age of Empires again and see if I can get it to work. I don’t know if Windows 7 will be kind to AoE and let it run correctly. I also need to find out where all the patches can be downloaded from. I know there was a series of updates to correct the bugs.

While the games themselves are awesome it sort of bugs me how it all played out for Ensemble Studios and Big Huge Games. Microsoft didn’t have a showcase game until Ensemble came along. Once Microsoft took over, they squeezed them dry and left them for dead. That studio is now defunct and that’s pretty sad. AoE was a pinnacle set of games at the time and feel that series should still be around.Unfortunately, Microsoft shut down the studio once they got Halo Wars out of them. That’s not the way you treat a company that put you on the map as a game publisher.

But the games do live on. The entire Age of Empires series is available from Amazon and so is Rise of Nations. I never played AoE III so that bundle will be showing up as well. If I can get them to work, I’m for damn sure playing a full on battle this weekend!

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Rise of Nations + Rise of Nations: Thrones & Patriots

Age of Empires III Complete Collection

Age Of Empires Collector’s Edition (Limited Edition)

Age of Empires 2: Gold Edition

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