This weekend, I teamed with two friends and we fought against two AI on Moderate in Age of Empires II: HD Edition, on Steam. Like a few weeks ago, the fight went on much longer than we expected – coming in just shy of 4 hours! It was a pitched battle, with myself as the Malians (blue), my friends as the Britons (red) & Huns (green) and the computer playing the Portuguese (yellow) and Burmese (aqua).
This graph tells a tale of missteps and achievements.
I’m looking at the replay right now and see some things that really surprise me. My first observation is that the computer was able to build a total population that far outstripped ours very rapidly. These are team population numbers at some points in the onset of the match:
- 05 mins in: 08, 13, 13 (us); 13, 13 (AI)
- 10 mins in: 13, 18, 20 (us); 21, 22 (AI)
- 15 mins in: 13, 22, 27 (us); 29, 33 (AI)
- 20 mins in: 19, 25, 26 (us); 44, 52 (AI)
During Memorial Day Weekend, a friend and I had an unexpectedly intense and almost never-ending match against the Resonance AI, on Moderate difficulty, in Age of Empires II: HD Edition on Steam. It was grueling. We went in expecting to play for an hour, but the match dragged out past 3 hours and 45 mins, into the small hours of night. I was playing my usual Malians. He had the Ethiopians and we faced off against the Inca.
We were on the Oasis map, which is a desert, with a large lake in the middle, surrounded by dense forest. Each of us occupied an area on the outskirts, with some small forests and mineral deposits nearby. The Malians (red) were in the north. The Ethiopians (blue) were in the east, and the Inca (green) were in the west.
The Malians made first contact with the Inca, and were rewarded with a raid composed of Pikemen, Crossbowmen and Elite Skirmishers that eventually evolved into full siege supported by vast armies.
First contact: Inca forces denied the Malian attempt to set up a forward base by this treeline. This led to the first Inca raids against the Malians.
Since we dipped into Age of Empires II: HD Edition, we’ve been playing on Steam. Its been a great experience so far – largely because I play with friends that I know in real life, and with friends of theirs who I don’t know, but with whom I share acquaintances. However, there’s another gaming platform that has more players than Steam, and which most (if not all) of the professional gamers and highly-ranked players use: Voobly.
Most of the AOE2 match videos I watch on YouTube take place on Voobly. It has a reputation for being a more hardcore-gamer environment than Steam, but I think Steam probably has its share of all of the types of people that Voobly does. Since we’ve been watching so many videos featuring Voobly players, one of my friends got curious and wanted to try out the platform for himself. I joined him. We watched a video overview of the differences between the two by Spirit of the Law. It can be found here:
AOE2 – Which Client is Better?
I just watched a video from Spirit of the Law about switching villagers between tasks (constructing buildings; gathering food, wood, stone or gold; repairing) in Age of Empires II. I learned some things that I didn’t know about task-switching before which could improve worker efficiency.
Here’s the video:
Switching Villager Tasks in Aoe2
So, last night we had two matches against the regular AI on Moderate, instead of playing against Resonance22’s AI. We’re gearing up for a rematch against 3 Moderate AI who defeated us on the last day of March, this year. Its a defeat that’s been on my mind since. On that fateful day, we squared off against the Chinese, Mongols and Spanish. Tonight, we only fought 2 out of the three, but it was a success.
There were a few key points that stuck out to me during the match, which I think provided lessons to be learned. Our plan, going in, was to have the Ethiopians and Vietnamese launch an early offensive against one of the AI – the Spanish ended up being chosen. I’m a little slower on the attack than my two friends who were in that match, so my role (also being in the pocket) was to wall up the passes that they didn’t cover and then join in the raid.
This palisade wall from the Vietnamese was unnecessary. There were no enemies to the north, as it was our side of the river. Below, the Malians were walling up the pass (in red).
These burn marks were possibly used to protect against fire.
An almanac from 1811 shed light into the cultural practices of westerner Australians who brought traditions from England along with them when they settled the continent. Chief among these were folk remedies, hexafoils and burn marks on buildings. The hexafoils are basically warding symbols and the burn marks are similar, but not carved, they’re made using actual burns into wooden supports on buildings like stables. This prompted English researchers to examine buildings there, and they found widespread, undocumented burn marks there as well.
“This application generates a random medieval city layout of a requested size. The generation method is rather arbitrary, the goal is to produce a nice looking map, not an accurate model of a city. Maybe in the future I’ll use its code as a basis for some game or maybe not.”