Hi,

Link to previous post – the beginning.

Recoil was a fantastic game. It was an arcade game. You were a tank with many missions to destroy evil. I kept playing it. It also had a God mode. God mode meant that you will never die. Mission accomplished. I never completed the game without the God mode. I was that good a player.

One fine day, the CD did not work. I could have searched and downloaded the game but that did not work out because my internet bandwidth was just 64 Kbps. Yahoo took a full minute to open. So that option was out.

But newer CDs were available in the market. Grey market. I visited a friend’s place one fine day, and found him playing a game with little little men running around. There were few men cutting down trees, few were fishing, and few more were mining. There were many buildings. My friend controlled all those. I immediately wanted that game. No. Don’t imagine me as a 31 year old man jumping up and down for a game CD. I was just 19 then.

When AoE 2 released, my friend bought the AoE2 CD and I borrowed the AoE CD from him. Then it all began. I did not where to start. I did not know which civilization to start with. So I started with Random Map. Divine. It took me a long time to win one game. I did not know about cheat codes for AoE then. I only thought cheat codes were there for Ashes 97. Once I got the cheat codes, I mastered the random map games,  and moved to the Death Match. The game was tried with different difficulty levels and different number of opponents. I, at one stage, became such a good player that, I could win the game without cheat codes at maximum difficulty.

The beauty of AoE is the control it gives you. You are God in AoE. You create, conduct, and destroy the world that is under your total control. Starting from the interface and going until the credits, the efforts that have been put into this mammoth effort is not at all small.

When you say Age of Empires, three names should be remembered – Bruce Shelley, Tony Goodman, and Dave Pottinger.

A very short introduction of these three men is an absolute necessity.

Bruce Shelley – The face of Ensemble studios. Yes. The same man who worked along with Sid Meier in Civilization and Railroad Tycoon.

Tony Goodman – The founder of Ensemble Studios along with John Boog-Scott (He was with Anderson consulting which was renamed as Accenture later). He worked on the art in AoE.

Dave Pottinger – The man behind the awesome artificial intelligence (AI). A 33 year old graduate from the university of Arizona, this man worked in the entire series of AoE as the engine lead and AI specialist in Ensemble Studios.

Ensemble Studios, the maker of this great game, was acquired by Microsoft in 2001 and continued to function as an internal wing until 2009. On 29 January 2009, Ensemble Studios was disbanded and the employees were laid off. Lot many employees from Ensemble joined together and currently work under the brand Zynga.

I have my resources from the internet and Airtel has messed up big time with my internet connection. So I am unable to gain more information on this topic. I will resume the posts once my internet gets okay.