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Age of Mythology Preview, page 2

The E3 Demo

Ensemble Studios had made a special build of Age of Mythology for E3, and had it specially programmed and scripted so that the game is split into four scenarios that focuses on major areas of the game, with events in each scenario showing the best of Age of Mythology.

Let’s go on with the first topic...

The World of AoM

Click hereImmediately after the scenario loads, the game looks just like any Age game it presents the map in an overhead view. However, that’s when you start noticing little things. The fish swim in the water, the waves move and shimmer, they break over the beach peacefully just like a perfect summer day. Some of the trees sway back and forth in the wind. Our "guide" (Karen Swanson, User Interface Designer @ ES) then moves the camera to show us around the map. The full 3D effect can be appreciated here - even when you move, things move in perspective - a "parallax" effect as its commonly called. The camera can be rotated, and zoomed in and out, with little effort. At times like these I wish all of you get to see this live in action - the screenshots do little justice to the graphics. This game immerses you in a gorgeous 3D environment that just takes your breathe away. It is obvious that ES spared no efforts in putting a high level of detail in the game, and they’ve done such a good job with the implementation that the 3D technology does not scream out to be noticed - it blends itself into the game.

In AoM, there are 9 civilizations divided between 3 central cultures (Egyptian, Greek, and Norse), with 3 ages for advancement. AoM takes on a different model than previous Age games because in the first age each player will have to decide to go with one of three gods in that culture. Thus some units and bonuses will not be decided until after the game starts and the player decides which god to worship.

At this point Karen takes us to a scene right by the water, with farms, pigs, goats, and an unfinished building lying around. Before I go on, let me quickly mention here that the game has four resources - Food, Wood, Gold, and Favor. The first three we know, but favor is a new thing in AoM. So far, we know it’s required for performing miracles, but it may be required for other things. We gain favor by doing things that satisfies our god. Anyway, back to the slackers. Here she explains to us the first change in the game’s user interface the idle villager button.

Click hereThe idle villager button has been moved up to the bar at the top, made to look like a banner, and only appears when there are idle villagers around. She clicks on the banner, and it takes us to the first villager on the screen. She sends him and surrounding villagers farm, clicks on the banner again, and got some of the villagers to chop wood. She then clicks on it once more, and she sends a villager to work on the unfinished building. After she did that, the banner disappeared - all the villagers are now hard at work.

We linger around that area just little, and the unfinished building started to get "built" - from a foundation, to a frame that takes on the buildings shape, and finally, it’s finished. It’s an archery range.

Click hereWe then proceed to see Karen demonstrate another graphic feature of AoM Dynamic Lighting. Karen then pressed some key, and a slider bar shows up. The slider demos the day-time feature of the engine. We see light at the pre-dawn hours, change to noon, mid-afternoon, dusk, and night. Man, it was beautiful.

At night, the entire map takes on a bluish hue where there are no lights around. We move to another part of the map, and she says something to the effect of "Oh wait till you guys see this... This is cool". She clicks on a temple, and builds a fire giant. After a little while, he emerges - and wherever the fire giant walks, his flames light up the area around him!

Anyway, enough of the graphics... we wanna see the game in action!

» War...