By Kevsoft on Jul 3, 2022 at 11:02 AM
  1. Kevsoft

    Kevsoft XLiveless Dev
    Staff Member Administrator

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    [​IMG]
    "Behind the BANG!" is a new irregular blog series that looks behind the scenes of the game in different aspects.
    As with any game, there are some features and mechanics in AOEO that are not used or were never fully implemented. Especially in the beta phase, things were tried that eventually didn't make it into the game. This can have different reasons: Either those features were not implemented due to time or cost reasons or the feature is not practical in the end.


    == Unique Capital City ==
    Yes you read correctly. Originally, it was planned that the map of the Capital City would be unique per player. There is even the original random map script in the game files, which generates the city map.

    Within the beta build there was still the function to generate the city map and then to save it in the server or to load it again. After the beta, this functionality was completely removed from the game (as well as a few other features). Why this feature was removed can only be speculated.

    Perhaps the quality of the generated maps was simply not suitable for use as a city map or there were technical hurdles that made this feature not practical. Since then, there are 3-6 different fixed layouts for the city map per civilization.

    == Intro Video ==
    When the player creates a new civilization, the plan was to play an intro video about that civilization. However, this feature was never really implemented. Probably the effort of producing such videos was too high. Also, unlike Age of Empires 3 and Age of Mythologies, the Bink video engine was never licensed for AOEO. It may also have been a cost factor.

    == Different Visuals per Age for all Buildings ==
    Town Centers aren't the only buildings that were supposed to change visually as players aged up. Initially, the plan was to have different visuals for every single building for every single age. But since Age of Empires Online civilizations are all completely unique and share no visual assets with each other, this would have been a colossal task for the developers and is presumably why it was never finished.

    Some civilizations still have buildings other than Town Centers that change visuals when aging up, most notably the Babylonian Garden and Ziggurat and the Roman Millarium.
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    == Animated Tooltip ==
    A feature that was implemented but never activated are animated tooltips. If the mouse hovers over a UI element with a tooltip, then the tooltip would slowly appear and then display the relevant information. This animation feels quite unnatural (in my opinion), which is probably why it was never enabled.



    == Maintain Action ==
    Okay, this one is not completely scrapped but never fully implemented either. The “Maintain“ action has been around since Age of Empires 3. Well known in Age3 it is with the Ottomans where they get free villagers throughout. This action type also made it into Age of Empires Online, but was never used. However, the implementation was very much changed, which is an indication that originally it was going to be used for AOEO. For example, it was planned that the “Maintain” action would create units slower and slower, the more of its type were already trained.

    In addition, you could specify different unit types. That means, if the maximum number of a unit type was reached, then the next possible unit type would be trained. In what way these mechanics should have been used remains a mystery.

    We reused this feature later on in Project Celeste with the Good Shepherd Shahriyar Advisor and also the free priest granting mechanic of the Egyptian Temples in Champion Mode.

    == Scrapped Norse Units ==
    As the last civilization to be released by the original developers, the Norse underwent tons of different iterations and units before they were formed into their final version that is now available in the game. Two of these scrapped units are featured here:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    == Celts: Call to Arms ==
    The technology "Call to Arms" was originally a unique action for the Celtic Villager, which could be activated in the Town Center. All garrisoned villagers would visually receive a pitchfork for a short time and increased HP and damage. Although this action is implemented and in principle it works, it was initially implemented in such a way that it is not multiplayer capable (would immediately lead to an Out-of-Sync error). In the end, the developers decided to use it as a regular upgrade which permanently increases the stats of the Celtic Villager.
    [​IMG]

    == Territories ==
    In the late stage of development, they wanted to introduce a mode where you can conquer territories and get passive technologies activated for conquered territories. Unfortunately, there is not much information about this, so we can only speculate. But in the game files there are some graphics how it could have looked like.

    [​IMG]

    == Region Loyalty System ==
    Another plan that we (presume) the original developers had was to have a loyalty system between different regions (such as Argos, Troy, etc) where players could build loyalty with each of the regions' leaders. Unfortunately we only were able to find a single piece of UI concept about this feature:

    [​IMG]

    == New UI Engine ==
    In the early development phase of Age of Empires Online, they looked at getting away from the old UI system.

    What is now used in Age of Empires 1/2/3: Definitive Edition, they also wanted to use in Age of Empires Online, namely WPF/XAML. XAML is a modern UI XML structure language for designing UI. The main difference is that they tried to use the C# implementation of XAML as a kind of "overlay" over the graphics engine (similar to the way Steam offers an in-game overlay). Probably for performance reasons it was not feasible, so they decided to extend the old UI system and add an animation system.

    If you're wondering how WPF is used in the "Definitive Edition" titles: Here's a native C++ implementation called wpfg is used, which has the complete WPF library reimplemented in C++.

    == New Home City and Region UI Design ==
    At one point in the development, they wanted to design a new UI for home city. A UI that clearly stands out from the current UI design.

    [​IMG]

    == Statues for Star Techs ==
    Up to a point, there were "Star Techs" in AOEO. That was a time before the milestones were implemented as a replacement. For achieving/activating Star Techs you should be rewarded with statues.

    [​IMG]

    == Store Floating Icons ==
    Before in-game stores had the current floating stone tablet icon that they have right now, they used to look like this:

    [​IMG]

    == EXTRA: Space Ponies ==

    I found a little extra once in the old data. Space ponies!
    <string _locid="1219">My Little Ponies</string>
    <string _locid="1220">Space Ponies are eating the precious grass, threatening our chances for Town Lawn of the Month.\n \nBring me the heads of 200 Space Ponies.</string>
    <string _locid="1221">BOOM! HeadShot Biatch!</string>

    Probably these are test quests to test different quest mechanics, still funny with what quest text they are highlighted.

    == EXTRA: Dev Login ==
    As a last extra I have a few pictures of how the developer login looks like:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    What do you think about the blog? Let us know in the comments below!

    ========
    Previous Behind the BANG! blogs:
    ========

    All current and future content will stay 100% free and accessible to everyone.

    ========
    Thank you so much for reading, and we will see you all next time!

    Project Celeste Development Team
    ========
    The Romans are here! Watch the Overview Trailer.

    Project Celeste is completely free and always will be. However, we gladly accept donations for our overhead costs, which are larger than we have budgeted. If you want to support us, you can do so HERE.

    Read every Romans related blog HERE.
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    Tell your friends! Join our Discord HERE.
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Comments

Discussion in 'News' started by Kevsoft, Jul 3, 2022.

    1. Pharos

      Pharos Champion

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      Looking to all this and how much work was done by Celeste team u realize how "unfinished" AOEO was when they launched the game...
      Fortunately lots of players saw the potential of the game and didnt give it up...
       
      BOSAIF, bbgambini, MainMan B and 2 others like this.
    2. John Quincy

      John Quincy Long Swordsman

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      That's pretty cool. I am sure the creators had lots of plans but the bean counters nixed them! Must have been frustrating. Thanks for this insight.
       
      BOSAIF and bbgambini like this.
    3. Leow193

      Leow193 Woad Raider

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      That's quite weird they didn't keep the buildings changing through ages. I mean, since the game started with only two civs and we got that for two civs...Seems like they had it planned for release. Any guess what happened ?
       
    4. RASPUTINPRIME

      RASPUTINPRIME Champion

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      ...mmmm territories...
       
    5. Aryzel

      Aryzel Immortal

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      Almost certainly it was a business decision. Game launched with two civs but more would have been in development by that stage. Microsoft would have had choices of
      1. Have model artists creating building models for all ages, generating no revenue for company, doesn't seem to bother players too much and is something we can do later if game is successful. [Could be released as paid upgrade for players, but that would likely cause massively bad PR hurting the game more. Better to release as visual improvement across the board a couple of years into the game, if its going well]
      2. Have model artists creating models for new civs, which would generate revenue and new civs are what players want most.
      3. Hire more model artists and do both but takes time to find good people and increases monthly costs for the company which makes it harder for game to become profitable.
       
    6. Pikolo

      Pikolo Spearman

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      The new capital city UI looks like they wanted to create some fast option, because of what it looks like, there is quests button, modes button and pvp button. They probably found out that the current design of jumping from map to map is not really great so they wanted to create it more easy to access. But still to much buttons. Shop could be under 1 menu with different categories. Quests, modes and PvP could be under 1 button called PLAY. Looking today at the game it's no wonder it failed, it already had to much stuff locked behind paywall, that you couldn't play the game in lot of countries because of GfWL but a lot of confusing game desing also didn't help

      Hope that celeste team could do something about UI today, because it truly needs modern upgrade.
       
    7. frogs.poison

      frogs.poison Immortal

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      While Quests are each in their own map, both the Tower Defense mode (Crete), PvP mode (Sparta), and Skirmish mode (Cyprus) ARE all available under 1 button called Play, directly to the right of your Empire Points. This is a Celeste feature.

      As for Quests, given that there are over 600 quests in the game, of which multiple quests have normal, elite, and legendary variants, with a handful having Champion mode variants, along with various players having their "favorite" quests to do, I don't think a single one-size-fits-all approach will work for "Quick Quest"
       
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