News Archives: November 2002

Friday, November 29, 2002

Beta Battle Scene at RoN Empire

RoN Empire has posted 4 screenshots from the beta of a modern age city under attack!

Screenshots at Gamersclick!

Turner "Bulldog" Hopkinson from Gamersclick has posted 6 exclusive screenshots from Rise of Nations beta. Go check them out folx!

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Two New Articles from Reigning Strategy

Robert Thomas from Reigning Strategy has produced two articles on Rise of Nations. The first is titled "Gameplay: The Economy" and the second is titled "Roads in Rise of Nations". Thanks to Rohag for the heads up!

Nation of the Week : Greece

This week One_Dead_Angel takes a look at one of Western civilizations oldest peoples. The Greeks.
The Greek civilization is known as the "Cradle of western civilization", it was a host to some of the most notable philosophers and scientists the world has ever known, even unto the present day. It is also the birthplace of democracy, and counts as one of the world's oldest civilizations. For this the Greeks in Rise of Nations, research speed is doubled and cheaper when done at the library. The Greek culture saw its largest extent through the efforts of Alexander the Great. His father unified the Greek city-states, and he went on to conquer Egypt, Persia and North Western India, creating the largest state the world has ever known up to that point. The Greek form of warfare was best known for their Hoplites, and the formidable phalanx formation. However it was the Macedonian Greek's brilliant use of cavalry, called "The Companions", that brought them victory at Chaeronea in 338 B.C. This provides the Greeks in Rise of Nations a unique line of Cavalry units starting from the Classical Age. As they evolve into their Byzantine successors after they were absorbed into the Roman Empire, and although historically the Byzantines themselves became under Ottoman rule by the Gunpowder Age. The Greeks in Rise of Nations continue with their unique unit line with the Byzantine's Royal Stratiotai, a heavily armored cavalrymen available in the Enlightenment Age.

Be sure to check out the full article and take a look at previous Nations of the Week on our Nations Page.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Rohag's Impression of RoN Press Beta

Rise of Nations Pantheon has published an article written by Rohag, a prominent forumer and RoN newshound, on his impressions of the Rise of Nation Press Beta.

Here's an excerpt:

Were I a die-hard modder…well, I wouldn’t be here writing this; I’d already be in Baltimore at the BHG offices banging on their doors and standing in a pool of my own saliva.

Heaven Games Exclusive : First Weekly Screenshot

With the help of our online community, we are launching a weekly feature which will showcase the wide variety of artwork in Rise of Nations. Every week we will be releasing a new image to one of our fan sites before adding it to our own gallery.

Rise of Nations Heaven is helping us kick off the event with a new
screenshot showing several African units, on a new terrain set!


What are you waitng for?!?! Check it out in our gallery here.

Reigning Strategy Rise of Nations Fan Site Opens

Today is the Grand Opening of the Reigning Strategy Rise of Nations Website! Another site which I am sure will add to the growing fan base and contribute to the Rise of Nations Fan Community. Thanks to KnightRobby for the heads up.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Rise of Nations: Strategy and Victory

GameSpy has released its second article in the series of developer diaries. This time Brian Reynolds gives an overview of the many gameplay variants in Rise of Nations including my personal favorite. Assasin!
Assassin (variant): The most popular variant at Big Huge, this game solves the most typical problems with "free for all" games: first, the problem wherein several players gang up on one unlucky player and second, the problem where the player who hides in the corner and does nothing but build while the others fight tends to win.

In Assassin you are assigned one adjacent player as your "target," and another neighbor is your assassin (he's targeting you). You're penalized for being in the territory of any nation other than your target -- your units take severe attrition damage, unsustainable for more than very short periods of time. If you successfully eliminate your target (which you can do, instantly, by capturing his capital), you get a plunder bonus, which includes resources as well as control over all your target's remaining cities and economic buildings, and you are assigned elimination of your former target's target as your next task. The last nation standing wins. So you've got to trade off between eliminating your target and defending against your assassin -- and in this game, fortune definitely favors the bold: get in there and fight!

Read all about the other gameplay variants in the full article.

Heaven Games hosts RoN-News

As many of you may know, one of Rise of Nations most prominent community figures, Rohag, has been putting out a daily newsletter with items of interest from the various fan sites out there. Heaven Games is pleased to announce that we will be hosting this list to assist Rohag in its management and distribution.
The goal of the "News" is not to be the first out of
the gate with new developments, but rather to
facilitate the widest dissemination of items of
interest to the RoN community. - Rohag

To subscribe to the list visit http://www.heavengames.com/cgi-mm/listinfo/ron-news and sign yourself up.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Rise of Nations Oracle Server Troubles

Ogre is saddened that Rise of Nations Oracle is down due to server trouble. He is trying to communicate with host to get the issue resolved. Until then please visit the forums which reside on another server that is still up at the moment.


Let's all wish Ogre the best of luck in getting his site back up and visit his forums to let him know.

Rise of Nations Oracle interviews Doug Kaufman

The Ogre over at Rise of Nations Oracle has recently done an interview with senior game designer Doug Kaufman.
Ogre: In the past, there have been titles that have claimed to be hybrids of different genres such as real-time strategy and role-playing. Most of these titles have failed to capture the attention of the gaming community. What do you feel will make Rise of Nations a unique, but played and hopefully successful title?

Doug Kaufman: Actually I don’t think we’re a hybrid of different genres at all: Rise is a real-time strategy game that tries to be more true to the genre than some other games-for example, we try to provide actual strategy. The fact that some of our concepts are inspired by or resemble those of turn-based games doesn’t make us a turn-based game. I believe genres arise because the games that define them focus on a strong feeling they give their audience, and that hybrids, if they fail, do so because they dilute themselves by having too little focus. We’ll be giving our audience a strong RTS feel, and we belong firmly in that genre. We just happen to be adding a lot of extra interesting features to enhance rather than detract from the genre.

You can read the full article here

RON Strategy Guide Available for Pre-order at Amazon.de

Michael Rymaszewski, author of many strategy guides is writting one for Rise of Nations. It is a 240 page book written in English and published by Sybex. It is targeted for release Feb 1, 2003 for $19.99 USD, or EUR 21,29. The website that has this available for pre-order now is the German branch of Amazon.com, and its only available on the German site at this time. Thanks to Rise-of-Nations.de by way of Apolyton for the headsup.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Apolyton Looks at Setup Screens III: Map Styles

MarkG at Apolyton shows us the map styles that are currently available in the marketing beta. Includes a list from the setup screens and a mouse over explanation of each type of game from Random Land to Mediterranean to Amazon Basin. Check out the discussion thread and screenshots!

Apolyton Looks at Setup Screens II: Teams & Allies

MarkG at Apolyton shows us the game play options that are currently available in the marketing beta. Includes a list from the setup screens and a mouse over explanation of each type of game from Diplomacy to Assassin to Custom Games. Check out the discussion thread and screenshots!

Apolyton Looks at Setup Screens I: Nations

MarkG at Apolyton shows us the Nations that are currently available in the marketing beta. Includes a list from the setup screens and a mouse over explanation of each Civ. Check out the discussion thread and screenshots!

Thursday, November 21, 2002

NHGN's First Look at RON

Tim Bradshaw at NHGN takes a first look at Rise of Nations from the marketing beta. This is a short preview of the game, containing some really nice screenshots. Including probably the first look at a helicopter in RON!

Here's an excerpt:
At the start of the game, you can already see the differences between Rise of Nations and your plain old ordinary RTS...

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Paul "Targa" Stephanouk to attend Fragapalooza

Associate Producer Paul Stephanouk will be showing off Rise of Nations at this year's Fragapalooza in Toronto. This is a chance for fans to not only play the game, but also share their ideas with one of the games developers.

For all of those planning on attending the event be sure to add your name to the Unofficial list of attendees.

Brian Reynolds lists new Nation Bonuses

We've been blessed with a second visit from Brian Reynolds today. This time he describes the philosophy he and the other designers at Big Huge Games are using to determine the Unique abilities of each Nation.
Over the course of our beta testing we've learned more about what kinds of nation powers players think are cool. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular nations have been the ones that have really strong and unique powers, so we've been going back and "punching up" the powers to make them even more exciting--when some nations turn out to be stronger than others our philosophy is not to make the strong nations weaker but to make the weak nations stronger.

He also lets us in on some very cool new Nation bonuses.
The Egyptians have the Power of the Nile.
* Start with a Granary, and receive Granary upgrades for free.
* Wonders cost 25% less, can be built an age early, and you may build two per City.
* Scholars cost Food instead of Wealth.

Check out the full post here and be sure to add your own thoguhts to the discussion.

Brian Reynolds describes groups in Rise of Nations

Brian Reynolds has stopped by our forums this morning and given us some insight into the way grouping works in Rise of Nations.
You can have 18 groups in Rise of Nations (0-9, and F1-F8). You can map these to other hotkeys if you want, but they default to being control group keys.

Also experimenting with concepts to let you modify what gets included in your "drag-select" boxes, e.g. hold down the ALT key to select everything but the siege units, or CTRL+ALT to get just the siege units, ALT+SHIFT for aircraft, etc.

These are some really great ideas that, like many of the features in Rise of Nations, look to revitalize the Real Time Strategy genre. Check out the complete thread here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Rise of Nations and Impossible Creatures at Fragapalooza

Great news for all you fans in the Toronto area. Two of microsoft's newest games, Rise of Nations and Impossible creatures, will be available for playing by the general public at this year's Fragapalooza
Fragapalooza is the largest gaming festival in Canada attracting hundreds of gamers and spectators from across Canada and the U.S. This huge LAN party is for gamers of all skill levels, you can play any computer game you want for 3 days straight - and with zero latency! Meet new friends, have some fun! Participate in the different tournaments or have fun in the LAN party, either way you will have a chance to collect your share of the $40,000 in prizes available to be won. Bring your computer, and your skillz and frag away!

The event runs from November 29th until Decemeber 1st, so get your registrations in soon.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Nation of the Week : Japan

This week One_Dead_Angel takes a look at Japan.

Japan is best known for its Samurai spirit. The samurai were a special warrior class within the social fabric of Japan that lived according to the ideals of Bushido (or way of the warrior). The Samurai inspires the Samurai line of unique units in Rise of Nations. They start as Ashigaru Spearmen in the ancient age, and progress to Gun Samurai in the Enlightenment age. Indeed Japan's early history is filled with periods of internal conflict, until Tokugawa Ieyasu managed to bring the entire island under his control in 1600 A.D. and was appointed Shogun. His regime brought peace to Japan for over 250 years until western powers forced Japan into the modern era. Japan quickly modernized and even developed Imperialistic ambitions of its own. Most notable were victories at sea over the Russian Pacific fleet in 1905 A.D. Later in the Second World War, Japan developed the largest battleship of the war, the Yamato . In rise of Nations, Japan receive a bonus for ships to reflect their naval power. Japan was finally defeated by the devastation of two atomic bombs, doggedly defending Island bases where they were characterized by their refusal to surrender even against the face of certain defeat. This is reflected in the game where their buildings do not produce plunder for the victors, while receiving double plunder when they destroy enemy buildings.

Be sure to check out the full article and take a look at previous Nations of the Week on our Nations Page.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Brian Reynolds Answers questions at Apolyton

Brian Reynolds, founder of Big Huge Games, has taken a moment to tell us all about a few of the things that they have been working on since the build that was released in the Marketing Beta.
* Diplomacy -> Diplomatic status possibilities are War, Peace, Ally (note subtle difference from traditional War,Neutral,Ally). Peace means your units can't fight and severe attrition for going in their territory. Ally means you can work together, trade resources, use each other's buildings, etc. You can exchange resources as part of a diplomatic deal, and you can agree to mutual attacks on foes. It costs money to break alliances and peace treaties. AI players will demand (and pay) tributes under the right circumstances. - Brian Reynolds

See this as well as the answers to many other questions over at the Apolyton Forums.

Special thanks to Rohag for the tip on this one. Keep up the great work man. :)

New IGN Unit Showcase

IGN has released the latest article in its series on the units in Rise of Nations. This month's article covers heavy infantry, tanks, and warships. There is also a really nice picture that shows off the different regional art for the phalanx unit.

Check out the full article here.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Rise of Nations Pantheon revises Unit Guide

The folks over at Rise of nations Pantheon have been working hard on revisions to their Units section. It now features a number of great pictures and descriptions from the game and they are adding more daily so be sure to check it out.

Gamescope.net Fan Suggestion Site

Not only can you give suggestions for what you'd like to see in Rise of Nations, but now others can rate your suggestions as well! Another discussion board for Rise of Nations opened its doors today at Gamescope. This site is geared towards interaction of the fan base with the developers, to offer game ideas or wish-lists and for the developer to see how the community at large feels about those suggestions.

Thanks to TheVerbalAssassin for the note on this great resource.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Rise of Nations Eden Opens

Rise of Nations' first french fan site, Rise of Nations Eden has opened. While those of us who do not speak French won't be able to understand most of the content there, the site does provide some really great images from the game. Be sure to check them out.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Gamespy Nation Profile #V

Gamespy has just released their fifth nation profile. This one focuses on the Greeks and Nubians.
The Greek national characteristics in the game put a premium on research, and offer great rewards to the player who makes substantial early investment in that area.

if you are a Nubian player, you receive the bonus from every single rare resource within your national borders, plus when your merchants travel outside of those borders, you collect double the normal resources.


Even more variaty in Rise of Nations! Make sure to check out the full article for more details about these two nations.

Rise of Nations Pantheon unit guide

Rise of Nations Pantheon has released a new units section. It provides general information on all the units in the marketing beta, and also shows the unit lines. You can see their units section here.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Nation of the Week : Russia

This week One_Dead_Angel takes a look at Russia. A land of hardy people and bitter cold. A nation that while beaten in battle has never truly been defeated.

Russia is a land known for its vaste landscapes and severe winters. The Russian people took pride and often relied on it to help them in their defense. Indeed it did inevitably caused the defeat of their foes on several occasions. In Rise of Nations this is one of their unique powers, which causes enemies to suffer double attrition. The Russian people had its origins with nomadic Scythian tribes that settled in the Steppes of Southern Russia during the 7th century B.C. Later Viking traders turned conquerors integrated themselves into this vast land. It is because of them that Russia got its name. A militaristic people known as the Cossacks also inhabited the Russian Steppes. Often the Russians and the Cossacks faced the same enemies, and thus the Cossacks became integrated as a military caste in service of the Russian crown. Thus the Cossack unique line of units is provided to the Russians from the classical age to the gunpowder age. In the modern era the Russians had to face the determined Nazi war machine during the Second World War. They did it with their Red Guards who embodied the spirit in what the Russians called the "Patriotic War". The Red guards were well supported with the T-34 tank, and Katyusha Rocket Launchers, all providing the Russians with a strong set of unique units in the modern age and beyond.

Be sure to check out the full article and take a look at previous Nations of the Week on our Nations Page.

IGN Previews Rise of Nations

IGN has released their own preview of Rise of Nation based on the Marketing Beta. The article is a good read and gives a great overview of the game.
If everything keeps in the direction its headed, real-time strategy buffs will have something good to talk about come next spring.

Let's all hope it does since this game is looking to be a real winner. Check out the full article to learn more.

Also, for those of you who may have missed them, be sure to check out IGN's Unit previews. A great series of articles that talk about everything from slingers to rockets, knights to tanks, and muskets to stealth bombers.

Friday, November 8, 2002

The Entertainment Depot Rise of Nations preview

The Entertainment Depot has done a preview of Rise of Nations giving a broad overview of the game and comparing it to Empire Earth, Civ3 and Age of Empires.
Rise of Nations is looking to be the next logical step in the progressive Age of Empire, Civilization, and Empire Earth style of expanded gameplay. Take the tactics of Age of Empire, the research of Civilization, and the pace of Empire Earth, along with additional elements to help flesh out the experience and you're looking at what could be one of the best strategy titles to be released in some time.

Go here to check out the rest of the article.

Gamer's pulse releases Beta Screenshots

Gamer's pulse has released a series of new screenshots from the Rise of Nations marketing beta. It even includes a shot of the starup screen for one of the tutorials. Check them all out here.

Rise of Nations Pantheon Interviews Brian Reynolds

Rise of Nations Pantheon has recently released an interview with Big Huge Games' founder Brian Reynolds. In the interview they talk about the game, the press coverage it is getting, and what it takes to get into the game industry. Check it out here.

Thursday, November 7, 2002

Nation Pages Updated

We've done a little update on our Nation writeups to include images of each Nation's Unique Units. You can check them all out on our Nations page.

As with all things from the marketing Beta the units, and especially their artowrk are subject to change prior to the games actual release.

Rise of Nations Pantheon moves

Rise of Nations Pantheon has moved from their former home over at strategy planet to a new home at Mr.FixitOnline.com. Check out the newly revised site and be sure to congratulate Jim on a successful server move.

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Wonders Section Updated

We've updated our Wonders section to include the wonders and their abilities from the Marketing Beta.
The pinnacle of any Nation is the creation of a monument so great, so magnificent and awe inspiring that it can truly be considered a Wonder of the world. In Rise of Nations, these monuments are no less amazing than their real life counterparts. As you can see from their bonuses, wonders provide your Nation with a great many bonuses and are well worth the investment. You will also notice that each wonder has an associated point value. This value is used for scoring when attempting to achieve a Wonder victory. Wonders have a limited availability of 2 per Age and only one of each wonder may be built by all players. In other words, the first player to create a colloseum will be the only player in the game with that wonder. This limitation when combined with being able to set the number of Wonder points needed for victory makes for some interesting strategy and game play. Do you build the early wonders to get their bonuses despite their low point value, or do you advance in ages to get the higher point values of the later wonders?

Check out all the bonuses each Wonder gives your Nation along with the always magnificent artwork in our Wonders Section.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

New Games Domain Preview

Games domain has released a preview based on the Rise of Nations Marketing Beta.
The game engine is 3D, fully able to zoom and rotate, yet it has that pristine 2D utility the AOE series is known for. You never have to use the camera to play the game, but you'll be glad they chose 3D. The game is gorgeous and not in that "fancy water/big explosions" kind of way. It just looks realistic and stylish. It also looks familiar enough to be called Age of Empires 3, but a quick peek under the surface reveals there's a vastly different game under there. Something deeper, more intelligent, more mature, and ultimately more satisfying than any other RTS we've ever seen.

The article goes on to say a number of great things about the game and includes some cool new screenshots. Read the full article to learn more.

Rise of Nations Oracle Opens

Ogre's Network is proud to present Rise of Nations Oracle. The oracle is dedicated to bringing you only the best information on the upcoming title Rise of Nations by Big Huge Games. Please bare with us as we have just opened and might have some errors here and there. If you do find an error, please let us know. Also, note that the forums are not fully functional as of yet, but should be soon. Oh and last but not least the Ogre would like to mention that Rise of Nations Oracle has an exclusive new screenshot given to us by Big Huge Games.


This site is a definite must see for all you Rise of Nations fans out there. Great content and beautifull artwork are the hallmark of any site that Ogre creates. Check it out here.

Rise of Nations Empire Opens

A new fansite, Rise of Nations Empire was opened up over this past weekend. While you are there be sure to check out the cool custom desktop wallpapers created by their webmaster Bonnie.

Monday, November 4, 2002

Reynolds on RoN: Part 6

The sixth and final chapter of a detailed interview with Brian Reynolds, President of Big Huge Games, about his company`s upcoming debut title, Rise of Nations, has been posted on Apolyton CS. This concluding instalment centres in on the absence of government types, the inability to trade units and cities, the outlook on a game demo and beta testing, and finally what the BHG team does to kick back and relax


Entitled 'Sans Government To Sans Work', the complete, uncut audio from which the five-page article is based is available for listening live on-demand in RealAudio format. Accompanying the write-up is an exclusive screenshot from modern gameplay

Sunday, November 3, 2002

Gameplay Preview

The first in a series of ongoing articles on the Rise of Nations Beta has just been released. In this article we focus on gameplay in Rise of Nations, what it feels like and takes to play an average game. The article gives an overview of the economic structure, diplomacy, and war just to name a few.

Rise of Nations packs lots of new features that will entrance seasoned strategy gamers, as well as those newer to the sport...

Rise of Nations is sure to bring hours of fun massing armies, sacking cities, or enjoying the art of diplomacy.


You can find the full article here along with lots of screenshots from the beta to illustrate what the article says.