News Archives: September 2002

Monday, September 30, 2002

BHG Gives Clarification on Wonders

Have you been wondering which civilizations can build which wonders in Rise of Nations? Does Egypts extra wonder bonus have you a little confused? Well Big Huge Games has answered some community questions about wonders at Rise of Nations Pantheon.

"Any civilization can build any of the wonders. Along with that, wonders are buildings and can be destroyed or captured. To capture a wonder you just need to capture the city that it is built by, and then the bonus it grants is all yours. Sounds simple enough doesn't it? Cities with wonders are mighty tempting targets."
-Graham Sommers

Read more about it here

Units Section Update

It's taken me a little while, but I have been able to complete a massive update of the Units Section. There are now an additional 30 units portrayed in the Unit section with more to come soon. With hundreds of units in the game, this is sure to be a section of Rise of Nations Heaven that will be constantly updated. Be sure to check back often.

Check them all out here

UK Gamer Interviews John Donglemans

John Donglemans takes a few minutes out of his busy scehdule as Rise of Nations' Product Manager to talk with the guys over at UK Gamer. In the interview he talks about many key aspects of the game including its scope, unique units, and game modes. Check out the full article here

Apolyton Interviews Jason Coleman

The guys over at Apolyton have released this new interviews with Jason Coleman, VP of software at Big Huge Games. In the article, he answers many of the burning questions that are on fan's minds including this one.

Apolyton: How powerful are the scripting abilities in Rise of Nations? Are there many hard-coded variables (example: number of different units) that would limit the possibilities of an external editing utility?

Jason Coleman: The scripting is powerful. If anything, it's probably a little too powerful in that it closely resembles C-programming, and that may throw some people off.
As for its abilities, we pretty much follow the same sort of iterative design process that we follow in many the other aspects of the game. If a scenario designer needs some functionality, we add it. This will continue throughout the project and probably even beyond as non-BHG scenario designers request new features.

Looks like things are looking up for all you modders and scenario builders. Check out the full article here

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Nation of the Week : France

This week, One_Dead_Angel takes a look at the French. In Rise of Nations, following the examples of the Crusading Knights to Napoleon's use of Cavalry as shock troops. France is portrayed as a nation with superior cavalry from the classical to the gunpowder age. Further inspired by Napoleon's use of the Corps D'Armée concept; generals, scouts, spies, supply wagons for the French are produced faster, cheaper and are more powerful.

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

Thunder on strategic zoom

In this thread Thunder goes into a bit of detail about the strategic zoom in Rise of Nations.
There are several levels you can choose from by scrolling your mousewheel so you can change your view instantly. The levels range from zoomed in to show the area around a single city so you can manage your construction and resource gathering there if needs be, to zoomed out to show a large part of your territory including several cities and battlefields.

He also goes on to talk about how you can control your units by microing them, or by seeing the big picture. Check it out here.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

UI Change?

In looking over one of the recent screenshots, I noticed something very interesting. Seems that the guys at Big Huge Games have shifted the UI for Rise of Nations from the traditional RTS view

to this new interface

The new interfaces appears as if it can expand and collapse much like the menus in Dungeon Siege. I'm not sure which one I prefer at this point, but the new UI, much like Rise of Nations itself, indicates a departure from the traditional way of doing a Real Time Strategy game.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

More Answers from Thunder!

Once again Thunder from Big Huge Games has graced our questions thread with his presence! Once again he has given some very useful new information. Here are some of his answers.

How about naval warfare?

"At the moment, there are plenty of ships, and lots of work to do balancing and tweaking that part of the game. I honestly haven't got the hang of playing on water maps yet. I'm still getting used to the fact that there are no transport ships to train."

There be such kind of rank system that could be aplicable to experienced units?

"Such as a unit that survives a long time or kills several units getting a bonus of some kind? Things like that encourage microing units. We don't want players to have to worry so much about individual units in the game, which is something that a system like this would bring up. We want players to be able to control armies, instead of clicking around on each of their units."

Will there be a random civ and random team option? What about a namad type map?

"Random civ option, yes!
Random team option, yes! mean NOmad correct? Quite possibly! (I'd be heartbroken if we didn't have it)"

Is there a building limit on barracks?

"There is no building limit on any military buildings, and you can build them anywhere in your territory."

He talked about many aspects of Rise of Nations, and even asked if there are any taunts we would like to see in the game. So hurry up and rush to the forums to see if your favorite taunt can get in the game! View the rest of Thunder's answers in the the thread here

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Towers versus Anti-Tank and Anti-Personnel Mines

Perogrullada, one of our forummers, brought up a very good point in a topic in the forum. Why aren't mines in Rise of Nations? This sparked a very interesting debate as to whether they should be included because it would be histoically accurate, or if they should be omitted because of the substantial amount of micromanagement they would require. Many good arguments were made in the thread, and the topic is still being actively debated.

Feel free to make your own argument for or against mines!

View the thread here

A look at resources

Brian Reynolds, founder of Big Huge Games, has dropped by the forums to give us all a little insight into how resources work in Rise of Nations.

Brian Reynolds: Just because you have a mountain getting mined for metal doesn't mean (as in a traditional RTS) you can "just throw 50 guys on it" and increase your collection rate by approximately 50x. Rather, depending on the size of the mountain it will allow a certain # of miners in your mine. If you want more metal (and you WILL, oh how you WILL!) you're going to have to find another mountain or take one from somebody.

He goes on to tell us how BHG is taking steps to deal with many of the issues that have plagued resource management in previous RTS games. Read the full article here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Ogre's Network interviews Graham Somers (AKA Thunder)

Ogre's network has done an interview with Big Huge Games' Community Relations Manager, Graham Sommers. Many of you know him in the forums as Thunder, whose posts always give us an interesting glimpse into the game. He gives some pretty good insights into what he does at BHG, and how he managed to get himself there.

Graham Somers: Probably the one thing that helped the most in my case was knowing a few folks in the industry. Being dedicated enough to work on fan sites on a daily basis for years meant that I was interacting with some of the same people often enough that they got to know me a little. When it came time to call up my references, I was in good hands.

Check out the full article here.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Rise Up: Reynolds On RoN

The third part of a detailed interview with Brian Reynolds, President of Big Huge Games about his company`s upcoming debut title, Rise of Nations is now available on Apolyton. This portion focuses primarily on warfare, but includes tidbits of such as city management, resources and science.

Not only is this third installment of this preview a three-page write-up along with an exclusive screenshot from intermediate gameplay, but also available live on-demand is the complete, uncut audio from which the article itself is based in RealAudio format. You can find the full article here.

More Tidbits From Thunder

Yes it is official, Helicopters are in Rise of Nations! Many forummers here at Rise of Nations Heaven were anxious to find out if they would be featured in the game. Today verification came from Thunder in the form of this reply in our forums.

"No screenshot for you, but yes there are helicopters in the game. They can be a very nasty unit to deal with if you are unprepared for them."

Rise of Nations only gets more interesting as the days go by.
Thanks Thunder!

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Thunder Answers Questions About Rise of Nations.

Thunder of Big Huge Games has recently been visiting out forums to answer some of the questions that have been raised in the community.
Here are some of his answers to various questions:

"Missing Civ: Brits are in, and they rock. They get some very impressive unique units.

Real Time Strategy & Turn Based Play: essentially we're bringing that focus on the big picture you find in TBS games to an RTS. You will be managing several cities but you won't have to worry so much about individual citizens. Smart citizens and resources that never deplete leave you time to deal with the larger game issues like building improvements to your cities, expanding your borders, and maneuvering your armies.

Diplomacy: there's actually a game type called "Diplomacy". Players can demand resources from others, propose alliances, peace, etc. It’s like a FFA with some structure. You can play other game types where it doesn't really come into play. So it can be as much apart of your game as you want it to be.

Markets & Generating Gold: to generate gold you build a market and train a caravan. Caravans will automatically start traveling a trade route and generate gold for you. The more cities you have, the more caravans you can have traveling between them, the more gold you'll generate. It's pretty easy.

Military & Civilian Units: you don't have to pay any sort of upkeep on units. You pay a one time cost for them and that's it.

View all of Thunder's responses and ask some of your own questions in the thread here

New Screenshots Up!

We now have an Official Screenshots section here at Rise of Nations Heaven! It currently features 33 Official Screenshots. The gallery also features 15 screenshots from the MS E3 2002 Press Kit, as well as 26 pictures from Heavengames coverage of E3!

Check out our Gallery here

The fall of a Villager, The rise of an Angel

Please welcome the newest staff member to our team at Rise of Nations Heaven, One_Dead_Angel. Many of you know him by his former name One_Dead_Villy. He has been a consistent and excellent contributor to the community and we are glad to have him with us.

One_Dead_Angel will be producing content for our newest feature, the RoNH Nation of the week. This will be a series of articles that will not only go into how each nation is portrayed in Rise of Nations, it will also showcase the Nation's historical significance and accomplishments.

Nation of the Week: China

In his first installment, One_Dead_Angel takes a look at the Chinese in Rise of Nations. With the ability to produce citizens, scholars, merchants, caravans, and Unique Units faster and cheaper than the other Nations, they are sure to become a rushing player's Nation of choice.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Rise of Nations Pantheon Interviews Bryant Freitag

Bryant Freitag, the 3d Programmer, for Rise of Nations has been interviewed by Rise of Nations Pantheon. Freitag talks about his plans for trade routes, and coastlines. He also talks quite a bit about balance in Rise of Nations.

Read the full article here

Friday, September 20, 2002

HomeLAN Interview with Tim Train

The wonderful folks over at HomeLanFed have whipped up an interview with Tim Train, executive producer at Big Huge Games. In his interview, Tim tells us how the idea for Rise of Nations came about, the historical research they've conducted, and the single player campaigns among few other things.

Here's a snip:
HomeLAN - What will the single player campaigns be like in the game?
Tim Train - The main focus of our single-player campaign is Conquer the World, where you take over the world, one province at a time. Each scenario is set in a single Age, so you get a great feel for the units and tactics unique to that era. Players can set the length of the game to whatever they wish, so you can have a long, drawn-out game or a quick blitz. It's kind of like Risk or Diplomacy meets RTS.
Many thanks to Theta for coming to rescue me from my high speed ISP's incompetence =)

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Ike Ellis on the Scenario Editor

Ike Ellis of Big Huge Games was recently interviewed by the crew over at Rise of Nations Pantheon. In the interview he gives some very useful inside information on the Scenario Editor for Rise of Nations. He also talks about the custom scriping language used by the editor, the trigger system, and also sheds some light on modding and AI editing in Rise of Nations.

Read the full interview here

Calling all Scenario Designers

Seems that the guys over at Big Huge Games are looking for some help on the design for their scenario editor.

The editor is still under construction to some extent, so I'm afraid I can't answer much in the way of questions about it. We still have a few of our own. Please do make suggestions. - Thunder

So if there has ever been a feature you thought should be in a scenario editor but wasn't, now's your chance to get it added in. Post your thoughts and ideas over on this thread

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

IGN Unit Feature

IGN has added a second installment to their unit showcase. It features heavy cavalry, bowmen and light naval units.

"This is the second in what will eventually be a series of eight articles focusing on the more than 200 units that can be found in the upcoming Microsoft title, Rise of Nations, which is being created by Big Huge Games. Readers should be note that, for the most part, this series deals with the basic units that are "standard issue," as it were, in the fleets, armies, and air forces of all nations in the game."

Check it out

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Our newest addition

We've just made another addition to the RoNH team. Dire_Wolf will be bringing you the latest and greatest about Rise of Nations. Let's give him a warm welcome!

Developer Screenshots!

Big Huge Games' Artist Jason Johnson and Programmer Pranas Pauliukonis have released two screenshots of their actual desktop's as they work on Rise of Nations! One screenshot features some Rise of Nations artwork being rendered in 3d Studio Max. The other gives us a glimpse of Pauliukonis' desktop as he codes Rise of Nations.

Developer Screenshots

Monday, September 16, 2002

GameSpy Developer Diaries Rise of Nations

GameSpy has done the first in a series (presumabally) of developer diaries with the guys at Big Huge Games. They started off with a article by Big Huge Games Vice President of Operations and Development, Tim Train. He talks about some of the turn-based aspects of Rise of Nations. This article I'm sure will answer many peoples' questions about some of the gameplay in Rise of Nations. The article can be found here.

Rise of Nations: Top Ten Games of 2003

Every year lots of games come out, some to well, and others don't. There are also many upcoming games every year to grope over. PC Gamer named Rise of Nations one of the top ten upcoming games of 2003. You can see the article here. With all this great press I sure can't wait until RoN is released.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Unofficial RoN FAQ

Our very own The Blue Mist has posted a very good FAQ for Rise of Nations with general information, and answers questions about "Smart villagers" and houses. You can find this wonderful work here (,20,,10). Remember though, this is a work in progress. If you have a question about Rise of Nations, be sure to ask it and maybe it will be added to the FAQ.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

HeavenGames proudly presents: Rise of Nations Heaven

September 14, 2002 - HeavenGames LLC announced today that it has launched Rise of Nations Heaven ( ), the latest in its series of special-interest sites for Real Time Strategy & Citybuilding games.

Currently in development, Rise of Nations (TM) is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game developed by Big Huge Games and published by Microsoft. Conceived of and designed by Brian Reynolds, the man behind Sid Meier's Civilization 2 and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Rise of Nations promises to be an epic game that encompasses the whole of human history.

Rise of Nations focuses on the development of 18 different Nations. Some that are still with us today such as France and China, and others that are no longer with us such as the Aztecs and Nubians.

The inclusion of these "lost" nations allows players to play out "what if" scenarios where these now long gone Nations can rise to ultimately rule the whole of the earth. "What if" the Aztecs had defeated Cortez? Where would they be today?

Each nation will have it's own set of artwork that will give it its own distinct look and feel. There will also be Unique units for each nation that will ensure that playing as the Egyptians will be a different experience from playing as the Russians.

Rise of Nations Heaven will be dedicated featuring extensive coverage of Rise of Nations as the game is being developed, and will bring you the latest news on the game. Be sure to check out our E3 preview of Rise of Nations as well!

HeavenGames LLC, based in Villa Park, Illinois, is a privately owned web-content publisher geared towards the creation of special-interest sites for Real-Time Strategy and City-Builder games. Its sites, contents, vast amounts of resources, as well as a dedicated staff & management team make HeavenGame's sites the premier destination for gamers worldwide.