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What is Empire Earth ?

Empire Earth

From the lead designer of Age of Empires® comes Empire Earth a real-time strategy game that lets you control the destiny of a fledgling civilization through 500,000 years of human history. Choose any point in time and establish a civilization to transcend the ages and dominate the earth.

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old sierra overview

Empire Building

Command history’s best known civilizations such as the Greeks, English, French, or Germans, or create and customize your own from scores of unique attributes. Colonize or conquer surrounding territories and establish new settlements. Plan and build walled towns and city-states. Construct Temples and Hospitals to protect and enhance your growing empire. Town Centers inspire defenders to fight harder and can be transformed into powerful Capitols. Wood, gold, iron and other natural resources provide the raw materials for expansion, while intelligent citizens keep your economy running smoothly. Over a dozen technology tracks offer numerous opportunities for further advancement.

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Train more than 200 types of combat units from every era in history, including Earth’s future. Instantly enhance the combat abilities of your troops with specific improvements. Lead your armies to glorious victory with the help of Charlemagne, Cromwell, and other great heroes from yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Attack unsuspecting enemies with stealthy submarines and aircraft. Soften up an enemy position with artillery fire, carpet bombing, or off-shore shelling. Wage epic air battles with over 30 types of aircraft such as Sopwith Camels, Spitfires, F-15s, Helicopter Gunships, and B-2 Bombers. Fight massive naval engagements with more than 40 kinds of ships, including 16th Century ships-of-the-line, U-boats, and modern aircraft carriers. Train colossal mechanized “Cybers” to fight the battles of the future.

In Empire Earth, the military option is just one possible path to victory. Convert an enemy’s citizens with furtive priests. Instruct a prophet to invoke devastating calamities such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and plagues. Or demonstrate your civilization’s superiority by constructing Wonders of the World. Each Wonder endows your civilization with a special ability, such as the power of self-healing or mass-conversions.

Empire Earth: the most extraordinary and ambitious RTS ever created.

Empire Earth Features

      • Epic scope – spans over 500,000 years, from the discovery of fire to laser technology and beyond.
      • 14 different Epochs – replay all of human history or just the span of time that interests you.
      • Train more than 200 different kinds of units.
      • Battle on land, air, and sea – in addition to armies, you can build wide varieties of ships and aircraft.
      • Fight wars of the future with advanced robotic and anti-gravity units using secret weapons.
      • Enlist great historical Heroes – such as William the Conqueror or Napoleon – to enhance your military abilities.
      • Customize your military units by improving their strength or equipment.
      • Play in Standard mode for a more-strategic empire building game or Tournament mode for faster-paced action.
      • Have your Prophets devastate opponents with Calamities such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and deadly plagues.
      • Engage in historic siege warfare – breach an enemy’s walls with catapults, rams, and siege towers.
      • Increase the morale of your soldiers to improve their offensive and defensive capabilities.
      • Match wits with the cunning AI or coordinate attacks with your computer-player allies.
      • Construct 20 types of buildings and research 150 technologies. A helpful technology tree foldout is included.
      • Temples, Universities, and other buildings provide additional defensive measures beyond walls and towers.
      • Create your own civilization from 100 different attributes or choose from 21 predefined civilizations.
      • Different paths to victory, including military conquest and constructing Wonders of the World.
      • Six different Wonders, each with its own special power.
      • Special effects such as a day/night cycle, weather, translucent water, smoke, and special attack effects.
      • Experience expertly balanced gameplay – each unit has its strengths and weaknesses.
      • Gather 5 different resources that vary in importance depending on your strategy.
      • Play four epic single-player campaigns that each follow a civilization’s extraordinary rise to power.
      • Training scenarios guide you through the basics of game play.
      • Gorgeous random maps of various types and sizes for the ultimate replayablity.
      • Create your own original maps, scenarios, campaigns, and even in-game movies with the included editors.
old sierra faq
  • General Questions
    1. What is Empire Earth?
    2. Who is Rick Goodman?
    3. What makes Empire Earth different from other RTS games?
    4. When will Empire Earth be released?
    5. Who is Stainless Steel Studios?
    6. Will I be able to take my own screen shots?
    7. Are there any cinematics in the game?
    8. Is there a Macintosh or Linux version planned ?
    9. Will I be able to move my saved games from one computer to another?
  • Gameplay Questions
    1. There are 14 different Epochs; can you explain their differences?
    2. Will I be playing a main or central character?
    3. How will the campaign/scenario editor work? Will I be able to combine elements from
      different Epochs?
    4. Are their population or unit limits?
    5. Will I be able to play different races or peoples?
    6. Is there unit upgrading? How many units are there?
    7. What happens to my units when I move into the next Epoch?
    8. Can regular units be improved?
    9. Will there be any water units? How about air units?
    10. Will there be “heroes”?
    11. Will I be able to use waypoints?
    12. Are there different troop formations and behaviors?
    13. Can I customize the skill level of the game?
    14. Is there more than one way to win a game?
  • Technology Questions
    1. Do I need a graphics card to play Empire Earth?
    2. Does Empire Earth use a unique engine?
    3. Will there be a random map generator?
    4. Are the graphics scaleable for slower computers; and what are the system requirements?
    5. What resolution will Empire Earth run at?
  • Multiplayer Questions
    1. Will I be able to set up my own server for a multiplayer game?
    2. How many players will a map support?
    3. Will I be able to share my maps with other players?
    4. How long will multiplayer games usually last?
    5. Will “rushing” be a problem like it is with many other RTS games?
    6. Will there be a ladder or ranking system?
    7. Will there be different multiplayer game types?
Q:

What is Empire Earth?

A: Empire Earth combines stunning technology with intense strategic gameplay in a setting that spans human history – its scope and depth are arguably the greatest ever seen in the real-time strategy genre.Conceived by Rick Goodman, lead designer of Age of Empires™, Empire Earth is an RTS that begins with the discovery of fire (circa 500,000 BC) and concludes in the Nano Age several hundred years in the future. Players can choose to play whatever portions of history they want. Empire Earth features a sophisticated, expertly-balanced multiplayer component, 4 large and exciting single player campaigns, a diabolical computer AI, and the best campaign and scenario editors ever created for an RTS game.
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Q:

Who is Rick Goodman?

A: In 1995, Rick Goodman (a.k.a. “Mr. Grinch”) co-founded Ensemble Studios with his brother and they ultimately created the award-winning Age of Empires® game published by Microsoft. When the development of Age of Empires was completed, Goodman chose to return to his hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and establish Stainless Steel Studios in order to work on his latest creation, Empire Earth.
Q:

What makes Empire Earth different from other RTS games?

A: In one word it’s “scope.” From the discovery of fire to the laser battles of the future, Empire Earth gives you the opportunity to create your own customized civilizations or choose from 21 historical ones. Fight land, air, and naval battles with more than 200 different combat units, and modify them in-game to suit your style of play. A wide variety of war machines are available to you, including siege towers, cannon, nuclear submarines, bombers, helicopter transports, and cybernetic or “Cyber” robots. You can even enlist great heroes to lead your troops into combat – send William the Conqueror and his army to capture a nation or order Napoleon and a formation of French Grenadiers into battle. Empire Earth uses stunning 3D graphics, shadows, special lighting, smoke effects, and beautiful landscapes to make you part of the action. You can even zoom in to see the detail of EE’s units and buildings, or zoom out to see an entire battlefield at once. A simple and unobtrusive user interface lets you control all of the action with ease, and a variety of map types provide the ultimate replayability.Players can also immerse themselves in 4 large single player campaigns, which together cover the entire time span of the game. Players “evolve” their civilization over the course of a campaign, choosing the ways in which they want it to develop. The scenarios are diverse, with different goals and objectives to achieve victory. You will also see day/night effects, weather effects, almost one hundred special campaign-only units, and dramatic in-game cut scenes that help tell the story. There are also 8 training scenarios to give you hands-on experience in learning the basics of the game.
old sierra balloonThe built-in Campaign/Scenario Editor – the same one used by the developers – lets players create their own custom maps, scenarios, and campaigns. Additionally, players can create their own movies by building sets of landscapes and buildings, controlling camera angles, and directing any of the 300 units available in the editor. There are also Prophets who can summon devastating calamities, Wonders of the World each with a special power, special city-enhancing buildings, “Cyber” powers, unit improvements, and numerous other features.
Q:

When will Empire Earth be released?

A: Empire Earth was released on November 13, 2001, in the United States and on November 16 in the rest of the world.
Q:

Who is Stainless Steel Studios?

A: Having co-founded Ensemble Studios in 1995, Rick Goodman decided to embark on an even greater challenge and founded Stainless Steel Studios, Inc. in January 1998. Rick’s goal is for Stainless Steel Studios to become the industry’s premier developer of real-time strategy games.
Q:

Will I be able to take my own screen shots?

A: Yes, that’s easy to save screenshots on your computer . Just Hit F9 to take a screen shot, or Alt-F9 to take a hi-res shot of the entire map.
Q:

Are there any cinematics in the game?

A: Empire Earth’s single player campaigns feature numerous in-game cut scenes. They show off the game’s 3D camera and help tell the story of the scenarios.
Q:

Is there a Macintosh or Linux version planned ?

A: Officially Empire Earth only runs on Windows, however it is possible to play on Linux with Wine (or Lutris). MacOS should also be able to run the game with Wine or a Windows Virtual Machine (with 3D Acceleration).
Q:

Will I be able to move my saved games from one computer to another?

A: Yes, luckily this is a manipulation that can be done. You will be able to move your saved games from one computer to another.
Q:

There are 14 different Epochs; can you explain their differences?

A: old sierra mech factoryFrom Prehistory through the Nano Age, each Epoch is compelling in its own right. In each succeeding Epoch, new units, buildings, and technologies become available. No matter what period of history interests you – or if you are interested in the future – you will find Epochs that appeal to you in Empire Earth. It’s like getting many games in one package.
Q:

How will the campaign/scenario editor work? Will I be able to combine elements from different Epochs?

A:

The Campaign and Scenario Editors allows players to create their own custom maps, scenarios, and full campaigns. You can even create your own movies. They are the same Editors that SSSI used to create the campaigns for the game. Though powerful, both are simple to use and they come fully documented.

The Scenario Editor gives scenario designers unprecedented control over their creations, allowing them to mix together elements from different Epochs and create their own interactive stories via a robust trigger system. You can create just about any game situation that you can imagine – we like to sum it up this way: In addition to creating beautiful maps, you can do things like set multiple victory conditions, tweak the computer’s Artificial Intelligence, create feature-length films, customize units to make them virtual superheroes, alter time and space, and basically be a god. We believe it is the best RTS editor available.

Q:

Will I be playing a main or central character?

A: Yes, many scenarios in the single player campaigns are character driven.The possibilities are endless and you can expect to have days of fun!
Q:

Are their population or unit limits?

A: Games of Empire Earth have a world population limit that gets divided among the players. For example, if the game unit limit is set to 800 and there are four players, then each player gets a maximum of 200 units – this is the “pop cap” for each player. There are technologies you can research at the Hospital to increase you pop cap. You can also build the Coliseum Wonder to increase the pop cap of you and your allies while decreasing the pop cap of your enemies – though if they build one the bonuses cancels out.
Q:

Will I be able to play different races or peoples?

A: With the Civilization Builder, you can recreate any civilization that ever existed or will exist. You can even invent civilizations that never existed. It is a simple process of spending “Civ Points” to purchase attributes or “bonuses” for your civilization. Empire Earth will also ship with 21 predefined historically-based civilizations.
Q:

Is there unit upgrading? How many units are there?

A: Yes, you can upgrade your units. When you enter a new Epoch you have the option to upgrade old units to new units: for example, Arquebusiers can be upgraded into Musketeers, Musketeers can become Grenadiers, and so on. There are more than 200 unique units in the game, with nearly 100 additional units that have been specially created for the single player campaigns.
Q:

What happens to my units when I move into the next Epoch?

A: Your citizens and buildings graphically change to reflect the new Epoch. You can upgrade your military units into more-advanced unit types.
Q:

Can regular units be improved?

A: Yes, almost every type of unit can be improved, on an attribute-by-attribute basis, to increase their combat abilities. Attributes include Speed, Attack Strength, Range, Hit Points, etc. When you improve an attribute for one unit, a Musketeer for example, then all your Musketeers receive the improvement (and so do all the upgrades to the gun-infantry line, such as Grenadiers and Marines). However, there is a limit as to how many improvements you can make, so players must make choices about which attributes to improve and to what degree. Do you improve your Musketeers’ Speed and Range, so they can get into and out of a battle quickly? Or do you improve their Attack Strength to its maximum to give them the strongest punch? Or do you save your resources for something else – more individual Musketeers, perhaps? It’s all up to the players and their particular strategies.
Q:

Will there be any water units? How about air units?

A:

Empire Earth has more than 40 different ships, from the earliest wooden war rafts to futuristic nuclear-powered subs and everything in between. You can command the Henry Grâce à Dieu, the largest warship of the early 16th Century; the Bismarck, the legendary battleship of WWII; and a Nexus Class aircraft carrier of the 21st Century. 

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There are also over 30 different types of aircraft available to you, including the Sopwith Camel bi-plane, the P-51 “Mustang”, the B-2 Bomber, helicopter gunships, and the futuristic “Talon” fighter/bomber.

Q:

Will there be “heroes”?

A:

Historical heroes are an important part of Empire Earth. There are many heroes in the game, from every time period – Alexander the Great, Elizabeth I, Napoleon, and Manfred von Richthofen (the famous “Red Baron”) just to name a few. An army with a hero leading them into battle will hold an advantage over an identical army without a hero.

There are two kinds of Heroes in Empire Earth: Warrior Heroes and Strategist Heroes. Both kinds support your troops in battle, but Warriors get into the fray and provide morale for the troops around them.
Strategists, on the other hand, do their best behind the lines, increasing the vitality and stamina of their troops. Strategist Heroes can also bellow a Battle Cry, which demoralizes enemies.

Q:

Will I be able to use waypoints?

A: Yes, you can use waypoints to move your troops. You can also set rally points for your buildings.You can also suggest the desired attitude of your troops.
Q:

Are there different troop formations and behaviors?

A: Yes, you can order your troops to line up in any of 8 different formations. There are also 4 different behaviors to choose from, which essentially set the “rules of engagement” for your troops.
Q:

Can I customize the skill level of the game?

A: Yes, there are three levels of difficulty to choose from when playing the cunning computer AI. You can adapt it over time and according to your level.
Q:

Is there more than one way to win a game?

A: Yes. In regular random map games players can win by defeating all their opponents or by constructing and protecting the required number of Wonders of the World. The number of Wonders needed for victory can be adjusted by the players or turned off. Wonders also provide you with special powers or abilities. In scenarios, victory conditions can be whatever the scenario designer wants. The scenarios explain what it is necessary to accomplish to win.
Q:

Do I need a graphics card to play Empire Earth?

A: Yes, a 3D graphics card compatible with any version between DirectX 8 and 12 is required to play Empire Earth.
Q:

Will Empire Earth be using a unique engine?

A: Yes, it uses a unique engine. Empire Earth is built on a proprietary game engine, designed and created at Stainless Steel Studios.
Q:

Will there be a random map generator?

A: old sierra fighterYes, Empire Earth has an incredible random map generator that produces beautiful maps with sizes ranging from tiny to gigantic (and, yes, gigantic really is gigantic). There are also several types of maps including Continental, Highlands, and various island maps. Each map can use one of three terrain sets (chosen randomly): grass/temperate, arctic, and desert. Empire Earth’s superb random map generator provides virtually limitless replayability.
Q:

Are the graphics scaleable for slower computers; and what are the system requirements?

A:

Yes, you can adjust graphics and sound settings to improve performance on slower machines. For additional information, see the Troubleshooting section of this web site.

The minimum system requirements is here.

Q:

What resolution will Empire Earth run at?

A: Empire Earth runs in whatever resolutions are supported by your 3D graphics card. However, we strongly advise against going beyond 1920×1200 (possible with the community patch) as the game engine
may run very slowly.
Q:

Will I be able to set up my own server for a multiplayer game?

A: old sierra catapultSetting up a multiplayer game is easy. Players simply connect directly to the host over a LAN or via an IP address, or they can take advantage of Empire Earth’s free community lobby (NeoEE) or use any other solution like GameRanger. Setting up and staring a game via the matchmaking service can be done without leaving Empire Earth. But remember that if you want to host a game it is necessary to open the game ports on your internet box.
Q:

How many players will a map support?

A: The game supports up to 8 players. There are many map sizes to choose from to accommodate whatever number of players you choose.
Q:

Will I be able to share my maps with other players?

A: Yes, maps you create with the Scenario Editor are saved as files that can be shared with other players (single player only).
Q:

How long will multiplayer games usually last?

A:

Empire Earth is very flexible. By choosing appropriate game options, such as which Epochs to play, map size, population limit, starting resource level, and so on, you can set up a game that could last 30 minutes or 3 hours or even longer. It is entirely up to the players.

There are 2 game variations in Empire Earth: Standard and Tournament. Standard mode provides for a more strategic empire building game while Tournament mode results in faster-paced, action-packed games with the focus on combat. As such, Tournament games tend to finish quicker.

Q:

Will “rushing” be a problem like it is with many other RTS games?

A: The designers did not want to do away with the strategy of rushing, but they wanted to make it as balanced as possible so that defenders have a fair chance. Design features such as morale (provided by your Town Centers and Capitols when you build Houses) were implemented to address rushing. You can also affect rushing by choosing an appropriate starting level of resources. Higher starting resources allow players to put up more defenses quickly.
Q:

Will there be a ladder or ranking system?

A: This was a feature planned but it never really saw the light of day, but it is possible to indicate a skill level to join a game or to sort the games according to the skills needed to allow players of similar levels to play together. However any player can indicate the level he wants, it is not a ranking system but simply an indication.
Q:

Will there be different multiplayer game types?

A: As mentioned above, there are 2 game variations in Empire Earth: Standard and Tournament. Standard mode provides for a more strategic empire building game while Tournament mode results in faster-paced, action-packed games with the focus on combat. You can also choose to play Deathmatch games.

2001

Empire Earth is a new kind of Real Time Strategy game being made by Stainless Steel Studios. Empire Earth covers a large time period from when fire was discovered to into the future. Empire Earth covers 12 epochs from the discovery of fire(as mention previously) to the time of mech units and robots (Nano Age). Unlike the other RTS games, you dont always have to win by killing everything. Dimplomacy will also be more advanced.

Although Empire Earth is based on history (and a little beyond), the game will be different in certain ways. Rick Goodman the founder of Empire Earth says the fun goes over history and realistic ways. So don’t be surpised to see little tanks being attacked by some Civil War units or other different scenarios.

Empire Earth comes with 3 large campaigns with around 30 scenarios each. The Map Editor will allow you to edit your units and scale them to the size you want. There will be around 20 or more terrain types to choose from. One interesting thing is being able to roll over your units from the previous scenario to the next so if you end with 20 units in the first scenario you’ll start with 20 units at the start of the next unless changed by the scenario author(pretty cool eh?).

Multiplayer in Empire Earth like many games supports only 8 players but is different than other games. While most games have a population limit, in Empire Earth you may choose yours(there will surely be a max amount) and it is divided between all the players. For example with a population limit of 800 with 4 players than each player can create 200 units but if two of the players are defeated than the two players left will have a limit of 400 each(wow). Now most people hate to play a very long game with sorry ISPs and it is impossible to go play all 12 epochs in one game, but don’t worry since in Empire Earth you may choose which epochs you wish to play! So choose which ones you wish to play. Your surrounding land will be very important(ie: a large hill may give you an advantage or disadvantage against the other opponent)! How you treat and tax your workers will be important since they might cause riots and/or disease!

There are disasters in Empire Earth(if you haven’t figured that out yet). Although its impossible to know when one will happen it won’t be completely random. If you tax your villagers too much they may cause a riot but if they’re happy than they won’t. Disasters can also be caused by you. For example in the early epochs you can create volcanos to hurt your enemy.

Empire Earth offers a new feature for the RTS world. You will now get to “create” your own civilizations. There will be 100 attributes that you can choose from for your civilization. These attributes can put you at an advantage or disadvantage. When you first create your civilization, you are given a specified amount of attributes that you can have. You may also earn more attributes as the game progresses.

HQ Gaming

January 16,1999 (Empire Earth was not published)

Empire Earth is a Real-Time Strategy Game being developed by Stainless Steel Studios. It is kind of like Civilization 2 and Age of Empires combined, with a totally new outlook. Empire Earth covers all of human history, from 500,000 BC to 2300 AD. Empire Earth will have over 100 units and many more technologies to invest in.
While Empire Earth strives to be as realistic as possible, Rick Goodman is, the head designer, believes that fun should come before realism. It is his intention that Empire Earth will not be a complicated game that is difficult to understand. Rather, it will be as easy to play as other titles such as Age of Empires or StarCraft while at the same time being fun and very realistic.
Combat plays a large role in any strategy game, either real-time or turn based and Empire Earth is no exception, but in this particular game there are more ways to win besides resorting to combat. For example, you may have to gather a certain amount of resources or you may simply have to wipe out a particular civilization. Further examples of winning scenarios include being the first to invest in a particular technology, or being the first to reach a specific epoch, or age.
With regard to epochs, Empire Earth will have twelve of them. Unlike Age of Empires though, the player will not find himself or herself rushing to get the last epoch in the game to get the best units in the game. Empire Earth’s timeline spans too great a period to do that. Instead, the player is able to construct useful and worthwhile units throughout the length of the game.
Turning to resources, there are twelve of them in the game. Some of the resources will no doubt be familiar, such as wood, gold and food, but a number of new materials will be available such as horses and oil for example. If you want to build a unit with horses, like the Scout, you need to have one horse. As for units themselves, well, there will be over a hundred in the game and over 300 different technologies that the player can invest in.
No doubt many of you will be saying at this point, “whoa! That is way too much to manage control of”, Well, don’t worry, as already discussed above, Empire Earth is set to be just as easy as Age of Empires. In fact because of the attention to detail that has been put into the game’s user-interface you wont even have to look at the manual to understand how it works.
“So, what happens if I don’t have time to play a full game of Empire Earth through all twelve epochs?” That’s not a problem – you simply select with epochs you do want to play, and thus decide just how long you want the game to last. Not only that, but there are even natural (and “unnatural”) events that can occur at any time, such as Earthquakes, plagues, tax revolts, religious persecution, famine, pollution, civil war, global warming and nuclear disasters.
“Hey, what about multiplayer?” Well, multiplayer will be a lot like it was in Age of Empires. Easy, clean fun. Although still to be finalized, Empire Earth is expected to support anywhere between eight and twelve simultaneous players.

stasio@empireearth.com

June 10, 1998 (Empire Earth development had not or practically not started)

Rick Goodman, the creator and lead designer of Age of Empires, and founder of the new development house Stainless Steel Studios, recently announced the company’s first software title, Empire Earth. According to Goodman, Stainless Steel’s mission is to develop “the next generation of real-time strategy games,” and Empire Earth is the company’s first offering. In a Gamecenter exclusive, Goodman agreed to speak about his upcoming title, his new company, and the future of strategy gaming.

“Stainless Steel Studios was founded to create the next generation of real-time strategy games,” said Goodman. “I’m a big believer in core competencies, a company sticking with what its best at. When Age of Empires was finished, Ensemble Studios sat down and discussed what would be done with Age II. Eventually it was decided that Age II would only have a nine-month development cycle…essentially it would just be an expansion on the original Age concept. That wasn’t what I was interested in doing.”

To that end, Goodman moved back to his hometown of Cambridge to create Stainless Steel. Empire Earth (working title) is slated to be a real-time strategy game in the mold of Age of Empires with vastly expanded features and capabilities. “This is the real-time strategy game for the next millennium,” Goodman said. ” We’re taking the easy-to-understand play mechanics and interface of AoE and adding (among other things) a 500,000-year time scale, 300 new technologies to play with, and a brand-new graphics engine. We want Empire Earth to be more than a game–it will be a totally different experience for everyone who plays it.”

The initial plans for the project certainly look promising. As Goodman mentioned, the game will cover a time span of a half-million years, taking gamers from caveman days to the dawn of the 26th century. The game will also expand the strategic focus from a concentration on military conquest to a more varied menu of diplomacy, politics, economic expansion, and resource trading.

“Right now, of course, all of this is in the planning stages,” Goodman continued. “We’re currently in the process of building a world-class development team right here in Cambridge–get those resumes in!” he joked. “The point is, we’re trying all kinds of new things with this title, so we’re pulling together a strike team of 20 of the top Age of Empires players to help us develop and fine-tune both the game and the artificial intelligence. Their job is to do nothing but play the game throughout the development process. What makes this strike team different is that they’ll be involved before even a line of code is written. The team will be our own personal think tank to give suggestions and bounce ideas off of.”

Other features include 12 different resources to harvest, manage, trade, and possibly corner; truly customizable civilizations; significantly larger randomly generated worlds; and two- to eight-player deathmatching. Also, taking a page from turn-based strategic games such as Heroes of Might and Magic and Master of Orion, gamers will also be able to control dozens of male and female heroes from various historical epochs.

The game also features something Goodman likes to call “interactive unpredictability.” During their journey through history, players will experience earthquakes, tax revolts, religious inquisitions, crusades, famine, pollution, civil war, global warming, and nuclear disasters. These events will have far-reaching effects on a player’s empire, often for centuries to come.

“One of the key things we learned through all the feedback we received on Age is that strategy players hate truly random events that destroy carefully laid plans,” said Goodman. “Empire Earth’s disasters will be directly related to the player’s actions. If the player overgrazes the land prior to the development of agriculture, subsequent farms won’t yield as much food.” He added, “Launching a nuclear bomb will not only kill cities but radiate the ground and possibly start a nuclear winter that will kill the trees needed for wood resources. Again, the point is that it won’t always happen, but when it does, it won’t be random. The player will know why it happened.”

No release date has been set for Empire Earth, but you can expect it for the PC and consoles.

Allen Rausch (michaelb@cnet.com)

CNET GameCenter