Hey reddit! We’re here to answer your Age of Empires-related questions. Age of Empires II: HD is available today on Steam! It’s still 10% off, and both 4-packs and AoE Legacy Bundles are available. There will be several people answering questions:

  • ThriceFive - Hidden Path (Worked for Ensemble)

  • pfreese - Hidden Path

  • jessebright - Hidden Path

  • televided - Hidden Path

  • MS_Ryz0n - MS


We’re actively working to resolve some issues that have cropped up for a few users around the launch, but will be cycling through here to answer your questions, as well as give away some AoE II: HD Steam keys!

EDIT #1: Here's a link to the first gameplay footage stream from Ryz0n and I if you'd like to see some of the changes between the original and HD version in action! http://www.twitch.tv/ageofempires/b/379747686

Also...first round of Steam keys! First come first serve!







EDIT #2: Round two!






EDIT #3: Last round of codes! Get 'em while you can!






Comments: 1730 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

mapoostry1136 karma

Are there any plans for a re-release of Age of Mythology in HD?

MS_Ryz0n303 karma

We're always excited to see the community support for titles in the franchise. I don't have anything related to other games to discuss at this moment though.

Off_Topic_Oswald719 karma

I know everyone is wondering, can I still explore the map with sheep?

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE578 karma


ThriceFive248 karma

Just until that opposing villager goes by and converts you. Yay sheep-scout!

558454442 karma

So I started playing today and despite being on a high-end PC, there seem to be a framerate issue, as the game is very choppy.

When there's around 30 units moving around on the screen it starts to chop, it's actually worse than in the original game.

I visited Steam's community page, and a lot of people had the same issue.

Will this be fixed in the near future?

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE590 karma

We are aware of this issue and are working to fix it.

MS_Ryz0n48 karma

Our test suites encompassed a variety of hardware and GPU configurations, but it's impossible to covery every PC varient out there. We do want to take a look at what issues people are seeing, especially around the dxdiag report on the systems seeing issues. (Looks like some community members are also doing some experiemtation with settings)

T3mpo370 karma


Please change back the symbol for food to a steak. To much yellow on the top bar now.

If you don't the symbol is still a steak in the markedplace :)

[deleted]102 karma


T3mpo26 karma

Alright! I'll look into that. Thanks!

MS_Ryz0n57 karma

correct! But you know... i really needed to go on a diet. Steaks are delicious but veggies are healthy.

hoguemr281 karma


ThriceFive181 karma

Chris Rippy was so clever with all of the sounds in the game, there are lots of secret shout-out to his musician friends (Papadakis). Chris moved from sound design AOE into production on AOK and was just awesome on both projects. If you're out there Chris - people still Wololo me all the time.

wheezymustafa231 karma

Aye yoyoyo...wololoooo

Thanks for revising this, I'm so excited! Tell me, are we going to still be able to use cheese steak Jimmy's, how do you turn this on, and all of the other kickass cheats that were on the orig?

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE244 karma

Absolutely! All of the original cheats still work.

Marigold12101 karma

How do I turn this thing on?

Alabaz12174 karma

how do you turn this thing on?

MS_Ryz0n71 karma

we really don't need anything in there. (its "how do you turn this on". But i coudln't resist a bad pun)

threesls213 karma

Congrats guys, Steam reports 11,099 people in-game right now.

ThriceFive129 karma

We were really overwhelmed that we were as high as #3 on the Steam Pre-Release, we hoped for a good launch with a lot of players. Apologies for some technical glitches but those always happen (some of you will remember we had to do some quick AOK patches when we originally released it). The technical crews here and at MS are taking note of all the issues people are bringing up in the AMA (and elsewhere).

threesls65 karma

Out of curiosity, how much were your team expecting?

11k for a decade-old game is impressive, at least to me...

MS_Ryz0n183 karma

searches internet for random picture http://www.blogcdn.com//media/2012/10/drevillikesgorillaglass.jpg

But in all seriousness, we did of course hope the game reached as many people as possible. I was very plesantly surprised this morning waking up to see it #1 on the steam top seller list.

mynameisdende143 karma

Two things, One, thank you for making this game in the first place, I have been a huge fan since my friend gave me the game for my 8th birthday in 2000.

Two, Is there any news on a Mac release?

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE75 karma


AoE II: HD doesn't have OS X support, but if you install Windows to a partition via Boot Camp, you should be able to play the game just fine.

mynameisdende91 karma


AoE_IamPREZSTEVE146 karma

Happy cake day!

SoyBeanExplosion96 karma

I want to give you my money but you won't let me :(

Knucklessg126 karma

I don't think it's his fault. Doesn't microsoft own the rights to this game still?

MS_Ryz0n53 karma

Well you're always welcome to give me money, but alas I do not have anything but a windows version to offer you at the moment. We do still love that there are lots of people on other devices interested though!



AoE II: HD doesn't have OS X support, but if you install Windows to a partition via Boot Camp, you should be able to play the game just fine.

Birdslapper127 karma

First off, HUGE fan. You guys are great. I loved every game you guys have produced! Something that I'm on the fence about that getting answered will comfort me, is this still going to feel like AoE 2? Am I gonna play it and feel right at home?

edit: Just a heads up, I took the last key. Thanks guys!

ThriceFive133 karma

It is in every way AOE2 - the gameplay is what you are expecting, the challenge, the fun is all there. The graphics are better and it runs on your current computer, plus Steam community and workshop. It IS AOK/AOC

Birdslapper94 karma

You've got me all excited now. Thanks for the answer Thrice! I don't know if I'm allowed to do this, but I have a follow up question:

Any chance for an Age of Mythology HD remake?

ThriceFive146 karma

Tons of people asking about AOM-HD - I have no insight into Microsoft's plans, but in this industry, if people are really clamoring for something and supporting the other products it is bound to happen some time.

Eugene_Goat118 karma


First off, let me say thank you for bringing a relic of recent gaming history back to life!

And onto my questions:

Firstly, there are rather large issues that several people are having with large amounts of lag, and flickering frame rate issues. Are these just teething issues?

Secondly, are you 100% happy with all the updates you've made? I was surprised to see things like the lack of graphical options, and how some little things like the resource thumbnails were updated, but the tech tree's resolution hasn't been changed at all. Was this intentional to keep it true to its previous form, or just an oversight?

I look forward to seeing how AoE2:HD is supported in the coming months & years! Can't wait to see a potential esports community boom!

All the best to you all and thank you for taking the time to do this.

jessebright114 karma

Hi, Jesse Bright here, the lead on Age of Empire II HD's network development.

We did not perform a complete re-write of the underlying networking architecture. Games are still going to be limited by the speed of the slowest player in the match.

That being said, there have been significant changes made to the way that player's connect with one another. For instance, issues with NAT traversal will no longer be a significant problem.


I should add that because of the inherent NAT traversal your traffic may be being routed through a proxy network without you realizing it. For the best performance you will want to bypass the proxy network by setting up port forwarding on your router. The ports you want to have open are as follows:

UDP 27000 to 27015 inclusive

UDP 27015 to 27030 inclusive

UDP 4380

UDP 3478 (Outbound)

UDP 4379 (Outbound)

[deleted]69 karma


jessebright184 karma

This was not a business decision.

To be clear (one programmer to another), after handshaking and matchmaking occurs gameplay traffic between peers on the same LAN is all routed locally.

AOE II utilizes a peer-to-peer game state synchronization architecture. Over the Steam network, establishing a peer-to-peer session (as opposed to a client-server connection) requires that each peer begin with an open channel of communication to the Steam servers.

When a peer-to-peer session is initiated each peer goes through a security token exchange process to establish their identity. This token exchange, facilitated by the Steam server authority, allows a peer to sign all of their outgoing messages to prevent message spoofing. During token exchange the server authority also confirms that each peer has not been banned for cheating, that they own a copy of the game, etc.

There are some anti-cheat and skill ranking caveats that are factored into the relationship between players on a LAN and the Steam authority, but once everyone finds each other, proves who they are, and the game has launched there is no longer any match relevant traffic that is sent through the Steam servers.

[deleted]89 karma

Been playing the Age of Empires series since I was 3 years old on the release of the very first one. II is my all time favorite game and because I lived a stone's throw away from Ensemble's old offices I was heartbroken when you guys closed down (wanting to intern there to moment I hit 16). The HD release has to be the most anticipated game for me since the gold edition came out.

Now I do wonder. Since the game has been brought back up, although you guys want to keep it true to its original self, are there any balancing plans in store? (Vikings are horrendously weak on non-water maps and the Koreans are godawfully strong everywhere)

Also are there any plans to incorporate this into the main game: http://www.forgottenempires.net/ As far as fan mods go, that's a top tier one right there. The inclusion of those 5 civilizations that definitely felt forgotten and some great QoL updates really made it feel like an Xpac on its own. Will the steam workshop part of the HD remake be able to allow mods on that scale?

ThriceFive159 karma

If you were a stones throw from the old ES offices - do you remember the Benihana restaurant there? Notice any similarity between that and the Asia building set? Yeah, we could see it from our offices...so we took their roof.

Here's an amusing story - we kept getting reports from MS that the grass was colored wrong 'too yellow' - they quit doing that bug report after they did a field trip to our office and said "Oh, the grass just looks that way in Texas!"

[deleted]41 karma

The Plano location or the North Dallas one? I live right in between both. And it always struck me funny how the Castle Age Oriental houses looked disturbingly similar.

And that explains why I always thought the grass color was perfectly fine (even with the Windows 7 annoyance of the crazy colorization)

ThriceFive38 karma

North Dallas - we were right off of 635 in that office complex next to Benihana.

MS_Ryz0n38 karma

Yet somehow lately dallas has been getting more snow than Seattle. redoes all of the textures quickly :p

reluctantcommenter75 karma

I love you guys.

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE91 karma


atioyhne66 karma

Is there a story behind the recurring campaign character Ornlu the Wolf?

I heard the cheat codes were inside jokes and would be interested to know Ornlu the Wolf's background if it's similar.

EDIT: Also, do you know where I would be able to get one of these?

ThriceFive81 karma

You actually can't get one of those Trebuchets - they were designed as a pack-in goodie and manufactured in Germany. Evidently you can use that toy in Germany - it wasn't able to pass US toy safety regulations (that treb ball went a good long distance! - and hella painful when launching peanut M&Ms - the office favorite).
Each of us took some home to play with but we never shipped it in the game. What do you think one would go for on e-bay, cause it'd almost be worht cleaning my garage to find.

ThriceFive67 karma

Oh, I can't recall the Ornlu the Wolf background - Greg Street and Sandy Petersen were fantastic researchers and amateur historians - I remember Greg would deep-dive and read everything about Joan of Arc before working on her campaign...check for a historical reference first - we tried to go to actual historical references for everything where possible. (Greg was/is a senior designer at Blizzard doing WOW stuff last I heard)

ThriceFive64 karma

Hey everyone - I'm Mark Terrano - originally lead designer on AOK and Hidden Path Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer, looking forward to some good Q&A Today!

Makia155 karma

this game was my whole child hood, i had no friends in middle school till I happened to mention i played this game. these guys, and girl became some of my best friends from playing this game. we still do lans of this about once a year when we can see each other. so stoked for this game!!! thank you so very much for remaking it.

ThriceFive41 karma

Hopefully with easy matchmaking you'll be able to play more than once a year now :) Glad you have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the game. Cheers!

MrTomSea53 karma

Dumb question. I really am into the mod Forgotten Empires. I dont know what all went into the remake, but how difficult would it be for old mods to be adapted to the HD remake?

MS_Ryz0n59 karma

It's going to really varry on the complexity of the mods and whether or not it's supported by the workshop. We allow for a lot in there, but it's crazy what some people have done over the years all the way down to assembly level code. I personally am very excited to see what creativity the workshop inspires!

123choji52 karma

I've got a question. How do turn this on?

pfreese94 karma


SubBridgeDweller34 karma

Nice. So cool of you guys to do an AMA. What are your favorite updates made for the HD version?

ThriceFive40 karma

Steam community and Steam workshop!!! "In the day" we had a great community on AOK Heaven and other places but there wasn't really one great place to get the community add ons. With workshop support we get a central location to share maps.

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE34 karma

I'm extremely excited to see the kinds of things users create for the Steam Workshop!

duox714233 karma

Regarding multiplayer connectivity issues, when can we expect to see some fixes?

jessebright58 karma

We have ran many thousands of hours of large multiplayer games between our office in Seattle and the office of our testing firm on the other side of the country. This allowed us to very thoroughly test the core architecture, but the reality of deploying a highly competitive multiplayer game of this scale is that the end users are going to encounter connectivity issues that we never experienced during testing.

The good news is that we have developed very powerful tools for collecting network data that allow us to rapidly isolate individual issues. If you are able to reproduce a connectivity issue I ask that you please report it to our support forum in as much detail as possible. Before we can fix the problems we need to identify them and collect relevant technical data.

We are asking anyone experiencing connectivity issues to report the problem in this thread: http://steamcommunity.com/app/221380/discussions/2/828935361235943414/

*edit to add link

myfinalaccount30 karma

Will the multiplayer have a rating system like the MSN Gaming Zone did or even a ladder?

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE56 karma

You are ranked using the Steam ELO system.

jessebright23 karma

All multiplayer games that do not allow cheat codes are rated. There is an indicator of current global rank at the top of the Main Menu's multiplayer screen. Hovering over your rank will display your current win / loss record of ranked games.

Ranking is determined through a weighted scoring system called ELO. Team's of allied players influence each others rank, so if you ally with a low skill player and lose you will not be significantly penalized.

Horsejacker2227 karma

What is the reason for the Steam always online requirement for playing online games? Like no LAN without being connected to Steam? I hate to be that guy in every thread, but I'm just curious.

MS_Ryz0n35 karma

Multiplayer is handled through Steam's profile & matchmaking systems. Since we're using the Steam tech for all of that, you'll need to be connected to Steam for multiplayer. You can run steam in offline mode for single player.

bryanf44525 karma

Hi there! Long time player and fan. First off thank you so much for bringing back one of the greatest games ever. My only question is, how will you be maintaining and updating the game? Will you be listening to the community for improvements and fixes? Thanks for your time!

ThriceFive20 karma

Update plans are of course up to Microsoft - we were really happy with their commitment to the franchise, to seeing AOE2 running again and embracing a lot of new features.

MS_Ryz0n24 karma

Hey everyone, I'm Ryan Chaply (MS Ryz0n) - the producer on AOE II HD. We're thrilled jump in and answer questions and are looking forward to spending some time with you all today!

Birdslapper21 karma

Hi Ryan, I don't know if you guys are allowed to answer this right now, but is there any chance for an Age of Mythology remake?

[deleted]28 karma

Or Rise of Nations HD?

MS_Ryz0n24 karma

I need a breather here guys, you're going to give me grey hair!

obsession23 karma

We were promised a dual screen support. How does it exactly work? Thanks!

pfreese74 karma

Pressing Alt+Enter will toggle the game between windowed mode and maximized on a monitor. If you press Alt+Shift+Enter, it will maximize to the entire desktop.

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE31 karma

If you press Alt+Enter to put the game into windowed mode, you can drag it across as many monitors as you own.

redisforever8 karma

What about monitors you don't own?

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE27 karma

We will deliver that functionality in an upcoming patch.

ETL4nubs20 karma

My friend and I LOVED the music for AOE2. I mean, every time we have a LAN party, it is a piece of work that is on repeat.

Did you change up the music / Remaster it / extend the soundtrack at all?

ThriceFive35 karma

No - I noticed one reviewer really praised the remastering of the sound, I think the difference is having heard it on cheap little Pentium II-PC speakers back in 1999 and hearing it with good headphones or on a great sound system that PCs today have. The musicians and composers did an amazing job with the original score...that was all recorded at our sound studio at Ensemble.

GermanSeabass8 karma

What's the chance of buying the soundtrack somewhere?

ThriceFive16 karma

Ask the MS guy - we used to give out the soundtrack CDs - I still have some of them, I'd love to see MS re-release it on the Amazon music store or something.

Lavie_Head19 karma

Is that true that the game is incompatible with XP? -.-

MS_Ryz0n14 karma

We're working to get the issues players are seeing with XP resolved. Fear not, we love gamers on windows XP too.

Rush1349317 karma

Why did you choose to do AoE II : HD now? Were you aware of the community on Voobly and/or Gameranger that still played AoE 2? Did you attempt to contact current players to see if there was demand for an HD version? I've been a fan for a while, thank you so much for doing this AMA.

MS_Ryz0n26 karma

It was a combination of the fans & getting lucky enough to meet with Hidden Path. A perfect storm of sorts. We've been thrilled with the community response since announce.

biggiesmallstoph15 karma

I've actually only played Age of Empires 1, never could afford AOE Conquerors though all my lan buddies played it.

After seeing the gameplay I'll probably stick around to see what's going on.

One question, what inspired you to make age of empires?

ThriceFive35 karma

The original game? It started out as a game called "Dawn of Man" and was a lot closer to Civilization. We sped it up (and got some inspiration from Warcraft I's advancement speed) to much faster RTS than we had originally planned. We wanted to cross some of the speed of Warcraft with depth of Civilization...best of both. The original tech tree was amazingly deep but didn't fit with some of the pace of the game. We talked to several publishers in the day - History Channel was interested among others, but ended up working with Microsoft to release all of the Age series over the next several years.

poesdawid13 karma

Why did you put that super powerful car in?

ThriceFive23 karma

That easter-egg was the design of Scott Winsett after his dream car. Of course he made it powerful (it was also his kid on the tricycle)! People loved the crazy little Easter-eggs and wiping out the enemy with laser soldiers or powerful cars. It was just a fun way to break the tension of long hours of testing the game getting it ready for shipping.

Phillycj12 karma

Did you guys throw in any easter eggs of your own into the game?

ThriceFive23 karma

Not that I know of...there were plenty in there already. We talked about putting in a Defense Grid Tower to replace one of your towers but never got farther than talking about it. What would you have put in there?

ObligatoryPokemonRef11 karma

Have you played a pokemon game? If so which was your starter pokemon that you chose?

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE31 karma

Charmander, EZ.

Although I preferred Yellow :p

When I was younger, my step-brother won the surfing Pikachu mod from Nintendo Power. There was a lot of jealousy that day.

NinjaInYellow11 karma

Thanks for the remake and the AMA. If it hasn't been asked yet, I'd like to know how content on the Workshop will work. If Player A has Mod M while Player B does not, what will happen if B tries to join A's game? Will he be unable to join, will he get a temporary download of the mod, or what?

MS_Ryz0n16 karma

This depends on the content of the mod. If the mod doesn't affect gameplay (something like a sound file or ground texture) play should be fine. Adding a mod that does affect gamplay would result in an out of sync between players unless both had the mod.

Jourdy28810 karma

I've always loved the AoE franchise, nice seeing you guys here! Now, my question: what are your favorite RTS (besides AoE)?

televided18 karma

Dawn of War! (Waaagh!)

ThriceFive18 karma

StarCraft rocks. I have fun with some of the indie games and mods as well.

AoE_IamPREZSTEVE14 karma

I came from an SC2 background originally. I also really like Company of Heroes, although it is much different with squad-based combat.

GodoftheGeeks6 karma

I know there aren't any balance changes to the game with this HD release but is that a possibility in the future?

ThriceFive7 karma

For everyone askign about additional content - I think the popularity of the game will encourage continued development and a living, ongoing AOKHD franchise. Support the product, get your friends to try it, and be friendly but vocal about hopes for additional content.

houseme5 karma

Alright so thanks for taking some things of my list if I ever become a world dictator.

  1. Force the AOE2 developers to redo AOE2, but do not change anything other than fix multi-player, update graphics to be better, still 2D, and possibly allow for more than 200 army, and make it work on modern computers.

  2. Ban all coke products just to piss coke drinkers off for hating pepsi so much (I drink both)

  3. Ban Apple products just for shits and giggles

I absolutely love this game more than any other game I have ever played. oh and since I should ask something.. can I have some money?

EDIT: I guess they allow higher pop now

Thank you, future world dictator


As far as your first point goes, oh mighty dictator: you can increase the pop cap to up to 500 in multiplayer games.

Maistum4 karma

Did you region lock the game? Because I see less games than on some streams from guys from other regions, and some brazilian guys also said the same. If so it was a ridicoulously stupid idea, and you should reconsider it. And also the quick matchmaking system crashes for me, but I heard you can only use it with locked settings, you should at least offer some variety (this game was never played on fast speed, and it really kills some aspects). I get a big lag ingame, and scroll speed is low, also may hotkeys reset to default automatically, which is annoying like hell. These are some real issues... But I'm also fascinated with the amount of players who brought the game, and want to play it online. I still have fate in you, please don't dissapoint those who want to have a great experience with this game.

MS_Ryz0n6 karma

The game is not region locked. We've tested matches with people 10,000 miles away. Steam's browser list matchmaking does return a list of results prioritized by region to give you preference to better matches, but if you've got a friend far away, have them shoot you a game invite.

Stuball19924 karma

Ah. Is there anything brand new that you guys want to bring to AoEII at some point? Or are you strictly keeping this as a "by the book" revival of the original

ThriceFive6 karma

Personal wish list - I always thought the ability to design your own civilization (balanced of course, maybe like a cafeteria menu where you could spend points) and user-create your own custom units, to be the Civ you would have made if you were a mighty emperor of the day. Who knows what the future will hold - but I'll always have a soft spot for that feature (that was one I came up with back in 1999).

DrToenail3 karma

Can we get an AOE subreddit going?


r/aoe2 is fairly active!

Reaper5052 karma

What platforms will it run on? As a Mac user I would like to know I could play it. Btw AoE 2 is my favorite RTS ever! Love what you do!



AoE II: HD doesn't have OS X support, but if you install Windows to a partition via Boot Camp, you should be able to play the game just fine.

Reaper5052 karma


I guess I'll have to figure out how to do that. I've never tried before.

_WereItSoEasy_2 karma

Just wanted to say I am a huge fan!! Age of Empires II was an amazing part of my childhood and early years! I can't wait to be back and experiencing it in HD! Quick question though, are there any plans to possibly bring it to Mac? I have a couple friends that I would love to share some nostalgic times with....


AoE II: HD doesn't have OS X support, but if you install Windows to a partition via Boot Camp, you should be able to play the game just fine.