Author Archives: jimmy

New Preview & How to Play Videos

Here are some new externally made videos to tide you over, while we are finishing the last bits of the game and are preparing new webpage content ourselves (Yes, yes – we still have that Warlord Class to reveal …  and we have some other cool bits to show like a certain editing tool 🙂 )

First, Here’s a great Age of Wonders 3 introductory preview video from Michael Cromwell at PCGMedia with a sweeping analysis of the game from the perspective of a newcomer to the series. This video also has an in-depth look on the possibilities of the leader customizer. Check it out!

 

How to Play Video:

Then forumite and beta tester iHunterKiller has more to show in his new excellent How to Play series. You can give him requests on the forums, maybe he’ll show stuff.

Here is his growing play list:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhAjLeSwzp3hLPeLqY2p-R7Ubbauwhxpe

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing the Rogue Leader Class + Video

“Rogue Lords are masters of stealth, manipulation and theft. Any foolish citizen who makes trouble, disappears without a whisper in the middle of the night. Rogues employ charm, poison, assassinations, and the magic of the shadows to appease their subjects and manipulate rival leaders. Rogues have two faces: one they wear in public, while the other is a ruthless schemer behind closed doors, directing sinister forces that wait in shadow for the perfect moment to strike.” —“Gifted Lords of the Third Age” – by Ralinstone Pedant, Chronicler

 Read more about the Rogue Leader Class, including units and skills on our new Rogue Class Page!

Merry Xmas! and the Competition Results

As 2013 draws to a close, we would like to thank you for all your continued support!
On behalf of all at Triumph, we wish you a great a Holiday Season and a Happy New Year in which the light of a new Age of Wonders will shine on you.

Xmas_WithText

We’d also to take this moment to announce the winners for the Halfling Competition.

We thank all participants for their creative story writing. It was tough selecting five winners, but we have settled on:  Chrysophylax Páuperem,  MeeberEdi, Draxynnic, and NuMetal for their exquisite writing skills and lore knowledge!  The Winners will receive their keys soon (should be within a week). 

If you are not part of this list, don’t lament!  We’ll send out more invites in the New Year.

Best Regards,
The Triumph Studios Team

Introducing the Sorcerer class

Teleporter

“After the ascension of the ancient Wizard Kings at the end of the Second Age, a new breed of magicians, called Sorcerers, claimed power. Seeking to unravel the mysteries of cosmos, they’ve learned to directly tap into the mana currents and wield magic in its purest form. The Sorcerer summon magical creatures ranging from shock Wisps to extra-dimensional Eldritch Horrors. Being the most magically focused of all the classes, the Sorcerer wields a wide arsenal of combat invocations and unit and domain enchantments. Sorcerer’s domains tend to be loaded with protections such as anti magic domes and guarding glyphs, while they cast corrupting magic on their enemies. Needless to say Sorcerers favor mana over gold and rely on spells instead of brute force. With their arcane knowledge, they strive restore the dominance once held by the Wizard Kings.” — “Gifted Lords of the Third Age” by Ralinstone Pedant, Chronicler

Read all about the Sorcerer class, its units and skills in our new class page. It’s also a great place to check out our new screenshots!

Age of Wonders III cover art revealed!

After having worked on it for several months, we are thrilled to finally show you the cover art of Age of Wonders III.  Some keen-eyed forum users already noticed an early version on Amazon.de, but this is the real deal!

AoW3_boxart_int_final

After going with a bunch of alternatives with our co-publishing partners, we settled on this concept. Our retail partners want a standout cover, preferable with the logo at the top so it’s easy to see on the shelves. The cover should show the experience of what the game is about. It displays the various types of leaders you can be in the game , looming above a battlefield in a fantastic world. The central character also has high contrast so we have an element that pops from a far (from smaller on-screen versions).

There were big arguments whether a female (Sundren) or male (Edward) should be the central character. Apparently covers with women sell a lot less, so we opted for the male. Don’t tell this to Rhianna Pratchett (our friend and writer who worked on Overlord!). Seriously though, we felt the pose with the central large sword better fitted with the male dreadnaught than the female Rogue. The light beyond Age of Wonders logo shines on the lead characters, as if they have a heavenly mandate to protect the arcadian landscape below from the attacking army. Will the player protect the Age of Wonders, or use it for his own evil goals?

The art is a group effort. The initial concept was done by Lennart, subsequently Lead Artist Allert van der Leij did the 3D posing and worked out the page core of the page in high detail. Additionally Intern Chilly Prins (who has a great knack for color and environment) added painterly details, bringing the elements together. Then Len did some final detailing on the characters.

The Characters:

  • Dwemus, A Dwarf Theocrat. A jolly Dwarf Priest appearing in the story. He’s got a grudge against the Commonwealth
  • Sundren, High Elf Rogue. Daughter of Julia and King Saridas. Protagonist of the Elven Court Campaign
  • Edward, Human Dreadnaught. Protagonist of the Commonwealth Campaign.
  • Reshkar, Draconian who you’ll help find a new homeland in the the Elven Court Campaign
  • Saridas, former Dark Elf, appearing in both EC and CW campaigns

(Elements of) this art will also be used as banners in the digital stores and on the webpage. Hopefully we’ll get some posters printed too.

Let us know what you think!

Dev Journal: Creating magical sounds with The Audio Guys

theaudioguysAfter having done a fantastic job at our Overlord titles, we’re happy to announce our friends at UK-based The Audio Guys are teaming up with us again to make the sounds for Age of Wonders III.

The videos you’ve seen in the past used mostly placeholder sounds. Although some legacy sounds will remain, a lot of work needs to be done. Together with music maestro Michiel van den Bos the Audio Guys are hard at work to ensure Age of Wonders will have immersive audio-scape fitting the gameplay and game world. Here is Dan Gardner to tell us a bit about creating sound effects for Age of Wonders III.

Can you tell about how The Audio Guys got started and your involvement with Triumph Studios?

The Audio Guys started around 8 years ago, when Tim Bartlett and I left Codemasters to set up an independent audio company. We felt that by being independent, we could provide a higher quality and more flexible audio service to many different developers, and this has proved to be correct. The fact that we are still here going strong after 8 years is testament to this.

Daniel Gardner (The Audio Guys)

Daniel Gardner (The Audio Guys)

One of our first projects was working with Triumph Studios on Overlord, which was a really great game to set the company off on the right track. Working on all the creatures, characters and magical environments in Overlord was really good fun as well as being very challenging. Getting performances for the Minions and the Minion Master characters was the most crucial aspect as they are the main stars of the show, working with Rhianna Pratchett (writer) and Marc Silk (voice actor) during the studio voice session helped to get this nailed, and we think the results speak for themselves.

Since then, aside from working on Overlord 2, we have worked on many AAA titles as well as many smaller/casual titles – Forza Motorsport 3, 4 and 5 (on the new Xbone console), Sega Rally (console and arcade machine), Spyro, Virtua Tennis, Backbreaker, Blur, Kinectimals, My Horse, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Nascar, Sonic&Sega AllStars Racing Transformed, Surgeon Simulator, Moshi Monsters and a whole host of other mobile/casual games. See http://www.theaudioguys.co.uk/past-projects/ for the full list.

What are the challenges on making sound for a game like Age of Wonders?

Working on AoW is a particular challenge due to the massive number of units involved in the game, as well as the huge arsenal of spells and abilities that all need individual audio crafting, love and attention.

All of the effects for these need to sound interesting and as unique as possible but still have to be produced in a timely manner. The audio system was designed with this in mind. We identified the components that made up the sounds heard with each action such as footsteps, armour movement, magic type, creature type and so on. We broke these sounds down into component parts and then created them to be mixed back together in-game. By using this almost modular approach it allowed us to create a vast range of sounds that result in a dynamic, interesting and non repetitive soundscape.

The AoW3 project is a bit different from previous (action) titles we have worked on as the gameplay turn based, which means the focus is on only a small handful of units triggering sounds at any given time as opposed to realtime games where there are potentially 100’s of units making sound which is a challenge in itself in terms of managing the mix, cpu and memory overheads. Because of the turn based nature of gameplay with small numbers of units interacting, we can focus much more on the sounds themselves and get the quality level as high as possible.

So how do you go about making these different sound effects?

Before working on Age of Wonders III the Audio Guys worked on Triumph Studios' Overlord series.

Before working on Age of Wonders III the Audio Guys worked on Triumph Studios’ Overlord series.

At the most basic level the process of making sounds is to ensure that they meet gameplay requirements and player expectations for that sound: everyone has a good idea what a windy hill top or a soldier marching in armour should sound like. And audio provides important cues and feedback about what’s going on gameplay wise and the actions that the player is undertaking.

At a deeper level we aim to make sure the sounds are unique, interesting and where possible filled with character. A lot this is down to the individual sound designer’s creative skills and processes, as well as their experience. Practically this means using a variety of sources including sound effects libraries – these are massive collections of sounds that different sound recordists have made over the years.

Good sound designers won’t simply take these sounds as they stand from the library though, especially as a lot of the sounds get reused by a huge amount of films and games – so we mix different components together and where possible use your own recordings. If we work hard enough we end up creating something that sounds unique and filled with character, and hopefully some of our own creative flare and personality in there too.

When designing the more abstract type sounds this usually involves using synthesizers (both hardware and software) as well as using sounds completely out of context. It’s important to know how to use your tools well and stay focused. This is particularly important on AoW3 as the audio direction can be very specific and there needs to be the right balance of reality and fantasy, if you go too crazy with the more synthetic qualities it will start to sound at odds with the rest of the game world. It’s almost like the audio has to have organically grown and emerged from the world we’re playing in. There is also a strong heritage from the previous 2 AOW titles that we must be mindful of, with various original AOW legacy sounds making their way into some of the audio source components, just so that we can try to retain some elements of the original titles, but while also trying to give everything a new audio twist.

Age of Wonders III needed to introduce new sounds, while staying true to its legacy games.

Age of Wonders III needed to introduce new sounds, while staying true to its legacy games.

As the world is filled with creatures and humanoids, emotes play a big part of the soundscape. When recording the humanoid emotes it was important to make sure they’re full of character and well directed even though they are quite short incidental sounds compared to more scripted voice work. Humans are fairly straightforward, you need a pain reaction, you just imagine being smacked in the stomach with a big axe or a sword, and pretend to have the wind (and your guts) knocked out of you!

For the other races you do the same kind of thing but get into character more. For Orcs we imagined what it would be like to have a large wide jaw, with big fangs and the kind of guttural sounds they would make, Goblins are small, impish more mischievous and maybe a bit crazy. So they’re much more high pitched and chatter-like. The draconians being a lizard like race are much growlier and hiss like. The artists performing the emotes really need to have conviction in their performance and really ‘let go’ if the emotes are to sound convincing

Another big part of creating unique and interesting sounds is to always remain acutely aware of the big impact that volume levels and timing, of the individual sound elements, will have on the overall sound, and being prepared to change and play with these to try and uncover more interesting and unique combinations of sound. Also, you must be able to throw the whole sound away and start again when it isn’t working, even after maybe spending hours on getting to that point. It can be hard to do, but that is what is required sometimes.

But of course, the most important element of all in this is being able to effectively hone in on what the development team requires for the sound, as they will have been building this world / character / product for far longer than you and they will usually have very clear ideas on how they think it should sound, they should always be the first port of call to get your sound design work started.

Can you tell something about the middleware you are using?

Age of Wonders III uses the FMOD middleware for creating sound effects.

Age of Wonders III uses the FMOD middleware for audio playback, library management and real-time edits.

For Age of Wonders 3 we have been using FMOD Designer to implement the game audio. FMOD is one of the industry standards when it comes to audio middleware solutions and something we’re very familiar with.

The great thing about FMOD is it allows you to set up and specify all the kinds of abstract data you need in order control game sounds from when they’re meant to trigger, playing variations of a sound (so things sound more natural), the overall mix and DSP properties (Digital Signal Processing) to add reverb, muffling of sounds with distance, and so on.

Ultimately this is very empowering to the audio designers because it gives you far greater control over the overall audio experience, allowing you to concentrate on the more creative aspects of game audio production.

Although we’ve not played many turn based strategy games we’re big fans of the fantasy genre and the kinds of worlds you can find in that genre, whether it’s MMO’s like World of Warcraft (or Everquest 2), single player epics like Skyrim or jaunts such as the Fable series of games, there’s something that really pulls at our hearts as gamers when creating sounds for these kinds of fantasy worlds, almost an earthy familiarity that we yearn to recreate. Living in the UK we have some lovely oak forests, mountains and plenty of castles, so that kind of old world feeling is ever lurking in the background, helping to inspire us.

This meant that when it came to creating the audio for titles like AOW3 (and Overlord) it was one of those rare opportunities where we could combine our love of audio with our love of the fantasy genre. There should be more audio updates soon as we refine and develop more of the sound systems in the game. Hopefully everyone will enjoy the efforts we are putting in.

German press tour finished, new footage and screenshots

Our press journey in Germany has ended and we completed our quest to visit the biggest, baddest websites and magazines in Munich and Berlin. During our tour we showed the new sorcerer class to the media and gave them an opportunity (for the first time ever!) to get hands-on with the game. How this turned out you can see in some new videos that were released by PCGames. One is a thirty minute walkthrough, while the other has an extended interview with Djurre van Dijk (Sikbok), one of our producers. Along with the demo we have released a batch of new screenshots, which you can find in our gallery and below here.

New Germany Tour screenshots
AoW3_SCREENS_BrigandCamp AoW3_SCREENS_CrystalTree02 AoW3_SCREENS_EchantmentsTwoCities AoW3_SCREENS_TomeofWonders

PCGames plays 30 minutes with the sorcerer class

PCGames interviews producer Djurre van Dijk (Sikbok)

Press Release: Age of Wonders III magical locations revealed

Discover the mythical and expansive world of Age of Wonders III, with over 60 unique sites and structures to explore and conquer. 

DELFT, the Netherlands, October 30th 2013 – Triumph Studios, the team behind the Overlord and Age of Wonders series, today reveals detailed information about the many unique locations that players will encounter in Age of Wonders III.

Age of Wonders III is a strategy game in which you, the leader of a fantasy empire, conquer an enormous world filled with a wide variety of locations and fantastical creatures. During your campaigns you will encounter ancient sites and structures that are realized in unprecedented detail for the genre:

  • Explore the world map and discover over 60 legendary sites, ranging from monuments and ancient civilizations to dangerous brigand camps and sunken cities.
  • Each site is visualized in detail using the 3D battle engine, using a combination of hand crafted and procedurally generated elements, such as terrain features and the climate of the site.  Combinations of defending monsters and arcane hazards provide an enormous variety of tactical challenges.
  • Rewards for conquering sites include resources, spells, buffs, rare units and unique hero items. Many of these cannot be acquired by regular in-game research, encouraging the player to explore the world and hunt for unique treasure.
  • Once conquered and part of your domain, most sites keep on giving, generating a steady stream of income or bonuses for your cities and empire. Players must defend these sites to protect them from raiding enemies.

AoW3_ExplorationSites_GoldenZiggurat_overlay
AoW3_ExplorationSites_ManaNode_overlay
AoW3_ExplorationSites_MonstersDen_overlay

Plain versions of these screenshots can be found in our gallery.

Age of Wonders 3® has been rated Teen(T) by ESRB and has an estimated Q1 2014 release date on PC. It will be published through digital distribution and brought to retail stores in selected territories. For more information and regular updates please visit www.ageofwonders.com

About Triumph Studios:  Founded in 1997, Triumph Studios B.V. is an independent video game developer and publishing company based in Delft, The Netherlands. Triumph Studios focuses on combining the team’s creativity with its proprietary multi-format Creator EngineTM to forge captivating and unique game experiences. As the original creators of the critically acclaimed Overlord® and Age of Wonders® series, Triumph Studios has a track record in creating games that are innovative, commercially successful, and which lead to demand for multiple sequels.

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