It's the dawn of a new age in real-time strategy (RTS) games. A brave New World is rising--a hostile yet beautiful world, filled with innovative gameplay, new strategic scenarios, eye-searing graphics and much more. Welcome to a world called Age of Empires III.
In this action adventure tale of historical fiction, players take on the role of Morgan Black and his family, struggling against the hostile wilderness and a mysterious cult that's crept in from Europe.
In a series of 24 scenarios divided into three acts, Morgan Black and his descendants help the Aztecs resist conquest by Spanish conquistadors, pit the French against the British in the French and Indian War and help Simon Bolivar lead revolutions in South America.
Whether you're searching for a quick game or hoping to talk strategy with friends online, Age of Empires III's Multiplayer site is your community destination.
Here, you can play with persistent Home Cities that gain power and strategic options the more games you play, compete for a spot on dozens of ladders, help organize your clan or chat after a game -- all without leaving the multiplayer portal.
Fans of Age of Mythology's Quick Search can still look for games swiftly, while players looking for something specific can browse game lists to find the set of options that matches their tastes.
New Feature--Home Cities
This revolutionary new feature to the RTS landscape is incorporated into all aspects of Age of Empires III -- from Campaign to Multiplayer -- and is unlike anything you've experienced before.
Much like the persistent character from a role-playing game that encourages you to keep playing, your Home City is an important support system to your efforts in the New World. During a game, your Home City can regularly send you supplies or military reinforcements.
You are the leader of your colony, but your success brings glory back to Mother Europe. The more games you play, and the better you do, the more powerful your Home City will become. Every few games, you gain the ability to both upgrade and customize your Home City:
Upgrade your city by unlocking new types of soldiers or buildings, or improving those you already have.
Broaden your tech tree in whatever direction most fits your play style--invest in warships, native alliances, cavalry, artillery or economy.
Customize your Home City by changing the appearance of buildings, the weather or even the types of people who walk, work and perform in its streets.
Throughout a game, as well as in between games, you can visit your Home City to watch its citizens go about their lives, get an opinion on how you're doing, plot your next move or just marvel at the beautiful sunset.
Full 3-D Graphics, Destructible Environments and More
We first set out to reproduce the rich detail of Age of Empires II: Age of Kings. As we strove to make the fascinating Age of Empires III time period come alive, that goal quickly evolved: We at Ensemble Studios wanted to create the best-looking game ever. From the stunning water effects to the hundreds of units battling on-screen, you'll feel like you're a part of the action in the New World.
Tone mapping--This photo imaging technique balances the colors in a scene on the fly. The end result is a rich, warm game where bright colors are vibrantly rendered alongside darker counterparts, such as shadows.
Lighting and shadows--The sun is always shining in Age of Empires, so it's important that lighting and shadows be an awe-inspiring experience. Units and buildings cast shadows according to a real sun position, and even cast shadows on each other. High Dynamic Range rendering allows us to represent the shiny glints of sunlight that bounce off highly reflective surfaces.
Bump and specular mapping--Water glistens like water. Metal shines like metal. These advanced techniques serve to provide an extra level of rendering detail heretofore unseen in real-time strategy (RTS) gaming.
Water--We felt that portraying stunning, realistic water effects in the game was so important that we devoted a programmer to it full-time. You'll find the water rich with details like foam near the shore, accurately modeled water motion, flotsam in rivers and realistic water colors. Plus, reflections change with the viewing angle, the angle of sunlight and the motion of the water. The overall effect is breathtaking.
Cliffs and Riverbeds--Instead of just stretching terrain, we built a system to attach geometry to the terrain map to allow for realistic overhangs and steep cliffs, from areas like the American Southwest. This effect is supported on random maps too.
Quick access to Settlers gives the British one of the strongest economies in the game. The ability to upgrade two key units -- the Musketeer and Hussar -- make the British military formidable in the late game. The British Home City emphasizes improvements to technology and naval warfare.
Although Dutch Settlers are limited and costly, their civilization makes up for this economic disadvantage by building Banks and generating coin automatically. The Dutch Home City emphasizes upgrades to defense and economy.
Although the French economy starts slowly, the Coureur unit, a Villager with strong fighting skills, makes the French difficult to attack early. The French also have the strongest cavalry unit in the game -- the Cuirassier. Plus, the French are experts at allying with the Native Americans.
The Germans have fewer Settlers and therefore a slower economy. Fortunately, both the Settler Wagon and Uhlan cavalry spawn for free from the German Town Center. Plus, the Germans start with the ability to send Mercenaries from their Home City (long before other civilizations can).
European civilizations can learn new technologies and gain troops by forging alliances with the Native Americans. A British player who allies with the Iroquois is essentially playing as two civilizations: the British and the Iroquois.
For the Ottomans, Settlers spawn automatically from the Town Center. Building a Mosque and conducting research help keep that Settler production steady. Befitting their position straddling Europe and Asia, the Ottomans have more unique units than any other civilization.
Starting the game with two Town Centers, the Portuguese can quickly produce Settlers, control territory or support their allies. The Spyglass ability allows the Portuguese to easily spy on the enemy. The Portuguese also have a strong navy, strong light infantry and the best Dragoons in the game.
Starting the game with extra resources but fewer Settlers gives the Russians the flexibility of focusing on economy or an early raid. Russian infantry, individually weak, are trained in blocks at a faster rate, providing the Russians with the opportunity to overwhelm their enemy with greater numbers.
The Spanish have a strong military, with both hand infantry and cavalry. Flexibility in early shipments from the Home City give the Spanish the option to attack early or set up for a strong, late economy. Spanish Home City improvements benefit soldiers, buildings and naval units.
Age of Empires III gives players an amazing amount of control over their side of the battlefield. ?
More to command -- Not only are you in command of large and diverse armies of infantry, cavalry and artillery, but also Native American warriors, mercenaries and tall ships.
Multiple formations -- You can assign different formations to your army for different strengths and weaknesses, or have the game automatically choose the most appropriate formation. Examples include:
Volley -- ranged infantry, like musketeers, take turns firing at enemies ahead of them.
Charge -- your soldiers walk, then run into combat. Cavalry wield sabers, and musketeers fix bayonets. This formation does tremendous damage but makes your soldiers more prone to injury.
Bombard -- your soldiers protect the cannons, while the cannons shell enemy ranks. Available only when you have artillery in your army.
Battles are easier to follow -- You can still command individual units. But when the units fight in formation, you'll be able to tell exactly who is winning the fight.
Real-time physics -- Infantry struck by cannon fire will be thrown like rag dolls, perhaps even over a cliff and into the water. Cannonballs bounce and ricochet.
Detailed destructions -- Shingles, shutters and whole towers may fly off a building and interact with the terrain, such as crashing into nearby water. This next generation effect is done on the fly so that each building always has a unique destruction, no matter how many times you see it.
Unique animations -- With hundreds of unique combat animations, you'll never see the same battle twice.
256 MB RAM
1.4 GHz processor or faster
2GB hard drive
Video card - 64MB with support for hardware transformation and lighting
56k dial-up Internet Access or LAN