Hello again Age Fans!

We got a chance to chat with one last member of the FE team, and get a quick interview! We would have loved to get more, but weirdly they all seem to be busy making a video game:P Silliness aside, lets take a look at what Rich Geldreich Jr, the Senior Engineer had to say about his time working on Age of Empires: Definitive Edition! Also make sure to keep an eye out here, and on all our other social channels for info on the game, giveaways, and other fun stuff!

  1. What did you work on for the game?

For Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, I worked on a bunch of graphics, framerate optimization, compression, 64-bit porting, and networking problems. Graphically, one of the biggest shifts we made in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition was how to leverage the power of GPU shaders while still staying true to the game’s original rendering look and style. The two most significant graphical features I added were the 3D ray casting-based water rendering technique that Matt and I brainstormed late last year, and the custom edge detection and full-screen antialiasing pass that carefully applies directional blurring only along sprite edges. Inspired by my work on Age 3, I also added several bloom and post-processing related effects to AoE: DE’s renderer. The end result is a pleasant mix of both 2D and 3D rendering approaches.

On the networking side, I helped streamline and rewrite the game’s low-level networking layer so it no longer relies on Microsoft’s deprecated DirectPlay API. The networking work was the most complex, because it involved carefully going through many thousands of lines of dense networking code, understanding what it did, and refactoring and/or rewriting it while not breaking the higher level simulation logic. My early work porting Age 3’s PC networking code to Xbox 360 (for Halo Wars) at Ensemble back in 2005 helped prepare me for this task.

 

  1. How would you describe your experience working on Age of Empires: Definitive Edition given that you worked on Age of Empires 3 and Halo Wars at Ensemble Studios?

It’s been very fun to help bring Age 1 back to life. I worked with almost all of the engineers and artists who created Age 1, and I loved playing the game when it first came out. Ensemble’s coding style has a certain very familiar feel to it that I’m very comfortable with. Matt and the other engineers working on AoE: DE have carefully cultivated and modernized the Age 1 codebase, so it’s been a breeze to work in.