Age of Empires (AoE) is one of the most popular and long-standing PC strategy games of all time. Here, MusicSnake Magazine put together a list of top Age of Empires secrets, cheats and interesting facts.

Age of Empires – Facts:

Number 1: Most of the Game’s Reference Material Was Taken From Children’s Books. Because the goal of the game was for its players to have fun, much of the reference material used in the game was found in the children’s sections at libraries. The designers and researchers wanted to ensure that the players could have fun without being overwhelmed by details.

Number 2: The Developers Worked Insanely Long Hours to Create the First Game. According to Harter Ryan, who worked on the first iteration of the game, the team worked from 10 a.m. to midnight, every single day except Sunday, when they worked from noon to midnight. They did this for an exhausting nine months to complete the game on schedule.

Number 3: Everybody Worked on the First Game in the Same Room. Not only were the game’s developers on an insane schedule, but they were all in the same room. There were about 15 people in total working on the first game, and communication was obviously not an issue since they were in such cramped quarters.

Number 4: Age of Empires Isn’t About History – It’s About the Human Experience. According to game developer Bruce Shelley, the game is much more about the entirety of the human experience than it is about history. He mentioned that the game’s focus wasn’t on the past but just about what humans are capable of in general, including what they can do in the future.

Number 5: The Company Sold Over One Million Copies. It is not a secret that the game had commercial success. According to the company’s global marketing campaign, five games in the series: Age of Empires, The Rise of Rome, The Age of Kings, Age of Mythology and Age of Empires III, have sold over one million copies.

Number 6: AoE Success Has Been Attributed to Fair Play. And by that, we mean that the game has been successful because its AI characters tend to cheat less than characters on other competing video games. Many gamers become excited when games’ AI characters are realistic.

Number 7: Age of Empires is Educational. Many people discount the educational value in video games. According to Shelley, parents would come to him and tell them that their children were inspired to study ancient histories and cultures because of their experiences with the game.

Number 8: Age of Empires Was 1998’s Computer Strategy Game of the Year. The first game in the series was released in 1997 to mixed reviews, but in 1998, it was named The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ “Computer Strategy Game of the Year”.

Number 9: It Helped Ensemble Studios Clinch Halo. Age of Empires was developed by Ensemble Studios, who also worked to create Halo Wars, which is a real-time strategy game based off of the popular Halo series. Part of the reason Ensemble Studios were offered the opportunity to work on Halo Wars was because of their incredible work on Age of Empires.

Number 10: Not All AoE Games Are Historical in Nature. While many of the games in the series have historical themes, some games have mythical themes instead. Games in the series with more mythological thematic elements include Age of Mythology and The Titans.

Number 11: The AoE Research. Despite many film producers insisting on researching the focal element of the film for years (especially if it’s based on a true story), the developers behind Age of Empires believed that researching the game’s historical subjects too in-depth wouldn’t be beneficial to the game itself. One of the game’s designers, Bruce Shelly, even said that researching subjects only lightly and not too in-depth is “a good idea for most entertainment products.”

Number 12: The AoE’s Developers Were Inspired by Playing Other Games. Most people wouldn’t consider playing video games a normal day at work, but this was exactly the case at Ensemble Studios before they began developing Age of Empires. Shelley said that they would often play similar games to be inspired.

Number 13: The Game was Designed to Appeal to All Types of Gamers. Shelley said that the game achieved success because it appealed to all types of gamers, from the hobbyist to the hardcore.

Number 14: The AoE Series Had Only One Music Director. Stephen Rippy has been the only series’ music director since the very beginning.

Age of Empires: Surprising Facts, Secrets and Cheat Codes

Age of Empires – Secrets:

Unlock Single Player Unlimited Points. The limited number of unlock points available in single player mode, but there is a way around it- that is, if you know how to code, or are reading this article. Start off by allocating the saved game file in your computer; it should be under a name similar to “\MyDocuments\MyGames\AgeofEmpires3\Savegame. In this file, find the line that reads “<skillpoints>xx</skillpoints>”. The “xx” portion of this line will tell you how many points you have before changing it. By replacing this field with “999” you will have an unlimited amount of points to customize your game play in skirmish.

Where to Target. When playing Age of Empires, many players make the mistake of targeting their attacks to kills the workers first. However, there is a better route to crushing your enemy: go for the houses. If you take out the houses first, the workers will be unable to build more units in sufficient time.

A Trick for Leveling Up. IF you have grown tired of giving your best efforts to passing a certain level to no avail, or simply want to fast-forward to the top, there is a simple way to gain some levels. Within the “Savegame” file (located in your documents), there will be another file labeled “sp_nameofyourcity_homecity.xml”; open this. Locate the line that has the “<level>xx</level>” field, and the “xx” will reveal your current level. Type in any level you wish to play in, and you will advance to this level in a skirmish.

The Editor’s Hidden Units. Some of the best tricks to success of this game lie in the use of editor. To access hidden units in this mode, start by planting a unit somewhere on the map. Select the “replace unit” option through “objects”. Then select any of the following exclusive unit options: Monster Truck A, George Crushington, Lazerbear, Fluffy, Learicorn, or Flying Purple Tapir.

Spawning Codes. Because there are too many amazing codes to cover, we thought we would throw in a few extra helpful codes designed to create select spawns. To spawn an array of creatures, you can use these hacks: “Where’s that axe?” for George Crushington, “we <3 fluffy!1!” for Fluffy, “don’t kick the pitbull” for Learicorn, “o canada 2005” for Lazerbear, or “wee ooh wee ooh” for a monster truck.

Make an Unbreakable Ally. The top players of this game swear up and down that the key to success is creating an empire with allies. Start by constructing a trade route with your friend(s), and make anywhere from 15 to 25 carts to rake in the gold. Move on to war tactics, like an army of elite war elephants backed by warriors, and wipe out any opposing forces. To make a quick end of a civilization, make sure to target all of the wood because it is the main building block of the community.

The Age of Empires Wonder Race Mastery. The final “Wonder Race Mastery” achievement is by far the most difficult of any to obtain. However, if you really need to cheat, there is a (tedious) way of getting around it. It will take some time, though. Open up the game map, and delete all three of your villagers, your town center, and your horseman After the map concludes, you will earn a point. After repeating this about 50 times over, you will have 50 points and your “Wonder Race Mastery” achievement.

Our Favorite Cheat Codes

There are so many helpful cheat codes that you can find online, but we are going to show you a few of our favorites. If you hit the ENTER button on your keyboard and type in “Speed always wins”, you will receive a 100x rate increase for gathering and building. If you type the phrase “Shiver me Timpers!”, the game will destroy any enemy ships currently in view. As a last resort in your frustrations (use this wisely), you can type in “this is too hard” to completely win the single-player game.