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What Could Have Been / Age of Empires

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    Ages 
  • A Prehistoric Age preceding the Stone Age and a Republic Age succeeding the Iron Age were at least discussed.
  • Advancing age required less Food: As few as 200 for Tool Age and 150 for Bronze Age in the first working version.

    Buildings 
  • There is an inert Trade Workshop for all building styles except Roman. Like its Age of Empires II counterpart (which was also made inert), it was intended to produce Gold by assigning Villagers to it after mines had run out. One can be found in a campaign level.
  • A buildable Pasture would allow players to train domestic animals that were killed for food.
  • Actual Mines would be built over Gold and Stone deposits to gather them more effectively.
  • Wood, and Stone fences in addition to Stone Walls.
  • Building Roads would have been required to make some advanced buildings.
  • Several building designs changed during development.
  • Barracks were called Military Training Centers and had separate buildsets in the Tool Age.
  • Archery Ranges, on the other hand, would have a shared Tool Age set.
  • Farms were going to have different sprites unique to each building set. They also generated food slowly rather than starting with a fixed and finite amount.
  • "Outposts" were to be created as smaller Town Centers with more limited functions.
  • Siege Workshops were first called Engineering Shops.
  • Town Centers only provided room for one. Coupled with the fact that games started with only one Villager, this caused mind-blowingly boring early gameplay as players had to collect wood with this one Villager before they could build a house and create more.
  • Wonders were not present in the first test version.
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    Campaigns 
  • The Egyptian learning campaign had a scenario called "Lands Unknown" that would be won by exploring 95% of the map. This was as entertaining as watching paint dry because there were no enemies. It was later replaced by "Discoveries", where you have to explore the map to find the titular "Discoveries" before an enemy faction does.
  • Nearly all scenarios in the learning campaign started in the Stone Age and with fewer resources.
  • The Babylonian campaign just had three scenarios: "I Shall Return" was the first (instead of fourth as in the final version), "The Caravan" was the third (instead of sixth), and there was a second scenario called "Temple on the Hill" with no equivalent in the released game, where you have to retrieve an Artifact from an enemy island.

    Civilizations 
  • The game's original setting was the ancient Middle East only, with the Greeks and East Asian civilizations being brought in later (the latter, as a result of Executive Meddling by Microsoft, who wanted to improve sales in Asia).
  • There were no plans for an expansion until Age of Empires II took longer to develop than expected. Had this not been the case, the Romans, Palmyrans, Carthaginians, and Macedonians may have been playable factions in II (which was not strictly Medieval in its original conception), or never at all.

    Nature and resources 
  • Ruins had a second sprite.
  • Volcanoes were going to appear as eye candy.
  • Piles of pre-mined, pre-cut stone and wood available for picking (perhaps after being dropped by dead Villagers).
  • A fifth resource, Trade Goods, created at the Trade Workshop.
  • Iron was also planned as a resource, this time mined.
  • Some trees were designed and later cut, including autumm-colored ones.
  • Berry Bushes were called Forage Sites.
  • A bug in the first Proto made fish decay as soon as the game started, as if they were rotten carcasses.
  • Trees could not be selected individually.
  • When having not enough stockpilled Food or Wood for some technologies and buildings, the Player could use Gold to create them instead.

    Technologies 
  • Leather Armor was available in the Stone Age.
  • Metal Working in the Tool Age, Metallurgy in the Bronze Age, and Advanced Metallurgy in the Iron Age, presumably upgraded from one another.
  • Mining was available at an unknown age.
  • Trade Workshops was a technology in the Bronze Age which unlocked the Trade Workshop mentioned above.
  • Composite Bow was called Longbow.
  • Writing was called Cartography.
  • Afterlife was called Baptism but was presumably changed to sound less Hijacked by Jesus (yet Zealotry was called Jihad before the Definitive Edition).
  • A removed Government Center technology called Scouting would have improved units' lines of sight by 1.
  • Another GC tech, Mathematics, increased arrow and siege range by 50%.
  • Targets and Pottery were also technologies but their purposes and ages are unknown.
  • An unnamed technology would have improved fishing.
  • Several units required technologies to be unlocked rather than just advancing to the correct age, including transports, War Elephants, ballistas, chariots, and horse archers.

    Units 
  • In the first working version of the game, military units could not attack wild animals at all.
  • Clubmen were called Macemen.
  • Axemen were topless, like Villagers and Clubmen, and upgraded into Swordsmen instead of being a separate line.
  • Bowmen upgraded into Composite Bowmen.
  • Scouts were called Cavalry Scouts and upgraded into Cavalry. Cavalry had a different icon.
  • Goats, cows, and horses could be created as additional sources of food and behaved somewhat like wild gazelles. Only the horse was worked on but was left unfinished.
  • A cheat Spaceship was cut.
  • Decorative, or perhaps observational flags and banners, like in Age of Empires II.
  • Trainable Explorers (perhaps replaced by Scouts) and Traitors (maybe similar to the also cut Spy/Infiltrator in II).
  • An unfinished, unnamed hero known only as Hero 12.
  • Land trade units were planned.
  • Scout Ships were called Small War Ships, and War Galleys, War Ships.
  • Catapult Triremes were upgraded from Triremes, rather than their own unit.
  • Ballistas were created at the Archery Range rather than the Siege Workshop.
  • Villager javelins had a minimum range of attack. As a result, lone Villagers could not defend themselves from animals when they caught up to them.
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