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Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original game. For the 2013 HD Edition, see Age of Empires II (2013). For the 2019 Definitive Edition, see Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition.

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings cover
Developers
Ensemble Studios
Mac OS (Classic) Westlake Interactive
macOS (OS X) Westlake Interactive
Publishers
Microsoft
Re-releases Ubisoft
Mac OS, OS X MacSoft
Engines
Genie
Release dates
Windows October 10, 1999
Mac OS (Classic) October 2001
macOS (OS X) October 2001
Taxonomy
Monetization One-time game purchase, Expansion pack
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Bird's-eye view, Isometric
Controls Multiple select, Point and select
Genres RTS
Themes Asia, Europe, Middle East, Pre-Columbian Americas, Medieval
Series Age of Empires
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings on HowLongToBeat
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings guide on StrategyWiki
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings on MobyGames
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings on Wikipedia
Age of Empires 1997
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings 1999
Age of Mythology 2002
Age of Empires III 2005
Age of Empires Online 2011
Age of Empires II (2013) 2013
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition 2014
Age of Empires: Castle Siege 2014
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition 2018
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition 2019
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition 2020
Age of Empires IV 2021
Age of Mythology: Retold TBA

Warnings

SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows Vista and later (see Availability for affected versions).
The macOS (OS X) version of this game does not work on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or later due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps.

Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is a singleplayer and multiplayer bird's-eye view and isometric RTS game in the Age of Empires series.

General information

Official Discord server for the series
Age of Empires II Official Microsoft Site (archived)
Age of Kings Heaven Community Site and Map Archive
AoEZone Community site for competitive gaming
/r/aoe2 Age of Empires 2 Subreddit

Availability

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
SafeDisc DRM[Note 1].
Windows
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Retail
DRM-free
Collector's Edition re-releases.
Windows
SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows Vista and later (see above for affected versions).
Free demos are available for The Age of Kings and The Conquerors Expansion.

Version differences

Age of Empires II: Gold Edition contains the base game and The Conquerors expansion, first released in 2001.
Age of Empires: Collector's Edition contains Age of Empires and Age of Empires II with their respective expansion packs. The later DVD-ROM releases include the latest patches and are DRM-free, but are missing Red Book CD audio.

Monetization

Type Notes
Expansion pack The expansion pack includes new civilizations, units, technologies (some civilization-unique) and campaigns.
One-time game purchase The game requires an upfront purchase to access.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
The Conquerors Windows version is sold separately, Mac OS version only in Gold Edition.
Windows
Mac OS

Essential improvements

Skip intro videos

Start game with -nostartup parameter[3]

Patches

The latest patch for the base game is Version 2.0a.
The latest patch for The Conquerors is Version 1.0c.
Alternately, the latest official patches are available at soggi.org.

Unofficial patches (The Conquerors)

1.0e includes exploit fixes, a fix for a rare issue with missing permissions when overwriting files, a no-CD patch and a version switcher. The uninstaller cleanly reverts to the official 1.0c version.
UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update adds many fixes including widescreen support, UPnP port forwarding, and various optional tweaks. If it is installed on top of v1.0e, no CD is required.

Forgotten Empires

Forgotten Empires is a mod which adds new civilizations, campaigns, maps and other fixes.
It was later made available as offical DLC for the HD Edition and is included by default with the Definitive Edition - as a result, the mod version is no longer supported.

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\config.xml[Note 2]
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X)

Save game data location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\SaveGame\[Note 2]
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X)
Player settings are saved in <path-to-game>\Player.nfp (determines unlocked scenarios etc.)
Custom campaigns are saved in <path-to-game>\Campaign\
Custom scenarios are saved in <path-to-game>\Scenario\

Video

In-game options menu.
In-game options menu.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Install UserPatch.
Multi-monitor
Install UserPatch. Uncheck "widescreen interface style" to centre minimap and unit controls.
Ultra-widescreen
Install UserPatch.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Windowed
Install UserPatch. Select Windowed mode support, then select a resolution lower than the desktop resolution. Menus will be windowed 4:3.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Install UserPatch. Select Windowed mode support, then set the in-game resolution to the desktop resolution.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Animations play at 20 FPS
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.

Input

In-game key map settings.
In-game key map settings.

Audio

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Royalty free audio
Red Book CD audio
On Windows, CD music might not play correctly; see the troubleshooting guide for solutions.

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
Traditional Chinese
French
German
Hungarian
Fan translation by .:i2k:. and kds link #1, link #2
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Spanish

Network

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
8
Online play
8 The official MSN Gaming Zone service has been shut down; use Voobly.

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Matchmaking
MSN Gaming Zone support has been discontinued.[4]
Peer-to-peer
Dedicated
Self-hosting
Direct IP

Ports

Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 2300-2400, 47624
UDP 2300-2400
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

Issues unresolved

Dell laptop compatibility issues

On some older Dell laptop models (e.g. the M1530) an issue occurs where the OS crashes and a blue-screen of death is displayed. This issue occurs after a seemingly random amount of gameplay time (from <30 seconds to 10 or 20 minutes). Many things have been tried to fix the issue including changing graphics card drivers, limiting the frame rate to mitigate overheating and running on virtual machines of different operating systems (e.g. Windows 98). As far as can be seen, this issue has never been resolved nor will it be, rendering AoE2 unplayable on the affected models of laptop. This issue can be mitigated by playing through Voobly.com game client and selecting 32-bit DirectX mode in the lobby options. It is actually caused by an unterminated loop in the graphics card driver. However, Age of Empires II HD (the re-mastered version of the game released in 2013) is unaffected by this problem.[citation needed]

"Access Denied - Please login with administrator privileges and try again" error on launch (Windows 10)

Install UserPatch to fix this for The Conquerors (this does not fix the issue for the base game).[citation needed]

Issues fixed

Color issues

Windows Vista and 7 can have issues with displaying true colours in Age of Empires II correctly.
This issue does not occur on Windows 8 and later.
See DirectDraw troubleshooting for further details.
UserPatch[citation needed]

Install UserPatch. This includes a color fix for Vista and 7, and will also set a registry flag, allowing modern Windows systems and newer to emulate the 256-colour mode. It will also optionally provide support for loading the windowed mode plugin, which, apart from its direct purpose, also performs software palette conversion to 32-bit, resolving said issues.

DirectDrawFix[citation needed]

Use DirectDrawFix to apply the required compatibility fixes to the registry.

LAN connectivity

This method allows gaming over LAN on modern versions of Windows.
Setting the IP address to Static and the Default Gateway to nothing[citation needed]
  1. Go to the Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Right-click on the LAN adapter and open "Properties".
  3. Highlight "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" and click on "Properties".
  4. Check "Use the following IP address:" and enter an address which is not currently being used by the network (such as 192.168.1.[1-253] e.g. 192.168.1.11 ). Also change the Subnet mask to 255.255.255.0 and leave the default gateway blank.

While in use, internet connection will be lost until the settings are switched back to "Obtain an IP address automatically", but LAN will function in-game.

MIDI music

Copy files from demo version[citation needed]
  1. Download the demo version of Age of Empires II.
  2. Copy the midi folder from the sound folder of the demo of AOEII.
  3. Paste the folder in the sound folder of the full game.
  4. Run the game with the -midimusic command line argument.

Notes

Music from the Conquerors expansion demo can also be used; rename the Conquerors MIDI files from music 1-8 to 9-16 to prevent replacement of existing files.
The -midimusic parameter is no longer supported in UserPatch, however its .m3u playlist system allows any audio format to be used for in-game music, including WAV, MP3, WMA, AAC, and FLAC, as long as the required DirectShow codecs are installed.

Other information

API

Technical specs Supported Notes
DirectDraw 6.1
OpenGL
Mac OS only.
ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Intel support was added with the 1.0.6 patch, which converts the game to a universal binary.
Still 32-bit only.

Middleware

Middleware Notes
Multiplayer MSN Gaming Zone

Command line arguments

Command[5] Description
NoStartup Skips the intro
800 Forces the 800x600 resolution
1024 Forces the 1024x768 resolution
1280 Forces the 1280x1024 resolution
Mfill Fixes horizontal line issue related to contemporary Matrox video adapters
NormalMouse Replaces the ingame cursor with the standard Windows one
NoSound Disables game audio with the exception of cinematics
NoTerrainSound Disables ambient audio
NoMusic Disables music
Msync Fixes lockups related to contemporary SoundBlaster AWE configurations

System requirements

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95
Processor (CPU) 166 MHz
System memory (RAM) 32 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 300 MB
Video card (GPU) 2 MB of VRAM
DirectX 6.1 compatible
Mac OS
Minimum
Operating system (OS) 8.6
Processor (CPU) PowerPC G3 300 MHz
System memory (RAM) 128 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 750 MB
Video card (GPU) ATI Rage 128
500 MHz is required for online play.
macOS (OS X)
Minimum
Operating system (OS) 10.0.5
Processor (CPU) PowerPC G3 300 MHz
System memory (RAM) 128 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 750 MB
Video card (GPU) ATI Rage 128
500 MHz is required for online play.
When applying the UB patch, the minimum supported OS is 10.3.9.

Notes

  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[1] or Windows 11 and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[2]
  2. 2.0 2.1 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).

References