HeavenGames

News Archive: June 2004

Almost 1,500 Word Associations

A thread in our community forum has been going on for quite some time now, a word associations thread; as the name suggests, someone says a word and you say the first word that comes to mind. It can be pretty fun, as indicated by the nearly 1,500 posts in the thread. Check it out!

Poll Roundup

Far different from AoMH's How did you find this site? poll, ours resulted in the majority coming from another site at HG rather than a search engine. I do wonder why there is such a difference in the source of visitors for both sites, perhaps because of the existing community in Empire Earth that just moved on to Empires; AoM didn't really seem to have just a community transfer from AoKH to AoMH.

[15%] Search engine
[6%] Heard from friend
[19%] Another site
[60%] Already visted HG

Total: 145 votes
Graphics pretty heavily effect whether or not most people purchase games, How would you rate Empires' graphics? Superb? Not-so-superb? Answer in our poll!

Imperial Review

The only news in the Empires community has been a bit of activity in the forums, the main one asking what people's favorite clans are...besides that, not too much. HeavenGames has a bit going on in that it has a writeup for Electronic Arts' Battle for Middle Earth community day, you oughta check that out if you're interested in the game!

What's coming next week? Couldn't say, I'll keep the news up-to-date, though.

That's it for this week, see you 'round the empire!

Battle for Middle Earth Community Day Writeup

Last weekend, I made my way to Los Angeles, California to participate in a community day for Battle for Middle Earth that Electronic Arts has been organizing, inviting 18 of the top LoTR and RTS fansite webmasters in the world. The trip was quite a memorable one, we all left it with a huge amount of knowledge about EA's latest major RTS in development from the office tour, presentations, interviews, and hands-on time with the game, among other things. Sounds exciting? Well, I've got a 4-page rundown and 58 photographs of the event if anyone wants to check it out!

"Following our look at in-game Moria, we finally got a chance to get our paws on the game itself; specificially, the Osgiliath scenario. We were on the evil side playing Mordor, trying to get across the bridges and smash apart Gondor's defenses. I encounted a number of bugs in the capture of Osgiliath such as my inability to capture settlements - effectively making my military production a third of what it should've been - though I made it across the bridge by the time the game crashed..."

Forum Party Tomorrow! June 26

Summer has an effect on you so that you easily lose track of time. I didn't even know today was Friday until Park reminded me. If today is Friday, then tomorrow must be another Forum Party. It will be held in its usual time and place at 11AM EST in the Tournament Room. For more details, see the Forum Party Thread. Hope to see you there!

Report of internet censorship released

Internet censorship is a pretty big deal for many of us, as we all have the potential to be effected by it in one way or another if it is inacted in the country we live in. Well, according to Wired.com, a French press group has released a recent report on internet censorship, in particular the major countries that participate in it. It's a very interesting topic, here's an excerpt from the news article:

Here's a sampling of censorship tactics listed in the report:

Blocking sites. Saudi Arabia officially acknowledges blocking nearly 400,000 sites, including those that feature pornography or information about women's rights. China uses DNS hijacking, which redirects users to another site when they try to access banned material.
Targeted filtering. At one time, China blocked Google entirely. These days, Chinese users can access the search engine, but it will mysteriously freeze up if they type in a controversial term.

Favorite Clan?

This kind of thread has been popping up pretty frequently on the forums; there are a number of clans in the Empires community, but some more well-liked than others. What is your favorite clan? Post in the forums! Here are gamergc's thoughts:

"Best clan that still has a few members playing this game: AIrBoRnE

Best clan that that ever played this game: sCa^

Best clan in terms of # of members, AE, TR and then watever they are called now.

Coolest clan: _GZ_

Biggest up and coming clan: RA"

Poll Roundup

Not surprisingly, according to How much has Empires encouraged you to be interested in history?, quite a few people were already interested in history before they got the game; Empires being based on history was probably the main reason why they got it. Here are the poll results:

[19%] A lot
[17%] Somewhat
[8%] Not at all
[57%] I was already interested in history

Total: 183 votes
Obviously, all of you reading this found Empires Heaven one way or another. How did you find this site? Search engine? Another site? Answer in our poll!

Imperial Review

Things have been going pretty well in the forums recently, several threads have stirred up some interesting conversations. People have been posting what they like the most about Empires, talked about why they prefer 2D engines over 3D engines and vice versa, gave their thoughts on the upcoming Alexander movie as well as the other historical epics, and listed off their favorite scenario designers. Not too bad of a variety, methinks.

What's coming next week? No clue, I'll keep posting news as it comes though.

That's it for this week, see you 'round the empire!

Forum Party Tomorrow! June 19

It seems I have totally lost my sense of time. Totally forgot today was Friday and tomorrow was the Forum Party. So for those who are like me, this is a reminder. Join us in our weekly Forum Party. Hopefully, we'll have action packed games as we did last week. It will be held in the Tournament Room at 11AM EST. For the complete details, view the Forum Party Thread.

Who are your favorite scenario designers?

The Empires community has quite a proportionately large scenario design community with many skilled designers, but Megadeth_III asks everyone who in particular are their favorites; who in particular can create an innovative and fun scenario each time they produce something from the Empires editor. Here are Megadeth's picks:

"1)Derfel Cardarn - Made some great cmps and is an active designer to the community
2)Hank - Great scenarios and North vs South scn which I really enjoyed.
3)Talon Karrade - Fortress Courland was my favorite of his and his map design is great.
4)Lp - Although not as active he made a great Mp scenario and his the highest rated. It is very fun.
5)ScnPunkTeam - Only releasing two Mp scenarios they were great and loved both of them, the map design was superb."
How about your favorites? Share!

Alexander Movie?

If you have been watching some recent movies in the theater such as The Day After Tomorrow, you might've seen a trailer for a movie I - and surely many of you history buffs - will be counting the days until this fall for: Alexander. With Colin Farrell playing the legendary conqueror, it shouldn't necessarily be a bad movie...though not guaranteed to be great one either. I'll just be watching it for the historical value.

What do you think? Talk about it on the forums!

Poll Roundup

A nice discussion has taken place on our poll question: Which do you prefer for RTS games, 2D or 3D engines? The advantages and disadvantages of both engines are explained in greater detail there. I actually like the detail one currently sees in 2D buildings far more, which is partially why I love games like AoK so much. Then again, 3D games have highly detailed and dynamic units; whichever you prefer.

And apparently most people prefer 3D engines and their highly-detailed units, especially from games like Empires with units textures that can even be 512x512 pixels. Although I prefer the detailed buildings more, I can see why people like 3D engines.

[13%] 2D engines
[56%] 3D engines
[28%] Either is fine...
[3%] Undecided

Total: 209 votes
With Empires heavily based on history, it surely has affected those that play it. How much has Empires encouraged you to be interested in history? Answer in our poll!

Your favorite aspects of Empires

Despite the fact that Empires has received some criticism on the forums recently, chonaman has posted a thread asking the forumers what they like best about Empires. Of course, there have been a number of good parts of the game, such as these:

1) The fact that microing units was very important. Units had enough hitpoints that they could last a while in combat and you could pull them back if they were badly injured. And if your opponent chose to follow those units to kill them, you could make them pay a heavy price.

2) Unique civs. While they weren't perfectly balanced, this concept made each civ interesting and forced players to adapt a different playing style with each.

Imperial Review

More news showed up this week than in previous weeks, so here's hoping things have just been in a lull recently and they might pick up soon. EH released its interview with the buildings artist at SSSI, Jason; the interview gives some insight into how a building is made, an interesting process. Elsewhere in the community, _o0XxX0o_ has released his interesting Stratego map for testing; I'd check it out if only to see what he's got up his sleeve with this one.

What's coming next week? Couldn't say, hopefully some more community news.

That's it for this week, see ya round the empire!

Forum Party Tomorrow! June 12

I'm sure many of you in the States are feeling the heat of summer right about now. It's unspeakably hot and humid here. So if you are trapped inside this weekend, be sure to drop by our Forum Party. We had a few great games last week, especially the last-minute win by Megadeth_III on Borodino. As usual, it will be held in the Tournament Room at 11AM EST. Check the Forum Party Thread for all the details. See you there!

Empires...Stratego?

The somewhat popular board game stratego is getting converted into Empires form by _o0XxX0o_. I've gotta say I've seen many forms of stratego, but this is probably the most out of the ordinary. Now this "scenario" isn't completed, but _o0XxX0o_ would like those willing to help test it; I can't say that it doesn't at least intrigue me, surely others as well. Cool stuff!

G4TechTV Reviews Empires

G4TechTV's popular gaming show X Play has reviewed Empires just this last Friday. You can find the review on X Play's official site, where it gave the game a 4 out of 5 stars.

"Earned its place
"Empires: Dawn of the Modern World" is certainly the most mature and well-balanced of Goodman's titles, and it succeeds more often than not. Yes, there's stiff competition in the RTS arena, and "Empires" does little to distinguish itself from the pack at first glance. But if you take the time to delve into the minutiae, you'll find a unique and rewarding experience."

EE2 Screenshots

As reported by mylesohowe, Sierra has posted some new screenshots of Empire Earth 2 on their official site. Although the shots - in my opinion - don't look as good as what we've seen from Empires, the quality is at least up to par. I do wonder how the gameplay fares, though.

Interview with Jason, Buildings Artist at SSSI

The art department of SSSI is very heavily-staffed, with at least one person working on each major aspect of the game. I got a chance to talk to quite a few of the artists at SSSI, the first of which were Steve Ashley (lead artist) and Jason (buildings). The initial talk with Steve just gave a pretty good idea how to get into the industry with art, though Jason's interview showed us the process as to how a building is made, among other things...as you can see from the photo to the right.

Check out the interview, it's a good read!

Poll Roundup

Not surprisingly, according to the poll How many forum parties have you gone to? the majority of our visitors haven't gone to a forum party. However, 35 of those who voted have gone to at least one if not more; that's not too bad. Why not increase that number and participate in the next forum party?

[76%] 0
[10%] 1-3
[5%] 4-7
[4%] 7-10
[2%] 10-15
[0%] 16+
[3%] All of them

Total: 146 votes
In the past several years, 3D engines have been dominating the RTS genre. Although they are more advanced than their 2D counterparts, some are still partial to 2D engines. Which do you prefer for RTS games, 2D or 3D engines? Answer in our poll!

Imperial Review

Although the Empires community has been a bit calm, lots of general computer and internet news has been going on as always. Microsoft is working on a search engine superior to even Google, The Tech Report wrote up some previews of ATI PCI Express Radeon series, and a much worse variant of the Sasser virus - the W32.Korgo - is running rampant throughout the internet. I don't know about you guys, but these viruses are getting to be a bit troublesome and all; I'll bet antivirus developers like Symantec are raking in the dough by now with all of the big viruses that have been around in the past 6 months. Ah, it'll be a great year for viruses, methinks.

What's coming next week? I guarantee a feature that you should like, so keep your eyes peeled!

That's it for this week, see you 'round the empire!

Forum Party Tomorrow! June 5

And.... school is out! Hopefully many of you have free time this weekend to join in on our weekly Forum Party. As always, it should be a great time. It all begins at 11AM EST in the Tournament Room. Also, be sure to check the Forum Party Thread for all the details. Everyone is welcomed! Bring a friend, fresh blood!

A Sasser Re-run?

For many of you who have encountered the Sasser worm a few weeks ago, you know well how easy it is to be infected. Now, another worm called W32.Korgo uses the same exploit in Windows to infect computers. However, the consequences with this worm are much more disastrous than Sasser:
"A new virus is on the prowl that can infect your Windows XP/2K system and record every key you hit on your keyboard. The keys are then sent back to the virus creator where he/she can steal your passwords and credit card information. The virus named, Korgo, started showing up in the last week of May but it now has at least six different variants."
Be sure to protect yourself by installing the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS04-011. To further protect yourself, install a firewall and anti-virus, specifically monitoring port 445. If you are already infected, be sure to change your passwords and download the virus removal tool provided by Symantec.

Eye Candy Thread Approaches 150 Screenshots

Our Eye Candy Thread continues to feature some of the newest and most impressive scenes to come out of the Empires editor; the thread is rapidly approaching 150 screenshots and should be on its way to 200 in no time. Drop by and check out some of the shots, they're definitely easy on the eyes!

 

ATI PCI Express Radeons Preview

Ah, video cards; these bad boys are what let your computer generate the sweet graphics you see from some of the newer high-end games, including Empires. The Tech Report posted their preview of ATI's upcoming PCI Express Radeon series. Despite the fact that traditionally I'm an nVidia customer, some of these cards are absolutely mouthwatering; I can't wait until they come out.

"ATI kicked its next-gen graphics offerings into high gear last month when it unveiled the Radeon X800 series graphics processors. Thanks to ATI's new R420 graphics chip, the Radeon X800s enjoy up to sixteen pixel pipes, six vertex engines, a 256-bit GDDR3 memory interface, and core clock speeds scaling beyond 500MHz. Today, ATI is spreading the X800 love to PCI Express with the R423 graphics chip. As far as pixel pipes, vertex engines, and memory interfaces are concerned, R423 is identical to R420. In fact, the only difference between the two chips is their graphics interface; R420 is AGP 8X while R423 offers a native PCI Express interface."

Graphic Resizing to Change Distance Perception

Midgard Eagle posted a quick tip to scenario designers concerning changing the size of units or other graphics in the game to make them seem like they're more distant; it's a pretty cool trick and definitely something that could be used from time to time in cut-scenes. Here's a bit on it:

In the first American mission (Battle of Midway Atoll), there is a cut-scene in the beginning minutes that shows a sea plane on a recon mission spotting a Japanese task force. The camera shows the plane from above and thus give's a "bird's perspective" view of the fleet. It actually fooled me into pondering for probably a total of an hour how to make planes fly higher or lower using triggers (or scenario trick)

I thought I'd share that with you after that article was posted on how to shrink objects to make them look more distant."

Are you interested in Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War?
Yes
A Little
Not Really
 

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Empires: Dawn of the Modern World is a game by Stainless Steel Studios and published by Activision.