News Archive: January 2006

...And the Results are in!

Last week we asked the question "What Changes would you like to see here at Empires Heaven?", not surprisingly most visitors wanted to see "All of the Above" in terms of changes. Here are the final results:
Updated Information Section [9%]
More Emphasis on the Design Community [26%]
More Frequent News Posts [9%]
All of the Above [57%]

This week we would like to know: "What is your favourite type of scenario/campaign?".

The Best of an Era – Part 3: Beach Invasion

The next scenario in our look back at the achievements of Woad Creations here at Empires Heaven is Elpea’s multiplayer scenario Beach Invasion.

Beach Invasion focuses on a fictional battle between the Allies and the Axis forces. The allied forces consist of one Russian and one American player, while the Axis forces are made up of two German players. The allies are given the task of storming the beach and driving out the German defenders. The German’s, in order to defeat the allied forces must hang on to the beach for 30 minutes (game time). Here is a short excerpt about the scenario:

Southern Beach Germans (Player 4): Your mission is very important, the Americans have a base adjacent to your beach and they plan to launch an attack on the Northern Beach from their reinforcement point. If they are successful, they will have a clear shot at the main German base. Do everything you can to keep the Americans away from the main base.

Here is what fans of this scenario have had to say about it:
Mechstra: As the Americans, Russians, or Germans, you're kept on your toes with the constant attacks and the constant need to stage your own offensives. You can choose from a wide array of units (which come in handy bite-size reinforcement packages), and the amount in each wave is dependent on the unit type; you'll receive 50 conscripts, but only 3 T-34s. Some fantastic running battles can be had, especially when two lines of tanks form up to do battle and the infantry then attacks between them. The secondary objectives are well-thought-out, and can add elements of tension. Can the Americans stay on the bridge for long enough to capture it?

Adder: Lots of fun! :-)
If you are looking for a fun multiplayer experience, then it is highly recommended that you give Beach Invasion a try.

Report From the Front

The last two weeks here at Empires Heaven have been fairly active. Here is a quick recap of what has been going on.

Early this week, _o0XxX0o_ discovered that it is possible to lay foundations with triggers. This is a great find as it has a lot of potential for the scenario design community. You can read about _o0XxX0o_’s find here.

This week also saw a small update on our Downloads Section. With the new decimal reviewing system, reviewers can now submit reviews that are much more precise then they previously could. Expect to see further updates to the Downloads Section in the coming days.

Instead of talking about a historical article or a book, I thought it might be nice to show some historical maps. This collection of historical maps from the University of Texas has a great set of detailed maps that range from 2000 BCE to 1920 CE. So if you’re a map fanatic like I am, I urge you to check them out.

Eye Candy

After a long hiatus, our eye candy thread here at Empires Heaven is up and running again. Here are some of the fantastic screenshots that have been submitted thus far.

LT Banners Bunch - By: Field Marshal BM

World War 2 - By: craka_j

Opium Wars - By: Built A7V Tough

If you wish to add your own screenshots to this grand collection simply post your screenshots in this thread. Imageshack provides a free image hosting service if you need a place to upload your pictures to.

The Best of an Era – Part 2: Borodino

In continuing our look at the achievements of Woad Creations here at Empires Heaven, here is a look at Kor’s innovative scenario Borodino.

The Battle of Borodino was fought between the French and the Russians during the Napoleonic Wars outside the Russian town of Borodino. The battle was largely inconclusive, despite the high casualty rate. Kor’s epic multiplayer scenario successfully manages to captures the intense feeling of the battle.

Napoleon's Grande Armee is moving at fast speeds through the country, the goal: Moscow.

Kutuzov, the commander of the Russian forces, means to thwart the French army. He entrenches his outnumbered army (120 000 Russians vs 130 000 French) on the hills above the small village of Borodino.
The Russians, entrenched in safe Redoubts, will fight fiercely to retain their positions. Historically, 40 000 Russians and 30 000 French would perish in the battle.

It is up to you and your ally to either destroy the Russian defences within the 45 time limit, or defend them as the Russians, at all cost!

Here is what some of the users who have played “Borodino” have had to say about it.
Mob Freako: When playing this game with friends it has almost zero lag. It was easy to play and was amazingly fun. The best part of the map is trying to win back the fort after losing it.

Mechestra: The scope for tactics and teamwork is pretty large in this scenario, without any of the economic stuff. Makes it interesting, and surprisingly complex.

This is a fantastic multiplayer scenario; if you can get together a bunch of friends this scenario can be an absolute blast. So if you have not had the chance to check this scenario out, make it a priority.

New Poll – Hurray!

After eighteen months we finally have a new poll here at Empires Heaven. The poll: Do you use cheat codes initially asked on August 16th, 2004, has finally been closed. It seems that the majority of our visitors here at Empires Heaven do not to use cheat codes. Here are the full results:

All the time [392]
Occasionally [792]
Never [1006]

Our new poll asks the question: What changes would you like to see here at Empires Heaven?

Sad News

On January 11th, Shiva, Age of Mythology’s dedicated Seraph, died in a tragic drowning. Shiva, a long time contributor to Heavengames was a pillar of the community and will be missed by all.

This link to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides more information about this tragic incident.

Heavengames sends its condolences to Shiva’s family.

Report from the Front

Several other Heavengames sites have “Battlefield Briefings” or other similar news posts that recap the events of the last two weeks. In order to give Empires Heaven’s weekly news post a unique flavour I have decided to call it the Report from the Front.

The biggest piece of the news last week was that Talon Karrde, CenturionZ_1 and I agreed to work together on this site, and thus prevented it from being archived. The future of the site has now been secured, and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World fans and enthusiasts alike can continue to enjoy this site and what it has to offer.

Also last week, the scenario design community was shocked when Kor announced that Woad Creations would be closing its doors. The team released more then 70 projects across, multiple RTS titles over the last 5 years. Though the team’s departure does not come as a complete shock to those who were members, the team will still be greatly missed by teammates and other scenario designers alike.

Finally, I have decided to wrap up each Report from the Front with an inquisitive history article from the period that Empires spans. This week I have picked The Murder of Walter Rathenau by Carole Fink.

Walter Rathenau was Chancellor of Weimar Germany for six months in the post World War I period: a period wrought with tension and seething with hatred. This article details the situation surrounding Rathenau’s brutal murder. Here is an excerpt:

On June 24, 1922, Germany's first (and only) Jewish foreign minister, Walther Rathenau, was shot and murdered by two young right-wing former German officers. The assassination, less than six months after Rathenau's appointment, was shocking both in its brutality and in its expectedness…

The Best of an Era – Part 1: Crossing the Volga

Of all the design teams, Woad Creations was the most active here at Empires Heaven. While Woad Creations was active here at Empires Heaven it produced numerous high quality scenarios. With the announcement of Woad Creation's passing it seems only proper that the time be taken to showcase the team's best scenarios and campaigns.

Over the next few weeks there will be a series of download spotlights on Woad Creation’s top rated scenarios.

The Volga River, Stalingrad
1100 hours, 18th September, 1942

Thousands upon thousands of Russian conscripts and soldiers have assembled on the banks of the Volga, close to the centre of Stalingrad. A massive German push through the city has let them reach right through to the opposite side of the river, and set up high-quality defenses along its sloping banks.

Artillery, machine-guns, mortars, bunkers, barbed wire, and crack Wehrmacht troops are lining these slopes, and the task given to these 10,000 men of the 13th Guards Division of the Soviet army is to break these defenses. Boats will ferry them across the river, where they will fight and they will die and they will win. At any cost.

Crossing the Volga, by Mechstra was the second Woad Creations project submitted to Empires Heavens, and the first project to receive accolades and a place in the “Best of Section”.

Here is what some of the users who have played “Crossing the Volga” had to say about it.
Elpea: Recommended download, this is an Empires Classic.

Hank: Job well done! Mechstra has done a great job recreating a war-torn hillside with burned out buildings, barb wire and dug in German positions. I rarely had any pathing problems and felt the spacing of the German positions was just right so as to not have focused impossible firepower against my men.

If you have not had the chance to play this outstanding campaign, you are doing yourself a disservice. Go and download it right now!

The End of an Era

Today, to the disappointment of all, Kor, the leader of Woad Creations announced that Woad Creations, after 5 years of extraordinary work would be closing its doors. Woad Creations was famous for its projects for Age of Kings, Empire Earth and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. Here is what Kor had to say on the subject:

When I created Woad Creations in early November 2000, I did not anticipate its future successes. I ended up as leader pretty much by accident and then gave it all I had to grow in stature. Over the years, many excellent designers joined, and even more social people. Together we formed a real team, even a close-knit group of friends, involved in team projects, forum games, multiplayer games, thorough discussions, and just casual chatter to pass the idle hours.

However, the design community has recently been in a downward spiral: expectations for scenario editors as well as games rise ever higher, and few can manage to succeed in both these requirements. So it is that, four or five years after The Conquerors’ expected death, unexpectedly it is still the most popular and perhaps best designing game out there. EE, AoM, and Empires all failed to ignite the vital spark to keep up a lasting community. Certainly, design teams and individual designers did their best for EE and AoM, and I’m proud to say Woad Creations took the lead with EE and Empires; but after the relative failure of EE and AoM (that is to say, it could only disappoint after the huge success of AoK’s community), enthusiasm for new games seemed to drift away and a sort of resignation set in. For Empires, Woad Creations was the only team to give it its all; TS and Punk had only lonely designers, like Hank and Intrepid, working on it (and releasing high quality stuff, I must add). However, the team’s achievement was virtually unrecognised as there were hardly any people to play the scenarios and campaigns. In two years, Pawns of the Empire has received not even a third of the amount of downloads Age of Chivalry, for AoK:TC, received in less than a year, and this is not an isolated example; I cannot blame anyone for lacking enthusiasm to design for this unfortunate game.

As many of Woad’s designers were also active in the HG community, and designing was relatively fruitless and unrewarded, they slowly abandoned their design work and concentrated on website work for Heaven Games. This step irreversibly led to an emptying of the team and its forums, and the old saying that, one day, Woad will take over HG, has been sort of reversed: HG has taken over Woad.

The last year the team has become increasingly inactive, despite some attempts to revive it, and as little remains of the glory we had achieved from AoK to Empires, I have decided this is a good time to unplug the life-support. The revival of the team would take too much time and attention – time I cannot give it at the moment, particularly with motivation absent; and the members base appears to be too small and inactive to shift responsibility to. The forums and website will remain open for a while longer, until approximately June, which is when the current hosting contract will terminate. I am not planning to extend it. Of course, I will not abandon my private design efforts, but recently those had little more to do with Woad Creations.

A glance at the past surfaces mostly positive recollections: large multiplayer games of seven Woadies versus one Empires AI on hardest; working on scenarios in co-operation with other members; the mini-Woadie meets I’ve had with Andrew Dunn, Talon Karrde and Yhagoro; Mafia games on the Woad forums.

Some negative reminiscences come up, too: from inactive webmasters to competition among design teams, particularly the peculiar rule among many teams not to allow their members to be part of another team. Woad Creations never followed that close-minded policy, but when you’re the only one ignoring it there’s not much point. We once even lost a member when a team with a “one team per member” rule shamelessly recruited a member from our team and then made him quit Woad. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose, but I’m proud Woad never stooped to that level.

In designing, too, I feel I can be proud of Woad’s achievements. With over 70 released projects for 5 different games, there was variety as well as quality in our works: from ancient Rome (Cincinnatus: Liberator of Rome, by Shiva, AoK:TC) and the medieval world (Age of Chivalry, by myself and Andrew Dunn, AoK:TC), to the American Revolution (Battle of Yorktown, by SuperHarry, EE) and World War II (Crossing the Volga, by Andrew Dunn, Empires); from set-piece battles (Battle of Rocourt, by NathraX, EE) to grand scale strategy (Pawns of the Empire, by myself, Empires). Even fictitious subjects were not shunned, as the still popular Norse Wars by Matei, for AoM, can testify. Certainly a project list that deserves to be looked into by anyone who enjoys a good map from time to time.

There’s a first time for everything, and Woad will be the first of the large teams to go out with an official statement. To continue a team with hardly any active members would be pointless, and perhaps shameful to the past; it is best to recognise the fun we had and get on with our lives, rather than drag on its existence as merely an empty shell of its former glory.
They were an excellent five years, which have taught me a great deal about leadership, designing, and how damned difficult it is to find a good webmaster.

I bid you all an excellent future and good designing!

Kor Bosch
Founder/Leader of Woad Creations

The scenario design world will mourn the lost of this strong devoted team.

Empires Heaven Under New Management

A changing of that guard has taken place to ensure the further survival and growth of Empires Heaven. As many of you know, there has been talk on the Empires forums about the impending closure of Empires Heaven. I am happy to announce that this will no longer be the case; Empires Heaven’s will not be archived at any time in the immediate future.

What exactly does this mean? Firstly, the forums will remain open indefinitely. There may be some reorganization in order to promote efficiency, but nothing too drastic. Secondly, scenarios, campaigns, mod packs, etc will continue to be uploaded to the Downloads Section and designers and fans alike will still be able to post reviews and comments. Lastly, a lot of the out-of-date content will be updated

I would like to take this moment to thank all of the former Empires Heaven staff members for all of the fantastic things that they have done for this site. The Empires community owes you a debt of gratitude.

If you have any questions or comments please direct them to this thread.

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