News Archive: November 2003

Forum Party Wrap-up

11PM last night marked the end of Empires Heaven's 12-hour Forum Party-thon. Beginning at 11AM, the party went on non-stop until 5 o'clock. It was then did anyone take a break, until it began again at 7PM. Then from seven to eleven it was again non-stop action. Within this 12-hour period, there was a good 14-15 games played. In our Downloads section, we posted some of the highlights from this highly entertaining party. Be sure to check out some of these:
11-29-03 Forum Party Highlight #2: Fast paced warfare on a Tiny map with Deathmatch resources. Eight players cramped side-by-side starting in the Medieval Age. Some ingenious use of abilities with a surprise outcome. Play-by-play commentary also ^^.
11-29-03 Forum Party Highlight #4: Played on the European Multiplayer Map v1 with Diplomacy enabled. An interesting late-game with quite a bit of treachery. Watch for V2 rockets. Record requires the European Map Multiplayer Fixed v1 scenario
11-29-03 Forum Party Highlight #8: Free-for-All on Rivers. Random Civs gave everyone England except me, who received China. All hope was lost early in the game, just read the chat.
In the forums, Park also posted a warstory of that faithful game on the European Map. You can read it on our Forum Party Thread. Be sure to join us in our next Party and see you next week! Thats me in the blue. Look at how much space yellow took! Man am I tired, 12 hours of Empires... =D

Imperial Review

Yet another section opened up at Empires Heaven, the Scenario Design Library. It's intended to have all the articles you'll need to learn how to do just about anything in dealing with scenario design, modpacking, or anything like that. Of course, it's not filled with all of those articles yet, but it's well on its way to that; check out the articles that are already up on it! In other scenario design news, Park posted a thread on figuring the basic ideas for scenario stories; not a bad thread to drop by if you're looking for information on that.

Elsewhere in EH, we got up the tables detailing the French buildings and units, so check that out for any specifics that you'd like to know on the French! Other cool stuff for the fans came straight from SSSI; an awesome wallpaper by Cory Strader with a Turtle Boat naval battle, it looks great and is definitely something anyone would like to see on their desktop. I was taken aback by it upon first seeing it, at least!

What's coming next week? My guess is you'll see one more section open up at Empires Heaven. What is it? You'll see!

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

Turtleboat Paper by Corey Strader

It may or may not be news for some, but it is certainly amazing. Like a previous wallpaper by Stainless Steel artist Cory Strader, the Turtleboat Wallpaper is extremely detailed and fits nicely on any desktop. It's available in three sizes, so it will look correct at any resolution.

In other news, the Empires: Dawn of the Modern World multiplayer demo is available on the Holiday 2003 issue of PCGamer. So for those without a broadband connection, this will be an excellent opportunity for you to enjoy the game.

Finally, the Holiday issues of Game Informer will include a review of Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. In it, Game Informer gave Empires an 8.25 out of 10. Be sure to check it out!

PC Gamer UK Reviews Empires

The PC Gamer magazine for gamers over in the UK - PC Gamer UK - included a review of Empires in their December issue. In it, they gave the game an 81 out of 100.

Fragland Review

Fragland.net has posted their review of Empires: Dawn of the Modern Worldm. With a total score of 78.5, the reviewer didn't find much wrong with the game:
"For the rest: the graphics are quite good. The 3D engine delivers very beautiful images and when you zoom in, you really get the feeling of being right in the action. You can see the horses and tanks passing you like itís nothing. In short: nothing but praise about the graphics and also the sound is of the same caliber so also ok."
Be sure to check out this review at Fragland.net. I wouldn't say the Cons are THAT bad... not bad at all I'd say ;)

Having a bit of trouble getting ideas for scenario stories?

The initial stages of scenario design - figuring up a basic storyline - are done in basically the same way, and Angel Park has posted links to a number of general scenario design storymaking articles for everyone to read. If you're looking for a bit of help in figuring out the storyline for your scenario, be sure to check out Park's thread! I need a lot more than those articles to make a good scenario designer ;)

Scenario Design Library Opens!

Empires, with its incredibly powerful scenario editor, has quite the large scenario design community. So Empires Heaven has opened our own section of the site dedicated to helping people learn how to design scenarios, mods, or anything related to that: The Scenario Design Library. Heck, we already have 3 articles up to read:

  • Starting a Storyline by Angel Aro
  • Trigger Creation by Adder
  • Randomization by Adder
  • Angel Aro is administrating the section; if you have your own design article you'd like on the library, just send it to him!

    Poll Roundup

    What's your favorite epoch? ended up with the most votes going to the first and last ages, but the last one - World War 2 - absolutely dominated the poll. It's not surprising that it's the most fun to wield such powerful weaponry that's present in the age; from Panzers to Flying Fortresses, the WW2 age is very fun to play.

    [19%] Middle Ages
    [8%] Gunpowder
    [15%] Imperial
    [11%] WW1
    [48%] WW2

    Total: 256 votes
    Now that the Empires Heaven community is really growing, it seems about time to have some kind of contest...but it's you guys that will get a say in what it will be. What kind of contest would you like to see at EH? A fan art contest, or maybe a fictional story? Which one would you like? Answer in our poll!

    Two Reviews for Empires

    Today two sites have reviewed Empires, the first of which being Game Chronicles. They seemed to like it quite a lot, giving it a whopping 9.6 out of 10 and its Editors GCM Choice award. Here's a snip:

    "By splitting the product up, each ďsegmentĒ of the whole will now have the same level of care and dedication that was given to DOTM, which resulted in a very polished game. This attention will, hopefully, keep from feeling rushed, which Empire Earth often did...After having tasted Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, I canít wait until I can finish the meal."
    The second site to review Empires was GameZilla, who - in extreme contrast to the previous review - gave it a Not Recommended rating. Reading through the review, it seems they were far too critical of certain aspects of the game, but to he his own. Here's an excerpt of that article:

    "...As it is, this is a technically well-crafted game and some dedicated collecting-oriented fans might like to invest in, but an imitation Chippendale (chair, that is) would still be an imitation. Money that could add more variety to your game collection might be better spent elsewhere."

    France Tables Complete

    The France Civilization Tables are complete. The new tables include whatever prerequisites the unit needs before they can be created. Also, the tables now include all upgraded units. Changes to the United Kingdom Tables will reflect this in the coming days. You can find the tables in our Civilization Tables section. If you have any comments or corrections, be sure to post about it in our Feedback forum.

    Gamer's Hell Review

    Gamer's Hell has put up their review of Empires: Dawn of the Modern World today. Overall, it is a pretty short review. Here is a snippet of what it had to say:
    "Strategy comes with the macro and micro management of all your troops and armor. Commanding a brigade of tanks to victory, because an Army Ranger sneaked in and destroyed some defenses is what it's all about. All of the civs have different soldiers, units, building architecture, and voices (obvious, no? Chinese isn't English). These differences are all noticeable in gameplay."
    You can find the review over at Gamer's Hell.

    Imperial Review

    Things have been slightly slower this week in contrast to the previous one, but it's still be quite active. Empires Heaven is continuing to add new content pages for your enjoyment; in particular the World War 2 United Kingdom and German units pages. And if the main EH page doesn't satisfy your need for articles, our forums have had a number of very interesting threads on the game; the first of which being an analysis of the Russian SU-57 HalfTrack, which turned out to be the weakest anti-tank unit in the game. A list of general tips that most players should follow in a typical Empires game was also posted, definitely a must-read for anyone starting out with the game.

    And finally, the problems Empires players with 3.8 and 3.9 Catalyst drivers have been having were dealt with with the fix posted on the ATI website. Head down there if you're one of those players!

    What's coming next week? The interview I had with Rick should be posted by Sunday or Monday; it's quite the long interview and is surely worth the wait.

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

    Germany Units Up!

    The Units Section has got a new update with the WW2 Germans. Complete with all the pictures, stats, and hotkey information you could ever have. Probably will be covering the US next.

    Forum Party Tomorrow! Come One Come All

    We are having another forum party tomorrow at the same times as last time:

    Place - Tournament Room
    Times - 10AM EST / 7PM EST - 2PM GMT / 11PM GMT (Time Converter)

    Have a great time playing multiplayer scenarios, meeting new friends, and having just a good old time. The object of the game is to have fun, not to win..yeah! So swing by the forums and tell us if and when you can make it.

    ATI Driver Problems Fixed

    The dudes over at Empires Aeon found out that the fix for ATI's 3.8 and 3.9 Catalyst drivers has been posted on the ATI website. Be sure to get it if you're having those problems! Vrrrrrroooom goes the drivers! ;)

    Gaming Illustrated Reviews Empires

    Gaming Illustrated recently posted their review of Empires on their website; they gave it an 86.4 out of 100. Here's a snip of the article:

    "EMPIRES: Dawn of the Modern World is a fine piece of work! The scenarios are very detailed, and have more complexity than previous games. However, the game suffers from not breaking new ground; itís more of an upgrade/add-on to Empire Earth. But it does offer many hours of enjoyable battles, and for my money that makes it an excellent value. If you like RTS Ė this is another MUST HAVE."

    Gaming Tips from Master_Blaster

    Master_Blaster has posted a fairly lengthy thread with a number of general tips people should usually follow in a typical game of Empires. The tips are fairly helpful for those that are just starting out with the game and need to get the hang of it. Pretty good thread, worth checking out. If only I had that thread when I was starting out, I wouldn't have been killed repeatedly ;)

    "1) Water Map = dock. Seems easy enough but people get lazy with it. Fishing ships by far are the fastest food source. Even if you don't put the dock down early put it down later.

    2) Walls are not just for newbies. I'm not saying wall in your entire base or use your first villagers to wall, but creating strategic choke points with your starting stone is not always a bad idea. It cuts out one direction for raiding(against non french civs) which is a very large part of winning games."

    A look at the SU-57 HalfTrack

    Flying_JeffBag has done several tests on the SU-57 HalfTrack to see just how powerful it is against other units; he's found that it actually isn't particularly powerful at all, being the weakest anti-tank unit in the game. Check out his thread for more on his tests!

    So every other AT gun has 6x multipliers vs a tank, including the Russian WW1 AT unit, while the halftrack has only 4x multipliers, making it do very little damage actually, compared to other AT weapons

    Also, all AT units take the same amount of damage from tanks, even with the halftracks cool design and 1250hp, it still loses out to other AT guns, especially the british one."

    Poll Roundup

    How excited are you for the next two add-ons for Empires? was last week's poll question, and it seems that the vast majority just can't wait for the next two add-ons for Empires. I can't either, they sound awesome. Here's the full poll results:

    [61%] I can't wait!
    [23%] It seems pretty cool
    [8%] Fairly indifferent
    [8%] Don't really like the idea

    Total: 236 votes
    With Empires spanning quite the length of history, What's your favorite epoch? Middle Ages? World War 2? Answer in our pol!

    Units Section Revamp #1

    The units section has a new page specifically focused on the United Kingdom WW2 units following after Azn's own civilization tables. I tried to get every single unit attribute, ability, and a picture as well. Of course those of you with Empires already probably won't be needing this, but hopefully it may attract new fans along with fans who still do not have access to Empires in their country. Feel free to email or shout on the Feedback forums on how they can be improved, or what civilization to do next. Personally, I'm looking at Germany.

    Imperial Review

    Yeup, I'd say the biggest news by far for last week was the first installment for EH of my visit to Stainless Steel Studios in Boston the weekend before. This first installment included a writeup and 81 shiny pictures of the visit; you should definitely check out both. In the next several weeks, I'll be releasing a number of interviews that were conducted during the visit, plus a warstory or two for the games played there. While I was in Boston, I stopped by the iGames regional tournament; Pillars ended up as the champion!

    Elsewhere in Empires Heaven, our Downloads Database opened up for use. You can check out some of the currently uploaded files, or submit some of your own. Anything file-related is available to be submitted in the database; from scenarios to recorded games to utilities. We also added two statistics tables for the United Kingdom; giving detailed stats of their units and buildings. Check both the tables and downloads out!

    The folks at Stainless Steel Studios have been curious about the fans' viewpoints on certain aspects of singleplayer gameplay, so they asked EH to start a set of polls for everyone to answer. Be sure to vote in them, SSSI will surely appreciate it! Speaking of designing and such, the eyecandy thread in our scenario design discussions forum has been quite active; 43 screenshots have been posted thus far.

    What's coming next week? Another installment or two for the SSSI visit, plus you might see another section open up at EH!

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

    Empires is a Top Rated Game

    GameRankings.com is a unique site which gathers the many reviews for a game and averages the scores. Resident forumer Grizpin has informed us that Game Rankings now places Empires: Dawn of the Modern World as the third top rated game among recently released PC games. Empires has yet to be ranked as a Most Popular games, however. You can help Empire's rank by viewing the many previews, reviews, and screenshots through GameRankings.com.

    On another note, inthemix.com.au has posted their review of Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. While primarily known for their coverage of the Australian music scene, they also have a huge gaming review database. Receiving a 3Ĺ out of 5 rating, here's what the preview had to say:
    "What strikes you immediately upon the launch of the first campaign is the incredible visual improvement over Empire Earth. Everything received a solid makeover, from unit skins and treetops to realistic explosions and impressive-looking water effects. Itís simply a joy to advance your armies through highly detailed environments and marvelously designed maps Ė which range from snowy regions, to grassy planes and huge mountainous areas. Also, players can zoom in to view every single detail on character models, which stand as some of the most impressive Iíve ever seen in an RTS."

    Empires on IGN's Wishlist

    Erm, Buyer's Guide. However, I'm sure Empires: Dawn of the Modern World is on thiner wish list also ;). Every year, magazines and gaming sites compile a list of games and peripherals that should be top priority on everyone's gift list. IGN recently put up their Buyer's Guide. On it, you will find that Empires is on the top 10 along with other great games. Here's what IGN had to say about Empires:
    "Instead Empires offers the same level of detail found in the previous game but, since it's compressed into a smaller space, it seems as if this game is even denser than the compulsively comprehensive Empire Earth. You'll lead the armies of Richard as he reclaims English land in medieval France, take charge of Admiral Yi's Korean forces in their wars with China and race alongside General Patton as he makes his way from the beaches of North Africa to the heart of Nazi Germany. Add in lots of multiplayer modes and you're not likely to put this one down for a while"
    You can view the entire 2003 Buyer's Guide at IGN.com.

    Win Copy of Empires @ IGN

    IGN has a new contest for everyone who still hasn't picked up Empires yet. They have a full ten copies, and all you have to do is answer 3 historic true or false questions:
    We're offering the chance to win one of ten copies of Stainless Steel Studios' latest real-time strategy game, hand-signed by the man himself, Rick Goodman.
    They're a bit hard though, so best of luck :)

    First Forum Party Tomorrow!

    Yeup, it's the first official forum party for Empires Heaven! For those that are uninformed on what a forum party is, it's pretty much just a "party" where a bunch of people play games with each other; it really is quite fun. The times and place for the forum party are 10AM EST / 7PM EST (2PM GMT / 11PM GMT) Saturday at the Tournament Room.

    The forum party thread is up, be sure to try and make it! Heck, we just might see an SSSI guy or two at the party if we're lucky!

    Eye Candy Thread Update

    The Eye Candy Thread in Scenario Design Discussions has gotten loads of new screenshots since it opened, a total of 43 so far. And those new screenshots look absolutely awesome; if you haven't checked out the thread so far, now would be a good time! *drools at screenshots some more* ;)

    Review at GameZone

    GameZone recently wrote up a review of Empires, giving it a 8.4 out of 10. Here's a snippet:

    "I haven't played the first Empire, so really can't compare this sequel to it. I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying this game. The complexity of the strategic gameplay, coupled with the romanticized historical perspectives, makes for a great game. The story driven campaigns are wonderful, I only wish they were longer and offered more resource production and building..."

    HG Visits SSSI

    Ah, Stainless Steel Studios. The home of the developer is Cambridge, Massachusetts, and I was invited to visit the offices for a tour and a number on interviews. Now, only a crazy man would turn that down, so I turned it do-nahhh, I accepted! A date for the visit was finalized, so I flew down to the Boston area and roomed with my buddy Angel Zen. Thus starts a series of features and articles about my trip, starting with a brief writeup of it and all 81 photos of the trip in our gallery. In the future, you should see several interviews from the visit with every department in the company; around 3 1/2 hours long total. Well, what are you waiting for? Check out the writeup! SSSI's favorite coffee: decaf...Nahhhhhhh ;)

    "After the tour, I had a relatively brief interview with Beran Peter, Stainless Steel's producer and "liason" to Activision, and asked him a number of questions on the kinds of things he does in his job as SSSI's link to its producer. Following that was the interview with the design team, who gave a number of very interesting answers but absolutely would not budge on anything about SSSI's next project. Understandable, but hey, I gotta try, eh? ;-) Lunch arrived and the entire SSSI staff came pouring into the room, including ourselves..."

    SSSI Scenario Questions

    Lee - one of SSSI's scenario designers - is looking for some feedback on Empires' scenarios; what people like and don't like, things to that effect. So I'm sure they'd be appreciative if you guys answered the following poll questions (plus one open-ended question in the thread), and possibly comment on them in the thread on our forums.

    Don't forget to vote! Wheee, I have no idea what do say in this whispertext ;)

    Empires Revolutions Opens

    After a long period of site development, Empires Revolution has finally opened. It looks awesome, be sure to check it out! *drools at the site design* ;)

    Review at GameRaiders

    GameRaiders recently wrote up a review of Empires, giving it a decent score of 86 out of 100. Here's an excerpt:

    "Ever since early RTS hits like StarCraft and Age of Empires brought the genre to itís peak, way too many mock up titles have been created that copy aspects of the great games and offer little or nothing in terms of creativity nor flair. The genre has been lacking lately and has been hurt, in similar manner to the NBA, by expansion. Too many horrible games make the rest of them unwatchable. In this suffocating genre, Empires is a breath of fresh air."

    SSSI Juan Carlos on Making Cinematics

    With the powerful scenario editor, it is possible to make some amazing cinematics. But just how does one do that? SSSI Juan Carlos gave a brief summary of what one should do in creating a cinematic; this should prove useful to those that are currently working on the first wave of awesome scenarios. Take a look at his brief guide! Man, those closeups in Empires look amazing, especially at night

    "The first step in creating a cinematic is to create the start and end effects. To do this, go to the Effects Tab, then pick Game Effect. You're going to create two effects, one Start Cinematic, and one End Cinematic. When you do the Start Cinematic, you need to specify three things: the speed (default is 1.0, game speed is 1.5), whether you are going to allow death and damage (default is off, unless you have specific reason to turn it on, leave it off), and end location (this is where the camera will center after the cinematic..."

    iGames 1st National Champ: Pillars!

    Pillars (currently #1 on Empires ladder) defeated Richard Bohn (Empire Earth National Champion) to win the first iGames national tournament. After winning this, he's going to get a chance to play in the second national tournament on the 14th/15th of December. Congratulations Pillars, and best of luck! It would've been pretty cool to participate in the tournament, too bad I'm awful and would get killed in the first game ;)

    Poll Roundup

    Last week's poll question asked How do you like Empires' online gaming server? It seems like the majority of the voters liked it to some degree, which is great. Here are the poll results:

    [26%] I love it!
    [36%] It's okay
    [22%] Don't really like it
    [17%] Indifferent

    Total: 196 votes
    With the announcement of SSSI's next two games being add-ons of Empires, How excited are you for the next two add-ons? Can't wait? Answer in our poll!

    ZDNet Australia Reviews Empires

    ZDNet Australia recently reviewed Empires, and they seemed to be quite impressed with the game, giving it an 8.5 out of 10. Here's a snip:

    "Without trying to reinvent a successful gameplay formula, Empires' ambition lies in featuring nine nations that are as different from one anther as possible without destroying the careful balance necessary for good multiplayer competition. The design puts well-recognized historical action into play and makes believable use of the material, while adding some powerful spell-like effects to keep the action interesting."

    EH's New Downloads Database

    Almost every HeavenGames site has had a long history of a very popular downloads database, and Empires Heaven surely isn't the exception. So we've opened EH's own downloads database, free for anyone to upload any kind of file you'd like: recorded games, scenarios, mods, anything.

    Well, what are you waiting for? Check out our new downloads! I love to check out the recorded games so I can see how actual players play the game, because I haven't a clue ;-)

    PGNX Network Reviews Empires

    Yeup, the next site to review Empires is PGNX Network, which gave it an 8.2 out of 10. Here's a snip:

    "Empires: Dawn of a Modern World is a very solid package. There is a lot of stuff to do in the game. The three campaigns feel distinct enough and will take some time to complete. Going through the ages, with all their distinction is fun and a sense of accomplishment."

    More Reviews!

    Most gaming magazines and websites get games before their launch for review. A few weeks after the launch, the reviews come rolling in. Today, we have two new reviews: one from GameOver and another from 3DAvenue. GameOver gave Empires a rating of 82%:
    "At times, Empires can be dramatically engaging. When the shore batteries and mortars started hitting the American landing boats at Normandy and North Africa, for a split second it almost got as visceral as the scenes in the Medal of Honor games. The three storylines, united by the common theme of treachery, are wonderfully scripted, making Empires a vast improvement over its predecessor. But coming at the beginning of the holiday season, it's already heading into a very crowded space."
    3DAvenue's review gave Empires an excellent 87%:
    "If there is one definite strong point about the gameplay, it is the amount offered. Simply put, you'll be glued to the screen for ages, going through every inbuilt campaign, then taking it online against friends or strangers, and then downloading custom campaigns, and then perhaps making your own. There is so much action in this game, I couldn't believe it only came on 2 CD's, even the master of all RTS gaming could hibernate to this game."

    Computer and Video Games Review

    Known for their incredibly detailed and long articles, Computer and Video Games has released their latest review on Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. It spans six pages and is chocked full with screenshots (albeit distorted screenshots). In the end, Empires received a respectable 83 percent:
    "In Patton's campaign, for example, you get a cut-scene dialogue advising you to push on to a certain island where you can obtain gold to pay a particular division so they become active again. While not professing to know every logistical detail about armoured divisions in North Africa, we have a feeling this is the developer's way of highlighting the fact that funds weren't inexhaustible during WWII and, furthermore, they were bloody hard to procure and had to be used wisely."
    You can find the review at Computer and Video Games.

    Civilization Tables

    The Civilization Tables section has been launched! In the coming weeks, we will be continually updating the page to provide statistics for every unit and building in Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. The first installment is for the United Kingdom civilization, which includes both the Unit Tables and the Building Tables. Expect some more changes within the coming weeks. If you have a comment or suggestion about the Civilization Tables or another section, feel free to post in our Feedback forum.

    SCN Punk Editor Guide and Interview

    SCN Punk is one of the most successful scenario design teams ever. With a new server and website, the team is setting their sights on Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. Sure to make some dazzling scenarios, SCN Punk is already getting experienced with the Scenario Editor. They have recently released a great guide for all the tools available in the editor. You can read it at SCN Punk.

    Along with their Editor Guide, SCN Punk also got a lengthy interview with Tim "Hank" Scott. Relating mainly to Scenario Design, it also provides some great tips for aspiring Designers. You can find the interview at SCN Punk.

    iGames Empires Tournament

    iGames, recognized throughout the US and the world, has announced a tournament for Empires: DMW. The first games will be this Saturday so you better read the rules and signup quickly. The prize is a very nice Alienware computer with more than enough hardware to power any gamer's desires. Be sure to read all the pages about the tournament, there will be another one held in December too.

    Want to ask a specific question to the folks at Stainless Steel Studios?

    Well, here's your chance. I'm going to fly down to Massachusetts and visit the studios this Friday (the 7th), and I was wondering if you guys had any last-minute questions you might want me to add on to my interview question list when I put them all under the bright light and force some answers out of them by any means necessary ;-). The questions can cover anything about SSSI and developing; from art to design to programming. And yes, this does mean I'm going to put up lots of screenshots and a writeup (plus all of the interviews) after my trip ;)

    Recorded Games at MFO and ATI bits

    MrFixitOnline has recently allowed uploading of Recorded Games for Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. MFO is a hotspot for many experts in the RTS community, so there's sure to be some great matches posted. Once the upload link is fixed, everyone will be able to send their games in. You can find some great recorded games at MrFixitOnline. A few have been finally posted of Pillars!

    In other news, ATI's newest driver suite: Catalyst 3.9 still does not fix the corruption problems with Empires. Confirmed by Psycho Boy Jack in our forums, all Radeon owners should stick with the Catalyst 3.7 drivers. DO NOT install the latest Catalyst Drivers (3.8 or 3.9) for any card in the ATI Radeon family. ATI is currently working on a hotfix that will correct this problem.

    Empires Add-Ons Announced

    Thanks very much to Empires Aeon for this news: the December issue of Computer Games Magazine has an article which talks about SSSI's plan to create two add-ons to Empires, which will be a prequel (and suspected sequel) to the modern time period of Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. Put together, they will become an enormous game, reaching the expansiveness that Empire Earth did. I think this is an awesome decision by SSS, it will let them do such a huge job in sections and end up with the best-quality product possible. Man, I'm all tingly with anticipation just reading that paragraph ;)

    "Stainless Steel Studios triples its real-time strategy lineup When Stainless Steel Studios announced Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, it was refreshing, if a bit odd, that it had abandoned the paradigm used in its previous game, Empire Earth. That game covered, in one fell swoop, everything from the discovery of fire to the space age. Focusing only on events between the years 1000 and 1950, Empires promises more detailed and manageable real-time conquest, but seems to have given up on its cachet of "cavemen to cosmonauts." Now it makes sense, however, since the studio has announced that, in fact, Empires is but the first element in a planned trilogy of historical strategy offerings. "Have you ever wanted to command Greek Phalanxes, lead vast Roman legions, order English knights against Frankish militia, or conduct a massive Allied paratrooper drop in WWII?" asks Stainless Steel president Rick Goodman. "Now you'll get your chance. Joining Empires will be two additional products, starting with a full prequel beginning around 600 BC. From there, you'll be able to explore the entire ancient world in all of its bronze- and leather-ness, with the same sort of detail and unique civilization traits that Empires delivers. When complete, the trilogy will offer a leviathan panorama of world history, from ancient times to the post-WWII era, the components of which you can play separately, or together in one huge odyssey."

    A new pair of wings handed out

    Yeup, Empires Heaven has its first Cherub in the form of active scenario designer xLpx. He's going to help out Angel Aro in the soon-to-be-released scenario design section, though he'll also help out a bit around AoMH with its scenario design section as well.

    Congrats, dude!

    Poll Roundup

    A pretty wide range of results came from the poll question Which nation do you like the most so far?, but two nations stood out above the rest: Germany and England/UK. Both are particularly fun nations to play, I can see why many people prefer those over others. Here's the poll results:

    [10%] China
    [23%] England/UK
    [10%] France
    [25%] Germany
    [5%] Korea
    [14%] Russia
    [13%] US

    Total: 409 votes
    This week's poll question asks How do you like Empires' online gaming server? Love it? Don't like it? Answer in our poll!

    How does Automatch work?

    Many have been pondering this question. How does Automatch really work? VG_Ranger surely has the explanation. In a post at Empires Aeon VG_Ranger explains exactly how your scores are computed:
    "The formula used gives you a bonus for winning and punishes you less for losing if you are below 1500. As you approach that point scores become closer and closer to the standard chess rating system (base 16 points +/- 1 for each 25 point difference between scores). So until 1500 is the period you have to really get your score ironed out, and then beyond that you'd better keep winning if you want to stay up."
    On a related topic, YoungGunZ promises to have a Team Ladder in the upcoming patch:
    "We will be adding the capability to do rated team automatches in the next patch."

    GameSpy Review of Empires

    GameSpy has reviewed Empires with their recently new system giving the game a great 4/5 Stars and Multiplayer Factor of Great. Apart from a few AI problems and problems for new players, the review is all positive:
    Both variants (Action and Empire Builder) are a lot of fun, though they will obviously appeal to different types of gamers. Both also seem to be well-balanced, a pretty amazing achievement when you consider the radically different requirements for each playstyle.

    Empires sports nine civilizations the player can choose from, and unlike many RTS games where the distinction between sides is no more than skin-deep, each Empires civ offers players a completely different experience. The civs share no art assets and no units in common. Even the way they gather resources is different.

    Korean Military Analyzed

    Longtime HG forumer Hydarnes has started a thread in our forums on the Korean military, including a fairly extensive analysis on it, comparing its power against other civilizations. The forum topic has sparked a rather active conversation, talking about the subject in great detail. Definitely check it out for Hydarnes' and others' analyses of the Korean's military. My Korean armies only consist of one thing: fire oxen, soooo cool ;)

    "1 Korean Twin-Sword Cavalryman will defeat roughly 4 Ming Cavalry, and 3 with ease. This is simply an outrage and a rip-off. While I would naturally expect some of the Korean military to be stronger than the Chinese, since the Chinese have an arguably stronger economy, this is simply overstepping the compromise.

    Korean Matchlock infantry will defeat an EQUAL Chinese Flintlock infantry army of any size OVERWHELMINGLY--not understandably. What basis is there for such an unwarranted superiority?"

    CrazyGamesInc Reviews Empires

    Thanks to The Crazy Person for the heads up on CrazyGamesInc's review of Empires. In it, the game was given a perfect score of 5 out of 5. Check it out! Hrmmm, I wonder if Crazy Person is the same one that wrote that review...crazy. ;)

    "This game offers alot to all Real Time Strategy fans and a wide variety of gameplay options. It is quite close to being fully historically accurate in the campaigns, which I've noticed a lot of players pay close attention too. The only real major problem is that you have some balancing issues between civilizations which could be fixed soon, and without that this game is great! Therefore, I offer a perfect rating."

    Imperial Review

    Whooo boy, news has just been coming from every direction this past week. Our forums have jumped in activity by quite a bit, with a number of really interesting threads and conversations going on. Starting things off, EH's Strategy Discussions forum opened up for any talk on strategy in Empires. With that idea in mind, Lysimachus did a number of tests on the power of the English Imperial units over their French counterparts. It turns out both their regular infantry and cavalry units are superior to the French's; something of a surprise, check out the thread for all of the details on that. But the forums haven't just been active on strategy, the Scenario Design Discussions forum has been bustling with talk on that subject. After just a day or two of being opened, xLpx's eyecandy thread is already jam-packed with gorgeous screenshots of what can be done with the Empires scenario editor, check it out!

    The SSSI guys have been pretty active around our forums as well, talking about all sorts of things about Empires. Gordon Farrell assured everyone on the historical accuracy of the singleplayer campaigns, which I have found to be extremely accurate down to fairly minute details. Anyone that likes history are sure to love the singplayer in Empires with its adherance to history. The folks from SSS also made sure everyone was aware that they are working on patches for the game to fix any problems encountered in it.

    What's coming next week? At least one new EH section should open up, plus surely tons more news!

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

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