News Archive: May 2004

Poll Roundup

I guess people really liked the civ editor in Empire Earth, according to Would Empires be improved with a civ editor? Over 70 percent of the voters think that Empires would be a better game with the editor; a fairly solid majority. Here are the results:

[73%] Yeup
[14%] No
[13%] Indifferent

Total: 176 votes
Empires Heaven holds weekly forum parties every Saturday to give the community a chance to play a couple games amongst itself; the parties are great fun and a good chance to meet other members of the community. How many forum parties have you gone to? Answer in our poll!

Microsoft's version of Google?

According to Wired.com, Microsoft - in the wake of the extraordinary success seen by online search giant Google - is putting a lot of its resources into developing a sophisticated search engine of its own. Unlike Google's exclusively online search, Microsoft's engine will allow for searches on your computer, email, and pretty much anything else where you'd need to find certain pieces of information. The release of this technology is expected to come within the next year, so it won't be long before we see if Microsoft is successful in such an undertaking; many of us computer users should find the result interesting, if anything.

"SEATTLE -- Microsoft is looking beyond Internet searches, heading into its battle with Google with technology designed to allow people to scour their e-mails, personal computers and even hefty databases for information...

...The technology is designed as a major search improvement for users trying to grapple with an increasing amount of digital information, offering a single hunting system instead of several different search engines, file-management systems or other tools."

Imperial Review

We saw a number of updates here at Empires Heaven as far as articles go; 3 articles in two sections of our site. One of those articles went to the Scenario Design Library; creating attractive cities is sometimes a tricky thing to do in design and that article gives you and idea how to make one. AntiAmi wrote up two nice civilization articles for the strategy section: one on England and the other on Russia. Both show you the proper way to use the civilizations; good reads for those starting out on them.

Like the sections on our site, our strategy and scenario design forums have been pretty busy as well. _o0XxX0o_ posted a lag-free way to have a trigger go off when a group of units have 2 individual units next to each other. The topic in our strategy forum concerns the amount of strategy actually present in Empires; check both of the threads out, they're at least worth reading!

What's coming next week? Hopefully a treat for you guys, but it might come a bit later; we'll see.

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

Forum Party Tomorrow! May 29

School is almost out, which means more gaming time for me. And since tomorrow is Saturday, its time for a Forum Party. So join me at the Forum Party to kick off the summer. Everyone is welcome, regardless of skill. Good games are played every week, so it will surely be a great time. The party begins at 11AM EST in the Tournament Room. Be sure to check the Forum Party thread for details.

Scenario Design Library Update

I have just uploaded an article by myself to the Scenario Design Library. It explains how to create good looking towns and cities. Check the article out here!

I have also created a printable version of all the articles. If you would like to print out an article just click the Printer Friendly Link at the bottom of every article and you will be brought to a printer friendly page for the article. Enjoy!

I will be moving over the next week to two weeks and I doubt I will have access to the internet at this time. If you have an article you'd like to submit feel free to email it to me but remember that I will be unable to upload it in my absence. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Strategy in Empires?

A topic in our Strategy Discussions forum has been going on for several days concerning just how much strategy is in Empires. Some believe that Empires has little strategy compared to other RTS games, other think there is plenty of it in the game. What do you think? Participate in the discussion!

Empire Earth 2 Interview

Not exactly Empires-related, but I'm sure many of you would be interested in reading Strategy Informer's recent interview of the CEO of Mad Doc concerning Empire Earth 2. If anything, the game looks interesting; I can't say if it'll turn out good or not, but I'll definitely try it out when it's released in the first half of next year. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

"Empire Earth 2 Ė at its gigantic heart Ė is all about building huge, sprawling empires; bringing civilizations up from a small start to world dominance. We thought about how empires throughout history have grown, and kept returning to the idea of territories. Think about it Ė wars, treaties, diplomacy, power, they all revolve around territories, parcels of land. The building blocks of empires. To turn that concept into gameplay, weíve created Territories. In Empire Earth 2, the world is pre-divided into territories (you can choose how many, if you like) and expanding your empire is all about conquering territories. Territories give you resource bonuses, allow you to build cities, allow you to generate technology, give you defensive bonuses on your buildings..."

Strategy Central Update

Recently, our very own DoJo_AntiAmi has written two articles for the Strategy Section. Both The Proper Use of Russia and The Proper Use of England both explain their respective civilizations thoroughly. The two articles give strong build orders and evaluate every unit. Further, the articles give details on how to play against other civs. They are two excellent guides that can help players of all skill and experience. Be sure to check them out!

Poll Roundup

The majority of gamers that voted on How much do you value realism in games? take the middle road when it comes to gameplay vs. historical accuracy. They want the game to adhere to history, but it shouldn't really effect gameplay.

[39%] Very important
[53%] Important, but shouldn't effect gameplay
[6%] Don't care
[1%] Should be ignored entirely

Total: 156 votes
In Empire Earth, a popular aspect of the game was the ability to edit and create your own civilizations. It was scrapped in Empires for a number of reasons, but Would Empires be improved with a civ editor? Answer in our poll!

Another Trick by _o0XxX0o_

It's another day and it seems like it's time for another trick that _o0XxX0o_ has up his scenario-designing sleeve. This one is a lag-free way to have a trigger go off when a group of units had 2 individual units next to each other. Here's what he did:

"Of course when multiple units near multiple units object condition is used, it causes a great amount of lag. Here's what I discovered.

Say u have 30 units on the map, select all units in select on map object, naming it "group 1". Then in a new object select the same 30 objects on select on map, and call it group 2. Put on group 2 object specification; "near group 1".

Then when group 2 "exists" is made as the condition, any time any 2 or more of the 30 grouped are near any of the other 29, the condition fires!"

Imperial Review

Lots of activity in the scenario design community has been going on nowadays, this week isn't any different from the rest. On a roll with editor discoveries, _o0XxX0o_ found out how to make areas identified with effects; additionally, he found an easier way to clone triggers in the editor, both discoveries should prove to be useful to designers in the future. iNtRePiD released the Empires version of his popular multiplayer map, Europe Under Fire; check it out for a top-quality map of Europe to play on with your buddies!

What's coming next week? I've got a goodie or two that you might see next week, so keep your eyes peeled!

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

Forum Party Tomorrow! May 22

As usual, there's going to be a Forum Party this Saturday. We encourage everyone to come, regardless of skill or experience. It will be held in the Tournament Room at 11AM EST. For more information, check the Forum Party Thread. We should try out that 2v2v2v2 on Channel again... thats always fun :).

Europe Under Fire 3

iNtRePiD's popular Europe Under Fire multiplayer map has finally hit Empires. The accurate map of the European continent is very well-done and adds a pretty nice element of realism to your gaming, so it's something anyone could add to their list of multiplayer scenarios to mess around with. The file is in our Downloads Database, so check it out!

Simplified Cloning Triggers

Yet another discovery by _o0XxX0o_, he's found a simpler way to use cloning triggers in the editor. Here's part of his thread:

"Normally to appear to clone a unit, the effect create object near object is needed. I finally figured a simple way to clone a unit on the same spot, where ever the unit is.


-in a scenario u want every G.I on the map to clone 1 additional G.I in the same spot. 1 G.I. turns into 2 G.I.s, 2 G.I.s turns into 4..ect...

So first, make player 1's flare 1's LOS decrease to 1 class attribute. Make trigger..."

Area Triggers

_o0XxX0o_ - always the scenario editor investigator - has found out how to allow areas to be identified in effects for design, which should simplify some things for editors. Here's some of the scoop from him:

"Objects can be specifically indentified, but not areas.

U can create/kill/remove/replace/etc an object specifically chosen by; what area it is in, what type of unit it is, weather or not the object is selectd or not, what object it is near, and wheather it is visible or not, with only 1 effect...but....

When u cast a calamity, or make a graphic effect in an area, there are no area specification. So u have to make an effect for each & every area and make a conditon in a trigger to identify each area.

This allows an area to be identified, although not as direct as an area condition, its a faster, simpler workaround."

Poll Roundup

People are looking at Rome: Total War rather positively following a number of the previews that have been released on the internet, according to the poll What do you think of Rome: Total War so far? 64% think it looks awesome, while only 6% don't like it at all. That's not too shabby, here's the results:

[64%] It looks awesome!
[15%] Looks good
[15%] Indifferent
[6%] Don't like it

TotaL: 132 votes
This week's poll is somewhat inspired by Midgard Eagle's game realism approach thread posted about just yesterday: How much do you value realism in games? Answer in our poll!

Wrong approach to realism?

In his thread Wrong approach to realism?, Midgard Eagle shares his opinion on what makes a game realistic. The thread has gotten pretty popular and many forumers have posted their opinions. Here's an excerpt:
"Iíve never believed that graphics add much to a gameís realism. I donít really care if Call of Duty looks real: It feels like just another game because of the fact that one single soldier can kill a hundred single-handedly (although it does deserve some credit for the scenarios where tanks blow apart walls). Rogue Squadron III looks great, but itís so shallow and simplified that you donít feel like youíre in the Star Wars universe at all (unlike in the atmosphere-filled TIE Fighter). Realism isnít in graphics; itís in detail."
Be sure to check out the thread and let us hear from you!

Forum Party Tomorrow! May 15

There were a few good games last week, although they took quite long to finish (Europe -_-). So we invite you guys, once again, to come back for another week. Maybe we should choose teams this week, as games are getting increasingly lopsides. It will be held in the Tournament Room at 11AM EST. So if you're interested, be sure to check the Forum Party Thread for the complete details.

Another Scenario Design Article

As promised I've just uploaded another article by Midgard Eagle to the Scenario Design Library. This article tells how one might change the way the next scenario in a campaign might start out differently depending on how things went in the first scenario. Check the article out here!

On another note this new article brings the Scenario Design Library to a total of 20 articles. Thanks to all who've submitted articles!

As always the Scenario Design Library is always looking for new articles, if you have an article you would like to submit you can email it to me.

New Scenario Design Article

I've received and uploaded article by Midgard Eagle has been uploaded to the Scenario Design Library. This article is a very in depth article on how to create a dungeon Check the article out here!

I've had quite a few submissions over the last two days so you can expect another article or two to be up very soon.

The Scenario Design Library is always looking for new articles, if you have an article you would like to submit you can email it to me.

What makes a good multiplayer scenario?

Scenario designing veteran Park has posted a thread concerning that question, and he's got a list general aspects that make the legendary multiplayer scenarios in the RTS community so good. Other designers have put in their two cents on the issue, and it's turning into quite an interesting discussion. Here's what he had to say on it:

  • Game has to offer something different from normal RM/DM Games
  • MP Scenario must be basic in story and gameplay unless you want a niche scenario
  • Players have to all begin roughly balanced
  • With most scens lacking a story, there has to be a clear goal and/or suprises to keep players going. Maybe some special units or something, anything.
  • More freedom you give a player, the less special the scenario is. The more special the scenario, the faster it gets old.
  • Players tend to completely ignore instructions and want to get to action ASAP
  • The best MP scenarios appear to be the ones where the conclusion is either very hard to reach (takes several tries against comp) or can change each time (which player wins).
  • Along with equal balance, players should not be able to be eliminated quickly unless the MP scenario is fast anyway.
  • Word from SSSI at E3

    HomeLAN Fed has a quick snippet about Stainless Steel Studios. Apparently Stainless Steel has finished their Titan 2.0 engine, which will be licensed to other developers. Already, Tilted Mill has signed on and will use the engine in their future games. Eminent has reported to us that Stainless Steel's website has been updated to expand on this. What makes Titan 2.0 so powerful? Stainless Steel explains it:
    "Game Engine : Multifunctional Ė handles updating all objects in game world, physics, music and sounds, and the extensive database associated with every object in the game.

    Scenario Editor : A fully integrated and incredibly powerful level/scenario editor. Allows non-technical users to create an entire world with scripted events, cinematics and actions using a simple point and click interface. No programming is required. Also includes a fully customizable random map generator.

    Multiplayer Communications Engine : With extremely fast, reliable and fault tolerant communications between computers, any number of players is supported over LAN or Internet. Also fully integrated with the GameSpy Internet matchmaking service.

    AI Engine : Advanced and multifaceted Ė A tiered AI system allows separate manipulation of unit, group, and player level AI behaviors.

    Graphics Engine : Fully 3D with a huge and powerful assortment of tools and graphical abilities. Graphics are scalable to take advantage of improvements in graphics hardware and rendering speed."
    You can view the complete details about this exciting development in our forums or at StainlessSteelStudios.com. Note that you too can license the powerful engine for a mere $250,000 USD!

    What does this mean for us Empires fans? Now that this project is done, SSSI will have more time to work on actual games. Expect Stainless Steel to be working on a patch, expansion, or a entirely new project altogether. E3 is an exciting every year. Pay close attention to Empires Heaven these few days, as anything may happen!

    Poll Roundup

    Do you use any kind of general antivirus software? Well, 79% of those polled do use antivirus software, which is a pretty good thing. Viruses are rampant all throughout the internet, and without a good solid shield against it, your computer could be crawling with viruses. Here are the results:

    [79%] Yes
    [17%] No
    [4%] No, but I plan to

    Total: 135 votes

    Although it isn't exactly AoM related, a number of you strategy gamers should probably be interested in Rome: Total War, the game that I just previewed here at HeavenGames this morning/last night. What do you think of it so far? Answer in our poll!

    Rome: Total War Preview

    A couple weeks back, a number of representatives from press organizations all around the world - including me - were invited to a press event at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas to check out The Creative Assembly's Rome: Total War and ask a number of questions to the developers of the game. Needless to say, the trip to the pretty lights capital of the nation also included some...not so work-related activities, but I do have a 4-page preview of the game for you all. I'd definitely recommend checking out this one, take a look!

    "...You'll be managing the affairs of an entire Empire (well, technically a Republic, but I'm going to use both terms in an attempt to completely confuse you) as the member of a house of Nobility such as the Brutii or the Julii from around 270 BC to 0BC. 270 BC might seem like an arbitrary date to some, but it was chosen because that's around the time that the Roman republic had unified Italy, was expanding and really doing some "foreign relations" with its nearby neighbors. These foreign relations involved dinner parties and gift baskets, of course."

    Scenario Design Library Update

    I have created a new section for the Scenario Design Library that will contain general articles that relate to story, balance and articles that do not fit in any other category. I have moved an article to the general section that is a better fit there than it's former section. An article on how to balance a scenario has been uploaded as well.

    The Scenario Design Library is always looking for new articles, if you have an article you would like to submit you can email it to me.

    Talk on Empire Earth 2

    With the sequel to Empire Earth announced, a thread has been pretty active in the past week or two about the game. It has thoughts on EE2 from quite a few members of the community, perhaps you could add your name to the list of those talking about the game in our forums!

    Forum Party Tomorrow! May 8

    Unfortunately, because of the lack of attendance in the night sessions, the 7PM Forum Party has been canceled for now. The morning one still have a good turnout, however. So I suggest that everyone join us this week, as it's more fun when there's more blood to shed. Please do remember that there will be no night session for now. Maybe where there is a greater turnout, the night sessions will come back. Again, the Forum Party will be held at 11AM EST in the Tournament Room. Check the Forum Party Thread for the complete details.

    More Undiscovered Designer Testing Tools

    It turns out _o0XxX0o_ has a couple more discoveries for everyone in the designing community; he's found two hotkeys that one can use for testing in their designing. Pretty cool stuff, here's the scoop from him:

    In the map editor, and only in the map editor, are what is obviously testing hotkeys. Ctl+H toggles a display screen that somehow measures some kind of trigger frequency load. And Ctl+Y toggles an object selection device that places a large boarder around any object selected that is the parameter of the object's los and/or range.

    ATI X800 Contest

    GameSpy's latest article, Too Fast, Too Furious, writes: "After seeing the performance on all these cards, it will sooner or later hit you that whatever your current video card is will never catch up, even with all the liquid cooling and overclocking you can do." The cards described are the new ATI Radeon X800 and NVIDIA GeForce 6800, the upcoming generation of cards that will be 100% (twice!) faster than anything available now. So if you are the few (read: everyone) who still owns antiquated hardware, July may be your lucky month.

    ATI is holding launch contest for their X800 card. Prizes include a Velocity Micro System sporting a Radeon X800 XT worth $1,800 and four Radeon X800 Pro cards, worth $399. The contest is simple:
    " Contestants must complete the contest entry form at the following site: http://buy.ati.com/myprofile/contest_na.asp. The form allows contestants to refer additional e-mail address to Sponsor. For each new e-mail address referred to Sponsor, participant will automatically receive one (1) additional Contest entry. Third parties referred to Sponsor will only receive one (1) e-mail from Sponsor notifying them that participant has referred them to Sponsor and some introductory information about Sponsor.

    The Grand Prize and Second Prize winners will be determined by a random drawing from all eligible entries received. One (1) Grand Prize will first be determined by a random drawing from all eligible entries received. The draws will be held on July 30th, 2004 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time."
    View the contest rules for the complete details. The address on the release is broken, you can enter here. Good luck! The more people that enter, the less my chances of winning are. Ahhh! Must... win...

    Humorous Happenings in Empires

    In the hours and hours of gaming on Empires that many of you have had, surely there has been a couple times that were just so "out of there", ironic, or just plain funny. Midgard Eagle has started a thread for anyone to talk about their amusing happenings in Empires. Here's his:

    My contribution would be my search for stone walls in the editor. Probably due to the polygon limit, the sandbags in the demo looked more like stone walls than sandbags. So when the game came out, I looked for ages in the unit and building lists for "stone walls" :p"

    Poll Roundup

    Empires fans have warmed up to the idea of EE2 pretty quickly upon its announcement just last week, according to How do you like EE2 so far? 63% of the voters - by some degree - like the idea, which is not bad for a newly announced game.

    [39%] I love it!
    [24%] It's good
    [22%] Indifferent
    [14%] I don't like it

    Total: 170 votes
    With the Sasser worm running rampant thoughout the internet, a lot of attention is being paid to viruses as a whole. Do you use any kind of general antivirus software? Answer in our poll!

    Virus Fun

    For those not yet informed, a virus has been spreading throughout the internet; something of a variant of the MS Blaster worm that was prevalant on the net last year, the Sasser worm - upon your connection to the internet with a Win XP/2000 system - tells you that you have one minute before it will restart and does so.

    Luckily, Microsoft has released a security fix for the worm fairly early in its infection of computers on the internet. Of course, you might need to conduct further disinfection of your computer with traditional antivirus software such as the popular Norton Antivirus. Unfortunately, I wasn't spared by the virus, as I had to go through the same measures (basically, though I had no access to the internet and the MS fix for obvious reasons) to fix the problem; I can vouch that it will indeed rid your system of the virus.

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

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