News Archives: 2008

Merry Christmas

Hello visitors and residents. It is December 25, a day celebrated in most parts of the world of various holiday traditions or is very close to them. Hopefully you are surrounded by family and friends in close proximity and in warm surroundings to enjoy each others’ company. It’s Christmas, be with your family and enjoy the food.

Merry Christmas and have a Delightful New Year.


Castle of the Week 128 – St. Hilarion Castle

It is my pleasure to announce the 128th Castle of Week, St. Hilairon Castle. This castle is located in a mountain range in Northern Cyprus close to the coast. It’s proximity to Kyrenia and the island’s main highway has made it the center of many battles to control the island. The terrain upon which the castle lies on contributes largely to its successful defenses and provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Much more can about the castle can be discovered in the article.


Changes in the Downloads

Upon attempting to submit new files, veteran submitters will notice that there are two differences from the previous submit process. Firstly, minimaps are now required for all new maps. This is a quick and easy process to do and provides downloaders and administrators the chance to preview your map. If you need help on making a minimap, see this thread. Secondly, a completely new requirement for all new maps is selecting the patch you made the game with, which allows for players to download the maps to know if they will be able to completely enjoy the map without missing any features or experiencing any inter-patch glitches.

Also, due to popular demand, some staff are going back through the Stronghold 2 Heaven Downloads and removing old reviews that do not satisfy the review guidelines. The sparking discussion concerning this can be found here.


See a Bridge Float!

Doomsword has posted a tutorial for how to build bridges over canyons in the Stronghold 2 map editor and another tutorial on how to build hidden forest paths in the forums. The latter of the two really saves time and makes it easy. The bridge scape tutorial is a stunning discover, issuing forth many potential uses in future maps.


Today in History

Actually today did not exist in the histories of Italy, Portugal, Poland, and Spain in the year 1582 AD due to the adoption of the improved Gregorian Calendar. Neither did the 10 days between October 4th and the 15th. This corrected the error of he accumulation of a century’s neglect of the the quarter of a day left at the end of the year. It also prevented this error by introducing an extra day every four years, but even this is neglected every 400 years to ensure the integrity of the calendar system.

France and many other Catholic countries adopted the calendar system a little later. The Protestant dominated countries were slower to adopt the improved calendar system, fearing a gradual-resumed control by the Catholic Church and the Pope. Many Orthodox Christian nations continued using various forms of he Julian calendar, most polarized either towards the original or revised to incorporate the new information gained since.

More about the Gregorian Calendar and its history can be found at The Galileo Project and Wolfram with Wikipedia having much information about other calendars easily accessible.


Poll Round Up!

Our last poll asked visitors: “Would you be interested in a multiplayer tournament?”

Yes! (52.6% – 339 votes)
Perhaps, depending on conditions. (24.3% – 157 votes)
No. (9.3% – 60 votes)
My skill is too horrifyingly great! (13.8% – 89 votes)

Total: 645 votes

Over 75% have an interest in a multiplayer tournament. That is enough to warrant consideration–check back about it in a month or so. Our new poll suggested by Lord Tanthos asks what your favorite play mode is.

Previous polls can be found here, and new polls may be suggested in the forums here.


The Bad News & the Good News

I’ll go for the bad first … Sulis has sadly handed in his seraph wings as he is returning to uni whilst still working full-time.

I can’t actually find enough words to thank him for what he did towards revitalising SHH when it was possible it would end up archived. He and Lady A were appointed joint seraphs and, basically, we left them to get on with it which they did in a great way. The bottom line is that SHH wouldn’t still be here but for the hours and hours of work he put in … so thank you more than we can say, Sulis.

The good news is that Sir Hugh, who filled in as a temporary co-seraph with Sulis while Lady A was unwell, has agreed to be co-seraph of SHH with her. Many congrats to Sir Hugh. You’re a worthy successor 🙂

You can comment on both bits of news here.


Today in History

In 1066, Duke William of Normandy landed in England at the safe bay of Pevensey with his eye set on the throne of England with approximately 600 ships containing 7,000 men consisting of Normans, Bretons, French mercenaries, and foreign knights. The duke had planned on invading sooner, but was delayed by weeks of unfavorable winds to his luck for during that time England was expending itself against Harald III of Norway who also contended for the crown. After his victory at the Battle of Hastings, William the Conquerer marched on London and, after some difficulty, captured it. He was crowned King of England on Christmas of the same year. King William had little time to enjoy his new station though as rebellions arose in England for the next five years.

The Norman Conquest removed the native ruling class, replacing it with French-speaking aristocracy and clerical hierarchy, which transformed the English language and culture of England. It also linked England more closely with France and continental Europe and lessened Scandinavian influence. William the Conquerer accomplished the last successful hostile invasion of Britain since.

More about the Normans and the Conquest of England can be found at Essential Norman Conquest, EyeWitness to History, and Wikipedia.


Firefly Studios is on YouTube!

Darren has announced in this community thread the little known Youtube channel of Firefly Studios, which sports the intros to several of their games and short interviews about their upcoming game, Dungeon Hero, and some of their choice fan-made favorites. Enjoy the sights.


Today in History

Approximately this day in September of 999 or 1,000 AD, King Olaf of Norway was ambushed while sailing home after an expedition to Wendland. His enemies were the secret alliance of King Svein Forkbeard of Denmark, King Olaf Eiríksson of Sweden, and Jarl Eirik Hákonarson of Lade in what became known as the Battle of Svolder (Svold or Swold). The history of the sea battle comes from long poetic sagas.

The sagas describe different reasons for the battle all relating to Olaf Tryggvason’s ill-fated marriage proposal to Sigrid the Haughty and his problematic marriage to Thyri the sister of the of king of Denmark. Clearly though, whatever the provocation, it provided a way for the political rivalry of the alliance to form and oppose King Olaf who had taken control of Viken in southern Norway, an area long under Danish lordship.

Some of the sagas say that King Olaf’s huge ship, the Long Serpent, was escorted by 70 ships. However, as they sailed past the Island of Swold, the 60 ships of Jarl Sigvaldi, a conspirator, deserted the King Olaf, as the alliance of rival Scandinavian nobles closed in. Olaf had only 11 warships in the battle against a fleet of at least 70. While it is speculated that King Olaf probably could have fled the battle by oar and sail, he refused to do so with his fighting Norwegian spirit.

The battle occurred in a fashion similar to many sea-fights in Medieval Times. King Olaf was outnumbered greatly and on the defensive. Even though he was shouting insults, tempting his enemies and raising the moral of his men, Olaf lashed his ships side to side, with his own, the largest, in the middle of the line, where her bows projected beyond the others. This formation allowed all his sailors and warriors to fight, the formation of defensive barriers between each ship, and an outer barrier on the perimeter to be formed with oars and yards that limited the enemy’s ability to board. With his larger (taller and longer) ship in the middle, it became the most advantageous platform for the archers and missile-throwers to operate as well King Olaf’s last defense.

The sagas tell how the Danes and Swedes rushed at the front of Olaf’s line and are repulsed, suffering heavy casualties. Meanwhile, Jarl Eirik attacked the flank with his vessel, the Iron Ram, and was able to clear the outermost ship of Olaf’s soldiers after fierce fighting. One by one, Olaf’s ships fell to his enemies, until the Long Serpent was left alone. The fierce fighting raged on the deck of the flagship, which slowly became overpowered. Just as Jarl Eirik was about to completely subdue the crew, King Olaf threw himself into the sea. The weight of his hauberk dragged him down to the bottom, drowning him. After this battle, Norway was ruled by the Jarls of Lade as a fief of Denmark and Sweden. Similar to King Arthur, Charlemagne, Frederick Barbarossa, and Sebastian of Portugal, a legend spread among the people that while their king jumped at the last moment, a sudden blaze of light surrounded him, and when it cleared he had vanished–to return again someday.

More about the battle of Svolder can be found here at Wikipedia.


Lord Tanthos’s Classic Choices: #1

Today’s Stronghold: Legends classic of SH2 Heaven is the “Hall of the Mountain King” map for Stronghold: Legends by StoneMmason.

This map combines a creepy atmosphere with majestic “buildings” and a dynamic combat-oriented mission as one of the first truly superb maps
submitted to our Legends section. Fight your way to the Mountain King through demons, dragons, saxons, and worse! Make marvelous use of your Knights of the Round Table in every way you can think of, and position your troops properly to achieve ultimate, and satisfying victory! But, this mission will not be easy, so save often.

Have a go at this old classic by going here:

Download Hall of the Mountain King!

And for our Stronghold 2 classic of the day, let us go deep into the recesses of ancient history and pull out an old war map. Though now covered in ancient dust and sporting a few wrinkles, this map still holds definite value regardless!

“Aedille Ordeal 1.4” is something that the “Top Rated” searches may have seen, but for those who do not know about this excellent war map, read on!

“Aedille Ordeal 1.4” is the story of you as a cursed man, shipwrecked on a small island. You must grow beyond your small island and complete several successive tasks to achieve a most elusive victory. The first time you play, you’re most likely to have to restart the map, because you’ll spend a few months just looking at the scenery and subtle design. Especially of note, as Harleybulli, an old SH2 mapper noted, is the word “Help!” spelled in small rocks on the beach. While somewhat unrealistic for the time period, it is, nonetheless, a humorous touch!
Try it out here:

Download Aedille Ordeal!


Poll Round Up!

In the last poll, visitors were asked: “Which Knight of the Round Table do you like the most?”

Gareth (6.3% – 84 votes)
Gawain (8.2% – 108 votes)
Bedivere (8.0% – 106 votes)
Percival (14.0% – 185 votes)
Galahad (18.4% – 244 votes)
Lancelot (45.1% – 598 votes)
Total: 1325 votes

The majority like Lancelot’s attack bonus and Galahad’s healing power with Percivale’s Holy Blast coming in third. Play Away!

Previous polls can be viewed here and new polls can be suggested in this forum thread.


Today in History


Around this time in 1281, the forces of Kublai Khan’s second invasion of Japan disappeared into a typhoon after being repelled from the Japanese beaches. The Mongol invasion force was estimated to have consisted of over 4,000 watercraft and over 200,000 soldiers. As the invasion fleet gathered into position over several days, it was harassed by Samurai boarding parties. The Mongols attacked Hakata Bay and its islands, pushing the Japanese back after intense fighting. The Mongols had superior numbers and better weapons in their arsenal, but the Japanese had the advantage of their defensive structures and knowledge of the local area, and so they held their ground, gradually pushing the Sino-Mongolian landing force back to its ships and boats. They retreated and prepared a larger landing force in the boats. During this time, millions of Japanese prayed for divine intervention. Seemingly as an answer to their prayers, a massive typhoon blew in, the kamikaze or divine wind, which sunk much of the Mongol fleet and most of the army onboard. The thousands of survivors were killed over the following days in Japanese attacks.

In the aftermath, Japan remained ever vigilant for another attack up until 1320. The resources spent to retain such a state of alert caused famine and disease. The period of the attempted Mongol invasions of Japan were one of the few spans of history during which the samurai clans did not fight each other for their own self interest.

More about the Mongol invasions of Japan can be found at The Age of the Samurai, The Story of the Invasion of Japan, and Wikipedia.


Castle of the Week 127 – Urquhart Castle

Duke of York has written a lovely article about Urquhart Castle in Scotland, beside Loch Ness.

The surrounding fertile lands and waters provided an abundant supply of crops, fish, fuel and game. It is surrounded on three sides by the Loch leaving only one side of the castle vulnerable to attack. The landward side of the castle was defended by a dry moat 5m deep and 30m across at its widest point. A stone cause way with a draw bridge spanned the moat…Urquhart has been fought over and changed hands many times during its turbulent history. Today, it is one of the most visited historic sites in Scotland. Visitors can gaze at the rugged landscape, take in views of the spectacular lake, stand atop the ruins of the castle, and if you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of NESSIE.

The rest of the article can be found here.


Today in History


In 1456, the Ottoman Turks were besieging the city of Belgrade and had bombarded it with cannon fire to make several breaches in the city wall. They flooded the city, but the assaulting force was cut off from the rest when the gaps in the walls were filled with burning wood and fighting in the streets lasted throughout the night.

The Siege of Belgrade drew to a close the following morning as 2,000 of John of Capistrano’s Hungarian peasant soldiers began attacking and looting the Ottoman Camp, which escalated into a a full scale battle as they charged the rear of Mehmet II’s Ottoman army facing the city and John Hunyadi sallied forth from the walls to gain control of the Turkish cannon positions and then joined the main fight. The Turks lost their camp, and retreated to Sarona and later left for Constantinople. The Hungarians took what they could and retreated back into their battered fortress, wary for a counterattack during the night. Some days later there would be a plague outbreak and John Hunyadi was among those who died from it. The Pope has his noon bell sound out in commemoration of Hunyadi’s victory that kept the Turks at bay.

More about the Siege of Belgrade can be found at Wikipedia, HistoryNet.com, and BelgradXV (a site of developers recreating the city and siege in 3D).


Stronghold Crusader Extreme Demo Released!

Firefly Studios has announced the release of a demo for Stronghold Crusader Extreme! It offers two missions from the all new 20-mission skirmish trail, and one normal Crusader historical level featuring apparent full functionality of gameplay (no features removed!), which is something not seen in the previous 2-D demos.

The demo can be found at these sites:
Gamer’s Hell
FileShack
Filefront (English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian)

Legally purchasing and downloading Stronghold Crusader Extreme has become easier now that Direct2Drive and GameTap are offering it in addition to the previous sole download offer of GamersGate.

Thanks to Darren from Firefly for keeping us informed. 🙂


New Moderators; Old Friends

The SHH staff are pleased to welcome two new Cherubs to our ranks, WL_D Alexus and WL_D Arthus! These two longtime, loyal members of SHH and magnificent map-makers (WarLord_Designs), will be moderators of the Stronghold Scenarion Design and Map Room forums along with Crusader forums, and also plan on writing several tutorials and guides for the map editors.

Please extend to them a warm welcome in this thread.


Poll Round Up!

In our previous poll, visitors were asked:

“Which spellcaster do you like the most in SHL?”

Wizard (Merlin) [38.7% – 378 votes]
Ice Queen (Virginal) [21.2% – 207 votes]
Sorceror (Janibas) [16.3% – 159 votes]
I don’t use them. [23.8% – 233 votes]

Total: 977 votes

Most players enjoy having Merlin the most, and some just don’t use them at all. Our next poll is about whose your favorite knight. Thanks to Lord Tanthos for the new poll suggestion. Previous polls can be found here, and new polls may be suggested in the forums here.


Castle of the Week 126 – Tenczyn Castle

“Seated atop a volcanic outcrop about 25 kilometers west of Kraków, Tenczyn Castle was once one of the largest castles in Poland. In its prime it was often regarded on par with the royal residence at Wawel Castle in Kraków in terms of beauty and magnitude. In its ruined state today, it remains a breathtaking monument to Poland’s medieval past.”

The entire article can be read here, which was written by Duke of York and his collaborators Michal Ryszard Koskowski & Maciej Stepowski.


Stronghold Crusader Extreme Released!

A few online retailers now list Stronghold Crusader Extreme as available or temporarily out of stock and some with still displaying only pre-order. It will be a matter of days before Extreme appears in retail outlets in the Western hemisphere. Eventually, the game is also expected to be legally downloadable from GamersGate.


Today in History

Today in 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by Burgundians during the Siege of Compiègne. Although a minor siege, it hurt the French deeply, both militarily and politically.

The circumstances of her capture started with failing peace negotiations with the Burgundians, leading to the threat by the Duke of Burgundy to take Compiègne. At a frontier position at Choisy, French Captain Louis de Flavy fled from artillery bombardment and took refuge at Compiègne on May 16th. On the 18th, Joan of Arc brought the combined forces of her own soldiers and those of Regnault of Chartres and Count of Vendôme to attempt to surprise the marching Burgundians at Soissons. However, upon arrival, the residents of Soissons declared their allegiance to Burgundy and refused her forces entry.

With this unexpected obstacle, Joan of Arc then planned a surprise assault against a Burgundian outpost separated from the main force at Margny with the assistance of Compiègne’s garrison forces. Unfortunately for the French, Count John of Luxembourg noticed the action while taking a survey of the surroundings and called in more troops. The English reinforcements outnumbered the attackers. Joan of Arc ordered a retreat and took the position of honor at the extreme rear of her forces. While protecting the rear to allow the French forces to cross the Oise River, the city gate of Compiègne closed, and her rear guard was surrounded. She became dehorsed and was captured. She gave herself up with her brother Pierre and Jean d’Aulon.

The defense of Compiègne was successful. Guillaume de Flavy, commander of the city garrison, was accused of treachery and misconduct regarding the closing of the city gate and Joan of Arc’s capture, which decimated his career.

Joan of Arc was taken to Margny, where the Duke of Burgundy came to see her. While in captivity, she tried to escape, but was caught. The Duke of Burgundy sold her for 10,000 Francs to the English who handed her over to an English-favoring, ecclesiastical court at Rouen, where she was tried for witchcraft and heresy. She endured 14 months of interrogation. Many believe she was defiant to the end, but there is evidence that her will was broken, and she was tricked into signing a confession. Whatever the case, she was burned at the stake in the Rouen marketplace at the age of 19 on May 30, 1431. Her French king, Charles VII, made no attempt to rescue his young military commander because of his renewed peaceful diplomatic efforts with the Duke of Burgundy. Later in a new trial after her death, she was pronounced innocent, and was later beatified in 1909, and canonized in 1920, becoming Saint Joan of Arc.

More about Joan of Arc can be found at The Russels, Joan-of-Arc.org (Archived) , and this article by John Egan.


FAQ – Frequently Acquired Quarks

Far from being a component of matter or a creation by James Joyce, a FAQ has been produced in anxious, intense anticipation of the release of Stronghold Crusader Extreme. The FAQ contains what is mostly known about the game and speculation on new features to hopefully satisfy some of our curiosities.


Heartening Hints

The Stronghold series has sold over 4 million units worldwide. Many gaming sites are receiving early copies in exchange for reviews. One of these sites, VideoGamer.com, has a preview of Stronghold Crusader Extreme and an interview with Simon Bradbury, Firefly Studio’s co-founder, which reveals that Firefly Studios will probably work on a Stronghold 3 and Crusader 2 after finishing Dungeon Hero in Spring ’09.

Spot on, and many thanks to Tom, an editor at VideoGamer.com, for sharing.


Quest for Gold Winners!

Sulis has announced the winners of the Quest for Gold Competition for Stronghold 2 and Legends.

Stronghold Legends Winner: Psycho Jester

The winning score achieved was 62,433 gold and 1,258 honor.

Stronghold 2: Plutonix

His winning score was 53,081 gold and achieved 576 honor.

Other Stronghold 2 entries received from:
Lopat
Redophallic
SirWhiteWolf
Sir Hugh

Well done everyone, and a sincere thank you to Sir_Vet, the map designer, and to him and Lord Tanthos for hosting the competition!


Wonderful Spam!

30 years ago today, Gary Thuerk, a marketer at Digital Equipment Corporation, now a defunct computer firm, sent an email to 393 users of Arpanet, the US government-run computer network that eventually became the internet. It was the first spam email ever, and it received a negative response that has only increased as the scourge of the net has increased and methods of spamming our inboxes become more complex.


Last Chance!

The Quest for Gold competition for Stronghold 2 and Legends players ends today at midnight! All savegames must be emailed to Sir Vet for SH2 and Lord Tanthos for Legends. Hurry and finish!


Forum Awards!

Now that the nominations are ended, voting for the Stronghold Heaven Forum Awards has begun. This event determines who and what maps receive awards. The voting thread with a complete list of nominees can be found here. Every vote counts!


Aniversary

Yesterday was the anniversary of the release of Stronghold 2 in North America in 2005. Since then, we have seen 5 patches released, 904 user-created maps submitted, and at least 3794 threads and 26581 posts related to Stronghold 2. Here’s to another 3 years.


Today in History

After an easier siege, the forces of the 4th Crusade sacked Constantinople in 1204. The Greek city had withstood Muslim attacks for over 5 centuries and had been the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire since its founding by the first Christian, Roman emperor, Constantine. Over three days, the great city’s untold treasures of gold, silver, silk, precious stones, literary classics preserved from the times of Roman Empire and Ancient Greece, wonderful works of art, and important holy relics were stolen away. Tombs were robbed, citizens were tortured to tell where they hid their treasures, and women were violated. It was ordered that all the spoils were to be gathered. While most hid what they could for themselves, what was presented was divided in half between the Franks and the Venetians. The Duke of Venice, Enrico Dandolo, had transported and provisioned the Crusaders. He utilized their indebtedness to his own political ends by having them capture the Christian port of Zara, a rival, and then persuaded them to attack Constantinople which contained greater riches than the Holy Land. In addition to the Venetian half of the booty, the Duke was paid 50,000 silver marks by the Crusaders. The bulk of the Crusader army never reached the Holy Land. Venice took much of the coast and islands of the Byzantine Empire and installed a Latin Emperor to the Byzantine throne.

More on the Crusaders’ looting of Constantinople can be found here.


Drawing to a Close

Nominations for the Stronghold Heavens Forum Awards will close Friday with voting to follow. Community members, please be sure to post your nominations or update them before the thread’s closing.


Stronghold 2 and Legends Competition: The Quest for Gold!

The Stronghold Heaven staff are pleased to announce a new competition by Sir_Vet for Stronghold 2 and Legends fans. The Quest for Gold maps are economic scenarios and you have a simple enough task… to collect as much gold as possible in the allotted time. But just how easy do you think this is really going to be?!

The maps will be available to download on Friday 11 April from our servers. In the meantime, and for further details, read this post.

Huge thanks go to Sir_Vet for all his hard work!


Help Wanted: Graphics Designers!

HeavenGames is continuing to grow with the series of changes that are going on with the revolution that will be Cloud 9, so we need staff to take care of the new responsibilities that are arising. Right now, we’re looking for the following jobs to be filled:

  • Site Designer
  • Graphics ArtistIn both of these jobs, you’ll be spearheading HeavenGames’ moves into new websites and games, which are critical to maintain its growth. They’re important jobs with great benefits; all of the information on their requirements and benefits can be found in the Join the Team! page.

    Please contact oliver (at) heavengames (dot) com if you are interested.


  • New History Article!

    The Stronghold Heavens have a new History Article about Richard the Lionheart authored by subinxsubin, which describes King Richard’s princehood, rise to kingship, participation in a crusade, caging, and his death.

    An excerpt:

    Although born in London, Richard was essentially French. Richard was an educated man who composed poetry and writings in French. Richard was known to be fond of music and was nurtured in the troubadour culture of his mother’s southern homeland. In 1172, when he was fourteen years old, Richard was given his mother’s inheritance of Aquitaine at Poiters and Limoges. This was his consolation prize for the fact that his eldest brother, Henry the Young King, was simultaneously crowned as his father’s successor. During the last years of Henry’s reign, Queen Eleanor constantly plotted against Henry II. Encouraged by their mother, Richard and his brothers campaigned against their father in France. Eleanor of Aquitaine attempted to join them in Paris, traveling dressed as a man. However, she was captured by one of her husband’s patrols and was imprisoned for the remainder of Henry II’s reign.

    The rest can be read here.


    Win a DVD of In The Name of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale!

    (Note: NOT an April Fools joke.)

    HeavenGames is proud to announce that it will be giving out 5 DVDs of In The Name of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, the action-packed movie based on the popular Dungeon Siege video game franchise! In addition to the movie and all of the great traditional extra features, the DVD also has a free demo of Dungeon Siege 2 for your enjoyment. All you need to do is correctly answer all 10 questions in our Dungeon Siege quiz by the deadline of April 30th and you’ll be entered in a drawing for one of the five DVDs. Unfortunately, due to various issues, this contest is restricted to our Canadian visitors only.


    New Tutorial

    Psycho Jester has posted a helpful Stronghold Legends Mapping Tutorial that demonstrates how to build Tall Walls in the map editor. You can find it here.


    Forum Awards – Nominations!

    A nomination thread for the Stronghold Heavens Forum Awards, an event that has not happened for a while (if not ever), has been made. Be sure to post your nominees here!


    Poll Round Up!

    In the last poll, visitors were asked: “What aspect of this site should be improved upon the most?”

    News (9.9% – 17 votes)
    Forums (1.7% – 3 votes)
    Scenarios/Modpacks downloads (35.5% – 61 votes)
    Strategy articles (28.5% – 49 votes)
    Game info articles (8.7% – 15 votes)
    Scenario Design/Modding articles (15.7% – 27 votes)

    It seems that the forums are doing quite well then, and that more (or better) Strategy and Scenario Design Articles are desired. What should be improved about the downloads? You can discuss this in the Stronghold Heavens Website Comments & Announcements sub-forum or in the Heaven Games Forum Feedback Topics. Any suggestions for improvement of the download systems are welcome.

    Previous polls can be viewed here and new polls can be suggested in this forum thread.


    New Stronghold Crusader Extreme Videos

    Two new videos of Stronghold Crusader Extreme gameplay that highlight the tactical aid feature can be found here at Gamespy.

    IGN also has a small article that also reveals a few new features such as the “outpost unit” which is a mobile barracks that allows a player to set up a recruiting station nearer to an enemy and start producing troops.


    Castle of the Week: Biltmore Estate, North Carolina, USA

    And now for something a little different. Duke of York has kindly completed the latest Castle of the Week feature, taking a look at the architecturally-magnificent Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.

    Biltmore House is an architectural marvel located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. At 175,000 square feet, this is the largest privately owned house in the United States. Built in the late 1800’s by George Washington Vanderbilt II, it was the centerpiece of a 125,000 acre estate which was his summer home.

    Read all about Biltmore here.


    Today in History

    Nasir Khusraw, a great poet and writer of Persian literature and a philosopher, began a seven year journey in 1046 that would be recorded into an account of his travels, Safarnama, which provides the most accurate representation of the Islamic world during Nasir Khusraw’s time. He was well-to-do man being the financial secretary and revenue collector for his brother, a sultan, but developed a spiritual crisis and left his occupation to journey on a spiritual quest. Nasir Khusraw’s travels initially began as a Hajj–a pilgrimage to Mecca, a holy city to Islam, which is considered an important pillar of the faith–but also visited Cairo which was the center of the Fatimide rule which had more parallel Islamic moral values to Nasir Khusraw’s own ideas. He converted Islamic sects and became a Ismali priest. In his travel memoirs, he recounts his visits of several cities and wrote about their colleges, caravanserais, mosques, area, population, scientists, kings, and ordinary people. When he returned home, he was determined to change the ways of his people with higher moral standards and, what was considered by them, radical ideas. However, his motherland and family could not tolerate him, and he fled to Badakhshan, north-east Afghanistan, where he was well-received by the population which contained small pockets of Ismalis. Nasir Khusraw initiated several changes in the region’s and surrounding regions’ cultures that are still visible today.

    To read more about Nasir Khusraw, excellent articles can be found at Payvand, Ismali Web, and Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


    Stronghold Crusader Extreme Video!

    CaptSkubba has announced that:

    “A video of Simon Bradbury, lead designer at FireFly Studios, talking about Stronghold Crusader Extreme is now available on IGN. The video has a short interview with Simon talking about the final stages of production as well as some clips of gameplay from the new Extreme edition of 2002s acclaimed Stronghold Crusader.”

    The video also shows a new game background image, new Firefly Studios logo, and a screenshot of the new Crusader Trail. You can discuss the video in the forums here.


    SOLO: Essays and Commentary on the Art of the Single Player Game” Debuts at HeavenGames!

    SOLO: Essays and Commentary on the Art of the Single Player Game” debuts at HeavenGames! This new, semi-regular column on the art and theory of designing single player games will highlight important issues in the development of games, asking challenging questions about the nature of gaming, whether games will ever meet the criteria for art, and offering practical pointers on how the best single player experiences are created by designers.

    SOLO is written by Gordon Farrell, a long-time professional designer of single player campaigns for AAA games such as Empire Earth and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. In addition, he has worked on strategy titles such as Caesar IV, Children of the Nile and BreakAway Games’ Middle Eastern city builder, Arabian Lords. He is currently Lead Writer for Reverie World Studios’ first game, Dawn of Fantasy, due for release in Fall 2008.

    HGS regulars will recognize Gordon’s work as a staple of our download sections, from games as diverse as Age of Empires and Caesar 3, to both Stronghold 1, Stronghold 2 and Age of Kings. In addition to his HGS mods, he has highly-rated Civilization 4 mods uploaded at CivFanatics as well.

    Gordon is on the faculty of New York University, where he teaches narrative theory for video games, theory of screenwriting, and advanced studies in dramatic art. He also lectures at Marymount Manhattan College in video games, script analysis, and theatre history. In 2002, Prima Games published his essay, “The Theory of Scenario Design.” His extensive professional and academic experience promises an exciting column filled with commentary on the art of games that will be both controversial and thought-provoking.


    Forum Awards: Discussion

    subinxsubin has started a topic on Forum Awards for the Stronghold Heavens. You can find the flow of ideas here. We’ll keep you updated on its progress.


    Second Call!

    Darren announced in the forums twenty days ago that FireFly studios is going to relaunch their main website and are calling for photos of fans!

    “You don’t have to be doing anything in particular, but something medieval would be funny or perhaps holding a Firefly game, it’s up to you.

    If you have a photo you want to send it, please send it to: admin@fireflyworlds.com”

    Furthermore, it is desirable to send your photo in .jpg format. It lessens bandwidth usage for both you and the receiver. Don’t forget to include your Stronghold name (or your real one if you like)! You can find out a little more here in this forum thread!


    Poll Round-Up!

    In our last poll, we asked:

    “What do you consider the most important feature of this site?”

    -News (8.3% – 20 votes)
    -Forums/Community (6.7% – 16 votes)
    -Custom Maps and Scenarios (42.5% – 102 votes)
    -Strategy articles (28.3% – 68 votes)
    -Game info articles (7.9% – 19 votes)
    -Scenario Design articles (6.2% – 15 votes)

    Total: 240 votes

    I agree that we have an awesome downloads section! It’s nice to see that the strategy articles are appreciated as well. I’m sure Socvazius will appreciate these statistics, and the next poll is also sequentially from him. It asks about what you think should be improved about this heaven. Previous polls can be viewed here and new polls can be suggested in this thread.


    New Scenario Design Article!

    Sir_Vet has created a new Scenario Design Article detailing how to convert a Kingmaker map to a Freeplay map in Stronghold 2.

    I discovered, and I’m probably not the only one, that you can take a kingmaker map and play it with every thing working, but without an AI Lord on the map with all the other spots being village estates, and have your own estate with what ever start conditions you set up. This makes for good practice using villages and carter posts.

    You can find it here.


    New Heraldry Article

    Stronghold Heaven has a new history article about Heraldry and Coat of Arms.

    The word “Heraldry” comes from the German “heer” which means army, and “held” which means champion. The word “blason,” used in heraldry by the German, French, English and Italian comes from the German word “blazen” which is the act of blowing a horn. As the knights at a tournament would take to the field, a herald would blow a tune on a trumpet announcing the knights. Because most of the knights used helms that were closed face with visors, it was the herald’s job to call out explanations to the designs on the shield and other adorned articles containing the devices belonging to each and every knight.

    Read more here. Many thanks to Sir Mills!


    Map From the Past: Craggy Island by brave sir robyn

    Our second map in the series concentrating on elements of quality design work is a real beauty – a Stronghold 2 Peace Scenario. Our very own Stratego has penned this introduction:

    “Let’s deeply dive into the treasure chest of Stronghold 2 and pick out a particular valuable pearl that you may never forget: “Craggy Island” (by brave sir robyn) is one of those inimitable miraculous scenarios as if being enchanted by a magical spell.


    This extraordinary creation combines all economic features and military aspects which make this challenging map so attractive: A picturesque lovely designed island, and a perfectly timed sequence of events are forming a unique and harmonious symbiosis you ought to get to know…”

    Download the scenario here.


    Today in Histroy

    Today, the St. Scholastica Day riot happened in 1355. After a dispute in The Swindlestock Tavern concerning beer between townspeople and two students of the University of Oxford, the insults exchanged elevated to armed clashes between locals and students over the next two days which left 63 scholars and perhaps 30 locals dead. The scholars were eventually routed.

    The dispute was settled in favor of the university when a special charter was created. Annually thereafter, on February 10, the town mayor and councillors had to march bareheaded through the streets and pay Oxford University a fine of one penny for every scholar killed. The penance ended 440 years later, when the mayor of the time refused to take part in 1825.

    There were previous riots and tensions between the townspeople and students because the faculty and students were given special privileges that harmed the town’s merchant business.

    You can find more about Oxford’s history at this site and at the Oxford City Council site.


    The Battle of the Forums!

    The clash of forums is near! Baske has announced: “Battle of the Forums”! It was a lonely day. Inside the Cherub Wagon, Zen; the divine lord and God of Heavengames turned on his computer. Everything was going fine until Zen realised something was missing. All the staff, as exemplary and *insert flattery here* as they were, were extremely predictable. This was also the case for the members. Zen then had a great idea to add variety to HG. He organised a giant party for a few members from each heaven, and sent in 3 of his most trusted staff with nice sharp kittens…er axes.

    His plan was to assassinate the members, while he sat back and ate some popcorn. As the members realised this, they quickly gathered up their pointy sticks. The stage was set, and Zen ordered the killing to be conducted in a turn based civilised manner. What forum has the most cunning warriors? We’re about to find out…

    Read this thread for more info.


    New Screenshots

    nickreed60s has submitted some chaotic screenshots of battle on Evil terrain in Stronghold Legends.


    You can view the rest here.


    Poll Round-Up!

    In our last poll we asked: “Who is your favorite SHL skirmish opponent?”

    Arthur (35.8% – 354 votes)
    Dietrich (4.2% – 42 votes)
    Lancelot (14.8% – 147 votes)
    Mordred (5.6% – 55 votes)
    Siegfried (7.6% – 75 votes)
    Vlad (15.9% – 157 votes)
    There’s not another choice? (16.2% – 160 votes)

    It seems Arthur is the most favorite skirmish opponent with Lancelot and Vlad almost tying in second, and it seems just as many desire more AI opponents!

    Our new poll comes straight from Soccy who seeks input on what users like best about SH2H which could be a hard choice for some.

    You can see all previous poll results here and suggest ideas for new polls in this thread.


    New Forum Banner

    SirWhiteWolf has created a new banner that now adorns the top of the forum page. Any comments you have are welcome here.


    New SH2 Screenshots

    Sir Vet has submitted some screenshots of the map Dungin. You can find them here.


    Today in History

    Today in 1129, the Order of the Knight’s Templar was formally approved at the Council of Troyes convened by Pope Honorius II. The Knights Templar is one of the most famous Christian military orders from the times of the Crusades who were originally founded to employ impoverished, monastic knights the task of protecting European pilgrammers in the unsecured areas of the Holy Land. However, they became the favorite charity of Europe and their wealth grew. They established financial networks across Christendom, bought and managed farms and vineyards, built churches and castles, manufactured goods, were merchants, owned large areas of land and their own fleet, and once had control over the island of Cyprus. Furthermore, Pope Innocent II issued a papal bull that exempted the Templars of any taxes and from obedience to local laws, free passage through borders, and free from any authority except the pope, himself.

    When Saladin recaptured Jerusalem for the Muslims, the Templar reputation began to erode. The Templars still functioned in their business roles with a few failed attempts of invading the Holy Land. As years went by, other rival orders diminished or found new purposes. Since the Templars still acted with the impunity of the Pope’s protection, the nobility of Europe feared that they may found their own monastic state, like the Teutonic Knights of Prussia. Driven by this idea and his own debt to the Templars, Philip IV of France ordered the simultaneous arresting of French Templars, including their headmasters on Friday, October 13, 1307. He charged them with heresy and tortured them for confessions. Then, Pope Clement issued a papal bull which instructed governments to seize all Templars and their assets. Finally in 1312, the Order was dissolved and most of their remaining assets were given to the Knights Hospitaller. The last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake in front of Notre Dame Cathedral with his hands together in prayer. From the flames, he shouted that Pope Clement and King Philip would soon join him before God. Both leaders died before the end of the year.

    P.S. Happy New Year Julian Calendar users!


    Today in History

    Today in 871, the first Battle of Reading was fought in the English county of Berkshire. At this time the Danes were conquering and colonizing England, and the only free Anglo-Saxon kingdom left was Wessex. Four days earlier, the fyrd of Berkshire were able to drive the invading Danes back to their camp at Heading where the Danes had erected fortifications of a ditch and palisade. The men of Berkshire were joined by the forces of Aethelred, King of Wessex, and his brother Alfred the Great. They attacked the Danish camp, but were routed. The following years saw the rise of Alfred the Great and many battles with the Danes.

    You can read more about the Battle of Reading here.