Stronghold Heavens Staff
My journey into the world of gaming started in 2001 with a trip to the library, where we were trying out different programs that you could check out for 30 days. Always having a love of castles I checked out a game called Stronghold. As soon as I found the map making editor I was hooked and spent hours playing. But soon the game had to be returned. I was so obsessed by then that I frantically went on a search for a copy of the game. My husband looked on E bay, found the game, bid on it and to our surprise the seller was from the city we lived in. And to my delight we won the bid. So on a sunny summer afternoon I received my very own Stronghold game.
Soon I found I needed to know more than was in the manual and went on the internet and, by chance, found this wonderful site called Stronghold Heaven. The first question I had, I emailed to the head guy. (I had not found the forums yet). To my surprise I got an email answering my question from Jayhawk*. Impressed by the nice reply to my question I became a member of Stronghold Heaven.
As time passed I began to participate and I have been having a wonderful time. I was honored when I was allowed to help write one of the stories that are written on our forums (Crusade of the Heart). I ventured out on a quest with Sulis (Eye Candy Albums) and I was asked that summer to help beta test a game (Space Colony). I have had the honor of meeting the most WONDERFUL people from all over the world, who have honored me by becoming my friends.
Heaven Games is a wonderful place, I give the staff that keep this site and the other Heavens running a fantastic well done! It is a honor to be part of the team. Thank You.
Strategy board games were my bag since about the age of five. I learned to play Risk, Battleship, Back Gammon, Checkers, Chess, Monopoly, Mythology, and Dungeons and Dragons so well that I began to have trouble finding eager opponents by age 13. Discovering computer RTS games was the next great step. The Stronghold Series was a magnificent discovery for me since I had grown up on the tails of King Arthur and his court as well as other medieval legends, histories, and castles. The musical Camelot was played often to relax me to sleep as a child, and some of my earliest memories include my father reading Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight to me at my bedside.
My first glimpse of Stronghold came in late 2004 at a small community airport. My dad was going to fly me, my sister, and one of his friends around sight-seeing in the countryside. While waiting for my dad to fill out his log and finish chatting, I spotted the air-craft controller and mechanic playing Stronghold on a PC. They were nice enough to download the demo for me. Soon, I had purchased Stronghold Crusader from a retailer. After installing and playing, I was on the hunt for custom maps which led me to Stronghold Heaven (after I previously visited for game info). I downloaded many excellent maps and eventually discovered the forums. I registered and started shyly lingering; only making a few posts, and, after my school semester ended, I was more active. I learned a lot about the games through posting questions and exchanging ideas with fellow forumers. I developed a special appreciation and fondness for the forum community and stayed around. When I was asked to become a moderator, I was overjoyed.
Offline, away from the interwebs, I am a university student with a double major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Mathematics. I have four female siblings, have achieved summa cum laude standing, am an officer in 3 of the 5 clubs I am active in, a member of the ΣΠ and ΑΕΔ fraternities, a member of two national honor societies, and volunteer regularly. I work in two research labs at my university and am pursuing a medical-related career. At the very least, I will continue and become a researcher with my own lab group, but I am pursuing similar aspirations and applications in health. The subcellular world, microbial world, and universe in general are fantastically awesome. I believe what Einstein said all those years ago is still true, "It's a wonderful time to be alive."
Where did computer games start for me?… In the early 70’s my dad built a computer in the attic from a kit. It had 1k memory at first. He later expanded it to 4k, that is 4096 bytes. (It used a Motorola 8 bit chip I think). Storage was on audio cassette tape. It ran a Microsoft Assembler. So I entered the Star Trek program in assembler, typing it from a magazine page. [see “Star Trek (text game)” in Wikipedia]. It was great fun. Years went by before I played much on computer games after that. I played plenty of card games and board games such as SPI hex grid war games with my brother, Civilisation (the board game), Diplomacy, Risk and backgammon with my friends. I also played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. By all accounts my characters were pretty “Chaotic”. I did play arcade computer games such as Asteroids and Galaxian along with pinball at university (These were great for hand-eye co-ordination but not so good for grades :-P). The first computer of my own was a second hand Commodore 64 and my favourite game was “Battle for Midway”. Next came an Amiga and Empire (War game of the Century), Harpoon and Action Stations. Then I moved on to an IBM PS1. Since then Civilisation, Colonisation, Carriers at War, Pacific General, Warcraft, Flight Simulators, Railroad Tycoon, Command and Conquer, Shogun Total War, Master of Orion 2, Heroes of Might and Magic, and Stronghold (of course). Currently installed on my PC (so I must have played these in the last 2 years) I have: Age of Empires II; Empire Deluxe Internet Edition; Total Anihilation (a game I have played online); Master of Orion 2, Rome Total War; Mongol Conquest (a game created by a friend); Heroes of Might and Magic 4; Civilisation 2 and 3 and Civ4-Colonisation; Alpha Centauri; Colonisation (the original DOS version that needs DosBox to run); Stronghold 1, 2 and Crusader.
How did I end up moderating at SHH? Well I got into playing Stronghold. I found Stronghold Heaven, played some maps from the Downloads and I wrote some reviews. Then I decided there were not enough of the kind of maps I like to play (place your own keep invasions) so I decided to make one of my own. I enjoyed playing it so I submitted it. I went off Stronghold for a while but I returned to it a couple of years later and got back into it, taking part in the forums. I made another map and submitted it and soon I was right into map design. SHH is the only computer game community I have been involved in. Folks are, generally, pretty friendly here. When, in 2008, Sulis asked me to take over in the Downloads how could I refuse to help out at the site that had given me such encouragement?
Personal stuff: Married (for over 20 years). One daughter (at university now). I like driving. I do a bit of hill walking. When I read it is mainly naval and military history.
I have enjoyed gaming all of my life. I first started gaming over 20 years ago playing board games with my friends. I enjoy playing such board games as Axis & Allies, King Maker, Civilization (THE ORIGINAL), Settlers of Catan and many more. Over the years, my collection of board games has grown well over 100. I even enjoy painting miniature soldiers, but board gaming has always been my first passion. As I got older and friends got married or moved away, that left me with a lot of games that I could not play by myself. I started PC Gaming back around 1990 while in the U.S. Marine Corps. One of my favorite games at that time was called “Castles”. It was a real time strategy game where you had to build a castle, gather resources, defend against attack and conquer your neighbor – does that sound familiar? It was a precursor to Lords of the Realm and now Stronghold. My favorite type of PC games has always been strategy or wargames. Some of my favorites include Ceaser III, Pharaoh, Age of Empires and ultimately Stronghold. Once I tried Stronghold, I was bitten by the bug and the only game I have purchased since it was released years ago has been it's sequel – Crusader.
I first visited Stronghold Heaven back around April 2002 (7 years ago!) and saw the downloads section. I started downloading other player's maps and playing them. I thought to myself, “there is no reason you can't do this as well!” I uploaded my first map in May of 2002 and have not looked back since. My favorite type of Stronghold maps are invasions and recreations of historic castles. After being around in the forums for a while, I received an invitation from Jayhawk* to join the Stronghold Heaven staff as a moderator for the Scenario/Map Design Forums. I was very excited but concerned at the same time that I would not be able to provide the kind of support he expected as my wife had just given birth to our 2nd child. Now my son is almost 2 years old and here I am.
Other bits of information about me: I am married with two beautiful children, served 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, enjoy studying military history (especially the American War Between the States & WWII), active in my local church working in the Youth Department and singing in the choir, work as a senior recruiter in a healthcare staffing firm and look forward to playing Stronghold 2.
When I was taking the first steps in professional life 25 years ago, nobody in the advertising sector was able to foresee the dimensions of structural changes that computer technologies would produce. Yes, this worldwide process never ends it seems. I work as a graphic designer in an advertising agency and we have been using computers (mainly Macs) since 1990. Meanwhile, a gigantic new market of computer games has developed and, of course, I could not ignore this fact with regard to my passion for strategic games.
I started playing strategic games like chess as a 13 year old boy and I'm still playing them. My obsession for Stronghold began in 2002, when I bought one of those rare adapted Mac versions for my "new I Mac". After having finished all the military and economic campaigns, I started to deal with the features and tools in the editor creating my own maps; in search of inspiring ideas for a different map design, I discovered HeavenGames "via Google" and my enthusiasm for this site is unchanged. I still remember my first questions I posted on the HG forum: I promptly received a helpful answer by an experienced map maker and consequently in the course of time I was able to acquire additional tactical tricks and learn some useful editor tricks for a better map design. I also regularly downloaded different maps both of the original game and of Crusader, thus I began analyzing scenarios and writing reviews for all kinds of maps.
When Kester* started to tackle the Crusader Skirmish Trail Walkthroughs, I offered her my assistance. Kester agreed and we arranged to share this interesting task. It's been lots of fun and now the walkthroughs are completed, thanks to "Sparrow" who took care of a few remaining missions at the end.
One day, I got an amazing e-mail from Jayhawk* who asked me if I would be interested in joining the HG staff. I felt extremely honored and I accepted his offer, curious about the forthcoming challenges.
Finally, here is some personal data:
*) denotes a former staff member.