News Archives: 2003
…or, please pick your own relevant holiday for this time of year.
Another year’s has zoomed by, days passing by, chasing each other to the and of the year. Is it really time passing that quickly, or is it the merely a side-effect of the rushed lives we lead?
Lots of things happened in Heaven this year. We had staff resigning, caught up in Real Life, or merely having lost interest in the games they represented. We had a whole batch of new and fresh cherubs, we had a few sites go live and we almost had a site closed for good.
Last, but certainly not least we had the server move, which will open up new horizons for us.
Outside of Heaven, life seems to have been at least as frantic. The world has shown us the usual batch of scandals, hunger and war, with just enough of the occasional bit of brightness to not lose hope completely.
We hope the new year is going to bring you and us some interesting challenges, whether in Real Life or in Virtual Life. We hope there will be good things to chase away the bad ones. We hope there will be cheer to chase away the tears.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a little more peace and a little less hunger and poverty in the world, when we arrive at this very same spot a year from now.
So, from all of us, to all of you:
Writing for Stronghold Heaven
Have you ever thought about writing an article for Stronghold Heaven, but didn’t know where to start? We have the answer for you in our new information page on How to Write an Article.
We always welcome articles on strategy, scenario design and history. This will take you through all the steps from your first idea to its appearance on the site.
Latest Poll Results
We had a whole bunch of people replying to the last poll, which was all about enemies. For those of you wondering where some of these are hiding, the answer is that they are part of the Stronghold Warchest.
Let’s look at the results though.
|Who’s your favorite enemy?|
|The Wolf||139 votes|
|Richard the Lionheart||62 votes|
|The Rat||47 votes|
|The Pig||35 votes|
|The Snake||18 votes|
|Emperor Frederick I||15 votes|
|The Sultan||15 votes|
|The Abbot of Sterling||12 votes|
|The Caliph||12 votes|
|The Sheriff of Nottingham||10 votes|
|King Philip I||7 votes|
|The Wazir||7 votes|
|Marshal Sir Longarm||6 votes|
|Nizar “The Silent”||5 votes|
|Emir Omar||3 votes|
|Total: 421 votes|
It seems clear that The Wolf is your favourite bad guy, but I’m surprised to see King Richard end up at a respectable second place.
I hope you enjoy the new poll: What’s your favourite unit?
Pictures at an exhibition
Well, it took us a while, but with a lot of work from Lady Arcola we managed to get our act together and create a show case of some of the wonderful stuff made by the castle designers.
Apart from these little gems, we added some large scale images from the game and a small gallery of mugshots of the Stronghold Heaven Staff.
Please note that the Gallery is an ongoing project and will be expanded as we get more and more gems to upload.
You can find the Gallery here.
New article added to the strategy section
During my search of the number-crunching thread, I found a nice little article written by Homegrown when the game first came out. With a few additions by Ztolk the article, which contains information on the basics of storage and the positioning of raw materials and food processing buildings, is a nice way of gathering information that you think you know in one place.
It starts here
How strong are your defences?
A new table has been added for Defence Structures in Stronghold. It gives the hit points per tile of the different types of wall and gatehouse and proves, once again, that wooden walls are stronger than stone.
We’ve added another of Ztolk‘s infamous lists. This one gathers together the animals in the game that are given names – you’ll find it at Noah’s Ark
Castle of the Week – Miskolc Diosgyor in Hungary
We are delighted to present Miskolc Diosgyor in Hungary by a guest writer, scenario designer Duke of York. At one time the home of royalty, now only the four massive towers, areas that have been partly rebuilt and the museum within show its former grandeur. You can find the fascinating history of the castle here and, as you would expect from Duke of York, an invasion scenario for you to play which you can find by clicking on the minimap below.
Thank you Duke of York.
Stronghold Design Competition
Our first poll asked which kind of competition you preferred, and the overwhelming majority voted for Stronghold Design. We would therefore like to introduce:
The Stronghold Historical Castle Competition.
Stronghold Heaven is proud to present the Historical Castle competition. We are asking all you designers out there to put on your thinking caps, dust off your keyboards and get down to designing yourself a castle.
Using the original Stronghold, so no Stronghold: Crusader submissions please, we’d like you to design a Stronghold version of a castle from the annals of history. Your entry should be as close to your chosen castle as possible, but can be of any of the available mission types. We’d like you to base any scenario details on historical events, but we’re open to some creative ‘What if?’ scenarios as well.
For the winners we can offer a HG t-shirt and every one will get a spot on the Hall of Fame. Depending on the circumstances, your entry may also feature in a future issue of Castle of the Week.
So what exactly are we asking you to do?
- The map and castle should be based, as accurately as possible, on a real historical castle.
- The scenario should be based on a historical event involving that castle, or on a feasible What if?
- A link to a site with information about the Real Castle should be provided so we can check the castle’s accuracy or, if not available, enough information for us to check out the historicity of it.
Other rules and notes:
- The closing date for entries is 31st January 2004.
- All scenario categories can be used.
- We will only accept scenarios that have not been uploaded before, but you can submit a scenario based on a castle already featured on Stronghold Heaven.
- Entries will be judged by the SH Staff on accuracy, historical merit and (of course) playability.
The Stronghold Heaven Staff
More poll results
We had loads of responses to the question: What is your favourite Arabian unit? It’s been a very, very close race, as you can see below.
|Horse Archer||159 votes|
|Fire Thrower||48 votes|
|Arab Swordsman||39 votes|
|Arab Bowman||28 votes|
Total: 461 votes
The next poll is all about your favourite AI enemy.
Carcassonne Part Three
Lady Arcola has written the third and final instalment of Carcassonne’s history. You can find it here
The road is long…
Stuck on a particular mission in the Crusader Skirmish Trail? Well, hopefully we will be able to help. I’ve started working through the Trail and the first couple of walkthroughs are now available. More will follow on a regular basis. The walkthroughs have a saved game available to download, as well as the option for you to add your own comments and walkthroughs.
Want to read more?
Lady Arcola continues here tales of the history of that wonderful French town of Carcassone. She’s been scourging the net for information and, even more important, beautiful images.
You can find out all about them by just clicking the link.
There will even be a third part!
Another table to add to the collection …
… from the Number-crunching thread. This one gives ‘civilian’ walker speeds. (The military speeds were already dealt with in the Military Information table.)
You can find it here.
Names and things
Ztolk has been busy making lists again.
You may have noticed that virtually all the characters in the game have names … now Ztolk has collected them all and you will find them at Come here, you
A new table with information culled from the Number-Crunching thread in the forum has been added.
This one covers the manning priorities in Stronghold. Did you realise that jobs are always filled in the same order? For example if you want your wells fully operational, there could be at least 16 other buildings to man first.
Find out more here …
Here are the results of our first poll.
What kind of contest do you prefer?
|A Stronghold design contest||51 votes|
|A “Pretty Castle” Contest||35 votes|
|A single map contest||24 votes|
|A Crusader design contest||20 votes|
|A landscaping excercise||14 votes|
|A multiple map contest||11 votes|
Total: 155 votes
It’s obvious you want a Stronghold Design contest, Isn’t it? Please allow us some time to get our thoughts together on a theme and we will get back you.
Watch’s this space!
Meanwhile…our #2 poll is up and running.
All these discussions about a possible new version of our favourite game sent me scouring the internet. What I found was this:
Bei einem Vor-Ort-Besuch bei Firefly zeigten uns die Firmenbosse Simon Bradbury und Eric Ouellette nicht nur ihr neues Spiel Space Colony, sondern plauderten auch über einem möglichen Nachfolger zu ihrem Erfolgsspiel Stronghold. Beide gehen fest davon aus, dass ein zweiter Teil erscheinen wird. Ideen seien auf jeden Fall noch genug da. Infos über konkrete Pläne oder ein Releasedatum ließen sich Simon und Eric aber nicht entlocken.
Gamestar.de 04.07.2003 13:43
Roughly translated this says:
When we visited FF the bosses SB and EO din’t just show their new game Space Colony, but also chatted about a possible sequel to their bestselling game Stronghold. Both are certain that a second part will show up. There are definitely enough ideas. Neither said anything definite about definite plans or a release date.
We started a thread with a kind of wish list in The Inn. Who knows, we may give those great people of FireFly a nice idea or two extra. 😉
Better late than never, we would like to draw your attention to Stronghold Warchest.
It contains both Stronghold and Crusader together with over 50 new maps and 8 new AI enemies. Unfortunately it’s not available in Europe, but can be bought online.
For more information about the Stronghold Warchest click here.
Firstly, thanks to Wraith and Ztolk, the remaining gaps in the Melee Hit Points table have been filled in.
The new table up today covers most of the other miscellaneous military information gleaned from the number-crunching thread in the forum. Again, I am afraid that there are some gaps and I’d love to hear from anyone who has discovered how many arrows it takes to destroy a mangonel or how many tiles your lord walks in a month amongst other things.
The table covers military walker speeds, timed moat digging, how many arrows are needed to kill various units and equipment, the number of killing pits that are needed to kill each unit, the number of hits required from individual units to kill your lord and the damage caused to towers or gatehouses per strike. In other words, more information than you could ever want to know.
Game Info for Stronghold
If you are very observant, you will have spotted a new link on the lefthand navbar under Game Info. Tables is a new section which will seek to gather all the accumulated wisdom and testing from the Number-Crunching Thread in the forum and present it in a more easily digestible form.
The first one covers Melee Hit Points … as you can see, there are still gaps in our information and, should you feel like doing a little testing, any results can be mailed to me.
In case anyone hasn’t noticed the new attraction at the top of the right-hand navbar, we now have a Stronghold Heaven Poll.
The first one is asking what kind of Stronghold/Crusader contest you prefer. Please vote – the final results (& a new poll) will be available in a couple of weeks.
Ztolk has compiled an FAQ for Crusader. If you can think of anything you didn’t understand or would have liked to have known when you started playing Crusader, please mail me.
Designing for Crusader?
Thurdl has written an article for those of you who are used to designing scenarios in Stronghold and want to have a go with the Crusader Editor.
‘Some features have been added, some features have been augmented, and some features are no more. In addition, there is a new design element that must be dealt with in the form of Oasis, necessary for building farms on.’
The Editor (Crusader Style) is the place where you will find the information you need.
Carcassonne – Castle of the Week
A new writer joins the castle writing team this week. Lady Arcola has written about Carcassonne in the south of France which isn’t just a castle, but the largest fortified medieval town in Europe still in existence today. It will appear in two parts … find the first part here.
Fed up of playing in blue?
Here’s something a little different. As you know, the default colour when playing Stronghold is blue. However, all that is about to change! Jalis has managed to work out how to alter the default colour, and as a result we have blank maps (100 by 100 size) in all of the other colours available for download in our Utilities sections. So, if you fancy designing a map and playing in green, black or purple, you can!
Please note that this is not something that is possible using the in-game editor, though.
If you want to check out this exceptional modification, you can download eight small templates here
Well done Jalis!
How many ways can you be drunk?
In case you thought the answer was only one, Ztolk has been collecting the ones used in the game and you can find them here
More Good News!
Our good friend Sulis has done some very hard work that allows him to take up his wings again.
I’m sure you’re as ‘appy as I am to see his name again in red.
You can add your joy to mine over…here
Oh no! A new cherub has juts hatched!!
Please welcome Lady Arcola to the Stronghold Staff.
She’ll be helping us out with the various forums, the Castle of the Week section and we hope to be able to allow her lots of fun with the upcoming Gallery.
Oh, and be nice to her? *wink*
You can congratulate her here
Some of you may remember firewrks’ posts on an upcoming Lord of the Rings Map Pack. I recently received this little promotion package. Care to check it out?
Today is the 16th of October. By Shire Reckoning it is 25th of
Winterfilth (October), the anniversary of The Council of Elrond in Third Age 3018. On this day the representatives of the free peoples of Middle Earth met and devised the plan to destroy the One Ring. For the acknowledgement of this day, the Lord of the Rings Map Pack Team presents these screen shots of the upcoming Lord of the Rings Map Pack for Stronghold.
Want to know more?
Castle of the Week – Vianden
Many of you will have seen some of Jayhawk‘s photos from his recent holiday in the Ardennes. Whilst there he took the opportunity of visiting several castles and Vianden in Luxembourg is the first of them to be presented as Castle of the Week with quite a few more pictures not seen until now.
Its history has had its ups and downs but the castle, in a spectacular position overlooking a medieval town, has finally been restored to its former glory.
HeavenGames Demographics Survey
Can you spare a couple of minutes to help HeavenGames? We need people to answer our Demographics Survey. This will help us improve the quality of advertising which will, in turn, help raise money to enable HeavenGames to stay online for a long time.
The survey is completely anonymous and the data you submit won’t be connected to you in any way. Each person should only complete it once.
Thanking you in advance for your help.
Eilean Donan – a siege map
OK, I admit it. I was chasing my tail in ever-decreasing circles trying to find someone who would make a map to go with the castle of the week and I never even thought of looking in the download section.
It’s now been pointed out that there’s a very nice little siege map of Eilean Donan rated 4.2 by Sulis who says ‘This is a cracking little map!’ and concludes ‘I have a real fondness for small castles on small maps and this shows that you don’t need an enormous fortress packed with crossbowmen to make a good map and a good fight to take/defend the keep. Good stuff!’
Why not give it a try?
Castle of the Fortnight – Eilean Donan
Possibly the most romantically situated castle in Scotland, but more probably familiar from films such as Highlander and The World is not Enough, Eilean Donan has also had an intense military history, probably since Iron Age times.
Farewell to an Angel
It is with great sadness that I have accepted Sulis‘ resignation as an angel for personal reasons with immediate effect.
I’m sure many of our visitors have benefitted from his expert advice and help with designing scenarios. He always knew the tweaks to turn a merely good map into an excellent map. Others will have enjoyed reading his well-researched historical articles on the Crusades and his Castles of the Week.
If you would like to say a personal thank you to him, please visit this thread
There is a new virus that takes advantage of a recent problem discovered with certain version of Microsoft Windows. More information can be found here. It dupes users into thinking they are installing a security update, when in fact it isn’t. See screenshot. If you haven’t updated your system, please do so at Window Update.
If you opened the attachment, it attempts to disable various anti-virus programs (like Norton Anti-Virus) as well as various firewalls (like ZoneAlarm). It will try to intercept your email username, password, and mail server settings, thus using your ISP’s mail server to spread itself. It will attempt to send itself to everyone on your address book through email, as well as attempt to spread through KaZaA, shared directories, IRC, and newsgroups. It will modify your registry, add files to your computer. In short, your computer and possibly your ISP access will be thoroughly screwed by the time the worm is done installing itself on your computer, so it’ll be best if you avoid getting infected so you don’t have to deal with the resulting mess.
As always, don’t open email attachments from people you don’t know, even if it claims to be from Microsoft.
Castle of the Week – Kyrenia, Cyprus
After a break of a good few weeks, it’s time to revisit the Near East for the next Castle of the Week feature. This time, we’re looking at Kyrenia in Cyprus.
Kyrenia did not see as much military action as some of the more famous Crusader castles, but it remains a visually impressive fortification. Want to read more?
Castle of the Week – Chepstow, Gwent
We’re off to Wales again for the latest Castle of the Week feature. We have a guest contributor once more, someone i’m sure you’ll all know from the many fine maps submitted to our downloads section: Duke of York.
Chepstow is a much written about and well visited fortification in Gwent, Wales. Read all about Duke of York’s article here
If you’re having problems designing a map for Stronghold or Stronghold: Crusader, I may be able to help. I’ve set up a thread in the Scenario Design forum offering my services to anyone who needs a bit of advice, some playtesting or just a quick chat about how to improve your maps. Read more about it here
Of worms, MSBlaster, and DirectX
If your computer is affected by the MSBlaster worm or its variants; or your computer hasn’t been patched against the worm, we urge you to patch your computer as soon as possible. You can find out how on this page at Microsoft.
Also, it’s highly advised you patch against another security hole that’s asking for trouble: There’s a problem with DirectX that allows a virus, trojan, or any malicious programs to infect your computer by simply playing an infected MIDI file. This affects all DirectX versions from 5.2 all the way up to 9.0. Thus, you can be infected by simply viewing an email or webpage that has an auto-playing MIDI file. You can find out more and how to patch this on this page at Microsoft. At least one other major media outlet has reported this.
If you haven’t installed all the critical updates in Windows Update, it’s probably a good idea to do so now.
Castle of the Week – Llantilio, Wales
The latest Castle of the Week feature is now available. This time, we have a guest article in the form of the NAT team, who have submitted many fine maps of their own to the downloads section.
Read all about this relatively unknown fortification here
Stronghold and Crusader Music Downloads
Interview with Rob Euvino
We have now uploaded Lord Tigger’s interview with Rob Euvino, the music and effects composer for Stronghold, which was originally at Sword & Pistol.
It’s an interesting interview, not just for Stronghold fans, as it gives some insight into the importance of music in games and the process of composing it.
The soundtracks for both Stronghold and Crusader will be available for download in the next few days.
Sad news from another site
I was sorry to hear that
We congratulate what Lord Tigger and his staff have done to raise the profile of the game and, now he’s going to have all this time on his hands, expect to see him in the Recovery Room a little more often 😉
Castle of the Week – Norham, Northumberland
This week’s Castle of the Week sees us looking across the borders of England and Scotland, with Norham in Northumberland holding two notable distinctions. As well as being the most northerly castle in England, it is known as the ‘Queen of border fortresses’.
Map download for Kenilworth Castle CoTW
I’m long overdue in posting this, but as promised, UnikUnok has provided a siege map to accompany the Kenilworth ‘Castle of the Week’ feature from a few weeks back. He’s worked hard to replicate this magnificent castle, so please feel free to post a review.
Download the map here
Stronghold Warchest: what’s it all about?
There’s been some interest already on this new release, and after a bit of scouting around I managed to find some information. It seems that ‘Warchest’ will be both Stronghold and Crusader packaged in one, with new maps for both games and, possibly, some new AI units. Release date is end of July for the US.
Read more for further info. I’ll try to post any further news if I hear about it.
And the winners are…
The results of the recent Stronghold & Stronghold: Crusader design competition have been announced. Pop over to the competition thread to congratulate our winners!
A big thank you from me to everyone who entered!
It’s Castle of the Week time again…
For this week’s Castle of the Week, i’ve chosen one of my personal favourites, Caernarfon in Wales. There’s also some relevant British history included in the write-up for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Castle of the Week – Beaufort Castle
A little late, but the latest Castle of the Week offering is available for all to read.
Perched a thousand feet above the Litani river, few castles in the Levant capture the scenic grandeur as Beaufort Castle does.
Downloads are working again
If anyone is still having problems, please email me.
I was recently pointed to one of The Wargamer’s editorials, by it’s author Jim Cobb. There’s lots of different items in this editorial, but the bit I’d like to share is about us: Stronghold Heaven.
Here’s a little snippet
Take2’s Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader deserve more attention than they get. A rational and intuitive system, the detail in them is delightful. Fortunately, a strong if small community of devotees to these games exists. One site, Lord Wibbles Stronghold Links, serves as a portal to many fine Stronghold sites. Picking one was difficult but that’s part of my job here. With a strong nod toward the Sword and Pistol Tavern, I chose HeavenGames Stronghold Heaven.
You can find it all over here
We seem to be having an intermittent problem with downloads – sometimes they’re working fine, sometimes they come up with ‘File not Found’. We’re trying to find the root of the problem and will let you know when it’s fixed.
We have a little celebration here over at Stronghold Heaven, because Sulis accepted bigger wings.
Of course, this means we’ll work him harder in the various corners of the site, such as the Castle of the Week and other articles.
Wish him luck!
You can do so here
Kenilworth Castle in the English Midlands is known for many things. At one time it belonged to Simon de Montfort, known as the founder of democracy in England; a few centuries later Queen Elizabeth I gave it to her favourite, Robert Dudley; in between it was besieged for six months – the longest siege in English history. Find out more in Sulis’ account of this fascinating Castle.
Lords of the Realm III
It seems things are moving again over at Impressions. Sierra has updated and revamped the website and even added a game.
You can find it here.
Some of you may remember an game called Majesty, released about three years ago. Some of you may even remember a Majesty Heaven.
For those of you that don’t Majesty was a game that called itself The Fantasy Kingdom Sim. It presented RTS with a difference, as you could not directly control your units, but had to motivate them by placing rewards or bounties on what you wanted them to do. As they fulfilled quests your kingdom’s safety grew and your heroes gained levels.
Cyberlore recently went public with details about the sequel: Majesty Legends.
According to Cyberlore’s Jay Adan the game will focus more on the building and running of the actual kingdom and offer some inventive new uses for the rewards and bounties.
Lords of the Realm III
If you are a member of GameSpot Complete, you can find a video interview on Impressions Lord of the Realms III on their website.
There’s also a few gameplay movies, including one showing “Catapults and a trebuchet tear a big gap in the castle walls.”
You can find them here.
Castle of the Week – Belvoir Castle
This week’s castle, courtesy of Sulis, is Belvoir Castle in Israel, the Star of the Jordan, which is the first datable true concentric castle, built shortly after 1168. Find out more about it here and play its associated map (for Crusader only), downloadable from here.
Crusader: Home and Away – a scenario design competition
For nearly two hundred years Europe was involved in a war far from home, a war to liberate the Holy Land from the infidel scourge. By the thousands people departed their homes in green Europe to travel east to the tans of the Levant.
Wars raged for centuries, wars in Europe and wars in the Holy Land.’
Welcome to the Stronghold & Crusader Design competition! What we ask of you is to create a map representing the time of the Crusaders. Recreate Crac du Chevaliers in Syria, or create a scenario based on Richard the Lionheart’s involuntary stay at Trifels. Let your imagination run wild, as long as you can link the story to the Crusades, either at home…or abroad.
There will be 3 categories for both games. Best eye candy map, best military and best economic. You may enter one map for Stronghold and one map for Crusader, a maximum therefore of two entries. Alternatively, one map from either game. The choice is up to you.
The deadline for submissions is 6th June 2003, 11pm EST and further details can be found here.
This week’s castle is Dover in Kent. Overlooking the English Channel, it’s one of the ‘great’ castles and the first built to a concentric plan in England, 100 years before any others. It was used for military purposes up to and including the 2nd World War.
Thanks to Sulis for telling its interesting story. His associated download will be available soon … watch this space!
Thank you to Sulis for this week’s castle which is Margat Castle in Syria, the last Crusader fortress to endure (and fall to) a major siege. As yet there is no download but hopefully, if the complexities of this massive castle can be incorporated, there will be in the future.
Castle of the Week – Castle Rising, Norfolk
This week’s castle, courtesy of Sulis, is Castle Rising in Norfolk. Although dating back to Norman times it is now sadly mostly in ruins but has an interesting history in that it has been the home of kings. Legend has it that there’s a ghostly white wolf with fiery red eyes.
You will be delighted to know that, thanks to Zen, downloads are now working properly once again.
So get downloading and reviewing 🙂
Castle of the Week Download
Sulis has now uploaded the invasion map to go with this week’s Castle of the Week – Chastel Pelerin (for Crusader only).
A little bird told me that it took him a long time to make, so why not give it a go. Reviews (using the review guide) would, of course, be welcomed.
Castle of the Week – Chastel Pelerin
Sulis has really taken to the Castle of the World feature and presents us with another crusader castle: Chastel Pelerin
Built in 1218, Chastel Pelerin was an imposing and extremely well defended stronghold that commanded the coastal pass between Acre to the north and the deserts of Egypt further south. Mount Carmel brings the rocky spine of inland Palestine to within a short distance of the Mediterranean and the natural defensiveness of the site is echoed by a convenient isolated promontory, some 270 yards long and 160 wide, jutting into the sea. The site is in effect defended on three sides by the Mediterranean and it was here that a visiting lord of Flanders, Gautier d’Avesnes, gathered knights from the Templars and Teutonic Order as well as a substantial number of pilgrims and constructed the castle. With the Muslim forces opting to fortify nearby Mount Tabor, a real threat to all the Christian communities existed and the coastal road left very much exposed.
We still have a problem with the download server … if you are having
problems downloading, please close the normal small download box and press on the ‘click here’ of ‘If your download does not start, please click here.’
It should then download normally.
Hopefully things will be back to normal soon
Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow
Time for some sad news.
As you know, Merepatra, whom all of us hold in this special place within our hearts, has accepted a job at BreakAways, of Emperor fame. At first she hoped she’d be able to combine her tasks of being an angel at Stronghodl Heaven with her new job, but this is simply turning out to be too much of a good thing.
So, with sad heart I’ve accepted her resignation from Stronghold Heaven. So join me in saying:
Thanks for all the great work you’ve done for the site!
And don’t be stranger…
You too can say thank you Mere in the Inn.
Note that she will still be active as an angel on the City Builder forums.
Possible DL Server Outage
Most of you will have noticed the server trouble we had yesterday, and sadly our troubles aren’t over yet. The Downloads Server (which was hit hardest yesterday) will be shut down sometime during today.
This will take at least an hour, so it’s prudent not to upload any files during the cause of today.
Sulis has been busy for you again, I might even say, very busy. He’s provided us with insights on the crusader castles.
‘This is the first part of my
work on the development of crusader castles. It concentrates on why the crusaders built what they did, rather than what, which will follow as a second item. The architecture side will be included in this second installment. I’ve tried to give an image of the landscape to the reader, explaining the sites chosen and their role within the surrounding country.
You can find it here.
Wanna come out to play?
GillB‘s been wondering what games kids played in Medieval times.
They did have toys however. There were see-saws and swings, balls, skipping ropes and hoops. They would also climb trees and play chasing games. They would eat the same as adults, but were only allowed two or three glasses of wine or beer.
Of course there was a lot more to being a medieval kid, so you might as well read http://stronghold.heavengames.com/history/general_medieval_history/children…
Gill’s Grand Finale
GillB‘s given us almost a year and a half worth of her time, providing you with piles of information on some of the most interesting castles in the world.
However, all good things come to an end and GillB‘s passed on her pen, to young Sulis who’s already provided us with some insights in to the backgrounds of the Crusades.
Here’s what the lady herself has to say:
This week’s castle is a little different in that, although it was built for defence it was never used for fighting and also that it wasn’t built until after our normal ‘medieval’ time frame. The reason for this is that, after 15 months’ writing about castles, I’m handing over the reins to Sulis. As this is my swan-song, I’m writing about a castle and a city I’ve dreamed of visiting for the last thirty years. One day I may get there, but in the meantime here is a little of the story of a remarkable city and its castles.
Want to know what it’s all about?
Then you’ll just have to click the link
Crusader Music MP3’s
Rob Euvino aka Fireflys Sir Flying Poo, the Stronghold and Crusader music composer has now made the Crusader music available for download as a MP3.
You can download the individual files for each piece of music from Sword and Pistol. They range from 1.38mb to 8.41mb each. The Stronghold music is also available for download there in case you have missed it up till now. Happy listening.
Crusader 1.1 patch released
The Crusader 1.1 patch has now been released
The update adds several new features, and fixes a dozen issues, mostly related to AI and multiplayer
Its a 5.5mb download and you can get it from here
Castle of the Week – Burg Hochosterwitz
This week’s castle is located in Austria and for the write-up GillB was assisted by Gernot, who also provided us with some of the pictures of this magnificent castle.
Burg Hochosterwitz is in Carinthia, Austria, perched on a 160m high rock rising from the plains. It can be seen from 20 miles away on a clear day and is considered to be one of the most impressive castles in the country.
The castle was first mentioned in 860AD when it was called Astorwiza. In 1209 the Duke of Carinthia appointed the Osterwitz family to be hereditary royal cupbearers and gave them the castle, which at that time was only very small, as a fiefdom. The family remodelled and extended it until it covered the entire top of the hill. When the last member of the family died whilst being imprisoned by the Turks in 1475, the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III. Emperor Ferdinand I mortgaged the castle to the area’s governor, Christof Khevenhüller to raise some money.
New Game from Firefly?
Firefly Studios, the company that made Stronghold and Crusader have an interesting “transmission” on their site. It looks like a big change from sieging castles.
Castle of the Week – Qalaat Saladin
In another bit of team effort we offer you
Qalaat Saladin also known as Saladin’s Castle or Saone is in an almost impregnable position on a wedge-shaped 150m high ridge between two deep valleys, about 25km from Latakia in Syria. The third side of the wedge was protected by a 28m man-made ditch, cut into the rock. It sprawls along the top of the ridge, covering 12 acres and, in Saladin’s time, had room for 10,000 men to live. It was an important castle as it guarded the trade route between Latakia and Aleppo.
If you want to know more…
Crusader contest for January
The I-ChallengeU.com site is running a Crusader contest for January, Crusader – A New Life.
‘Jerusalem is firmly in the hands of the Muslims. Repeated efforts to retake the holiest of cities have failed with heavy losses. Whilst the crusaders have established many castles throughout the crusader states, many people have decided they want to settle in the Holy Land and never return to Europe. They are calling for the finer things in life and constant attacks by the Muslims on their castles are having a detrimental effect on opinions for future crusades. The papacy is well aware of the plight and has decided on an ambitious project to establish a new fortified city some 60 miles north of Jerusalem.
You have been appointed chief castle builder for this new project. Armed with a small band of pilgrims, skilled in manufacturing and construction, an open plain has been discovered that would be perfectly suitable for such a city. There are goals that need to be achieved. The new city is not to be a replacement for Jerusalem and the view is that the Holy City must come under Christian rule. However, there is a call for this new settlement to rival all of the towns and cities throughout the Holy Land in terms of beauty and tranquillity. For too long have the crusaders been on the defensive, it is time to establish firm roots and ensure we are in a position to both defend and attack, whilst becoming completely self-sufficient. Trade routes do exist, albeit limited. Can you rise to the challenge? All of Christendom is depending on you!’
This challenge is a beauty contest, the most aesthetically pleasing castle will be the winner. You can find all the details here
Happy New Year!
Now all of us have safely arrived in 2003, and some of us are about to see what the next day will bring, I’d like to claim a little of your time. A little time for some thoughts for this year.
I hope this year can bring us old and new friends on the forums of HeavenGames. I hope this year will bring us nice new games to play.
Most of all I hope we will have the time (and peace) to play these games.
From myself and all the staff I wish you a