News Archives: 2004

New Year’s Eve

Outside I can hear a continuous banging, ratling and fizzing. Sounds most of us hear only in games. I know it is the sounds of fireworks, but I can ‘t help realise there are people on this earth who hear those same sounds every eve. Not just New Year’s Eve and who know they are not the sounds of kids and youngsters having fun, but the relentless, chilling sounds of people killing other people. Killing them for their religion, their ideas. Killing them because they are different.

If I could chose a wish to come true this year, I’d wish that more people could relate those sounds to games. Not to real life.

May 2005 be a good year for you and yours.


Stronghold Gameplay Movies

A Stronghold 2 movie pack showing some of the different facets of Stronghold 2 gameplay is available. There are 4 short movies, called Battle, Fighting in Keep, Seige Tower and Trebuchet. It is a 101mb download and you can download it at gamershell.


The Eve of Christmas

Any chance of a White Christmas seems lost in this part of the world, while on the other side of it, there seems to be so much snow people will have to change whatever they were planning to do tomorrow. Another part of the world will be celebrating on the beach, while yet a different part will only know snow from the stories, the books, and the movies.

Still all these people will be celebrating; spending time with friends and family, enjoying eachothers company. I think we can all celebrate Christmas, no matter what our beliefs as these days any day celebrating life and friendship is a good day.

May you have a Merry Christmas, regardless of the weather and 2005 be a good year for all of you and all of us.


Stronghold 2 mini game – Castle Attack 2

Firefly has now released a free mini game, Castle Attack 2 (many will remember the original Castle Attack that was released just prior to the original Stronghold), that gives a glimpse of the world of Stronghold 2. Its a 20.5mb download, so far we have found it available at FileShack and GameSpy.


Spotlight on Design

Spotlight on Design is a new biweekly feature at SHH that will focus on various elements of scenario design. One or more maps which illustrate the design techniques will be highlighted every time.

With the recent hope of the ability to make bridges in the upcoming Stronghold 2, I thought it would be fun for this first Spotlight to take a look back at some of the creative ways map designers have made bridges with the original Stronghold. To read more about them, please look here.


Firefly Studios Launches Stronghold 2 Page

Today Firefly Studios launched a new page for Stronghold 2, with a brief overview, new screenshots, links to reviews, and a featured castle. Check it out here!


Bridges in Stronghold 2

One of those things many of us wished were included with the original Stronghold was bridges, many hours were spent making them from walls etc. Now it looks like we will be getting them in Stronghold 2, among the new screenshots released recently StenSture spotted this one at ShackNews which features a bridge.


Server Outage

Both the main HG server (*.heavengames.com) and the downloads server (files.heavengames.com) will be down for around an hour this Friday to facilitate an ISP-scheduled upgrade to the server. Please note the servers will be down at different times during the day.

The HG Downloads System will be down beginning at 8:00 am and will be up by 3:00 pm EST (US Eastern Standard Time). We are sorry for any inconvience.


SHH Community’s Exquisite Corpse Is Finished!

Five weeks after beginning, the community map is finished and ready for download! Everyone did a fantastic job working together to make this project happen – thanks to everyone who was involved! You can read about it and download it here.


New Stronghold 2 Preview at Gamespy

Gamespy has a new preview of Stronghold 2, along with 2 new video clips and 11 new screenshots. It has new information about how the 3D features will work with castle construction and within gameplay. It’s available here.


Poll Results in for Community Map Author’s Name

The SHH community has chosen… SHH Community as the author’s name for the community map! It received 42.3% of the vote. Thanks to all who voted. The map is in the final stages of preparation, and will be uploaded very soon!


Gamespot Stronghold 2 preview and video

Gamespot has a new preview of Stronghold 2 available here. No new screenshots this time but a very interesting video which shows some of the game and has the lead designer Simon Bradbury talking about the game design and features.


Stronghold 2 preview on IGN

IGN has a new preview of Stronghold 2 available. There are 9 new screenshots and it contains some very interesting details about the game for instance –

castle design has a much more important role for a couple of reasons. First, choke points and height advantage will play a greater role. As with each of the town buildings, the towers and keep of the castle will open up when units are inside of them.

An April 05 release date is again mentioned, don’t think that can come quickly enough for some of us.


Skirmish Trail Walkthrough Progress

With Stratego’s recent addition of the walkthrough for Mission #25 – The Forgotten – the Crusader Skirmish Trail Walkthroughs have reached the halfway point of being finished! Check out the finished ones here, and add your own winning strategies. Many thanks to Stratego for providing us with these guides!


Poll Results

The question: Will you buy Stronghold 2? brought a lot of response. Nearly two thousand of you voted, with the following result.

Of course, as it’s going to be even better than the original! 1233 votes
Depends on the reviews and the demo. 341 votes
What’s Stronghold? 74 votes
Don’t know. 56 votes
Nêh, I have laid siege to enough castles. 28 votes
Total: 1732 votes

Our new poll is also about Stronghold 2.


Exquisite Corpse Reaches Halfway Point

The community-designed map is already halfway done! Maceman, Jax Omen, Bismuth, Alamendus, NeKoeNMa and Lord Vash have all completed their sections, and it’s on its way to the seventh designer, Zebas. Here is a minimap of the progress so far:


To see minimaps of the project at each stage, please look here. Good work (and progress), everyone!


Tricks for Crusader Lords

Leaveyou has written an article illustrating several tricks and strategies for gameplay in Stronghold Crusader.

The topics include:

  • Moat Trick
  • Gatehouse Trick
  • Tricking the AI by Stranding the Troops
  • Using Towers for Protection
  • Two Tricks to Protect Archers
  • Deleting Rocks on a Cliff to Build a Wall
  • Attacking with Crossbowmen and Towers

You can read the entire article here!
Thanks to Leaveyou for his work on this!


Castle of the Week – Castillo de Loarre, Spain


Castillo de Loarre is breathtaking.


It is one of Spain’s best preserved Romanesque castles. The castle has withstood time on a rocky prominence in the southern foothills of the Pyrenées, and lies northwest of Huesca. Time appears to have stood still as it rises from the grey rocks, guarded by its silent towers. The castle has retained its glory due, partly, to the remoteness of its locale at the base of the Pyrenées. The foothills are filled with pine trees, scrub bushes, almond groves and olive trees; the hint of herbs scent the air of the beautiful valleys and there are breathtaking views as you look out from the castle.

As you can see from the picture, this is a beautiful castle and you can read more about the Castillo de Loarre here courtesy of Lady Arcola.


Community Map Design – The Exquisite Corpse

Some news from our new angel, Kester:

Lord Vash has come up with an interesting idea for a map and littlegloomy has given it its name.

The concept? A map designed by several members of the community, each working on a section of it in turn. Once it’s finished, it will be uploaded for everyone to play. Twelve people can sign up for this experimental project so if you’d like to know more about it or sign up to participate, please visit here.


Server Maintenance

The site may be temporarily and/or partially unavailable Friday the 29th of October due to server maintenance. Everything should be ready at 7:00PM EDT. Sorry for any inconvenience you may experience.


Ding. Dong. The bells are ringing.

With great pleasure I’d like to welcome Kester to the Stronghold Heaven Staff.

She’ll be helping us out content wise (we really needed an extra pair of hands there that are both HTML savvy as well as capable of writing proper English *wink*) and will also spend time on completing the Crusader walkthroughs.

Of course, I can probably find more to do for her as time goes on 😉


Raglan Castle, Wales


Duke of York brings us a history and description of Raglan Castle in Wales.

Built in the 15th century in south Wales, it is one of the most beautiful and architecturally interesting medieval castles in Britain.

In addition to his fascinating article, Duke of York has designed a wonderful invasion map of the castle for you to play.


Tantallon Castle Scotland


We are going to explore the historic castle of Tantallon in Scotland. Tantallon is majestically situated on the edge of sheer cliffs that plunge straight into the sea, from which Bass Rock can be seen. Striking in its unique geographical position, it was a formidable stronghold.

So starts this week’s castle, Tantallon in Scotland. Besides its stunning position, its owners had a somewhat murky history …

With thanks to Lady Arcola for writing about it.


Castles of Wood, Men of Leather

So the waiting is over and the results are in. The idea of the competition was to create a scenario using, as far as the game allows, only wooden buildings, archers, crossbowmen, spearmen and mace men.

Firstly, a big thank you to the three judges – Duke of York, Lady Arcola & NAT – for what must have been a huge job. All the maps were marked for their playability, balance, map design, creativity, storyline and authenticity, the final mark being out of 30 … the top 4 maps having only 0.4 of a mark between them. I’m hoping for a few comments from the judges later today but, for now, these are the top four:

1. Saxon Burgh by LCJr 23.83

2. Donatien Abbey by Kester 23.66

3. The Vikings are Coming by Snydens 23.59

4. Culture Wars by Docweasel 23.43

Further details, such as how the scenarios were scored and the best one(s) in each of the scoring sections are in the forums.

The rest of the maps are available here:

Calleva Cistern

Dark Sun Hills

Fort Kenor

Lord Beaver

Old Helm’s Deep

Congratulations to everyone and thank you to all who entered. The maps are now available for download.


New hitpoint tables for Crusader

One of our forumers, Leaveyou, had an argument with a friend as to whether archers or crossbowmen were better value for money in Stronghold: Crusader.

It was a lucky argument for us, as it’s resulted in some new information for our Game Info pages. First are the Melee Hit Points for Archer & Crossbowman which leads on to the Comparison of archers and crossbowmen which came up with some interesting results.

Thanks to Leaveyou for his investigations. We always welcome information like this to add to our game sections, particularly for Crusader.


Castle of the Week – Rosenborg Castle in Denmark

Thanks to Kester who tells us about this week’s castle, another she visited in Europe.

Rosenborg Castle (Rosenborg Slot), located in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark, is a beautiful castle built by Christian IV in the Dutch Renaissance style, distinctive for its many towers and spires. Once a summerhouse and royal residence, the castle today houses the Royal Danish Chronological Collections (De Danske Kongers kronologiske Samlinger), which include the Crown Jewels and the Danish Crown Regalia. The castle and gardens occupy 12.1 hectares, providing a centrally located museum and park enjoyed by millions of visitors every year.

Read more about it here.


Article on Stronghold 2

We are pleased to be able to upload a translation of an article in the German magazine GameStar about Stronghold 2. There is a lot of information on the new game together with screenshots.

With thanks to forumer Hanarky for the translation and to GameStar for their permission for us to upload it.

It can be found here


Poll Results

Last month’s question was: What type of game do you play most? It appears most of you prefer Real Time Strategy Games.

RTS 267 votes
City Builder 179 votes
RPG 106 votes
Shooters 89 votes
Simulation 42 votes
Total: 683 votes

The current poll asks a simple question about the upcoming Stronghold 2.


Bishops , Abbots and Pilgrims

Gill has spend almost as much time as it took to build the Chartres Cathedral digging through books and websites to write an introductionary article on Medieval Chrsitianity.

The article gives an overview on the medieval church, it’s people and it’s buildings.

You can find it here.


Castles of Wood, Men of Leather

Just a reminder that the scenario designing competition ends in 6 days’ time. We’ve had a few entries, but more would be welcome 🙂 If you want a reminder of what it’s about, then go here.


Still more on Stronghold 2

Following the announcement in GameStar both FireFly and Take 2 now confirm the game’s is going to be there. You can read more on the FireFly website (link) and the Take 2 Release Information (link).

Here’s a snippet:

New York – August 24, 2004 – Global Star Software, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), and Firefly Studios are pleased to announce Stronghold 2, the sequel to the award-winning titles Stronghold and Stronghold: Crusader. The Stronghold franchise has sold over 1.5 million units worldwide.


More on Stronghold 2

Spotted on the German gaming site Game Star was information about the upcoming Stronghold 2.

Stronghold 2: As a world exclusive we show you the first pictures of the Castelbuilder Saga: Stronghold 2. Behind the first class 3D graphics is a complex economic model, an innovative honour system and even more thrilling sieges than in it’s successful predecessor.

You can find some thumbnail images of the actual magazine pages here, and don’t forget to download and view the Video-Trailer, the link for which is located on the left side of the page.


Castle of the Week: The Tower of London

GillB has locked herself up in her Library and wrote a little treasure. She’s given us a wonderfully concise overview of the rich history of one of England’s best known castles: The Tower of London.

So why don’t you settle yourself a bit more comfortably in your chair and read it all?
Are you sitting comfortable?
Then just click here.


Kester’s Kraken

One of our older (as in sign-up date :þ) map makers has made a little treat for you.

The free build one, Kraken!, I did mostly just for fun – it’s a picture map, and as soon as the download category for “things that don’t really fit elsewhere” comes up, I’ll likely move it over! I thought about just having it be minimap art, but you can’t see the rigging unless you go into it. So I made it playable.

more

Make sure to check out some of Kester’s other maps, which include her Herrick Uthensvar Saga, which consists of half a dozen maps by now.


Le Château de Bonaguil

Duke of York takes us to France again to Le Château de Bonaguil. It was the last medieval castle built in France. It is unique in that it was constructed during the transition between the Medieval and Renaissance periods. It was a time when the medieval castle was losing its defensive value, feudalism was dying and new castles (which were more opulent palaces like Chambord) replaced the austere fortresses of the past. Bonaguil harnessed the old defensive capabilities of a medieval castle as well as deploying musketry and artillery linking it to modern forts.

Read more about it here.


Castle of the Week – Caerlaverock

Lady Arcola tells us about a castle in Scotland – Caerlaverock. It is unusually triangular and much of it is still standing, despite a rocky history.

Today you can visit Caerlaverock and see medieval siege engines, nature trails that go to the original castle, a children’s play park and a visitors’ centre.


Press Release

Firefly Studios, developer of Stronghold, Stronghold Crusader and Space Colony, is proud to announce the re-launch of www.fireflyworlds.com. With a fresh new look and all new graphics and content this site will be the first point of call for fans to get the latest info on Firefly’s current projects. Look out for exciting new announcements coming very soon.

Thus said the email FireFly’s Darren Thompson mailed me today.

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed?


Castle of the Week – Pierrefonds, France

Duke of York takes us to France this week to a castle with a history stretching back over a thousand years. Pierrefonds in the ancient province of Valois, France, has had a chequered history. It has been besieged and fought over; it has been a royal castle and owned by Napoleon; it has been ruined and rebuilt. Now it is a picturesque reminder of the long history of the area.

Read more about it here.


Castles of Wood, Men of Leather

When we think of castles we think of massive stone constructions like the Crac des Chevaliers, Chateau Haut-Königsburg or Caernarfon, but before there were stone castles there were wooden ones. Before there were armoured knights, there were the lowly spearmen and archers.

Stronghold Heaven is presenting another mini-competition scheduled for the summer holidays: Castles of Wood, Men of Leather.

What we’d like you to do is build us a scenario, of any type, featuring a wooden castle or fortress, in a setting of your choice. The stronghold should be one of the two wooden ones and no stone may be used in its construction. Troop types should be limited to archers, spearmen and macemen.

We are expecting a fully fledged scenario, as it will be judged on the castle, its setting and associated story.

The contest will run from July 2nd to August 31st.


Types of Stronghold

One of our better known designers, firewrks was kind enough to spend some time gathering information about what versions of the game are out there. He also added a nice little tool that allows you to check whether your version needs patching.

You can find it here.

Enjoy!


Castle of the Week – Schönbrunn in Austria

From its modest beginnings as a mill on a monastic estate, to being sacked twice by the Turks, and years spent as a hunting lodge, Schönbrunn became a palace to rival Versailles. Located on the west side of Vienna, Schönbrunn’s story is one of destruction and rebirth, neglect and devotion.

Following a visit to the palace, Kester tells us about its history which ranges from being a royal palace to being sacked by the Turks. Read about it here


Want to put a smile on your map?

Or any another picture?
I’m sure we’ve all see maps like this one by Bismuth that have a picture, but I’m sure that, like me, many of you wondered: How did he do that?

I asked and Bismuth was kind enough to provide us with a lovely little article explaining just how he did it. You can find it here. I hope you’ll have a much fun reading it as I did.

And who knows…it migh tgive you that extra little push to add an image to your next map.


Remember the Speedcontest?

Well, I can finally tell you who set the fastest time completing this great Arundel map by Duke of York. The fastest time, just over four years, a feat the map’s creator found very impressive was set by Sparrow.

A Heavengames tshirt is winging its way towards him together with our congratulations.

As for the runners up…well, to be totally honest, there were none. Although we know a lot of you downloaded this particular scenario, it seems only Sparrow was brave enough to send in his result.

We know you lot like the odd contest, so we hope we’ll have at least a few more entries for the next competition we have.


Stronghold: Lord of the Rings

Well, you’ve probably been waiting for this a long time, but it’s finally hit a downloads site near you. The Stonghold Lord of the Rings pack. Here’s a bit more information on it, courtesy of firewrks.

Lord of the Rings Map Pack for Stronghold, better known as Stronghold: LOTR is a Mod for Firefly Studios Stronghold. Utilizing a Modloader, Stronghold: LOTR can be activated and deactivated without permanently modifying the existing Stronghold installation. Drawing on the 65,000 years of Tolkien Mythology, Stronghold: LOTR contains the largest and finest collection of Tolkien maps for Stronghold. The maps are based on descriptions of events and places not only in Lord of the Rings, but also Tolkien’s other works: Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, Lost Tales, Lays of Beleriand, Lost Road, History of Middle Earth. In addition to bringing to life the epic tales Tolkien’s works through maps, Stronghold: LOTR also show cases the rich and deep world of the expression of Tolkien inspired art.

For more information (and the trailer), click here


Stronghold Singing Competition!!

Somewhat ashemedly, because, I hadn’t noticed it earlier, I’m pointing you to the following post.

Stronghold
Stronghold Crusader and
Space colony

to the person that sends him the best ‘Stronghold theme tune’. We want it to be sung, preferably with a backing tune.

An Example of a successful entry (according to Rob) would be to take a Britney Spears song and replace the words with Stronghold content. Note: Original musical content will be viewed more highly.

Entries should be sent to songcontest@fireflyworlds.com and should be encoded in the .MP3 format if possible (no 50meg emails please!).

The closing date for the competition is 11th June 2004. We will announce the winner shortly after this date via the forums.

Happy singing! 🙂

– Triblade aka Phil Busuttil

You’ve only got two more weeks to get your entry ready, and as Phil says: NOBODY has submitted a single entry to Rob yet! Don’t tell me you’ve been waiting for me to tell you to grab the mike and start singing?

For more details, click here.


Castle of the Week – Alcázar de Segovia in Spain

The outcrop of rock where the current castle stands was probably fortified in Roman times. A magnificent looking castle, the home of royalty in medieval times, the turrets may also look familiar as Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World, Florida, was supposedly inspired by it. Thanks to Lady Arcola, you can read more about it here


Crusader Building Hitpoints

Ztolk has been busy bombarding buildings within Crusader to come up with Hit Points for Buildings


Latest Poll Results

I let this poll run for a while longer than usual as the various map designers were very curious as to the results and I wanted to give as many people as possible a chance to reply.

So, we get down to the question: which of the following factors influences your downloading decision the most?

Rating of the scenario 124 votes
Attractive minimap 122 votes
Quality of the description page 100 votes
The author is known for good scenarios 42 votes
Name of the scenario 38 votes
Number of downloads 36 votes
Map Size 26 votes
Difficulty level 23 votes
Size and/or number of reviews 22 votes
Total: 533 votes

It’s clear that most people base their decision to download a submitted map based on the rating and on the looks of the minimap. Close followed by the quality of the description.

So, as long as your scenario is unrated, the minimaps (which you can submit to me and the description are the best ways to make sure your scenarios get downloaded (and hopefully rated).

This month’s poll is a little more whimsical…which Stronghold job would you like to have most?


Haut-Koenigsburg Encore

You might remember the Haut-Koenigsburg map that came with the game. You probably remember the write up Gill did for it in one of our earliest Castle of the Week features. You will definitely remember the foto session submitted by Bismuth after his visit to the place.

The trip must have inspired Bismuth as he’s done a magnificent looking job on creating an incredible Haut-Koenigsburg map. You can find out more about it here.

Stay tuned, as this week will also see the results of the current poll


More about Pembroke Castle

Duke of York continues his exploration of this huge castle with a virtual tour.

It gives a detailed description of the defences – certainly not a place I would like to be attacking …

You can find it here.


The speed competition

As I’m still having trouble with my email (which really doesn’t like large attachments) and it seems possible that entries have been lost, we are extending the finishing date by 2 weeks to 3rd May.

This gives everyone an extra chance of getting an entry in to us. We will confirm how to send your entries in nearer the closing date. (If I’ve already confirmed that I’ve received your entry, then you needn’t do anything).

A reminder that the information on the competition is here and that a HeavenGames t-shirt is on offer to the winner.


Arundel Speed Competition

A reminder that entries need to be in by midnight tonight forum time.

I had a problem with one of the entries that didn’t arrive. I always acknowledge receipt so if you’ve sent an entry and not received an acknowledgement, please contact me and I’ll give you an alternative mail address to use.


Castle of the Week – Pembroke

We are back in Wales for this week’s castle. Pembroke Castle was first built in 1093 and grew in importance over the next centuries.

It’s a massive stronghold on top of a rocky ridge, the birthplace of Henry VII and holds the dubious distinction of being besieged by both the Parliamentarians and Royalists during the Civil War.

The tale of its development and history is told by Duke of York. Next time he will continue its story by writing about its military aspects.

You can find it here.


Speed Competition Reminder

Just a reminder that the speed contest, played on Duke of York‘s excellent Arundel map has less than a week to run – further details here.

Entries can be sent in any time … I look forward to a full inbox.


Previous Poll Results

Our previous poll asked you the question: What do you play? It appears most of us play both games, but there’s a significant number of people that only play Crusader.

Stronghold and Crusader 207 votes
Crusader 186 votes
Stronghold 177 votes
The Warchest 117 votes
Total: 687 votes

Don’t forget to vote in out current Poll.


Abdicating Angel

Well, it had to happen. *sad*

Our friend Sulis is busy taking his design skills to the next level. Sadly for us, while still involving landscaping, they will be restricted to the Real™ landscapes of gardens. As those of you who frequent the Recovery Rooms will be aware of, gardening is a long time passion of Sulis.

He’s promised to still try and visit us occasionally, but is realised that even with 24 hours in a day (and some more in the nights) there’s still not enough of him to do everything he’d like to.

I, and I hope you will join me, wish him all the best with his studies and career, and who knows…he may return someday¹.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank him for all the time he’s spent with us, making Stronghold Heaven one of the best sites on the net.

¹ ETA Fall 2008 *wink*


Castle of the Week – Fougères


This week’s castle is the beautiful, and ancient, castle of Fougères in Brittany, France. A brilliant example of medieval defences, it survived many onslaughts as recently as during the 2nd World War.

Thank you to Lady Arcola for telling us about it. You can find it here.


Food Production

A new table has been added today containing information on food production in Stronghold.

Much of the information, which was tested by Merepatra during her time as an angel with us, depends on the distances that need to be travelled. However, we hope you will find enough useful information there to help you to feed your people.


A Contest!

As promised here are the details for the current Stronghold Contest.

You will probbaly recognise this map.
If not, shame on you!
Our good friend Duke of York created this map for the Historical Castle Contest, and it turned out to be the perfect map for a little Speed contest.

So what are we expecting of you?
First you’ll have to download this splendid map which you can find here. Then you will have to play it and win.
You will have to do so in the fastest time you can manage, and the fastest time will win.

Should we get equal times we will use the following additional criteria to decide on a winner.

  • Amount of gold acquired
  • Number of soldiers surviving

You have until April 15th to sumbit the save game, zipped, to GillB. We are only going to consider your first entry as a valid entry so be careful as to when you submit.

Good luck!


Upcoming Contest

A contest?, you might ask.

Yes, a contest. We will start a little contest March 15th for all of you to compete in. There won’t really be any prizes involved, but you will get an honourable mention in our Hall of Fame.

More details will follow…soon.


Chateau Haut-Königsburg

Our intrepid designer Bismuth had a change of scenery the other day and ended up in France, Europe. As he was just around the corner from one of the grander castles in the region, he decided to pop in and take some pictures.

You can find a couple of them here.


Spis Castle: a lesson in map design

One of the new releases to our downloads section is Spis Royal Castle, a siege map by one of the finest designers I know. Jalis has excelled himself here, not just with a quality map scenario, but with a wealth of information to support it, including an exhaustive history section that warrants your attention. He was a guest entry in our recent Historical Design competition, and whilst not part of the judging, I feel this map truly deserves to get a mention.

You can download the map here.


Poll Results

The poll ‘What is your favourite FireFly historical scenario?‘ produced 485 votes. The winner was Windsor with 80 votes, followed by Javier (66), Tower of London (64) & Leeds (62).

The new poll is a simple one – What do you Play? You can find it at the top of the right-hand navbar, or here.


More New Staff

See?
I told you to keep your eye on this space.

Please welcome Duke of York who will be helping Sulis and your’s truly in the Scenario Design department.

The Duke will mostly be involved in helping us fill out the Map Making section and writing the odd Castle of the Week.

I hope he’ll have as much fun here as I’ve been having.

You can congratulate him here


Castle of the Week – Castillo de San Marcos


With apologies for the delay, due to computer crashes, copyright hassles & a design competition, we, at last, present the new Castle of the Week.

It’s a first in several ways – the first, I believe, written by thurdl01, the first illustrated by Bismuth‘s photos and, finally, the first castle from the USA.

Castillo de San Marcos in St Augustine, Florida, holds the distinction of being the oldest standing masonry structure in the United States. Read more about it here and play Bismuth‘s invasion scenario, an entry in the recent real castle design competition (which has already earned a 4.8 rating) here. Why not review it yourself, too?


Crusader castle history

It’s been a good few months (maybe more?) since I submitted the second part of my history article concerning Crusader castles. However, the long-overdue third chapter is now available for you to read by clicking this link.

The series explores in more depth the reasons why Crusader castles were built, what influenced their choice and the successes and failures of these magnificent fortresses. More additions to the series will follow soon.


New Staff

Again?!?
Yes, again.

Please welcome NAT to the Stronghold Staff. They will be our official Review Cherub and will be helping Gill making sure the downloads are fully functioning.

There should be a thread in The Inn to congratulate them…

Watch this space, as we may have another Staff member signing in soon


Stronghold Heaven Design Contest

Well, it’s been a while since we started this, but after much hard work by several of our designers and a lot of hard work judging them it’s my pleasure to present you with the results of the Stronghold Heaven Historical Castle Competition.

We received the following entries:

Emperor Alexus Beaumaris Castle
Bismuth Castillo de San Marcos
Mahric Alamut
Rocky Beaumaris Castle
Shoemaker Corfe Castle
Duke of York Arundel, 1302

All of these castles are little wonders of ingenuity and design, but one was deemed to be just a that little bit better than the other entries, and that castle is Arundel, by Duke of York, with a helping hand from brave sir robin.

Congratulations to all and a Heavengames t-shirt should be winging its way to the winners soon. I’d also like to add a special bit of thanks for all the hard work done by Sulis to make this little competition a success.


Note: Author’s Description

I’ve been seeing a trend here that’s getting worse, and frankly…I don’t like it.

More and more maps are getting uploaded with no text at all (or a mere: (Please) download this map), whereas the Author’s Description is there for a description of the map.

Putting in no information that’s actually related to the map is probably lazy and possibly unfair to the people looking for a map to play. At worse for you, people will ignore the map because there’s nothing in the description to lure them into downloading it. On the other hand, people will have to download it to see what it’s all about, which is unfair to them as it may be a map they’re not even remotely interested in.

Please note that for a map to be approved after today, you will need to put in at least a brief description of what your map is actually about.

A few lines can suffice, for example: In this map you have a castle on a hill and will be attacked by bandits and the Wolf. You will need to grow apples.

Of course, we’re not going to complain if you write more.

Remember, the Author’s Description is your business card, it’s what’s supposed to make people want to downlaod and play your map.
So why not make use of it?


Reviewing Downloaded Maps

Can I point all reviewers to this thread started by Sulis in the Scenario Design forum.

Hopefully if more notice is taken of this, it should make my job a bit easier.


Latest Poll Results

This little poll received an overwhelming number of responses, and offers us a clear winner.

What’s your favourite siege engine?
Trebuchet 235 votes
Fire balista 121 votes
Catapult 97 votes
Siege tower 61 votes
Siege oil 45 votes
Balista 29 votes
Mangonel 27 votes
Ram 18 votes
Ladderman 17 votes
Total: 650 votes

It’s obvious our resident warlords prefer to pound the enemy to dust, preferably from quite a long distance.

The current poll asks you about your favourite FireFly historical map.


How much for the bread, good man?

The marketplace is a key building in Stronghold and Crusader. But how was trade conducted during medieval times?

In the latest addition to our history section, i’ve provided a brief and summarised version of a very complex part of everyday life in the middle ages. You can read all about it here.


This is by Sir William, age 8.

I have to say that caught my attention when I was busy approving the lastest batch of uploaded files.

SnakeIsComin
This is by Sir William, age 8. This is my first attempt, but I have played through it and it works. My parents have both also played through this scenario. Basically, you have a castle, a few resources, and the Snake wants to take over. Build your army quickly, defend yourself, and you may survive.

If this has made you as curious as it made me, you can find the scenarion here


Poll Results

It was a bit of a slow poll this time round, with a rather low amount of votes. Of course, it wasn’t really a very exciting poll…

What do you want as a title on the forum?
Knight 120 votes
Nêh, let’s stick to Crusader 70 votes
Peasant 35 votes
Vassal 28 votes
Villager 11 votes
Villein 9 votes
Forumer 3 votes
Total: 276 votes

It looks like it’s time to start updating some titles…


The Secrets of Sylvandell, Chapter 5


After many, many months of design, I have finally managed to complete and upload the final chapter of my series of maps entitled The Secrets of Sylvandell. The final chapter, The Last Battle for Sylvandell, is now available for download.

You can also read the full story here, and a short epilogue will follow very soon.

So, why all the fuss? Well, the map has some eye candy that may appeal to some of you, and may even inspire you to recreate your own. I plan on taking screenshots of some of these eye candy creations for inclusion in our Gallery.

Thanks go to Seraph Jayhawk for allowing me to promote this map.


Castle of the Week – Gravensteen


With apologies for the lateness – blame Christmas and holidays – we present another castle which has been written about by one of our forumers, Duke of Mulnis. The castle is Gravensteen in Ghent, Belgium. Much of it dates back to the 12th century, although it has been restored carefully having been used for various things since its fighting days. It also contains a Museum of Instruments of Torture which, in addition to its long history, draws many visitors.

Thank you, Duke, for telling us about this interesting castle. You can find it here


Download Delights

One of our frequent forumers, tedman, is working on a fantasy campaign by the name of Culdagger. You can find the Culdagger Trailer here.

Another series of maps is being uploaded by our young friends NAT. It’s called The Conquest and can be found in the DL section as well, just like the trailer that goes with it. All of the episodes have been getting very favourable reviews so…what are you still doing here?

Oh.
You were waiting to see what else I’d write.

Well, the last Download in this little highlight is Minas Tirith by Bismuth. A truly stunning looking map inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Now go away and download some of these maps.


A Happy New Year and the Poll Results

First let me wish all of you a very happy New Year, before I continue with the results of the last poll. I think this one gathered the largest number of reactions to a poll so far…

What is your favourite Stronghold Unit?

Crossbowman 281 votes
Archer 264 votes
Pikeman 204 votes
Knight 162 votes
Maceman 131 votes
Swordsman 91 votes
Spearman 18 votes
Total: 1151 votes

From the looks of it, our player like missle troops most.

The next poll was triggered by a request in The Inn, where littlegloomy was asking for a new title…