News Archives: 2006

New Angel in the Castle

Terrific news! Lady Arcola has been promoted to Angel. A well deserved promotion for her tireless work both here at Stronghold Heaven and at Battle for Middle Earth II Heaven. You can extend your congratulations in this forum thread.

Castle of the Week 121 – Malbork, Poland

Another new country joins the list. Duke of York has labored to transport us to Poland, home to the magnificent Malbork Castle.

Situated along the banks of the Nogat River in modern day Northern Poland, Malbork Castle is actually three castles in one covering over 80 acres. Under continuous construction for nearly 230 years, it is a classic example of a medieval fortress and the largest brick castle in the world. Malbork Castle’s history spans nearly 800 years with the castle and its museum listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. More…

Firefly Answers Members’ Questions
About Stronghold Legends

Paul Harris of Firefly Studios has taken the time to answer many of our members’ questions regarding the newly released game, Stronghold Legends. Maybe yours was one of them. See all his responses in the Questions Thread.

Stronghold Legends Released

2K and Firefly Studios are very proud to announce that Stronghold Legends has gone gold master and will be available in Europe on 13th October 2006 and North America on 23rd October 2006. Also look out for the Stronghold Legends Special Edition containing a bonus Legends Trail as well as exclusive concept art drawings and paintings available at selected stores.

More info is available in the Stronghold Legends Discussion Forum, including system requirements, demo, web sites, screen shots, etc.

New AI Lord Profiles Added for Crusader

Apuya24 has written up four more profiles of Crusader AI opponents, including castle screen shots and illustrated attack strategies. The fine work by apuya24 has added The Caliph, Emporer Frederick, King Phillip, and The Sheriff.

I have added castle screen shots for the Wazir, the Emir, and the Nizar so there are now castle pictures for all 16 computer lords. The Profiles Index has links to all sixteen.

Demo Released for Stronghold Legends

We have a new forum set up for discussion of the upcoming Stronghold Legends realease, the sequel to Stronghold 2. And just in time it seems, as a demo for Stronghold Legends is now available from multiple sites on the net. Word is the demo includes a tutorial and a full skirmish level, plus showcases the new “King of the Hill” mode.

Here are the links for the SHL Discussion Forum and the SHL Demo Thread.

More Stronghold Legends Screen Shots

Firefly Studios has posted some new screen shots from their upcoming new release Stronghold Legends on their web site at Stronghold Legends will be a sequel to the popular Stronghold castle sim series and is expected to be released sometime this fall.

New Web Site for Stronghold Legends

2K Games has a web site for the upcoming Stronghold Legends release, a new addition to the Stronghold series due to be released sometime in the fall. Descriptions are given of three heroes that you can play as, King Arthur, Count Vlad Dracul, or Siegfried of Germany, and many of the new units and creatures that may be your allies or foes. This is just a teaser site at the moment. The full site is promised soon. Take a look at it here.

SHH Community Campaign Launches!

The community campaign has its first map! You can download it here.

This first map; made by the team of Warlord_Designs, sets the storyline and history for the rest of the Campaign. You can read about it here. We are off to a great start! Enjoy and look for future maps.

Stronghold Community map campaign!

WarLord_Designs has pulled the Stronghold map makers into a fantastic project!
They are currently working on the first map.

“A rough description of the story line for map one”.
Map 1: We have been forced out by the evil Lord Scarlak, for years the warring kings have fought for territory but now it seems we are losing the battle. Our lord has stayed back to fight the attackers but we, the people had to flee into the cold dark valley of ages. The icy breeze has made my chest hurt, my hands are numb, but I must be strong. Looking back there is a trail of collapsed bodies; if we don’t stop soon I fear I will join them.
There is a shout from the leading group “Quickly! Quickly! We’ve found it!”
The Ruins of Samaria… long since deserted, its four walls will shelter us for the night, but I fear something will go wrong something that will put us all in danger.

All are welcome to come here and join in the fun.

Rome Map is Completed

After months in development and contributions and playtesting from many of our members the Rome community invasion map for Stronghold 1 is finished and available for download. This map was created by Dougleass, with help from STreTcH23, Jasper Tudor, IlikeMistyWaters, Darkslave Master, and WarLord Designs’ Alexus and Arthus. Check it out here.

Screen shots:

Jax Takes on New Moderation Duties

I want to welcome Jax to new moderating duties here at Stronghold Heaven. He’ll be helping out on the Stronghold Scenario Design and Map Room forums, plus the Crusader General Discussion & Game Help forum.

Jax brings much experience and I’m sure will be providing much needed advice. Please join me in congratulating him at the Sword and Buckler Inn.

SEC: One of My All Time Favorites

Extreme Challenge #13

Treasure Island
by Duke of York

Another great (and hard) one from DoY, with his usual attention to landscaping detail and scripting. Choose your keep location on this one and see if you can build defenses to hold back the invading hoards.

Sparrow’s Extreme Challenges are for Stronghold 1 and to be played on very hard.

More info, forum thread for this map, and challenge #12’s solution. The solution for this map will be posted in two weeks with challenge #14.

SEC: Your Degree in Forestry

Extreme Challenge #12

The Oracle of the Forest
by pmn3829

Plain, yes. Easy, no. Fight off bandits and archers while stewarding the forest carefully to get enough wood for victory. This one is deceptively simple looking, yet annoyingly difficult.

This is another in the series of Sparrow’s Extreme Challenges for Stronghold 1 to be played on very hard.

More info, forum thread for this map, and challenge #11’s solution. The solution for this map will be posted in two weeks with challenge #13.

Poll Round-up!

OK, the last poll ran a little long, but that gave over 2000 people to opportunity to vote! 😉

We asked: What type of keep do you prefer?

Saxon hall 8.2% – 173 votes
wooden keep 4.2% – 89 votes
stone keep 13.7% – 288 votes
fortress 25.3% – 533 votes
stronghold 48.6% – 1024 votes
Total: 2107 votes

My vote was in the minority, but for aesthetic reasons I still like the Saxon halls.

For the new poll we’re asking what your favorite tree is in the game. Vote here!

Castle of the Week #120 – Cahir Castle, Ireland

Today’s Castle of the Week is a special one, being written by Sir Hugh and with photographs by Dale Kocevski. From the article… “Described to Elizabeth I as “the only famous castle in Ireland which is thought impregnable,” the aptly named stronghold at Cahir (cathair means “stone fort”) boldly commands its water surroundings as it would have done during the queen’s reign. Erected on an island in the River Suir, which was navigable to this point by boats and small ships, Cahir Castle provided a crucial link between Waterford and Limerick. Within 200 years of its founding, the castle developed from a rudimentary stone fort into one of Ireland’s largest and most impressive medieval fortresses.” To read the rest of the article, click here. Our thanks to Sir Hugh for his great write-up!

And the Winners Are…

The voting has ended for the Stronghold Art Contest, and there are four winners!

SimRPGplayer won in the category of Funniest Screenshot with this picture and its caption, “Oh yes, this will add to the stew most nicely…”

Andy Baz’s “Amazetastic” took first place in Minimap Art:

Darkslave Master and NAT tied for the Most Glorious Battle Scene.
Darkslave Master’s:

And here is NAT’s:

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered!

SEC: Beauty Can Be a Beast

Extreme Challenge #11

The Tortured Road: Act III – Return of That Thing!
by Andy Baz

A fun map with a gorgeous but difficult to defend castle from Andy Baz. Exquisite palistone work, incredible bridges, and an AI that likes to attack you from all sides. Defense, economic goals and the need for a large population will keep you quite busy.

Here’s the links for more info, posting in the forum thread, and viewing challenge #10’s solution. The solution for this map will be posted in two weeks with challenge #12.

How to Build on Sand Dunes

Boingo discovered a way to build gatehouses on sand dunes in Stronghold Crusader. He originally shared the procedure in the forums, and now has kindly given us larger screenshots so that it could be put into the Strategy section. Check out his ideas here!

Voting begins for the Art Contest

The entries are all in, and the polls are ready! A contest page is set up which has links to the pictures in all three categories and the poll for each. So take a look at the entries, then cast your vote for your favorite in each category. The contest page is here!

Art Contest Gallery

The albums with the entries for the Art Contest are now available for public viewing. If you have entered a screenshot and would like the caption changed, email me by Friday. There are some great entries, so take a look at them here, then come back on Friday when the judging starts!

Ready For a Really Hard One?

Extreme Challenge #10

Lord of the Rings: WeatherTop-Old to New
by Ring Wraith

One of the hardest maps I’ve played. Get ready to think as well as fight your way through this one. Don’t be put off by the LOTR in the title. It’s a good, iron fisted invasion map that will force you to stay on your toes.

Here’s the links for more info, posting in the forum thread, and viewing challenge #9’s solution. The solution for this map will be posted in two weeks with challenge #11.

Just a Few Days Left in the Art Contest

That’s right, just a few days left so get those entries sent in. Details on the contest can be found in this thread. More minimap art entries are needed, get designing everyone!

Castle of the Week 119 – Coburg Castle, Germany

We look at another castle from Germany in the current Castle of the Week – Veste Coburg, in North Franconia. It was never taken by force, and was the seat of government for the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha for six centuries. The nearby town of Coburg is also known as the birthplace of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. Click here to read more.

Two Weeks Left in the Art Contest

We’re halfway through the art contest! Twelve entries have been submitted so far, mostly for the Funniest Screenshot category. There are two weeks left to submit your entry, so get busy battling and creating minimap art! Full contest details are here.

Screenshots of Stronghold Legends

IGN has several screenshots of the newly announced game, Stronghold Legends. They show views of the castles and more shots of the dragons. You can see them here!

Stronghold 2 English Demo

The German demo has been out since the game was released, but now an English version is available. If you’ve been wondering what Stronghold 2 is all about, you can now check it out here.

Firefly Announces Stronghold Legends

Firefly, the studio behind the Stronghold series, today announced the newest entry – Stronghold Legends. Firefly’s site includes several screenshots from the new game, including one with a dragon.

From the press release:

Stronghold Legends is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game that builds on the fantastic Stronghold heritage, combining beautifully crafted visuals and well balanced gameplay with the epic legends of the middle ages. Currently anticipated to be available in fall 2006, Stronghold Legends is being developed by the award-winning Firefly Studios.

Stronghold Legends is a dramatic addition to the series, combing a range of new gameplay innovations including a new strategic conquest style of play and exciting new multiplayer modes. Gamers can play as King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Count Vlad Dracul or relive the heroic sagas of the mighty Siegfried of Germany in twenty-four missions that span across three unique campaigns.

Discussion on this newest game is in this thread.

New Extreme Challenge for SH1

Extreme Challenge #9

Shadowmoon Fortress
by Hasit

A really fun map that will keep you busy, busy, busy. Rebuild your ruined castle, fend off invasions, clear the map of enemy, kill a neighboring lord, build your economy and defenses, and work toward the eco goals, all while enduring hardships. A logistical nightmare!

Here’s the links for more info, posting in the forum thread, and viewing challenge #8’s solution. The solution for this map will be posted in two weeks with challenge #10.

Forum Questionnaire

Lord Ako has written up a 12 question inquiry in what players of the game prefer to see in a map. Take part in this questionnaire in this thread in the forums!

Castle of the Week 118 – Strekov Castle, Czech Republic

On the left bank of the Elbe River are train tracks, built in 1851. Taking the train along this beautiful route along the river, passengers are continually given the opportunity to turn a corner and see yet another castle perched on a cliff. This was an ancient salt route, and over time the castles lining the river were built to protect the route. Strekov is one such castle.

Read more about this castle in the Czech Republic here.

Poll Round-Up!

Last time we asked, “How do you best like to boost popularity?”

1227 people voted, and here are the results:

Increasing rations: 32.1% – 394 votes
Building churches: 9.1% – 112 votes
Place lots of gardens: 10.0% – 123 votes
Ale and more ale!: 48.7% – 597 votes

That building churches came in last doesn’t surprise me, as that seems like a slow way to gain popularity. Placing gardens can be a quick way to gain favor, however, so its low score is unexpected. Then again, increasing rations is a proven way to boost popularity fast! And… what can compare with ale and more ale? 😉

For the current poll we are asking which of the keeps is your favorite. Vote here!

Stronghold Art Contest

Announcing the start of a new contest! This is a screenshot/minimap art contest. Entries can be in one of three categories: funniest screenshot, most glorious battle screenshot, or best minimap art. For full details see this thread. Deadline is February 28th. Good luck!

The Merciful King

SirTimothyCedar has written a new short story for the fan art section, called The Merciful King. It’s been a while since a story was submitted, so be sure to give it a read! From the story…

King Richard was a good, honorable, and fair king. One day, the king was told by his most valiant knight Sir Lancelot, that Edmond (the king’s cup bearer) was guilty of stealing one of the king’s royal robes, food prepared for the king’s table, and his finest sword. Sir Lancelot had Edmond thrown into the dungeon. More…

SEC: An Economic Challenge

Extreme Challenge #8

Castaways – The Explorers
by Sir Prise

An economic map this time. A delight of a map with puzzles and tricks, extreme hardships, bandits, wolves, bears, and assorted events. You’ll get to feel just like a real castaway. This map is widely considered one of the best of the best in the economic category.

Here’s the links for more info, posting in the forum thread, and viewing challenge #7’s solution. The solution for this map will be posted in two weeks with challenge #9.

Castle of the Week 117 – Château de Chillon, Switzerland

Today another country gets its first castle write-up here – this time Switzerland! On the eastern shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland is a medieval fortress rising from the water on a rocky islet. Over time it became a romantic favorite of many writers, including Rousseau, Byron, Hugo, Dumas, and Hemingway. The Château de Chillon is at the site of an historical trade route, first created by the Romans and widened in medieval times. More…

Stronghold Innovations

There’s a new design group on the horizon, calling itself Stronghold Innovations. Made up of Skaarj, Lollard and Garret Jax, they plan to make maps for all three of the Stronghold games. For more information and to consider joining yourself, check out this thread by Garret Jax.

New Historical Article

MNICY has written something new for the site – a historical article about a particular person, King Philip II of France. King Philip II participated in the Third Crusade, then returned to France where he made a series of reforms to the government. Read more about him here. Our thanks to MNICY for his work in writing this article!

SEC: Sparrow’s Extreme Challenges

Today I have the honor of introducing Sparrow’s latest Extreme Challenge, which is an early one from Lord Arthus, half of the design team Warlord Designs.

Challenge #7

4 Unexpected Return
by Lord Arthus

The gameplay on this map is short, so be ready for fast and furious action! Click on these links for more info about all of the challenges, the forum thread, and challenge #6’s solution. The solution for this challenge will be posted in two weeks with challenge #8.

New Community Map!

Just as the Crusader map reached its completion, Dougleass has begun a new community map for Stronghold based on Rome. To join in, see this thread!

Crusader Community Map Completed

The busy team of mapmakers have now finished the Crusader Community map. It can be downloaded here in the Crusader Eye Candy section. Well done to everyone involved!

Red returns to Stronghold Heaven!

Stronghold Heaven has been without angels for too long, and I’m happy to announce that it ends today with the promotion of three of our staff members: NAT, Sparrow, and PCDania. Congratulations can be given in this thread!

Castle of the Week 116 – Castle Garth, England

This Castle of the Week was written by Ibeliamoyes, who takes a look at the history of Castle Garth.

“The castle itself was built on the remains of an old Roman fort known as Pons Aelius. Pons Aelius literally translates as “The bridge of Hadrian’s Family” and the name covers both the name of the bridge (which was said to be destroyed in a raging fire) and the Roman settlement. The fort was part of Hadrian’s Wall, and was built for the purpose of defending the bridge over the River Tyne.”

Read more here!

Thanks for a great write-up Ibeliamoyes!

Poll Round-up!

The Emerging City was the favorite of the custom economic scenarios, following by A Request from the King. Stronghold players seem to prefer torture to beneficence, as The Tyrant soundly beat out Blessing the Peasants!

A Request from the King: 25.3% – 98 votes
Blessing the Peasants: 8.3% – 32 votes
The Forest: 16.8% – 65 votes
The Emerging City: 28.9% – 112 votes
The Tyrant: 20.7% – 80 votes

In the new poll, we’re asking how you usually like to boost popularity in the game. Vote here!

Crusader Community Map Nears Completion

The mapmakers are nearly finished with the Crusader community map! All that is left is for an experienced terrain detailer to make the final touches on the landscape. You can read more about the progress in this thread.

Pitch Traps

Ryan Ezra has been experimenting with pitch traps, looking for the best layout to achieve the maximum damage with the least cost. Check out his findings here!