News Archives: 2008

Merry Christmas

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

Merry Christmas and have a Delightful New Year.

Castle of the Week 128 – St. Hilarion Castle

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

The Herald’s Square

With the release of an alternative multiplayer client, GameRanger, Dumptrailer2 has started a thread discussing the possibility of a multiplayer tournament, hoping that others also crave a renaissance of multiplayer action.

Changes in the Downloads

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

Increased Potential

A new multiplayer game service has been launched, Game Rangers, which has support for the 2D Stronghold Series. It is very similar to IGZ, but it has a port to Mac OSX as well, bridging across a gap to extend the multiplayer range who play the Mac ports. Naturally, it supports buddy systems and messaging, something removed from Gamespy as they have been ratcheting down.

FAQs, documentation, and download can be found here. You can also discuss the new multiplayer system this thread.

Victorious 66

Lord Michael I has submitted another walkthrough to help players subdue an Emir starting off very disadvantaged economically. The full writeup and savegame can be found here. Enjoy the conquest.

Today in History

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

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

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

Images of Conquest!

A new gallery for Stronghold Crusader Extreme has been added!

If you would like to add some screenshots to this particular album, please visit this forum thread. If you would like to add screenshots that aren’t from SHCX, please read through the same thread about how to take screenshots and contact us.

Poll Round Up!

We asked in our last poll, “What is your favorite SHC:X battlefield power?”

Rock Volley Attack (23.4% – 312 votes)
Drop in Knights (7.9% – 105 votes)
Uncover Gold (6.6% – 88 votes)
Drop in Macemen (16.1% – 215 votes)
Drop in Engineers (2.5% – 34 votes)
Drop in Spearmen (1.6% – 21 votes)
Partially Healing Troops in an Area (1.3% – 18 votes)
Arrow Volley Attack (16.0% – 214 votes)
Ha! None of them–my supreme strategy and tactics defeat all! (24.6% – 329 votes)

Total: 1336 votes

It’s almost a tie for most preferred between the Rock Volley Attack, and abstaining from using the powers by utilizing only the raw strength of your strategy and tactics with your troops and economy. The second most utilized is a tie between the cost effective moves of an Arrow Volley attack and Dropping in Macemen.

Our new poll suggested by The Hitman asks what is your favorite trap.

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

Today in History

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

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

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

Lord Michael I

Another walkthough of the second Crusader Trail is complete! In Mission 65 – Thorn Between Roses, you start out with one ally, the Abott, against two Emirs and one Wazir. The goods you are given has increased, but you begin with half the gold given to the AIs. Lord Michael I guides other players with his strategy of quickly taming of the near Wazir, astutely controlling the local resources, developing an efficient defense, and besieging the two remaining enemy castles Mission 65 can be found here. Happy conquest.

Of Wine and Taxes.

The Honorary Victor of the 3rd Stronghold & Crusader Historical Castle Competition is Castel Thun created by Tarius.

The design is molded into the shape of the original castle Castel Thun, making good use of custom towers with the vineyards of Italia gracing the landscape. Several buildings necessary for castle life are tucked neatly inside, integrating it with the castle environment. The player defends the castle against well devised, dynamic sieges of rebellious subjects that are difficult on moderate levels and even make use of siege towers. Many methods of defense are left open as options, allowing for several enjoyable replays.

The player included castle history and the scenario can be found here.

Firefly Studios is on YouTube!

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

Today in History

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frantic Time!

The deadline for the 3rd Stronghold & Crusader Historical Castle Competition fast approaches with only 5 more days until August 29th. The competition thread containing the rules and discussion can be found here. I hope entering map designers are ready and in the final stages of their production. Happy Sieging!

Another One Bites the Dust

Lord Michael I has written and submitted a walkthrough, On the Edge, for the Second Crusader Trail mission 64. In the relatively balanced mission, you start from the high ground against three Arab enemies, the Emir, the Wazir, and the Nizar with the help of your two allies, the Abbot and the Marshall. Happy skirmishing.

Poll Round Up!

In the last poll, visitors were asked: “Do you have Stronghold Crusader Extreme?”

Yes, it’s great! (38.9% – 1281 votes)
No (31.5% – 1039 votes)
It’s on the way! (15.3% – 504 votes)
Er, what is it? (14.3% – 471 votes)
Total: 3294 votes

Over 50% of voters are either playing Crusader Extreme or are about to. About a third aren’t playing it at all, with about half as many hopefully discovering the game.

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

Today in History

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

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

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

Another Victory!

A walkthrough for Mission 63 of the Warchest Trail, Blessed Union, has been completed and submitted by Lord Michael I and can be found here. In it, he guides fellow players in routing your opponents, a Nazir and an Emir, from a slightly disadvantageous start.

“It’s a Collector’s Item”

The original Castle Attack mini-game is now available for download thanks to D0ct0r Wh0 who “found this little gem”. D0ct0r Wh0 accurately describes it as: “No frills, no chills, just the original 3 archer, 3 wall Castle Attack released BEFORE the Stronghold Demo.”

The Original Castle Attack mini-game can be downloaded from the Miscellaneous files section here.

Thanks are due to Darren at Firefly Studios for communicating permission for it to be hosted here. Did you know there are other mini games–Stronghold Super Castle Attack, Desert Warrior Mini Game, Crossbow Commander, and Castle Attack 2? If you know how to get hold of them Stronghold Heaven has permission to host those too. ericgolf has started a forum discussion about it here.

A New Tutorial

In a new design tutorial, AZ ViTrAzhAs guides fellow map makers on Attaching Flags to Anything. Many thanks to AZ ViTrAzhAs.

Castle of the Week 127 – Urquhart Castle

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

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

The rest of the article can be found here.

Today in History

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

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

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

A Trio of Tutorials

Stronghold Heaven has three new design tutorials in its compository. The most recent one has been submitted by AZ ViTrAzhAs, Lowering the Keep Door. The other two tutorials have been transposed from the downloads sections to the Scenario Design Index. One was submitted by Synyster who guides fellow mappers in creating Invisible Units. The other tutorial illustrates Making Well Workers Fetch Water From Rivers, which was submitted by Monkcrazy5.

Many thanks to these three designers!

Stronghold Crusader Community Tournament!

Monkcrazy5 has started an effort to host a Stronghold Crusader Tournament. Anyone with a good internet connection and a version of Crusader can join, even if your multiplayer skills are not fantastic. We are also seeking good, balanced custom multiplayer maps (skirmish maps) to be used in 4vs4, 2vs2, and 1vs1 matches. There are also a few rules implemented to ensure good sportsmanship. Please make recommendations, find out more, and hopefully join in this thread.

Walkthrough 62

Lord Michael I has submitted a walkthrough for the Second Crusader Trail Mission 62: Mangonel City wherein he guides you through the challenge of a 3 to 1 standoff against two Emirs and one Wazir from a surrounded position on the high ground. The walkthrough and provided savegame can be found here. Happy dominating!

Extreme Developments

The veteran Sparrow has posted a topic containing his analysis of the Stronghold Crusader Extreme skirmish trail .csv file in an effort to share and hopefully collaborate on developing new, custom trails.

Another thread of particular interest has also begun wherein fellow Extreme players are sharing strategies, tactics, and tips on mastering the game.

Harry Scary Man has informed us of his discover they Stronghold Crusader Extreme is available through STEAM now.

Stronghold Crusader Extreme Demo Released!

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

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

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

Thanks to Darren from Firefly for keeping us informed. 🙂

New Moderators; Old Friends

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

Please extend to them a warm welcome in this thread.

New Warchest Walkthrough

A new Warchest walkthrough for Mission 61 – Mirage has been submitted by Lord Michael I to the downloads. The curios or faint-of-heart can find it here. Happy conquest!

Poll Round Up!

In our previous poll, visitors were asked:

“If you could have a forum title change, what would you desire?”

Jester (14.2% – 502 votes)
Drunkard (11.2% – 394 votes)
Monk (6.7% – 237 votes)
Chef (5.8% – 204 votes)
Archer (31.5% – 1114 votes)
Squire (6.9% – 242 votes)
Inn Keeper (7.3% – 257 votes)
Groundhog (4.0% – 143 votes)
What was the last one? (12.4% – 439 votes)

Total: 3532 votes

It seems that Archer is most popular with Jester in second and Drunkard is third in popularity. Perhaps our forum titles will one day change again. 😉 Our next poll is about Stronghold Crusader Extreme. Previous polls can be found here, and new polls may be suggested in the forums here.

Flaming Horse Mounted Ladder-men!

No, this isn’t a surprise unit in Stronghold Crusader Extreme, but rather the announcement of a new scenario design tutorial from WarLord_Designs. In Permanent Fire Arrows, they guide map-makers through the process of replacing files to produce permanent fire arrows and show off the effects it can have on the game, graphic wise.

Castle of the Week 126 – Tenczyn Castle

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

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

Eyecandy Landscape Competition

Forumer artofmath has started a contest for 2-D Stronghold designers:

The point of the competition is to create a perfect 160×160 landscape, which does not have to have accessible parts or be fully functional. It needs only to look good on a full-screen screenshot. You could recreate the Arctic, a portion of death valley, a ridge of volcanoes, an amazon rainforest, etc. Nothing we commonly see in maps, but a true eyecandy map…

The contest thread can be found in the forums. We’re looking forward to pretty landscapes!

The Art of Math

Artofmath has used his math skills to carefully analyze Stronghold Crusader to discover the most efficient means of making money to fund your wars or production quota. You can find his investigation here in the forums.

Stronghold Crusader Extreme Released!

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

Hexing the Editor: A New Tutorial

A new tutorial from WarLord_Designs guides map-makers through the process of changing troop color on their Stronghold 1 maps using a Hexadecimal Editor. Many thanks to WarLord_Designs. Now, let’s see some colorful maps.

Today in History

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Forum Awards 2007: last chance to vote

Time is running out rapidly for you to cast your votes in the 2008 Forum Awards for 2007 thread! You have a few more days to nominate before we announce who wins each category. If you haven’t already nominated, or have yet to finalise your choices, now is your chance!

Forum Awards 2007.

Crusader Warchest Walkthrough no. 60

Lord Michael I has submitted yet another excellent walkthrough to the downloads section for Mission 60 – Snaking Stream. Click on the link to read his thoughts on how to tackle the scenario.

Many thanks again, Lord Michael I!

FAQ – Frequently Acquired Quarks

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

Heartening Hints

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

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

Anyone fancy a spot of castle building?

The staff at Stronghold Heaven are pleased to announce a new competition for players of Stronghold and Crusader. The 3rd Stronghold & Crusader Historical Castle Design competition has just been announced.

Without further ado, i’d strongly recommend you take a peek at this thread for more details…

Oh. Hamburgers!

“The Crusadertop Collection”, by Subinxsubin that has been posted in the community forums has also been uploaded to the Stronghold Heaven Fan Art gallery.

“…all hardcore SHC players will appreciate this.”
-AZ ViTrAzhAs

“I just cant figure out whether I should use the bloody sword or the raining hamburgers for my desktop.”
-von Schmidt

These scrumptious desktop backgrounds can now be found here in the Gallery and any compliments to the author are welcome in the original community thread. Many thanks to Subinxsubin!

Wonderful Spam!

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

New forum added for Crusader Extreme

With less than two weeks to go until Crusader Extreme is released, I thought it about time to add a new forum dedicated to the game in readiness for its’ release. You can access it

Roll on May 13th!

The Smell of Burning Oil in the Morning…

Three more Warchest walkthroughs by Lord Michael I have been uploaded to the Stronghold Crusader Walkthrough Section. In them, he guides his fellow players with tactics to crush their outnumbered enemies of allianced Emirs, Lord Abbots, and Marshalls. Happy flanking!

New Warchest Walkthrough

A new walkthrough by Lord Michael I for the Warchest Crusader Trail has been released. Those seeking help or who are too afraid to defeat two abbots will find this to their aid.

Forum Awards!

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

Today in History

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

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

Historic Castle Design Challenge

Duke of York has just announced that he is hosting a challenge for map-makers of Stronghold 1 and Stronghold Crusader.

This is a challenge to all scenario designers. I want you to RE-create historic castles in Stronghold or Crusader to accompany Castle of the Week Articles. It doesn’t matter what type of scenario you make as long as you recreate the castle to the best of your ability within the limits of the game editor…

More can be found out here. Good Luck and have fun Designers!

Drawing to a Close

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

ericgolf doused in green paint!

The staff at Stronghold Heaven are delighted to announce that ericgolf has accepted an invitation and has been promoted to Cherub!

He will act as the Downloads Manager for the Stronghold 1 and Stronghold: Crusader scenarios, effectively approving new maps, new reviews and monitoring the comments content. I have also asked him to moderate our Stronghold Scenario Design and Map Room forums to ensure things run smoothly.

Please join me in welcoming our newest member and offer your congratulations in this thread.

Crusader Warchest Walkthrough: Mission 6 – Bog War

Lord Michael I has submitted the walkthrough for mission 6 of the Warchest Skirmish Trail. It can be found here with a saved game for the less courageous here.

Help Wanted: Graphics Designers!

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

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

  • New History Article!

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

    An excerpt:

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

    The rest can be read here.

    Moody Maps – a discussion

    de keijzer has brought to light an interesting topic for discussion: what ‘mood’ setting do you prefer? It highlights the flexibility that the editor allows in terms of creating ‘atmosphere’ as a setting for map design. Do you prefer dark, brooding landscapes or prefer lush, fertile river valleys in designing and playing scenarios? Take a look at this thread and share your thoughts!

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

    (Note: NOT an April Fools joke.)

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

    IGZ support has been added!

    International Gaming Zone has officially patched their client to provide Crusader support with release 0.106b! You must register in order to use the multiplayer client, but it sports an ad-free system with IM for IGZ friends, a developing anti-cheat system, a ratings system, clan support, fully skinable interface, multiple lobbies, customizable emoticons, anti-spam feature, among several others.

    Map from the Past: The Ice Age, by Lord Ako

    From Outremer to a chilling Neolithic landscape next in our Map From The Past series. Proof that the Stronghold editor is certainly adaptable and you’re not just limited to medieval scenario design!

    Here’s what our very own Stratego has to say about this very unique scenario;

    “Have you ever seen melting glaciers or icebergs on any Stronghold map? Have you ever been attacked by hostile groups of hunters in game? Do you think it is unreal? Far from it!

    The Ice Age map, created by Lord Ako, is leading you back to the roots of human existence, when homo sapiens started to gain a foothold on our planet Earth. This flashback of an exemplary masterpiece pays homage to the genius of an excellent map artist rewarding his unsurpassed creativity and capability of implementing diverse design techniques.

    This exceptional map design unites the authenticity and imaginative beauty of a primeval environment in an incomparable way.

    You will be getting enthusiastic about this spectacular work of art!”

    Download the map.

    Forum Awards – Nominations!

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

    New Warchest Walkthrough

    Lord Michael I’s walkthrough for Mission 54 of the Stronghold Warchest campaign has been uploaded. It can be found here along with a save game for those fearing a fair match against the Wazir.

    Magic Happens

    WarLord_Designs has posted his technique to create a 3×3 Magic Eraser in the Stronghold 1 editor! You can read it here.

    Poll Round Up!

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

    News (14.2% – 52 votes)
    Forums (5.2% – 19 votes)
    Scenarios/Modpacks downloads (30.9% – 113 votes)
    Strategy articles (21.0% – 77 votes)
    Game info articles (8.5% – 31 votes)
    Scenario Design/Modding articles (20.2% – 74 votes)

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

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

    New Stronghold Crusader Extreme Videos

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

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

    New design tutorial available

    You may have seen the thread in the forums recently regarding the improvement to the tutorials for map designers. Veteran cartographers Warlord_Designs have taken this to heart and have already produced three very fine write-ups for all you old professionals and budding designers alike!

    The first article is entitled Raising moat without leaving artifacts. Moat can only be placed on lowest terrain… or can it? Take a look at this splendid tutorial to find out!

    The Climax of the Saviour of Léugìm Community Campaign

    The Saviour of Léugìm Community Campaign

    Download Mission 10: Ending a dire threat

    You are trapped between a rock and a hard place. After successfully razing Lord Dayon’s castle, which was poorly defended, you discovered that Dayon had not been killed in the siege. In fact, he and a large part of his army have fled to the coast, to his estate on Zephyr’s Point. With victory so near, you make chase. However, you have walked right into Dayon’s trap. His castle is in front of you, and a massive landing army of the Black Hordes from his homeland have beached behind you, marching up the coast in ranks of a hundred. You have no choice but to attack the castle and steal a ship before you are overrun…

    …Read more in the Mission 10 Thread.

    Read the Main Campaign Thread for more information.

    Well what can I say…the final map! Lord Tanthos has masterfully finished off the Community Campaign with this epic climax. We hope you have a great play. I’d like to thank everyone involved with this campaign in any way;

    • All the designers, scripters and playtersters. Froobachoob, Younghappy, Timballisto, Riskyman, Dougleass, Ericgolf, Sir Ravenclaw and to finish us off with style, Lord Tanthos.
    • Froobachoob who started us off but sadly isn’t able to be online.
    • Lord Michael I for keeping us all engaged with his wonderful story writing, he has done a very tough, time consuming job but has kept quality throughout.
    • Ericgolf for his endless contribution to HTML and technical side of things as well as hosting files on his own webspace.
    • Younghappy for co-ordinating the campaign since Froobachhob left, for submitting news and creating the large Kingdom Maps.
    • Sir Ravenclaw for creating the Campaign Logo as seen above.
    • Sir Hugh, Sulis, Lady Arocla, and the rest of the staff of Stronghold Heaven for their continuous support.

    and what great speech ends without mentioning what it was all about?…

    • The wonderful members of Stronghold Heaven. Thank you for Downloading, Playing, Commenting, Reviewing and generally being an awesome bunch of people. You have made the effort worth it.

    “Good thought. We do excellent work together, the lot of us, and I am very pleased with what we’ve managed to do. Perhaps we should make another project…” Lord Tanthos

    “To all that work (almost a year long) we made to make one heck of a campaign!” Lord Michael I

    “We have pulled together to create something this site has been waiting for and have created 10 top rating scenarios along the way!” Younghappy

    “We will return!” Any volunteers?

    Thank you all, you’re invited to join in our celebrations here.

    IGZ support!

    International Gaming Zone, the developers of a multiplayer client replacement program for older games, is holding a vote in their forums for adding support for Stronghold Crusader. This would replace Gamespy as a multiplayer server browser and incorporate features removed from Gamespy and perhaps include new ones.

    One has to register on the forums to vote, but you can display your support here.

    Thanks to Stronghold Crusader Web Portal!

    Today in History

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

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

    Stronghold Crusader Extreme Video!

    CaptSkubba has announced that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Forum Awards: Discussion

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

    Second Call!

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

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

    If you have a photo you want to send it, please send it to:”

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

    Poll Round-Up!

    In our last poll, we asked:

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

    -News (11.8% – 66 votes)
    -Forums/Community (6.8% – 38 votes)
    -Custom Maps and Missions! (50.6% – 283 votes)
    -Strategy articles (18.6% – 104 votes)
    -Game info articles (6.6% – 37 votes)
    -Scenario Design articles (5.5% – 31 votes)
    Total: 559 votes

    It seems the majority enjoys the downloads section the most! I’m sure Socvazius will appreciate these statistics, and he has authored our next poll. It asks about what you think should be improved about this heaven. Previous polls can be viewed here and new polls can be suggested in this thread.

    Map from the Past: Krak des Chevaliers by Warlord_Designs

    It’s time to venture to Outremer in our Map From The Past series. It’s also time to revisit a very special map from our downloads section, and a hard subject matter to recreate correctly. Krak des Chevaliers is, in my opinion, the epitome of castle design and who better to recreate the majesty and intricacy than Warlord_Designs.

    “This map was chosen for a very simple reason. Whilst many people have commented already on the masterpiece of creation that it clearly is, and have used the supporting documentation as a template for their own submissions to the site in order to offer an all-round quality scenario, I have chosen this as a wonderful example of how to think big in terms of design, yet still ensure the map plays flawlessly. Large numbers of units on a map can lead to awful playability and balance unless careful and considered playtesting underpins everything you do. Warlord_Designs are exceptionally talented designers and they are a role model for many of the design community. This map simply excels in all areas and is a perfect example of how to design cleverly and correctly.”

    To download this wonderful map, click here.

    New Heraldry Article

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

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

    Read more here. Many thanks to Sir Mills!

    Today in History

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

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

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

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

    The Battle of the Forums!

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

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

    Read this thread for more info.

    Poll Round-Up!

    So, time for the results of “Which Stronghold game contains the music you enjoy most?”

    Stronghold 1 (26.0% – 1252 votes)
    Stronghold Crusader (47.0% – 2260 votes)
    Stronghold 2 (12.8% – 618 votes)
    Stronghold Legends (7.3% – 353 votes)
    How can I choose? (6.9% – 330 votes)

    Stronghold Crusader’s soundtrack is enjoyed the most by voters with Stronghold 1 coming in second. It seems the newer soundtracks aren’t enjoyed as much as the originals.

    The new poll is of Soccy’s devices to discover what users like best about SHH.

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

    Firefly Studios announces Stronghold Crusader Extreme!

    Have you completed the Skirmish Masters Trail? Want something a little more tasty and challenging?

    Firefly Studios and Gamecock Media are delighted to announce Stronghold Crusader Extreme, the new and improved version of the best selling Stronghold Crusader. Stronghold Crusader Extreme features huge battles with over 10,000 units on screen, a new Extreme Trail which will test even the best Crusader players and a new tactical aid bar which allows you to unleash super moves on your enemies. Also included in the package is the original Stronghold Crusader featuring limited edition content which was previously only released in the US.

    Take a look at Darren from Firefly’s original post here, which contains links to the developer’s website.

    New Forum Banner

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

    Map From The Past: Castaways – The Explorers by Sir Prise

    I am pleased to announce a new feature at Stronghold Heaven, our Map From The Past series. The aim of the series is quite simple: to bring to the attention of all designers, new and old, elements of design that the staff feel should be shared and not forgotten!

    Our first map is a little gem of a scenario: Castaways – The Explorers by Sir Prise: an economic map for Stronghold 1.

    “This economic map is not straightforward but is wonderfully playable. There are small puzzles to solve and areas of the landscape to unlock as you progress. The scenario was chosen to show how the clever use of terrain modelling can influence how a scenario develops as you progress.

    Interested? The download the scenario by clicking this link.

    Crusader Warchest Walkthrough: Mission 3 – Holy Water

    Lord Michael I has submitted the next walkthrough for the Warchest Skirmish Trail. A saved game is also included here.

    Today in History

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

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

    P.S. Happy New Year Julian Calendar users!

    The Saviour of Léugìm Community Campaign

    The Saviour of Léugìm Community Campaign

    Download Mission 9: Mountain’s Fist – The Healing

    You are back at Mountain’s Fist, now destroyed from the fierce battle years ago. It’s an old fort, built at the foot of a mountain, it’s filled with hidden passways and multiple towers. It was one of the kingdom’s strongest fortress’ before the battle, but now it’s shattered, and there’s a gaping hole where two of the main gates once stood.

    You play again as Aylma in this mission. Again, you are Aylma in Mountain’s Fist, but this time tediously rebuilding the fortress. The main objective is to gather stone and iron, and to control the small city you build inside its walls. It’s a short map with an attack in the end. You can recruit soldiers but that is not the main objective of the map and not as necessary as using your time to gather stone and iron.

    …Read more in the Mission 9 Thread.

    Read the Main Campaign Thread for more information.

    We all hope you enjoy this, the penultimate mission of the Community Campaign. Thank you all for your support so far.

    Today in History

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

    You can read more about the Battle of Reading here.