Friday, May 27, 2005

Tin Soldiers: Alexander the Great

"Tin Soldiers: Alexander the Great? is wargaming with a classic style. Easy to learn but difficult to master, it places you in the role of Alexander the Great during his conquest of the known world. Guide Alexander through his grand campaign from inheriting his father's legacy at the battle of Thebes to his conquest of Darius III and the Persian Empire through his last great battle at the Hydaspes, in the heart of Asia against the Indian army of King Porus.

Tin Soldiers: Alexander the Great? is pioneering many new and exciting features. Favoring the grandeur and hand crafted look of miniature figures we are eschewing the current gaming trend toward ultra realism. Our artists spend their time drawing hundreds of individually adorned soldiers rather than countless hours animating clones of identically clad animations scratching their backsides! The game plays like a beautiful miniatures battle from the historical units down to the table terrain, but with the advantages of a computer opponent and a more dynamic turn structure.

Tin Soldiers: Alexander the Great? is indeed turn based, but with a twist. We have developed an engine for simultaneous turn based strategy. A player does not take turns with his opponents, instead each opponent plans out their strategy and issues orders to their units simultaneously, then presses a play button and the battle rages as all the units execute their orders for that turn in unison - just like RTS, but for the twitch impaired. In addition, our unique "reaction" system enables mid-turn adjustments to battle strategy.

The campaign unfolds with 3D panoramas of the different battlefields. The battle scenarios and troop placements are based on real historic events with entertaining, educational, and non-fiction cut-scene storytelling. More than just a set of separate battles, the campaign allows you to make decisions in between battles on which units to reinforce, whether to recruit new units and how many of your resources to focus on training. Commanders can be replaced and "battle cards" with a variety of game effects can be stockpiled against future need. Fight as Alexander as you face off against Greeks, Persians, Egyptians and the Indian Army with its Elephants."

Tin Soldiers: Julius Caesar

Matrix Games"Tin Soldiers: Julius Caesar brings a completely new 3D engine into the battle, allowing users to zoom in, out, and rotate the map for a better view of the battlefield. The artwork overhaul features over 100 different replicas of hand-painted miniatures, including the fearsome legions of Caesar himself. On the inside of the game the AI has been overhauled as well to support a variety of battle formations while the legions of Caesar have been expanded from the normal block of four units to a more powerful block of six. This allows you to replicate the power and strength the Roman legions possessed.

* The complete conquests of Julius Caesar including his Gallic War campaign (58 B.C.E. to 50 B.C.E) and the Roman Civil War (49 B.C.E. to 44 B.C.E.)
* 14 battles including: Helvetii, Ariovistus, Britain, Gergovia, Nervii, Avaricum, Alesia, Ilerda, Dyrrachium, Pharsalus, Egypt, Zela, Thapsus and Munda
* Complete your conquest through a non-linear campaign
* Historic battlefields and units
* Fully rendered in beautiful 3D with free camera rotation
* Based on a unique miniature tabletop look and game play
* Fast action rules with support for legions and legion formation
* Command the entire army of Julius Caesar with an emphasis on tactical warfare
* Objective-based scenarios giving you the opportunity to defend, capture and assassinate your opponents
* Over 150 individually detailed units from Caesar?s famous Legion X to the tribes of Gaul
* Modern AI that is the master of tactical strategy ? adjusts to three levels of difficulty
* Internet/LAN multiplayer support"

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Walkthru Models of Roman Architecture Available Online

I came across a marvelous site with 3D models of hundreds of buildings from around the world. Some of the Roman buildings included:

The Pantheon:

The Colosseum:

The Tomb of Caecilia Metella:

To walk through these models you need to download free software:

When I have some time to explore the software even more I hope to be able to use my photographs that I took in Italy in March to map detail onto the models I have downloaded. I have also contacted the coordinator for the site to see if they are interested in including my images in their collection. I would still control the copyright and I have granted free use for educational and non-commercial use.

My photosets:

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

TunisUSA offers reasonably priced tours of Carthage and other Roman sites

My trip to Rome must have really stirred up my wanderlust. I keep finding websites describing fascinating tours of ancient Roman sites. Here's another one:

TunisUSA is offering a seven night package concentrating on the northern portion of Tunisia and the legacy of the Roman period. The adventure includes a visit to the Bardo Museum.

"Housed in a former palace of the Ottoman Bey, the Bardo houses a world-class collection of mosaics, along with many remains found in sites throughout Tunisia."

It also includes Bulla Regia and Dougga.

"Dating from the fourth century, BC, Bulla Regia has beautifully preserved underground villas, built to provide an escape from the hot summers. Dougga is Tunisia's largest Roman site, covering some sixty acres. Known as the city of temples, its existence is thought to date back to the 4th century B.C."

You will also have the opportunity to visit the Roman coliseum of El Jem.

"Known in Punic and Roman times as Thysdrus, the approach to El Jem offers a scene of contrasts, due to the setting of the site amidst the barren and simple surroundings of the present day town. The coliseum appears better preserved than the one in Rome and certainly, has seen far less numbers of tourists over the years."

At a price of $1,695 including all meals, lodging, transportation, and admissions for eight days, it's a pretty reasonable excursion.

"Hercules movie for TV keeps monsters but cuts gods

Well, I tried to stay awake for the three-hour movie "Hercules" on NBC last night but couldn't quite make it. Despite its length, the effort suffered from some inadequate story background. To set the stage for the animosity between Hercules father Amphitryon and his mother Alcmene, I think it would have been better to begin the film a little earlier with a few scenes of their relationship or that of their families. Also, I think the film gives the uninitiated an erroneous understanding of the conflict between Zeus and Hera. It portrayed the events as a rivalry between them for ultimate control of the universe when Hera's actions were, once again, merely reaction to Zeus' eternal philandering. Someone who knew nothing about Greek mythology wouldn't even know they were actually husband and wife from the ravings of the characters in the film.

The young actor selected to portray Hercules had a decent physique but still resembled a "pretty" surfer boy instead of the mature Hercules portrayed in all the sculptures I saw on my trip to Rome. He was obviously chosen to appeal to the younger demographic with exposure to the Kevin Sorbo television series.

My favorite character was Chiron but in this tale, Chiron was not immortal and was killed in battle. I was also dissatisfied with the apparent lack of blame Hercules expressed when he learned that he had been affected by a potion when he killed his sons. Throughout the film we are given glimpses of Hercules problem with his temper and the deadly results but somehow he never seems to comes to terms with his own shortcomings in any meaningful way. I would hate to think that children would come away from this movie with an assumption that when you do something inappropriate it really isn't your fault. I also thought the villification of Alcmene and Megara was a poor method to use to avoid the depiction of the interventions by Olympic gods and goddesses. Much like the movie "Troy", the Olympians are mentioned by main characters, but they are given no substance so viewers can simply discredit their existence.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Costumes for ancient-themed parties

Want to own your very own expandable Asp armband or a headpiece that resembles at least Hollywood's version of something that possibly adorned the locks of Cleopatra? (It looks like you might even double for Helen of Troy!) All Costumes might be just the site for you. Their offerings include a variety of ancient-themed wear for your next toga party from a Roman tunic to a gown inspired by Greek goddesses.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Greek Hoplite joins Ignite figure lineup

Ignite Industrial Co., Ltd."Hoplites were the heavy infantry of the Greek city-states who fought in the columnar formation of the phalanx. Fighting in mass was hardly original ycenean and Near Eastern armies had done that for centuries. But from the eighth century b.c. , the Greeks of the polis (city-state) refined the earlier loosely organized mob into neater lines and files, each propertied citizen now claiming an equal slot in the phalanx, a seat in the council chamber, and a plot in the countryside."

The Ignite figure features a real metal muscle cuirass, Corinthian helmet, sword, and greaves along with a spear with a real metal spear point. The preferred customer preorder price at Michigan Toy Soldier has been quoted at $63.70 plus $8.50 shipping.