Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cradle of Rome new Arcade Game at USA Today Arcade Zone

This game from USA Today's Arcade zone does involve the Rome and the ancient world but I would recommend getting "Caesar IV" for more complex game play and much better graphics for the same price.

"Build the heart of Ancient Rome and become its Emperor! Coliseum can become a good training school for your brave gladiators! And the Temple of all the Roman Gods will bring you luck! The fabulous Caesar’s land opens its gates in front of you.

Imagine being given the chance to build Ancient Rome, the most legendary city of all time! One of the powerful capitals that have ever existed wants you to become its Emperor! You start at the beginning… First a village appears… Then you buy a fountain and a tavern… Will you choose the water mill or the blacksmith next? As you play more and earn enough money and supplies to buy larger buildings, watch your city grow into a vast and magnificent center of life, the heart of the antiquity! You'll be able to reconstruct masterpieces of Roman architecture, build the Coliseum to train gladiators, and even rebuild the Pantheon, the Temple of all the Rman Gods to bring you even greater luck! As you play and conquer addictive and intuitively designed puzzles and your city grows, the citizens who populate your city will proclaim you Emperor as a Head Priest considers a worthy tribute! The fabulous lands of Caesar open their gates in front of you in our new puzzle game: Cradle of Rome!

Caligula Imperial Edition an Imperial Disappointment

For a number of years I have heard about the squabble over the lack of an X-rating for "Caligula" a movie based on a script by Gore Vidal. With such luminary actors as Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole, Helen Mirren, and John Gielgud, I couldn't imagine it could be anywhere close to a modern rating of "X". When the Imperial Edition was released I couldn't help but see for myself so I pre-ordered it on Amazon.

Unfortunately, I watched the unrated edition first and was revolted by the inclusion of gratuitous sex scenes that had no purpose at all to advance the plot. The wardrobe department must have scrounged costumes from some old follies show and Vidal must not have spent much time reviewing historical accounts of the period either since there actually was a time when Caligula first ascended the thrown that he was reasonable to an extent and was generally liked by the Roman mob. I also think a contextual background would have helped viewers to understand why Caligula spun out of control when given the chance to be the most powerful man on earth. Of course I was particularly irritated by the opening statement about "Pagan Rome" inferring that the events would not have happened if Rome had been Christian at the time. Oh, please!!! The brutality of Christian Rome could match that of Pagan Rome blow for blow!

I did enjoy reading about the background of the making of this "epic":

"Caligula is the stuff, or rather the spunk, of legend. The 1979 epic T&A-fest is based on real-life legend: the rapid ascendancy and downfall of Roman Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (“Little Boots” for short). Caligula is also a Hollywood legend, revered and ridiculed from the moment of its cinematic conception. The film’s production history is difficult to piece together, but goes something like this:

Gore Vidal wrote a screenplay. Unable to secure adequate funding, he appealed to Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. Fiduciary aid was provided on one condition—that Caligula take the orgy to the next level. Vidal accepted Emperor Guccione’s demands. Italian director Tinto Brass, of Salon Kitty (1976) fame, signed on. Danilo Donati, a favorite of Fellini’s, was hired to construct ostentatious sets and render trompe l’oeil backgrounds. An all-star cast was assembled. Debaucheries were orchestrated and shot. Chaos soon descended. Guccione championed the inclusion of several minutes of hard-core pornography. Vidal and Brass both renounced the film, at different times and for different reasons. Malcolm McDowell has described his experience of Caligula as rape-like. Helen Mirren has more positively invoked an acid trip."-

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ancient Rome Centerpiece of New Europa Universalis edition

"Grand strategy games that model centuries of history across multiple continents can often be complex and intimidating, but the Europa Universalis series has always attempted to bridge the gap between hardcore, high-level strategy, and accessible, dynamic real-time gameplay. The series is now turning its sights to the ancient Roman Empire, with a brand-new setting, new armies, and many more new features. Producer Johan Andersson explains.

The Roman era depicts some of the greatest cultural and military civilizations that have ever existed. We felt there was so much more of this era to explore, and that the time period lends itself perfectly to the type of deep and challenging strategy we have specialized in. In addition, we are all fans of the era, which helps immensely, since we will be well familiar with every inch of it after finalizing this project.

There will be more than 50 playable nations ranging from Rome itself to smaller Gallic tribes. Of course, we have nations like Carthage, Egypt, and Macedonia as well. We chose 280 BC as our starting point because there was a type of balance between several major nations at that time, and essentially any of those major nations could have created an empire similar to that of Rome. Players will have different resources, geographical locations, characters, and governments at their disposal, which will define their strengths and the capabilities of the nations."

Europa Universalis: Rome is set for release in the second quarter of 2008.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Settlers VI: Rise of an Empire Released

In this game, the player builds lively, bustling towns in a medieval world. Everything is visible, lovingly animated and realistic.

Each settler has his or her own daily routine, with a range of different actions and behaviours that can be observed by the player at all times.

This enables him to get the best out of his Settlers, build up a flourishing economy, tend to his settlers' needs, and protect his empire against danger from the outside.

By expanding his empire, the player can aspire to becoming a legendary king or queen.

The most popular features of the predecessors in the series have been retained, and many of the fans desires and wishes were incorporated into the new game to create a very special Settlers atmosphere.

The result is a realistic medieval world, captured in intricate detail. The game features an immersive, yet transparent economic system based on the resources, wares and goods produced by the settlers in their various trades and occupations.

A very special Settlers atmosphere in a lively medieval game world!

The primary objective of the game is to create large, lively medieval towns.

The settlers interact with each other in a completely natural way and have wants and needs of their own.

Female settlers appear for the first time in the series: Men and women fall in love with each other and marry.

The lively, detailed game world is rich in animal and plant life.

The settlers' busy life is presented in lovingly rendered animations that show what is going on in a transparent way.

The world is divided into four climatic zones with changes of season and weather which influence expansion and resource gathering.

The best Settlers game of all time, featuring the best from previous games and lots of gameplay innovations!

The game's instant accessibility and gentle learning curve ensure long-lasting fun; even in advanced game missions, new features are introduced.

All interventions by the player are reflected in the behaviour of his subjects and made transparent through the animations in the game world.

Starting with a small settlement, the player builds up flourishing towns, maintains trade relations, and claims land and villages. This requires diplomatic skills.

Mining, gathering resources, and food production result from wise planning and the various occupations of the settlers.

Goods transport is optimized through skilful road planning. Upgrading buildings step-by-step improves the effectiveness of the economy and towns.

By hiring travelling entertainers and organizing fairs, the player acts as a matchmaker by enabling male and female settlers to get to know each other.

The player can build walls to protect his towns from enemy attacks. In military actions, the player must prove that he has built up his empire in such a way that it can defend itself effectively.

Missions featuring noble knights with various skills accompany the player through the epic storyline penned by Jeff Grubb.

Included in the game: dynamic single player campaign, freeplay mode with a multitude of maps, numerous multiplayer options via LAN and Internet, and a map editor.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Mummy Returns Live Stage Show

I stumbled across this website today when I was looking for promotional images from The Mummy 3. I didn't realize there was a traveling Mummy Returns Live show. I would love to see it but couldn't find any schedule for it.

"The The Mummy Returns LIVE!

Don't wake it!
Imhotep and Anck-Su-Namun have unleashed the Mummies curse. Our heroes, Ardeth Bay and Rick O'Connell, need your help! But be warned, 'Think twice before entering as you may never escape alive!'

Be thrilled and more than a little wary as you venture inside the dark tomb. Look out for menacing demons and ancient ghouls as the world as you know it is turned upside down. It's a race against time to make sure the evil Mummy never rises!

The experience
The stage show can host over 750 patrons an hour through an exhilarating and nail-biting set of 8 darkly ominous theatrical scenes. As you move through the scenes, up to 12 cast members will take you on a journey through a grisly underworld. Be careful and keep an eye on our heroes, there are nasty surprises waiting around every corner!"

Role of Evie Recast in Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

September 11, 2007 - Actress Maria Bello is best known for appearing in serious arthouse films such as A History of Violence and The Jane Austen Book Club rather than effects-heavy Hollywood popcorn flicks, but all that will change next summer when The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens.

Bello, who takes over as Evelyn Carnahan from Oscar winner Rachel Weisz, even dyed her trademark blond locks auburn for the Rob Cohen-directed actioner. The actress says her version of Evey, wife of adventurer Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser), will be tougher than Weisz's bookish heroine.

"She has the same name, but she's a very different character than Rachel played," Bello informed Sci Fi Wire at the Toronto International Film Festival. "She's a bad-ass action chick. I had to train a lot. I had to do wushu, a martial-art form, some kickboxing, swordfighting, rifle training for a couple of months before we even started shooting."

Pompeii film delayed, Roman Polanski withdraws

"Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski has pulled out of a screen adaptation of Robert Harris's best-selling novel Pompeii, reports say.

"I put a lot of work and energy into the development of Pompeii, so it is not without regret I have to decline my further involvement," he said.

Filming of the $130m (£64m) movie was to have begun in Italy this summer.

According to Screen Daily, however, the 74-year-old film-maker was unable to commit to a postponed shooting date."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Salute to Ray Harryhausen developed with iClone 2.1 Software

I am learning how to create avatars and digital videos using software called iClone 2.1 and have found other history enthusiasts using the software to recreate ancient history and mythology and sharing their efforts on YouTube. User abukhatar has created several videos about ancient legends including the Minotaur and the following video based on the skeleton fight scene from the classic Ray Harryhausen film "Jason and the Argonauts".

"Jason and the Argonauts" is one of my son's favorite films from his childhood as well. Recently, I was teasing him about the ponderous soundtrack and he said "Hey, you don't criticize a classic!!" I'm going to send him a link to this video so he can enjoy it as much as I did.

So far, my efforts have been limited to creating characters with the software. I have created a Roman Legionary wearing lorica segmentata body armor and given him the face of actor Ciaran Hinds who played Julius CAesar in the HBO miniseries "Rome". Caesar, of course, would not have worn infantry armor like this but a commander's cuirass. I'll change the head to Pullo and create commander's attire for Caesar when I get the chance!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Last Legion suffers from Weak Lead and Weak Director

Well, I saw The Last Legion on Saturday afternoon and must admit, even though I wasn't expecting a lot, it was still a bit of a disappointment. It was supposedly based on Manfredi's book but the screenwriter used only the beginning and the end and skipped all of the hair raising journey across Gaul and narrow escapes from Wulfila. Kevin McKidd's screen intensity as Wulfila outshone almost everyone else and instead of capitalizing on it, the director chose to limit his screen time and spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on the PG-13 adolescent fencing between Aurelius and the woman warrior, Mira.

I'm afraid I also found Colin Firth less than charismatic and his performance rather lackluster. There was no sense of comradeship with little band of men and not enough screen development of each member of the group to generate pathos when one of them died.

The young man that played Romulus Augustulus, Thomas Sangster, was good and those piercing eyes should serve him well if he should make acting a long term career choice. I see he already has quite a start on an impressive filmography even at his young age.

Although a little low key at times, Ben Kingsley did a good job as Ambrosinus/Merlin and could join the ranks of Liam Neeson and Ian McKellen as a believable "wise mentor" figure. Indian actress Aishwarya Rai was beautiful and quite physically energetic despite the confines of a PG-13 script. It's just too bad she didn't have someone to play opposite that could engender more screen chemistry.

I'm disappointed that Alexander Siddig, another fine actor as evidenced by his turn in Syriana, was given practically a cameo role as the Byzantine ambassador who was quickly dispatched after revealing that the emperor of the East had chosen to recognize Odoacer rather than give refuge to the boy Romulus. And, John Hannah was totally miscast as complicit Senator Nestor. In fact, a friend of mine said she wondered if his death scene was supposed to be humorous!

As for director, Doug Lefler, he'd better not give up his day job as a storyboard artist.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Last Legion promoters gearing up for August release

The marketing blitz for "The Last Legion" has started with the release of it's official movie poster.

"Rome, 476AD. The Roman Empire is under threat. A mighty force for almost 500 years, at its height Rome’s power spread from Mesopotamia in the east to the Iberian peninsula in the west, from the Rhine and Danube in the north to Egypt in the south. This story follows the events surrounding the historical capture of Romulus Augustus and his imprisonment on the island of Capri.

On the eve of the ceremony to crown twelve-year-old Romulus Augustus as the new emperor, the Barbarian general Odoacer arrives in Rome to make a deal with Orestes, patrician and father of the young Caesar. Odoacer makes demands on the power of the Roman Empire, in fair exchange for his decade-long support of the Roman legions in the east. Orestes refuses.

On the day of the coronation, as the whole of Rome gathers to watch the proceedings, Ambrosinus, the shaman who is a mentor and tutor to Romulus, predicts danger. Orestes is worried for his son’s safety and appoints Aurelius, the tribune of the fourth legion, as his personal guard. That night Aurelius and his legionnaires are confronted by a real danger—Odoacer and his army of Goths have returned to the outskirts of Rome to conquer the city.

With a deafening roar, the Barbarian army storm the city. A terrible battle ensues, the brutal invaders show no mercy and blood flows through the streets.

With Orestes and his wife Julia slaughtered, Romulus is captured along with Ambrosinus and both are taken to the island fortress of Capri built by the emperor Tiberius. It is there that Romulus finds the mythical sword of Caesar that holds the prophecy ‘One edge to defend, one to defeat; In Britannia was I forged…to fit the hand of he...who is destined to rule’."

I read the book by Valerio Manfredi and found it well paced and the characters better developed than those in Manfredi's previous books. Of course I'm also anxious to see Kevin McKidd, our dear Vorenus from HBO's Rome, playing the relentless villain, Wulfila. This film is scheduled for an August 17 release in the US.

Putting the Sin back in Cinema?

Somehow I don't think the religious right is going to take to this new approach to evangelism.

"Directed by Wain and written by Wain and Marino, THE TEN presents a series of interconnected comic sketches designed to reinterpret – and reinvent – the Ten Commandments, making them “meaningful” (and funny) to a young, hip, audience of contemporary sinners. With each story told in a different style, but containing overlapping characters and themes, the film is a grand burlesque boasting an all-star cast that puts the sin back in cinema."

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms Coming Soon!

Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms will feature 4 brand new campaigns, including an opportunity to more fully explore The New World that was unlocked toward the end of Medieval II.

In the Americas campaign, players will be able to retrace the steps of Hernán Cortés in 1519, as he seeks to explore and conquer The New World.

Players can earn the support of Spain and explore the mystery and riches of the New World, or take control of the Aztec or Native American factions and call on the Gods and the bravery of vast armies to see off this new threat.

Three other campaigns will offer more detailed “magnifying glass” campaigns within Great Britain, Northern Europe and the Holy Land, with many more regions than were originally shown in Medieval II.

13 new playable factions and over 150 new units, Kingdoms will allow players to control thousands of men on a single battlefield and lead them into conflict with new hero characters such as Richard The Lionheart and Saladin, each armed with new, powerful battlefield abilities.

In addition, players will use moated forts to garrison vast armies or seize control of key strategic points and explore new technology trees, governed by religion and prestige.

Players can experience a bloody clash between pagans and Christians in the Northern European Teutonic Wars, or take control of one of 5 factions in the Britannia campaign when England faces war on 4 fronts as once conquered lands rise up against them.

Kingdoms will also include a new expanded Crusades campaign, where players renew their fight for control of the Holy Lands, with new factions, devastating new units such as the terrifying Greek Flame Thrower, legendary heroes and powerful holy relics.

More than 75 hours of epic new gameplay.

Four huge new campaigns: Britannia, The Crusades, The Teutonic Wars and The Americas.

13 new playable factions, including Aztec and Native American factions.

Over 150 new units, including the devastating Greek Flamethrower.

Follow in the steps of Hernán Cortés and explore a vastly expanded New World map.

Open up a wide array of new regions in the Americas, plus four brand new factions and a cast of new agent characters.

Experience unprecedented detail, including 30 regions of Britain and a region map of Teutonic Europe.

Control multiple armies in battle - command reinforcement armies.

New hero characters feature powerful battlefield abilities. Encounter a huge roster of new historical characters and events.

Build permanent forts to garrison troops or seize control of key strategic points.

Release Date: Aug 29, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

History Channel and maker of "Legion" team up for "Great Battles of Rome"

"With a name like The History Channel: Great Battles of Rome, it's not too difficult to figure out what this game is about. Developed by Slitherine Software, Great Battles of Rome is a tactical battle simulator that lets you control Roman legions in battle against their many foes. Like Slitherine's previous games, Great Battles of Rome focuses just on battles. There's no strategic layer that presents you with a map of the Roman world, so you don't have to worry about moving armies around the map or managing cities. All you have to worry about is managing your army, both in and between battles.

There will be more than 100 battles in the game, divided among 14 Roman campaigns. They're all linear, too, so you must win a battle in order to progress to the next one. Most battles will be won and lost in the planning phase, before the fighting even begins. During the planning phase, you deploy your troops onto the battlefield, taking into account terrain and tactics. You'll then give them initial orders and formations for when the battle starts. For instance, you might want infantry to hold in place, and cavalry to move forward and charge. Your opening moves and stances will be critical, because once the battle begins you won't be able to micromanage it. Instead, you'll have only a limited number of points, which you can use to issue orders. That's to model the difficulty of generals to manage a battle once it has begun.

Should you win the battle, you'll move on to the army management screen, which lets you recruit and customize squads. You can control up to 20 different squads, consisting of more than 20 troop types. There are infantry, cavalry, archers, and whatever else you'd expect from this era in history, such as elephants. You earn gold for winning battles, and you can use it to purchase new squads, replace losses in existing squads, pay for specialized training for squads, or buy better weapons and equipment for your troops. The amount of customization and training is extensive, so you can really make your squads feel like your own. Once everything is set up the way you want, you'll launch into the next battle.

The battles are historically based, so you may battle Germanic barbarians in the North or campaign in much warmer climes. Each battle presents a different tactical challenge thanks to the terrain. Rough terrain might make things difficult for mounted units and ideal for infantry, while open terrain reverses the situation. Woods or hills might create obstacles that can be used to your advantage. You'll also need to study the composition of the enemy force and its deployments. If you see a weakness in their lines, figure a way to exploit it. You don't need to kill everyone in order to win a battle. That rarely happens in history. Instead, you just need to kill enough of them to make the survivors panic and flee."

Days of Wonder offer intriguing board games

I was researching a link to information about the Persian salt mummies and noticed a link to an interesting board game about ancient Egypt.

The pyramids are crumbling, the temples are in ruins and even the nose of the Great Sphinx looks like it might fall off any day now. Cleopatra is one unhappy queen. Now she has called on the members of the Society of Architects to build her a magnificent new palace in Alexandria - with a Pharaohs ransom to the design that pleases her most. Cleopatra & the Society of Architects is the newest big-box board game from Days of Wonder. This fun and engaging family game includes a true, three-dimensional palace that players compete to build. Players strive to become the wealthiest of Cleopatras architects by constructing the most magnificent and valuable parts of her palace. The twist however is that players will be tempted to deal with shady characters and trade in materials of dubious origins in order to help them build faster. While these corrupt practices might allow an architect to stay a step ahead of the rest, they come with a high price ? cursed Corruption Amulets honoring Sobek, the Crocodile-god. When Cleopatra finally strolls into her new palace, at the end of the game, the most corrupt architect (the one with the most amulets) will be seized and offered as a sacrifice to her sacred crocodile. Only then will the wealthiest architect, from among those still alive, be selected and declared the winner of the game. The component design in Cleopatra is one of the most innovative that Days of Wonder has undertaken to date with dozens of 3D pieces, Column walls, Doorframes, Obelisks, Sphinxes, and a Palace Throne ? that create the sense youre truly constructing a royal palace. Players- 3-5 Ages 10 and up Playing Time- 60 minutes

When I checked the company for other games I found this one about ancient Rome:

In Colosseum you are a Roman impresario - producing great spectacles in your arena in the hope of attracting the most spectators to your events. You'll earn wealth and glory for each event you run, using it to build ever more ambitious events. Attract the most spectators to one of your events and you'll be granted the title of Grand Impresario, with tales of your extraordinary spectacles acclaimed throughout the empire! 3-5 Players Age 10+ 60-90 minutes Content1 Rules Booklet 1 Game Board 10 Arena pieces & Expansions 5 Emperor's Loges 10 Season Tickets 1 Emperor, 2 Consul and 3 Senator miniatures 80 Roman Coins 4 Podiums 152 Event Asset Tokens and Storage Bag 7 Star Performer Awards 30 Event Programs 18 Emperor Medals 6 Help Sheets Days of Wonder Online Access Number.

I like the idea that these games can be played in 1 hr to 90 minutes. I love the beautiful graphics of computer games but most of them consume hours that I really can't spare at the moment.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ankh: Heart of Osiris

After a wild party at Pharaoh's pyramid, young Assil accidentally dumps holy urns and gets himself a death curse - there he also discovers the precious amulet Ankh.

Only Pharaoh can save Assil - however not only is it impossible to get an audition, but Assil also has another problem: Osiris, God of the Underworld, is after the Ankh.

At last a new humorous Point&Click-Adventure in state of the art 3D-graphics with attention to detail.

A funny and romatic story in a mystical and inspiring setting.

Numerous original localtions and characters create an immerging atmosphere that will amaze you.

The puzzles are always integrated to the gameplay - forget frustrating logical puzzles that have nothing to do with the game.

Self-explaining, uncomplicated interface, fair difficulty-level and above all: black humour in abundance!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ancient Wars: Sparta filled with beautifully detailed images

I see that "Ancient Wars: Sparta" has been released and is presently being offered on GoGamer during one of their 48-hour specials for only $27.90. I checked the game review on Gamespot and noticed it received a "fair" rating from the pros but a "good" rating from the regular gamers posting reviews. I browsed through the 111 screen shots and loved the detail of the imagery, particularly the sea battle scenes so I decided it was worth the $27.90 just for the pleasure of looking at the scenery alone! If the game itself is interesting, and it sounds like it would be from the overall description of the game play including the ability to individually select weapons for your troops, that will be icing on the cake.

I am also interested in the possibility of creating online history vignettes using text from original sources accompanied by images like those in this game. It would be even better if I could capture short action clips to use in the presentation.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Playmobil's version of the Roman Empire displayed in Belgium

Playmobil does its best to introduce little ones to the Roman Empire at a young age:

"If you haven't heard of Playmobil then take me to your leader so that I can persuade him not to destroy this helpless planet of ours. Space exploration is one of the only aspects of human existence not covered by the Playmobil Expo in Verviers. Displayed on three floors of the former Wool Factory, dramas have been re-enacted behind Perspex, case after case lit with colour and character(s).

A small boy ran around the Roman Empire exhibit incongruously uttering modern sounds of war while other children followed a quiz set by the organisers; one little girl was clearly tired of quizzing her little brother on the characters' occupations – "No, he's obviously a plumber!"

Dutifully, I visited each and every display, stepping with ease from the Arctic to the Sahara, travelling from ancient Egyptian to the Viking era, leaping from a pirate galleon to a 747. But I stopped dead in my tracks – as did every male of every height – at the panorama that was the Wild West."

Monday, April 09, 2007

Playlogic releases Ancient Wars: Sparta Demo

I see that Playlogic International based in the Netherlands has released an online demo of their title "Ancient Wars: Sparta" that is due to be released this month:

"Sparta is based on the history of the ancient ages and their main nations. Spartans, Persians and Egyptians are fighting for influence around Little Asia, Europe and North Africa. Historical correct timeline is 500-450 BC and the action takes place with different campaigns for all three races. Sparta represents 3D strategy in real time with the new developed “Ancient Wars Engine” (AWE), where the player will have to use each nation’s powers to be superior over other competitors and build up a driving and ruling faction.

The main emphasis is on large-scaled battles and complex tactical manoeuvres. Additional to this, a new method of army equipment is represented. Warriors can be equipped with weapons and shields, can be put on horses or on chariots and be given special abilities. The player can collect abandoned weapons after battles or import powerful weapons from other cultures to build more powerful and different special units. Additionally the forces of nature are very important, because fire, find etc. will affect the whole environment. Cities can be upgraded (e.g. turned to fortresses), workers gather resources to ensure the economic part. Sparta offers every aspect RTS gamers like."


  • Haunting storyline based on proven history 500-450 BC
  • Play three different tribes to conquer the known ancient world with 27 missions to play through
  • Huge choice of weapons, kit and armory
  • Usage of a self developed physics engine in RTS game play
  • Unique weapon equipping & trading system
  • Specific flora and fauna for different climate zones
  • Heroes with different role system effects
  • More than 15 different buildings for each tribe
  • Beautifully detailed full 3D environments
  • Breathtaking visuals with lovely details on every unit
  • Experienced team supported by the German “The Settlers” veteran Torsten Hess

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rich Persian history portrayed in new animated film

Nader Yaghma'ian, the director of Jamshid and the Sun, says his animated film, which took three years to make, is a portrayal of the "glorious realities" and "rich civilization" of ancient Persia.

He suggested Iran should make more programs like Jamshid and the Sun to depict the reality of its history and to replace what he described as "imaginary heroes" fabricated by Hollywood.

"The Tablet of Human Rights by Cyrus the Great and a famous poem by Iran's Sa'di at the United Nations is evidence of the peaceful way of life which Iranians have always searched for," Yaghma'ian said during the forum.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising slated for Summer 07 completion

Recently the folks at Gamespot had a chance to try out the developing combat system driving the upcoming game "Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising".

"Sony Online Entertainment and Perpetual Entertainment want you to start thinking about the upcoming Gods & Heroes not as a massively multiplayer role-playing game but as an action adventure massively multiplayer role-playing game. That's because the style of gameplay in Gods & Heroes is inspired by fighting such games as Mortal Kombat. When you attack something in Gods & Heroes, it looks like you're actually attacking it, and that translates into a much more intense feel to the combat." - Game spot

What I thought was particularly interesting is the inclusion of a character builder:

Characters can only be human, but you can choose a gender and a class, including gladiator, soldier, priest, and healer. The class that you select will determine which two Roman gods you can choose from to worship, and that will play a significant role throughout the game. After that, you can customize the appearance of your character, from various facial features using sliders (such as the size of eyes, the separation distance between them, and their color), to hairstyle, body build, skin tone, and more. In no time flat, we made a sleek female Roman soldier, as well as an albino male gladiator. - Gamespot

"300" places graphic splendor over inspiring story

I dutifully took the afternoon off and took my husband and another couple of friends to see the highly anticipated film "300". I had read an article by the producers of the film in which they stated their movie is more about the legend and not the actual event so I wasn't expecting much in the way of historical accuracy.

I might be getting older, but as I am not dead yet, I have to admit to enjoying the Spartan "eye candy". However, I would have preferred a more realistic depiction of the Persians. Everytime I saw Xerxes I would think of the villains of Stargate and of course, like many people, I thought Ephialtes was a thinly disguised Gollam character. I saw no reason to portray the Ephors as leprous trolls either. The men in the audience could have still enjoyed the writhing prophetess (I actually found that scene at least somewhat artistic) without deforming the Spartan elders.

I think overall, though, the film suffered from a lack of exploration of human emotions. We weren't provided with enough interpersonal relationships in the film to develop much empathy for any of the characters. I think this is a major oversight in a film whose purpose was to inspire and sadly, a common flaw in many of the films Hollywood now produces.

Of course it is accompanied by the release of a Playstation Portable game based on the film where players are invited to "Decapitate, dismember, and disembowel your enemies in bloodthirsty sword-and-spear combat."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Real World Places in Second Life: Ancient Rome

This sounds like great fun! I also like the learning potential of such a simulation. I had written to the producers of the Caesar III PC game and suggested they incorporate some of the features Mr. Golding has incorporated into his sim like being able to attend a play once you have built a theater in your virtual city, being able to attend a chariot race if you have added a hippodrome, or being able to watch a gladiator match. Mr. Golding has all of these activities included in his sim as well as the ability to drive a chariot or be a gladiator!

The Click Heard Round The World: "Torin Golding's outstanding sim called simply 'Roma' is a feast for the senses and a powerful demonstration of the potential for virtual environments to immerse you in historic places.

Upon arrival at the Roma "customs house", you are presented with a number of orientation materials as well as a free toga to help you fit in better, and get into the spirit of the locale.

Roma is a no-fly zone, so bring your walking sandals and a good map or be prepared to get lost. There are handy "magic fountains" everywhere, which when touched rez fancy litters that transport you to various spots on the sim. You can also wear a free HUD map of the city, that helped me in my meanderings.

The sim is dominated by a giant legion fortress and official structures that rise high atop the Palatine Hill. There's also a wharf area, marketplace, museum, and lush gardens.

Lots of nice accents add to the immersiveness and context of what you are experiencing. Clicking on the red markers on various sites brings up notecards that give you historical background on the structures around you. Legionaires, Roman citizens and gladiators walking around greet you with a hearty "Ave!" as you pass by. I learned more than I thought I would at the museum on Palatine Hill, which features an exhibition on sexual mores in Roman times.

You can do things you only imagined doing in the real life Rome, like climbing Trajan's column! There's a free "play" you can watch in the amphitheater, which is quite cleverly done using text, images and sound. There's action afoot in the chariot races. You can also enter the gladiator pit and duke it out with other would-be warriors. Or sit in the stands and render judgement with a thumbs up or down."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Heart of Empire: Rome release cancelled!

This is a real bummer!

"Paradox Interactive confirmed today the official cancellation of "Heart of Empire: Rome". The strategy title was to be published in Q1 2007 in North America by Paradox Interactive.

"Rome is a very popular era and there is still much ground that can be covered for this time period as far as computer games are concerned, said Fredrik Wester, Executive Vice President for Paradox Interactive. "It's unfortunate that this title will not be released, but we look forward to reveal new projects and new releases for 2007 and 2008".

"300" not just a retelling of Thermopylae

I see excitement is building for the "300" due out next month. Although I had certainly planned to see this latest ancient epic when it opens, I was a little dubious when I saw the trailer and it contained "ork-looking" humans and mounted rhinocerous. But this review points out that there has been a lot of care taken with the development of the characters in the film so I'm becoming more optimistic about the film's potential.

"A feared and revered military king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, Leonidas rules with the guidance and support of his queen, Gorgo. "Gorgo is, by all accounts, brilliant," says Miller. "She and Leonidas watch each other's backs and she is a great contributor to his strategic thinking. There is a great depth of emotion and intellectual partnership between them. Spartan women are Spartan warriors just like the men. They send the men out first, but you'll see in the movie that the women can play pretty tough, too."

Born in the rugged north of England, Lena Headey possessed an innate strength and grace that proved essential to the role of Gorgo. "Lena is so tough and down to earth and strong. And she's beautiful, with such wisdom in her eyes," says Butler. "Lena brought incredible charisma, intelligence and fire to Gorgo."

Calling the film "a story of honor, fearlessness, passion, blood and faith," Headey was ready to portray the Spartan Queen. Gorgo is not a prominent figure in Miller's tale, so Headey had freedom in crafting the character, guided by her conversations with Snyder. "She's a really strong character in the movie, just because of everything she goes through and is prepared to sacrifice," Headey remarks. "She has already lost her husband, but to admit that would be too much, so she fights, with her heart, in the political arena. I see Gorgo as the heart and instinct of Sparta, and instinct usually guides us through to the right decision."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Mummy: One more time!!!

It looks like we're in for another helping of "The Mummy" as details start to surface about the 3rd installment scheduled for a summer 2008 release.

Jeff Giles writes
: "Once, twice, three times a "Mummy": reports that screenwriter Al Gough, who is co-writing the third installment in the "Mummy" series with Miles Millar, recently divulged a few storyline details to Sci Fi Wire. Turns out that Alex, the young son of the explorers played by Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz in the first two films, is all grown up and ready to battle the undead himself.

I wonder who will be "The Mummy" this time out since Imhotep fell to his everlasting punishment in the flames of undead hades last time around. Maybe there will be a volcanic eruption that spews him back into the world of the living.