News archive: April 2000

Wonders of the Ancient World
April 30, 2000 4:32 PM EDT

I just watched a bit on the 7 wonders on Discovery channel (Europe), too bad there’s so many commercials…

What was nice were the various computer simulations of those wonders that don’t exist any more (that’s all but the Great Pyramid). There were some interesting images about the Pharos in Alexandria and it seems Impressions is following the old sources, based on ancient coins and descriptions.

Next week, Sunday, promises three items on pyramids and Egypt, including looking for an explanation on how nicotine and cocaine traces could be found in Egyptian mummies while the closest source for these is 10,000 miles away to the West.

Angel Jayhawk

Palatial estates without large statues?
April 29, 2000 5:38 PM EDT

Vriesea is looking for alternatives on the use of large statues to boost the desirablility when building palatial estates. You can add your suggestions here.

Angel Reckless Rodent has passed the 4 Mile Barrier. You can congratulate him in the Senet House.

Angel Jayhawk

Zeus Waffle
April 29, 2000 11:05 AM EDT

Would you like some chocolate sauce or maple syrup with your Zeus waffle, sir?

Anyway, here’s an update made yesterday to the official Pharaoh site:

The first issue of Thunderbolt, the official Zeus newsletter, will be released within the next two weeks! Be sure to sign up to get the latest updates on the game’s features from Zeus’ development team. Click here to sign up!

Time for Full Circle…

Angel Reckless Rodent

Abu who?
April 28, 2000 4:16 PM EDT

A little thread discussing some of the problems you might encounter in Abu just surfaced in the Game Help forum.

There’s also what seems to have grown into an essay on taxation rates at hard difficulty and the way it differs with normal difficulty. It seems people are less willing to accept high taxes, but do they protest as vehemently as Howard Beale thinks they do?

Angel Jayhawk

Have you introduced yourself?
April 27, 2000 4:41 PM EDT

Who is who in the Senet House?

A new try has been made to figure out where all these wonderful people come from. So if you haven’t told the forum, from what neck of the woods you hail…you can do so here.

If you want to have a try at the current ‘short’ story thread have a look at Once upon a time. This particular story is a free for all where the idea is not to add more than one or two lines per post.
Why not give it a try?

Angel Jayhawk

Advice for beginners
April 26, 2000 4:59 PM EDT

There’s a rather nice thread with some great advice for beginning players. The question is: How fast do I build? Do I spend all my money in one great splash or do I save and build slowly?
You can find some tips here.

Gold is the topic of this other little thread. How do you get it? Where do you put it? And…is it really worth it?

Angel Jayhawk

Iken with a difference
April 25, 2000 4:49 PM EDT

A lot of people have had serious trouble facing the invading troops in Iken, especially when playing at hard level. Here‘s an intriguing alternative tactic described by Bryce.

Stringbags is busy posting some interesting little fact-lets on the game. His latest one is on the difference between getting pottery or chariots…

The previous contest scenario, Secret Mission, has given rise to a discussion on what exactly makes people idolise you as a god. You can find it here.

Angel Jayhawk

Speaking of Downloads…
April 25, 2000 1:12 PM EDT

Angel Draco updated the downloads page a couple of days ago with the following:

In Custom Scenarios
There is an updated version of Keith Heitman’s Four Winds. It seems he left in the ability to import gold in the first version. Also check out the two latest maps from Stringbags: The Trade Wars and The Pass.

In Completed Cities
Stringbag strikes again, this time submitting his (her?) version of Trevor Hall’s Gulf Splendour along with a very candid review of Trevor’s map. Also check out Nerdicus’ 9 progressive saves from his winning try at the contest mission Secret (expert).

Check it out here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

More Download Counters
April 25, 2000 11:43 AM EDT

Angel Spineman has put together a few more nifty little scripts to help sort out the wheat from the chaff in the downloads section. You can now view the following:

The 10 most recent additions to the downloads section
The 10 most popular scenarios
The 10 most popular cities
There are links to those pages on the right hand side of this page, just underneath the headlines.

Angel Reckless Rodent

New Strategy Article
April 25, 2000 11:33 AM EDT

One of the eternal number crunchers, Nero Would, posted this thread in the forum a while back detailing everything you ever wanted to know about entertainment in Pharaoh, but were afraid to ask.

It’s now found its way into the strategy section. Click here to take a look.

Angel Reckless Rodent

April 25, 2000 6:05 AM EDT

Whilst not strictly Pharaoh-related, I know that quite a few of you out there use ICQ, so I figured I might as well let you know that a new version has been released.

It’s ICQ 2000a, and you can pick it up here. I’ve been using it for a day or so now, and it seems fairly stable. The new look takes a little while to get used to, but does have the air of a more professional product.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Micro-Management 101
April 24, 2000 4:48 PM EDT

One of our resident number crunchers, Nerdicus, has started a little thread on micromanaging your city. He’s looking for some more input.

There’s a nice detailed starter by the name of Midnight in the Dunqul Oasis in the Game Help forum. The author would like some extra input though, as he normally stays away from the military sceanrios.

Angel Jayhawk

More Zeus Waffle
April 24, 2000 10:33 AM EDT

If you want to read more about Zeus, then there’s an article up at Gamecenter about the game’s announcement.

Nothing new there, just another perspective ;).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Zeus & Mythology
April 24, 2000 4:46 AM EDT

Impressions lad Balshazaar made a post to the Zeus discussion board dealing with Zeus and mythology:

You really know nothing more about the game than what the press release says. I wish that I could tell you more to dispell your worries, but I cannot! However, wait until after E3 to voice such concerns — I think you will find that many of them are unfounded.

Try to think of it this way: an important part of Greek History is Greek Mythology, and in the sense that it is, it will be incorporated into Zeus. That does not at all mean that other historical aspects of the game are being thrown out the window!!

A bit of re-assurance for some of us there.

Angel Reckless Rodent

New Contest Mission
April 22, 2000 6:28 PM EDT

Also from the keyboard of Cherub Baltic, we have Dwa-Kemet, the latest contest scenario available for download. This one is more of…well, I’ll let Baltic explain:

Winning criteria:
Nicest city wins!
For the first time in our contests, there are no mathematically defined criteria for winning. Instead, a jury will evaluate your city design.
The city you submit must awe and impress the jury with your city layout, the overall beauty and appearance of your efforts. Plan and build a city you would want to live in, whether you are a scribe or a woodcutter. A few huts may be necessary for realism and efficiency, but slums will not impress the citizens of your city or the jury.

Follow the link above for more information. The maps so far have been fantastically designed – well worth downloading even if you’re not intending to participate in the contest :).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Secret Mission Winners
April 22, 2000 6:24 PM EDT

Cherub Baltic has announced the winners of the Secret Mission winners. Here they are:

Expert Class
Nerdicus – Oct 4, weapons:8
JWorth – Jan 5, weapons:7
Tomek – Apr 5, weapons:0
Max – May 5 (4)
ToutEnCarton – Sep 5 (26)
Jerome – Jan 6 (5)
Vriesea – Jun 6 (12)
cappanna – Mar 7 (2)
kabouter – Jul 7 (20)
Stringbags – Sep 7 (4)
link1986 – Oct 9 (2)
Da Pharaoher – Sep 11 (29)

Novice Class
Merepatra – Oct 5, weapons:30
Jill Lord (Neferjili) – Oct 5, weapons:20
Jayhawk – Nov 6, weapons:10
Tootenkamin – Nov 6 (1)
Henrica – Nov 7 (20)
Sherikiya – Nov 7 (7)
Bulldg60 – Jun 8 (5)
homegrown – Jul 8 (35)
Isis – Jan 9 (4)
Beshaw – Aug 10 (14)
Alisaan – Apr 11 (3)

Angel Reckless Rodent

Final Cleopatra Pics
April 22, 2000 6:19 PM EDT

All good things must come to an end, and our series of Cleopatra screenshots and pics is sadly no exception. I’ve just posted the final installment, showing off a couple of wireframe models.

On a related note, look out for an interview about Zeus coming up next week.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Trailer News
April 21, 2000 2:15 PM EDT

Well, I said I’d say what it was like, and here I am ;).

If you’re bandwidth-impaired, then don’t bother downloading it. It doesn’t show anything of the cities that you’ll be building in the game – it’s basically a movie of Zeus throwing a thunderbolt at a Hydra. If AOL ever lets me get into the PH server, then I’ll post some screenshots of it.

If you’re on a cable modem or similar, then you might as well grab it – it’ll only take a couple of minutes after all, you lucky people ;).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Greeceing the wheels…
April 21, 2000 1:38 PM EDT

Here’s the announcement that we’ve been waiting for:

April 21, 2000 (Cambridge, MA) – Impressions GamesTM and Sierra StudiosTM today announced the sixth game in their series of successful city building strategy games, ZeusTM: Master of OlympusTM. Set in ancient Greece, the youngest classical civilization portrayed in the series, Zeus serves up a world filled with heroes, gods, and other mythological creatures. With tasks that can be completed in less than an hour, Zeus promises to be quick to learn and the most fun city building game yet.

Zeus: Master of Olympus is a game of politics and trade, gods and heroes, immersing the player into the mythology and daily life of ancient Greece. Players will build legendary city-states like Athens and Sparta and guide their evolution by building colonies, invading or trading with neighbors, by attracting heroes to rid the countryside of monsters, or even calling on the gods themselves to help keep the mortals in check.

“Zeus is designed to be fun for strategy gamers of all levels,” said Chris Beatrice, director of design and development at Impressions Games. “Most goals can be completed in under an hour, and players have a lot of choice about how to develop their city-state. Even people who don’t normally play computer games should get a big kick out of this.”

“Gamers have really embraced the City Building Series to make it a great success – Caesar 3TM and PharaohTM have sold over one-million copies combined,” said Jim Veevaert, vice president of marketing for Sierra Studios. “With Zeus, and its quick-to-learn gameplay and humor, we are projecting another big success.”

Check out the official site (not much of it, though there is an 8mb trailer which I’m currently downloading – if you’re on a slow connection and aren’t sure whether it’s worth it, hang around and I’ll let you all know here) here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Final Call for Cleo Beta Testers…
April 20, 2000 6:53 PM EDT

Here’s a little message that’s currently being displayed on the official Pharaoh site:

Notice: The sign up for the Cleopatra beta test will be closed at 12:00AM EST tonight.

Still got about 6 hours to go, so head over here if you want to be in with a chance.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Pyramid Blessings?
April 19, 2000 11:48 AM EDT

An interesting snippet here from the Marketing Weasel, posted on the official forum here:

Quite possibly, if waiting for monuments to be built turned you off. Cleo will inlcude a new blessing from the gods that completes your monument _very_ quickly, but even if you get excited again, please NO MORE ALL CAPS!!! 🙂 – Xander

Angel Reckless Rodent

Forum roundup time
April 19, 2000 4:49 AM EDT

Time for your daily forum fix ;). I think I’ll go for the “functional” look today:

Angel Draco is getting all excited about the lighthouse monument in Cleopatra.
Innovandora has returned to ask about favourite sounds.
There’s an interesting idea from the keyboard of aphrochine for some kind of housing block contest.
In the Game Help forum, magne is puzzling about why his granaries don’t have any workers.
The Secret Mission contest is approaching its conclusion, so don’t forget to send those entries in.
There you go. That’s about all for the moment. Perhaps I’ll be back later :).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Beta reminder
April 18, 2000 10:22 AM EDT

Time for a quick reminder to those of you who were away over the weekend that time is running out if you want to apply to beta test Cleopatra – all entries have to be in by April 28th (the beta agreement which you have to post that is), so you’d better get a move on.

You can sign up here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

April 18, 2000 10:20 AM EDT

More Cleopatra pics for your delectation today, and the Lighthouse monument makes its first official appearance in its full glory.

You can check it out here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

While the Hawk is away…
April 17, 2000 4:22 AM EDT

Angel Jayhawk’s going to be away this week (I think he’s down in good old Mediolanum again for some reason), so you’re stuck with boring old me updating the news around here again ;).

Boring is certainly not a word that can be applied to the “Secret Mission” contest map. It’s one of the best user-made maps out there, and well worth a download, even if you’re not planning on taking part in the contest. If you are, then a note of warning: it finishes on Friday, so you’d better gett hose entries in.

Elsewhere, we have pretty much normal service. There’s a bit of Cleopatra speculation in the Senet House based on the screenshots that have been released recently (more of those might appear tomorrow), and a post in Game Help asking about worker population.

Perhaps more later. For now though, it’s RR, signing out ;).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Another free bonus
April 16, 2000 12:22 PM EDT

Moquel rediscovered a glitch in the game where you can add oracles and altars to your temple complex for free. All it need is one extra click.
If you want to know which one, click here.

There’s a little thread on the benefits of exotic block design. It offers some interesting views.

April has brought us half a dozen new scenarios so far. This includes scenarios by such familiar faces as Stringbags and, looking a little further back in time to late March, Trevor Hall.
So, if you’re through with the career scenarios, or are just looking for a little bit of entertainment on the side, why not try a few of these.
And don’t forget to tell the authors and evryone else what you think of them on the Scenario forum.

Well, that’s going to be the last news you’re like to see form me, as I’m off to Milan, Italy for four days and Brugge, Belgium for the next three. The former is business, the latter pleasure.

Angel Jayhawk

Trouble with granary workers?
April 15, 2000 5:12 PM EDT

Well, if you have there’s a huge post on the Game Help forum about this problem. It offer’s loads of sugestions, tips and other useful information.

Then there’s some information on malaria, in answer to a question from kabouter.

Jimhotep has posted a rather nice new block design and is looking for comments.

Angel Jayhawk

Ssssh…can’t you read the sign?
April 15, 2000 10:16 AM EDT

Normally, the convention inside a library is to keep as quiet as possible so you don’t disturb the other people in there. However, in the case of the Great Library, one of the new monuments which will be available in Cleopatra, I don’t think people would mind too much if you were to let out a few gasps of delight.

Why? Well, take a look for yourself ;).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Cleopatra Beta!
April 15, 2000 4:05 AM EDT

If you want to help out by testing the upcoming Pharaoh X-pack for bugs and other oopsies, then now’s your chance :).

Just head over here and fill out the signup form if you want to be considered.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Designing scenarios
April 13, 2000 4:52 PM EDT

There’s a whole lot of posts over on the Scenario forum. From story design to tips on things not to do and of course answers to all your questions.

There’s a real interesting block on display in game help, a Snake block. It’s designed to be used in those scenarios where groundwater is scare.

A more…how shal I put it…arcane thing is happening in the Senet House. Cherub SenetEr, him of the blue longjohns, is on trial for stealing crystal glasses and a muffin pan from the Recovery Room. You migt need to hurry to find it as the first part filled up in less than 24 hours…

Angel Jayhawk

Cleo Pics @ GameSpot
April 13, 2000 1:38 PM EDT

Spotted this while on my daily surf around the gaming sites out there. GameSpot has got a load of “screenshots” from Cleopatra:

Impressions is currently putting the finishing touches on the expansion pack for its empire-building game, Pharaoh. Titled Cleopatra, the add-on will feature four new campaigns and 15 new scenarios, picking up where the original game left off. Additionally, Cleopatra will have new buildings, tiles, and industries designed to improve the player’s kingdom.

Cleopatra should start shipping sometime in July. In the meantime, you can take a look at the new shots Sierra sent us earlier this morning.

I put “screenshots”, because (as Innovandora would surely be ultra-quick to point out) they seem to be comcept pics rather than actual in-game shots. There are a few of the library, a few of what looks like the frontage to Abu Simbel, and a few which look like tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Worth a look if you’ve got a few minutes to spare before the boss comes back from lunch break.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Two bumps…must be a camel
April 12, 2000 3:08 PM EDT

Err…actually it wasn’t there’s two bumps lifting up the Contest Rules. If you want to play, but are not sure how it works, why not have a look?

The current contest is SenetEr’s Secret Mission. It’s a desperate race against the clock and Pharaoh’s increasingly bad temper. Not for the weak hearted, but a lot of fun.
I think I will actually send in my results…

Angel Jayhawk

Latest Cleopatra screenshots
April 11, 2000 3:48 PM EDT

Normally Angel Reckless Rodent would be putting these up, but he’s run into a spot of difficulty. I think he’s ran foul of the dreaded “transient conditions on the network”.

His latest offering is a monument: the Caesarium. There are three shots showing various stages of modelling this monument and a wonderful overview, displaying it’s unique blend between Roman and Egyptian architecture.

Angel Jayhawk

Message from our Downloads Angel
April 11, 2000 3:19 PM EDT

Angel Draco has a few words of explanation for us regarding teh Download pages.

You may have noticed that some cities and scenarios have a small “pyramid” symbol” by their name. This indicates that someone has submitted a Player Comment about that city, which can be anything from an observation about the city to a critical review of a custom made scenario. Anyone can post a Player Comment by clicking on the link found in that city’s Description Page.

Also please note the Downloads are updated daily, just the news is Download news is down to a single update per week.

Octavian II has put up some tips for use of the Mission Editor. They’re crips and clear, so you’d better have a look if you’re still struggling with your own scenarios.
For more tips you can check out this section by Impressions’ Ironrodiken.

Angel Jayhawk

All quiet on the Western Desert front
April 10, 2000 3:04 PM EDT

A strange calm seems to have settled over Pharaoh’s Egypt. The Game Help forum is draped in near silence, hardly anybody seems to be wandering around the Contest Corner.
Very strange…could it be the hyenas caught them all?

There’s a post that asks about your use of the games…ideosyncrasies. Do you (ab)use them?

Then there’s a spiffy concentric block presented by non other than Jimhotep. I looks real neat, so why don’t you have a look?

The Senet House offers a story, like in the Caesar 3 Olde Days. Short posts, two, three lines at most and free for all. You can join here. No need to sign up, just go ahead and post.

Angel Jayhawk

Throwing bricks?
April 9, 2000 4:56 PM EDT

Well, some of us can’t as there seems to be a problem with Scully’s brickmakers. He’d be glad of some ideas because he’s running out of them.

For those of you that have reached the gruesome task of building a pyramid in South Dashur, this is where you can find some tips and tactics.

Angel Jayhawk

How many debens would a deben thief steal if a deben thief could steal debens?
April 8, 2000 3:56 PM EDT

This could get your tongue in a serious twist, but it’s one of the questions, currently up in the Game Help forum.
Another burning question seems to be how far a labourer will walk in order to get to the floodplain?

And another request for beta-testers, this time from Stringbags. As usual this is a pretty hard mission with both military and economic goals.

Angel Jayhawk

More Cleo Screens
April 8, 2000 9:19 AM EDT

And yes, in response to Innovandora’s complaint that the first 2 pics were “more like artwork previews” (fair comment I guess), I’ve adtually put up 2 real screenshots this time.

One depicts a battle scene that doesn’t look overly different from the sort of thing you see in Pharaoh at the moment (but what are those guys riding…horses or hippos?), and the other is…well…umm…different. You’ll see exactly what I mean if you take a peek.

Angel Reckless Rodent

This papyrus scroll will self-destruct in five seconds…
April 7, 2000 9:40 AM EDT

My dear General, Pharaoh is very upset with you and your family. Pharaoh, however, is not as heartless and pitiless as the desert sun. You have a chance to redeem yourself and restore your family fortunes. The way out for you is through Nubia, for good or for evil.
Pharaoh has a mind to restore the borders of Egypt once more into the lands the Nubians have stolen from us. To accomplish this goal he is asking you to secretly amass a mighty strike force in a location only known to a few. From this secret base, Pharaoh can lead the troops and crush Nubia, catching them unguarded and unprepared.

Thus starts the introduction to the latest scenario on offer in the Competition Corner. As usual it’s available in both a Novice and an Expert map. You can read more about it here.
I’m actually thinking of signing up myself.

One more thing, there’s some general rules to be found on the same forum.

Angel Jayhawk

Scenario news
April 6, 2000 4:36 PM EDT

Darth Bane is looking for one or more beta-testers. It might have something to do with the Book of the Dead…

Of course if you’d rather design your own scenarios, you can go to the Scenario forum for loads of tips.

Jerome opened an interesting thread about micromanagement or more exactly, how to avoid it when using granaries.

Angel Jayhawk

Cleopatra screenshots are here!
April 6, 2000 2:52 PM EDT

Here’s your first opportunity to take a look at a load of screenshots from Cleopatra, the upcoming Pharaoh expansion pack.

I’ve got a grand total of 14 to show off over the next few weeks, and I’ve already posted 2 on this page, and there will be more appearing in the near future.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Storage yard discussion
April 5, 2000 3:27 PM EDT

There’s a thread in the Game Help that offers quite a lot of information about one of our most favourite buildings: the storage yard.
It neatly combines most of teh older tips and tricks and even picked up a few more.

Vriesea, has found us another intrigueing question. He wonders what our least used building is. You can voice your opinion here.

Angel Jayhawk

Tripple Millenium
April 4, 2000 4:00 PM EDT

The Millenium Club has three new members quizmistress Caylynn and Cherubs SenetEr and Marcus Lindicus. I can honestly say, I hope they will post a lot more.
Clicking on the links will get you to their congratulations threads.

Donduk is asking for help with South Dashur, he’s having serious trouble trying to get the money to roll in. I’m sure he’d love some help.

There’s a few tips on getting the most out of your pyramid polishing crews as well. Just follow the link.

Angel Jayhawk

April 3, 2000 4:44 PM EDT

Bubastis. It’s not a new thread, but it offers some thoughts on Bubastis, looks at different levels of play and even has a trick or two. Want to know more?

Moquel is having a hard time in Sawu. He may not be the only one, so if you’re struggling in the desert, you may want to take a look at this thread.

Angel Jayhawk

Desert Survival result
April 2, 2000 4:45 PM EDT

Well, Cherub Baltic and the rest of the Contest Team have been busy again. They’ve compiled the results for the Desert Survival sceanrio.

First place in the Expert Class goes to:
First place in the Novice Class goes to:

Two special awards go to Isis for letting all hyenas survive and Da Pharaoher for the most prosperous city.

Angel Jayhawk

More housing blocks
April 1, 2000 5:14 PM EST

Pharaoh Alan has posted his palace block. The block is centered on the temple complex and can be found here. The other one is by Octavian II and can be found in the Stratgy Section. You can leave your comments here.

A curious thread has shown up in the Senet House. It’s got all to do with fears and phobias. Here’s an extract

ooohh.. Reckaphobia

Want to know more?

Angel Jayhawk

Primary Post Piccy Posting
April 1, 2000 4:51 AM EST

Hmm…I thought Hawky was going to post about this last night. Oh well, he must have had his mind on other things when he popped his news piece up last night.

Anyways, we’ve formulated some new guidelines for posting pics in the forums. You can read about them here (ignore Osiris…he was just a test and I haven’t been able to get rid of him due to things outside my control), but I’ll do a quick summary for those of you who don’t click links.

No pics at all in the opening post of a thread, even sig pics. Pics (including housing blocks using the Hawk’s glyph generator) should be posted in the first reply.
No pics whatsoever over 50kb. If you have one larger than that, then post a link to it so people can open it at their leisure.
Signature pics should be kept to around 6-7kb.

This should help to keep the forum loading speedily for people on slower connections, and might also help in preventing the occasional forum hiccup.

Thanks in advance for your forebearance :).

Angel Reckless Rodent

A History of RTS
April 1, 2000 4:43 AM EST

There’s a neat article over on Incite called The History of Real Time Strategy. Since Pharaoh is itself an RTS, I figured it might be of interest to some of you out there, hence the post.

As always, the obligatory snippet:

Although certainly not THE most popular genre of the ’90s – that honor would go to adventure games (believe it or not) – it has certainly been one of the most influential. Remove real-time strategy games from PC Data’s decade-long top 20 (complied since 1993) and you’re left with two strategy titles: Sim City 2000 and Sim City Classic. And in case you haven’t noticed, they are real-time themselves, albeit without combat.

Angel Reckless Rodent