News archive: May 2000

No Zeus MP
May 31, 2000 11:52 AM EDT

Confirmation today of what I’ve thought for a long time, anmely that there will be no multiplayer option in Zeus. I’ll let Impressions’s Kraken \ Ironrod explain why:

This has been rejected time and again, for Zeus and for our previous city-builders. For multiplay to be interesting, the game model would need to change drastically, and would end up playing more like a conventional RTS game. That’s not what our city builders are all about.

Even with Zeus’ more interactive world level, you’d still spend 90% or more of your online time managing and building your own city, and 10% or less interacting with other players. Our AI and mission scripting will provide plenty of world-level involvement, so replacing that with human interaction would really add very little to the game — unless we morphed it into a wargame.

I hope that explains why the city building series doesn’t include multiplay…and now I’ll take you up on your offer to drop the subject! It’s settled, and further discussion would not be fruitful.

The full thread is here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Ziggy Block
May 30, 2000 4:28 AM EDT

Ever played a scenario and wondered “how on earth am I supposed to be able to fit one of my normal concentric blocks in here”? Well, ToutEnCarton thinks he might have found the solution to this dilemma, having come up with an interesting-looking zig-zag housing block which will supposedly fit into the tightest of spaces.

Moquel’s thread on how to cheat with farming continues to excite interest, as does a new thread which popped up overnight asking how those darn hippos can be controlled.

Wibble 😉

Angel Reckless Rodent

Cleo Q&A
May 28, 2000 5:56 AM EDT

The chaps over at GA-Strategy have kicked up an interview with Impressions’s Brand Manager, aka the Marketing Weasel, which sheds a bit more light on what we can expect from Cleopatra, the upcoming Pharaohx-pack:

“Cleopatra doesn’t change the Pharaoh model,” Rodberg says when asked how different Cleopatra would be from Pharoah. “In most instances it’s a continuation of the historic timeline, so players are going to be able to apply all the skills and strategies that they’ve developed in Pharaoh right to the expansion pack.” Of course, players will also have plenty of new things to keep them entertained. New overlays (screens that contain information about how well the city is working), new shortcuts, and new messaging options, are examples of how the developers have taken steps to streamline the interface, and make it even easier for the player.

Check out the whole thing here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Oi! Lazybones!
May 28, 2000 5:22 AM EDT

Ok, I admit, I haven’t updated this page as much as I should have done this week. I’ve just been ultra-busy with RL work, preparing something for a certain new site which might be popping up in the next couple of weeks, and beta testing Cleopatra. Anyway, better late than never, here’s a quick roundup of what’s been going on in the forums recently:

ToutEnCarton has a very nice-looking block which is designed to provide a culture rating of 100.
EPS_CoCreator has posted an analysis of workcamps.

That’s it for the moment. I might be back later on today for some more.

Angel Reckless Rodent

More E3 Photos
May 25, 2000 4:27 AM EDT

Impressions have posted the second and final installment of their series of E3 photos. Various going-ons shown here, inclusing the full splendour of the Zeus booth and strange happenings over at G.O.D.

On the forums, docks have reared their ugly head again, as has the question of SYs and distant deliveries.

Meanwhile, since the speed competition over who can do Rostja fastest seems to have abated, the competition spirit seems to have moved on to Saqqara. Can anyone beat 6 years?

Angel Reckless Rodent

Universal Loathing
May 24, 2000 4:46 AM EDT

The award for “Most Eye-Catching Thread Title” must surely go to this offering by Jimhotep.

It’s another look at the problem encountered by many in the longer Pharaoh scenarios, namely that the population starts to get old and stops working, but contyinues to eat up your valuable resources. He’s approaching the problem from a different angle this time, namely pondering whether one can force the older people to leave by setting low wages and high taxes. Well worth a read.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Forum Roundup
May 22, 2000 4:47 PM EDT

Since Angel Jayhawk’s pressed the “busy” button this week, it looks like you’re stuck with the mad hamster updating the news here once again ;).

So, what’s going on in the big wide world of the PH forums? Not too much actually – seems like we’re currently going through the inevitable pre-Cleopatra lull, which will hopefully disappear when Cleo hits the shelves in a few weeks time.

That’s not to say that the forums are a ghost town, far from it. Perennial number-cruncher Jimhotep has posted some musings about making babies and, of course, there’s the usual questions that are sure to get the grey matter working in Pharaoh’s Quiz, now in its 35th installment.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Cleo release update
May 22, 2000 8:59 AM EDT

Over on the Gone Gold forums, Balshazaar posted a bit of info about the possible timeframe for the release of Cleopatra:

Regarding Cleo: Look for it around the beginning to middle of July. While I’m not marketing, I believe this is the correct timeframe.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Zeus Forum Now Online
May 19, 2000 5:01 PM EDT

I’m just dropping in to inform you all that we now have a Zeus forum up over at Caesar III Heaven for you to post your thoughts and ideas regarding the upcoming Zeus: Master of Olympus.

So, head over there and start posting ;).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Qadesh Review
May 19, 2000 4:39 PM EDT

Mark Bailey has added a lengthy review to scenario #18: “Qadesh – Desert Oasis in the Sinai”. Here’s a titbit

This city situation is a fantasy containing virtually every element of the game in a very small map. (First reality, the Sinai is a desert which averages 4-8 inches (10-20 cm) of rain per year.) This city has a small lake with adjacent flood plain farming, hippos, game birds, trees, and ore bearing rock. Virtually the entire map is thick grass with a small area of desert and sand dunes. The climate is humid and malaria abounds.
Predictably you can import every raw material, manufacture and export every commodity. No way could the Sinai desert actually contain this quantity of lake, grass, trees, and hippos. The flood plain is way out of place here.

You can read all of it by browsing to the downloads section and clicking on the Desc(ription) link.

Remember, every scenario with a little pyramid has got a review hidden behind the Desc. link.

Angel Jayhawk

Need to do some serious recruiting?
May 17, 2000 4:54 PM EDT

Cherub Baltic offers a trick you can use to get more than just the single recruiter you normally get from the game. This can be rather helpful if you are expecting another big invasion, following the one that just massacred your troops.
The method is rather tricky, so you’d better take a look at the details

Angel Jayhawk

A different contest?
May 16, 2000 4:42 PM EDT

Grumpus, the Elder, is suggesting a new competition. Based on a modified version of the Good Life map. The map wil need, not just high overal scores, but also

The player who could meet the above conditions and squeeze his city into the fewest number of game tiles would win.
These tiles would count;
All houses, industry, farms, municipal structures, roads, gardens, inclosed empty spaces, inclosed water, hills, sand, etc.
There would be no military activity or requests from other cities, or Pharaoh.

It seems the discussion on the exact criteria is still on. So you may want to have a look.

Angel Jayhawk

Dwa-Kemet results are in!
May 15, 2000 5:05 PM EDT

Cherub Baltic just sent me an email to tell me so and I’m browsing there as I type. Here are the results

1. Vriesea
2. ToutEnCarton
3. JWorth
1. Akhen, a.k.a. alisaan
2. JimMRooney, a.k.a Jimaaten
3. Jayhawk (Heh? That’s me!)

For the full report and descriptions of why these cities were chosen, click here.

Angel Jayhawk

Download update
May 15, 2000 3:59 PM EDT

I just received a messaged from Angel Draco, who’s advised me of some of the new aquisitions to our download section. First of all, Keith Heitmann’s Pirates of Perwadjyt has been uploaded so you can try this 125 year plus challenge. Ocatvian II’s Jericho is another, as is Stringbag’s Hippo Stomp a scenario with a difference.
Last but not least there are two scenarios by Emre Yigit.

Let me repeat Emre’s plea from the Game Help forum.

If you download a map and play it, could you please, please, please put some comments in the Scenario forum? These people have spend time and effort in creating little works of art all aimed at letting you have a good time.
The least you can do is say: “Thanks you.”
That’s not too much to ask, now is it?

On a different page, but still in the download section is a saved career game from Cherub Bradius, also known as Inkblot. It’s the final Hetepsenusret map and Bradius managed to score an unblievable 501,783 points.
I think I should download that one and have a look myself….

Angel Jayhawk

The cost of…beauty
May 14, 2000 2:36 PM EDT

Beauty is a word that can also be used to describe this wonderful bit of numbercrunching, brought to us courtesy of Jimhotep. In a lovely little essay he offers us some formulas that might explain the cost of statues as a factor of their size and usefulness.
Click here for the gory details.

Then there’s a curious little thread pertaining the perambulations of the bazaar ladies. Henrica wonders if they may be having friends or relatives live in some of the houses they supply.
If you want to know more

Angel Jayhawk

Downloadable Glyphgenerator
May 13, 2000 1:37 PM EDT

Tulip has made a stand alone version of the Glyphgenerator, so you can design your blocks in the quite of your off-line. I’m downloading it as I write, so I don’t have any comments yet.
You can find it here.

There’s another interesting take on the age old question of: “Where do I put those pesky entertainment venues, so they won’t confuse my walkers too much?”

Grumpus the Elder has also been thinking about these and other problems and has designed a new and wonderous housing block.

Angel Jayhawk

Cleo Screens
May 13, 2000 7:59 AM EDT

The Adrenaline Vault is showing of 3 Cleopatra screenshots that they scored at E3. The same shots can also be seen over at 3D Portal.

They basically show the Caesarium stuck uncomfortably in the middle of the countryside, a war scene where I can’t spot anything new (apart from the crippling debt ;)), and the library (with zoo in the background).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Zeus Sketches
May 12, 2000 4:20 PM EDT

Daily Radar also has their E3 Zeus preview up an running. Main difference is this one contains some sketches of characters we might see in Zeus.

Check them out here.

Thanks, Reed!

Angel Reckless Rodent

Zeus Preview
May 12, 2000 3:32 PM EDT

The guys at IGN have slapped up a preview of Zeus detailing some of the information that they garnered at E3.

Nothing hugely exciting if you’ve already seen our world exclusive interview, but worth a look nonetheless.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Itchy’s E3 Diary
May 12, 2000 4:42 AM EDT

Impressions’s official Friendly Face On The ForumsTM Itchy ( ;)), who looks like he made it to E3 after all, has posted part 1 of his E3 diary on the Zeus boards.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Lost on the way to Thebes?
May 11, 2000 4:58 PM EDT

One of the great fansites out there, Grumpus the Elder’s “Which Way To Thebes?”, has moved to a new URL.

So, rather than heading to the old GeoCities URL, use this one if you want to see all the latest updates.

He’s got a new housing block on display today…

Angel Reckless Rodent

Zeus @ E3
May 10, 2000 4:40 AM EDT

Over on the Sierra C3 discussion board, they posted a list of the games which will be appearing at E3. Here’s the one we’re all interested in:

From Impressions Games, the development team that brought the world Pharaoh and the Caesar(tm) series, comes Zeus: Master of Olympus, the sixth game in their award-winning City Building Series. Zeus, set in a mythological ancient Greece, serves up a world filled with the likes of Hercules, Athena, Ares, Medusa, the Minotaur, and many others. Players build and rule Greek city-states while summoning heroes and gods to protect their land from monsters and other Greek cities. Easy to learn, and quick to get in and out of, Zeus promises to be the most fun city building game yet.

Angel Washizu from Age of Kings Heaven will be at E3, so he’ll be grilling Impressions about Zeus ;).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Updated Expansion Pack
May 9, 2000 4:32 PM EDT

Wow, they sure slipped this one in quietly. You can now download version 1.2 of the Enhancement Pack from the official site. No word on what it does, but I saw someone on the official forum say that it solves the Iunet problem thrown up by v1.1.

Update by ARR: I’ve extracted the changes from the readme file that game with the EP. I’ve posted them in this forum thread.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Welcome Cherub Bradius
May 9, 2000 3:32 PM EDT

Let me take the opportunity to offer my congratulations to Bradius and welcome him to this slice of Heaven.

May his keyboard never get stuck and may his wings never grow tired.

Angel Jayhawk

New Staff Member
May 9, 2000 6:29 AM EDT

Since SenetEr’s departure a couple of weeks ago, Jayhawk and I have been considering who we might be able to bring in as a replacement.

Well, the bell rang this morning for Cherub Bradius :). You can welcome him to the staff here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Scenario design help
May 8, 2000 4:35 PM EDT

Cherub Baltic has posted some useful information on possible problems with importing food when designing your own sceanrio. Here’s a little excerpt

Recently, I have observed precisely the same problem with unavailable barley and flax appearing in my SY in a mission I have designed… and I realized that I’m importing chickpeas and fish at the same time. Now, is that just a coincidence, or does the combination of fish and chickpeas import have something to do with it? Hard to tell, but on my second run through this mission I imported chickpeas only, and the problem did not occur.

The thread already received some replies, maybe you can add your 2c?

Angel Jayhawk

SenetEr’s Housing Block Essay
May 8, 2000 12:35 PM EDT

Here’s something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while (hmm…I think I’ve heard that excuse before).

I’ve moved ex-Cherub SenetEr’s excellent Housing Block Essay from the Game Help archives (where it was originally put, for some strange reason known only to the inner workings of the forum) to the real Game Help forum where it rightly belongs.

I’ve also added it to the strategy section.

Still not checked out our Zeus World Exclusive? No? Tsk, tsk… ;).

Angel Reckless Rodent

Are we playing on a level field?
May 7, 2000 3:07 PM EDT

The little thread, asking you what level you play the game keeps getting bigger and bigger. If you haven’t told us your preferred setting, you could do so now.

The taxes thread has expanded to include other factors the influence a city’s mood. Jimhotep added a little table combining the effects of wages, taxes, population, unemployment and other factors. Naturally this little gem attracted lots of feedback.
You can find it here.

Angel Jayhawk

One week left….
May 6, 2000 10:31 AM EDT

There is only one week left before you have to return your attempt at Dwa-Kemet. On the other hand, if you haven’t started (or even downloaded) it, you still have a week to attempt a competition with a difference. No speed contest, no overpowering invasions, no excessive scores or housing levels, instead all Pharaoh asks of you is a beautiful city…and some resources…and maybe a few troops.
Want to give it a try?
Click here.

Stringbags has uploded the second part in his trade trilogy: Mediterranean Trade.

Angel Jayhawk

Survey Time
May 6, 2000 4:14 AM EDT

Impressions are currently running a couple of surveys to discover where their fans are situated.

The survey corresponding to Pharaoh can be found here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Adventures in Byblos
May 5, 2000 4:44 PM EDT

Byblos, must be one of the harder missions in the campaign, judging from the amount of posts it generates. This thread has a lot of pointers, including a minimap of Byblos, to offer a suggested layout for your city and its defences.

There’s also a nice recap on trick to get rid of your aged population. For those that don’t care for old people…you can find it here

Angel Jayhawk

Another interesting scenario
May 4, 2000 4:38 PM EDT

Pirates of Perwadjyt, by Keith Heitmann. This one sounds interesting, not just because the name sounds hauntingly familiar, but also because it’s supposed to take more than 100 years to finish. Here’s an excerpt

You must defend your city with just your naval forces and armed walls and towers. Don’t get Phraoh mad, it only takes a small landing force to do major damage to your city.
You must still fulfill military aid requests and normal requests.
Even I hovered on the brink of total destruction more than once while play testing this scenario, but managed to just barely stave off defeat.

Don’t you just love the author’s confidence. 🙂
There’s already some comments to be found, here.

Of a somewhat different nature is Jimhoteps’s post on the Gods. It tells you all about how to get them mad or really excited about you.

Angel Jayhawk

Remember Trade Wars?
May 3, 2000 3:23 PM EDT

Sure you do…
Here’s a small review by forum Regular Pounce the Unfortunate

You have done it again Stringbags! An excellent scenario that will test even the best players.
I liked the way that building space is limited making you think really
hard about where to build, the way you have set out the floodplains so
that access is limited to certain areas and the use of the little “creeks”.
Trade was hard to exploit so making money was a bit of an issue.
This is probably not much of an in-depth critic, but I reckon most people will find this an extremely challenging and rewarding game.

Now we can only hope he also put this little comment with the scenario itself…

Angel Jayhawk

Condensed Interview Available
May 3, 2000 9:19 AM EDT

I’ve re-read the interview I posted yesterday on the subject of Zeus: Master of Olympus several times since, and seem to have discovered something new every time I look through it.

So, I’ve posted a condensed version of the interview so you can get out the information you want to know without having to wade through a sea of words ;). You can check it out here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Games = Education?
May 3, 2000 6:07 AM EDT

Something you might want to take a peek at if you’ve got a spare moment today is this article writted by Angel Alexander I concerning how one might use games like AOK to teach people.

Now I have a whole new excuse to play games…”But Mum, I was only learning German ;)”

Don’t forget to check out our world exclusive Zeus interview

Angel Reckless Rodent

Housing an army?
May 2, 2000 3:50 PM EDT

That’s a bit of a confusing title I think, but it does drag your attention to two of the topics that are discussed on the Game Help forum.

The first is a little essay from Grumpus the Elder and is about the pros and cons of evolving houses. The discussion is centered on the costs of improving housing, when there is a necessity to import basics like pottery and beer.
Does this really offset the amount of tax income that is generated by the higher levels of housing?

The other thread is a wonderful, meticulously analysis of the behaviour of Pharaoh’s troops. Vriesea answers such burning questions as.

How long does it take to fill up a fort?
Which fort will be filled first?
What’s up with my morale?

Go and have a look, it’s definitely worth your while.

Angel Jayhawk

Zeus Exclusive!
May 2, 2000 2:05 PM EDT

We here at Pharaoh Heaven (and HGS in general) like to provide our visitors with some little exclusives from time to time, but I think this one just about takes the biscuit. After Zeus was announced by Impressions, I sent off a few questions about the game, and they were answered by none other than Chris Beatrice, Director of Design and Development.

This is a world exclusive, and means you don’t need to wait until E3 for your mouth to start to water ;). You can check out the interview here.

Angel Reckless Rodent

Beta Testers Chosen
May 2, 2000 1:35 PM EDT

Short but sweet, here’s the word from QA Manager Greg Sheppard regarding the status of the Cleopatra beta test:

All Cleopatra Beta Testers have been chosen and have received notification via e-mail. Thanks to all who submitted applications — we’re glad to see that you are as excited about Cleopatra as we are!

Angel Reckless Rodent

Trade Wars problem
May 1, 2000 4:13 PM EDT

Some of you may have tried Stringbag’s Trade War scenario, and found the Libyan waterborne invasions a tad too silly. They’re transports just make a lot of splashes, but never seem to go anywhere.
Well, it took Cherub Baltic a serious amount of time, but he’s figured it out.

Libyan Transports have speed 0 in the Figure_model_difficulty.txt. I edited the Very easy model, started the game at Hard, and when the invasion came (transport stuck as usual), I just switched to Very easy – and there it was, coming down on me!

You can read more details in the Scenario Forum.

Angel Draco tells me there’s another 8 new scenarios added to the Scenario Download section. So if you are done with the career, or just want a change of atmosphere…why not check them out?

Angel Jayhawk

New P-toons
May 1, 2000 8:48 AM EDT

I’ve finally got round to adding in a couple of P-toons that I’ve had in my inbox for a little while.

You can check them out here.

Angel Reckless Rodent