News Archives - January 2006

Sad News
Posted on 1/16/2006 at 10:40 PM by Intrepid
On January 11th, Shiva, Age of Mythology’s dedicated Seraph, died in a tragic drowning. Shiva, a long time contributor to Heavengames was a pillar of the community and will be missed by all.

This link to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides more information about this tragic incident.

Heavengames sends its condolences to Shiva’s family.
The End of an Era
Posted on 1/11/2006 at 10:43 PM by Intrepid
Today, to the disappointment of all, Kor, the leader of Woad Creations announced that Woad Creations, after 5 years of extraordinary work would be closing its doors. Woad Creations was famous for its projects for Age of Kings, Empire Earth and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. Here is what Kor had to say on the subject:
When I created Woad Creations in early November 2000, I did not anticipate its future successes. I ended up as leader pretty much by accident and then gave it all I had to grow in stature. Over the years, many excellent designers joined, and even more social people. Together we formed a real team, even a close-knit group of friends, involved in team projects, forum games, multiplayer games, thorough discussions, and just casual chatter to pass the idle hours.

However, the design community has recently been in a downward spiral: expectations for scenario editors as well as games rise ever higher, and few can manage to succeed in both these requirements. So it is that, four or five years after The Conquerors’ expected death, unexpectedly it is still the most popular and perhaps best designing game out there. EE, AoM, and Empires all failed to ignite the vital spark to keep up a lasting community. Certainly, design teams and individual designers did their best for EE and AoM, and I’m proud to say Woad Creations took the lead with EE and Empires; but after the relative failure of EE and AoM (that is to say, it could only disappoint after the huge success of AoK’s community), enthusiasm for new games seemed to drift away and a sort of resignation set in. For Empires, Woad Creations was the only team to give it its all; TS and Punk had only lonely designers, like Hank and Intrepid, working on it (and releasing high quality stuff, I must add). However, the team’s achievement was virtually unrecognised as there were hardly any people to play the scenarios and campaigns. In two years, Pawns of the Empire has received not even a third of the amount of downloads Age of Chivalry, for AoK:TC, received in less than a year, and this is not an isolated example; I cannot blame anyone for lacking enthusiasm to design for this unfortunate game.

As many of Woad’s designers were also active in the HG community, and designing was relatively fruitless and unrewarded, they slowly abandoned their design work and concentrated on website work for Heaven Games. This step irreversibly led to an emptying of the team and its forums, and the old saying that, one day, Woad will take over HG, has been sort of reversed: HG has taken over Woad.

The last year the team has become increasingly inactive, despite some attempts to revive it, and as little remains of the glory we had achieved from AoK to Empires, I have decided this is a good time to unplug the life-support. The revival of the team would take too much time and attention – time I cannot give it at the moment, particularly with motivation absent; and the members base appears to be too small and inactive to shift responsibility to. The forums and website will remain open for a while longer, until approximately June, which is when the current hosting contract will terminate. I am not planning to extend it. Of course, I will not abandon my private design efforts, but recently those had little more to do with Woad Creations.

A glance at the past surfaces mostly positive recollections: large multiplayer games of seven Woadies versus one Empires AI on hardest; working on scenarios in co-operation with other members; the mini-Woadie meets I’ve had with Andrew Dunn, Talon Karrde and Yhagoro; Mafia games on the Woad forums.

Some negative reminiscences come up, too: from inactive webmasters to competition among design teams, particularly the peculiar rule among many teams not to allow their members to be part of another team. Woad Creations never followed that close-minded policy, but when you’re the only one ignoring it there’s not much point. We once even lost a member when a team with a “one team per member” rule shamelessly recruited a member from our team and then made him quit Woad. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose, but I’m proud Woad never stooped to that level.

In designing, too, I feel I can be proud of Woad’s achievements. With over 70 released projects for 5 different games, there was variety as well as quality in our works: from ancient Rome (Cincinnatus: Liberator of Rome, by Shiva, AoK:TC) and the medieval world (Age of Chivalry, by myself and Andrew Dunn, AoK:TC), to the American Revolution (Battle of Yorktown, by SuperHarry, EE) and World War II (Crossing the Volga, by Andrew Dunn, Empires); from set-piece battles (Battle of Rocourt, by NathraX, EE) to grand scale strategy (Pawns of the Empire, by myself, Empires). Even fictitious subjects were not shunned, as the still popular Norse Wars by Matei, for AoM, can testify. Certainly a project list that deserves to be looked into by anyone who enjoys a good map from time to time.

There’s a first time for everything, and Woad will be the first of the large teams to go out with an official statement. To continue a team with hardly any active members would be pointless, and perhaps shameful to the past; it is best to recognise the fun we had and get on with our lives, rather than drag on its existence as merely an empty shell of its former glory.
They were an excellent five years, which have taught me a great deal about leadership, designing, and how damned difficult it is to find a good webmaster.

I bid you all an excellent future and good designing!

Kor Bosch
Founder/Leader of Woad Creations
The scenario design world will great mourn the lost of this strong highly devoted team.
Midway has found a new studio
Posted on 1/11/2006 at 8:59 PM by Adder
With Stainless Steel's demise, Midway has found a studio to complete their project; it appears Midway San Diego will be finishing off Rise & Fall for an expected June 2006 release. To quote the press release:
Midway's highly-anticipated real-time strategy game that puts players in the role of some of history's greatest generals, is now scheduled for release in June 2006. The game's development is now being led internally out of the Midway San Diego studio, with a group that includes game industry veterans from the teams that developed "Heroes of Might and Magic™" and "Lords of Everquest™."
This is great news for Rise & Fall.

We've also recieved four new screenshots from Midway representative, Sean. You can check 'em out here! A couple of them provide interface screenshots. Honestly I think it looks rather tacky, but as this is an early build I'm sure it'll change.