Currently at 234 minutes. I am going to cut down an enormous oak tree and fashion a battering ram out of it to hurry things up though.
By Rob on Friday, September 21, 2001 - 09:40 pm:
The siege continues: 84 minutes.
By Rob_Merritt on Friday, September 21, 2001 - 11:17 pm:
Well I got it earlier today and honestly, I'm very dissapointed in it. You really don't build anything. I was expecting something like the old pc game Castles. Here, as long as you have the resources, it just magically appears where you tell it.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, September 21, 2001 - 11:50 pm:
I have been trying to get some demos from Fileplanet the last couple of nights, and have seen counts in the 700 minutes range. It's un-frickin-beliveable!!
Bad time to be downloading demos, methinks.
By Rob on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 01:37 am:
Got it, played it. Its pretty much a super focused AoE siege game - no surprises. You build houses, your peasants show up, they work at the buildings you make. The demo has a tutor and a pure econ game, and then a defense against an assault. I had a pretty good time, but I can't see this game holding my attention any longer than Black and White did (a week or so). Once you defend 5 or 6 castles, then it must get stale. The early stuff is fun though. I liked watching the attackers come at me. I won't ruin the surprise of their attack methods. Just let it be known: beware a man with a shovel.
Although, the demo does advertise a pretty interesting campaign game. And building some castles could be pretty interesting, ala rollercoaster tycoon. Come to think of it, I would have enjoyed a game of RCT where I had to defend my amusement park against renegading men at arms (quick, into the information kiosk men!).
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 01:40 am:
It has sounded like an interesting game since I first heard details of it. I'm 126 minutes from beginning the download, myself. (Of course, don't ya know, CGM and CGW and probably PC Gamer will have all these demos that we're fighting for in the next months' issues...) I hope it turns out to be as good as I think it will be -- but that seldom happens, so I hope it'll be as good as they intend for it to be. Not that there's a much better chance of that...
Well, I hope it's a good game.
By Sean Tudor on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 03:12 am:
Well I guess if you don't want to wait in line at FilePlanet then you will have to pay for the Personal download service.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 03:13 am:
True enough. And I've thought about it. I just don't know if I use it enough to justify the cost, especially when the demo will be out on CD in a month or so from one of the mags.
By Dave Long on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 10:23 am:
One of the keys for Stronghold might be multiplayer. It's one thing to defend sieges against computer players, it's another thing entirely to have your pals climbing the ramparts.
That said, I'll probably wait for the CGM disc for the demo and be cautious if it comes out before the demo makes the disc.
By Rob on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 11:00 am:
Good point Dave, multi could be a blast. But would each side have a castle, or would one person be the attacker and the other be the defender? I'm guessing the latter. Could be fun if there are a lot of different options for attacking and defending.
This game so reminds me of the David Macaulay The Way Things Work books (so cool).
By Dave Long on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 01:51 pm:
If I remember correctly, the CGM preview said that multiple players could have castles. Hang on, I'll grab a link...they put that up on the website last week or so...
Page 3...That page has the multiplayer description. Games could conceivably be very long, but provided there's a save faciilty, they could be super fun.
By Rob on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 04:03 pm:
Yeah, sounds good. If the multi is bug free I might grab this up.
By Steve on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 10:21 pm:
The demo is on our November CD (exclusively, I might add).
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 11:24 pm:
Hey, thanks Steve. I think, given the nature of the 12,762 minute wait over at Filplanet, I probably won't see this demo until the CGM disk.
I tried last night at work, but something went hideously wrong during the download...
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 07:09 am:
Well, okay, I did manage to get the demo downloaded. Based on this, it looks spectacular. The demo gets old pretty fast, but it definitely has me faunchin' at the bit for the full version. Single player looks to be really cool, and multiplayer is, without a doubt, going to be spectacular, assuming that it's done like they plan.
This is one of the few games on my must-have list, right there next to Civ III.
By Dave Long on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 04:18 pm:
I grabbed the Stronghold demo also. Got it on the 56k overnight two nights ago from Avault.
I've only played the tutorial so far but the graphic presentation is really nice. The trees swaying in the breeze are cool. I thought it got to be a bit much after awhile, but maybe that's because I'm not used to seeing so much ambient movement in games. It's cool too that everyone has a name, even the hunting dogs. :)
The only immediate problems were the lack of one more zoom out and a hard to read mini-map. There seems to be too much clutter on there.
Once I play through the other two scenarios, I'll post more. At this point though, my interest is definitely still there for this game.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 09:36 pm:
My understanding is that in the full version there will be zoom features. I don't know about the mini-map -- I agree, it's not mmensely helpful, but you can tell when the enemy is coming towards you.
I love this demo. I'm really looking forward to the game.
By Dave Long on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 09:32 am:
I played through the economic mission and lost because I built too many houses before building enough food supplies. I also didn't realize the only way to make Gold is to tax. Now that I know how things work, that one should be a piece of cake.
I also played the siege defense mission. I successfully stopped all the troops sent by The Rat, but The Pig's first group just blew me right off the ramparts. That mission was pretty damn interesting. I was suprised by the guys with shovels filling in the moat!
The thing I really like about the game is the visual cues they put in for resources. You can really see just how much food you're going through at a glance (without it becoming a numbers game) as well as stuff like wood, stone, pitch, etc. They abstracted the building of structures maybe too much though. Just placing them and having them appear (or when repairing, you click and the wall it's fixed!) seems to break the internal consistency of the game since collecting resources is a slow process.
By Ben Sones (Felderin) on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 10:14 am:
The thing you have to get used to, with houses, is that it's really not a good idea to build a bunch straight away. Unlike other gamesd (AoE, et al), peasants consume resources, even when they are just camping around the firepit. You want to limit the number of peasants you have until the firepit is empty and you have jobs to fill. Then you (carefully) start building more housing.
By Dave Long on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 10:23 am:
Yeah, I learned that lesson the hard way last night. I was able to tweak the economy quickly to get back on track, but not before the Gold thing bit me. I think I bought one pile of Iron and got one sword made.
There's certainly a different dynamic at work in Stronghold and I think I like it. The siege was really different from most RTS games and how they handle resources. Having to hole up in the castle forces you to make better decisions about food and resources.
I'll take a break from it tonight for some more Rails Across America. We played a seven player game the other night that ended in internet woes, but it was a blast while it lasted. That was followed up with a three player game that was super fun and played all the way through. Rails is highly recommended for multiplayer fun.
By Rob on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 10:41 am:
I finished the demo last night. I had a pretty good time on the whole. I really liked the back and forth nature of the siege. The key for me was leading charges out of the castle to counterattack those pesky shovel guys, ladder guys, archers, and spearmen. The game has a sort of infopedia thing, and you can read about all the other things implemented in the game. I like the gallows and stocks that you can build to increase your peasants efficiency, while hurting your own popularity.
And as mentioned above, the fact that your resources and peasant building stats are built right into the environment is awesome. Its great being able to look at your castle and be able to judge your peasant(firepit) building, your food (granary), weapons (armory), without ever having to bring up a menu or use the interface. So cool.
The game borrows so heavily from those cross section books, you know like the Titanic one, and the castle one, etc. Its interesting to put together a working village/castle and watch it run. But, without a decent game built into it then boredom would soon set in. I think there is enough of a game there to have some awesome multiplay sessions. Its all about balancing of course. I'm putting it on my purchase list though.
Also, Bruce Geryk is gay.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 01:38 pm:
That's funny. I never went much with meeting them coming towards me. I just cranked out as many archers as I could muster, had a few well-placed pitch ditches, and that got me through. (Love putting a pitch ditch right up against the castle walls, once they've filled in part of my moat -- when those little guys with ladders come up, one flaming arrow -- WHOOSH!! It's so cool!!)
Anyhow, my strategy was pretty different. I love those archers...
By Rob on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 01:47 pm:
I couldn't figure out how to light the pitch ditches. I would make my archers near the braziers fire at the ground, but no flames ever shot up from the ditches. Is there supposed to be? Or is it just abstracted? I love the little details like the archers standing near the braziers to light their arrows on fire.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 01:53 pm:
You have to actually shoot the pitch itself -- I like to make a little path to act as a fuse leading to a larger pool of pitch. The guys standing on the walls can't hit the ditch at the base of the walls unless a.)it's huge -- like, three or four "rows" wide, away from the castle, or b.)it has a fuse.
It seemed really delayed, though. I'd tell one guy to shoot it, but it would take a couple of seconds -- I guess he just fired, so he had to get the arrow, light it, string it, pull back...Nicely realistic, but a tad annoying at first.
But, yeah, you'll see the flames. Timing's tough, if the guys are moving, but if you're going for guys standing still -- man, it's cool. :-)
I'm not always this demented...
By Rob on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 02:32 pm:
Thanks. I may have to fire up the demo again to give that a try.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 04:15 pm:
It's lotsa fun.
Really, in terms of demos, I have had more luck lately than, like, ever before. Stronghold seems like it's just gonna be too cool, and I've been playing the Arcanum demo, which is loads o' fun, and I'm gonna have to pick up the full version of that when it's cheap, or once I finish BG2: TOB, whichever comes first...Oh, and then there's the OFP demo, which I haven't tried yet...Anybody here played that game? Is it any good? I just haven't heard anything about it... ;-)
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 02:07 am:
I finally got the full version of Stronghold, and man is it fun. This may be the *ultimate* game for porcupines-- it's all about building a byzantine defense network, then watching with glee as the enemy enters the killing fields.
It reminds me a lot of Majesty for some reason. I guess it's because you don't directly control most of the people. I mean, you *can* direct your fighting units, but the real magic is in defensive placement, and getting your economy going (which is a surprisingly complex undertaking). There's not a lot of micromanagement, and after playing Empire Earth and Battle Realms, I can't say I miss that much.
So far a hearty thumbs up, but I've only just gotten to moats. The game does a fine job of ramping up the difficulty and introducing new elements. The detail can be overwhelming, but man, is it ever cool to get medieval on a massive invading force. The battles feel truly epic.
By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 02:13 am:
Has anyone here tried this multiplayer? I keep intending to get it, mainly for that purpose, but something *cough*Civ3*cough* keeps getting in my way...
By Tim Partlett on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 02:06 am:
Yeah, I tried it multiplayer but it was so buggy I dropped it and went on to other things. They've patched some of the bugs now, so it may be safe to return, but at the moment I'm embroiled in other games, like Civ3, EE, and SWGB. Also I must admit, Wumpus, that I had the same feeling about Stronghold and Majesty: my first impressions were exactly that it was a mix of AoK and Majesty.