News Archives - July 13, 2000 - August 23, 2000
|Addendum to previous news item|
Okay, I lied, it wasn't The Ancient One that wheedled the information out of Kraken, it was his friend Zeus Jr.
I'll try not to let it happen again.
Itchy took some time out from doin' his thang to post this little message on the official forum:
I know you all have been anxiously awaiting more news on the beta test - we've been pleasantly overwhelmed by the response and it has taken some time to sort through the more than 10,000 people who signed up. Anyhow, e-mail invitations to participate in the beta test will be going out by Friday, so watch your mailboxes!
First naked sheep, and now adventure length...you cup does verily runneth over .
Anyways, here's Kraken a-krakin' about...umm...adventure lengths:
Zeus adventures are shorter than the campaigns of our previous games. They each take place within a human lifetime. You may play them in any order, so there's no notion of a single dynasty or career.
|Misplaced naked sheep|
Oops, can I blame solar spots? Anyway, the following message accidently appeared on the Pharaoh Heaven news page. So to put things back into perspective...
A while ago, in the interview Angel Reckless Rodent had with Chris Beatrice, the latter mentioned Naked Sheep. Now we've all been pondering about what that subtle hint could mean. The Ancient One recently managed to tease the answer out of Impressions' Kraken when he visited the IRC chat our Greek friend has set up.That's all folks...
As well as the announcement of the closure of the beta signup period (see below), there's been a wee bit of activity from the Golden Girls ( ) on the official forum today.
This thread contains a bit about the way suggestions placed on the forum are treated:
For the most part, we read our boards looking for topics that are of popular interest -- that is, what are most people discussing or complaining about? The designers are highly unlikely to see a specific suggestion and adopt it...but they might see a general topic, read the messages relating to it, and let those messages influence their own design.
There's also this small snippet in this thread:
Adventure design and creation is still in progress, so we don't want to talk about it.
|Beta Signups Closed|
Nixon posted the following little message in this thread on the official forum to let us all know that beta signups are officially over:
While the application period has come to an end, we are still making selections from the 10,000 plus applications we've already received. The selection process will continue for approximately one more week. Those who are selected will be informed via email.
|More words from the wise|
While checking the Impressions site, I've found a few more nuggets of information. The first is from Kraken and concerns water distribution.
The common folk need deliveries from a water bearer. Elite homes have their own wells, and don't need a public water supply.The second one, again from Kraken, has to do with the Naming of Walkers and introduces another Impressions' staff member.
Agagagnon is the Namer of Walkers. Her nose is buried deeply in the manual and the online help at present...and then there are all those people clamoring for a newsletter...but I reckon she'll be combing the boards for names when her documentation tasks are wrapped up.Another nugget concerns the speech of the walkers and how that will be handled both in the final game and in the beta
All speech is performed by professional voice actors. Auditioning and contracting with them is a big project in itself.Again a lot of things to look forward to.
|More info and screenshots|
Here's a bit of news brought to our attention by Impressions' Itchy. GameSpy published an interview with Chris Beatrice, Impression Games' Director of Design & Development concerning Zeus.It contains a lot of (new) information and some new screenshots. Here's an appetizer
Over 40 [ gods ]? Is that all? There are so many gods, heroes, quasi-gods, half gods, other immortals, and even just kick-ass mortals that it really boggles the mind! I'm sure your average ancient Greek citizen had no trouble keeping them straight, right? Anyway, eventually the Greeks settled on the twelve Olympians, plus Hades as their main deities.What? Still here?
|More on beta testing|
Angel Gustavia pointed out to me, a little article on the up coming Zeus beta testing on the Electronic Boutique site. Here's a snippet:
Be one of up to 350 beta testers chosen by Impressions and you will receive a pre-release playable version of the new city building strategy game filled with heroes, gods and other mythological creatures. You'll be able to build a working Greek metropolis, toy with the gods and earn a place for yourself on the world stage. Testers will be asked to provide frequent feedback and suggestions directly to Impressions Games.The site contains a link to the beta signup, so if you're still hesitating...
Browsing the offical Zeus forum over at Impressions I found a few more tantalising titbits. First of all Kraken on Zeus walkers
We've hired smarter walkers to work in Zeus. They do, however, retain free will.Next is...a joined effort with Kraken responding to a longish post of your's truly on the various military units in the game. It's a bit long to quote, so I'll just put in the link.
Another crumb from Kraken is concerning the future:
We know what we're doing next, although we haven't announced it yet, and we're quite excited by it.For more of the same, click here.
That's all for now...
|Beta Test sign-up has started|
I just had a note from Sinuhe and Robert, who mailed me an updated Pre-release FAQ. The biggest change in there is the message that the sign-up for beta testing has started.
You can find the sign-up page here.
This is Angel Jayhawk filling in for Angel Reckless Rodent. However, since he left the official forum has been very quiet. So quiet that people have been wondering what the Golden Gods are doing...
In my opinion that can be only one thing, i.e. working even harder on Zeus than before. So please be patient and don't wander all over that Impressions board. Okay?
|Off the Hamster's Wheel|
This is just a quick note to let everyone know that I won't be around for the next 20 days or so until August 17th. Please direct all urgent enquiries and things you may want posting on ZH to Angel Jayhawk during my absence.
See you all in mid-August .
|Beta Test News|
No, it's not ready to happen yet, but Kraken posted this little bit of news about it on the official forums:
Beta test planning is in progress. We'll let you all know when signup is opened, and we'll explain the process and requirements at that time.
|Updated IGN Preview|
IGN PC have updated their Zeus preview which details some of the gods and heroes with a few little screenshots for you to gawk at:
This isn't so much an info update as it is a content update. Why? Because we've got screens of the game now, and we thought we'd put them in the preview to go along with all of the great hinkfo. So read on through and learn about the next city building/strategy game to come from the same people that brought us Pharaoh and Caesar III.
Kraken is back to his regular posting schedule on the official forum now, and offered up this little tidbit about trade in Zeus:
There are definitely some changes in Zeus that make trade more efficient and easier to control. (Unfortunately, I can't detail them for you just yet). However, the basic trade quota system remains in place. There are still annual limits on how much each trade partner will buy from you or sell to you. Zeus' changes make it much easier to reach those limits.
Click here for the full thread.
|Zeus Snippets at Gamecenter|
Itchy swung by our forums to let us know that Gamecenter has posted a small preview of Zeus based on a build they saw last week. Here's a little wibble about gods n' monsters:
When you're not dealing with gods, you're dealing with heroes and monsters. If the Minotaur is threatening your city, you can try to lure Hercules to town by building heroic structures and holding sporting events. Or Poseidon could create a Kracken to defend your harbor.
Kraken posted a long(ish) spiel to the official forums (read it here) in which he stated (once again?) the reasons for the somewhat cartoony style of graphics we'll be seeing in Zeus. Customary snippet time (not the whole thing though, you'll have to hit the link above for that):
Zeus emphasizes mythology and storytelling (what some of you call "fantasy") more than our previous games have done, and our designer and art director agreed that a whimsical, storybook look was desirable. We are not trying to be photorealistic.
|PC IGN Preview|
IGN have posted another preview of Zeus, as they promised to do a month or so ago. It focuses mainly on the gods and heroes you'll encounter, and here's a little snippety-type thing:
Demeter: The goddess of the harvest and one of the more important gods if you've got hungry mouths to feed. Demeter can help your cause by turning previously unfruitful soil into meadowland (all farms must be placed on meadow). She's also tight with the Cyclops who will vengefully attack any city she's displeased with.
|More About Map Editors|
Kraken has posted a followup to the message I mentioned yesterday about there being some kind of a doubt over whether the Campaign Editor will be included in the initial Zeus release or made available later. It's a long blurb, so you'd do well to click here to read it all yourself, but here's a bit which caught my eye:
Players created some truly excellent missions for our previous games, but you'll probably agree that there are many substandard ones out there, too. We want to ensure that all of our customers have a positive opinion of our work, and if player-created missions were to appear within weeks of our debut, the general opinion of Zeus' quality would suffer.
Perhaps I'm just biased here, but I don't think the above is necessarily the case - just take a look at AOE and AOK, both of which shipped with map editors and which have sold well over 2 million copies each. Still, I guess it'll always be down to the designers to decide upon what comes on the CD, so I'll bow to their judgement .