News Archives: July 2000

Off the Hamster’s Wheel

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 28, 2000

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

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 26, 2000

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.

The date for Beta rollout is not yet firm.

Updated IGN Preview

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 21, 2000

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.

Zeus Trade

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 21, 2000

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

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 19, 2000

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.

Graphics Wibblin’

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 18, 2000

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.

I think that Zeus’ look will grow on you, especially when you put it in the context of the overall game. FWIW, I didn’t like the approach at first, until I started playing. I’ve now reached the opinion that it is absolutely correct for our game — which is why I’m not a designer or art director!

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some of you will insist to the end that “realistic” equals “better”. I do hope that you’ll reserve your final judgment until you see the graphics within the context of the game as a whole. Graphics are only part of the whole, which includes music, sound, text and gameplay.

PC IGN Preview

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 18, 2000

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

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 13, 2000

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 ;).

New about the Zeus Map Editor

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 12, 2000

A quick snippet here about the possibility of a Zeus Campaign Editor, posted by Kraken in this thread in the official forum:

The decision regarding whether, when and how to release the Zeus Campaign Editor has not been made.

It’s unlikely to ship with the game.

RR comment – While it’s sad if a map editor of come kind isn’t included on the retail CD, I like the sound of “Campaign Editor”. I’ve always hoped that, at some point, Impressions would put something out which would allow people to string more than 1 mission trogether and make a proper campaign, as one can do with, say, AOK. Kraken’s words here would seem to suggest that might be in the offing here. Oh well, I can but hope ;).

More on Micromanagement

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 12, 2000

Kraken paid a visit to the ZH forums yesterday and made a comment or 2 about micromanagement and walkers in Zeus:

Players who choose to micromanage their walkers will benefit from increased efficiency, but those who are more, um, relaxed about it won’t find their cities crashing down around them because a load of something was delayed by a month or someone took a wrong turn.
Prolonged neglect of distribution or access problems will still have serious consequences.

You’ll also find that walkers behave better than they ever have before.

All in all, the system is more forgiving. Our objective is to lessen the amount of compulsory city management and instead give you higher-level challenges.

And now…

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 8, 2000

…For something completely different ;).

Angel Alexander I has posted another article about life in Popayan, Colombia, written by 1 of his English students at the university there. You can check out what Elizabeth has to say right here.

If you missed the first installment of this series, you can see it here.

Happy about the spelling now Alex ;)?

Dates followup

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 7, 2000

Impressions’s Archon\Proconsul\Vizier Conan has posted a followup to Kraken’s post about the timeframe for Zeus:

The focus is on the Heroic age, Dark Age, and the Classical Age. Pretty well from the time of the Mycenean Palace cultures up until the Roman period. As usual, we strive to maintain historical accuracy, but sometimes have to make some sacrifices to make an entertaining game.

On the wires…

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 6, 2000

It’s being reported by the KPA (Kraken Press Agency ;)) that Zeus will cover any and all time periods of Greek history:

> And last could ya’ll PLEASE tell us the time line,
> or even a hint (bronze, iron, hellenic, classical,
> Homer, Pyrrus, Arostocracy, Democracy…)

All of the above. Zeus will include elements from the Dark Age through the classical period. It differs from our previous games, though, in that there will not be one huge mega-campaign, but rather a collection of smaller ones. Think of it being more like an anthology of short stories than an epic novel.

Should you wish to wibble…erm…read some more, then you can do so here.

Zeus = Easy?

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 5, 2000

Not according to Kraken:

In C3 and Pharaoh, city-building for its own sake was the main challenge of the game. We could have kept this in Zeus by changing around numbers and relationships and such, but we’d just be asking experienced players to solve the same ol’ puzzle with a new set of pieces.

Instead, Zeus starts from the position of “You know how to build a city” (or, if you’re a newcomer to the series, “You’ll learn quickly how to build a city”) …then goes on to add “and now here’s what you can do with it.”

In other words, the city isn’t being built for its own sake or to please an authority figure, but rather as the tool that you’ll need to solve higher-level challenges or achieve your own goals.

His post was a pretty hefty one, so the above is only a wee snippet. Click here to view the rest.

Zeus Interview at GameSpy

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 1, 2000

GameSpy have interviewed Impressions’s Alex Rodberg, aka the Marketing Weasel. Here’s an interesting little quotation:

GameSpy: When did work begin on the Zeus project? When can gamers look forward to a demo or to the final release? (Forgive me for getting ahead of myself here!)

Alex Rodberg: Development on Zeus began in earnest in August of 1999, but Zeus builds on a lot of materials developed for Caesar III and Pharaoh, so its roots go back many, many years.

Zeus is slated for release in October of 2000. Gamers who want to sample some of what Zeus has to dish out will be able to download a demo around the same time.

Ok, October 2000, make a note in your diary ;).

New Screenshot at ZH

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 1, 2000

I’ve posted the final new screenshot which I had sitting on my HD.

GameSpot Zeus Preview

Posted by Angel Reckless Rodent on July 1, 2000

GameSpot has a preview of Zeus, complete with some screenshots. Here’s a little snippet:

There will also be a more robust world map to let you interact with and trade with other cities in the Greek empire. Greek politics and world events will play a big role in the game, unlike in the previous City Builder games. In fact, Zeus has many new enhancements, in addition to its switch to an easier difficulty setting. The interface as well should receive enhancements, which will make it more informative and more intuitive.