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TWClan: Shogun 2 Edition – Android App

This week sees the release of TWClan: Shogun 2 Edition – a new Android app. Developed in his spare time by “Teknogrebo” (real name hidden to protect the innocent), one of the development team responsible for Total War: Shogun 2, the app features a clan and leaderboard server browser for the game.

Mark O’Connell (SenseiTW) caught up with Teknogrebo to ask him a few questions about the project…

First of all, what inspired you to make this app?

I got a spangly new Android phone and thought I would see what developing for it was like. It was a nice little side project to work on at home that was very different to what I do during work hours. I started with a few little demos then when it came to settling on a bigger app project the idea came to me that it would be good really good if any Shogun 2 players could be sitting on the bus home or whatever checking out where they stood on the Shogun leaderboards etc. It all sounds a bit contrived, but that’s pretty much how it was.

Tell us a bit more about it…

Well, primarily you can download the current state of all the different leaderboards, from 1v1 to 4v4, the Shogun 2 Rankings and the world/clan competitions, either on a daily, weekly or on demand basis. You can flick through the leaderboards and view the profiles of all players and clans participating. You can also go to each clan competition world and see the current state of the map, i.e. which clan owns which region. In addition to all that, there is a screen dedicated to the profiles of you and your Steam friends, so you have an “at a glance” overview of where you stand on each leaderboard in comparison to those you know, and as a little bonus extra, on each player’s profile screen you can also see their avatar in all its finery!

How long have you worked on the Total War series and what is your role?

I’d really rather not say what I do, suffice to say that I’ve been on the team since Rome: Total War days and I have a fondness for hiding cute animals in our products…

Finally, where can we get the app and how much is it?

The app is available on the Android Market place, either via the app store on your Android device (search for TWClan, or Shogun 2), or online at It is available for 99p (or whatever your local equivalent is!).

Thanks for your time!


Empire Launch Trailer

Check out the Empire launch trailer which went live yesterday, volley and thunder!

YouTube Preview Image

I know a lot of you have questions about specs and Steam and things like that, could you please direct them within the Total War Forum for now guys.  Many thanks.


Empire: Release Date and Minimum Specs Confirmed

Hello all, the Empire: Total War release date has been officially confirmed – the game will be available in stores around the world from the 4th March. In addition, it will be possible to purchase the game as a digital download from 18:00 GMT on the 3rd March, with the exception of North American and Canadian customers who will be able to purchase a digital download from 09:00 GMT on the 4th March.

You probably know already, but all retail and digital download copies require activation from Steam, so you’ll need to be connected to the Internet in order to get the game installed. For more information on this, visit

You’ve seen the game on this website, other websites and magazines, and it looks great, but will it work on your PC? If you’ve been wondering what the minimum specifications are, we can now tell you:

Operating System: Windows XP 32(service pack 2), Windows Vista 32 OS.
Processor: 2.4 GHz Single Core Intel or AMD equivalent processor.
System Memory: 1GB RAM (XP) 2GB RAM (Vista).
Graphics Card: 256MB DirectX 9.0c compatible video card (shader 2.0 or higher).
Sound Card: Directx9.0c compatible sound card.
Windows compatible mouse & keyboard.
15 GB free uncompressed hard drive space.

There you have it. If your PC hasn’t got the power, then it’s probably time for an upgrade before March 4th – it’s going to be too good to miss!


Empire: Total War FAQ 4

Hi guys,

Welcome to our fourth Empire: Total War FAQ. This month we are once again setting sail on the high seas to answer more of your Naval warfare questions.

Q: Is there a deployment stage for naval battles and if so, what exactly can be set during this phase?
A: Yes, there is a deployment phase but what can be done during the phase is still in development. We do know about the formations and tactics of the period and their benefits and drawbacks. It’s just a question of which ones actually make most sense in a gameplay environment. As we develop the game the best formations will be added to the mix. Like everything “in development”, what we have right now and what we’ll have on release may change.

Q: Can naval battle formations be set during battle?
A: They can, but it’s not always that useful. In the 18th Century, once a battle commenced, changing formations and tactics was very unlikely unless you had a lot of time and sea-room. Communication was only possible by signal flag and by sending boats. In the swirling smoke of battle both of these became impractical methods of communication. It’s a bit like forming up a “Big Wing” (for those of you familiar with WW2 air tactics) for a dogfight when the battle has already started. Changing formations can leave your ships vulnerable to attack while you try to sort yourself out. There’s nothing stopping you doing it, but you’ll need to be aware that it can all go horribly wrong – just like the real thing, in fact.

Q: Will naval battles incorporate a morale system and if so, how will this work?
A: Yes naval battles will have a naval battles morale system. It will be different in a number of ways to the land battles. We will provide more detail nearer release.

Q: How dynamic will the weather conditions be during a battle. Will wind speed and direction change regularly?
A: Wind speed and direction will change but not dramatically. You won’t suddenly find yourself in the middle of a storm, for example. You are more likely to get changing conditions from battle to battle in the same area.

Q: Will varying weather conditions affect range and accuracy?
A: Yes. The intensity of the weather will determine how much effect. We won’t allow battles in full-on storms as it just wasn’t wise or often even viable to open the gun ports in conditions above sea state 5 on the Beaufort Scale (to be a trifle anachronistic for a moment). That’s waves up to around six feet high. Fighting in a sea rougher than that risks swamping when opening the gun ports.

Q: Will the damage model include critical hits?
A: Yes. A ship struck in a particular location, will show those effects at the point of impact. So if you somehow mange to hit or set fire to the ships gunpowder stores the results will be spectacular to say the least.

Q: How will ship damage in your fleet be displayed in the user interface?
A: Through our very handy, clear and useful UI, damage will be indicated in a number of ways: per side of the ship’s hull, to the sails and to the guns. Even if you don’t bother with the UI and just look at the ship itself you will have a reasonable idea of how much trouble it is in.

Q: How will range be incorporated into the naval battles and how will it be communicated to the player?
A: Range will be indicated using feedback from positioning the cursor over valid targets

Q: Will naval battles include a waypoint system to allow the player to set a series of movement orders?
A: Yes. The player can set waypoints that will be clearly visible.

Q: What range of camera controls and views are you looking to include in naval battles?
A: This is an element that is still in development. Lots of people have different ideas about what they want. What we are doing at the moment is looking at how many of these are useful and practical.

Q: How much control will the player have over the speed at which naval battles are played out?
A: At present it is planned to allow the player to speed up and slow down time in battles as well as pause the game.

Q: Will reinforcements be included in naval battles as they are on land?
A: Yes. Although that may not be what you think it is, as we have changed the campaign map and the methods of reinforcement from Rome and Medieval 2.

Q: Can any military ship be used for troop transportation or are there specific transport ships for this purpose?
A: Troop transportation will involve commandeering transport ships as needed, filling them with troops and shipping them with a protecting naval convoy. Transports can’t defend themselves, so you’ll probably want to send a defending naval vessel with them.

Q: Can crew be trained to be more efficient and effective via campaign game upgrades?
A: Yes there are items and systems on the campaign map that will effect the quality of your ships and crew.

Q: Will there be night battles for naval combat and if so, is this an option presented to player at engagement in the campaign game?
A: Yes. They will normally be more like dusk and dawn battles than true night-time warfare. Finding a ship in the dark at sea isn’t easy unless there is enough moonlight and a clear sky. Even then, it’s hard.

Q: How will naval officers be rated and affect crew and ship performance?
A: There will be Admirals, Commodores and Captains. Commodores and Captains have a set of fixed effects and Admirals are of variable quality. Admirals, like generals, will have their own set of character traits and ancillaries that can add to their skills.

Q: Can crew from sinking ships be rescued?
A: No. The poor souls drown horribly and the sharks feed with gusto!

Q: How are lost crew numbers replenished post-battle?
A: Two ways. Either by pressing captured crew from ships captured in battle or by heading back to friendly ports for more men.

Next time we will be dropping anchor to discuss a different area of Empire: Total War, so keep your questions coming on our official forums!

Take care,

Mark O’Connell


Empire: Total War FAQ 3

Hi guys,

Just in time for Christmas, we are pleased to bring your our third Empire: Total War Q&A, featuring more of your questions from the official forums. This month we are taking the fight to the seas with an indepth look at Naval warfare.

Q: Will naval battles be fun and easy to command?
A: Where possible we have tried to use intuitive and easy to grasp controls.
There are a fair number of elements of control and game play that are shared with the land battles in Empire. Most people who have played Total War or another RTS game will select units, give basic orders and be able to move the camera around without a tutorial.
We have also been working extremely hard at making naval battles fun to play from the first minute, while leaving room for depth in the gameplay. The variety of ships available just adds to that depth and enjoyment.
The user HUD is going in the right direction, but is still undergoing refinement and development. It’s a good sign that the fans over at the Total War Center were able to work out the functionality of a lot of the prototype interface in one of the screenshots, and all with a little guesswork and no help from tooltips.

Q: What’s the maximum number of ships we’ll be able to command in battle?
A: The number of ships that will be commanded by the player is still subject to development. There are gameplay issues being resolved. It’s very likely that it will not be more than 20 per player. More than that could make battles too tricky to control, certainly for most “normal” people (or “us”, to use the shorthand term). Experts will, of course, scoff at our uselessness, but then we only have the standard number of fingers having not stitched on extra ones to give us an advantage in WOW.
What has to be remembered is that most ships have two broadsides to fire, as well as boarding actions to fight. When you mix in the effects of wind, waves, shot type selection, timing of broadsides, hull and sail damage, and the crew being killed… Well, the experience is already epic and engaging. With too many ships to control, battles could be overwhelming rather than fun.

Q: Will ships gain experience and associated bonuses and, if so will, they be gained by ships sunk or men killed?
A: Ships crews will gain battle experience and this will have gameplay effects. We’ll talk more about this another time.

Q: How are the Physics of naval combat going to work – are there going to be factors to do with the wind/weather?

A: That’s cheeky, more than one question in a question? It’s a taste of the cat, for you! Not easy to answer in a short Q and A either. Where do I start?
In this game we are looking at trying to create the best and most realistic environment and sea battles you will have ever seen, running in real time, in a game. Golly.
Ships have buoyancy models that effect their motion through and across the waves. Get a big hole in your hull and you will sink. All ships have location modelling of hull damage too.
The wind itself is modelled using simplified physics acting upon the ships, the ships sails and the sea. Rain, fog and snow are also weather that will be present in battles.
The projectiles fired from cannon each have their path and velocity tracked individually and so will cause varying amounts of damage to anything (sails, masts, rigging, hull, decks and men) that block that path. Obviously a big first-rate ship of the line is going to be able to take a pounding; a sloop, on the other hand, is going to have to rely on keeping out of the way of the big guns.
As part of creating a realistic sea battle, the sea will be using statistically accurate waveforms found in seas in the real world. These waveforms are animated using a Fast Fourier Transform. The sea surface itself is rendered using the Fresnel equation to blend between reflection and refraction. This sea acts upon the ships that sail on them, causing them to roll and pitch. This roll and pitch then effects the accuracy of the gunnery. Have we baffled you with technical terms yet? Good.
Hope that answers your question.

Q: Will ramming be a last ditch tactic that can be employed in naval battles?
A: You can certainly attempt to ram but, as you probably know, ships of this period were not really designed for ramming. The damage that you might do to your ship definitely makes this an act of despair! Ships of the line are not lightweights, and a few thousand tons of wood, steel and men colliding will cause havoc! Having said all that, a sloop should do everything it can to avoid getting in the way of a first-rate: failure is not pretty for the sloop.

Q: Will merchant ships be part of your fleet, so that the warships need to guard the merchant ships in a battle?
A: There are two types of merchant activity in Empire: trade routes and trade fleets. These can be guarded by your navies. There is a boatload to say about this so I think we are going to leave that for another time.

Q: Will you be able to see men jumping off the ship when it is sinking?
A: Yes. Some will be holding on for dear life as the ship slips beneath the waves and visits Davy Jones’ Locker. As most sailors of the 18th Century weren’t good swimmers, this is a very sad sight to see. The designers are still angling for ambient sharks (but without frickin’ laser beams on their heads).

Q: Will we be able to use captured ships in our own naval and merchant fleets?
A: Yes. There is a whole chapter that can be written about this but that’s for another time

Q: Will the ships be very expensive or take some time to build, so that recovering ships or taking ships has a real effect?
A: Yes. Building ships is a large investment of time and money. The bigger they are, the more they cost and the longer they take to build. For example; HMS Victory took 6 years from the laying of her keel, in 1759, to her completion in 1765. They are also a drain on your resources once constructed. Achieving a balanced but effective naval force will be one of the challenges of the game.

Q: Will my faction’s navy be able to take on repairs at neutral or allied ports?
A: No. There are a number of issues involved in allowing the player’s warships to enter friendly/neutral ports that don’t really add anything good to gameplay. One of the challenges in Empire will be to maintain a fleet at sea and have sufficient ports around the world to carry out repairs and replacement of lost crew and ships. If you want to do well, you’re going to have to emulate the Royal Navy!

Q: Will Pirates/Privateers play any roles in the game? Can we hire them to harass ports of call or go after enemy nations merchant ships to disrupt their trade?
A: Yes. They will raid your trade routes and on occasion attack ports that are poorly defended. If they think they can outgun an isolated naval vessel they will give it a go too. The player can raid the trade routes of enemy factions and also blockade enemy ports with their naval vessels during wartime.

Q: How will we get to India? Will you incorporate a ‘warping’ system where you warp around the map or do we sail around the Cape of Good Hope?
A: We have a cunning plan but we can’t give too much away just yet. Keep an eye out as we reveal more in the fullness of time. You will like it.

On behalf of the entire Total War team we’d like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Take care,

Mark O’Connell


Calendar Competition – November 07

“Remember, remember the blog of November. Drawings, 3D and screenshots. I see no reason why Calendar entries should ever be forgot.” – Mark O’Connell, yesterday.

The poem is of course a riff on the famous gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November 1605. The event is commemorated each year in England and New Zealand with fireworks and bonfires. All Saints Day is celebrated in the Christian calendar on 1st November, a day after Halloween. On the 11th, War veterans are remembered for both Veterans’ Day and Rememberance Day in the US and Europe respectively. Americans dine on a feast of turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving on the 22nd, and then begin the online holiday shopping season four days later during the lesser-known Cyber Monday. But enough small talk – lets get on with the Calendar Competition!

David Haigh kicks off November’s blog with a bang with a tribute to Guy Fawkes Night:

Demonstrating how much fun you can have with Photoshop and a little time on your hands is Fatih Köymen, who has upgraded his medieval troops with the latest anti-aircraft missiles. Unfortunately they will have to wait around for several hundred years to get any proper use out of them…

Maciej Sprada from Poland won last month’s Calendar Competition and has wasted no time in coming up with another cracking entry for November:

“My main inspiration to do that scene was Teutonic campaign. This campaign is the most bloody and dark of all in kingdoms. The campaign reminds me of autumn because most of all time is dusky, rainy, gloomy and foggy. So of course I included that motif in my art too.

This scene was created in 3ds max. I created all of the models myself. At the end I did some adjustment with brightness in Photoshop. That was very hard for me because I don’t have much time to do things like this (I study) so it took a couple of nights to do the scene. But I think that the last effect of my work is very good.”

Marcus Roberts from Kent, England sent in this image of a Knight stood in front of an intense fire.

“I got the Knight from a photo I had taken at a wedding. It was my uncle posing in his full armour just before the big moment. The knight was mostly made from threshold filter and playing with the contrast and colour of the photo using different layers.

I had been inspired by a number of model paintings and illustrations of Medieval battles depicting the events taking place. A knight and his army are taking revenge upon their victims in the scorched earth of the enemy’s land.

I used Photoshop 7 and Corel Painter 9 on a number of photos I had taken during the year. I combined a number of layers to create depth and colour. At different stages I printed it out and scanned it back in the piece to give a dark distressed feel.

This was an experimental piece I been working for a couple of days. I like to try new techniques and processes in both programs to take my work to the next stage.”

James Young is back for a record breaking fifth consecutive month with another fantastic pencil drawing. Here is James with the full scoop:

“November 1095, Council of Clermont. The call for Holy War. Diplomats wait nervously during a lull in the council as bishops and priests prepare the speech for Pope Urban II that will launch the First Crusade. Christ had told men to love their enemies, while Urban urged extermination. Who knows what discussions took place behind the scenes? Days later, the crowds would cry “God wills it!””

This is a pencil drawing, with ink and bleach layers, and has been digitally coloured and manipulated in Photoshop. Thanks to all for two pictures on the last blog!

Inspired by Empire: Total War, November’s winner makes his winning Calendar competition debut with an incredible navel scene. Congratulations go to Tomasz Jedruszek from Poland, whose artwork is currently decorating my desktop.

November 2007’s Create A Calendar wallpaper is available to download in two sizes here.

You have until Friday 30th November to get your entries in for December’s competition, and this month’s prizes include a copy of Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms, plus signed Total War artwork, Rome and Medieval II soundtracks. For full entry details, please click here.

As an extra treat, all 2007 Create A Calendar winners are going to have their artwork turned into a limited edition 2008 Calendar, which they will receive in the new year, signed by the Empire: Total War team! If you would like to have your art featured in this must-have collectible, get your entries in by 30th November 2007!

Good luck,

Mark O’Connell
(aka SenseiTW)


Calendar Competition – October 07

October has clearly captured your collective imaginations, resulting in a plethora of hand drawn images and Halloween-themed spookiness. We had so many calendar entries this month that I considered inventing a new month just to fit them all in! While Halloween is one of the better-known events in October, let us not forget the other key happenings from around the world. Many will discover the joys of reading during Children’s Book Week in England, Canada feasts on turkey during their Thanksgiving (8th), Turkmenistan celebrates its Independence Day on the 27th, and in its 17th year, Apple Day is rejoiced on the 21st!

Before we kick things off, I recently received an urgent email from James Young, who you may recall sent in an image for last month’s competition featuring the battle of Stirling Bridge. Anyway, it turns out he accidentally sent in the wrong version. So for his own piece of mind, here is the one he meant to send in:

Taking the term “Birdseye view” literally, Don Fellini from Australia has sent in this image of an eagle swooping majestically over a battlefield. Just in case the grandiosity of the image is ever called into question, here is Don to set the record straight:

“I’ve no doubt you have 1000’s of “epic” screenshots, but how many look as awesome and fulfilling as this?  I call it “The Eagle watches the troops storm the city outskirts”

Alexander Boros (GreatkingOfall) from Canada sent in this colourful image of the Teutonic Order modelling their autumn range of armoury.

Phil Delves (known to most as Kaiser Invictus on the forums) sent in the following screenshot of a cavalry unit appreciating the unseasonably warm October weather! 

“It’s called “El Nuevo Mundo”, or “The New World”. It’s simply an in-game image, with a bit of very basic image editing. Of course, its a Spanish Conquistador, as he lands in Mexico to start a Spanish Colony and ultimately begin the conquest of El Nuevo Mundo.”

Sarban from Turkey has submitted a wonderful pencil drawing entitled “soldier and horse” featuring a… well, you can probably guess that from the title.

“I drew it and then used PhotoFiltre to give it some yellow tone which gave it an older effect and High Quality Photo Resizer to fit the image to the Competition rules. The idea in that image is the second pitch battle of Kosovo which was between the Ottoman Empire and Hungry.  The war is very important both for Turkish and European History. In the image a tired war horse drinks water and a Turkish soldier caresses the horse’s neck.”

Bill Bockos (aka VasileiosThe2nd) has also called in the cavalry for his latest effort:

“1071 AD. Mazikert. One of the most important and famous battles of Early Medieval history. The Byzantines, after using several clever “hit’n’run” tactics on the enemy, were finally defeated by the Turks, loosing almost complete control of Asia Minor for ever. In the pic I drew 2 Turkish horse archers of a squadron, harassing a Katafraktoi squadron, who are charging against them. I firstly drew the picture with a pencil and paper, and after scanning it, I used Adobe Photoshop to further edit it (colouring, etc).”

In a nifty bit of cross-promotion, Pawel Derejczyk (Pyrrus) of Poland has sent in a dramatic drawing of a Viking, clutching to his faithful weapons as he is seemingly struck in the neck by a powerful blast of lightning.

James Young’s entries keep getting better, and this month’s (his fourth) is no exception. For partygoers, it also offers a variety of great costume ideas for Halloween!

“October 1415, Agincourt. In the approaching dusk, the English king, Henry V, surveys the battlefield.  This zealous, all-competent man had the appearance of a cleric, yet proved to be one of England’s most fearless generals. The image is a pencil drawing with layers of ink/bleach added and manipulated using Photoshop.”

In surely the funniest picture we have received this month, Joe Dodds from Australia is also the very first person to actually get dressed up for their competition entry. 

“It’s probably the worst you’ve seen this month but it was very fun making it. This idea came around when I was watching the Britannia campaign video, and at the end I saw a group of mounted Scottish knights charging a group of English. The picture was of the charging Scots and in the foreground a pair of muddy hands holding a spear. Unfortunately we’re not allowed spears in Australia, so I took the perspective of the Scots.
Firstly using QuickTime I froze the movie and took a snapshot of it. I sent that to Photoshop and worked on blotting out the Medieval 2 total war sign in the bottom. I then went outside and my brother took photos of me in a bunch of mum’s tartan material, the bad thing was our neighbours were having a party and I had no top on so I had to be discreet. I then put the masked me on top of the English and adjusted the sizes and everything. Then, after unsuccessful attempts at putting grass over my feet, I shadowed myself to reflect where I think the position of the sun would have been in the picture. And hey presto, I had a picture.”

Making his debut in the competition, Muhammed Ibrahim Kavranoglu (better known as Sipahioftheporte on our forums) has got into the Halloween spirit with this ghoulishly glowing pumpkin picture!

Ian Douglas from Leicester sent in a wonderful illustration entitled “Return October”.

“This picture was quite different for me in that it’s more of a scene way after a battle when the units are returning after war in October. It represents the Knight’s love waiting forlornly for the man she thinks may be dead in some distant land, just as he arrives. The tree is slowly beginning to brown at the onset of Autumn as the leaves begin to fall…
It was done with pencil to draft, lightly inked, painted with luminous ink colours and inked over again, but much more carefully so as not to let the black overtake the picture too much.”

We typically only feature one entry from each artist, but as Ian also created this disturbing image just in time for Halloween, I couldn’t resist!

Making his second appearance in the competition, Maciej Sprada from Poland has hit the jackpot with this winning 3D rendered image. Proving that Halloween isn’t the only fear-enducing date on the calendar, here is Maciej to tell us about the October origins of Friday the 13th:

“This is my second encounter with this competition. My main inspiration to do this Templar grave is very important date of 13th October 1307. This Friday morning was unlucky for all Templars because they were captured, arrested and executed. From that time 13th Friday is considered as an unlucky day when anything can happen.   Everyone believes that this day is unlucky but most of all they don’t know why. I wanted to show everyone the origins of why we consider this to be such an unlucky day!

(Alex Ed – I felt compelled to add here that I didn’t know this either so thanks Maciej!).
I created all models individually in 3d Studio max 8 (Textured objects I created in CorelDraw, some in Photoshop, the remaining I created in 3d max material editor). I rendered the scene and I adjusted some things in Photoshop (adjusting brightness for example).”

October 2007’s Create A Calendar wallpaper is available to download in two sizes here.

So concludes another productive calendar month of community creativity.  November’s competition has now officially started, and there are plenty of events on the calendar to use as artistic inspiration, including Guy Fawkes Night (UK) and Thanksgiving (USA).  You have until Friday 30th November to get your entries in, and this month’s prizes include a copy of Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms, plus signed Total War artwork, Rome and Medieval II soundtracks. For full entry details, please click here.

Take care,

Mark O’Connell
(aka SenseiTW)


Calendar Competition – September 07

September has 9 letters in it and is also the 9th month of the year. Coincidence? I think not. The plot thickens further when you consider that septem means seven in Latin and was actually the seventh month of the Roman calendar up until 153 BC. When the British Empire finally adopted the current Gregorian calendar in 1752, the change caused the 2nd September to be immediately followed by the 14th that year. Strange, I’m sure you’ll agree. While I continue to ponder over the age-old mystery that is September, I’ll leave you to marvel at this month’s Calendar entries…

Don Fellini from Australia kicks things off this month with the revelation that apart from our glamorous office location in England, there exists another place called Horsham down under!

“This is a screenshot in game of Medieval II. The hills in the background covering the sunset are uncannily similar to the mountains in the Grampians mountain range. If you travel from Stawell to Horsham along the highway and look to the left these hills can be seen almost identical to the ones in-game. So because I actually grew up in Stawell living in the distance of these mountains I decided to call the piece “Grampian’s Sunset”.

Daniel Mau has sent in another uniquely styled image, perhaps portraying soldiers getting back to their normal occupations after war, or a field that was once the stage of a grandiose battle and has now recovered to produce its first harvest. Or maybe it’s simply a nutritional endorsement to eat more wheat!

Neset Kaya submitted the following bleached-out screenshot entitled “Bulgaria Yeniceri”. I’m pleased to report that the depicted ambush went swimmingly…

Pawel Derejczyk from Poland has sent in another great drawing this month, featuring a lone soldier posing for the camera in the desert. Keep ’em coming, Pawel!

James Young from Devon, England returns for an epic third month with an energetic battle scene featuring more spears than you could shake a stick at!

“September 1297, Stirling Bridge. Scottish schiltroms and light cavalry smash through the English heavy infantry at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The image is a pencil drawing with layers of paint and ink/bleach added and manipulated using Photoshop.”

Maciej Sprada from Poland sent in this realistic 3D offering that shows that war can be a beach.

“First I created this model in 3ds Max 8. This was the most tiring thing because I created all the models individually. I spent a couple of nights doing that. I rendered a scene and used Photoshop filters (dry brush effects) with the proper settings. I did this because I wanted to create a scene that looked like a painting. Manual paintings representing this period always look gorgeous.

So why did I want to show this period and crusader battles? Medieval 2 Kingdoms will have premiered by September and one of the campaigns is Crusades (this is the most favourite period for most players too). For many people (me, for example :] ) this is the end of holidays… the return from exotic countries like Turkey, Egypt… so I wanted to include a sand motif too. I like this period of time and of course I love this game ;]”

Matt Naughton from England created the following image of silhouetted Roman soldiers contrasted against a cloudless blue sky.

“I took a picture from Rome: Total War using the cinematic editor tools. I then edited it on Photoshop CS2 with filters and added sharpening. I came up with the idea by watching the movement a general makes when he uses the rally option and then capturing a freeze frame of the moment. The picture relates to September because the general is issuing orders in the gleaming sun, which is a common trait of good weather in the summer.”

Ian Douglas from Leicester sent in this vibrantly coloured piece that was created using a variety of inks and pencils.

“This pic represents a last fight between two fanatical men of war under a leaf-shedding tree in September as autumn draws in. Red Semtember was created using pencils to draft, then light ink then painted over with luminous colour inks and gone over again in black ink. The idea was for a very simple battle scene trying to bring the viewer right into a personal two-man battle frozen in a moment in time. I also wanted a slightly robotic scene which is why I used characters from units that look more like automatons than humans.”

This month’s winner comes from Gary Kendall (aka Dr Gary) in Hampshire, England. No stranger to the Create A Calendar Competition, Gary first submitted an entry back in February and then made a welcome return in May. In his own words, here is how he was inspired to create this dramatic winning image:

“Traditionally, 24th September was the day on which harvesting began and the last of the crops were gathered in medieval England. This was my main source of inspiration. September also marks the start of autumn, the transition from summer into winter. Hence the reddish/terracotta hue and the worsening of the weather. The image was created in Photoshop using a number of layers, layer masks and blending modes.”

September 2007’s Create A Calendar wallpaper is available to download in two sizes here.

As summer draws to a close, so too must September’s calendar blog. I hope you have enjoyed reading it and I look forward to seeing what you send in for October’s Create A Calendar Competition, which has now officialyl started. You have until Sunday 30th September to get your entries in, and this month’s prizes include a copy of of the highly rated expansion pack Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms, plus signed Total War artwork, Rome and Medieval II soundtracks. For full entry details, please click here.

Halloween is one of the most prominent dates in October, so it’d be great to see some spooky Total War images to bewitch our desktops!

Take care,

Mark O’Connell
(aka SenseiTW)


Calendar Competition – August 07

Originally called Sextilis in Latin, the month of August was renamed in honour of Augustus in 8 BC. It’s great to see you have been getting your creative juices flowing this month, as we received an unprecedented amount of drawings and paintings. It is getting increasingly hard to pick a winner – which is testament to the number of skilled artists in the Total War community!

If you are particularly fond of any piece of artwork featured here, or indeed any other month of our Calendar Competition, we invite you to nominate the artist and work for consideration in our Total Community Awards.

Getting back to business, Neset Kaya from Bulgaria returns this month with an image entitled ‘Lets Go To The Beach’. It looks to me like they are already there…

Pawel Derejczyk from Poland sent in this dramatic drawing, set in the grips of a powerful thunderstorm.

Chris Powell from England combined photography with illustration to create this image of a lone soldier in the woods.

“I Saw the competition on your website so I went down to the wood and took a picture and then I drew a figure of a lone legionary standing in the wood from a victorious battle. I drew him in using Photo Impack 10 SE.”

Many aspects of a soldier’s life have been represented in our Calendar Competition since it’s inception last January, but Daniel Whitfield’s depicts an entirely new point of view…

“As can be seen the text states “Perspective of a drunken crusader.” The picture itself was meant to impose this image by way of the blurred effect around the edges of center of the picture (where the crusader would be directly focusing).”

Ian Douglas sent in this vivid image of bloodied soldiers standing victorious in battle.

“I actually made this picture a while back (with a few others) since I was so impressed with the game. It’s standard black pen and Indian inks with bright watercolour paint for the colour. Then I scanned it into the computer and used Photoshop to add the title lettering. It doesn’t really have anything to do with August at all except I felt the orangey warm colours might suit a warm month.

The battle at Agincourt in MTW2 was what inspired me. I simply wanted to show the exhausted King and his men after the titanic battle, say, a minute or so after the win. I tend to spontaneously draw / paint anything that I really like anyway! :)”

James Young from England returns this month with another fantastic drawing. In his own words, he kindly sets the scene for his image:

“August 1274, the coronation of Edward I of England takes place. Edward became King two years previously, but was in Sicily when news reached him of the death of his father, Henry III. This illustration is Edward taking a moment of introspection. His father’s reign left a divided nation and the worst international situation facing England in centuries. Alternatively, Henry III made England a far more cultured place, with several magnificent cathedrals built during his reign. Already a seasoned warrior at 35, what path would Edward take? The image is a pencil drawing with layers of paint and ink / bleach added and manipulated using Photoshop”.

Keep up the great work James!

Miguel Angelo Freitas dos Santos from Portugal sent in this battle scene, which wouldn’t look out of place in a history textbook!

“I used Photoshop painting over pencils. I had the idea to depict the Battle of Jaffa, in 5 August 1192 in which King Richard I jumped in to the sea followed by his knights to release the city of Jaffa from the hands of Saladin. I took inspiration from some Dore illustrations and medieval illuminations.”

Our winning entry comes all the way from James Picton in Queensland, Australia. he sent in this wonderfully detailed drawing depicting an 18th century Samurai.

“My entry for the August Total War calendar revolves around an aging Samurai looking back at his turbulent life, changed forever after the Meiji Restoration. August 2, 1869 was when “Japan’s samurai, farmer, artisan, merchant class system (Shinokosho) [was] abolished as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms.” (Quote from Wikipedia)

Thanks for considering my entry! It was drawn with a WACOM tablet using Corel Painter IX and Adobe Photoshop CS.”

August 2007’s Create A Calendar wallpaper is available to download in two sizes here.

Many congratulations James, and thanks to everyone who took the time to send in artwork this month.

All that remains is to announce the start of September’s Create A Calendar Competition, which has now officially started. You have until Friday 31st August to get your entries in, and this month’s prizes include a copy of the eagerly anticipated expansion pack Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms, plus signed Total War artwork, Rome and Medieval II Soundtracks. For full entry details, please click here.

Take care,

Mark O’Connell
(aka SenseiTW)


Calendar Competition – July 07

Previously known as Quintilis in Latin, July was renamed after the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. Also taking his name in the UK is a popular brand of dog food, but that’s another story. The United States celebrates its Independence Day on 4th July, shortly followed by Venezuela (5th), Malawi (6th), Argentina (9th), Columbia (20th), and Peru (28th).

The entries this month are amongst the best we have ever received, and I am delighted to kick things off with Neset Kaya (aka Manco) from Bulgaria. He sent in an image depicting “A brave English knight who is throwing himself in front of a hail of arrows shot from the numerous enemy archers on a warm July night.”

I took the screenshot with the Cinematic Editor and edited it with ACDSee Pro and corrected some mistakes with Picasa. I used ‘oil painting’ and changed the contrast significantly. I added a little rain and highlighted the flame arrows so that they look like meteors in the night”

Tarcea Raul from Romania (aka Gebeleisis from the forums) sent in the following sunny image that definitely couldn’t have been taken in England!

“I used Picasa II and Paint.Net as editing programs. I then added a sun layer to the photo, highlighted it, saturation soft focus effects and another one or two things that I will not point out so that they will be a secret. The photo was created without a cinematic editor and is just a photo I made during one of my custom battles. Cheers for who wins, and see ya next month.”

It’s been a couple of months since our last pencilled entry.  James Young from Devon, England, sent this detailed woodland scene, along with the following description:

“The glade exists – the picture is based on some photos I took in July last year. I figured that such a surrounding would be a welcome break in any campaign – it wasn’t all hardship and bloodshed! The image is a pencil drawing with layers of paint and ink/bleach added and manipulated using Photoshop.”

Jorg Bommes (aka Sleepy) from Germany began work on his image back in May, and the extra time has resulted in a really well thought out submission:
“The program I used is called Micrografx Picture Publisher. On the picture I worked with masks, colour brightness, gray effects, some filters, and a lucky hand at cutting, and a good eye for finding the best screens (I hope).

The first time I saw the news on, I thought of joining in. A month later I saw the film Kingdom of Heaven again. At the end of the film Saladin gets asked in German: “Was bedeutet Jerusalem? (“What does Jerusalem mean?”) He answers: “alles… nichts” (“all… nothing”). My brain kept working on… doesn’t that fit to MTW II? I have played so many MP games and with one wrong click your army is sent to hell! In the picture I tried to get the facts of good and evil together and support the thoughts of the little text I wrote with one good line, one bad, and one side dark, one side in colour. In the middle of a kind of colour battle.”

Making a welcome return to the competition is Bill Bockos (aka Vasileiosthe2nd) in Greece, with a hilarious image that wouldn’t look out of place on a postcard!

“A bored to death veteran knight, who doesn’t care at all about his general’s orders and prefers to sunbathe a bit almost naked by the beach, while a savage battle (of his own men?) occurs just a few yards farther on! Oh, and of course he has some ale to keep himself fresh and cool. I drew the basic lines with a faber castel pencil and scanned the paper to continue with colouring and editing the image in Adobe Photoshop. Also, some help from in-game screenshots I took helped a bit. ;)”

The quality continues in our next image. Tomas Mitkus from Surrey, England, sent in this dusty sandstorm image that really captures the harshness of the desert to full effect.

“I used Photoshop CS 2 to colour in, but the first few sketches were made with pencil on paper. First idea about July was that it’s summer, hot, sunny…So I came to an idea that best picture to show would be the Arabian Desert. It would be somewhere near Tunis, where a lonely pilgrim travelling to Jerusalem or Mecca gets into a desert storm.”

He’ll be getting the sand out for weeks…!

Marek Chadzynski from Poland sent in this month’s winning image. Full of vibrant colour and beautifully painted, it is guaranteed to brighten up even the dullest of desktops this month.

“At first I created simple 3D models of human forms, shield and sword. Then I found many desert photos from stock. Finally I painted everything in the graphic program ArtRage.This program uses paint techniques. I used tablet to paint, and I made several corrections in PhotoShop. For ideas I read many books about crusades, particularly about the first crusade.”

July 2007’s Create A Calendar wallpaper is available to download in two sizes here.

As an extra treat this month, Marek has kindly provided some of the 3D models he created to construct his winning image.

Many congratulations to Marek, and thank you to everybody who entered this month. I look forwards to seeing what you come up with for August’s Create A Calendar Competition – which has now officially started. You have until Friday 31st August to get your entries in, and this month’s prizes include some signed Total War artwork, a copy of Medieval II: Total War, plus Rome and Medieval II soundtracks. For full entry details, please click here.

Keep up the great work!

Mark O’Connell
(aka SenseiTW)