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Archive for the ‘Gold Code Day’

Day Trip to SEGA

“Dreamdate with Total war”
“Absolutely stunning” “Top Game of 2006 -5 stars”
“Latinkon figure ate my hamster!!!”

 

No my friends you haven’t been transferred
to a movie/game review site, All the above comments come from me and are all
vaguely related in some way to CA’s newest game Medieval II Total War :)

 

Hi everyone I’m Shireknight one of the
proud forum members of Totalwar.com and here are my thoughts on the Gold day
event that I was lucky enough to be invited to a few days ago.

 

Firstly let me say what I expected this day
to be about and what I expected to happen then Ill go into detail about what
actually did happen. I first expected to arrive at Sega where I
would be introduced to The Shogun and then taken into a large room full of
Gaming press and the other guests from the forums, where we would be shown a
movie probably followed by a Q&A session.

After this we would be taken into
a room with a few PC’s in it where the press people would hog all the computers
leaving us “Gold day winners” to just watch from a distance while
every now and again The Shogun would come over to us and ask “enjoying yourselves
guys?” to which we would all half grin and feign interest -WELL THINK
AGAIN!!!!!

 

I arrived at Sega’s London HQ at 13:45 and
was quickly ushered up to the 5th floor of the building. Within seconds The
Shogun, AlexSega, SenseiTW, and a couple of CA boffins (sorry guys I didn’t
grab your names) introduced themselves.

 

We were immediately taken into a average
sized room where in the corner sat a huge platter of food, 5 PC’s were already
set up in the middle of the room and running MIITW. The Shogun just told us to
eat as much as we want and enjoy ourselves.

Within seconds we were all stuck
into the game big time -all the factions were unlocked so we could be anyone we
wanted to be -I picked the Holy Roman Empire.

 

For about 2 hours we were left in peace to
just get on with whatever we wanted to do -when I say left in peace what I mean
is there was no-one trying to push us in a certain direction so that we only
saw the things they wanted us to see and not go where they might not want us to
go -we were free to do anything at all.

 

All the guys stayed around to answer all of
our questions and so in a way it was like a 2 hour long, private Q&A
session where you could actually point to something on the screen and ask a
question about it in real time -In my opinion this was an excellent way of
running the event.

 

After about two hours of solid gaming The
Shogun suggested that we should play a huge battle over a LAN network to which
we all eagerly agreed.

 

There were four people in our group
FrogBeastEgg, One of the Leo_Honorius clan members (Tibilicus I think) the guy
that covered for edyzmedieval and me :)

 

We played a 2vs2 Scenario battle called
Mountain Redoubt and the map was incredible. Me and Froggy vs the other 2. I
have to admit that the map was so large that I never saw Froggy at all until
the battle was almost over.

 

As you can see below, the map has features
that you can actually climb and use to your advantage.

 

At the start of the battle I divided my
army into 2 parts and sent the smaller part up the Left ramp and the main part
up the main ramp towards the building. Froggy is far, far right of this
picture. 

 

 

At the top of the left ramp a large battle
broke out in the Red area, However I was able to send a sneak unit of infantry
along the top of the ridge (the Green line) and then into the rear of the enemy
forces -this caused them much grief and in the end swung the fight for me. 

 

 

By now my main force was bogged down by
fighting and never even made it to the main ramp but because of the success my
smaller force had had I was able to send them screaming down the main ramp and
they ploughed right into the rear of the enemy forces 

 

The enemy I was fighting now completely
routed and I headed back to the building to see If I could find Froggy. From
the building I could see she was about where the Green circle is. I started to
head there but before I got even close she had been routed and the enemy she
had been fighting was on his way back to the building to engage me. 

 

 

(please note that these are NOT pictures of
the actual battle -I have taken these pictures from a mock up battle I made for
this blog)

 

I won’t bother bragging but I will just say
that I upheld the honour of the .com community and was the last guy standing
once the battle was over :smokin It was very close though, I only had a few
foot soldiers and 2 quite battered Archer units left -all four Generals had
perished In the fighting.

 

The LAN battle took about an hour and I
finally left Sega at 17:15 armed with my very own personal copy of the MIITW
Collectors edition version of the game.

 

All in all the day was excellent, all the
guys were top blokes (unfortunately MikeB could not be dragged from CA’s
offices for this event or he was avoiding my request for an autograph lol) and
were really open and frank about the game.

They could have just sat there the
whole time refusing to answer specific questions but it was not like that at
all. Every question I asked got an answer.

 

If I was offered the chance to go to the
Gold day event for the next game in the Total War series I would again jump at
the chance and I strongly recommend that anyone else that may be offered the
chance accepts it straight away.

 

On a personal note I would like to extend
my gratitude to The Shogun for inviting me in the first place :) 

Shireknight

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TWC Gold Code Report

Hey folks, this is Lusted from www.twcenter.net with my exclusive Gold Code Day Report for the Total War Community Blog.

First off I’d like to say I think I came across a bit manic at the event as I was talking lots and behaving like a kid in a candy shop.

After an uneventful journey up to Kew Bridge station, I met up with Tom Laverick, the winner of the TWC competition and we headed to SEGA HQ Europe. Luckily the directions I had been given were accurate so we got there in about 10 minutes. After waiting around for a bit we were joined by the rest of the people for the morning session: Ben, the competition winner from Heaven Games, and an admin from the site whose name escapes me.

Then we were joined by Richie (aka The Shogun), Mark (the TW.com webmaster) another CA Dev, and Alex the SEGA rep. We were shown to the room where we would be getting to play the game. Unfortunately as the original date for the event had been changed, we were not in a big conference room, but in a smaller office which was baking. But all thoughts of the heat were lost once I started playing the game.

The game is just immense. We all know by now that it is hugely beautiful, but I am still surprised by how much better than RTW it looks.

But of course you guys do not care about the graphics, you care about 1 thing: the AI.

The first thing I did when playing the game at the Event was start a custom battle to test Palamedes claims about the AI on very hard. He said that even TW vets would lose on this difficulty.

I am a TW vet.

I lost.

The AI took me completely by surprise and rushed me, exploiting gaps in my line to surround parts of it and rout them, before overwhelming my last resistance.

And contrary to what some people were saying after the dev blog on morale and fatigue, their effect does increase with difficulty level, and it affects both the player and AI equally. I have also seen no evidence to suggest the AI gets bonuses on vh as I managed to rout some of its unitslike how it routed some of mine.

Shocked after this I decided to start a campaign as the English to see what the campaign AI was like. Played for a few turns, conquered York, I was preparing an army near Caen for a crusade I was going to launch when the Scots attacked York. Before you al scream in despair, the AI attacked me because I had moved most of the troops out of the city to join the army near Caen, so it was vulnerable to attack.

Later on at the event as Sicily, I annoyed the Byzantines in diplomatic negotiations with them. 2 turns later they attacked me and took Durazzo from me.

I also noticed that your alliances with other factions affect your power rating that other factions will use in diplomatic negotiations.

I also saw the campaign AI merging armies much more than in RTW so there were bigger armies going around instead of lots of little ones. It also has varied troops in its armies due to the new recruitment system.

During my time playing the campaign I got to see how many of the new features in M2TW I was interested in worked.

The first of these features and perhaps the most interesting one is the city/castle system. The differences between the two are much greater than I thought, and make for some interesting strategic decisions. You need to maintain a balance between the two types to keep the money coming in, and troops rolling out. Cities get some free upkeep militia units, but are more prone to unrest and corrupting governors. Castles produce your best troops, multiple units per turn, but you cannot change the tax rate of them.

Next feature I saw was Papal elections, as 3 turns into my English campaign the Pope died. 3 candidates from the College of Cardinals are put up for election based on their piety, then you can vote for who you want, and (I believe from reading the manual, but I’m not sure as I have not had another chance to test this yet) you can negotiate with other factions to get them to vote for you.

Crusades in M2Tw I feel are also much better than those in MTW. The system for them is better, and your Papal standing affects your ability to call one. Once one has been called you then assign one of your armies to become a crusading army, you get Crusader units to recruit like you would mercs, and increased movement points to get you to your destination faster.

Next I’ll talk about the funnest part of the event, a LAN match me, Tom and Ben did.I chose the Russians, Tome the Scots, and Ben the French. We fought on a very interesting map called Redoubt, which has some lovely high passes one one side, and forests on the other with a building in the sort of middle. The battle started out with my Kazak horse archers attacking Tom’s rear before withdrawing. Tom and Ben were position basically opposite each other,while I had deployed on a very defensive position further away.

Ben began to move his main force up to attack Tom, but sent 4 units of cavalry to fight my Boyar horse archers. These guys got caught by Ben so I committed them to melee whilst I sent in my general, heavier mounted troops, and my Kazaks. My Boyars were routed but I destroyed his cavalry. Ben now began his main assault on Toms Scots, with his infantry going up the middle whilst his Gendarmes went up the side. I then sent my cavalry to a position behind Ben’s infantry, where I dealt with his artillery, and my infantry came through a high pass into position behind Tom’s rear. When Ben began to get the upper hand over Tom, I charged in my units, and beat them both.

The amazing thing about these battles was the performance. The pc’s we were playing on had the following specs:Intel P4 3.0 GHz2GB RAMGeforce 7600Gt.My computer at home which I’m typing this on is better than that. There were about 6000 soldiers in this battle, and there was minimal lag when all units were engaged. This game performs like a dream.

What was really nice about the event was how friendly the CA and SEGA guys were, one of them even playing the game on the 5th computer as he wanted to play it some more after watching us playing it and enjoying it.

After my rejoicing at my victory in the LAN battle they suggested bringing in some of the testers for us to fight against. These are testers who have been playing the game for 6 months. We declined their offer.All in all it was a great day for a great game. Medieval II: Total War is the best TW game to date. It has the best graphics, best AI, best diplomacy and the best strategic depth of any game in the series.

Thank you to CA and SEGA for organising the event.

Oh, and thanks fro the free game as well.

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Three weddings and no funeral: a frog’s day playing M2TW.

Froggy’™s top tip: If you ever get invited to an event where you can preview a game before it comes out, make sure your skills with the previous titles aren’t rusty. Or you end up being defeated humiliatingly when someone suggests a LAN battle. I had a quick go at the M2TW demo and a couple of evenings invested in Goth’s BI mod, and that’s it for a year. Oh well, those who download and watch the replay will be able to have a good laugh as the frog marches into battle, gets minced, and runs away. I used to be quite good, honest! It is safe to follow my advice…

Having spent a few hours playing M2TW I find myself considerably more optimistic than I was before. When the game was first announced I shrugged and ignored it, so disenchanted had I become with RTW. I occasionally looked in on some of the previews, saw fancy screenshots and talk of flashy killing moves and improved graphics, shrugged again and walked away. It’s only in recent months I started to pay attention. For that I can thank (or blame!) the blogs, the increase in detailed forum posts by CA staff, and the inclusion of information I want to hear about in previews. Graphics, killing moves, cannons strapped on elephants and other ‘cool’ units? I don’t care. AI, challenge, detail, options, strategy, tactics, complexity…  that’s what I play for. That’s what I found lacking in RTW and, to a somewhat reduced extent, its expansion.

They aren’t things you can fairly judge on a few hours play. True, you can find something that you feel to be badly wrong in those areas in a short time. But if they are done right it takes much, much longer before you know it. So for my more complete thoughts on the game you’ll have to wait a few weeks.

What I can definitely say is that I didn’t find anything glaringly wrong. I didn’t find anything which made me worry. There was evidence that CA have heard what the veteran community said about RTW and have listened, evidence ranging from tiny things to the significant. To grab a pair of my favourites, there’s now a tick box in options for the minimalised battle interface; a tiny little change which saves me from editing .ini files and gives me the interface I want right at the start instead of requiring a patch months after release. Battles are slower, both in terms of unit movement and in killing. Cavalry is undoubtedly less godly; they can’t disentangle themselves from a melee so easily and don’t fight like a bunch of kill-bots in old armour, which means you must use more thought on where and when to commit them. I’ll throw out a few more quick examples. The music and voice acting is much improved. No more comedy kebab shop owners bawling, ‘Yes, strappy-horse!… or squeaky adolescents pretending to be Roman generals. The AI reacted far more intelligently to my moves on the battlefield than RTW’s; at one point, during the siege of a city with no walls, it held me on three fronts as it sent units to counter my efforts at surrounding it. I never saw that in RTW; I considered it good if the AI reacted at all to my attacking it from multiple directions. On average I was losing roughly twice as many men per battle as I was in RTW. I was surprised at how pleased I was to see the agent movies return after an absence of two games. Those spy movies can be quite amusing…

Some changes to the formula aren’t as the result of feedback per say. I did like the alteration to wooden walls; level 2 walls are now impervious to battering rams except at the gates, and can have units placed on them. At long last wooden walls feel worth building for themselves and not as a landmark on the path to stone walls. The new recruitment system is neat; being able to raise multiple units, mixing and matching types, in one turn much better than the rigid old system. Merchants look like an interesting agent type; on a low level they are an extra source of income, on a higher level there’s potential for economic warfare.

My stance on the game now is that it shows considerable promise, and that it may very well meet that promise. I want to play more, I want to dive in and test and tinker and discover. Above all I want it to meet that expectation it’s raised in me. My main irritation is that I’ve got a copy of the game and no days off until next week.As for those titular weddings, I had a veritable plague of them in my campaign game. One princess and two princes tying the knot in 10 turns. Hurrah! No more waiting decades of in-game time for male characters to find themselves a nice bride. Now they’re decently hitched at a more historically realistic age. I pity my poor princess; I married her off to a 43 year old chap with a fearsome moustache. He did have fabulous stats and traits though. Surely that makes up for it?

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Gold Code Day Report From Heaven Games

I arrived at SEGA Europe HQ for the morning session and met Phillistine from Heaven Games, Lusted and Laverick from Total War Center. Also, Mark O Connel (Who runs the totalwar.com site) and Richie Skinner (The Shogun) from Creative Assembly were there as well as Alex Friend and Mark Suthers from SEGA. It was interesting to meet some of the people who I’ve seen around online in the real world for once. We sat out on sofas waiting to start, watching a rolling movie of SEGA’s latest work. It was all very much like a VIP event.

As we were waiting we were given a copy of the game to pass around and have a look at. After admiring the box and manual for a while, which are both beautiful, we were shown through to an office fully kitted out for the event. There were Medieval II banners and posters adorning the walls and five computers for us to use in the middle. As we all sat down, there was a definite feeling of ‘kids in a candy shop’, as Lusted put it.

Richie, Alex and the two Marks kept us fuelled with information on the game and how it had changed and improved. They were all very keen on the game and seemed to be as excited as us. As we tried out all the new features, they were there to lend advice and tell us how they worked. It was really interesting to meet some people who are actually involved with projects like Medieval II.

As for the game, it’s awe-inspiring. The graphics have leapt forward again and everything looks and feels very real. The fact that all the men in a unit look different, the trees swaying in the wind on the campaign map, the buildings that have holes knocked through them by trebuchet fire. Everything has had the finest attention to detail paid to it and it shows. The new campaign features are excellent, too. You can now recruit merchants to boost your trade and take over from enemy merchants, taking their assets and resources. Each settlement can either grow into a castle or a city, each with unique benefits. Cities can train militia units, which then have free upkeep, as well as building a much wider range of economic buildings such as markets. Castles can build many more military buildings and train a much wider variety of stronger troops.

Overall it was a fantastic day that everyone really enjoyed. We not only got to preview the game, but also were able to meet some of the people who make it happen, which was very interesting. Thank you Creative Assembly, SEGA and everyone who was there!

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Gold Code Day

It was a cold winters day when I made my way over to SEGA’s head office to meet the fans for our first Total War / SEGA Gold code day. On the train journey my mind wandered years back when we got Dan, who started the Org up all those years ago, to fly over to the UK and play Shogun: Total War for the first time.  We were driving back from Gatwick Airport when a freak storm hit the tiny village in which the CA office is situated. The village was flooded and we couldn’™t get in to the business park. We had to park just out side the village roll our trousers up and wade through a foot of water just to get there. I remember Dan saying that it would have taken a lot more to stop him from getting to play the game.

Let battle commence!

A similar look of determination was on the faces of our 8 guests on Wednesday as they got the chance to play Medieval: II Total War for the first time. Although it was not as much a trauma for most of them apart from the legendary Frogbeastegg who’s epic 5 and a half hour journey had, I think, taken its toll. With members representing the Org, TWC, RTWH and our own forums it was a great chance to finally put names to some of the faces.

Oh dear someone asked The Shogun to make the tea…

The day was, I think, a great success.  Jack from the TWC made me smile with his immediate assault on the A.I. on the highest difficulty setting and his look of glee at getting trounced. The Lan battle that ended up as an Org v TW forum fight to the death was pretty thrilling too.  Though I’m not sure I believed ShireKnights claims of oh I’ve never played multiplayer…

Of course there’™s no rivalry between Mark and The Shogun…

We hope to be bringing you the day as told by the guys and girls themselves over the next few days on this Blog so make sure you keep checking back! And we sent every one home with a special Edition box set of the game so expect some great previews / and reviews over at the Org, TWC and RTWH.

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