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    by Published on April 17, 2015 11:28 PM  Sort - Number of Views: 1750 
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    Total War Center has been around for quite a while now, but sometimes we don't really stop and consider how rich the history of TWC really is. In December of last year Ferrets54 noticed that he had hit ...

    Creative Assembly is a British video game developer established in 1987 by Tim Ansell and based in the West Sussex town of Horsham. An Australian branch was operated from Fortitude Valley, Queensland (Sega Studios Australia). In its early years, the company worked on porting games to DOS from Amiga and ZX Spectrum platforms, later working with Electronic Arts to produce a variety of games under the EA Sports brand. In 1999, the company had sufficient resources to attempt a new and original project, proceeding to develop the strategy computer game Shogun: Total War. Shogun: Total War was highly successful for the Creative Assembly and is regarded as a benchmark strategy game. Subsequent titles in the Total War series built on the triumph of Shogun: Total War, increasing the company's critical and commercial success.

    In March 2005, the Creative Assembly was acquired by Japanese giant Sega as a European subsidiary. Under Sega, further Total War titles were developed, and the Creative Assembly entered the console market with action-adventure games such as Spartan: Total Warrior, Viking: Battle for Asgard and Alien Isolation.


    Founding

    The Creative Assembly was founded on 18 August 1987 as a limited company. The founder, Tim Ansell, had begun professional computer programming in 1985, working on video game titles for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Atari 800. Initially, Ansell kept the company small so he could personally work on computer programming. The company's early work, often produced personally by Ansell, involved porting games from the Amiga platform to DOS, such as the 1989 titles Geoff Crammond's Stunt Car Racer and Shadow of the Beast by Psygnosis. The Creative Assembly began work with Electronic Arts in 1993, producing titles under the EA Sports label, starting with the DOS version of the early FIFA games. With EA Sports, The Creative Assembly was able to produce low development risk products bearing official league endorsements. The company's products included official Rugby World Cup titles for 1995 and 2001, the official game for the 1999 Cricket World Cup and the Australian Football League games for 1998 and 1999, of which the AFL 98 title was particularly successful in the Australian market. When it became clear that the company needed to expand further, Ansell employed Michael Simpson in 1996 as studio director. Simpson, a microchip designer turned video game designer, later became the driving force for the creative design of the Total War series.


    Early Total War titles

    As a result of their success in sports titles, by 1999 the Creative Assembly had sufficient resources and backing from Electronic Arts to develop more high risk titles in other genres. The result of this was Shogun: Total War, the company's breakthrough title. A blend of real-time tactics and turn-based gameplay, Shogun: Total War was first announced in early 1999. The game focused the Sengoku period of Japanese feudal history, and upon its release in June 2000 it was met with critical acclaim. The game won multiple industry awards and became regarded as one of the benchmark strategy video games. Inhouse composer Jeff van Dyck won both a BAFTA and an EMMA award for his work on the game's soundtrack. In May 2001, the Creative Assembly announced The Mongol Invasion, an expansion pack focusing on the earlier Mongol invasions of Japan. Released in August 2001, the expansion pack also received a positive response.

    Soon after, the Creative Assembly broke away from Electronic Arts, instead using Activision as a publisher and distributor. In August 2001, the Creative Assembly announced a second Total War video game, this time set in the Middle Ages. Medieval: Total War was of a larger scope than Shogun: Total War, spanning a larger time period and the entire of Medieval Europe. Released in August 2002, the game was a greater success than Shogun: Total War, becoming the best-selling video game in the UK for the first two weeks, and the fourth best-selling game in the US market in its first week. As with Shogun: Total War, Medieval: Total War won multiple industry awards, and was named the top game of 2002 by PC Gamer, unseating Valve Software's Half-Life. The Creative Assembly itself was also awarded the European Computer Trade Show PC Game Developer of the Year award. Viking Invasion, an expansion pack focusing on the Viking invasions of Britain in the Dark Ages, was released in May 2003.

    A third Total War title was announced in January 2003. Entitled Rome: Total War, the game featured an entirely new game engine to Shogun: Total War and Medieval: Total War, and redesigned the approach to the series. Set during the rise of the Roman Empire, the game's code was used for two television shows: the BBC's Time Commanders and the History Channel's Decisive Battles. Upon release in September 2004, the game was given near universal praise, becoming one of the year's top ten best-selling titles. Jeff van Dyck was again nominated for a BAFTA award for the game's soundtrack.


    Buyout and later games

    Despite speculation that Activision might buy the Creative Assembly, as the publisher had done with previous successful developers under its wing, the Japanese company Sega announced on 9 March 2005 that they had sealed an acquisition deal with the Creative Assembly, purchasing all issued shares in the company. Sega explained that the acquisition was to strengthen Sega Europe's presence in the European and North American video game markets. All preceding titles in the Total War series had been exclusively computer games. By July 2005, Sega had acquired the publishing rights to Rome: Total War from Activision, and built on the brand strategy by releasing two expansion packs: Barbarian Invasion in September 2005 and Alexander in September 2006. Spartan: Total Warrior was released in October 2005 on Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube, receiving a mixed reception from critics.

    Medieval II: Total War, the fourth title in the franchise, was announced in January 2006. It was a remake of the earlier Medieval: Total War using the new assets and technology behind Rome: Total War. The game was released in November 2006, and although not as successful as Rome: Total War, Medieval II: Total War was still a critical and commercial hit, holding a place in the UK games charts in November 2006, and in the US charts until the end of January 2007. An expansion pack, Kingdoms, was announced in March 2007. The expansion received a positive reception from critics upon release in August 2007.

    At the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany in August 2007, the Creative Assembly simultaneously announced new titles. The first, Viking: Battle for Asgard, was another console-exclusive title, similar in style to Spartan: Total Warrior, but focusing on Norse mythology. The game was released in March 2008 but only received an average reception from critics in the industry. The second title was a fifth Total War installment, Empire: Total War, set in the early modern period of the 18th century and early 19th century. As was the case with Rome: Total War, Empire: Total War features a redesigned approach to the series and a new game engine. It was released in March 2009, receiving high praise from many within the industry, selling double the amount of units sold of Medieval II: Total War and Rome: Total War. However, numerous significant issues were pointed out by fans and critics after the release. Though there were numerous patches, not all of these were addressed by the abandonment of support for the game, which caused many to question Sega's influence on The Creative Assembly. In July 2008, the Creative Assembly announced another title, Stormrise. Unlike previous historically-based games, Stormrise is a science fiction real-time strategy game developed for both consoles and PC, released in 2009. Stormrise received negative and mediocre responses, with criticisms focusing on broken pathfinding and the game's flawed control scheme (designed with the intent to create an easy interface for consoles).

    The Australian branch of the Creative Assembly ported the first three Sonic the Hedgehog games and the Sonic & Knuckles lock-on games to Sonic Classic Collection. This compilation received overall positive reviews from Aussie-Nintendo and Official Nintendo Magazine, but criticised some speed issues when playing, rarely speeding up or slowing down and some graphical and sound glitches. Reviewers also criticised the removal of multiplayer in the games, previously available in earlier versions of the games.

    In 2010, the Company released Napoleon: Total War, based on the exploits of Napoleon Bonaparte to generally favourable reviews that praised the tightly scripted elements of a smaller, more focussed campaign than its globe-spanning predecessor, Empire Total War.

    The company released Total War: Shogun 2 in 2011, to universal acclaim. The title is the first to make the brand Total War the main title, in an effort to increase brand awareness.

    On 6 December, public announcement of a partnership between Games Workshop and Creative Assembly was announced on Creative Assembly's website. Also announced was the creation of a new Warhammer Fantasy Battle game.

    On 5 April 2013 it was announced that Sega Studios Australia (formerly known as The Creative Assembly Australia) will be shut down later in the year.

    On 3 September 2013, the Creative Assembly released Total War: Rome II. The game uses an updated Warscape engine and suffered from technical issues shortly after release which eventually led to Creative Assembly's Creative Director, Mike Simpson, apologising publicly to fans for the widespread technical issues. In the ten months following release, Creative Assembly released fourteen patches for the game, solving most technical issues and balancing gameplay. As of July 2014, the game currently stands at a rating of 76/100 on Metacritic by critics.

    Creative Assembly's most recent game is Alien: Isolation, a first person stealth horror game based on the first Alien movie and featuring the voice talents of the original cast in a special DLC mission. The game was released on 7 October 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
    by Published on April 05, 2015 05:57 AM  Sort - Number of Views: 1782 

    Every few days we get a Contact Us email about someone being blocked from registering on TWC because of being a spammer. For example I got this one today:

    Dear Administrator,
    Could
    ...

    Citizenship and Citizens are perhaps the most unique feature of TWC. Other forums may have 'Premium Members', people who pay to be apart of the site, or 'Senior Members', people who have been a member of the site for a certain period of time, usually months or even years - in almost all cases members who have additional benefits over normal members. On TWC we call these members 'Citizens', and you certainly don't have to pay to be one! A Citizen is simply someone who has been recognised for contributing to TWC in some way, whether that be through modding or writing, being friendly or helpful, or anything in between.

    Any member who has made fifty posts and been registered for at least 2 months can apply to become a Citizen - which is done by finding a 'Patron', a member who is already a Citizen, to post an application on your behalf and a small paragraph on why they think you would be a good Citizen. It isn't difficult to find a Patron, and asking around, for example by speaking to Citizens you may have seen or spoken with around the site, will often result in you finding a Patron in no time! When your application is posted the other Citizens will discuss it and will judge whether or not you should join their ranks. That sounds far more daunting than it actually is, Citizens are an inclusive bunch who want new people to be awarded - and often only a small number of contributions are needed. If that doesn't comfort you, bear in mind that the success rate for Citizenship these days are extraordinary high, and you are very likely to pass if you can show you've been a good member on TWC.

    So why do we have Citizenship? There is a long history behind it, steeped in tradition I imagine most people reading this aren't interested in. Essentially it is a way of recognising and awarding members of TWC who go that bit further to contribute to the forums in some way, and to also encourage new members to perhaps get involved more than they were maybe planning as there is the prospect of the awards and benefits that come with Citizenship. These benefits include:

    • A red Username to mark you out as a Citizen to other members
    • The ability to customize your Usertitle (the text underneath your Avatar)
    • Posting rights in the Curia, where you can propose and discuss ideas to change and improve the site
    • Posting rights in the Symposivm, a Citizens-only forum where the rules are more relaxed
    • The ability to stand for election in a variety of roles, for example Magistrates who help decide if the rules were correctly applied by Moderators or not
    • And of course three distinctive badges to chose from that are displayed by your posts:
    • Plus access to new site features before other members, for example the new Blog feature!

    As you can see above there are three different badges that can be displayed to identify you as a Citizen, they are 'Citizen', 'Civitate' and 'Artifex'. No matter which you chose to display they all have the same benefits, so they are mainly used to show the general area of contribution you've made to the site so people can associate you with one area or another. 'Civitate' was traditionally used to show that the Citizen was a debater and active in the Discussion & Debate forums, although it now encompasses writing as well as debating - the more wordy Citizens if you like. 'Artifex' is used to show that that Citizen is a modder and gained their Citizenship due to their modding contributions to the site, not just for Total War games but any form of modding. The standard 'Citizen' badge is generally used to show other areas of contributions, or by people who would prefer not to associate with a specific area or indeed to associate with both.

    The Latin names can be a bit confusing, but bear in mind it doesn't matter which badge you chose to display - you are still a Citizen and the only real difference is the badge itself, everything else is identical. When you make your application it has become tradition to say which of the three 'groups' you plan to identify yourself as, hence why you may hear people referring to an 'Artifex application' or a 'Citizenship application' as different things, for example. Regardless of which you chose the process is identical with the same chance of success, so it isn't anything to stress over. Furthermore you are not bound by which badge you first applied for, and once you are a Citizen they are completely interchangeable without having to reapply or anything like that, so if you change your mind you can always change your badge.

    If you have any questions about Citizenship please feel free to post in this thread or PM the Curator.

    We need a good description of the Curia and what the Curia does and why the Curia exists. The current and former Curators should collaborate on this.
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