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The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III
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    B. Ward's Avatar ★★★★ RockNRolla ★★★★
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    Default The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III


    Letter from the asst. Editor
    Seems like yesterday, we just released the first issue for the new year. Here we are again with a quarter of the year in the books and the third issue of Volume VII. With the release of Empire: Total War, the tension and anticipation in the community has turned into enthusiasm and curiosity. With us starting the year with quite possibly the largest issue release of the Eagle Standard, we've had a "lite" month this month. The release of Empire: Total War has allowed us to rest our pens and kick our feet up...just for a moment, but that doesn't mean that we aren't still bringing you the high quality information you demand to know about our community.

    Just want to extend a huge thank you to all our writers for the Eagle Standard and all our Content Staff across the board. This collective effort to keep our community up-to-date is what teamwork is all about. And of course we have to thank the community as a whole as well. There is no community without the unity and fellowship we all have here at TWC.

    B. Ward - Asst. Editor


    Table of Contents

    Round Table



    Forum Reports



    Modders Corner


    PotW & TotW




    Empire: Total War Personal Review
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    My personal Review of Empire: Total War




    With the release of ETW, I excitedly downloaded my copy VIA Steam. I waited a day for the download to complete and I made my way to TW freedom. What I got was instead...interesting and good but limited and weak.



    Gameplay

    I started out with a British faction. I made my first few moves by starting a lucrative fur trade in North America. I noticed somthing very obvious soon. Money was easy to get. I soon was at war with France. I was playing on VH/VH and the battles seemed very easy. Basically I lined my men up in two lines with artillery in between the lines. If the enemy got too close I charged my first line. The war with France took the most toll in Canada. My large fur trade Empire was frequently raided by the French and their Iroquois allies. Eventually I took all of the French lands in Canada. The French responded by taking the 13 Colonies.

    In Europe everything seemed quiet. That was until Prussia and Austria declared war. The two had a giant network of allies and basically set Europe off into World War. I invaded Sweden, which was allied to Austria, and took much of their lands before being forced to stop. Prussia was gaining ground until the giant Spanish Empire, which had expanded into Greece, India and Africa, invaded. I helped but was really no match and made peace with the coalition.

    At that point a revolution broke out. I sided with the revolutionaries and established the Republic of England. At that point I ended.

    The campaign map was fun. It was not however immersive. When I played RTW or M2TW I enjoyed role playing as my family in the game. Empire has no family and I find that to be annoying. The battles are fun but repetitive. The ship fighting I find utterly boring. Overall I give gameplay:

    7/10


    Graphics

    The graphics are very good. I did think the smoke could last for a bit longer and the clone armies were annoying but other then that I found the textures and skins quite good. My biggest gripe is that to experiance the amazing graphics you have to have an AMAZING computer. Many don't have that. Overall I give graphics:

    8/10


    Sound

    Frankly, the music was bad. I loved RTW's music and even M2TW had a great operaesque soundtrack. However ETW has the same drums and trumpets music. This music is so boring I had to upload the John Adams theme to the game to make it interesting. I enjoyed the Musket sounds, however they could have been a bit louder and more realistic. Cannons sounded too generic and not real. Overall I give sounds:

    6/10


    Overall

    I found ETW to be a good game. I enjoyed the multiple theatres, I liked the combat, despite it's simplicity. I liked the factions, despite the repetitive units. What I didn't like I that I have to use despite at all. ETW had no faily tree, terrible music, sounds that sound like they could have been made by me and a great amount of ridiculous unrealism. Top that off with the fact that there is a very limited number of factions (without mods) and I must say I am dissapointed. My advice for CA, make another RTW and use the same mechanics. It worked. Overall I give ETW:

    7/10

    Despite it's downfalls I still suggest you buy it. It is a good game, just unpolished. Mods can change that

    This is Rufus Rex AKA John Adams from Eagle Standard





    An Interview With Multiplayer |Sith|7|Darth_Max
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    [spoiler]



    Age: 16

    Tournament Wins: Backup player for Sith Team 3 during RW tournament. Pwned TWR clan and then got disqualified due to lazyness.

    Hall Of Fame/Title wins::hmmm: Be more Specific. 5000+ victories to pick from

    Nicknames:
    Maxajax2
    {EU}{LDR}Maxajax2
    |Sith|Maxajax2 all the way till rank 3. then i got darth title and i was called |Sith|Darth_Maxajax2
    when i got to rank 5 i realized my name was too long and i changed it to |Sith|Darth_Max. that is what it has been ever since.

    Bio: I like to kill things.

    Clan: |Sith|
    ------------------------------------------------------


    1. When did you start playing TW MP?
    :hmmm:somewhere late '06 after finishing all campaigns on VH/VH. First i played for money with friends from school. then i went on playing with everyone i could find. Eventually i made first contact with a clan called Antiquae. a german clan with lots of nice people. i then made my own noobclan called {EU} which fell apart pretty fast since we had no forum
    2. When did you first Join Sith Mr.Max?
    After {EU} fell apart i hit RTW rock bottom and started yelling at people in the lobby for no reason. That should have been the end of my MP experience, But as if it was ment to be, on the moment i was about to quit RTW, Kakashi, a Sith member who has now changed his name to Ginko, asked me if i would like to join Sith. I tought "oh what do i have to lose. why not." and after a few games with him he recruited me on Friday the 26nd of October in 2007 and the longer i was a part of Sith, the more my loyalty to the clan grew.
    3. What is your favortie memory from Sith?
    Definately my days in training. Back then there was no collective training programme. I had to learn from everyone and everything. It was basicly Survival Of The Fittest. i especially learned a lot from Kakashi, Romewolf, Odin and Mel. Odin and mel actually taught me usefull stuff though. I eventually put everything i learned to good use and designed my own training program. Its comming along good
    4. Didn't we use to PWNT new players together well when we was in Sith and even now?
    Hell yeah. We gave them a Trauma they'll never forget.
    5. What do you think of TW MP today?
    Since ETW is out most of the good players have bought it and moved on. as a result noobies are taking over the lobbies and are forming Noobclans. Basicly my prophecy of a noob cult that worships the chat monitor is becoming a reality. I love this game but i cannot take the noobness!
    6. Any plans to advance your MP career on TW?
    Im going to kick some ass in empire and rome.
    7. You like BF2 eh?
    Yes. Nothing like a good game of Karkand infantry only with 32 other folks to get the adrenaline flowing. But if i get a KD ratio lower than 10 to 1 i get very angry.
    8. Any last thoughts?
    Actually, yes. A lot of people seem to think Sith is not a good clan. wether this has something to do with the name, no idea... But what i can safely say is that this clan is 5 years old, has won over 9 clanwars, and more tournaments than most people could think off. Ye be warned clanless lobby people with big mouths...
    Also:
    FC Ajax for the win
    Respect my authority
    Pizza is divine and Noobs must die.


    An Interview With Augustus Lucifer about "All Under Heaven"
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    Since the release of Empire: Total War, the Medieval II section has plummeted with the occasional post here and there. But people still enjoy playing Medieval II to cover up the flaws of Empire

    Modifications are the main reason people still play Medieval II. Today, I bring you an interview with a mod in development . The mod if "All Under Heaven". I have contacted Augustus Lucifer, one of the leaders of this mod and asked him to explain more to me and what it is like. So today I bring the Interview with Augustus Lucifer on the "All Under Heaven" Medieval II Kingdoms Modification.



    An Interview with Augustus Lucifer on

    All Under Heaven

    A Medieval II Kingdoms Modification



    1. Tell us a little bit about yourself Augustus.

    I enjoy eggs.

    2. So when did you decide to go into modding?
    Around July of this year I decided there wasn't enough Asian goodness in the modding community, and so I started learning whatever I needed to know to add some. Thankfully before I got to far along on my own designs, I met up with Yelu who had similar intentions, and we fine tuned what we wanted in the mod and brought it down to earth some. I encourage everyone to thank him, because otherwise you would be subject to my artwork, which is, needless to say, the sort of thing a child might produce given finger paints and a tarmac.

    3. What is the goal, or aim of your mod?

    The goal of our mod is to show the world of east Asia some lovin that it most definitely lacks in the Total War community. Sure, there's some samurai and ninjas here and there, even where they don't belong sometimes(*cough* Rome *cough*)! Have a bit of a cold. Beyond that, we are particularly interested in the landscape of Asia during the time frame we set for our mod, which has proven to be even more interesting than we thought going into the project.

    Our mod focuses on the civilizations east of Bengal before the onset of the Mongol Invasions. While this is the setting for the mod, it is not a mongol-centric mod, and it is unlikely that it will play like 14 nations about to be steamrolled and 1 as a powerhouse, though there's certainly that possibility(giving the mongols 100% accurate projectiles, anyone? Anyone? No?.. okay..). Our mod starts before the historical invasions, approximately when Chinggis(Genghis) Khan may have been 15 by earliest historical estimates. Needless to say there's plenty of strife to go around, and if you want to know more about that, read some of the topics in our forum or ask about it there.

    As for our production goals, we intend to produce what is often referred to as a 'total conversion' modification. We have in fact started from a fresh base, so very little of actual vanilla will be seen(though some conventions will likely remain). The end result being 15 factions with relatively unique unit rosters, some interesting systems that add strategic value to the game such as unique faction victories, wonders, and administrative policies; and yes, eventually battle map settlement face lifts as well.

    4. How accurate is your mod to real history?

    Depends. If it is a layman who is asking the question, then yes, it is very accurate. If it is a professor emeritus of Sydney University College of Medieval East Asian History, then no, probably not that accurate. If a professor is asking though, then please join our mod and help it meet your expectations.

    Essentially, we are making a historical mod. There are times mine and others creativity is tied up by whether or not it works into our historical setting. Similarly I own 5-10 books on different regions of our exact time frame, and Yelu a similar amount, most bought and referenced for the sole reason of historicity in our modification. Having said that, we are not Europa Barbarorum China Edition. We don't have umpteen historians and the luxury(or lack thereof) of a lot of people who work in the field, or enough dedicated students to even assign each historian a faction.

    This is the barrier we face as an Asian mod, because the source material is all in languages that don't even remotely parallel English, the main language of our mod team, so the wealth of reference material that can actually be referenced is much smaller than a European mod. Take this not to mean a lack of it, for the Chinese are perhaps the best record keepers in history, but one needs to live in China and be able to read the material to access that wealth of knowledge.

    So what we tell our fans, is that we try our best. We do our research. We debate in our dev forums how we can represent history and whether something conforms to it. But we are not wholly confined by it, and we value both aesthetic pleasure and game play above an unyielding accuracy to history.

    5. Have you had any difficulties with "All Under Heaven"? If so, what are they?

    Difficulties, plenty. For one, we're a pretty small team. There's only a handful of core members that consider this their main project. Most of our artists besides Yelu have their own projects; danova has The Last Kingdom, B. Ward has Libertas Vel Mors, Wundai has Ran no Jidai, stefaneke has... well let's just say he gets around(wink wink). We hope that eventually the mod will actually be utilizing the star power it has in the art department, rather than just being able to draw upon it now and again. As our thread states, we're still looking for 2D Artists and Historians primarily, but if there happens to be a coder/scripter who I can converse with easily and isn't confined to certain files or in need of having their hand held, they are free to message me as well, because we have plenty of that work to do, I just can't be arsed to waste time being managerial if the output isn't there.

    Besides that, there's the difficulty mentioned earlier about accessible research material. As it stands right now, I do to much of my own research as the sole coder for productivity to be optimum. And there's the problem that all mods currently face, in accessing the .world files for the modifying of battle map settlements. Thankfully KE and Argantonio are making leaps and bounds in that department, so current projection seems to show we mere humans will be able to comprehend the workings of the magical world editor holy grail in plenty of time to meet our production goals.

    Oh and uh, right now my computer is kaput and the status of a lot of data is up in the air, so crossing of fingers is welcome, as a lot of things are temporarily in hiatus.

    6. What do you think will attract players to your mod?

    Samurais. Seriously. I mean if you think about it, look at a mod like Third Age. KK, Caius, and co. make beautiful artwork, and from looking at their map and knowing their past work I'm sure it will be supremely playable. But the main component there, is the pop culture. People want to play orcs and kill elves, or vice versa, the better it looks and plays... well great. But that doesn't dismiss the fact that the appeal not only of their mod, but ours and many other mods, are the pop culture parallels of what is being represented. I'm sure if you had a poll, and it was between Viggo Mortenson(sp?) Aragorn and so-and-so's drawing, the result would be obvious.

    The same applies to our mod in some ways. People love samurai and ninjas, and because of KOEI they are all fairly acquainted with a period of China ~1000 years before our mod. I'm quite surprised, honestly, that we haven't gotten a lot of suggestions in that vein, but it's probably because we aren't a well-known or highly publicized modification at this juncture. At the end of the day it's looking good that the largest demographic of fans care about, and our mod doesn't intend to disappoint in that department.

    Having said that, we hope people will play our mod to experience a foreign and exciting time in the history of the world, with some interesting mechanics tossed in, that also just so happens to have samurai.

    7. Being one of the leaders (Or if you are the main leader) of All Under Heaven, it must be tough. How did you handle this and still manage to be active in the Total War community?

    I like to think of Yelu as the main leader. This is really his project, and he's the main driving force behind the important production aspects. I'm more of a general manager, I handle most of the PR because I tend to be able to conjure up more eloquence, even in the face of silly questions. And since I work with the code, obviously putting it all together is mainly my department as well. We don't really think in those terms though, everyone just speaks their mind and ideas are judged on their merit and the effort for the result, not necessarily who they are in the team.

    AUH comes first. If it came down to a matter of having to choose posting outside of our dev forums and being on technical staff, the CdeC, or the like, I'd resign my positions in a heartbeat. Thankfully it doesn't come down to that though, because modding is an entirely different process than posting. It's work, just like work it can give you headaches, and just like work you can be proud of the results. It's important to find some enjoyment in the process, for me that is coming up with solutions to represent a historical fact, such as the lack of horses in China and the horse trade, and making that work with the limited engine capacities. But at the end of the day it's tedious, coding is just plain tedious, especially when it comes down to replication, and it is certainly not my desired career to be doing the kind of work I do for AUH. So posting in the Curia or spamming in the Q&S is a welcome respite from that process.

    8. What phase is "All Under Heaven" in now?

    I like to think of it as an intuitive development phase. There isn't a lot of things we can just strive to 'complete'(though I have a rather large to do list I wish I could be cracking at!), so work is put into areas all across the board from your unit card art, to a random unique ancillary, to an underlying scripting system, to the units themselves, and any number of things. We're working preview to preview, one might say, in that we aren't taking it faction at a time and doing everything necessary to complete that faction all at once. We'll be back to Japan later, we're on another couple factions now, with one as the main focus of our next few previews, and once we've come full circle there will be a lot better idea of what it is we're 'missing' to work towards an incremental or full release.

    9. Who (if you can think of them) helped you with the mod?


    This question is probably a bit premature for a mod wholly in the development phase. Most of the people listed in our team thread have helped make this mod in one capacity or another. It's way to early to gauge, outside of Yelu and myself, who the biggest players in the end product will be. I can say that all the people who've worked on the tools for coding or art have helped us tremendously through their work. We also consult a good many people in the workshops or via PM that aren't directly associated with our team, who are helpful as well. Yelu wants to give his thanks to Bwian for his consistent and valuable help on versing him in the art of animations. He would also give considerable credit to Strelac and the BC team for giving him his modding start and helping us along the way.

    I think special consideration here goes to the EB Team. EB is a mod that pushes the boundaries of the engine, tries some unconventional things not talked about in any tutorials, and generally has a solid production philosophy. So if ever we wonder if something is possible, a good place to start looking for that methodology is the EB files, which provide plenty insight into capabilities that aren't widely published. So in this interview and most anywhere, you'll find I give a lot of credit to them collectively for the value their mod serves as a sort of reference manual on modding possibilities.

    10. Have you done any other modding other than in "All Under Heaven"?

    Hm. Yes and no. I was the architect of a modification of a browser game that went on to be the parallel to the main game, and that was my first venture into crafting asian games.

    As far as TW Modding is concerned, in 2006 I was in the position Tony83 currently holds for the RTR team, for a period of a few months, before things got to busy with school. I also check the workshop regularly and provide detailed responses with the goal of creating a framework for others to use in their mod when presented with that problem. But as for working as a coder on another team, I simply don't have the time for it. At one point I considered helping around with mapping, scripting, coding, what have you and making myself available. But as it stands right now, I have little enough time to dedicate to AUH without spending it on other projects. I have no desire to be a footnote on a large quantity of mod releases, I mod to make AUH, and to help others achieve their modding goals as well.

    Besides all that I'm also involved in the Consilium Belli and have high hopes for the new approach planned for it, as well as the facelift the workshops will be getting. And of course I right an article on the goings on of the modding community in the ES, since I found it sorely lacking the modder-centric focus.

    11. Anything else you would like you add?

    Just that I encourage anyone who bothered reading all of this to check out our mod forum, bookmark it if you like, tell us what you think about it, and maybe even join the team. And I would also remind our viewers, that mantears of joy are perfectly normal when viewing the following picture of a Filipino Mercenary courtesy of B. Ward. An ES Exclusive.



    Eagle Standard Exclusive Photos
    First time to be seen by the Public.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 





    Courtesy of Augustus Lucifer






    I would like to thank Augustus Lucifer for and the AUH team for doing this interview and telling us about "All Under Heaven" A Kingdoms Modifications.




    A Total War Poll
    Click to view content: 


    Friends! Romans! Countrymen! and the french if they must.... Aradan has given to me a link to a most wondrous poll. Nay, not a poll for that is too inadequate a word...a full on questionnaire! If you've ever wanted to let the modding world know about your preferences for Total War mods, head over and fill it out!

    Find it here!



    Total War Eras: Forum Report
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    Hey guys,

    Here we are back in another month at the Total War: Eras subforum in TWC. Strange, you would have thought that with the release of ETW, a further move away from the 2004 released RTW would have been in order. But no, not at all. From what I see, RTW fans are continuing to walk the halls of antiquity.

    First, lets take a trip to the multiplayer area. Recently, we've had an influx of clan members, especially from the Sith clan, as well as AoE. These have provided increased discussion over various aspects of multiplayer, as well as the write up of a few well done guides and army setups. Check out some of Zekey's faction guides as well as the Army Database which is contributed to by various members. The 6th Round of my King of the Hill competition is now in session, and {BHC}Warman888 has been introducing many multiplayer ideas and news from external sources, such as a united multiplayer forum.

    Now to the general discussion. ETW has inflamed extra interest in what CA will release next, and the Petition for Rome 2 an idea begun in July last year, has been reignited. Come and express your views and vote in the petition.



    Another interesting thread that has cropped up is RTW > ETW. There are some that argue the standard of RTW gameplay has been lost in ETW, as well as a feel for the game, while others believe ETW's superior graphics, naval battles and AI are more important. The discussion there is extremely interesting as demonstrated below:





    To modding matters. The shutdown of Filefront has been a major blow to many mods, who have all uploaded their installers, patches, add-ons etc to Filefront, and now need to go through the painstaking process of moving them all to other sites for members to obtain. Megaupload and Rapidshare seems to have been the most popular options.

    Recent releases of mods and previews show that popularity of RTW is still going strong, regardless of ETW. Some of the most interesting include:
    - The Lost Legion addon for Fourth Age: Total War, featuring Romans stranded in the land of Middle Earth.
    - Viking Invasion II, v1.6, adding on extra changes and tweaks to enhance the quality and balance of the mod.
    - The Roma Surrectum team's preview of the awesome standard of their [url=http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=240601]User Interfaces[url] for Roma Surrectum II.
    - The first preview brought out by the Assyria Total War team, featuring the main faction of their game: Assyria

    I must say, all the above look most appealing and amazing, especially this:



    Well that's all for now, folks. May your sword stay sharp!

    Xavier Dragnesi, reporting for the Eagle Standard


    All Loud on the Modding Front
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    Welcome to the second installment of All Noisy on the Modding Front, a look at what's been going down recently in the modding community. This issue is Lite, in that unlike last month's edition which covered virtually all of what happened in the community during February, this one only covers a fraction of what has happened in March. I've been experiencing computer problems this month, so by the time I was able to sit down and write this, I only had a couple hours in which to do so. Rather than attempt futilely to make this issue all-encompassing, I'm just spotlighting a few of the main happenings. To get the real scoop, head on down to the workshops and check daily, because things are progressing at lightning pace in Empire.

    So sit back, relax, get inebriated, and enjoy.

    Index

    Empire Modding
    Medieval 2 Modding
    Rome Modding


    Empire Modding


    Empire has been out for a few weeks now, which means there has been ample time for modders to get their grimy, cheeto-stained hands on it and tear it asunder. I mean that in the most endearing way possible, of course. The key developments this month are courtesy of CA Developer Jerome Grasdyke and up and coming modder LtChambers. Consideration also goes to PowerWizard, for creating and maintaining the first Index in the temporary workshop. And of course, on the production front, who but DARTH VADER would lead the charge.

    Tools
    ...so you don't have to use a sharp rock

    The most important tool for modders has not been released yet, but it is the definitive promise of it that has rekindled some hope in the distraught populace. It's no secret that the Empire release didn't ride in on a cloud of glory straight to our hearts, there's plenty of fixin to be done. However, some light in this darkness has been provided courtesy of CA UK Lead Programmer, Jerome Grasdyke. He tells of us a magical land, where the engine is receptive to modular changes and a solid tool for working with the system is to be officially sponsored... wait what? This isn't fiction? Hallelujah!

    As it turns out, the engine has a much more outwardly friendly approach, and the development tool, while it doesn't sound like a full SDK, seems promising. I won't belabor the description of the new methodology, because you can read about it yourself and take from it what you will. Some of the portions create more questions with each answer, so we will just have to wait and see.
    Link: Empire Mod Architecture Primer

    While the promise of tools, information, the hectic nature of the current Workshop, and the still forming base from which to build on have deterred many modders from putting time into Empire, it hasn't stopped modding from happening. Stop the mod, can't stop the mod, you can't stop the mod, stop the mod, stop the mod, can't stop the mod, you can't stop the mod, can't stop the mod... sorry, I'm being told that is actually a rock which you can't stop, but thankfully it applies to the current status of the modding community as well, so my tasteless 90s Christian Rock analogy works. Plenty of modders are forging on ahead, thanks in large part to the work of LtChambers.

    The Pack File Manager, depending on what the tools released by CA entails, may turn out to be the heir apparent to such integral modding tools as Verc's PAK Extractor and GOM's MESH Converter. Whatever way you look at it, the tool is a solid launching point for modifications of the game. Since the new modular system uses .pack files in much the same way as Oblivion uses .esm/.esp files, a way to open, create, and edit the contents of the files is essential. This tool does that and more, providing collapsible file trees for easy navigation of the files within the pack, and a superb spreadsheet interface for the editing of the readable files. If you're out there and you're modding Empire, stumbling around from file to file, and you haven't had the pleasure of working with this software, why are you reading this any more? Go get the thing and stop reading this right now. That's an order!
    Link: Pack File Manager (Courtesy of LtChambers)

    As if one tool weren't enough, one of the other big pieces of the puzzle for the end user to get the full modular experience has been addressed by the lieutenant. The Mod Manager is a tool that allows you to assemble the load order of your pack files, and plans to have comprehensive incompatibility listing features. If you don't know what a load order is, which isn't surprising for TW modders since we've only just now been graced by a modular system, it's the order in which the pack files overwrite each other. So a load order manager allows you to make sure the minor mods you want on top of the main mods load after them and overwrite the corresponding files, rather than be superseded by them. This has some utility to modders who want to make their mod compatible with other community mods or create a mod with multiple packs and provide sorting instructions, but the main utility is for the players to manage their mods efficiently. A must.
    Link: Mod Manager 1.2 (Courtesy of LtChambers)

    This last one isn't as integral, but for the budding modder it can be useful. It's a sample pack that adds Scotland to the game, which helps give users an idea of how the mod packs work and have a starting point to modify from. If you're familiar with alpaca's Stripped Down Mod Folder, it's not quite like that, since it doesn't attempt to invalidate vanilla. Useful for minor mods.
    Link: Sample Mod Pack (Courtesy of juniroxorz)

    Mods & Scenarios
    ...those things we make

    It would be a mistake not to showcase the wonderful work being done on Darth Mod, by the Lord himself and his crack team of trained gerbils, back from their summer vacation inside a molten volcano. As with all the iterations of Darth Mod, the main focus is to completely revamp the AI to be more realistic and challenging. The things already improved are to long to list, and the items on the to-do list are equally vast. To see all that has changed, and download the latest version of the mod, follow the link below.
    Link: Darth Mod 0.3 (Courtesy of DARTH VADER)

    Another simple mod that you can easily install over other mods is the LOD Mod. LOD, or level of distance, dictates the quality of the units that are drawn onscreen based on how far you are zoomed out. This is necessary because on slower computers, zooming out but maintaining high levels of detail such as seen at point blank range can bring frame rate to a crawl. What this mod does is replaces the lod4 meshes, the lowest detail, with lod3 meshes renamed to overwrite the lod4's, and thus produce more detail when zoomed out. It's very easy to install, make sure to load it towards the end of your load order(using the Mod Manager), and if it turns out your computer can't run it, simply delete the .pack file it uses.
    Link: No LOD4 Mod (aka No More Sprites) (Courtesy of LtChambers)

    This project, which is actually a number of projects, is a variety of mini-mods from waronmars. Sadly, no, you will not be fighting martians. But it's a close second. Various texture packs are provided, improving the look of pips, the UI, horses, and ongoing re-textures of French and Spanish units. Thanks to the modular system of Empire, mods like these will become much more prevalent, allowing users to pick and choose bits of the game to overwrite with mods that are compatible with larger mods. You can see all the different texture packs by following the link.
    Link: Waronmars Mods (Courtesy of waronmars)

    This section is not nearly as comprehensive as it could have been. While the tools and mods listed here are the creme de la creme, there are plenty of other projects, tutorials, and minor modding breakthroughs going on in the Workshop daily. I'd advise having a look at PowerWizard's Index of Released Mods, Modding Tools, Tutorials, and Resources for easy links to some of these other projects, but for all the news you'll just have to check in daily.


    Medieval 2 Modding


    There are two things every Medieval 2 modder should keep tabs on. And those are whatever it is those crazy blokes KnightErrant and Argantonio pull out of their magic bag of tricks, and any thread created by GrnEyedDvl. This month is no different.

    While there haven't been any new versions of the World Editors released this month, though 0.5 may have come out since last issue, so if it has get it here, but there's plenty of work being done on it. Based on what information could be translated from Klingon into English, we can gather that the ability to effectively modify battlefield terrain data is coming along at a solid pace. There's still work to be done before the tools and their usage will make sense to your average 3D Modeler, but breakthroughs and progress are being made all the time, so keep yourself up to date and don't miss out any of the crazy antics(like egg buildings!).
    Link: World Modified

    Perhaps of more immediate importance, but to the other half of M2 Modders, is the newest tool from GrnEyedDvl. The Script Replicator, which I'm sure many of us have thought about, but none have ever made, is a very valuable tool for scripters and coders alike. What it does is allows you to input a parameter into a segment of code, we'll call it {{param}}. Then using a second file with a one item per line list, replicate that script and replace the {{param}} with each item on the list in turn. So if you want to make a script for every settlement, you only have to write it once, change the settlement name to {{param}}, make a list of the settlements like instructed in a separate file, and follow the steps of the replicator, and Voila! functional script in 5% of the time it'd take to copy-paste and replace it manually. This is made mainly for scripts, but it doesn't care what it's reading, so if you know of a way to make it work with code you need replicated, by all means, do it(or else..).
    Link: Script Replicator (Courtesy of GrnEyedDvl)

    Lastly, but certainly not least, Bwian has written a valuable series of Tutorials in an attempt to explain how animations work to a layman. Now it still isn't going to make sense to Joe the Plumber, but it was good enough to help Yelu considerably who previously professed little knowledge of animations, so any modelers should have a fine time of it. And anyways, how can you not trust a man whose screen name pays homage to Monty Python?
    Link: Bwian's Guide to the Infinite Possibilities of Animations (Courtesy of Bwian)


    Rome Modding


    There isn't a whole lot going down in the Rome Workshop, but there's still plenty of life in the platform. Since I didn't mention this last month, karlost123456789 has written a couple comprehensive tutorials on unit modeling for Rome, which cover both the modeling process and the bone weighting(less often considered). Any aspiring modeler for Rome should give them a look.
    Link: Complete Unit Modeling Tutorial and Bone Weighting (Courtesy of karlost123456789)

    -------------------------------------------------------

    That's all for this installment. Until next time, stay inebriated!

    Disclaimer: The author of this article assumes no responsibility for unlawful underaged drinking or any adverse actions that may happen as a result of it.





    Picture of the Week Roundup
    Click to view content: 


    Picture of the Week Report for the month of March

    Brought to you by B. Ward, PoTW Manager & ES PoTW Reporter




    A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.



    Sir William Dobell, Australian portrait painter





    The PoTW & UESW competitions are held every Monday for members of the TWC community to showcase their talents in capturing and for some manipulated various screenshots and images from various total war games. The PoTW forum doesn't only stop at the competitions, but allows members to post their creativity in the form of screenshots, images, and videos in their own user galleries represented by threads started by our many artists.

    The PoTW & UESW competitions never lacks in creativity and enthusiasm. Here are your winners for the month of March. Please click the links to see the full thread.

    There's still time to vote and submit your images for the current PoTW & UESW competitions. Vote PoTW here. Submit PoTW here. Vote UESW here. Submit UESW here.

    Until next time, stay creative.





    Tale of the Week Roundup
    Click to view content: 



    A changing of the guards, a challenge, run-offs, and a winning streak. . .





    The March contests were among the most hotly contested of the new year, with almost every contest ending in a tie and a run-off. The month started with the results of TOTW 28, Elendil of Numenor finishing easily with his chilling entry The Legend of Greyheart.


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    The Legend of Greyheart




    The Legend of Greyheart



    “Is he crying?” Peter asked. The small boy was leaning on the windowsill. Rain trickled down the glass. In front of him, on a marble pedestal stood the statue of a man. He carried shield and spear, and wore a helm. The rain poured down his face like tears.
    “Of course he isn't crying.” snapped Peter's mother. “Statues don't cry.”
    They've just moved in to their new house. The previous owner was getting ready to leave, when he called Peter to him.
    “Don't listen to your mother, lad. Greyheart mourns the leaving of the last owner of this house.”
    “Greyheart?”
    “My thirty-four-times great-grandfather. Legend has it, the night Greyheart gave his life to defend the city, a statue appeared here by dawn. His descendants have lived in this house ever since, the Statue guarding them. The legend says, when the last owner of the house dies, Greyheart will be free, once again.”


    Five years later, Peter was watching TV. A storm was raging outside.
    “Mum, come and look at this!” Peter shouted. A familiar face was being shown on the news. The reporter spoke,
    “...statue of his grandfather in the city. The last of the Greyhearts died peacefully, yesterday...”
    “He was the man who lived here! According to the legend - ” Peter stammered.
    Suddenly, there was a deafening thunder, and the lights went out. The silence was quickly broken.
    “The electricity's gone! Off to bed with you, Peter!”


    Peter slept uneasily, and woke up in the middle of the night. He crept to the window. The Statue still stood there, five years after the man left... Suddenly, to his amazement, there was a flash of blinding light, and the Statue sprang to life. A shining stairway appeared next to him, leading into the clouds. Greyheart walked to it solemnly. When he passed Peter's window, the boy said aloud,
    “This is a dream, it can't be happening!”
    Unbelievably, Greyheart turned, and said to Peter, smiling,
    “Of course it's a dream! But why would that mean it isn't happening?”


    Peter was woken up by a noisy crowd gathered outside his window. His mother trotted in, to see what was all the fuss about.
    “What's going on, Mum?” Peter asked, getting up.
    “Hooligans...”
    “Hmm?” the boy poured himself a glass of water.
    “The statue is gone. Somebody stole it.”
    The glass fell out of Peter's hand with a loud crash.


    TOTW 29 saw yet another tie, and yet another run-off, but Theodotos I(me) pulled off a narrow victory with his story As the Setting of the Sun
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    As The Setting of the Sun


    We met them outside town, the Crusader detachment encamped in a grove on the outskirts of the village. It mattered not they had entered our lands at the permission of our most Christian King Lazslo the First. Royal permission counts for naught when one's women have been ravished, when one's children fear to stir outside the cottage door, when one of their number lies dead in the street, beheaded by a drunken soldier.
    Permission? Bah!
    We were girt in our simple armor, a shield gripped tight in my hand, a helm upon my snow-white hair. I am old, and I have seen much of war. In my youth, I fought against the pagans of the north, driving them back into the steppes from which they came. I had fought and I had killed, their blood on the grass.
    That was behind me, or so I thought. I was content to take my rest on the land of my fathers. But now new pagans had come, pagans chanting Christ's name, holding His bloody cross high as though they wished to remember His death—only His death, ever renewed through their sacraments. A cult of death.
    Death they had now brought to our small village. Death they would now experience for themselves. I wondered how they would like it when it stared them in the face.
    We formed a line there by the grove, facing them. The sun was going down, a golden-red canopy over the heavens, casting strange shadows across the plain.
    Two men stepped from the Crusader line, tall, strong men. “Pick two of your men to fight our champions! Two men, against the two of us.”
    No one stirred. All of us had been affected by their deeds of darkness in the village. Either all of us would fight, or none.
    At length, the men began to march toward us. Insane. I watched them as they came steadily closer, the setting sun glinting off their weapons.
    They began to run, one of them screaming a challenge as he came toward me. I braced myself, catching his spear-tip in my shield as he jabbed violently toward my throat. I wrenched the shield, twisting the spear out of his grasp, thrusting into his side with my own.
    He fell, blood pouring from the hole in his side, staining the grass. His helm fell off and I saw his face. A boy, no older than my son, his eyes frightened, glazing with death, his life ending as the setting of the sun. I remembered the screams of the children and felt nothing. No pity. . .


    Week 30 saw changes come to the Tale of the Week forum. Legendary moderator mollsomg left the competitions, turning over organizational responsibilities to Hesus de bodemloze, the new moderator of both TOTW and the MAARC. He will be sadly missed. His final contributions were the two competitions, TOTW 30 and TOTW 30B-The Challenge, the third special challenge in Tale of the Week history. And Theodotos continued his winning streak by winning both competitions with his stories, End of an Era(30B), and his tribute to the departed moderator, Eulogy(30)



    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    The End of An Era




    Tranquility. It was the first word that struck me as I gazed out over the city. Splendor. A land untouched by the ravages of time.
    The sun broke over the heathen temple dedicated to its worship, its myriad-colored rays dancing down mossy steps watered by the blood of countless sacrifices.
    Mountains loomed over the primeval city, like guardians, their slopes covered emerald green with the jungles.
    I undid the knapsack at my side and withdrew a small spyglass, fixing it to my eye as I gazed at the city. People scurried through the streets, and by the power of my lens, I could see many of them carried weapons of one sort or another. They were congregating on the temple.
    My appreciation for splendor vanished with the morning mist, my glass following their ascent up the rough stone steps of the temple.
    By all the saints, it would be a hard struggle to rout them, once they were safely esconced in their citadel.
    There was but one thing left to do. I turned, motioning to the men at my side. The little cannon rolled forward, already loaded with one of the few iron shot we had brought with us from the motherland.
    I stepped to the rear of the piece, one of the men handing me a flaming brand. One hand across my ear, I stooped, placing the flame to the touchhole.
    The charge exploded, a thunderous boom echoing across the valley. An alien sound in this peaceful land. I looked up just in time to see the top of the temple disintegrate under the impetus of our cannonball, stone flying through the air, men falling from its height.
    The end of an era. I raised my sword, calling to those behind me to follow. “Viva el Rey! Viva el Rey!
    Truly, the end of an era. . .


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Eulogy




    Twelve weeks. Blood and fire. I stand alone now, amidst a field of the fallen, looking down into the face of my friend. He is gone now. He rose from the ranks to become our leader. He led us, inspired us, drove us onward through every challenge until our fame spread across every hill and dale of Total War Center.
    Through week after week, struggle after struggle, he remained ever the voice of reason, ever the leader of the charge. A new week, a new battle to the death. And now he has left us. . .
    I find myself dazed, the hot glow of a blood-red sun beating down upon my armor. It seems too much to believe. Were it not for him, I would not stride this battlefield today. If not for him, many the glory would have been lost, many the warrior would lie forgotten upon the field of battle. If not for his bravery, heroes we would not be.
    He wielded his pen as a flaming sword and called for others to follow trembling where he tread in might.
    His name? I give it to you, the name of a fallen hero, of a new Achilles,a name for the ages--mollsomg!!!!!!


    And the month closed with Tale of the Week 31, and another victory by Theodotos, with the portrayal of a garrulous seaman in The Storyteller.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    The Storyteller



    “You see, it was down about Cape Horn that it 'appened, back in '49. We were takin' a boatload of those consarned Yankee minin' fellows to Californy in the early days of the rush. I was first mate of the brig Hampshire in those days, had Geoffrey Sikes as skipper on the voyage—you lads remember 'im, don't you?”
    A few nods around the room and the storyteller continued, sipping his pint contentedly. “Well, like I say, I was first mate at the time, working my way up to become a master's mate. We was on our way round the Horn, running into some 'eavy weather—those Yankees were leaning over the rail, puking their guts out all the way. Maybe that's what aroused the blighter, I'll never know. Anyway, we were there one moment, forging forward through the gale—we had reefed most of the sail so it wouldn't get torn, ended up losing the top-gallant yards in the process—but we were still making progress. And, all of a sudden, this fellow rises up off our stern. Lord 'elp me if he wasn't higher than our mizzen.”
    The seaman paused and took another long sip, deliberately drawing his audience out. Finally one of them asked, “Really?”
    “Gospel truth, boy. Well, I thought it was a big wave at the first, then I saw his eyes. Just like flames of fire, piercing through the storm. Then his jaws opened and a roar like a thousand cannons hit our ship, nearly knocking us over on our beam-ends. Men were screaming like children. The shortest of his teeth were as long as my cane, and each of them razor-sharp. The skipper ordered me and the midshipman, Jim 'Arkins, to train the carronade on the blighter, but before we could react, the monster took a bite out of the stern, oak planks snapping like matchsticks. The ship lurched and began to go down fast by the stern and I knew right then that we were doomed. I rushed to the stern to inspect the damage and it was bad. I looked up and saw the monster right on top of me, his jaws closing for a second time. I tried to move, but it was too late. There was nothin' I could do.”
    Another long draught as the sailor slaked his thirst, replacing the empty pint on the top of the bar. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, seeming in no hurry to finish his story.
    “What happened?” Someone asked.
    A grin crossed his wizened, leathery face. “Well, then the monster ate me. . .”

    For the Eagle Standard, a rather bemused Theodotos I reporting. . .
    Last edited by Calvin; April 01, 2009 at 08:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Xavier Dragnesi's Avatar Esse quam videre
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    Good work guys. But now we've had our little ETW break, lets get back to work. Hopefully another big issue next month.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III



    Nice, amazing new issue. It's good to see that this community is so abundant and diversified, and so many different issues are covered from site competitions to game & moddnig reviews. I especially enjoyed Augustus' interview. +cookies for every contributor

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    All right! At last!
    Son of PW

  5. #5
    Augustus Lucifer's Avatar Life = Like a beanstalk
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    Looking good.

  6. #6
    S-te-Fan's Avatar Protector Domesticus
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    Quote Originally Posted by Augustus Lucifer
    stefaneke has... well let's just say he gets around(wink wink).
    LOL

    Anyway, it was fun to read again .

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    an awesome work

  8. #8
    Calvin's Avatar Countdown: 7 months
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    A total war poll has been added to the edition. My humble thanks go to B. Ward and the team who managed to get the edition out while I've been busy. Oh yes, welcome B. Ward as the assistant editor if you will - I think you'll agree he did a sterling job
    Developer for Roma Surrectum 2 || Follow my move to the USA in Calvin's Corner
    Son of Noble Savage || Proud patron of [user]Winter[/user], [user]Lord of the Knights[/user] and [user]fergusmck[/user]

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    Very nice job on the issue, well done to the ES team!

    I just want to add that the poll was created by MasterofNone and the purpose [roughly] is to better understand how people like their mods, which can be very useful for modders and, in turn, for players.
    So, please, don't be shy and do take it.

  10. #10
    dvk901's Avatar Consummatum est
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    Very nice. Very informative! Thank you.

    Creator of: "Ecce, Roma Surrectum....Behold, Rome Arises!"
    R.I.P. My Beloved Father

  11. #11
    Indefinitely Banned
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    We do our best .

  12. #12
    Product Designer
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    excellent issue
    DESARC92 / Product Design
    Once known as MarcelP | Product Designer | Under the Patronage of Legio
    Marcel's Modder's Resources | Tutorials | The Graphics Workshop

  13. #13
    Junius's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    Good issue, though the review needs some serious polishing, nearly as much as Empire. If this was a conscious effort of the reviewer to reflect the shortcomings of the game via the style of his review, bravo!

    However, can sentences like:
    What I didn't like I that I have to use despite at all.
    really be excused?

    Also the scores which RVFVS gave to the elements seem to have little to no relation with his commentary.
    Proud to be under the patronage of Calvin.
    Patron of Lysimachus

  14. #14
    Calvin's Avatar Countdown: 7 months
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    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    When it comes to the grammatical flaws of any article, the fault lies with myself as the editor. It is my job to proof read any of the submissions before they are published, but as you may have noticed I was unable to perform my duties for the March edition, and B. Ward had to step in at very short notice.

    Personally, I do see a correlation between RVFVS' scores and commentary, but perhaps it is something people can read differently.

    I welcome your constructive criticism though
    Developer for Roma Surrectum 2 || Follow my move to the USA in Calvin's Corner
    Son of Noble Savage || Proud patron of [user]Winter[/user], [user]Lord of the Knights[/user] and [user]fergusmck[/user]

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    Quote Originally Posted by fergusmck View Post
    Good issue, though the review needs some serious polishing, nearly as much as Empire. If this was a conscious effort of the reviewer to reflect the shortcomings of the game via the style of his review, bravo!

    However, can sentences like:

    really be excused?

    Also the scores which RVFVS gave to the elements seem to have little to no relation with his commentary.
    First when I wrote the paragraph it was at VERY short notice since I didn't think we were even doing an article this month. I did it at 12:00 at night the day before an exam I was basically braindead.

    Second the quality of the review was fine as far as I see. I said that the game was good but only above average.
    Alistair Yronwood - Lord of Yronwood, Warden of the Stone Way, Blood Royal

    "Darkness? I was born in it...molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man. By then it was nothing to me but blinding! The shadows betray you because they belong to me!
    "But there must always be a Darth Traya, one that holds the knowledge of betrayal. Who has been betrayed in their heart, and will betray in turn."

    "You clearly don't know who you're talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, I AM the danger! A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks! "


  16. #16

    Default Re: The Eagle Standard Vol. VII Issue III

    voted on ARADANs poll




    = - True Love



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