Palm Kingdoms & Royal Bounty Series

I’m a huge Heroes of Might & Magic series fan. More so with the classic games then the newer one’s as Ubisoft seems to be ruining the franchise with rushed unfinished releases, budget cuts & incomplete patching leaving us with broken games forever (yet I stupidly keep throwing money at them for the collectors editions :/ ).

On my HoMM website I’d listed Palm Kingdoms (formerly Palm Heroes) & Royal Bounty in my ‘similar to HoMM games’ section for years but had never got around to playing them. However Iosoftware recently decided to release their Palm Kingdoms games for free to attract more fans to their latest game Royal Bounty HD & their up and coming Palm Kingdoms 3 HD game so naturally I couldn’t resist lol!

I’ve gotta say my original expectations were pretty blown away as I became a complete addict playing PK1&2! They look and feel very much like HoMM2 but contain various little improvements either from later HoMM games or totally new and original ideas. The first game required me to get it working on a windows phone emulator but the second one is a PC game and ran just fine (PK2 also contains all the content of PK1). I really enjoyed playing the super XL map ‘The Divine Status’ as there was so much to explore & conquer that it took me days to finish it!

I was so impressed I couldn’t resist buying their newer game Royal Bounty HD on steam as it’s dirt cheap (as I say in the vids it’s pretty much a glass of coke in a bar lol!) and I became even more addicted lol. It drops castle management for a classic King’s Bounty style game however all the graphics are upgraded to HD quality and the game looks great (if you’re a retro fan like me not looking for the big 3D stuff). It’s funny seeing all the people whinging on steam about it being too hard as I pretty much broke the game in the first few hours by upgrading my peasants to money making citizens & becoming insanely rich able to buy & upgrade nearly unlimited troops lol! Guess you’ve gotta be a HoMM4&5 veteran to spot that trick haha.

Looks like all the nice upgraded graphics and gameplay elements from RBHD will be making it into Palm Kingdoms 3 HD. Can’t wait! You can watch PK3’s progress on the Palm Kingdoms facebook page. They’ve had a lot of funding troubles so hopefully they can get it across the finish line!

Here’s some videos I made of PK1&2 going through the races and talking about all the similarities and differences to HoMM if anyone’s interested in checking out the games. With the RBHD videos I rush play through the entire first chapter to give you an idea of the game (I do the peasant trick in part 3).

Palm Kingdoms 1 – Part 1 Video: Introduction & Tutorial Mission.

Palm Kingdoms 1 – Part 2 Video: Tutorial Mission Continued, Tour of all 6 races castles & units (Using the cool ‘Divine Status’ super XL map), & How to get the game working via emulation.

Palm Kingdoms 2 – Part 1 Video: Introduction & Tutorial Mission (note: I’ve since discovered the game looks better at 720p).

Palm Kingdoms 2 – Part 2 Video: Tutorial Mission Continued, Tour of the 6 classic races castles & units (Using the cool ‘Divine Status’ super XL map), & Extended tour of the new & totally original 7th race!

Royal Bounty HD – Part 1 Video: Introduction, Prison Break, & Chapter 1 Forestria Beginning.

Royal Bounty HD – Part 2 Video: Chapter 1 Forestria Continued.

Royal Bounty HD – Part 3 Video: Chapter 1 Forestria Final Stages, Cool Unit Upgrades, Chapter 2 The Lost Scroll Teaser, & Peasant Upgrade MEGA Money Making Trick.

I made it to PC Gamer Magazine!!!

Two months ago you saw me excitedly posting about discovering my silly little Quest for Glory IV 3D Hexen mod had made it to Rock Paper Shotgun, one of the largest gaming news websites out there! Since that post more than 2,000 people have visited my site (already half way to 24,000 visitors!) and almost as many have watched my videos. My Star Trek Doom mod has been going pretty well too but much to my surprise my QFG4-3D mod which was originally only ever planned as just a test run to get my skills good enough for Star Trek Doom has ended up becoming the bigger and more famous hit lol! Now I know why the visitors keep coming…

Quest for Glory IV 3D Hexen has friggin made it to PC Gamer!! The largest PC gaming mag in the world!! And I didn’t just get some little mention.. oh no they went and bloody put my mod in their top 10 downloads of the month section at NUMBER ONE! It’s the only on in the top 10 filling more than half a page and with more than one picture. Some of the other top 10 mods are way better looking and more complex than mine so I’m just stunned!! All I can put it down to is good old nostalgia. People love QFG4 and they want to be taken back there in some way haha.

I’m in both the PC Gamer UK February edition and the PC Gamer US March edition. I’ve been getting PC Gamer UK since 1994! Never did I ever think that something of mine would ever appear on the pages of this mag.. something I’ve been collecting since I was a boy.. 🙂

PC Gamer UK & PC Gamer USA Scans

Blake’s Sanctum Has a New Home!

Found some good free hosting sites and have decided to go with x10Hosting. They have a very nice and short domain naming system as well so my site finally has a short and simple address lol!

http://blakessanctum.x10.mx/

 

I also decided to keep a mirror copy on another pretty good site called 000WebHost.

http://blakessanctum.comeze.com/

 

That way if anything happens to me there’s a good chance Blake’s Sanctum will live on. 🙂

I’m still left with a few frustrating problems…
Without access to my webring site I can’t remove the old site and setup re-directs. I have some limited access to the root folder so I can at least put some re-directs there but all the gaming, tv and mod subsections I can’t do anything about. 😦
There’s also literally a gazillion places I need to update the links to my site eg facebook groups, many forum posts and sigs, all my youtube videos, and all the posts on this blog… eeek!

Blake’s Sanctum In Trouble!

I figured this day was coming for a while now. Webring (the host of Blake’s Sanctum since 2008) have been in a pretty sorry state the last few years. I’m amazed their site is even still there as it’s clearly being neglected and surely isn’t profitable anymore. The website hosting uploader hasn’t worked in chrome, firefox and IE for 2 years now yet for some strange reason it still worked in Safari so I was able to continue working on the site however now even in safari the uploder has stopped working and I’ve lost access to my site. 😦 😦

Clearly it’s time to move. In fact I should have moved a while back at the first signs of trouble but oh well. I’m going to start looking for a new home for Blake’s Sanctum. Fans have offered me webspace in the past which I appreciate however I prefer not to have my site on a private server that be switched off the moment someone doesn’t pay a bill. So I’m going to go hunt for another free host. Once found I get to begin the long unpleasant process of moving the entire site and changing all my links across the many forums and videos out there to the new site. Fun!

Star Trek Deep Space Nine in HD

2 Years ago like many other Star Trek DS9 fans I was devastated when it became public that CBS would not push ahead with the DS9 HD Blu-ray remakes due to the lacklustre sales of the STTNG blu-rays (recently re-confirmed here). Watching TNG in HD with all the remade special effects was a truly amazing experience but through the whole thing I kept thinking “I can’t wait to see all those big sets and space battles from DS9 in HD”. While DS9 was supposed to be the little bastard show it ended up being bigger in every way and therefore would have benefited from an HD remake even more. A real tragedy for us fans.

However there’s been some interesting developments of late and some great fan made stuff I thought I’d post about that just might give us some hope that one day we’ll get ‘something somehow’ lol.

Firstly the What We Left Behind: Star Trek Deep Space Nine Documentary Indiegogo I posted about the other day was a HUGE funding success which had to have gotten the attention of CBS. On top of that Adam Nimoy and the rest of the doco team dropped a very exciting surprise on us. If we fully funded the stretch goals they would bring the STTNG HD bluray team back out of retirement to scan and convert select special footage from DS9 to include in the documentary. It probably won’t be much and no doubt it wouldn’t be any space stuff (unless it’s an early season pre-CGI model shot) but nevertheless this is really cool! Naturally the fan reaction was explosive and all the stretch goals were knocked out of the park haha!

Secondly there’s some amazing fan work going on out there. This guy has managed to recreate some of DS9’s largest most epic battle moments in HD with INCREDIBLE quality that just defies belief!

Continue reading

Imperium Galactica is back in 2017!

Imperium Galactica was one of the greatest game series I ever played as a kid in the 90s and now I’m pleased to say this old forgotten 4X space strategy series is returning to us thanks to Nordic Games. What made IG so good and different to Master of Orion and everything else out there at the time (& even to this day in some respects) was 2 things:

1 – It had epic immersion via all the amazing videos and story elements. Completing strategic objectives brought on amazing video & story rewards instead of just some simple text on a screen saying “well done” lol. In IG1 you could even explore your own ship! People raved in 2010 when Starcraft 2 WoL came out because you could spend large amounts of time exploring your battleship and talking to people in the bar in between the strategic missions. Well IG1 did that 13yrs before Blizzard did haha!

2 – It was basically 3 games in 1. I grew up playing Master of Orion, Sim City 2000 & Dune2/C&C and used to think “wouldn’t it be cool if there was a game that combined them” and then I found IG1&2 and realized some clever folks in Hungary had made my dream a reality! As far as I know no one has really combined those 3 things since!


IG1 & IG2

IG2 & OpenIG

A couple of years ago I started seriously considering doing a big IG tribute at Blake’s Sanctum and started looking into what happened to its creator Digital Reality. I thought they were long gone so I was so excited when I did some digging and found out that they were still alive in the 2010s and had made an enhanced IG2 for mobiles and were working on a new online IG game (called Stargazer or something?). But then I discovered that this was actually old news from around 2013ish and Digitial Reality really were gone this time and their lifeless website & forums were filled with spammers.

However this week I’ve discovered that Nordic Games bought the series in 2016 and have released both Imperium Galactica 1 & 2 on Steam and GoG! Even better they’ve taken all the improvements digital reality did with the mobile version of IG2 (improved interface & textures etc) and ported them back over to the PC version. And on top of that they’re even patching IG2 to make sure the old 1999 game is fully compatible on modern systems! 🙂

If these releases are Nordic Games ‘testing the waters’ to see if IG is still a good money maker for a sequel then I encourage all IG fans to go purchase these new versions. Then we might just get that Imperium Galactica 3 we’ve been waiting so long for.

On top of all this the fan project OpenIG which is a remake of IG1 is looking very good now after many years of work. It does NOT require the original game files and it supports high resolutions, better interface, gameplay improvements and best of all SKIRMISH/SAND BOX MODE! No longer are you locked into the campaign making the game just a re-playable as its sequel! It supports multiplayer and you can ever play as the alien races with full Master of Orion style race customisation.:)

So basically we can now play both Imperium Galactica 1 and 2 in high resolution with modern improvements thanks to the work of Nordic Games and the fans behind OpenIG. Finally some good news relating to a great series that hasn’t had any in 18 years!!

Here’s all the Links:
THQ Nordic Games Announcement

Imperium Galactica 1 on Steam
Imperium Galactica 1 on GoG

Imperium Galactica 2 on Steam
Imperium Galactica 2 on GoG

OpenIG Project Page

Continue reading

What We Left Behind – Star Trek DS9 Documentary

Wow wow wow! It breaks my heart that we’re not getting a HD remake of Star Trek DS9 due to the TNG HD remake blurays not making enough money however at least we’re getting this!

DS9 showrunner Ira Behr has teamed up with Adam Nimoy (who did the recent excellent For The Love Of Spock doco) to do a new Star Trek documentary all about Deep Space Nine! Unlike the existing soft DS9 PG DVD extras this doco looks like it will contain lots of juicy and possibly even controversial behind the scenes info on the struggles of the show and the actors (eg like the full on recent Chaos On The Bridge TNG doco). Nearly the entire cast is behind this too and best of all Ira has got together the old DS9 writing team (including Ron Moore) to brainstorm a mythological DS9 Season 8 Episode 1 story that us fans have been begging for years. How will they get Sisko back to DS9? Can’t wait to see!

TNG was my favourite Star Trek show back in the day yet after all these years I seem to find myself craving and missing DS9 more. I just loved the characters and stories so much. I loved all the things they did that they weren’t supposed to do in the Roddenberry Trek universe like serialised connected stories, imperfect flawed heroes, likable bad guys and huuuuge wars.

In the last hour or so I’ve seen $20,000 USD being thrown at this thing resulting in it already being at $60,000 as I type this which means its well on its way to meeting it’s $150,000 target. Let’s make sure it does and spread the word fellow DS9 fans!

Update:
It made it in ONE DAY! Now it’s over $200,000 and flying towards the stretch goals! I hope paramount are watching this. TNG HD may have fallen short of their $ goals but DS9 fans are very loyal to our bastard series. 🙂 They could at least do a ‘testing the waters’ HD release of the pilot & favourite eps like they did with TNG. DS9 fans would pay! Or maybe even a straight to dvd/bluray release of this mythical season 8 story (eg Ark of Truth was Stargate SG1s 11th season wrapped into one dvd film for the fans).

Link:

What We Left Behind: Star Trek Deep Space Nine Documentary Indiegogo

I made it to Rock Paper Shotgun!

Well it’s been a pretty crazy 2 months since I released my Quest for Glory IV 3D Hexen and Star Trek Doom mod projects. I went overseas to Ko Samui Thailand for a month and around it I did my best to respond to the surge of attention my mods brought to this blog, my youtube channel and my website. Thank you every one for your feedback, it’s been amazing and certainly inspired me to pick up work on my mods again one day.

Blake’s Sanctum has passed the big 20,000 moment and its now already closing in on 21k. This blog has shot up by 1000 hits including one crazy day where 600+ people visited. The mod videos have received over 4,000 hits. Just amazing!

As I posted about the mods in various facebook groups and forums there were many surges in visitors but the biggest of all came from a wonderful man named Richard Cobbett. I’ve posted about him before over the years as he was responsible for showing Quest for Glory to a huge audience on two occasions when he first ensured QFG4 made it into the 2012 PC Gamer UK top 100 Games of all time list and then second posted an awesome 2 page spread on QFG4 in 2013 once again in PC Gamer UK.

Well now after finding out about and even playing my QFGIV 3D mod he decided to do a massive article on Rock, Paper, Shotgun all about my mod. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has got to be one of the biggest gaming news sites out there! I’ve read many an article there over the years so for my silly little mod to be covered on their site is just a nerdy dream come true lol!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Thank you Richard! I work hard to promote and ensure QFG is never forgotten but I’ll never have the global reach you have so the fact you do the same thing for QFG on sites like this and in the huge PC Gamer mags is just wonderful.

Master of Magic HD Multiplayer Remake (by Implode)

Hi guys, I really want to spread the word on an awesome fan project that’s still going and has utterly blown me away.

Master of Magic – Implode’s Multiplayer Edition is a brilliant MoM engine rebuild that supports larger maps, up to 14 players (either Human or AI), and any modern windows resolution like HD 4K etc. The author Implode intends to expand on the original MoM experience but with minimal changes to the core gameplay and graphics that we all know & love.

Implode the creator of MoM-IME has been working on this project for at least 12yrs now and isn’t getting much support these days so if you’re a huge Master of Magic fan and you’ve dreamed of playing against 13 other wizards in massive slaughterfest over 2 giant worlds in high resolution then get yours butts over to the official MoM-IME forum and try out the latest demo and offer your support! 🙂

I love the improved battle graphics eg how he’s done a LOTR-Weta workshop trick of grabbing a few guys and replicating them into larger groups. Makes you feel like your commanding large armies instead of little squads and big monsters who are upscaled and not replicated look much scarier now as they tower over the little armies! Also like the Civ style territory borders and how the game supports simultaneous turns like AoW which would be great for multiplayer games.

For anyone interested here’s a video I recorded of his game in 1080P (FYI it doesn’t go full screen until the map loads)…

Part 1 covers me exploring the starting an empire (fast forwarding through slow bits):

Part 2 covers me attacking some neighbours and starting a new game in the Myrran dark world:

NOTE: This video was made with the 2015 WIP 0.9.6.3 release. There have been multiple releases since adding things such as treasure rewards and hero items. In late 2016 Implode started work on the much anticipated enemy wizard global AI (AI build cities & armies, casts spells etc) so I can’t wait for that! Battle AI is functional however so you can still have a fun monster/treasure hunting RPG style game in the current build.

MoM-IME forum:
http://mom.pjj.cc/forum/index.php

Download latest demo build from:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/momime/

Join the Master of Magic facebook group here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MasterOfMagicGame/

For more information on this and many other MoM related games & mods check out my MoM Legacy Games page here:
http://blakessanctum.x10.mx/Games/MoM/MoMEnter.html

Star Trek Doom Project (GZDoom Doom 2 mod)

Wow guys, things have really taken off in the week since my Quest for Glory IV 3D (ZDoom Hexen Mod) announcement. The site has reached over 19,000hits, this blog has also had hundreds of hits and same with my QFG4-3D videos! Thanks to everyone for your support and kind comments on the forums, facebook & videos.

So now the time has finally come to announce the second of my 2 big projects that I’ve been secretly working on over the last 2 years, the resurrection of my old Star Trek Doom project!

I originally worked on and off the Star Trek Doom Project from 1997 to 2012. I had almost all but given up on ever working on it properly again but people just kept contacting me about it over the years and I finally decided to really go for it again! So I resumed the project in 2016 and have totally redesigned & remastered EVERYTHING for GZDoom.

The year is 2371 and the Enterprise-D is in its seventh year of service (Between Season 7 & Generations Film), you play a young junior Lieutenant sent out to test upgrades on a shuttlecraft when a futuristic Borg cube emerges from a temporal portal launching a devastating attack on the Enterprise. After seeing the Borg Cube destroyed by Species 8472 emerging from the same time portal you decide to return to the Enterprise to try and help take back the ship. The game will take you to all your favourite places around the Enterprise and even on to a Borg cube! Obviously since such events are not possible in the canon/prime timeline I had to do some ‘creative thinking’ story wise to make it happen (basically I had to do a JJ Abrams lol) which hopefully diehards will be okay with since after all this is just a bit of fun! 🙂

My goal has always been to create a wild adventure on the Enterprise D that has you believing you’re there (well at least in the boundaries of the ancient Doom engine lol), and I’m happy to say the project reboot has been a success! All old areas, monsters and weapons have been rebuilt 10x better, many new areas have been added, and I’ve completely finished everything I wanted to do for my first public demo. Hope you all enjoy this first public demo below. Be warned that it will likely be a long time before there’s another demo, I’ve spent nearly 2 years on these 2 projects and have sacrificed a lot. I’m burnt out & want to do other things, including getting back to PLAYING games instead of making them lol!


For more information, more screenshots, animations+descriptions of all weapons & monsters you’ll face, and of course the download links for the demo and required files check out my STDoom website here:

Blake’s Sanctum – Star Trek Doom Homepage

If you just want to see the game without all the hassle then here’s a playthrough/walkthrough video series I made..

Part 1 – Type 7 Shuttle, Transporter Room, Turbolift, Corridors, Holodeck, Jefferies Tubes, Shuttle Bay, Type 6 Shuttle & Borg Cube Arrvial.

Part 2 – Borg Cube, Borg Queen boss fight, Enterprise D Bridge & EARLY DRAFT Engineering Species 8472 boss fight.