Christory Lessons: Kings and Castles

Oops, we took our eye off the ball there. One post about Gas-Powered Games’ upcoming Kings & Castles, and then we completely ignored it. There’s a reason for that. It involves clowns and toast crusts, and the memories remain too traumatic to share with you. Now those dark times are behind us, so I feel comfortable in bringing you more of the Supreme Commander/Dungeon Siege studio’s excellently strange video blogs, documenting both the game’s development process and Chris Taylor’s grasshopper mind.

Last time, El Taylor was talking to the animals. Some 13 installments later, he’s showing off the game – and it’s looking quite lovely. Here be dragons! Also, chickens.

This is the most recent one, episode 14, which I embed because a) it’s funny and b) it’s revealing.

Kings and Queens and Castles, then? The footage of the soldiers also has me idly wondering if this will be what Total Annihilation Kingdoms should have been – a fantasy take on TA/Supcom’s ethos of scale and warfare, rather than the bizarre mess that old sequel turned out as. (I still have a copy of that, in fact – might have to dig it out, to see how it matches up with my scowling memories of it). K&C also looks quite, quite different, of course, but I’m reasonably sure that GPG will maintain their reputation as go-to guys for Big Fighting with it.

Going back a bit is episode 10, which I embed because a) dragons! and b) because they’re taking the piss out of games journalists (as demonstrated below the video).

Spot this hidden in the dragon footage, did you?

Shuffles nervously. That is very true.

The other videos can be found on GPG’s Youtube channel.


  1. rocketman71 says:

    I don’t trust GPG anymore.

    First, the fuckup with Demigod’s network, barely fixed by now. Next, no new maps as promised, and only two new avatars. And finally, no LAN in Supreme Commander 2.

    No gift for them this Christmas.

    • westyfield says:

      As much as I agree with you on this point, I can’t help having my opinion blinded by Chris Taylor in those videos. The high-five explosion and the fist bumps in particular spring to mind and make me want this game more than I should.

    • lhzr says:

      if i wouldn’t have tried the space siege demo, i’d be interested in this. but i did, so i’m not.

      if something good will eventually come out of their studio it’s gonna be good purely by chance.

    • Wulf says:

      I have to agree. Dungeon Siege was distinctly average but it was good, why was it good? It was modifiable, and then it got Ultima, and then it was good, it was good because of mods. If it had not been modifiable, it would have been an inexcusable snorefest. Space Siege was dull, it was so incredibly dull, it was more dull than watching an ant farm, it had such a field of dullness around it that I could feel it ageing me, so I stopped playing that and went back to Alien Shooter 2, which is utterly stupid yet amusing and convivial in a very genuine and honest way. I wanted Space Siege to be entertaining, but it bored me so much that it felt like a waste of the 89p I paid for it.

      Sorry Siege fans!

      I’m wondering if Gas Powered Games will ever crank out anything that will entertain at all, I’ve not been engaged, amused, or provoked (as an art game might) by anything in their offerings. I’m sure they’ll eventually make something interesting though, and who knows, this might be it.

    • lhzr says:

      @wulf: ironic, sort of, considering that space siege wanted to be something more than a mindless shooter like the zombie/alien/etc shooters are (or at least that’s the impression that i was under when i tried space siege).
      alien shooter and co. were crusader with better gfx and they were fun. space siege, on the other hand.. i don’t know how they could get it so wrong. there was NOTHING fun about it. it’s like they made it dull on purpose. i forced myself to finish the demo, only to realize that i’d much rather replay crusader. it didn’t even seem to promise anything better for the full game. a dreary and tiresome experience, which was disappointing, since i kinda dug dungeon siege and i thought space siege would be the same, but in space and better.

    • lhzr says:

      i’d put some line breaks in that wall of text, but i can’t be bothered going to the forums to search for that mystical edit button, so yeah, sorry ’bout that.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Demigod’s final networking solution after three months of Stardock/GPG rewriting nearly everything about it was and still is one of the best ways to handle P2P online RTS games. Steam does almost exactly the same for SupCom 2 btw, gone are the NAT negotiation horrors of old. That’s three months lost of course but without an open beta and an early release date this was to be expected.

      You got two free Demigods as promised, new maps were never promised. Despite that Stardock/GPG are opening up the mod scene for the game more and more, and they’re still promising more free updates in the future.

      LAN is Steam-LAN in SupCom 2 meaning you have to connect once to Steam before the LAN-session itself. It’s not true LAN no, because of that single online authentication at the start every time, but being “honest” only leads to masses of pirates using Hamachi to play your game online. SupCom and FA suffered massively because of this.

      Also, TAK deserved better. Loads of missed potential and some basic technical/RTS mistakes but it had plenty of other good stuff to compensate for that. Cavedog still did a decent job on it considering the facts they had to ship it too early, that they were working on three other high-profile titles (Amen, TA2, Good&Evil) and that CT was already gone for more than a year.

  2. ChaK_ says:

    chickens > dragons


  3. HexagonalBolts says:

    I can’t believe they still have men with swords standing six feet away from a building and waving their swords at it to denote them attacking it, this is 2011 not Age of Empires 2. Can’t they just burn it down?

    The dragons attack animation was terrible as well, it just stood there letting them attack it, and then repeated the same small action over and over.

    I’m a bit skeptical, it just looks like outdated ideas in a slightly shinier graphics engine.

    • westyfield says:

      Oh gosh yes. Anything short of explosives or fire used against buildings in games has always annoyed me, even machinegun fire in C&C games.
      That needs fixing, now, GPG.

    • Rich says:

      At least the foot soldiers in Age of Empires 3 threw burning torches into buildings to indicate them attacking it, and that was ages ago.

    • Phinor says:

      Considering the game is in early development and over a year away, I wouldn’t stress myself over animations just yet. Plus these videos offer YOU a great chance to give them feedback during the early days of the development. You know, it might be just your comment that causes them to improve specific issues.

    • RedFred says:

      @HexBolts: It’s, uh, 2010.

  4. Mario Figueiredo says:

    It was an entertaining video, alright. But a thought (I know, I have those?) crossed my mind.

    Trying to make it look like they have this great working environment but then presenting these poor blokes facing blank walls, saddens me. I mean, no posters, no artwork scattered all around the place, No, nothing? The place should be teaming with color for pete’s sake!

    Does it matter, or doesn’t it matter if while developing a game you are surrounded by these things? Their answer. But ask me and I’ll tell you “A lot!”.

    • Tei says:

      Maybe don’t need then. Maybe is a mather of opinion. *insert comment here about black & gray dreams of machine unicorns *

    • Rich says:

      Doesn’t Relic have a life size Space Marine and a shrine to the Emperor of Mankind in their offices. Now that’s something to aspire to.

  5. Ginger Yellow says:

    I never quite understood the hatred for TA: Kingdoms. I liked it a lot, even though my rig at the time could barely run it. Then again, I was a lot less wise in the ways of the RTS back then, so maybe I was missing something obvious. Also, I never played it multiplayer.

    • veerus says:

      I liked TA:K too. Never played multiplayer, but I had a lot of fun with the single player.

      I enjoyed the game’s choice to only have 1 key resource. I feel it’s not dissimilar from DOW2’s use of capture points. As always CT’s ideas (but not execution) were ahead of his time.

    • Luckylad says:

      I loved TA:Kingdoms. In fact I played it very competitively with a tight nit group of friends. Always was the human-esque race (their name escapes me) because it was hilarious to kill a build res him and then all of a sudden you have 2 races at your disposal. Oh and i suppose the rock people were pretty awesome too.

  6. DMJ says:

    @Rich: Doesn’t everyone?

  7. /V/endetta says:

    Oh, that gamer girl/woman is cute :3

  8. DarkFenix says:

    The melee mechanics as they stand (men vs dragon and men vs building, men vs men looked ok from a distance) look rather bland. I hope this improves throughout the development, because other games have set a pretty high bar (see Dawn of War for a sterling example of melee combat done right).

    Conceptually I’m interested in this game, but as far as I’m concerned GPG’s recent track record is not a good one and they’ll have to work pretty hard to get any money out of me again.

    • Tei says:

      Maybe these early videos tell us nothing about the game. I could be everything you miss is still on the TODO list, and more things you have never think off.

    • BeamSplashX says:

      I remember the melee combat in early Dragon Age footage looking incredibly dry with more impact being shown in trailers closer to release. Hopefully GPG is just doing the same thing BioWare did during that era. Not that I should care much; my satisfaction from RTS games comes from the RPS folks writing about them, not from playing them.

  9. Hmm says:

    I feel this game will meet Supreme Commander 2’s fate – a game that could have been great, but wasn’t because of the need to design it also with a console in mind.

  10. MadMatty says:

    Total Annihilation – Great
    Kingdoms – Not quite so great
    Dungeon Siege 1 &2 – pretty good
    Space Siege – Awful
    Supreme Commander – Great
    Supreme Commander 2 – dissapointingly average

    HereĀ“s hoping for “Castles n shit”
    Even tho they might not have anything original up their sleep they could build on some of the goodness from SupCom 1 –