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Mucho Progresso

July 18, 2004

This week has been chock full of writing progress. I began Chapter XII last Saturday, and as of yesterday am now forty-two pages in. The Roman and Carthaginian armies have deployed on the narrow plain between the hilltop town of Cannae and the Aufidus River, and the skirmishers have started forward.

On a side note, “Decisive Battles: Cannae” never actually appeared on the History Channel. It appeared on my Time Warner listings guide, but they were showing some extremely general Roman history. Frustrated, I did some digging, and found out just how cool the Decisive Battles series is likely to be.

Why? Well, each one will obviously look at a decisive battle in history. I’m guessing aside from Cannae we’ll see Thermopylae, Marathon, Guagamela, Alesia, Pharsalus, etc. They will actually go to the battlefield, and they will have the usual talking heads providing expert commentary (I hope they’ve got Adrian Goldsworthy for Cannae).

But, that’s all been done. What is truly awesome about this new series, rather than panning across the same painting twenty times and showing the same twenty reenactors and pretending its some huge battle, it will use computer technology. Specifically, the gaming engine from the upcoming Rome: Total War. If you’ve never played a Total War game before, or seen the engine in action, its truly impressive. And its use to help make documentaries is, I think, inspired.

Here’s a glimpse of what the engine can do:

RTW

For those of you who want to completely spoil Chapter XII (and the rest of the book, for that matter), the first episode, on Cannae, will be airing this coming Friday, July 23, at 8 PM central time.

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