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Big Graphics For The Small Screen - 8/19/2004 3:41:04 PM   
SiliconFreak


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Television producers are turning to computer game developers to recreate history. Digital trickery is commonplace in Hollywood blockbusters, but even small-budget TV productions can now use realistic game graphics to enable viewers to step back in time.

The 13-part Decisive Battles series, screening on pay television's History Channel in October, uses the strategy game Rome: Total War to put viewers in the midst of epic battles.

Out next month, the game can display an astonishing 48,000 soldiers on screen at once. Battle tactics of the Roman era were meticulously researched by developers The Creative Assembly. Players can control more than 100 types of soldiers, assign attack formations and use battering rams, elephants and chariots.

The Creative Assembly's marketing manger, Ian Roxburgh, says scenes for the TV program, such as Hannibal's defeat of the Romans, were created using a tool that players can use to construct scenarios.

"We then played the battle as you normally would in the game," he says. "The whole battle can then be saved and played back in real time."
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