Military History

Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast

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Napoleon PodcastThe Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast, also known as Napoleon 101, is a great audio series on Napoleon and the Napoleonic era. The show is now basically complete, having started in 2006, but the content is essentially timeless. The series consists of about 58 episodes that average 60-90 minutes apiece. So altogether there is well over 80 hours of material. The show features historian and educator J. David Markham, President of the International Napoleonic Society and Cameron Reilly, CEO of The Podcast Network. Mr Markham has written a number of books on Napoleon, including Napoleon for Dummies, and does a great job delivering the life and times of Napoleon.

You can certainly jump into any particular episode that interests you but we very much enjoyed starting from episode #1 and going straight through. If you do not start with the early episodes be aware that the show is obviously pro-Napoleon but the hosts will generally admit when they are being biased and also indicate topics that are often in dispute. In later shows they even have a number of guests that disagree with some of their own interpretations. The goal of the show is to spark your own interest in Napoleon and the period to lead you to further study of your own.

Overall the podcast is extremely well done. Audio quality is generally very good although some shows have some minor issues. Also there is often a sound level difference between the two hosts that can be a minor annoyance.

As with any show there are various complaints found throughout the show comments. One common complaint is about the off topic chit chat. This does appear in most episodes, especially later ones, but is mostly kept to a minimum and usually just in the beginning of each episode. After all, the podcast is not an academic lecture but simply a show — Some banter among the hosts should be expected. Another frequent complaint is over the occasional political shots at the Bush administration (the show was mostly recorded from 2006-2009). Again, these are very infrequent and minor. You will need to be extremely thin skinned for these to detract from your enjoyment of the show. We found the occasional comparisons of Napoleonic events with the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars interesting.

Overall, as newcomers to the Napoleonic era, we found the series incredibly valuable and entertaining. Combined with the recent bounty of Napoleonic games and miniature rules it has spurred us on to further reading and research into the period. Frankly we are shocked at ourselves for having ignored such a fascinating period of history all these years. If you think you have any interest in Napoleon or military history you should give at least the first few episodes of this show a listen.

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Where There’s Smoke There’s a Firefight — Video

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Tales of Virtual CombatPatrick T. Ware has produced an amazing video, Tales of Virtual Combat: Where There’s Smoke There’s a Firefight. Using the game engine from Battlefront.com’s Combat Mission: Beyond Normandy, Patrick has created a virtual documentary of a WW2 tactical action. It is over two hours in length and broken into fifteen segments. If you have any interest in WW2 give this a look. It really is a creative piece of work.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION & HISTORY: Tales of Virtual Combat (hereafter referred to as ToVC) is a derivative mockumentary born from the concept of an animated (13-26 week) documentary series that I originally intended as a proposal to certain cable television networks that specialize in world history programming. However, at the beginning of 2011, I reluctantly retired my full-service production company (of nearly a quarter century) prior to creating the pilot episode. The primary difference between the original concept and ToVC is the subject matter. Whereas the “series” was based on factual, untold — or even obscure — military engagements of interest (of which there are a multitude), ToVC is purely fictional story telling on my part, featuring “virtual combatants” in the place of animated renditions of actual flesh and blood participants.

As a now semi-retired producer / filmmaker / screenwriter of some three decades, I found it difficult to simply leave this concept untested. That’s when coincidence intervened. I came across a unique proprietary 3D graphics engine (created by an independent software developer) that intrigued me. Their CMx2 engine was remarkably accurate in its history and extremely comprehensive in its presentation. Even though CMx2 is actually a PC game engine (or more accurately, a detailed battle simulator) rather than a CGI platform, I was still quite impressed by its graphical depth and control interface. Such features as its motion capture; simulated Newtonian physics; object and space displacement mapping and manipulation; and programmable AI prompted the “evolutionary” idea for ToVC.

The premise behind ToVC’s creation was quite simple. Could I produce an animated program that resembles a television documentary series using a game engine exclusively (avoiding use of my CGI capabilities)? Could this be accomplished utilizing ONLY a high-end personal computer and a couple of basic multimedia tools freely available via the Internet? This was my motivation. The end result is the no frills, cinema-style, feature-length mockumentary now cued-up on your computer. You be the judge.