Posted on 11/23/05 @ 05:20 PM (updated 03/13/06
A random map script for AOE3
This new random map was created in response to a request by several forumers at AOE3Heaven for a defensive type map. This map represents the rugged canyon country of the American West, such as is found in Utah, Arizona and parts of northern Mexico. Each team starts on their own land area, surrounded in part by steep impassable cliffs, divided from the other team by a deep canyon with only one narrow connection. This connection is wallable but it is tricky to get the wall edges against a canyon edge or wall to ensure that the enemy is walled off. The map has adequate silver mines, forest, treasures, and a good number of pronghorn, bison and cows for food, all fairly placed. There is always one Native American village per player located within the team lands; these will be all either Comanche or Aztec. There is a single long trade route with 2 trade posts on each side of the map, on each side of the dividing canyon, for a two team game. For games with over 5 players there will be a third trade post on each trade route. However in a Free-For-All the trade route is disabled as it would end up cutting across canyons and disrupting the defensive possibilities of this map. Player start positions have some randomization for variety. This map is a little larger than standard ES land maps.
There are possible extra treasures and silver located in the central canyon, accessible only via the crossing point. And for a surprise, keep your eyes open for some desert bighorn sheep hiding in the heights. They were really added as eye-candy, but see if you can figure out how to hunt them (and a few may appear in the lower elevations randomly).
In my testing this map always produces fair, balanced maps for 2 team play. Effective play involves scouting the various resources, Native types, and of course, the enemy, as well as taking control of the crossing.
This map supports FFA play well for 3 or 4 players. However, with larger player numbers, with each player on his own 'plateau' the player lands start to get a little narrower and not as defensible - it is harder to keep buildings away from the edges where enemy cannon are able to get to them. Also with larger player numbers in a FFA, the connections start to get more distorted and wider and the canyons more convoluted, making walling a little harder. Play a 5-or-more player FFA at your own discretion; it can still make a fun playable map but some players might not have as great of a defensible position as others.
To play this map, the two files (Canyonlands.xs and Canyonlands.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM. Please do not place them in the game's install folder - that will not work. When you start up a skirmish game in Single-player or Multiplayer, use the small blue 'Custom Map' button, which allows you to then select one the random maps in that My Games folder from the drop-down window.
The .xml file has been updated to show a map description at the startup screen.
This is one of my favorite maps that I have ever made for any game, and I think one of the most visually striking. It has required a lot of trial and error to get the canyons, mesas, trade routes and connections all working appropriately and looking good. Thank you to ES for giving us the tools to do this! Hope you enjoy the map.
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Playability is excellent. I always play Medium difficulty, Nomad with 3 players (1 human vs 2 Computer players). With this map you have uniquely generated Sonora-type terrains each time. I've played it 16 times so far once for each nationality on easy difficulty and once on medium difficulty. This map is a favorite.
Balance was excellent, all players have at least 4 treasures, 3 gold piles, lots of trees and at least lots of meat herds and there are extras on the floor of the separating canyons between players.
Creativity ... well, I have always preferred RF_Gandalf's maps and scenarios (I have quite a few for AoM as well). I find his maps imaginative and well-defined with attention to details quite evident. They look good and are interesting to use.
Map Design ... This one is great ... although occasionally that small bit of land which allows access to the other plateaus is NOT so small ... sometimes I've had the map generate one that is about half the length of one of the two sides divided by canyon. I also had one map generated that had one joining area that occurred at the tip of each of the 3 areas making a common warring ground for all 3 players ... a very interesting game that one. This one quirk in the map generation is the only issue I have with this map. But still playable.
Instructions are clear, concise and easily understood ... I wish all were as understandable as these.
I have learned to press pause while the map is loading/generating. Then saving the game when it is first loaded. I then resign to check if the map is playable and then either re-loading or re-generating the map as required.
Another of the benefits of RF_Gandalf's maps are that they are quick-loading, the terrain changes frequently. The starting positions are never the same and sometimes continue a surprise or two. I look forward to any and all scenarios and maps created by RF_Gandalf.
I gave an over all rating a 4 because:
the map was a wonder full. I could leave it as that but I wont. There was plenty of treasure. Two separate trade routes with Two trading posts. Two native villages. Oh yeah and my favorite hidden cows look for them there out there.
The map showed a nice layout of terrain and mountains. I liked how little wood there was if you ran out of wood by your side gotta go get wood over there. I have to say this is another good random map. Any questions or comments you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are gonna update the map let me know ill edit my review.
Great one of my Fav maps
Great Idea I love the crossing
Map Design: 5
Very nice the the "out of reach" sheep are my fav
Additional Comments:I would like to see more maps like this for Vanilla!!