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Gandalf's Isles TWC

Author File Description
File Details
Game Version: TWC
Gandalf's Isles - TWC
A random map script for AOE3: The War Chiefs
by RF_Gandalf

April 5th, 2007 - This map originally contained a small error or bug which sometimes prevented only Carib native trade posts from being built when that tribe was randomly present. This new version corrects that bug. If you previously downloaded this map, you should re-download to correct this bug. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Gandalf's Isles TWC is an updated version of a RMS created with the goal of making a larger and improved island map with more variability, and with new options and strategies for gameplay. It does not represent any 'known' region, but while the location is imaginary, the gameplay is different and exciting.

What has changed since the original? Several major changes:
- new patterns using terrains found in the War Chiefs expansion are added (from the California, NWT, Painted Desert, Andes and Araucania new maps).
- new native minor tribes used, and the Iroquois, Aztec and Sioux replaced.
- more variability in location of the larger extra island and the trade route found on it.
- usually 1-2 more native villages on extra islands
- changes in the randomization of forest size and number, in the number of some extra resources, and a few extra treasures
- addition of a few 'caches' of resource crates and one or more shipwrecks containing gold - found on the extra islands scattered about the map; see below.
- addition of extra 200 starting wood per player to get out fishing sooner.

The map is characterized by each player starting on individual islands completely surrounded by water, with variable starting positions, variable terrains, and great variation in the position of other islands in the sea. Enemy players will not always be directly opposite on the map. The 29 different terrain patterns are not meant to be a representation of any specific island area, just variety for the sake of enjoyment. These terrain patterns have appropriate forests, fauna, Native American types and treasures to match.

Each player's starting island contains a single Native American village, all of one type, with a few other villages of a different or same type scattered among the other islands (the number is variable but is also related to player number). On the starting island are 2 herds of some type, 2 mines, 3-4 treasures, and a fair amount of forest.

In addition to the player's starting islands, there are other islands scattered randomly about the map. This random map will always contain a large island with a short trade route and 2 trade posts (or 3 if over 5 players) - this island can be centered or off to one side, depending on player starting locations. The other islands will vary greatly in size and location, and will contain various needed resources. Most important is the silver and gold - there are always a few silver or tin mines and usually a few gold mines (value 5000 coin) scattered about, as well as additional forests, occasional treasures and a few animals. Forest will normall vary a little in amount, and the more 'desert' areas often will have noticeably less forest than other patterns (but never expect a wood shortage except in prolonged games with serious naval warfare unless you are bottled up on your own island). Other resources also vary a little ranomly in amount or number.

The seas are rich in fish and whales, risky to harvest due to the possiblility of enemy warships, but a valuable economic boost if you can collect them.

The extra resource caches were inspired by features on the map Dogleg Islands by Jugit - I have adapted his idea to this map and changed it a little. There are stacks of firewood, possible gold caches, and stores of food put away by the native inhabitants - steal them for your own use! These vary in appearance and number by the map's terrain pattern and with randomization, and occur only on distant islands.

Well, aside from the above details, how does the map play? There is a need for aggressive control of the seas to control resources - the resources on the distant islands as well as the fishing and whaling that will boost your economy. You need to thoroughly explore the seas and islands to see what is available since there is great variation in how and where players and the extra islands are placed, and of course scout to keep track of the enemy. You need to venture off your island to establish bases elsewhere - economic centers as well as military. This map is truly great for teamwork. Coordinated team play to control straits and islands is very useful. Coordinated team landings are better at eliminating an enemy.

Of course to play this map having a deck built for a water map is helpful - I recommend considering the Admiralty card, free warships, Rendering Plant, Schooners, Improved War Ships, Advanced Dock, and any specific cards for your civ such as Water Dance. Cards giving free wood are also a great boost to get on the water quickly. I am not sure of the value of the Privateer cards - any thoughts on these? I also like having cards to give Outposts or War Huts - shipping these is a great way to quickly establish a base on the enemy's island and subsequently send shipments there.

EDIT: I forgot to mention in my original post that the standard AI plays this map poorly, and if you wish to use this map in singleplayer you should download the Draugur AI made by Felix Hermansson - available in the Miscellaneous Files section of the Download section. Very easy to install or switch back to the original (not that you would want to), but remember to reinstall it after any future patch. It is not perfect (the AI will not colonize other islands like a human and does not mount a great assault on a home base as a human would) but for naval action as well as land warfare it is a big improvent on the original.

NOTE -This map is much larger than any of the ES-created maps and may give some lag problems for players with slower computers and with greater player numbers. Because of the map size and script complexity, the script will take longer than usual to load. Also note that games on this map take somewhat longer to play due to the size and the need to spread out before launching an assult. There is full support for FFA games in this script.

To play this map, the two files (Gandalf's Isles TWC.xs and Gandalf's Isles TWC.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM2. 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.

I have enjoyed making this unique random map script. Thank you to ES for giving us the tools to do this! Hope you enjoy the map.

Feedback appreciated!
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AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
aoe3nchiefs Galdalf,

I love the map. In my opinion, it's your best combination of layouts and spacing yet. I love the extra resource caches (I saw you gave recognition to Jugit for the concept).

I hate to question great work, though I must ask: My enemies would not build ships. Is there additional files I must load, is this map only intened for multi=player use, or was it just a random fluke.

Once again, thanks for your devotion to AEO3.
File Author
This map is best for multiplayer games, as the standard AI does a poor job on any water map.

However, the best option for SP is to get the Draugur AI made by Felix Hermannson (sp?) available in AOE3H downloads and use it - the AI generally makes ships, and I have seen it attack my base with small groups of troops occasionally if left to get to late ages - at least in vanilla, I have not seen that yet in WC although I have only played a few games with it in WC.
egel Gandalf, great map. But what are the triggers used to prevent the Saloon working on some other maps?

btw, I love Sierra del Oro
File Author
There is no trigger on other maps.
Each map can be assigned one or more of several different 'map type', for example there are map types such as "water" or "grass" - water I believe may have been designed to tell the AI that it might want to fish, or to tell the map generator what kind of features to include, I am not sure. There is another "map type" that is basically named after each standard ES map (such as newEngland or pampas) which enables certain map-specific features, such as the kind of birds that fly overhead, the type of treasures and treasure guardians for each map, and the type of mercs available at the saloon for each map. The details for this map type are hard coded in the game files, but a scripter can specify which map type he wants the map to be. When ES released the Plymouth map, they had (in my guess) forgotten to code for mercs in the new Plymouth map type in their patch, and released the map with the Plymouth map type. I made my Thanksgiving maps using the features in the patch, then realized that the saloon units were not enabled, and released a second map after I figured out how to enable the saloon units without changing the treasures away from the Plymouth type.
Long winded answer, but you could probably disable saloon units by leaving out that map type, but treasures and treasure guardians I believe end up being somewhat random - I would have to recheck that to be sure.
egel [quote]but you could probably disable saloon units by leaving out that map type, but treasures and treasure guardians I believe end up being somewhat random - I would have to recheck that to be sure.[/quote]Thanks for that, I don't mind about the treasures too much, but by "leaving out that map type" do you mean omit the first line, or all of them e.g:
File Author
I think that if you remark out only this line like this: // rmSetMapType("newEngland");

then there should not be anything enabling saloon units (unless there is some default). I have not tested this feature. Back in vanilla I seem to remember trying that and finding the treasures somewhat random or jumbled, I think.

experiment and see - report to us what you find!
Map Design5.0
Playability: 5
The map plays exactly as described; huge spaces, many islands and motivation to visit them all :)

Balance: 4
It's hard for me to rate anything as perfectly balance, but this comes very close. Quite nice overall.

Creativity: 4
A natural extension of the Caribbean map, with traceable roots to the Islands map from Age II. Excellent application of this flavor.

Map Design: 5
I can't think of any changes that I'd like... meaning that for me, this map is about as well designed as possible.

Detail/Accuracy: 5
Attention to detail is amazing, with all the various skins and individual random island options.

Additional Comments: I haven't played a lot of games on the map, but all of those that I have played have been enjoyable. With an updated AI, even the computer can handle the map (proper navy and all), and it is always entertaining in either team or versus games (played via LAN for me; no online play yet). All in all, very well done.
kingclyde1975 Additional Comments:
Another excellent map from Gandalf! Thanks for the time you put into these as they turn out quite well.

Please put actual review comments under each specific category for an official review (like above)

[Edited on 02/16/07 @ 08:03 PM]

kanonkaj WOW COOL!ive ben seaching for a island map a long time
Gearai Gandolf,

My son and I were enoying your map a great deal, however, he's only 7yr old and doesn,t normally last more than an hour, it often becomes bed time, or freaquently some other iteruption. We often save our games to continue later. When we tried to save last night with this map we found no option to do so, and f8 fast save short key did not work for us either. Now this is the first multiplayer/lan game we have played with the War Cheifs. Is it some thing you did not include in the RMS or is it that AOE3TWC does not have this feature for multiplayer games.
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