Posted on 03/19/07 @ 07:00 AM (updated 04/05/07
A random map script for AOE3 and The War Chiefs
April 5th, 2007 - These maps 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 these maps, you should re-download to correct this bug. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Delta is a new random map for Single-player or Multiplayer use, available in versions for AOE3 and The War Chiefs. This map depicts an 'unknown' area, with players or teams on opposite banks of a river, while downstream there is a delta area with bonus food, coin and wood resources. There is always one direct crossing between the player areas, and another crossing that connects players through the delta. One each side of the river is one trade route, while 2 native villages (3 on maps with over 3 players) are located in the delta islands. The river contains some fish but no whales. There are 15 (21 in TWC version) possible randomly chosen terrain patterns, with natives and fauna roughly matching the terrain pattern. The map is larger than the diameter of Carolinas basically to allow the addition of the river features and to allow enough land away from the threat of naval bombardment from the water. There is some variation in the map design, with the delta randomly appearing in the north or south, and two different designs of the delta pattern. Note that the shallow crossings in the rivers are located at the periphery of the map and do not prevent ships from travelling most the river length. Note that the rivers in the standard version of this map will always be visible in their entirety to all players at the start of the game.
The food resources on each map can vary slightly. There are always four starting huntable animals by the TC and 3 huntable 'herds' of some type per player on the mainland - the numbers vary randomly and types will vary per map theme. There are extra herds of huntable animals in the delta. Most of the maps have sheep, cows or llamas, (not on two of the various terrain pattern selections-Yukon and jungle) and most have starting berries and some extra berries in the delta (not on the winter/Yukon/Sonora/South Araucania patterns). All maps have 2 mines per player near the start area (though the second is generally just out of the starting screen), with an additional one per player also on the mainland - more are present in the delta area. Mines can vary in type, with silver and gold mines possible (plus copper or tin in TWC). Silver, tin and copper mines have the same value, but gold mines are worth 2.5x the amount of coin, and occur randomly (but are always more distant delta area mines, not the start area mines). Treasures or nuggets are placed in increased numbers in the delta area as well, and the frequent pattern of 2 easy treasures near the player start area is not followed - though the mainland treasures are balanced their level is more random.
In my testing this map produces extremely fair, balanced maps for 2 team play with a wide variety of possible strategies. I have tried to eliminate any 'map screws' as much as possible; ‘fair maps’ are one of my main goals, achieved through use various types of map symmetry and testing to eliminate dropped resources and features. Effective play involves gaining control of the river, the crossings and the delta with its extra resources. Scouting is an essential factor to find the nearby and distant resources, features and the enemy. Note that although walling off crossings is an option on most of the terrain patterns, on two of them the ice on the edge of the river prevents a perfect job of walling off - so beware! This map supports Free For All play, though with uneven numbers there will be unbalanced player placement between the 2 sides of the river.
To play this map, the two files (Delta.xs and Delta.xml) must be placed in the folder:My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM for the original AOE3. The files (Delta TWC.xs and Delta TWC.xml) must be placed in the folder:My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM2 for the War Chiefs version. 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 files will transfer in Multiplayer if your allies or opponents have not downloaded the files. Please do not edit the files or you will have compatibility problems in Multiplayer. Do not try to play the TWC versions in the original AOE3, as the new terrains and natives will not work.
For a variation in gameplay, I have included an additional version of each map with the 'river reveal' deleted so that the rivers do not appear at the start, each with the addition of the word 'hidden' in the title - these go in the appropriate folders as above. These make for a slightly more challanging game since more scouting is needed. As with a number of my other maps, I have also included a 'Plus' version of the Delta and Delta TWC map scripts, which gives each player either two Outpost Wagons (most Euro Civs) or a Blockhouse Wagon (Russians) or a War Hut Travois (Native American Civs). This popular variation allows for a little more defensive or map control type of strategy early on. You get to decide which of these maps will be your favorite!
A point about the startup: the map area is larger than the Carolina or similar ES maps and the map script is also larger than the standard ES map scripts so it takes a little longer to load - be patient!
Thanks to ES for making map scripting possible.
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Good Just wish the AI would build docks/ships
Map Design: 5
Additional Comments: Thank you for yet another Great RMS for Vanilla!!