Posted on 03/25/07 @ 05:57 AM (updated 04/05/07
Barrier Ridge TWC
A random map script for AOE3: The War Chiefs
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.
Barrier Ridge TWC is a new random map for Single-player or Multiplayer use, updated for The War Chiefs. Several people had asked me to re-create the AOM map Jotunheim for AOE3, so here is my version of a map that plays like that old standard. Of course walls will not last as long in this game with the various siege options available. This is a map only for 2 team play - FFA play will possibly give you a really screwed up start. The update basically adds new terrain patterns from TWC, as well as adds the new native minor Native civs and removes the Aztecs, Iroquois and Sioux as minor civs.
The map is rectangular, with players starting along the more distant ends of the longer dimension, which is 1.6x the shorter dimension (and size varies, like the standard ES maps, by player number). This map is only slightly larger than the standard ES maps, and smaller than the ES 'large' series. There is a central mountain ridge which is broken only by a single pass, the only way to gain access to the enemy on the opposite side.
The script includes a wide variety of randomly chosen terrain patterns possible (28 patterns total), each with fauna, treasures, and decorations to fit the theme. The Native Americans also roughly fit the terrain patterns as well, with some 'artistic license' to give more options for NA combinations. There can be one or two types of natives per map, in varying number and location. There are always at least 2 NA villages, but there can be as many as 6 on a 2-player map or 12 on an 8 player map, partly depending on player number and partly on the pattern randomly selected. The NA villages can be placed one or two per player or at certain places along a map axis or per side of the map. This gives a great variety in possible map play and strategies. The native villages are placed roughly symmetrically for the purpose of fairness in gameplay.
There is always one Trade Route on each side of the ridge. Trade Routes randomly vary between a few different layouts of routes, each with a few possible patterns of Trade Post placement.
The food resources on each map can vary slightly. There are always a few 'herds' of some type per player - the numbers vary randomly but herds are placed at the same number per player, and types will vary per map theme. Most of the maps have sheep, cows or llamas (but not in the arctic or jungle). Most of the maps patterns have some berries at the start area (not the desert, snow or winter patterns) and there can be extra berries on the tropical maps. All maps have 2 silver, copper or tin mines per player near the start area (though the second is just out of the starting screen), with an additional few per player further off. Occasionally some of the distant mines will be gold mines rather than silver mines, which provide much more coin, and on a few map patterns the starting area mines are occasionally gold as well. Forests are placed fairly and all players have a few small clumps of trees near the start area to be sure initial wood access is equal.
Treasues or nuggets are placed in equal numbers per player and are keyed to the map type or pattern - a total of 6 per player per map - 2 of the easy ones nearby, and 4 of increased difficulty further off.
In my testing this map produces extremely fair, balanced maps for 2 team play. Effective play involves scouting the various resources, Native types, Trade Routes, map terrain, and of course, the enemy. On maps with increased numbers of NA villages, the opportunity to use larger numbers of native warriors is a lot of fun. The pass through the mountain ridge allows for the possibility of a defensive stance, walling off the choke point for at least a little while.
To play this map, the two files (Barrier Ridge TWC.xs and Barrier Ridge 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 of 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 compatability problems in Multiplayer. And of course, the map will not play in the original AOE3.
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