A random map script for AOE3: TWC (with version for the original as well)
Missouri Valley was developed from an idea I had while deciding on a map for the "The Dakotas Random Map Contest". One of the defining features of the Dakotas, besides the prairie, is the Missouri River which flows across the region and was instrumental in the original exploration and settling of the region, providing a means of transport and trade when the river was not too high or too low for boat traffic. Today the river is mostly a series of lakes. The map depicts a section of river with a variable number (1-4) of river crossings, the river lined by bluffs or cliffs, and the players starting on the prairie away from the river. Included are versions for both The War Chiefs and the original (vanilla) version of AOE3.
This map is a little larger than the standard maps ( about 50% larger in area than Great Plains) for a 2 player map but actually smaller than Great Plains at high player numbers. The map is rectangular, and is longer for higher player numbers.
Player start with teams arranged in lines on opposite sides of the river. There is full support for FFA play with the players placed similarly in two lines. In some FFA games the fight seems to separate into 2 stages - initially players on each side fight it out for supremacy then attention is turned toward the survivor(s) on the other side.
Each map always has 2 trade routes, one on each side between the bluffs and the river, each with 2-3 trade post sockets, dependant on player number. For 2-4 players both routes have 2 sockets, for 5-8 players both have 3 sockets.
There will be 1-2 Native American types per map, chosen randomly. These will vary in number and are placed in the other quadrants from the player start areas. The number of native villages is partly based on player number, partly on chance, with 2 villages for 2-4 player games and 2 or 4 villages per map for over 3 players. The natives can be Cheyenne, Comanche, and/or Cree (I know that the Comanches and Crees were not in the Dakota area, but they represent other plains Native Americans in the interest of better gameplay).
Resources are similar to most other maps - there are the usual starting deer, pronghorn, elk or bison near the player start areas, and out away from the players there are some larger herds of bison. These are large enough to be worth fighting for control of at any point of the game. There will be a few berry bushes near the player start areas as well, and occasionally extra berries are placed. Mines and treasures are also placed in a pretty standard manner.
Another feature of the map is that there are two variations in the map appearance - a summer pattern where the prairie looks more yellowed and dry, and a spring pattern where the prairie is greener and flowers dot the plains. This script also has several different lighting sets possible (not triggered lighting changes). If you have spent much time out on the prairie in different seasons, in different weather or times of day, you would note how different the natural light can make the landscape appear. I have tried to capture a little of that variability.
Gameplay on this map is only a little different from standard, in that the increased size slows down the speed of the standard rush. Like Orinoco the possiblilty of walling along the crossing(s) can be considered. The bluffs along the river add some structure to the map - basically an area where choices must be made on how to defend or attack around them.
To play this map, the files must be placed in the proper folder so please follow the instructions closely. For The War Chiefs the files (Missouri Valley.xs and Missouri Valley.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM2. For original AOE3 the files (Missouri Valley V.xs and Missouri Valley V.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. Please do not place themap for TWC in the RM folder for the original (or vanilla)AOE3 custom random maps, as the use of the Cheyenne natives will cause the map to not work properly.
I have also released a similar map called Missouri Crossing with slight differences - try it for a variation in gameplay.
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.
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