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Gandalf's Isles TAD

Author File Description
File Details
Game Version: TAD
Gandalf's Isles - TAD
A random map script for AOE3: The Asian Dynasties
by RF_Gandalf

Gandalf's Isles TAD 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 and the War Chiefs versions? Several changes:
- new map types or patterns using terrains found in the Asian Dynasties expansion are added (from the Honshu, Borneo,
Yellow River, Mongolia, Himalayas, Deccan, Ceylon and Siberia new maps and a made up 'green Siberia').
- new native minor tribes used on the new maps.
- addition of a few new types of 'caches' of resource crates - found on the extra islands scattered about the map; see below.
- addition of 'water treasures' as a possible finding on all maps.
- King of the Hill gameplay enabled.
- few more herdables and berries on most maps

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 38 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 types and treasures to match.

Each player's starting island contains a single Native 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 are the mines - there are always a few silver, copper or tin mines and often 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.

There are a few small caches of extra resources and possibly a few wrecked treasure ships scattered about on the extra islands - these 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 or fishing boats, 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 or Wokou Junk cards - any thoughts on these? I also like having cards that give Asian Castles, 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.

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 TAD.xs and Gandalf's Isles TAD.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM3. 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. This map will not work for the original AOE3 or for TWC due to the new content.

IMPORTANT NOTE - The original AI is inadequate for playing on this map. It will never make a navy or even fish. This is not a deficiency of the random map but of the way the original AI was designed. The map is chiefly intended for use in multiplayer games - by LAN or on ESO. I am not an AI scriptor, but have edited the original AI in a way that does let the computer players fish and make a navy (note that it still does not colonize other islands like a human will, but sometimes attacks your base island with troops). The change I have made just lists this map in the AI script as one where the AI should make a navy and fish. I find this is at least a little more enjoyable for single-player. If you wish to try this edited AI I have included it in the zipped file. This same AI improvement will work also for Gandalf's Isles Asian and both of the new Team Archipelago maps I have designed for TAD as well. To install the edited AI file for use in singleplayer games, first backup your file Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires 3\AI3\AIMain.xs. Then copy my new AIMain.xs to that same folder, overwriting the original. I have not tested to see if having different AIMain files affects online compatability, so if you get OOS or incompatability errors in multiplayer you may wish to reinstall the original AIMain or play with others using the same edited file.

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!
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Jugit I tried this map today and noticed one problem. I happened to get patternChance 28, though others don't work right either, and the trade sockets were asian. This means of course that the trade site won't work correctly. Unless that is what you intended; though I wouldn't know why. The problem is caused by the way you add water nuggets. I deleted the following and it seemed to work okay; or at least the sockets weren't asian.

if (waterNuggets < 1)
if (rmRandInt(1,2) == 1)
waterNuggets = 1;
threeChoice = rmRandInt(1,3);
if (threeChoice == 1)
else if (threeChoice == 2)
else if (threeChoice == 3)

This apparently changed the map type to asian; thus the asian sockets and since the patternChance was not over 29 the tradeRouteType was not set to water.

I noticed that you apparently still don't like to use the debugger. There were a few load errors; a couple duplicate constraints and once the sheepType must not have gotten set right. I think I remember this from the previous Gandalf's Isles map.

Keep up the good work. I love your maps.

[Edited on 01/07/08 @ 10:00 PM]

File Author
Thanks Jugit, will edit the map (and the same error will be in the Team Archipelago TAD map) to correct this.

I did not think the debugger worked properly in TWC and TAD - I was under the belief that it was not updated for the new units etc.
Jugit I use the debugger all the time. It is far from perfect but it has always been correct when it finds a mistake. It doesn't reveal much about errors but misspell something like the huntable ypSaiga and it will show you that line. So it must be updated for TAD or at least use the right file.

[Edited on 01/08/08 @ 10:50 AM]

File Author
Note file updated 1/08/08 to fix a problem that occurred with the trade route on the 'big island' at times. The new file also corrects a minor bug that caused the map debugger to note an error but made no actual problem in gameplay.

Thanks to Jugit for pointing out these errors!

Jugit - the debugger worked fine; after fixing the duplicate constraints there were no other load errors. For me, the first time thru with the debugger, it stopped but without marking an error on one of the 'sheepType' lines, but did not do so again after correcting the duplicate constraints. Not sure what that was, but thanks for your help!
File Author
Note file updated again 1/16 - stupid careless mistake on my part - I made the script only work on 'terrain pattern 28' to test the error Jugit had pointed out. I fixed that error but failed to again randomize the script's terrain patterns so it always looked like a desert setting. Thanks to Catabre for pointing this out.

Further feedback appreciated...did not see anymore errors.

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