Gandalf's Extreme Random Land Map - TAD
Posted on 04/13/08 @ 02:02 PM (updated 04/21/08
Gandalf's Extreme Random Land Map - TAD
A random map script for AOE3: The Asian Dynasties
Gandalf's Extreme Random Land Map is a new random map for Single-player or Multiplayer use - basically an expansion of the previous Giant Random Land Map. This version has a 50% greater diameter than the Giant map, for about a doubling of the area of the previous map, with scaling of the various features.
The original map was created in response to requests from other players for 'bigger maps', a request that has been repeated even with the Giant version. This map represents an 'unknown' land with a wide variety of randomly chosen terrain patterns possible (37 patterns total) from the whole AOE3 world, each with fauna, treasures, and decorations to fit the theme. Some of the 37 patterns have 'sub-patterns' with the base terrain pattern and/or forest varying slightly or significantly. The Natives also roughly fit the terrain patterns as well. Player starting positions will randomly vary a good bit, especially on 2-player games.
The map is of a large contiguous land area, with a possibility of some cliffs, a lake, mountains, canyon, hills or river (always with crossings - this is a land map) across the center. The above listed terrain features are not just included for appearance - their presence can influence gameplay by acting as natural barriers or choke points. On this map there can be much more variation in elevation than on the standard ES maps. Trade Routes randomly vary between 12 different types of routes, each with at least 2 possible patterns of Trade Post placement. For example, there can be a single long route around the periphery of the map with 6 to 12 Trade Posts(depending on player number), or there can be 2 semi-circular routes following the same course (and a variety of other patterns).
There are 22 possible patterns for the number and location of the Native villages. There can be as few as 2 villages, or as many as 10 on a map, and this is sometimes partly dependent on player number. These will be of one or two types per map. The Native 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 food resources on each map can vary somewhat. There are always a minimum of 4-5 'herds' of huntables of some type per player - the numbers vary randomly and types will vary per map theme - some of these are quite distant herds. Most of the maps have sheep, cows, water buffaloes, yaks, goats or llamas, and those that do not have an additional group of huntable animals. Most of the maps patterns have some berries at the start area, and a chance of some other berries on the map. All maps have 2 mines per player near the start area (though the second is just out of the starting screen), with an additional several per player further off. There are always more total mines than on the standard maps, but given the size of the map some may be quite distant. In this version for the Asian Dynasties, mines can vary in type, with silver, copper and gold mines possible. Silver and copper mines have the same value, but gold mines are worth 2.5x the amount of coin, and occur randomly in some map patterns (but are almost always more distant, not the start area mines). There can be more variety in forest size than on the original Giant RLM, and all players have 2 small clumps of extra trees near the start area to be sure initial wood access is equal. Occasionally the center of the map is relatively clear of forest, occasionally there is heavier forest in the center. For the maps with a lake, river or ponds there may be a few fish at most, but never enough for a good dock boom since the focus of this map is on land. Note that the shallow crossings in the rivers prevent ships from travelling the entire river length, so docks and ships are of limited use.
Treasures or nuggets are placed in increased numbers and are keyed to the map type or pattern - always over 6 per player per map - a minimum of 2 of the easy ones nearby, and 4 of increased difficulty further off (always there are per player one level 2, one level 3, one level 4 and randomly one either level 2 or 3 treasure, plus some extras randomly chosen).
This map has an amazing number of randomly chosen variations possible - each of the 37 terrain patterns or 'skins' can have 2 lighting sets for a variety of appearances, at least 2 different patterns of fauna choices, and each has at least a few variants in the possible terrain features. Each map has the above-mentioned multiple variations in Native and Trade Route patterns, and the player starting positions varies unlike the standard ES maps. In standard 2 team games, teams are opposite, but can start in any of the 4 quadrants, at a variety of distances from the map edge. The distance between players on a team can vary significantly, causing the need to consider different strategies for teamwork and mutual protection. Sometimes teammates will be relatively close together for such a large map. For 2 player games, there is even more variation in the player start positions and the enemy may not be directly opposite you! Other features that have been randomly varied include the size and shape and height of cliffs, the size, density and underbrush of forests, the size and number of lakes, forested hills or elevation, and many other features.
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 scouting the various resources, Native types, Trade Routes, map terrain, and of course, the enemy. Scouting is a much harder task on this large map, requiring a longer time to find the nearby and distant resources, map features, and the enemy. Of course being a significantly larger map, rushing is made virtually impossible, changing gameplay and causing the need to consider new strategies. Forward bases are an absolute necessity.
This map supports FFA play, and extensive testing on the current version was without problems. There can be rare instances of Trade Post or Native villages not placing, but given the size of the map this is generally not a major imbalance.
To play this map, the two files (Gandalf's Extreme RLM TAD.xs and Gandalf's Extreme RLM 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. 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 this in the original AOE3 or TWC, as the new terrains and natives will not work.
A point about the startup: the map area is much larger than the standard ES maps and the map script itself is 4-5 times larger than the standard ES map scripts so it takes longer to load - be patient!
Note - file updated 4/21 to correct an oversight that did not allow a feature (two types of forest on some asian maps) to show up.
Thanks to ES for making map scripting possible.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
I have a new favorite land map, and this is it. I'm sure you'll like it too. Gandalf has somehow topped himself this time. I love this one, even tho I play as Japanese and there's really no water on this one.
It's really really huge! I should have timed my Daimyo riders as they were having to ride all the way across the map to get to the battle, must have took them a full minute rofl.
And call me crazy, but I swear this one runs smoother (less laggy) than the Giant LM.
Keep up the great work Gandalf. Maybe make one that's like Team Islands but "Extreme".
Runs really smooth, even with a infinite pop mod and lots of villies and armies running around.
Excellent balance, not too many wild creatures, you do have to hunt around for them a bit for your shrines, but that makes it fun, gives your monks something to do.
Resources aren't all over the place, there's just enough, but there's plenty of trees, I would say it's just right or as close as you can get. Only played it twice so far, but that's 2 hour-long adventures. Gonna play it some more, but I'm sure the balance of resources will stay about the same.
Well, it's not the most creative thing in the world, but hey it's an RMS.
Map Design: 5
Gotta give credit where it's due, I just don't understand how Gandalf does it. To use a Star Wars quote; "Pull back! Our deflectors can't withstand maps of that magnitude!"
Excellent detail for the Asian theme. There are also environmental effects going on that I haven't seen before. Was it cycling day and night? It really did look like central Japan in certain areas.
Anyway, thanks Gandalf! (and make a team islands extreme! lol)