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Downloads Home » Random Map Scripts » Gandalf's Extreme Random Land Map - Vanilla

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Gandalf's Extreme Random Land Map - Vanilla

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File Details
Game Version: AoE3
Gandalf's Extreme Random Land Map
A random map script for originalAOE3
by RF_Gandalf

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. This version is for the original or 'Vanilla' AOE3 - there are separate versions for TWC and TAD.

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 (20 patterns total), each with fauna, treasures, and decorations to fit the theme. Some of the 20 patterns have 'sub-patterns' with the base terrain pattern 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 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. 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 20 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 V.xs and Gandalf's Extreme RLM 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. 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 TWC, as the some of natives will not work properly in a Native Embassy, and do not play in TAD as all features are not enabled properly.

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! And players with poor computers will get lag on this map, especially at higher player numbers.

Thanks to ES for making map scripting possible.

Feedback appreciated!
AuthorReviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Map Design5.0
Playability: 4
It takes you forever to get anywere (but I guess thats the point)

Balance: 5
Very balanced

Very creative map designs

Map Design: 5
Very intresting

Detail/Accuracy: 5
Believable landscape good wood and food placement

Additional Comments: Thank you for making this a Vanilla Rms!!

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