Two Shining Seas is a new random map with a central land mass dividing two bodies of water. If you are familiar with previous Age maps, it is similar in outline to Scandinavia or Anatolia. For all of those complaining about a lack of randomness in the 2 random maps included in the demo, this should help with your pain. Note this map has not been tested with more than two players. (The name of the map, naturally, has to do with the phrase "from sea to shining sea" in America the Beautiful for those of you not form the US, or if you are from the US and don't recognize the words, shame on you!)
The setting varies between an eastern woodland, with green terrain and 'new england' style forests, and a more arid climate with or without a central desert. Fauna vary with the climate setting. Player start positions are randomly varied. There is a short trade route on each side of the map with the trading posts generally buildable by either player. There are randomly 2 or 3 Native American village across the center of the map (and each one is randomly Commanche, Iroquois or Cherokee). There are a few sheep or cows (randomly chosen). The oceans are well stocked with fish and whales. Treasures are split equally on the two sides of the map.
Players start at opposite ends of the land mass, and each player should have equal access to the bodies of water and to the Native villages in the center.
This map gives different options with gameplay than those included in the demo, but the original AIs will not generally build up a force on the water. I am looking for feedback on gameplay and on the use of the random Native tribes. In this map you will only know with scouting which of the Natve tribes are available to ally with, if you want to try to use them for their units and techs. You might have to choose which is the most useful to you, and you might have the opportunity to ally with more than one tribe.
I think this is a very fair, balanced map and expect to do a similar version for the game once the full version is released. I expect this to be playable for the upgraded demo version as well.
In order to play this map (and the next two I am releasing in the next 24 hrs), you will need to follow these instructions:
First, backup your folder named - Age of Empires III Trial\data
The files :
must be unzipped to your folder named - Age of Empires III Trial\data
The rest of the files should be unzipped to your folder named - Age of Empires III Trial\RM
The text files are simply a review of each map and are not essential, but the continent.txt file does include these directions.
With these changes you should now be able to see Two Shining Seas plus the original Texas and New England in the random map drop down window. If you have downloaded and installed my previous 5 maps as well (via the 'Gandalf's Random Maps' download) these new stringtable and resources files do support those maps as well so you can still see and play those maps too (plus the 2 other new maps I am releasing - Continent and Sea to Sea).