Posted on 02/24/06 @ 03:12 PM (updated 03/13/06
A random map script for AOE3
Appalachians is a new RMS created with 2 goals: 1.) to make a representation of a geographic area not included by ES in the original map set, and 2.) to create an interesting, variable map with the possibility of defensive play. I suspect that there are many who will appreciate the variation in gameplay that this map offers.
The map represents the 'Ridge and Valley' section of the Appalachian Mountains This area, which extends from central Pennsylvania into northern end of Georgia, is characterized by long 'folded' parallel ridges, some of which run for hundreds of miles without breaks, and the interspaced valleys. There are some passes or gaps through the mountains carved by streams or rivers. These are generally very steep ridges, heavily wooded, 2500-5000 feet high and not passable except by foot without making some type of road thru the wilderness. During the American colonial period these ridges were a substantial barrier to westward expansion and transportation, and were the scene of significant conflict between the French (with their Native American allies) and the English.
The map randomly choses between two basic setups - either a single central ridge flanked by parallel trade routes, or a pair of parallel ridges with a trade route running the length of the central valley. Teams or players are lined up on opposite sides of these central features. The ridges may be interrupted by a 'gap' or pass, and each ridge ends a few tiles short of the map edge. Each ridge or ridge section, made of cliff terrain, also has a few narrow ramps or passageways to the ridgetops, which can also provide access to the other side of each ridge.
It is possible to wall off 1/2 or 1/3 or 2/3 of the map relatively easily (depending on the map features and your chosen walling points), using walls to close off any gaps, ridge ends, and ramp passageways over the ridges. In single player it might be relatively hard to adequately wall off and hold the multiple small choke points, but in a team game it becomes easier by working together to divide up these tasks. You need to pick your walling points carefully - you do not want to exclude NA villages or the trade routes from your claimed section of the map if you can avoid it. Scouting is extremely important on this map to be sure you know the location of all of the passageways thru the mountains.
There are 4 different terrain patterns or 'skins' for this map - taken from the ES maps New England, Carolina, and Great Lakes (both green and snow versions), with appropriate fauna and treasures for each version. Another variable feature regarding map appearance is lighting - there are 2 possibilities for each of these 'skins'.
There are either one or two NA types per map, placed in a variety of fair, symmetric patterns and combinations on the ridges or valleys. The NA will be chosen randomly from Cherokee, Iroquois, Seminole or Nootka. I am aware that Seminole and Nootka are not really from this geographic area, but I wanted to include additional foot unit types for variety. So when you see either Seminole or Nootka, think Shawnee or Catawba or Lenni Lenape(Delaware) or other tribe involved in Colonial era conflicts in the Appalachians.
There is random variation in the number and placement of the Trade Post sockets on the two patterns of Trade Routes. There also is variation in the plentiful fauna types on the different terrain patterns. The maps contain adequate herdables(cows or sheep), and more-than-adequate silver and forest on each map.
Player position and location will vary randomly. In the real world, these Appalachian ridges all run approximately in a NE-SW orientation but for the purposes of variety and gameplay they can also run from the top left to bottom right (NW to SE) on this map. There is full support for Free-For-All play with any player number.
To play this map, the two files (Appalachians.xs and Appalachians.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 .xml file has been updated to show a map description at the startup screen.
I have enjoyed making this very different random map script depicting an area that I am very familiar with. Thank you to ES for giving us the tools to do this! Hope you enjoy the map.
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As someone who plays skirmish alone alot, this is the sort of map I like. Looks great, works great. Nice terrain, not flat, workable choke points.
Mistakenly thought I was going to take on 3 expert AI's without lifting a finger. I found out fast I actually had to pay attention which proves the AI is working.
Thanks for making this one!
For the most part really good. The one thing that bugged me was that the mountain passes were so vital, the game could be decided just by that.Not enough variable ways around it.
[Edited on 03/13/06 @ 11:15 AM]
First, an echoed word of thanks to Gandalf for all the great RS-Maps – they are a treat!
I (always Russian) fought the Ottomans on this map using it for the first time last night, and found it very enjoyable indeed.
Beautiful, wonderfully balanced and resource-rich terrain for all ages.
As Gandalf has stated: “In real life, controlling the access via natural passes or corridors, rivers, harbors, roads and bridges is vital in warfare. This map was designed to put a little of that flavor into the game.”
Not only is this all too true, but it has been achieved in this map in a truly appreciable way.
The ‘cinematic’ effects of a well fought war, with a nicely built & laid-out colony watched in replay is a gem on this one.
I had numerous skirmishes between my Cossack Recon. in force and enemy infantry and field guns coming to the front in the deep woods between our positions, and in the long, partially wooded valleys, etc.
Fighting for control of the passes is only one option on this type of field.
Another is running regular reconnaissance patrols, and intercepting (ambushing) bodies of enemy troops in the restricted spaces of those ravines. Guns & infantry fall easy prey to well informed horse…
In addition, the layout of the ridges and ridge-lines proved to be an artillery gunner’s dream come true.
Many, many defensible positions to bring guns up onto a ridge to shell anyone attempting movement through a particular ravine, etc. ..as well as for covering the forward advances to ones own colony.
With just five heavy cannon and three Imperial field guns holding such commanding heights on my immediate front, they made short work of the hoards of Imperial abus guns, natives (when they had them earlier) and skirmishers – as well as their own guns.
I’m sure I’ll use this one again & again and, each time aloud or under my breath repeat my thanks again to Gandalf for the fine work…
Five Stars in my book!
Overall it was very good, except for a glitch that caused a pass where there wasn't supposed to be one.
The AI was able to walk down the cliff and at first I didn't know what was going on.
This is an awesome map for those wanting to play an "advance and hold" strategy. Very simple yet very effective and well layed out. Thank you for creating good stuff!
First off, I have to say that your maps are something else. I first tried out one of your maps a while back and have been hooked on them ever since. They are truly great. This one is no exception. I noticed someone complaining about the cliffs in the middle of the map. That is the part of the map that I think is awesome. It really adds dimentions to strategy approaches to this map. I had a friend over and have been showing him some of your maps. We play them to death. Any time I see your name on a map download, I jump on it without even looking at a description. Keep up the good work and please don't stop. Great Stuff.