A random map script for AOE3
Gandalf's Isles is a new RMS created with the goal of making an 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.
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 20 different terrain patterns are not meant to be a representation of any specific area, just variety for the sake of enjoyment. These terrain patterns have appropriate forests, fauna, Native American types and treasures to match.
Each player's starting island contains a single Native American village, all of one type, with a few other villages of a different 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 silver mines, 2 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 somewhat centered large island with a short trade route and 2 trade posts (or 3 if over 5 players). The other islands will vary greatly in size and location, and will contain various needed resources. Most important is the silver and gold - there are always a few silver mines (value 2000 coin) and a few gold mines (value 5000 coin) scattered about, as well as additional forests, occasional treasures and a few animals.
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.
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 and 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 at least having the Admiralty card, any free warships, Rendering Plant, Schooners, Improved War Ships, Advanced Dock and possibly a British ally with the Team Cheap Dock card. Cards giving free wood are also a great boost to get on the water quickly. I am not yet sure of the value of the Privateer cards - any thoughts on these? I also like having cards to give outposts - shipping a few outpost wagons by ship is a great way to quickly establish a base and subsequently send shipments there.
NOTE: 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, the script will take a little 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.
NOTE: The standard AI does not play the map well, failing to colonize or attack over the water well. It is far better in Multiplayer. If you want a little better game in Singleplayer, try using the Draugur AI made by Felix Hermansson in the AI files section - it puts up a better fight on the water though it still does not colonize or attack your base island properly.
To play this map, the two files (Gandalf's Isles.xs and Gandalf's Isles.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. ES has finally given us the ability to provide map descriptions in the startup screen, and I have included this feature.
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.
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I love this map because this is the very large map
and the combination of the water, mines, and trees is perfect matching.
Finally, after 1 month (if i'm not wrong) you release new map again. I will always waiting for your new great map. Keep up a good work.
It's been a month since you released your previous map. I was waiting for your next map, and hoping that it's gonna be as good as others you've made... And I wasn't wrong!
The map is very well balanced, randomized, and (what's most important to me) it's big, which makes it very interesting to play. The design is great (various resources, terrains, etc.) and playability is really very good. It loads and runs smoothly. In other words: Hey people, go for it and download this one - it's worth it!
Gandalf, I think you are the best RM scripter, and hope you will be able to release more maps, of such great quality... more often! A month of waiting is definitely a way too long... ;)
[Edited on 04/10/06 @ 04:31 AM]
I am well aware that you are not responsible for the AI's lack of ability... Hence, my question to you... "Can you rewrite AI files?"
The rating I give has absolutely NOTHING to do with the AI. If I were to include the AI into the scoring, I would give it a 'two.'
A score of 'five' should be reserved for something quite "special" and this map, while certainly good, was not all that unique or special. It is rather plain and simple... not changing that much from one map to another; somewhat predictable.
For an individual with your many talents... it's just a bit above average and that would rate a four.
[Edited on 04/15/06 @ 07:46 AM]