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River Crossings Plus

Author File Description
RF_Gandalf River Crossings Plus
A random map script for AOE3
by RF_Gandalf

River Crossings Plus is a new RMS based on by previous release, River Crossings. The only difference is that each player starts out with 2 outpost wagons as additional units. The map is characterized by a simple central river with 1 to 4 shallows crossings, with the teams separated by the river. This setup gives another map with defensive possibilities, including the possibility of walling, or at least the use of the shallows as choke points. There are 15 different randomly chosen terrain patterns, and include appropriate rivers, forests, fauna, lighting patterns and treasures. The map uses the same 'river' and 'shallows' construct as found in the Yukon and Pampas maps, and also includes the previously unused 'Amazon River' river terrain for the 'green' terrain patterns. The map plays somewhat similar to the Highlands map for AOK.

There are 4 different patterns of Trade Routes, with variation in number and placement of the sockets. There is always one Trade Route on each side of the river. Unlike the Pampas map, the trade routes do not intersect the river and will not prevent walls to control the crossings.

There are either one or two Native American types per map; these will vary in number and are placed in a variety of fair, symmetric patterns and combinations. The natives will match the terrains loosely.

Player position and location will vary randomly, more so in a 2-player game (in a 2 player game the players are not always in a directly opposite position). There is full support for the Free-For-All play with any player number, with the players placed randomly on one of the two sides of the river.

The addition of the outpost wagons gives a little more defensive flavor to the map - these can be used at the base to protect your initial economy or moved to the crossings to help defend there. Of course for the Russians, the outpost wagons transform into blockhouses and are usable more offensively. This might be considered too much of an advantage for them, so you might want to use this map in single-player only - test it out and see. Consider that the Texas map starts each player with 2 outposts or blockhouses also (though they cannot be placed at will like these). Anyway, I found these a fun variation - hope you will too. Note that the AI will hold the outpsot wagons in their town area until the second age, then at some point erect them in their town - the AI does not use these aggressively to hold resources or crossings as a human might.

This is another good map for coordinated teamwork in planning a good defense, and of course, executing an offense to break the enemy's defense.

Another note - you can build docks at the river crossings, but ships cannot cross the shallows. Also note that there are only a few fish in the maps that use the 'green' terrains and the 'Amazon River' construct - the Pampas River and Yukon River do not seem to take fish via a RMS script (although you can place fish in them in the Scen Editor).

To play this map, the two files (River Crossings.xs and River Crossings.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. Note that the .xml file will give a map description at the startup screen.

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.

Feedback appreciated!
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Achaean Lionness
Map Design5.0
Rating: 5

My rating here if I Could do it, would really be something like 4.5 – but I give this one five stars for the reasons hopefully accounted for below.

Another excellent RMS (x2), Gandalf. Many thanks.

Lovely terrains, nicely balanced, everything sensible as ever and everything seems to work with no issues here.

Knowing your due-cognizance of what it is you produce & that you always have your reasons even for the seemingly most-minute details – I can only say that while sure you have your reasons for it, I simply find these too small.
To my thinking – either four or five times larger for these ‘River Crossings’ maps would be ideal. Neither too large, nor too small.

The present (small) size although very fun and generating some great fields, seems to negate a fair amount of the larger Strategic values – not least, control of center field.
When a map of this type is ‘this small’ – flanking movements to any side crossings becomes much easier & more common: not a problem per se – and sure this ‘could’ also add to the dynamic of the war development (though I think pretty unlikely), but – on a much larger map, there would (I believe) be a more focused and concerted effort on all sides to control the center and any crossings there.

In my view, this map design is superb in concept as I also much appreciate such good defensible ground when the terrain affords it, but sincerely believe that for the type – a larger land area (so divided by the river), would produce a more sensible and realistic strategic field.
At the present size, there isn’t really much of any strategic value in the crossings – they are simply the crossing points and one pushes oneself over them where-ever one wills – dictated above all else by the most direct route to the enemy’s position(s) on the opposite side.

I wonder thus, whether you might perhaps please consider a “Large River Crossings Plus” RMS?
I say “Large” here – not ‘Giant,’ as I think a Giant one of this type would produce the same strategic nullifications as this small version.

Either way – this is another wonderful RMS, particularly in its concept design, and we are, as always – grateful …

~ Lionness

[Edited on 05/01/06 @ 03:51 PM]

File Author
Lioness - actually I have thought of making one of a larger size already - was thinking about the size of my Giant Random Land Map or a touch smaller. I haven't done the math yet, but I think that for a 2 player game the Giant RLM is about 1.4-1.6 the diameter of this version of the River Crossings. I actually started out with the Giant RLM (since I put a river possibility in that) and edited out stuff and downsized to make this one. Would not be hard to make a bigger one at all.

Looking also for feedback - do people like the plain version or the one with the two outpost wagons? My son and I really like playing the 'Plus" version best.
Achaean Lionness

That’s most-excellent, hoping as I say so that your ever-good & generous nature will also share a larger version with us as well… :)
Really, I much look forward to giving that a good trial as well and easily imagine its getting much good use here.

About the size of your Giant RLM “..or a touch smaller…” – if it be of any worth at all, in my view “a touch smaller” than that would be ideal for this map type. My thinking here is centered entirely on ‘maximizing the strategic value’ of the Crossings themselves.
I think, given the way AI behave (including the Draugur AI – which I use and much-enjoy), the intermediate size really would be ideal. Just two horse-tail hairs-smaller than the Giant RLM …

I meant to include in my above Post a note regarding the dual versions as well – sorry for that oversight.

I do quite prefer the Plus version.
Always Russian – I don’t (won’t) use the two ‘free’ blockhouses to gain early control of the crossings – since there’s too much risk in losing them before I’m geared-up so to speak – but they save me valuable wood resources early on, which is a great help – since I always build two of them by the TC in early Colonial.
It’s just a nice touch added into a fine map design that only increases the enjoyment.
The two cherry’s on top.

Incidental note: Your Giant RLM remains my most-used RMS.
As a couple ‘good ol’ boys’ & buddies of mine from the Corps used to say – “more fun than you can shake a stick at..!”

With thanks repeated!
~ Lionness

File Author
Lioness - and any others interested.

I have completed a 'rough draft' of a scaled up version of River Crossings Plus (River Crossings II + to allow the name to fit on the AOE3 RMS startup screen on my computer). I'm going to ask the community for a little feedback on this before posting it. I will email this test version to the next 10-12 people willing to test it and give a little feedback. Ask for the test version by emailing me (my email is available in my profile) since many don't like to post their address publicly. Patience please - might take me a day or so to get out the email response to you.

This test map is almost 3 times the area of the original for each player number, and 85% of the area of my Giant Random Land Map for those familiar with it. Or another way to describe the difference - for each player number the diameter is about 1.67 times the original, or 92% of the diameter of the Giant RLM.

The feedback I am looking for is:
1.) does the map size play well(remember the size scales per player number)?
2.) is there adequate resources and spacing of these(not looking for a DM style spamming of the map with mines and food)(and remember - the resources place with some randomness so on some maps they may naturally look a little uneven)?
3.) see any other problems?

You could post feedback here for community discussion, or email me if you prefer.

Thanks in advance!

[Edited on 05/02/06 @ 09:14 AM]

aodken - Gandalf

Many many thanks for ALL your work.
This is the first time I commented on any of your work.
What can I say, most all of your maps are just great. I think your maps are as good if not better than the originals.
To bad the AI doesn’t populate the islands on that map, but I know it’s a glitch with the original scripting by ES as they don’t populate islands on any of there maps ie New England & Caribbean.

One small note: I’m not a big fan of the snow maps as they make it hard to find my players. I like the way they look, but it makes my eyes go buggy. I must be getting too old. hehe

Keep up the great work. I’ll be looking out for your next RM -(o)=(o)-

[Edited on 05/02/06 @ 09:34 AM]

Achaean Lionness

Many thanks for this one as well…
I’ve given it a bit of testing and it all looks, seems and feels perfect to me. Ideal in size (have only tested it up to 4 player limit tho’ which is my typical scale), being neither too large nor too small & Exactly what I was looking and hoping for, for this map type.
Interestingly enough for me, at this size the ‘field’ affords even more dynamic strategic variations than I had imagined or anticipated. Depending on the number (more-so than location) of crossings, their actual strategic value becomes somewhat nebulous. I would call that a Major plus – not only for this enlargement, but for this Map Type conceptually.
As with your RMS for the ‘Appalachians,’ this one affords excellent terrain context for the student of land-based Napoleonic warfare.

Aesthetically, there could always be a few more trees on your RM’s (IMO) – but that really is an aesthetic point, there is never such lack of trees (on wooded fields) that lack of wood is any issue.
Resources seem pretty ideal to me here as well – neither too many nor too few, nicely balanced (per river-side) with appreciable variation on placement relative to original TC.
The huntable animals seem a touch scarce perhaps – but strangely enough, each version generated for me thus far turned out to be winter, so it seemed “ok” somehow.
This said – I’d suggest you heed any word to this point from others more than from me, as my take may not be entirely ‘fair’ – I never send my settlers very far to hunt and typically start farming and breeding sheep fairly early after all the most-local huntables are consumed. Seemed a little quick to exhaust those on these fields, but maybe that was “just me.”
Apart from those we took and ate – I did always see a rather robust herd of bighorn’s literally On the central-most River-crossing (quenching thirst no-doubt!) – a nice touch.

The Map Loads and Plays smoothly, with no lag, stutters or other performance issues.

In a word – I Love it! It’s a keeper as-is, and I’ll make good use of it more than a little.

Now my Rating for this version would be 5.5 Stars – rather than 4.5 …

I sure appreciate your having done this enlargement & for your getting the “Test version” sent to me so quickly. Testing the Map was fun – now for some more testing of arms!

Best regards, as ever –
~ Lionness
kingclyde1975 See below.

[Edited on 05/04/06 @ 02:38 AM]

Map Design5.0
Rating: 5
(Insert Rating analysis here)

Additional Comments:
I recieved your test map and all I have to say is, WOW! This map is exactly the right mix that maps for a good LAN party map or at anytime. Thanks for letting me test this map and I will definatly download the finished product. I have always liked your maps and your work is superior. Thanks
Macaulish beautiful map, just finished playing it in 8 players. looking forward to other RMS

[Rating removed - check out the rating guidelines before rating a file]
~ Kastor

[Edited on 09/04/06 @ 05:47 AM]

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