Posted on 11/18/05 @ 09:31 AM (updated 03/13/06
A random map script by RF_Gandalf
Allied Tribes is a new Random Map Script with a unique focus on using Native American (NA) units. In a typical RM there is a limited ability to use the special NA warriors and techs - these might not be available to all players as the number of villages is limited on the standard maps. Also, their usefulness is limited when you can only field so many of them at a time, and there can be questions regarding the usefulness of upgrades when you cannot make a lot of the units. This map helps overcome these limitations wiht some unique features.
First, close to each player's start position are 3 different NA villages - yes, 3 per player!
Second, these are custom designed NA villages, each containing 2 usable trade post sockets!
Each player therefore starts with 6 possible sites to build NA trade posts nearby his TC, 2 each for 3 different tribes.
The map is an all-land map, and is a little larger than the ES land maps. This map features 18 different randomly chosen terrain patterns, from northern snow or tundra to southern jungle or pampas. Each terrain pattern has associated different fauna, with some randomization of these as well. Additional randomized features include cliffs, ponds, elevation or mountains. Lastly, the NA villages associated with each terrain pattern have some randomization as well. In general the tribes chosen for each pattern are representative of the geographic area (for example, no Inca and Cree, and no Iroquois and Tupi on the same maps), with a little "artistic license" to achieve the goals of varied tribes and combinations for the sake of gameplay.
The food resources on each map can vary slightly. There are always 3 'herds' of some type per player - the numbers vary randomly and types will vary per map theme. Most of the maps have sheep, cows or llamas, and those that do not have an additional group of huntable animals. Most of the map patterns have some berries at the start area. All maps have 2 silver mines per player near the start area (though the second is just out of the starting screen), with an additional few in the map's more central areas.
In my testing this map produces fair, balanced maps for 2 team play with a wide variety of possible strategies. Effective play involves scouting the various resources, Native types, and of course, the enemy. This map also supports FFA play perfectly without problems.
To play this map, the two files (allied tribes.xs and allied tribes.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM. All of the files that start with "double" (the custom native villages) must be placed in a special folder where you installed the game, by default it is in Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires 3\RM\groupings. This is a folder that contains special 'groups' of items created in the scenario editor for use in a random map, like the Native villages or groups of grasses clustered together which ES has already used as groupings. These custom native villages could be used by other players in making their own maps.
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 - if you place the files in the wrong folders the map will not work right. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DIRECTIONS!
NOTE - you cannot play this in MP unless both players have previously downloaded the file and installed the map files AND groupings - the map files transfer in MP but the grouping files (the custom native villages) will not. The player who received the transferred map without the grouping files will not have the NA villages and the game seems to go OOS after starting. Works fine if you follow the directions!
NOTE - this is not a 'mod' - it does not change any of your files from the normal installation. The use of these groupings is a new feature for RMS in AOE3 compared to prior games, and will likely lead to many more interesting maps with regard to map appearance and gameplay as well.
Note that the .xml file is updated to give the map description at startup.
I have had a great time in making and play-testing this map, especially with the use of some of the more advanced cards that foster the use of native warriors. In some cases, the natives seem a little OP so players should be prepared to use them!
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I give this map a rating of 4 and not 5 beacuse when i played this map it seemed to easy. So i tried 4v1 on hard and still was to easy because all you need is the natives to fight. Once you get to level 5 you should have no problem at all. But if you play this on multi player who knows. I liked the how the trade was set up 2 not 1 even though you could of made it one. The lack of trees in this map makes it diffcult. But over all was a fun map i am sending it to my clan so we can fight on multi..
Any Questions you can reach me at xsl_League@yahoo.com
[Edited on 11/21/05 @ 04:25 PM]
Playability is excellent. I always play Medium difficulty, Nomad with 3 players (1 human vs 2 Computer players). I love having 6 natives for each player. This really changes your strategy and makes for a very challenging game as most nationalities will use natives to keep their competitors' growth in check.
Balance was excellent, all players have at least 3 silver mines, 3 or 4 herds of either deer or bison depending on which terrain is generated. There is no naval element which is a nice change as most maps have a naval element. You really have to use this map on medium or hard difficulty as easy affords a ridiculously easy slaughter with the native element -- even if you give the other players a handicap!!!
Creativity ... I Like this map!!! ... a unique concept and a challenge to play ... it challenges all your pre-designed strategies for game-play and allows the full use and benefits of the Native element. I have always preferred RF_Gandalf's maps and scenarios (I have quite a few for AoM as well). I find his maps imaginative and well-defined with attention to details quite evident. They look good and are interesting to use.
Map Design ... goes hand in hand with Creativity. I haven't had an unplayable or problematic map generated yet and I play this one a lot. This says a lot for the design of the map. He (RF_Gandalf) took great care with placement of resources in the reality of the landscape. Completely detailed and beautiful map to play.
Instructions are clear, concise and easily understood especially with all the added files which are not a normal part of RM maps ... I wish all were as understandable as these.
A great map with a unique concept and a great challenge to your pre-designed strategies of game-play. I am a Native American and originally purchased AoE 3 because I thought you could actually choose to play as a Native American. I was, needless to say, disappointed but this map makes it a joy to play because you really do get to use all the benefits of each Native Tribe. Thank-you so much for this really well-done map RF_Gandalf.
Another of the benefits of RF_Gandalf's maps are that they are quick-loading, the terrain changes frequently. The starting positions are never the same and sometimes contain a surprise or two. I look forward to any and all scenarios and maps created by RF_Gandalf.