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Giant

Author File Description
RF_Gandalf
File Details
Version: AoM
Giant is a new random land map for AOM, unique in several ways. This is a larger-than-normal map designed primarily for 1 vs. 1 play,
although I think it also works well for up to 4 players. It is really designed to be played on the 'large' setting, but you can also play on the 'normal' setting for a slightly smaller map. Details of the map and restrictions in gameplay are as follows.

Giant is designed as a very large random land map. The size of the map is the single most important new feature. The largest standard
ES maps that are mainly land are Nomad and Watering Hole. On 'large' setting, Giant is 600 x 600 tiles (all of these following numbers represent a 2 player map); on 'normal' it is 500 x 500 tiles. By way of comparison, Watering Hole or Nomad is 322 x 322 on 'large' and 283 x 283 on 'normal'. These changes mean Giant's length and width is 86% larger on 'large', and 77% greater on 'normal' setting. Of course the effect on map AREA is even greater. Watering Hole or Nomad on 'large' is 103,684 tiles, while Giant is 360,000 tiles, over triple in area. Watering Hole or Nomad on 'normal' is only 80,089 tiles, while Giant is 250,000 tiles, or four times the area.

To show how the map size increases with greater number of players, for a 4 player game on 'large', Giant is 824 tiles per side (Watering Hole or Nomad is 456), while on 'normal' setting with 4 players Giant is 693 tiles per side (Watering Hole or Nomad is 400). Another way to look at the size difference is that playing Giant with 2 players on 'large' is just slightly larger than Watering Hole or Nomad for 6 players
on 'large'; Giant for 4 players on 'large' is about 1/7th larger in each dimension than Watering Hole or Nomad for 10 players on 'large'.

Because the size of a map affects performance in any multiplayer game, there may be serious problems trying to play this map with a large
number of players. I know that ES limited the size of their maps at least in part to allow larger number of players; I don't have the same limitations as ES and have designed this for a limited number of players. This map has been extensively tested on a LAN for 2 players on the large setting with no problems in gameplay or lag. Limited testing for 4 players on a LAN also seemed to work well for me, though with occasional minor dropped resources or features (such as less cliffs or ponds than scripted). I cannot recommend the use of this map for more than four players or for use over the internet as I have not adequately tested it in those circumstances and expect some likely performance problems.

A second feature of Giant is extra settlements, and more so at lower player numbers. This map is constructed so that on 'large' there are 5 extra settlements per player for 2 players, but only 4 extra settlements per player for over 2 players. If played at the 'normal' setting there are always only 4 settlements per player. The settlements are of course much more spaced out than on the smaller standard ES maps.

A third feature of Giant is randomly varied terrain patterns. Giant has 15 different patterns of terrains, forests, fauna and decorations to give variation in both appearance and gameplay. Most of these patterns are based on established ES maps (such as Savannah or Midgard), but some others are carefully constructed to give a similarly realistic environment. A few patterns have different lighting like in Alfheim or Anatolia. There are of course appropriate fauna and fish for each different terrain pattern.

A fourth feature of this map is additional randomly chosen geographic elements within each terrain pattern. This is somewhat similar to The Unknown map, with possible ponds, cliffs, mountains, gorges (like in Anatolia), oases, or central lake or forest. The size and shape of forests, ponds, cliffs can randomly vary, and of course all of these correspond to the appropriate terrain patterns.

A fifth feature is the wide variety of food types, appropriate for each terrain pattern. The amounts and types of food sources can
randomly vary. All maps will have at least the minimum amount of food that is found on the standard ES maps - most will have at least a little more food, though it is more widely spread out on the larger map. For example there is a small chance of no starting berries or chickens (like on Watering Hole), compensated for by extra amounts of other food sources. There is also a small chance of double chickens or berries or of increased herdable or huntable food on every map. There may also be a few fish in any central lake, though none are found in the small ponds that may be on a map.

A sixth feature of Giant is relic placement. One of my favorite features in all of the ES maps is the way relics are sometimes placed in
'ruins' on Alfheim. So on Giant I have created a variety of 'locations' for relics to be placed. These sites can look like various ruins or 'holy' or 'high' places. Giant has 2 relics per player for up to 4 players, but only one relic per player if over 4 players. The relic locations will be appropriate to the random terrain patterns. Like Alfheim, because there can be failed attempts to place the 'ruin' on the map by the game engine, occasionally relics end up placed on ordinary land just like on all other maps. In gameplay, seeing an empty 'ruin' location
tells you that an enemy got there first!

Of course, the most important feature of any map is gameplay. On Giant there is a change from the usual gameplay caused by these
unique features. The size of the map means first of all that scouting out the resources and enemy is a harder, longer task. It is more difficult to manage an early rush because of the size of the map and the increased distance from the enemy. It is a little more likely for the game to last until Mythic Age. Booming is more of a possibility with this map. The incrased settlements make larger populations possible, if you survive long enough to claim them. It may be a little more likely that you can survive the loss of a settlement because there may still be others to claim. Many times, the increase in 'free' food makes it possible to put off farming for a longer time. An important change from the standard maps is that scouting the entire map is extremely difficult and time-consuming with a single scout. Some players find that making a second scouting unit relatively early is a useful change from the usual strategies.

I invite you to download and try out the map. You should do a number of test starts on 'visible' at the recommended settings to checkout the randomness of the map's appearance and various other features.

Note that the standard AI does not play this map quite as well the normal sized maps. It does not seem to handle the increased distances appropriately, nor take adequate advantage of food resources at a distance from the starting settlement. I have not tested it with alternative AIs. As mentioned above, it is designed mainly for competitive play between humans.

This map will work for either AOM or the expansion pack.

For a similar larger-than-normal continent-style map, see Continent in the random map download section.

Feedback appreciated.

RF_Gandalf

NOTE - FILE UPDATED 2/25/05 TO CORRECT A BUG AFFECTING BUILDING ON SETTLEMENTS IN THE SNOW/ICE TERRAIN PATTERN




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AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
gummyWorm
Rating
2.0
Rating: 2

The map worked amazingly well resource-wise, resources were carefully laid about the map each time so that you could always have all resources handy. The map's strategy and 'bigness' was fine, but the real problem was eyecandy.

I'll start off saying the map has virtually NO eyecandy. This is fine if you don't really care about eyecandy, but I'm a little picky and want a bit of eyecandy in my map. Both times I played I got a grasslandish map, and both times about 95% of the map consisted of Grass A. The only time the terran differed was A) On greek cliffs, and B) At your TC. I really would enjoy SOME meshing.

But, all in all, it was a nice map. It doesn't nearly match all the other RMs out there, but it's really hard to do an RM anyhow. Oh, and I loved the relic sites! :)
RF_Gandalf
File Author
Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. I do have a concern with how you chose to rate this random map, as a 2 out of 5. Certainly people are entitled to opinions, but the lack of adequate and thorough evaluation of the random map prior to your rating is disappointing.

Giant has 14 different randomly determined terrain patterns, and while the selection of the basic terrain for the green maps is a little complex, basically there is a 3/14 chance of getting a mostly green “GrassA” land map. However none of these 3 patterns is all “GrassA”, all have other grass terrains (GrassB, GrassDirt25, etc.) used at the TC and blended in with patches. This is done in a manner similar to the standard ES maps, but my patches are actually scripted as larger and more numerous than on most of those. Unfortunately you did not test out the script adequately to see any of the other terrain pattern variations.

Your comment about a lack of “eye candy” is noted. The map is not ‘spammed’ with objects because every object placed affects both map generation time and lag in a game. Because this map is larger than normal, with more forests (affects unit pathing and therefore processor usage), more fauna, more TCs allowing more units, my goal was to have a playable map, not one that chokes an average PC. But since you did not adequately check to see the variation in the script, you missed a lot of different eye candy and variations in map features. Every map generated by this random map script has some eye candy features, and the uniqueness of some of the features are a form of decoration as well, namely the ponds, oases, variable cliff or mountain types, etc. that will occur on some maps. The variation of forest and tree types between the different maps also contributes to the visual appeal.

If you had taken time to evaluate the script better, you might have seen that there were different rocks on different types of terrain patterns, bushes or grass or logs on some maps, lily pads or papyrus in water, boulders around ponds or lakes, and animal or human skeletons on desert or savanna patterns. You also might have seen the possible dozens of variations in the ‘ruins’ that serve as relic locations, including shrines of different cultures, god statues, crumbled temples, obelisks, sphinxes, and more, all of which qualify as ‘eye candy’. There are even dust devils or blowing sand by the relics on the desert patterns. Unfortunately, ES did not give us an infinite number of different objects to place on random maps, and some of the available objects, while they may look fine on a scenario placed in a precise location, they look rather silly when placed in quantity or placed randomly on a RM. Note that the official ES maps are not plastered with ‘eye candy’.

Unfortunately there is not an official rating system for random maps in AOM, but the guidelines that were established for random map rating in AOK would suggest that execution of a theme, playability, visual appeal, errors (or lack thereof) in a map, and uniqueness are the appropriate features to assess. Please take a look at the Random Map Reviewing Tutorial and the ‘official review’ examples at the AOKH Blacksmith for ideas on appropriate reviews.

I would especially appreciate hearing from others about the game play they encounter on this map and how they think this map changes the usual strategy and civ selection.
ChurchBus
Rating
5.0
Unable to download the file Giant.

I was forced to give a rating, as material by the author is usually very good, I have awarded a 5
Jugit
Rating
4.0
Rating: 4
You definitely cover all the essential elements. It works well, passes debugger and even works in both AoM vanilla and TT which I feel is important. Lots of work involved here. Other than being large with lots of randomness, however; there is nothing that really sets this random map apart from the others that likewise cover all the bases. With all the random maps out there I know this is hard to do.

Additional Comments: I have actually been away from playing AoM for awhile but after reading your lengthy defense of your random map, I felt I had to review it. I admit I haven't played your map a lot but I did start the game many times to get a feel for the different looks as suggested in your defense. If you go to the trouble of checking for TT players(Gaia, etc) and if present use TT terrains, flora and fauna(marsh, tundra tree, acid pool, etc); I would boost my rating to a 4.5. Though, if I could I would give you a 4.5 now to help make up for the undeserved first low rating. I can't give you a 5, need to leave room for improvement. If you come up with something unique I would boost my rating to a 5. This is very minor but the map icon on the map selection screen displays more water than usually occurs. You might want to go with the "uiui map random fast 256x256" icon or even make your own.
RF_Gandalf
File Author
Comments appreciated.

Sorry, Jugit, I only have vanilla AOM. Can't add those terrains/units/eye candy items and be able to test the map.

The real unique elements are the size and increased settlements (that ES did not give us) which allows for a difference in gameplay and population if your computer can handle the increased demand (recommend 512 ram or better).

Have found a minor bug that causes an occasional settlement to be unbuildable on the snow maps due to ice underneath the settlement - a fix is in progress and should be released this week.

RF_Gandalf
File Author
The script has been updated to fix a minor bug that rendered an occasional settlement unbuildable on one of the 14 terrain patterns (the one with snow/ice, similar to Midgard in appearance). Please download and use the new script instead!
Note that I also added a bit more grass, rocks, and elevation than were previously present because of whining about lack of eye candy.

Jugit
Looks like a good time to get the expansion pack. It should be cheap now that AoM Gold is out.

If you do get it, keep in mind that the debugger doesn't work in the expansion and you will need to debug it in vanilla AoM.

[Edited on 02/26/05 @ 01:10 PM]

gummyWorm "Though, if I could I would give you a 4.5 now to help make up for the undeserved first low rating."

The first rating is not poor, as I say the map has little eyecandy. Have you even looked at it? I assume not.

"Giant has 14 different randomly determined terrain patterns, and while the selection of the basic terrain for the green maps is a little complex, basically there is a 3/14 chance of getting a mostly green “GrassA” land map. However none of these 3 patterns is all “GrassA”, all have other grass terrains (GrassB, GrassDirt25, etc.) used at the TC and blended in with patches. This is done in a manner similar to the standard ES maps, but my patches are actually scripted as larger and more numerous than on most of those. Unfortunately you did not test out the script adequately to see any of the other terrain pattern variations."

I did try to test out the script, however it constantly stuck me with the grasslandish map 3 or 4 times. I also did not say they were all grassA, I said 95% was. As it is, it looks like you didn't read all of my review.

Listen, I hope this doesn't offend you, but your opinion on the script has to be somewhat biased because you made it. I'm not insulting your map, I'm telling you how you can improve the next version. If you would recognize that and not jump the defensive gun, it would work out better. I remember how on my first few low reviews I acted in the same manner.

But still, all in all, I enjoyed the map.

"If you had taken time to evaluate the script better, you might have seen that there were different rocks on different types of terrain patterns, bushes or grass or logs on some maps, lily pads or papyrus in water, boulders around ponds or lakes, and animal or human skeletons on desert or savanna patterns. You also might have seen the possible dozens of variations in the ‘ruins’ that serve as relic locations, including shrines of different cultures, god statues, crumbled temples, obelisks, sphinxes, and more, all of which qualify as ‘eye candy’. There are even dust devils or blowing sand by the relics on the desert patterns. Unfortunately, ES did not give us an infinite number of different objects to place on random maps, and some of the available objects, while they may look fine on a scenario placed in a precise location, they look rather silly when placed in quantity or placed randomly on a RM. Note that the official ES maps are not plastered with ‘eye candy’."

Yes, I could see all that, but it was small. Meshing is the most noticeable feature of eyecandy- by a ton. Any maps with little meshing almost always got a 2 in eyecandy, or a 1. It is true that ES maps are not plastered with eyecandy, but they have more than yours definately.

Anyhow, please don't take any of this as an insult because it is not. I look forward to your next map, Good Luck!

-gummyWorm

PS: I actually think personally its very hard to make an RM script in the first place, so to make a functional script is in itself very impressive. So good job!

Thats all. See Ya!



Ulrichomega How do you get to play it?

It doesn't appear on any screens.

But I don't thank you for adding more eyecandy, my comp is 5 years old and hasn't had a memory upgrade in 3 years.
Danarca Another one, i smell a good score...
Oh well, have to go to school now, i dl and test when i get home =)
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Rating
4.0
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Downloads:7,115
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Size:19.50 KB
Added:02/11/05
Updated:02/25/05
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