Posted on 02/11/05 @ 11:44 AM (updated 02/25/05
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.
NOTE - FILE UPDATED 2/25/05 TO CORRECT A BUG AFFECTING BUILDING ON SETTLEMENTS IN THE SNOW/ICE TERRAIN PATTERN
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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! :)
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
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.
Ver very random and big, something that i like about your maps =) Now, again i played this 2v2 offline. The resources where not that great the 3 times i played it, but i was ok, course you can get more gold via trade routes course it's such a big map! Oh well, here we go!
Not many resources available, bu the size compenstaes for this. Many settlements, and if you use the trde routes probably you can get a really good economy too.
Like continent, this map is very balanced, you have the exact same number of resources near you, which ofcourse makes a very balanced game.
It's big and random. Have many features in th different games, making each game different from the past one.
Map design: 2.0
Pretty plain i think, but the relics have the nice touch with the temples etc.
It's a random map. Not much to say here.
Total: 3.6 (4.0)
Another great map, keep it up!
Well balanced and superbly created.Huge surface to cover. Great!
One of my favourites to be honest. You had just about everything right. Can think of no negative waves. Make some more!
[Edited on 02/06/07 @ 05:33 PM]