Gandalf's Giant Random Land Map
Gandalf's Giant Random Land Map
||AoM: The Titans
Several years ago I designed a large random land map for AOM called Giant (still available for download). In the discussion someone suggested that I update the map for Titans, which I never did as I moved on to AOE. Recently I played a few games of AOM, came to AOMH to download Giant to a new computer, re-read the advice, and decided to make a Titans version. Here is the result of my effort, named Giant RLM(random land map). Near the end of this detailed description are a list of the main changes.
Giant RLM is designed as a very large random land map for AOMTT, unique in several ways. This is a larger-than-normal map designed primarily for 1 vs. 1 play,although I think it also works great for up to 4 players. On the 'large' setting it is a giant sized map, and on the 'normal' setting it is still a somewhat smaller (but still much larger than standard) map. Details of the map are as follows.
The size of the map is the single most important feature. The largest standard ES maps that are mainly land are Nomad and Watering Hole. On 'large' setting, Giant is 580 x 580 tiles (all of these following numbers represent a 2 player map); on 'normal' it is now 440 x 440 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 180% larger on 'large', and 155% greater on 'normal' setting. Of course the effect on map AREA is even greater. Watering Hole or Nomad on 'large' is about 104,000 tiles, while Giant is about 336,000 tiles, over triple in area. The area of Watering Hole or Nomad on 'normal' is about 80,000 tiles, while Giant is about 194,000 tiles, about 2.4 times the area.
To show how the map size increases with greater number of players, for a 4 player game on 'large', Giant is 720 tiles per side (Watering Hole or Nomad is 456), while on 'normal' setting with 4 players Giant is 600 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 similar to Watering Hole or Nomad for 6 players on 'large'; Giant for 4 players on 'large' is similar to 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 and for better computers than were the standard years ago. This map has been extensively tested on a LAN for 2 players on the large setting with no problems in gameplay or lag. A little more limited testing for 4 players on a LAN also seemed to work well for me. The map has been tested with up to 10 players in single player and works fine that way. But I cannot recommend the use of this map for more than four players (although it might work fine with decent computers) since I have not adequately tested it in those circumstances, and expect some likely performance problems.
A second feature of Giant RLM is extra settlements. This allows a greater pop limit and a lot more options for expanding. This map is constructed so that on 'large' there are usually 5 extra settlements per player; for 2 players these are always all present, but at larger player numbers ther are always at least 4 settlements per player with some random extra ones placed in large gaps between settlements, never more than 5 total per player. If played at the 'normal' setting there are always only 4 settlements per player. Settlements are now spaced better and more evenly than on the original Giant. The settlements are of course much more spaced out than on the smaller standard ES maps.
A third feature of Giant RLM is randomly varied terrain patterns. Giant has many different patterns of terrains, forests, fauna and decorations to give variation in both appearance and gameplay. Most of these patterns are somewhat based on established ES maps from AOM and TT (such as Tundra, 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 (valleys like in Anatolia), oases, or central lake or forest. The size, shape and number 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 a little more than the minimum amount of food that is found on the standard ES maps - most will have somewhat 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 just a few fish in any central lake, though none are found in the small ponds that may be on a map. Effective scouting is so important because you do not know what kind of food resources will be available.
A sixth feature of Giant RLM 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. On Giant I have created a variety of 'locations' for relics to be placed. These sites can look like various ruins, mystical sites, or 'holy' or 'high' places. Giant has at least 2 relics per player for up to 4 players (plus randomly sometimes 1-2 extra) , but only one relic per player (plus possible few extra total) 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 'location' 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 'relic location' tells you that an enemy got there first!
A seventh feature of Giant is map shape - the map is square 70% of the time and rectangular 30% of the time. This has a minor effect on things like distance between players and distance to settlements and resources.
Of course, the most important feature of any map is gameplay. On Giant RLM 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 much 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 more likely for the game to last until at least Mythic Age. Booming is more of a possibility with this map. The increased settlements make larger populations possible, if you survive long enough to claim them. It is 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 if you send your hunters far from your stating base. 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.
Specific new features for this map, as compared with the original Giant, include the following:
- new terrain patterns based loosely on the Marsh and Tundra maps.
- all of the old terrain patterns have been tweaked to improve appearance and give more variability.
- as above - change in the normal map size down a little; I think the AI handles the smaller 'normal' size a little better but still does not build aggressively on distant settlements as a player would.
- several changes in the way terrain patches are applied to improve appearance.
- new relic 'locations' to represent mystical places or holy sites or ruins from the past, with different appearances of some of these based on the map terrains.
- big adjustment in player positions. Now players are not always placed just in circular fashion, so for 2 players they are not just exactly opposite each other - they can be from 120 to 180 degrees apart. And in team games the players may be placed in the usual circular manner or the team mates may be somewhat closer together. And there also is variation in the distance players start from the edge of the map.
- now there can be ponds and cliffs/mountains, or cliffs and central oasis, or lake or forest, or ice lake plus cliffs - on the same map instead of being separate features on different maps, with the numbers of these features adjusted to prevent crowding.
- adjusted forest, cliff, pond numbers, trees, fauna and deco items for both the normal and the large map setting for more accurate scaling between maps sizes.
- forest size and spacing adjusted a little to reduce crowding, with more variation in the amount of and size of forests.
- new possible 'ice lake' feature for some of the snow terrain patterns, similar to Ghost Lake.
- new possible tiny sliver of sea coastline in corners of the map on some snow terrain patterns just so I could realistically use the Walrus as fauna. :)
- new possible central open area - less cliffs or forest in center on some maps.
- slight changes in the food distribution patterns.
- better scaling of all features from trees to mountains to fauna beteen the normal and large settings.
- numerous minor adjustments in many features for better gameplay and aesthetics.
I invite you to download and try out the map. There are so many random possible combinations of features that you should not tire of 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 or gold resources at a distance from the starting settlement, nor build on the more distant settlements. I have not tested it with alternative AIs. As mentioned above, it is designed mainly for competitive play between humans.
This map will not work for original AOM, just the Titans expansion pack.
Patience needed when the map is loading especially on older computers or for large size or larger player numbers - the script is very large and the computer must 'draw' a much larger area.
|Author||Comments & Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Hey Gandalf! Nice to see you still around. You should check out my multiplayer compatible terrains mod preview. Anyway, I'll take a look at this, since just the other day I thought to myself, "Why can't I ever reach the 300 pop cap in a standard RMS?"
Wow. All I can say, really. After working to get it to load -fault of mine, nothing to do with your map- I scanned the map and noticed the realism and diversity of it. Also, I love the quotes for each random section. "Those who live in this dry, forested..." etc.
Very well done.
Well i rediscovered a few times ago age of mythology. So i downloaded your map, but there are some things i don't understand. when playing 2 players 1 vs 1, my mate's units have stange behavior. some stops working, relics disappear, and so on. Is there a minimum version required for this or not, like a patch or something ? we are both playing on v 1.0 of the game, with the titans add-on. If you happen to be still around, could you give me some avices ? thanks anyway for your work, these mas (giant and giant RLM) are really great.