My thanks to Chris "Swinger" Rupp for giving me a tour of the scenario editor. It is, without a doubt, a huge improvement over any previous Age editor. There are a great many powerful features available to use via the editor, in addition to being able to play around with the amazing textures and artwork.
One of the great time saving features that was shown, was the ability to create uneven terrain quickly. Many designers painstakingly create realistic looking terrain by adjusting the elevation in small spots all over the map. A flat map just doesn't look right. Well, the AOM editor has two very cool features. The first allows you to create random bumps in the area of your brush, so you can paint them in as you would a terrain. These can then be smoothed out with another brush, creating gorgeous rolling terrain in the blink of an eye.
You also have the option of selecting an area to "beautify". This feature will add appropriate single trees, rocks, and other do-dads to this area, again adding realism to the map with very little time and effort spent. Using this feature, and the method of creating uneven terrain, Swinger created a lovely looking river scene in a matter of minutes.
After Swinger had his river scene, he showed me another powerful feature in the editor. We will have the ability to completely control the lighting. There are preset lighting settings, such as "Dawn", or "Night", which you can use and be perfectly happy with. If you choose though, you will also be able to adjust the angle of the sun, and use a scroll bar to completely control the lighting. After another few minutes of playing around, Swinger's river scene was being illuminated by a rising sun. It was surprising at how quickly he created the lovely scene, given that he is a QA guy and not a scenario designer that is well versed with the editor.
The waterfalls we have seen in screenshots can also be changed to meet your needs to some degree. Swinger's pride and joy is a scenario that has a waterfall coming from a mountain cave, and he used it to demonstrate that you can move the waterfall around. Not only that, you can adjust its height,fairly easily, creating an insanely high waterfall, or something smaller and more subtle.
What about cinematics and triggers you ask? Well you will be able to record in-game movies, and there are a whole mess of triggers to play around with too. We didn't get a chance to go into either of those parts of the editor very much, but these features are there and are very powerful.
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