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Random Map Script Guidelines

General Guidelines

There is a lot of things that you should cover in a Random Map Script (RMS). The main things that should be covered include Playability, Map Design and Creativity. These will be covered in detail, however before we dive in it is recommend that you read over the Single and Multi Player Scenario Guidelines as a lot of good advice is found there as well. Also it is good to note that all areas effect each other, if the Map design is horrible then that's going to effect the rating for Playability and so on.

Playability
This is more or less a mixture of gameplay and how much you enjoyed the RMS. Playability should contain a good run down on the balance and gameplay but at the same time contain how much you liked the RMS and why. Things to consider when rating Playability:

Enjoyable? - How much fun and excitement you had when you played the script. Would you play it again or share it with your friends? why or why not? you should be specific when explaining you experience. Your reasoning should reflect to some extent the justification of other areas in the Review. This should make up about 40% of your playability rating.

Balance - If an RMS is sincerely bias towards any player or team, then the RMS's balance is out and it should be marked down here. However there are a lot of ways that the RMS can be balanced but not the same; if Egyptian and Greek players get double starting resources but Atleantan and Norse get double starting units then it roughly balanced. If the RMS is lacking resources and it takes forever to do nothing because the resource income is too slow then mark it down here. This should make up about 55% of your Playability rating.

AI - The provided AI should work on the map, this is only the case if the AI starts with a Town Centre. This means if you are playing a River Civ styled RMS then don't mark the author down here because the AI doesn't work. However on the other hand if the AI doesn't do anything except sit there and farm, then there is most likely something wrong with the RMS. Don't get too caught up in this part however and as such this should make up around 5% of the rating for Playability.

Playability Breakdown:

1 - Very Poor:  Map is completely unplayable and is horrid to play. This can be because of a complete lack of resources, the map takes forever to load consequently dropping most people in load up or team 1 get a free trickle of food, gold and favor while the other teams get nothing.  For whatever reason, this map cannot support fair a game of any length and is not entertaining at all.

2 - Poor:  The proper resources and starting units are there, but for some reason, there still doesn't provide much playability. This might be because of a bug, it's unfair or maybe the resources are too far away. For whatever reason, this map might support a full game, but does it in a sloppy and awkward manner.

3 - Average:  A full game can be played on this map, but there may still be a few tiny flaws in it. Maybe the AI doesn't work at all, just little things that make it too difficult for the average player to take this map to the end of a game.

4 - Good:  This is the standard ES RMS level of playability. The map can easily be played from beginning to end with no signs of AI or resource problems and no imbalance in the start. At this level, Playability should almost be unnoticeable, but fun should be quite noticeable.

5 - Excellent:  This also denotes a map that is a pure pleasure to play, and one that the reviewer thinks anyone will enjoy playing.  Typically, high scoring scripts will add a bit of extra playability over the standard ES scripts by tweaking the gameplay just enough to make situations more interesting, intense, entertaining and exciting


Map Design
Map design is a very important feature to any RMS, as you could have guessed Map Design is the appearance of the RMS. Map Design is found pretty much everywhere you look in an RMS, from the resources given, to the positions of objects all the way through to the elevation and terrains used. Some things to consider when marking Map Design include:

Aesthetics - Does the map look embellished, is it interesting? does it look good? does it use the right type and amount of objects to give a feeling about the setting/atmosphere?

Blank Spaces - Is there variety in the terrain and elevation? Blank spaces with a set terrain and same elevation is very bad should be marked down for. If there is none or few present then the author has nothing to worry about. Forests are not blank spaces unless they cover the majority or the map.

Terrain Mixing - Do the terrains match the adjacent terrain? A lava lake should not be next to fields of snow with no in between terrains to mix them in. There is no 'too much terrain mixing' terrain mixing is one of the best and harder things to get right in an RMS.

Objects Should Match Terrain - Having elephants on an Erebus terrain does not give off good impressions. To some extent it should be believable. Boar in an Erebus setting looks much better than giraffes or elephants. This goes the same in all settings, snow, grass, sands, Olympus whatever - the objects must be in the right area. You can overlook some small mismatches however, like having the Greek Aurock's instead of Water Buffalo. or vice versa. The previous is expectable to some extent because the two look very similar and most people wouldn't notice the difference.

Too Many/Little Objects - Creating too many objects is just as bad as not enough. It is much harder to make too many embellishment objects than resource objects; that said you will normally mark the amount of resources down before you mark the amount embellishment objects. Too much resources leads to a big late game, however if there is a lot of trees, but especially hunt, it can lead to path-finding difficulties which can also bring playability down. Too little objects leads to another playability problem that was addressed before hand, it takes to long to do nothing. From the look of things these days, most people enjoy a little bit more resources than the ES RMS's, not too many mind you.

Map Size - Again, too big and it's just setting itself up for a low resource map. Too small and there's no building space. If it's ultra large, or small you can mark it down, as no one likes a map like that. This can also affect the Playability rating.


Creativity

Creativity is a big category that requires some thinking and analysing. Creativity has some aspects from that of scenarios but it also has a lot that isn't in there. The first thing that you must do is find out whether or not the RMS is a typical supremacy or not; since you are reviewing the file you should already know if the map is unique in gameplay or not. If you are not sure what is meant by unique, most of the RMS's by nottud are unique in that they do not use the gameplay style that is used in the ES RMS's.

If the RMS is a normally played supremacy/conquest styled then you should mark Creativity on the following criterion. You should know that Creativity is marked as a 3.0 to start off as, if none of the fields apply then it is given a 3.0, if the fields are fulfilled then it goes up:

Game Changing Triggers - Is there any triggers that effect game play? if so in what way? do they make the map better or worse,  why? If an RMS is built specifically towards some sort of goal, like provide an easy tactic for each culture, then mark it here. You must keep in mind the Balance factor however. Some of the gameplay goals that have been set include:

Giving all players hunting dogs research free if the map generates hunt or husbandry if herdable objects are generate.

Giving all players crucial technologies to the major gods main strategy for free or a lower price.

All players are given double starting god powers.

There are no resources, instead there is just a plenty for each player and a central plenty.

The list goes on and on. The main things that you must ask yourself is, is the map balanced? the map must be balanced. If the triggers are bad or buggy then the score here can drop, the map can score high here and still have a low score for playability.

Extras - Anything else that you thought was neat that the author did. If the author had a unique icon for the map it usually gets mentioned here. However there are a lot of other things that get put into this field as well. One thing that you must know however, is that you cannot mark a player down for not including extras. A custom icon or an opening message is nice, but they are not required and should not be needed to score higher than a 3.0.

If the RMS is not a normally played supremacy/conquest styled then you should mark Creativity on the following criterion. This is a little different to the supremacy styled games, due to the fact that most non-supremacy RMS's are not playable without triggers. Alternativley if it has no triggers but still has quite a good gameplay then let it not be marked down for no triggers:

Game Making Triggers - Is there any triggers that effect or make the map? do they make the map better or worse, why? If the RMS is built specifically towards some sort of goal or built around a scenario, like Mythodea, Cat and Mouse or something similar then mark it's effectiveness here. Does it show an accurate recreatation of the original game style, how so or why not? If the map shows a very nice, accurate replecation of the origonal scenario then it can bring the score up. If it doesn't however it can bring the map's score down.

Effect Triggers - Any triggers that just make the scenario look better via means of special effects and uniqueness. You should not mark a player down for not including effect triggers, they look cool, but by leaveing them out they may cutting back on loading time or even lagg.

Extras - Anything else that you thought was neat that the author did. If the author had a unique icon for the map it usually gets mentioned here. However there are a lot of other things that get put into this field as well. One thing that you must know however, is that you cannot mark a player down for not including extras. A custom icon or an opening message is nice, but they are not required and should not be needed to score higher than a 3.0.





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