Gandalf's Isles

gandalfs_isles.zip —


Random Map Script for AOE III A very large map with players starting on separate islands, with multiple scattered extra islands with varied terrains, natives, and starting positions for new and interesting gameplay.



Gandalf's Isles
A random map script for AOE3
by RF_Gandalf

Gandalf's Isles is a new RMS created with the goal of making an improved island map with more variability, and with new options and strategies for gameplay. It does not represent any 'known' region, but while the location is imaginary, the gameplay is different and exciting.

The map is characterized by each player starting on individual islands completely surrounded by water, with variable starting positions, variable terrains, and great variation in the position of other islands in the sea. Enemy players will not always be directly opposite on the map. The 20 different terrain patterns are not meant to be a representation of any specific area, just variety for the sake of enjoyment. These terrain patterns have appropriate forests, fauna, Native American types and treasures to match. 

Each player's starting island contains a single Native American village, all of one type, with a few other villages of a different type scattered among the other islands (the number is variable but is also related to player number). On the starting island are 2 herds of some type, 2 silver mines, 2 treasures, and a fair amount of forest. 

In addition to the player's starting islands, there are other islands scattered randomly about the map. This random map will always contain a somewhat centered large island with a short trade route and 2 trade posts (or 3 if over 5 players). The other islands will vary greatly in size and location, and will contain various needed resources. Most important is the silver and gold - there are always a few silver mines (value 2000 coin) and a few gold mines (value 5000 coin) scattered about, as well as additional forests, occasional treasures and a few animals.

The seas are rich in fish and whales, risky to harvest due to the possiblility of enemy warships, but a valuable economic boost if you can collect them.

Well, aside from the above details, how does the map play? There is a need for aggressive control of the seas to control resources - the resources on the distant islands as well as the fishing and whaling that will boost your economy. You need to thoroughly explore the seas and islands to see what is available and to keep track of the enemy. You need to venture off your island to establish bases elsewhere - economic centers as well as military. This map is truly great for teamwork. Coordinated team play to control straits and islands is very useful. Coordinated team landings are better at eliminating an enemy. 

Of course to play this map having a deck built for a water map is helpful - I recommend at least having the Admiralty card, any free warships, Rendering Plant, Schooners, Improved War Ships, Advanced Dock and possibly a British ally with the Team Cheap Dock card. Cards giving free wood are also a great boost to get on the water quickly. I am not yet sure of the value of the Privateer cards - any thoughts on these? I also like having cards to give outposts - shipping a few outpost wagons by ship is a great way to quickly establish a base and subsequently send shipments there.

NOTE: This map is much larger than any of the ES-created maps and may give some lag problems for players with slower computers and with greater player numbers. Because of the map size, the script will take a little longer than usual to load. Also note that games on this map take somewhat longer to play due to the size and the need to spread out before launching an assult. There is full support for FFA games in this script.

NOTE: The standard AI does not play the map well, failing to colonize or attack over the water well. It is far better in Multiplayer. If you want a little better game in Singleplayer, try using the Draugur AI made by Felix Hermansson in the AI files section - it puts up a better fight on the water though it still does not colonize or attack your base island properly. 

To play this map, the two files (Gandalf's Isles.xs and Gandalf's Isles.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM. Please do not place them in the game's install folder - that will not work. When you start up a skirmish game in Single-player or Multiplayer, use the small blue 'Custom Map' button, which allows you to then select one the random maps in that My Games folder from the drop-down window. ES has finally given us the ability to provide map descriptions in the startup screen, and I have included this feature.

I have enjoyed making this unique random map script. Thank you to ES for giving us the tools to do this! Hope you enjoy the map.

Feedback appreciated!

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