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If you place a file named "map.ini" inside a folder with a .map file, the contents of the "map.ini" file are used to override various game values, for that map only. This is used extensively for solo-mission maps, to tweak gameplay as desired by the designer (e.g., to prevent certain units from being buildable, or to change the powers available to the player, or to modify a unit's speed, damage, etc.)
We also allow you to use map.ini for skirmish and multiplayer maps, which allows mapmakers and modders to produce "fun" maps with significant modifications, without having to touch our baseline INI files. This is a Good Thing, since it greatly reduces the possibility of sync errors due to someone with a modified INI setup trying to play online with someone who has a standard INI setup; the changes are all localized the the map being played.
We currently allow you to override some values which are never properly restored when the map is exited, meaning that future maps might be played in an indeterminate state.
For instance, say that you play an online game on a custom map that has a map.ini file that overrides the ObjectCreationList for the Paradrop Power to drop 25 Rangers (instead of 15). When that game is done, you then play online with one of the standard multiplayer maps. Alas, ObjectCreationList is one of the things that doesn't get restored properly, so you are still playing with the "souped up" Paradrop, while your opponent is not.... so, once you use Paradrop, bang, you get a sync error.
We fix it in a future patch.
Long-term, we encourage modders to use map.ini for mods, rather than modifying the base INI files, since it will be easier for them, as well as less error-prone.
However, we strongly caution modders about using this technique until we get a patch out with the code fixes, since it may cause unpredictable sync errors in some cases.
For modders who are interested in experimenting with map.ini until this future patch is released, the 100% safe workaround is to always completely quit Generals after playing a map that uses map.ini, since the overrides produced by map.ini are never preserved across separate game launches.
Command & Conquer Generals
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