|This article is about the Scenario Editor in Age of Empires. For the Scenario Editor in other games of the Age of Empires (series), see Scenario Editor.|
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The Scenario Builder (Scenario Editor on the succeeding installments) is a basic editing tool in Age of Empires in which the player can create or customize any game with a set of win or lose conditions. A classic example is the "build and destroy" map theme for normal RTS games which features the well known system of building a small base and overcoming the player's opponent. Alternatively, gameplay can be edited to eliminate the "build" aspect of the game and emphasize the "search and destroy" adventure theme in which the player controls a small band of military units and has to accomplish a set of goals defined by the scenario designer.
The map tab offers a collection of random and blank maps from where the game will be set. The default map size is always large and covered with grass terrain when creating a new scenario game file. This is also where the map size can be edited which can be either of the following:
- Gigantic (introduced in The Rise of Rome)
Blank maps Edit
Blank maps are generated based on default terrain. The default terrain for blank maps are the following:
- Deep Water
Random maps Edit
Random maps feature more variable terrain and some feature more realistic topography. The following random maps that can be generated are:
Introduced in The Rise of Rome
This section is where geographic and topographic details such as elevation and terrain can be edited. The following terrain includes:
- Palm Desert
- Pine forest
- Deep Water
This section is also where elevation and cliffs can added by changing the brush type. The elevation height can vary from 1-7 with 1 being the lowest and set as 1 unit below sea level by default and 7 being the highest being set at 6 units above sea level by default (assuming that elevation is changed after all large bodies of water are added).
The brush size can be used to hasten the design of large geographic features with similar terrain details and constant elevation. The brush size can encompass the following area in tiles:
- Tiny (1x1)
- Small (3x3)
- Medium (5x5)
- Large (7x7)
- Huge (9x9)
This tab is where the number of players and the type of civilization for each player are set as well as the starting age that they begin with. The designer can specify the faction for each player further by changing the tribe name which replaces the default name of the ruler for that civilization at the scoreboard and achievements section. The amount of starting resources can also be set, with a minimum amount of 0 and a maximum amount of 99,999 which applies for all types of resources.
Player type Edit
Whether or not the player is to be controlled by a human or computer can be changed at the player type settings. Selecting Computer would allow only the computer to control that player upon selecting the name of the scenario file at the single player or multiplayer menu. Selecting Either would grant the additional option to allow a human player to control that civilization at the single player or multiplayer menu. If multiple civilizations are set to Either and the single player menu is selected, the player can control whatever civilization that is available by changing the player number and color. However, the rest would be controlled by the computer once the game begins. When testing a scenario file, it should be noted that the designer can only test the units that belongs to player 1, which is designated as the default civilization to be controlled by a human player in single player mode.
This tab only applies to players controlled by the computer and defines the type of units that the computer civilization should specialize in. These settings can change the difficulty of the computer player depending on the map and the type of civilization controlled by the computer player. If a civilization is selected that is different from the civilization selected for the computer player, the computer AI will attempt to emulate that strategy but its success would largely depend on the availability of certain units, buildings and technologies defined by the technology tree. Whether or not a unit, technology or building is disabled in the Options tab would also play a major role in the success of the computer's strategy assigned by the scenario designer.
This tab only applies to players controlled by the computer and determines the overall play style of the computer player as well as how computer controlled units respond to units controlled by the player. The following personalities include:
- Aggressive 3 Attackers
- Aggressive No Defend
- Passive Aggressive
- Super Aggressive
The Units tab is where the designer places individual objects that belongs to certain players (including Gaia which represents all natural objects and other aesthetic features not controlled by any player). The following objects include all civilian and military units in the game, as well as Buildings and heroes. Other miscellaneous objects such as terrain details and aesthetics as well as other player controlled items including Rafts, Tamed Lions, and Blind Lame Priests can be added. Military units controlled by the computer often distribute themselves evenly across the map under default Personality settings. If too many units are placed on the map, the game may lag which may vary depending on the amount of units placed and the performance of the player's operating computer. Placing too many buildings, especially towers, may also cause this problem although to a lesser extent.
This tab allows the player to adjust diplomatic relations for each player. Under default settings, computer players are more likely to randomly change diplomatic stance of the user from enemy to neutral the more computer players are on the map.
Global Victory Edit
This tab serves to determine how the overall game should be played. Gameplay can be set to standard, conquest (destruction of all enemy units), score with or without the time limit or using custom settings. If custom win or lose conditions are set for each player and the box is checked, then fulfilling that condition ends the game.
This tab allows the player to disable the creation or development of certain units, buildings or technologies. Full tech tree can be checked which applies for all players in the game.
This tab offers the player to create and edit crucial background information about the scenario which is always presented before the game starts if available. Sections include scenario instructions, hints and other information such as victory and loss messages as well as history which most designers use it as background information.
This tab is optional and provides the player to insert a short video clip related to the scenario both before and after the game based on whether the player successfully completed the scenario. To perform this action, the video file must be present in the "data" folder of the "Age of Empires" folder.
- Unlike most grass patches, the default grass type is always blank, lacking Trees and other natural objects. Regenerating the same map using current default settings or changing the map size will spawn natural objects throughout the map. Regenerating the same map again would change the orientation and distribution of all natural objects.
- If no unit has been placed for a player(s), and the scenario is playtested, the scenario will generate a Town Center and three Villagers for the player(s) on a random location(s) across the map.
- If a blank map were to be completely covered with terrain not suitable for placement of land based buildings and units such as Water and Trees, the game would be unable to generate and distribute randomly placed Villagers and Town Centers for each civilization across the map, resulting in all players to be Defeated simultaneously once the game begins.
- The minimum area needed for any civilization to exist on the map by default without needing to place any additional unit on the map is 6x6 tiles, assuming that the terrain can occupy player controlled units. However, since all players must construct additional buildings to progress the game and train additional units to dominate other players, the minimum playable land size for each player must be at least several orders of magnitude higher in order to accommodate the amount of resources needed to sustain that growth and development.
- When adding any land based terrain on maps covered with water, both Tiny and Small Brush Sizes occupy the same area (3x3 tiles).
- Any land based terrain with a size of $ x^2 $ can be replaced by any water based terrain with a size of $ (x-2)^2 $ if it is surrounded by water based terrain, assuming that both areas occupy a shape of a square. For example, a medium-sized patch of grass surrounded by water can be completely replaced with a small sized patch of water. However, a medium-sized patch of water surrounded by land cannot be completely replaced with a small sized patch of grass.
- Although the maximum amount of resources allowed in the Editor is 99,999, this amount can be exceeded if additional resources are gathered. Players can have more than 999,999 of each resource, although the numbers will veer off screen.