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The Lush Divide

Author File Description
File Details
Map Size: 400x400 (Large)
Number of Players: 6
Balance: Unbalanced
Difficulty: Hard
Made with version: 1.2
As My first map in Skirmishes, advice and comments would be great. I have made a few maps in the Invasions section, but never did one here.

The 6 lords of Cleof made their way together through the blistering desert looking for a land to settle in; and as they journeyed many told of a lush land beyond the mountains. After crossing rivers and valleys, they managed to cross the mountains. There, before them lay a land, untouched by man and full of bounty. As time went on they each ruled a small piece of the lush land, but the land soon seem too small for 6 mighty lords, and war broke out...

Hope you like it!!!

AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Heroesflorian Hmm... I like the story :)

For the advice: Maybe you could add some short info about how ai with bigger castles can build up, about the general amount of oasis/resources and (if there) special "features" of the map in future maps.

Especially in matters of available space, one map designer always has to be careful, as ai need some space... but (except some minor correctments maybe, e.g. the top-left keep could be moved a bit up and to the right), your map seems quite fine in matters of keep placement.

In matters of map design you could improve a bit. As a rule of thumb, I always look at the minimap at first and if there are few, big, rough (or even square-shaped) areas on the map, it is "bad", if it consists of many, smaller (as long as it doesn't limit aiv-building-ability), detailed and individually-shaped areas, it is "good". When it comes to resource placement, this is also important; though playtesting the map is useful as ais may have problems with placing iron mines/quarries/farms in very narrow, sparse-resource-covered places where a human player could still place the buildings.
Another rule of thumb is: transitions between areas are better than no transitions, as it looks more realistic, more detailed and generally more pleasant. So, swamp-desert will contain some transition with a bit grass, fading out into desert, a high plateau will most often not drop down exactly vertically to minimal height, but with a "transition", a steep but not straight vertically slope, or at least some big rocks look better and more realistic most times.
The transition from oasis to desert will also contain some less lush grass at the edge, and maybe fade out into desert - so "zagged" edges, not too smooth ones.

Moreover, always try to make "logical" landscapes - they can be quite "inventive", but should be still logical, so don't put a large, round oasis near the river in the middle of the map, while the rest of the river edges contains no greenery at all - or if you do so, think of a reason why that could be like this, and try to make it visible in your map design. If there is a huge swamp inside the desert, think "why is it where although there's sand all around?" and try to give an answer with your design - e.g. "higher" ground around it, so that the sun can't dry it out that easily and any water will flow towards that place, or a river flowing towards the swampy area (river, around it swamp, around it some grass/oasis, then less grass, then desert).

Especially in the beginning, most ais/aivs will need wood (trees) to set up their castle correctly. (For example, some place their trading post so late that they don't have starting wood left and must wait until woodcutters arrive at the stockpile) So, placing a sufficient number of trees for each keep spot is necessary. If there are inaccessible areas on the map, placing some trees there can supply a source of wood lasting forever, as these trees can't be chopped down and will continue spreading towards accessible areas (If all trees are accessible, earlier or later they'll all be gone).

Using shrubs can inprove map design, create a vivid atmosphere and make for a more detailed-looking map. Though, correct placement (don't place bushes equally spread out, but in "clouds" (areas with many shrubs; with other areas in between, where no/less shrubs are placed)) is necessary, and placing too many shrubs can look somewhat odd. Moreover, remember using less/no shrubs around the keeps, as these could block some walk-ways for the workers in the game, which can result in inaccessible buildings and thus in continually rebuilding and deleting of the buildings, causing ais to waste very much money just for nothing.

In overall, just take the time to look at details and work it all out properly, test your maps (just as invasion/scenario maps) to notice some playability-mistakes and also take a look at the maps of very experienced designers, just to get a feeling for good map design, see how to make certain things/areas, etc. (In addition, it may also be just fun to watch and play some great maps.)

File Author
Thanks for the long comment! Since I'm not trying to work as hard on the skirmishes, they may not be as good. What I am working on is an invasion called "The Penisula of Grehaz." Ive been working on it for around 2-3 months. I don't think it will be super good but am hoping for it to be better than the others I have made. I might try to improve on the skirmishes, but frankly I was not trying very hard to make this map. I had made it and then said, "this is a nice map, I'll put it online and see who likes it." So that's all.

Thanks anyhow!

Heroesflorian glad to help you improve :)

and good luck with your new scenario map!


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