Age of Empires II: The Conquerors, an expansion to Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, is an extensive real-time strategy game that enhanced the map editor with new units, technologies, artificial-intelligence controls and other features. The map editor can be tricky to maneuver, but after learning a few basic concepts, the player can begin creating his own scenarios.
The Menu Concepts
In the map editor, you can choose whether to start a map from scratch, choose from a variety of prebuilt map types or pick one at random.
The terrain section lets you add some life to your map. Pick a type of terrain and paint it on the map. You may mix and match any way you like. You may also adjust elevation. Create mountains, hills and valleys and make your map as perilous or expansively uninteresting as you want. Combine this with the cliff selection, and you can have very varying maps.
With the map copy option, you can copy the entire area and place it somewhere else. The player section allows you to modify players on the map. Set the age of the players, the amount of resources they have and other general information. Use the unit section to give players advantages by placing buildings, heroes and other items on the map. Set them wherever you want--the player that spots them first will convert them to his side.
Use the diplomacy section to create alliances between players. It is important to set alliances for all players of interest--if one army is in alliance with another, make sure the alliance is set both ways.
The global victory section lets you decide what kind of game type is in play and how players win. Set to exploration, conquest or relics. Decide what objectives need to be completed. This is the section where you set the rules and conditions for all of the players.
Options, messages and cinematics fall in similar categories. The option section allows you to test things. If you've created events, or triggers, you can give your players the resources they need to try it out and make sure it's successful. The messages section allows you to set the messages seen by the players when certain conditions are met. If you're feeling really creative, you can use the cinematics section to insert your own .avi movies to be played at key instances in game play.
Triggers are codes you can apply to your map to create special scenarios. A trigger can be created to spawn enemies, initiate a cut scene or even destroy an entire town while the map you created is being played. Triggers affect the way the entire game plays out--from when a new section of the story takes place to when healing units use their abilities.
After applying some triggers, test out your game to make sure it's doing everything you want it to do and that the game flows and makes sense. Don't make it too easy, and don't make it impossible. If you can't get your scenario to end the way you want it to, check your triggers. Make sure they're turned on and off at appropriate parts so you can finish the game.
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