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Scenario Design and Modding
Moderated by Suppiluliuma, PhatFish, Fisk, Epd999

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Topic Subject: Scenario Design Links & FAQ
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posted 11-22-07 05:22 AM ET (US)   

Welcome to the Scenario Design Links & FAQ thread!

After looking though some old thread by Trisolo I realized that we have a lot of interesting little bits of design features that have in a way been forgotten. A lot of ideas where started semi done then left and unfortunately they sunk into the forums to be looked on by interested forumers looking for strange bits of information hidden away in a thread.

It was upon looking at some of these threads myself I thought of the idea to create one sticky post to link to some of the lesser known and used pieces of information and tricks. I hope some of you find a good use for these links and if you have any you'd like added to the list just post with a name for the link and that URL.

In this thread you'll find all kinds of useful things, ranging from articles and tutorials to various programs that will aid you in designing your own custom scenario's. Don't forget to take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions part below in case you are new or would like to know a few answers to questions that are boggling your mind. If you have a question regarding any of the links or articles, post it here and we will help you out.

Siege Workshop Articles/Tutorials


.AI and .PER files

Map Design & Tricks
Map Design & Tricks Various

.CTY files, Walls and Towers

Language DLLs
The Dark Archer
Data & Graphics Various




Custom Map Size Tutorial

Hidden Terrains

AoEd/RoRd Tutorial

Data editing article

Extended RoRd tutorial

Extended RoRd tutorial part 2

Extended RoRd tutorial part 3

Extended RoRd tutorial part 4

Secrets of Hero_Traitor Revealed

Possibly something useful on Diplomacy

SLP Easy - PS/Paint Palette

How to change technology popup help text

Thank you for hitting me (Diplomacy trick)

Structure of the Command Line in AoEd/RoRd

AoEd/RoRd: Adding Units

McCloud Effects (Water on Hills/Square Terrain tiles)

Map Design Tidbits

Boats and Transportation (.PER)

Bitmaps Tutorial

Not Good, but Pretty Darned

Basic Eye candies

Mapdefault Editing Tips
The Hamlet

Extra Eye Candy Tricks

Hidden Units - An Article
Richard Ames

Tricks Article: Map Design and Other
Richard Ames

The Map Design Series
Richard Ames

The Map Design Series II
The Dark Archer

Larger bitmap: Break out of the confines of mapdefault, customize!

Unit names: How to override language.dll

Can you destroy ruins and artifacts? Well sort of

Lengthen Combat Mode - Hex tutorial

The Horse Hex-Edit Project

Unknown Civilization Template & Dat

Hex-Editing Reference

This mod will allow rotation of cliff waterfalls.



Composite Editor 1.1


AGE2 (Advanced Genie Editor 2)
Keisari Tapsa

Zlibnoh compressor & decompressor

Pattern Maker (pre-release)

AoEd/RoRd command converter

Turtle Pack 1.2 (SLP/DRS editor)
Team Hawk


Print Screen Registry Fix

Fog + Elevation 8 Template Pack

Larger mapdefault.bmp

Stable Microscopic Map

AIScan v0.9

Pebble32 Unicode Editor
The Dark Archer

Modpack Installer v4

.DRS Explorer
Stoyan Ratchev

.AI Edit v2.0
Stoyan Ratchev

.SLP Studio
Joseph Knight

CTY Editor

Speed Editor
Phill Phree

Hex Editor

.PER Editor
Martin Sturm

Campaign Manager 3
Lloyd Kinsella

Unknown Civilization Template & Dat

Gigantic (250x250) Fog Template

Black micro template

Lengthen Combat Mode (3xHP) Beta terrain template

Extra Small Scenarios Pack

Ultra Small Scenarios Pack

255 x 255 map (normal / 3xHP mode)

Patch 1.0b

Patch 1.0c

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Before posting any basic questions you might have about the editor and designing, please visit the general Frequently Asked Questions page in the Siege Workshop:

General Scn Design FAQ (Siege Workshop)

Review guidelines

Below is an updated version of the Guidelines to follow when reviewing a file in the Granary/Downloads section.

Review Guidelines - An Alternative. Part 2

General questions

Q: I have a question. Can I start a new topic?
A: To keep the forum from cluttering, please ask any questions you might have in this topic.

Q: Where is Age of Empires installed?
A: Unless you chose a custom location to install the game, the default location is: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires. You can find all the game data, such as scenario's, .dat and .ai files in there.

Q: How do I take screenshots, and where are they located?
A: Press F12 in-game. Screenshots will be stored in the main Age of Empires directory, and are named AoE0001.bmp, AoE00002.bmp and so on.

Q: I want to share a screenshot here. How?
A: Upload the screenshot to a place such as Imageshack or Photobucket. Both are free to use. Use the IMG tags to include it in your post.

Q: I want to ask people to playtest my scenario/campaign.
A: You can either ask it in this thread or create a new topic asking for Playtesters. Be sure to give a brief explanation on what your creation is about, and what kind of feedback you are expecting from those that try it out.

Q: I want to upload my file to the Downloads section/Granary. How do I do this?
A: You can submit your file here. Provide details about your creation and don't forget to include a nice, short description.

Q: How long does it take for my file to show in the Granary?
A: Most files are usually approved within 72 hours. Depending on the size, it may take some additional time to quick-test it and making sure your file does not violate the CoC. If it is still not up after a while, please contact the Staff.

Scenario Editor questions

Q: How do I make a campaign?
A: Open up the Campaign editor and add your custom scenario's. Give it a name, and save it. You can find your campaign in the default AoE directory -> /Campaigns.

Q: What are .AI, .PER and .CTY files for?
A: These control the computer's behaviour during a game. There are various cool tricks that can be done through custom files, a good example of this is the computer asking for "Tribute". They can make a scenario a lot more interesting and challenging to play.

Q: How do I obtain Beta units?
A: A few of these were available on templates in the early days. Today, every possible beta unit still hidden in the game is unlocked and available through the Composite Editor. After installing this superb tool, you'll have acces to tons of units normally not found in the Editor. For more information on beta units, go here.

Q: What is and how do I install the Composite Editor?
A: To sum it up: The best utility for the editor ever made. It allows you to overlap buildings (no restrictions), unlocks hidden units and much more.

Installing it is pretty simple, really. First of all, make a BACKUP of your original empires.dat files and store it away in a seperate folder. Then all you have to do is copy one of the provided CE empire.dat files and overwrite the old one. Open the editor and voila, a plethora of new options are now available to you.

See the documentation included with this tool to see which possibilities are available with the empires.dat files provided. To test out your scenario normally, replace the enhanced empires.dat with the default empires.dat file (the BACKUP copy) and restart the game.

Q: Can I use Triggers like in AoK?
A: Triggers are not part of AoE, sadly. However, there is a way to create your own custom triggers, or "dynamics". Examples of this are a burning gaia village, or a diplomacy chance at a certain point. Most high-rated scenario's/campaigns make use of these. Below is an example of a "timer" and how it works:

There are many methods you can use for this. The most important thing here is to test the trick a million times to ensure it does not fail.

Q: Negative resources. How?
A: Go to the Messages tab, and type a - (minus sign). Select and copy it. Go to the Players tab, resources. Right-click the field and paste the - before any resource number you have filled in. Alternatively, you can use Shift+CTRL+V or just CTRL+V.

Q: I've seen a scenario that has units with more Hitpoints, how is this possible?
A: There are 2 methods to achieve this. The easiest way is to download a template that includes the "Lengthen Combat Mode/3xHP mode" which triples the amount of nearly every unit/building (with the exception of Gaia). This was a special mode available in the alpha version of the game. Note: this does NOT require a modpack. The second method is to alter a Unit's HP through AoEd/RoRd, a program which allows you to alter everything in the data files AoE uses, which are the empires.dat and empiresx.dat files.

Q: Can you get a higher elevation than 7?
A: Yes. The highest elevation possible is 8, which can be downloaded from templates or made through Hex-editing (Zlibnoh).

Q: How do you get black tiles, beta beach tiles and other special terrains?
A: Similar to the above question. There are several templates which include these hidden terrains, made possible through Hex-editing.

Q: What is the biggest map size available?
A: 255x255 tiles, which you can download here.

Top of page

Please post any useful links/articles/tutorials/utilities/questions you might stumble upon, likewise if you want your article featured in the list leave your reply here and I'll add it to the OP. Happy designing! - PhatFish

The Dark Archer

"Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein
"I once met a girl who looked like a camel" - Rasteve
Death of the Morads | AoEH Design Series II | Out From the Cliffs

[This message has been edited by PhatFish (edited 07-24-2012 @ 08:23 AM).]

posted 07-17-21 02:22 AM ET (US)     76 / 92  
I saw that PhillySouljah had included Screenshots of his scenarios in his scenario pages in the Granary database. Is there any way for me to do this too?
posted 07-18-21 07:23 AM ET (US)     77 / 92  
That's really easy, select BBcode instead of plain text as the option in the description field, then use the [ IMG ] tags with the link to your image. You can also use the other BBcode options to color text etc.
posted 07-18-21 05:14 PM ET (US)     78 / 92  

I took a screenshot of the following image and posted it on three different places online. Then I went to my "Journey to Edessa" scenario page in the Granary and clicked UPDATE. Then in the Description box, I type in the same brackets with "IMG" letters in them around the 3 links to the image, with a backslash in the ending brackets. I used the same format that I am using to post the images below on the forum:

Then I press submit. Yet the images show up on the forum here above but not when I use them in the webpages in the Granary and use the same format with IMG and brackets and BB Code.

[This message has been edited by rakovsky (edited 07-18-2021 @ 05:51 PM).]

posted 07-24-21 03:48 PM ET (US)     79 / 92  
Could it make a difference if I submit the photo with my submission instead of putting it as an Edit?

Does it make a difference if it's in PNG or JPG format?
posted 07-26-21 07:29 PM ET (US)     80 / 92  
Okay, I just tried it myself on your submission, cannot get it to work either - very strange. I know others beside myself who have put images - maybe it's disabled temporarily or something, I haven't a clue. You could place the link to your screenshot though - added it for you.
posted 07-27-21 00:50 AM ET (US)     81 / 92  
Right. Maybe it's disabled like you said.
posted 07-31-21 03:08 PM ET (US)     82 / 92  
I submitted my "Christian Story Part 1" ROR campaign last night, and included IMG tags from two hosting sites for the JPG or PNG file, so we can see whether it will work. The Image tags seem to work most reliably when I use the image button on the forum's BB Code panel.
posted 08-27-21 08:22 PM ET (US)     83 / 92  
Today I fixed the glitches in the Complete Ages of Mankind campaign and submitted my fixed version to the Granary as "Complete Ages of Mankind, Version 2."

On one other campaign that I submitted, a game player said that when he played my campaign, he could not open up the next scenario in the campaign after he beat the first scenario.

I have occasionally had this problem when playing others' campaigns, but it has been rare. I don't know what causes this rare problem. Maybe it has to do with playing in Adminstrator Mode.
posted 08-28-21 07:00 AM ET (US)     84 / 92  
This may have to do with the game not being able to write to files in it's installation directory, in this case, I believe it may be related to the Learn.uh file which keeps track of the campaign progress.
posted 08-28-21 11:24 PM ET (US)     85 / 92  
In other words, it's a problem with the player's game, not with anything that I did as the campaign maker?

I remember having this problem on at least one AOE1 campaign in the past, and I don't remember what I did to fix the problem. It seems to me that I've had this problem on a few AOE1 and AOE2 campaigns in the past, like 5 out of dozens of campaigns that I played.
posted 09-10-21 01:44 PM ET (US)     86 / 92  
Rakovsky, I can tell you that adding images to a download description is fully disabled for me as well. I have no idea what the cause of this is - probably one of the EXCO changed this...
posted 09-21-21 03:55 PM ET (US)     87 / 92  
Does it matter when you play or edit other people's scenarios whether you put the .AI or .PER file in the AI folder or the DATA2 folder?

In AOE2, if you edit someone else's scenario and their scenario includes a .PER file, then you must paste their .per file into the correct folder in your AOE2 directory for the PERSONALITY of the computer in your scenario to work. The issue came up because I have fixed several scenarios belonging to other players.

In AOE1, occasionally scenario designers include .AI or .PER files with their scenarios. Typically I have pasted them into my AOE1 AI folder. So at the moment, the files in my ROCKNROR AOE1 AI folder include, nonattack, and Ulster I must have gotten them by downloading a scenario from the Granary.

I am guessing that unlike in AOE2, in the case of AOE1, if you are editing someone else's scenario and their scenario has a custom .AI or .PER file, then you don't actually need to have a copy of their .AI or .PER file sitting in your DATA2 folder because the correct .AI or .PER file was already compacted into the scenario by the original scenario designer.

[This message has been edited by rakovsky (edited 09-21-2021 @ 03:59 PM).]

posted 09-22-21 12:11 PM ET (US)     88 / 92  
If a scenario player has a specific AI file (same for PER file), it should be included in the scenario file. You shouldn't see it in your data/data2 folder (or maybe it's extracted when using the scenario editor ? not sure)

BUT for scenario players that do NOT have a specific AI file, the game will pick an AI file from data2 folder (if using ROR).
For PER file, it does not pick one, I think it just initializes the values dynamically (with empiresx.exe logic)
posted 09-22-21 04:40 PM ET (US)     89 / 92  
That makes sense, Chab.

Can you get AOE1's Tribute system to work if you as the Human Player are Player 3 or anyone besides Player 1? If so, it would feel a little strange because if the Tribute System only works if you (the Human Player) are Player 1, then it would make the following line pointless:

128 1 //SNTributePlayer Human Player 1 (Blue)

That is, there would be little point in the game having a Tribute SN line where the editor has to manually select the Player whom the AI would ask for Tribute if Player 1 was the only Player for whom the Tribute system worked.

I made a thread asking about this here:

It seems to me that the answer is NO based on my playtesting. I kind of remember reading elsewhere that it only works with Player 1 being the Human Player, but I don't remember where I read this.

The reason that the issue came up is because in my Christian Campaign, the Human Player is Yellow (Player 3) and I wanted the hostile Player 4 to make peace with Player 3 in Scenario 5 of my campaign.

[This message has been edited by rakovsky (edited 09-22-2021 @ 04:41 PM).]

posted 09-25-21 07:16 AM ET (US)     90 / 92  
posted 09-25-21 10:34 AM ET (US)     91 / 92  
What is the practical difference between having your custom PER file in your AI folder vs. in your DATA2 folder?

Sometimes it seems to show up in my Editor only when it's in the AI folder and other times only in my Data2 folder.
posted 10-09-21 08:59 AM ET (US)     92 / 92  
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