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Scenario Design and Modding
Moderated by Suppiluliuma, PhatFish, Fisk, EpiC_Anonymous, 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 10-06-10 10:55 AM ET (US)     26 / 92  
The top post needs to be edited with all of the really useful links and remove the ones that don't work.
posted 10-10-10 00:19 AM ET (US)     27 / 92  
The top post needs to be edited with all of the really useful links and remove the ones that don't work.
Agree. Except not remove but fix the dead links.

EDIT: more links

The best stuff I made for Age of Empires:
 Composite Editor 1.1 Rated 5.0 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (Utility)
 Coke vs. Pepsi Rated 4.4 ★ ★ ★ ★ ⅖ (Multi player scenario)
 The Map of the World (Real world map)

[This message has been edited by zapdotep (edited 10-17-2010 @ 02:51 AM).]

posted 11-14-11 01:10 PM ET (US)     28 / 92  
Hey everyone. I'm currently working on updating this thread as you can see in the original post. It hasn't been updated in ages (not since the start). I'm adding all links in nice tables so everything can be easily found.

There's still quite some stuff missing which I'll be adding soon enough. To make things a little easier, I would like to ask the following: Please post any useful links/articles/tutorials/utilities/questions you might stumble upon here, and I'll add them to the OP - thanks!

I am currently digging through old threads to find lost articles, tricks, etc. I don't want these to be forgotten as they can be really useful to both new and veteran designers.

Hope you guys like the banner btw
posted 11-14-11 02:20 PM ET (US)     29 / 92  
Oh, I had completely forgot about this... Still, are you sure about updating an old thread? If you ask me it might be better to simply create a new one, which you can administer completely yourself, instead of trying to build on an old foundation.

Anyhow I like the banner.

//The warrior of Isola

"I lack quotes that demonstrate Humor Intelligence or anything about me."

Cleidopus gloriamaris
posted 11-14-11 05:19 PM ET (US)     30 / 92  
I can fully administer this thread. Don't see a reason to create a new one - I would copy the stuff thats in the OP now in that case and would end up with exactly the same result
posted 11-15-11 10:04 AM ET (US)     31 / 92  
You've already proven to be a good staffmember Phatfish, keep up the good work.

I think we should try to rewrite the articles/tutorials from the 2nd table so that they can be siege workshop articles. The siege workshop is way too empty compared to the number of articles rome total war and age of kings heaven have. And I'm still waiting for some staff to add the graphic editing tutorial and rord tutorials to the siege workshop.

Suppy has the rights to make such changes and phatfish has the website coding experience. Perhaps phatfish can write the code so that suppy only needs to add it.

Btw, the links to the richard ames writeups dont work for me.

[This message has been edited by Thompsoncs (edited 11-15-2011 @ 10:16 AM).]

posted 11-15-11 11:04 AM ET (US)     32 / 92  
Why is aokts listed as useful program? How do I use it for aoe1? IIRC, it doesn't support aoe1.
posted 11-15-11 02:42 PM ET (US)     33 / 92  
Changed the complete look of the thread, I think it's really nice now. Quite a bit of work, end result is well worth it however. Gotta love HTML!
Suppy has the rights to make such changes and phatfish has the website coding experience. Perhaps phatfish can write the code so that suppy only needs to add it.
There's several reasons why it can't be done yet (well it can be done, but read on). First and most importantly: There may be a change in the site's programming language sometime soon, I'm not sure however. I asked TDA about it and he said he would discuss this with the staff/EXCO. AoKH uses a CMS (content managing system) which is far more convenient for updating (updates on the fly). At the moment we're still using HTML without seperated content which means that nearly every single change made requires an update on every single page on the site - which is a LOT of unesessary work. With a CMS or PHP you wouldn't have that.

Second, I don't know if Suppy knows how to upload, edit or change things (I or some other staff member from HG could probably teach him that however). He does have access to the server if I'm not mistaken. This is amongst a few things that still need to be worked out before we can get started on adding a couple of pages. And I do mean a couple since there's no use converting all the articles to (X)HTML if we're going to get a CMS update.

The above is the main reason why I am updating this thread at the moment, so that every article is still available even though it is not in the SW yet.
links to the richard ames writeups dont work for me.
I am aware of that, it has something to do with some of the links being altered when copying them from the posts - I'll look into it. Thanks for the heads up
Why is aokts listed as useful program? How do I use it for aoe1? IIRC, it doesn't support aoe1.
If I'm not mistaen it does work for editing terrain tiles as scenario's can be read and saved. I would need to test it out and will remove the link if it doesn't.

[This message has been edited by PhatFish (edited 11-15-2011 @ 02:44 PM).]

posted 11-15-11 03:52 PM ET (US)     34 / 92  
ok, were some more links that didn't work.

Maybe, untill they are added as real articles you might want to add the graphic and rord tutorials by me to this list too.

Would be even nicer if we could have a new forum directory for modding and tools.
posted 11-15-11 05:25 PM ET (US)     35 / 92  
They will be added of course

I'd have to discuss the possibility of such a subforum with Suppy.

Edit: Utilities/Programs and FAQ section updated.

[This message has been edited by PhatFish (edited 11-16-2011 @ 10:23 AM).]

posted 11-16-11 08:16 PM ET (US)     36 / 92  
That's a very welcome and great update Phatfish. That is indeed most appreciated by the community.
posted 11-18-11 09:48 AM ET (US)     37 / 92  
Wooh everything is indexed now. I've browsed the forum for any additional articles not here yet and added them, including your tutorials Thompsoncs. Fixed broken links. SW section now features the pages I converted to HTML a while back, which are hosted on my own site (only the newly added articles work of course, other links to parts of AoEH don't work obviously.) Also added the updated review guidelines and made some jump-links for easy navigating
posted 11-18-11 01:13 PM ET (US)     38 / 92  
Good job, only missed part 2:,6122,,all

and you recoded the graphic editing tutorial I made, don't know the link to that new version, but I'm sure you do.
posted 11-18-11 01:39 PM ET (US)     39 / 92  
posted 11-18-11 09:26 PM ET (US)     40 / 92  
Wow, I have never seen that thread ! It's awesome. I like the "Dynamic Triggers" thing (bottom), I wish there could be more of them !

( σяυɘ ϙυє )﴿

ʸᵒᵘᵗᵘᵇᵉ ˡˡʳʸ
posted 11-18-11 10:13 PM ET (US)     41 / 92  
Indeed having you as a moderator is a luxury.
posted 11-21-11 02:22 PM ET (US)     42 / 92  
Euroqueb: just experiment with it, there are quite a few things that can be done with this trick.

If there are any other things you guys would like to see in here don't hesitate to post.
posted 01-10-12 07:22 PM ET (US)     43 / 92  
I think this wasn't on the list yet. Though it never became a real article, it was used for the other modding tutorials and on some points goes more into details (like the attack and defense values): Link
posted 01-13-12 09:43 AM ET (US)     44 / 92  
posted 02-27-12 08:11 PM ET (US)     45 / 92  
How do you add a new building? The reason I am asking is to complete Self Defense, for fun, and make a building(s) to train unique units.
posted 02-28-12 05:53 AM ET (US)     46 / 92  
Not really a frequently asked question, but I'll answer it anyway.

First, you need to make a new building.

Your best option is to find the building that is closest to the building you have in mind and copy it's lines.

Then change the unit count of the civs from 400 to 401.

Change the unit nr + the 2 ID's of the copied lines to 401.
Then change the name and command language lines.
Change the train button (can range from 1 to 20)
Change the cost
Change the Hitpoints
Possibly change the graphic(stand, dead, walk, damage)
Change the defense stats
Change the construction time

That should be about it for the new building.

Then you'll need to make the building available, by making a tech.
enabling a unit enable watch tower
type: 2 (enable/disable)
unit: 401 (your new building)
class: 1 (enable, 0 would be disable)
attribute: -1
amount: 0
Like that. And if you want units available at the new building, change the train location to 401.

During all this, keep parts 1 (units) and 2(techage) of the extended rord tutorial ready.


[This message has been edited by Thompsoncs (edited 02-28-2012 @ 05:55 AM).]

posted 03-02-12 05:30 PM ET (US)     47 / 92  
This is found in the "techage" section, right?

Why would you take the time to read this signature? Chances are that there are many other posts below mine.
posted 03-02-12 06:05 PM ET (US)     48 / 92  
The enabling part is doen by editing the research and techage lines, the building by editing the unit and head lines of all civs
posted 03-03-12 08:31 AM ET (US)     49 / 92  
I know about adding unis. I asked because there is no "research.txt" file in the text folder of ged_data.
posted 03-03-12 12:04 PM ET (US)     50 / 92  
there should be a research.txt (where the techage is joined to a research, cost, time, location and such) and a techage.txt for the actual effects.
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