City Plan (CTY) Files

You read the title. Your first question is: What is this City Plan file?! The answer can be found anywhere on Age of Empires Heaven, yet there are many misbeliefs about them; so let’s get it straight.

City Plan files can be found in the data folder of Age of Empires (for Rise of Rome, it is data2, like in case of AI and Personality), with a cty extension. Open up default.cty in Notepad – this is what you’ll see:

0.000000       0.000000       0      2      2      2      109    Town_Center1        

-2.500000      -12.500000     0      2      2      2      69     Guard_Tower         

2.500000       -12.500000     0      2      2      2      69     Guard_Tower         

12.500000      -2.500000      0      2      2      2      69     Guard_Tower         

12.500000      2.500000       0      2      2      2      69     Guard_Tower         

2.500000       12.500000      0      2      2      2      69     Guard_Tower         

-2.500000      12.500000      0      2      2      2      69     Guard_Tower         

-12.500000     2.500000       0      2      2      2      69     Guard_Tower         

-12.500000     -2.500000      0      2      2      2      69     Guard_Tower         

Getting confused? Yes, the misbeliefs with the CTY file can be explained with the fact that of the 3 Computer Player Tuning File Types - AI, Personality and City Plan - this is the newest to be explored.

Before we march on, let’s quickly rocket through the format:

X coordinate-Y coordinate-Z coordinate-Size-Size-Size-Building Code-Description

Z coordinate? Flying buildings in AoE? It was probably part of a beta version, the best is to leave it at zero for now. For better description, take a look at the other articles available.

What do you use this file for? For tuning computer players. It needs to work in conjunction with an AI file, however. The AI file tells the computer what to build, than it looks at the CTY, picks the first possible location for the building, and builds it there. The CTY file does not function as an AI; it tells the computer WHERE to build WHAT, but it won’t command it to build. It is just a map for the computer.

CTY files are lines with coordinates, you can’t see through them unless you waste all your precious time drawing cities into a coordinate system. I recommend everyone who wants to create his own City Plan file to use CTY Editor, which can be found in the Utilities section. This article will also explain the use of the editor.

There are some buildings however, which the City Plan file has no control over. These are the following: House, Dock, Granary, Storage Pit, Wall, Tower. Why? Because Ensemble Studios decided to make the construction of these buildings dynamic. What does that mean? For example, if there is elevation on the eastern side of the town, the computer will build its walls and towers there. Docks are built on water, houses next to other buildings and dropsites near resources. Basically those, whose location can not be defined.

CTY files also have a serious problem: They don’t include places where the computer can’t build. For example if you define place for one Barracks, but that place is covered by forests in-game, the Barracks won’t be built and your computer will remain in a maximum of Tool Age. (It is impossible to advance to Bronze Age without Barracks)

One more thing should be noted: Even though you have no control over them, the CTY file must have at least one block of wall, one tower, one house, one granary, one storage pit and one dock. Otherwise these buildings won’t be constructed.

CTY Editor v1.0

I made CTY Editor to allow people to edit City Plan files easily and without a strong headache. The Documentation included, however will only tell you the basic usage, it won’t give you much more help than how to start the program.

Installation of CTY Editor:

1.      First download the file from Age of Empires Heaven’s Granary’s Utilities section

2.      Unzip the files to a folder you want, for example C:\Tools\CTY Editor

3.      Now, try to run Configure.exe – if it starts, skip to line 5. If not, read on.

4.      You must copy the included cncs232.dll to the C:\Windows\system32 folder

5.      Use Configure.exe to set up some of the options of the editor that will suit you.

6.      Click Save and Exit, than start Cty Editor.exe

Usage of CTY Editor:

The tool looks like this:

To the right you can see the map of your future town, the Town Center is in the middle.

To the right is the options panel with which you can modify some options, a clock and a minimap.

To the bottom is the raw CTY file, the credits screen and some buttons for loading, saving, starting a new file and closing the application.

Disabling the grid:

If the grid irritates you, click the grid drop-down list and select no.

Placing a building:

Select your building from the drop-down list, drag the mouse over the map and click.

Removing a building:

Enable the checkbox Delete/Find enabled

Select the building you wish to delete in the raw CTY file list (at the bottom)

If you don’t find your building, enable the checkbox Area Marker

Press Delete

Backup options:

Backup file on exit – saves your file when you exit. Don’t use this as a save option, only as an option for security.

AutoBackup – Automatically saves your file every given second (you speciy this in the Configuration Tool).

Advanced stuff:

Frame/Second counter – hold down the F key.

Dragging walls – select the option from the drop-down list when placing a building of size 1 (wall or disabled). Note: This option has several drawbacks. Backup your file, and even if you drag walls, do as the application tells you. If your walls disappear, you’ve reached the limit of active objects; something I couldn’t get round whilst making the application. Use at your own risk.

Special Buildings:

Any_type – any kind of building can be built here (of size 3). Watch out, as this building can be a blessing or a curse.

Disabled_place – the computer player won’t build anything here (this is just a concept based on an idea found in one of the articles)

When creating a CTY file, watch out for the viewpoint of AoE (isometric view) and the viewpoint of the editor (bird’s eye, rotated). Also, it is often wise to create the CTY file first and build the scenario around it. It saves you a headache.

Article by BBalazs, creator of CTY Editor.


Back to Index