Editing Scenario Data

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Editing Scenario Data

Welcome to this guide. This type of scenario editing is not like opening the editor, and adding objects/changing terrains on-the-fly. It can be a bit confusing at first, but please bare with me as I’ll try to explain how you can edit the scenario data step-by-step. 

What are the benefits of editing data of a scenario?

Basically you can control every part of a scenario, like in the normal editor, but with significant advantages and more possibilities. Here’s a list of things you can do:

  • Change a scenario’s instructions, messages.
  • Change player data (resources, civ, diplomacy etc.).
  • Change existing units on a map or add them.
  • Unlock/enable additional modes, such as the Lengthen Combat Mode (3xHP) and the Unknown Civilization.
  • Custom map sizes ranging from 1×1 to 255×255 tiles.
  • And perhaps the most useful, you can edit every single terrain tile, which includes adding hidden terrain types and it’s elevation.

In this article I’ll discuss and explain the following: Decompressing a Scenario, Custom Map sizes, Editing Terrain tiles and Elevation, the Lengthen Combat Mode, the Unknown (Gaia) Civilization and lastly Compressing a Scenario. Changing the Scenario Instructions/Messages or Adding/Editing Units is best done through the actual Scenario editor itself which is above all the easiest way, especially the latter using the Composite Editor tool. It is possible however. There is of course also a possibility that there are still undiscovered tricks/elements which can be enabled through .hex editing not mentioned here, so if you do happen to come across something special, let us know on the forums.

Getting Started

First of all, you need to download 2 utilities for this, they are:

Cygnus, a .HEX file editor

Zlibnoh Compressor/Decompressor OR AoK Trigger Studio by DiGiT

DigiT’s compressor & uncompressor programs must be in put a path without spaces in any of the folder names, preferably a short-named directory in C:\.

Decompressing a Scenario

This is the very first thing you must do before you can alter any of the scenario data.

Step 1 – Open the Scenario editor with either Age of Empires or Rise of Rome. Generate a new default size map filled with Deep Water terrain. Save it as “deep_water.scn”. Exit AoE and locate the “deep_water.scn” in your Scenario directory, which at it’s default location can be found at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires\Scenario\. 

Step 2 – Open the Cygnus hex editor program. Either drag the “deep_water.scn” file into Cygnus or open it using the menu.


You should now see this:


Step 3 – Carefully remove the first 28 bytes of the data (the blue selected part as seen in the image above), and save the altered file to the folder containing DigiT’s Zlibnoh compressor & uncompressor programs (C:\zlibnoh\), OR alternatively in the directory where AoK Trigger Studio resides.

Step 4 – If you are using the Zlibnoh Compressor/Uncompressor programs, Type the following command, either in Run under the Windows Start menu or by typing “CMD” in the search box, or you can do it in MS-DOS mode:

C:\zlibnoh\uncompr.exe deep_water.scn deep_water.hex


Make sure you double check for spelling mistakes, then press Enter. The scenario is now being uncompressed and the corresponding .hex file is created.

Personally I prefer to use the Zlibnoh files, but if you are using AoK Trigger Studio, navigate to “Tools” in the menu and then select “Raw Decompress….” to uncompress the scenario to a .hex file:


Step 5 – Navigate to the C:\zlibnoh\ directory. You should now see the new “deep_water.hex” file. Or,  if you are using AoKTS, you can find the .hex file the directory where you saved it using decompress option. Open the file using Cygnus, it should look like this:


This is a long file, and here’s where all the scenario data resides. You can now freely alter it to your wishes. Let’s start with the first parts, custom map sizes and terrain editing.

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