Map Design and Tricks

Heaven’s Design Pages


Rasher’s Scenario Design Series

This ran in the SD forum for a while and provides an excellent grounding for anyone new to design. Here you will find more than enough tips and hints to get you started. A must read.

Rasher’s Design Series – Chapter 1 – 4

Map Design Tricks


Anyone who has played the scenarios and campaigns on the Granary will have noticed landscape features that never appear in RM and DM. These are where designers have discovered how to manipulate features of the scenario editor to produce effects such as swamps, water you can walk on and many more besides. 

Ingo van Thiel was the undisputed pioneer of many of these tricks, and Darius has painstakingly collected many tricks from many people since. Read their articles below and discover how to produce those little touches that make a scenario memorable.

Map Design Tricks by Ingo

Using the Editor like a Palette of Paint: Map Design with Age of Empires Definitive Edition by Ingo

Map Design tricks by Darius

Water on Hills

PhatFish’s Tricks

Special Units

The Dark Archer’s Design Article

Gumble’s Secrets of the Darkest Arts of Scenario Design

Instruction maps


When designing your scenario, the instruction map always makes a good first impression – it shows you care about the completeness of your work and can also act as a visual aid to help the player understand what is going on. Along with the history and introductory story, a well designed map gets the player’s attention, helps get the player involved in the scenario and also helps to orient the player to the situation the work is about to present. A good introduction not only tells the player what to do but also why they need to accomplish their goals.

Find out how to make the most of this feature in the excellent article by Frank Steidel below.

Creating Instruction Maps