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Scenario Design

How To Make A "Random" Map

by The Jerk

Of course, it is impossible to make a completely random map, but there is a way to simulate it. It takes a somewhat experienced map maker to make a good "Random" map since you need to be able to work at a fast pace without having to look at the tools or settings buttons all the time. If you are not, you can practice some and get acquainted with the editor's basic functions.

If you work fast enough, you won't have time to think about where exactly you put things and why. This will lead to a map that is not random but somewhat illogical and unpredictable, which is what many players look for in a random map.

Overview of Jerk's "random" map

When I make one, I try to follow a certain pattern that I think a good random map generator would need to follow, as well to make a playable map. It also makes it easier to work and makes sure that not many mistakes are made. As I've said, it needs to be playable as well, not only random!

Following these basic steps will help you make your first "Randomish" map…

  1. Choose number of layers and size of the map.

  2. Choose a terrain type to fill the surface. I recommend grass or water since these are the two most basic terrain types in the game.

  3. Pick a few terrain types or all of them and make large patches of each terrain type here and there all over the map. Don't make too many or too small, or it will look silly. Also, try to avoid putting snowy landscape right next to the desert. You might want to keep to using the cavern tiles in the caverns (underground) though…

  4. Now sprinkle cities over the land you just created. Try to spread them even but don't worry if two should end up close together. Just do it fast. When you have done this go through all of them and set the size to "Random" and defense to "Random", "Weak", "Strong" or "Average". This is important as the map will start without any defenders at all unless this is done.

  5. Now start adding different sites such as gold mines, mana nodes, water mills, ruins and so on. Do this in the same manner as you have done with the cities. Don't think too much where you put them but spread them fairly evenly.

  6. Time for roads. Again, don't put too much thought to it (I cannot stress on this enough) just connect the different sites with roads (If you need to - edit the landscape a little to make a bridge over water). Make some roads connect a few sites and some others connecting several, as well as making a few longer roads.

  7. When you are done with the roads, it is time for the mountains and forests. I found it easier to do each terrain type separately instead of going back and forth between the different tiles. Try do be as "random" as you can. Make a mountain range here and one there, add a forest in between and move on to the next area. Try to add some flowers and things like that for eye candy, but do it swiftly.

  8. Now use the elevation buttons. Use the one hex marker and pan across the map, making hills and valleys as you pass by.

  9. Time for the wizards (and heroes)! You can either make random ones or pick them randomly from the existing ones. Then place them on the map, also spread evenly. It might be a good idea to add Wizards Towers to the cities you put them in - if you decide to put them in cities that is. Also add a small starting army to each wizard.

  10. Done!

Remember that a couple of dices could be useful while making some of the things - like the wizards and starting armies. Just make a list and roll the dice. It can even be used to decide which terrain types you should use, how many players that should be able to play, which spheres of magic and so on…

"The Jerk" the 9th of September 2002


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