Jackkel Dragon's Custom Campaigns

I decided to make a thread about my custom campaigns, since maybe that will help me organize them better and find out ways I can improve them if I continue modding this game.

The campaigns I’ve uploaded so far:

Now, onto the details. Since the pages for each campaign already have a lot of information for them I’m going to put down my thoughts about the creation of the maps.

Chronicles of Guwon

My first attempt at creating maps for the Definitive Edition. The first map was based on a similar idea for AoE2:HD. The story is loosely based on the backstory of an ebook I’ve been working on.

Chapter 1
The idea behind this map was to have a mostly defensive battle, where the player is unable to become strong enough to fight back and destroy the enemy camps. Therefore, building up a base and creating the Wonder is the entire focus of the scenario. While I was able to learn a lot about triggers, I don’t know how exciting the map really is. The game will be either too easy or too hard depending on where the player decides to put their base, since the trigger-based AI only attacks a specific location unless directly approached.

Chapter 2
This map was meant to be a really chill “build and explore at your own pace” kind of thing, but I think it ended up becoming boring. The goals involve a laundry list of tasks that sound fun on paper, but ultimately are just basic gameplay elements in practice. And like the first chapter, the trigger-based AI doesn’t work well if the player moves their base. I tried re-working the map with proper AI, but I can’t seem to get it to work well enough to be interesting.

Princess Osan

My second campaign, and one I’m a lot more proud of. This campaign is also based on the same story as the Chronicles of Guwon was, but is a lot more focused on a specific character and series of events. Hopefully that focus makes it more interesting to play.

Chapter 1
The original version of this map sounded cool in my head, but never really worked out well in the game itself. I had a little fenced-off area where you could put villagers and they would become military units based on their gender. However, trying to tie the rebellion story with the gameplay in this way made it very difficult to figure out how to balance things. I gave the player a free villager every once in a while to keep people from being stuck, but the bigger problem was how long it took to make an army, only for it to be wiped out by the enemy army. So I eventually scrapped the whole layout and re-built it from the ground up and ditched the villager->military unit idea. Now, the limitations of the rebellion is shown by the player only having 1-3 military buildings, the latter two hidden in the map for players to find. I also made Militia available and lowered the train time for all units, since the map already took a long time to travel between attacks. There’s also two ways to get into the enemy base in the current version: an obvious path and an obvious backdoor. Both can be fought through, but I feel like this illusion of choice makes the attack feel a lot cooler.

Chapter 2
This is a basic build and destroy map, with the main quirks being “locked to Castle Age cap” and “fighting two pre-built enemies at once”. There’s also a lake, but I’ve almost never used warships during testing. Aside from trying to build up and do Castle Age sieges on two fronts, I added a number of mini-objectives to make things feel more interesting. So there are a lot of Gaia units that can be recruited for an early boost, as well as a Trade Workshop that–if kept intact–can turn Ox Carts into Trebuchets (saving time when destroying Castles for the objectives). I also liked the Ninja unit that was added in DE, but couldn’t find a real use for it. So instead I created a side objective where using a Ninja will trick the enemies into fighting each other. This side rivalry mostly plays out in the water (where the player has little business), but I made sure to sprinkle some troops in each base so that the two sides can potentially break a building or two.

Chapter 3
Despite the huge enemy bases, this is a hard map to actually lose. The main gimmicks of this map are the enemy Priests (spawn without resources) and the enemy Wonder (spawns renamed Woad Raiders without resources that rush the starting base). Otherwise, this map is mostly about getting to the Imperial Age and escorting some Trebuchets around the map until everything is destroyed. Since the player has to build a Wonder at the end (and the trigger seems weird about where it wants the Wonder sometimes), one of the side objectives reduces the build time of Wonders to save the player some time. The other side objective, now that it works properly, gives the player a set of Mounted Samurai that regenerate health. These aren’t amazing against the enemy forces, put can be great for killing Priests or guarding Relics. (Ninja were going to have a use again, but I couldn’t think of a good way to bring them in.)


And that’s everything I have out so far. I’ll try to update this thread if I put out anything else or rework these significantly. Hopefully this was as interesting to read as it was to put together the maps. And if you haven’t tried them yet, try out the campaigns and let me know what you think!

Things I’d like to try in future maps/campaigns:

  • Custom civilizations and mid-game civilization selection (like Cao Cao’s Ambition by FilthyDelphia)
  • Campaign based on a real-world setting, but with an allohistorical twist (my first idea was "Ming China is invaded by Japan and Portugal)
  • Simple custom systems that change the way the game feels (like a lot of the nomadic elements of the Seljuk custom campaign, or the bigger emphasis on specific technologies in the Harald Finehair and Valhalla’s Edge custom campaigns)
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