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Rise of Nations offers a total of eight terrain sets and another nine where added by the expansion Thrones & Patriots for a total of 17. While terrain has no actual effect on game play, it adds some 'visual variety' and even affects the appearance of buildings and citizens. For example, in winter based terrain sets, buildings will have snow covered roofs and units will have jackets and winter based clothing.

Terrain sets cannot be chosen directly by the player, they are determined by the Map Style. Each map style has weighted chances for ceertain terrain sets to appear - for example, when playing an Australian Outback map, there's a 25% chance for each of the terrain sets Autumn, South West Desert, African Savannah and Jungle to appear.

However, the map files can be easily modified to add or replace terrain sets which should be used by a particular map style – allowing for a snowy Australian Outback or the Himalayas surrounded by Jungle. See the following section below.

Changing terrain sets used by Map styles Edit

The terrain sets used by a map style can be changed by editing the corresponding map file using a standard text editor (like Notepad in Windows). All map files are located in the sub directory \mapstyles\ of the game's install directory (or in \Thrones & Patriots\mapstyles\, if you have the expansion). Remember to backup the files before editing!

All tile sets are compatible with all map styles, so any combination of terrain and map is possible.

Each of the XML files contains various data in XML syntax. This data is used by the map generator to create the map and distribute things like forests and hills, rare resources and so on. However, you only have to care about one section, usually located to the top of a map file, which looks like this (taken from HIMALAYAS.xml, which is the map file for Himalayas):

<TILESET>
  <TILECHANCE type="Snowy" chance="50"/>
  <TILECHANCE type="Arctic" chance="50"/>
</TILESET>

This specifies the terrain sets used by the map style and the chances to get chosen, when the map is generated. So, for the Himalayas map, there is a 50% chance for each of the two terrain sets Snowy and Arctic to get picked.

Now let's say, you want to add a desert terrain to this map and want to have it appear more often that the other two. Then you simply need to add another line and adjust the chances, like this:

<TILESET>
  <TILECHANCE type="sw_desert" chance="50"/>
  <TILECHANCE type="snowy" chance="25"/>
  <TILECHANCE type="arctic" chance="25"/>
</TILESET>

With this, there is a 25% chance for this map to be either Snowy or Arctic terrain and a 50% chance to be South West Desert (code: sw_desert). The codes required by type="" can be found in the gallery below.

The chances to not have to amount to exact 100%, as they are weighted against each other. If you want an equal chance for each of terrain sets to appear, you can simply set chance="100" for every terrain set. Different values are only needed, if you want particular terrains to appear more often.

It's even possible to make sw_desert the only tile set to be used by the map:

<TILESET>
  <TILECHANCE type="sw_desert" chance="100"/>
</TILESET>

The files in the \map styles\ sub directory and the associated Map Styles are:

  • AFRICA.xml - African Watering Hole
  • AMAZON.xml - Amazon Rainforest
  • BRITISHISLES.xml - British Isles
  • COLONIALPOWERS.xml - Colonial Powers
  • EASTINDIES.xml - East Indies
  • EASTWEST.xml - East Meets West*
  • GREATLAKES.xml - Great Lakes
  • HIMALAYAS.xml - Himalayas
  • MEDITERRANEAN.xml - Mediterranean*
  • NEWWORLD.xml - New World
  • NILEDELTA.xml - Nile Delta
  • OLDWORLD.xml - Old World*
  • OUTBACK.xml - Australian Outback
  • SAHARA.xml - Great Sahara
  • SEAPOWER.xml - Atlantic Sea Power
  • SOUTHWESTMESA.xml - Southwest Mesa
  • WARRINGSTATES.xml - Warring States

The files marked with a * actually lack a <TILESET> section, which means, they pick a random terrain set out of all sets available. However, you copy the <TILESET> section from above into these files, it needs to be placed between the <MAP> and </MAP> tags in order to work.

Gallery Edit

A list of all terrain sets. The ones marked with a * were added in the expansion. The "code" is what is required by type="" in the map files.

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