The Terrain Layout Tool allows you to quickly create a handcrafted map by "painting" your desired terrain types on a grid, which is then translated into a map layout.
This process is much faster than crafting every element of a map's terrain by hand, and allows you to more precisely control the structure of your map's terrain and features.
After generating a map with the Terrain Layout Tool, it will load the Content Editor, where you may continue to edit your map.
How the Terrain Layout Tool Works
The Terrain Layout Tool uses a grid that allows you to "paint" a selection of terrain types into the individual squares. This grid is then used as a blueprint to generate your map.
If you wish to have a more detailed grid with smaller squares, use the Resize function in the top left of the interface to change the grid size. The number of squares in the grid has no effect on map size, it simply dictates the level of detail you can create with your grid.
You can set the Biome and Size of your map using the controls below the grid interface.
Once you enter this information, the Terrain Layout Tool will then generate a map based on your grid.
Accessing the Terrain Layout Tool
You can access the Terrain Layout Tool through the main menu when creating a new map.
To create a map using the Terrain Layout Tool, perform the following steps:
Open the Age of Empires IV Content Editor and select Create a New Mod.
From the menu that appears, select Crafted Map and press OK.
Select Intermediate option to create a new map from the Terrain Layout Tool and press Next.
The Terrain Layout Tool will then open, allowing you to begin working on the grid your new map.
Using the Terrain Layout Tool
When first creating a blank map with the Terrain Layout Tool, it will appear as the example below, with all squares in the grid set to the default terrain type for the biome you currently have selected.
The editor's main controls are located along the top of the editor, and change depending on what section in Components you have selected.
These functions are detailed in the sections below.
It is important to note that the map designs you create with the Terrain Layout Tool will be flipped horizontally when translated into a map.
This means that a map layout grid that looks like this...
Will result in a map that looks like this...
The main toolbar appears across the top of the Terrain Layout Tool interface. It contains all the tools for editing the map's grid and adding features to it.
The toolbar is divided into several main sections: Edit, Layout, Components, Tools, and Palette. These sections and how they function are detailed below.
The Edit section contains tools that allow you to load and export maps, as well as undo or redo changes you make.
- Import: Allows you to import (load) a map to edit it.
- Export: Allows you to export (save) the map you have created.
- Undo: Undoes the last action that was performed.
- Redo: Re-does the last action that was undone.
The Layout tools allow you to resize your grid, define the parameters of your map, rotate your view of it, and generate your changes onto a new map.
- Resize: Allows you to change the size and shape of your map. See below.
- Properties: Allows you to change the ocean height of your map. See below.
- Rotate: Allows you to rotate your map grid orientation.
- Generate: Allows you to generate a random layout on your grid. See below.
The Resize tool allows you to define the parameters of your grid, granting you control over the size and shape of your map.
- Width and Height control the number of squares in your map's grid.
- Maintain Aspect Ratio, if checked, locks the width and height of the map to match each other, forming a square map. If unchecked, it allows you to make a rectangular map.
- Anchor defines the location of your current grid, determining which direction more grid squares will be added or removed from.
The Generate tool allows you to generate a random grid based on a pre-set map type.
- Layout: Allows you to choose the general layout of your random pattern.
- Seed: determines the level of randomization for your map. Higher numbers will result in more randomization.
Pressing Ok will generate a new grid using your Layout and Seed settings.
The Components section controls which functions appear in the Tools and Palette sections.
Selecting either Terrain, Players, Rivers, and River Crossings will cause a different set of tools to appear. These tools and their functions are described below.
Selecting Terrain in the Components section opens tools related to painting terrain onto the grid.
These are the main tools you will be working with to create your map's terrain.
- Pencil: Allows you to draw cells freehand on the grid.
- Fill: Functions similarly to the paint bucket tool in other paint programs to fill in an area with the selected terrain type.
- Size: Sets the brush size, measured in squares.
- Picker: Functions similarly to the eyedropper tool in other paint programs, allowing you to sample the terrain type selected.
- Palette: Allows you to select the type of terrain that you can paint onto the grid. Hovering over each colour will show the terrain type it is associated with, along with its filepath.
Terrain Palette Quick Slots
The two large squares in the palette, labelled 1 and 2, allow you to map up to two terrain types to your Left Mouse Button and Right Mouse Button.
- Slot 1 is mapped to your Left Mouse Button
- Slot 2 is mapped to your Right Mouse Button
To map a terrain type to one of these slots
- Select the quick slot you want to change
- Click your desired terrain type in the palette
The quick slot will then change to your selected terrain type.
Selecting Players in the Components section opens tools related to player spawn locations.
- Pencil: Selects the area a player starting location will be. This is limited to a single square per player.
- Eraser: Deletes a player spawn location.
- Picker: Samples the player clicked on.
- Player: Sets the player number for placing the starting location.
Selecting Rivers in the Components section opens up the river tools allowing you to create rivers running from one map edge to another.
- Add River: Allows you to draw a river onto the grid. Rivers must run from one side of the map to another in a single line.
- Erase River: Deletes a placed river tile.
- Add/Move Point: Adds movable points to a placed river, allowing you to manipulate the shape of the river as it crosses the map.
- Erase Point: Deleted a placed movable river point.
- Send to Back: Sends the selected river element to the back layer.
- Send Backward: Sends the selected river element back one layer.
- Bring Forward: Brings the selected river element forward one layer.
- Bring to Front: Brings the selected river element to the front layer.
- Pencil: Switches to the type selected with the picker tool.
- Picker: Samples a river element.
Quick Guide on Placing Rivers
When placing a river, the river must stretch in a straight line from one edge of the map to another edge of the map (or the same edge).
If your river does not start and end on a map edge, your river will appear Red and will not function.
When properly placed, your river will appear Black and list each tile with a number to identify the river.
Once placed in a straight line, you can add Points to your river to modify its path. As you make changes to the river, make sure your river still begins and ends on a map edge.
The River Crossings tool in the Components section allows you to add crossings to rivers you have created. These elements can only be placed on a tile that contains a river, and are detailed below:
Ford creates a shallow portion of a river where units can cross.
Wood creates a simple wooden bridge across the river.
Stone creates a sturdy stone bridge across the river.
New Map Data
The New Map Data options are displayed when you are creating a new map.
- Biome: Sets the biome your map will be created with.
- Size: Sets the overall map size when the map is generated.
Note that if you re-open the Terrain Layout tool to edit an existing map, these options will not appear.
Re-Edit a Custom Map Layout
If you create a map layout you are not happy with, you can easily return to the Custom Map Layout editor to continue editing it.
From a rendered map, follow the steps below to return to the editor:
In the Main Menu, go to Scenario > Generators > Random Scenario.
From the Random Scenario menu, click Edit.
The Custom Map Layout tool will then appear in a separate window, allowing you to continue editing your map.
When you are finished making your changes, press OK to re-generate your map using your revised parameters. You may repeat steps 1-4 until you are happy with the result.