Terra map - steaming pile of script?


Jun 18, 2009
I like the concept of the Terra map script. An earthlike 'old world' where all civilizations start with a 'new world' to explore and settle halfway through the game just seems like fun. Sadly I've been disappointed with the results the Terra map script has given me so far. Here goes:

+ As stated, I like the basic concept.
+ Landmasses with interesting shapes
- Wonky resource placement: One time I got a 24x30 tile area around my capital without copper or iron. Another time I got 3 cows and 1 horse tile in a 3x3 area. Also a lot of clustered calendar resources.
- Nonsensical rivers: There are very few of them and what few there are tend to be one to two tiles long or span 90% of the length of a continent.

My settings have been:
Terra, Cylindrical world wrap, Standard world size, Rocky climate, Medium sea level and Standard resources

Am I using the wrong settings? Is there another map script that does the same thing better? More generally I'd love to hear it if there's a resource on map scripts. All I've been able to find is this, which doesn't cover half the scripts in Beyond the Sword.
As far as I can tell, Terra uses the standard routines for resource and river placement, i.e. same as Fractal or Pangaea. River placement is affected by hills and peaks, so perhaps Rocky climate is responsible for the unusual rivers. As for resources, Terra uses a larger tile grid than other map scripts, that might lead to somewhat larger clusters (not sure). And a random portion of the strategic resources is going to end up in the New World, where players can't access them in time. Making the Old World less crowded by decreasing the player count could help, but then there's less of an incentive to explore the New World. There's also the Balanced Resources option, which guarantees that every player has every strategic resource somewhat nearby. That makes things quite predictable.

Tectonics, SmartMap and Perfect World (and its forks Totestra and PerfectMongoose) have options for Old World starts. You seem pretty concerned about game balance, so I expect that you'd find plenty of issues with those map scripts. Those are all community-created; Tectonics got bundled with BtS through the penultimate patch (3.17).

(I'm not aware of a guide for maps added by the BtS expansion.)
If you are okay with learning a new mod, you could try the randomized Earth maps that come with AND (Rise of Mankind: A New Dawn). They use a real Earth map as the base for randomization, so the general shapes of the continents remain the same and key geographical features can be found in the expected locations (e.g. large mountain range between China/India, a desert in northwest Africa, etc.). The randomization is strong enough that some surprises are possible (e.g. Madagascar connected to continental Africa).

AND comes with many options related to New World settlement. For example, it is possible for barbarian cities to become full-fledged civs upon reaching a certain (customizable) population; it is also possible to define the strength of barbarians in the Old World versus the New World. There is also a 'fierce native' option, where New World barbarians prioritize attacking civs from the Old World over warring with each other. By changing these values, it is possible to create the experience you desire re. the balance between continents.
I've not played Terra in some time, but recall being not too excited about the resources on that map. Agree that the general idea of it is quite nice. You might try either a rocky or tropical sub-setting.
- Wonky resource placement: One time I got a 24x30 tile area around my capital without copper or iron. Another time I got 3 cows and 1 horse tile in a 3x3 area
Resource generation is generally unreliable and pretty poor on most of the "normal" scripts that come stock like Pangaea, Fractal, Big and Small, etc, suffering from a large amount of randomness and not having well implemented basic floor thresholds....a larger script would only make it even more apparent. Even the 3 hills in the start location from the stock game gets borked all the time, not to mention starting food resources where it can be feast or famine. I play about 90% of my games on stock scripts with no Copper (SO aggravating) anywhere within 20 tiles of the cap but average of 2 Iron, games where every AI has Marble or Stone except anywhere near my location (though to be fair, the AIs are given preference for better starts in the code based on difficulty). It's one of the exact things that many custom script generators seek to address, and why the override setting ("balanced") for strategic resources exists.

Also a lot of clustered calendar resources.
fairly typical on any map with a jungle belt. Not sure if it's a quirk or intended, and it can occur in starting locations. Ivory and Fur also get bunched up a lot.

Anyway for the issues with lack of resources, you can set the climate to Tropical for more green tiles, which is just what I do in general with this game. It gets you more higher quality land by overall % though you'll have more jungle to deal with. Lacking food all over the place will be less of an issue then.

My issue with Terra is that the New World is largely just a carrot on stick and thus like half of the map is just wasted, the game is going to be won in the Old World one way or another. Even watching AI contests, it's never the guy who boats across and sets up a few colonial takings in barb-land that wins, it's the dude dominating the home continent.
Like 80% of the games I play these days are terra. Its too much fun to have 2 guaranteed stages of meaningful exploration in every game, and it also makes things extra spicy to have all civs crammed into like 2/3 of the land (or less) at the start. The maps are hit and miss for sure, especially with regards to the new world. Sometimes the new world resources are pretty boring. But overall some of the maps have led to the most fun games I've had, and thats why I still play them so much.
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