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Dirty Sanchez's Custom Maps -- coming soon to 5v5 and 4v4 pugs and 3v3 games on ICO

Download links and Installation Instructions

By on September 9, 2009 5:20:30 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

DirtySanchezz

Join Date 03/2008
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Thread Shortcut:  If you are in the Sins game and you are trying to help someone add custom maps, you can easily direct them to this thread and the installation instructions by telling them to go here:  http://tinyurl.com/Sins5

 

Over the past week I have been making a renewed effort to get everyone in our small pug community add my custom maps to their Sins game and last night we played a great 5v5 on Red Crush.  As more and more people add the maps, it will become easier and easier for us to host them and I will be motived to produce more.  Also, once folks have learned how to add custom maps to their game and they see how easy it is, getting them to download and add new maps shouldn't be a problem (it takes less than 2 minutes and can be done while waiting for games).

Why play custom maps?  Because a custom map can be intentionally designed for online multiplayer competition and also to promote or require teamwork.  The sides can be made as fair as possible for each team and no one receives a randomly bad starting position.  (It's conceivable that a good custom map might have some bad starting positions for some players on each team by design, but that's a different story.)

Anyway, I hope that we can take pugging to the next level with interesting 4v4 and 5v5 maps.

 

Download:  http://tinyurl.com/Sins3

 

(The v03's in the map names indicate that the maps are version 3 maps, which means they'll work with Sins v1.17 and Entrenchment 1.03.)

Asteroid Belt maps:  Players start near their allies on opposite sides of the star, separated by an asteroid belt.  The asteroids are guarded by large militias to make it tougher for people to rush to colonize them.  Asteroids, of course, are easy to bombard and liberate, and the asteroids are interconnected by a web of phase lanes, so expect frantic game play as these juicy 'roids change hands.

  • Asteroid Belt 1v1 -- for 1v1.
  • Asteroid Belt 2v2
  • 3v3 Asteroid Belt -- the original Asteroid Belt map.
  • Asteroid Belt 3v3 neutrals -- this one has more neutral extractors.
  • Asteroid Belt 4v4
  • Asteroid Belt 5v5

Gateway to Paradise:  Players start near their allies and are separated from the other team by a small ring of planets around the star.  A second, empty star offers lucrative planets.  Should you focus on fighting your way around the ring or should someone head for the empty star?  Who should do what?  This map requires having a team game plan.  We've played this one several times before in the past and everyone seems to like it.  I've even been asked to make 4v4 and 5v5 versions of it.

  • 3v3 Gateway to Paradise

Ring of Risk:  Players start near their allies and are separated from the other teamy by a ring of planets.  Working your way around the ring is the only way to get at your enemies.  However, a long chain of lucrative planets lies on either side of the ring, almost right in the middle.  Do you focus on fortifying your positions on the ring or will you try to take the planets on the strings?  You could assign one player to play one side of the ring, another to play the other side, and one guy to work on one of the planet chains, but how do you take both planet chains?  I had previously thought that this map wouldn't work so well, but some of the folks in BIA and DU liked it and the games I played on it were fun and challenging.

  • 3v3 Ring of Risk
  • Ring of Risk-2 3v3 -- this one has one additional asteroid on each side, ending the asteroid bottleneck in the middle of the ring.  It also has some additional neutrals.

Brilliant Diamond:  Vasari astronomers call this star system the Brilliant Diamond.  I wanted to make another map like Asteroid Belt but with asteroids around the star in a square shape, which allows for two starting positions on each side.  (I suppose I could expand it to 5v5 by adding a third position on two of the sides.)  This map comes in three flavors.  In 4v4 Near each team has two adjoining sides of the diamond, so two people are in eco slots and two have one-sided flanks.  In 4v4 Far, groups of two allies start across from one another on opposite sides of the diamond with groups of two opponents inbetween them, so everyone has an ally on one side and an opponent on his flank, around the corner.  On the 2v2v2v2 map you and your ally will own one side of the diamond.  Personally, I think playing it will be most interesting to play it in 4v4 Near.  The only downside of this map is that it's a little bit larger than most maps in that it has a 10 planet-to-player ratio, but they are mostly roids.  Each corner of the map also has a small side-loop of planets players can fight over.

  • Diamond 4v4 near
  • Diamond 4v4 far
  • Diamond 2v2v2v2

Red Crush:  This was my first map as well as a 5v5 map.  It's the big one on the Red star!  (Actually, it's really not all that large in terms of the planets-to-player ratio.)  Players start near their allies and are separated by four chokepoints in the middle which allow access to the opponents' planets.  Expect fortifications and fights over the chokepoints.  Does it make sense to rush to take and fortify the chokepoints at the expense of colonizing your nearby planes?  This map also emphasizes teamwork.  Who should take the ice planet between the guys on the ends?  Which side should the player in the middle fight on or should he go eco or go for Superweapons?  (We played Red Crush-2 last night and had a great game on it.)

  • Red Crush -- this was my first map and it doesn't have any neutrals but people have played it before and enjoyed it.
  • Red Crush-2 5v5 -- play this one.

 

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September 9, 2009 5:20:43 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

 

If you are in the Sins game and you are trying to help someone add custom maps, you can easily direct them to this thread by telling them to go here:  http://tinyurl.com/Sins5

 

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Installation Instructions

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Adding custom maps to Sins is easy to do.  In fact, you don't even need to close the game in order to do it.  You can just download any map you want, add it to the correct folder, and then join the game.

 

Part 1

(1) Unzip the map pack.

(2) This is the hard part.  We need to find your Sins Application Data folder so that we can move the .galaxy files into your GalaxyForge folder, which is located in your Sins Application Data folder.  This is NOT the same as your main Sins Program Files folder where the game itself is installed.  Let's go find it.

For Win XP it should be something like:

C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Local Settings\Application Data\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\GalaxyForge

For
Vista and Windows 7 it should be something like:

C:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\GalaxyForge

You can open up any folder and in the location bar, just copy and paste the location while replacing user name with your Windows name.  That should pull it up.  Also, you can use the "Up a Folder" button to go up to your Sins Application Data folder or just leave the GalaxyForge part off of the end.

If you are having problems finding it, try doing a Windows file/folder search for "Ironclad".  In Vista, when searching for "Ironclad", you'll have to also choose to do an 'advanced search', with the box for look in HIDDEN FILES checked.  (Thanks to SageWon for that tip.)  If you're still having problems, please see the additional instructions down below ("I still can't find my Application Data Folder.  Help!").  It is on your computer somewhere, we just have to find it or at least make it so that you can see it.

If you do not have a "GalaxyForge" folder in your Sins Application Data folder and you are certain that you are in the right place--if you see other folders like "AutoRecord-Multiplayer", "Settings", "Screenshot", "Save-SinglePlayer", "MapDesigner"--then just create a new folder called "GalaxyForge".


(3) Move the map files--the .galaxy files--into your
GalaxyForge folder:

  • Asteroid Belt 3v3 neutrals v03.galaxy
  • Asteroid Belt 4v4 v03.galaxy
  • Asteroid Belt 5v5 v03.galaxy
  • Diamond 2v2v2v2 v03.galaxy
  • Diamond 4v4 near v03.galaxy
  • Diamond 4v4 far v03.galaxy
  • Red Crush-2 5v5 v03.galaxy
  • Ring of Risk-2 3v3 v03.galaxy
  • 3v3 Asteroid Belt v03.galaxy
  • 3v3 Ring of Risk v03.galaxy
  • 3v3 Gateway to Paradise v03.galaxy
  • 5v5 Red Crush v03.galaxy
  • Asteroid Belt 1v1 v03.galaxy
  • Asteroid Belt 2v2 v03.galaxy

That's it!  That wasn't so bad was it?  Basically, if you can find your Application Data folder, then you can easily add custom maps anytime you want.  You can make it faster and easier by creating a shortcut to your Sins Application Data folder and putting it on your Desktop or wherever you want.

 

Part 2 (optional)

Wouldn't it be nice to see the name plaques for these maps, the map title box textures/pictures that you see in the game setup screens?  That's what the .tga files are.  They are Targa files, which is like an alternative format to JPG.  You don't need to add these to play the maps, but it would be nice and it's easy to do.

(4) (Optional)  Now open your Sins of a Solar Empire game folder.  This is NOT the Application Data folder.  Rather, it is the folder where your Sins of a Solar Empire.exe and Sins of a Solar Empire Entrenchment.exe files are located--the main install folder.  In that folder you should see a folder called TexturesMove the .tga files into the Textures folder:

  • Asteroid Belt.tga
  • Ring of Risk.tga
  • Gateway to Paradise.tga
  • RedCrush001.tga
  • Diamond.tga

Now we are compeltely finished.  Enjoy some GGs.

 

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I still can't find my Application Data Folder!  Help!

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If you want to play custom maps, then you MUST find your Application Data folder for Sins.  It may be hidden.  In that case, you may need to adjust Folder Settings in your Control Panel so that you can see  hidden files.

If you followed all of the instructions above and you still can't find it or see it, then it may be a Hidden Folder and you will need to adjust your folder options/settings in the Control Panel so that you can see hidden files and folders.  I think Microsoft more or less assumes that anyone who can't figure out how to view hidden folders probably shouldn't be messing around with them.

In Windows XP, you find the Folder settings this way:  <Start Menu> <Control Panel> <Folder Options>.  Then click the <View> tab.  In the list you'll see a listing called "Hidden Files and Folders".  Make sure you've selected "Show Hidden Files and Folders".

I'm not sure exactly what you need to do in Vista but it's probably pretty similar.

 

What is this pesky Application Data folder anyway?

When Microsoft released Windows XP, they created a new folder structure where some of your programs have their own folder in a folder called "Application Data".  This is NOT the same as your "Program Files" folder.  Rather, the folders in the Application Data folder contain settings files--your Firefox bookmarks, Google settings, Thunderbird e-mail, and your Sins keybinds, screenshots, game replays, and saved games.  Your Sins Application Data folder is also where Mods and custom maps--"GalaxyForge", go.

I'm guessing that Microsoft did this with the intention that different computer users (who log in and out on the computer) could use one single program install while allowing different users to have their own individual settings.  I suppose it works well for Firefox and other stuff, but it makes game file management a pain-in-the-ass.

Wait!  I put the maps into the "Galaxy" folder in the Main Sins (Program Files) folder.  That's where all of the standard maps are so shouldn't any MapName.galaxy file go there too?  It's where those texture.tga files went (into the Texture folder).  That's where I put them in v1.05.  You're saying that that's not the right place for them?

That's right.  The real custom maps, Galaxy Forge-made maps, don't go there anymore.  I don't know when Ironclad made the switch, but now they have to go into the "GalaxyForge" folder in your Sins Application Data folder.  Important--if you added the maps to your "Galaxy" folder in your main Sins folder, then you MUST REMOVE the custom maps from your "Galaxy" folder.  The game may not run or load up properly if any non-standard maps are present there.  It has something to do with a manifest file.

But wait!  They are all .galaxy files so shouldn't they work in the regular Galaxy folder?

You would think so, but the game distinguishes between the standard map files and Galaxy Forge made maps.  I don't know exactly what it recognizes or where it is, but my understanding is that it has something to do with permission settings.  I've compared the map files side by side (they're just simple little text files) with a program that compares and contrasts different files and I haven't been able to figure out how they are marked differently.  It might be in some other file.  Anyway, as silly as it sounds, the game doesn't treat Galaxy Forge-made maps the same way it does the standard maps and even the Map Designer maps (which will auto-download online unlike real Galaxy Forge-made custom maps--go figure).

For Win XP it should be something like this.  If you see "Program Files" anywhere in the path to the Sins folder, you're probably in the wrong place:

C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Local Settings\Application Data\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\GalaxyForge

For
Vista and Windows 7 it should be something like:

C:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\GalaxyForge

If you can't find it, try searching your hard drive for the folder "Ironclad Games".  In Vista, when searching for "Ironclad", you'll have to also choose to do an 'advanced search', with the box for look in HIDDEN FILES checked.  (Thanks to SageWon for that tip.)

 

If you've read this a couple times and you still can't find it, then please post in this thread and perhaps someone will be able to help you. 

 

 

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September 9, 2009 5:20:58 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

 

Red Crush-2

 

Ring of Risk-2

 

Brilliant Diamond

 

Gateway to Paradise

 

Asteroid Belt (original)

 

 

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September 9, 2009 7:24:06 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

If you can't find it, try searching your hard drive for the folder "Ironclad Games".

In Vista, when searching for "Ironclad", you'll have to also choose to do an 'advanced search', with the box for look in HIDDEN FILES checked.

I downloaded the map pack last night, and got it working.

Thanks Whip.  I was confused about the copying the Targa files.  I think your instructions there need a little clarification.  I didn't realize that I needed to take downloaded Targa files, and put them into the Textures folder (which I also found difficult to find).  But I was following the instructions in the .txt file, which I found more confusing than the above.  But anyway, I got it to work!  Thanks again.

Can you make random maps as well?  It has been suggested that there aren't enough smaller multi-system, multi-player maps.  Random maps seem to be the most popular (esp. the 5v5 single system).  But it would be nice to have a few more choices.

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September 9, 2009 7:51:06 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

 

I'm glad you were able to figure it out SageWon.  If you don't mind I'm going to copy what you said about the Advanced Search in Vista into the instructions above (which are a work in progress).

I haven't played around with the random planets option, but I don't see why I wouldn't be able to figure out how to make them if I wanted to.  I think the reason why the large and huge random maps are so popular is, very simply, a lack of worthwhile maps for 5v5 and 4v4.  I'm hoping to change that.

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September 10, 2009 5:59:34 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

You can actually use "%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\GalaxyForge" as the directory to unzip to (this definitely works in XP, probably not in Vista).

That directory address will take you to the right folder regardless of username or drive letter.

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September 10, 2009 6:38:30 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

whippersnapper the hidden files is also NEEDED for xp.

drazharln the userprofile works within programs that can read the registry, but not from file paths, and you should try the "%appdata%\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\" as a os independent path (I use this with accessing the registry value for appdata in place of the %appdata% in my sins utilities, and it works with xp, xp64, v32 v64 win7 32 bit AND win7 64 bit) and as local settings\application data is from XP only and is different in vista & windows 7 ie \AppData\Local\. the %appdata% Should return the user name\ local settings(appdata)\application data(local) depending upon the OS and is in the registry and also the os environment values

harpo

 

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September 10, 2009 8:24:54 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

All of these work with filepaths for me, in both windows explorer and when making installers.

%appdata% gets me C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data on my XP Home PC

Using "%appdata%\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\" just gives me an error.

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September 19, 2009 1:21:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I love your work, Dirty Sanchez.  I also do galaxyforge work, and it's always nice to play another mapper's creations and compare style and ideas.  Maybe I'll catch you online some time and we can have a game

 

As for installing Sins maps, the directories are:

Vista users:
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\GalaxyForge

XP users:
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire\GalaxyForge

You'll need to reveal hidden folders, as I believe AppData/ApplicationData are both hidden folders (hence much of the confusion).

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