What is the Application Data folder? I can't find it!
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--"Galaxy Forge", 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 and 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-arse.
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 "Galaxy Forge" folder in your Sins Application Data folder.
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).
Bottom line--the custom map files MUST NOT be in your Main Sins "Galaxy" folder with all of the standard map files. They have to go into the Application Data folder and into a folder called "Galaxy Forge". If you don't have a "Galaxy Forge" folder in your Application Data folder, just create it. Even if you put the custom map files in the "Galaxy Forge" folder--you MUST NOT have copies of them in your Main Sins Galaxy folder.
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". If it doesn't turn up then you might have to adjust your folder options/settings in the Control Panel so that you can see hidden folders and files.
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.