When you wish to create a scenario, it's a good idea to sit down for a few minutes to think about the basic properties of your scenario. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the basic storyline of the scenario?
- Where does the scenario take place: in the north of Europe, the desert or somewhere else?
- During which period of the Roman empire does it take place? This might influence the buildings you enable or disable.
- What are the primary objectives of the scenario: building an economically strong city, fending off hordes of barbarians or a mix of the two?
- If your scenario is based on real history, research the background of the city you want the player to build: what natural resources were available, what did the city look like, was it a trade hub or a military outpost?
When you've decided that, let's take a look at what Caesar IV thinks is a scenario:
A scenario consists of 5 different files, which should all adhere to a certain naming scheme. If we have called our scenario “Example”, for example, the files are:
- Example.scn. This is the file you create and edit with the in-game scenario editor. This file stores the basic settings, requests, victory conditions and a lot more other settings.
- Two DDS files for the terrain:
- Example_Color.dds: this image contains the colours you see on the ground in the scenario, and on the minimap. The colours for the river and mountains are not automatically generated as in previous citybuilders, but rather painted manually in this file.
- Example_Blend.dds: this contains the structure for the terrain data, for example the muddy texture you see near the river, or the grass on grassy areas, or the sand texture from the desert.
- Example.xml, containing texts for the scenario. This includes the scenario name, briefing, victory and lose screens, the names for the cities on the Empire Level, and the requests.
- Example.cs. This is a “script” written in the programming language C#. Scripting is the only way to get invasions, troop requests, wage changes, and natural disasters into your scenario.
The two DDS files can be painted with the editor, but it is rather tedious to do and the editor may crash quite often when painting the terrain. Alternatively, you can create the necessary graphics with any graphics editing program. Most support saving your file as DDS (DirectDraw Surface). If your favourite program doesn’t, there are special programs for converting most common image types to DDS and back.
The XML and CS files can be edited with Notepad, though for the CS script file I recommend using a more advanced editor that supports syntax highlighting.