Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

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Osito
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Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Osito »

My galactic star map is now complete (see tm.asp?m=3633186 for an earlier discussion of the map).

The map is currently at version 1.0, and can be downloaded here:

http://www.mediafire.com/download/g29f2 ... s_v1.0.zip

The download is a standard zip file containing four sub-files:

(1) “Galactic Map - Human Evolution (Default) v1.0.dwg”, which is a scenario in the default theme. You play the evolution of the human race from the pre-warp era though to Galactic Gods (or, maybe, 'Galactic Footnote' - let me know how that works out for you).

(2) “Galactic Map - Free for all (Default) v1.0.dwg”, which is another scenario in the default theme. You can play any one of a number of empires or pirate factions in this scenario.

(3) “Galactic Map - Human Evolution (Extended) v1.0.dwg”, which is the same as map (1), except it uses Haree78’s DW Extended Universe theme. Thanks to Haree78 for permission to use my map with his mod (hope he doesn’t rescind this permission after seeing the map!).

(4) “Galactic Map - Free for all (Extended) v1.0.dwg”, which is the same as map (2), except it uses Haree78’s DW Extended Universe theme.

I have also provided another zip file, which is attached to this post (see below for download link). This zip file contains two additional files:

(5) “galaxy_backdrop.jpg”, which is an (optional) alternative backdrop for use with the galactic map. I acknowledge this is the work of Robert Hurt (although I added my own text) – see http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/1 ... -Milky-Way. According to the terms and conditions on the source website, I believe I am free to distribute this image with my map. Should the position change, I will remove this file.

(6) “Spoiler.txt”, which provides a list of the locations of all the ancient home world systems in the map, and also contains some spoilers about what is going on in the Human Evolution scenario.

1.0 Installation

1.1 Playing the map in your own customised game:

You can use any of the four supplied maps in your own customised games. It doesn’t matter which one you use, as they are all substantially the same.

First, place one of the four maps in your DW save game folder (which is probably ‘…\Documents\My Games\Distant Worlds Universe\SavedGames’).

Then, load the map during game set up: select 'Browse for maps' at the top right in the first screen of the customised set up, and pick the map you just placed in your saved games folder.

To ensure that the map will work with whichever theme you're using, you must check the option to ‘regenerate resources’. If you don’t do that, the game may crash or (depending on which map you picked) it will revert to the default theme or the ‘Extended’ theme. In fact, I’d recommend you check all the regeneration options, unless you’re intending to create a scenario in the theme you’re playing.

Edit: Following feedback from others, all I can really promise is that the maps will work in the 'Default' theme and also in the basic 'DW Extended Universe' theme. In other themes, the map may or may not crash, regardless of whether you ticked the 'regenerate' boxes. I very much fear that this undocumented feature seems to be working as intended, so there is very little I can do about it, unless Matrix do something to resolve the issue. [Ehsumrell1 suggested to me in a post a while back that Elliot may be looking at this issue, so perhaps there is some hope, if any change works retrospectively].

Further edit: you can't play as a pirate faction in this way. See the end of this post for some suggestions on how to play as a pirate faction if you really want to.

Note that selection of the galaxy shape does seem to matter, as it will affect where the nebulas are placed on the map. I wish there were a ‘no nebulas’ option.

The map contains all the ancient home worlds of the vanilla races and (with his kind permission) the races of Haree78’s Distant Worlds Extended Universe theme. However, in a random customised game, you will never (or almost never) get the races to start at their home systems. This is something I hope might be addressed by Matrix in a future patch.

This means that if you wish to play any race starting at their ancient home world, you have to use one of the scenarios …

1.2 Playing a scenario:

There are essentially two scenarios, but I have supplied them to run in the ‘default’ theme or in the ‘extended’ theme, so there are four maps altogether.

To play a scenario in the default theme, you must first create a ‘\maps’ folder within your ‘\Distant Worlds Universe’ folder (if one doesn’t already exist). Then place one or both of maps (1) and (2) in this maps folder.

To start a scenario, simply select ‘Start New Game’, while in the default theme, and you will be given the option to load one of the scenarios (you can still proceed to a customised game, if you don’t want to play the scenarios). One scenario allows you to play the human race, while the other allows you to play as any one of a number of races.

To play a scenario in the ‘Extended’ theme, you must first create a ‘\maps’ folder within your ‘…\Distant Worlds Universe\Customization\DW Extended Universe’ folder (if one doesn’t already exist). Then place one or both of maps (3) and (4) in this maps folder. I believe the scenarios will work with the version of the ‘Extended’ theme that includes Das’s Chrome UI, but I haven’t specifically tested it.

Please note that the scenarios will only work in the themes they were created in. So maps (1) and (2) only work as scenarios in the default theme, while maps (3) and (4) only work as scenarios in the ‘extended’ theme. There’s nothing I can do about this; it’s how DW works.

1.3 Replacing the galaxy backdrop

Go to your ‘…\Distant Worlds Universe\images\environment\galaxybackdrops’ folder and create a backup of your ‘galaxy_backdrop.jpg’ file. Now copy the ‘galaxy_backdrop.jpg’ from the zip file into this folder and restart DW:U. All your games will now play with the new backdrop. This is optional: you don't have to play with this backdrop.

2.0 Use of the map in other themes, maps or scenarios

You are free to make any use of this map you wish, and you can make your work available to the community. For example, you can modify the map to improve it, or to make any other changes; you can create scenarios using the map; or you can supply the map (or a modified version of the map) for use in your own themes.

All I would ask is that you:

1. Credit me as the author of the original map.

2. If you supply the galaxy backdrop, then credit Robert Hurt.

3.0 Bugs and balance issues

Please bear in mind that creation of the map, and all the testing, was done entirely be me. It took a lot of time just to gather the star data in the right form. Creating a map in the game editor required an immense amount of patience. There were a number of times when my patience wore very thin, and I came close to uninstalling DW on several occasions. Fortunately, I survived the experience, along with my keyboard, my monitor and the rest of my computer system.

Initially, I was getting crashes every time within about 40 years of game time. At this time, I found it helps to visualise putting your fist through the monitor, rather than actually doing it. Anyway, after I reduced the number of star systems (to around 1350), the map has run virtually crash-free. I have done multiple runs of the maps on two different computers on ‘auto’ for several hundred game years without any crashes.

As a result of this reduction in the number of star systems, the revised star map contains almost no gas clouds. I don’t much care about gas clouds, so it doesn’t bother me. If it bothers you, you know where the game editor is …

The Shakturi events are supposed to trigger in all scenarios, but it never seems to happen in the free-for all scenarios. I have no idea why not.

Each star name in the map should be unique. If you see any duplicated star name, let me know and I will fix it.

Each planet name in the map should be unique. If you see any duplicated planet names, let me know and I will fix it.

Moon names are not necessarily unique, but I’d still be interested in any duplication.

The way that planet names are handled is deliberately inconsistent, to provide a bit of variety. In some systems, planets are called ‘Planet 1’, ‘Planet 2’, ‘Planet 3’, etc. In other systems they are called ‘Planet I’, ‘Planet II’, ‘Planet III’, etc. This is deliberate. However, in all systems, planet names should proceed in an increasing sequence from the inner to the outer part of the solar system. If you see any mistakes, let me know.

I haven’t focused that strongly on balance. The human race gets a good start, because there are a lot of stars in the vicinity. That’s deliberate, because it’s the way I want to play. However, if people observe massive imbalances, then I will consider addressing them (or feel free to amend the map to try to address them yourselves).

Finally, it took a lot of work to complete this map – rather more than I really expected when I started on the project. Some of that work was enjoyable, and some was incredibly tedious. Ultimately I don’t mind, because I created the map to play myself, and I enjoy playing it. I know that other people had a lot of different views about the best way to do the map, and it was impossible to accommodate everyone's wishes. So I appreciate that some may end up a little disappointed. But if anyone else does enjoy it, I'll consider that a bonus.

Update on pirates (this is a copy from a post I made below):
After looking into this further, it seems you can play as a pirate, as long as you select one of the 'free for all' scenarios, i.e., you have to play the scenario. Obviously, everyone's starting position is fixed, but there are several pirates to choose from.

If you try to load the map into a new (non-scenario) game and play as a pirate faction it simply doesn't work. Perhaps when I originally created the map I selected 'no pirates' and the map somehow remembers that. Or perhaps it's something else. Whatever the situation, it seems the only way to fix the problem would be to redo the map from scratch, and that's not going to happen without a lot of changes to the map editor.

Another workaround is to do this:
- start a game as a non-pirate empire using all the settings you want
- add your pirate faction where you want it.
- save the game in the maps folder (either the default one or the extended one)
- load your save game as a scenario.


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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Osito »

This second post contains non-essential background information about the map, so if you’re a ‘tldr’ kind of guy, you can safely ignore it.

1. About the Map

The map is a representation of the Milky Way Galaxy, but it is not realistic because you cannot create a realistic map in two dimensions. My main goal was to create a map to play as humans exploring the nearer regions of space, and ultimately the entire galaxy. Therefore, the areas surrounding Sol are full of stars that will be well known to anyone with even a passing interest in astronomy.

Creating a map with a realistic feel cannot be done without some compromises. Each sector in the map represents a space 8000x8000 light years. If I had scaled the galaxy based on the actual size of the sector, then the map would contain about 20 well known stars, a few more obscure star names, and a few hundred code names, like ‘HD1234’. The other names would all be made up.

This is not what I wanted, as I wanted to play in a space with stars I had heard of. To achieve that I had to change the scale of the map as you get further from Sol. So, in my map, the distance of a star from Sol is based on its actual distance, but the scale is non-linear and becomes larger as you get further from Sol. Thus, in my map:

0.5 sectors from Sol represents a distance of about 40 light years from Sol (e.g., Betria).

1.0 sectors from Sol represents a distance of about 100 light years from Sol (e.g., Nushaba).

1.5 sectors from Sol represents a distance of about 600 light years from Sol (e.g., Electra).

2.0 sectors from Sol represents a distance of about 2500 light years from Sol (e.g., Rho Cassiopeiae).

3.0 sectors from Sol represents a distance of about 12000 light years from Sol (e.g., the Vela Supernova).

The map contains several hundred well-known stars, with very few stars being designated by reference numbers (and most of those refer to star systems without planets).

Most of the stars within about 2 sectors of Sol are real star names, and some beyond that distance are real; the rest are made up. Some of the made up names are taken from the DW:U star name file; others are ones I made up myself; and others are names taken from works in science fiction (here I would like to acknowledge the work of Frank Herbert; Allen Steele; Hal Clement; Dan Simmons; Poul Anderson; Larry Niven; Jack Vance; David Lindsay; David Lake; Isaac Asimov; and CS Lewis).

I decided to steer clear of putting in stars from well known science fiction franchises, such as Star Trek, Mass Effect and so on. The reason for this was so that people could use the map in such themes without worrying about there being stars from another franchise. I will admit to putting the Talos system in the map, but that is pretty much the only one.

The real stars in the map have been shown in their correct direction from Sol (projected on the galactic plane). As you explore outwardly from Sol, you will find constellations of stars in broadly the right direction from Sol. One example: if you look at the star ‘Nushaba’ (Gamma Sagittarii) from Earth you will be looking – more or less – towards the centre of the galaxy. In the same way, if you send a starship on a course to the galactic core in my map, you will go right past Nushaba.

The only remotely accurate planetary system is the solar system. I have all 8 planets, 2 dwarf planets and quite a few moons. In the scenarios I deliberately excluded from the solar system any resources that are not known on Earth (with one exception). The sizes of the planets and moons are relatively correct, although the relationship between the map and reality is not linear. I avoided adding much of the asteroid belt, because I was worried about the effect on game performance.

I decided not to stick with known data about extra-solar planets, because I did not think it would add much to gameplay.

The map could easily be adapted to contain many of the stars and planets in science fiction. I’m thinking particularly of Star Trek, here, where Romulus would go below Iota Pavonis in sector H-11, and Kronos would go above Epsilon Hydrae in sector I-13. I did make a start on a Star Trek map, but I decided it was premature, as the map is not really much use until there’s a working Star Trek theme to go with it.

If you do amend the map, be wary of adding too many stars. Although I have had no official confirmation, I think the game will crash if it contains more than a certain number of stars. There are around 1350 stars in the map, and I would recommend deleting one of them for every new star you add.

My map has about 700 planets of ‘colonisable’ standard, and quite a lot more that are not worth colonising. This is more than you would get in a normal game map, even if you select “Abundant” Colony Prevalence – the maps created by the game seem to have about 500-600 planets worth colonising.

I have put quite a few Easter eggs in the map. Some of them are so obscure that I doubt I would even recognise them when I see them. Several times while testing the map, I have wondered ‘Why did I use that name?’ I also got a bit over-inventive with a few of the star systems.

I think the map would play better with reduced hyperspace speeds. It doesn’t seem right that you can traverse the whole galaxy as soon as you have the Gerax. However, I am not at this stage intending to supply anything other than the maps and the backdrop. There is also the extremely annoying fact that the scenarios simply will not work with another theme (Grrrr!). This means that if I had made my scenarios in a theme with reduced hyperspace speed, then you would have had to play that theme to play the scenarios.

2. About the Scenarios

To be honest, I think the main use of the map is in scenarios.

The scenarios were created at ‘hard’ difficulty with a 2 sector colonisation limit. I have turned down the colony influence range (to 34%); it looked a bit silly to have the starting colony influencing the best part of an entire sector. Independent colonies can and do become empires, and they can be a real threat in some instances (they will take care of you if you try to abuse the events in the Human Evolution scenario!).

It is annoying that you have to set features like the game difficulty when you create the scenario. This basically means that if someone wants to play my scenario on impossible difficulty, they can’t, without redoing the whole scenario. That means redoing everything except the star and planet positions, because you can’t retain custom events, or empire starting positions in the new scenario. To supply the four scenarios I had to create each one individually, which got rather tedious by the end of the process. Then I had to test each one …

The free-for-all scenario is by far the easier, because your starting position is stronger. Nevertheless, some of the races do have some difficulties to overcome. The ‘human evolution’ scenario is probably not that difficult (certainly not for pros, anyway), although it does pose some challenges at the beginning. If you’re not very careful at the start, you can go badly wrong.

I have found over a number of play tests that the strength of the AI varies substantially from game to game. Sometimes it seems to be very sluggish, but other times it can get off to a very strong start.

The scenarios are not intended to be finely balanced, and it was hard to know exactly where to pitch the difficulty. I would welcome any comments on the balance and difficulty, but I won’t necessarily do anything about it.

Note, I did put in a few special events, just for fun. Be warned: some of the outcomes are very bad. If you are told not to investigate the ruins at Talos IV that is for a reason. Don’t come crying to me, if you get bitten after ignoring the advice.

A note on creating scenarios: if you wish to use this map in your own scenario in a theme (i.e. not the default theme), you must first load the map into a new customised game started within that theme. You can then save the game and work on the map in the editor. The point is that you can’t just create the map in the default theme, then load it later into a different theme. Not in version 1.9.5.5 anyway.

Finally, a pic of the galaxy with the galaxy backdrop.
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Osito »

Doh, forgot to embed picture again.


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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by hewwo »

really really nice. Thanks for making this! I'll give it a go next time I find the time to play (right after the release of the next patch I recon)
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by McMike »

Thanxs for your hard work.
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Icemania »

Very cool Osito! Cheers
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by ParagonExile »

Ran into an error that prevented the map from loading :(

I made sure to randomize everything specified, put everything where they were needed etc...

It generates an error message; here it is in case it is useful.

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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Osito »

Hi ParagonExile, thanks for the feedback. Sorry it's not working.

I assume you were trying to load the map into a theme that was not either the default theme or the DW Extended Universe theme??

When I was building the map, I did it in the default theme, and I later found that I could not load it into another theme. However, I thought I had found a workaround by regenerating resources during game setup. Your post makes me worry that the workaround does not always work. If you have time, could you let me know which theme you are using, which map you are using, and your exact setup, and I will see if I can reproduce this crash?

Incidentally, I assume that you haven't tried to load one of the maps as a scenario in a different theme (i.e. put the map in the '\maps' folder of a different theme then tried to load it as a scenario). From what you've written, it doesn't seem like that's what you've done.

It would be nice to hear if someone does manage to get it to work for them.

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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by ParagonExile »

ORIGINAL: Osito

Hi ParagonExile, thanks for the feedback. Sorry it's not working.

I assume you were trying to load the map into a theme that was not either the default theme or the DW Extended Universe theme??

When I was building the map, I did it in the default theme, and I later found that I could not load it into another theme. However, I thought I had found a workaround by regenerating resources during game setup. Your post makes me worry that the workaround does not always work. If you have time, could you let me know which theme you are using, which map you are using, and your exact setup, and I will see if I can reproduce this crash?

Incidentally, I assume that you haven't tried to load one of the maps as a scenario in a different theme (i.e. put the map in the '\maps' folder of a different theme then tried to load it as a scenario). From what you've written, it doesn't seem like that's what you've done.

It would be nice to hear if someone does manage to get it to work for them.

Osito

I'm using the Extended Universe theme with the extended universe maps you provided :(

I have also integrated DasChrome (the "warm" version) into extended with the mod author's guide, I've changed the names of resources, I've changed several race portraits and I've changed the Xhuman race to use the salarian shipset from the mass effect mod. I used the free-for-all map as the X-Humans. I've set all possible "regenerate" options to positive.

I can go into more detail if you want, I have all the files backed up.


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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Osito »

I tried loading the map into Antiscamp's Human revolution, and it crashes. Every time.

So, the map works with the default theme. It also seems to work with the basic 'DW Extended Universe' theme.

However, it does not work with every theme. I'm guessing that there's something in your own theme and in Antiscamp's that conflicts with the map.

The only thing I can think of is that certain mods, including your own, make some changes to the star, planet or moon images. Is that the case with the mod you're using?

If it's not something simple like that, then I guess the answer is that each map is actually very specific to the theme in which it was created.

In any event, it seems to render the whole idea very limited. If I can't use the map to create games and scenarios in other themes, then ... I'm going to log off now before I post something I'll regret.

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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by ParagonExile »

ORIGINAL: Osito

I tried loading the map into Antiscamp's Human revolution, and it crashes. Every time.

So, the map works with the default theme. It also seems to work with the basic 'DW Extended Universe' theme.

However, it does not work with every theme. I'm guessing that there's something in your own theme and in Antiscamp's that conflicts with the map.

The only thing I can think of is that certain mods, including your own, make some changes to the star, planet or moon images. Is that the case with the mod you're using?

If it's not something simple like that, then I guess the answer is that each map is actually very specific to the theme in which it was created.

In any event, it seems to render the whole idea very limited. If I can't use the map to create games and scenarios in other themes, then ... I'm going to log off now before I post something I'll regret.

Osito

I was so excited for this map :(
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Osito »

ORIGINAL: ParagonExile

I was so excited for this map :(

Well you can still play it, you just have to use the 'default' them or the vanilla 'DW Extended Universe' theme. I appreciate you may not want to do that, but the only recourse is to press Matrix to fix it, as it's outside of my own control. It particularly irritates me that I had tested this map on other themes and I thought I had found a workaround, but it turns out that I did not test it on enough themes to realise that there is no universal workaround.

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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Mesthione »

You should add a few inter-arm stars to help balance out the asymmetry between the area around the sol and everywhere else. Right now there is an obvious blob composed of what we have mapped locally, but nothing like that anywhere else in the Milky Way.

Just a suggestion! Otherwise, fantastic work...I have been waiting for this map for a while.
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Osito »

ORIGINAL: Mesthione

You should add a few inter-arm stars to help balance out the asymmetry between the area around the sol and everywhere else. Right now there is an obvious blob composed of what we have mapped locally, but nothing like that anywhere else in the Milky Way.

Just a suggestion! Otherwise, fantastic work...I have been waiting for this map for a while.

Thanks for the feedback.

I know what you mean about adding extra stars. The problem is that I'm right up against the 1400 star limit, and my testing suggests that if you go above about 1400 stars, the game is likely to crash. That leaves a few possibilities:

1. Reduce the number of local stars - I don't like this idea, as these are the only stars which weren't invented.
2. Remove some stars from the galactic centre - I don't like this idea, because the galactic centre should be the densest area.
3. Remove one or more of the globular clusters at the top and bottom right. This could be done. I could get an extra 25-50 stars if I deleted one or two clusters.

There's then the issue of where to put the extra stars, because there won't be enough to flesh out more that one (or perhaps two) other areas of the galaxy.

Anyway, if you have any views on this, let me know.

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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by ParagonExile »

You know, it just occurred to me;

Distant Worlds takes place some time far in the future (in-game year can't possibly be right)and gameplay takes place over centuries.

Wouldn't all of our neighboring stars of today have moved far away?

/overthink

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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Imperius »

For themes and maps, I noticed that the most important thing (or well, a really important thing) is that the *name* of the Customization Folder matches the name of the folder that it was created with.

So for example I was working on a scenario of the Babylon 5 universe where my folder was called "babylon5old"; when I simply changed the name to "Babylon 5" the scenario wouldn't load - even though i had changed no other files.

So it may still work with other mods, just be sure that for different versions of DW: Extended at least, the folder is called what it's supposed to be called in the 'DW Extended Universe' version.
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Tcby »

This is some seriously impressive work. I appreciate your effort Osito, and your thorough OP.

I'll try to get it running on my end.
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Icemania »

Osito, as a test, I put the maps in the AI Improvement Mod directory. I then started a New Game with the Free for All Vanilla Map. The game said switching to default theme but it's definitely playing with the AI Improvement Mod changes.

Awesome!
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RE: Galactic Star Map (Version 1.0)

Post by Tnarg »

Osito, I am using your map and am loving it using the Extended Human Evolution scenario. I used to create my own Sol system and surrounding systems for most games I played in the past, and it took me forever. Your level of detail is superb and is really enhancing immersion.

I am curious to know what I would need to do to create a blank slate without any other empires except the Humans starting in Sol. I would like to create my own scenarios down the road, and I know that you mentioned many of your empires are triggered via an event. Or better yet any chance that you would ever release a map that others could set up with the races they choose?

Thanks again, great map!
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