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Campaign Map Not Loading: RTW

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RTW Modding Index


Why Doesn't my Campaign Map Load?

One of most frequently asked questions by new modders is "Why doesn't my campaign map load?" below is some self-help advice; on how to mod efficiently; and for when it goes wrong, what to check and how to ask question on forums so other people can actually help you.

General Modding Advice

  • Always use -show_err on your shortcut. If campaign loads but you get a message when you exit, fix what it is complaining about or you might not get new message when you have more serious error.
  • Remember to delete the map.rwm file every time you make a change. Deletion is not strictly needed for some aspects like moving armies around but it is much better to get in habit of doing it each time then forget when it is relevant.
  • Do one thing at a time - e.g. do not try to create entire map complete with rivers, forests, 10 factions and resources before checking that stripped down map loads. If re-assigning settlements or adding regions do one or two at a time.
  • Keep back ups - make sure you have a back up of all vanilla files before you start. Each time you make a change and it works in game make a back up copy of all the files involved in that as well. If you get to point that does not work revert to your back up copy (making sure you copy it again first) and try making same changes again, in case problem was just down to mistyping etc.
  • Read Tutorials - yes I know it is boring to read the instructions but it really does help! For most things mapping make sure you have read this tutorial.
  • Editors - If using a map editor do not forget that all the above rules still apply, you need to understand which files are being altered and still do things one step at a time.

When Stuck

Well you know what you did last (don't you?) check all the changes you just made for; typo's, wrong colours etc. Some files including descr_strat.txt are quite sensitive to wrong formating, missing tabs, spaces or line breaks etc. Most things in RTW/BI text files are also case sensitive so check capital letters are used in correct places. Make sure you remembered to delete the map.rwm file.

If you can't find anything obvious revert to a new copy of your back-up files for the change you just made and re-do your changes again. Still not working? See next section...

When Really, Really, Stuck

Now is time to ask a question on the forums or ask another modder for help.
To ask questions on RTW/BI game post in either the Rome Workshop at TWC, or in Modding Questions at the .Org.

To avoid your question just being met with more questions you should supply the following information in your post:

What game are you modding? (RTW or BI) Which patch version? (eg 1.2 or 1.5)
Are you modding a released mod that you have downloaded? If so please state which.
Explain what you did last, eg. added region, removed faction, made complete new map etc.
Confirm that you have -show_err on your shortcut and state if it is giving a message or not.
If you are getting a message please quote it.

Also explain in detail the nature of your crash / problem. For campaign map problems that can be;
KTM = Kick-Back to Menu, you try and load campaign but get sent back to previous menu instead.
CTD = Crash to Desktop, if that is what you get please state what screen / stage of loading bar you where in when it crashed.
Other = loads map but with distorted graphics, loads map but crashes on scrolling.

Common Causes of Problems

The same sort of error will normally produce the same crash / message at the same point in the loading process. Where problem occurs in loading process is therefore important to bug hunting. Common problems are listed below in order of 'crash' occurrence:

Where error messages are mentioned they are only obtained if you have -show_err enabled. NOTE: This list is very unlikely to cover everything please add any more you find at appropriate time of occurrence. Also the initial tests for this were conducted under BI. There may be variations with RTW if found please add notes. Most of these error messages also occur in M2TW but they will be found in the error log file and not via. the -show_err system.

  • Symptom: Game CTD's with no message when arrow is clicked to start campaign - no map.rwm generated.
  • 'Landmass Crash' - actually caused by having too large an individual sea area.
  • Too large an area of impassable terrain - actually same bug as above (if area doesn't work as sea it won't work as mountain or dense forest either).
  • Rivers incorrectly drawn in map_features.tga. Possibly also river without ford completely dividing a region.
  • Incorrect height or width listed in descr_terrain.txt - dimensions must match map_regions.tga
  • Attempting to have more that 200 total 'regions'. Note that regions include different colours used for individual seas, so you can have 199 land regions and 1 sea, or 198 land regions and 2 different coloured seas in map_regions.tga etc...
  • 'map_regions error' - missing black pixel in a region area. Also, incorrect drawing of pixel (more than 1x1 pixel square).
  • Symptom: Game Freezes after arrow is clicked to start campaign - new map.rwm is generated but loading bar is not reached.
  • Problems with large areas of impassable ground type in conjunction with lack of land area on a large complex map (map.rwm size approx 13MB) see here.
  • One or more pixels in map_features.tga has a wrong RGB value (map.rwm size considerably smaller than expected)
  • Symptom: Game CTD's with no message shortly after arrow is clicked to start campaign - new map.rwm is generated.
  • Width or height of map exceeds maximum. (Maximum = 510pixels map_regions, 1021pixels map_heights size.
  • Misspelt character name in descr_strat.txt, or use of name which doesn't belong to faction you have assigned it to - check in data/descr_names.txt for faction specific names.
  • An elephant or chariot unit which is included in the descr_strat.txt file has an 'officer' assigned to it in export_descr_unit.txt. Those types of units cannot have an officer and unlike other unit related bugs this one causes CTD on trying to load campaign - (thanks to Dol Guldur for reporting).
  • One or more pixels in map_regions.tga have a wrong RGB value.
  • Attempting to place more than one wonder in the same region.
  • Try to give more than 24000 population to a city (perhaps RTW run done but perhaps no).
  • The wife of a character must be less old, it could be cause CTD or KTM without show_err message.
  • Symptom: Game CTD's with no message about 3/4's way through campaign loading bar.
  • Having a radar_map1.tga which is too large, the radar_maps should be in same proportions as map_regions.tga to avoid a stretched effect, but making them same size as the map_regions.tga for a larger map causes crash.
  • Symptom: Game CTD's with no message at the end of the campaign loading bar.
  • Using a rebel type in descr_regions.txt that does not have proper entries in data/descr_rebel_factions.txt and data/text/rebel_faction_descr.txt
  • When you have an faction in descr_strat.txt associated to playable / nonplayable but not used in this section of the descr_strat.txt "start of factions section"
  • Symptom: KTM's with message on exit: 'Script error in .../descr_strat.txt, at line xxx, column x. Expected faction - must add at least two factions to the world'
  • Most varieties of typing error above the level of the second faction in descr_strat.txt - the game stops reading the descr_strat file when it meets an error so doesn't get as far as reading second faction. If error message gives line number look it up using 'edit' 'go to' function in Notepad.
  • Having the win_conditions section from a v 1.2 descr_strat file at the top of a descr_strat.txt file you are trying to run under v 1.5 also gives this error.
  • Symptom: KTM's with message on exit: 'Script error in .../descr_strat.txt, at line xxx, column x. could not create settlement at script line xxx'
  • Mis-match between colour on map_regions.tga and colour listed in descr_regions.txt for affected settlement.
  • Using identical colour for two different regions.
  • Symptom: KTM's without message (CTD when you try to have a message error)
  • Problem with building in export_descr_buildings.
  • Symptom: KTM's with message on exit: 'Script error in .../descr_strat.txt, at line xxx, column x. You have chosen an invalid tile(0,0)for the settlement of'
If line xxx is the bottom of the descr_strat file and the settlement name is not specified.
  • Pixels on map_regions.tga of a colour that do not belong to any region colour specified in descr_regions.txt - watch out for merged colours when editing map_regions.tga as that is usual cause.
If settlement is named and line xxx is it's listing in descr_strat.txt:
  • Settlement is actually placed on invalid terrain. This may include being over river location, over impassable forest, or mountain ground types, or being over area marked as sea in map_heights.tga. The last includes areas of 'land' which are true black RGB 0,0,0 as the game takes them as sea unless a map_heights.hgt is created.
  • Settlement's black pixel isn't RGB 0,0,0.
  • Symptom: KTM's with message on exit: 'Script error in .../descr_strat.txt, at line xxx, column x. You are trying to place zzzz in this region(yyyy), but it already has a settlement(zzzz).
  • Using an almost black pixel for the effected cities location on the map_regions.tga - the pixel must be RGB 0,0,0
  • Symptom: KTM's with message on exit: 'Script error in .../descr_strat.txt, at line xxx, column x. region zzz(x:y) does not match up to region name(zzz).
  • Using a preplaced watchtower or fort and placing it in the wrong region.

It Loads But...

So you saw the map come up and thought all your problems were over? Not quite:

Strange Graphic Effects

  • Symptom: Strange overlay effect when viewing parts of campaign map, often including diagonal lines across map.
  • Too few regions on a large map, or excessively large single regions can cause this. Some graphics cards tolerate the problem and display it, on other computers it can cause CTD at end of loading bar. May only occur in one area of map - so may explain CTD when loading with faction centred in the effected area.
  • Symptom: Bright pink / purple areas on map

CTD's on End Turn

  • Symptom: CTD without message immediately after pressing end turn button for first time.
  • Having a faction included in descr_strat.txt which has 'shadowed' line in descr_sm_factions.txt and not also including the corresponding shadowing faction.
  • Setting too high a starting number of movement points (eg 300) in descr_character.txt
  • Having a faction as faction-creator in descr_regions.txt and not having it in descr_strat.txt. (if it lets you get that far - this can give a KTM with message instead)
  • Bad character name file. To check for this, try saving before End Turn. If it crashes then it is the bad name file as it creates an error during creation of a saved game and End Turn is (on default) auto-saved.
  • Too many units assigned to a rebel faction in descr_rebel_factions.txt. Will CTD when rebel faction is created on map, though this does not always happen in first turn. Shows show_err message during normal shutdown if CTD isn't reached.
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