Empire Earth + Art of Conquest expansion
My first copy of Empire Earth came free with the family's second PC about a decade ago. The expansion pack was given to me by a friend who couldn't get it to work on his computer. I didn't think much of the game initially; it's campaigns were painfully linear and uninteresting, the random map function produced unrealistic battles (hordes of unmanned catapults charging your infantry) and the multiplayer function saw me thrown into nothing but deathmatches with max initial resources and the game's speed cranked up to light-velocity.
It was only after tampering with the game's understated Scenario Editor that appeal started to flicker.
Empire Earth essentially provides a "make your own RTS". All of the tools are included to design richly detailed worlds of any scale or theme and the game's image library is easy to access and edit.
I've been playing/experimenting/designing with the Scenario Editor of Empire Earth for years and years now. It's "Trigger" function introduced me to the simple programming principle of,
IF true THEN do this AND/OR do that
and the tools available from Empire Earth Heaven (ee.heavengames.com/) made becoming quickly versatile with the game's sounds, models and textures very easy.
These are screenshots from some of the worlds I custom designed for scenarios played via LAN between me and my cousin:
My cousin prefers playing the underdog whilst I prefer to play overpowered and evil empires and corporations.
Here, inspired by Midgar and Junon Harbor from Final Fantasy 7 are my Empire's capital (bottom right) and main fortress (off centre).
This is my cousin's kingdom - a mix of tropical jungle, luscious beaches and baked desert. Towards bottom left is his capital, wherein a royal family and their honour guards struggled to resist assimilation into the corporation's assets.
Just off centre is their second city, a fortress and their strongest (only) defendable point.
We're both a fan of the "military responding to zombie holocaust scenario". I'm also a fan of never-ending games, like the zombie survival modes in Call of Duty - with the idea being that some sort of score or record is the target, not an ultimate victory.
The zombies in this city - Rendelder City - never stop spawning. And while we start with huge numbers of troops, we do not get reinforced. The aim is to survive for as long as possible.
Our best is 45 mins.
For a change, my cousin this time played the dominant power. I generally enjoy throwing together elements of science fiction and fantasy (cyberpunk fantasy?) but this time we occupied a simple, medieval world. This (above) is the core of his kingdom, with his capital at bottom middle.
Through experimenting with the Trigger facility in the Scenario Editor, I was able to create werewolves and weretigers (units that would transform for a set period of time on command).
My own faction was the remnant of an Empire, its sole surviving military legion. Our animosity with the region's king kept us cramped up in the frozen north.
Imperial troops were stronger than the king's huscarls and barbarians, but he could train as many more as he could afford to feed.
Other enemies in this scenario included a nomadic tribe with bears at its centre. They wore bear furs and kept bears as pets and beasts of war.