Scenario design is the creation of scenarios, levels, maps, mods, and AI (artificial intelligence), that are the stages, missions, objectives, game-plot or other venue of player interaction for a given game. This is done with level or scenario editors that either are packaged with a game, or provided as third party software. These editors and other tools such as GeniEd, GeniEd2, Mod Pack Studio, and AOK Trigger Studio are special software developed for the purpose of creating scenarios and modifying the game.
Scenario design consists of the crafting of every nuance of the players' "in game" experience, from the visual aspects of special effects and map design, to the balance and objectives of the game play, and from the written narrative and dialogue, to the audio aspects of the music and sound effects. Scenario design at the fan level is done to create new player experiences, to expand, enhance, modify, and reinvent the game's world and the objective challenges for players.
Traditionally the term 'scenario design' has applied to the creation of games in the RTS genre, and 'level design' to FPS and RPG. However, level and scenario designing is needed in almost all but the simplest computer games, and for the most popular games we can be sure that these designers have played a great role in creating our player experience. It's only been in the last 10 years or so that the actual job of level and scenario designer was defined as a separate role on the professional game development team. A professional scenario designer is one of the most important members of the game development team. Likewise, the amateur or fan designer can be considered important to their game's community of players.
Note: For some enthusiasts, scenario design is considered to be just the process of using a scenario editor to create custom content within a game. It's also reffered to as level editing, map making, module design, world building, and map design. Map design can also refer solely to the visual and artistic aspects of the broader field of design that is Scenario Design. Moreover, the creation of mods or Modding, is thought to be a highly specialized skill or talent, and is often considered a discipline separate from scenario designing, as is RMS and AI scripting also.
The scenario designing of the very first game that uses the Genie Engine involves mainly map design, AI, and even writing skills. The in-game map editor allows designers to set up global victory conditions for all players or some customised individual victory conditions for each player. It could also be used to change pre-game, win, and loss cinematics as well as the scenario instruction map.
Although the trigger system had not yet been implemented into the game, quite a number of talented designers managed to create a kind of pseudo-triggers, or "dynamics", in order to achieve similiar effects.
The sequel to Age of Empires offers fans more possibilities in scenario designing. New functions such as map copying and alteration of player colour were added into the map editor, while the original individual victory function was enhanced and changed into a more powerful system called "Trigger" (The only exception is that the ability to detect whether a player has killed certain amount of a specific type of objects is lost.) The hugely increased amount of units and improved quality of graphics also benefit the scenario designing community at a great rate.
- Level design - Article on general game level design at Wikipedia