Information, maps, new graphics, and more about the original The Settlers II: Gold Edition as provided by the community

Jürgen Nagel Software site back online

Thanks to community member The Archivist’s efforts Jürgen Nagel has brought back their German site, Software zur Siedler2-MissionCD. The site contains a lot of Settlers II related utilities, graphic changes and maps to play, some which have notable customizations such as the Great Wall of China (see

The Great Wall

If interested on other recent happenings on the world of The Settlers II feel welcome to join our chat at Return to the Roots Discord!

A new text tool available!

Our another story today is that the game comes with some string files that are not regular text files. While you can open some ENG/GER files in the DATA\TXT directory in a regular text editor (which ideally supports viewing as DOS Code Page 437), there are other files that contain binary information.

While there are existing tooling available for localization such as Ingame String Editor and an XML converter, these are not always perfect or ideal. For this reason you can now find The Settlers II Text Editor! It can load all existing ENG/GER files, and save them again in working order supported by the original game. You can also use it for creation of new files, such as files for your own missions. The tool also works as a translation tool as it will display the original unchanged strings alongside the changed ones.

New texture pack: Rusty Polar

Rusty Polar texture pack Release Candidate 1

Does Wasteland bother you by being dark and dull? Is Winter World nice but maybe too white? Now you have an option! The new Rusty Polar texture pack let’s you experience the game in new beautiful environments: Rusty Valley and Polar Night.

Rusty Valley replaces old underground lava Wasteland with a new dry, sandy, warm toned desert wasteland.

Polar Night replaces “grow grain fields on snow” Winter World by introducing grass fields to the available textures, and being inspired by the moment when sun is past the horizon and sky is turning purple and pink indicating that cold will come.

Release Candidate 1

This is the first release candidate. In RC phase things are mostly set in stone, but some time will be allowed to pass so that possible bugs are found and can be fixed before claiming the pack as “final”.

However for final release I would like to provide the textures with new maps that make use of the changed textures. While the new textures look mostly nice on old maps (and make them look totally different!) the new set of style allow doing new visual combinations that you wouldn’t have done with the original Wasteland and Winter World. At the moment I’m thinking about having three maps for each texture set, so six maps in total. These maps could be small, medium, and large in size. Let me know if you’re interested in making the maps that get to be part of the final release!

I want it now!

Compatible with The Settlers II Gold Edition. Return to the Roots will need some adjustments due to graphical glithes which will be fixed in a future release.

Download RC1

You can find installation guide or check for the latest version at Rusty Polar download page!

World Editor wishlist

I’ve been working on the World Editor slowly but steadily and it now boosts a few new features!

  1. You can drag’n’drop CNTRL###.DAT together with CONTI###.DAT and WORLD###.DAT to merge them into a map.
  2. You can make the above a game compatible map by toggling the new “Keep only SWD/WLD compatible data”!
  3. Animal processing has been improved: if animals are found in block that are not in the footer, they are added to footer when downloading SWD/WLD.

There have also been some bug fixes and improvements. Savegame decompression routine now accounts some files missing one byte of data in compression. There is maybe a bug in the original game’s compression routine.

The wishlist

I’ve been thinking about features I’d like to implement and also asked for some thoughts over at RttR Discord.

So here are some of the things to implement:

  • Flip map vertically, horizontally
  • Rotate map
  • Expand map size (add new empty space)
  • Double map width & height
  • Remove inaccessible resources (granite that can’t be collected, fish that can’t be caught)
  • Increase animal populations
  • Remove all trees, remove all granite
  • Add forest, add granite
  • Change mineral composition per mountain

You may be able to have effect on which things get implemented first by throwing comments! But overall I keep doing what I can when I can, and avoid getting too much burden.

A new tool under construction

Recently I’ve been continuing my work on porting the old JavaScript code to TypeScript. There has been some nice progress and the code is now able to read old map files, and also to write them back into files! This alone isn’t much fun since there isn’t yet much you can do with this, but it is a solid beginning for adding new stuff on top of.

I’ve named the tool as World Editor and it will be sort of a generic editor for existing map files and saved games. At the moment the editing features are rather minimal, you can only edit stuff like title, author, and the terrain type (greenland / wasteland / winter world).

In the future I hope to incorporate some neat features, like “make this map great” sort of feature where you can drop uninteresting flat map in with solid single type tree forests, but get out a map file that has has ground above water level, uneven ground, decorative objects, forests with varied types of trees, all that good stuff that make a map much more interesting! And you know, there are a lot of old maps that might have interesting layout, but just lack the decoration and polish that would make them stand out. So I hope to be able to do this kind of automated tool which could fix these maps.

The code would also help future work on map generator as I can use the same map code for it as well. The web and world of JavaScript has changed quite a bit over the years making it much nicer to work with these things on the web platform so I hope that I can keep up working on this more often than I’ve been in the past few years. Really looking forward to spending more time on hobby side programming again after many many years doing it mostly professionally.

Welcome Astro, goodbye Wordpress!

Time flies they say. And so it does! I’ve had this site for over 12 years by now, and even before that I spent time doing stuff with The Settlers II. And here we are, with a refreshed look using a new site building tool, Astro! It lets me build a mostly static website using whatever frontend tooling I want.

Ten years ago I switched many of my sites to Wordpress in hope that it would let me provide more content. In hindsight it seems it did the opposite: I lost some of my interest working on my sites. Wordpress never felt good to use for me and using it feels a bit like fighting against things. It just doesn’t work for me as a tool. I am more of a programmer type of person so I like to have control over things.

So now I have Astro here. I love it! It is very much a delight after so many years of tools that force bundling big JavaScript on all pages, even static ones that don’t need JS at all. Astro provides snappy and lightweight by default while also providing developer conveniences that have emerged during the past few years. This flexibility made it easy for me to convert the Map Generator project from being a legacy React project into a Preact one, with TypeScript goodness (which fits with a complex map generator type of project; I’m not always pro-TypeScript).

With this renewed site I have worked on rearranging content as well as adding some new stuff. And I’ve also done some little work with the map generator so it has a few new tricks. But admittedly it is still a bit of a mess: UI isn’t fully intuitive yet, I could provide more options to internal features of the generator, and the generator code itself is in a big need of cleaning up to better coding style.

The site UI is also still in need of some polish. The main menu doesn’t work in mobile, at least in iOS. That is sad. But I think right now it is much more important just to get the new site released, because it always motivates a bit better when something is out in the wild.

New Map Generator features

  • You can use a seed value: given seed provides always the same results with the given input values.
  • There can now be snow peak mountains
  • You can find some small swamp areas on the map
  • Palm trees have been allowed to be generated in coasts

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