Dire Straits is an open land map with some water (mostly shallows). The resources on land are pretty normal and symmetrical for all players, but the truly randomized map generation should provide a wide variety of experiences that encourage scouting and adapting. It’s designed to be fair, but not completely predictable.
It requires the following settings:
1v1 on Tiny (2-Player)
2v2 on Medium (4-Player)
3v3 on Normal (6-Player)
4v4 on Large (8-Player)
Key features include:
Varied maps and player positions. Exploration is key, as players aren't always placed in a circle.
Only one fast fish and some shore fish per lake. Fishing doesn't overpower all other strategies.
Primarily land-based gameplay. Warships can be used tactically instead of just for fire galley rushes.
150 wood trees. Fewer trees keeps the land more open for offensive options.
A more detailed description (with more images) is available here.
Dire Straits is built using a different process than a typical AoE2 map in order to generate unpredictable geography while validating each map with a computer program to keep things fair for both teams. For more information about how to create maps like this, including the source code for all the programs used, see this guide.