How to build a simple map


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#1 Centurion

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 12:58 PM

Hi guys,

this is my first post in this forum and it may be kind of useless. I want to give a quick overview of how to build a very simple map with the editor since nobody seems to have done this yet and I had to spend quite some hours figuring out how even the simple mechanisms work. But then again maybe I am just slow.

When you start the editor you will have a tree view of objects that are in the database on the left side, main window in the middle and some tabs on the right. In the object tree you can right-click to bring up a menu allowing you to start a new item (i.e. map). Be sure to use only powers of 2 (i.e 2, 4, 8, 16, ...) for the size variables otherwise you will have a frame of dead space around your map.

Now you will have a grid in your main window. This doesn't look much like a map so the first thing you will want to do is add a texture layer. To do this, click the new button in the layer tab and select texture layer. If you click on the three dots in the layer, you can select the texture you wish to apply and after closing this window, "brush" it onto your map. Most original maps don't use the texture layer all that much (or even don't have any) but employ terrain spots instead. I won't talk about these right now.

Well now you can see your terrain and start filling it up with objects. You can just drag most objects out of the tree view and into the main window to place them, but some work a little differently. If you want to build a house, for example you have to add a floor- and a wall-layer. You can place floor tiles and wall segments by holding down the CTRL key and left-clicking in the main window. There are also wall segments with window frames in them and so on.

So, I don't know if this post was useful to anyone. I assume that there are a couple of people who are already much more proficient with the editor (my good friend Cpt. Barbossa from the JoWood forum for example) so just see this as a starting point to share your knowledge with other people and ask questions.

I am still trying to figure out how the settings of the height map layer work exactly. So far I haven't succeded in using this to build cellars that can actually be entered by soldiers so if anyone could figure this out, I would be very happy.

Be excellent and party on!

EDIT: I just realized that I was stupid enough to refer to my German keyboard. Thanks to Vizcire for making me aware of that.
"True skill comes without effort."

#2 Cpt. Barbossa

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 01:59 PM

I found out something concerning the problem with building a cellar: So far I haven't completely understood the working mechanism of the height map layer, but I found a way to create a cellar that can be entered by soldiers. To make it possible to enter an underground level you need to raise the map surface so that it is "hovering" above the grid. To do this you need to create a height map. This can be done by using Paint or any other program like that. Simply make a bitmap the size of your map and color it with a light grey (I haven't found out yet the exact color encoding, but this should do it). Now import the .bmp in the editor. In case you don't see any changes use the "refresh view" function. Now the map surface should be some level above the grid.
To make a cellar do the following:
First use the cellar layer to "cut out" pieces of the surface where you want. Now place some walls on the edges (don't forget to set building level to -1) and also a floor. This should be it!
By using other colors in your height map you can create things like valleys etc. Also there is a possibility to adjust the maximum and minimum heights in the height map layer context menu (the three dots).

#3 Biggles

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 10:20 PM

fantastic info, many thanks!

#4 Dominian

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 02:41 AM

Very useful stuff  !!!

For sorry I am working on a German Translation for Max Payne 2 recently ... but I will keep playing S² and stay in Forum here !

Just no time for the S² editor

#5 Jack Sparrow

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 12:19 AM

This is great info for starting out with the editor.

Now i got my map created, playtested it in the editor but one more stupid question:

How do i get my Map to show up in the game ?  What does it take to build a complete mission that is playable after inserting and activating the mod ?

Thanks in advance :-)

#6 Centurion

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 12:34 PM

Hi there,

well I don't think that is a stupid question at all. I tried exporting a map to the game yesterday as I have built a cozy little bunker that I wanted to test ingame. The problem is that the that you export just contains the difference between the original game database and your new version, meaning that your map is present in the game database but you don't have access to it. There seems to be the possibility to change the game interface in the database, too. You've probably already noticed that there is a template folder called 'interface' or something like that. So I would guess that the easiest way would be to change the interface in such a way that your map is loaded when you choose to start a new campaign. Or maybe you could modify the interface so that when you choose to start a new campaign, the squad selection screen from the original campaign pops up and then your map is loaded with the selected squad? Unfortunately, I won't have the time to experiment with this over the weekend. If you figure something out, please let us know.
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#7 Darth Valium

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Posted 01 November 2003 - 04:43 PM

there is a way to include it as a "random encounter", im not sure about how to do.

there a two way how it could work:

1) just adding it to the country- and nationside-specific randomecnounter-folder. the game itself picks up randomely one of these
2) like the above, but you have to do some scripting somewhere, just try out.

as everytime, you met up a random encounter, the game is saved. when you load the savegame, the random encounter is again "randomized", so trying to find out shouldnt be as worse at it can (perhaps it might be a good idea to remove, just for testing, all other random-encounters)

the random ecounter needs a bunch of new maps!!!

#8 Biggles

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 02:34 AM

There was a post on the Nival forums about this. You can use the console to load a MAP or a TEMPLATE , you just need to know the ID of yours.

I haven't tried it, but if anyone does and works out how to do it, let us know.

#9 Centurion

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 02:28 PM

Starting custom maps from the console seems to work. Just start the game, select your mod and start or load some game (the tutorial for example). Now bring up the console and type 'map VariantID' where VariantID is the second number that is displayed in the 'General ID' field in the attribute browser of the editor.
For example, my map has the General ID {1000014,1000017}. 1000014 is the template ID and 1000017 is the variant ID, so typing 'map 1000017' loads my bunker :)
I will post some screenshots as soon as possible.
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#10 Centurion

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 03:29 PM

And here they are. I did this mostly to find out there is the possibility of making a building that is embedded into the landscape. I'm not quite satisfied because I think it looks far too artificial, but the editor has some limitations in respect to combining landscape and buildings. For instance, I had to pile rocks on top of the bunker because there can't be any terrain on top of a building, only solid objects. That means that I couldn't apply stuff like terrain spots or grass textures to the roof of the bunker. If anyone has any suggestions that could improve this map, please let me know.

http://www.stud.uni-...wh9/bunker1.jpg

http://www.stud.uni-...wh9/bunker2.jpg

http://www.stud.uni-...wh9/bunker3.jpg
"True skill comes without effort."

#11 Darth Valium

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 03:42 PM

is it possible to integrate the bunke a bit more into the hill?

the problem with combining / placing landscape tiles on top of buildings cannot be solved, as long there is no possibility to change the textures(for example creating a new roof tile with grass instead of concrete on it).

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he, by the way, your screenies look great, when your are done (and managed to integrate it as a random encounter, i would be gratefull to play it ;-) ).

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and another by the way, your screenies look great, as i see you have enabled shadows (me not), perhaps you would like to post your systems specs, your config-file(so i can compare it via ultraedit wth my one), your avergae fps (camera movement / regular game view)? at the moment im still playing around to find "satisfying" settings, without to many lags while changing the viewing angel (this damn "recalc static shadows", why the heck "static shadows" have to be recalced?).

#12 Cpt. Barbossa

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 11:19 PM

Quote

the problem with combining / placing landscape tiles on top of buildings cannot be solved, as long there is no possibility to change the textures(for example creating a new roof tile with grass instead of concrete on it).

There is a possibility to do just that. You just need to use the "material brush", which is tool to apply material textures to walls and floors. When you start the editor one of your 5 windows should be the material window. There are some radio buttons called Material and Sets 1 - 5 (until now I have no idea what to use the sets for, but I'll find out, or maybe one of you already knows...). Select the Material radio button and choose the texture you want to apply. Now activate the "Brush tool" and simply click on the walls/floor tiles you want to change. As far as I know the Brush tool can only be used on walls (also window and door frames, as these are walls :)), floors and solids (like roof tiles). Objects (windows, stairs, etc.) are not affected. Using the Brush can really increase the atmosphere of your maps  and adds more variety.
Working with the Brush can be made more comfortable by also using the "Material selection tool" that can be found right next to the Brush tool. With this you can simply "copy" a texture from another "textureable" object and apply it to another.

#13 Biggles

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 11:22 PM

I like it!

Maybe when I get home I'll throw my levels into the game and get soem screenshots.


What is the button to remove the interface again???

#14 Vizcire

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 04:35 PM

Hello guys, this is my first reply...well well

And, just as (almost) everyone else I have to apologize for my English.

I have checked the editor out, not so deep but anyway. And I can't understand it at least a bit. When I starts it up, the main window is just dark grey, and when I use the Right mouse button to turn the camera, it often just snap by the white grid. And then I'v got problems finding it again. Even if I load another template up (Like the tutorial in the game) I can't seem to find it. Is the sensetive on the mouse too high, or am just I stupid?  :evil:

I have tried to follow the tutorial at the top, but when I (finally) find the grid and try out to apply some textures, nothing is happening. I can't see any difference at all, just the same white grid with a grey background.

I haven't been so deep into modding in any ther games, tried out the one for half-life, Max payne and Unreal 2003, but with no great effects. I don't know with youi other guys, but you seem to know a lot about databases and that stuff  :)

Just one more thing, wich is pretty embarrassing (no difference from rest of the message). In some way, I have succeded removing my upper row (where File, View, Help and so on is located). Also, my texture layer and material layer and that is missing. Just the template selection and the gray main window (now MUCH larger) is still there.

And I can't find my grid!   :x
If someone could make an even easier tutorial for the reeeal Noobs i would be extremely grateful.

Untill replied, I will keep on with my pathetic tries, and Have a good war!

#15 Centurion

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 06:34 PM

Hi there,

I know that finding the grid can sometimes be rather tricky. That's mainly because the editor seems to place the camera at the exact same position as it was in the last map so if you move your map out of sight accidentally you won't be able to see one ever again  :)

I have a screenshot of the editor here: http://www.stud.uni-...uwh9/editor.jpg

To find the grid the 'camera' button should help. It is the leftmost of the four buttons that I have marked with (1) in the screenshot. If this doesn't help, try zooming out all the way with the mousewheel and pan around with the arrow keys until the grid is in the center of the main window, then zoom back in.

As for the missing layers- and materials-tabs: These can be switched on and off with the other three buttons marked with (1).

Also, make sure that they have not been collapsed by one of the wicked little arrows marked with (5).

Concerning the missing menu bar: I'm quite sure that there is no way of completely getting rid of it so it is probably just undocked from the window and floating around somewhere as marked with (2).

To add textures you must first add a texture layer. This is done with the button marked (3). Once you've added the layer, you should see a white surface instead of the grid. If you do not see this, you may have to check the corresponding checkbox in (4). Once you have the white surface you can brush textures onto it after selecting the texture layer and choosing a texture via the three dots.

One last thing: I personally do know quite a bit about databases but I don't need that knowledge to make maps. If you want to change graphics, sounds or stats of the game objects, you should familiarize yourself with accessing and using a database. But if all you want to do is build a map from the objects that are already in the game, you don't have to know zip about databases.

Please let me know if you still have any problems, I have added my ICQ number to my profile so you can try to catch me there, too.
"True skill comes without effort."

#16 Centurion

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 06:54 PM

And another post about my puny bunker  :wink:

My friend Barbossa has already explained the possibility of making grassy roof tiles and I would just like to add that I have already used these on top of the bunker entrance and mg nest and I think they look kinda crappy. My solution to for putting terrain on top of buildings would probably be to import some custom-made terrain tiles that are not just textures but solid objects. Like a small, grassy hill that I could place on top of the bunker roof. I have a friend who is quite proficient with 3D Studio Max so maybe I will ask him to whip something up for me.

I already thought about integrating the bunker a bit more into the hill. I would like to replace the entrance with a trap door and a small tunnel and maybe move the mg nest back into the hill a little bit. Unfortunately, I don't know if I have time for the editor this week. Hell, I haven't played but 4 or 5 missions of the campaign!

And a word about my configuration: I left everything as it was, meaning a resolution of 1280x960, 2x anisotropic filtering and medium anti-aliasing, everything else 'very high'.
My config.cfg can be found here: http://www.stud.uni-...uwh9/config.cfg
I don't know how to get my fps in the game but I would say it plays mostly smooth. That scrolling could be more fluid but it never gets really skippy. I found that the only setting that really affects performance on my machine is AA but I won't switch it off, because to me it just looks soooo much better.

Here are my system specs:

AMD Athlon XP (Thoroughbred B) 2600+ (=2066 MHz)
nForce 2 Mainboard
1 GB of 333MHz RAM
Hercules 3D Prophet 9500 Pro (Radeon 9500 Pro)
"True skill comes without effort."

#17 Cpt. Barbossa

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 08:38 PM

Hi there, Barbossa again :)!

The problem with constructing a bunker that is embedded in terrain troubled me for some days now. Observing Centurion's attempts was kinda inspiring, but there still was the problem with the roof. Today (just some hour ago) I had an idea that I needed to test. I remembered playing around with the material brush where I found out that you could use this tool on solids also. So I tried applying some grass texture on roof tiles. You may now already know what comes next... I built a bunker the same way Centurion already did, but I put it one level underground like a cellar. Then I built a roof on top of it and "painted" it with grass. The result is quite satisfying I think, but look for yourself:
www.stud.uni-karlsruhe.de/~uxgh/Bunker.jpg
Here you can also see something you need to remember when setting up a building near the edge of the map: never put your walls too close to the boarder, or you won't be able to build a complete roof. That's because the roof tiles have some kind of bounding box the size of 3x3 squares though you only see 1 square of roof. Did anybody understand that  :?:  :) - if not just try and see for yourself!
I'll try to be back with some more on mapping soon!

#18 Biggles

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 01:00 AM

That does look good. Almost hobbit like :)

#19 LoTekK

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 03:13 AM

That bunker looks very cool.

Anyone figure out how to import heightmaps, though? I've tried .bmp's in various bit-depths, from 32-bit color to 8-bit grey (inclusive), and the best I've gotten as far as any kind of editor feedback was a CTD when I tried a 16-bit .bmp. :)

#20 Biggles

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 03:42 AM

I'll start a new thread on heightmaps.




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