Map Editor plans

Working on new maps for Multiwinia? Discuss!

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allen
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Postby allen » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:49 pm

I'd hope it's a little more user friendly than the Darwinia map editor. I had troubles with the scripting and other weird stuff. More maps would be created too if it was easier to do.
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Postby The GoldFish » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:24 am

Well, no map in Multiwinia uses scripts. Nor research. So really a lot of the wierd stuff that really complicated modding Darwinia just isn't even present for Multiwinia - making a single unconnected map with a bunch of stuff in was actually pretty easy for Darwinia. The problem was, once you sat back and played your level, even though it was a perfectly nice level, it was a terrible mod for Darwinia, since you needed objectives and none of your buildings worked properly. From my perspective, and from the opinion I've got from a few other Darwinia modders who have involving themselves in the multiwinia scene in some aspect, making levels for Multiwinia is probably going to be fairly easy, bar a few points.

There's every possibility that the editor that finally gets released will follow Chris' generally avoidable complexity >-< usability relationship, which is bad. The main "stumbling blocks", as I see things, is that there's a lot of buildings that appear to still "exist" to Multiwinia that have no purpose there and are left over from Darwinia. If the editor is full of all sorts of things that have no relavence whatsoever to making a multiwinia level, that'll only help confuse people who're unfamiliar. There's not really any reason to let people even use these buildings, although someone might be able to find a cunning means to use them, but for the general author they serve no purpose and really ought to be hidden - preferably with a checkbox so those who want to dabble can do. The same goes for all the wierd unused units that generally shouldn't be being placed by authors - they should never be placing squadies or shamans or tentacles or anything else bizarre and left over in stats.txt unless they're doing something out of the ordinary. If the editor is just like it was in Darwinia, all these bizarre unused units that people shouldn't place could well just show up in a list with DGs - some of which will probably make the level crash on load.

The other stumbling block is the spawning system - you need a working spawn system for your spawn points to work, it seems. People might have a hard time working this system out (I think people still have problems in Darwinia) - in Darwinia it's not as simple as simply dumping some spawn points on the ground and then testing the level - if you still have to hook these points up to the spawnpointmaster, as seems to be the case in existing levels, then this may cause some problems, because people kind of expect to just place a spawnpoint and it work, I think.

One of my biggest fears is that people will think they need to make something really radical and fill their levels with ants and virii and tentacles and old Darwinia buildings just to have a good level, rather than just create another good solid level for people to play on, which really is what everyone probably wants anyway.
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Postby Kuth » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:07 am

The way Blizzard made thier map editors seemed kinda simple: Terrain and basic units were placeable. One could do a little digging to find the 'hidden' units. Campaign-only units could be found by digging through some of the drop-down tabs and selecting the right options, but at your fingertips? It was just basic stuff.

Since I don't think (or feel) that the map editor will/should come with options to edit units, we'll be stuck with the potentially non-functional 'extras' and the fully functional, working materials. Perhaps when saving the map to it's final format, a warning will pop up saying "units X, Y, Z make this an advanced level map", which to many would mean it has the potential to be unplayable.

Or perhaps even better, the map being generated uses the same three-star rating system the gametypes do. Adding in certain advanced units affect this rating. Anyone having excessive spawning units (anthills, hundreds of trees) or units with questionable functionality (tentacles) bump this rating up to three stars, which means the map would be difficult to play (not just through the game itself, but also by how it affects the system running it).

I'd be happy with just the old structures coming back in inert form. I like decoration and I have some ideas for some themed maps either re-visiting ruined areas from Darwinia, or taking concepts from those old maps and applying them anew, elsewhere.
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Postby allen » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:44 am

thinking about this I'm getting more and more excited, as long as I could implement this version of blitz that xander mentioned in this thread:
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/multiwinia/viewtopic.php?t=1911&start=15

my idea would be to place the flags in the home base and have each side protected by those lazer walls, maybe a choke point with turrets...sorta like the bases in assault. like a mix of blitz and assault but wouldnt require any coding (i guess)
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Postby xander » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:28 am

allen wrote:thinking about this I'm getting more and more excited, as long as I could implement this version of blitz that xander mentioned in this thread:
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/multiwinia/viewtopic.php?t=1911&start=15

my idea would be to place the flags in the home base and have each side protected by those lazer walls, maybe a choke point with turrets...sorta like the bases in assault. like a mix of blitz and assault but wouldnt require any coding (i guess)

Indeed. I have already started designing some maps, though I am not going to dick about with the Darwinia editor at the moment -- I am going to hold off until there is a real editor (both because I don't want to have to redo work if it doesn't work, and because I don't have a lot of time right now). As Blitz is my favorite game-type, those are the maps I will probably be concentrating on.

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Postby Kuth » Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:01 am

I have some ideas on implementing some of the buildings from Darwinia. Crashed satellites from Pattern Buffer as a testament to the 'fallen golden age'. If the old tank could come back, maybe that would be at the center of one of the capture points for KOTH.
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Postby Puzzlemaker » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:24 pm

allen wrote:
Puzzlemaker wrote:What exactly will you be allowed to do in the editor? How powerful will it be? Will we be able to mix and match game types? Will we be able to set down static powerups/respawning powerups, etc?


as for the mixing of game types, I sure hope not. Plus that would take more work I would guess.

static powerups would be incredibly annoying, and the host can change respawn powerups anyway. I don't like the idea of a map makin me choose when poweups respawn


What I meant by mixing was, oh, lets say, spawn points in Blitz, or those reinforcement gates in domination. Not mixing objectives, but allowing stuff from other game modes to be leaked through.

Static powerups would be good, I think. I was thinking more along the lines of a spot on the map that a powerup would appear, and would respawn in a minute after being taken. Think about it; it's another resource to fight over, along the lines of spawn points and turrets.
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Postby The GoldFish » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:54 pm

I'm pretty sure static powerups won't be happening - when added by hand, they spawned in invisible (presumably underground or something) meaning no one would know they're there - they still worked and AI and mod authors could use that as an exploit. Also, they seem to be randomly assigned a powerup, I couldn't specify it in advance.

Basically I would reccomend that crates be culled on map entry, so no one can do that, but odds are IV already know that.

Since powerups are buildings, I don't think there'd be any way to make them appear in a specific location unless things were made especially for this, which might happen, but I don't think that's the idea of powerups.

You CAN however add units as "runastask", allowing certain unit related powerups to be granted to (individual in fact) players at the start of the game. Of course, there's no gaurentee anyone will be a certain player. These would only appear at the start of the game.
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Postby Puzzlemaker » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:13 pm

The GoldFish wrote:I'm pretty sure static powerups won't be happening - when added by hand, they spawned in invisible (presumably underground or something) meaning no one would know they're there - they still worked and AI and mod authors could use that as an exploit. Also, they seem to be randomly assigned a powerup, I couldn't specify it in advance.

Basically I would reccomend that crates be culled on map entry, so no one can do that, but odds are IV already know that.

Since powerups are buildings, I don't think there'd be any way to make them appear in a specific location unless things were made especially for this, which might happen, but I don't think that's the idea of powerups.

You CAN however add units as "runastask", allowing certain unit related powerups to be granted to (individual in fact) players at the start of the game. Of course, there's no gaurentee anyone will be a certain player. These would only appear at the start of the game.


Darn- I had an idea for a domination map. It would be a normal map, except it takes place on top of a place that was heavily infested by the virus. The virus was cleared, but it still exists deep inside the system. A mine was built by a shaman to pull up samples of the virus to be used in warfare.

In the map, you can take control of the mine to receive powerups (Eggs, etc), but it's very hard to defend. Bonus points if there is a chance that an infection outbreak happens, making it a gamble.
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Postby allen » Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:22 pm

Ah yes I forgot the most important thing about auto download of maps: the size

In some mp games I get tired of waiting for maps to download and just cancel and find another server. I was looking in main.dat and each level was a .txt file but I'm not sure if thats all there is to a level? (assuming whoever makes a custom map doesnt use custom assets)
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Postby zach » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:06 am

Image
That's NukeLord's map, and it's 199 KiB. Surely acceptable in this day and age? It's not like there's custom sounds or textures or anything heavy of the sort.

Custom shapes would be pretty swell though.
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Postby The GoldFish » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:10 am

Bear in mind that 95%+ of the file for most maps is probably going to be the thumbnail. Without the thumbnail.bmp, face is about 2.8kb when it's compressed. Boy I hope they compress things before sending them...

If we include the needlessly lossless bitmap thumbnail, we're talking about, worst case of 128kbps (about 15KB/sec, let's say) upload on the host, of something like 10-15 seconds per player for basically any map that has a thumbnail, or less than 1 second for the actual map (considering you'll be looking at the thumbnail for a tiny tiny fraction of time vs the time you'll be playing the level, it makes me think that there should be some careful thought about how files are transferred). That's if things are compressed. We could be talking twice

If IV were interested in implimenting it, there's no reason why the game couldn't check a dedicated map/mod server for a map file via hash before asking for it from the host, which would probably have a far higher upload speed. Obviously though, that could start getting expensive for someone, and for the price of a minute or so transfering a level I don't think that would happen.
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Postby zach » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:21 am

Well, there's always the possibility of the map being transferred, and following; the thumbnail is transferred either while waiting in the lobby, or while playing the map.

That would make it pretty seamless.
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Postby The GoldFish » Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:03 am

I think the netcode is already having difficulty with several players (example the 6 player game I arranged lagged to high heaven - I think this is the main reason why there's no spectators, I don't know if it would really be able to cope with the additional load of transfering during play, so it could seriously compomise gameplay. Plus, it means the map could start getting virally transmitted without the thumbnail if a client obtains it without waiting for the thumb.

I imagine one of the most important things to do would be to save your thumbnail in 8 bit colour, as are the majority of those in the main game, since that reduces the file size by a factor of 3, and translates through to compression - raring bitmaps is often as good as png or gif, so really the only additional alternative if file sizes want to be improved is switch to something lossy like jpg, which could give an additional saving of between 2 and 3 times on top, but so far as I know, there's no ability to load jpgs into the game at current, so using adaptive palletted bitmaps and compressing for transit/or just in general is probably the best we'll see - Face could be about 46KB with basically no consequences with just a little care towards file size, so really, I think things will be ok if people remember to convert their thumbnails to 8 bit (maybe this should, in fact, be enforced?)

It would be about 23KB with a jpg saved by paint.
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Postby allen » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:18 am

I was only worried about sizes larger than a megabyte or more.

199kb is more than acceptable.

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