Map making by hand

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Plywood hammer100x101.gif There is still documentation to be done here!! If you feel up to the task, please have a go at it. Specifically what needs to be added is:
Major re-organization, transform away from "chat" style

Although there are a number of GUI options for creating maps such as BZ-Edit, 3D modelers, many map-makers use a basic text-editor. There are many times when it is necessary to make small changes to a map, such as including objects that are unavailable in GUI map-maker, but there are also some who enjoy the challenge of creating a map entirely from scratch with a text-editor.

Text Editors

Most text-editors designed for coding/programming are more than sufficient for editing bzw files. Although word-processing programs such as Microsoft Word can be used, there are many cheaper (free) and more efficient programs designed specifically for coding.

Windows

  • Notepad
  • PSPad
  • NoteTab

Mac

  • TextWrangler
  • TextEdit

Linux

  • Command-line editors such as nano, emacs, pico, vim, ed.
  • GEdit
  • Kate

Editing existing maps

Beginning mapmakers should spend some time studying and making small changes in existing maps to see how things work. In the client, maps can be saved for editing by joining the desired server and choosing: Options>Save World. Maps can also be saved by issuing the /saveworld command. The map should be a simple map when getting started. One may find it easier to create a file in BZEdit and open the resulting file in the text-editor.

Getting Started

If you have created a box in BZEdit you may see:

# World built with bzedit32 world class, available at
# http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/bzflag
world 
  size 400 
end 
options 
  +r 
  -j 
  -set _tankSpeed 25 
  -ms 5 
  -mp 0,2,0,2,0,2 
end 
box 
  name box1 
  position 0 0 0 
  size 10 10 10 
  rotation 0 
end 

Explanation of the Sample Code

There are set variables that define various things such as how fast your tank is, how fast the bullets are, or if it's raining or foggy. Put those in the options setting with "-set(space) " in front of it. You can also make those changes as an admin by using /set _variable (notice there is a space between the set and the _). A full list of these settings can be found on the Server Variables page. Other options, such as how many times a flag can be grabbed before it resets or if flags can land on buildings are explained in this forum post Optionally, the variables can be placed in a separate configuration file and referenced when the server is started.

Basic Definitions

Objects
Objects are the basic building blocks of the bzw file. Objects begin with a line declaring the object, some fields describing that object, and a line that closes the object (usually with "end"). Each of these sections of the object is important.
Comments
BZFS ignores anything in a line following the #; the line has been "commented out." It is highly recommended that comments be used often, both for the mapmaker and for others that may see the map.
3D Cartesian Coordinate System
In most objects, you will see three numbers after position and size. These numbers are coordinates on a graph. The first number is the x coordinate (left and right) the middle number is the y coordinate (forward and backward) and the third number is the z coordinate (height and depth). Another way of thinking of it is: x = width, y = depth, z = height. (Those accustomed to the Y axis determining height will have to slightly adjust their thinking.)

Sample Objects

Most objects have similar parameters as the basic box. For instance, the code for a cone may look something like this:

cone 
   name cone1            # name is optional
   position 0 0 0 
   size 10 10 20 
   divisions 128 
end 

Divisions basically decide how smooth the cone is. The higher the divisions the more smooth the cone is. A division of 4 would look like a pyramid. Another parameter that can be added to the cone object is angle. If you say angle 180, that would make 1/2 of a cone, 90 would make 1/4 of a cone, and so on.

An arc...

An arc is basically a cylinder. However it doesn’t have to be a perfect cylinder depending on certain options you select. For an arc the only required options are divisions, position and size. Just like the cone divisions have the same effect, position and size are all the same. Once again you can have an oval shaped cylinder type thing. Now, you WILL find more options to an arc than to a cone, for example the ratio option. The ratio options let you basically put a hole in the cylinder. So if you have the option: ratio 1 you would have a full cylinder. If you say for example ratio .3 or any number less than 1 you will get a whole in the cylinder. The bigger the number, the smaller the hole. Angle allows you to do a simi-circle. Rotation once again isn't really needed. all the options like spin and shear are the same for this object too! phydrv and matref I’ll show later. Let’s move to the sphere

The sphere...

The only options required to make a sphere are position, size, and divisions. all these options do the same thing as they did in the objects above. you may also have an oval like sphere. You make an oval like sphere simply by making the x and y's different sizes just like in the cone and arc. The radius option is just a substitute for size. You can write size 10 10 10 or radius 10. Both do the same thing. However if you want an oval shaped sphere you have to use size. Rotation wouldn’t really have an effect and the shear and spin works the same for this object.

Getting more help

  • The links at the bottom of the Map Making page.
  • The original creator of this page is flight, you can email him at dirtbikerdude_91@yahoo.com and he will be happy to answer any questions that he is capable of answering.

Special Objects

There are certain objects that are often coded by hand because it is simpler or it is impossible to do with graphical map creation tools.

Materials

example:

material 
  name mat1 
  addtexture blue_bolt.png 
end 
meshbox 
  position 0 0 0 
  size 10 10 10 
  rotation 0 
  matref mat1 
end 

Material is letting the computer know that a material is about to be explained to it. You name it so that way you can reference it with the matref. The name can be any thing you want as long as it does not have any spaces. You type in addtexture and you state a texture name. Now, how do you know what texture names there are to use?

On Linux: Running ls /usr/share/bzflag/*.png in a terminal will show the list of pictures.

On Mac: If you control click (right click) on the bzflag icon, click show package contents, click contents, and click resources, those are the pictures you may use.

On Windows: The default path is C:\Program Files\BZFlag\data\*.png

What you will find are images that are used in every day games. The top of a base, the wall of a base. A bullet which is blue_bolt.png (as was used above). The full path to the texture needs to be used if the texture is not found in that directory. Any customized textures should be uploaded to the bzflag image submission system at [1] before the map is hosted publicly.

Servers running bzfs 2.0.8 and earlier will require "meshbox" and "meshpyr" in order to apply textures and physics to these objects.


Instead of creating a new texture, many interesting and creative things can be done with the "diffuse" parameter in the material object. You can add the diffuse command and it will look like this diffuse 1 1 1 1. The first number is the amount of red that will be in the meshobject. The second number is the amount of green, the third is the amount of blue. So you can mix those colors to make more colors. You may use a range from 0-1. For example diffuse .3 .5 .26 1. The fourth number determines the opacity or transparency (the see-throughability). 0 is invisible, .5 is half invisible, and 1 is normal.

material name mat1 diffuse .5 .25 .1 .6 addtexture mesh.png end

Physics

Physics make your tank behave in different ways. If you have ever played laser mania by Louman than you know on the outskirts of the map there is something you can jump on and you go really fast, that is a physics. Physics and materials work the same way. Physics is to material as phydrv is to matref. You must specify a physics then on a meshbox, meshpyr cone arc sphere or whatever, you can reference that physics by using the phydrv command just like you would use the matref command for materials. There are different physics commands. Linear, angular, slide and death. In the Louman map I mentioned above is a linear physics. Linear physics makes your tank move in a line. The numbers after a linear command are just like position x y z. example:

physics 
 name phy1 
 linear 50 0 0 
end 

This will make your tank move at a speed of 50 in a positive x direction you may use -50 and it will make it go the other way.

physics 
 name phy2 
 linear 0 50 0 
end 

This will make your tank move at a speed of 50 in a positive y direction

physics 
  name phy3 
  linear 0 0 50 
end 

This will make your tank jump at a speed of 50

physics 
  name phy4 
  slide 5 0 
end 

This will make your tank basically feel like it's on ice. Whichever way the tank is moving it will keep moving that way.

physics 
  name phy5 
  death haha! you died 
end 

This will make the tank die when it touches the object that refers to this and the message haha! you died will be displayed to that person.

example:

physics 
  name phy1 
  death I like you better dead! 
end 
meshbox 
  position 0 0 0 
  size 10 10 10 
  rotation 0 
  phydrv phy1 <or what ever you named the physics 
end 

This works just like the material

The thing about physics and materials is that they have to be written before they are referenced.

This WON'T work

meshbox 
  position 0 0 0 
  size 10 10 10 
  rotation 0 
  matref mat1 
end 
material 
  name mat1 
  addtexture blue_team.png 
end 

Groups

Transformations