Map making by hand
|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. Need to reference pages elsewhere on the wiki in place of much of the content which appears to be building up here. Create them if necessary, or see the list here.
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.
- 1 Text Editors
- 2 Editing existing maps
- 3 Getting Started
- 4 Sample Objects
- 5 Getting more help
- 6 Special Objects
- 7 Transformations
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. If you are interested in syntax highlighting, look at the forum topic.
- Notepad ++ - a tabbed editor based on Scite.
- Command-line editors such as nano, emacs, pico, vim, or ed.
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. One can gain experience by also converting map objects into their mesh equivalents such as converting a box into a meshbox or a pyramid into a meshpyramid.
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
What that means
"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." old
First, it says:
# World built with bzedit32 world class, available at # http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/bzflag
(Note: the # sign is used for comments.)
This is the text added by the application initially, kind of like advertising. This will be the first thing anyone sees when they look at the map.
The next thing is:
world size 400 # Sets the world size to 400 (800 x 800 total) end
This is rather self-explanatory. It's the <size> of the <world> (The BZFlag arena).
Next is an <options> section:
options +r # Enable Ricochet -j # Enable Jumping -set _tankSpeed 25 # Sets the tank speed to 25 bzunits/second -ms 5 # Sets the maximum shots (per tank) to 5 -mp 0,2,0,2,0,2 # Maximum of 2 Red Players, 2 Blue Players, and 2 Observers end
This allows you to define in the map file certain options that are also available from the command line when you start the bzfs server, or in the optional server config file. Options embedded into a world file will override those input on the command line or in a config file.
The commands listed here are: Ricochet, Jumping, Tank speed, Max Shots, and Max Players. These are rather self explanatory, except for Max Players. Each number represents how many of each of the following team players are allowed in the game (in the order listed): Rogue, Red, Green, Blue, Purple, Observer. Each number defines the max number of players per category.
For more, see Options Object.
We now come to:
box name box1 # Generally unused position 0 0 0 # X Y Z Position size 10 10 10 # X Y Z Size (bzunits from the position of the box) rotation 0 # Rotation (in degrees) end
This is a <box> with a <name> of <box1>. The <position> is 0,0,0 in R3. The rest is pretty self explanatory.
Important: EVERY STATEMENT MUST HAVE AN END.
- 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.
- 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.)
Optional client setup
There are some options that appear useful when editing a map, especially when editing by hand.
- The BZFlag client is capable of displaying a tank's current location for the player at the top right corner, right below the clock. This feature is being activated by executing the "/localset showCoordinates 1" command to the chat line.
Perhaps the simplest object is the box. There is actually nothing special you can do to it (but in versions of BZFlag from 2.0.8 up, you can do a lot more to it). Here is an example of a box:
box name box1 # Optional, but good to include position 0 0 0 size 10 10 10 rotation 0 end
In the first line, notice the word "box". It simply says the next object is a box. The next line is the name of the object. It is defined with the syntax "name objectName". It is not required, but is good to include (if you have a LOT of boxes, how do you know which is which? Naming them--as well as other objects--helps you keep track). The third line defines the position of the center of the bottom of the object. The three arguments of position are the x, y, and z coordinates of the box, respectively. The x and y coordinates can be positive or negative, but the z coordinate should just be positive or zero. On the fourth line, the size of the box is defined. The arguments of size are the x, y, and z sizes of the object, respectively. The x and y arguments make the box that wide on both sides of it's position. However, the z argument makes the object exactly the number of units tall as defined. In other words, the box shown above, with a size of '10 10 10' is actually 20 units by 20 units by 10 units high, so if you want a box that is a perfect cube, you would need to make the height, or Z dimension, '20'. The next line just says how much the object is rotated. This number is the number of degrees of rotation, and can be negative or positive. The last line just tells BZFlag the object is done, and a new one can be defined. Be sure to always use this.
Below is an image of a box with a size of 5 5 10.
Most objects have similar parameters as the basic box. For instance, the code for a cone may look something like this:
cone name cone1 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 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 hole in the cylinder. The bigger the number, the smaller the hole. Angle allows you to do a semicircle. Rotation, once again, isn't really needed, unless you need a semicircle that has a certain specific orientation in your map. all the options like spin and shear are the same for this object too! phydrv and matref I’ll show later.
The screenshot below shows three arcs. The only difference between them is the inner radius number. The first is set to 1, the second to .5, and the third to .1. Notice how the texture on the top surface of the arc becomes "stretched" when the radius is less than one.
Here is the code for the arc with the .1 ratio:
arc divisions 16 # number of subdivisions angle 360 # the sweep angle ratio .1 # (outrad - inrad) / outrad position 0.0 -42 0.0 size 10 10 1 rotation 0.0 shift 0 0 0 # (repeatable) scale 1 1 1 # (repeatable) shear 0 0 0 # (repeatable) smoothbounce # ricochets use normals end
Now lets see what happens if we change the angle value. The ones below use 60, 120, and 240. This is where you would need to use rotate to get the arc oriented the way you want.
Here is the code for the 60 degree arc:
arc divisions 16 # number of subdivisions angle 60 # the sweep angle ratio .5 # (outrad - inrad) / outrad position 0.0 0.0 0.0 size 10 10 1 rotation 0.0 shift 0 0 0 # (repeatable) scale 1 1 1 # (repeatable) shear 0 0 0 # (repeatable) smoothbounce # ricochets use normals end
Let’s move to 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be happy to answer any questions that he is capable of answering.
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.
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 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
The format of the physics driver is like this: (note that not all the commands are used concurrently, there is no point in using a death driver with a linear driver, etc.)
physics name example_phydrv linear 0.0 0.0 0.0 # x/y/z linear velocities angular 0.0 0.0 0.0 # rotation freq, x/y coordinates slide 0.0 # time until max velocity (> 0.0 enables) death Message goes here. # the 'death' property requires a non-blank message end
Physics drivers subject your tank to external forces. If you have ever played laser mania by Louman then you may have encountered on the outskirts of the map an object that you can jump on and you go really fast, that is a physics driver. Physics and materials are both similar in that you must first define them, and then apply them to an object. When you define a mesh object (regular BXFlag objects, such as boxes can't use physics drivers) you can reference that physics driver 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. The physics driver used in the Louman map mentioned above is a linear driver. Linear physics makes your tank move in a line. The numbers after a linear command are how much "force" is applied in a given axis x y z, and you can have force applied in more than one axis. The direction is NOT along the axis of the object you apply the physics driver to, but along the major world axis, so if your object is rotated 45 degrees, you would need to put values for both x and y in your physics driver. 45 degrees is fairly easy, but other angles would require figuring out the proportions needed to move the tank along an object rotated to a given angle, it can get a bit tricky.
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 (bounce) 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.
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 is applied to an object in a manner similar to that of a material. Both physics and materials must be created in the map file before they are referenced. The example below illustrates incorrectly placing a material definition after it is referenced by the meshbox:
meshbox position 0 0 0 size 10 10 10 rotation 0 matref mat1 end material name mat1 addtexture blue_team.png end
A group is cluster of objects that can be "gathered together" and treated as if they were a single object. Certain things cannot be included in groups:
Notice that while teleporters aren't excluded from groups, you can't create links to teleporters within a group, except for purely random ones using "*"(asterisk) for the link. (this may not be entirely accurate, Trepan at one point hinted that there is a way around this...)
Groups can be nested (you can have a group that is included in another group).
For example if a map editor is making a forest, and each tree contains 2 objects, the editor doesn't want to type up the code for each tree over and over again. What he can do is tell BZFS that these objects = tree. And then whenever he wants to make a tree he just calls that group, as shown below.
First define a group of obects as a tree...
define tree box position 0 0 0 size 2 2 4 end pyramid position 0 0 3 size 5 5 10 end enddef
...then, to call the "tree" group, just:
group tree position 0 0 0 end
Transformations are simple ways of modifying objects so that maps have some variety. These can get complicated so I will only give you a sample of what they can do. There are 3 transformations shift, spin, and shear. You can find a more in depth page here: 3d Transformations
Shift moves an object by the amount of units that you specify from its present position. the object..
box position 10 10 0 end
is at place 10 10 0
while the object..
box position 10 10 0 shift 0 0 10 end
is at position 10 10 10.
Spinning an object is just like rotating an object but can be on a different axis. (y and x) When you rotate it is around the center of the object. Remember: Only spin-able objects can be spun. Here is what the code looks like:
meshbox position 0 0 0 rotation 0 size 10 10 10 spin 45 0 1 0 end
The meshbox will now be tilted 45 degrees on its y axis. Spin code has four numbers, the first one is how many degrees to spin. The last three are for which axis's to spin, by placing a value of more than 0. Spin can be a bit tricky and unintuitive to use. It is not exactly like rotate, because it is possible to "spin" something so that it ends up "underneath" the BZFlag playing field.
Spin is often best used with shift. Think of the center of your map as a sort of "construction yard". You position objects at location 0 0 0, then spin and shift them to the location you want.
Here is what you get if you use the above code in a map:
Looks fairly normal in this screenshot, doesn't it. But if you drive around, the box will behave oddly, and appear to "float" in front of your HUD. What has happened is that the box hasn't rotated around it's own axis, but around the world axis for the whole BZFlag arena! But if we add some code to shift the box up above the z plane, it will look normal in-game.
So if we make a simple change to the above code and add a shift statement and shift the box up in z (this is not the z axis of the box, but the world axis of our game arena):
meshbox position 0 0 0 rotation 0 size 10 10 10 spin 45 0 1 0 shift 0 0 10 end
...we get this:
... and the box doesn't do the weird "float" thing any more. This "construction yard" technique is really handy, you just "build" your stuff smack in the middle of your map, then spin and shift it to where you want it (in the example above, it could have been shifted in x and y as well. Just don't shift and then spin, or you will be back to having things "float" again.
With shift and spin you can also work with groups and make a "master" group in the middle of your map, then shift and spin multiple copies to other locations on your map.