Map Editing

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Introduction

Map making is a complex topic. Numerous artists send work hours down the so called "pipeline" to produce an actual map. To make the topic easier to understand it is good to familiarize with the tools needed before actual hard work is being done.

Here we will cover:

  • release guidelines
  • terminology
  • tools and operations
  • endorsed art and alien art
  • setup and usage

For streamlined deployment of any new created map, following guidelines are to be obeyed:

Release guidelines

The actual release of an map is actually publishing the zipped archive, stripped of any source art, out of performance concern. It is strongly advised not to publish the source *.cry files with the map - they are of non interest to the general player population, hence the longer map download would only hurt the day to day usability of the map.

Sources of the map belong elsewhere - the place for the repository is to be determined yet.

The map folder is to be named preferably without the map release version:

TC_Reference

The map archive is to be named by game type, own name and version tag:

TC_Reference_V01.zip

The same version is to be used in the XML file in the map folder.

/TODO/ explain the fields in the XML file and where they are used and what for.

So it is obvious to the game server administrator, that a newer (or older) map is in question.


It seems, the map.cry file does not have to be named the same as the map-folder.


So far there are following game types:

TC (terrain control), TSA (Team Solaris arena - test of strength), SA (Solaris arena - all vs all)

And the multiplayer map folders are organized accordingly


Once a map has been finished, and it's layout is fixed and known, the map-loading image is to be defined.

Either do it good(tm) or do it the same - i.e. follow the already existing maps art. The file itself is to be of DDS format and to be placed alongside the XML where it is referred to by an arbitrary name.


It is customary to have an text on top of the screen providing a background story and an graph/text section providing info of the allowed assets (ground, mech, ASF, VTOL). But there are known (and liked!) exceptions to this.


MWLL Hasher

this is an easy tool you can use in order to generate a manifest for the map (filelist.xml). This is used by the map autodownloader so it can check the downloaded map.

How to use it: - Export the map to the directory it's gonna be run from (e.g. Levels/Multiplayer/TC/TC_Foo_V01) - Remove unnecessary files (e.g. cry source file) - Run the tool, click on Browse and select that directory - Click on Generate Manifest, then click on Save Manifest. Just save it in the same path where the map is saved(edited)


The map archive has to be properly referenced in order to land in the right place on auto download.

I do it the following way:

/TODO/ image

In the, already existing, TC folder (suppose we are making an TC map for the moment) I make an temporary folder called Multiplayer and in it I further put (again) an folder called TC.

This way I have the root of the archive right. Now, in that empty TC folder i copy the whole map source directory (copy not move)

...\TC\Multiplayer\TC\TC_reference\<stuff>

Then i prune and cull all the files i don't need from the copy, and zip up the original folder in place for archiving purposes.

The map is ready to be checked for Version and Manifest and zipped up as follows:

Select the newly created Multiplayer folder and in the context menu choose create archive...

Once presented by the window in the archive name, replace the default multiplayer.zip with the proper file name:

TC_Reference_V01.zip

and create the archive. It will have both the Multiplayer and TC folders in it's root containing the map folder in the later.

/TODO/ image of winrar and 7z doing this

--there might be more guidelines to follow--

Terminology

The CryEngine itself has become an branch of the gaming industry and sort of an milestone. There are some common names for things we encounter and deal with therein. In the Level_Design_Terminology section we list the basics.

Endorsed Art

Endorsed art, or, assets that exist in the game already. Optimized, tested and familiar objects that work. Compact map download size. Least overtime to map completion. There are many reasons to opt for endorsed art only in an map/level.

Moreover, experienced mappers are already familiar with the quite extensive library of assets in the sandbox2 editor and didn't even had the chance to try all out, let alone dry the ideas of whats possible and at hand.

Endorsed Art

1. Tools

2. Setup

3. Art Creation

Alien Art

By the sole nature of this mod, it depends of an certain pool of assets that share little in common with the original game.

Inherent to the way of the development of this mod, some of the key assets may still be missing. On some it is being worked on already, others are yet to receive an artist, maybe just You?

Here we will deal with importing assets that are not already in the Game and the Sandbox2 editor. Those that are Alien to the installed files

Alien Art

1. Tools

2. Setting up the system

3. Test Flight

4. Tutorials