For some time I had been busy with exploring the map editor and preparing for today’s article. A lot of things to cover, a lot of features to oversee. Traffic warning, image heavy post.
Let's get started.
For accessing the editor, you must decided, which map are you going to create. After you’re done with that, go in to the game you want to fulfil with your creations.
Next thing you want to do, is to go straight through the intuitive menus. Just basically, follow Editors button, everywhere it is the same, and then you’ll have 3 options :
- New Map let’s you to select the environment for a new map and to jump into the action.
- Load Map – this is an option you want to select, if your true task is to edit a map that already has been made by someone.
- Edit A Replay – basically, it does exactly what it states. Going this route will present you set of tools for working with replays.
As our today’s topic is the map editor, we’ll have, unfortunately, to skip the replay editor (sad). But just for now, I promise to do a replay editor article in the future (smile). But enough of these etudes, let’s get straight to the real men things.
Starting to create new map.
Straight upon pressing the button you will be harassed by the editor. The windows is going to pop up. There you will be asked about the preferred difficulty level. You have two options, either Simple or Advanced. Difference is, that in Simple you’ll get only basic block tools. Therefore, we do not need that.
So, select Advanced, and let us continue further. Again, we’re not allowed to create yet, there is one more window in our way to freedom. Select A Decoration window will prompt and ask you to select one one of four options.
We have Sunrise, Day, Sunset, Night. I think that those are quite self-explanatory, and they will affect the sky above your map. And the ambient lightning, which is quite important. I suggest you just to experiment with those options to know, what to pick. For those of you, who are not keen on experiments, I’ll present a picture with default tiles.
From this you can see the approximate difference from the same map position on the same place covered with the same material. In this case this is default grass tile that is being spawned across all the land when you start the editor.
Editing an existing map.
To edit an existing map, almost everything will be the same as it is with creating it, except that you just need to know few tricks.
- Going Editors –> Load Map will lead you to menu, where you’ll have dialogue of selection. Browse the map, and press edit in the bottom right corner. Enter the editing password, if asked.
- If you want to change decoration, or to apply a different modification to a map, just do all operations inside Load Map dialogue with LCTRL + Mouse 1 - select the map and press edit while holding down the left control button.
Too. Many. Strange. Buttons.
For my next map, and our todays example, I have selected Advanced mode and my map will be set in Day decorations. Upon loading, you should see something similar to this :
This is a field upon which the maps are being erected. Construction areas dimensions are 48 x 48 x 38, length x width x height accordingly. Before we continue, let’s familiarize ourselves with the controls in Advanced mode. That can be done by pressing [?] button in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
I think those are quite self explanatory, except two things:
- Enter racing mode [Enter] – this option allows you to enter running mode. To test all the things buy going there yourself. You can exit this mode through the [Esc] button.
- Show Helpers – this will enable helpers, a grey plane with grid on it, that will help you understand the z-level (height) of the objects, by showing only those blocks that are on one level.
Moreover, there are some hotkeys worth memorising:
- [X] + Mouse 1 (LMB) – this is the sort combination for deleting a block.
- Hold & Drag Mouse 1 – draw a partial object – a road, for example – along the path.
- Prev. + Mouse Wheel – do the same as previous except the regulating the height.
- U – Undo the last modification.
- R – Redo the last modification.
F1 – Terraformation mode
As you could get from the paragraph’s heading, you have to press F1 to get into the Terraformation Mode. You’ll see pop-up in the bottom left, new panel will open.
Terraformation mode allows you to draw landscapes, to some extent, because the tools are somewhat basic. Basically, you just select a tool, and draw an area you want to modify.
Here you can see said elements on the screen, or, to be more specific, what will be create by each tool on 2x2 block square. However, I had lied to you. Actually you can make quite interesting landscapes with this, buy combining the tiles.
So, see, basically you can do a lot,you just need to combine. I managed to do this piece in less than a minute. But to create a truly wonderful landscapes, you’ll have to take your time and look, what combinations can produce which results.
F2 - Block mode
By pressing F2, or by selecting the second icon in the yellow bar on the bottom, you can enter the block mode. It let’s you to place objects on map. That will include poles, roads, spawn cabins, builds – literally everything, except the terrain.
Through the menus, you can navigate by mouse, or by keyboard. For example, F2 –> 5 –> 2 –> 2 will give you this :
Some parts can be placed only on the ground, others can be placed only in connection with some specific blocks.
 This category are the stone blocks, or blocks based off the stone. thing is to remember, that if you will not place -x object on the ground (in the air), that it will fill it up with stone to the ground level. For example:
Some blocks do interact. I’ll give you the basics cheat sheet, but you’ll have to figure some things on your own (smile). To surprise everyone around you, including me (smile), because, to be honest, I’ll post most of basic interactions I know, during this post.
Also, I have to mention that interaction between landscapes and stone blocks is also possible. Just take basic stone block 1-3-1 and move it to the slope of the hill, until it shows green silhouette of a stone column built in to the hill. To clarify what I've written, watch the video:
Then we have the archways, that can also interact with the said stone blocks. Here the trick is to put the arch element at first, and only then to put the stone block in the same place, but a little bit lower. Also, you can make windows, by combining basic stone block with the specific archway. Which one it is - that is the matter you'll have to figure out on your own (smile).
 This is the category of grass based elements, including powerlines and other fancy stuff. The main object here, that is different from any others, is the powerline. It’s some kind of future railway for pedestrians. The point is, that it makes you move faster when you’re running on it. Also, interesting fact, but all objects with colour indicators – spawn points, jump pads, etc. – they link their colours through power rails. For example:
As you can seem, the jump pad, unlinked one, has white (neutral) colour. But the one that is, the furthest jump pad, is green, as is the spawn point and the power rail, that links them.
Also F2 –> 2 –> 6 –> 1 is an important object. It’s a light bulb – you can use those, to enhance the ambient lightning on night maps. Moreover, in  category there is a group of interesting objects. Groups  –> [4/5]. The fences add some interesting gameplay – you can see through them, but you can not neither shoot nor walk through them. The difference is that group 5 fences provide roof, whereas group 4 does not.
 This is a special category of blocks, because these are underground construction blocks. But first you have to do, is to toggle Underground view by clicking mountain icon on the middle bottom bar.
And this is how it looks.
Quite frustrating isn’t it ? Actually, it is not, because, as soon as you get into it, it’s fine. First, what you want to do, when you do the underground, is to make some entrances. Those are being put not in underground view.
Now we switch again to the underground view,and we can start building tunnels. This hall in hill was made by using entrance 3-1-1, for the land blocks I took 3-4-1 and 3-4-3. To extend the height, I used 3-5-1 and 3-5-3.
This next passageway was built using blocks from category 3-3. As you see, yellow arcs are the places where tunnel’s fragments can be connected. Note, that block 3-3-6 is used, to control the elevation of the tunnel – it has height of two levels, not one.
Also, to get the things little bit more clear, I present you two videos, that represent what those look like in-game.
This is video demonstration of the hill.
This is video demonstration of the tunnel.
Also, about the other blocks. Group 3-2 are the blocks used for making underground interiors – various vaults, halls, mountain bases etc. 3-2 are the entrances, 3-4 and 3-5 are the interior blocks, with the difference that 3-4 can be used to connect your mountain arena with an underground passageway. Block group 3-6 is used for making natural areas in your halls – stalagmites, rocks, etc. And, for those of you who wonder how to jump in underground, category 3-7 employs the jump pads for underground.
 is the category that employs various ground level blocks that interact with grass. 4-1 are trees.
Next category is 4-2, road. I think that this is self-explanatory.
Next group, 4-3, are various stones and other environmental objects.
As for the 4-4 group, it allows you to make hills climbable.
The group 4-5 is basically the same, just a little bit higher.
The last group, , is a little bit special. It presents you two sets of ornamental objects, including, obelisks. One set is white, the other one is black. Those are very good to use in city/ruin interior. I’ll present only the screenshot of black set because whit, is, uhm, just the same, only white.
Basically, that’s all. But no, you shall not be happy, because this is not the end of the guide (smile). There are more things to discuss.
I know, I missed a lot of things in my block part. I’m going to try to fulfil it in this part, by demonstrating you the most of the special blocks in the game, so you know, what are they for.
This is group 1-5. Using these objects you can set up spawn points. Difference is, that, by using 1&2 you’ll have them free, but 3&4 have to be linked with another platforms, to remove the border. And you can not jump in the said spawn points (3&4).
Shortcut to these objects is 1-6. These are objectives. First two from the left are different in the way that on one pole is centre, on the other it is from the side. Next two have wider platforms beneath them. And the last two are points without poles, on narrow and wide platforms accordingly.
These are under 1-7. As you see, we have 3 different platforms. Platform to the left gives you access to laser gun, disables jump and allows zoom. Basically it is a sniper platform. Next two platforms have one disgusting feature – they both cancel out regeneration of your ammunition. And they disallow shooting. Now that tricky part is that the middle platform, with the white ring – it heals you. As for the matt blue – if you stand there for few seconds, it makes you invulnerable. But you can not shoot. Also, no that the green arrow spawn points on stone fundament also make you impossible to shoot or to be shot while you stand in – they have the same surface.
These are the jump pads, under index of 1-9. Green will launch you with the lowest angle, blue – with the highest. Amount of arrows on the pad indicates the distance you’ll be launched for.
Now we have objects we’ve already seen, but under 2-2. The difference is, that those you can put on grass, not on stone basements. Also, there are no grass-based special platforms, so only one type of spawn points. And as we saw before – narrow (1 block) or wide (2 block) bases, and different pole positions in the circle. Two object on the left – spawn points, other six – objectives.
Then we have grass-based jump pads. Indication and the features are exactly the same as with stone based jump pads. Shortcut – 2-3.
This time I’ll take several similar groups. 2-4, 2-5 & 2-6. 2-4 are fences, that can be seen through, but can not be shot through. 2-5 are same said fences, with the difference that these provide some cover, by having ‘roof’. Also, 2-6, that small thing in the up-left corner of the image, is a light bulb. You want to use those on night maps to improve visibility.
Then we have a group under 3-7, but, unfortunately, I can not show you them, actually, because the underground view screenshots are not really informative. Still, I have to tell, that those are underground jump pads, that are the only mean of fast navigation under the surface.
Those are almost all the special block within the editor on the moment of writing this article. At least, I hope what I say is true.
First of all. what is offzone ? It is that death water, that renders areas inaccessible, because it kills you when you go in. Also, it is the same thing that goes from corners of map in Royal, killing everything in the way. Basically, it is an unforgiving border system. This is how it looks in the game :
So, how do we put these things. Actually, fairly simple. There is specific Offzone tool, that let’s you to place blocks, by left click. And to delete them, also by left click on the existing blog. You can not delete offzone with [X] Delete tool. Only with offzone tool. for bigger areas, just hold down Mouse 1 and draw the area. Use mouse wheel to control height of your offzone area.
This should cover the offzone tool pretty well.
For this part, I’ve made a little map. It looks somewhat like this:
The first what is we do, is we set up the game type. For that we go to Advanced Customization tools menu, that is the hammer icon in the bottom right corner. After pressing it, you should see something similar to this:
Quick description. I’ll just write how to do it, because there is nothing to make screenshots form.
- Set Map Type – this allows you to change the main map properties. Map type is determines, which gamemode your map will be suitable for. Map style, for now, can be ignored. Press ‘Pick from file’ and select the appropriate gamemode script.
- Set Map Objectives – does nothing for me. It does not matter, because you set objectives no through this menu (obviously).
- Edit Snapshot Camera – allows you to set the camera right for the snapshot image – map image that you’ll see on the loading screen. Mouse 2 (RMB) to rotate, mouse wheel to zoom.
- Edit Comments – this will offer you to write a commentary, that will be shown upon loading the map.
- Choose Custom Music – this is used to set a custom soundtrack for your map. The requirement is that your music will be in .ogg format.
- Compute Shadows – this is the action that you will have to do each time you add or remove any object from the map. There are 4 options – Very Fast, Fast, Default, High Quality. High Quality takes some time, but looks the best. But despite that, Nadeo’s maps on their own seem to be Default, no High Quality.
- Test The Map With Mode – it does what it says. You can select a game mode script, and test game on the fly.
- Set A Password For Editing – this used to write-protect your map from intervention, because you can try to edit any existing map.
What is left in this section, is the actual configuration of objects. For this we can use special button in the top-left corner of the screen – ShootMania\GameMode . For this demonstration I have prepared a little fragment suitable for playing either Battle or BattleWaves.
If you press the button, you should get something like this.
- Jump pads – Green light shows the flight path, red line shows the landing point.
- Green box – it indicates, that object has a property, that can be viewed/changed.
For example here, I’ll put the comparison of pole and spawn options for BattleArena map. The rules are all for all object – actually, it will write all the rules for the map. You change the options, just by clicking on them. It should be quite easy – select an object with Mouse 1 and just edit the properties that will appear on the right.
One tip. Those numbers mean the team. So, you set objects that belong to the team. Basically, for battle, you want #1 spawn to be near #1 goals, and #2 near #2 goals, because team 1 will capture second team’s goals and vice verse.
Copy and Paste tool
This is a very vital part of map editor, especially, if you want to make your map symmetric. First of all, prepare a field for experiment. Mine will look like this:
Then, we have to activate the copy/paste tool.
Yellow block-shaped cursor will appear. After selection, it should look like this:
Then use Add Selection function on copy/paste panel. It is + button. After that press > to copy it. When you will do so, copy of your selection will appear at your cursor. Like this:
Then you have several options to do. You can rotate this object with right mouse button, and use left click to place it where you want Also, if you press on the zip-disc icon –Save Selection as new Macroblock. Do it now. Similar menu should appear:
Enter a name should be obvious. Next option allows you to group you macroblocks in various directories. Create icon will allow you to make an icon for your macroblock, on the same principle as snapshot camera for the map.
As for the other manipulations you’ll have some self-explanatory buttons on the panel.°
- Remove selection will allow you to make a new selection for copy/paste
- Add selection actually allows you to select objects by one.
- Remove selection does what it says.
A note. You can access your macroblocks by F3.
Symmetry option will work, after you save your selection as macroblock. So basically – make a selection, save it as macroblock, and then apply symmetry to it.
Also, you can rotate copied parts by the right mouse button, and place them on desired elevation. Control the z-level by the mouse wheel.
Plugins are additional tools for the editor. Coding part is pretty simple, especially, if you have done it before (any type of coding, preferably C++). Plugins mode is activated by the button on the end of the panel.
After activating this, plugins menu will appear in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Just click on them to activate, and they’ll appear on the screen. Unfortunately, I am not going to explain how to create new plugins. If you have not done it before, I will have to write a guide 10-20 times longer than this, with not a 100% to succeed.
Publishing the map.
There are few things more left, that you have to do, before you can release your map.
- Check if your map is valid. Do that by looking for the flag in bottom right corner of the screen, if it’s red – the map is not valid. Clicking on it will say you, what’s wrong.
- Then you should open Advanced Customization tools menu. In there, I’d recommend you to set up an editing password, and to adjust the snapshot.
- In the same menu, calculate shadows. Don’t be lazy, do it on high quality, so community can appreciate them.
- Save the map.
- Run a test with your friends. I’d recommend you to play it for an hour or two with an optimal (or possible) amount of people.
- Fix any problems encountered. Then repeat from step 2.
- If no problems, save it, and publish it on ShootMania forums and on map exchange websites.
Yes, now you can officially say, that you have survived my map editor guide. I know it’s long and boring, but hopefully it helped you at least a bit. Many thanks for reading through it, I know that is a challenge. Special thanks to :
- You, for actually reading this.
- TStarGermany, for giving an idea, how one should write about map editor.
- Fyem, for helping out with testing and ideas. And even more thanks to him for pointing out on the missing content.
- Nadeo, for the great game that encouraged me to write this.
Good luck in your mapping projects (smile), and thank you again for reading.
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