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How useful is it to create submaps / levels right now?

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Since the game is still in full development, I'm wondering if there are going to be changes made in the future that might render currently created submaps/levels useless?

I was actually holding out on pre-ordering so that I could make use of the funding thermometer, but the level editor seems too much fun to keep it waiting!

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I don't think anything will be rendered uselees. A submap might need updateing with new art if the artist replaces something with new art. But it wouldn't be useless and it shouldnt bee to difficult to just change the art of the affected tiles.

Why would you not be able to make use of the funding thermometer if you preorder?

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Why would you not be able to make use of the funding thermometer if you preorder?

Well, I was under the impression that you could participate in the funding thermometer by pre-ordering as well as donating. I now see that only donating is mentioned in the community-involvement thread, but I remember Chris talking about pre-orders as well a while ago.

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He gets money from preorders (that he then reinvests into the development) so more preorders will affect the funding thermometer in the way that he wont need to set the goals on it as high.

Imo you shouldn't hold off to contribute if you want to contribute because a feature tracking your contribution is yet to be implemented. Besides you're already showing off your badge on the forum =)

Edited by Gorlom

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He gets money from preorders (that he then reinvests into the development) so more preorders will affect the funding thermometer in the way that he wont need to set the goals on it as high.

Imo you shouldn't hold off to contribute if you want to contribute because a feature tracking your contribution is yet to be implemented. Besides you're already showing off your badge on the forum =)

Yeah, I actually held back my preorder because at some point Chris asked us not to preorder until the funding thermometer is active. I think it was to make sure that the real X-Com fans would not have spent all their money before the thermometer is in place (and I suppose he had enough funding at that moment to keep going for a while).

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That .... sounds odd. I don't recall anything like that. When was this?

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I think somewhere in nov/dec 2011. Can't find the thread anymore, but I do recall it clearly. Then again, I could be wrong! But it really doesn't matter anymore, as I'll get my pre-order soon anyway so I can mess with the map-editor.

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Yeah, no need to hold of pre-ordering until the funding thermometer is active. We are working on it, but we'll get the pre-order money either way. You can always donate a few extra dollars on Kickstarter afterwards when the thermometer goes active if you so desire.

Also, the terrain editor is a pain in the ass to learn but it's very powerful once you have. And we're just adding an Undo button to it so it's a bit less frustrating to use. Realistically at this point we won't be making many more changes to the tile mechanics so if you want to start mapping, please do. We've not finished generating the tilesets but it'll just be a case of adding more tiles in the future rather than replacing the old ones.

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If the tile art gets replaced (at least by one with the same name) it should automatically update any submaps that use it.

Creating the maps is actually quite fun when you get into it.

If I had enough attention span I would have completed a few by now...

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Thanks for the comments! I'll be getting my preorder soon, and hopefully I'll be able to show off some cool submaps/levels.

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Hijacking this thread and changing the question to:

What is more useful: To create submaps or maps/levels?

I was reading lots of threads here regarding mapping and the randomness of maps.

As far as I understood it, it like this:

a) If you use props in the level editor they stay on the same spot every time you load the map/level.

b) If you make multiple sub-maps with/without props you can get either the sub-map with props or the one without.

Example:

a) You used grassfield20_x20.xml and added some trees in the level editor. It will be always the same.

b) You made a new sub-map grassfield20_x20.xml and called it grassfieldtrees20_x20.xml. Now you will have a grassfield with trees or not if the map is loaded or even both in different places each time you load the map.

As I see it, it would be better to make more sub-maps, than detailed maps, because this will make the levels more diverse, when they are loaded. The sacrifice would be that whoever makes maps with the level editor loses freedom and does not really know where props will pop up (except when he can assign a specific sub-map) and his detailed map will colide with the sub-map props (like in the example the trees where they were not anticipated)

I think this point should be made clear in the level design guidelines. It would be bad if people make lots of maps now and then it's decided that we can get more variety with sub-maps, which would make the old maps incompatible.

Maybe this has been already discussed, but I couldn't find the thread.

Edited by Mothman
typo

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It hasn't been discussed, and I think what you've said has a lot of value. I think it'd be of considerable value to experiment with expanding the library of sub-maps and see what effect that has on the current maps. Are you up for some sub-mapping?

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I already tried to alter the grassfield20_x20.xml submap by adding a second one with treestumps and this was the result:

error.jpg

Not only do the submap props (tree stumps) collide with level-editor props, submap props are also treated like "below" the level-editor props (which of course makes sense).

I think an option in the level-editor to chose if random submaps or a certain one should be used, is a must in order to work with submap variations.

error.jpg

error.jpg.db9366966b5461af1aac49b4931bcc

Edited by Mothman

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How would you want it phrased? Imagine it as a toggle in the level editor. "Freeze submap"? or perhaps "Permit random submaps"?

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A toggle option would work, if there was a default.

"Freez Submap" and "Permit random submap" implies that there is a default that will be used if random submaps are turned off. Right now there is, but only because there is only one submap (e.g. for hay or grass each one). "Permit random submap" for a certain submap you place would work, if everybody knows that the default submap is an empty one.

But even then there would be still a problem if the submap props are at the edge of the submap and are shown under the normal props on the submap next to it like in the picture I posted. Maybe this can be fixed if it's just stated in the guidelines and people refrain from putting submap probs near the edge of the submap.

As far as the behaviour of the submap props goes, it seems to be the same as if they were map props. I guess the AI also doesn't distinguish between submap or map prop.

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Okay, that does pose a problem with any indoor environment because of course you'd want enclosing walls around the environment and possibly props (such as chairs, desks, machinery) near those enclosing walls. I haven't tried it myself, so how does a random submap interact with other random submaps next to it? It would seem that random submaps have to be carefully laid out to prevent clashes between them.

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Ground submaps with props next to each other cause no problems. It's like two building submaps next to each other, they just coexist.

But a ground submap with props and a building submap do show some problems.

Behind the barn or under the barn it's ok but if the machine is just in front of the barn you get this:

submaps.jpg

The red rectangle indicates where the other machine is (but since it's under the building submap it's not visible)

I guess fixing this would be a lot of trouble, so the only option would be to place things inside a ground submap not near the edges and do not mix those ground submaps with building submaps. A default empty map and a toogle option would help a lot.

Oh, I also forgot how spawn points will work with the random props. Spawn points are not set in the submaps but in the level editor.

I'm still wonder if it's worth the trouble.

The only thing that we can achieve with it, is that maps with large ground submaps will have props in different places on those large ground submaps. Is this little diversity really worth the trouble?

I guess we should be happy that the level editor is so easy to use and just make more maps.

Submap editing is probably the most effective when it comes to buildings.

OT:

Is it possible to place two Chinook spawn points so that the starting location on the same map will alter?

submaps.jpg

submaps.jpg.f656651239de20662d952932f3b7

Edited by Mothman

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I'm guessing that's why Chris has mostly abandoned random submaps >_<.

It used to be possible in earlier versions. In fact, I think some of Moxar's new maps have two dropship spawn points for Chinooks.

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Yeah, I guess we found the reason why.

Thanks for discussing this, I feel like I finally understood how and why map generation in Xenonauts work.

I guess someday in the future one could make a mod, so the map will always be filled with submaps from one directory. Those are always the same size but have different content and are placed evenly on the whole map. And with this we have recreated old X-COM map generation. :D

I hate myself a little for comparing Xenonauts to X-COM again, because I came to like Xenonauts for what it is and not what it was meant to "replace".

EDIT:

Ahahaha. I just realized you can already add your own directory and create new submaps. Like field_swamp and then it will chose from different specters you put in the directory (of course first you would have to create them).

But the possibility alone is awesome.

In theory you could now fill the whole map with field_xcom which is located in a directory with all the different submaps which are recreations of the original tiles and see how they are randomly disturbed in every game. And since they are all submaps on the same level they don't interfere with each other. The only problem would be that a building submap can spawn twice or even more. But even this can be somehow fixed.

This editor and the submaps have alot of potential.

Edited by Mothman

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You'd have to work out some rules for making multiple submaps. Something like:

1) Dropship submaps are always mostly blank (this is to prevent props from appearing in the dropship, and props from blocking doors)

2) Submaps must have specific points which are always blank to allow distribution of alien spawns. (If this is standardised, then you always know where to put the spawns).

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Is it possible to place two Chinook spawn points so that the starting location on the same map will alter?

Yep. You can place two alien aircraft positions too (which means 2 landed, 2 crashed, and 2 chinooks, for instance)...

All of my maps but the terror one have at least 2 xenonauts and 2 alien possible spots.

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These are the rules I am using when making maps. Of course, I do not follow them everytime, but it helps my leveldesign.

  • dimention has to be in direct relation with the ship's size and crew number.
  • civilian and friendly IA number must be controled.
  • at least two spawn position must be allowed for both Xenonauts and Alien. Don't forget Shrike and Valkyrie.

[table=class: grid]

[tr]

[th]ufotype[/th]

[th]Size[/th]

[th]#friendly and civies[/th]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]smallscout[/td]

[td]60x60[/td]

[td]2-3[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]scout[/td]

[td]60x60[/td]

[td]2-3[/td]

[/tr]

[tr]

[td]corvette[/td]

[td]70x70[/td]

[td]3-4[/td]

[/tr]

[/table]

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The problem that i have found with the submap system is that the random generation can make maps unplayable.

It also takes away a lot of character from the maps and makes them aesthetically bland as the yhave no central theme/story.

I would aim to have 10 maps for each ship for each tileset the aim to have at least 60/70 maps on launch for each tileset.

You could even add a switch so that once a map is used it is taken out of rotation until all maps in that class are used.

If you create a wider range of supmaps, building designs, props etc then creating unique one off maps is easier and more interesting.

UFO killed my interest when I replayed the same maps over and over.

Edited by flashman

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