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Skitso

Mapping questions/answers

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As my ultimate map pack thread has slowly tranformed into a generic mapping talk, I decided to put up a new thread where new(bie) mappers can get answers for their problems and discuss mapping in general.

I'll try to help you the best I can and I'm sure kabill and other decorated mapers will be here too, so you'll be in good hands. So go mapping. It's fun and easy! :)

Edited by Skitso

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Ok, I am about to start mapping.

I have read the three stickies (Stinky's tutorial is extremely helpful, thx btw) and also the wiki. And I have downloaded the unpacked tiles.

Now I have read some time ago in some post, that I can't find anymore, that somebody mentioned to save everything somewhere not connected to the original Xenonauts folder. Phew, what a sentence. With that you are not in danger an auto-update by steam will destroy your work.

So now my noob questions:

What folders I have to clone?

Do I have to clone the two Editors (exe) too?

Will the Editors use my cloned folder system or go back to Xenonauts and hence mess up with later map back-copy?

Where do I copy my finished maps back to the original to test-play them?

And what do I copy? (Tiles and everything should be there, or not, because uf the "mapatlas"? So it's only map and submaps?)

How do I test-play them as I have read that this feature is no more?

I have more questions but will hold back. Maybe this reveals itself while doing. If not: "I will be back"

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@thixotrop: Probably best to copy the entire Xenonauts directory if you can.

When you're done with the maps, you need to copy them into assets/maps/[MAP TYPE].

If you've added any submaps, you'll need to add them to the relevant folders too (in the maps/MAP TYPE] folders).

You don't need to copy any of the tiles unless you've added new ones for your maps.

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@kabill

Thanks, I can copy everything.

So the XML file of the map goes into the assets/maps/[MAP TYPE] and the submaps go into buildings, ground, props and walls.

Ok, though I have not fully grasped that submap idea, but I guess I come to this once my level editor shows something else than blackness.

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...and to test your map, just create a new shortcut to the Xenonauts exe and change the target line to:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Xenonauts\Xenonauts.e xe" -quickbattle

You can change quick battle parameters in levelsetup_squickbattle.xml.

Just add <Map tileset="yourtileset" mapname="yourmapname" />

Edited by Skitso

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And I thought to have read the quickbattle doesn't work anymore...my fault, reading more threads at once got me confused.

thx Skitso

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The "Open level Viewer" shows only black tiles.

I have copied my whole Xenonauts folder to another spot and unzipped the unpacked tiles into /assets/tiles/.

Made a simple map with only desert tiles like described in the "how to map.." sticky, but the viewer is completely black. Moving with arrows does not help.

Opened various existing maps but only some arctic maps show some water, nothing else.

Where is my error?

Edit: I used the GCLevelEditor out of the cloned folders, not the one in the steam path.

And btw. is it normal that the viewer is not available anymore once it is closed?

Edit2: Some farm maps show me ground tiles, but only some and they are divided by black tiles, no buildings, bushes or other things. Other maps alos show me only ground tiles, but not all of them.

Edited by thixotrop

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Can you add maps to a game in progress i.e. could I add the community map pack to my game and have the following battles include the new maps?

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The "Open level Viewer" shows only black tiles.

I have copied my whole Xenonauts folder to another spot and unzipped the unpacked tiles into /assets/tiles/.

Made a simple map with only desert tiles like described in the "how to map.." sticky, but the viewer is completely black. Moving with arrows does not help.

Opened various existing maps but only some arctic maps show some water, nothing else.

Where is my error?

Edit: I used the GCLevelEditor out of the cloned folders, not the one in the steam path.

And btw. is it normal that the viewer is not available anymore once it is closed?

Edit2: Some farm maps show me ground tiles, but only some and they are divided by black tiles, no buildings, bushes or other things. Other maps alos show me only ground tiles, but not all of them.

Only thing I can think of is that you've not unpacked the tiles in the right place.

Can you add maps to a game in progress i.e. could I add the community map pack to my game and have the following battles include the new maps?

Yeah, you can add/change maps mid-game and it will all work fine.

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Eventually, after some struggle, I did some initial mapping steps and also quickbattle.:rolleyes:

@kabill

You were right, I unzipped everything wrong into assets/tiles/tiles instead of assets/tiles. As Chris mentioned in his thread to unzip in /tiles, but the zip-file created a tiles folder already. My fault, haven't looked into the zip first.

However I have still some questions:

  1. In the GCLevelEditor it seems to be impossible to use props, walls and so on that are already in different damage states. Or is there a way?
  2. The prop "green barrel" in desert set seems to have no sprite and is also no ostruction as you can pass the spot. An error on my side?
  3. It seems only possible to use desert props, walls and so on in the desert mapping work, but in submaps you can use all (I have seen in Skitso Petrol station props from Xenonaut base). Why is it possible in submaps but not in normal maps?
  4. Submaps cannot use other submaps right? Or why is it impossible to use street submaps as with the LevelEditor but single street-tiles are possible?
  5. In my maps I positioned a lot of aliens outside the UFO and also friendly AI (10-20 positions). But there is never an alien outside of the UFO. The UFO (LightScout) is full and some come out when approaching. In the quickbattle.xml (see below) I made 6/10 aggressive, thus shouldn't some of them placed outside?
  6. And where are the friendlyAI soldiers? All friendlyAI that were on the map (5 are pre-set) were civies, though the xml shows only 4/8 should be civies? Yeah, and it took me some time to understand that some positions in the quickbattle.xml were commented out, tricky. :)
  7. This one is for Skitso: I have looked into your Petrolstations submaps (nice really) but don't understand how and why nearly all of your tiles are below the green grid. Also some tiles are outside the grid? If this submap is somehow a different size of grid, how did you do that and why? I thought when loading the submap the correct grid will be loaded also.

And mapping-guys (all of you out there), only now I can truely grasp what a work you have done with your map work.

On the one hand you have to know practically ALL props, walls and so on, and always browse or scroll like crazy to get the right one to paint in map/submap. And on the other hand you always have to switch between LevelEditor and SubmapEditor to adjust/adapt/improve, especially with random elements (submap-props) for changing maps.

Chapeau!

8. Is there any other method/software/tool to have a better overview and easier search-and-select of props, walls and so on. I fear I will get really annoyed with the current way to do that.

Hier is my quickbattle.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" ?><LevelSetup> <Map tileset="desert" mapname="des1" /> <SpawnTarget dropshipType="airplane.human.chinook" ufoType="airplane.alien.lightscout" ufoLandStatus="landed" /> <Aliens>   <Alien name="AI 1" race="Caesan" rank="Guard" script="defensive" isKilled="0"/>   <Alien name="AI 2" race="Caesan" rank="Guard" script="defensive" isKilled="0" />   <Alien name="AI 3" race="Sebillian" rank="Soldier" script="offensive" isKilled="0" />   <Alien name="AI 4" race="Caesan" rank="Soldier" script="offensive" isKilled="0" />   <Alien name="AI 5" race="Sebillian" rank="Soldier" script="offensive" />   <Alien name="AI 6" race="Sebillian" rank="NonCombatant" script="defensive" />   <Alien name="AI 7" race="Caesan" rank="Soldier" script="offensive" />   <Alien name="AI 8" race="Caesan" rank="Soldier" script="offensive" />   <Alien name="AI 9" race="Sebillian" rank="Soldier" script="offensive" />   <Alien name="AI 10" race="Caesan" rank="NonCombatant" script="defensive" />   <Alien name="Civilian 1" race="Human" rank="NonCombatant" script="civilian" />   <Alien name="Civilian 2" race="Human" rank="NonCombatant" script="civilian" />   <Alien name="Civilian 3" race="Human" rank="NonCombatant" script="civilian" />   <Alien name="Civilian 4" race="Human" rank="NonCombatant" script="civilian" />   <Alien name="Friendly AI 1" race="Human" rank="Soldier" script="friendlyai" />   <Alien name="Friendly AI 2" race="Human" rank="Soldier" script="friendlyai" />   <Alien name="Friendly AI 3" race="Human" rank="Soldier" script="friendlyai" />   <Alien name="Friendly AI 4" race="Human" rank="Soldier" script="friendlyai" /> </Aliens></LevelSetup>

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1. To do this, you will need to create your own spectres. Load an *image* (not a spectre) that looks like how you want it to, and then set its characteristics (pivot, passability, HP and so on). Then "save spectre" at the bottom. You need to make sure you package the new spectre with your map pack to allow it to be used as well.

2. Sounds like a mistake somewhere in the spectre. When you load it in the Submap editor, do you get an image in the top right corner of the screen?

3. To use spectres between tilesets, you need to make copies of them. You can do this simply by copy/pasting the spectres and images from one tileset into another, but you need to change the image file directories in the spectres as well so that the copied spectres are using the copied images as well and not the ones in the original tileset. Again, any copies you make need to be packaged with you map pack in the new tileset to be used.

4. No, you can't use submaps in submaps. The only exception is ground tiles, which you can set up so they can be pasted en masse in the submap editor.

5. Might be because you've set them to offensive rather than aggressive. I found this today using the quick battle function that these weren't set correctly by default. That said, I've had some trouble getting the quick battle to spawn the right aliens, so it might be something else instead.

6. Can't help here.

7. Sounds like you're looking at the top level (when a submap loads, it by default shows the topmost level). Might be wrong, though.

8. Not that I'm aware of. If you do a lot of mapping you'll gain an intuitive sense of where all the props are; that's the best I can offer.

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>1 Sounds complex, will check if I can do that.

>2 There is no image in the Editor and I can't find a png either.

>3 Sound complex again. In the "new mapping guide" there was something mentioned about mixing tilesets, but Skitso did that with submaps, so I am confused if this is allowed or just "bad style". The "bring everything you need" is clear to me for map use.

>4 Yeah have seen it with the single-tiles.

>5 So there is a difference, hmm. (6) I had the wrong friendlies, civies instead of soldiers.

>7 Changing the level did not do anything, when I deleted a tile, always the top one vanished, regardless of level. But the submap editor is still a bastard to me.

>8 Damn, like I said, I fear that I get annoyed and scared away because of this. If there was a better order of those; like vehicles, plants, walls (and I count the sandbags and barriers to this too) and so on. Though which order calls for a heated debate, I guess.

Thank you kabil for you answers. I will try more maps before I make up my mind.

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Just some follow-ups:

1. It's probably not as complex as it sounds. I don't know whether the submap editor guide has a guide to making new props, but if it doesn't I could probably write one as that might help.

2. Yeah, the props's not set properly. Is it one of the default vanilla ones, or did you copy it from somewhere?

3. It's possible that the guide is out of date with regards to mixing tilesets as it used to be possible to simply reference images in other tileset folders (I think). Copying assets is fine, though, you just need to make sure everything is set up fine (again, a guider to this would probably demonstrate that it's not as complex as it sounds.

7. Don't know then.

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Regarding 2, then, I can only assume that the prop isn't set properly. This isn't impossible - when I was making my random map pack I found some spectres which had (serious) errors with them that I assume meant that they weren't being used in any of the vanilla submaps. If/when I get back to the community mapping patch stuff, I'll have a look and see if I can find out what the issue is.

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Hello mappers. I have questions, and I require answers. My knowledge of mapping is somewhat limited.

I'm wondering if it's possible to create small "hot zone" maps, where one has to hit the ground running (LIKE 'NAM). For example, when I see a typical light-scout farm map, it looks to me like nine submaps (in a 3x3 formation?). What I'm after is a narrower version of this (like a 1x3 formation - the dropship at one end, the UFO and alien spawns at the other, and an "engagement zone" in the middle). Which would result in a rather bloody and quick battle. Is it possible to make maps this small? I don't want them for every map, just for occasional "surprise" battles with small (corvette and under) UFO's.

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Hello mappers. I have questions, and I require answers. My knowledge of mapping is somewhat limited.

I'm wondering if it's possible to create small "hot zone" maps, where one has to hit the ground running (LIKE 'NAM). For example, when I see a typical light-scout farm map, it looks to me like nine submaps (in a 3x3 formation?). What I'm after is a narrower version of this (like a 1x3 formation - the dropship at one end, the UFO and alien spawns at the other, and an "engagement zone" in the middle). Which would result in a rather bloody and quick battle. Is it possible to make maps this small? I don't want them for every map, just for occasional "surprise" battles with small (corvette and under) UFO's.

Yeah, you can make maps with dimensions however you want.

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Hello mappers. I have questions, and I require answers. My knowledge of mapping is somewhat limited.

I'm wondering if it's possible to create small "hot zone" maps, where one has to hit the ground running (LIKE 'NAM). For example, when I see a typical light-scout farm map, it looks to me like nine submaps (in a 3x3 formation?). What I'm after is a narrower version of this (like a 1x3 formation - the dropship at one end, the UFO and alien spawns at the other, and an "engagement zone" in the middle). Which would result in a rather bloody and quick battle. Is it possible to make maps this small? I don't want them for every map, just for occasional "surprise" battles with small (corvette and under) UFO's.

Wow, you have read my mind somehow, you sure you don't have any Psion genes somewhere?

Although still far away from any...ehm...playable maps, I intend to do some desert maps, canyonesque with narrow space but a lot of rock cover where you have to go from one side to the other.

I still struggle with submaps though..and the friggin' tedious probs/walls/building selection mechanics.

(you have to know nearly all graphics to know where to look, and then its loading..waiting..scrolling...selscting..nah, that isn't it...scrolling and so on and so on...*sigh*)

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I have recently started my mapping adventure and I have a question.

It is stated in this thread, that to use spectres between tilesets, I need to make copies of them and to change the image file directories in the spectres as well, so that the copied spectres are using the copied images as well and not the ones in the original tileset.

However I created a submap using industrial spectres and used that submap to create a simple farm map using farm tileset. I didn’t make a copy of any spectres. I tested the map ingame (not with quickbattle editor but during the normal playthrough) and submap was displayed properly.

Here comes my question. Is it necessary to make copies of spectres, that I would like to use to create a submap in order to use that submap, to create a map from another tileset? For example: Submap is made from industrial spectres and used in farm tileset.

It is possible that such map seemed to work properly during my playthrough because I downloaded and unpacked game tiles? So such a map would not work for somebody that has not downloaded and unpacked game tiles?

Or I need to make copies of spectres from another tilset only if I would like to use spectres from different tilesets to create a particular submap?

I looked around map edior wiki and others threads in this forum but I'm still confused.

Thanks for help.

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@60FeetTall: See, now, I *thought* you needed to make copies (it's possibly my post upthread that says this) but I've found recently that this doesn't seem to be the case as you've indicated.

I think the unpacked tiles hypothesis is a good one, though. It may be that the game can cope with referencing the unpacked tiles, but can't reference the tile atlases which are otherwise used. As such, I'd suggest testing your map on a copy that doesn't have the tiles unpacked before doing anything else (as you'll potentially save yourself effort either way). And if you do this, if you can indicate the results somewhere on the forum that would be great as I'd quite like to know myself.

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The idea that the game will not be able to read tiles from another tileset comes originally from Chris when he posted about adopting the tile compression system if I recall correctly.

That system is not used now though as it caused other problems and was replaced with the tile atlas system.

It is possible that using the unpacked tiles hides the problem and that it will only appear for players using the atlas system though.

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Ah, ok. I thought the tile atlas system was the compression system being used. Oops.

I might do a quick test to be sure, but I suspect you may be right.

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Ok, so I did some testing today and this is how it went.

Xenonauts copy with unpacked tilsets.

I had made a multispectre submap (a building) out of spectres from soviettown, town and industrial tilsetes. Than, I used that submap in farm tilset map later referred to as “testmap”. It worked during normal playthrough.

Xenonauts copy without unpacked tilsets.

After that I had unistalled xenonauts and removed all related folders from my hard drive except folders stored in “Documents” where savegames are kept. Than I had removed all farm maps except of “testmap” and started a newgame. However, when I tried to intercept a crashsite strange things began to happen. Firstly, it was stated that ufo crashed on arctic terrain despite the crashsite being in the middle of USSR. I did not send a dropship there so I’m not sure if the game would load “testmap” or some arctic map but I assume the latter. Secondly when I intercepted a landed ufo “testmap” loaded however without submap made out of tiles from tilsets other than farm tileset.

So, it seems that in order to make a multitile submap it is better to copy tiles just as You’ve said.

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