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Thread: Map Editor

  1. #1

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    I am going to start making a map editor for STW. I have begun the process of de-ciphering the map files. The progress report so far is that I can make small hills using a hex editor

    Obviously there is still a lot to do in terms of understanding how these files work and developing a reliable method of editing them.

    I am starting this thread really just to let people know what I am doing, and so that people can post suggestions, information etc. to me.

    Wish me luck on my quest!

  2. #2
    Member Member BanzaiZAP's Avatar
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    Best of luck, Rob! Keep us posted! If you need someone to act as backup and do graphics work, testing or anything, let me know.

    -- B)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    Damn straight we wish you luck! Go get 'em Rob!!

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

  4. #4

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    Two encouragements within 12 minutes of my post

    I'm impressed

  5. #5
    Senior Member Senior Member The Black Ship's Avatar
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    Make that 3 Rob. Do this and I'll buy you a six-pack- your choice
    All we are saying....is give peas a chance - Jolly Green Giant

  6. #6
    Member Member Yamaga Shimazu's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Rob:
    [B]I am going to start making a map editor for STW. I have begun the process of de-ciphering the map files. The progress report so far is that I can make small hills using a hex editor

    YES !
    Count me in for the support AND for the testing



  7. #7
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    Good Job Rob !!!

    If you need any testing, counselling on the shape of the maps, rely on me.

    You are honoured rob!

    ------------------
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    Visit my resource centre at:

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  8. #8

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    Go Rob. Are you going to try to make any new graphics when you make this map editor?

    Good Luck anyhow.

  9. #9

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    I'm not sure if it's possible to introduce new graphics without replacing existing ones. I'm no artist, so I won't be making any new graphics myself.

    I would advise anyone who is interested in making new graphics for Shogun to have a look at the .TGA and .LBM files (you can view them with ACDSee or any good graphics package) to get an idea of how they work. Creating new unit graphics should be possible by editing these (remember to make backups before doing anything).

  10. #10

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    Progress Report:

    I'm making some progress on understanding the map files. I've written a very basic little program that can generate a totally flat map (yes, TOTALLY flat ). With a little more work I should be able to change the heights to anything I want. The idea I am working on at the moment is a way of taking some kind of height map (possibly a bitmap file) and using that to generate a map.

    You can see a screenshot of the flat map here.

    I haven't figured out how to change the textures properly yet, but I know where the information is stored and I haven't really given it that much attention yet anyway.

    Can't for the life of me understand how trees and models (bridges, castles etc.) work, but I haven't dug too deeply on those either. (note: the trees in the above screenshot come from copying model & texture data from Totomi).

    [This message has been edited by Rob (edited 11-17-2000).]

  11. #11
    Member Member DrNo's Avatar
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    Great Rob, keep up the good work.

  12. #12
    Nur-ad-Din Forum Administrator TosaInu's Avatar
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    Hello Rob,

    Great work!
    I was about to write a detailed how to make maps today, but when I started up the demo I made a mistake. Thanks to that mistake I learned something :-).

    In the bdf file you can enter the map you want to use. I typed Tami Kochi (wanted to check some textureID).

    The map the was showed was not Tami Kochi, it was a map that looked much like a map I've seen before and used as a base for a new map.
    I could never reproduce the event that gave me this map. And now it was here again. What happened? Tami Kochi was NOT in my maps folder at this very time, so shogun used some kind of default map.

    I also discovered another feature today: ctrl mouse click changes the height of the entire map. I'm convinced that the editor can do a lot more than I know; 'just' figure out how.

    About textures/models. The editor is not wysiwyg. There are about 126 textures. Some textures have models attached! Some examples:
    4 gives smooth green.
    8 gives dark dense wood.
    7, 6, 5 gives different kinds of wood and makes a smooth transition from dark green to smooth green.
    38 gives the monastry.
    37 gives a house.
    30,31,32 gives a castle.
    26 gives a road.
    44 gives 4 trees.

    There is a Model mode. Models can be included that way, but not saved? Did the devellopers disable something?

    Beware for the texture ID 0 (127): this is a null texture and messes everything.
    There are two layers in shogun: 1st is water, on top of that is the 'wireframe' that binds the landtiles.

    Changing textures can be achieved by choosing no patch moused and using - = to change ID and [ ] to change direction.

    Some trees can be included using mode tree bit. Mousclick inserts them backspace removes the last and - = [ ] to change size and type.

    Question: is it possible to track tiny differences between 2 jjm files using the hexeditor?
    For example: is it possible to track a hexcode that is responsible for one changed texture?

    I'm really looking forward to try your work.


    Ja mata
    Toda TosaInu

    P.S. did you find a possibility to import maps from the full game into the demo?
    P.S. 2 is your flat map available?
    Ja mata

    TosaInu

  13. #13

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    Thanks for the info on models & textures!

    The flat map is now available for download.

    Also, I have written a small program that converts full maps into demo-compatible maps. Hopefully this will be useful.

    Some URLs:
    Flat Map
    Map Converter

    To use the map converter, simply run mapconv.exe. Type in the name of the map file (include .jjm) and it will produce a file called output.jjm. This should be a demo-compatible version of the original map.

    It is a good idea to place mapconv.exe in your maps folder so you don't have to type the full path.

    I have not used the .bdf files before. Normally to view my maps in the demo I rename them to Tutmap1.jjm and load the tutorial. This can cause problems with the .hgt files. Sometimes the .hgt files get confused with all the re-naming.

    This shouldn't be an issue if you are using a different method to load the maps.

  14. #14
    Nur-ad-Din Forum Administrator TosaInu's Avatar
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    Great job Rob! Thanks.
    Ja mata

    TosaInu

  15. #15
    Member Member BanzaiZAP's Avatar
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    Just so'z ya know'z, I'm cracking into those TGA and LBM files, so I may have a demo unit/textures soon. More info as it happens.....

    -- B)

  16. #16

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    Progress report:

    I can change the textures properly now. Not figured out how the models work yet.

    Now that I can edit tile heights and textures, I am getting close to being able to start planning the editor interface. Any suggestions on what it should look like would be most appreciated. I don't think I will be able to make a full 3D editor like the demo editor, at least not in the first version. But if there is no other good way of doing it I will just have to learn how to do 3D graphics. I've been meaning to do that for ages anyway

    Oh yeah, did the map converter work ok?

  17. #17
    Nur-ad-Din Forum Administrator TosaInu's Avatar
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    Hello Rob,

    Good to hear that you make good progress!
    If you know how to handle textures, than you can insert some models. Don,t know a bout bridges, couldn't insert them myself thusfar. Perhaps it is a road texture that is submerged in water? But why then is there a model mode in the editor (can included models, but can't save them)?

    Unfortunately the mapconverter does not work properly.
    Converted maps also don't work anymore with the full game: so I guess it's not because of an unsupported texture. It might not be first priority, but if it's hard to make your editor 3D, then the demo editor might be a usefull second tool, so a mapconvertor might be usefull.

    Last friday I was about to make a detailed write up about how to make maps. Then I discovered things I didn't knew, and....

    I will write one soon.

    I uploaded your flatdemo to my site: some people encountered serious problems finding this forum/topic.

    ------------------
    Ja mata
    Toda TosaInu
    Ja mata

    TosaInu

  18. #18

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    Damn!

    Well that's weird because the map converter seemed to work for me. I have converted quite a few maps with it and all worked OK. Could you tell me 2 things:
    1) Does the map editor give any error messages?
    2) What is the size of the files produced by the converter?

    I will have another look at it today. I really ought to test these things properly before releasing them

    Bridges are models AFAIK, but I haven't done anything with water yet, so I can't be 100% certain.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  19. #19
    Nur-ad-Din Forum Administrator TosaInu's Avatar
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    Sorry Rob,

    The flatdemo seems not to work with the convertor at all. I forgot to type the .jjm extension for the other maps I tried to convert. The mapconvertor works fine, very good indeed!

    This way you can use any of the full game maps as starting material in the demo editor.

    Don't be frightened by some weird displayed textures!
    If you load the map to the full game everything is fine.

    This converter is a must have tool for map makers!



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    Ja mata
    Toda TosaInu
    Ja mata

    TosaInu

  20. #20
    Senior Member Senior Member Kraellin's Avatar
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    excellent! good work rob! that will save a ton of work in editing!

    just remember to save your maps to different names, guys. we dont want 10 diff totomis out there.

    K.

  21. #21

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    That raises an interesting question. What happens if two people have different versions of the same map?

    Is there any checking done to prevent this?

    Also, I will have a new and more user-friendly version of the map converter ready some time tonight.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Senior Member Kraellin's Avatar
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    rob,

    the only data i have on if the game checks maps for the same version or not is by going to the multiplayer chat room. if you have a map that no one else has, they can see the map name when you host but cant join your game. that could just be based on map names though. there's a simple way i can test it though. i've got an altered version of tutmap3 i can load into the full game dir and simply go to the chat room and try it with someone. i'll let ya know.

    K.

  23. #23
    Member Member IRONLUNG's Avatar
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    Great work guys! keep it up.



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    IRONLUNG

  24. #24
    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    I agree IL, this is just what the community needed!

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

  25. #25

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    Thanks for pointing me in this direction Rob, from what I read you've been doing some sterling work.

    When I get more time I will be taking some in depth looks into these posts and map editing, I hope I can provide you with some support.

    A heartfelt thanks from me.



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    HOST OF CHAOS

  26. #26
    Senior Member Senior Member Kraellin's Avatar
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    ok, here's a thought, rob. what if rather than making a new editor we simply took the existing demo editor and 'fixed it'. it does work after all. it's just not that user friendly. would it be possible to simply make it more user friendly and also trim its file size a bit? we dont NEED a demo game, just an editor. would it be possible to trim away the demo game part and just leave and modify the demo editor?

    the game creators might even support such a thing or help in some way on this also...dunno. does anyone have a line in to any of the folks that made the game? and if so could you give us an email addy or something to try and contact them? if nothing else maybe they'd provide some docs on the current demo editor.

    looking at it the other way around, rob, would it be possible to strip out the editor functions in any way and combine them into a stand-alone editor that could also then be made better? i know this tends to get iffy regarding legal stuff. most software agreements say pretty stongly 'no reverse engineering of any kind allowed without written permission'. but again, just another reason to get ahold of the creators themselves. i'd be happy to write them if anyone has a known workable address for them.

    K.

  27. #27
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    I believe that's exactly what the promised editor was supposed to be- 'they said' that they are going to refine the one they are using (

  28. #28
    Member Member Yamaga Shimazu's Avatar
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    Answering to Jaydee:

    "cheers guys, keep it up, i'm really becoming worried here that we will end up going the same way falcon 4 did..."

    Well, falcon4 still lives and rules among the flight sims though is becoming rather old and all of this thanks to unofficial patches.
    I believe this is the way stw will evolve from now on.


    "oh, hehe, speaking about that, maybe somebody should go get iBeta guys hooked on shogun for a few realism patches *sigh*"

    I have tried, more than once, unfortunately the ibeta is busy elsewhere, thus the "rp group" which has come out doesnt even have its own messageboard anymore at ibeta's site.
    The involvment of ibeta in the stw development phase is impossible at the moment. Hasbro answered to the f4 players and allowed ibeta to work on it.
    This is not going to happen with stw for there is no workable link with the programmers, dreamtime or ea at all.
    Sadly....for if there was the chance (and i tried contacting them too) we would have already started.

    Stay tuned though, we are moving in this direction and feedback, suggestions, programming hints and the like will be very much appreciated.



  29. #29

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    I don't think it's possible to modify the existing demo editor, in the sense of 'patching' it.

    It certainly is possible to make tools that work outside of the demo editor. For example an external texture tool, which could be used to modify a texture without screwing all the other ones up . But this would require you to constantly flip between different editing tools.

    What I would envision for this is a top-down (2D) view of a map, allowing you to copy and paste textures onto the map. This wouldn't be used for altering heights etc. only for textures.

    Of course, I would have to find the texture images first, something I haven't done yet...

    Let me know whether you think this idea is worthwhile.

  30. #30
    Senior Member Senior Member The Daimyo's Avatar
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    Looks like some of you have really strained some cells trying to figure this one out. Good Job so far. I'd like to add a few things here, that may help matters.
    First off, my background as it pertains to this sorta thing - I've been designing game mods and TC's for about 5 years or so now, and have experience with about 10 different A list games when it comes to making new toys for them. I dunno if that will help here, but here it goes.
    After having had a thorogh look at the game files and trying to figure out what applications made what, I've come to some conclusions.
    1 We need plugins for the software that made the maps from scratch if we are really going to do anything innovative here. We can pull and push those hills and trees around all day but it's not really doing much when you take a step back and look at it overall - compared to everything else out there. Not to mention, distributing the mods is going to be hectic, and may require us all to do some major teamwork and provide some educational measures in order to avoid the 1001 posts from the newbies that DON'T know how to follow the directions for a manual installation of the altered files.

    2 Richie and the rest of the Dev. Team have already stated that they will include a map editor and similar applications in future upgrades. I'd hate to see you all break eggs over doing this since it's really not going to net much more than a learning experience for a few. I want it now, but apparently we're being ignored for the moment concerning this. The almighty Tournament Leagues and Ladder play have taken the spotlight for the moment.

    3 We need to push #2 out of the way for a second. Hehe...

    There's other issues to address here, but I think the most pressing of them for the moment is that WE ALL need to get the cooperation of the Development team on this matter in order for this or any other "Mod" project to really see some fruit.
    Why Them? Well, because we're not supposed to be hacking the game to make new toys for ourselves to play with, then distributing them (royalty free or not), due to the sensitive nature of this game online right now.
    If someone hacks the Shogun.exe and the couple of other important files, then it's going to open up a barnstorm of shit for all of us. We're already starting to see some hackers cheating online, and it's going to get much worse if we show people how to do anything close to it.
    I'm not trying to say we should really stop trying to be innovative, hell no, I'm mearly suggesting that we try and go through the proper channels first, and maybe, just maybe - we'll get the cooperation needed to make this happen, and make it happen a whole hell of a lot easier than they way it's going now.
    I don't know about you, but I'd rather be using 3D Studio Max, Paintshop Pro, WorldCraft 3.3, or similar software to put together the maps, textures, and etc. than using a hex editor and acdsee ANYDAY of the week.
    Let's see if we can put together an official request for action or a requisition for plugins and tools so that we can do this right.

    The folks in other game communities have had to do the same on a few occassions - such as with R6's Rogue Spear, where all of the interested players and mod makers signed an official petition (around 5,000 people in 1 month!) to get the tools and plugins they needed so that they could make maps and other great mods. I don't see why we can't get the same kinda action going here. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard.



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    The Daimyo
    Miaowara "Kakizaki" Tomokato
    @http://www.planettotalwar.com

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