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Author Topic: Minor Tutorial for Map Making  (Read 7177 times)


  • Lookout
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Minor Tutorial for Map Making
« on: August 08, 2014, 06:09:05 AM »
Hi Guys

Here is a small tutorial on how to make maps for LEADtoFire.
Since everything is still very much in development, the level editor is no exception. Also, the map format may change overtime, so it is very possible this tutorial will be outdated soon. But as for now, this is how it works.
Some knowledge of the XML syntax will be necessary.

How maps work:
A map is saved in an XML file. A map consists mainly of two data sets: elevation data and terrain data. Elevation data stores the data of the map per tile. Terrain data stores the terrain type per tile. In general there are three type for terrain data: grass, rock and water. Elevation data and terrain data are visualized in PNG files. These can be edited using an image editor. The game will process any changes that are made to the PNG files automatically and updates the XML file.
Elevation data and terrain data can be edited in the in-game editor too.

Here is a small step by step tutorial:

Step 1:
Open LEADtoFire and go to the level editor to make a new level. Choose the dimensions. Usually 50 by 50 will suffice.
Save it under your favourite name and close the game.

Step 2: (you can skip to step 4, but not doing so will save you a lot of work in the end)
Go to the folder "Savedata/Elevation".
Here you will find a PNG file with the name you chose. This PNG file holds the elevation for each tile in the map.
Open it with an image editor of your choice.
In the folder "Savedata/Terrain" you will find the terrain type PNG.
It is wise to open these as layers in an image editor like GIMP or Photoshop, so that you can match elevation with terrain type.

Step 3:
Use the image editor to set up the elevation data for the map. At the bottom of the image you'll see the different colours used for the elevation. Try to find out which colour corresponds to what elevation level.
Remember that units can see one elevation level up from where they stand, but not two or more. Use this in your level design.
You will have to add ramps at a later stage to make units transition form different elevation levels, so keep that in mind.

Step 4:
Once you are done, save (overwrite) the elevation PNG file and start working on the terrain type. Again, try to find out which colour corresponds to what terrain type. Remember that water can enhance your level design drastically.
Save (overwrite) the terrain PNG file and close the the image editor.

Step 5:
Open LEADtoFire and open your new map in the map editor. If you haven't skipped step 3 you will now have all the elevation data and terrain data for the map. If you have skipped it, you will have to do it manually.
- Add ramps to the level and minerals. Minerals should be placed in a 3x3 square. The middle square should be the HQ mineral, the others should be the farm minerals. They all look the same visually, so make sure you do this correctly.
- Add decor to spice up the visuals.
- Add pigfarms and HQ positions (under 'structures'). Typically every HQ starts out with two pigs. Make sure you select the right team number at the top when placing team related structures and ships (units).
- Place the flag bearer in the ship menu to determine the start position. Only one per team of course!
Save the map when you are done.

Step 5:
Additionally you may want to change the following in the XML file:
 - Edit the in-game name of the world inside the tag "WorldName".
 - If you don't want armies to spawn at random locations, set "AssignRandomArmies" to false.

Step 6:
Play test

Additional notes:
- Make sure players don't start on water. Rats can swim but you will prefer them dry.
- Save the XML files of the map in the community folder once it is finished as a backup. They WILL be removed from the folder once a new build comes up. If you might lose your map this way, look at the folder history in Dropbox to restore it, or contact me if you can't figure it out.
- There is no way to play custom maps over Steam, other than making sure all players have the same version of the map in their "Content/worlds" folder.

Making maps is really a trial and error procedure. Try stuff, have fun and don't forget to show off in the chat :P

Happy mapping ^^

« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 05:19:34 AM by TrenchCode »


  • Locksmith
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Re: Minor Tutorial for Map Making
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2014, 03:47:02 AM »
Nice efforts you made :)


  • Lookout
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Re: Minor Tutorial for Map Making
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2014, 05:20:18 AM »
Much of this tutorial was outdated. It should be pretty up to date now ^^


  • Locksmith
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Re: Minor Tutorial for Map Making
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2015, 11:31:20 PM »
Henceforth, I will consider Runescape Gold each day's effort as but one blow of my blade against a mighty oak. The first blow may cause not a tremor in the wood, nor the Archeage Gold second, nor the third. Each blow, of itself, may be trifling, and seem of  no consequence. Yet from childish swipes the oak will eventually tumble. So it will be with my efforts of today.