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Level 13 Human Shadow
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Earth Orbit, Preparing to Attack
Posted on November 28, 2005 at 11:30 pm

Just found this on Dreamer's site when searching for something...copying to here for reference :) - don't know how long Dreamer's YABB will remain going considering he doesn't support any of that anymore. I fixed a couple of errors while I was at it. :)

Also note that CTF maps need at least 1 StdCheckpoint to work.


Post 1: Peeto:


This document describes the use of TMapper, a program to edit maps for the game TreadMarks(TM). TMapper was written by Dreamer, head of the Black Widow Lance [BWL] gaming clan, in Java(TM).

TMapper can be used to to edit existing maps, create new maps from existing maps, or create new maps from scratch.

Please respect LDA's and other user's copyrights regarding existing maps. It's really just an issue of recognizing the copyrights of others by making a note of acknowledgement somewhere in the distributed archive.

[insert info. on usin other existing custom maps, like obtaining permission, crediting the original author, etc...]

1.1 Installation

The latest version of TMapper can be downloaded from BWL's website. Please visit, then select "BWL Projects" --> "TMapper" from the navigation window on the left.

TMapper requires Java(TM)2 v1.3 or later and Java3D(TM) v1.2 or later (later versions might deprecate or even remove functions TMapper uses, so please use these specific versions).

If you don't have Java installed, or are unsure which version you have, DON'T PANIC! Wink There is an installation package ("Monilithic Install") [insert link] that comes with all the neccessary modules and runtimes.

1.2 VED File Format

TreadMarks(TM) uses a custom file format (*.ved) for maps. Basically, a VED file contains:
-elevation data for the map (the "heightfield"),
-information describing how textures are to be applied to the terrain,
-locations and types of various "entities" (tank spawn points, sculptures, etc.), and
-miscellaneous environmental settings (skybox, dust, etc.).

1.3 Heightfields

[insert short description of heightfields, how to make them (bit-depth, etc.), tips on making a playable map (smoothing, tiling, etc.), and various resources (GIMP, PaintShopPro, RepTile, others)]


In creating new maps from scratch, or to replace or insert custom features on or in a map, users may need to prepare...
[heightfield, texture bitmaps, skybox textures & ENT file, sculpture LWO, LUV & ENT file(s) - note that these features will be described in detail later in the document]

2.1 Existing Maps

If an existing map will be used as a starting point, open the VED file...

Again, please respect...

2.1 The Heightfield

To change the heightfield or insert a heightfield (if none exist in a new map), ...

2.2 Texturing the Terrain

Click on the "Textures" tab. A number of slider bars will be displayed, as well as a list of textures.

[show screenshot]

Every map contains four textures: 3 for the ground and one for water. [check to see if more or less textures can be used...] Each texture can be applied to the map in a different manner, as instructed by the slider bar settings.

Minimum Altitude:
(0-255) An integer value that specifies the minimum height that the texture will be applied.

Minimum Angle at Minimum Altitude:
(0-90) An integer value (in degrees) that specifies...

Maximum Angle at Minimum Altitude:
(0-90) An integer value (in degrees) that specifies...

Maximum Altitude:
(0-255) An integer value that specifies the maximum height that the texture will be applied.

Minimum Angle at Maximum Altitude:
(0-90) An integer value (in degrees) that specifies...

Maximum Angle at Maximum Altitude:
(0-90) An integer value (in degrees) that specifies...

To change the parameters for a texture, select the texture in the list, then adjust the slider bar settings. Then click on "Update" to see the results in the 3D Preview.

To change the image file for any texture, select the texture and click "File...". Then browse to the texture you wish to use, and click on "Update" to see the results in the 3D Preview.

2.3 Placing Objects on the Map

2.3.1 Sculpture(s)
2.3.2 Tank Spawn Points
2.3.3 Weapon Spawn Points
2.3.4 Spewers
2.3.5 "Capture the Flag"

2.4 Environmental Settings

2.5 Saving Your Map

2.5.1 Map Name (not necessarily VED file name)
2.5.2 VED File Name
2.5.3 File Folder (\TreadMarks\Addons\Maps)

3.0 Tips & Tricks

Jim McNally, Game and Level Designer and President of LDA, offers the following words of advice:

"One key to good map design is feedback... and by this I mean the feedback you gather for yourself when you test your own work... and Tread Marks is very friendly in this regard. As I designed maps, I would make small changes and drop the map back into the game to field test. I'd drive around solo looking from all directions to see if the map was reproducing the features that I wanted to see working for that particular map, then drop back into the editor to tweak something and load it back into the game to look it over... then repeat steps multiple times...

Another concept which works with frequent feedback is to throw a bunch of wild stuff in, then through field-testing fix the excesses one by one until you have a solidly playable map. The shadow of wildness will still be there to add flavor to the finished map. Sometimes the wild stuff is left to make a map behave in a specific manner (e.g. Tank Luge - but it's just one of a large set of maps...)."

4.0 Revision History

<date> Alpha Release1:
<date> Alpha Release2:
-The ".exe find screen" was fixed.

5.0 Credits, Copyrights, Trade Marks, License Agreements, Contacts


Posts 2-4: Random Chaos

I'll go through and give a list of map config string files later - have to get them all analyzed. There are a HUGE number of them...

Generally the Skybox/____ is placed in the upper left corner (probably so its processed early).

I've got to go read through all the details now...


I would make the Map Config Strings a sperate info file from the manual since it will be VERY long.

As for the Course Entities, combining this with what I said about CTF Course Points would be best. The Weapon only and powerup only ones act as normal tank spawnpoints also though (not clear when looking at the entity file) but you can create a weapon point only for a team game by adding the
TeamSpawnType = -1
line to them.

Placing Objects on the Map >> Course Entities

Race mode waypoints:

On LDA's maps:
- All standard checkpoints can have any entity flag.
- All standard checkpoints have the ID number starting at 0 and going up to about 3000 in random intervals between 10 and 100 (LDA tends to use units with at least a trailing zero so additional waypoints can be added at a later time if needed) - you don't need to concern yourself with the ID numbers if you aren't doing a race map.

For LDA's maps, most maps use the Entity Flag of 0 on StdCheckpoints, however The Rack uses 30. Does anyone know if The Rack plays differently?

I have not checked all of LDA's maps so I don't know if others do something odd also. I know an Entity Flag of 1 will make it invisible on radar and prevent weapons from spawning there. Another, Not The Goat has the Entity Flag set to 40. The Moon, 20. I think I will have to check with Jim on this.

VED File Format >> Map Config Strings

- All maps must have the MapName, MapType, and MapID elements.
- All race maps must also have the StartPointEntity and PushStartPoints elements.
- All CTF maps should have MaxMapTeams.
- No other elements are required.

Note: Almost all entity commands that can be used in the skybox class can be used in the map config strings instead. When used in the map config strings they override the skybox class element.

Command Descriptions:
MapName = &#40;Name of Map&#41;

MapType = &#40;0=Race/DM, 1=DM/CTF, 2=Training&#41;
#Can a race map be a CTF map? Could get screwy.

MapID = &#40;Some random number&#41;
#Make sure its not a multiple of 10 - LDA uses that set. This does not have to be Unique
#CTF Map numbers used by LDA are 1100 to 1600 &#40;every 100 used&#41; &#40;most of my CTF maps are 1600+&#41;
#DM Map numbers used by LDA are 500 to 700 &#40;every 10 used&#41;
#Tutorial Map numbers used by LDA re under 10 &#40;5 and 6 - 6 is used for both Missile and Weapon training - both Tutorial 2 and 3&#41;
#Race Map numbers are 10 to 350 &#40;usually every 10 with gaps&#41;
#I do not know what 700-1100 are used for - but thats a good break to place out DM maps. As for Race maps, the zone 350-500 is open for us.

DisableFrags = 1
#I don't know why anyone would want to do this. Maybe if you had a score based CTF game instead of a Frag Tank CTF game &#40;which CAN be done by changing the ent files&#41;. But it seems that it would make CTF a bit too easy to grab and cap.

MaxMapTeams = &#40;Number of teams max&#41;
#On a CTF Map this should always be set. On a Team Base map this should always be set. On other maps this usually never should be set unless you want to limit the gameplay.
#Overrides map start variables if teams set are higher then MaxMapTeams.

EcoCrud0 = dust1
EcoCrud1 = dust1
EcoCrud2 = dust1
EcoCrud3 = projectile/Lava_Proj
#EcoCrud = greensparksdirt
#Use either EcoCrud or EcoCrud# but not both.
#EcoCrud sets ecosystem crud values &#40;located in the Entities\Crud dir&#41; for all surfaces of the map.
#EcoCrud# sets EcoCrud for the texture with number #. The above example is from the Lava Damage map system.
#Note&#58; Crud class entities DO NOT support the EntityChain element! In the Lava Damage set I chain the projectile to the Crud rather then the other way arround as a result. It also gives better damage control though.
#Note&#58; This is NOT limited to #=3 but can go as high as you have numbers of textures on your map. 3 is the normal water texture on most maps.
#Note&#58; Under water, when not moving that ecocrud will ALWAYS activate &#40;though slower then moving&#41;.
#Note&#58; Above water, when not moving that ecocrud will NEVER activate

EcoCrudForce = 1.0
#Not sure what this does - may give more density of cruds released when driving. Moon has this set higher than normal though.

scorcheco = 1
#This selects the eco-id of the scorch texture

waterenv = 0.5
#Not sure what this does, but I know its a variable. Probably reflectivity of the water.

watertexture = DragonSkinRedSmall.bmp
#Sets the water surface texture - overrides the value set in the Skybox entities.

AmbientTerrain = 0.7
#Sets the brightness of the terrain.
#Overrides the Skybox setting.

LightVector = 0.0, 1.0, 1.0
#Sets the light source direction for the skybox &#40;and in TM2 when it comes out will probably control shadows&#41;.
#Overrides the Skybox setting.

ColorGain = 0.6, 0.5, 0.5
ColorBias = 0.6, 0.5, 0.5
ColorScale = 1, 1, 1
ColorShift = 0.1, 0, 0
#These all play with the ambient lighting values, fog, etc. I generally just play with them.
#To make green pea soup, comment out all but ColorShift = .5, 1.0, .5. And yes, it makes a nice, sickly green - the one I use on the Poison map &#58;&#41; - the one thats so ugly to look at and I keep saying I need to change that!

Gravity = 0, -10, 0
#Sets gravity for the map overriding Tankgod/Sabot.ent. Yes, you can have sideways gravity! Too bad you can't have clockwise around a central point &#58;&#41;.
Gravity = 1.1
#Sets gravity assuming gravity is vertical only. Overrides Tankgod/Sabot.ent.
Friction = 0.97
#Sets friction overriding Tankgod/Sabot.ent.

SkyRotateSpeed = 10
#Rotates Skybox. Example&#58; Tron Maps.

StartPointEntity = mesh/FatPot
#Race mode start point

PushStartPoints = 3.0
#Does something with race mode - maybe controls where the start point is after all the ents have been numbered. Each course ent needs a different number on a race map, but I have yet to make a race map so I don't know the details. You'll have to ask Jim about this part.

HitRadius = 20
#Um, this I DO not know what it does. And it doesn't make sence being in a map file either if it does what I think it does!

DetailRotSpeed = 1
#DetailRotSpeed = degrees per second to rotate the detail texture.
DetailRotRadius = 10
#DetailRotRadius = meter radius for circle around which to rotate.
#Makes seasick maps

Additional Commands:
- [Training Map controls, probably not limited to them though]
[code:1:26214c177f]GameType = 0
#GameType 0 = Race / 1 = Deathmatch
#Forces game type on a map &#40;guess this means you can make a MapType 1 DM map run in race mode?&#41;
#Overrides map start variables

Laps = 5
#Laps = 0/N
#Overrides map start variables

AITanks = 0
#AITanks 0/N
#Overrides map start variables - this would be usefull for some CTF maps were AI's are useless due to terrain.

TimeLimit = 0
#TimeLimit 0/N Minutes
#Overrides map start variables

FragLimit = 100
#FragLimit 0/N
#Should provide map specific ways over the 99 frag cap &#40;if a server admin changes all the maps that is&#41;
#Overrides map start variables

EnemySkill = 1
#EnemySkill 0-1 0 = 0% 1 = 100%
#Overrides map start variables

TankTypes = 0
#TankTypes 0 = All / 1 = Steel / 2 = Liquid
#Overrides map start variables

StartDelay = 3
#StartDelay 0/N seconds
#Could provide a way for a map to give different start times on CTF vs team DM.
#Overrides map start variables

Mirror = 0
#Mirror 0/1 &#40;0 unmirrored, 1 mirrored&#41;
#Overrides map start variables

AllowJoins = 0
#AllowJoins 0/1 &#40;0 not allowed, 1 allowed&#41;
#Overrides map start variables

NumTeams = 0
#NumTeams 0/N
#Overrides map start variables

TeamScores = 0
#TeamScores 0/1
#Overrides map start variables

TeamDamage = 0
#TeamDamage 0/1
#Overrides map start variables[/code:1:26214c177f]

--Random Chaos

P.S. Peeto, tell me what else you need about map creation (tips on design, waypoints, spewers, etc - just anything not dealing with the application and I can help you).

Ok - I grabbed TMapper so now I can help with the manual completely rather then just how to make a map...

Dreamer: It doesn't have a way of automatically locating the entities dir?

2.4/Creating a Map >> Map Config Strings (is this Environmental Settings?)

Select the General tab in TMapper
Note: You may need to scroll over to see the Comamnd String Variable section.
- Check box
- Map command string
- Command string variable

What they do:
- Check box turns on and off activating that command line (same as placing a # in an entity file).
- Map command string (see the map config string list that is appended to this for all possible items). This controls the environment of the map.
- Cammand string variable (see the map config string list for examples of what each command takes as imput).

Entering copyright info or description info:
- Make sure the line stays unckecked.
- Enter the data in the command string section just as you would in a text file.

2.5/Environmental Settings >> Map Name

A map name must be unique. To set it:
- Click the General tab
- Find the Mapname command line
- Scroll until you can see the variable column.
- Alter the name of the map in the variable column
- NOTE: Max name legth is 18 characters! Any more and it will run of the map selection screen. There is no limit imposed so some screwy things happen if you make a name longer then this.

2.3 > Dreamer - I don't know how to select the elements so can you put this in (other then manually typing them). My list comes up blank.

Sorry Peeto if I'm screwing up your numbers, but Normal, CTF, and Weapon checkpoints are all the same info set. Shouldn't be seperated.

2.3.1 - Sculptures
- Sculptures are all Mesh class entities.
- In order to preview the mesh, the best way is to stick it on a strait level map to see what it looks like under TM's environment. Next to that try Lightwave or other program that can load the mesh, though you won't get the texturing if you do it that way.

Huh Rotation: Huh - does TMapper allow this and does it work? LDA's program does not.

2.3.2 - Tank spawn points
All entities in this section are of type Course.
Note: A Course class entity must exist before a map is loaded by TM (so a weapon that creates a spawn point DOES NOT work.) - Standard Course Spawn Points
- StdCheckPoint.ent - standard use.
- ID: For race course entities, each one must be consecutively numbered. LDA used between 10 and 100 spaces between each ID Number to allow additional waypoints to be added later if needed.
- Flag: Entity Flag set at 0 will work on all maps. Entity Flag set at 1 will cause the point to be invisible on radar and not spawn weapons, but it will spawn tanks. I have seen on some maps a Flag of 10, 30, and 40. I do not know what these values do.
- Example map: Any map created by LDA, for race mode, any non DM map. - Weapon/Powerup Course Spawn Points
- Any of the various Course class files named for a weapon.
- These WILL spawn tanks. You must make a Team0 type one to cancel team spawns (that means adding TeamSpawnType = -1. Note, I do not know if this prevents spawning in non-team games).
- You can also create your own Entities to make them only spawn specific teams by using the team number data on the TeamSpawnType line.
- Example map: Tutorial2.ved and Tutorial3.ved - CTF Course Spawn Points
- TeamNStdCheckPoint.ent - Spawn point for Team N. Weapons will spawn. An entity flag of 1 will prevent weapons from spawning there or it from being visible on a map (a useful way of giving lots of spawn points but still keeping weapons scarce). This entity can be used in non-CTF games.
- TeamNFlagPoint.ent - Spawns a flag at this location for Team N. You CAN place more then 1 Flag Point, but it can make scoring too easy.
- NOTE: You MUST have a StdCheckPoint of one of the Weapon checkpoints that is not of Team -1 on every map, otherwise the map will crash TM on loading.
- Example map: Any of LDA's CTF maps - Other Course Spawn Points
- Tankcheckpoint.ent - Creates dummy tanks (you can make new ones with different tank classes).
- Targetcheckpoint.ent - I do not know of any entity class "target" which this file calls. My guess is it was unfinished in the release but LDA left the entity.
- Example map: Tutorial2.ved and Tutorial3.ved

2.3.3 - Trees
- Tree class uses the Entity Flag on all standard tree entities (those that do not come with the Tree Strike weapon).
- Entity Flag values: 0 to 4. 0 is defoliated. 4 is full foliage.
- Note on entity: There is no way to place foliage 1-4 in game, thus the reason the Tree Strike weapon uses new entity files.
- Example map: Jim5.ved

2.3.4 - Spewers
- All spewer class entities are controled entirely by the entity itself. There are no known variables to enter in the map editor.
- Example map: JimVolcano.ved

2.3.5 - Squishies
- All squishy class entities are controled entirely by the entity itself. There are no known variables to enter in the map editor.
- Example map: Tutorial1.ved

2.3.6 - Skybox
- Place a skybox at the top left of the map (low Xpos, low Zpos [close to 0]).
- This must be on any map for the sky to be visible. Skybox files set most of the map config lines, though most can be overridden in the General section of TMapper.

Texutures note:
Generally there are only 4 with the Water texture being 4th. There is no limit to this number that I have found. Each one has a coresponding EcocrudN line in the General tab that can be modified. If there is no EcocrudN in that section then TM will use the Ecocrud base crud class from the Skybox file. To create a EcocrudN when none exists, just enter it on a new line in mapper. N coresponds to the texture number where 0 is the first texture. Under a normal 4 texture map, the water would be N=3.
The Ecocrud lines by default call the Crud class entities, however, just like entity files, you can specify another class by typing in, say, projectile/Acid_Proj2 (what is used on my Acid Moat map).

--Random Chaos


Level 13 Human Unaffiliated Game Maker
Alignment: Chaotic
Location: England
Posted on November 30, 2005 at 10:34 am

"Also note that CTF maps need at least 1 StdCheckpoint to work."

Oh right...unfortunatly I've given up on maps :)

Level 13 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on November 30, 2005 at 9:44 pm

Thanks. I will go back and now edit Volcanic Region with this. That map will appear in the next mod pack I create. Please do not post that mod pack I sent. I had to change a couple things in it. Thanks again, I think I will copy and paste this for good measure. :D :D 8)

Level 13 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on April 15, 2006 at 5:13 pm

ok, I need to know how the colors for the heightmap work...what are the colors used for it and their effects

Level 15 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on April 16, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Thanks for grabbing it.