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Old 09-28-2014, 11:49 AM
Oyster Oyster is offline
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Default Oyster's comprehensive map editor guide

_,.-~=:+*`Oyster's comprehensive map editor guide `*+:=~-.,_


INTRODUCTION
Hello all!
Sorry for blowing up the map editor portion of the forum lately.
I've decided to make a guide that hopefully will stimulate some new maps from other people who may have the desire, but not the understanding.

There are a few ways to go about doing things, and I'll do my best to explain it all. Since I don't feel like reinventing the wheel, I am going to shamelessly copy the best bits of knowledge from Lamsbro and Lamster's ancient map making threads.

If anyone has any questions about anything map-related, feel free to hit me up online or on the forums.


STEP -1: OPENING THE EDITOR

The Altitude Map Editor is located in the folder in which Altitude was installed (the default on PCs is C:\Program Files\Altitude). To launch the editor find the file called altitude_editor.exe and double click it.

You can also open from inside the game by clicking on Map Editor on the left side of the screen. This will close the game and launch the editor.


STEP 0: STARTING A NEW MAP

Create a new map by clicking File->New->Map

In the "New Altitude Map" box that appears enter the maps name, the map size, and select the maps default background color.

When naming your map, it is easiest to start with certain prefixes which will determine what kind of game mode you are making. Use 1dm_[your name] for 1-life demolition, 1de_[your name] for 1-life deathmatch, 1bd_[your name] for 1-base destruction, ball_[your name] for ball, tbd_[your name] for team base destruction, tdm_[your name] for team death match and ffa_[your name] for free for all.
For example, I just named my most recent map ball_eidum.

For size comparison purposes, the size of tbd_cave is width: 3584, height: 1280.
I wouldn't go any smaller than 3500w1200h or bigger than 4000w1500h for a normal ball/tbd map.

When you're finished click "Create."

Note: don’t worry if you don’t get these settings exactly right the first time, you can change them later. Background color can be changed with Map->Change Background Color and map size and name can be changed by right clicking the “Game” view in the View Editor box and then selecting “Configure Game”

Feel free to close out any of the windows that initially pop up. You can always open them up again by clicking on 'Window' at the top of the editor, or by pressing alt+w.


STEP 1: ADDING OBJECTS TO YOUR MAP

Lamsbro's guide says to add polygons to your map by selecting “Window” at the top of the screen and then click “Show Create Geom”, but that process is kind of complicated. It is much easier to manually add your own pictures directly into the map's folder and place them as sprites.

To do this, find yours map's folder by clicking C:\Program Files(x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Altitude\editor\ maps\[your map]\images and just drop your pictures in here.
(At least, that's the chain for me. If you can't find the folders there, try looking in C:\Program Files\Altitude\editor\maps\[your map]\images)

Anything you put into this folder can be placed as an object on the screen. When creating your assets, remember to remove the background using the magic wand in Photoshop or Paint.net so your object isn't just a picture inside a white square. Be sure to save your object as a .png so it retains its background's transparent properties.

In the spirit of making a comprehensive guide, here is also Lamsbro's tutorial on adding polygons. It's a bit more difficult, though, so feel free to just ignore this part and skip straight to step 2 if you don't want to get confused. Use this method as an alternative to placing sprites for your objects.
To add terrain to your map click “Window” at the top of the screen and then click “Show Create Geom”. A "Create Geom" box should appear in your editor.
Click the White square in the Create Geom box and you should notice that the “Mode” (in the top left corner of the editor window) changes from “PREVIEW” to “CREATE_GEOM_USING_SELECTED_TEXTURE.” The White square you clicked earlier is your selected texture (i.e. no texture).
Now left click on the region of your map where you want to draw a new polygon.
A little yellow dot should appear where you clicked on the map indicating where you clicked. The pink bar at the bottom and the “Poly Editor” text in the top left inform you that you have now entered the Polygon Editor. You’ll also notice the “Poly Config Panel” has appeared. Under the “Colors” heading in the “Poly Config Panel” click the colored box next to “New Point” and select the color of the polygon you wish to draw (ignore the other color boxes, they are there to trick you).
Now left click on the map where you want to start the border of your polygon. By repeatedly left clicking you can create a series of points that represent the border of the polygon you wish to create.
When you’re done laying out the border points of your polygon just do a Right Click.
Note: even if you want to create another polygon, you still have to exit and restart the Poly Editor for each polygon


STEP 2: PLACING AN OBJECT

This part is super easy. Once your assets are in the correct folder, press ctrl+e to bring up a 'Select Sprites' menu of all your objects. Just click on the one you want to place

Don't panic if you cannot see your objects in the 'Select Sprites' menu. The map editor will not automatically refresh this menu, so you have to save and reload your map before anything will actually show up here.

When your sprite object is finally on the map, you'll notice it has a red outline around it. This is the object's collision border. Usually the editor does a pretty good job, but sometimes it can create jagged outlines if your object is too pixelated or hand-drawn.

If you’re not happy with the collision border, you can easily modify it by right clicking on the object and selecting 'edit hull'. Each point may be moved around or deleted. Here’s how:
- To move a single border point, left click it, drag it to a new location, and release.
- To add a new point to a line segment, left click a line segment and a new point is created.
- To select multiple points, hold right click and draw a square over the points you’d like to select. You can move or delete all of these points at once.
- To delete a point, select it and then press the delete key.

When you’re finished, press Enter or Escape to exit the Hull Editor and return to the map.

Other options available when you right click on an object are:
“Collidable” determines whether Players collide with the polygon or not
“Damage Modifier” determines how much damage a plane takes when it collides with the polygon. A value of 1 is normal and should not be changed unless you want your object to have unique properties.
“Elasticity” determines how much of a planes speed is bounced back off the polygon when a collision occurs.
“Layer” determines which polygon is displayed when two polygons overlap. The polygon with the higher layer value is displayed on top.
“Visible” determines whether the polygon is visible.
“Edit Hull” takes you back to the Poly Editor where you can make further changes to the shape and color of your polygon.

You can drag your objects wherever you want them, flip them, rotate them and proportionately stretch them by using your mouse.

Last edited by Oyster; 09-28-2014 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:50 AM
Oyster Oyster is offline
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STEP 3: PLACING A SPECIAL OBJECT (POWERUP/BALL/BOMB/ETC.)

It’s important to have more than just objects on your map. To add things like powerups, bases, turrets and spawn points, select “Window” on the toolbar and click “Show Create Special”
Select the object you wish to add and then place it on the map with a left click. As with regular objects, Special Objects can be edited and configured with a right click.

If you want your special object to be many different types of items, hold down ctrl key and highlight in blue everything you want to spawn there.

STEP 4: ADDING A BACKGROUND

By default, whatever color you chose when you first made the map is what your background will be.

If you want to change your background to a picture instead of a solid color, you first need to create a new view level which is managed in the 'View Editor' window. To open the View Editor, click Window->Show View Editor. To start with, you should see only one View, 'Game'.

'Game' is a special view that cannot be deleted or disabled. 'Game' is the only view which directly effects gameplay. All regular and special objects must be placed in the 'Game' view to have any effect in-game.
For a new view level, right-click in the View Editor box and select 'New View'. When creating a new view you must specify a Size[width,height] and Visual Bounds[Xmin,Xmax,Ymin,Ymax].

Size represents the actual size in pixels of the view and should usually match the 'Game's view. Visual Bounds determines the visible section of the 'Game' view over which this view will be stretched. If you want things in your background to slowly scroll when you fly, make the Visual Bounds slightly smaller or larger (by like 50-100 points) than the 'Game' view. Smaller makes the eyeball look away from your plane, and larger makes the eyeball follow you.

In the View Editor box, you also have the option to move your view levels up or down in the list. It is a little counter-intuitive when you think about it, but whatever is highest on the list is furthest in the back when you actually play the map.
Any object placed on the 'Game' view and below on the View Editor list will force you to fly under it, assuming it is not collidable. Because of this, you will want to move your background view layer to the top of the View Editor list so that you aren't flying behind a huge picture and can actually see your plane and the objects on the 'Game' layer.

To apply texture to any object or background, first you must import the background texture or image into the level by placing it in the 'textures' map folder. Images that are intended to tile over an object must have power-of-2 dimensions [16x16, 32x256, 512x512, etc] and must not exceed 512x512 pixels.
Next, select the object you'd like textured and click 'edit hull'. Once you are in Poly Editor mode, press ctrl+x (or click 'image'-> 'select texture' on the top bar of the map editor).
Press Escape to exit the Poly Editor. The object should be completely filled with the desired texture.

Also just to be safe, be sure your background image is uncollidable so you don't blow up immediately after spawning.

STEP 5: TESTING YOUR MAP

To test your map, select “Test” on the top toolbar and click “Run”. To end the test hit the escape key on your keyboard and you will be returned to the editor.

In order for a test to run, you must first meet a few requirements for each game mode. The editor does a pretty good job here explaining what pieces you still need before you can play, just read the little window that pops up.

General tip: be sure to have a border for your map when you are testing, otherwise there is nothing stopping you or the ball from flying off the screen. It's super annoying having to just fly around doing nothing while you wait for the ball to respawn.

STEP 6: MAKING CORRECTIONS

If you decide you unhappy with the size of your map and want to change it, simply right-click on 'Game' in the View Editor window->select 'Configure Game'->change the values.

Background color can be changed with Map->Change Background Color.

ADVANCED TECHNIQUES

• If you want to mirror an object to the other side (highly recommended for nearly all maps to keep the balance equal for each team), highlight the object you want to mirror and press ctrl+L. You can also mirror an object up or down by clicking the object, then clicking on the 'Selection' tab at the top of the map editor and choosing 'Mirror Bottom/Top'.
This allows you to only have to build half of the map and save mucho amounts of time on your map since you can just mirror everything to the other side.

• To make an object slightly transparent (for example, if you have a pipe or something you want people to fly through) right click the object and press 'Edit Hull'. Once in Poly Editor mode, select Poly from the top of the editor window-> Change Point Color. The transparency ("Alpha") slider is at the bottom.

• If you want to fly over an object rather than under it, you have to send that object to a view level that is higher than 'Game' view. There is currently no easy way to move objects between views, however, Lamsbro suggests you can do it by copying chunks of xml from one .level file to another. BEWARE: this is not an officially supported method and will corrupt your level file if you do it incorrectly.
I've discovered it's easiest to just click on the object/s that you want to send to a different view and take note of the exact coordinates of the pulsing orange dot in the middle of your object selection (pro-tip: zoom in super close to get the best reading possible). Once you know the coordinates, cut the object/s you want to move with ctrl+x, change to the correct view, paste with ctrl+v, find the same exact coordinates and left-click the mouse place the object/s. If you do this process correctly, you can move as many objects as you want between views at the same time because they will hold their place in relation to each other.

• To align textures between two separate objects:
(1) Right Click poly -> Edit Hull
(2) Image -> Transform
(3) Adjust the transformation values and click Apply
To easily calculate the transformation offset for pixel-perfect alignment of two overlapping textured polygons:
(1) Select both polygons in the level editor
(2) Click the combo box [StaticGeometry: 2] to reveal the center points of each poly
(3) Calculate the required transform as the difference in the polys' center points, Transform = Center1 - Center2
(4) Select just the 2nd poly using the combo box
(5) Press Edit Hull
(6) Image -> Transform X,Y using the values calculated in (3)
Thankfully the editor is pretty good at doing this automatically, so you probably will actually never have to manually align your textures.

• An easy way to build the collision outline for the border of your map is to make the whole thing one huge solid hull. You do this by using the Edit Hull option to modify the luons.
Build the border like the outside of the letter 'U' so that the middle of map remains open. Eventually, you will run into a point where you will have to make your ends run into each other (imagine the tips of the letter 'U' forming into an 'O'). Since that would create an impossible object, the map editor will not be able to do it perfectly. You have to just get them as close as possible, then close the tiny gap with another object.

• It is possible for planes to glitch through objects using Reverse/Rubber perks, especially in places where the object has sharp angles (for example, like the bottom part of letter 'V'). Normally this isn't game breaking, but if a person can glitch through a horizontal side of the map, they will instantly teleport to the other side. Also, the glitch can be used to take unfair shortcuts through skinnier objects.
To prevent this, place a small object wherever the weak spots are and set the damage modifier to 1,000. You can then hide this object by sending it to a lower layer than the object that is on top of it.

• Be conscious of your default background color. It's important to make sure your map is still playable for people who have backgrounds disabled or who are running colorblind mode.

Okay, that's it for now. I hope I was able to explain everything clearly enough.
Happy map making!

Edit: crap one last thing. To share your map, click on Export at the top of the screen and select Export Downloadable Map (Ctrl+P). If your map is valid, you will be taken to another screen with sliding bars. Just hit Export. It will take a few minutes to compress resources, longer if your map is larger, then create a file in the game's map folder.
For me it's at Steam/SteamApps/common/Altitude/maps Could be something like C://Program files/Steam/Altitude/Maps for you.
If your map is not valid and you are still missing crucial objects or conditions, then you will be scolded by the machine.
Once you have your .altx map file made, upload it using the free service tinyupload.com. (or whatever)

To take a proper screenshot of your map with all the layers compressed, click Collapsed screenshot. The screen will go blank for a bit while the camera snaps, everything will return to normal and a .png image will be created in the folder Steam/SteamApps/common/Altitude/editor_screenshots.
Once you have your .png background picture file, upload it using the free service tinypic.com. (or whatever)

Last edited by Oyster; 12-27-2014 at 02:21 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2014, 02:12 PM
Nosneros Nosneros is offline
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Great guide Oyster!
I've been meaning to get around to making some maps. Might just actually do that...
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  #4  
Old 09-29-2014, 02:11 PM
Demuyt Demuyt is offline
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Should I move this to the guides subforum or do you want it here?
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  #5  
Old 09-29-2014, 02:49 PM
Aki1024 Aki1024 is offline
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It isn't the first guide to be submitted to this subforum, and could easily get lot among the plane guides. I feel this subforum is a good spot for it.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:15 AM
Stam Stam is offline
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This guide really helped me and thank you Oyster! BUT once i am done editing my map i don't know how to save it as an altx map and not alte so i can actually use the map... Can anyone help me please?
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:50 AM
Cracker Cracker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stam View Post
This guide really helped me and thank you Oyster! BUT once i am done editing my map i don't know how to save it as an altx map and not alte so i can actually use the map... Can anyone help me please?
You have to export your map to generate an altx file for use outside the editor: Map Editor -> Export -> Export Downloadable Map iirc.
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Old 10-11-2015, 12:05 PM
Stam Stam is offline
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Thank you very much Cracker!
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Old 10-11-2015, 09:08 PM
Mango777 Mango777 is offline
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Default Random things people might want to know

You know, to move objects within views you only have to select if, and go to Selection -> Move to view

Place a geom with [CTRL] + [G], special object with [CTRL] + [A]

[CTRL] + [U] duplicates the object in the same position

In Geom editor, you can select a single (or multiple) point and change its color, instead of changing the entire geometries' color

Building the map border as one solid hull can cause you to accidentally select it if you click anywhere inside the map, because of this I build the border rectangle by rectangle

You can change name color with Map -> Change name text color

Setting parallax scroll to zero immobilizes the layer, so you can put a 1280 x 720 image there and it won't move. You will have to play with the X max and Y max to get there though.

A good place to put your maps is http://altitudegame.com/map/
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  #10  
Old 10-12-2015, 03:25 AM
Oyster Oyster is offline
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o MAN, i need to update this -_-;

reading the OP, my understanding of the map editor back then was like an elephant trying to paint
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  #11  
Old 05-08-2017, 02:27 AM
CmdrNoval CmdrNoval is offline
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Oyster, if you want to update this, now would be the time.

I have already begun transferring these guides to Steam, and this one is on my transfer list.

Unless you would rather write your own Steam guide...?
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