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Committed: Wed Feb 22 18:05:18 2006 UTC (18 years, 4 months ago) by elmex
CVS Tags: post_fixaltar, last_stable, post_fixaltar2, rel-2_82, rel-2_81, rel-2_80, pre_coinconvert, UPSTREAM_2006_03_15, rel-3_0, rel-2_6, rel-2_7, rel-2_4, rel-2_5, rel-2_2, rel-2_0, rel-2_1, rel-2_72, rel-2_73, rel-2_71, rel-2_76, rel-2_77, rel-2_74, rel-2_75, rel-2_54, rel-2_55, rel-2_56, rel-2_79, rel-2_53, pre_material_cfarch_normalize_run, rel-2_32, pre_fixconverter, post_coinconvert, pre_fixaltar2, pre_map_rename, UPSTREAM_2006_02_22, rel-2_90, rel-2_92, rel-2_93, rel-2_78, post_fixconverter, pre_fixaltar, rel-2_61, rel-2_43, rel-2_42, rel-2_41, HEAD
Changes since +43 -0 lines
Log Message:
cvs -z7 import UPSTREAM UPSTREAM_2006_02_22

File Contents

# Content
1 This is a guide on what is an acceptable map and what is unacceptable.
2 Only acceptable maps will be put in the official Crossfire map distribution
4 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6 Map Naming/Directory Scheme:
8 Note that these rules are ordered in importance, eg, if a rule conflicts,
9 the lower number rule takes precedence.
11 1) Each city should have its' own top level directory (eg, scorn, navar_city,
12 santo_dominion) and be accessible on a world map. All buildings in the
13 city and located nearby or related to it are in the respective city
14 directory. City/town names are also used for nearby regions. If one
15 desires to create a new city then create a new top level directory with
16 the city name and use the new city name for the region in the maps that
17 are associated with the new city.
19 2) If the map is part of a larger quest, a /quests/name_of_quest/ directory
20 should be made, and all the maps for the quest placed in there (also see
21 NOTE below about number of maps per directory). If some portions of the
22 quest has maps in cities or other places, a README should be included
23 explaining this. Note in general, having README's for all quests
24 explaining the flow probably isn't a bad idea in the case someone else
25 needs to work on it.
27 3) If a map is independent (eg, the map is one you just go there, kill and
28 get exp), it should be in the /dungeons/ directory. If the dungeon is
29 comprised of several maps (eg, multilevel dungeon), a subdirectory
30 should be made to hold all of these maps (also see NOTE below about number
31 of maps per directory).
33 4) Maps should fall into one of the categories above - if it does not, and
34 you are not sure, send a message to
36 NOTE: If a map or set of maps is near a particular city then place the proper
37 region in the map header. Use of the map maker's name as part of the
38 directory structure or map name is not encouraged and may result in maps
39 being excluded from CVS. While this type of directory scheme was done in the
40 past it is now deprecated. Attempt to use a logical tree structure for maps
41 and try to avoid dumping more than 15 to 20 maps in a single directory (this
42 does not apply to /world/). Dumping a massive number of maps in a single
43 directory is highly discouraged, Just Say No.
45 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
47 1) Check that all exits lead where they are supposed to. Unless there is
48 a specific reason an exit leads only one direction (like a trap door or
49 perhaps a teleporter), players should be able to exit back from where they
50 came from right when they enter the map.
52 One way exits/entrances should only be used on objects in which it is
53 obvious it is one way. A house is not an obvious one way entrance. Remember,
54 players may not have the three hours of time it takes to find the exit
55 after being trapped in a map (a work around for this can be have the trap
56 lead to a safe place with no exit which contains a savebed. Thus, the
57 player could save and come back at a later time to find the exit.)
59 2.1) Try to make sure the maps are multi player accessible. In towns, this
60 means the road should be at least a couple squares wide, buildings should not
61 be trapped in corners in which case one character standing in front blocks
62 access, etc.
64 2.2) Try to make corridors in dungeons or mazes a few squares wide -
65 especially if there is only a single path. If it is a maze with several
66 different paths, single width corridors are acceptable. The main problem
67 here are big labyrinths in which only one monster attacks at a time, and
68 which there is only 1 or two routes. If two players enter such a map, the
69 one that went in first will be in the lead the entire time.
71 2.3) Avoid spiral or single path mazes that just have monsters lining the
72 corridor. These are not very good for multiple players, not particularly
73 interesting (map justs consists of killing all the monsters), and tend to be
74 an easy and safe way to gain experience.
76 3) Don't put:
78 3.1) extremely valuable treasure right next to the entrance, or
79 nearby. Players should need to work to get treasure. If the treasure is
80 fairly worthless (food, or non magical items), this would be acceptable.
81 But a character should not be able to pop in, pick up a potion, spellbook,
82 or a lot of diamonds, and then pop out again, without ever meeting
83 a monster.
85 3.2) Don't put monsters of high experience point near to entrance where they
86 are trapped. Low level player could boost their experience high by using some
87 weapons or spells from distance without danger. For example find a trapped
88 troll and get wand of fireball.
90 3.3) monsters on top of other monsters. A troll should not be sitting on
91 top of an oriental dragon. The only exception to this would be if a monster
92 could be on top of another monster (making sense) and hiding it at the same
93 time. A troll on top of an oriental dragon does not make sense (could not
94 fit), nor can the troll hide the oriental dragon. Using tricks like these
95 which are only applicable due to display limitations is something that
96 should not be done, nor should the player need to click on every monster he
97 encounters to see if something is below it. (as a side note, doing this
98 will tend to lock the monsters into position, making them unable to move.)
100 3.4) Large groups of monsters that can be killed quickly with spells. A
101 fairly popular tactic to make high level maps is just to put 30 dragons (or
102 other tough monsters) in a big room. Do not do this. All the player needs
103 to do is cast a dozen icestorms, and quickly gets millions of experience.
104 Likewise, it is unlikely that any more than 2 or 3 large (multisquare)
105 monsters will be able to attack a player or party at once - the remaining 25
106 will be blocked from doing anything. This then makes it so that having 30
107 dragons is not any tougher than having 3.
109 If you want to make a high level map, instead of tossing a lot of monsters
110 on it, take existing monsters and make them tougher. Increase their
111 hit points, level (which then means spells they use do more damage), add
112 immunities or protections, remove vulnerabilities, change attack types, etc.
113 Try not to totally change the characteristics of a known monster - a normal
114 dragon should still be dragon like. Also, remember to adjust experience
115 that the monster gives.
117 4) Try to keep the treasure in line with the difficulty. 5 potions should
118 not be given out for defeating orcs or gnolls (even if there are a lot
119 of them), but if you need to defeat several dragons to get to the
120 potions, that is fine. Likewise, if it is likely a lot of spells will be
121 needed to defeat the monster, and those spells have a chance of destroying
122 the items, then perhaps a few extra items to take this into consideration
123 is not a bad idea.
125 5) If use of a specific skill/class/spell is needed to complete the map,
126 that should be stated near the map entrance. How clearly this is stated
127 depends on the circumstance. If use of a certain skill is needed, there is
128 probably no good way other than to state that a skill is needed. If use of
129 a certain spell is needed, stating that a spell caster of XX level might be
130 sufficient, with the assumption that a spellcaster of that level would have
131 the spell. It is safe to assume that all characters can fight, but
132 spellcasting (especially certain spells) should not be assumed, and thus
133 should be stated.
135 Also, don't put in hidden rooms requiring dimension door if they only real
136 way to know about them is pure luck or looking at the map. If you want to
137 do something like that, at least put some clues in.
139 If a certain skill would make a map easier, but is not required, you don't
140 need to necessary state it. The idea of this is that it can be frustrating
141 to wander into some map, complete most of it, but find out you can't
142 finish the map because you lack some skill or spell.
144 5.1) A map should be designed so that a character can never be
145 trapped in a room (except via other player interaction.) A character should
146 never be forced to dimension door or word of recall out of a map because
147 some gate closed behind him. For a character without these spells,
148 it would mean death. A simple method around this is put a lever on
149 both sides of the door. If the door is opened by special actions (saying
150 things, dropping things), just put the lever on the hard to get side of
151 the gate.
153 6) If a map require multiple players to simultaneous be on it to solve
154 the map, put a sign or message so players know. Such maps would be those
155 that require manipulation of levers or buttons in certain sequences in
156 order to get through gates.
158 Don't make ends of maps require multi users. This ruins that map for
159 single players (not able to complete it), and makes a map that requires
160 multiple players for only a small portion.
162 7) Try not to make the maps too many levels deep. To get to the goal,
163 it should not require a 6 hour continous sitting, as the player works
164 through each map to get to the next. Multi level maps are fine - just
165 don't over do it. One way to do this is have several maps with a key
166 or other special item at the end. The final map could have the various
167 battles, and then a series of gates/altars which uses up these keys.
169 8) Shops:
171 8.1) Don't put super stores in any towns or villages you create. With the
172 growing number of maps, players can already make a trip to all the different
173 towns to try and find certain items. A one stop find all shop is not
174 interesting. A good maximum size is about the same size of the shops
175 in the starting village.
177 Also, making six magic shops of that size and putting them in the same
178 town is not any better than one large magic shop. If you want to have
179 specialized shops, then make each shop smaller. If you just want one
180 shop that sells every type of item (magic, armor, weapons, food, etc), then
181 a large shop is permissable.
183 8.2) Make sure the entire interior the shop is covered with tiles. Likewise,
184 don't put shops that lead to areas without tiles without going over one of
185 the 'magic doormats'. A player should never be able to get an unpaid
186 item out of a shop, whether via exit that does not go over the magic
187 doormat, or through spells.
190 9) Don't make maps which require high level characters that low level
191 characters can wonder into without warning. Put a warning sign nearby,
192 or gates or doors so the player can see they are in over their head, instead
193 of instantly getting toasted the second they enter the map.
196 10) The structure of the map should make sense. That is to say,
197 if you enter a house, the house should then not have a tower inside. Or
198 a door to a shop. In other words, if a map has an exit to another map,
199 that exit should make sense (ie, another level, tunnels, dungeons
200 all make sense. However, another building the size of the original
201 does not make sense.
204 11) Try to keep the difficulty throughout the map(s) about the same.
205 The first monster in the map should not be the most difficult monster,
206 nor should the last monster be orders of magnitude more difficult
207 than anything before it.
209 It is very frustating to play a map, killing most every monster without
210 much difficulty, only to find that last monster unkillable.
212 It is reasonable to have the monster increase in difficulty. Also, if the
213 map has no quest or end goal, then having a very difficult monster around is
214 not unreasonable, as long as it does prevent the player from progressing to
215 the next map.
217 12) Do not put directors with bullet, lightning, fireball, etc. that
218 are a loop or continuous. Example: Do not have two directors, each
219 facing each other, with a bullet wall firing into them at the side.
221 Having numerous directors is fine. But make sure that eventually,
222 there will be an exit/detonation point for the fired spell. Having
223 loops that go for over typically bring the game to a halt, as the
224 objects just multiply and the game consumes more and more cpu time.
227 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
228 The following are various suggestions for making good or interesting
229 maps. A map that does not need to follow all these hints to be accepted,
230 but following these hints will make for more interesting or playable maps.
233 1) Try to create only small maps. If you have a large map in mind, try to
234 see if you can possible split it up in several separate sections, and place
235 those sections in different maps. Many small maps use much less memory than
236 one large map, since crossfire doesn't yet support swapping of portions of
237 maps. Also, with small maps, the time to load it from and store it to disc
238 becomes so short that it's impossible to notice. In this context, small
239 means about 32x32, though it's actually the number of objects in the map
240 which count.
242 What is potentially more critical than the size of the map is the number
243 of objects (memory usage), and live objects (cpu usage, as each would need
244 to be processed.)
246 Also, remember that if you make very large maps, all generators will be
247 cranking out monsters whenever anyone is on it. This could mean that a lot
248 of monsters have been generated before a player even gets to the area where
249 they are being created.
251 Related to this: If a map contains multiple levels, make multiple maps.
252 Many times, if the level is small, the mapmaker may think I will just put
253 all the levels on one larger map. This makes the map a little less readable
254 to others. Also, things like magic mapping and dimension door can lead to
255 unexpected results.
257 2) Make a plot! A map withot a plot becomes just another mindless
258 "Kill'em all". For instance, create a story which explains why there
259 are npc's here and monsters there, fragment the story up and put
260 bits and hints of it in various writables (books) and npc-conversations.
262 If you are going to make a mindless kill them all map, at least put some
263 reward in the map that can only be accessed after all the monsters have been
264 killed. The only thing worse than a kill them all map is a kill them all map
265 which you get nothing out of.
267 Avoid maps where all the monsters are lined up, and only one can attack
268 you at a time. This just makes an easy (and relatively safe) way for
269 a character to gain experience and treasure, and is not especially
270 interesting or challenging.
272 2.1) A good idea for the rewards at the end of quests are specific
273 items (luggage, spellbook of some otherwise not available spell,
274 special weapon, spellcrystal, etc.) It is much more interesting to
275 put a specific item instead of something like a random artifact. Feel
276 free to mutate or otherwise change existing artifacts to create your own.
278 This has two advantages: one, the player will get to know where certain
279 items are. Having to search endlessly for a specific item gets tedious.
280 Two, it reduces the incentive to keep repeating the quest (repeating
281 quests is not inherently bad) If the reward is a random artifact, a player
282 may very well keep repeating the quest until the item he looks for comes up.
283 By doing specific items, this will not happen.
285 3) Make puzzles! Use all those different object types: buttons, handles,
286 doors, altars, pedestals, triggers, timed gates, etc... Hide special "keys"
287 needed to get further in special places, and use text-puzzles to describe
288 where they are hidden and how they must be used. The possibilities are
289 endless! Remember, you can also hide buttons under floors, making it more
290 difficult for the character to find the trigger points.
293 4) But don't make too much big labyrinths. Making of labyrinths is (too)
294 easy with crossedit, just select auto-joining and make zig-zag with mouse.
295 But the results of these are quite tiring. If you make ones, try make
296 some idea into it.
298 Related: Don't make maps where the only way to find something is examination
299 of each and every wall. For example, don't have a big map with lots of walls,
300 but the key to moving onward is to find the weak wall and pass through it.
301 Nor should big mazes full of invisible walls be made where the way to get
302 through it is just by going in some direction, finding out you can't move
303 anymore in that direction, go some other one, etc.
305 5) Give the npc's information! An npc's knowledge about hidden treasure surely
306 makes it interesting to have a conversation with it.
309 6) Feel free to add some traps, but be careful to not make them too
310 deadly without adequate warning.
313 7) Don't mix the monsters too badly. Let there be at least some logic
314 behind why they are grouped in a single room. Undeads together with
315 undeads, for instance, but not together with kobolds...
316 Big dragons usually don't live together with mice... Fire immune creatures
317 generally dislike ice immune creatures.
319 Also, limit use of monsters that multiply rapidly (mice, slimes). A map
320 that is easily overwhelmed with these creatures quickly becomes useless.
322 8) Give your maps a meaningfull name (like John's tower, level 1).
323 This way, these can be used instead of the map paths in the highscore
324 file. Also, in terms of the actual file name, try to use numeric
325 level identifiers (ie, maze.1, maze.2, ... instead of maze.first, maze.second,
326 etc.) The former maps the levels sorted a little bit nicer in the
327 directory.
329 9) Try to make the map so that it links in with the existing world. Most
330 people want to make their own continent, which is then accessed by ship
331 or other fast means. While convenient, this creates many island
332 continents. The problems with this are that any feeling of relation is lost
333 (where is that island continent), and it makes item searching in shops very
334 easy - if you can access half a dozen shops quickly and safely by taking
335 boats, you have a decent chance of finding the item you want.
337 Also, it seems that when most people start making maps, the first thing they
338 do is create a new town or village. There are already a lot of towns and
339 villages out there. If you are just going to create a few new buildings,
340 instead of going to the effort and time of creating your own island with a
341 town, just create the buildings, and plug them into one of the existing
342 towns or the terrain someplace. Many of the towns right now have many
343 unused buildings.
345 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
347 Technical map hints:
349 1) If you are creating a new archetype, it only needs to go into the general
350 archetype distribution if it has an image associated with it, or it has
351 general use (a new monster). Something that uses already existing images
352 can be set up in the map file itself (through setting various variables).
354 2) When modifying an existing archetype into a new one (either new face
355 or new type), use the archetype that has the most variables in common.
356 Thus, if you want to create a monster called a 'bouldar', it is probably
357 best to take a monster of some sort and change its face instead of taking
358 the existing boulder archetype and changing its type, hit points, speed,
359 etc.
361 3) Changing color is no longer possible in maps - instead, a new face
362 and image must be created, and then put in the standard distribution.
363 The archetype collection script will automatically pull out face information
364 from archetype files.
366 4) Try to keep maps readable by other people who might edit them. Thus,
367 instead of modifying a woods space so it also acts as an exit, just put an
368 invisible exit under the woods space. This has the same functionality, but
369 it makes it much easier for other players to see what this space does. (Side
370 note - if you want it so that players actually need to apply the space
371 to enter, you will need to change the face of exit for this to work. If
372 you do this, you should also accompany it with a magic mouth.)
374 5) Make sure you set the difficulty field in the map attributes to
375 somethign meaningful. Crossfire will calculate a default dificulty,
376 but its formula is hardly ideal. The difficulty of a map determines how
377 magical the treasure will be (and some treasure types won't show up
378 unless the map has a certain difficulty level.)
380 6) Don't be too intimidated about writing new code if there is something
381 you would like to be able to do, but just isn't supported. If you are not
382 the code writing time, make a suggestion. Worst case is it gets ignored.
383 But many times, I have written code because I had some idea which just
384 was not possible at the time (ie, the apartment in the starting town
385 required an expansion/change of the unique item code.)