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Tutorial - 'Map Object' by exploreRPG

An item about RPGMaker 2000 posted on

Blurb

Learn about Dynamic & Static Map Groups in Explorations!

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I had the pleasure of playing with StarCraft Editor last night. I was truly impressed with how easily the editor could generate excellent looking terrain maps. I could only *hope* that Explorations will evolve to creating maps as easy as StarCraft editor. There are some very similar areas within Explorations Map editor, and I will take steps to make it more user friendly.

StarCraft doesn't allow you to import DooDads. Within Explorations this feature is called a MapObject. This tutorial will demonstrate how easy it is to import and use MapObjects within Explorations. The Skellie Rack was a graphic object I ripped from Micheal Duffy's game engine a few years ago. I figured it would make a great tutorial for ripping and importing graphics.



Once you have a graphic object rendered, or ripped (hehe whatever you prefer), you will want to place it on a Light Purple background. This light purple color is Explorations Transparent.



Using the Tile/Mp Object import feature you can select the Skellie bitmap. The grid lines will be drawn to show you how the image will fit on Explorations Maps. The image will be stretched to fit the view port. Larger images will be scaled down to fit th viewport. Some distortion may occur, but this will *NOT* affect your image being imported.



You will notice I have selected near the base of the image as the Handle for this Image. Using the base of the object will establish a better ZOrder calculation to help the engine know when sprites are infront or behind the object. The very bottom of the image was *NOT* used as the handle, and is not set to block movement because it occupies such a small portion of the grid cell.

NOTE: When choosing a Map Object BASE, always remember that the base should use most of the cell it occupies. And should be set to "Not Traversable."

The tile below the base is set "To Bottom" so it will appear behind the sprites as the walk on the tile.

All of the rest of the tiles are set "To Top" So sprites can appear to walk behind the object. The only flawed area is the cells to the left and right of the Handle location. These cells could be set to "Not Traversable" so the players won't appear to be behind the object a little sooner than they expect.

Once all the object tiles are selected and editted. You can import this as a Structure Object. Each MapObject can have its own BLTMethod. Structure objects use a Transparent or Dithered BLTMethod. (To allows sprites to walk behind the skellie rack, and be seen between the legs & post)

Once you have selected the BLTMethod and Click Import, you will be prompted for the name of this object. I called it "Skellie Rack #2."



This screen show shows how the skellie rack is handled on the map. The cursor holds the Handle of the object and all other tiles are fit together like a puzzle. You can now place this object on the map. When the object is placed, the area marked with the Handle will also set the map to blocked and not allow sprites to pass.


The map object can be placed as a Static or Dynamic object. With Static objects; If this object is placed in an area with other objects/tiles set "On Top" it will be combined with the tiles in the front most Zorder. If you want to move the Zorder later, you can edit it manually.

Dynamic Map objects are used primarily for animated objects, such as barrels or crates that open. Dynamic objects are able to be removed from the map at any time and ther exact pixel position can be shifted. Dynamic Objects that are animated can be toggled to the Open/Close position, (in the case of barrels).

Static Objects do not use BLTMethods. They will copy/draw on the map as is. Dynamic Objects will use the BLTMethod specified at the time the object was imported. Static map edits allow you to create simple object that you want to add to the scenery without using your mapobject database. For example: I can create a mirror and hang it on any of the walls within this dungeon using a static map object. It will append the mirror to the scene without giving it the properties of MapObjects.




This is a final look at how the object will be placed on an actual map.



Explorations allows for the BLTMethod of the map object to be Over-Rided by the specific map location. So you don't have import various BLT methods of the same object. Above is a dynamic animated map object of a barrel. When an animated map object is imported it occupies 2 locations in the Object List. One for the ON and OFF state of the object. By right-clicking on the handle of a Dynamic Map object, the Map detail will change and show all the adjustments that can be made to the map object.

You'll notice the BLTMethod of this object is set to OVERIDE. This means the Map will draw this object with the BLTMethod selected within the MapDetail window instead of the default import settings.

The skellie rack was dropped as a Static object so it can not be moved or adjusted once placed on the map. Removing static drops envolves manual tile edits, and can be tedious. In time I hope to create an undo feature for static tile edits.

These features are just a brief explanation of the power of Explorations. In time a more comprehensive manual will be included with the software. Because of the similarities between StarCraft & Explorations, I hope to adjust the general map GUI to follow the setup of StarCraft Editor. I also intend to include object previews before you select a map object.

Thank you for reading.

Explorations Forever!