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Tutorial - 'Importing Bryce Maps' by exploreRPG

An item about Programming Languages posted on

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How to import Bryce graphics into Explorations to create high-quality maps

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I am typing this tutorial to demonstrate how to import Bryce Graphics into Explorations v6 Map Layers to create high-quality maps. This Bryce Import feature is an alternative to using indivdual tiles to create maps. The import system provides near commercial quality maps in a matter of minutes without sarcrificing the power & customization of a tile engine.



This is a small dungeon segment I've created in Bryce. I chose to use a simple dungeon because this example will use almost all of the Explorations v6 map layers and give a detail understanding for their use & power.



Before you can render this image. You must first view the image from the SideView camera and group together the map pieces by elavation. Simply grap all the floor pieces and group them. Repeat the step with Walls. The walls layer can be broken down into many segments groups based on the ZOrder.



When the map is broken into groups. Turn all map groups to HIDDEN except the floor group. Render this image @ 2560x2560 pixels (The size of 1 complete Ev6 map). The chracoal gray background will blend nicely when the images are imported.







The Dungeon Walls should be grouped and imported in the sections as depicted above. The back most wall will represet our first Wall Group. The second group will be the small wall segement that overlaps the back wall near the south end of the map. This wall segment could be imported with DITHERING effects to allow sprites to be viewed when the walk behind the wall. The third walls group will be the metal railing that apprears in the front most Zorder of the walls.

By organizing your map data you can insure that Explorations will import this image perfectly. Each map segment should be rendered @ 2560 x2560 pixels.


IMPORTING THE RENDERS

First Create a New Map by selecting Edit/Map/New Map. This will create a stanard BLANK Explorations map. You will be prompted to enter a name for this map. I called mine "Dungeon:"



By selecting the Tile/Import/Terrain layer option from Explorations you will be prompted to select the terrain .bmp file that you wish to import into this layer. The image will be analyzed and the file size will be explained. You will be prompted as to how many Explorations maps you would like to make from this image. (If you used 2560x2560 pixel you should respond with "1,1")

If you chose to create a larger map 5120 x5120 pixels Explorations would expect a total of 4 maps to be created. (A map grid of 2x2.) As the maps are imported Explorations will create the script that allow the PC's to walk off one edge of the map and appear on the adjacent map. (No extra work on your part.) :)

You will then be prompted for the map name that you would like to import this image. Because I have created a blank map,. I want to import this data on the current map "Dungeon" The current map name should be displayed for you by default.



You will then be asked for the BLTMethods for all tyhe tiles you are about to create from this image. Terrain tiles should always use the SRC_COPY method. This means the Terrain tiles will simply be copied to the screen. Walls, and Structure Layers are TRANSPARENT copied. This means that if the transparent color is present within the image it will ignore it an show the background.



You will then be prompted if you would like to Merge this existing Terrain tile with current Terrain tiles. In our case I answered "No" but later you will see the benefit of this question.



The last question is the RGB Color range. This represent a series of 3 range values that the import engine will use to filter like-tiles. If a tiles color range fall within the given values from each other the first occurance will be used.



Once these questions are complete the Floor layer will be imported. I have turned on the option to View moveable terrain so you can view where sprites are allowed to walk. The Terrain Import feature will automatically set the moveable locations based on the image being imported. If you had imported using the Landscape method the engine would simply import the image without adjusting any moveable locations.

This feature allows you to import a map and not worry if sprites can walk off the map because of not correctly applying the moveable locations.



You can repeat the steps for the Wall Groups by using the Structure Layer import routine. When you import the first wall group you will select "No" when asked to Merge tiles.



When the other two groups are imported I selected "Yes" to merge the tile with the existing tile data. The merge option is the method for combining Tile Layer Data correctly. This wall segment could have been dithered to allow players to see through the wall. For this example I will import it as TRANSPARENT.



By following these simple steps you will have a perfectly imported Dungeon segement. You'll notice that I didn't import the doors into this map. The Doors could have been rendered and animated on a seperate layer. Then using the PowerClip for each door, an Animated Structure Group is created. Then by simply dropping the animated object on this finished map, you have a perfect map with swivel doors.

Explorations also allows for a ROOF layer to be imported. The ROOF layer is a totally seperate layer and can be imported with DITHERING effects to give a semi-transparent look. While playing Exploration, the ROOF layer can be disabled by a simple script command.

SetVal{SYS_SHOWROOF%, False}

Understand, all other animated methods for generating roofs still apply. In short, Explorations offers multiple ways for simulating and manipulating a roof layer. All for your enjoyment!

I hope this tutorial clarifies how Explorations can import Bryce renders into its layers to form seemless maps. This is just another feature that adds power and functionality into game building.

Thank you for reading.