Times, trials, and turbulence.
Download Battleforge [R1]: The Map Editor
You’ll have to take a moment to imagine me releasing a large sigh of relief. There you go. A little over two months of development time, and I can finally make the (formerly outrageous) claim the first release of Battleforge is ready to roll. It’s hard to imagine that all of this work was dedicated just to make a single facet of the larger whole of Skirmish happen. I can’t express my relief at now having this huge task behind me. 🙂
Thanks go out to Patrik, Dean, and Mike for their assistance in bug-hunting and testing during the development period. I can comfortably say that Battleforge runs splendidly on all 3 target platforms of Windows, Linux, and Mac.
What You Get
Remember that this is only the initial release of the editor. A fair amount of functionality has yet to be added, but near-full-fledged maps can certainly be created. Here’s what you can expect from this release of the editor:
- Four editing modes. You can add/remove/edit the map’s tiles, decals, props, and patches in full.
- Map Settings dialog. This dialog allows you to change the map’s name, author, description, and size.
- Saving, loading, and clearing. All three are implemented, and files are saved in such a manner that future versions will always be able to load older map formats.
What You Don’t Get …Yet
For a first release Battleforge is pretty close to being feature-complete, but a few important systems are excluded until a later release:
- Ambient Settings. These includes ambient lighting of the map, weather, and possibly ambient sound effects for the map.
- Light Mode. Light mode will allow you to add/remove/edit different types/coloured lights on the map.
- Mini-Map. A clickable mini-map to both display the overall image of the current map, and to allow fast navigation of the map.
- Documentation/Help. Aside from this journal entry, no documentation or other information on using Battleforge is included, currently.
Controls and Interface
I strove to make Battleforge feel intuitive to use, but naturally what one person defines as intuitive can oftentimes be awkward or unexpected for others. Since this release has no accompanying documentation, I’ll specify the controls here in short:
- Arrow keys move the camera around the map. Hold down SHIFT to increase the speed of movement.
- Left clicking props, decals, or patches selects them. Hold down the left mouse button and drag to select multiple objects at once. Holding down CTRL allows you to make single clicks to select/deselect objects.
- Dragging the left mouse button on objects will move them. Dragging the right mouse button (excluding patches) will rotate them.
- Props/decals/patches are placed on the map by first clicking on an object in the image palette in the sidebar. Hitting Escape or clicking in an empty area in the sidebar will cancel Placement Mode.
- You can change the ground texture by entering Patch Mode, selecting a texture, and then clicking on the “Set Texture as Ground” button under the image palette.
- In Tile Mode, tiles are placed with the left mouse button. The right mouse button removes the top-most layer of tiles, and holding down CTRL and the right mouse button will remove all layers of tiles in the selected area.
These are the main points, and should be enough to get the intrepid mapper going. 🙂
Launch Battleforge (finally!)
Battleforge currently uses Java Webstart technology for distribution. Click on the link below to launch.
If your web browser does not prompt you to open the .JNLP file with Java Webstart, then it may be due to several reasons:
- You don’t have Java 5.0 installed.
- Your system isn’t associating .JNLP files with Java Webstart. Look for a program named “javaws” in your Java JRE directory, which you can either use via the command-line to launch the JNLP file (save it locally), or set a file association on your system.
If you’re still having trouble, please be sure to let me know. I’d like to sort out any launching issues sooner rather than later.
Just a couple of screenshots from pretty little maps I started while testing/during development.
Naturally, feedback and support are what helps keeps the motivational juices flowing, and helps improve the game/editor. I’d really like to hear about your experiences with Battleforge and your suggestions and comments for improvement. Knowing what people like and don’t like goes a long way in improving the editor for future versions.
As always, a massive thanks to everyone who has been supporting Skirmish. This one’s for you guys. 🙂