Gauntlets of Recursion (+3)

Times, trials, and turbulence.

Download Battleforge [R1]: The Map Editor

The Spiel

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

Launch Battleforge (finally!)

Battleforge currently uses Java Webstart technology for distribution. Click on the link below to launch.

Launch Battleforge [R1]

 

Troubleshooting

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.

Screenshots

Just a couple of screenshots from pretty little maps I started while testing/during development.

bf_img14.PNG decent.JPG

Feedback

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. πŸ™‚

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8 responses to “Download Battleforge [R1]: The Map Editor

  1. Dean March 1, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Works Great! A please to use. Can’t wait for the next release.

  2. Dave "Trapper Zoid" March 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    It looks pretty darn good. No problems running the editors on my iMac.

    Are the grass tiles only useable as the default “empty” tile; i.e. you can only have grass if there are no tiles on top of it?

  3. Hushed March 2, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Long-Time Reader, first time commenter.

    Your doing a great job! Runs very smoothly on Vista, I am impressed!

  4. shadowcomplex March 2, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Hey Hopedagger, that is pretty freaking spiffy. Very elegant and clean and user friendly.

    I only have one suggestion:
    (1) Allow multiple [contiguous] selections in the tileset. Currently you can only select one tile but you can paste it in a user defined block. The vice versa would be nice as well πŸ™‚

    Very slick little piece of software. Good work!

  5. brian.ripoff March 3, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Very nice. I started a small map in it, it is fairly easy to use. I had some issues, one time it wouldn’t allow me to select objects (it appeared to be “stuck” on the current selection), but I just restarted it.

    One thing that I expect for some reason is that when the mouse is on the edge of the screen that it should scroll. Once or twice I parked the mouse there, waiting for the screen to move before remembering to use the arrow keys.

    Just an idea. Keep up the progress!

  6. David McGraw March 3, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Wow, man! Pretty freaking slick! Great job!

    I only had ONE issue, but I couldn’t reproduce it, so consider it null until I can figure out what the hell I did. Other than that, this baby works well.

    My one addition I’d throw in (pretty simple), an auto fill for the entire area.

    Keep it up!

  7. Stephen March 3, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to try the editor, and for your comments.

    @David: Yes. I can’t think of any case where you would want the grass to appear on top of other tiles. If you did, then wouldn’t you be able to achieve the same effect by simply having no tiles on that grid location to begin with?

    @Hushed: Thanks. It’s always a pleasure to know I have another reader. πŸ™‚

    @shadowcomplex: I’m not sure I understand what you mean by multiple selections. Can you explain?

    @brian: If you can reproduce that bug, that would be great; I’ll jump right on it. As for the scrolling, that feature is actually already implemented, albeit only while a mouse button is held down. This facilitates auto-scrolling when you’re dragging a selection region around, but not for normal scrolling. I’ll see what I can do about adding that in, though.

    @David: What was this issue? I’d prefer knowing, even if it turns out to be a dud.

  8. Jonathan Chung March 4, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Fantastic job. This is one of the best in-game editors I’ve come across.

    Of course, some little suggestions. πŸ™‚

    1) vsync this please. We don’t need to run an editor at 1000 FPS as all that does is send my fans blowing and CPU usage to the max.

    2) Don’t show the thing you are placing when your mouse is over the “palette”. This obscures the palette and makes things harder to select.

    3) If you are in select mode, it would be nice to be able to click and drag an item to move it rather than having to select it first with the rubber band and then moving it.

    4) Rotations – Do this Adobe style where you move the cursor to the corner, click and drag those handles to rotate it. The current scheme is clunky at best. In addition, the selection box after you rotate does not accurately represent the shape. either rotate the box or update it to the proper size if you wish to stay axis-aligned.

    All in all, great job. My suggestions might take some time, and I think it’s more important that you keep momentum and work on the engine. πŸ™‚

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