Alright, so you have checked out the forum and have directed your attention to the workshop which holds many interesting mapping threads. You click on one and see absolutely stunning maps that, if all goes well, will be seen in game post wipe. A sudden feeling from within inspires you to download the mapping tools to bring to life creations you have wanted to make since first opening the FOnline reloaded application. However, as soon as you managed to set up the pathways to folders and open the mapper for the first time, you are left confused and shaken. Wondering how anyone can make a map in this application is too much for you and, after several minutes, and in my case cigarettes, you shut down the mapper, log into FOnline reloaded and get back to levelling your character powered with the frustration from moments ago.
That was exactly how I felt the first time I was introduced to the mapper. Starting from square 1 with no background information and no knowledge of the program left me utterly exhausted with trying to create anything. It was only through persistence and wanting to help add to the game that got me to where I am today, working with the developers of Reloaded and making new content for everyone to enjoy.
The reason I am making this tutorial is because I had very minimal guidance on how to do anything in the mapper. The only resource I had available was this tutorial by Slowhand which managed to explain a little to me. While I can look back at it now and understand everything he had put in, as it stood back then I was as lost as a a blue suit going to warehouse for the first time.
This tutorial will assist people who are new to mapping and want to try out making maps in their free time. As such, the easiest way forward is of course to create standard encounter maps which is quite simple to do. However I must stress that for a map to be good, it does not mean over cluttering and throwing anything anywhere to make it feel... post apocalyptic. Having said that, let us begin!The Basics
1)The cursor - Self explanatory, allows for clicking on everything in the program.
2)Show - This menu reveals/hides the specific categories. Green border reveals category on screen, no border hides.
3)Select - This menu allows to select categories on screen. Green border can be selected, no border cannot.
4)Items - These are things such as containers, doors, vehicles. Anything that can be interacted or used.
5)Map - The main part. This is where you can place down walls, floors, scenery, all the good stuff.
6)Critters - Enemies and NPC. Mainly used for scale purpose.
As you can guess, the blue screen that the cursor is on is infact the main part of the mapper. Here you can actually create and view what you are making.
G = Displays Grid for ease and accuracy.
MouseWheel = Scroll in/out
For a realistic view of the mapper like you would view in game = zoom at 100%A Simple Start
Standard Encounter maps are the simplest maps that can be created in the mapper. The reason is simply because you can copy and paste a pre-existing encounter map and customise it to your own personal preference. For this tutorial we will be using a very commonly used encounter map in the desert.
Hitting the "Enter" key will cause a search bar to pop up. In the search bar type in "~e_desert1" and you should get the following map on the screen:
This map may be familiar to you; it is one of the variations of maps you can encounter randomly in your travels in the desert. It is quite uninteresting but standard encounter maps are a necessity, and the more variations there are then the more differentiation of maps can be encountered in game. This is where this tutorial comes in.
Using the cursor, drag around the map and delete EVERYTHING with the exception of the tech border. It should begin to look like this:
Now comes the time for an important step: SAVING. A lot of people can get confused with the mapper tutorials out there on the issue of saving. The easiest and most efficient way to save your map is by inputting the following into the command bar:
Insert name of the map
/text = To be truthful I have no idea about this, but general assumption is a text format of some sort.
/nopack = Prevents parts of the map being lost upon re-opening.
Now before moving on I advise closing the application and then opening it up again. Then just like how we loaded the desert map in the first place, open up the command bar and load your map. In this tutorial it would be ~StandardMap1. If this works then great, read on into the next section. If it does not work then you may not have saved your map properly. Luckily enough the first section is fairly easy to replicate, so just repeat the steps above to get a blank encounter map again and attempt to save. Once you have it under control, head onto the next section.Dry Deserts are Dull
So you have made it this far and have yourself an empty desert encounter with a tech grid, and are able to save and load this blank slate. This empty map is the basis of any further encounter map you wish to make so don't worry about how bland it is currently. The fun part has arrived as it is time to start some mapping!Important note - Do not over do this tutorial by creating a mega mansion instead of a simple shack. Remember the saying walk before you can run
The theme for this encounter will still be desert, but of course with some variation to make it more defined and interesting. What about a little farmer's shack out in the wasteland, similar to what was found in Fallout 2?
As shown in the basics section, select "Wall" in the "Map" section. The tab will now expand and list the types of wall available. Choose "Junk:Outside" and start placing down walls to form the first section of the farmer's shack. For corners, select "Junk:Corners" and for interiors select "Junk:Inside."
Within 5 minutes or less, depending on the kind of shack you decide to make, you will have a finished outline of your building. Here is a very simple one I made in under 2 minutes.
But what is a building without floors? Just like walls, select floor and the tab will expand. Select "art\tiles\crbm" and use the wooden plank floor tiles in there. Here is where the "G" button comes in handy as pressing it displays a grid full of squares. Each square is a floor tile and each of these wooden planks will fit in the squares inside the shack you have made. Dont forget that you can hide the walls in the show section shown in the Basics section.
And just like so:
We have constructed a shack and laid down some flooring. Basic shelter in the wasteland!
Dont forget to SAVE YOUR MAP. Now it is time to decorate.Every place has it's features
This is also another important step. Cluttering an encounter is important because balancing the details out is necessary to prevent the standard encounter becoming both an eyesore and a unique location. Remember that this is a standard encounter map, not a commission.
All decoration and clutter can be found in "Scen" (Scenery) in the "Map" section. Just like the "Wall" and "Floor" the tab will expand with a list of clutter at your disposal. The current encounter map should be looking quite empty. This is expected, but now it is time to plant some dry grass, rocks and tress. Begin with selecting "Dry grass/Hay" and placing it ALL OVER the map. Make it as natural as you can; random placement can destroy the feel of the map.
TIP: Placing dry grass on the cracked desert tiles gives a really nice effect. I would recommend doing this.
Here is how the tutorial map is looking now:
It is up to you how you want to mess around with the natural environment. Place down rocks, trees, etc to really amplify the wasteland and surrounding area of this map.
Now here it is again with added natural clutter:
Slowly taking shape I might add. Hopefully so should your own! Now that natural decor has been placed, it is time to move onto man made decor. These are things like junk pieces, metal boxes, trash. Basically everything else. Look around and place things you feel will fit in with your own creation. Remember not to over trash the place, just add things here and there to bring it all out.
Here is my final cluttering of the shack itself:
SAVE YOUR WORKWait... No Roof?
Here is a particularly tricky part. Roofing any building is tricky at first because of how tedious it is to properly start it. To make this easier, have the grid show up with the "G" button and hide the floor in the show section. Now make the roof show. This will make the map look like this:
From here, select "Roof" on the "Map" section and, like expected, a tab will expand. Select "Art\Tiles\Ruf" and choose the tile "Ruf1000." Before placing anything down, click your middle mouse button and the tile should elevate. This elevation is the tile being in "Roof Mode." This can happen to all tiles, even floor tiles, so take care when placing down tiles of any sort, and make sure that if it is for floor then the tile is not elevated, and if it is for roof then it is. Pressing the middle mouse button once will cause all tiles to be placed in either "Roof Mode" or "Floor Mode."
Getting back to the point at hand, now in "Roof Mode" start placing the roof tile ontop of your shack. Once finished, and with floors revealed again, it should look like similar to this:Technologic
Alright so everything is pretty much done with your own standard encounter maps. The shack is down, the environment is set, clutter is prevalent across the map and everything feels alive. While you may think that this is it, you are happy with your work and you will start mass producing standard encounter maps, you are not actually finished; you are close, but not done.
Tech is very important in mapping. It prevents moving through solid objects, shooting through walls, it allows for actually entering and leaving the map in the first place. The latter has already been done with the tech border around the whole map. That area is the exit grid that players of the game all know. What you do need to know when mapping is that tech is VITAL. Tech needs to be put in so the map you make can actually function. The journey is almost at the end, but one last station must be visited.
Open the "Tech" tab in "Map" section, and you should automatically be choosing the green "S" tech hex. This is the hex that stops moving through objects; it blocks movement. Place this hex around objects that obstruct movement. For example this would be the caravan on the side of my shack, the cacti and smaller things around it too.
Next up is to block being able to walk through walls. This is the yellow "W" tech hex. These can be placed every other hex away from each other as to prop up a barrier for the wall, basically assisting the wall being a wall.
Green "W" tech hexes are for wall corners. They are an issue, so place them near yellow "W" tech hexes at corner intervals.
Next on the list is the "ENT" tech hexes. This piece of tech allows players to actually gain entry into the map from world spawn. Place quite a healthy amount of these in the centre mid of the map.
Finally, since this map is a standard encounter map, we will want mob spawn waves for enemy npc's to roam. This is the "mob wave" tech circle. Place roughly 5 or 6 of these across the map, preferably near the edges of the map.
This is the end result of the standard encounter map, complete with tech:
There we have it, a finished standard encounter map, ready for submission to the developers. Making a map takes a lot of time and dedication; the time it took me to make this standard encounter map, minus the time it took to write this tutorial up at the same time, was roughly under an hour. This is purely because I have been mapping for a good amount of time now and things just come naturally. For a new mapper interested in creating then this would most likely take up some more time. All standard encounter maps pretty much follow the method I have included in this tutorial today - ~e_desert1 and then deleting everything but the tech border, filling it all up with whatever you have in mind. As a matter of fact, it is how I create my custom unique locations too. Play around on the mapper, see what you can amount to and enjoy the things you make.
I hope this tutorial will be helpful to aspiring mappers.