Step by Step Guide Making your first Map


Prerequisites
  • The Xna development package installed with visual c#
  • The release files.
  • This zip file including some textures, a heightmap, and a normal map. firstmap.zip

Instructions
1. Extract the folder with the images somewhere.
2. Find the link to the MapFinalizer and run the program.

You should now see the main form of the finalizer, if not you probably do not have xna installed.
menu.png

3. Now click the open button under HeightMap: then find and select the file heightmapoftrack.bmp from the files you just downloaded.
This is your heightmap and must be in the following format:
  • any format that the Bitmap class can handle (.jpg,gif,png......)
  • can be blended colors of only white and black

4. Now the bottom status box should say some warning and that you have not loaded your normal map yet.

5. Following the same procedure that you did with the HeightMap click the other open button and find the file Trackmap24.bmp.
This is your normalmap and must be in the following format:
  • format isn't important, but I find it easier as a 256 Bitmap.
  • Using a modern paint program mixes colors by default, you MUST DISABLE THIS if want this to work.
  • The only different colors should be ones you want to be a different texture.

6. Now you should be asked if you want to set the maps textures, hit OK.

You should see this menu now.
2menu.png

The first list contains all the rgb values of the colors on your normal map.
If you made a normal map incorrectly you may notice that you will have more colors than you need (unluckily for you the remove feature is unfinished so you will have to fix your normal map and try again.)

7. The next list contains images which are the textures. Click a few list items from either side and notice how the image box and color box show you your selection.

8. Starting with the first color (at the top) and going down hit change texture and select your textures from the downloaded package.
Generally textures should be the same size, but mixing sizes should work as well.
Notice: for those who wish to make new maps and use them in their own projects:
  • All texture names must be declared in the content processor and assigned friction values. This was originally used by the physics engine in my game.
  • You do not have to worry about this in the previewer because it doesn't check these values

9. Your completed list should look something like this:
fg3.gif

10. Now hit the X button in the corner and you will be returned to the main window.

11. Notice the split options below these are best left at their default although changing them should do no harm. They were originally used to create separate map chunk files in order to decrease xnb size and increase rendering performance, but now only split the maps just to have them re-pieced in the content processor which combines the chunks into one xnb.

12. Hit the next button and you should be faced with a small dialogue that has 3 main options: Save, Preview, and Advanced Options.

13. For those interested in just seeing results hit the Preview button, be patient while a console screen appears and builds your materials.
After a few seconds you should now see your map in the previewer. Use the arrow or WASD keys to move around. Holding M provides you with wire frame and Esc quits.

14. You should now still be at the small dialogue click Advanced Options.
Here is a list of things you can do.
  • Terrain Scale Lossless - This literally stretches your map by the scale factor you provide. It is the best option for making your map bigger, but requires more memory (The 1024x1024 limit still exists with this.)
  • Height Scale Modifier - This controls the amount of units between the colors pure white and pure black. Its essentially the difference between the lowest and tallest points on your map.
  • Terrain Stretching - Not the same as the scale this makes your map longer and wider by using a maps height. Think of it as flattening your map to make it look bigger.
  • Triangle Scale - The size of the triangles that make up your map. Increasing this number means bigger triangles which is more efficient, but less detailed.
  • Texture Blending Scale - The amount of blurring the processor does to the border of your textures by use of a Gaussian Blur.
  • Light Direction - The light direction using xyz coords.
  • Light Intensity - The amount of light.
  • Ambient Color - The light used to color the map which can be used to make maps look like they are in day time, night time, or any time between.
  • Diffuse Color - Another light value that the map stores so you can read these values and assign them to your models as well.
  • Laps & Music Que - Optional values that the map can store. (Since the source is included feel free to add as many of these params to the content processor as you want. Theoretically you could add a way to add models to your maps by doing this and modify the previewer to render them as well.)
  • The bottom buttons allow you to set more parameters to the map such as a character/car start position and checkpoints. (While originally developed to be used in a racing game these can easily be modified for use with other types of games as well.)
  • Before you hit the car start position notice the orientation box. This controls the initial direction of an object you are adding to the map.
  • Once you hit the SetCarStart button you can click on the map where you want it to be and a red arrow will appear.
  • The Set Checkpoints button only has to be hit once and then you may create as many checkpoints as you wish. (Note you must check them in the order you want them to be activated.)
  • Once you are done with the check points hit the same button again to end checkpoint creation. (If you mess up hit ClearCheckpoints to clear them all.)
  • Notice: None of the markings will ever disappear, but only the last carstart location or set of checkpoints will be saved. If you wish to erase your markings, without deleting your parameters hit the reset img button.

15. Now return to the dialogue by pressing OK and Name your map. (This is important as this will be the name you use to reference your content in your main project.)

16. Save and exit
You can find your map in the same directory as the MapFinalizer most likely here: (XnaSimple MapEditor\MapFinalizer3\MapFinalizer\bin\Release)
Cut/Copy the entire folder with the map name to another directory that you feel comfortable with.

Next Page
Part 2 Including Your Content

Last edited Aug 23, 2010 at 7:55 PM by T3866, version 12

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