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Heroes Community > MapHaven Guild > Thread: H5 - "Beginner's Map-Making Guide"
Thread: H5 - "Beginner's Map-Making Guide" This thread is 5 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 · NEXT»
markkur
markkur


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted October 16, 2010 10:11 PM bonus applied by angelito on 28 Apr 2011.
Edited by markkur at 17:46, 15 Oct 2011.

H5 - Beginning Map-Making Guide

Recent changes will be in red-text

The latest Fan Manual is a "must-read" Fan Manual

Link dedicated to this guide. Update

You also have available 2 other threads loaded with all sorts of info. Maps

http://www.celestialheavens.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3793&start=0

A Few Ideas about Starting

Find the HoMM storyline and retell or create your own story based on it. Create something from History.(sortof)I have used real-world maps of counties, states, regions etc. (see scale in map surface set-up)Of course you can create your own fictional world. An idea I used from HoMM 3 was making a map of a Dragon and going from there. They also did a Griffin for Griffin King map objective.

***Read my dedicated topic "Mindsprinkles about mapping" post in this thread just for fun, before beginning a map.

These are "guidelines" because an assumption is made that a new map-maker has a PC that is 'middle-of-the-road" in Stats.

Map Size

Beginning your map
Important! When starting a new map by either the default pop-up or by selecting “File”/then ‘New‘, you will receive an option to pick either Multiplayer’ or ‘Single-Mission’. If you think there is any chance you may want others to play this map with you, always pick “Multiplayer“ unless you do intend a "single mission" only of course. I’ve not been able to change my original single player maps to multiplayer. I’ve been told there is a way to do that but he could not remember the method used to change the maps default.


In selecting Your map size, if you want lots of trees and animations, etc, and also want an 'underground' , then select nothing larger than 'large' with normal or smaller being better. This has to do with your PC and the games A.I.and processing speeds. Not having an underground, does make picking the larger maps i.e. "Huge" valid for decent game play. Other factors concerning this are of course number of players/factions. The map-editor has a desired limit of no more 8 towns on the map. Again this is a Gameplay-speed issue. So, if you want to have more, but you have an older PC, then cutting back on 'animations' can help. Decorating and filling the map with fixed-objects like rocks, craters, dirt/sand-trees, mountains etc. reduce background processor workload. Just remember; the bigger the map, means more work to make it look good.

Map Editor {overview}

Note*** There is a glitch within the Map Editor that can make the 1st map you open...blur. To get around this, just open the map you want a "second" time. (not reloading) The second time, the map's surface is always clear.

On the program's screen, I always have the mini-map window at upper right and the Tool panel at lower right. I toggle back and forth with the Object list panel (left-side) depending on what I am doing at the moment. I only have the Object-List up if I am working on individual objects i.e. color or checking ownership etc.

At the top-right of the M.E. program are 5 tabs. I am only going to list and discuss what I use. 'File' Reload I use when I make lighting changes. Edit Rotate-object I use R on the keys. This makes the trigger-cell more or less accessable, depending on what is nearby. Level-Terrain under object I use this for all objects at times but Towns, mines and buildings always. This is good to do at the end of making a map so you ensure the trigger cell (green) can be triggered by a hero. View Show-gridThis is good aid to see the slope of the land surface when using the Smith-tool. Show Passability This reveals the used cells in red and also the 'green'trigger cells. Masking is also shown in a dull orange color. Tools Center Camera Top Camera To see straight down. At angles in 3D, some things are hidden.  All three View buttons are here. for the tool windows.
Note: Use the long toolbar with all of the icons, for any and all of these functions.

Warning: Whenever placing objects on the map, unless it IS for a certain player #, make sure you have not bumped 'player-none' to another player-number other than 'None'.

Also when placing objects be warned; sometimes for whatever reason; "Two of that object can be placed".

* Map Surface Set-up
Remember to zoom out to see the whole map surface to layout the map as explained in the manual. I like to use the terra-skin 'weeds' found under the filter 'Dirt' to mark where woods will be, the dormant-grass for hills, and a 'Rock' skin under 'Grass' or 'Orcish' for mountains. At starting out, I also like to mark where towns are going to be with a skin that is distinct so I can easily reference the town to gage distances between towns, portals etc. I like to use one of the 'sand' skins like 'wetsand' to mark where portals are going to be placed and spots to have a shipyard.(This helps you to easily see these places, you can change them to another skin when you've finished)

[Note: Anytime you want to erase then use the "eraser tool" but you will need to change to the skin you wish to erase "first" In the case of "roads", I will add some more of that road-skin and then switch to erase "and then the eraser will work." It works.

My first thoughts in making a map are about logistics. Having some balance in the distances that factions have to travel to get to similar places/purposes. Or, if I want a faction to have an advantage or disadvantage in distance, easily seeing the colors of skins on the map helps me quickly gage differences.  Using the skins in whatever fashion you choose to associate with map objects, helps you to clearly see the 'world you're creating'.

Note on distance: if you want to be exact, than open the grid and count cells.

Note: Several map-makers have told me; they like to make maps in Paint etc. to plan the map layout first.

Map to scale: When using a real-world map or picture of something outside the world HoMM, you can make an H5 map to "scale" by saving the reference-map in "Paint" (There are probably better programs to do this) Within Paint you will see places on the ref-map; i.e. "corner of a building" and your cursor in paint will give that spot on that map in "inches", simply divide inches into the "total-cells" number of your map's size. In my case, if I have a 7" sq. (best to stay 'even and squared') 7 into 136 cells = 19.43 cells per in. So, if the corner of a building (in paint)is at about a 2 inch(X) by 3 inch (Y) spot on the ref. map/picture then on my new map, it will approx. be at {39X,78Y}cell.  X reads correctly but "Y" has to be subtracted from the top of the map (136-cell)

When I have my skins applied then I think 'water'. now I know I've already said 'shipyard'. Your order will vary to your preference, the point is do what keeps the 'big picture' clearest in your head.  To the seasoned veteran map-maker this sort of thing is a no-brainer but I've found that I love to make the much larger maps so this fundamental stuff helps me keep things straight. I dislike it when I have a map that is beginning to create me instead of me creating it

Placing Towns
Just want to note a couple of things. You can place the towns first or build the land first but remember to "level terrain under object" when finished. For lighting I have found that 12-15 Z at 25-50 radius works well(you'll see lighting further on down). Moving a town around/near water Or "ramped lowered land" will reveal various places that the green-access cell can be located. The ship will appear, when built in that town at that spot in the water.

Under the Town properties, you can dictate what the town will have already built; from nothing to fully built. "Click on town and then hit "spacebar" Under "buildings-tab" You can set what buildings in a town are built, can be and may not be enabled. i.e. If it is a random town out in the middle of nowhere on your map and you just want that town to be a spot to refresh magic and give some more money to the current owner. Also you can have a starting 'Garrison Hero' ready to rock, inside the town at the game's start.


The Land

First notice any tile you click on; it has an XY location and H value = "Height" displayed at bottom right of the map window.

Roads are an important aspect of maps. On different maps, I have placed them in two ways. I recommend placing them "Before" bulking up a map with hills and mountains, so they can be used to guide where the land rises or falls. But it is also valid to make land and then make the roads follow the land , much like what happened for centuries on the earth: but starting out, this is the harder route. Once you are good with tools it does not matter.

You have three very good tools in 'Bulk', 'Dig' and'Smith'. Bulk and Dig do just what they suggest and Smith is the tool that smoothes the land's surface. Make a little 'learning map' to practice on and set the brush to size 7 and 'Bulk-up' a big area. How you move the mouse will impact how the land grows. And it grows very uneven. "Zoom-in", at times, to make sure you are seeing what you need to. If you have 'holes' that are more shallow, switch to a smaller brush size and build them up, then go back to the larger size. Once you have an area at the height you desire (H) than use the Smith-tool. This evens all the rough stuff. But you have to be careful, because if you want some jagged-edges around a precipice then this tool will knock it off if you go to the edge, so zoom-in to see where to stop 'Smithing'. (Remember to use the "Grid") If you overshoot and knock off those fangs you wanted? switch to #1 or #3 brush and bulk it back up.

Raise and Lower

'Raise' raises the land a notch. You can do this as much as you want. 'Lower' just takes it back down again, say, in places you have made a mistake. Raise, I discuss further 'in Bridges' and 'Lower' I discuss further in the water section.

Note: Brush size can impact what you do. i.e. If you raise one Size 7 square, you will only raise the next smaller size inside it,  with the #5 brush and so-on. Same thing going back down.

Note: I use these two functions mostly when making bridge-landings. But I have used them to make step pyramids. I do not use them much for the land because of the lines that appear that cannot be skinned.

Note: A single "raised" (raise tool) line of land looks really good as it follows the banks of a river. Skinning it with mud or dirt adds a real look to the river and don't forget to fill part of the strip with objects from "dirt -objects" snags, dead trees, rocks etc.

Quick, varied Plateaus:

I like to use the #3 or #5 brush size and bulk-up a few different spots to various H-heights/values, in a region that I am elevating. Then I switch to #1 and use 2 or 3 spots on the same mound. One dead center and another midway and the last near the edge. In each case, creating a small block,"with the plateau button and #1 brush" (once you have the three elevations you can switch to larger brush sizes to spread them out) at those different elevations. Since I have put a few of the bulk spots around the region I am working on with an overall picture of the layout in my mind, this approach really makes it easy to get extremely varied landscape elevations... quickly. i.e. I started in the North with snowy elevations at 30-40 H, and stepped down gradually or rapidly in places, taking the land 'down' to the southern coast.
Note: Use the 'smith ' button to level off the rough edges. Be careful with this, the different brushes (1-7) sizes work
accordingly.

Tip: Once you have several elevations and want the land to rise normally between the levels than "turn on the "grid-lines" and at 1st, use "smith" + the #7 brush a little, then #5 some. In the places where you want to have the road/path or just accessable clearings switch to #3 and slowly make the rise more gradual. At  points near the road, I like to switch to "bulk" and #1 or #3 to make the land near the road rise-up in places to resemble little domes or long ridges that end, just shy of the road or clearing. Then hit those with a "rock skin". Often in nature when an elevation quickly changes a rock shelf/ledge is holding back the upper ground. Try the "subterra tile skins". They can look like "stone walls" if done right. They enlarge on a tall cliff and can look like bigger stones. Roads-skins work too but be sure and mask, if you don't want a horse zooming across the side of your tall-walls.

A good idea = Create a template map for each map-size you like to use. Take the time to create i.e. 5 elevations 10,20,30,40 and 50H. Save the map with; "temp and mapsize" as that file name. Then when beginning a new map you already have various elevations, can open it and "Save-as" and then can just plataeu around creating the new land. You can set the template up in 5H varations and have 10 in your templates for an even easier "smithing" job. I have made Huge and VL templates.

Mountains

Under the object list of "Grass" there are three mountains and two hills. You can put these directly on your mountain range line in random fashion, along where you have targeted the surface with your rock-skin. Place them by remembering to change 'position' as they are placed by using the "R" key to rotate into one of four angles. Overlap them at times to make denser areas of the range. Once your mountain range is filled then you can go to the tile-brush again and select from 1-7 size depending how wide the range is and use the "bulk button" to build up each mountains or hills "height". At any time just use the "dig" button to take a little of the top Changing brush size also adds good visual variation. Note: Since there are very few "pre-given mountain objects to place, I tend to use these much later in the process. In other words. I use the 'plataeu method' above to make my mountains and just 'cap-off' here and there with the gimmes. The different 'rock-skins' look like mountain-surfaces to me anyway, Even when starting with the gimmes I always came back through and matched connecting terrain to them by using the 'rock skin'. You can use different rock-skins for different surface textures. The 'sandrock' makes great hills and mountains on sand. By the way. There should be a good mixture of grass and dirt hills.

Tip about mountain ranges: Once you have your ranges and have made them create long roadways between Towns, you can, at given points, use the 'zero' brush to create a' tight canyon'. Be warned (save first) it takes your work down to "ground-level" and if you have built very high elevations, zero is a long way down. Guard this passage-way with a Lv7-monster or greater that can only be defeated much later in your game. You can do the same with "dig" but it's a lot more work.

Water and Bridges.

Adding water to your map can be done in two ways on the surface level. You can select the brush choice 'lower' and the brush size 1-7 and remove the land. Water with waves remains to create your rivers and oceans. You can also select in the 'tool-panel',the tile-brush filter "Rivers", then pick 'water','lava' or 'bog'.  Using any of these on a land surface (terrain and underground) "lowers the land with the chosen liquid" If you want an area of a "bog" to have a few passable spots then you will need to use the passability check to see where the river or bog is "solid". You may have to 'erase' here and there, leaving a few spaces only lightly touched but not enough to make the red-line solid and that leaves places for an adventurer to cross. If you want the river, bog or lava to be a solid barrier, then you have to make sure that the entire thing is two spots of red...wide or use 'Mask'.
When using the 'lower' method, the river/sea bottom will be whatever skin the land was that you lowered. Depending on the lighting of your map you can change the skin of the river bottom to good visual effect. I like to use one of the 'conquest skins', they look very good in the sun. If you are going to make the terrain map lighting dark, don't bother with this. You cannot change the look of water made with the 'Water' tool, nor the 'Lava'. But 'Bog' IS impacted some to good effect with the 'roots' "skin spotted in here and there under nearby trees" or by changing to lighter or darker 'dirt'.

Note: If you use both methods on the map, they will not match when they join, so put some rocks and other stuff there to hide the change.

Tip: You can place most any object and then lower the land. (tree, lava-crack etc.) in what will be a water/lava/bog area ( this can be done in an ocean area using the "lower tool" or a in little stream using the "river brush" either way. Also when placing "Grass/Rush" over water be sure to zoom-in and look at it closely, it may hang in mid-air and then you'll need to put a negative number at each objects "Z"value. "Snags" too.

Underground you only have the Water/Lava/Bog tool to use for rivers and ocean etc. Remember; The 'Lower'tool + #3-size brush is used to lower the land when first starting out underground In clearing space to place objects. (It is the only one that will do this)

Bridges are a little tricky at first. The parts to a bridge are found in 'Grass Objects' in two parts, the middle section and end section. There are two different color of bridges to use. Place them directly on land. Use however many middle sections to span (using R) and end cap them. Then at each end, set the brush to size #7 and use the tool 'raise' once, at each end of the bridge. I make the white-box showing the brush-cursor, end at the first pylon/statue, outward "away from where the water will be". If you tilt the map with your mouse, you will see the bridge end is still hanging in the air. Switch to brush size#5 and 'bulk' up the land under the bridge end several times and then switch to size #3, center and bulk till you see the ground start to overlap the bridge end, Switch the brush to 'dig' and click once to lower the land for a clean bridge end. You will need to use the 'ramp' tool to ramp the land squares you made so the bridge can be accessed at each end, unless you raise more land on the map.  After you've done this to both ends, run your river water under all of the middle-bridge-supports.

Tip: For variation; I set a bridge in at -3{Z}. I did this at a "water-skin" river not "lowered-cell a.k.a.ocean". The bridge looked like a flat draw-bridge that I wanted when I put water up to it and the usual arches were barely visible. Btw, I've noticed that bridge size can be changed too. Really wide or really tall.

Shipyards If you do not want your town right on the water then place the 'all-terrain object = "shipyard". No matter it's location, whether near a town or on an island before placing the shipyard,  "Ramp" (to ramp you will need the land's edge to be squared off or even, or it will appear "ramp" does not work)some of the edge of the land or island because when you move and rotate(R) the object you will NOT see the green access tile if there is no way to get into the ship. In tight spots be sure and check the trigger cell for the shipyard, that it is reachable.

Landscaping etc.

Just a few tips about filling out your world
1.Vary object types and rotate (R), e.g. use the 4 angles when placing the same tree or rocks several times and the more stuff you use the better a region will look.
2. If you've made a nice grouping and have a big map, then drag the cursor over that group so it is all red, then copy and paste it elsewhere. If it is a "night" map, then do the point-lighting on each of the objects first, before copy and pasting elsewhere.
3. "Fills" make for fast filling. Try them all out. I tend to just use the "Grass", "Dirt-trees high" and "grass-trees 1-3" but you might use more than that. One good tip is to "mask" areas first that you don't want to be accessed and then fill in those orange areas that are revealed by having the "passability check" on, with some "stuff" <L>
4. If you have large areas that are "borders" and nothing more and you've made a "night-map"; then "point-light one "rock or tree" with the desired color and a large radius and Z value. e.g. Z=(5-10)and radius (25-40) for an area and do the copy-paste bit to "reveal all of your forest/hills/mountains.
5. In the "Objects/arena" are a lot of things that are great to use just be sure and mask under things like the walls & various towers or all those Academy buildings or they will not prevent Heroes walking right through them, except for a tile to pass through the "gate".
6. In "all-terrain-objects" there is an "outpost". If you place one, you can click on it and hit Space-bar to set ownership and guarding army but I also "view the obect properties drop-down" and choose what faction the outpost belongs, because default is always "Heaven" or Haven<L>
7. There are some flowers, rocks and trees in the sub-folders under "shared" that do not show up in your editor's selection boxes.

Connecting the two levels

1. On your map, place Subterra-gates from Object Filter "All terrain objects" wherever you want to go down to the underground.
2.Click on "view underground" on toolbar or under the "view tab". Wherever you have a Gate entrance above, click 'view underground'and using brush #3 AND 'lower' Lower the area under the gate above. Switch to terrain skins and choose 'subterr' and change the surface skin of the new area. Now you can see it on your mini-map. Go around and repeat for all gates on the upper level to have a corresponding lower level area. Once you've finished you can see where all of the 'exits' now need to be for placing the object 'Subterra gate exits' Also found in the Filter "All Terrain objects"
3,Now place an exit in each of the new areas.Then make sure you have passability-on. I like to have the upper and lower parts of a gate match at XY. Placing your cursor on the green trigger of an object shows you the location in XY coord. at lower right of your map screen. I make them match by moving my 'exit' where it needs to be and also make it face the same direction using the 'r' key. This is optional. They will work regardless.
4.Now you have entrances and exits all over the place but they are all by default numbered 0. This means they are not seperated into 'sets'. You have an object properties tab on the toolbar. If you click on it after selecting one of the gates, the value 0 is what will be shown. Keep this simple. If I have two gates, both have a top and bottom (entrance and exit) The first one is in player one's area. So, I change 0 to 1 for both parts of that gate and change 0 to 2 for the other gate. Rule for me I never use the default 0 because whenever you save your map after working on it, errors are listed. If a gate with a zero comes up on that list, than I know I have a double gate situation and look at the listed XY of the problem gate and I know where to go to delete the extra gate.
5.Strategies of placement are all up to you but I advise you coming up with an easy way for you to keep your gate numbers clear in your mind. Since lots of gates are not usually preferred I will use player numbers to help me keep things straight as I just explained. Lets say I have 4 players on the map and each has 3 gates in their area. Then I label those gates in this fashion 1.11.111, and so on. If the map had 8 factions...same thing. 1,11,111 to 8,88,888. I would have 24 gates all seperately identified.

Portals

Portals are different than gates in that they can be on the same level on the map. Also you have 'two-way' and 'one way'. With a two-way you use '2' objects called "Two-way-portal" and for the "One-way portal" you have two parts like a gate does, with an entrance and an exit. The same rules apply in identifying gates. They will be default 0 when first placed. You have to give them a unigue number. Make a list of 'used numbers' if you need to to refer back to as you go along, whatever to help keep things clear. This can get pretty difficult to track, if you don't plan well and you have lots of Gates and Portals on your map for different purposes.

Note about Portals. You can have 1 'One-way' entrance and 2 'One-way' exits. or Three 'Two-ways' to link 3 spots on the map and much more if you choose.  However, in each case you have to identify each by the same number in that group, and use new numbers than all other previously placed groupings.

Underground

I chose this order because if you did the last section you have portals and can now design where they lead. The order is not important. I have also made my entire-underground with all objects and the last thing I did was place 'gates and portals'. Whatever is easiest for you.

ONLY "#3 brush' and 'lower' will clear away areas. When on the upper map using 'lower' will take you down to water. It will not do this in the underground. To have rivers, you have to use the water brush. Lava and Bog are also selections. 'Crags' is the 6th Brush Tool at far right of the Tool-panel. You can change the wall texture of the underground in places or all over with one or all of these eight choices. To try it, pick one of the Dwarven 4-8 and move your cursor along the walls and they are changed to that selection.

Note: Some of the "Dwarven-Crags" have spaces inside, that you can put various fire objects.(Remember this when you come to the lighting-section)

Tip: Pay attention to the Dwarven-battle-arena when playing, and notice how the Dwarven walls/crags are placed. e.g. "Loges" from "subterra-objects" are intended for one of the choices of crags/walls.

Underground usage. I have lowered and used almost all of it on some maps while others I will just do small areas for specific purposes. For another Town. Level-up areas. Artifacts or short-cut-passages. Additional resources. Some combination of all of that. It's up to you how much or how little and for what purpose but remember to place mostly 'fixed objects' for better gameplay. Remember also about the Editor having a check-map issue with more than 8 towns on map. I can only assume this is an A.I. issue. But if you have an awesome PC, and want to try having twice that number or even more. Go for it. You can always remove some later if need be.

About Objects

The lower right of the Editor should be the "Tool" panel. If it is not open click ‘View’ and it is 3rd from the bottom. I am only going to say a few things about Objects since you can cursor over all of them and read descriptions. I’ll just make a few points that may be helpful

Objects that have Random boxes for placement are Dwellings for town-creatures, levels 1-3 can be picked but 4-7 are random in last faction-specific dwelling. Towns, Monsters lvs.1-7 and Artifacts 4- Any, Minor, Major, Relic and also "The Tear of Asha" If you place this on your map you will need to place a lot of Obelisks from the 'All terrain' list, around the map to slowly reveal the Tear's location.

Dirt has Swamp Haze, Sand has Pyramid, Grass has Bridge-Parts, Subterra has crystals and torches good for point-lights. Taiga trees look good in Necromancer lands. Treasures has all resources and Chests. I only point this one out because depending on how much you place will affect how your game starts. If you want things to get rolling fast then spread the wealth but if you want a slow build-up then place very little. Another thing that mappers do in lieu of freebies, they will place some like resource at each mine type right by the creature guarding. i.e. at a crystal mine; 1 crystal and a chest or 2 crystals. A chest and a random treasure etc.

The All Terrain Objects is where most of the things you need for your map will be, but explore all of the sections. I.E. the Arena Objects is good place for quite a few things to give variety. (be sure and mask them and check them for passabilty so they will not be Swiss-cheese.)

Note: Many objects can be "resized", If you have the object list panel open and you highlight a tree, you will see “Scale” 100 %. You can change that to 200% and double the tree's size or go the other way. One thing to notice when doing this; some objects change how they look when you rotate them. One of my favorites is a tower that gets taller one way and wider the other. The thin image looks like an Elvin tower to me.

Also when looking here notice the line Shared that text is a file description of that particular tree. If you left click on that line and then click that little left box you will see a whole file structure come up with lots of things to choose. Pick the big tree from on down the list a bit in the listing and then click back on the map surface and on the tree again it should change to your latest pick, the big tree.
Thanks again to Gibblets for contributing these two tips.  

Warning: There are many things in these files that are not listed normally in the Editor. So I advise saving and then duplicating your map with another name to explore the files. There are all sorts of things here like “glows” “effects” and "Bats".

Tip: There are some trees called "cracked" take a look at those. <imo> They make very good evil looking trees. Btw, when making a map, pick several trees and place them in a row, (you can also set the same tree to various sizes, 50 % graduating to 200%, to really mix things up) at a given spot on your map. Then go down your line, taking one at a time and copy and paste to other places on the map, remembering to rotate so you can get 4 variations in a small area. Go a little ways and do them all again since when playing, a player can only see a short distance. In the cracked-trees ex.,there are 5 single trees, so that's 20 different "looks" for good variation and that's not counting the size selections that are possible. Do the same for other land objects.

Note: There are a few objects that are only for show until they are scripted for a purpose. “The King’s Mausoleum, “Tieru’s Dwelling” and a few of the towns listed are “ruins”

One more Object: In the 'All Terrian' list are two items that work together just like gates and portals, they are "Hut of the Magi" and the "Eye of the Magi". Most know what these do but they can be used exactly like portals and gates in their assignments. i.e. I put a 'Hut' near my starting town and place a few 'eyes' around some things/places that I want the player to see quickly. I give that "one hut and all of the eyes the same number". Then, much further out I can do the same thing again; place another 'hut' and more 'eyes' that reveal things deeper in the game and then I give that whole group a new unique number.

Note: In the case where you want all players to see the same places and you plan no other revealings, then skip any numbering; all will work under the default "0".

General Map Set-Up

View/ then Map Properties

Under this section you have several tabs.
Artifacts. You can “select All” so all have a chance to appear on the map when placing the ‘Map-Objects’ called “random artifacts”. However if there are no Necromancer towns in your game then those artifacts, i.e “The Amulet” should be unchecked.  If there is no water on your map then the “Sextant of the Sea Elves” should not be selected since it is for water use. Another thing to consider is do you want to place an artifact on the map and not leave it up to a random chance? i.e. You put the “Tome of Light Magic” on the map, then you might not want it to be checked here, because you may get more than one. This is no big deal unless your Map’s objective is to go through a series of quests to acquire the “Tome”, then you will not want it showing up in a random fashion. Another thing to consider is how many artifacts will you have on your map and to what purpose? I tend to place all artifacts and leave this section “unchecked” , so I can set-up the factions and their needs in the flow of the map. If you don’t want to sort this out then “check-all” and leave it all to luck and your random map-object artifact boxes. Those boxes represent the four classes of artifacts. Any,Minor, Major and Relic. Relic being the best, as in the Tome example. The "Any" is truly random, since any artifact could appear.

Note: Like all else, in the artifact list, holding the cursor over each one tells you what it does, so make notes to refer back to later.

Spells: I  do the ‘check all’ and uncheck “instant travel”.  That is my preference because I want heroes traveling roads and not bopping over mountains. You have the same thing here, there could be spells that you don’t want available but that is something you can get to later when designing a map with serious quests etc.
Heroes I click ‘reset’ and that makes only normal faction heroes available to hire. If you check “all” then whatever faction campaign Heroes you have available to your Map Editor Mod files will be selectable too.

Note: One thing I don't like about using Campaign Heroes is that they do not re-appear in my tavern if I lose them in battle.
But, that is a "do not lose this Hero" quest without ending the game.

Teams U-Pick
Note:  Multi-player is the only choice. When making this second map you may want to make some changes to the map with having allies in mind.
Hero Restriction. I set mine at 35 to give them room to max out but this function does not appear to matter really unless you are intending to follow a campaign and want to limit a hero to progress further on the next map in your series.
Ambient light for upper and lower levels. By switching these and going to File then Reload you can see the light change on the map surface to find one you like. The file-names are not user friendly, so you will need to write them down and try to remember where they are on the list. Some are very dark and you will need to do the point-lights, described further down to get the benefit of very dark settings. There is also fog and settings that favor terrains of different types. You have to experiment.
Rumors You can make some up and save and assign them here.
Note: Underground while I am building a map I will set the ambient underground lighting to 'Sand' (at the bottom of the list) that makes everything easy to see while making the surface etc. and then once I start getting close then it’s time to reload my darker settings and see my light-work.
Player Properties. Here you select the player number (1-8) if you want the player to have a main Town, be Human, PC or both (both is good to test with later) and also if you want to generate hero in town.(Yes) unless you have made a "garrison hero"
Map Name Whatever you call it, also add Heroes version to it i.e. (ToE) (HoF)  
Note: You can give color to the map-name-text like this; <Color=red>yourmapname. For some reason "text-case" impacts color.
Map Description. Tell players what your map is about, or lie.
Note: The description box is a good place to give players a heads-up if you’ve made a spell N/A so they won’t be looking for it. You can also do the colored text in this area as well. Remember this text is on the screen at the same time as a PWL picture.

Starting Conditions

Here's my version of a good initial map set-up for game-play.

Near each faction:

For every faction that I place on a map, I will place Wood and Ore near their town, Gems, Mercury Sulphur and Crystal a short distance out. A level 1 spell shrine, 'witch-hut", some luck or moral bonus, and 1 or 2 "Dolmans"also very near the town. From there I will "move out some" maybe twice the distance on roads and off for the following: Abandoned mines, Gold mine, one each of +1 level-up buildings,

Between the factions
There you can place the +2 stuff like Arenas, Universities, another gold mine, artifact market and really anything else you have not placed yet, depending on your available room.

Guarding objects:
A rough guide (easy start): (all Random boxes)But you can choose specific faction creatures to guard their enemies mines etc. Just know the creature's level and leave the # random.

level 1 random = Wood and Ore. 1st tier creature dwelling for the faction
level 2 random = 4 basic resources, 2nd-tier creature-dwelling
(note 1 or 2 of the same resouce with the each mine but "a really fast start usually means 3 wood or ore when capturing "pits or sawmills")
level 3 random = Mills, lvl-2 spells,1st witch-hut, 3rd tier creature-dwelling
level 4 random = 1st +1 spell power and knowledge or +1 att. or def., Stables
level 5 random = "school of magic",1st "Tree of Sylanna", 2nd witch hut, shipyard, level 3 spell, "minor artifact", "dwarven warren" or more "another resources mine for the faction eg. mercury for necros " but in neutral zones"
level 6 random = "Gold mine", "major artifact, roadway to a "new neutral area",
level 7 random = Relic artifact, road to a faction's area, 2nd Tree of Sylanna, "memory mentor", "spell seller"(sorry,forget the name), Cartographer, "more gold mines"

(tip: if you have A.I. players, goldmines will normally generate a lot of activity.)

Note: Do the "flank the sides of the guarding monsters with 1-4 treasures" like you see on most maps.

<IMO> more "anything" should be much better guarded.

That's a start. Keep in mind that you can make things easier or harder by going up and down the levels. And soon you will have your own formula for what you like best.

One other note: How much "free-treasure" you place really affects the game, so find your own balance there too. I put "some" out but if you put those random boxes everywhere, then there is no need to take mines, so be sparse with the "random resource box" and only 3-5 "chests" near a town is good for the gold or exp.?

Thanks to El_Chita about putting the above here.

Point-lights/Colors

Reminder...What ever "ambient-lighting" you pick for your map (in map properties), it will impact how your work below will appear. You can use some very dark ambient settings or Fog and Night settings, if you introduce your own effective lighting scheme.

b]Skydome - Map's "Ambient light sttings"

Under Adventure Map Properties you have "(2) selections" for the map. "Above-ground and below-ground". Drop down the list to set another "light-script" on that line. You should try them all in the list but they are not well defined. If you make a new selection in either line or both, then "re-load the map" to see that lighting and if it will work.

Note: Some will not work or be too dark or "Black"...just pick another file and reload.

Here a a few that i use alot from a long list. Note: All file names follow; ambientlight/

Daylight
Havenlight/grass(2)= "has cloud shadows on the land"
Interface/Spellbook = "very good for added colors in a day scene"
Day/DepthofField = "Great clarity ...and depth"
Twilight
NecropolisLight(Dirt) = @ very bottom of list. "This is very good for some growing night and some growing colors"
AdvMap/AdvMap/DarkDawn = Great for a foggy restricted view but good vision up-close"
Daylight/foggy = "Does not say "rain" but it's raining"
Night or Underground Note: You'll need lots of strong point-lighting to see with these"
Tests/c2m1_dungeonshellish
Scenes/Dungeon(3)(2)(3)


Any 'object' that you place on the map can be a light source. Open the map properties tab and expand its window to the right about a third of the way across the screen. This enables you to see all cood.-lines-XYZ for entering values. When this view is first opened it displays all map properties but when you click on a single object on the map the list gets very short. In that short list for an object, is a line called "pointlights", Right click and "Add" and you will see "location and color" settings treed in X, Y and Z values. In the first subgroup (Pos.) what value you enter determines the height of the light's origin. If there is no value in this line not much happens even with color entered below. To give you an idea, I enter 5 at Z for 'crystals' in passage-ways in the undergound. I like the way the light shines up but you can choose what ever value you prefer for any object. I use '1' for warrior tombs because they are right on the ground. I use 2or3 at Z for mines and sawmills. I find that 12 is very good for 'Towns' as in the Dungeon's Lady. You just have to zoom in a see how your lighting parameters look on the buildings etc. Chanign the upper values above Z turns the light.

Now I pick my color. I have seen where very long decimal values are given, as (in the RMG) .501961 at "Y" with zero at X & Z and is a Dark Green. But I will just enter .6  and the color is the same. If I enter .8 or 1 then the green becomes brighter. The higher the value the brighter the color. I.E. i like to use 'white light' for neutral buildings such as stables or war machine factories. I place the light height at "2 or 3 in the upper Z" and ".7 to 1 values at each X,Y and Z." The brightest being X=1,Y=1,Z=1. If you use .7 at each, then the light will be a softer white...more gray. The last line under 'color' is 'Radius' and this determines how many tiles the light will project outward. A normal value is 20-25, say for a crystal but you could use only one and put this value at 100. However I tend to use 15 for mines around towns and for a small object like a sign or or Idol of Fortune a yellow color looks good at a radius of only 5. That makes the object have it's own color but not affect the objects around it. Unless of course you want that.

Note: For simplicity I tend to just use "1" as an entered value at "color = X-Y-Z". Since we have 8 factions here are my quick colors. Red (X=1,Y=0,Z=0) Blue (X=0,Y=0,Z=1) Green (X=0, Y=1,Z=0) Teal (X=0,Y=1,Z=1) Purple (X=1,Y=0,Z=1) Orange(X=1, Y=.6,Z=0) Yellow(X=1,Y=1,Z=0) and Brown(X=.6,Y=0,Z=0) Changing values changes the light and it is fun to experiment.

Tip from Mike80d: Also in the Map Properties list are the 'players'. Here, you can set the 'faction color'. This is indeed splitting hairs but I like to do this regardless. A Wizard has a mostly 'Teal' vapor-trail that follows him/her as they level-up. Why not make that faction 'Teal' what ever player number it is on my map? Player 6 is Teal by default so if a faction has to be Teal?, then this makes sense to me. Player 1 is Red but I prefer the Inferno to be Red instead.
It is not important 'what' you choose to light-up, what matters is the purpose you desire. I will select "Rocks' from 'Water Objects' and use those to light-up dark areas of the high seas. I also like to use the buoys , ships, mermaids or sirens for effect.

Another PL Note: The point-light function can be more than one color and one light source. At the 'point-light' line, click "add" (once or twice) and you can try for multiple light-effects coming from the same source. I.E. Orange at -5Z and red at +12 will light the same Fortress Town in 2-staged colors, with the first going down into the ground and the other up high.
Thanks to Gibblets for this addition to lighting.

Masking.

You have a brush-selection called masks. The purpose of this is to make a tile inaccessable. So, if you want to insure that a monster cannot be got past without fighting it or a border guard cannot be side-stepped then mask to the edge of them. Another purpose of masking is making a hero use the winding roads you've made. The A.I. will find the shortest route to get where you are telling your hero to go and if that means cutting off through the sparse woods etc. and bypassing the road it will. As I explained about balance in gameplay...distances matter, so "making heroes use your roads" enforces your map layout. Another thing that masking does is keeping heroes from walking up mountain-sides. Unless you want that to be part of the fun, you won't want it normally. Again, the A.I. will find the shortest route and it does not know those tiles are a mountain.

A very important reason that I mask alot now, has to do with the map's performance. I have nothing to prove the following theory except for some large maps that seem to play better now, than my older large maps. If the A.I. as I think it does "see's all playable tiles", then masking in a sense makes tiles "not seen" they are not accessable, so they don't get counted in the possibilities of movement. Much of a map surface is just divisions like, woods, water mountains etc., obstacles that have to be gone around. So I am guessing that when you mask all of those areas, in a real sense you are making the map smaller. If PC performance is not an issue, a good thing that I've learned to do is choose a larger map size so "distance of travel" can be greater to prolong the build-up of Heroes before battle (my desire)and therefore masking a lot more un-needed surface. Whenever you check for "passability" you will see red. When doing this and you have masked you will see the masking In dull-orange too and both combine to show you what can be reached and what cannot. I will mask a "blocking region" first, without an object placed yet. When  I use the passability check I can see where the masking is and then I can select grass objects or sand objects etc. and pick some things to go into that masked region to "fill-in-some". I don't want to use lots of moving objects like grass-trees and bushes since they affect gameplay but I use some and also use lots of non-moving objects. Dirt trees are dead and don't move. Rocks, bulked up hills, craters, lots of single trees with a few tree-groups here and there, seems to work fine and the result looks acceptable. You have to be careful whenever masking near places to visit. And always take a good look around the map when you're nearing the end of making it . You don't want to have artifacts or buildings have masked over trigger-tiles(green). You also want to remember this if you move things for some reason. One other thought. You may have previously masked an entire wood or mountain. You can always go in and unmask a line to a small square and put some goodies there,in an out-of-the-way-place.

Various Issues

1. 'Creature Stacking' is easy to do. Have open the object list panel and the window of the panel stretched to the right past "creatures" in that list. Click on the creature you want to make a 'army' instead of a single creature. You see the 'Additonal creatures line' and then right-click on the line to "Add" to it... a subfolder appears with the creature selection box,..pick the creature you want to add to the first stack. Repeat for more creatures in the one army. Note:Creature names will be different.

Note: You can also edit creature properties. 'Mood',  'Amount' and 'amount is fixed or grows'

2. Copying To save time, you can 'copy objects'. In the case above, if you want balance in "neutrals defending like objects" then copy and paste more of the 'neutral creature army' you made. i.e guarding neutral towns or time-saving portals. Be patient, my copy function is fickle so stay with it, like clicking on different spots on the map to 'reset the paste-function'.
3. Random creature dwellings with random towns. Under "objects/dwellings" are 7 random dwellings. If you want one or all to match a nearby random town, then "select" the building, hit "space-bar", from the drop-down. pick "like-town" and then select the towns XY location (or town name if you've already (specialized the town by name) from the list. If you want the dwelling to be owned at start than select "player number" of the town, If you want it fought-for then leave at "none".
4. Regions are used for scripting and triggers. I will post the links below.
5. The random map generator is a good time-saver if you want a new map to play quickly. But I advise spending some time on it by tweeking the map. Unless you want your players all having great morale and luck, remove all or most of those 'bonus objects' from the RG map. One other issue with me is what I call "rushing". Every map I've generated seems to have another built-in condition. Portals between factions are always too close for my tastes. You will need to make a portal map and re-assign them. Unless of course you want things over fast.
6.Using the mouse in making a map is a serious pain. When placing  objects on the map; I have to switch back and forth between the objects button and the terrain button. That's how I reset it to pick something else from the list or to switch to modify an already placed object after...placing objects.
7. Most objects have the "owner box" available in "editable properties". I am not sure why this is with some of them i.e. a fountain or well? I can only guess it may have to do with "scripting" but I always ensure all neutral objects are set to 'player none' if only for A.I. reasons/guesses.
8. Level Terrain Function is under Edit or also on toolbar. If you have made a map that has a pretty "sloping surface" in a spot where you want to place an object, you can use this to make it look better on the ground.
9. I tend to make valuble Objects like "Cartographer", "Memory Mentor" or the Spell Merchant well defended but that's a choice. Making everything on a map free...could be interesting.
10. Spell Shrines I have recently discoverd that these can be set. But just like the Heroes names can be called something eslein the Editor, so can the spells. I will make a list of those and post them if I cannot find an already existing list.
11. When placing objects, to get them to sit closer together on the map surface, enter half numbers on either/both the X or Y axis. i.e X47.5. This makes your eyecandy work look much better.
12. When wanting a specific Hero like "Arantir". Place a "Campaign-Hero" on the map. Open the "Object properties" window. Click on the Hero figure then go to the line "Shared". Click on the inner text and you will see a "New-tab" and a little box to the left of it. Click on that little box and all available heroes are listed for each
faction to choose.
13. Reminder...Save-Your-Work-frequently and also keep updating a back-up copy.
14. Embedding Objects. On land some "arena-objects" need to to be buried a little, so you'll need to use a <-# at Z >. In the water, you can place an object on land and then "water-tile" the land away. You can do the "reverse" with the sea/ocean rocks and bring land up to them for variety.
15. Tear of Asha When making a map in the Random Map Editor (RMG) "Team victory" will not be possible. What this means in the normal created map, I don't know for sure but it appears that placing the 'ToA' on the map, may override any intended team play/team victory. To this point I had placed it believing that one team member could acquire it and the team victory objective would remain intact. I doubt this now after experiencing the RMG default of the ToA becoming the main objective, just by calling for its placement on a randome map.

Town Resource Requirements

This is a breakdown of how much of what that it takes to make a full-blown town and another list for "Basic-town" where I totaled cost in building "only" the buildings necessary for making all faction creatures (not-upgraded). I did this for two reasons. One, to know how much is needed for each faction to make its "complete town" and the "Basic-town" to compare, what would need to be built to make all 7 creatures. This town's cost also includes Capitol, Castle, Market, Blacksmith, Resource-silo and 2nd-level mage guilds. Except for the Fortress which is LVL 1 Mage and LVL 1 Rune.


Complete Town (Resource Requirements)

                 Gold    Wood Ore  Merc. Crystal Sulphur  Gems
Academy   = 120,300, 116, 131,  34,    39,     44,     54
Dungeon   =  88,500, 110, 120,   23,    67,     78,      28
Fortress    = 106,800, 125, 140,  36,    69,     41,     51
Haven      = 121,400, 165, 170,    26,    41,      26,     36
Inferno     = 110,800, 135, 120,  66,     26,     78,      26
Necropolis=   97,000, 170, 180,  97,     26,     31,      21
Stronghold=  121,300, 140, 150,  49,     27,     36,     32
Sylvan     =   104,300, 177, 100,  21,    73,      21,    77



My Basic Town (described above)


                 Gold    Wood Ore  Merc. Crystal Sulphur  Gems
Academy   = 66,900, 065, 087,  18,     6,     18,     28
Dungeon   = 65,100, 075, 070,   5,    21,     25,      5
Fortress    = 57,100, 080, 081,  16,    36,     26,     11
Haven      = 68,700, 095, 090,    8,    13,      3,     13
Inferno     = 69,100, 070, 070,  24,     6,     26,      6
Necropolis=  59,600, 100, 105,  41,     3,     13,      3
Stronghold=  79,200, 094, 094,  32,     8,     14,     12
Sylvan     =   60,400, 092, 060,   1,    29,      6,     27



Testing ideas. You can test your map by playing a "Hotseat' game and playing all factions at once.(Only works for Multiplayer maps) If you have some factions that are A.I. controlled then I recommend placing temporary unguarded cartographers near player-1. Each one visited only reveals all of the land on that map-level. So, I will also make a tempoarary two way portal right next upper "cartographer" and place another "cart." underground. Doing this makes it possible to see the whole map (except water) first turn. If the map has lots of water than you can do the very same thing with the water cartographers but remember to set their cost to 100 gold in their properties settings.(default is 4000)and provide a free ship.

Testing Idea: Not only is it important to save a duplicate map to prevent loss but it is also a good idea when a map is finished to try other variations to test both maps (or more) for the best version. e.g. I've just finished a map that took lots of time and I've renamed it (both file and description's map name). I've changed the "storyline", "extended game-time" by blocking faction-regions that were accesed by long roads, instead adding portals to "one place, one battle-ground". Then added more portals to neutral areas, also in the one region. You can change teams, or do more work and swap-out factions for variation

Another idea: "Gold" is key to the A.I. heroes, so use "gold mines" to bring the battle...wherever. Treasuries that can yield gold. are also good for forcing movement.

Thanks to Rdeford for this very good advice about design:
  A word of advice to new map makers: Play lots of maps. You cannot author a good map if you do not know what plays well and what does not. I used to keep a note pad handy when I played so I could remember any really cool things and situations I encountered. Then I could do comparable things in my maps.
  Also, a good map has a good "flow" to the gameplay. In my opinion, it is the gameplay flow of their maps that separates the master map makers from the wannabees. Make lots of notes on any map where you get caught  up in the gameplay like you were watching good movie or something. Figure out how the author worked out the progressive disclosure, the travel restrictions, the terrain balance, the story (if any), and so on. And I would add that these considerations apply to multiplayer maps too, even though making a great playing, well balanced multiplayer map is a different sort of challenge to the map maker.


FYI. I've seen reviews written at map-sharing-sites like Maps4Heroes and too often they are <IMO> far-too-arrogant. So have a "thick-skin" when sharing a map, dismiss obvious preference's but seek the 'constructive negative-feedback' that will improve you as a map-maker.  

Map Pictures

Two picture types are available for the map. 'PWL'  is the picture on the monitor that is viewed during map-load and 'thumbnails' are the small ones that are seen when looking at the map's description from the custom map selection screen.

El-Chita has provided this link to "The Heroes Round Table site" and the provided guide.Ch Site

Fuir's guide
http://www.heroesofmightandmagic.com/heroes5/modding_wiki/mapmaking:add_pwl_and_thumbnails

Modding "All topics"

VokialBG's thread, "Modding- "Table of Contents"http://www.heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=25065

Modding FAQ

Modding Tools

Basic Scripting
Guide @CH
Scripting Guide

http://www.heroesofmightandmagic.com/heroes5/modding_wiki/scripting_tutorial:basic



Lucky_Dwarfs Eye-Candy Thread
http://www.heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=30743

Other Material

Curio's guide
http://www.heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=18589

Added link to scripting-guide @ CH , added "a good idea" to Quick, varied Plateaus 10/15/11

Have Fun, Markkur
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Vlaad
Vlaad


Admirable
Legendary Hero
ghost of the past
posted October 16, 2010 11:14 PM
Edited by Vlaad at 23:41, 16 Oct 2010.

Hi, Markkur. There's a whole subforum dedicated to mapmaking. Here's the thread on the H5 editor, it's got 30+ pages of tips! For additional topics check out the Table of Contents.
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markkur
markkur


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted October 17, 2010 05:06 PM
Edited by markkur at 05:11, 28 Oct 2010.

Quote:
Hi, Markkur. There's a whole subforum dedicated to mapmaking. Here's the thread on the H5 editor, it's got 30+ pages of tips! For additional topics check out the Table of Contents.


Thanks Vlaad. I figured there was but could not find it.

Make a great day
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markkur
markkur


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted October 21, 2010 05:37 PM
Edited by markkur at 15:04, 03 Nov 2010.

Quote:
Hi, Markkur. There's a whole subforum dedicated to mapmaking. Here's the thread on the H5 editor, it's got 30+ pages of tips! For additional topics check out the Table of Contents.


Well, I went an took a long look and there are some very good topics there but not really what I was looking for, at least in 'one' thread anyway.

I am new to this sort of forum and I guess I'm realizing that what I am after is very difficult to do. I've noticed that the Moderators are working hard at keeping threads on target but discussions just naturally expand in various directions. Oil well.
Since I started this thread, I guess I'll try to get it going. Everyone bear with me on this. I am hoping for help and clarification as I plod along. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel just trying to make one whole post, where someone like myself who is not in great shape to endlessly 'view and note' can land and get a great guide.
Sort of a handicap parking space for time-restricted mappers.


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markkur
markkur


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted October 27, 2010 04:20 PM
Edited by markkur at 05:13, 28 Oct 2010.

Moderator, I see this has been flagged 'unrelated'. I don't understand. I look around in this thread and see many things including posts about maps. Where should this be located then? I don't want to work on it, if it is in the wrong place to begin with.

Thinking ahead. Do you have the ability to move it where you think it should be? If not, would you delete it? I do not mind starting it over if its misplaced. Wouldn't be my first error
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Rejuvenation process
posted October 27, 2010 06:30 PM
Edited by Elvin at 18:31, 27 Oct 2010.

Wasn't me that marked it. Initially I'd left the thread here until I knew whether you planned to have it moved and continue there or if you'd found another thread on the subject. However I missed your last post since I was seriously busy last week, will move it to the MapHaven Guild Sorry for the delay.

Edit: Oh yeah and informative sounds better.
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markkur
markkur


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Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted October 28, 2010 05:00 AM
Edited by markkur at 05:14, 28 Oct 2010.

Quote:
Wasn't me that marked it. Initially I'd left the thread here until I knew whether you planned to have it moved and continue there or if you'd found another thread on the subject. However I missed your last post since I was seriously busy last week, will move it to the MapHaven Guild Sorry for the delay.

Edit: Oh yeah and informative sounds better.


Thank you kind Sir. I was not really sure where to strat this because I have a block in my brain. I keep thinking that just using the map editor and making hohum H3 style maps without 'mods' the scripting etc. is just mapping. Is that how you are seeing it too? It really isn't hugely important I just want to understand where this should be.

Yah, informative sounds much better. glad you weren't thinking "WoT" (waste of time), even though for most folks here it sure would be. I really am thinking about i.e. last night, I was the 7th member online and but there were 47 guests. I believe that most members here are much farther down the pike than my simple map-making but I'm hoping precisely for that reason, that I can write something very simple but broader than the supplied starter manual and maybe get others to try their hand at beginner-mapping. I used to write technical work/process descriptions...so I will be working only half-blind.

Elvin, Would you also do another favor for me? Just delete the thread I started with the erroneous name 'Markkur's lineup for H7'? It's a joke and it's in the H6 wish folder. I should have went to bed that night instead of day-dreaming without thinking. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks

Thanks for your assistance. Hopefully any further help will be about scripting or something fun not folders.    
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Elvin
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posted October 28, 2010 10:24 AM

Mapmaking is a broad subject, if you focused solely on scripts/mods this thread would be better off in the modders workshop. There are many lurkers here like in most forums, they read but rarely make an account or some time passes till they do Hard to tell what they are checking but my bet would be strategy/informative stuff, that's where posters usually start. If you are looking for good mapmakers toh has a number of them, insatiable and fiur were my favourites.

About your altar thread you should contact Alcibiades, it's his forum
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markkur
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Once upon a time
posted October 28, 2010 07:24 PM

Quote:
Mapmaking is a broad subject, if you focused solely on scripts/mods this thread would be better off in the modders workshop. There are many lurkers here like in most forums, they read but rarely make an account or some time passes till they do Hard to tell what they are checking but my bet would be strategy/informative stuff, that's where posters usually start. If you are looking for good mapmakers toh has a number of them, insatiable and fiur were my favourites.

About your altar thread you should contact Alcibiades, it's his forum


I thought I contacted him first but maybe not.

I'm not wanting to focus on scripts/mods, but I am looking for your thoughts about the following; What I am thinking about is a complimentary map-making-help-guide to the one supplied by the game.

Here's an example of my 'purpose' in doing this. I read the manual and since I had only worked with the M.E. of H3, some of the stuff flew by. In the meantime some very basic stuff i.e. 'zooming out with the mouse-wheel before putting on the terra-skins'I did not know. (I'd never did it before) I was up-too-close to the map surface, so it took a long time to start a map at first I did figure it out of course but why not just have a lot of heads-up about that sort of awareness? i.e. I had a Higher-Math teacher in College that could not get down to the basics of middle of the road Algebra. She kept seeing her knowledge and passion of the far more advanced mathmatics as she taught and it really impacted us trying to learn far more simpler stuff

Another example is 'point-lights'.  Here I was for a long-time, choosing different "colored crystals" for a map and wondering why they did not provide any color? Since I saw crystals that appeared to put color on other's maps and often there were a lots of them... I went back and put lots more on.

That sort of Map-tip-list is what I intend. It is just a swag but I think some that may have been intimidated by the editor in H5 might try it if they had this sort of basic jump-start or supplemental help? I don;t know ...maybe not.

You are right of course, map-making is a very broad subject and it's all over the place. That was part of my confusion. I should add that once this is done I would add the links to the Scripting threads etc. On a related note; I saw someone looking for 'Campaign' instructions. Out of curiosity I went looking and I saw the word strung around a lot but almost always it was about H3, sometimes H4 and seldom H5.

I sure as hell do not want to offend anyone but those that have been here forever may not see these threads like someone that's just came on board. I was a third-party auditor for a time in real-life so I know that's human nature.

I am trying to follow your lead, so again let me emphasize, If this already exists and to your perspective it satisfies the purpose I am describing then I don't want to waste another minute.

Thanks for the assistance Elvin.
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El_Chita
El_Chita


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posted October 31, 2010 12:29 PM

Markkur,
I think a Thread with a list of Map Making tips would be a great idea and I surely would post a few Tips out of my own repertory, but then you should mention in the first post that only single tips are allowed, and always with a heading. Useless tips should be deleted by moderators, and maybe it should be mentioned in what category the tip fits.

Otherwise, thankful people will post loads of thanksgivings and questions, and the thread would become confusing like the thread "Heroes 5 Map Editor Help and Tips".

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markkur
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Once upon a time
posted October 31, 2010 12:40 PM
Edited by markkur at 12:46, 31 Oct 2010.

Quote:
Markkur,
I think a Thread with a list of Map Making tips would be a great idea and I surely would post a few Tips out of my own repertory, but then you should mention in the first post that only single tips are allowed, and always with a heading. Useless tips should be deleted by moderators, and maybe it should be mentioned in what category the tip fits.

Otherwise, thankful people will post loads of thanksgivings and questions, and the thread would become confusing like the thread "Heroes 5 Map Editor Help and Tips".


Thanks bunches for that suggestion. As you can imagine I'm sure I had not even thought that far out. I sure do not want to recreate another snakes-nest. That was probably my prime motivation to attempt this There IS lots of good stuff but it is really spread out and someone like me does not stand a ghost of a chance in getting through everything. The other reason you mentioned too and that is the tips that could be shared by very experienced players. Stuff like what I have already mentioned that are not advanced topics yet.

Actually what I did think about, was having contributions be 'messaged to me' I could place them in the 1st post myself to keep some control over the layout.

Please read the new opening to the thread, What do you think?

thanks for giving a ?
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El_Chita
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Actually, my name is El Chita
posted November 02, 2010 01:55 PM

So... you're talking about making balanced maps, what is ok, but I hope you are not only appealing to experienced players, but also to experienced mappers, they would be the first group I had addressed

Additionally, I just want to mention that I'm still not sure what you want to achieve with this thread.
You talk about map size and performance on the one hand, but on the other hand about more complex things like Point Lights.
What is a good map in your eyes ? What does it need to be a one, and would a deeper look into the Editor improve the quality of the map, or are things like eyecandy unnecessary for a good map ?

For example, I don't think you want to talk about script functions here, do you ?

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markkur
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Once upon a time
posted November 02, 2010 04:40 PM
Edited by markkur at 15:08, 03 Nov 2010.

Quote:
So... you're talking about making balanced maps, what is ok, but I hope you are not only appealing to experienced players, but also to experienced mappers, they would be the first group I had addressed


Actually, I did start out with experienced mappers in mind when I asked for summary's on how they make maps and tips etc. There were no takers while I received some help from one about what I was looking for and that's it. Since, I have thought only about 'my focus'; the players that have not tried to make a map or did and the difference between H3 and H5 was too big. I imagine this would probably apply to mostly "older players" since the younger ones here are light-years ahead of me, in areas like scripting for example.

Quote:
Additionally, I just want to mention that I'm still not sure what you want to achieve with this thread.
You talk about map size and performance on the one hand, but on the other hand about more complex things like Point Lights.
What is a good map in your eyes ? What does it need to be a one, and would a deeper look into the Editor improve the quality of the map, or are things like eyecandy unnecessary for a good map ?


Excellent points. I am somewhat impaired in doing this, so your help thus far has been both needed and appreciated. To restate: What I envision; is making a post for a new-map-maker to go, to gain confidance quickly and not give up because of the more complex map-editor in H5. Additonally I have thought of this spot also being for "shared time-savers" in making a good map. That topic is a 'two-way-street' in that, whatever an experienced mapper does in saving time etc. will benefit a new-mapper as well. That I hope is the conflict you see from me as to the purpose for this thread. I am also open to ideas as I plod along, so having another such as yourself looking on is very helpful. I will add some sort of "Overview to address your Qs and As.

To respond to your Qs here also;

What is a good map? A map that is well thought out....my def. of "balanced" I know it's a brief and bs reply. But that sums it up for me. The quality of a map depends hugely on testing how the "mappers quest works". It just struck me how much could be said about"starting-out-in the head" So, I think I will add a separate post, directed just at that overview. Your concern about this aspect is very important and I've got the message  

The part on point-lights does appear to confilct with what I just said but I think I have to include it, since 'light' is so <imo> important for a map.  If mappers had only one map-level and not two, than I would have omitted this aspect but I have read where many new-posters to map-making have talked about the "dark underground." I don't know if it is still an issue, but only "one", "more-difficult" topic  should be OK, since I think it would be an error to not address right out of the gate.

(quote]For example, I don't think you want to talk about script functions here, do you ?


No.  I think I wrote somewhere in this thread that I would add the 'links to the hard stuff' at the end. Stuff like Krono's guide to scripting etc. But, I'm not there yet. When I am, I will HAVE-TO ask for input as to what good guides are available? for various advanced topics, etc.

Sort of a 'Complete' as in the final disc of HoMM3


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markkur
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Once upon a time
posted November 02, 2010 05:57 PM
Edited by markkur at 18:22, 02 Nov 2010.

Mindsprinkles about Mapping

It has been wisely suggested by El_Chita that I have not talked about "What is a good map".

Since my purpose for this thread was just getting folks to give mapping a go, I bypassed the real beginning...ideas. Since you can and will think about a map when not even sitting in front of the Map Editor, this is a good topic all by itself.

I encourage replies from experienced mappers that want to share something about their approach...in their thoughts

'Balance' is an often used word. It typically means "even chance of success". If player 1 has X amount of resources and it's X distance to travel to the nearest level-up structures, a second castle for the taking is X far away from the main castle etc. and player 2 has about the same with each, then the map is 'balanced' (to-start)

'Fate', becomes more determined by the player, as in; how the player's battles go, and choices in building his/her faction etc. But, I said; "Balanced to start". The map can be set up so after a given distance, all balance goes out the window. i.e. "Fighting-artifacts and fighting upgrade sites are all around player 1 while its all magic stuff, on out a ways from player 2. That sort of pre-planning, changes the game's balance, at a later point in time for a good-conflict...might vs magic.

What becomes a 'map-makers idea or design' is what will be done to complicate this, where is the imbalance? How many factions are on the map? and is one of them stronger?...Far stronger? One far weaker and nothing but 'fodder to overwhelm' between two stronger factions. That becomes a 'Fate' thing in that; which ever one of the two stronger factions overruns that weakling faction in between, will most often be weaker for a brief time. Does the other remaining faction attack then? It better, its remaining enemy has two castles now and should get stronger.

A mapper is trying to set-up these sorts of circumstances in the beginning, when just "thinking about making a map." Many other things also. Here is a bullet list of Questions;

*How many players, and are any allied?
*How hard is it to access each's main castle. What's the mix?
*How many 'Portals' and which type? Are they guarded by monsters or do ALL have "border guards"? Guarded by 1 color, 2 or all 8? What is the mix? or are there none at all? These are all choices to be set by the map-maker of course and anything goes.
*Is there water? Lots or little? Ship provided and you can jump right in? or You have to scrounge for wood to even buy 1 ship, but then have to fight 50 Phoenixes to build it?

I am no expert at map-making. You do not have to be. That's the beauty of it. Random means whatever! I have even used Dice at times or old-used-playing-cards to "pick what defends" what. (not level but creature type) I like doing this because some of my favorite factions get hampered and become very difficult to win with.

I have become quite engaged lately with landscape possiblities. Some of that I can blame on several outstanding maps I've seen. Incredible waterfalls with double-bridges crossing them on a very high snowy mountain range. A truly Grand-Canyon. Colors in areas up and down on maps that are beautifully crafted and combined for effect as your Hero passes through the region. Little pathways that are easy to miss but take you on a scenic walkway cliff-side, overlooking heros far down on roads below. This is what I am learning to think about, before I bulk a spot on the map's surface.

I should add a comment about 'eye-candies' but I'm not sure exactly what they are. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder right? I've seen where folks will combine two objects for affect and I think it good stuff. By tiny comparison, I like to put the object"flame-effect" above a Dolman of Knowledge. Or place a 'flame-effect with a certain color' that matches the spell's school of magic that the shrine is set to give.

If I have the right idea about eye-candies, then I think they are very-important, maybe not from a playing stance but very much so from an enviromental POV. <imo>They are just plain fun. I've done very little but I did make a 'flaming cactus' and put a sign before it that read's "this is a very hot desert"

OK, I rambled, Make a great day/map, Markkur

 



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Salamandre
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posted November 02, 2010 06:59 PM

What do you call eye candies? I never ran through such definition in mapmaking. Is about the beauty of the layout? So far, only the best looking maps have survived (of course, they were well balanced as well).

I remember in HoMM3 Grigory Minchev (Chess grand master) did some genial maps with unique strategies, but so plain laid that they vanished very fast.
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markkur
markkur


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Once upon a time
posted November 03, 2010 07:11 AM

Quote:
What do you call eye candies? I never ran through such definition in mapmaking. Is about the beauty of the layout? So far, only the best looking maps have survived (of course, they were well balanced as well).


I guess 'Eyescandies' have to be things pleasing to the "eye" If there is some sort of formal definition than I hope somebody posts it. I am confused chiefly because of the tick-box in game options that says "no-eyecandies" so what are they? I don't see how they can be what I think. How could the game prevent the Dwarf-work-objects that one person(luckydwarf?) here does?

Quote:
I remember in HoMM3 Grigory Minchev (Chess grand master) did some genial maps with unique strategies, but so plain laid that they vanished very fast.


I had my head in a hole during all of HoMM3s heyday, so I never knew that. What do you mean by; "so plain laid they vanished very fast"?

The great thing about map-making is that it is possible to do a lot of different things. That's why I have voiced my opinion several times about getting the best of "Map-Making Tools" from H3. H4 as well, although I am just guessing from what others have shared about it since I did not even look at it.

I really value that folks with various experience levels can make worlds for others to walk. How many games do that? From the first mapper type to doing something truly grand like editing creatures, running scripts or even the really awesome revamping of the game itself done by Magno-something. I'll have to go look up the screen-name. You get my drift..."creating". Nothing better.
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fiur
fiur


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posted November 03, 2010 09:22 AM
Edited by fiur at 09:22, 03 Nov 2010.

first of all good luck with your mapmaking...
I've made a few maps for ToH (Tournament of Honor)
and mainly for multiplaying (ofc they can be played in single mode aswell..)

when it comes to eye-cand.... eyecandy for me is when you put something onto your map who will catch your eyes (and object that you'll not find in the editor...)

if you like  take a look at my maps


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markkur
markkur


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Once upon a time
posted November 03, 2010 03:34 PM
Edited by markkur at 15:37, 03 Nov 2010.

Quote:
first of all good luck with your mapmaking...
I've made a few maps for ToH (Tournament of Honor)
and mainly for multiplaying (ofc they can be played in single mode aswell..)


Greetings Fiur...we've not talked yet but I was hoping to hear from the 'guru of scripting'. I know that scripts are where your passion lies just from the help I've seen you provide with them but what about saying something as to how you generate your ideas in creating a map?

Quote:
when it comes to eye-candy.... eyecandy for me is when you put something onto your map who will catch your eyes (and object that you'll not find in the editor...)


Then we agree as to the definition in part. The objects not in the Editor is also a definition, but that topic gets past my simple map-making

I think another way to express E-C is "A detailed look" to a spot on the map. Weeds or leaves are under a Forest of trees as they are in nature because grass has a hell of a time growing there because of lack of sun. So another way that I look at this is the 'time' spent by the mapper in crafting his/her world. I hope we get more 'plants' in H6 say a better selection like that in H3. They make it easier to create an eye-pleasing map.

Quote:
if you like  take a look at my maps



Edit= So these are all ToE right?

I will take a look. But your fame precedes you. I believe you already have a reputation for making fine maps. I would imagine it is both design quality and your own personal tweeks. Maybe others will post as to what it is about your maps they like so much?

Thanks for the response, Markkur
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fiur
fiur


Promising
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posted November 04, 2010 11:47 AM

hi Markkur well IM far from a script "guru"  but got friends  here who helped me out   if not for them there wouldnt be any scripts in my maps at all  
(I'm more of a "modder" guy...  

when it come to mapmaking... I started making maps back in the H3 days then h4 and ofc now  H5... (started to make maps on the beta version of the editor back in fall 2006)
I fell in love with that early (there was so much U could do only your imagination is your limit...  

and now... how  do I start (or what is your plan when you make a map?

well I'm the eye-candy type of guy... I like the map to look nice  and always with a few new "twist"  to it...

and the map  must be balanced and not  take to long to play
challenging...? well  hard but not to hard...
(I wanna reach almost any lvl. of players when it comes to skill)


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El_Chita
El_Chita


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Actually, my name is El Chita
posted November 04, 2010 12:50 PM

What eyecandy is.

Eyecandy, for the game, is useless. If you want to make a balanced, playable map, you won't need eyecandy. But does that look good? I've seen lots of maps where the mappers just added the map Objects, Towns and a few trees and mountains for the Borders. Nothing more! No mushrooms, no grass, no Stones, just...nothing. These maps look odd and boring, and it does not make fun to play them, even if they are the best balanced maps ever made. And that is the point where eyecandy comes. A well-designed, beautiful and changing landscape is the best way to evade boredom.
For example the flowers you mentioned, Markkur. And some of you may already know that I'm not only talking about landscape. Walking on floating Isles or high bridges, sailing in huge magma lakes or walk behind a giant waterfall gives the player a totally new game feeling.

And yes, maps made by fiur, the new map made by Mike80D and of course the map Elysium by guano give you that feeling.


One more thing, do you want to talk about problems like Thumbnail images and PWL images too ? Because I would welcome that

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