2.0 Maps

General talk about the map making process.
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2.0 Maps

Post by RPG » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:53 am

I see all these cool 2.0 maps (mainly by Trepan) with trees and rocks... and I keep hearing of a 'converter' that makes them. Is there any way to make a 2.0 map with 2.0 features without notepadding it?

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Post by JeffM » Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:21 am

There is not visual editor. There are script based tools and tools to convert from some common 3d formats. But yes, you must generaly verify and edit the text in some way by hand.

There is no bzedit or other visual tool that we know of that supports the new features.

I just do mine in milkshape, and dump out to obj, fix up the texture paths, and then convert using the model tool that is in the tools dir of the source tree.
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Post by RPG » Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:02 am

Is there a free way to model the maps? Milkshape is only an evaulation tool :( .

Found the modeltool in the tools directory of CVS.

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Post by JeffM » Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:09 am

many many editors export in obj, just look around. You may wish to try blender.

Note these aps are NOT DESIGNED FOR MAP MAKING ( exspecialy not for bzflag). They are real 3d editors, so they wont' have stuff like a "teleporter" or anything like that, Your just using them to make models. They also won't generate optimal BOX or PIRAMID, etc... objects and the like for maps, everything will be a mesh. You will want to hand edit for optimisations. They will also have a lot of features that you can't bring into bzflag, like animations.

It's allways best to know the map format and be able to edit by hand, then you can know what your tools are making for you.

Sometimes you just have to play around with it all and learn it for yourself.
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For the Laymen (which you programmers AREN'T!)

Post by Gerbil » Thu Jan 20, 2005 8:41 pm

Here's the best workaround--right now it's kinda like teaching yourself HTML in the old days....

ONE:
Get a map editor you are comfortable with (whether its notepad, bzworld or bzedit or whatever--I (hesitantly) recommend BZEdit in which you can NAME objects on the map.

TWO:
SAVE a map while you are playing on a server with features that you like. Just log into worlds and save the files in OPTIONS with names you can easily find on your hard drive.

THREE:
Open the map in your text editor (wordpad, notepad, etc.) and read through, finding features and seeing how they are documented. I know there is online info on sourceforge but its so poorly orgainized for casual users that it's not always helpful (hint, hint). I suspect DUCHTRAI will soon help on his site with this which will be nice.

FOUR:
Create your map in BZEdit (or whatever you want to use) and NAME objects as they type they will be that can't be created in BZEdit. For example: Place a normal "box" in BZEdit but name it "New Object Type" so that you can locate it in a text edit later.

FIVE:
Go into the map with your text editor, locate the named objects you specially noted and change their attributes to the new type that you already have examples of how to do.

NOTE:
Be careful, BZworld and BZEdit will remove your comments and text additions that aren't part of what they create so don't open your final text-edited maps in them. Also note that BZEdit doesn't properly retain the "shootrhough" attribute and any "shootthrough" objects will lose that attribute as well. BZworld (the drag and drop java editor of old) will not retain any names or attribute types.

CONCLUSION:
This is the best advice I can give someone who is overwhelmed with the other means. I can't offer you any practical help with world weapons and the like or other new features--just the objects. I hope this is helpful to someone.

PS:
As a footnote, please don't end the game development in a place where only programmers can create full-featured maps--it has been heading that way for a while and it alienates a lot of players-not-programmers who would love to make maps and feel like they are contributing to the community too.
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Post by JeffM » Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:03 pm

bzedit is not part of the core distroubtions so it's not updated each time a map is. The project is not "owned" by anyone. Noone seems to want to work on them, I think it's because they are rather booring to work on, and it's a thankless job.

There are some tools for the new maps, 3ds2Obj, ModelTool, BZMaper. So yes anyone can use these tools to make maps, not just developers. A blender plugin is beeing worked on. It's probably going to take time.

The map format is documented in the bzw man page that is linked from the "geting help" link on www.bzflag.org. At a bare minimum this documentation should be enough for anyone to make maps. What did people do before I made bzedit for windows? Yes making maps now is harder. The more complex the world you can make, the more complex the input to make that world has to be. If you want meshes, then your going to have to know some 3d math, since you are defining an arbitary 3d model. There is no geting around that. This modeling is very standard, and I'm sorry if only 'developers' know how to do it now. We are not qualified to give everyone a course in basic 3d modeling and vector math when most other games have had it for over a decade. Google around there are many tutorials on modeling, and the concepts of normals, vectors, and texture coordinates.

Are you sugesting that there allways be a visual bzedit for every version that is 100% compatable with the map format? If so that is a large project that would requre making a new application that is cross platform. In this case the blender plugin may be the best option, but it may not support every poisble feature of the map format, since it is just a modeler.

If there is ever going to be a unified map making solution, somebody is going to have to write one, and I doublt it's going to be your "main" developers, since a bzedit is not part of the game requirements.
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Post by trepan » Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:24 pm

silly notes:

3ds2obj -> 3ds2bzw (source in the bzflag/misc/)
(this tool often produces horrible normals and inverted orientations)

modeltool (source in bzflag/tools/modeltool/)
(http://my.bzflag.org/bb/viewtopic.php?t=2698&highlight=)

BzMaper -> bzmapper (found somwhere on ShellShock)
- bzmapper does not support most of the new 2.0 features

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Thanks for reply

Post by Gerbil » Fri Jan 21, 2005 6:39 am

No...I'm not suggesting a unified world theory nor that every map would require no knowledge of using any sort of other program in it's entirety.

Just that the majority of maps and their objects should not require programming, 3d modeling and the like--i.e., someone should be able to make a pretty full featured map without having to be a graphic designer or code jock.

Doesn't mean that someone with these skills shouldn't be able to make exceptional maps, just that other maps should not be totally UN-exceptional because they don't have these skills.

Maybe with the new possibility of world design now some developers will see the glory in making a wicked-cool map editor for the masses. they would certainly be appreciated.

But still appreciation for the work done. It's a cool game no matter what.
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Post by trepan » Fri Jan 21, 2005 4:23 pm

Gerbil, what do you want? Exceptional looking maps will
probably require 3D modelling skills. If you don't have those
skills and aren't willing to learn them, then your maps will
not be exceptional. Do you see a way around this?

Several additions were made to the map format to make it
easier for folks who do not want learn the more complicated
mesh techniques. Arcs, cones, spheres, mshboxes, and
meshpyrs are all easily used object that can be typed in by
hand without any special modelling skills. The basic
transformations are done in a human readable format as
opposed to the more complicated (although much easier to
program), matrix method. Extra effort was put into the binary
representation to make sure that they are even saved in an
easy to read format. Grouping was added to the basic file
format, which should make even old style maps easier to
map (it does work with the old box, base, pyramid, and
teleporter objects). Heck, I even added named referencing for
teleporters, and an easy way to do multiple and random
linkage.

From a file format perspective, it doesn't get much easier.
Even the mesh format is relatively verbose so as to be
simple for non-programmers to understand. The referencing
can be done by name for all of the new object types (physics
drivers, texture matrices, dynamic colors, materials, and
groups).

You may also complain about not having the proper tools
to write maps. I wrote most of my 2.0 test maps with a text
editor, and nothing else. This includes the "Physics Drivers",
"Arcs, Cones, and Spheres", and "Snowmen" maps. They
are not particularly exceptional in my opinion, but they
certainly qualify as more interesting then the average 1.10.x
map.

If you don't want to take the time to learn the new features,
that's fine. Just don't expect your maps to look as good as
those written by folks who do put in the effort.

To summarize:
1. Don't complain if your maps don't look as good because you
haven't taken the time required to learn the new features. It took
a lot more time to add them then it should for you to learn how
to use them.
2. It's even easier to make old style maps with the new format.
3. If you really feel that a specific BZFlag 2.0 3D editor needs to
be written, then write it. If you don't know how to code one up,
learn. Given that the information to do so is readily available on
the web, you have no right to complain if nobody else does it for
you (especially as the new format is backwards compatible.)

P.S. It would actually take much more then just an understanding
the new features and being able to do some decent 3D mesh
modelling to make exceptional maps that will run at reasonable
speeds. An understanding of the graphical culling mechanisms,
speed penalties incurred by using translucent objects, and
several other factors would also play in as well.

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Post by JeffM » Fri Jan 21, 2005 4:38 pm

Trepan Tells it like it is. We can't make it easyer to make a 3d model, that will still take skill.

A simple google search for "3d modeling tutorial' shows a number of overviews of the modeling process.

I think your geting the term "developer" mixed up with "person who is willing to figure out stuff". Develpers have to do this every time they make a code change, so it's natural that they pick it up first. The rest of you have had less exposure to the new code, so it will take some time for you to learn how to use the new features.

There IS going to be a learning curve for you. If you don't want that curve, then stick with the primitives and don't do meshes, or anything fancy. Just know that a talented artist can use mehses to REALY make a map look good. Just due to the fact that using meshes removes a large number of limits to what an artist can express. Yes good map makers are artists, in 3d. Just like any other modeler.

Honestly the maps I've seen come out in the older version are not "great", they are just mostly symetric groupings of variious shapes. Mostly made for athstetic reasons when viewed from a large scale. I don't see many people playtesting there maps before they release them. In the comercial FPS maping would this would be considerd stupid. And with the current feature set, bzflag maping is VERY similar to the other maping comunitys in other FPS games.
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Ouch

Post by Gerbil » Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:50 pm

You are missing my point entirely.

It's not in any way a criticism of the developers nor a suggestion that they haven't "done the stuff they should have".

If you read some of the suggestions you made to me put them into the perspective of a non-programmer who loves this game but also has a job of his own--one that doesn't have any directly applicable skills related to programming.

I am not having a problem with the new objects--I already am looking at how to make a world with them and it's fun. I am not even going to try to make elaborate 3d polygonal worlds--lol--but I am thinking of the many new players who may be new to the net, new to online gaming and have no computer skills. My interest (not a complaint or criticism) is that players such as these get as much chance to be involved as programmers.

Here's an example: Five years ago I was interested in changing graphics and sounds in my client just for the fun of it. This is not a complicated task but I had NO idea of what programs to use, had never used anything but "paintbrush" as a graphics editor and "sound recorder" in Windows was the only audio editor I had.

When I would ask, "How does one do that?" I would get terse replies like, "You need an rgb capable image client." "Get an audio editor that allows variable bit rate stereo conversion and has the original windows encoding", etc., etc.

When I would then comment that I had no clue what any of that meant the response was, "Well then we can't help you. Go learn yourself."

What I ended up doing was asking everyone I met how to do stuff and what finally happened is that "Lazarus" (who was also learning) got one of the developers to refer him to a couple of programs and get started and I finally pestered Frank Siegert so much that he took the time to finally tell me where I could get the programs and how to start using them--after that, I was fine (Thanks Frank!).

I don't think it is the developers job to do all these things. In fact, I think developers are obligated to do nothing unless they personally want to.

I see it as a community thing. I still think BZFlag is a community game, not just a "game". My interest is to see as much as the game and it's elements avaialble to as much as the community as possible.

Developers have an opportunity that players don't which is to in many cases determine how the game will be presented to the players. I think you have all done a great job--nothing at all to criticize. But it is natural to direct suggestions towards developers because, ONE: the feedback and reponse they give will point out what options and possibilities there are and, TWO: there's always the chance that player requests and comments will catch the ear of a person with technical skills who might be persuaded to take on a task.

There's no criticism intended in this--just trying to open a public discourse for the exchange of ideas that might benefit the game. As I am not a programmer I think there are times where I might see a perspective a programmer might not really see in the same way. Simple intructions to a programmer might be Greek to a novice.

So it's not a personal criticism or a criticism of your work--it's great. It is harder for a non-programmer to figure out programming than for a programmer to do so.

I have been asked about image editing and sound editing in BZ a couple of times and what I did was make a workable example that could be copied and then explain how to alter it. Basically, I did a sample of it for them that they could use to practice with and provided simple instruction on how to take it apart and put it back together again. Things like this with new features would be nice--whoever makes them.

Thanks guys.
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Post by JeffM » Fri Jan 21, 2005 6:49 pm

so your not realy sugesting anything be done about it? your just saying that "it's more complex"?

I don't think you get our point, to be able to do any task you have to have a minimum level of knowledge. If you want to edit sound then yes you have to know what sample rates and stuff is. If you don't then you are probably "in over your head" and starting at the wrong point in the process. This is very similar, if you are not familair with the concepts of meshes, vertexes, and modeling, then jumping in and making a mesh map is probably over your head. This is why there are introduction courses to many things. Classes that "get you up to speed" with just the termonlogy of the subject. Then once you have a common language to comunicate the ideas in, it becomes a lot easyer to learn.

The only way to get your head "above it" is to learn about the process. Learning is a personal thing, all people do it difrently. Sadly we as developers can not allways be teachers, so yes we will often say "go figure it out for yourself". The idea is, if your serious about it, you'll put some effort into it. I mean I know I don't want to have to tell ever noob what a Polygon is, when a simple google search will tell them. This is our point about effort. A user has to be willing to put something in to get something out.

It sounds like your just talking about the fact that it's more complex thats all, and it is, no body is denying that, But if you have sugestions please make them, other wise when you just make statemens about how things are harder, and only a single group does them, and don't offer any ideas or sugestions, it looks like your just complaining.

In the end I've only seen a couple devs do maps. Trepan did most of them because he needed maps to test the new stuff that used the new maps. He was the primary dev of all of this new hotness. I've made some to test the obj converter. I don't realy know of anyone else who has that's a dev.
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gerby

Post by sid6.7 » Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:13 pm

this is what happens when programmers run amuck... :)

dont worry about it gerbil they just dont get it..this is more like the
classical style of game programming from the early 80's when
only programmers made maps and scenarios for thier games
and there was little users could do to aquire make more...

yes bzedit is not "part" of bzflag by tim riker but ,someone
did make it, did put up a website and did promote the software
package, then at least for the moment abandoned it, which
generally doesnt happen when a game progress's normally
from version to version an editor progresses with it which
did appear to be happening up to drive/pass/shoot thru...

im saying this as respectfully as i can....
whether it's an exercise of control or just lack of interest
who knows, we can aboviously see that jeff2501 has a slight
distaste for past map making efforts as Jeff2501 said:
----
"Honestly the maps I've seen come out in the older version are not "great","
----
in comparsion to what might be done now with new shapes and meshs...

what were seeing is classic programmer burnout concerning
the editor i myself tried programming in the early 80's and
watched alot of people & me crash and burn the very same way, how
its handled varies...so far the only solution is "you do it..if you
want it done"...dont agree with that, but it appears thats all
were going to get for the moment...i dont know if i have
ever seen such a public disregard for 1 part of the community
"the map makers" with the last few posts concerning map making
but it appears were being abandon for the moment...:(

so there is going to be a map "drought/famine" for awhile...

maybe we all didnt show enough gradituted for bzedit
if we didnt i'd like to say sorry it was a great program
it certainly made me very happy i made a dozen or so maps
with it as i live to make maps for games..although i'm
burnout from making maps myself which you could parallel
to the map making support for bzflag 2.0...:)

is it possible to make bzedit a pay program? you could prob
get 15-20$ for it without any problems that might spur some
new programming solutions...i dont think tim riker would
protest much do you? hes seems reasonable about alot of things.

sigh.... maybe im just being snippity again...this happens
when you get old and senile...
Last edited by sid6.7 on Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by toaster » Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:46 pm

I agree with Gerbil's perspective. I can program just fine. Doesn't mean I should have to learn something incredibly complex to take advantage of a few features.

Example: Trepan built some really, really nice features into bzmapper. I used almost all of them and focused on a specific few that met my needs for maps. Nice thing was I could ignore a lot of options if I felt like it and still make them work and get nice results. It also included a pretty solid but simple tutorial that helped jump start me.

If I want to build a box with textures, I should be able to add a texture option to my box, as opposed to having to learn meshes. I don't know if that's been implemented, I've been too busy recently to look at all the new mapping features. But I will soon, I hope.

I could be wrong, but it appears that most of the mapmakers in here started as dabblers, and grew from there. If the only options to make maps were options like meshes, it would discourage dabbling. The devs haven't gone that route, though. They have kept old features alive and added new. I applaud that.

You will notice if you read this carefully that there is a perception that mapping features are becoming more complex.
Gerbil wrote:PS:
As a footnote, please don't end the game development in a place where only programmers can create full-featured maps--it has been heading that way for a while and it alienates a lot of players-not-programmers who would love to make maps and feel like they are contributing to the community too.
Don't go all defensive and over-read his comment. There is a sub-theme you can pick up here. Maps used to just have boxes, pyrs, bases, and teles. All of which are very simple. Most of the new features are more difficult to use. When a new version of an application comes out, typically there is a feeling that the whole package evolved at about the same rate.

With 2.0, the game play is still pretty much the same feeling to the non-dev player, with a few extra flag options. The most significant and visible change is the world, the mapping. So it's also going to be the most challenging and/or daunting to the person who felt he had a handle on it previously.

The really positive side of this is that it tells you the rest of the changes are minor impact or positives. So even though you've made extreme changes to the code base, you devs have done a great job at keeping the game familiar and playable. And perhaps now it's time to focus a bit on the mapping in a little different way. What can be done to make it seem less of a hurdle? Obviously, developing visual drawing tools is a bit much, but where else could you go? Brainstorm?

After all, the map makers add quite a bit to this game, too. Why shouldn't they want to take advantage of all the features they can? Why add the features if you don't want to see them used except on a few demo servers?
Last edited by toaster on Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hi Cruzan

Post by Gerbil » Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:47 pm

Actually...that's not a bad idea. If some players worked on bz edit (which is a great program albeit with a few bugs--I just didn't use it until this year) I would actually consider "buying" an improved final version.

There has always been a divide between players and developer's vision just because of the nature of what's involved and the diversity of persons.

There are several games that came out with great engines ("Ground Control") is a good example where the lack of scenario building or map making utilities caused them to fall by the wayside. That's why you see mods for Halo and the like so people can make their own stuff--everybody wants to feel they did something for or with the game too.

And to the previous comment: No, I'm not saying, "It's too complex, do nothing" I'll respond the same way I do to someone who tells me to, "Switch to Linux" because I have a windows issue.

Not realistic. it doesn't solve my problem or meet my needs--it just avoids finding a solution that allows me to work in windows. What your saying is, "The solution is to become a coder and 3D modeler". Not realistic--for me or others either.

People have done very helpful things in this regard. Grape of Wrath put up files and detailed install instructions on a website plus offered help in setting up the original BZworld editing program for players.

Dutch made extensive notes and files available on "Shellshock" for players.

Oma Herta and Frank maintained a forum for years and now we have the official one which is fantastic.

Valoche and several others helped develop the CTF League.

David Brosius and others made utilities and ports for other players.

"BZEdit" was developed and distributed in an amazingly short time by a very small number of people mostly out of shared enthusiam for making maps.

All of these people did these things to help other players. I think they are note worthy and should be examples of what we all do--developer or not.

The actual development part is a category unto itself. Sure, it's a thankless, tedious job. It takes a specially talented as well as commited person to do it.

It's still just a part of the game. Other aspects are important too. They all need attention. it doesn't mean that developing is less important but just like I wear pants, I need a shirt and shoes too.

The point of bringing it up in the forum isn't to hurt feelings, take jabs or rant--it's to see who might have a good idea or an alternative solution. It's also to raise issues for discussion so other viewpoints can be heard.

Don't take it persoanl--it isn't directed at you, it's for the entire BZ community.
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Thanks Toaster!

Post by Gerbil » Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:54 pm

Toaster gets my point. It's not a problem with BZ, it's just the development of the game is outstripping the capabilities of the dabblers who have made maps for years and that needs attention too.

Sheesh, ur a genius dude.

I love wings--man they are addictive.
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Post by JeffM » Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:55 pm

yes your being snippy :)

I find it funny how you can call it typical, when it's actualy atypical for the industry. :)

but I see your basic point as being, yes you want an editor that is maintained with the version. So you want one of bzflag's core requirements to be a content creation tool.

Personly I don't see this as being a bad thing. Most comercial games have some tool at least for it's in house development. It's just that this isn't a comercial game, and people come and go ( call it burnout if you wish ), so unless it's part of the release, there is no drive to keep it updated. We have never had an "official" editor in the past. Mostly because the "random" worlds are good enough for most people in the past. The visual editors were allways made as side projects. Noone used them when they were made. so the respective devs droped them. Then people finaly found out what they can do, and they started using them way after they were dead. But at that time the dev is so 'over and done" with that old codebase they become reluctant to dive back into it.

Updating them is somewhat of a quandry. To make them fully usefull, they bascly have to be made into full blown modeling packages. Since bzflag supports meshes now. This is a large task, and much more then just draging a couple boxes around. So as a developer you start to look and say "hey there are a lot if other modelers out there, why do the same work they did? there app is way better then what I'd make. And it's done NOW, so people can start using it right away". So you make tools that let you use other apps. The ultimate version of this tool should be like the blender plugin that will let a full map be made in blender and just exported. In the long run this seems the BEST option, because then the end users get to pick a tool that fits them, the tools get feature updates for "free", and all you have to update is a little plugin, not constantly reinvent the wheel. But again this is allways done in a developers free time, so it can take a while. This is also why you get a lot of "little" tools, they are doable in short times. Few people can dedicate solid weeks of work to a non paying dev task. Ya gotta eat :)

On the learning thing, it's not that we want everyone to fend for themselves, it's just that it's VERY disheartening when it dosn't seem like anyone wants to even try to learn something, I mean it's not THAT hard, we did it, and we arn't some race of uber magical people. Developers are just people with difrent sets of knowledge, they know how to code. So if we can learn it then you can too. Also we do this for the fun of developing, not to teach people how to model. I mean this is our free time here, and it gets anoying REALY fast having to tell the 10th person in a row what a vector is, when it's a common concept.

My basic point is. Your not going to magicaly just "get" an editor. There are no core devs who want to make one. Since bzflag development is basicly unmanaged, nobody is going to asign somone to make one ether. Some developers are working on some tools. If you want an editor to be part of the package, then I'd get on convicing Tim that he needs to make it part of the requrements, and start a new universal bzflag editor project, that the next version can not ship without.

If you can convince somone to make an editor project that they sell to 20-30 people, then hey more power to you. Sadly it would not be able to be part of sourceforge or the main product, since it would not be free. And you'd have to convince the developer to keep it updated, and repay for it every year when the format is updated ( or convince the guy to do lifetime support for it, for the 200-300$ he got when he sold it to the few people who'd use it ). Heck even dotantions ( that are accepted right from the bzflag sourceforge page) that were given to a developer to make a new editor would help.

Tim Riker would have no say in a pay editor like that as it would be an independent project, unless you think you'd convince him to write it ( that' I'd pay to see :P). He'd even be fine with an official editor, he'll just tell you to find somone to make it, and I think that's going to be your hard job. When the windows BZedit was abandoned, it was put into the main sourceforge project so that others could take it over. Grubler tried for a while, then also lost interest. Nobody else has picked it up. Heck at the time the first windows bzedit was made there were allready 2 other abandoned editors for other OSs, they just arn't fun to work on.
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Progress

Post by Gerbil » Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:05 pm

Yeah--that pretty much describes the situation.

I have a programming friend in Ukraine who would do it for pay. he works cheap too. He started his own "outsourced programmers group" a few years back.

I have always wanted to show him the game and map editors and see if he would take it on but couldn't pay him and didn't want to impose.

I might run the new version by him just to see what he thinks of the game.

I am bringing this up becasue this new release to me "fully matures" the game. It has a solidity and fullness now that make it really exciting and appealing. We never needed a universal editor before becasue world design was simple enough to do in a variety of manners.

Now there are enough variables and complexities where a 'core"world maker would be extremely useful.

Thanks for the kind reply.
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Post by toaster » Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:24 pm

JeffM2501 wrote:On the learning thing, it's not that we want everyone to fend for themselves, it's just that it's VERY disheartening when it dosn't seem like anyone wants to even try to learn something, I mean it's not THAT hard, we did it, and we arn't some race of uber magical people. Developers are just people with difrent sets of knowledge, they know how to code. So if we can learn it then you can too.
And different people not only have different skill sets, but different talents. I have worked with devs who are not talented programmers at all and whose work I consider slipshod at best, and who had absolutely zero understanding of people and/or soft skills. I know a couple of genius programmers that can't balance their checkbooks. I know people who are not talented with computers or math, but can play games and can make great pieces of artwork. In the 1900's, they discovered that not all intelligent people are necessarily good at math or technology, and they were even able to establish linkages to the hemispheres of the brain most utilized. :shock: Here it is the 2000's, and some people still think anyone can learn anything with enough time and effort. It's just not the case.
JeffM2501 wrote:Also we do this for the fun of developing, not to teach people how to model. I mean this is our free time here, and it gets anoying REALY fast having to tell the 10th person in a row what a vector is, when it's a common concept.
Then why release the game to the public if you don't want to have to help people use it or provide advise or answers? If you kept it to yourself, you could spare yourself all kinds of grief. 8) You'd better stay away from a teaching career. Same old questions, semester after semester, year after year. :roll:

As far as common concept, what country do you come from? In the US, you learn vectors in high school geometry and high school physics, typically sophomore and senior year. That would be ages 16 through 18, normally. That's the educational standard pretty much across the country. Lots of the young map makers won't have a clue what vectors really are yet. And normally, neither of the classes is required unless you're college prep. Which means that tetrahedrons, polys, cones, and meshes are light years beyond some people. Because most people in this country don't go to college. Try to relate a little bit, at least. :?
JeffM2501 wrote:My basic point is. Your not going to magicaly just "get" an editor.
Intuitively obvious. Been obvious for a while. Gerbil still has some valid points. Okay, so he wants to take advantage of the capabilities. Just needs some help doing so, and so will others.

(Personally, I think a map editor ought to be based on the client (with appropriate additions and deletions) rather than a separate code base. That would at least make it more managable. Shouldn't have to run a server to test a map, the client should be able to read a map file and view it. Design, of course, is more challenging. Just a thought. Go ahead, beat me up for my opinion. )

Some of the other devs have commented in the past that they were glad that people were making a variety of maps. And perhaps some worked on editors when they heard comments like Gerbil's and decided that it was worth building something that could be used. Even if it doesn't happen, he's entitled to an opinion.

Again, I ask: why bother adding the features if you don't want people to use them? And point out to me one high school in the country that teaches what meshes are. And I'm talking specifically about the mathematical edge model as used in graphics programs. Good luck. It'll have to be a private high school.

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toaster and gerby

Post by sid6.7 » Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:44 pm

dang well put toaster....i quit..im agreeing with you all the time
anymores...thats just wrong man!! ....:) jk'ing

hey gerby lets really schoomze that russian fella into doing a
editor....offer something like a paypal thingy for him i'd put up
20$ just to "kick start his engine" see what the inital interest
would be... jeff might be right in that there would only be 20-30
max buyers..so 400$ish....but if he did a low update fee say 5$
per im sure those 20-30 would stick with it...

i recently bought a map editor while it was still in alpha
for another game i put out 20$ with no questions and he released
a nice product 2 months later i helped him test it out, another
guy put up some cash too i believe in alpha so there are a few
folks out there that will do it...

just a thought
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Re: toaster and gerby

Post by toaster » Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:46 pm

sid6.7 wrote:dang well put toaster....i quit..im agreeing with you all the time
anymores...thats just wrong man!! ....:) jk'ing
Well, at least in the public eye.
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Post by JeffM » Fri Jan 21, 2005 11:49 pm

toaster what he heck are you smoking. :)

We put stuff in so people can use them. Are you saying noone can use the map features now because they don't have an editor? Then I'd tell that to the non devs that are making maps right now, because they will have to stop. Cods is kicking butt and taking names working with all the new stuff, He's realy putting some effort into it. It sounds like by your logic, we should all just stop. Hey I'll get more sleep at night then :)

You took my "common" comment wrong. Yes I know vector math is not part of the common US child's remedial public education program, or homeschool. I mean I took it in high school, but hey maybe I'm special :) What I meant is, it is still a basic concept in the computer game world. Using google I was able to find a number of explanations of what a 3d model is, what a vector is, even a number of tutorials on game modeling. All other games out there use these concepts. BZflag hasn't for so very long, that I can totaly see how it's a shock to have to learn stuff "all of a sudden". I meant it in a way saying it's not some secret bzflag specific thing. Making maps is a type of programing. You are defining a file that tells a computer what to do, and it will have rules and concepts similar to programing. They don't teach basic computer skills in all HSs ( they didn't in mine ) yet we expect you able to have those skills to play the game. It could be argued that making maps for the game is "another level" and requires more info.

And your right I shouldn't be a teacher. Thats why I am not one. Never said I wanted to be one. Yet I am the guy who was willing to make the first bzedit. And implement a nuber of so called usless features. What's that tell ya? :) I made bzedit to help myself get refamliarised with the changes made in bz for 1.7eX, from when I started back in 1997.

I'm not a big fan of in game editor ( tho it is better then NO editor), because then you get a crapy editor that's built into a game interface, not something that is using a nice optimised application interface ( multiple documents, copy/paste, import/export... etc.. ), but I do think that the game engine should be modular enough to allow for editors to use the same code that the game. And this concept has been talked about a lot ( the so called "imfamous libWorld"), yet nobody has done it. The bzflag code is NOT clean, not by a longshot. So any change to of this magnitude is a large task few are willing to attempt, it just hasn't been done yet. I think it will get done at some point. If not in this project, a branch of it.

Oh gerbil is totaly entiled to his opinion, never wanted to sound like he wasn't. Disccusions are allways good, and I think we are all having a very good one right now.

And if you all think this is hard, you should know that the curent map format is VERY much "dumbed down" from how it is in the code. Your lucky that Trepan didn't make you use matrix math, and that he put in all those nice primitives, groups, and materails :) In the end the computer has to break it all down into just a bunch of triangles anyway, so what you have now has allready gone thru a large
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Post by toaster » Sat Jan 22, 2005 12:42 am

JeffM2501 wrote:toaster what he heck are you smoking. :)

We put stuff in so people can use them. Are you saying noone can use the map features now because they don't have an editor? Then I'd tell that to the non devs that are making maps right now, because they will have to stop. Cods is kicking butt and taking names working with all the new stuff, He's realy putting some effort into it. It sounds like by your logic, we should all just stop. Hey I'll get more sleep at night then :)
JeffM2501, what the heck are you smoking? :)

My first post specifically asked for brainstorms on how to help the people that have problems with the new map features. And a lot of these young map makers aren't yet in high school. But they want to know, and they want features they can figure out.
Yet I am the guy who was willing to make the first bzedit. And implement a nuber of so called usless features. What's that tell ya? :)
Uhmmm... that maybe you should update it? :idea:
And if you all think this is hard, you should know that the curent map format is VERY much "dumbed down" from how it is in the code. Your lucky that Trepan didn't make you use matrix math, and that he put in all those nice primitives, groups, and materails :) In the end the computer has to break it all down into just a bunch of triangles anyway, so what you have now has allready gone thru a large


I have an advanced degree in math and in computer science. I don't find any of this particularly hard. Matrices are extremely easy. If I was sufficiently motivated, I could do it no matter what method Trepan specified. That doesn't mean that everyone is in that same category. Which has been my point. I am also a huge fan of Trepan's work. And the features are great.

Now, back to my point: What can be done to help the initiates come along? Got any answers that may help them besides making a point that it could be harder? Anyone?
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Post by JeffM » Sat Jan 22, 2005 1:51 am

Why would I want to make a totaly new model editor when we've allready given you all tools that let you use existing modelers? Updating the current codebase is not feasable, since it seems many of the "kids" here use a macintosh or other non windows OSs. My BZedit is made for windows ONLY ( it's done in MFC ). It has no mesh editing features. I estimated it would take me 2 weeks to make a minimaly funcitonal polygon editor in an crossplatform framework. I just do not have that kind of time to dedicate to that type of project, to get a very basic editor. I have better things to do with my time ( like figure out a better scenegraph, visiblity system, and world database format, and login/chat servers ).

I think somone should make them a tutorial that will teach them the stuff they need. I think they need step by step instructions on how to do the advanced features. Probably with pictures.

HEY... You have all those advanced degrees in math and stuff :). And I've never gone to college so maybe you could make some for em. That would realy help them out.

Some prefabs would help them too, to show them how to do simple things, that they could merge into maps.
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Post by toaster » Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:00 am

JeffM/PatLabor,

I have yet to ask you to write an editor. Don't know why you insist on thinking that way, message after message. Glad I'm not a teacher. :)

Folks (besides JeffM, obviously), what other alternatives are there for helping people learn how to build maps? Any ideas upon which we can expand? Trepan had an idea for building libraries of objects that would be reusable in maps.

No idea is too "stupid" to throw into the fray - it could become a building block. Sure, some might not get used for practical reasons, but they might lead to other ideas.

*cough* The tutorial idea was mentioned already. I discussed Trepan's in my first post on this string. I also mentioned that I'm not up on all the latest 2.0 mapping features. Need some other help for the moment if we want to see this move quickly.

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