[Help] How to Make Maps for PF

Started by FOXX, August 21, 2018, 12:38:05 PM

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Hello Everybody,

I made this for people who are interested in making Maps for PF to get started a bit.
This is not the exact way I make maps but I had to put something together.
So, let's get started.

          How to make a (good) Map in Particle Fleet?

Well, it's not a short answer. There are so many options even without PRPL.
Let's go through the steps I usually do to make a map.
And the result of the Map should be Playable for all. (so not to hard)

Making a Map all starts with ideas and Start Options.
Things to think of before starting on Step 1.

- Where is my starting Place
- Starting Ships / Ship Pickups
- Enemy Ships/Doppels
- What type of game do I want to make (Win Condition)
- Totems or Progenitor (yes or no)
- How big of a Map I want to have

          ORDER OF STEPS

0 - Add Images and Scripts to the Map
1 - Make Land
2 - Place Energy Mines Layout
3 - Place All Non-Active Units (Ship- Omni Pickups-AmpGems(Factorys)-EnergyPods)
4 - Place All PreBuild Units (Enemy) Ships and Doppels, TiconDefenseGuns)
5 - Add Struc and Plasma
6 - Place All Active Units (Emitters-MireSpawners-StunnerSpawners-Ticon P.Bursts, Ship- DoppelSpawners)
7 - Playtest
Addon 1 - More Options
Addon 2 - More Useful Scripts

Note -> The first 4 steps can all be done when Paused.
Note -> Save during the process.

           Step 0 - Add Images and Scripts

When I know what kind of Map I want to make I think of Tools and Scripts I can (want) to use and add them in the [C:\Users\FOXX\Documents\My Games\particlefleet\editor\NAME OF MAP folder where FOXX is your name and NAME OF MAP is the folder from the Map you created.
Some Tools or Scripts need Images for visualisation so I add those to the map. Maybe you want to have a PRPLCore on the map which does a certain thing and you have an Image for the Core to make it more appealing. Also Custom Model Ships need Images.
In this Step (or Step 1) I usually test the Scripts/Systems/Custom Modules if they work properly.
The Tools which are Handy for making Maps are mentioned other steps.

           Step 1 - Make Land Layout

In Particle Fleet you can make a map without any land. But to give the Omnis a job I Usually make some land. From just a couple of small Islands to an all Omni map with mostly land.

You can draw the Land with the Editor Tools but a Handy Script for making land is the StickMan's Land Editor
With this Tool you can create Squares and Circles easy and you can combine this Tool with the Editor Land Option for making some cool land layouts.

Maybe you have created a nice layout that you want to use in other maps or you saw something in a map you want to use?
Then the LandCopier Script From PlanetFall comes in Handy.
With this Tool you can Copy and Paste Existing Land Layouts.

If you are busy with a Map and it appears the map is to Large or Small for your idea or if you have another idea you need the map to be a bit bigger of different size then the PF Map Resizer Mod by KubeRoot is very handy. It comes with instructions to Install.
I have used this many times and it is especially good for making series. (it Copies Land-Units-Images-Scripts-etc)

Usually more Land -> More Omnis or Omni Pickups.

            Step 2 - Place Energy Mines Layout

When I have done the Land I set up the Energy Mines in the whole map.
How many Energy Mines do I want? (keeping in mind the energy usage. More ships or bigger ships need more energy for example)
and what is the total Energy on the whole Map? (if you have for example 10 small, medium or big ships shooting at once you have an energy drain of let's say 100. can be a lot more. This all depends on how many and what kind of ships you have in the map consuming Energy.

ALso the spreading of the mines matter. if they are apart from each other a ship with a Port is useful.

Setting the Mines and the Range and Values decide the gameplay for a great part.
In this stage I always think about playing the Map and where to go next and imagine a route of progression in a map.

            Step 3 - Place All Non-Active Units

Along with the route I also think of the Pickups for the map. do I want AmpGems or AmpGemFactory? Do I want/need LandEnergyPods in or near the start area or at some strategic places? Ship and Omni Pickups? And how many of all.

This varies from map to map and it is totally up to the mapmaker what kind of map you want. Usually the stronger the Ships and Omnis you have and how stronger the Ship Pickups and total Omnis the stronger you can make the Enemy.

            Step 4 - Place All PreBuild Units

This Step is for all of the Units you want PreBuild on the map. (Units as mentioned above)
Where and which Enemy (and maybe Friendly) Ships and Doppels you want on the map.
Do you use Default Ships, your Own Designed Ships or Uploaded Ships? All possible.
Ships and Doppels have 8 Settings:

1 - Sit (stays as where it is built)
2 - Rotate (Rotates Continuously)
3 - Rotate Nearest Ship (Rotates to the nearest ship when in range)
4 - Move to Ship (Moves to your ship when in range)
5 - Move to Ship Smart (Moves to your ship when done building)
6 - Defend (Defends an area)
7 - Defend Roam (Defends and Roams in an Area)
8 - Patrol (Patrol the route you made)

More Ship and Doppel Options

- Attraction Field = Attracks Particles I Believe
- Intrinsic Energy = How much Energy the ship generates on it's own
- Build Rate = How fast the Ship Builds
- Heal Rate = How fast the Ship can Repair
- Fire Multiple = How many Shots (can) fire at once

This also can have a huge impact on the map. and again more / bigger Ships and Ship pickups -> stronger Enemy Ships and Doppels. Don't want the map to be to easy.

Now you can unpause the map for the first time and let all your Ships and Doppels build (and maybe let the TiconDefenseGuns fill up if they are on the map)

You can always add or remove or change Ships and/or Doppels and if its ok then I Pause the map again until Step 7.
You can also decide if you want the Ship- and DoppelSpawners on the map or not. If the Ships and Doppels are Building or Build they have the settings and it is possible to remove the Spawners. (Mapmakers choice)

            Step 5 - Add Struc and Plasma

In this Step I add all the (Enemy)Struc or (Enemy)Plasma on the map.
A lot of variety (and figures) you can do to make the map more pretty.
And Struc (Armoured) is a thing to deal with but this step you could skip.

            Step 6 - Place All Active Units

Now it is time to add Emitters. And boy sooo many options with Emitters

When I start placing Emitters I kinda know what route to take.
Then I place all Emitters I want on the Map [when testplaying i might [meaning usually] change some positions and/or values]

Then I sort of divide the Map into 2 or 3 parts according to the Soft-Medium-Hard settings for Emitters.
First Part = Soft, Second and third can be Medium and sometimes I use Hard for the 3rd Part. [Not often]
A Hard Emitter with Production Interval 1 and Max Particles 200 is a pretty tough Emitter. When i use Hard Settings i make sure the Player has some Bigger Ships and more Firepower to use.

Emitter Settings

- Particles - Default Soft = 1 - Medium = 2 - Hard = 3
- Initial Delay = At what moment the Emitter starts Emitting
- Max Productioninterval = How fast the Emitter Emits
- Max Particles = How many maximun particles the Emitter (can) Emit
140-160 first stage - 160-200 second stage - 3rd stage can vary on how challenging i want the Map to be.
                        Usually the Maximum i use is 300.
- Recall Range = Range the Emitter Recalls Particles in Danger
- Max LifeTime = Maximum LifeTime of Particles. (usually Default (2400) (can be lower to only affect an area)
- Max Distance = Maximum Distance a Particle can be from the Emitter ( In some maps i use MaxDistance to cover an area with an Emitter)
- Max Speed = How fast the Particles travel (usually 1-1.5)
- % That Target = How much % of the Particles attack a Unit of you (mostly Energy Mines)
Ships/Emitters = How much of the other (leftover) % should attack Ships/Emitters of you
- Create Plasma = How much Plasma Particles create
- Edge Destroy = Particles get Destroyed when touching the edge of the map
- Flip = Make the Emitter a Flip Emitter
And sooooo many options in the lower part of the Emitter screen just try a lot of settings and see what happens.

To Prevent to have to much Particles on Screen sometimes I use delays for the Emitters in the 2nd and 3rd Part.
If a Map has quite some Emitters [Bigger Maps] I use more Parts in the Map to have different Stages for the Emitters.

Place the MireSpawners on Land Spread them out a bit. StrucSpawners on Struc if you have that.
If you want StunnerSpawners in the Map it is useful to have a Ship with Dischargers.
Do you want Ticon P.Burst in the map? This is the time.

Also you could add Ship- and/or DoppelSpawners now which start to build when players start playing the map.
Initial Delay sets a Timer when the Ship starts building. (in Frames/Second so a setting of 300 = 10 Seconds)
So you can start Building Ships or Doppels later on in the game.
I usually make sure the Spawn Delay is not to low. Minimum 300.

            Step 7 - Playtest

Now the time is arrived to Finalize and playtest for the first time. How did it all come together? Does it play well?
All of my maps needed adjustments in this stage depending on how the map played.
Changing some Emitter values here and there. Maybe even make some Energy Mines smaller because you need to have more area or Energy total is a bit low. Crank up some Energy mine values.
In overall this is where you check how the map plays and if you want to add some things or remove or changing some values.
Things to check for:
- How is the Balance of the overall game
- Enough Energy
- AmpGems ok
- Enough Action
- Enough Ships
- Enough Omnis
- things like this

Now slowly the map comes together and when you are satisfied with the result the map can be Finalized and Uploaded to the Exchange :)

            Addon 1 - More Options

A lot of Units have their own specific Options and Settings but there are some Options they have in common.
At the Bottom Part of the Menu which can also influence the map:
More Options

- Enemy(Red) = Enemy or Friendly Unit
- Map Space = Does Unit take Mapspace
- Lathe Targets = Is Unit Lathable or not
- Mission Goal = Is unit needed for the Destroy all Enemy Units win condition
- Energy Src @ Destroyed = Leaves an Energy Mine behind when Destroyed
- AmpGem @ Destroyed = Leaves an AmpGem behind when Destroyed
- Grow Struc = Unit Grows Struc
- Has Lathe = Unit has a Lathe (for Struc or picking up/Lathing in Range)
- Visible = Unit is Visable

With ALL of the options mentioned above you can fiddle with and accordingly the map becomes easier / harder.

            Addon 2 - More Useful Scripts

- Building ShipYard Script by GoodMorning
  Ships in Range have Instant CM Build.
- IMG to Land Script by Willbir (original) & Stickman (to PF)
  Converts an Image to Land.
- TiconDefenseGun Range Indicator Script by Stickman (Attached - Needs Circle Image)
  Creates a Range Indicator over a TiconDefenseGun. Use "C" key to Copy under TiconGun.
- MireLand Easy Script by GoodMorning (Attached - No Image needed)
  Mires the Land Under the Copied Core.
- InstaBuild Pylon by GoodMorning (Attached - No Image Needed)
  Builds a Ships CM and Hull Instantly.

Most of these Scripts work when you add the Script to a PRPL Core and then make a copy of the Core pressing the "C" key.
Some Scripts work when you press the Apply Button after adding the Script.

This was it for now.


For My Maps and Ships!

Johnny Haywire

Wow dude,

You put a lot of work into that. Thanks for the tips. Very thorough and well-explained. You almost make me want to make a map! (ha ha!)

You disagree with this sentence, don't you?


Quote from: Johnny Haywire on September 26, 2018, 05:16:31 PM
Wow dude,

You put a lot of work into that. Thanks for the tips. Very thorough and well-explained. You almost make me want to make a map! (ha ha!)


Ghehe, almost ;)
Thanks, and i'm always hoping for more Exchange Maps.

For My Maps and Ships!