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Old 26 December 2006, 17:08   #1
gimbal
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MapMaker sneak preview 1

Alright, I've been over the application a hundred times now trying to squize out those last few obvious bugs (there were still loads...) and to clean up some last visual issues. The app now runs normally on both my development machine and my laptop, so here it is: sneak preview 1.

http://www.insane-hq.org/~gimbal/mapmaker

Please read the included short tutorial before running it. You can report bugs and suggestions in this thread, through a PM or through msn/icq if you want, the details for those are in my eab profile.

Please try it out and let me know what you think!

Last edited by gimbal; 02 January 2007 at 15:54.
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Old 26 December 2006, 19:36   #2
BippyM
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Nice.... I'll give this a whirl once xmas is out of the way
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Old 27 December 2006, 05:36   #3
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Excelent Big G, i look forward to reviewing it.
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Old 27 December 2006, 10:09   #4
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And I'm looking forward to your review, Big Z

(Big G, Big Z, we might as well get married now)
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Old 27 December 2006, 13:42   #5
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as long you don't reproduce yourselves...
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Old 24 January 2007, 21:25   #6
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Aight you guys, you have obviously forgotten all about me *cries eyes out*

No matter, because sneak preview 2 is coming up and I must say it is going to KICK ASS. The editing has been given a major overhaul and now behaves so much more smoothly! Things that have changed are:

Icons are no longer restricted to 16*16, can be any dimension, as long as it is devidable by 8 (and they don't have to be square either). The minimum size is 8*8 though, which is the smallest unit the editor can handle.

Grid is also no longer composed of limiting cells, but more in what I call units. Each unit is 8*8 in size and this allows you to position icons much more freely. Because of this new setup combined with the flexible icons it is now very much possible to use the editor to create 2d platform levels and such, especially with the layer system that was already present. I can even see isometric graphics happening. That will require some creative icon drawing though

Because of the different sizes in the icons it is now very possible to overwrite parts of icons or even multiple icons with a single paint action. This is not allowed however, what happens is that when you overwrite a 64*64 icon with a 16*16 one, the entire 64*64 icon is replaced with the smaller icon (leaving empty space). If you want to overlap icons you have to use a seperate layer, but I find that only logical.

HOWEVER: the app now knows three different modes of editing.

- insert mode. In insert mode you cannot overwrite existing icons, you can only paste to empty units (this mode rules).

- overwrite mode. In overwrite mode you can insert and replace icons freely.

- erase mode. In erase mode all you can do is remove icons from the current layer.

Pressing the insert key will switch between insert/overwrite mode and when you press the delete key you activate the erase mode. When you press delete again you switch back to whatever mode you had active before.

This may sound out of the ordinary (except for people who love to work with the linux text editor VI/VIM), but I can honestly tell you that this system works! I tend to do my editing in insert mode so I cannot paint over existing icons by accident, and whenever I make a mistake I tap the delete key, erase the mistake and hit delete again to continue my painting.

So feel free to still try out sneak 1, but just realize that sneak 2 is going to be a whole lot different I have made a new screeny to show off the minor touch ups I have done to the gui as well. I'll link to it because it is a 1280 one.

http://www.insane-hq.org/~gimbal/map...evscreen04.png

Last edited by gimbal; 24 January 2007 at 21:36.
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Old 24 January 2007, 22:09   #7
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i have not forgotten you, in fact... *cough* agf site is on the way, please write a 'lil resume to be put online *cough*
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Old 24 January 2007, 22:53   #8
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Eh? Did I miss a thread somewhere?
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Old 24 January 2007, 23:29   #9
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yes you have. or not. or you will when i'll post it. btw, i will probably tomorrow so please write a resume text for MapMaker for the page, and check your pm box
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Old 25 January 2007, 00:49   #10
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more screenies with explanation:

Basic editor window with layer panel showing, also showing one of the few error messages that the app can throw at you:
http://www.insane-hq.org/~gimbal/map...evscreen04.png

One of the many popup widgets, this one in particular can be used to edit an iconset:
http://www.insane-hq.org/~gimbal/map...evscreen05.png

A snapshot demonstrating what happens in "overwrite" mode (note the OVR in the bottom right of the screen):
http://www.insane-hq.org/~gimbal/map...evscreen06.png

A snapshot demonstrating the same as the previous snapshot, only now drawn to a higher layer (note the "draw to" box):
http://www.insane-hq.org/~gimbal/map...evscreen07.png
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Old 07 April 2008, 14:12   #11
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I have taken this project out of the fridge, basically because I can really use the program myself for my game development projects

I am currently rebuilding the program from the ground up (copying parts of the original code that do not need to be improved) and it is going quite fast. I have been spending the last two days reworking the KISS-proofness of the app and that has resulted in some changes:

- the structure used to be workspace - iconsets - maps - floors - layers. I removed the floors completely, you now only have maps with layers. If you want several floors, you will have to put them all in the same map. I think this is much easier than having them all seperately. I got this idea from the captive map generator information that was posted a few months ago.

- iconset management has yet again changed, for the better! An iconset is now represented in a tree structure, as these two screenshots demonstrate:





No more icky popups, you do all your editing directly from the main editing window. Not only that but icons are now grouped. You can add/remove/replace icons in a group, move icons between groups and you can even determine their order within a group manually should you be so inclined. And in a future release I am going to add drag & drop support (which is quite difficult to implement). The layers panel is going to get the same treatment.


(credit goes to the person who can name the game I took the shown tile from )
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Old 07 April 2008, 23:16   #12
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Nice to hear that work is going well I'm waitng for the final version.
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Old 07 April 2008, 23:40   #13
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Really :s Somebody is waiting for this???

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Old 08 April 2008, 14:38   #14
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This shows the current state of the editor, the basic editing features are now implemented! You also see the layers panel, which works quite nicely. You can add new layers, remove them, rename them, clear them, make them visible/invisible and you can make a layer the active one (the one you draw to), all through right-click menus.

- A layer is visible when it has the eye icon in front of it
- A layer is invisible when it has no eye icon and the name is italic
- A layer is the active one when the name is bold

As a shortcut, you can make a layer visible/invisible by double clicking on the name. To make a layer active you can double click on it while holding down CTRL. It works quite nicely I can say

Next step: implement undo/redo (copy from old code) and implement export to PNG!

Also, the project page can be found here for all the old screenshots (you can see some evolution in them ). Also there is a link to the TODO page, should anyone have ideas that I haven't thought about yet.

http://www.xs4all.nl/~gimbal/projects/mapmaker.htm
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Old 09 April 2008, 03:45   #15
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And one last update for today (or the first actually, depending on your point of view...). I wouldn't spam, but I am proud of my work

I just finished and tested the plugin system for the app. I was working on the PNG exporter and I thought to do it right from the start and implement it as a plugin, giving possibility to add more plugins. These plugins are specifically aimed at creating output files in any format you want. MapMaker loads these plugins during runtime (using some funky advanced Java trickery), meaning that new output formats can be added to the app without the need to change a single line of code of the original program, nor does any kind of configuration file have to be changed. You just stick your plugin in the 'plugins' directory and run the app. The only thing you do need... is knowledge of java programming to write and build the plugin A tutorial shall be part of the final release package, plus the source code for any exporters I write myself to learn the tricks from.

The plugins themselves are invoked from within the application through this simple dialog:



MapMaker takes care of all the ugly details (like creating a directory if it does not exist yet, checking if a file is going to be overwritten, etc.) so the plugin itself only has to deal with generating the output.
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Old 09 April 2008, 17:08   #16
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Nice Nice Nice. From what i see it will be a nice and easy working with it.
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Old 09 April 2008, 17:19   #17
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Does this output just PNG files or some sort of map data file as well ?
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Old 09 April 2008, 18:24   #18
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This plugin outputs only PNG's (I just made it possibly to export a workspace as well, which in the case of the PNG plugin means that all maps in the workspace are exported to a seperate PNG), but a plugin can be written to generate any kind of output file (or files) you want.

In the end it is going to be possible to tag meta data to the icons you paint (meta data = generic information that you define yourself), which can then be taken by the plugins and converted into binary game map data. Near complete flexibility with a simple and fast user interface is what I aim for, I want this tool to be used not only to draw maps for reference and HOL purposes, but also be the editor for games.

And now I'm going loose with the plugins, I have many more ideas, such as import plugins to import maps and whole workspaces, and plugins that deal with iconsets. I want a function that can import GfxRip spritesheets for example, I can hard-code it into the program, or I can make it plugin based... the choice is very easy now I actually have my flexible plugin system

Undo/redo is also implemented by the way, so I may introduce the first alpha version shortly, after some more testing.
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Old 09 April 2008, 18:39   #19
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You should check out:
http://www.tilemap.co.uk
http://www.alienfactory.co.uk/javamappy/
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Old 10 April 2008, 00:39   #20
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I have seen some existing map editors, but they always work exactly like I don't want it. Either the GUI is crude, the program is full of bugs or the features are too limited.

I do like the isometric editor built into "Mappy" though, I might think about adding an isometric view myself. With the help of OpenGL it shouldn't be too hard.
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