MapMaker - multipurpose editor
There once was the need to create maps for the game Captive. A game with large mazes with lots of
different environments, multiple floors, teleporters, ladders and more insanity. No editor that
exists today comes close to making it easy to create maps for such a vast game, thus development
on MapMaker was started by Gimbal, proud member of the EAB community.
The application itself is being developed in the programming language Java, version 5 and up. While
this makes it impossible to run the application on any kind of Amiga or PowerPC system without some
hefty emulation, it does make it possible to run the app on current systems such as Windows, Linux
and MacOS. Development is primarily aimed at Windows at the moment, but proper Linux and MacOS
support will be realized eventually.
The editor itself features a workspace oriented environment in which you can create maps. Each map
can have several floors and each floor in turn can consist of several layers. To each layer the user
can paint icons of any size, as long as the dimensions are multiples of 8. The floor itself is built
up out of tiny grid cells of 8*8 pixels, allowing you a good amount of freedom to place icons, while
you can use the multiple layers to stack icons on top of each other (icons can be transparent through
the use of PNG images). Layers can be individually turned on and off so you can peek below icons in
higher layers when needed.
During the development the general idea behind the editor began to change. While it started out as
a simple grid mapping tool, it transformed into a tool that could also be used to actually create maps
to be used in games, and now the ambition has arisen to make it a multipurpose editor with which you
can also draw levels for games such as platformers, puzzle games and possibly even isometric
RPG games (all still 2d of course). The flexible icon system gives the user a good amount of freedom
for placing graphics, waypoints, etc. and the general purpose XML format that the application uses
can be transformed to a more efficient format to be used within games.
Future improvements to the current sneak preview releases will be more editing features (drawing lines,
area filler, increasing/decreasing the cursor size, increasing/decreasing the size of a map, eye dropper,
etc.), plugin support to be able to directly save to a specific output format, and perhaps plugin
game specific features into the editor itself. The todo list is quite extensive already, and new features
pop in quite regularly.
System requirements: Windows 2000 and XP (Linux and MacOS are untested, Vista will probably give
permission problems), Java 5 and higher at the moment. When the first MapMaker beta is released
Java 6 will be the minimum required version due to improvements within the user interface
components that are useful for the application. The amount of memory needed depends on how large
your workspace is going to be.
written by Gimbal