Category Archives: Tools

Campaign mission tool released

Nick Beer has made a nice command line tool for creating your own missions, including simple victory conditions and story. There are still many missing features and it isn’t particularly user friendly as it is now, as you can’t just run it and magic happens, but it is the first tool available in years for making missions that is also free to use! If I recall correctly all the previous tools have been payware and only available in German language.

Go ahead and download S2 Map2Mission and read how to set it up and use it!

As a side note: our online Map Generator does not currently support harbor generation. Adding the support is possible, but I’d rather make it “properly” instead of just quickly hacking it in. Doing it well makes it impossible for you to generate harbor maps that aren’t truly playable.

Map Generator improvements this week

There have been some nice changes during the past week, although not many of them as visible as some people might like them to be.

  • Development has branched to a new GitHub version.
  • Old version has been made available as well.
  • Maps are now perfectly compatible with The Settlers II.
  • Some very nice speed optimizations that make generating a map 100% faster than it was.
  • Also some bugs have been fixed while doing the optimizations.
  • Height map generation has been improved, better looking mountains (less “rings”).
  • There is more variety in landscape: coasts and swamps have been implemented, and there is mountain meadow around mountains.

Up next:

  • Improve user interface!
  • Bring more customization options back!
  • Provide different kind of presets to make it easier to generate maps to one’s liking.

Visit the Map Generator! Or try the older one if you want to play around with more options.

Important milestone!

The map generator now generates maps that are playable right away in RttR! Resources, trees and granite are now placed on the map so there is something to play with. Some final touches are still needed to make sure the compatibility with old game is established. In the meanwhile the original Map Editor can be used to load and then save the map and then the map becomes playable in the original game as well!

Once the project can save proper maps that also work on S2 directly with no assistance from an another tool I will put it on GitHub. Hopefully there are developers out there with a passion for better experiences 🙂 There are many things that can be improved and I can’t wait to see ideas other than my own that make up a good map generator!

Generate maps!

It’s been a long time

I’m quite exhausted right now. But I’ve had a lot of fun, although a bit of hard and frustrating time.

Finally after all these years I’ve done a proper beginning for a new Map Generator!

See the Pen Map Generator for The Settlers II by Vesa Piittinen (@Merri) on CodePen.8075

I recommend opening it on a new page instead of the above!

It is still in very early stages, but it creates a height map that looks just awesome. And it can be customized quite a bit already. So pretty maps, must click for more… One… More… Map!

Hacker’s guide to WORLD800.DAT

To make it easier for everyone to have a look at these files I’ve now compiled all WORLD800.DAT files from the demo versions of the game into something that is easier to work with!

The zip file below provides a PNG image that visually shows the raw contents of a savegame map file. The accompanying RAW file is that same data as a pure hex dump.

There are three map files included: demo v0.16 map, demo v1.02 map and demo v1.51 map (aka “Cold Times”).



Download (SWD maps, unplayable)

Continue reading

The problems of data and performance

In my current effort of understanding the performance issues with Online Editor’s PNG implementation I’ve noticed that there aren’t many good solutions available as far as it goes to transferring a single big chunk of data that is an entire file. Using PNG image as a data container doesn’t work as well as I wanted to thanks to PHP side being too slow in rearranging data back to the order it is supposed to be. Also some of the data lengths become quite long when sending base64 encoded data via JavaScript, even if it a compressed PNG image. This approach just has too many elements that fail on me right now, especially with big maps that I personally tend to like the most.

So this put me back into research mode and I noticed Mozilla’s FileReader documentation and it would simplify things a great deal: I no longer would have to have a separate “upload” phase to allow map editing to be possible. Instead I could just let users select a few maps, have an instant display and analysis and only after that go for any upload requirement. Also thanks to Mozilla’s pages I now know that browser support is good enough to go with these new “HTML5” technologies. The biggest issue going with this is that I need to rethink a lot of things again. Like, the component that I initially used for file upload will be of no use. Instead of sending a big chunk of data I should send multiple smaller chunks, validate them on server side and then construct the final file. Even this way some Return to the Roots 1024 x 1024 map files may cause problems and I need to implement some form of compression.

The question at this point is: is it worth the time to redesign again?

Bug fixes and added features

Online Editor has been updated. Updates since yesterday:

  • Fixed: mining resources disappeared “randomly” due to incorrect Y-location in the resource validation routine.
  • New: height randomizer has been updated to provide much richer options (gentle, medium, strong and dangerous).
  • Performance of some of the routines has been improved at the cost of more memory consumption (max. 4 MB more).
  • Editor’s user interface is now prettier.
  • Debug feature: you can now see the raw map data as an image.

Issues found since Sunday:

  • Downloading a huge map doesn’t work. This is a server side / PHP issue, the PHP code needs to be improved for memory efficiency.
  • Downloaded file doesn’t no longer gets decompressed by browser automagically. The file remains GZIP compressed after file transfer. This shouldn’t happen.
  • Setting player’s leader in the editor doesn’t change the leader (note: this change would be only visible if the map is loaded as a World Campaign mission).

Early version of Online Editor

You can now upload, change and download maps at Online Editor. It is still very far from complete, but enough to do some minor tweaks easily, like changing the world type from Greenland to Winter World. It also does some hidden magic behind the scenes, fixing a few things that can cause crashes or buggy behavior in The Settlers II.

Comments are welcome as are suggestions for highest priority features. Note that making an editor that shows the scenery like in game will take a lot of time to code so for the moment I’m pushing that idea into the distant future.