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GRAW Map Making for Dummies
  #1  
Old 01-25-2008, 02:27 PM
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GRAW Map Making for Dummies

Ok - here we go. The hardest part of this entire tutorial was to come up with the title page ...



with that out of the way - let's move on and look at what we want to do here. The idea of the thread is to allow those who are not totally afraid of using notepad and a few small utility programs to create their own OGR Coop maps from existing maps. We'll use this thread to work on a project in which we all share the same map, keep our mission scripts and enemy group naming to a standard that lets these lines be reused for other maps, and look at the small little things that had me stumble when I was reading all I could find online to figure out how this map thing works. When done, we'll end up with a number of completely different variants of the same map.

What you will need to participate and create your very own GRAW OGR COOP map:

GRAW, obviously
GRAW map editor (if you have GRAW 1.35, you have this on your start menu as well)
Bundle Reader (this thing lets you take apart maps and use pieces of them)
Bundler (included in the game)
Notepad (I prefer this over dedicated XML editors)
MSDOS prompt (to run the bundler commands)
Calculator (to create the grid coordinates that define the area shown in minimap)

Optional
Photoshop or something else to customize/fix your minimap images


For extra credit at this time, you can grab some files that I accumulated to help me do things I could not figure out from the sketchy documentation and help screens the GRAW editor provides. Don't look at this stuff right now - most of it you will never need to know unless you get ambitious:

The GRAW map editor tutorial (don't even remember what's in there)

Info on random scripting

Info on texture_scope.xml file

"Clean" original game mission world files (we may use one of these for this tutorial)

The complete "GRAW Scripting Reference" (I have it printed, but never find answers in it)

Using C4 in Coop maps (I am going to use that on my next map, while you may never use it)


Right now, just get mentally ready to become a map maker - I'll post some files and instructions to get started later today, then take screen shots and write instructions up as I go. I'll have to actually sit at the computer I do this on to make sure I don't skip anything.

We'll keep this very simple for starters - no random spawns, only panhards, no custom objects on the map, just a few spawn zones on a smaller map. We'll probably use one of the larger multiplayer maps for this.

More when I get some time later today.

UPDATE 2-28-2011 - since people still play the game and I am not the only map maker, I decided to start a video tutorial collection for GRAW OGR map making.

http://didnt.doit.wisc.edu/graw/tutorial/video/video_tutorials.html

Last edited by Fishmonger : 02-28-2011 at 04:08 PM.
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
  #2  
Old 01-25-2008, 03:02 PM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

This is really cool stuff, I can just see it now TGP Mappers night, bring your map to the games. Share them with friends and shoot the place up. I like it Fish.
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:14 PM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

First Step:

picking an existing map. Best way to do that usually is to go into GRAW and choose your multiplayer screen, pick from the menu what you got and load it as a local server so you can walk around in it. Most of those maps will be known to you, but we rarely venture into TDM games, so a refresher visit may be necessary.

What I just did, not having the ability to run GRAW was to look at the bundle files that are in the game. Using the BundleReader application I simply extracted all the image files that are inside the game to provide the small mini map for each included mission.

Doing that, I came up with these files as most interesting candidates (converted to JPG format here so you can see them in the post). Reasons why they are interesting: a) no OGR missions exist on them as far as I know, b) they aren't as small as the normal TDM deathmatch terrains so you can actually get a mission feel at small scale.

Small maps can be a pain as you have to give up almost half of it so that the bad guys don't spawn in your face, and then you only have a very brief area to trigger secondary and further spawns. Why not spawn all at once? Lag and CPU load on the server makes anything over 20 AI walking around at the same time a bad idea.


ok - here the map I found as the most idea candidate for this tutorial and you'll probably recognize the place right away if you've done any TDM action:

This is mission "s01" in the game - no idea what it is called on the menu





There are 5 more that would be great candidates - we can all work on the same map, or you can take of of these - just let me know which one you're intersted in and I'll get the necessary files ready to go for you (including info on what you need to do to replicate the process)

mp01, mp02, mp03, mp04, mp05 in that order













My next post will be about using the tools to get the files ready to go for the editor. Once I have the files ready to be edited in the GUI of GRAW we're already at the point where zones and AI are placed. Piece of cake - we're almost done!
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:27 PM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

First day of school! I can't remember the last time I was this happy with the first day of school!

Fish, you are the man!
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:05 PM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

To get started with a map you need to generate a map project with the editor, even if you are about to steal most of a map from the Grin-provided files. We need some of the files this process will generate, although we will then replace the main content with existing stuff.

Start up the editor - go to Start menu and find the Ubisoft Program group, then Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and in there the and launch it.



since the editor almost takes as long to launch as the game itself, now is a good time to grab a potato chip with some dip and take a sip of that good Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre beer you got on your desk....

After a burp or two, or when you'll run out of beer and chips, you'll find yourself staring at this menu:



Here we hav to create a NEW project. The button is right there on the bottom left! Once you click it you are asked to fill in some information. The NAME of the project is the most important part at this level, but it helps to actually pick the proper texture set for the map you are about to hijack. My s01 map from the game clearly uses the "ghetto" set. Grafiti set is irrelevant unless you make your own map, and even then I don't know what you get in these.



So you enter your information. Don't be too picky here since the stuff saved will always be called "My Level" no matter what you call it here.




Click create and find yourself on the screen so many GRAW players have found only to spend a few confused minutes there and then leave it and never return. Here I already clicked on the top left layer menu, otherwise it would look even more desolate:



You are in an empty world. What we need to do to generate all the files we need to get this project folder set up so we can begin swappin in files from Grin is to place one single static object. To do so, click on th top left menu and then again on the "static" layer item on that list. You will get another menu to open up:



I then picked one of the grass pieces to lace on the blank map (that guy standing there on the gray slate has absolutely nothing to do with our map. It is just the "center" of the map you can build here. To place static object click on an item on the right side, then go over the map with your mouse pointer. Look for the blue indicators that show where it is about to drop the item. Once all of them show on your screen RIGHT CLICK your mouse. You just placed the first piece of a new map world into the void:



At this point we have done enough for the editor to honor our efforts and let us save a full fledged project folder (into our custom levels folder!). So hit the ESC key and push the save button on this menu



You just saved the first building block of your map. You can now tab out of the editor and move on to other things.

Last edited by Fishmonger : 01-25-2008 at 08:08 PM.
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:28 PM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

Let's take a look at what this thing just generated in our custom levels folder:



in my case, there was already a folder called expendable_assets inside the "work" folder that now should be in your custom levels folder as well, but it added "my_level" and a number of files we will need there to work on our new map.

Before we go through the files and adjust the naming, we now go and grab the stuff we will need from Grin.

We use the Bundle Reader program to get to this stuff. See link in my first post to download this utility - it's the most important program you'll need for this job.

Running it you get this screen once you navigate to C:\Program Files\Ubisoft\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\Bundles



in this case I am opening the patch.bundle which contains most of the multiplayer maps that were added to the game with the update patch. To get to a single player mission, you need to go to the quick.bundle file in that folder.

Expand the tree on the left pane until you find the folder s01 in the data/levels sub folders and hit the extract button. Place the output somewhere easy to find.



This is what you'll find inside the generated S01 filder extacted by the bundle reader:



Right now we are after a file in that XML folder: world.xml holds the entire map world information that will save us days of work to build our own world file:



Copy this file into the my_levels folder in your custom levels folder where you see world_01.xml - delete that file, and rename the one you just copied there to world_1.xml (oh - if you didn't close the editor, it would be a good idea to do that before this operation

Now go back to the editor and open your project file. You should find yourself in a screen that shows the S01 world. If there were version of the world file with numbers higher than 1, just delete those while moving this file there.
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:42 PM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

Here is what you'll see once the map is opened in the editor:



on some maps you will actually find your first view to be below the surface level and look much stranger. Anyway - now we start to FLY through the map.

Move your mouse - nothing happens? Hit the space bar and try again.

then use the AWSD and Q and E keys in conjunction with your mouse to fly - AWSD work like in the game while Q and E are elevator keys to go up and down. Whenever you get to where you want to go and want to do some menu selections or place objects hit space bar again to lock the view. Practice some. Look around the map and get used to these controls. The mouse wheel controls the speed of everything - want to go fast, roll forward, go slow and detailed, roll way back and move.

View from far above:


Now the bad news - this map is a TDM map and it is missing a bunch of stuff we need to create, plus the spawn bots are not in a location where I'd want them to be. I suppose now is a good time to get to know the map and make choices based on what kind of mission you want the Ghosts to run here. Spot two locations for spawn and zulu location, because you will need to stick to those in the future.

The real grunt work on these maps (not on the single player mission maps, since they do have AI) is that we need to create an AI graph for soldiers and vehicles so tht they can move around. I'll show you how to do it and then provide the file so that we don't all have to duplicate the job. It easily will take 30 mins on this map to do that.

But before all that some more words about the editor while we are in here

Last edited by Fishmonger : 01-25-2008 at 08:45 PM.
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:46 PM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

Too rich for my blood. I'm just WAY too lazy for this.
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:58 PM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

Some words about the layers in the editor:

Static - you already used it -this layer places stuff like buildings and roads on a map. We won't use this at all on the existing maps.

Props - those are things like fans, MGs, garbage cans, etc - we only use a few as only a handful of these will not require a new set of lightmaps to be rendered. More on that when we get there

Electric - only needed if you are building your own map. More on that when we do that tutorial

Dynamic - here's where you find cars and trucks - definitely needed!

Props Brush - only needed for map building. Ignore

Sky environment - very important to pick the sky this map was build with. How do we know what to pick? I looked it up in the XML we unbundled earlier - it is actually in the world.xml file we are using. Still a good idea to make sure the value we need is selected in the editor. Changing this will create unwanted results with shadows, etc. We have mission08 skies here:
Code:
 
  <sky name="first">
   <rotation yaw="0" pitch="0" roll="75.00177"/>
   <setup sky_name="mission08"/>
  </sky>
Related to the sky is the "light box" which we choose on export of the map data from the editor. We'll get to that much later, but it is linked to what you pick here.

Sound - here's the layer for ambient sounds and detailed localized sounds. Don't mess with it if you are re-using a map that was well made

Multiplayer - important layer - here we set up spawn and zulu bases and check if our map area is properly set (can only set that in the xml but here we check if we did our math properly)

Player - ignore - not needed for OGR

Area - here we set up spawn zones - very important

Human - most important for us - this is where we place and determine what the AI does

Vehicle - Panhards, Tanks, Helis - you find them here

AI graph - Here we create/check if the AI has "anchors" to allow them to move in our world. The AI graph is a network of nodes that are needed for AI to spawn and move around. More on that when I create the one for this map.

Mission Command - ignore

Composition - ignore



I'll leave it at this for now - tomorrow afternoon I'll dig into the AI graph and show you a mission script that we can import and use for most maps, as long as we use some proper naming conventions for AI groups and vehicles, etc.
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies
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Old 01-26-2008, 09:52 AM
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Re: GRAW Map Making for Dummies

I have an issue starting the map editor.

I follow the tree...select the map editor and it sends me into the game.

Here is the start string I have:

"D:\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\GRAW.exe" -o context-editor.xml

Great education!

Thanks for all your efforts Fish!
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