Z, Z95, Z editor(s) / Z tools issues, suggestions etc.

Ideas, technology and contributions to Z modifications

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Tanel K
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Z, Z95, Z editor(s) / Z tools issues, suggestions etc.

Postby Tanel K » 2009-12-08, 00:24

Firstly, I see that a lot of great work has been done here, while I was away from the community. The tools and mods have gone to a next level, and I believe my biggest Z dream has come true - creating single player levels :cheers:

However, there are a few issues and suggestions that I have.

First is a problem with (i think) Ztools - I cannot set the fort level, it is always at 5 stars. I set it to 1 with the map editor and Meeky's ZEdMap, but when I play the game, the fort is still at rank 5. Maybe I did something wrong myself, but it seems to be an important missing feature.

And speaking of features - the editor cannot place chasms! I'm talking about those deep pits of uncrossable terrain, that we saw in Arctic and Jungle. The lava in Volcanic works the same way, but onfortunately there is no real water in the Volcanic style. Firstly we need to be able to place chasms in the Arctic and Jungle styles, as there should be three types of land and not two: fully accessible (ground), accessible to robots only (water) and not accessible (lava/chasms). Currently we have seen the three types in the standard Arctic and Jungle levels (original 9-16), but not in the expansion or in the editor. My suggestion would be to add chasms or some other form of totally uncrossable terrain to the editor, perhaps create new graphics for the Desert and City styles, and also add water to the Volcanic style. Having the three types or passability is extremely important in the strategic element of maps - for example, Level 16 "Light Brigade" would be nothing without the big chasms separating the map into three separate lanes. Not being able to place suchterrain in the editor severely gimps the map-making options.

Another thing that would be nice, but is not that necessary, would be a management tool. If more people start making maps, we will be flooded by the amount of them. We need some kind of tool that could say, automatically load a folder, that includes all the LEVEL folders (LEVEL00-LEVEL-f9). this way map creators could create their own "set" and players could load different sets of levels (standard levels, levels by "n", levels by "x") without messing around with renaming folders (that is what the tool would do essentially, just copy and rename the necessary files and folders, and also make sure you don't accidentally delete any original levels).

Furthermore, about user-friendliness. I was able to make my first few singleplayer levels ( :shake: ), and I'm really glad people have taken time to develop the necessary tools. However, if it was easier, people would surely do it even more. For example, currently the editor needs 16bit color mode - this should be changed. Also the Z-tools could be further improved (automatical unit loading and placement). It is not necessary, but it would bring more map makers to Z.

And the new Opensource Zmap - a great tool. As I understand, we will be able to make new graphics styles and use them in Z pretty soon. With this tool worked on more, we could add loads of features to Z already. For example I can think of one bugger recently: not being able to edit the game border areas. The original 20 levels have beautiful rivers flowing -from the map borders- and forming pools. Also there seem to be some types of decorations that we cannot add with the editor, such as desert ground plants, wet ice from Arctic, water plants in Jungle. Every tile should be fully customisable, to allow creating more beautiful scenery (you can see see shapes of ships for example in level 20 - "Z").
I have added two modified map image rips for illustrative purposes:

http://img30.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=zl02psychos.png

I'll get back to the topic as soon as I remember more issues (probably forgot a few while writing :f )

In conclusion, it's a great job you have done. Keep it up and we won't even need a Z2 *ducks* :twisted:

EDIT: Something importand i remembered. While running the newest Z95 with the /DOS modifications, I found that:
* The radar still works like in Z95 (no minimap at all when you dont own a radar, this needs to be changed)
* The unit speeds/production times are still off. With the "slow" setting, the production times are -closer- to the original ones, but -still- different from real Z (all units seem to have too low production times when you have many territores) AND the units more slower than usual. The "normal" setting is much closer to the original ZDOS experience, but the production times are even mroe horribly off. Perhaps it would be possible to combine the "normal" speed unit movement and gameplay with the "slow" production times?

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