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Old 01-23-2003, 02:28 AM   #1   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Mapping - Breaking up Large World Files

How to modularise a large world file.

I found that my level was getting too large to manage easily. I faced the prospect of either discarding some of my work or trying to split the world file up.

Why would you do this?
Smaller world files load faster.
There are less entities and world bases in memory and consequently less potentially unknown things going on. (Stray entities, lost enemies etc)
Modularity, allows you to reuse of sections of your world both in the current level and in other projects. (You can allow the world file to reset the state each time the player enters and have to fight their way through again without you having to set up more enemies.)

My method for breaking an existing world file into smaller units.

1) First choose how many parts to break it into. Each world file will end up as a relatively self contained section. You should also consider the minimum size of the world. Remember it takes a couple of seconds minimum to load a world file, so the transition is going to be a bit of a bump in the game play. Its probably best not to have these happen too often.

2) Then clone the original world file into the correct number of copies using your file manager of choice. Name all the world files appropriately so you know what you are doing when you link them up.

3) Then open each world file and delete the world bases and entities that are unneeded. Optionally you can centre the remaining content of each world file if you are a neat freak. (Itís the only reason I can think of. If there is a technical reason anyone knows I would be interested to hear it.)

4) Build the links between the different world files with the WorldLink entity and PlayerMarkers.

Do a little planning. Find all the Enemy templates that are shared. Find any Items that are being used for copier templates. Find anything else that is common between two sections. Make some notes or something. This will save you pain later.

Switch of link view (keyboard G) and check what hooks up to what and determine what you will need to have in each file.

If you have ever tried to delete a section of a world you will know the pain. The standard selection tools are good, but donít take into account entities that may be outside sectors or just plain lost.

Doing mass deletes of entities and world bases.

If you have a world base with a mass of entities in and around it that you want to delete cleanly without leaving orphaned fragments heres how.

First build a new world base room around everything you want to select. Split it to a new layer. (Join layers) Set it to zoning.

In sector mode select the sector of the large room around all the stuff you want to delete.

On the right click menu use the "Select all Entities in sector" (Ctrl+A) and you should have everything but anchored world bases.

If you want to select these as well just hold down shift and click away.

You can now cleanly delete or move everything at once.

Doing Mass Moving of entities and world bases.

Same general idea. Once you have them all selected make sure the "Enable moving of anchored entities" button on the toolbar is toggled on and drag to the new position.

There is a catch. If you zoom out and drag a long distance a lot of entities will shuffle about relative to each other. Some of the smaller world bases will also disappear. I have not managed to figure out where they go yet. And frankly I donít want to spend the time since there are hundreds of elements I would have to check. This is undesirable in most cases. To get around this zoom in quite close and drag a screen width at a time. Itís slow, but the result is perfect. This may also be connected with the grid/snap to, settings. Just a thought.

Be sure to check the results once you are done. Check where all portals and the position of precisely positioned entities. This will let you know if anything has shuffled in the move.

Then just delete the temporary box and you are done.

Other options with varying results are:
Copy the entities to another world and then back. (You will loose any reference links.)

Copy and paste within the same world file. (Again, loose reference links. The past locations can be unpredictable unless you zoom in quite close to where you want the new stuff to end up. The zoom setting determines the precision of some actions. )

Setting up the PlayerMarker and WorldLink entities.

Think about how you want the worlds to link together.
Should the player be able to traverse in both directions? (You will need two pair of PlayerMarker/WorldLink Entities for each "Gateway".)
Do you want the state of the worlds to be saved between visits? (Set the "Store WorldĒ Property flag on the WorldLink Entity)
Do you want the player to be able to accidentally (or on purpose) step from a PlayerMarker back through a WorldLink? (Should the PlayerMarker and

PlayerMarker Entities.

Setting the Group Property is the only way to uniquely identify a PlayerMarker entity. This is the identifier that is used by the WorldLink entities.
All the other properties are unimportant for the purpose of connecting world files.

Make sure the Original PlayerMarker in the first world file has no group name. This way it should be the one used to start the level.

WorldLink Entities.

Set the world property to point to the world file that contains your target PlayerMarker.
Then set the Group property to the same name as the PlayerMarker you want the player to spawn at.
The Store world property will determine if the state of the world file you are leaving is saved. This means that the all the dead enemy will still be dead if you return (if itís possible) to this world.

The world link entity needs to be triggered to activate. You can use any Entity capable of sending a Trigger Event. Once triggered the new world file will instantly begin to load.

Thatís about all there is to breaking up large files.

Obviously you will have to pack all the world files into the .gro file for distribution.

Have fun,

"Every time I open my mouth, a little of my stupid collection escapes!"

Last edited by hot_sleeper; 01-24-2003 at 02:49 AM.
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Old 01-23-2003, 01:55 PM   #2   Add To Ignore List  
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The Most IMPORTANT Video You'll Ever See
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Old 01-25-2003, 11:10 AM   #3   Add To Ignore List  
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Good tutorial.
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