Author Topic: OP2 Mission Editor  (Read 3673 times)

Offline Vagabond

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2019, 07:27:13 PM »
TechCor,

If you are interested in submodules and use TortoiseGit, I can write up a few lines to walk you through it. Hooman could probably write something similar for the Git command line. I understand if you are not interested though. Definitely agree recursive cloning should be default.

Hooman just merged in changes to OP2Utility that should fix the issue you were seeing with the ResourceManager. I think they are changes for the better.

-Brett

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2019, 04:18:23 AM »
I see my mistake. I thought it worked like .gitignore, and specifying a .gitmodules file would automatically work. Looks like it is working now.

Only complaint is that my project settings are different, and now I have a "dirty" submodule. Hmm..

Disappointed with how limited GitHub Desktop is. Doesn't appear possible to update submodules, or pretty much do anything with them.

Oh well.

Just tried out the fixed ResourceManager. Works great!

Thanks, Hooman!

Offline Hooman

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2019, 01:35:54 AM »
Git submodules are version locked and tracked by a Git commit hash. If you modify a submodule, either through uncommitted changes, or by updating it to a new commit (such as checking out a new branch, or pulling new changes to master), it will show up as dirty. If you want to update the version of the submodule you are using, you need to make a new commit in the host repository. This is a bit of extra work, but it's also safer, since it ensures the version of the host repository matches up with a compatible version of the submodule dependency.

Be aware that when switching branches, it may not automatically update the submodule version for you. Hence you can also see the submodule appearing to be dirty when you switch between branches that use two different versions of the submodule. From the command line, you would run git submodule update to switch to the last committed version of the submodule.



Glad the changes are working for you.

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2019, 03:56:29 AM »
I've added an Export Plugin menu option that pulls the data from the top of Mission Properties and writes it into a plugin DLL using a template.

This all seems to work. I was able to change maps and descriptions and see the effect of flipping "Unit Only Mission" without any compilation.

The only issue I am running into is Outpost 2 is listing the colony mission twice. I'm unsure of what conditions would cause it to create two missions from one DLL. Clicking either of them opens the mission successfully.

In any case, it is looking very likely that compile-free mission building will be a reality fairly soon. :)

EDIT:

So it appears the problem is related to DLL filename length. Anything over 7 characters causes a second mission to be listed.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 05:04:54 AM by TechCor »

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2019, 06:10:56 AM »
UPDATE:

Terrain painting is in!


The tile images in the paint window are loaded from the TileMappings that are in the map, grouped by tileset. You can't add new tile mappings (or tilesets) yet, so you would need to import an existing map with these set up.

Some other new features:
  • You can run Outpost 2 from the editor.
  • You can extract a single file, or all files from a VOL or CLM through the Archive menu.
  • You can create a VOL/CLM archive from a file directory through the Archive menu.

I'm going to do Cell Type painting next, followed by resources/units/structures.
Probably going to use a special set of overlay tiles to represent Cell Types that are only visible while in Cell Type mode.


Currently, there are 3 files required for a mission, Plugin.dll, map, and mission. Two, if you reuse a map. Not great but... engine limitations. I'm going to add Export/Import Mission file menu options and change Open/Save to perform all 3.

When you save, you will select the mission file name. Then the map will be exported based on what was set in the mission properties dialog. Finally, the DLL will be exported using the mission file name + the type prefix character based on the mission properties dialog.

When you open, you select the mission to open. Then, it will perform a resources search for the map specified in the mission properties dialog, and load it if it can find it.

This seems like the easiest way to handle mission saving/loading for the map designer. If anyone has any better ideas, I'm open to suggestions.


By the way, does anyone know what TerrainType is for? Looks like it is extra data for TileMapping that wasn't included to save space on duplicate data. It's the only explanation for "tileMappingRange". Setting up the editor to modify that looks like a real pain...

Offline Hooman

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2019, 06:52:30 PM »
Hey, nice progress.

For the TerrainType, best I can offer is to look at the struct definitions, or perhaps find the .txt file about the .map file format. It's stored in the SVN repository along with the OllyDbg info.

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #31 on: December 25, 2019, 05:03:03 AM »
Moving as quickly as possible while I've got the free time:



  • Added painting Cell Types.
  • Added Import/Export mission file menu options.
  • Open file menu option now opens the associated map file for the mission.
  • Save file menu option now checks for the mission type prefix, adds it if it is not present, and saves the mission, map, and plugin files (appropriately named). This means once you save, you can go right into Outpost 2 and start playing your mission!
  • Added Run menu option to copy the mission SDK to the game directory. These files are required to run missions created with the editor.
  • Added resolution and window mode to preferences for map designers who don't like full screen mode. ;)

Goal is to be able to create a multiplayer-type mission and play against the "experimental" AI by end of year (no triggers).

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2019, 10:07:18 AM »
Keeping on:



  • Added resources pane to paint window. This includes beacons, fumaroles/vents, and markers.
  • Added wreckage pane to paint window.
  • Ability to erase resources and wreckage by right-clicking.
  • Added resource and wreckage rendering, including important info text. It will eventually be possible to toggle info text on and off.
  • Markers, magma vents, fumaroles, and wreckage flags are all animated.

Unit ID
I removed SpawnRects from the SDK and replaced it with Unit ID. Any object of the same type and the same Unit ID will be selected at random. This gives some good flexibility when it comes to placements. Units with zero/no ID are always placed. Eventually, Unit ID will also be used for triggers.

Future Plans / Mission Variants
While Unit ID is good for random placements, I want to have something similar to missions that have randomized start locations. Eventually, I am going to introduce the concept of "mission variants". By default, you will build on the primary variant. When you are ready, you can duplicate the primary variant, and modify all data that belongs to the new variant. Example variant data would include: Starting people and metals, beacon placements, unit and structure placements, and wreckage placements. A mission variant would be selected at mission start.

--
Up next, going to work on structure placements.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 10:09:39 AM by TechCor »

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2019, 06:45:22 PM »
Phew! Structures were quite a pain, but it is basically done. Need to tweak the mine text/health bar placement.

Here's what it looks like in the editor:


...And in case anyone thinks it doesn't actually work, I exported the mission and launched the game:


Some notes:
  • I am aware there are no tubes or bulldozed terrain. I have some ideas for how to handle this gracefully, but it won't be added until I get the walls/tubes paint pane working.
  • Left-most advanced lab got pushed right from the terrain. While the editor handles collision detection, it does not account for bulldozed terrain, which appears to matter when it comes to unbuildable terrain vs other structures.

Issue of great importance:

Structures currently do not take on the color of the player. The images are PNGs with the Eden color baked in (these were converted from "art viewer"). I cannot think of an easy way / algorithm to convert the blue player color to another color. If anyone has an idea of what a shader algorithm would look like, let me know!

Otherwise, the only other option appears to be cutting out the player colors by hand for each frame (there are 1000), and making them a gray-scale overlay image that get tinted. The likelihood of me wanting to cut all those frames is extremely low.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2019, 01:15:29 PM »
The old map editor spits out a source code file containing structure locations. That allowed the dll to properly assign colors once a game was initialized. If you are supporting multiplayer maps, I don't see a way around this since you won't know the color when making the map of each player.

The color is achieved by changing out an indexed bitmap pallet. There are 2 console modules cm1 and cm2 that demonstrate this if you want to check them out. Although I suspect you are looking for a more out of the box solution.

Looks like you have made some great progress.

Brett

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2019, 02:01:09 PM »
I actually have no idea how the old map editor works. I looked at it about a year ago, but it was throwing exceptions (if that's the one you are talking about).

What I'd really like, is for OP2Utility to be able to read the .prt and art files and break the data into a digestible form. So essentially, I would read through a list of Sprite Groups, assign them to the appropriate map_ids, extract and convert the bitmaps similar to how I did the tiles, and reconstruct the sprites in the editor. I could even have everything animated.

Of course, that would be a lot of work. Too much to ask for, and too much effort for me to figure out the data formats myself compared to converting the bitmap frames to PNGs. Gotta get stuff done! ;)

So, the palette information is lost.

That's OK. I might pay a freelancer to cut up the player colors from the frames, or maybe I'll have time one day to extend OP2Utility. We'll be waiting a long time for the latter though. So many other things to work on.

Absolute worst case, I stick a colored circle on the structures to represent player color.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2019, 06:21:54 PM »
I don't think the palette information is lost, I'm just not sure if there is an easy way for you to swap palettes real time in the map editor as Outpost 2 would handle it.

Yeah, I feel bad for not finishing the .prt and .bmp parsing for OP2Utility. There is a decent amount of work remaining to complete it, although I'll keep in mind you are looking for it. I think there are other priorities for me right now concerning OP2.

What I was trying to get at is that the color of a building is not set until a level is loaded since a player could choose a different color for multiplayer maps. How will your map editor handle this? I don't actually know what happens if you place a blue CC on a map and then start a mission as magenta... Maybe it would all work out?

I could send you a sample of the previous map editor's output. It is basically a .cpp file containing the code to create all the buildings for each player using TethysGame::CreateUnit. You could then include that .cpp file in your source code and have fully constructed starting bases without baking the building tiles into the map the map editor created. This really isn't a great solution, but I'm assuming it was the best that could be done for a reason.

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2019, 07:21:16 PM »
Oh, I see. I'm cutting the weapons now, and just thought about how the player color is still there, so if I can just find out what RGB values are used for the player color in the palette, I can pull the pixels and create gray-scale textures at startup, or better, make a shader that swaps on the fly. Just have to get the palette information...


Buildings aren't baked into the map tiles. The images just represent the building's location in the editor. The editor dumps the building locations and other info into a JSON file to be processed by the DotNetMissionSDK. TethysGame::CreateUnit ultimately gets called in the end.

The colors that will display in the editor will be whatever is set in Player Properties. When the game launches, the colors will only be set for single player missions with SetColorNumber().
« Last Edit: December 29, 2019, 07:59:42 PM by TechCor »

Offline Hooman

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2019, 08:24:38 PM »
Looks like pretty good progress.



For the player colors, the game does some palette remapping. I'm pretty sure there's something posted to the forums somewhere, and the art_reader utility could handle it. As I remember it, one of the palettes contains all the player colors. If I remember correctly, there are 32 palette entries for each player color, covering all shades of the color. That leaves room in a 256 color palette for 8 player colors, at 32 shades each. For the unit sprites, I believe the bottom 32 colors are remapped according to the player color palette. Just multiply the player number by 32 to get the starting block of the player's color. That block of player colors is used in place of the lower 32 colors of the image's referenced palette. I believe there is some kind of attribute flag bit for sprites, so the game knows what images to do this for.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2019, 09:42:22 PM »
For an example color palette, see: https://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,3907.msg62442.html#msg62442

For the code to modify the pallet within Outpost 2 see: https://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,4332.msg65267.html#msg65267

The original palette should be contained in art.prt if not somewhere on the forum. OP2Utility may be robust enough to extract it with a little massaging. I could try to help extracting it if you would like to have it available and it isn't somewhere else on the forum already.

-Brett

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #40 on: December 30, 2019, 08:30:25 AM »
Thanks. I think I figured it out.

Player color palette is stored in Color.bmp. Popping it open in Gimp, looks like 24 colors per player, Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, then the rest of the palette is solid black.

I don't have any way to read the bitmap palette, so I'll recreate this in a PNG, and write a shader that takes an offset and count.

Looks like the images I'm using default to the first color, so I'll use that to determine which pixels need to change. Hopefully there aren't any duplicate RGB values in the source images.

Offline Hooman

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2019, 02:50:26 PM »
Glad you figured it out. Thanks for the correct on the color count.

Do you plan to do the color remapping from an 8-bit indexed bitmap, or were you planning on converting images to true color and then somehow recognizing and remapping colors that way? If so, it's possible there could be some color reuse. I'm not aware of any though. Of course, this would be a great opportunity for someone to create a new color mod just to mess with that idea.  ;)

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2019, 08:47:18 PM »
All the images are in true color, so yes, it's going to be a bit hacky, and it doesn't work with mods. I see this as a temporary measure until OP2Utility can provide adequate sprite data. I figure it'll be in use for the next year or two.

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2019, 09:40:04 PM »
Painstakingly set up all the vehicle offsets. Here it is:


My little "game jam" is coming to an end, so I am going to post a build to all the work that was just completed:

Mission Editor v0.2.0
https://github.com/TechCor8/OP2MissionEditor/releases/tag/v0.2.0

This is still very much pre-release. However, you can definitely set up a basic mission and play against the DotNet AI! No compilation required!

Unfortunately, no walls/tubes or player colors, but that will get in there eventually. Over the next couple months, I will focus on usability features such as a placement overlay, units on the minimap, player colors, moving and editing existing units, etc.


Editor Tutorial:

BACK UP YOUR OUTPOST 2 DIRECTORY. The editor does not confirm when overwriting files, and things can go very badly if you don't know what it is doing!
  • Unzip the editor somewhere on your computer. It does not need to be in your OP2 directory.
  • Open the editor. Locate your Outpost 2 game directory in the Preferences window.
  • First thing you will want to do is copy the SDK files so you can play missions created with the editor. Go to Run > Copy SDK to Game.
  • By default, you are looking at a new mission. You can't make a map from scratch yet, so go to File > Import Map, and select an existing one.
  • Go to Edit > Mission Properties: This is where you set your mission type, and the description that will help you identify it in the game. The map name here is what will be loaded when you start the mission from the game, and it is also used when saving and opening your mission.
  • Go to Edit > Player Properties: This is where you configure the number of players, their colony type, resources and other information. If you set control type to "Standard AI", the DotNetMissionSDK's AI will take control of that player. "Outpost 2 AI" is for traditional custom coded AI that you would make at the C++ level.
  • Through the paint window, you can paint terrain tiles and cell types, set up resources, and give players their starting view locations (looks like a beacon or land mine), structures, and vehicles. Keep in mind that player colors are not visible at this time.
  • Once you are done, save your mission through File > Save As, and save to your Outpost 2 directory. Make sure your file name does not exceed 7 characters, including the generated prefix for your mission type. You will receive a warning in the status bar if your name is too long.
  • Finally, your mission files should be saved. You can go to Run > Run Outpost 2 to open the game, and play your mission.
Known Issues:
  • Setting up a convec with a guard post for cargo will cause a crash when you try to build it.

That is it for now. There is still so much more planned! Let's hope 2020 is another productive year for Outpost 2 development!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 09:47:02 PM by TechCor »

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #44 on: January 05, 2020, 11:46:22 PM »
Mission Editor v0.3.0:
https://github.com/TechCor8/OP2MissionEditor/releases/tag/0.3.0

This version focuses on usability improvements for existing functionality.

  • Added player colors to units
  • Added menu shortcuts
  • Option to toggle grid overlay
  • Option to toggle unit overlay
  • Added Unit info text (upper-left corner)
  • Added console window
  • Display cursor grid coordinates on status bar
  • Added paint overlay
  • Placement now considers a structure's bulldozed area
  • Increased minimap resolution (4x)
  • Optimized map loading (~400% faster)
  • Added units on minimap
  • Minimap changes aspect to match map
  • Units are updated when deleting players and changing colors and colonies
  • Paint window shows the correct player unit color in the pane

Upcoming:
  • Walls/Tubes pane
  • Mission variants (including difficulty variants)

Note: Guard post crashing has been fixed in the DotNetMissionSDK, which is included in this release.

If anyone knows the lighting algorithm used by the game, please let me know about it. I'd like to emulate the light settings in the editor. Thanks!

Offline Vagabond

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2020, 09:44:10 PM »
TechCor,

The editor is looking great. I downloaded it and give it a try. A couple of thoughts below. I'm overall very impressed, so don't take these as negative. It is a pretty massive project.

A big feature request is to store the cell index associated with a terrain tile and automatically update the cell index when the tile is placed. I spent many hours in the old mapper updating cell indexes to match my terrain types, when I usually just wanted to change the cell index to the default value of the terrain image. It would be nice to maybe disable this feature temporarily if desired, but default to updating the cell index. I know mapping all the cell indexes to tiles could be a pretty big time suck.

1. The initial dialog to change screen resolution and grid color doesn't seem to have an accept or ok button. I just used the top right X, but might be nice to add an OK button as I was a bit confused if it would cancel my settings or not.

2. I tested it on a laptop. The terrain tiles on the right side of the screen are pretty small. I had a difficult time distinguishing the tiles. It would be nice if they could be maybe doubled in size or more.

3. I tried creating a new mission. It just flashed a small dialog box too small for me to see and didn't seem to do anything else. When I tried opening an existing map everything seemed to work.

I appreciate that you allow saving maps in the original format. This would allow people who want to use C++ for mission development to still use your editor for map editing.

----

Concerning the lighting. Do you mean the shadows on buildings and vehicles or the day night cycle or building/vehicle lights in the dark?

The unit shadows are simply 1 bit bitmaps that are added to each image. They are contained in the .prt/.bmp file like other sprites.

The day night cycle and edge of light is produced by applying a mask over the tiles. The same principle is used for the blight but a different color is used. Hooman wrote a sample program to show how it works and you can find some details here: https://wiki.outpost2.net/doku.php?id=outpost_2:helper_programs:virus_mask. The program is written in Visual Basic and the source is available, so you could inspect it. I have a hard time reading Visual Basic code not being fluent in the language.

Quote from Hooman in how light/dark tiles are completed internally:
Quote
When determining which tile to display, it examines 4 tiles in a 22 setup, using 1 bit from each tile to get a 4 bit index. (There are 16 tiles in VirMask.raw). It's probably easiest to think of the actual virus display as being off by half a tile.

I believe VirMask.raw is contained in Art.vol.

----
EDIT: It appears the SVN repository is down again, so you might not be able to pull the source code. Someone might have a copy of it though if you want to inspect.

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #46 on: January 07, 2020, 12:52:43 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.

I can have some code pull the most commonly used cell types for a tileset + graphic index from a bunch standard OP2 maps and  write it to a config file. Those can then be painted at the same time as the terrain graphics.

I haven't been focusing too much on the map capabilities since map editors already exist, so mission work is taking priority. Eventually, I want to add the ability to edit tilesets, mappings, terrain types, and create and paint tile groups.

- I will increase the size of terrain buttons to match structures/vehicles.

- When you start up, you are already looking at a new mission (no map loaded). If you import a map and then create a new mission, you will notice that you are taken back to this screen. I would have liked to select a blank map of some size, but starting from scratch looks complicated (no tilesets, mappings, or terrain types), and OP2Utility does not seem to support it anyway.

---
I was actually looking for how the big window/column of light is calculated. I assume it is some multiplier like "1 is daylight" and "0.25 is night" with some X sized column width, and Y amount of falloff. Also important is how the "initial light level" is applied, and perhaps the movement rate when daylight moves.

Knowing the other stuff will be helpful later, since I could have vehicle lights and paint blight.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 12:56:12 PM by TechCor »

Offline Hooman

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #47 on: January 13, 2020, 07:58:18 AM »
It's been a while since I looked at the day/night cycle code. I don't think it was ever understood in great detail, though there were a number of calculations that were noted down. Well, the integer math was noted down. This is one of the few places in the code where floating point was used.

In OllyDbg, there was an object marked as DayNight. Internally, there is a daylightPosition field, which ranges from 0..65535. There is also another associated field actualDaylightPosition, which is set to daylightPosition * Map.tileWidth / 65536. Despite the name, it's possible that point actually represents the darkest point on the map.

During the update cycle, daylightPosition is incremented by 4. I'm not certain, but I suspect this update cycle is called every 4 ticks, so that may be why. The actualDaylightPosition is then updated according to the formula. The game engine doesn't have any other global references to the daylightPosition field, though does have a number of references to the actualDaylightPosition field.

When drawing unit graphics, the internal graphics API has a lightLevel parameter. It is calculated as Unit.tileX - actualDaylightPosition. There is some code that artificially bumps up the lightLevel by 512 when bDaylightEverywhere is not set. I had to check that a few times to make sure I was reading it right. From the looks of it, it might actually be a darkness level rather than a light level. In other places, if bDaylightEverywhere is not set, it bumps up the lightLevel by Map.widthInTiles.

There is also a Map.lightLevelBrightnessAdjustment array, which is an array of bytes (char). I believe that array somehow maps on to the bands of day/night across the map, though I don't think that area is well understood. In particular, I've never been too certain on how it determines the width of day/night regions.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 08:00:32 AM by Hooman »

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2020, 12:50:54 AM »
Very cool. I want to expand HFL to include some of these items so I can view the contents, and maybe add the ability to control the day/night cycle speed. :)

I assume "Map.lightLevelBrightnessAdjustment" is referring to "54F854   0x5C   char[] lightLevel". What size is this array? numTiles?

Trying to understand this:
actualDaylightPosition is the current tileX daylight is on which wraps at map.tileWidth i.e. if the map is 256 wide, actualDaylightPosition is 0-256. Kind of a clever way to avoid a conditional wrap.

It looks like the "lightLevel" is the distance from the "actualDaylightPosition". To avoid a negative value, it adds 512 to it (max map width).
tileX - actualDaylightPosition + 512 = lightLevel:
0 - 512 + 512 = 0 (dist = -512, lightLevel = 0)
511 - 512 + 512 = 511 (dist = -1, lightLevel = 511)
511 - 256 + 512 = 767 (dist = 255, lightLevel = 767)
511 - 0 + 512 = 1023 (dist = 511, lightLevel = 1023)

Trying to envision what this would look like, but it seems like something is off. Maybe actualDaylightPosition/lightLevel is not related to the actual daylight, but instead lightLevel is an index into the "lightLevelBrightnessAdjustment" array (size 1024). Then the value returned from that array is used as a multiplier. This would give you "bands of light".

Total speculation, of course. :D

Offline TechCor

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Re: OP2 Mission Editor
« Reply #49 on: January 20, 2020, 03:26:54 AM »
Doing a somewhat light (pre)release because of a breaking change, as I will not be available for a couple weeks. I don't anticipate any other breaking changes in the future, but can't guarantee that there won't be.

This introduces "Mission Variants" which allows for fairly good randomization of mission startup parameters without the need for code (or triggers in the future).

https://github.com/TechCor8/OP2MissionEditor/releases/tag/0.4.1

EDIT:
v0.4.1 - Added difficulty settings for "Gaia" units. Changed difficulty to use additive-override settings the same way variants were working. The benefit is decreased mission file size, more manageable work flow, and the ability to manipulate beacons and wreckage based on difficulty.


Breaking Change
Mission format (.opm) has changed to support "Mission Variants" and "Player Difficulty". Backwards compatibility is not available for pre-release builds. Mission files are human readable, so you can manually upgrade if you wish by adding the appropriate attributes.

Overview
Mission Variants and Player Difficulty are controlled through the new Mission Variants window found in the View menu. Mission Variants allow randomization at the start of a mission to help give it a bit of a unique flavor and prevent things from being too predictable. Player Difficulty settings affect starting resources and settings for single player and multiplayer games.

Mission Variants
Variants affect game settings such as daylight and music, as well as all units such as beacons, markers, wreckage, and all player settings and units. When the game starts, the master variant is always applied, and then a random variant is chosen to be applied as an additive override - the variant's units and resources are added, and non-countable settings like daylight and music override the master variant's settings.

Player Difficulty
Player difficulties affect a specific player's morale, tech, and units (resources) based on their chosen difficulty level. The default player resources will be applied to all difficulties, and then the chosen difficulty's resources will be added on top of those resources. For example, if "all difficulties" is set to 500 food, and "easy" is set to 100, the player will receive 600 food for selecting easy difficulty. Settings such as morale are overridden by the difficulty's settings. If a mission does not contain a difficulty, only the default resources are given. In our example above, it would be 500 food.

In single player, all players use the local player's difficulty settings. This means that AI player resources can be adjusted based on the selected difficulty.

Beacons, markers, and wreckage (gaia units) are only affected by difficulty in single player. These follow the same rules as above based on the local player's difficulty selection. This is useful for controlling beacon placements and whether wreckage is visible in lower difficulties. In multiplayer, only default resources ("all difficulties") will be applied.

Workflow
By default, you are working on the master variant with "all difficulties" selected. The recommended workflow is to set up all non-variant resources and units for "all difficulties". Then, you create easy mode and add resources and units. Finally, when creating normal and hard, you can duplicate easy mode and remove resources and units.

After the master variant is finished, you can create a new variant which contains duplicate settings and no resource or unit data. Because variants are applied additively to the master variant, you will only need to make changes specific to this variant, such as additional resources and different beacon or player start locations. When adding a variant while another variant is selected, you will duplicate that variant's data.

Player counts and difficulty levels must remain uniform across all variants (enforced), so be careful when deleting those values as you will lose that player or difficulty for all variants.

Changes:
- Added Mission Variants and Player Difficulty settings.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2020, 11:28:36 PM by TechCor »