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Creating Decorations

By: Sandcrawler
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PySpades Map Editor
1. Creating Decorations in game
2. Using Slab6 to create decorations
3. Thoughts on Structure design
4. Using Voxed to Insert your Object
5. Play the map

1. One of the first thoughts I had for creating decorations, be it buildings, or trees. Was that I could use the game, and potentially other players to build a map. I couldn't find any other players to join me, but I went with it and made a tree:

Now that I had my tree, I needed to save the map. Just a quick press of the F1 key, and now the map is saved as lastsav.vxl inside of the vxl folder. You'll want to rename it, otherwise it will be overwritten the next time you push F1.

Alone is a rather inefficient way of building anything, that one tree took all of the blocks I had on my character. But if you had 2 or more people working on a map it would be a fast way to collaborate on a map.

2. Now lets use Slab6 to make a structure. First if you already know where your structure is going to go in your map you may want to make sure of how much space you have. I went back in game and found out that I have thirty blocks I can build up before reaching the top of the map. I then just made a really quick sketch of the building I wanted to make.

Now we need to Start Slab6. Slab6 has a lot of useful tools, but they are all bound to keys that you will need to learn. You may want to Alt-Tab out of Slab6, and go back to the folder you started it in. Inside there is a Slab6.txt file that has all of the key-bindings you will ever need. We are just going to go over the basic keys in this tutorial.

Firstly we need to move in closer to the ball, You can move with WASD just like in game, and change your view by clicking and holding the left mouse button then moving the mouse to look around. So move in a bit closer to the ball, so you can see the blocks:

Now lets start our structure. I am going to be making a 15 by 25 by 4 rectangular room to start, that I will then add a tower to the top of. So we are going to need to add some blocks, to add a block you push the Insert button, while you are pointing with the mouse cursor at were you want the block at. I went ahead and added 15 blocks:

You can also remove a single block by aiming at it and pushing Delete. If you want to Insert or Delete a larger chunk of blocks you can push the Home key (for insert) or the End key (for Delete). For a building we only need single blocks, its just like building in the game. So just continue building your structure.

While you are building the structure there are a few things you may notice, the first is that it will get hard to see, you may need to move the light source around to light up the blocks, the light source is controlled by the NumPad (numbers 8, 4, 6, 2). If you are working with the default gray you may want to change the background color, move your cursor to the bottom right corner and a color palette will open hover over the color you want to set the background to and push B. Then go back to work (we will add some color to out structure a bit later) After a bit of time I ended up with the bottom structure:

Now lets add a little bit of color to the floor, go to the bottom right corner again, hover over a color you like, and then right click. You will get a message at the top about the color being grabbed. Now that we have selected the color to paint the color on you hold the Space Bar and move the mouse over what you want that color. If you accidentally change the color of something you didn't want to just release the space bar, and select that color from a block next to it, recolor the block you mess up, then go back to work.

Lets save the structure so that we can insert it into our map later, or open it back up to edit. Go to File > Save as, by default it will want to save as KV6, but for structures or decorations we want to save as a KVX or VOX file, so select it from the Save as Type box, and then name your file. Push the Save button and it will ask if you want to save it as 1 Mip or 5 Mips, I selected 5 Mips, now your object is saved, and could be opened later for more editing, or placed into your map.

3. When you are making a structure for your map you will want to design it to stand for along time, and not be knocked down within the first 15 minutes of the game. The structure I made has double walls, the roof is double thick, as well as having pillars inside for additional support. It should take a while to bring it all the way down. in some cases, like a tree you will most likely want it one block thick for the trunk, and that will result it it being relatively easy to knock down.

4. Now lets add our structure to the map, using Voxed. I prefer to open the map I'm going to work on by dragging it onto the voxed icon, but you can also start Voxed and then open the map by using Alt+F3 to open a file browser that you can then choose what file you want to edit. Either way just get a map loaded up and you should see your map:

First you need to navigate to the part of your map you want the structure in, you can move around in voxed using the Arrow Keys, and aiming the mouse. Once you have reach the general location you want the structure at, push U and a file browser windows will open. Select the structure you want to import and selected it, then push ok.

Now your object is likely not how you want it, so lets move it around, rotate it, and twist it all up. To move and rotate you are going to be using the NumPad, the keys 1, 2, 3, and 5 will nudge your structure or object one block in that direction. To move your object up and down you will use 4 (for up) and the NumPab Enter key for down. The other keys rotate and twist in a variety of ways, just play with them until you are happy with the rotation. Get it how you want it, and thats it.

You can push U again to insert a new object, or save the map using Alt + F3. Just rinse and repeat for additional objects, Voxed does have some additional features, if your interested in trying them you can learn more about them in voxedhlp.txt inside of the Ace of Spades folder (alongside Voxed itself), this help file lists most features available.

5. Now lets play our map, You'll need to start a server like we did in that last tutorial, and then just join your localhost game Click here to join localhost

In the next tutorial we will look at a newer tool for mapping called PySpades Map Editor.

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