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    posted a message on Open Sourced Maps List

    Actually, it was a major change. As you said, locking maps in WC3 required the use of third party applications and as such it wasn't a very common practice, especially in the beginning. In SC2 this was present from day one, and as such many if not most developers opt to lock their maps. On top of that, the new Battle.net platform makes it far less common for players to find and share the map files themselves, since they are readily available in the client and do not require you to get a map from another player.

    I have nothing against people who want to keep their maps locked. All of mine have been like that since the beginning too. This is a completely voluntary effort.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on Open Sourced Maps List

    Tower Defense Classic

    Things to note:

    - This map is quite old now (originally published in Jan 2011), and as such it's contents are a bit dated.

    - Most of the work that went into this map can be found in the Triggers. This is not a data heavy map.

    - There unfortunately aren't many, if any comments in the triggers for this map. (Sorry, I know I'm a horrible person for that)

    Features of interest:

    - Multiple game modes and difficulty settings with a voting system to set these options.

    - Statistics tracking system that records game play data between games.

    - Flexible variable driven spawning system designed to be used for a variety of wave-based game types with any number of waves.

    DISCLAIMER: This map is being released AS-IS. Please do not contact me with questions regarding how something in the map works. I will not answer you, nor is it likely that I remember how every detail of the map works given how long it's been since I last worked on the map. Everything in the map is fairly well organized so it shouldn't be too hard to sift through.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on Open Sourced Maps List

    Hey everyone,

    Many of you may remember the glory days of the Warcraft III mapping scene and are sad to see that there hasn't been a similar golden age in StarCraft II.

    Well I'm right there with you and after all this time I've come to the conclusion that one of the major reasons why we're in the state we're in now as a community is largely due to something that changed between now and then.

    Fact of the matter is, back in the days of Warcraft III it was trivial for anyone to take a custom they found and enjoyed playing and could open it up in the World Editor to see what made that map tick. Not only did this result in countless variations for any particular map, but it was also instrumental in helping people learn how to use the tool and do awesome things with it.

    In StarCraft II however, developers can lock their maps, making it difficult (though not entirely impossible) for others to see what's going on under the hood.

    I think this needs to change.

    While I can't force everyone to make their work available to the public, I can at least set an example and hope that others will join in.

    So with that I've created this thread to serve as a quick list for newcomers to find Open-Sourced maps to study with.

    To kick things off, I'm releasing one of my projects: Tower Defense Classic. Appropriately, this map was an effort to recreate a map that I greatly enjoyed from Warcraft III: Arkguil Tower Defense, one of the first maps that I opened up and tinkered around in. See the following post for more information.

    That all said, I'm leaving it up to the each uploader to decide how much supporting information they want to include along with their releases. This is NOT a thread for asking questions. Please only post if you have a map to release to the public so as to keep this thread easy to find maps to download. Moderators please feel free to edit this post should you like to keep a concise list of released maps.

    Thanks to everyone who decides to participate in this effort! Your contributions will serve to help the community as whole continue to grow.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on World of Warcraft Icons Collection [Updated Jan 18 2013]

    Should be back up. Just needs approval. Moderators may have taken it down before.

    Posted in: Art Assets
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    posted a message on World of Warcraft Icons Collection [Updated Jan 18 2013]

    The zip file got deleted shortly after I uploaded it, it looks like. Not sure why. I'll re-upload it in a minute.

    Posted in: Art Assets
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    posted a message on World of Warcraft Icons Collection [Updated Jan 18 2013]

    I've created an archive of 10,735 icons from World of Warcraft for you all to use in your map projects. These were all extracted from the latest live version of the game, which at the time of this posting is Patch 5.05 (October 8th, 2012). All of the files are in the .TGA format and are provided AS-IS. I used Ladik's MPQ Editor to extract the files from Interface.MPQ and used XnView to convert them from .BLP to .TGA. These programs can be used to extract icons from future WoW patches, the whole process takes roughly 10 minutes to extract and convert all of the files.

    Feel free to use these in your map projects. They are provided with no support, so I cannot promise that I will update this collection nor provide you with details on how to use them. These files are not sorted, however their file names follow a naming scheme that provides some information which should help in categorizing them.

    [Update] Sorry to say this, but apparently this collection can't be distributed in any way via this website due to it being a quote: "This project violates Copyright by re-distributing artwork owned by Blizzard Entertainment.".

    I know this comes as a disappointment to all of you, but there's nothing I can do about this. At best, you can use the same method I described above to get the icons yourself. It's really a simple process.

    As for why this specifically wasn't allowed when for example model packages are allowed to be posted here, I simply don't know.

    http://www.sc2mapster.com/media/images/48/16/WoW_Icons.jpg

    Posted in: Art Assets
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    posted a message on [Terrain] Map Templates (Digital Tracing Paper) [Advanced]

    Not really. I usually knock out a sketch of a map in about 15 minutes while I'm bored in class. I cover most of the process of converting it in about 10 minutes there in the video, and as for doing all the lines, it really depends how detailed your map is in terms of cliffs. It usually takes me 15-20 minutes to outline a whole half of a map, after which I can just copy paste and rotate it.

    Now if you take the work I did on Homunculus for example; that was designed from the get-go to be extremely complex. The first draft of the design took about.... 10 minutes tops. Subsequent iterations took considerably more time, but really it was just more lines, playing with the width tool, converting strokes to outlines, selecting all my shapes, and combining them with the shape builder tool. That prolly took me 30-45mins per iteration, but, once I had one section done, I could copy and paste it around the rest of the design quite easily. What took the longest, actually, was then going back and adding in all the trees around the map. It was a lot faster and more accurate than if I had tried to guesstimate it, but really, think about that. Sure I spent like 2-3 hours adding in the trees around the whole 256x256 map. But how long would that have taken me by eyeballing it? Probably ten times as long at the least.

    For melee maps, I've had a design knocked out and ready for initial testing in under 3 hours. From there it's usually all detail work and the game play is mostly nailed down already. That didn't used to be the case when designing a map like that from scratch. Usually I'd have to tweak the size of the different locations around the map to all be roughly equal and that would take hours of work. Not so much the case anymore.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on [Terrain] Map Templates (Digital Tracing Paper) [Advanced]

    Hey guys, I'm back with another great tutorial for you! This time I'll be covering how to create a map template doodad. Basically, this is a plane with a custom texture applied to it that's the size of your map bounds. The texture is an outline of your map's cliffs, which you can then use as tracing paper when blocking out your terrain. Sounds a bit simple doesn't it? Why would you want to use this?

    This technique makes it easy for you to create complex symmetrical designs that you can scale to fit whichever map size you want. Want a circular layout for your terrain? No problem. Want a perfectly symmetrical melee map? No problem. Want to get crazy and have repeated elements that use rotational symmetry, like a pentagram? Absolutely no problem. All the guesswork of blocking out complex designs by eyeballing it and all the wasted hours of calculating placement on the grid is now gone, and you're free to create your terrain in a much faster, more natural way.

    Here's a youtube video to explain the process to you:

    I've also got an archive for you all with some example files. If you're lazy, you can essentially start with these every time, but it will still require a bit of tweaking to use with your designs.

    http://www.miritica.net/docs/SC2-Map-Template.rar

    To get the most out of this technique, you can also take screenshots while viewing the entire map to iterate on your template design. In one of my example below, this is exactly what I did, starting off with the largest and most important elements and working my way down to all the small repeated details around the map. You can also go as far as to create footprint and weapon range sized objects for placement within Illustrator, allowing you to test out building placement and choke point effectiveness during your design process.

    Going even farther than that; given that Illustrator images are vector based, you can even print out your concept designs at whatever size you want for review by a team. For an extreme example: an esports team discussing strategy for a melee map could print out a poster sized version or an overhead transparency with which they could draw directly on using dry erase markers, illustrating strategies to each other without having to fire up the game and have everyone crowd around a screen. Much like in football, a coach could draw lines and symbols to convey strategies and plans. The uses here are really far reaching, and it''s only really limited by your imagination and time investment.

    If you use this technique, I would greatly appreciate it if you credited me, especially if you try for that extreme example I gave you! I hope it helps to speed up your terraining process like it did for me, and I'd love to see your creative uses of the technique, so please post screenshots/video of your work here! Thanks for reading/watching, and good luck / have fun with your map making!

    PS: Here's some example work I've done with this technique.

    Some screencasts of the technique in use:

    http://www.twitch.tv/ansrath/b/299355762 http://www.twitch.tv/ansrath/b/299362871

    Gnomon 01 - Working Title - (1v1 Melee Map):

    Close Quarters (WIP 1v1 Melee Map):

    Homonculus (WIP Custom Map):

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on [Texture] How-To: Optimizing WoW Textures for SC2 [Intermediate]

    @rpc190: Go

    Honestly I wouldn't support that method simply because it can cause errors. What you're doing is tricking the models into loading your .dds textures without doing any of the replacement steps in Max. This can cause various problems, such as the Galaxy Editor not interpreting them properly, etc. So I'd recommend avoiding doing this at all costs, but if you have no alternative, that's your only option.

    tl;dr - Open the .TGA in gimp, save it as a .DDS. Change the extension on the .DDS file by renaming it (under windows you need to have file extensions visible) back to .TGA. Import to SC2 as usual and the textures should still apply to your model, but be smaller in file size.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on [Model] How-to: Convert .WMO files to .M3 (Importing Structures from WoW to SC2) [Advanced]
    Quote from zeldarules28: Go

    @Terminator8: Go

    Alrighty.... The WC3 remake people just got really lucky :D

    Good job Saeris!

    Thanks! I should really have done this tutorial sooner, as I've known roughly how to do it for months now.

    Another thing I want to note about it, that's now included in the video annotations, is about textures. Unlike most .M2 files which have 1-3 uvmapped textures, .WMO files share textures with most other .WMO files, meaning that buildings that look like they have the same roof or walls.... really do have the same roof and walls! Thusly, you can further cut down on your texture memory by only importing 1 of each texture you need, making .WMO files very flexible!

    As a preview of a possible tutorial I'll be doing in the future, I plan on combining a bunch of .WMO's and .M2's in 3ds Max to create composite buildings, such as recreating the Chicken Farms from WC2 (which are bassicaly just a farm house, some fences, a few little field plots and some roaming chicken models).

    I think combinations like this will be what will make up most of the buildings used in say, a WC4 mod. Think about it: Barracks with units actually training out front for their build animations, an Altar of Storms with summoners standing in the middle channeling a spell, etc. The combinations are truly endless, and although will still take quite a bit of time to put together, it's all using assets provided to you and eliminating the need to create buildings from scratch.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on [Model] How-to: Convert .WMO files to .M3 (Importing Structures from WoW to SC2) [Advanced]

    Hey guys, I'm back with another tutorial! This time it's how to manually convert .WMO Files, aka the ever so elusive WoW building models, into .M3 files usable in SC2. First off, I'm warning you now that this tutorial is for advanced level users only, and requires knowledge of both Photoshop and 3ds Max. It's a fairly long and complicated process that the everyday user won't want to do, but for a dedicated few, will make their mods entirely.

    In the video, I'll also briefly cover my previous tutorial on converting textures from .TGA to .DDS, which will save you a ton of space in your map files. You can find that tutorial here for a better explaination: http://www.sc2mapster.com/forums/resources/tutorials/24047-texture-how-to-optimizing-wow-textures-for-sc2-intermediate

    To follow along, you'll also need to download and install a few things first. Such as:

    - WoW Model Viewer 32bit/64bit: http://code.google.com/p/wowmodelviewer/downloads/list

    - NiNtoxicated01's .M3 Plugins for 3ds Max: http://www.sc2mapster.com/assets/m3-export-plugin-3ds-max/

    - NVIDIA's Texture Tools 32bit/64bit: http://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

    Lastly, you'll also need working copies of Adobe Photoshop and 3ds Max 2009-2011 (2012 will not work!).

    With that said, here's the video:

    Protip: If you're having trouble with the material editor, under the Mode menu you can change the appearance to the classic version. I don't know anyone who uses the slate material editor and neither do I know how to use it.

    I've also uploaded the tutorial files here for you to check out. It includes an example map and 2 additional models to play with, as well as some experimental Normal Maps created from the Farm House's diffuse textures. In the future I may go over the creation of Normal Maps, but I'm by no means an expert on them. For that, I recommend you contact someone who isn't a noob at 3d like myself.

    Tutorial Files: http://www.sc2mapster.com/assets/wmo-m3-tutorial-example-files/

    If you're a bit more knowledgeable, you can cut down some of these models to optimize them. Remember that most WoW structures have interiors which you will never see in SC2 looking down on them. All those insides are wasted polys slowing down your game, and they're using textures that may not even be necessary to import. So, if you know what you are doing, during the texture application process you can select and delete bits of geometry from the insides of the models. Make sure to save often, or you may need to revert back to your .OBJ file and start over again!

    Lastly, I want to warn all you would-be total conversion modders out there. Yes this tutorial will teach you how to access a wide array of new assets, but keep in mind that NONE of them have any animations! You will have to go and create those yourself in 3ds Max, so don't rush off thinking you can create a bunch of structures for your custom race. I will not tell you how to go about doing this as I have no idea myself where to start when it comes to animation. These models will be good as a base and nothing else!

    Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps bring all of your fantasy/warcraft mods closer to completion!

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on [Texture] How-To: Optimizing WoW Textures for SC2 [Intermediate]
    Quote from Ahli634: Go

    Benefit example: If you resize a 512x512 tga to a 64x64 max compressed dds, you can bring the textures from around 500 to 3 kb. So resize the texture as far as you like it.

    Tip for exporting models: - only export model animations that you are using.

    Just keep in mind every time you reduce a texture, be it from 1024 -> 512 -> 256 -> 128 -> 64 ->32 -> 16 -> 8, you're cutting a quarter of the details out each time. The smallest I'd recommend is 128x128, at which you'll start to see a difference in quality. 256 is adequate for SC2, even though most unit textures shipped with the game are 1024 or 512.

    Either way, comparing same resolution TGA's to DDS files, you're looking at easily half the original file size if not better.

    As for model animations, that's very true. Cut out every animation you won't use. If anything, import the model first with every animation, figure out which you'll use. then go and optimize it later by cutting out all the unused animations. Your models can easily be 300kb or smaller using the bare minimum of animations.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on [Texture] How-To: Optimizing WoW Textures for SC2 [Intermediate]

    How-To: Optimizing WoW Textures for SC2:

    When you use WoW Model Viewer (WMV) to extract models (.m2's in WoW) for use in Starcraft 2 (which uses the .m3 format), the textures for those models in WoW get converted to the .tga image format. Originally, WoW uses the .blp format for textures, which is a proprietary compressed format optimized for the game's engine. In Starcraft 2, most textures are in the more widely used .dds format using DXT5 compression, though the engine is also capable of using .tga textures as well. This tutorial will teach you how to optimize your exported WoW textures for use in SC2, saving you lots of valuable space.

    First off, I want to point out to you that a typical 512x512 texture from WoW in the .tga format can be between 500-1500kb when exported straight from WMV. Working within the current 20mb limit for publishing maps/mods, that will eat away how many models you can import really quickly, and at most you would only be able to have 2-3 custom models total. This isn't very much is it? Consider the following:

    Often times when you're seeing a unit, structure or doodad in WoW, that object will be roughly the same size if not much larger than your own character. Because of that, textures are at a fairly high resolution, wherein 512x512 is a large portion of anyone's screen (though keep in mind you're only seeing portions of that texture at any given time). However, when you're playing SC2, most objects in the game are miniscule, in that you'll at any time have multiple, sometimes even hundreds of that object on your screen at once.

    So the first step to optimizing our textures for SC2 will be to reduce them down to 256x256, easily one quarter or more of the original size. WoW textures have a ton of details in their textures because you can usually see them if you get up close enough, but that will never be the case in a typical SC2 map, so even though we're cutting a quarter or more of the details out, it will never be noticed by the average player.

    The second step will be saving the image in the .dds format. Now this process becomes a bit trickier, so let's lay it all out step by step:

    Warning: To apply these new textures, you will need a copy of Autodesk 3ds Max 2009-2011. Nintoxicated's .m3 Plugins currently do not work correctly with 3ds Max 2012. Additionally, the NVIDIA Texture Tools Plugin for Photoshop is only available for Windows.

    1. Download and install the NVIDIA Texture Tools for Adobe Photoshop: http://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

    2. Start Photoshop and open your texture file and go to Image -> Image Size or press (Alt+Ctrl+I) to bring up the Image Size dialog, and change the Height and Width to 256. Press Ok.

    3. Now, do a Save As (Ctrl+Shft+S) and choose .dds from the Format drop-down list.

    4. After hitting Ok, the Nvidia dialog will come up with additional settings. There are only 2 things we need to worry about here. First, choose DXT5 ARGB 8 bpp | interpolated alpha from the drop down menu. Second, make sure that under MIP Map Generation the No MIP Maps option is selected. (SC2 creates its own mip maps within it's engine.)

    5. Download and install NiNToxicated's .M3 Plugins here: http://www.sc2mapster.com/assets/m3-export-plugin-3ds-max/ Take the extra step and copy the scripts to the startup folder as well.

    6. Start 3ds Max and go to Customize -> Configure User Paths. From here we need to tell 3ds Max where our files will be located. Unfortunately 3ds Max doesn't seem to like to search subfolders, so we have to tell it exactly where to look for files when we import out model. Go to the External Files tab and click Add, then navigate to whichever folder your .m3 files and your original and optimized textures are in. If you're using a directory structure to keep your textures organized, you will need to add that path to max as well. For example, my textures will be in Assets/Textures/ relative to where my .m3 files are.

    7. Go to the Utilities panel (the Hammer icon on the right-hand side of your screen) and click on MAXScript. This will open a new panel and from there select .M3 Import and .M3 Export from the drop down list, or press Open Script to open both of these, had you not taken the extra step specified earlier.

    8. Under .M3 Import, click Open and search for your .m3 file you wish to import. After clicking ok, click the Import button at the bottom of the panel. This will take a few seconds, just be patient while max does it's thing. A dialog will tell you when the import process is complete. If you get an error that it was unable to find the textures, you did something wrong in step 6. Make sure max knows where your textures are located! Don't be worried if your model appears to be all one solid color, even if you did not get this warning!

    9. Now open the Material Editor, it's the Checkered Sphere icon 4th from the right along the top row of icons. For the purposes of this tutorial, make sure you are in the Compact Material Editor mode from the Mode menu, I will not be covering how to do this in the newer Slate Material Editor!

    10. With the Material Editor open, you should see a number of grey spheres and depending on your model, 1-4 of them will be colored differently. These are the materials being used by the model, and currently have the old .tga textures applied.

    11. From here, scroll down to the Layers portion of the material properties. By default we should only need to modify the Diffuse Map, as for most of these materials that will be the only one with anything in it. This will vary based on which model you're editing however! It's up to you to figure out which texture goes in which spot, but as a general rule, you'll only be working with Diffuse, Emissive and Alpha map layers for most WoW models. If there isn't anything there in the first place, then that's just how the model was set up.

    12. To change the Diffuse (aka flat Colors) texture of the model to your new optimized version, click on the Diffuse map button, which will now swap you out to sub-material properties panel. From here under Map Path, you can change the Bitmap to the one you just made, however when it asks you the Bitmap Type, ALWAYS choose 3ds Max Bitmap. Then, search for your custom texture and click ok. Your texture should now be applied!

    13. Repeat 10-12 until you've swapped out all the textures the imported model had for your custom ones. To get back to the material's original properties, go to Navigation -> Go to Parent, or click the Checkered Sphere with an Upward facing arrow second to the right on the horizontal icons, or, select the top list item from the drop down menu in the center.

    14. For if any reason you're unable to see textures on the model in the viewport, go to Views -> Show Materials in Viewport As -> Software or Hardware Materials with Maps. If the model still has no textures, one of the previous steps was not followed correctly or it's possible that Max is just being difficult and your problem is independent of this tutorial, sorry.

    15. Lastly, go to the M3 Export panel and make sure you specify the texture path relative to where the model file itself is located before clicking the Export button. This process will take a few seconds to a few minutes depending on your setup, but if all goes well you should receive and Export Successful dialog when the process is complete!

    16. Now, import your textures and models as your normally would in the Galaxy Editor! Enjoy the extra space for even more custom models!

    Overall, whenever I've done this to textures, they turn out to be a mere 65kb compared to their original 500-1500kb! That's easily about 10-30x smaller! Now if only we can find a way to optimize .m3 files better!

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on Warcraft: A New Dawn (Sc2 Mod)

    The structures, such as the tower, aren't listed under any of the .mdx models. Many of the buildings in WoW are actually a different file format that can only be exported as .obj files last i checked. You then have to import those files to max, redo the materials and export as M3 for use in SC2.

    Overall, I'm just impressed by how many Wow models you managed to import to SC2. Along with all the animations and such, that must have been a daunting task in itself. Though you've still got a shit ton more to do in that department, of course.

    Just curious, what positions do you guys need filling, if any? I'm currently working with SCLegacy on various projects, but I'm still interested in joining up if I can. Shoot me a PM if you'd like.

    Posted in: Project Workplace
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    posted a message on [Contest] Scene Recreation!
    Quote:

    @Saeris: Go

    Oh really? I'll see if I can fix that for you.

    Heh, that'd be nice. Thanks for looking in to it. =)

    Posted in: Project Workplace
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