One of the most exciting aspects of the new Far Cry 2 from Ubisoft was the return of the Map Editor.
More than a map editor (yes, we’re looking at you Forge) the Far Cry map maker allows full customization of the terrain, natural elements, man made objects and spawn/weapons locations. The ability to change almost everything makes the possibilities almost endless. For the record, I am using the Xbox 360 version.
Before you begin you need to know what kind of map you want to make and a rough idea of what it will look like. Take a piece of paper and sketch a rough map, looking top down. Decide if you want teams and where they will begin. Decide if there will be rivers/roads and if you’ll need boats/cars. And how many players will be using the map? Use the map options to set the teams size and make a map that will support that many players. Also, try and make a map that supports different kinds of gameplay. A snipers only map isn’t that fun. Here is a quick checklist:
- How many players?
- Large or small (depends on how many you want playing)?
- Teams or free-for-all?
- How many vehicles will you need?
- What is the general look of your map (jungle, desert, etc)?
Once the map editor is started you have two options for starting a new map. Generate terrain, which will randomize the ground, trees and water levels. Then you can customize the rest of your map, or even change the generated terrain. OR you can start with a clean slate, just plain Savannah grass on a flat surface. This is the most rewarding approach as you are able to tweak to your hearts content. By using the terrain tool, you can raise or lower the ground wherever you would like. Lower to make rivers and raise to make mountains. It’s up to you!
After you have your terrain how you like it, it’s a good idea to use the “smooth” tool to go over any areas that are the actual playing field. The worst thing with terrain is when you’re trying to get up a hill to a capture point and you realize the bank is too steep to climb. So pull out that “smooth” tool and run over any areas that need it. When adding roads the “ramp” tool is very handy as well. Lay down your road and then use the ramp tool to smooth out roads that were too steep to drive before.
Next, figure out if you want buildings and where they should go. You want to have a level place for your village so pull out the “set height” tool and level out a place for your town. Once level, add building as you would like. Keep in mind where you want to use fences and objects to control gameplay. You can add boards to connect building rooftops and ladders to access them for a little extra fun. Experiment with the placement and objects in your village. Just remember to jump in and test (“back” button) to make sure you can actually do the things you want to do.
Once you have your buildings and terrain set, it might be a good time to paint your terrain. Mountains you can use the “rocks” brush, rivers and lakes you can use the “river bed” brush, etc. Be sure to take time to make this look good, don’t rush it. You can also use the trees and bushes brushes to fill in the outlying areas quickly. Sure beats the old way of adding tree by tree! (Save that for the details section).
Your map is coming together, but it still looks pretty sterile. Time for some detail objects. I can’t tell you what to do here, you’ll just have to add and remove until it looks like a real world. Add single trees, bushes and rocks to the landscape. Add fences, furniture, explosives (limit to 10 for a validated map), artwork on walls and tags, and misc. objects. Fences, doors, boxes and lumber piles. Make it look like someone actually lives there. There are plenty of objects to make this happen, you just have to take the time to add them all in.
It’s now time to think in terms of your battle area. Now that you have an area that looks lived in, it’s time to make it look like there is a fight taking place! Add sand bags, bunkers, and any other cover objects needed to make your map look like there is a war going on. Be sure to jump in (using the “back” button) and imagine you are playing a game. How would you move from cover to cover? Do you need something added or taken out. Test, test, test!
Next it’s time for vehicles and spawn points. Depending on your checklist, you may need to add team spawn points, capture points and team vehicles. You are limited to 6 vehicles for your maps, so think it through were you want them to go. Place general spawns all over the map. You can put as many as 64 regular spawns, so depending on the size you may want to add a lot. If you have created a team combat friendly map, add spawns the UFLL and APR headquarters and control points. You may want to add some signs to help players navigate your map. UFLL and APR have their own vehicles too, so add those around their respective headquarters.
You are just about there. Take a fair amount of time to test your map. Be sure to check the validater in the pause menu to see if you have all the right objects and the ladders are usable (a ladder must be clear at the top and bottom to be usable). Walk around and make sure everything that should be is accessible.
You are now ready to get your friends together and try your map! Take a picture so they can recognize it, name it and export it. Then publish that map! When your all done, sit back and enjoy the fun of hosting a game on Xbox LIVE. Other player can grab your map, play it and rate it. If you took the time to make a quality map, be happy with what you have! If you think there are some things you can do better, go fix them. When you’ve got it all perfected, it’s time to make another map…
First official mrkniceguy map should be done in a week or two. I’ll be sure to post about it when it’s done. Have a map? Drop me a note in the comments below.
And most of all… HAVE FUN!