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RaVaGe

How to make RA2 & YR maps - Final Alert 2 Tutorial

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How to make Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 and Yuri's Revenge Maps

This guide will help you set up Final Alert 2 and give you the basic assistance to start creating your own
C&C Red Alert 2 & Yuri's Revenge maps. At later stages of this tutorial you will also learn to create
full-sized map previews and also with some links to help you add modified units to your maps.

 

Content

  1. Setting up Final Alert 2 (this post)
  2. Enhancing Performance (this post)
  3. Configuring Final Alert 2 (this post)
  4. Creating a New Map
  5. How to add water to the map
  6. How to add cliffs and mountains to the map
  7. Add stacked cliff and mountains
  8. Manipulating terrain height
  9. Adding Resources
  10. Regenerating resources
  11. Adding tech buildings
  12. Adding Garrisons
  13. Terrain Detailing with Trees
  14. Terrain Detailing with Tiles
  15. Saving your map
  16. Rendering map previews

 

 

Setting up Final Alert 2

If you already haven't you can download Final Alert 2,
the map editor for Red Alert 2 & Yuri's Revenge from the link below.

Download Final Alert 2 v1.02 

After you've downloaded, extract the installer and follow the instructions on the screen to get the map editor installed.
Once done, launch Final Alert 2 and set it up for smooth editing & map creation.

 

 

Enhancing Performance

On computers running Windows 10, the performance in Final Alert might not be the best due to the age of the software so I recommend that you
use the DDRAW_NOHW (Direct Draw with no hardware rendering) DirectX wrapper to enhance the compatibility & performance for the best experience.

Bug Fix : This also fixes the black screen (map rendering) problem.

Download ddraw.zip 

Extract the ddraw.dll from the zip, into your Final Alert 2's install directory (the location where you installed it).

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Restart Final Alert 2 to make it use the ddraw.dll for enhanced performance.

 

 

Configuring Final Alert 2

Now that the map editor is installed and optimized, let's configure the settings for the best experience possible.
Most of these settings I've learned to use over the years, mainly due to finding out that they can prevent accidental bugs in the maps and remove minor annoyances.

posted image

 

I have set up Final Alert 2 "options" as follows.

  • Disabled Sounds (really annoying)
  • Set it to Show Building Outline, helps to avoid placing buildings ontop of other terrain objects such as trees.
  • Disable AutoShore (this is to avoid a bug where the map editor places random shore tiles in random areas of the map when working with water tiles)
  • Disable AutoLat (same reason as above, turn this off when detailing your map)
  • Disable Slope Correction (this is to avoid a bug where the map editor throws random slopes over the map when levelling terrain)
    The Heighten, Lower & Flatten ground tools still work as intended when this is disabled so it's best to disable and forget.

 

For Final Alert 2 to work perfectly with the original game, configure the "Settings" as follows.

posted image

  • Browse for your game installation directory in the first field, if it's not set up automatically.
  • Make sure that the "Support settings" are set to "Support mission disks and mods" as you won't be able to make or edit maps for YR if this is not enabled.

 

Congratulations, you have just set-up Final Alert 2 to create epic maps!

Edited by RaVaGe
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Creating A New Map

To create a new map go to File > New or click the New Map icon.

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The map editor will ask you the purpose of your new map in step 1.

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Will the map be for Single-player or a Multi-player game mode?

  • Single-player map mode is used to make campaign missions, like in the original game's campaign.
  • Multi-player map mode is used to make maps for online play.

 

In step 2 you can choose to import an existing map image (bitmap).

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You can also Activate Ai Triggers to make your map use a slightly better Ai for the computer opponents.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I will leave everything on default to create a completely new map.

 

In step 3 you can set the map dimensions in tiles, pick a Theater and the starting height.

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  • Map dimensions are measured in tiles, however the tiles are diamond shaped, so setting the dimensions at 50x50 will not result in a square map.
    Use numbers such as 90x140 to get a square shaped map.
  • The Theater of the map controls what type of terrain the map will be based on.
    posted image
  • Starting height of the map specifies the terrain height level, you can set this to be a few levels higher if you want to add more depth to your map later on, such as crevasses or holes.

 

Once your new map has been created you will see a set of numbers on the map.

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These are player locations and are also treated as waypoints by the map editor.
You may use these to mark starting locations for players to help you lay out the map, as they show up on the minimap as red dots.
Alternatively, delete them all and add them to the map at a later stage using the menu on the left.

 

Now we're ready to start working on the map, I like to start in the following order.

  1. Water
  2. Cliffs
  3. Height adjustments
  4. Resources
  5. Tech Buildings
  6. Neutral Buildings (garrisons)
  7. Player locations
  8. Terrain detailing (Trees)
  9. Terrain detailing (Tiles)
  10. Terrain detailing (Rocks)

 

I use this process to make it easier to develop the map as it would be extremely difficult to change water and cliff areas later on.
I recommend you to save yourself from some headaches and follow the same process. 

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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How to add water to the map

To add water to the map select the Water tileset from the menu on the left.

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By changing the brush size you can change the area of the water that will be placed on the map.

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Once you've set the water in the desired areas use the AutoShore tool to create the shoreline.

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Just click it once and the shore will be created.

 

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The shoreline that AutoShore creates might not be perfect, as you may notice there are some graphical errors on the shoreline.
To fix these errors untick the "Disable AutoShore" option from the Options menu and carefully paint near the edge of the shoreline 
with the water tiles. 

As you move the mouse cursor around the shoreline while the water tile is selected you'll notice that the shoreline will transform temporarily
to show you what the result would be if you placed the tile at that location. By visually working through the graphical errors you can get the following results.

posted image
 

If you tried to place water at the start, without disabling AutoShore from the options, your map could be littered with 
graphical and terrain errors like this, so it's always best to follow the above-described method.

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If you can't avoid placing water in this way then to get rid of these errors, Disable AutoShore and Enable AutoLat, 
using the default tile (grass for temperate) paint over the erroneous areas carefully.

 

Once this little lake is finished we can add some detail to it. 
Open the Water Tile Set and add some rocks into the water, keep in mind that the players can't place Naval Yards on top of these rocks.

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After adding some rocks the water should look somewhat more interesting.

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Congratulations you've just created a body of water!
Let's move onto some Cliffs & Mountains.

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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How to add cliffs & mountains to the map.

Before you start adding cliffs, mountains and slopes to your map, make sure you have drawn up a sketch of the map that you're making
this will make the process a whole lot easier and will help you plan out where to start adding the tiles.

 

There is a set of rules that I've always followed when making cliff edges.

  • Always use "Framework Mode" when adding cliffs, mountains & slopes to your map!
  • Always set the cliff, mountain & slope tiles manually with the cliff tile set never use the automatic cliff painting tools, they cause bugs.
  • Always make sure the pink line at the top of the cliff edge is connected all the way around so that it creates a full loop.
  • Always start painting the cliff edge from the back side.

 

Framework Mode

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posted image This toolbar item toggles Framework mode on & off.

 

Cliff Tile Set

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Pink Line
(important for in-game pathfinding for units)
If the pink line is broken at any point it will cause gameplay issues on your map,
Mainly if a player tries to move his/her army around the cliff.

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See how the pink line is continuous at the top edge of the cliff & also on the side of the cliff face.

 

Starting to make a cliff
Always start making a cliff from the back side as this will make it easier to place tiles.

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Placing Slopes
To make sure that your cliff can moved onto by units, you will need to add slopes.
The slopes will need to connect to the cliff edge at the pink line to avoid any pathfinding bugs.

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Filling the cliff level
Once you have finished constructing the cliff edge you're ready to fill it in with terrain tiles
to ensure that units can actually move onto it.


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Use the flatten ground tool to drag from the cliff edge until all of the cliff has been filled in.

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As you may notice, some of the cells along the edge of the cliff didn't get levelled properly. 
Final Alert 2 has many of such small issues and as map-makers, we need to be aware of them and find workarounds. 

In this case, it's best to use a 1x1 brush size with the heighten ground tool to fill in the problematic areas.

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Brush / Tile area size can be controlled with the following menu item.
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When the heighten ground tool fails to produce desirable results then, it's best to use a 2x2 default (grass) tile to fill in the problematic areas.
(Please note that the default tile varies per map theatre, the bright grass is the default tile for temperate maps)
 

Select the default tile from the ground menu, in this case it's bright grass as we're working on a temperate map.
posted image

 

Now our cliff plateau is finished and ready for gameplay!
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Add stacked cliffs & mountains

So let's say you want a 2 level cliff, just repeat the process.
Paint from back to front.

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Once you've finished placing the front facing tiles and filled it in, it should look something like this.

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Here's the graphical view, looks quite natural don't you think?

posted image

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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Manipulating terrain height

It's possible to adjust the height in different areas of the map by using the "Heighten ground" & the "Lower ground" tool to make the map appear less flat and make the terrain more dynamic.

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Keep in mind that slopes & height adjustments can only be applied to the default tileset (grass on temperate), attempting to add slopes or height differences to non-default tiles will result in graphical errors. It's still possible to add details on top of these 'hills' later on by carefully painting with a small sized brush.

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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Adding Resources

Before starting to add resources, switch to the FrameWork Mode as this will enable you to place resources without causing errors.
This mode makes it easier to see which tiles you are placing the resources overlays on, it's best to avoid placing resources on cliff tiles or under trees 
as the resources will be inaccessible there.

WARNING: Be extremely careful not to place resource overlays on slopes as this will break your map.

 

To add resources to your map, open the Special / Overlay menu on the left.

posted image

Expand the Ore and Gems section, then choose to either paint Ore or Gems.

 

Ore is the regular Gold that you see on the maps.

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Gems have twice the value of Ore and should be placed in high-risk areas of the map
where players have to fight over them.

posted image

 

 

Removing Resources

To erase painted resources or overlays expand the Erase Overlay section.

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The radius options is the area of effect equivalent to the brush size setting that is used with tiles.
The "Erase single field" option will delete overlay on a single tile.

These erase options are used to shape your resource patches to fit them to the terrain or to even them out and make sure that they are balanced.
 

 

Regenerating Resources

If you want your map to regenerate resources over time you will need to place "Ore Mines" on the map, these are usually placed in the middle of resource patches. If you don't add Ore mines to a map then the players can run out of resources and the game could end in a stalemate.

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To find the "Ore Mines"  expand the "Terrain Objects" section.
To place them just click on the menu item and move your cursor to the desired location.

Due to the Ore Mine acting like a building the ore behind it should be erased as it will be inaccessible by miners.
Use the "Erase Single Field" option from the "Erase Overlay" menu.

 

Note that the Ore Mines will only regenerate Ore and not gems.

 

 

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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Adding Tech Buildings

To add tech buildings to your map, expand the buildings menu on the left, then expand the Other category.
These buildings are found mixed in this list of neutral buildings.

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These structures will be capturable by players and will give them advantages and certain bonuses.
To place them just select them from the list and click on the desired location on the map.

 

 

Adding Garrisons

Most neutral civilian structures can be garrisoned by infantry which provides them with a range and firepower bonus.
These structures should be carefully placed on the map as to avoid making the gameplay too campy.

posted image

To place them just select them from the list and click on the desired location on the map.

 

 

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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Terrain Detailing with Trees

Shrubs & Trees can be used to add a bit of detail to an otherwise flat map, while also providing some strategical dynamic as well.
Infantry that's deployed between trees will be more difficult to crush, Mirage tanks can easily confuse an opponent if kept amongst trees, they
can easily break a tight tank formation as well, enabling a player to take advantage. 

To start placing trees, expand the "Terrain Objects" menu on the left and then expand the category called "Trees".

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You can manually pick trees from this list and place them on the map like any other object or use the "Paint Random Trees" option to generate a random brush that will vary the tree selection automatically.

 

Clicking on the "Paint Random Trees"  will open a dialogue letting you choose which trees to use for the brush and also give you a preview of what each tree looks like. 

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After clicking OK just move your mouse cursor around to see a random tree appear, click to place.


posted image

 

 

Terrain Detailing with Tiles

If your maps is only covered by grass it can appear a bit boring and flat, so using different types of terrain tiles is a great way to add more detail.
This is best done with brush size set to 1x1. To choose different tiles expand the ground menu option on the left.

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Just by holding shift and painting around the terrain randomly can achieve a nice effect, just be careful around cliffs.

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The pavement set can be used to enhance the look of tech and neutral buildings or even player starting locations.

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Terrain Detailing with Rocks

To add overlay rocks to your terrain for additional detail use the "Overlay & Specials" Menu drop down.

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This little bit of detail can make maps look exceptionally nice. 

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Saving your map

While it might sound simple there are some choices to make when saving your map.
The first dialogue that comes up after clicking save will show you any errors/mistakes that the map editor might 
have discovered while checking your map. 

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There should be none, however, some can be dismissed, such as a note telling you that the map can only be played on YR.

After clicking OK you should see the following dialogue.

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Here you can choose a name for your map, generate a preview that will be used during loading and in online multiplayer lobby map preview display.
For people using custom preview images for their maps, the additional preview options can be used.

It's also useful to define what game modes you'd like your map to be playable in, though keep in mind that game modes such as Mega Wealth
and Land Rush require you to rework your map. I would recommend opening existing maps that use those game modes to find out what they look like.

Once you're satisfied with your set options, click OK.

 

Note that to play your maps on CnCNet you will need to copy your map file to the custom maps folder in the CnCNet directory and change the file extension from .mpr to .map.

posted image

Let me know if this guide helped you create some maps. :)

 

 

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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Rendering Map Previews

To present your maps to the community you can render full-size previews of the maps with the CnC Maps Renderer.
Download the latest GUI version from the link below.

CNC_Maps_Renderer_v2.3.0.zip

After the download, extract the installer from the zip archive and install it in your preferred directory.
Once installed start it up and configure it to get it ready for rendering maps.

 

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First, you will need to browse to the game installation directory to allow the renderer find the game's mix files which contain the graphics
required to render your map previews.

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Next, you will need to specify the game that you're rendering maps for, to avoid any crashes you must Force a game engine type.

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Once these basic settings are done move to the misc settings section.

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Here you can enable some useful effects, such as highlighting resource areas and marking starting positions.
I have mine configured as shown above, for best experience rendering full map previews.

 

Let's render a map!

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Browse for your map file for the Input Map section or alternatively paste the file path into the area.

 

Once you have browsed for a map, just click "Render map" and your preview will be generated in the same folder as your map.

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With the above settings, you can expect the following result.

5aab194a1a5fd_ExampleMap.thumb.jpg.d8d2c2a13dc30510df22ca3b4733d1a8.jpg

This map was created during the course of making this tutorial, you may download it below.

example.map

 

Enjoy creating maps as much as you expect players to enjoy playing them! :)

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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Additional Resources & Reading

Information regarding C&C map editors: https://forums.cncnet.org/topic/185-mapping-tools/

Basic information regarding map files: https://forums.cncnet.org/topic/230-information-about-maps-and-map-packs/

General map making discussion section: https://forums.cncnet.org/forum/12-mapping-discussion/

How to add new units to maps: https://ppmforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=4830

General tutorials to making mods: https://ppmforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=17399

 

 

Let me know if I missed anything...

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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Nice guide 😉

 

I only wish there was a way to have a bigger reso in final alert. I always found the small screen size rather frustrating.

Edited by ZiGZaG

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Final Alert renders at your screen resolution, same as in-game the items get smaller with increasing reso.
I edit maps @ 2560 x 1440 now imagine doing it @ 1024 x 768 which was available when FA2 was released.

@ZiGZaG Get makin em maps.

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14 hours ago, FReQuEnZy said:

I expect to see perfect cliffs on your maps from now! :P

If you check my last map you find out how perfect my cliffs ;)

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Actually something is missing indeed.

Where in the pink .... thing , are those tutorials with single player maps? Many of us may wanna create a mission map.
I want, but every time i open FA2 he`s telling me to F OFF :)  cuz that aint a thing for noobs like me.

So ? o.O

Atm.. great thing you've done up there. Cius

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A lot of things are missing I'm not bothered to cover everything, there's too much,
 I just noticed that a lot of people get the basics wrong and it's going to cause problems on their maps.

If there is a lot of demand for a certain subject I will add it.
I suggest you look on ppmsite if you really want to make single player missions.
If you want to make multiplayer missions you should try to find some that you can 'copy' open the maps up in FA2 and look at the triggers, it's the triggers that turn maps into missions.

The pink thing is a tutorial for making cliffs... In any map.


 

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23 hours ago, FReQuEnZy said:

The pink

Lol man :D pink.. the female pink thing .. ya know ?  Just don't mind me... :D

23 hours ago, FReQuEnZy said:

look on ppmsite

I'm gonna root here on cnc site like a Sloth.  8)

... and excuses for offtopic.

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First post updated!

  • Replaced TS_DDRAW with DDRAW_NOHW in the first post.

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On 5/16/2018 at 3:21 AM, DOGMEATJR3 said:

this is what I get!!

 

Does the error stop you from doing anything?

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Updated first post with links to make topics easier to find in this thread.

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why does final alert tell me that I should make my map as big? (im making map with 200 hight 200 width)

 

he says it may cause problems. I tried it in game and it works with no problems at all.

 

also side question (not sure if this second question must be asked here): how do I open campaign maps?

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19 minutes ago, MapDesigner said:

why does final alert tell me that I should make my map as big? (im making map with 200 hight 200 width)

  he says it may cause problems. I tried it in game and it works with no problems at all.

4

Because the coder of the map editor and the game engine didn't get along.

In a world where two experienced professionals would have coded the map editor and the game engine the limitations would be clearly explained.

 

19 minutes ago, MapDesigner said:

how do I open campaign maps?

 

You must first extract them with xcc mixer from the game's missions.mix or was it maps.mix... :S

Then enter the partial name in the FA2's open dialogue and it should show up.

Edited by FReQuEnZy
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4 minutes ago, FReQuEnZy said:

Because the coder of the map editor and the game engine didn't get along.

In a world where two experienced professionals would have coded the map editor and the game engine the limitations would be clearly explained.

you make it seem too simple LOL

 

so you think it wouldnt matter at all and I will be able to work normally? 

 

I thought my map will break in multiplayer or something xD 

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