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ZoneLab - Geneforge 5 Zone Data Creator


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Hello, all. Many of you may have heard of Blades of Geneforge, which allows the enterprising modder to extract zone data, but have been turned off by the utter insanity in trying to manually create a zone out of spreadsheet cells. However, there now exists a tool that allows a modder to create a simple 64x64 image map of a zone, and turn it into a zone filled with the desired basic terrain and placeholder terrain, object, and creatures: ZoneLab.

 

Also alhoon wanted a shoutout for helping with some data stuff.

 

Using this is fairly simple. In the archive is a file with color codes which correspond to specific zone features. Using Paint or Paint .NET, or some other similar program, you can create a 64x64 map of a zone and save it into a 'zones' folder. If you put a specific word at the beginning of the image name, data is also output for the tileset (e.g. snow, forest) to be used in the zone. The available tilesets are:

cave

desert

forest1

forest2

snow

swamp

wasteland

 

Then, you must simply run* the file with run.bat**, and a new text file will appear in the same folder as ZoneLab. Using a copy of the Blades of Geneforge spreadsheet, copy-paste the data from the file (make sure to select commas as separation for cells when pasting) into the appropriate location.

 

*If there is a space in the path of the file, it may not work properly for unknown reasons.

**This is a Java program, and needs Java to be installed to work.

 

This tool must be used, at present, with Blades of Geneforge. As the original links are dead, make sure to check for the downloads provided by alhoon. For present, ZoneLab will allow modders to create zones with much greater ease than could otherwise be possible. Happy modding.

 

Download:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8tbjffjg12ko58d/GF ZoneLab.rar?dl=0

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Can we please have a custom "double like!" button for this post?

 

I tested the tool and it works. It works better than the one I made (for matlab) so I'll be using this.

There may be some very minor mistakes in the zone, you are advised to walk around it and check for any wall that connects wrong or a dirt path curving upwards or something and manually correct it.

You might also encounter the "invisible door" bug. While Kian tried to use the door that we assume is in all tilesets, there are two sets of doors so the one Kian picked may not be present in all tilesets (although it is in the ones I've tested).

 

Kian: Can you upload it somewhere else too please? In case you change dropbox, delete it by accident, get hit by Drakon hackers etc?

 

I'd suggest to people interested to not be intimidated by the apparent difficulty of adding a zone and the original alien-ess of the BoG spreadsheet. Yes, you should have backups and follow the instructions and you would hit a few Crash-to-desktops. But after a couple of tries you would get the hang of it.

 

I've managed to create a zone using a more difficult to use tool than the awesome zonelab Kian made, populate it, put quests in it etc.

If I can do it, so can you.

And Kian made it easy. :)

 

(alhoon wanted a shoutout for trying to convince you to do this, cheerleading to boost your efforts and the chromatic code)

Edited by alhoon
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And now, trying to pull more people in modding...

 

On ‎20‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 4:48 AM, Triumph said:

The Awakened, Barzite, and Taker endings to G2 are all fascinating pieces of alternative history to me, what-if scenarios for the Geneforge world. We can see presented with the godlike authority of the game's author (rather than mere speculation) how it could have been

...

The course of history was contingent on the choices made by the Shaper Apprentice, and had those choices been different, instead of the events we know as G3-5, history would have taken a different course.

 

And now, you have the ability to make "alternate history" scenarios and I'll be all too eager to play a long or short mod in the Awakened\Barzite\Taker finale world...

Make 5-6 zones, fill them with interesting NPCs and foes and help us explore your vision of how the hints of post-???-victory finale world would be.[GF5 can accommodate up to 100 zones]

The witch in GF5 that tells you she won't tell you your past? Add a question in the kind of "Can you show me how the world would have been if the Drakons have not been defeated in the mountains?" at which she would reply "Look at this glowing sphere" or "Take this potion" or something and you find yourself in the alternative world...

 

Yes, it's that easy to make zones and alternative world scenarios now, thanks to the Blade of Geneforge spreadsheet and Zonelab.

Edited by alhoon
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Question, can you modify existing zones with this? Just curious. Also, need some more detailed instructions on what to do exactly with it. Color codes isn't enough, and I'm actually confused on where to start exactly. 

 

But in any case, good job Kian. A tool to make new maps is going to be nice for more adventurous modders. :)

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Oh... that's good.

 

A version that can take the terrain and ground etc map and put them in a 64x64 image like the

 

 

Gameman: I used the tool and it is very, very easy.

I think you're proficient with the spreadsheet.

 

Well, what you do is make a nice image on paint or whatever you want but using the colors of the color code.

At first, we start with something simple and crude

Let's say something like this:

Tutorial1.png

 

- See how I avoided having walls disconnected. A wall pixel would look better if it ends up, down, left or right from another such pixel, not diagonicaly. There are no diagonical wall tiles in the game.

- It's not obvious in the image but I've used RGB color 16/16/16 (i.e. gray 16) for the outer natural wall because that's the "tall wall", but used black to frame the river.

- I also used a 64/64/64 (i.e. gray 64) for the wall that blocks the passage cause I want it to look like a nice big wall.

- Just to be sure I put 2 lines of trees. That is not required probably, I'm just weird.

 

As you can see... there are no doors, paths, items, creations... nothing. However the first image gives you a quick guide.

So, next step, I complete the empty rough map, putting floors, bridge and doors.

RGB 128/128/128 (I.e. gray 128) is worked floor. Tiles etc depending on the tileset.

RGB 128/64/64 is bridge. I put one

RGB 128/128/64 is doors. I put a few.

 

And I end up with this:

Tutorial2.png

 

Now, if I wanted, I could run with this in the zonelab and add it in the game just to see how it looks like. For the purposes of this tutorial, I won't.

 

For the third step: we have a map but it has nothing on it.

Let's put in some creations and interactable items.

RGB 0/128/191 are creatures outside. On top of unworked ground.

RGB 128/0/128 are items on top of unworked ground

If I accidentally put one of those on a gray tile, the map would have a ground post there not tiles.

 

For the outdoors, I also added a few "terrain-outdoors" orange lines to represent a small farm. And a few creatures and a couple of objects on upper-right side that I will later change to a creature lair and a dead lootable body. Near what will be a farmer \ servile in the middle of the farm, I put a "terrain" that I will change to a cart later.

 

I put a couple of indoor items, objects and terrain in the buildings and passage fort too. Some will be tables, some will be beds, some will be debris

 

I end up with this:

Tutorial4.png

 

Now the -rough- form of my zone is done. It has objects, terrain, walls, creations etc.

It has very little eye-candy. Litter, those decorative fires etc.

However, for the purpose of this tutorial, I will leave it as is.

 

Finally, I am ready to use Kian's awesome tool.

I put my image to Zonelab > zones folder.

I make absolutely sure it's the only zone in that folder! (we don't want two zones combined...)

I change the name to forest1Tutot so that the editor would pick forest tiles.

I press the "run"

I wait 1 second.

 

I have a txt file that has 64x64 matrices for me to put to ground and terrain, and generic object and creation entries at the places I had marked in the map.

 

I now can take the relevant pieces of info, copy-paste them to the spreadsheet of Blades of Geneforge and then edit the zone as I would for any other already made zone.

 

 

 

The above is an example that I made within a few minutes, not a well-thought, balanced, corrected and recorrected zone.

 

 

 

Edited by alhoon
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Remember that there are 2 separate forest tilesets: one is the coniferous forest, like those in Mera (North Mera Road is a good example), and deciduous forests, like those in the Storm Plains. You preface it with forest1 or forest2, so just keep in mind that only putting 'forest' at the beginning of the image name will return a default (cave) tileset. Otherwise, excellent job explaining it.

 

Also, regarding tilesets, I don't believe either of us mentioned where the data is output. It is put at the bottom of the text file the program outputs. Just copy-paste it at offset 48904 in the spreadsheet as you would the matrix.

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3 hours ago, TheKian said:

 

Also, regarding tilesets, I don't believe either of us mentioned where the data is output. It is put at the bottom of the text file the program outputs. Just copy-paste it at offset 48904 in the spreadsheet as you would the matrix.

 

You mean the tile-set choosing lines? If yes, then that's exactly where they should go.

 

As a note, the creatures and object data are not separated by comas. Is that intentional?

And I really hope you put the reaper turrets on neutral, else exploring a zone to see how it was implemented is going to hurt... :p 

Edited by alhoon
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7 hours ago, alhoon said:

 

You mean the tile-set choosing lines? If yes, then that's exactly where they should go.

 

As a note, the creatures and object data are not separated by comas. Is that intentional?

And I really hope you put the reaper turrets on neutral, else exploring a zone to see how it was implemented is going to hurt... :p 

Yes, reaper turrets are neutral.

The creatures and objects have tabs instead of commas so that, if you have only one entry in the zone, you can copy-paste it into the spreadsheet. It doesn't let you select separation of cells by commas if you're pasting only a single line.

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