Map Properties Maker - Is it used?


  • Admin

    There is a small but incomplete app to make map properties. Does anyone know about this, when was it last used?

    It seems the standard procedure for making a map is to copy/paste an existing one and then modify. The map properties writes one from scratch. It seems like it's just as easy to take a complete spec file, from Pact Of Steel 2 and just update it.

    Of course it would be great to avoid editing any files by hand.. The map properties maker is in a pretty bad state and has tentacles into the rest of the code base.



  • @LaFayette I have used the "Map Properties Maker" and besides helping chose player colors, to me it seemed mostly useless because there are more options now that are not covered this app. My thoughts are remove it because updating it seems pointless because POS/POS2 map.properties is better documented.

    Just my thoughts.

    Cheers...


  • Admin

    Yeah, its pretty useless at this point and don't ever think it was really completed. I'd be pretty surprised if any map makers use it for much. Its just much easier to copy POS2 map.properties or another map.

    I think the hope was always that someone would come along and updated and finish it. In theory, for at least newer map makers, it could be much easier than having to copy and edit a property file directly.


  • Moderators Admin

    @LaFayette It's a good utility to get the basic map properties done, then progressively pasting whatever else you want, from the one of pos2, and I recall it worked fine. I think it has a number of items missing, but it has been a long time since the last time I used it, so I'm not a good reference.


  • Admin

    My hesitation to removing the tool is lack of documentation for how to make a map, eg:

    1. copy a map
    2. update map.properties

    etc...

    Reviewing the map documentation on triplea wiki, we're not in very good shape. On the plus side, the documentation does seem to be finally centralized. That documentation is a collection of everything that goes back a very long way.

    I don't think writing a manual or another wiki page is perhaps going to be the best thing to do. Pact of Steel 2 model, the 'copy this project' and the 'we have extra notes to help you learn in this project' seems to be a pretty good model. It would be ideal of course for the game engine to support map making more properly, but it's not there and the map maker has its own issues.

    I'd like to propose we do this:

    • clone the pact of steel 2 map and rename it to "Map-Maker-Tutorial"
    • use the README of that new project to give notes on how to get started notably, copy/paste that map (or clone it!), then give the step-by-step instructions, eg: 1) modify map.properties, 2)... etc...

    In essence, the "Map Maker Tutorial" would become the new 'pact of steel 2' training map. This way we can leave pact of steel 2 alone as it is itself a proper map. We can then focus map maker tutorial map to be a full blown demo of all map maker features and focus our documentation/learning resources there.

    What do people think of this idea?


  • Moderators Admin

    @redrum Is there any chance you could work some of your magic and make it more user friendly for beginners? Tied into the POS work you have done? Many TripleA players have wanted to make a map but flounder when they use that tool. My only disagreement with removing it, ( since it is quite broken ) is then we have nothing other than word of mouth...


  • Moderators

    Gotta be pretty old. Other than running the mapmaker program I don't even remember an independent piece of software.


  • Moderators Admin

    @LaFayette As long as it still works fine, it is very useful to get your map up and running fairly soon, especially if making it from scratch. The addition of features may have made it more useful, as it allows to focus on the essential ones, especially the ones needed to load the map at all. If expanded, I suggest splitting it into two sections, or even two utilities, one for making the necessary stuff, and another one for making the rest.


  • Moderators Admin

    @Hepps Ya it is 10? years old plus


  • Admin

    Half working tools in software is worse than not at all. Every code needs to ensure that each other code continues to work and the relationship between code means adding new code or updating an existing can be an exercise in updating all other code.

    For example, you add Module A. You then add Module B, but to do so you need to maintain and modify Module A. Then you add Module C, at which point you need to update B and A. TripleA is on module ZZ now adding module ZZA is just downright painful. So the bar is not "does it still work", but "does it provide unique and meaningful value".

    I do think our model probably should be more for a starter map to document by example how to make a map, then the map maker tools will be for all the things you can't do just by using an example. This hopefully would help the floundering of new map makers, I think that floundering is perhaps more a documentation problem. Most maps are too complex for the map making tools to be really useful, it does not help you with the important stuff like writing delegates.


  • Moderators Admin

    @LaFayette np here with removing it I just question how new apprentices will learn 🙂 Since I don't think anyone is building a new one 🙂


  • Admin

    @prastle Please read the "I would like to propose" part my earlier comment: https://forums.triplea-game.org/post/26964


  • Admin

    @LaFayette So my preference is to still have the "map.properties" step in the map making tool but I'm ok removing the GUI part that is generating it and instead just have that step provide a hardcoded one (essentially pull in the one from POS2). That way the tool still gets the map maker to a working map but we get rid of the UI that is missing lots of things. Ideally the map making tool utilizes the POS2 repo files more.

    I'm fine if we want to clone the POS2 repo to a new map tutorial repo if folks think that is beneficial. I don't think POS2 is really much of a legit map and no one plays it.


  • Moderators Admin

    @redrum said in Map Properties Maker - Is it used?:

    I'm fine if we want to clone the POS2 repo to a new map tutorial repo if folks think that is beneficial. I don't think POS2 is really much of a legit map and no one plays it.

    Correct. Moving or renaming POS2 is pretty much useless. It may make a bit clearer that is what you need to read, but you would need to fully update all the documentation currently telling you that you have to go looking at POS2. As far as making any changes to POS2 goes, I'm sure you can feel completely free to do whatever you want with it; no one plays it and, as long as it still works, I'm sure that would be fine enough for the casual player.


  • Admin

    @redrum Interesting suggestion, though it feels a bit like trying to both have and eat our cake too. Part of the problem is there have been 3 or 4 attempts to document and/or auto-generate map.properties. If the map maker pulls from PoS2, it seems like we're straddling this line of documentation and have not decided whether we want people to actually use the map maker program, or if they should copy/paste a working map.

    I very well think it might be more effective to go whole hog on copying a working map and modifying it. Tools can then be in place to support the image splitting and polygon editing.

    My impression is even a minimal working map is not very useful, it's still missing a lot of features most people will want. Hence the complexity/benefit of having a fully working map like PoS2 with all features documented there.

    @Cernel said in Map Properties Maker - Is it used?:

    but you would need to fully update all the documentation currently telling you that you have to go looking at POS2.

    Currently the documentation says to look at A&A revised!! If referring to the forums, that's one reason why I've been advocating we stop using forums for documentation, it gets out of date, and should more or less be expected to do so. It was fine when it was one person producing, posting and revising the documentation. Now that the project is no longer run just by one person, it's a flawed process.


  • Admin

    @LaFayette So the reason that the map.properties is included in the map maker tool is some of the properties directly relate to the graphical tools and how they function in comparison to many of the other properties files and XML which just influence how the game plays. So I think it is important to keep some form of it involved in the map maker tool. If you haven't done so, I would highly recommend walking through the map maker tool steps to create a little base map.


  • Admin

    @redrum Please don't assume I haven't walked through it. If the map.properties is needed for future steps, and the configuration is inter-dependent, then how would importing a PoS2 config solve that?


  • Admin

    I'd like for us to now instead focus on whether we want PoS2 to be the tutorial process, or map maker. I'll post a new forum thread dedicated to that topic. The feedback that map.properties is more easily hand-edited was the desired outcome of this thread.


  • Admin

    @LaFayette I didn't say whether you did or didn't. I just said if you haven't then you should as you seem to be suggesting you don't think map.properties should be grouped together with the other graphical map making tools.

    The idea would be importing the file as a starting point for users with good default values and instructing them to edit the file directly rather than use the existing UI to generate one. Honestly the map making tool should just create the base folder structure and import a default and commented version of things like map.properties. Having to write documentation to explain how to do all that is about just as much effort to having TripleA do it and would avoid lots of user error where they make a typo or a capitalization error.

    POS2 should be the tutorial for everything beyond making the graphical map portion and already is.

    But yes, I think we have agreement that unless we improve the existing map properties UI tool then its easier to just have users edit it directly.


  • Admin

    @redrum

    @LaFayette I didn't say whether you did or didn't. I just said if you haven't then you should as you seem to be suggesting you don't think map.properties should be grouped together with the other graphical map making tools.

    The implication seemed patronizing, I take some offense. I'm not suggesting the map.properties not be grouped together, and in fact I stated that my reservation to removing it is that map maker tools would then be missing it, which seems like a big omission.


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