Tutorial:Level modification

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Level Modification is one of the most common forms of Game Modification, primarily due to the creation of the user-friendly RRU Level Editor and Map Tool.

Steps to Level Modification

There are six major processes that make up Level Modification, most of which can be accomplished either by using the suggested RRU Level Editor, or by manually opening the MAP files with a Hex-Editing Program or the Map Tool. The last of these practices is undertaken by modifying the Lego.cfg file.

Terrain Creation & Modification

Terrain Creation & Modification comprises of creating the cavern itself, designating areas of Open/Hidden Cavern as well as placing various types Ground Types, Walls, and Terrain. This comprises most of the level design and how the cavern is organized, and how the player will progress through it.

Height Mapping

This raises and lowers areas of the map to give it a more realistic and bumpy terrain. This is mostly cosmetic and gives the level a more earthy feel, as most caves are not at a consistent level elevation all the way through. However, buildings cannot be placed on bumpy terrain, which should be taken into consideration when first designing the level. Finding a flat space of ground to build could, realistically, be part of a mission itself.

Object Placement

This comprises of placing Objects like Buildings, Vehicles, Rock Raiders, Energy Crystals, and Ore. While most materials like Energy Crystals and Ore are sorted out during Terrain Creation, most other objects have to be placed with care using the Object List file, with particular attention to heading and coordinates.

Hazard Placement

This comprises of adding Hazards like Erosion Paths, Monster Emerge Blocks, and Slimy Slug Holes. Not all levels explicitly need hazards to be entertaining, but they can add an extra dynamic to the game so that it combines level exploring and mining with defending Rock Raider HQ, forcing the player to multitask, which may make a level more challenging and exciting.

Programming Mission Objectives

Programming Mission Objectives is the most complicated of the six processes, and comprises of setting what objectives have to be met in order for a mission to succeed or fail. This is an important part, and can sometimes be sidestepped by using a script that was used in one of the shipped levels. However, if one wants to invest the time to learn how, it can benefit the level greatly to have an original objective tailored to one's own style.

Level Configuration

Level Configuration sets up some basic statistics for the level, and organizes where it is located on the mission tree. This is usually the last step and, in most respects, is fairly simple. In addition to placing the level on the mission tree, thus organizing what levels are unlocked by it, this will organize how the awards are given out, how often monsters emerge and whether they emerge, whether Cave-Ins occur, and which MAP files are used.