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Fixing issues with Map, Unit and Tile changes

CF issues

What can be changed (without modifying the crimson.exe source code) ?

On my previous Annoyances and issues page, I listed quite a few things I found 'too unrealistic' in CF. In the next few pages I detail how I went about 'fixing' things more to my liking (by all means 'fix' things to your own liking :-) )

The rest of this topic just contain details of the changes I made and how to rebuild the Maps from the .src files. If you just want to play my 'modified' x3 Map set (and skip the rest of this section), you can Right click and 'Save link as' to download steves-x3en-Map-set.zip.
It should be obvious where things go = if not just read the READ.ME :-) 

Some things are 'easy to fix', others somewhat harder - so, in order of difficulty / complexity :-

The easy fixes 1,2,3

If you just want to play my 'modified' x3 Map set (and skip the rest of this section), you can Right click and 'Save link as' to download steves-x3en-Map-set.zip

It should be obvious where everything goes, if not, just look in the READ-ME.txt :-)

1) Using CoMET

The CoMET utility allows you to 'open' an existing Map and make simple changes. You can :-

Manually change the existing Map terrain, one tile at a time.
Delete, Add and Modify (change a Units 'strength' (from the default 6) or 'Experience' level (from the default 0)) the combat units on the Map.
Delete, Add and Modify buildings on the Map - names, contents (including 'crystal' replenishment rates) and add/remove 'factory' capability and set the unit types that a Factory may build.
Add or Modify some of the 'messages' = it's easy to add or change Building names (including the 'battle Map name' used by CF in it's 'select battle' menu).
With some difficulty, it is just about possible to modify multi-line messages. Never delete a message (messages are assigned by the order in which they appear. If you delete one, the order of all following messages will move up by one and they will get assigned to the 'wrong' use)
Add, Modify or Delete 'Events', especially to modify victory conditions
Events can be used on individual Units or Terrain, however this is hard to do via the CoMET event GUI
Create 'entrance-less buildings' to add 'extra units' (or to build reinforcements) for a 'human handicap' (since only the AI player can access them)

CoMET will always build a playable .lev and Export to a .src, HOWEVER if the .src contains 'Errors' cfed will refuse to compile it (it's OK with Warnings) = in CoMET use the Project / Validate to check for Errors before you Export

One such error is the 'shop without entrance' (see above re: human handicap)

2) By hand-edit of the Map .src

The Map 'source' (.src) is a simple text file. CoMET can be used to 'save as' any Map (.lev) to a .src. This can be opened and modified by any text editor (to cope with the Unix V's Windows 'line ends', I recommend Notepad++). You then have to 'recompile' the .src back to a .lev file in order to 'play' the Map.

The problem is that CoMET can't open a .src file. To 'recompile' the .src (to a playable .lev), you must use the cfed tool (note == this needs access to the compiled Units and Tiles files == see later).

Hand edit of the Map .src text allows you to :-

Add / Modify multi-line 'messages'
Globally replace one Terrain type (by Tile ID#, the order in which they appear in the definitions file) for another
Globally replace one Unit type for another (by the English (en) Name found in the definitions file)
Expand the Map width (by adding Tiles to the right) and/or the Map height (actually, the 'depth', by adding additional lines of tiles to the bottom of the play area)
Adding to the right and bottom has no effect on the existing 'co-ordinates' i.e. the Unit and building deployment positions remain the same. To expand the Map to the left or top means you have to adjust the 'map co-ordinates' of every existing Unit and building
Modify and add 'events' (events are so powerful I dedicate a separate page to them = see Using Events for Bridging)

3) By edit of the Unit and Tile definitions

Editing the terrain Tile and Unit 'definitions' files, .usrc and tsrc, allows (almost) everything to be 'fixed'. If you want to avoid the need to change the existing Maps, new Tiles must be added to the 'end' (or replace one of the 'unused' Tiles eg the 11 'black' placeholders). New Units can be added 'anywhere' as the Map .src (source) references Units by their name, not position

After making changes, you have to 'recompile' the units and tiles (using the 'make units' and 'make tiles' tools)

You then have to recompile all the Maps (using the cfed tool, mentioned above)

For more details, see the rest of this topic, starting with the "Next>>" page

The pages in this topic are :-

  + Fixing Units and Tiles == Latest changes (modified 8th Jul 2020 03:34.)

  + Unit and Terrain - (tips and tricks)

  + Planning the x3 maps

  + Whats changed in x3 maps

Next page :- Fixing Units and Tiles