ParanoiaPhD

Rookie
It's that time of year for that seasons givings... haha jk... but seriously i need presents...

I was hoping this might gain some attention from the mapping community and perhaps a more advanced landscaper will be born.

I made a great addition to this ultimate version... It's the ability to make perfectly smooth hills and what not... It was a lot of work but not very hard to think up... Now if you have better transitions or something like that... Please post here and we can figure out how to merge them into the ULTIMATE UO LANDSCAPER...

I'm thinking the full range for very large transitions may or may not be necessary... It will be easy to create multiple versions though. I'm saying lets build many custom versions of UIO Landscaper for various purposes and make instructions for each one so its easy to use.
 

HellRazor

Vita-Nex Sponsor
I made a great addition to this ultimate version... It's the ability to make perfectly smooth hills and what not... It was a lot of work but not very hard to think up... Now if you have better transitions or something like that... Please post here and we can figure out how to merge them into the ULTIMATE UO LANDSCAPER...

I'm thinking the full range for very large transitions may or may not be necessary... It will be easy to create multiple versions though. I'm saying lets build many custom versions of UIO Landscaper for various purposes and make instructions for each one so its easy to use.

Is the problem you mentioned (mountains being raised +28 altitude when transitioning into land tiles) a problem with the transition files? Or is it with UO Landscaper itself (the .exe)?

There are a few open source alternatives that are very similar to UO Landscaper:

Punt's MapGen2 came out shortly after UO Landscaper and is superior to it in some ways. It's written in C++ but relies on QT for the GUI.
There is also at least one (and possibly two, I just need to find the URL) Map Creator programs on Github written in C# that were intended to be open source replacements for UO Landscaper. They seem to be fully functional but I have not tested them extensively yet.

All of them work essentially the same as UO Landscaper, with perhaps some minor changes to the formats of transition scripts, etc.
 

gametec

Squire
You are going about this the wrong way.

I am working on a New Release of MapCreator as we speak. It is an entirely identical replication or clone of UOLandscaper with little difference. Punt's MapGen2 is not really superior (just my opinion)... and now that UOLandscaper is open sourced under MapCreator, the sky is the limit for how maps are created in this hobby. The main drawback is that we still don't know how the hashkeys are formulated. We know how to create them, but we don't know how it talks to the program to make the maps look like UO worlds.

Additionally I am one person who has been working on MapCreator for a little over 4 years since its conception by Praxiiz, me, and a few others. That means that this project will take some time to get off the ground in its original state. I am done with the core aspects of it, so it can compile a map, create the template bitmaps, and output mul files. It will have to be updated to compile .uop and I don't know how to do that.

Currently MapCreator has been recoded into .NET 7 with the help of some programmers in our community. All credits will be given on release. The reason is so I could create some .NET 7 plugins for it that I use when I make my own maps.

Future Updates If I Can Find The Help:

> Kill its reliance on UOGold default installation. It would be nice if it read from any UO installation custom or not.

> Make it so we can kill Photoshop integration. For instance having its own paint program with its own color table and swatches that can be used to edit the indexed bitmap >> this would allow an all-in-one experience and allow us to make custom brushes and effects for it as well.

> I need someone to help recreate the transition editors in Windows Forms. They work, but they aren't easy to follow and therefore not very user friendly. UOLandscaper was able to make 3way transitions, so too is MapCreator. Something that Dragon cannot. The editor for that was never completed so it compiles without the transition tiles making the blocks of your map square instead of refined.

I created it, it was my baby because I wanted to give the community an open-sourced map creator to elaborate on. However initially it was met with hostility and angst by a few people on here who I will keep anonymous to avoid drama. The real benefit to MapCreator is something that people initially overlooked and so I never really released an official copy of it. I have only worked to stabilize it a lot more than it was. So the following fixes have occured with MapCreator that are not fixed in UOLandscaper:

> MapCreator has no Memory Leaks
> MapCreator is threaded a lot better thanks to Karasho and Voxpire
> MapCreator has been updated to .NET 7

To sum this up, I will attach the full version of MapCreator that I am working on. This is the fully updated one without the plugins. Right now it can ONLY make bitmap templates, Sync your altitude bitmap, and compile your map using the swatches. I have included the color table editor as well so you can add new tiles to the swatch list.

Those of you who are interested in MapCreator's source will have to wait until I am satisfied with the UI and functionality of it. Then I will release it on http://www.uoavocation.net where the official releases of it will be hosted.

Download MapCreator Here (Binary Only)
 

HellRazor

Vita-Nex Sponsor
You are going about this the wrong way.

I am working on a New Release of MapCreator as we speak. It is an entirely identical replication or clone of UOLandscaper with little difference. Punt's MapGen2 is not really superior (just my opinion)... and now that UOLandscaper is open sourced under MapCreator, the sky is the limit for how maps are created in this hobby. The main drawback is that we still don't know how the hashkeys are formulated. We know how to create them, but we don't know how it talks to the program to make the maps look like UO worlds.

Additionally I am one person who has been working on MapCreator for a little over 4 years since its conception by Praxiiz, me, and a few others. That means that this project will take some time to get off the ground in its original state. I am done with the core aspects of it, so it can compile a map, create the template bitmaps, and output mul files. It will have to be updated to compile .uop and I don't know how to do that.

Currently MapCreator has been recoded into .NET 7 with the help of some programmers in our community. All credits will be given on release. The reason is so I could create some .NET 7 plugins for it that I use when I make my own maps.

Future Updates If I Can Find The Help:



I created it, it was my baby because I wanted to give the community an open-sourced map creator to elaborate on. However initially it was met with hostility and angst by a few people on here who I will keep anonymous to avoid drama. The real benefit to MapCreator is something that people initially overlooked and so I never really released an official copy of it. I have only worked to stabilize it a lot more than it was. So the following fixes have occured with MapCreator that are not fixed in UOLandscaper:



To sum this up, I will attach the full version of MapCreator that I am working on. This is the fully updated one without the plugins. Right now it can ONLY make bitmap templates, Sync your altitude bitmap, and compile your map using the swatches. I have included the color table editor as well so you can add new tiles to the swatch list.

Those of you who are interested in MapCreator's source will have to wait until I am satisfied with the UI and functionality of it. Then I will release it on http://www.uoavocation.net where the official releases of it will be hosted.

Download MapCreator Here (Binary Only)

Cool, looking forward to it! I think your version of Map Creator was the other one I was thinking of.

There were pros and cons to both UO Landscaper and Map Generator 2. It's been a long time, but I do remember that there were certain issues with UO Landscaper that Map Generator 2 avoided. It did have the "benefit of hindsight" since UO Landscaper was already out when MapGen2 was created. Plus it was open source, which for me is always a huge plus.

Personally, I don't think we will see the "next generation" of UO world building apps until we stop trying to copy UO Landscaper. We need something that is easier, packed with features, and intuitive. I'd love to see a tool that essentially combines the "BMP to MAP" functionality with features from UO Architect and CentrED, with optional built-in helpers to (optionally) automatically create certain terrain features like mountain ranges, etc. so you don't have to paint all the altitudes; fixes problems with pixels, transitions, etc. automatically before rendering; a real time "preview" that shows you what your BMPs will look like as rendered maps before you compile them; an automatic procedural map builder (you input some basic info and the program randomly creates a new map for you); etc.
 
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gametec

Squire
Unfortunately you won’t see anything like that. It isn’t worth the effort to make considering MapCreator and UOLandscaper can output perfect maps that can be edited in CentrED.

I have tried to hire someone to take CentrED and convert it to C# so the majority of us who know C# can edit it. Unfortunately no one seems to be willing to work these days. CentrED needs someone who can convert Pascal to C# and keep the code in tact using WPF or Windows Forms.

Copying UOLandscaper makes sense so as to not reinvent the wheel. What needs to happen is I need a method that converts bitmaps to uop maps the same way that it creates bitmaps into muls. Then I can add a window to allow people to choose before the compile process actually starts from a button push.

As for someone creating anything from scratch. I think I am the only one who has actually followed through with making anything for maps since 2014 and actually finished.

Reveal had Genesis and that was a flop, he promised to do what you mentioned. A hybrid of UOLandscaper with CentrED type interface. It was not successful; he got burned out and blamed everyone else for his not being able to complete the job.

Xen also tried a hand at a map making tool and it never happened.

The biggest problem is people have real lives and these tools cost a ton of time to build, test, polish, patch and release. Also burn out is a real thing among developers which is why I think our hobby went from volunteering to help to pay to play. It is sad but that is the way of things now. Maybe people will take me seriously when I offer to hire people next time.

The proof is in the pudding. I mean uoAvos is making strides with its own Region Editor, and poly3D regions which have never been seen in our hobby before. Not to mention ActionAI and the new Magic System all of which will be released early January; I hired Voxpire and Zerodowned to do the majority of the coding because I don’t have the time and they are sheer coding gods for this hobby.

My ideas only benefit the community because no matter what it costs me financially I always release the core of what I am doing open source; not my own private servers (but I do share) but rather the foundations (80%) that make the servers come alive. I don’t believe in pay to play and hope that my projects help new people learn and give them an edge when competing with other servers like Evolution and Outlands; which uoAvos does easily with its new features.
 
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HellRazor

Vita-Nex Sponsor
I can dream though. :) I'd really love an "all-in-one" world builder. (And I do applaud you for continuing the effort!)

A "MUL to BMP" generator should be MOSTLY possible as long as every terrain type and Z level in the source map are defined within the map tool. (Punt wrote one back in the day that wasn't 100% but it worked fairly decently for basic stuff).

An EXACT replica of a map, that can go from MUL to BMP and back again, might be a challenge. There are always going to be some nuances in a source map that the tool may not handle correctly. And then, of course, there are the statics to consider, but those could be written to and from the source map using a text file. Defining all the altitudes can be done but it would be time consuming.

I agree with you about burnout. Back around 2015 I decided I needed to take a break from UO stuff. My job wasn't allowing me the luxury of time to work on my shard. I came back to it in late 2020. The biggest differences I noticed between the time I left and my return were that our community is significantly smaller (more on that below); that there are fewer tools being developed/released (we're all still mostly using utilities that were written over 10 years ago); that there are a lot fewer custom scripts being released; that we lost RunUO.com (a big hit, IMHO, as it was once our community hub); and, on the positive side, the development of fully functional open source clients (which is probably the greatest thing that has happened in the UO emulation scene since RunUO hit the scene).

Burnout is definitely an issue, but I think the bigger problem is that UO is a 25 year old game, and our community is nowhere near as large as it used to be. There are significantly fewer developers in our community than there were back in the day. Most of the talented developers remaining are working on their own projects. I also think that Outlands, in some ways, is crushing competition - it's hard to compete with a shard that has a full staff of programmers, artists, and an actual revenue stream. (But don't get me wrong, this is not a diss on Outlands, it is a terrific shard and they are doing some really cool stuff. I am sure they deserve their large user base. It's just that it can be pretty daunting for a lone developer trying to form a team in a small community where most of the talent is already taken).

But on the plus side, we have several forks of RunUO being actively developed and open sourced; POL, UOX, and even Sphere are still around; and guys like you are still developing tools for the community, which I am thankful for.
 

gametec

Squire
uoAvos is not even compatible with RunUO or ServUO anymore… some scripts will work, but we don’t use a Data folder and a lot of the systems have changed. It’s like comparing apples to oranges because where RunUO, ServUO, ModernUO are the foundations of servers like Outlands and Evolution, their aim is to emulate UO and really reinventing the wheel.

uoAvos aims to change all that. What we did with uoAvos is remove all components of UO from the server and client (CUO). We redid almost 80% of the UO systems to make them more generic and in some cases just recoded it from scratch. We took out all the quests and factions and replaced them with templates users can use to create their own quest lines and faction armies. Essentially we took an emulator and made it a fully functional game engine similar to Unity without the pay to play for assets and royalty fees.

The only thing that holds UO to the server are the graphics (which we are slowly changing out) and the isometric ratio of 1:1. Otherwise you can create almost any genre of tile based game you want using the uoAvos engine from the ground up. It’s basically a foundation for users to build on. Not an out of the box server that emulates a game.

The biggest misconception with our community in my opinion is, and always had been, the ideology that once we create our servers, the game is actually ours to charge for and control; it’s a misnomer. The game is owned and copyrighted by Broadsword and EA Games. None of us have any rights to be changing any fees for it to be technical and while they have shown they won’t prosecute for copyright infringement, it doesn’t mean they can’t do it; especially for servers in North America. So to be sure uoAvos corrects this.

If we are able to replace all the graphics with our own versions, similar but not the same, and we are able to change file extensions via CUO and the UO client data files, then our users can technically launch their servers on outlets like Steam as there won’t be any copyrights on anything you do with uoAvos and while it may piss off EA and Broadsword, they can’t do anything about it.
 

HellRazor

Vita-Nex Sponsor
uoAvos is not even compatible with RunUO or ServUO anymore… some scripts will work, but we don’t use a Data folder and a lot of the systems have changed. It’s like comparing apples to oranges because where RunUO, ServUO, ModernUO are the foundations of servers like Outlands and Evolution, their aim is to emulate UO and really reinventing the wheel.

uoAvos aims to change all that. What we did with uoAvos is remove all components of UO from the server and client (CUO). We redid almost 80% of the UO systems to make them more generic and in some cases just recoded it from scratch. We took out all the quests and factions and replaced them with templates users can use to create their own quest lines and faction armies. Essentially we took an emulator and made it a fully functional game engine similar to Unity without the pay to play for assets and royalty fees.

The only thing that holds UO to the server are the graphics (which we are slowly changing out) and the isometric ratio of 1:1. Otherwise you can create almost any genre of tile based game you want using the uoAvos engine from the ground up. It’s basically a foundation for users to build on. Not an out of the box server that emulates a game.

The biggest misconception with our community in my opinion is, and always had been, the ideology that once we create our servers, the game is actually ours to charge for and control; it’s a misnomer. The game is owned and copyrighted by Broadsword and EA Games. None of us have any rights to be changing any fees for it to be technical and while they have shown they won’t prosecute for copyright infringement, it doesn’t mean they can’t do it; especially for servers in North America. So to be sure uoAvos corrects this.

If we are able to replace all the graphics with our own versions, similar but not the same, and we are able to change file extensions via CUO and the UO client data files, then our users can technically launch their servers on outlets like Steam as there won’t be any copyrights on anything you do with uoAvos and while it may piss off EA and Broadsword, they can’t do anything about it.

Sounds interesting! Is uoAvos open source? (EDIT: Never mind, I just went to your web page and found the Github repository).

Some of that sounds very much what I am working toward. Custom maps. Lots of custom art. New and improved systems. My vision is to develop a heavily RP oriented server, influenced by the single player Ultima games regarding lore, and tabletop RPGs in general (especially AD&D).

I'm going to re-do, re-balance, or scrap a lot of the existing UO systems. Over the years UO has been added onto, and added onto, over and over again, until it became like a patchwork Frankenstein monster of numerous interconnected systems. Now it's so complicated you need to research a dozen online guides just to figure basic things out. Most player characters use the same small number of optimal character builds, so no one is unique in any way. Within 1-2 weeks you can max out your characters. There is no incentive for players to adventure together.

I'm going to use a class and feats system designed to break the mold of everyone using the same, small number of character builds. Like AD&D, classes/professions will be the best at their specific skill set; but can still learn other non-class skills. Classes will be designed to be fun to play solo - but they will be most valuable playing in groups.

There will be tanks, there will be mages, but no more tank mages. No instant recall to every location on the planet - I want players to actually travel and explore the world, so magic travel will be more limited. No tamers running around with a dozen dragons - dragons will be rare, highly intelligent, and one of the most formidable creatures in the game.

I've been designing all of this for years, and I have some of it implemented. But unfortunately for me, I'm slow at coding. Not completely unskilled - just slow. I can just about always figure out how to do what I want correctly, but not as quickly as a more skilled programmer would be able to do. And right now I am a one-man show - game designer, artist, world builder, programmer. It's a lot of work. But now that I am retired I have more time to tinker with it. If nothing else, it will be a nice hobby project and allow me to improve my programming skills.

I agree, EA/Broadsword owns the game. Personally, I do this for fun, not to make any money from it. I think EA/Broadsword have been lenient on emulators and private shards due to legal challenges regarding the DCMA and how and when UO was released (they famously allowed their God client to leak on the T2A demo disc, which allowed it to be reverse engineered to create emulators, and this was all before the DCMA took effect). Hard to put that genie back into the bottle. Sure, they could still go after someone. In the past it probably wasn't worth it, private shards weren't a threat to their bottom line and suing people costs money. But if Outlands continues to grow, I won't be surprised if they get hit with a Cease and Desist letter from EA legal. I suspect they already have more online users than some of the official shards do. If that happens, it could even bleed over to ClassicUO - they could try to make the argument that ClassicUO is a tool used to connect to "illegal" private shards. Of course, C&D letters are one thing and don't really cost anything for a corporation with lawyers on retainer. Following through with a lawsuit is something else though. It might not be financially viable for them to do anything other than maintaining the status quo, re: private servers. Or so I hope!

You're right - replacing everything makes it legal. No one stole any code from EA. I'm pretty sure that file formats and game mechanics are non-copyrightable (or so I have read). So, if you're not using their code, artwork, characters, intellectual property, etc. EA would have no grounds for a lawsuit. (They could force you to remove UO from the shard name, as well as the UO logo, since they are both probably trademarked - but that's about all.)
 
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gametec

Squire
Lol actually CUO is not really something they can arguably go after since it works with RunUO and ServUO etc. it’s different from their client in so many ways. As for my logo, it’s also unique and not a copyright infringement because of the shading and pixel changes. Not to mention broken up. Yes uoAvos is open source.

Keep in mind I do not use the data folder. It was all hardcoded. To allow for things to be edited from within Visual Studio more seamlessly. I imagine that there won’t be many issues but you will have fun with uoAvos. Things to play with this far: poly3D regions and [externalregioneditor open/ close

Additionally the magic system and folder organization. The entire server is different from the layout to the code and how it all connects.