Wednesday, April 25

Warcraft III World Editor-Visibility

The Warcraft III World Editor is a fascinating tool. I personally love using it and have spent many, many hours creating maps, or mods. I generally create hero style maps, where each player takes control of a single unit to fight with or against the other players. The interesting thing about this type of map is the issue of visibility and attack. I've been wanting to do a feature on this for a while, and now I am. So here is a rundown of all the visibility and attack things that need to be balanced for this type of mod.There are a number of things you need to note for the map in general and for each unit.

List Get! With, accompanying images. Please not the differences between each screen capture, including the lists of what is and is not present in each.
  • black mask
    • this causes everything not within player visibility to be black until explored.
  • fog of war
    • enabling fog causes areas already explored to disappear in window and in the minimap when a player unit is no longer present.
Notice how the explored area around the unit shows the ground, but no units. The black masked area to the left does not even show the ground.
  • camera distance
    • this sets the distance or heigth of the camera, other modifiers can also affect it.
  • sight radius-day, night
    • this is how far a given unit can see. 100 is very small. 1000 is rather large.
  • acquisition range
    • this is the distance a unit must be from an enemy unit to "acquire" it as a target. Units cannot auto-attack other units until they have come within their acquisition range. Even if the attack range (see below) is higher, a unit will not attack an enemy unless it is within the acquisition range.
  • attack-range
    • this is the distance a unit must be from an enemy unit to attack it. In game, when hovering over the attack type icon of a unit, the "Range" is actually the least range available to that unit. Whichever is lower, acquisition or attack is the number that will show. Also, a unit will not attack another unit that is either in a black mask or in an area covered in fog of war.
  • minimum attack range
    • this is the area immediately surrounding a unit that an enemy must be outside of to attack it. I frequently use this for ranged units, like archers. They have a far attack range, say 1000, but cannot units attack within a range of 200 or so around themselves.
  • cooldown time
    • this is the amount of time that must be pass before a unit can attack again. A low cooldown means a unit can attack very rapidly. A high cooldown means a unit must wait a while before it can attack a second time.

You can also limit the camera bounds so the player cannot pan it, and get rid of the minimap, so the player can only click in window. This creates for very restricted gameplay. I attempted to use this method in one of my games once, but it turned out to be too limiting. The most difficult part of any hero-type game is balancing all of these aspects, especially if there are multiple unit types. Tomorrow I'll post on the newest mod I've been making that deals with this issue.

Which types of Warcraft III mods are your favorite, and why?
Have you played a mod where the balance of these aspects of visibility and combat range was off, or dead on?

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