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****The Red Alert Terrain Editor - Basic Tricks and Tips****

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I. TERRAIN EDITOR BASICS
 
1. Map Size and Terrain Type
 
You may choose from four different sizes when creating a multi-player
map: 64 x 64, 96 x 96, 126 x 64,  and 64 x 126.  These sizes are expressed
in cells.  A cell is the smallest unit of measurement used for map  creation
and is a square region large enough to fit one vehicle.  When you start the
program, the terrain  editor defaults to a 96 x 96 map.
 
To change the map size, click the Options tab at the top of the screen to
get to the Game Options menu.   From there, select Modify Map Info.  Both
map size and terrain type (snow or temperate) can then be  selected.  When
changing the size of an existing map to a smaller size, be aware that the
edges may be  clipped.  The terrain editor ensures that the center of the
current map will be centered in the new size you  pick.


2. Laying Down Territory
 
The main editing screen is broken down into two sections: the Side Bar and
the Edit Field.  The Edit Field  displays the map as the players would see
it in the game.  This is also the canvas on which you place the  terrain
tiles to build your map.  When you start the program, the terrain is clear
and flat.
 
To add features, move the button over one of the basic land tile buttons
(Land, Ore, Gem or Water) or the  terrain tile displayed in the Tile View
Panel.  Once the mouse cursor is over the desired tile, click the left
mouse button to pick up the tile and place it on the "brush".  The mouse
cursor will turn into a paint brush  to denote you are now in paint mode.
Then, move the brush over the Edit Field and click the left mouse  button
again to place the tile.
 
Until you click the right mouse button or select another tile, the selected
tile will stay on the brush.  Each  time you click the left mouse button,
you will place down a tile.  This allows you to put down several tiles
in short order.  If you hold the left mouse button down and move the cursor
around, you can effectively  paint with the tile.  Note that tiles that are
larger than 1x1 will smear if painted this way.
 
 
3. Different Type of Terrain
 
In addition to the four basic land tiles, there are additional terrain
tiles which have been grouped into six  types: Shore, River, Road, Ridges,
Trees, and Debris.  Left-clicking on one of these terrain selection buttons
will bring up that type of tile in the Tile View Panel (you can
alternatively use the PgUp and PgDn keys to  move between them).  Clicking
on the scroll buttons (or pressing the left or right arrow key) will allow
you  to scroll through all the various tiles of this type.
 
The Sizing Grid, displayed in the Tile View Panel, shows the exact dimensions
of the currently selected tile.   This represents how many cells the tile
will take up and in what type of configuration.  The four basic land  tiles
(Land, Ore, Gems and Water) each take up one cell of grid space.
 
 
4. The Page View Screen
 
Clicking on the Page View button (located on the bottom of the edit menu;
second button from the right)  activates Page View mode and brings up a full
screen version of the Tile View panel.  Using this mode, you  can choose
from multiple tiles on the screen at once.  This is very convenient when you
are searching for a  tile and having difficulty finding it.  Clicking on the
scroll buttons allows you to move through the different  pages of tiles, and
selecting one of the terrain type buttons will switch to that type of
terrain. Once you have  located the tile you are looking for, simply left
click on it.  This will close the Page View screen and put you  in paint
mode with the tile you selected.
 
 
5. Erasing Tiles
 
The terrain editor doesn't really have an erase command.  To "erase" tiles,
you really need to overwrite them  with other tiles.  You can do this with
the paint mode or using the Select and Fill Mode described below.
 

6. Passable Terrain
 
A Passable Filter button has been included to help you determine which cells
are passable and which ones  aren't.  Due to the irregular shape of some of
the tiles, sometimes it's hard to see whether a clear path exists  between
them.  Clicking on the Passable Filter button will highlight in red any
cells which are impassable to  ground based units.  It is generally
advisable to make openings in ridges at least two cells wide.  Otherwise,
you may find that traffic backs up while units try to maneuver their way
through them.
 
7. Flags
 
Flags are used to mark the different starting locations for the players when
the map is played.  Only one of  each color flag can be placed.  (If you
place a flag when one of that color already exists, the old flag will be
moved to the new location.)  There are eight different color flags, each
signifying one of the eight starting  positions on the map.
 
It is important to place all eight flags on the map.  If there are not eight
starting locations on the map, Red  Alert will pick random locations for the
missing ones.  Players are then randomly distributed among the  eight
locations.  Note that flag colors are used to signify different starting
locations, but do not indicate  which player will be placed at that location.
 
 
8. Money Counter
 
The money counter, at the top of the screen, keeps track of how much money
in Ore and Gems has been  placed on the map.  It will increase as more Ore
and Gems are placed down, and decrease if they are erased.   Use this to
balance the economics of your map.
 
 
II. NAVIGATING IN THE EDITOR
 

1. Radar View
 
The radar view displays the map at a smaller scale allowing you to see more
of it.  The zoom box (the red  cornered box) shows which part of the map is
currently displayed in the Edit Field.
 
When the mouse cursor moves over the Radar View, the mouse changes to a
white box to signify that  clicking will change the position you are viewing
in the Edit View.  Clicking the left mouse button will  center the field on
the area contained within the white box.  Clicking on the right mouse button
zooms the  radar image in and out.
 
 
2. Selecting and Filling Areas
 
To select an area, first make sure that you are not in paint mode.  If you
are in "brush" mode, right click to  cancel it.  Once you are not in "brush"
mode, click and hold the left mouse button and "drag" the mouse  cursor to
encompass the area you want selected. Selected areas are highlighted in a
yellow box.  To  "unselect" the area, click the right mouse button outside
the selected region. Right clicking inside the  selected region will bring
up the Edit Menu (see below).
 
When an area is selected, clicking on any of the four basic tile buttons
will fill that area with the selected  type of tile.  This is extremely
useful for erasing large portions of the map and quickly laying down Ore,
Gems, and Water.
 
 
3. The Edit Menu
 
Right clicking within the selected region will bring up the Edit Menu.
The Edit Menu supports four  commands: Copy, Paste, Paste Clip and Unselect. 
 
     Copy

     Selecting the Copy button will copy the selected area to the clipboard.
     This area may then be pasted down  with the Paste or Paste Clip
     commands.

     Paste

     Paste places the area in the clipboard (put there with the Copy
     command) in the selected area.  If the  selected area is not as large
     as the area you copied, it will be pasted outside the boundaries of the
     selected  area.  The upper left corner is the common anchoring point
     between the selected area and the area to be  pasted.

     Paste Clip

     Paste Clip works similarly to the Paste command, except that if the
     selected area is smaller than the area  you copied, it will be clipped
     to fit within the selected area.  For example, if a 3x3 area is copied
     and you attempt to Paste Clip into a 1x1 area, only the upper left
     corner of the 3x3 area will be pasted.

     Unselect

     Unselect is an alternative method to unselect the selected region.
     This is provided in case you accidentally  right clicked within the
     selected region, when you meant to click outside it.

 
III. EDITOR OPTIONS
                                                                                               
Click the Options tab at the top of the screen to get to the Options Screen.  From here your maps can be  loaded, saved and
deleted.  In addition, you can select New Map or Modify Map Info. 
 
     New Map

     Selecting the New Map command will bring up a pop-up dialog which
     allows you to choose the size and  terrain set you want the new map to
     use.  If you have unsaved changes, you will be warned before you are
     allowed to create a new map.

     Load, Save and Delete Map

     These commands work very similarly to the Load, Save and Delete
     commands used within Red Alert.  File  names may be up to forty
     characters in length.

     Modify Map Info

     Selecting the Modify Map Info button allows you to change the size
     and terrain type of the map you are  currently editing.  Changing the
     terrain type does not affect the map data, it only changes its
     appearance.  When changing the size of an existing map to a smaller
     size, be aware that the edges will be clipped.  The  terrain editor
     ensures that the center of the current map will be centered in the
     new size you pick.

 
IV. TIPS FOR MAP CREATION
                                                                                               

1. Have a theme in mind when you start your map 

Is this going to be a water-heavy map? Land-only? What do you want the
players to be doing most of the  time? Defending? Scouting? Naval combat?
Deciding on the theme of the map that you want to create helps  a lot in
defining its terrain and the placement of players and ore. Always go into a
map with an idea in mind,  otherwise your map will lose focus, and you won't
get what you intended - although sometimes that can be the best thing to
happen to your map! Many cool maps have arisen from trying something
unusual that you  didn't intend in the first place.


2. Always try and leave space for units to move freely.

Bottlenecks are fine, but try and keep your narrowest areas at least 4 or
5 cells wide. Otherwise, large  amounts of units wont be able to get
through certain locations, causing them to try and find another way to
the target, which usually takes them somewhere you don't want them to go.
Use the Passable/Blocked tab to  see where you've got bottlenecks and make
sure they're wide enough to accommodate the forces that will  be moving
through them.


3. Conflict is what it's all about.

Start the player with a small patch of ore near them, then make them put
their ore trucks at risk by moving  larger ore patches further and further
from their bases. Remember, one goal is to force the players into conflict
over money, and if all the nearby ore is in one place, you can be sure there
will be a fight for control of it.

  
4. Bridges are cool, but dont rely on them. 

Since any bridge can be destroyed, when designing the map make sure that you
consider all bridges to be  destroyed and thus unusable the minute that the
game begins. This way, you won't rely on them for access  to other islands
or areas of the map. Be sure theres always another way to get around,
unless the theme of the map intentionally calls for blocked off areas. 


5. Use Skirmish as a test-bed. 

The AI in skirmish builds rapidly and uses a lot of units. Play against the
computer on your map several times, and look for places that you or the
computer gets slowed down. Sometimes these slow-downs can be remedied by
widening passes, removing trees, or changing the starting flag position. 

 
6. Balance the map. 

The coolest maps are those that are balanced, but not symmetrical. The more
natural and different each part  of the terrain is, the more interesting the
map is to play on. Also, consider the placement of the players when  making
the map. If the player has multiple ways into their base and not a lot of
natural defense, give them a  bit more money to get started with. If the
player is in a position that is easily defensible, make them go  farther
(thus putting themselves more at risk) for ore and gems. 

  
7. Don't fill the map with ore. 

Unless you're purposely trying to make a map that's just all ore, don't
overdo the placement and amount of ore. Remember, you want the game to
eventually end! When the money runs out, the only thing left to do is  fight
with whatever you've got left. Limiting money is a good way to bring a game
to closure. Use gems to  your advantage too. Since they're worth twice as
much, but don't grow or spread, you can make little  treasure areas for
players to fight over. Usually, a player will take the risk to go after gems
as opposed to ore, simply because they want more money faster. 

      
8. Don't overuse trees. 

Trees can add a lot of character to a map, but dont clump too many of them
together or you could see a performance hit when playing the game. Instead,
use cliffs, rocks, and other tiles that block the cell. A basic rule to
follow is that if you notice the editor slowing down when you scroll over a
densely forested section of the map, you're going to see the game suffer
the same way.

  
9. Keep the abilities of the sides in mind when creating. 

Since you know where the players are going to start, you can get a good idea
how each side will use the  space you provide them to build on. Try to
provide multiple strategies for a certain location that the player  can use
to defend and attack with. For example, even a small water area by a
starting location can provide  enough room to allow the Allies to build
cruisers to use for defense of their base. Even if theyre land- locked,
this allows players more opportunities for strategy. 

  
10. Always have another way in. 

Although its tactically ideal to have a location with only one way in or
out, design flaws into the terrain that  allows players multiple ways into
each other's bases. This makes everyone spread their defenses around  their
weak points, thus allowing more room for sneak attacks and assaults. It also
adds a bit more  uncertainty to where to place defenses and critical
structures - the enemy could attack from any number of directions!

 
11. Use shore pieces to advantage.  

On water-heavy maps, use shore pieces to your advantage - they are the only
places that transports can be loaded and unloaded. Keep this in mind when
you're making a map that is primarily islands - players will  have to land
in certain areas, thus you can design the terrain and place players
accordingly.

 
12. Never block off areas completely.  

If you're making a map of just islands, then you don't need to worry about
this, but if the map is primarily land-based, be sure you leave areas for
units to get around natural hazards. Never seal a player into an area that
forces them to use one certain tactic to get out of what they're now
trapped in.

 
13. Be an artist   

Although this is more for cosmetic sake, make your cliff lines, shore lines,
and rivers actually match up. Pay attention to the shadow lines on the ridge
pieces and don't use a piece that isn't intended to be used there.  When
using shore pieces, sometimes switching to cliff line and back again can
solve spacing problems that  may arise from starting a shoreline from two
different ends at the same time. The amount of time you spend making the map
look as cool as it plays does come across to other players. It shows an
understanding and dedication to making the map as cool as you possibly could. 

       
14. Refine, refine, refine!  

Chances are, the first time youre done with a map, it wont be perfect.
Play with elements of it (ore  placement, cliff lines, starting points,
etc.) until you get something that will work better. The more time you
spend with a map, the more ways for improvement you'll see for it.




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