Initial Map Creation
In this example, we are creating a Temple area. So, first we create a
standard zMUD map (in zMapper, not in zMUD). The procedure of creating
this map is much like in zMUD. You can click on the Add Room tool in the
toolbar, then click on the map where you want the room created. You can
drag and drop the room to move it around, with either a grid-snap turned on or
off. In this case, I've got the grid-snap turned on so that each room lines
To create connecting rooms, I can drop another room on the map, then click on
the Add Link tool and create the link between the rooms. Or, like in zMUD,
I can turn on the "keyboard creation" option, then use the number-pad
to create rooms as I move around. So, first I dropped the left-most
room. Then I pressed '6' on the number-pad to create a linked room to the
east. Then I pressed '8' to create a room to the north, then pressed '2'
to move back to the previous room to the south, then pressed '2' again to create
a new room south. Then, to finish, I pressed: 8, 6, 8, 2, 2, 8, 6, 6.
Opening the room properties window, I then entered a name for each room. The
room on the left, with the blue "current location" marker in it, is the
"Outside the Temple" room. The next room to the right is
"Temple Entrance", with the room to the north the "Closet"
and the room to the south the "Reception Room". Next, to the
east is the "Inside Temple" room, with the "Donation Room"
to the north, and the "Healing Room" to the south. Next, to the
east is the "Altar", and finally to the east again is the
I then right-clicked a couple of the links to add the doors. For the
door to the vault, I went into the room properties and selected the
"Locked" property of the door.
The resulting map is shown below. All of this can currently be done in
zMUD. This is a fully functional MUD map that can be loaded into zMUD.
Changing the Room Size
OK, now it's time to customize the map using the features unique to zMapper.
First, we want to change the size of the rooms to eliminate the display of the
links between the rooms. NOTE: We are not deleting the links...we are
simply moving the rooms close together so that the links don't get drawn.
To resize a room, we right-click the room and select Resize, or we Ctrl-Click
on the room. In the picture, we have Ctrl-clicked on the Vault (the
right-most room) to display the resize handles.
Note that rooms can have any rectangular shape at this point. Even
though the lines linking the rooms together are no longer shown, the doors are
still correctly shown.
Editing the Room Shape
Now that we've defined the basic shape of the rooms, we can now assign a
detailed shape to each room using the Shape Editor. This is where is gets
really cool! The shape for a room can be *anything*. The Shape
Editor is similar to the drawing tools in the Microsoft Office programs.
You can add lines, rectangles, circles, polygons, etc. You can change fill
colors, line colors, line widths, fonts, etc.
To change a room shape, you simply double-click on it. That loads the
current shape into the shape editor. You can then start adding objects to
the shape however you want. You can turn on or off the "Default
Drawing" option for each room. This controls whether the normal gray
box is drawn for the room. In this example, we have turned off the Default
Drawing for each room so that we can completely customize the look of each room.
In the "Outside the Temple" we add some stairs, a couple of
benches, and a couple of green trees (simple circles for now). In the
"Temple Entrance" we add some columns and a raised fountain
area. Then, the "Inside the Temple" gets some columns and a
bunch of pews. The "Altar" gets some steps and an altar, and we
add various items to all of the other rooms.
Here is the completed map (took about 10 minutes to create all the shapes)
with the final "Vault" room selected. Notice that when a room is
selected, the entire shape turns red.
We have also put the Current Location marker in the Vault room (the blue
circle). You can
still move around the map using the keypad, just like with the original zMUD
map. As you move from room to room, the entire room turns red just like
the Vault room above.
The Shape Editor
To see what the actual Shape Editor looks like, we double-click on the Vault
Notice that the right-side of the screen looks like most common graphics
editors. In this case, we have clicked on one of the boxes on the
screen. To the left of the shape window is the raw "dump" of the
Windows Meta File that is used to represent this shape. The
"Rectangle" object is highlighted and we can see it's
properties. Notice that there is a Pen object above the rectangle...that
defines the pen used for drawing this rectangle. We can manually edit the
numeric values like Left, Top, Right, Bottom, or we can just drag and drop the
selection points on the graphical map on the right. So, you can use the
editor just like a normal interactive graphics editor, using the mouse, or you
can dig into the fine detail of the raw numerical data and edit that.
For example, the current version of the Shape Editor doesn't have any
graphical way to change the width of the pen. So, to get the wide lines
around the outside of the room, we had to click on the CreatePen object for the
line and edit the Width parameter manually.
Since the Shape Editor uses the Windows Enhanced Metafile standard, you can
actually create your shape in *any* graphics program, then just Copy and Paste
it into the zMapper Shape Editor. So, even though the Shape Editor doesn't
have fancy tools (yet) for gradient fills or other functions, you can still
create those shapes elsewhere and paste them into zMapper. The
possibilities are endless!
Along the top of the window is the normal Windows menu, then the Font
selector for text objects, then the Font Color, Line Color, and Fill Color
controls for interactively selecting colors. The rectangle we have
currently selected has a Fill Color of "None" to make it
transparent. After the color selectors comes the "Default
Drawing" toggle button, and finally the "Apply Changes"
button. When you click Apply Changes (or close the window), any changes
you have made to the room are displayed back on the main map.
The toolbar in the center of the window is for selecting the drawing
tools. The top tool is the "Selection" tool for selecting
objects by clicking on them. The next tool is the Area selection, which
allows you to select multiple objects, or to draw a selection box that you can
clip the image to. The next tool is the Line tool, then the Rectangle
tool, then the Polygon/Polyline tool, then the circle tool. More tools
will be added to the Shape Editor before it ships.
The main zMapper window
Let's go back to the main zMapper window. Here is the entire window
with the completed map loaded:
Looks a lot like the zMUD mapper, doesn't it! In fact, it shares a lot
of code with zMUD. The display routines are identical, so this map will
look exactly the same when loaded into the zMUD mapper window. The
difference is that you can only edit the shapes, room size, etc when in zMapper.
In zMUD you can move around the map, and even drag rooms to a new position, but
you can't edit any of the details.
I hope this gives you a better idea what zMapper is all about and should give
you a basic understanding of how you can enhance zMUD maps using zMapper, or how
you can create detailed maps of anything you want from scratch.