Most MUDs group rooms into "areas" or "zones". These zones are then linked together to form the MUD that you play. In fact, some zones were built many years ago and are shared on many different MUDs, sometimes with minor or major modification. For example, the "Old Thalos" area is a common area on many DIKU MUDs.
The zMUD Automapper follows this same structure by splitting your map into zones that are linked together. Each zone is stored in its own .MAP file and represents a zone or area on your MUD. While you are not forced to split your maps into zones, it makes managing the huge MUD areas easier, and prevents you from losing as much data if one of your map files is lost or corrupted.
The main reason for creating zones is to clean up and simplify the display of your maps. For example, when walking through town you might enter a mansion. This mansion has several levels, an attic and basement and consists of dozens of rooms. On the map of your town, you'd like the mansion represented by a single room. Then, when you enter that room, you "zoom in" to see all of the rooms in the mansion. By putting the mansion into a new zone, the rooms of the mansion do not get overlayed with the rooms of the town, reducing the clutter in the town map.
To create a new zone, select the room or rooms that you want to make into a zone, and select "Move Rooms to Zone" from the Edit menu. First you will get a list of all current zones in the MUD map. To move the selected rooms to an existing zone, just select the zone from the list and click OK. To move the selected rooms to a new zone, click the New Zone button. You will then be prompted for the name of the Zone. As you enter the name of the zone, a filename to store the zone map will also be created. You can accept the default zone filename or enter your own. Click OK when done and you will see the selected rooms in a new zone, linked back to the previous zone.
By default, when in Map mode, a list of all zones in the current MUD map is displayed in alphabetical order to the left of the map. To display a different zone, just click on the name of the zone in this list. You can hide this list by clicking the Hide Zones button in the upper-left corner of the map dialog. Or you can show it again with the Show Zone button.
At the same time, the current zone is shown as a tab just above the map window. You can keep your most commonly used zones in the tab list by dragging the zone name from the list on the left and dropping it onto the tab row. The current zone will always be shown as the first tab, but any zones you drag to the tab list will remain on the list until you drag them back to the zone list. Thus, you can drag your favorite zones to the tab list, then hide the master zone list to make more room for the map display window.
You can also add zones to the tab list by right-clicking the zone name in the zone list and selecting Add To Tab List. You can remove zones from the tab list by right-clicking the tab and selecting Remove From Tab List.
Zone Links are like normal links between rooms except that they span zones. By default, zone links are displayed as broken, labeled links, with the name of the destination zone as the link label. To turn off this label, select the Link properties and turn off the Display Link option.
The biggest difference between zone links and regular room links is that the two sides of a zone link exist as two separate one-way links, rather than a normal two-way link. Thus, when you delete a zone link, only the side of the link that you deleted is removed. If you go to the destination zone you will still see the other end of the link in that zone. So, to delete a zone link entirely, you must delete both ends separately.
Also, the Automapper only has one zone map in memory at any given time. So when you traverse a zone link while walking through the map, the mapper automatically assumes that the step is successful and loads the destination zone. It does this because when traversing the link the mapper doesn't know the room name or description of the destination room and cannot create the trigger that is used for safe walking. So, create your zone links in safe rooms and away from any doors that might abort normal walking.
Creating a link between two zones is as easy as creating a normal link between two rooms. In Map mode, select the Link tool in the toolbar to the left of the map. Then, click on the edge of the room that you want the link to originate from. Then, move the mouse over to the list of zones on the left of the map (if the zone list is not visible, click the Show Zones button in the upper left corner of the map window). Click on the destination zone to display it in the map window. Then move the mouse back into the map window and click on the edge of the destination room. You will then see the new zone link displayed on the map. Both ends of the zone link are created, so if this is a one-way link, you'll have to manually delete the zone link that you don't want.
Many MUDs have important locations that you want to be able to walk to no matter where they are. For example, you always want to be able to get back to the temple, your clan hall, or other starting locations. Locations such as stores, repair shops, or training rooms might also be important. You can add important rooms to the zone list by right-clicking the room on the map and selecting the "Add To Speedwalk List" command. The name of the room will be added to the zone list indented under the current zone name. To center the map on one of these important locations, just click the name of the room in the zone list: the zone will be opened and centered on the room you selected. You can also edit the name of these locations by clicking once to select, then clicking again to edit, or select Rename from the right-click menu.
To speedwalk to an important location, simply double-click the name of the room in the zone list, or select Walk To Room from the right-click menu. You cannot current speedwalk to a location in a different zone, but that feature is planned for a future version of zMUD.