Orb Environment Tutorial:
So, you’ve played through the campaigns, the skirmishes and have enjoyed the multiplayer aspect of ORB thoroughly. Now you are ready to create new worlds that you can explore, conquer and show off to all your friends!! But upon trying out the Editor you quickly realize that you have no idea how this damn thing works… right?
Well fear not, I am here!!!
ORBEditor isn’t exactly the easiest of tools when you start off, but it will quickly become second nature once you grasp the fundamentally important “CRTL-ALT-SHIFT” command key combination. The Key to solve all of your problems! Let’s start now!
Start up ORBEdit by choosing the appropriate executable in either your start menu or your ORB directory. After the initial loading you should see the typical ORB interface surrounding your view as well as a new menu bar at the top where all of ORBEdit’s options can be found.
Since this Tutorial introduces you to the environmental part of map making, establishing the actual playable area should be your first task. This will help you to choose where to put those asteroids, how big they can be and what not to put in that playable area.
At the time of this tutorial, you must create your playable area on the 2D map. Go to the 2D map view by pressing the space bar.
-Press SPACE BAR to in 2D map mode.
Once you are in 2D Map mode, open the Environment Dropdown menu by clicking on Environment. Then Click on Playable Area.
This Dialog box should appear.
Center should remain at the default value of 0-0-0
This represents where the center of the playable area will be in relation to ORB’s universe.
In the Diameter fields, enter 150000 for X, 90000 for Y and 150000 for Z. This will give you a rather small playable area, the maximum size you can give to your playable area is 500000, 150000, 500000.
Any bigger and ORB doesn’t like it too much, it might even tell you so.
Click OK after entering those numbers.
Another thing to note, if we take ORB’s world coordinates into account, Y represents height. This holds true in most cases. So if you are trying to adjust by hand the height of something, remember it’s with Y.
TIP: Another way to make a playable area is by drawing one with your mouse.
Simply Press and Hold the P key on your keyboard, and drag a box on your 2D map by pressing down on the Left mouse button and dragging away until you get the right size. But this only set the X and Z scale correctly; you will still need to adjust the Y height in the dialog box afterwards.
In your 2D map view, you should now see a green, dotted rectangle representing your playable area. Go back to the 3D view now by pressing space bar again.
Back in the 3D view, the only way you can currently see the playable are is by pressing CTRL, which brings up the grid showing you the playable area. You can also activate a Playable area “wire box” that gives you a much better idea of what you have.
Let’s do that.
In the Top menu bar, click on Other and then Click on Show Playable Area.
And voila, there should now be a green wire frame box displayed representing your playable area.
Now enough with the Playable area already!!! Let’s fill this void!
The first thing you NEED to add to your world is a source of light, a sun.
Again in the top menu bar, go into Environment and then click SUN.
Position is pretty self explanatory; it is the X/Y/Z positional value of the sun.
Light has a few more options: Color is the emitting color, Attenuation is similar to a saturation level, the lower the number, the softer and more spread out the color will be on objects, the higher it is the more the objects are tinted. Offset will offset the light itself from the actual position of the sun. If you give 4000 in the Y value, your light will actually be emitting from 4000 units above the sun’s position.
Range determines how far the rays of light will travel.
That Properties button will bring up a dialog to modify the sun’s size and image.
For this tutorial, you can just keep the default values.
You should now have something similar to the image above.
Right now, that sun is right in the middle of our world, this is fine if you want a map where the sun is an object that you wish to avoid, you could make a whole micro system with orbiting planets and such.
But for this Tutorial we will leave the Sun out of our playable area, giving us more space for crazy asteroid belts.
Now go to the 2D map mode again.
Once in the Map mode, Press and hold CTRL-SHIFT-ALT, move your mouse cursor over the sun, the press and hold down the Left mouse button. If you now move your mouse cursor you will move the sun itself, but you won’t see the sun move until you release the left mouse button.
Try moving the Sun into this position.
Once you get this done, you can save your map by going to File Save as and save your file under the name you want.
Next, let’s start putting some objects into the world.
We will now add a planet and a moon to this map. Let’s begin with the planet.
Go to Environment Mallus Planet.
Mallus planet is just a descriptive name; it could just be called “Planet 1”. You can make this planet whatever you want.
You should now see a big Dialog box like the one below.
Click on the Check box beside Malus Homeworld, and enter the name of your planet below, where I wrote “Big World.” This will be the name you see when you move your cursor over the planet.
Leave the Orbit Sun check box unchecked, we don’t want the planet to be flying inside the playable area and then back out; as it could cause some problems when playing.
Enter -1800000 in the X value for position.
This will position your planet to the left of your playable area.
The Rotation and Orientation fields are for the planet itself, you can give the planet a tilted look, and a rotation value so that it could spin along one of its axes.
Light can give your planet emissive qualities to emulate light bouncing off the planet or even crazier stuff like comets or burning planets.
Orbit speed is self explanatory; you set the speed and direction of your planets orbit through this field.
The six pull down fields at the top right of this Dialog are the texture layers you can add to your planet. Three layers with two sides each.
Where you see surface1, click the arrow head on the right, and choose PLANETB1.BMP, in surface2 do the same but choose PLANETB2.BMP. This will give your planet an earth-like look.
The other options are for adding a variety of effects like invisible planets, atmosphere color, cloud color, cloud speed and more. When used in certain situation can result in some fancy visual tricks. For now leave them at there default values.
Once you have entered the surface textures, planet position and name, Click on Create Planets.
Hmmm… that planet looks rather small, we should make it bigger!
Just go back to the Mallus Planet Dialog and click on Properties.
Our planet is scaled to 5000 right now. That’s rather small. Let crank that up to 55000.
Click on each of the scaling fields and change the number to 55000, this will give us a good size spherical planet.
You could give the planet different scaling values for X, Y or Z; this would result in a deformed sphere.
Once you are done changing the scale, just click on the OK button and then on Create Planets.
Ahhh… this is better!
Now, if you ever need to delete a planet for some reason, just uncheck the check box in the top left corner of the Planet creation window, in our case Malus Homeworld. Then press Create Planet. This will delete the planet created.
Now we have a planet, let’s add a moon!
Moons are a bit tougher to adjust since they are always offsets from the Planet’s origin, and adjusting their distance and position is done through angles and radius.
Another thing we will need to add is a new texture; right now our map has a “texture pool” with only a few planets and cloud textures - those you saw when you were adding a surface texture to your planet.
In order to get yourself a moon texture you will first need to tell ORB to load a texture into your map’s “pool” so that you can use it.
To do this you need to go to: Environment Additional Textures.
In the top drop down list, where you should see “SUN”, scroll down through the list until you find “Additional texture11”, this is a “free slot” where you can add a new texture.
In the field under Texture, write “lune1left.bmp” without the quotes.
Press OK when you’re done. Then go back one more time to the Additional Textures dialog and go to “Additional texture12”, write “lune1right.bmp” in the texture field.
Press OK again.
Now you have your textures for both sides of your moon.
If you wish to get other textures, you can load up other maps and look at the textures used by there planets and moons, then just go through the above steps to add them to your map.
We will release another tutorial with a complete list of textures and how to add your own textures.
Alright, now let’s build a moon!
Again through the top menu; go to Environment Malus Moons.
You can have up to three moons per Planet, Check Malus Moon Type 1.
Add a name of your choice where I wrote “Small Moon” Just under the Malus moon type 1 check box.
In the Orbit Radius field enter 170000, this sets the distance at which the moon is from the planet.
In Initial Orbit Angle, enter 90 in the Y field. If you look at this from the Map view, you will see that 90 degrees falls directly to the right of the Planet, 270 will put the moon to the left of the planet.
You can also add a rotational value to your moon to make it spin on itself if you wish. Put a number around 0.001 to avoid making the rotation too fast.
Leave the Light setting as they are for now.
Make sure both Interactive and Collisionnable are checked, other wise your ship will fly through your moon and you won’t be able to see it on the map.
In both Surface 1 and Surface 2, if you open their drop down list, you should find both “lune1left.bmp” and “lune1right.bmp”; those are the textures you have just added.
Give Surface 1 “lune1left.bmp” and “lune1right.bmp” to Surface 2.
In the top right corner of the Moon Dialog there is an option called Orbit Speed, this will give an orbiting speed to all of your moons. Right now, leave this at 0, since we don’t want this moon to go out of the playable area.
Before building this moon, click on properties and change its scaling to 7000 in all fields.
Click OK then click Create Moons.
A Moon similar to this one should appear.
But, the lighting seems to be off a bit; there isn’t any shading on one side…
To fix this, we need to go into the Material Dialog so that we can adjust the moon’s lighting.
In the Top menu bar again, go to Environment Material.
In the Drop down list at the top on this window scroll to: Moon 1 (Malus).
In the Ambient setting, you will notice that all the values are at 1.000; this is why our moon doesn’t have any shady parts. It sets the minimum lighting to 1.
Change the values in all Ambient fields to 0.100.
Now the shaded part of the moon should have a bit of a blue tint to it, this is due to the Emissive value of Blue, right now it’s 0.250.
Change the Emissive Blue value to 0.1. This will give an untinted look to the shaded area.
Now that looks better!
Ok, you’ve got your planet and your moon, what next?
How about an Asteroid Belt for starters, just around the moon we just made?
Save up your work by going through the File menu and we’ll start.
We will make a small, tilted asteroid belt around our moon, to do this open up the asteroid creation window by going to the top menu and clicking: Environment Asteroid Field.
At the top of this window there is a list of available bodies to orbit around, you should have a choice between the Sun, Mallus and Moon 1.
Click the Moon 1 button.
Where new asteroid group is written is where you can give a name to your belt, you first need to create the asteroid belt, then return to the asteroid field creation window and just change that name to whatever you wish. You should get used to naming your belts otherwise it can become rather confusing when you have many.
Right under the new asteroid group field is a sliding bar with a number beside it.
That is the amount of asteroids that are in your belt, by default that number is 200.
Since we want a small belt, put 38 as the amount of asteroids.
Right under the asteroid amount field is the Orbit check box and orbit options.
Relative orbit: makes the asteroid belt spin in accordance to rotational value of the body it orbits around. Example: Your moon has some rotational value on it, if you check relative orbit, the asteroid belt will also spin as your moon rotates, even if you didn’t give any orbit speed to your belt.
Even Spread: This will spread out the asteroids in even patches on the belt. This can prevent any “clumping” in your belt; every one has its place.
Check Orbit if it isn’t checked, but leave the two other options unchecked.
Next is Min Orbit, this lets you set the minimum orbit of your belt. By default it’s pretty large, 135000. That’s just too big for our map, change that to 31000 instead.
Plane Span: This adds height in a way to your belt. If the Plane Span is at zero, all the asteroids will be on the same “level”, the bigger the value you give to Plane Span the more the belt will “wrap around” it’s orbiting reference. This way you can have a sphere of asteroids with a planet in the middle.
For now, leave Plane Span at its default value.
Plane Angle X and Plane Angle Y: These are the two fields you will need to use to give an angle to your belt. First try adjusting the X plane, other wise you might not notice any change initially.
In the Plane Angle X field, put 23.00.
Then in the Plane Angle Y field, put 60.00.
Tracking Distance: This will increase the distance between asteroids in belts. Use it when you want to make sure no asteroids overlap.
Speed: This one is easy…it’s the speed at which the belt orbits. By default it is set to 0.250. You can leave it at that or you can try to make it faster, but if those asteroids are suppose to have mines on them, make sure they don’t go too fast or your ships will have trouble harvesting from them.
Mist Id: This is dust ring that appears with belts, you can adjust its color. By default this dust ring has a light blue color. Press on Material if you wish to change its color.
Num Per Orbital Track Min: This is the minimum amount of asteroids that will go on one track of your belt. Right now it’s set to 8, which is good for most cases, but you can increase it if you make a really big asteroid belt.
Our Belt is small, so 8 is fine.
Num Per Orbital Track Max: The same as before, but this time it’s for the maximum amount of asteroids. By default it is set to 28.
Set the Num Per Orbital Track Max to 12.
Then way down, passed all the disabled Min and Max options you will find Scale Min and Scale Max.
These are used to set the size of your asteroids. The default min is 6.5, which is perfect for our belt. But the Max is too big. Reduce Scale Max to 7.5.
To set the amount of resource asteroids in your belt, you must adjust the Percentage found in the Ressources section.
Set the percentage amount to 0.04, this should give you one resource asteroid only.
The Min and the Max are the amount of resources in each asteroid, Min 10000 and Max 100000 by default. You can set the amount as you wish.
Rotation, found just under the Ressources section, is used to adjust the rotation of each asteroid in your belt. By default, only Y has a value given of 0.05. This can be left the way it is. Don’t add too much speed to them or else you will have some problems harvesting the mines.
Make sure Both Collisions and Interactive are checked or else ships will fly through the asteroids.
I think that’s it for the Asteroid belt, we will talk about this window more in detail later, but for now lets finish this map!
Click Create Asteroids now.
Your belt might look similar to this now.
I adjusted the lighting of the asteroids; they had too much blue in my opinion. You can also adjust the asteroids by following the same steps you took to modify the Moon’s lighting. You can play around with the Specular if you wish to add shine to those rocks.
Well, now we have a nice little belt around our moon, but if you look at the playable area in 3D (with show playable area enabled) it still has a lot of empty space that we could “spice up”. Adding another belt would be too big and end up going outside of the playable area. There is nothing wrong with asteroids going outside playable area, but you won’t be able to interact with those asteroids.
So let’s first build some asteroid clusters.
Asteroid clusters are more “flexible” then belts, you can place them in any way you want but they are static, apart from rotating, they do not move.
First, make sure you are in 2D map mode.
Go to Environments Asteroid Field again.
Click on the New button. Once you build one asteroid belt or cluster, you need to tell ORB that you want to build another one.
In the Amount field, enter 10. We give our cluster such a small amount because this represents the amount of asteroids per segment of our string. Each segment will have 10 asteroids by default. You can have several segments.
Uncheck the orbit button.
Set the Max scale to 7.5 like in our belt.
In the String width field, found just under the Asteroid String button, enter 25000.
You can turn off randomize, it is mainly used for belts in multiplayer or skirmish games. This randomizes the belt so that the resource asteroids aren’t always at the same place.
Now go click the Asteroid String button.
A window like the one above should now appear but without all the markers that you see here. This is the string creation window that lets you place segments for your asteroids, determine the amount per segment and how spread out they are.
To place segment markers, press and hold CTRL-SHIFT-ALT and double left click in the 2D map view where you want your asteroid string to start. You need at least two markers placed on the map to build a segment where you asteroids will be placed.
Continue redoing the above steps until you have a set of markers similar to the image below.
Once you have set all your markers, double click on Marker 2 in your Asteroid String window.
This Group Properties Dialog box should appear.
Number lets you change the amount of asteroids in the segment.
Width is how far the asteroids will spread away from the original string it self
You can adjust the segments individually this way and even create a wave like pattern in the asteroid string by adjusting the width (short – big – short…)
Press OK to go back to the Asteroid String window; you can adjust the other markers if you wish. Do not close the Asteroid String window right now.
Back in the Asteroid String Window…
Move Up and Move Down will change the order of your markers affecting the look of the string. You can leave the markers as they are for now.
Delete will remove a marker, just need to choose the marker you want to remove and then click that button.
Now go into 3D view, do not press OK on the Asteroid string Window for now.
Once you are in the 3D view, you should see a doted line representing your string.
Press CRTL to see the string’s markers. You can adjust the height of the markers by moving your cursor over one of them, holding down the right mouse button and dragging up or down.
Go ahead and try to make you string look similar to the image below. Hard to see in a picture but I tried to make my string “tilted” in the opposite direction of the belt.
You can also adjust the location of the markers in 3D view by pressing CRTL, holding down the left mouse button and dragging around.
Once you are done adjusting your markers, press OK in the Asteroid String window to build the asteroids.
The result might look similar to the image above. I also moved some of the asteroids in the string so that they would be a bit more dispersed and would occupy more of the empty space, you can also take this time to better place the resource asteroids in the cluster.
Only “Static” asteroids made with the asteroid string tool can be moved around. The ones in the belt are tied to an orbiting path that ORB has calculated.
To move an asteroid from your string press CTRL-SHIFT-ALT, hold down the left mouse button while your cursor is over an asteroid and drag it around. You can also adjust the Height by holding down the right mouse button while you still have the left button held down. Seems rather complex, but after doing this a couple of times you won’t even have to think about it any more.
If you wish to delete asteroids there is quite a few options you can take.
If you want to delete a belt or a group of asteroids, you can go to the Asteroid Field creation window, select the group of asteroids from the drop down list, the same list where you gave your belt a name, and then press Delete from the buttons.
The other way to delete unwanted asteroids is to simply select them by either left clicking on one or area selecting a bunch with a bounding box around the asteroids and then pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.
You can customize your asteroids even further by holding down CTRL-ALT-SHIFT again and double right clicking an asteroid.
A window like the one above should have just appeared; this is the stats of the asteroid in question.
Current Type: This field here shows the current model of the asteroid, in my case it’s an AST3 type asteroid.
Owner: Who owns the asteroid, this field is empty when it’s a normal asteroid but an owner appears when the asteroid is a mine or a base. You can set which player owns the mine or base here.
New Type: This drop down list gives you access to all the types of asteroids available, you can then change the type to one that you want. AST1 to AST4 are standard asteroids and AST1R to AST4R are resource asteroids. Bases follow a slightly different naming.
BASE1 this part means it a Malus base with an asteroid model type 1.
L1 This means a level 1 base, a mine.
L2 Repair base
L3 Military facility
EBASE This is the naming convention for Alyssian bases.
So EBASE1L1 is an Alyssian mine using asteroid type 1.
BASE4L3 is a Malus military facility using asteroid Type 4.
The other types are specials, we will be giving a detailed tutorial on their abilities soon enough.
Debris Field: pretty self explained it’s a field of debris! But there is a whole new window for those. We will go into that after were finished with our asteroid stats.
Name: This one is the internal name of the asteroid. It is useful for attaching a script to a base or a zone that you want to track a certain asteroid. For now you shouldn’t worry about the name.
Scaling: the size of the asteroid
Orientation: angle position of the asteroid.
Rotation: in what direction and how fast the asteroid is spinning.
Resources: how many RUs are in the asteroid.
The three remaining check box properties as the same as before, with the new addition of “can be attacked.” And if you’re thinking of turning off collisions for all asteroids outside playable area, don’t worry about it, ORB takes care of that.
Now if you want to add a few resource asteroids to your map, go ahead! Once you’re done with your modification just click apply and it’s set. Next we will do a debris field.
Debris fields can be done two ways. One is opening the “misc” brush palette and putting them on your map one by one… and doing ALOT of trial and error trying to figure out which debris is which.
The other way that is slightly less troublesome but also much less flexible is turning an asteroid into a debris field. This is faster but you cannot place each piece where you want. Once generated, it’s there for good.
We are going to be changing an asteroid into a debris field for now. Choose an asteroid you would like to transform in a debris field then press CTRL-SHIFT-ALT and double right click on it. In the New Type drop down list choose Debris Field and press Apply.
The Debris Selection window should appear.
In this window you can set: what type of debris in your field, the density, give a rotational value to the cluster, its parts and put gas puffs in the field.
You will find three buttons at the top of this window: Random, Fill and Selection. Click on Selection. With this you can select the pieces, amount and percentage.
From the list on the left, choose carg1, cshp2, dstr1 and carg2. Click on the simple arrow head pointing at the right list box, not the double arrowhead. You should see all the pieces you chose appear on the list.
The double arrow head would have taken all piece from the left list and placed them on the right.
If you double click on one of the pieces in the right list box you should see a new dialog box appear, this is where you can adjust the Amount of pieces and the Percentage in relation to the maximum number or debris in the field.
You can set:
carg1 to 4 – 0.3
cshp2 to 3 – 0.2
dstr1 to 3 – 0.2
carg2 to 4 - 0.3
Cluster Rotation: This will give the whole debris field a rotational value.
I entered 0.004 in X and 0.004 in Y.
Cluster Part Rot. : This will give each piece of debris some rotation.
I entered 0.002 in all fields.
Cluster Density: This will place the pieces closer together or farther apart depending on the density setting. I chose Medium.
Gas Density: This is to add gas “bubbles” to your cluster. I set the gas to None, cause this isn’t a fresh made cluster, it was here for a while… right? Yeah!
Uncheck Has Resources, as its not used right now.
Now you should be good to go. Just press OK to build the debris field.
Something similar to this image should appear.
Now we have most of the environment done; the planet, moon, asteroid belt, asteroid cluster and debris field are all there. What next?
Well we could add some relics, a star field and a nebula fog. Let’s get a star field up.
In the top menu, go back to Environment Starfield.
The Create Starfield window should now appear, you shouldn’t need to change any thing here apart from the total amount of stars in the field, the 650 number at the top.
Each star has an amount field, a size field and image file field. The default size for each star are enough for this test map, but feel free to explore if you wish.
The one thing that you should watch for is the total amount of stars, it shouldn’t go above 600. Otherwise it becomes very resource heavy for the computer. Keeping it low will prevent any problem. 600 is already enough in truth, since it’s 3 “layers” of 600 stars or 1800 in other words.
Now make sure the amount of stars is 600 in the field beside the scroll bar at the top.
Alright, we got some stars; now let’s add some nebula effects to the background.
First go again to Environment Fog.
A small window like this one on the right should appear.
The options in this window should be left as is; they will be explained in detail in a future tutorial for these features.
In the mean time, you should at least know that orientation adjusts the angle position of the fog sphere. The nebula effect is like a giant sphere with the player’s camera inside, changing these values would rotate the fog image.
There already is a nebula image by default, but we are going to use another one.
Click on the Properties button in the window.
By default, you should see “FOGSPHERE5.pod” in the Pod section of this window. Try changing file name to “FOGSPHERE3.pod”, leave the scaling as it is right now.
You do not need to update the texture file name in the Texture section. It will be updated as soon as you press Apply.
When you have changed the Pod name, go ahead and press Apply.
Back in the fog window you can now simply press Create Fog.
You probably have something like this. A bit loud and bright, it doesn’t seem to work well with the lighting of the asteroids. You can change this quite drastically with the material window.
Go into Environment Material and then find Fog in the drop down list.
This is the “middle ring” of the fog sphere; there is also a “top” and “bottom”.
In Fog enter these values for emissive:
Press Apply, the color of the fog should now be darker and green.
Then go to Fog Top, enter these values in emissive.
Press Apply again and then press OK.
The overall look now seems softer and more moody.
There isn’t much more we can add, unless you want to drop a few ships for players on the map.
In that case, go to the top menu bar go Click Units Brushpallette or press F7.
A Window similar to this one should appear, you can change your race selection by using the drop down list at the top.
To place a unit a on your map, left click on the unit in the brush palette. Now while the Brush pallet is open, hold down CTRL-SHIFT-ALT and double left click on the map.
You now gave a ship to the currently active player.
If you want to give ships to other players, you can change the active player by either pressing Q on your keyboard or by selecting another player in the Player menu.
Adding starting player positions and adjusting game settings…
To add player start positions you must first make sure you are in the 2D map view.
Once in 2D map view, go to Environment Game Settings.
Now every time you wish to add a new player start position just click on Add, hold CTRL-SHIFT-ALT and double left click at the location you wish to add starting positions.
To add another starting point you will need to click on Add again before double clicking somewhere on the map again.
This is how I placed my starting points in relation to my resource asteroids.
If you need to modify the position of one of your Locations you just need to double click on it in the Start Location list.
Set game type to No Portal Carrier, this will just give each player a carrier to build and harvest from.
There are 3 other game modes you could choose: Single is for campaign type maps. Carrier is similar to the one you chose but with a portal included to build Capital ships. In Spaceport you must first build the spaceports manually. Then it will assign player appropriately. Finally Infrastructure will let you set up how the player starts, his resources, his limit in tech etc… but it currently only works in skirmish mode maps.
The Randomize check box is used for asteroid belts in which you have checked the random option. This will recreate your belt each time the map is played. This should be functioning if your patches are current.
The Objectives and Description button will let you write a brief description of what your map is and set Objectives for the player. No triggers are associated with this, it’s only text.
Max SU from Bases: This lets you adjust the amount of SU the player gets when he upgrades his mines up to Military facility.
Map Fog Properties: This sets a background image for you 2D map view; it’s relatively easy to find out what image you must use. Just go to the Fog window, press the Properties button and copy the image file found at the right on the Pod field.
In our case it should be NEB-3B.BMP.
And with this, our map is complete!
You now simply have to save the file under the name you want and place it in the root of the scenario folder under bin/orbdata/scenarios.
Feel free to visit our scenario editor forum for other questions and requests.