Create Your Own Co-Op Mission: For Beginners

Co-op Missions Discussion
Contest Announcement: http://us.battle.net/arcade/en/blog/20474279/announcing-rock-the-cabinet-2017-co-op-edition-1-12-2017
This time around, we’re challenging our talented map-making community to create, test, and polish their very own Co-op Mission. If you take first place, we’ll incorporate your winning entry into an all-new Co-op Mission that anyone will be able to play.

Deadline: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Guidelines: https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/page_media/zp/ZPN73K3CRCXB1484106920325.pdf

Sounds cool, but what if you have a great mission idea and you have no idea how to use the editor? No problem -- this tutorial will teach you all you need to know to make your own co-op mission.

If you make a mission using this tutorial, let me know! I'd love to see what you've created using it, and I'll spotlight your mission in the post below.

This tutorial and the template map have more content planned

Even if you don't need a tutorial, consider checking out my template map. My Template map offers:

  • Fully functional triggers for each existing co-op mission
  • These can be easily adapted to be different missions
    • You could change Oblivion Express to be escorting friendly trains instead of destroying enemy trains

    • Or change Vermillion by removing the lava and changing it into the meat-harvesting mission from the Swarm campaign

  • A variety of custom actions that make creating your own co-op mission a breeze, like sending a fully customized co-op attack wave with just one intuitive action

  • My Template Map Download Link:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_FfrU09zDWXYXdPMU82aHJMMk0/view?usp=sharing

    What this tutorial will teach you:

  • Everything you need to easily make your own co-op mission even if you have no editor experience
  • Step 1. Gain Basic Familiarity With The Editor
  • You can launch the editor from the Battle.net app, or find it in your SC2 installation folder.

    The biggest tragedy to befall an Arcade creator is to have the editor crash and ruin hours of your work – so before we start anything exciting, let’s go to File – Preferences (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + P) and turn on the Auto Save features so that doesn't happen. This option can be found under the “documents” tab of preferences. Check “automatically save documents” and set it to save every 10 minutes or so.

    After doing that, this imgur album will guide you through the basics of the editor we'll be needing to use: http://imgur.com/a/LnYik

    Don't worry; we'll go into more detail later. But if you want a more in-depth guide, check out this tutorial: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_FfrU09zDWXREFaTl80RENEQnM/view?usp=sharing

    (Hotkeys and some other features have been changed since the tutorial was written)

    =================

  • Step 2. Begin Prototyping

  • Download the current template map here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_FfrU09zDWXYXdPMU82aHJMMk0/view?usp=sharing

    Although be aware I advise using this only for Terrain, as the Triggers will be different in the final template map.

    In the Terrain editor, if you switch to the Regions layer (Alt+R) you can see a bunch of colored regions I've created. By moving these regions around you can prototype your map layout. These regions are good sizes for areas to be in order for two players with big armies to be able to move around.

    If you press Q or turn on Selection Mode (http://i.imgur.com/nap59Ar.jpg) you can copy and rename regions if you need more objective regions on your map. Then drag these into the positions you want your map layout to have.

    There are also two regions for ramps. In their guidelines, Blizzard says to use Diagonal ramps only, at least 4 wide -- so thats the size and shape of the ramp regions, but you can make them bigger or smaller.

    Once you've arranged the regions how you want your objective locations to be, switch to the Terrain layer (T) and click on the Cliff Tool (http://i.imgur.com/g3mWjKn.jpg) and put down your high ground, low ground, and ramps -- just roughly. Then click on the Texture tool (to the left of the cliff tool) and choose a texture that contrasts with the texture that currently exists. Use this to trace paths from each point of interest: bases, objectives, etc.
    Now, if you analyze Blizzard's existing co-op maps (http://imgur.com/a/kCQuF) you'll notice a few key points:

  • Points of interest (Objectives, Bases, etc) are even spread, not clustered
  • There are usually multiple paths to move around the map
  • There usually isn't a straight line to move between two points of interest
  • There are no places that aren't either a point of interest or a pathway

  • Now look at your map design. Are there multiple pathways? Are there any straight lines or blank areas of your map? It's important that your map makes efficient use of space, and has interesting pathways with multiple choices for players. Move your regions around accordingly and then redo your cliffs and texture paths until you are happy with the rough layout.

    On the top tool-bar choose Map > Texture Sets you can add texture sets and choose which one to set as your primary. Then you can switch to the "Textures" tab to preview what they look like, as well as set what textures on your old set should be changed to textures on your new set.

    Once you've chosen the tile-set you like, you can start texturing. Some quick tips:

  • High speed, and low increment allows you to make smooth texture transitions
  • Try having different textures on high-ground and low-ground
  • Try having different textures near cliff edges
  • Try having textures make visible paths for players to follow

  • You can just fool around and experiment here, just don't spend too much time getting it perfect -- inevitably you'll be changing the layout of your map a few times as you iterate on it. The idea at the moment is just to discover a look you like, not actually do complete terrain.

    You can do a similar thing for Doodads on the Doodad layer (D). It's ideal for doodads to be placed on un-pathable areas, near the edges of cliffs, in corners, and at the sides of ramps. A good way to find doodads that fit your map well is to open a Campaign map (File > Open, click Campaign tab) that uses the same tile-set, and see what doodads Blizzard used on that map. Remember you can make doodads move up or down with Page Up or Page Down or the Translation Manipulator on the tool-bar (W). You can change their scale by selecting them and hitting Enter, or by using Scale Manipulator (R).

    Again, you'll have to redo a lot of this later so just find a look you like, don't complete the entire map with care.

    Now, go to the Units Layer (U) and place down Minerals and Vespene at base and expansion locations for the player. (If you want to get the layout perfect, its easier to copy + paste them from an existing map) Then go to Points (P) and place down Starting Locations.

    Then go back to units and place down say, 150 Marines or Zealots, and then click Test Map. (Top right of toolbar -- Ctrl + F9)

    Move those 150 units around the map and see if you notice anything you didn't notice in the editor. Do some parts of your map seem too cramped? Make some changes accordingly, rinse, and repeat.

    Think Critically About Your Mission's Design

    Look at Blizzard's Gameplay Guidelines and consider how your mission idea measures up to them, such as:

  • Design moments where the players need to fight together, and moments where they need to fight apart.

  • Never leave the player without apparent goals for more than a few seconds at a time

  • Avoid/adjust map mechanics where players who have lost the mission will continue playing for a
    long period of time.
  • (Full list of guidelines: https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/page_media/zp/ZPN73K3CRCXB1484106920325.pdf)

    Ask yourself how your mission will comply with these guidelines.

    Confident in your design? Good! In the next section, we'll finally get your mission working using the Data and Trigger editors.


    =================
  • Step 3. Triggers & Data

  • Download my template map:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_FfrU09zDWXYXdPMU82aHJMMk0/view?usp=sharing

    Once you've downloaded and opened it in the editor, open the Trigger Editor. There you should see further instructions.

    The rest of this tutorial is coming soon™, but the template map is a bit of a tutorial itself, and should be enough to get you started.

    Coming Soon:

  • How to set up your own custom Dialogue
  • How to modify & create units in the data editor
  • How to go beyond the template triggers


  • =================

  • Step 4. Publishing & Testing
  • Go to Map > Map Info and set your missions name, description, and other information. Click on the "Options" tab and make sure "Arcade" is checked.

    Then go to Map > Battle.net Info and fill out the information on most tabs.
    Save the map file, then go to File > Publish. Log In, hit next. Make sure it's set to "Public" instead of "Private" if you want others to be able to find and play your mission on Battle.net. I advise setting to "Unlocked" -- if you choose "Locked" make sure you've made a backup of your map first or you could be in big trouble.

    Then hit next and upload. Congratulations, your mission is published and playable on the StarCraft II Arcade!

    There's still a lot left to go, though: you need to continually test and revise with whatever time you have left. As good intentions as you had for your mission, it might not quite click with players and sometimes you need another person's point of view to see the problems with your mission's design. It's ideal to test the mission with others and compare their reactions with the judging criteria Blizzard listed: Accessibility, Fun, Creativity, and Theme.

    http://us.battle.net/arcade/en/blog/20474279/announcing-rock-the-cabinet-2017-co-op-edition-1-12-2017

  • Are the game objectives clear?
  • Do players understand how to succeed?
  • When it comes down to it, are players enjoying themselves?
  • Showing us something fresh and interesting can really win points and push your game to the top of the list
  • Each co-op map Blizzard has released has had a centralized story theme. A strong theme ties together the mechanics of the map into a unified experience for players to enjoy.

  • From there, it's up to you to adjust your mission to make it as fun as possible!

    =================

  • Support?

  • Having trouble? Want to do something that wasn't covered in this tutorial?

    You can try asking me for help here in this thread, but I may not have the time to respond.

    If I can't, the best resource is www.sc2mapster.com/forums -- there are a lot of tutorials, resources, and helpful people there. They also have an IRC and Discord channel (discord.gg/Jtzt8Su). You can also try the Arcade section of the map-making Discord: discordapp.com/invite/cyCmptG
    Missions Created Using This Tutorial/Template Map:

    Trading Places by Feniks: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/sc2/topic/20753125561
    Reserved for future use -- also you can reply now, fingers crossed this is all the posts I need to reserve
    Thanks for the guide Skunk! Unfortunately, I lack the patience to wrestle the map editor into submission. However, if anybody is looking for an outside opinion on their map, I'm happy to help and available more often than not.

    Kelthar#1277
    Good stuff Skunk.

    I already have plenty of ideas floating around in my head for the map contest. Just need to find the time to work the editor.
    Not seeing many replies -- would love feedback on the tutorial. Is it too intimidating/too long? Doesn't explain things well enough?
    Looks good Skunk. I havent had a chance to download the template map but i will do later today.

    Have you got triggers to enable the commanders on there?

    This is one bit where im struggling to do so.
    01/26/2017 06:19 PMPosted by TheSkunk
    Not seeing many replies -- would love feedback on the tutorial. Is it too intimidating/too long? Doesn't explain things well enough?
    i didn't download your template, mostly because i am already pretty good with triggers as i have several map in the arcade right now, myself. I think you are doing an awesome job by providing this information to the everyone though. Keep up the good work and it's no wonder why you're an MVP here. :D
    01/26/2017 11:57 PMPosted by Feniks
    Looks good Skunk. I havent had a chance to download the template map but i will do later today.

    Have you got triggers to enable the commanders on there?

    This is one bit where im struggling to do so.

    Unfortunately, Blizzard does not allow you to enable commanders if playing offline through the editor. Trying to do so results in your game freezing. However, commanders are enabled if you publish your mission and play it through Battle.net.

    So what my template does is automatically detects if you are playing on Battle.net or testing through the editor. If you're playing on Battle.net, it enables commanders. If you're testing through the editor, it disables commanders and spawns you as a normal player to avoid your game freezing.

    i didn't download your template, mostly because i am already pretty good with triggers as i have several map in the arcade right now, myself.

    Awesome! Like the first post mentions, my template map does have some custom actions that people already used to the editor may still find useful to copy over.
    Maybe make a video-tutorial:D I learn most stuff of the editor by using youtube.
    I love your work, its clear that you have a lot of work in this. Its simple and noob-friendly!
    Thank you. I will look at it as soon as I put some of my ideas into a coherent map idea. If I put there all I would like, it would be huge map, took 1h and look more like arcade map than co-op. Simple is better, but we can't get much simpler than some maps we have.
    I was wondering about playtesting.

    I used to do some mapping and tried to make my own co-op map when LotV was released, but the co-op mod was not adapted to run.

    The UI was broken and I could not make it work so that I could choose commanders by the map lobby settings options (player options?).

    Is there some good approach to this? Is it possible to playtest with the commanders in Arcade somehow?

    EDIT: Seems one cannot test in offline mode, it has to be uploaded for testing.
    @Thoraric & Miriel: Thanks, and let me know if you need any help making your mission!

    01/27/2017 06:17 AMPosted by Cherrycoke
    Maybe make a video-tutorial:D I learn most stuff of the editor by using youtube.

    I wish a could! :( My internet is terrible for uploading videos, it's more time consuming, and I have an awful voice.

    01/28/2017 12:29 AMPosted by binary
    EDIT: Seems one cannot test in offline mode, it has to be uploaded for testing.

    My template map is set up to allow testing offline, but it disables proper loading of commanders. It still lets you test to see if everything's working, though.
    Hey man!

    Thanks for the tutorial, I'm sure it will help tons once I put my hands to work.

    I have a question, do you think it is possible to "isolate" an area of the map?

    I mean, is there a way to block flying units from reaching certain areas? What about global top bar abilities?
    01/29/2017 12:32 PMPosted by ediurd
    Hey man!

    Thanks for the tutorial, I'm sure it will help tons once I put my hands to work.

    I have a question, do you think it is possible to "isolate" an area of the map?

    I mean, is there a way to block flying units from reaching certain areas? What about global top bar abilities?

    You can lock players camera bounds, which prevents them from even looking there (including the minimap) would that accomplish what you want? In essence, they wont even know that part of the map exists until you change their camera bounds to include it.

    Its relatively easy to make a section of the map unreachable by air or ground units, but that's the only way I can think of that would easily prevent teleporting units and top bar abilities (which would include Novas griffin).
    01/29/2017 12:58 PMPosted by TheSkunk
    You can lock players camera bounds, which prevents them from even looking there (including the minimap) would that accomplish what you want? In essence, they wont even know that part of the map exists until you change their camera bounds to include it.


    This might work, but the layout of the map will need to be perfect. And I assume it would only be able to hide things on the "edge" of the map, right?

    The idea I had was to make enemy bases that could only be reached either through the front gate (super well guarded) or through some secret pathways (but only with a limited supply of units).

    Being able to use globals inside this base would defeat the purpose of the map (why add a supply cap if Raynor can throw marines directly? Or why send units at all if Artanis/Karax can bomb the objective?).

    Maybe that can be achieved through triggers changing the spells and stuff, but making air units unable to enter this area directly is essential.
    @TheSkunk
    I would love to ask if it is OK for two people to work on one submission? I have a couple of great ideas, but I've never been able to get the editor part down for the years at which it has been accessible. I was hoping about working with someone else in that sense. It would still be one single map, but made by two people.

    Join the Conversation

    Return to Forum