Campaigns, Rule Sets, and Multiplayer Maps

by Dale M.A. Johnson


created 4/21/06


There are three basic building blocks that make up the engine. These building blocks are campaigns, rule sets, and multiplayer maps. This page will go over what each of these are, and how they relate to how the user will interact with them.


Rule Sets

Rule Sets are the basis of the engine. Think of them as the foundation that campaigns and multiplayer maps are built on top of. A rule set is quite simple, just like its name implies, it is a set of rules that the engine follows. These rules not only cover things like how far a unit can move, they also include information on graphics that the engine needs to know how to deal with.


The engine has a default rule seta which will be built in the "system" directory. This is the basic rule set with the default graphics, and is a good starting point for newcomers. Custom rulesets can be created and belong in the "rulesets" directory.


Each ruleset has its own folder. This folder includes some basic datafiles that you use the editor to create, but it also contains any graphics that it needs in an "images" sub-folder. There are some optional images you can include, mostly GUI (graphical user interface) graphics used for buttons, windows, mouse pointers, and the like. If the engine notices these files are "missing," it will use the default GUI graphics instead. This lets you cut your download size down by not having to include things unless you need them (for example, a space opera rule set would likely look out of place with a fantasy-style GUI).


If you want to get a new ruleset, you can use the editor to make your own, or you can download one from someone else, and stick the folder in the "rulesets" directory. When you boot the engine up, it will recognize the new folder without needing to do anything else.


Multiplayer Maps

Multiplayer maps are maps that users create that are meant to be played outside of a campaign. They can be played by more than one human player, or a single player can play versus the computer. They are strickly gameplay-focused and have restricted scripting capabilities.


Multiplayer maps rely on rule sets to tell the engine how the map creator meant them to be played. Because the maps don't include the rule sets with them, if you try to play a map that you don't have the rule set to, the engine will refuse to play the map, and tell you what rule set you need, so that you can go download it. If you're distributing maps that don't use the default rule set, it would be nice for you to include a link to the rule set.


Multiplayer maps are simply files in the "maps" directory. To play someone else's, just download the map and place it in that directory. When you boot up the engine and select "Multiplayer Maps" the engine will recognize the file and display it with the other maps you can play.


One future idea, which may or may not be feasible, is to eventually enable LAN play for multiplayer maps. Online play would be enjoyable as well, but would require a dedicated server and someone willing to run it. Whether these things ever come about is not certain at this point in time.



Campaigns are, fundamentaly, just a string of multiplayer maps. However, in reality, they are more. One difference in general, however, is that campaigns have their rule sets built in. This means you can do a lot of tweaking to make the story's gameplay run like you want it to without worrying about having to download a seperate rule set for every single campaign.


Campaigns also let you create parties and characters which will carry over between maps. Multiplayer maps only allow you to use "generic units." Campaigns also allow more freedom in scripting events than multiplayer maps do.


All campaigns are located in individual folders in the "campaigns" directory. Putting a campaign in that directory is enough for the engine to recognize it when you choose a campaign to play.


Campaign support will not be worked on until basic functionality for rule sets and multiplayer maps are in working order, and stable.