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Archipp Konovalov
Archipp Konovalov

Unprotect StarCraft Maps Easily with These Simple Steps


StarCraft Map Design: A Guide for Beginners




StarCraft is a classic real-time strategy game that has captivated millions of players around the world since its release in 1998. The game features three distinct races: the Terrans, the Zerg, and the Protoss, each with their own unique units, abilities, and strategies. The game also offers a rich variety of maps to play on, ranging from simple melee maps to complex custom scenarios.




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Map design is an essential aspect of StarCraft, as it can greatly influence the gameplay, the balance, and the enjoyment of the game. A well-designed map can provide a fair and fun challenge for both players, while a poorly-designed map can be frustrating or boring. Map design can also allow you to express your creativity and imagination, as you can create your own worlds and stories with StarCraft's powerful editing tools.


In this article, we will introduce you to some of the basics of StarCraft map design, and give you some tips and tricks to help you create your own maps. We will cover topics such as map editing, scenario editing, briefing/linking, triggers, artificial intelligence, map protection, map hacking, and map design tips. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, we hope you will find something useful and interesting in this guide.


Map Editing




Map editing is the process of creating or modifying the terrain features, buildings, units, and other elements of a StarCraft map. You can use either the official StarCraft Campaign Editor (StarEdit) or a third-party editor such as SCMDraft 2 to edit maps. Both editors have their advantages and disadvantages, so you may want to try both and see which one suits you better.


The StarEdit editor is included with the game and is easy to use, but it has some limitations and bugs that may hinder your map design. For example, it does not support non-isometric terrain (such as backwards or wider ramps), direct sprite placement (such as doodads or critters), copy+paste functions, or extended map-debugging capabilities. It also has some issues with saving large maps or using certain triggers.


The SCMDraft 2 editor is a widely used and superior editor that supports all the features of StarEdit and more. It allows you to create non-isometric terrain, place sprites directly, copy+paste elements, debug your map easily, and use advanced triggers. It also has a user-friendly interface and regular updates. However, it is not officially supported by Blizzard and may require some additional configuration to work properly.


To start editing a map, you need to launch either StarEdit or SCMDraft 2 and select "New" from the file menu. You will be presented with some options to configure your map, such as dimensions (width x height), playable size (the actual area where units can move), texture set (the palette of ground textures), initial texture (the default ground type), base height (the default elevation), and random height (the amount of variation in elevation). You can change these options later if you want.


Once you have created a new map, you will see a grid-like view of your terrain. You can use various tools from the toolbar or the menu to edit your terrain. For example, you can use the paint tool to change the ground texture, the raise/lower tool to change the elevation, the cliff tool to create cliffs or ramps, the water tool to create water or lava areas, the fog tool to create fog of war effects, and so on. You can also use the unit tool to place units, buildings, resources, or other objects on your map. You can also use the location tool to define regions on your map that can be used for triggers or other purposes.


You can also use the minimap tool to edit the appearance of your map on the minimap. You can change the color, brightness, or contrast of your map, or use the mask tool to hide certain areas from the minimap. You can also use the preview tool to see how your map looks in the game.


When you are done editing your map, you can save it as a .scm (StarCraft Map) or .scx (StarCraft Expansion Map) file. You can also test your map by selecting "Test" from the file menu. This will launch StarCraft and load your map automatically.


Scenario Editing




Scenario editing is the process of setting up the game options and parameters for your map. You can use either StarEdit or SCMDraft 2 to edit scenarios, but SCMDraft 2 has more options and features than StarEdit. To access the scenario editing menu, you need to select "Scenario" from the menu bar.


The scenario editing menu has several tabs that allow you to configure different aspects of your map. Here are some of the most important tabs and what they do:


  • Players: This tab allows you to set up the players and their properties for your map. You can choose the number of players (up to 8), their names, colors, races (Terran, Zerg, Protoss, or User Select), forces (teams), controllers (Human, Computer, Neutral, Rescuable, or Closed), and starting locations. You can also set some advanced options such as alliances, vision, shared unit control, shared advanced unit control, and observers.



  • Units: This tab allows you to modify the properties of units and buildings on your map. You can change their owner, hit points, shields, energy, resources, kills, armor upgrades, weapon upgrades, spell upgrades, cloaking status, burrowed status, invincibility status, hallucination status, and other flags. You can also use this tab to create custom units with modified stats and abilities.



  • Upgrades: This tab allows you to modify the availability and cost of upgrades for each player and race. You can choose which upgrades are available (enabled or disabled), researched (yes or no), or maxed out (yes or no). You can also change the mineral cost, gas cost, and research time of each upgrade.



  • Tech: This tab allows you to modify the availability and cost of technologies (spells) for each player and race. You can choose which technologies are available (enabled or disabled), researched (yes or no), or maxed out (yes or no). You can also change the mineral cost, gas cost, and research time of each technology.



  • Strings: This tab allows you to edit the text strings that appear in your map. You can change the names and descriptions of units, buildings, upgrades, technologies, weapons, spells, locations, switches, briefings, objectives, transmissions, and other messages. You can also use this tab to create custom strings that can be used for triggers or other purposes.



  • Forces: This tab allows you to edit the properties of forces (teams) on your map. You can change their names and flags (randomize order or standardize order). You can also set some advanced options such as allied victory conditions (all members must survive or at least one member must survive) and enemy flags (enemy with all or enemy with some).



There are also some other tabs that allow you to edit more specific aspects of your map, such as sounds, sprites, images, or custom data. You can explore these tabs and see what they can do for your map. However, some of these tabs may require more advanced knowledge and skills, so be careful when using them.


Briefing/Linking




Briefing/Linking is the process of adding pre-mission briefings and linking scenarios into a campaign. A briefing is a series of text and voice messages that introduce the mission objectives, background story, and other information to the player. A campaign is a series of missions that are connected by a storyline and a progression system.


You can use either StarEdit or SCMDraft 2 to create briefings and link scenarios, but SCMDraft 2 has more options and features than StarEdit. To access the briefing/linking menu, you need to select "Briefing" from the menu bar.


The briefing/linking menu has several tabs that allow you to configure different aspects of your briefing and scenario. Here are some of the most important tabs and what they do:


  • Scenario: This tab allows you to set up the basic information and settings for your scenario. You can choose the scenario type (single player or multiplayer), the next scenario (the file name of the next mission in the campaign), the mission briefing music (the background music that plays during the briefing), the mission title (the name of the mission that appears on the loading screen), and the mission description (the text that appears on the loading screen).



  • Text: This tab allows you to edit the text messages that appear during the briefing. You can add, delete, or modify messages, as well as change their properties such as speaker name, speaker portrait, alignment, position, color, sound file, delay time, and trigger condition. You can also use this tab to create custom text messages that can be used for triggers or other purposes.



  • WAV: This tab allows you to edit the voice messages that accompany the text messages during the briefing. You can add, delete, or modify voice files, as well as change their properties such as speaker name, speaker portrait, alignment, position, color, text file, delay time, and trigger condition. You can also use this tab to create custom voice messages that can be used for triggers or other purposes.



  • Link: This tab allows you to link scenarios into a campaign. You can add, delete, or modify links, as well as change their properties such as source scenario (the file name of the previous mission in the campaign), destination scenario (the file name of the next mission in the campaign), and condition (the requirement for activating the link). You can also use this tab to create custom links that can be used for triggers or other purposes.



When you are done creating your briefing and linking your scenarios, you can save your changes and test your map by selecting "Test" from the file menu. This will launch StarCraft and load your map automatically.


Triggers




Triggers are one of the most powerful and versatile features of StarCraft map design. They allow you to control the behavior and events of your map using conditions and actions. A condition is a statement that evaluates to true or false based on certain criteria. An action is a command that performs a certain task or effect. A trigger is a combination of one or more conditions and one or more actions that are executed when all the conditions are met.


You can use either StarEdit or SCMDraft 2 to create triggers, but SCMDraft 2 has more options and features than StarEdit. To access the trigger menu, you need to select "Triggers" from the menu bar.


The trigger menu has several tabs that allow you to configure different aspects of your triggers. Here are some of the most important tabs and what they do:


  • Triggers: This tab allows you to create and edit triggers for your map. You can add, delete, or modify triggers, as well as change their properties such as name, description, players (the players who are affected by the trigger), flags (such as preserve trigger or ignore switch), conditions (the statements that must be true for the trigger to fire), and actions (the commands that are executed when the trigger fires). You can also use this tab to create custom triggers that can be used for other purposes.



  • Switches: This tab allows you to create and edit switches for your map. Switches are variables that can have two states: on or off. You can use switches to store information or control the flow of your triggers. You can add, delete, or modify switches, as well as change their properties such as name and initial state.



  • Variables: This tab allows you to create and edit variables for your map. Variables are containers that can store values of different types, such as numbers, strings, locations, units, or groups. You can use variables to store data or manipulate your triggers. You can add, delete, or modify variables, as well as change their properties such as name, type, and initial value.



  • Debug: This tab allows you to debug your triggers and check for errors or bugs. You can use this tab to run your triggers step by step, pause or resume the execution, inspect the values of switches and variables, and view the log of trigger events.



There are also some other tabs that allow you to edit more specific aspects of your triggers, such as comments, presets, or custom data. You can explore these tabs and see what they can do for your triggers. However, some of these tabs may require more advanced knowledge and skills, so be careful when using them.


When you are done creating your triggers, you can save your changes and test your map by selecting "Test" from the file menu. This will launch StarCraft and load your map automatically.


Artificial Intelligence




Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the term used to describe the behavior and intelligence of the computer-controlled forces on your map. AI can make your map more challenging, dynamic, and realistic by making the computer opponents act like human players. AI can also make your map more immersive and interactive by making the computer allies assist or communicate with you.


You can use either StarEdit or SCMDraft 2 to edit AI for your map, but SCMDraft 2 has more options and features than StarEdit. To access the AI menu, you need to select "AI" from the menu bar.


The AI menu has several tabs that allow you to configure different aspects of your AI. Here are some of the most important tabs and what they do:


  • Scripts: This tab allows you to assign AI scripts to each player on your map. AI scripts are predefined sets of instructions that control how the computer players behave on your map. You can choose from a list of built-in AI scripts that are included with the game, or you can create your own custom AI scripts using a text editor or a third-party tool. You can also use this tab to set some parameters for each AI script, such as attack frequency, attack group size, build order, resource allocation, and so on.



  • Towns: This tab allows you to define towns for each player on your map. Towns are areas where the computer players build their bases and gather resources. You can use this tab to create, delete, or modify towns, as well as change their properties such as location, size, resource type, resource amount, defense priority, and expansion priority.



  • Regions: This tab allows you to define regions for each player on your map. Regions are areas where the computer players move their units and launch their attacks. You can use this tab to create, delete, or modify regions, as well as change their properties such as location, size, ground type, air type, attack priority, defense priority, and expansion priority.



  • Waves: This tab allows you to create waves for each player on your map. Waves are groups of units that the computer players send to attack their enemies at certain intervals. You can use this tab to create, delete, or modify waves, as well as change their properties such as unit type, unit amount, attack frequency, attack delay, and attack target.



  • Guardians: This tab allows you to create guardians for each player on your map. Guardians are units that the computer players assign to guard certain locations or units on your map. You can use this tab to create, delete, or modify guardians, as well as change their properties such as unit type, unit amount, guard type, guard range, and guard target.



There are also some other tabs that allow you to edit more specific aspects of your AI, such as scripts, commands, or custom data. You can explore these tabs and see what they can do for your AI. However, some of these tabs may require more advanced knowledge and skills, so be careful when using them.


When you are done editing your AI, you can save your changes and test your map by selecting "Test" from the file menu. This will launch StarCraft and load your map automatically.


Map Protection




Map protection is the process of encrypting or obfuscating your map file to prevent other people from editing or hacking it. Map protection can help you protect your intellectual property and your map design from being stolen or modified by others. However, map protection can also have some drawbacks, such as increasing the file size, reducing the compatibility, or causing errors or bugs.


You can use either StarEdit or SCMDraft 2 to protect your map, but SCMDraft 2 has more options and features than StarEdit. To access the map protection menu, you need to select "Protect" from the file menu.


The map protection menu has several options that allow you to configure different aspects of your map protection. Here are some of the most important options and what they do:


  • Encrypt Map: This option allows you to encrypt your map file using a password. This will prevent anyone from opening or editing your map without knowing the password. However, this will also prevent anyone from playing your map without knowing the password.



  • Obfuscate Map: This option allows you to obfuscate your map file using a random key. This will make your map file unreadable and uneditable by most editors and tools. However, this will also make your map file larger and less compatible with some versions of StarCraft.



  • Protect Strings: This option allows you to protect the text strings on your map from being edited or hacked by others. This will encrypt or scramble the text strings on your map using a random key. However, this will also make your text strings longer and less readable by some versions of StarCraft.



  • Protect Triggers: This option allows you to protect the triggers on your map from being edited or hacked by others. This will encrypt or scramble the triggers on your map using a random key. However, this will also make your triggers longer and less readable by some versions of StarCraft.



  • Protect AI: This option allows you to protect the AI on your map from being edited or hacked by others. This will encrypt or scramble the AI on your map using a random key. However, this will also make your AI longer and less readable by some versions of StarCraft.



You can choose one or more options to protect your map according to your needs and preferences. You can also use some third-party tools or programs to protect your map with more advanced methods or features. However, be aware that no map protection is foolproof or unbreakable, and there may be ways to bypass or crack it.


When you are done protecting your map, you can save it as a .scm (StarCraft Map) or .scx (StarCraft Expansion Map) file. You can also test your map by selecting "Test" from the file menu. This will launch StarCraft and load your map automatically.


Map Hacking




Map hacking is the term used to describe the act of cheating or exploiting on a StarCraft map by using external tools or programs that modify the game data or memory. Map hacking can give unfair advantages to players by revealing hidden information, altering game mechanics, bypassing game restrictions, or executing unauthorized commands.


Map hacking can ruin the fun and balance of StarCraft for both players and map makers. Map hacking can also cause errors or crashes for the game or the system. Therefore, it is strongly discouraged and prohibited by Blizzard and most StarCraft communities.


You can use either StarEdit or SCMDraft 2 to detect and prevent map hacking on your map, but SCMDraft 2 has more options and features than StarEdit. To access the map hacking menu, you need to select "Hack" from the file menu.


The map hacking menu has several options that allow you to configure different aspe


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