Modding, Warcraft III

Blog 394: Galaxy Editor

The Galaxy Editor, as those witty people at Blizzard have dubbed the mechanism by which I shall destroy Starcraft II, is a very complicated beast. Though it is perhaps made worse by the complete lack of example data; with the beta, we get the melee data set and that is it.

So here are my first impressions. I’ve probably missed a lot of things, but there’s plenty of study-time left to consume.

The Good

The trigger-editing GUI is vastly improved… Well, it’s not so user friendly, but now you can create local variables and structs and actions and conditions and all sorts of wonderful things.

User interface dickery: you can hide the game UI (yes, all of it, glorious all of it) and, better yet, you can thrown down your own UI elements, all by triggerwork. The only issue at the moment is that there seems to be no way to get the command card back (and only the command card) so you can do all your usual ability stuff.

Terrain: water is placed rather than simply existing, tiles are in fact big textures you paint on like in Unreal Engine 2 terrains and above. Cliffs can be mixed, if you tick a box, and many doodads will adjust their textures automagically to match the tileset you’re on. Roads can be laid down by clicking points in a join-the-dots fashion. Points can be put down in the map — no more “centre of region” for everything. Since the space platform tileset requires it by default, it is also extremely easy to cut the bottom out for floaty islands maps using just the Data Editor.

The Data Editor, replacing WC3‘s Object Editor, is stupidly flexible to the point that it is, at this stage, impossible to work out how to actually achieve anything. Luckily stronger minds than I are busily working out how to make heroes act just like they did in Warcraft

Sixteen players… Make that fourteen if you include the two neutrals, passive and hostile. This just means that I’ve been able to add more AI players to my first map.

The Bad

Cliffs. Blizzard, you’ve seriously fucked up here. There are three cliff levels. THREE.

Warcraft III had a good 40 cliff levels. You could only stack two levels before you had to make an annoying ledge, but they existed. You could keep going up and up and up until the editor freaked out and wrapped you to the bottom.

Starcraft II has three cliff levels. The only advantage is that their edges can stack so you don’t have the terrible ledges of Warcraft. There is ground level, there is cliff one, there is cliff two. After that… Nope. You’re not allowed to raise any more.

Well, there is the chasm level that you get by lowering from ground, but I kind of wanted chasms to be potentially walkable so I could have giant ass-cliffs everywhere. Blizz, you dropped the ball — massive, massive failure there. I don’t care if the original SC had each tile on a precisely locked level, if WC3 had it you’ve got no right to remove it. Thi  is the editor we’re talking about, fuck the pro-gamers. SC was more than ten fucking years ago!

While the painting terrain style is great for natural areas, it’s a complete bitch for man-made terrains.

The Ugly

Where is “Set Player Name”? Where is “Set Unit Name“?! We’ve only been crying for the latter for the last six years and removal of the former is just plain stupid. So what if Some Pro-gamer gets his named changed to Commander Some Pro-gamer in a custom match? Heaven forfend! Now how can I properly name my triggered AIs that occupy empty and computerised slots alike? Blizzard give with one hand and take with another, the fucking cunts.

Okay, it’s a beta, I should go and complai… Oh, wait, they give us the editor early so we can make DotA clones in time for real release, not so they can actually fix that shit. All they care about is giving the Marine 1 extra hit point in the name of glorious balance! You can’t make a pro-game without balance, oh no!

There are quite a few trigger actions that were present in WC3 that are missing here.

The Nova model is also conspicuous in its absence.


I can’t really say until the real game arrives; we’ve got a pathetically limited dataset compared to Warcraft III, but the editor and engine are stupidly flexible and powerful instead.

But will the shifted balance work? Especially without “Set Unit Name” and a Nova model.

Only time will tell.

2 thoughts on “Blog 394: Galaxy Editor”

  1. Well this is just sad. Hopefully they limited some features for the beta, but still…

    In any case, it sounds like there’s lots of potential with the data editor, so hopefully we’ll get some things done with it that just weren’t possible with Wc3. Like a proper shooter.


    1. There’s some camera mode that does mouse rotation, and you can register mouse button up and down, so shooters should actually be quite easy to make.

      I really, really, hope they fix the cliffs, though. That’s absolutely shameful.


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