Hug maps part 1 - EvaMin01 Happy



Eva (WatEvaR) and I (CMC*Mixo) have a lot to say on the subject of hug maps and have been promising to say it for a while. We'd hoped to say it all in one big document, but that hasn't worked out really so instead we'll do a multi-parter.

First: hug maps. WTF? Yeah, probably you and the world's dog call them bug maps, but as we'll see in a later part that name isn't really accurate, so until someone comes up with a better name Eva says they are called hug maps. So watevar, I mean who are we to argue? ^^

In this part we'll cover all the techniques required to build the map EvaMin01 Happy in its TMO TMX incarnation. This means achieving these goals:

in the Desert environment.

For these techniques you'll need TrackMania PowerUp (1.2.5) (sorry, PowerUp demo can't use these techniques). We'll cover the same goals and more for all the other environments and all versions of TM* in later parts.

For now, let's get nostalgic, get down to that funky PU muzak and go mad with the editor!



This tutorial is meant to be followed from start to finish. You can't for example skip to the road/road block merge and get the desired result.

Instructions are in bold text. If you just want to get a fast result, you only need to read (and follow) these.
An instruction such as "Press F7, 3" means press and release the F7 key, then press and release the 3 key.
Comments are in normal text. Read these for further guidance, and to understand what's going on.


Placing land and ground and tunnel blocks in the air

1. Open the PowerUp Desert track editor.

2. Press F1, F12, 2 (or 3 if you want to go higher), space, right arrow, space.

OK, now you have two blocks of sand in the air. You can put stuff on it, or tunnels under it.

3. Press F7, 3, space.

Now you should have a big rock in the air. Notice that this rock occupies 4 cubes (2 long, 1 wide, and 2 high). We need to know this for later on... It's important for the road/road block merge that you use this rock or the F7, 6 mountain. Otherwise, for the easy merges you can use most of the scenery pieces if I remember right.


Scenery/road block merge

4. Save the map then reload it.

Now you will notice that although the rock is still there, the TM editor acts like it isn't. You can't delete it, and you can put roads and any other type of block right through it!


Road/road block merge

5. Press F1, 2 and make a lot of raised land under the rock. Make sure you have flat land at least under the rock and one cube to the left and right.

So now it looks like the rock is sitting normally on a lot of flat raised land.

6. Press F5, 7 then rotate and move this block so that it is on the ground going right through the rock, with the clips either side, then press space.

Notice that this block takes up 3 cubes, and they are all the same cubes as the rock is using. This leaves one cube that has only the rock in it. BTW, you can put the road in the air, but you might have to use the bigger mountain, and so deleting clips becomes more difficult.

7. Save the map then reload it.

Now the editor knows about both blocks, and we can delete either one. The PU editor will always delete the block that was most recently placed in the cube you are in. So if the cursor is in any of the 3 cubes that the road block is in, the road block will get deleted. This is no good.

8. Move the cursor to the only cube that has just the rock in it then press Delete.

The rock disappears, but the road stays! More importantly, the editor now thinks that every cube that the rock was in is now empty. This means the road will behave just like the rock did after step 3 - we can't delete it, and we can put any other type of block through it.

9. Press F6, 3 then place the block somewhere in the road.

Yep, that works. ^^


Removing clips

Remember that the clips for this piece of road didn't share a cube with the rock, so the editor still knows about them.

10. Place the cursor over the clip then press space, Delete.

The clip is gone! There's another technique for deleting clips that sometimes comes in useful: Press F2, 1, place the cursor on a cube next to the clip, then press space, Delete.



So now you know all the basic techniques for creating EvaMin01 Happy. You may notice that there are some ugly graphics glitches on the sand under the road created in the tutorial, and in Eva's map. As we discovered, lots of people *really* don't like this, so it's important to develop techniques to reduce the glitches. But even if there are no glitches, if you use any kind of unusual effect like this in your maps, some people will act like you have killed a basket full of kittens or something. Watevar.

We also advise not to bother making a map full of block merges - it just isn't worth the time it takes. Eva's merges got more complex and time-consuming and after her 3rd map she basically gave up on editor bugs. But for doing one or two merges, it's fine. A particularly useful merge is putting CPs in otherwise impossible places, like over a boost or whatever. Be sure to choose whichever CP causes the least graphics glitches! PU Desert has four CPs to choose from! ^^ F7, 7 is kind of nice because it is a fast, easy merge, but maybe not as glitch-free as you want - not without more work anyway.



Not bug maps?
OK, I'll give a little justification here. We're exploiting editor bugs here, so why not call such maps bugmaps? Well, because the bugs are in the editor, not the maps. (There may or may not be other bugs in any given map, but just having two blocks in one cube is not inherently a bug).

One might then argue that "bugmaps" refers to a map that was created by exploiting bugs. This argument sounds reasonable at first, but since any map that can be created by exploiting bugs can also notionally be created without exploiting bugs (it's all just ones and zeroes after all), there's no way to tell just by examining a map - no matter how closely you examine it - whether or not bugs were exploited in its creation. Distinguishing otherwise identical maps on the basis of their method of creation is pointless unless you are actually discussing the method rather than the map - and there's also the risk that such terms may be misattributed.