Object Editor Tutorial

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This is a tutorial prepared by Denholm on the Object Editor, one of the content creation tools for Aces High II.

This tutorial is long, yet is a step-by-step tutorial on how to successfully make a tile and place it in the Terrain Editor. Afterwards I explain how to make the spawn points so you and your friends will have an enjoyable time flying in your terrain using your custom tile.

During this tutorial we will build a small custom airfield, and place it in the Terrain Editor for flying. Please read and perform these steps at the same time for maximum learning efficiency! :-)

Beginning Interface[edit]

Alright, let's open up the Object Editor and get acquainted with the interface. It is rather simple, yet the possibilities are complex and sometimes challenging. First of all, let me introduce you to the object selection interface. On the right and to the top you see "Displayed Types". Leave this on "all/default" if you want to see all objects on the list. If at any time you want to find one object in particular, you can select an option from that list to meet your searching needs.

Now below that we see the "Shapes" drop-down menu. As default "ackroad" is selected. In this list all your active objects are listed, and if you reduce your search terms in the "Displayed Types" drop-down menu, the selection of the "Shapes" will be limited down to the search criteria.

Down below the "Shapes" drop-down menu, we see a button reading "Export to Ac3d". If you have AC3D or any other 3D-content editing program you can use this feature to export the selected object from the "Shapes" list into AC3D format. This means that after having selected the shape you want to export, then clicking the "Export to Ac3d" button, the shape will be converted to AC3D format and can be edited in AC3D or in any other 3D-content editing program that supports AC3D import / export.

Below the "Export to Ac3d" button we see the "Override Type" drop-down list. At all times it is best to leave this option on "all/default", but sometimes you will need to alter the selection to meet your needs. For example, your making a taxi-strip, if you leave the "Override Type" on "all/default", it will give the taxi-strip a property of "Clutter". This means you can not land on the taxi-strip. To fix this the property of the taxi-strip needs to be changed to "Runway". The only way to do this is to override the object properties using the "Override Type" drop-down menu. Now, if we wanted to change the taxi strip from "clutter" to "Runway". We simply select the object we're attempting to convert. Then click on the drop-down list of "Override Type", and then select "Runway". Afterwards we press "Set" and the properties have been reset. This will come in handy later on when you perform larger projects.

Underneath the "Override Type" we see the "First Selected" interface. This interface gives you the specs on the selected object that is placed on your empty tile. For example, if you placed any object on the currently empty tile and select it, this interface will give you specifications of that selected object. This helps when attempting to find objects with certain "Index Numbers" or "Types".

Now, in this interface there is the "Shape" option, this tells you the name of the shape which is selected. Underneath that is "Type". this tells you the properties of the shape that is selected. And underneath that is "Indexed Order". This shows the "Index Number" of the object selected. At any time you can change the "Indexed Order" by erasing the number, and placing a new one in it's place. Then by pressing "Set Index", you have applied the new index number.

A way of using it would be like this:

You built your field, but you forgot to place a texture tile underneath it to give it some color. When you place the texture on the field, it covers everything. And your out of your mind because 2 hours of work just went down the drain and you have to rebuild everything. No worries, indexing means the highest number is on top. If you place your object, then change the "Index Number" to "0" and press "Set Index". It will automatically place the selected object on the bottom of everything. This is VERY handy.

Advanced Interface[edit]

Look at the buttons that read:

Add Home view
Move View Selected
Rotate Undo
Copy Test Clip

Each one of these can have major effects on how your tile is built, and what it resembles. First of all, the "Add" button allows you to add the selected shape from the "Shapes" menu. The "Move" button allows you to move the selected shape. NOTE: The shape might snap to the grid if "Snap" is selected. The "Rotate" button allows you to rotate a shape into position. NOTE: The shape might rotate on the grid if "Snap" is selected. The "Copy" button allows you to copy the selected shape in the position and rotation it is in. The "Delete" button allows you to Delete the selected object. The "Home View" button resets your view to the default starting position. The "View Selected" button zooms in on the selected object. NOTE: It will zoom in regardless of the angle of the camera, if you want an above view first press "Home View" then "View Selected". The "Undo" button will undo your last move, rotation, delete, and copy. It will not undo the changing of the property, Index Order, or displayed types. I do not know precisely what the "Test Clip" button is for.

Tile Interface[edit]

Down below all the buttons is a small amount of "Check Options". These options allow you to see tiling tools that can help you get precise measurement of the placing of objects. There is:

Display Verts
Grid Display Labels

"Display Verts" shows the "vertices" of the objects on your tile. "Grid" applies a grid to your tile for measurement of distance from an object, and also gives you a better idea of what "snapping" an object might do. "Snap" allows you to move an object along the grid lines only, this works well for precise measurement into a particular direction. Although it is spelled incorrectly, "Display Lables" allows you to see the actual terrain properties of your objects as they would act in the game.

And underneath all these options is "Grid Spacing". This has a default number of "100.00". This means that when "Grid" is selected, the sides of the grid will be "100.00" feet apart. (I believe its feet, could be something different, since the tile is 1 square mile long.) I enjoy using a Grid Space of 50.00, so just erase the number, and type in 50.00 an press the "Enter / Return" key to apply the change.

Tile Building[edit]

Now, let us start out with a checklist of everything that should be on an Airfield, Ground Vehicle Field, and Port.

  1. Tower
  2. Radar
  3. Hangar (Selection Hangar, Fighter Hangar(s) (Not for GV field or port), Bomber Hangar(s) (Not for GV field or port), Vehicle Hangar(s))
  4. Fuel Tanks
  5. Ammo Bunks
  6. Some area that is "land able".

All of this MUST be in your tile for a successfully operating field. Now I will help you setup your first tile of a miniature airfield.

First things first, let’s select: Snap and Grid. Make sure the "Grid Spacing" is at "50.00". Now, if you haven’t clicked around already, your "selection cross" should be at the center. If you have, that's alright. Just click where you think is the center.

Now, in the "Shapes" list, look for "twr0". Now, same as the Terrain Editor, you can open the list, then press "T" to go to the "T" section of that list. Notice that when you select it, a picture of the selected object appears at the bottom right in the "Current Shape" window. Once you have selected the object; press the "Add" button. Notice that a small red-bordered object appears on your tile. That means the object is selected. Also, your selection arrow changed to green. That is because you are in "Move" mode. Every time you place an object, it will immediately go into "Move" mode. On the "Add Shape" window press "OK".

Notice that in the "First Selected" interface the "Shape" reads "twr0" and the "Type" reads "Def:Tower". The object has been given automatic properties thanks to the "all/defualt" selection in the "Override Type" drop-down menu.

Now, go back to the "Shapes" list and press "R" for "Radar". This brings you to the "R" section of the list; look for the shape called "rdr0". Once selected it shows the radar in the "Current Shape" window. It looks white, but it is actually a black radar. Now "Add" the shape to your terrain, make sure you selected a region off and away from the tower. That way the object is not interfering with the tower.

Notice that after pressing "Add" a red line protrudes from the Radar to the Tower? This is the "Src Point" line. So don't bother messing with it that much. Remember, once you place your object it's automatically in "Move" mode, so make sure your object is in its position, then press "OK". Once again, the "all/defualt" "Override Type" has generated properties for your object. They should be "Def:Bunk Radar"

Now, let's move on to placing our selection hangar. Open the "Shapes" list and press "H". This takes you to the "H" section of the list. Look for "hgr0", it should be the first item on the list. Once again the object is shown in the "Current Shape" window. Now, select an area with your red selection arrow as the place where you want to place your hangar. Make sure it is not obstructing the path of any other objects and that it is not squeezed next to any other objects. Come on, you have a square mile to put things on, don't use "I don't have enough space" as an excuse! ;-)

Once you have the area selected where you want to place the hanger, press "Add". Now, remember that you are automatically placed in "Move" mode once you place the object. So make sure your object is where you want it, and then press "OK". Also, if you don't like the direction it's facing, press the "Rotate" button. Then click 3 TIMES in the same spot as where the arrow is so it turns on its center. If you click 3 times on any outside corner of the object; it will rotate on that side only. To get used to it, I suggest you try it so you understand the basic idea of rotating.

In case you don't understand Rotating:

  1. Select the object to rotate.
  2. Press 3 times in the same spot where you want the axis to be of the rotation.
  3. Press down and hold down while rotating the object, then release when you’re done and press "OK".

Remember, you can undo the rotate if you’re not happy with it, or continue rotating it.

Now, let's get some Bomber and Fighter hangars inserted into the tile. In the "Shapes" list press "F" for "Fighter Hangar", this brings up the "F" section of the list. Look for the object named "Fth0". This Selects the first of two available fighter hangars. They both do the same thing, but they also look different. Fth0 is the small "U" shaped hangar, "fth1" is the medium sized fighter hangar that has the same type design as a bomber hangar. Either one will do just fine, as long as it meets your taste of design.

Click on the are of your tile where you want to place the fighter hangar, then press the "Add" button. Now, remember that you are automatically in "move" mode after placing the object, so make sure the object is where you want it, and then press "OK". Once again, you can rotate the object if it does not meet your satisfaction. Remember, rotating on the center is the most efficient way of rotating your object. Afterwards analyze the "First Selected" area to make sure the object's "Type" is "Def:Ftr Hgr". Or in other words, "Defined: Fighter Hangar". Now place one more fighter hangar of your choice someplace on your tile. Then we will advance.

Now, let's go to the "Shapes" list again. Press "B" for "Bomber Hangar". Look for "bmh0". This is the Bomber Hangar, unlike the Fighter Hangars, there is only one Bomber Hangar. Now select the area on your tile where you want to place the hangar, then press the "Add" button. Since you are in "Move" mode, make sure the hangar is where you want it. Then press "OK". If you are not satisfied with the way the hangar looks in position, you may rotate it. Now place one more bomber hangar anywhere on the tile. The "Type" should read "Def:Bomb Hgr".

Now, let's make a Vehicle Hangar so our Vehicles have a place to rest. Go to your "Shapes" list and press "V" for "Vehicle Hangar". The "V" section of the list appears, look for: vhh0. Once you have selected it press "Add". Remember, if it's not where you want it, you can still move it, then press "OK" once your done. Don't forget you can also rotate the object if it does not meet your approval. The object's "Type" should read "Def:Veh Hgr"

Now, let's place some ammo bunkers and some fuel dumps. On your "Shapes" list, press: A for "Ammo Bunk". The "A" section of the list appears, look for "amb0". Once selected, note the picture in the "Current Shape" window. If you are not certain of what the name of an object looks like, always review it in the "Current Shape" window. Now, find a place on your tile to place this Ammo Bunk, then press "Add". Now, make sure your object is where you want it, and then press "OK". Now, place 2 more Ammo Bunkers around the tile wherever you may want it. The "Type" of the object should read "Def:Bunk Ammo".

After placing all of your ammo bunkers, let's place some fuel dumps. On your "Shapes" list, press "F" for "Fuel", the "F" section of the list appears. Look for "fub0". This is the so called "Fuel Dump". Select an area where you want to place it on your terrain, and then press "Add". Once again, since you are in "Move" mode, make sure the object is where you want it, and then press "OK". After you are finished placing the first one, place 3 more fuel dumps around your tile. The Object's "Type" should read "Def: Bunk Fuel".

Now after placing all of this, we have a working field. It may not look good, but once again, this is just intended to get you started into a world of amazing design. Now, let's place a working runway for planes to takeoff and land.

In your "Shapes" list, press "R" for "Runway". Look for "rwy1". "Rwy1" is a medium-sized runway intended for fighters and attack planes. "Rwy0" is the large runway for Bombers and Fighters. Right now we are going to work with the medium sized runway. Find an area on your tile to place this runway, then press "Add". Don't worry if it's over any existing objects, we are going to rotate the object so it's out of the way of other objects.

Now, after adding the object, press "OK" so we can exit "Move" mode. Now, press "Rotate" and click 3 times on the center of the runway object (The selection arrow is always on the center of the object after adding it.). Now, spin the object so that when you’re in "Home View" mode, the runway is facing from top to bottom. Once it is facing that general direction, press "OK". Now, if the runway is still in the way of other objects, move the runway or the objects. Also, make sure the runway stays within the border lines of the tile. If it goes over the edge of the tile, that area will not be shown in the game and may make some players quite confused. My terrain Dogwar10 made this very mistake on the bomber runway. NOTE: If you can not see if the runway is over-lapping the edge. Hold down "Shift" and right-click on the tile. Then move the mouse forwards to zoom out. You can also move left to right and top to bottom by holding down "Ctrl" and right clicking, then moving in any direction.

Now, make sure the "Type" of the object is "Def:Runway". Now, if you want Re-Arm pads for the ends of the runways, go to the "Shapes" list, and press "A" for "Arms Pad". The "A" section of the list appears, look for "arm0". Now, click where you want the object to be placed, and then press "Add". This is where "View Selected" comes in. After pressing it you get a better view of how to rotate and move your object so it is lined up with the runway the way you want. It's best that you place one for each end of the runway, so after completing that make sure the Object's "Type" is "Def:Rearm".

Placing the Tile in our Terrain[edit]

Since now we have a small airfield, let's get acquainted with building it and placing it in our terrain.

First of all, press "File" and go to "Tile Properties". This sets the properties of the tile we created. We need to select "Is Square Tile Object" and "Display Terrain Under Tile". I haven't messed with any of the other options, so I suggest you stick with this.

Now, press OK and don't worry about any of the rest of those options. Now, make sure your tile is saved, so you don't lose any data. Any name less than 8 Characters will do. Otherwise the tile won’t show in the Terrain Editor.

Now, press the "Build" button located in the "File" menu. NOTE: A (few) error messages might pop-up that a certain indexed shape is below ground. This happens a lot, that is why it's safer to build your tile every time you place another object, so you don’t have to go back looking for the object that is below ground. If this message does appear, look for the HIGHEST index number, then start clicking the shapes that you think might have that index number. Once again, when you click on a shape, it shows the Index Number in the "First Selected" interface, by the "Indexed Order" area. Once you find the object with the highest index number, delete it, and then keep deleting down the list until you got all the shapes that were "below ground". Now, save your tile and press "Build" again. It should run through this time. Now, Add those same objects that were first "below ground", and after adding one, build your tile again. And keep adding the deleted objects until they have all been replaced with new ones. Keep in mind that every time you place another object you should immediately build the tile to prevent them from being "Below Ground". After you have replaced them all and the "Build" runs through without a hassle, you may exit the Object Editor.

Now, open up "My Computer". Go to: C:\Program Files\HTC\ah2editor\newshps. This is where your tile was built to. Leave that folder open and open "My Computer" again. This time go to: C:\Program Files\HTC\ ah2editor\ahiiterr\mymap\texsrc. Make sure that "mymap" is opening the terrain folder that you want to place this field into, not that you get an idea that you should have a terrain named "mymap". Now, transfer the tile from the "newshps" folder into the "texsrc" folder of your terrain. After this is finished, exit out of the "texsrc" and the "newshps" folder. Now, open the Terrain Editor and load the terrain into which you just placed the tile into its texsrc folder. Now, if you saved your tile as "test", look for an object in the "Object List" named "test". Then press "Add Shape/Group". In the "Object Properties" place it as "Group Master", and make sure it has all the correct options for "Field Owned" "Zone" and all that other good stuff. After that is finished, we have to make "Spawn Points". This is the most BORING part of the whole ordeal. First of all, select "entpnt" from the "Objects" list. Then zoom in on your tile using the "Alt" slider. The first spawn points must ALWAYS go in the hangars. So, select the hangar with your red-selection cross, then press "Add Shape/Group" to place the spawn point. In the "Object properties", select "Boat Spawn". Yes, this sounds odd, but at least you know which way the spawn point is facing when you rotate it. Then make sure the "Field Owned" and "Zone" is correct for the field. Then Press "OK". Now, rotate the spawn point so it is facing in the direction the plane should face when spawning in the hangar. Then double-click the object name in the "Selection List". Now change its properties to "Fighter Entry" if you placed the spawn in one of the Fighter Hangars or "Bomb Entry" if you placed the spawn point in one of the bomber hangars.

Now, you only need one spawn point for each plane group in 1 hangar. For example, if you have 3 Fighter Hangars. Only one of those needs a spawn point placed in it for a "Fighter Entry". Same with the Bomber Hangars. Now since we placed one spawn point, go ahead and place another one for the opposite plane group making sure it has the properties of a boat spawn so you can see which way it is facing. Yet make sure it has the proper properties for "Field Owned" and "Zone". Now, rotate the object so the spawn faces in the proper direction the plane should be facing. Then double-click the object's name in the "Selection List" and change its "Object Properties" to "Fighter Entry" or "Bomb Entry". For whichever hangar you placed the spawn on is what decides its properties. Now, there is one more spawn for the hangar we need to place. The vehicle hangar. This one will be the easiest of them all. Just make sure your placing the spawn on the open end of the hangar. Click on the area where you want to place the spawn point, then Add the shape "entpnt" to that area. Make sure the "Object Properties" read "Vehicle Entry" and the "Field Owned" and "Zone" are correct as well. Now press "OK". Afterwards you can rotate the spawn point so it faces in the correct direction.

Now, on the end's of the runways (One at a time of course), place some spawn points. One for the north side, one for the south side. Remember, make sure it has the properties of a "Boat Spawn", but still has the correct properties for "Field Owned" and "Zone". Rotate the spawn into position so the plane faces down the runway, then double-click the object's name in the "Selection List" and change the spawn points "Object Properties" to "Fighter Spawn". Do the same with the other side of the runway. We will not worry about bomber spawns in this tile except for the hangar of course. Once you’re finished go to: File>Exit and click "Yes" when it prompts to save.

Now re-open the Terrain Editor.

Also, make sure knights and bishops have an airfield, they don't in particular need spawn points, your only doing it for one side to see if your tile works. Doing this ensures that you don't have a field bug causing you not to see the field until you fly so far away from it or transfer to another airfield. Once you have placed the new tile, Go to: File>Exit. When it asks to save, press "Yes". Then wait for the TE to exit. After it has exited, re-open the TE so we can build the terrain. Once it has loaded go to: File>Build. Let it sit for a moment until it has finished building your terrain.

Playing in our Terrain[edit]

After it's finished, go to: File>Exit, and again, say "Yes" to saving the changes made to the terrain. Now, open up "My Computer", and go to: C:\Program Files\HTC\ah2editor\ahiiterr\. This is where you find the terrain you just built. If you have extensions enabled it would read for example "mymap.res". Now, open another "My Computer" and go to: C:\Program Files\HTC\Aces High II\ahiiterr\. Move the "mymap.res" file which you just built into the "ahiiterr" folder you just opened. Then, load Aces High, press: Load Terrain. Select your terrain from the list. And load it in offline mode. See what the tile looks like and hopefully you get some ideas for future projects.