This is for the benefit of newcomers to the modding scene to give them some insight into the BF2 editor and its features for changing gameplay objects and using the new single player tools. I will be showing you how to use the current navmesh area to set up your own custom playing areas and objects. This tutorial will focus on using the stock battlefield 2 map, "Songhua Stalemate." I'm currently navmeshing this map, so thought I would kill two birds with one stone :)
Note: If anyone knows German and can translate these tutorials for the site, I will gladly put up a German version as well. 22% of all visitors to this site are from Germany. Just contact me at - email@example.com if you want to help out our friends in Europe :)
PAGE 1 - Preliminary Setup
This is very important: Changing any files in your default Battlefield 2 mod directory will cause 'modified content' errors and you will not be able to join ranked servers. If you're on dial-up and don't care about multiplayer, still follow this step to keep your original install clean in case of mishaps during your modding.
We are going to make a complete backup of your BF2 directory. Go to mods/bf2 and copy and paste it. When that's finished you should have 'Copy of bf2' there. This is going to be your untouched multiplayer and backup version if you completely screw up your files playing around in the editor. Don't umm and ahh...trust me - DO IT.
The reason I'm not getting you to setup your own mod directory is that there are a few complications in getting a custom mod working perfectly in the editor, whereas the bf2 mod folder is 100% supported. I chose this path to make it as simple as possible to work for the 'layman.' If you ever want to play online just rename the bf2 folder we are modding to something like - "bf2_modding" and rename the 'Copy of bf2' back to its original 'bf2' name. Easy.
STEP 1 - Preparing the level folder for the editor
1.) Unzip 'client.zip' and 'server.zip' into the level's folder. Select yes when it asks if you want to overwrite files. All these files are currently 'read only.' so select all the files -> right click and choose properties -> uncheck the "read only" box and then apply, and then apply to all subfolders.
2.) Make a new folder called 'editor'. Now browse to -> gamemodes\gpm_cq\64\ and copy gameplayobjects.con. Paste it into the editor folder you just created. This is Dice's original 64 sized multiplayer layout and we are going to customize it for Single Player. You can grab the 32 player one if thats your intention.
SIDE NOTE: For your information.
If you want to use or see an existing Strategic Areas from any of the 64 navmesh maps (from Korben, Clive or myself or even a sp16 one from Dice), simply make an 'ai' folder inside the newly created 'editor' folder from the previous step. Now go to 'gamemodes/sp1/16/ai', and copy the 'StrategicAreas.ai' into your new 'ai' folder. Now the editor will display them.
(Ignore the 'Detailmaps' folder. You won't have one because it's part of the navmesh process.)
3.) Open gameplayobjects.con with notepad. The combat area is defined by all the coordinates at the bottom of the gameplayobjects.con file. We are going to delete the original combat area for the purpose of demonstrating how to create your own. Delete all the text below the line 'end if.' Save and close.
STEP 2 - The editor
1.) Start up the bf2 editor. Choose 'BF2'. When that has finished loading, change to the "Level Editor" in the drop down box at the top near the menus.
2.) Go to File -> Load and select the map you just prepared (for me, its Songhua Stalemate)
Click to Enlarge
3.) Once that has loaded you will see the map in all its 3d glory. Now for some preliminary steps to make your level editor experience easier on the eye.
Select the 'Render' Menu and uncheck 'Toggle Draw Fog'
Select the 'Render' Menu - 'AI' - and select "Toggle Draw AI" (this will enable you to see the strategic areas and neighboring when you start putting them in later)
EDITOR NAVIGATION TIPS
Hold down middle mouse button to 'look' around in the level.
Use the 'W' 'A' 'S' and 'D' keys to move around the level, much like in the game. When used in conjunction with the middle mouse button you can 'fly' around the level to get to places you want to edit.
Scrolling the mouse wheel forward will speed up your movement while scrolling it back will slow you down. (You will see the 'spd %' at the bottom of the editor for your current speed.
You can change camera views in the "Camera" menu. Experiment with this, but the "Normal Mode" is the most useful.
The 'Render' Menu allows you to turn things on and off in the map. For instance if you are placing objects on the ground, it is a good idea to turn on undergrowth and overgrowth to make sure you're not spawning something into a tree!