Apollo BZ (October 17th, 2007)

So far I'd only dealt with 1.0 objects in my two previous maps, so for this map I decided to see what the mysterious "mesh" was all about.

There are two kinds of objects in BZFlag, 1.x and 2.0. Basic things like boxes, pyramids, teleporters, and bases are 1.x objects. There's not much you can do with them except rearrange them and change a limited number of attributes. 2.0 objects or meshes open up a whole host of new opportunities. You can texture them, make walls that are drive through on one side but not on the other, and add "physics" or a property that makes a tank do something.

Physics can make the tanks spin, move laterally, bounce them up into the air, or kill tanks that land on a mesh. The downside is it's hard to combine all of these newfound opportunities into a "playable" map.

Playability is a sought after trait of a map, and it means how well a map is set up. Are boxes placed at a good height for tanks to jump onto? Are things arranged to provide good ricochet opportunities? Does it look good? All this goes into how playable a map is.

While you can make a mesh in a text editor, it is hard and it's much easier to make complex meshes in a 3d modeler. Most 2.0 maps are generally made in either Blender or Wings3d, although anything that exports to .obj format will do.

I chose Wings3d because I'd read it wasn't as complicated as Blender. It was pretty intuitive and I didn't have much trouble making models. I'd decided to make a map based on the Apollo Moon landings, and whipped up a Lunar Lander, Lunar Rover, and American flag fairly quickly. I modified a hill and plateau model from some previous testing to have some boulders and a few craters to simulate the surface of the moon.

Apollo BZ

Apollo BZ
Lunar Lander, crater, and boulder.

It turned out okay I guess, but it really didn't have much in the playability or looks department. That was fine with me though, since it only began as a test.