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Space Colony - Advanced Features: Planet Editor

The Planet Editor is used in conjunction with the Campaign Editor to create your own Space Colony missions. First create a map in the Planet Editor and then use the Campaign Editor to script the action that will take place on that map.

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Download a PDF Document with all the Planet & Campaign Editor info here.

Getting started with the planet editor

To access the Planet Editor, click the Editors button in the game's Main Menu. Then click the Planet Editor button.

Click 'New' or, if you have already started a planet, select its name from the list and click 'Load'.

If it's a new map, you will be prompted to choose a size for your map. You may want to start with a smaller map for your first try.

Enter the name for your map in the blank and click the green arrow at the bottom right of the screen to continue.

(IMPORTANT: When naming your map, do not use special characters, such as : ; " ' / \ * ? < >, etc. This can create problems loading and saving it later. Use only regular upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and spaces.)

Now you are in the Planet Editor, which looks like this. The planet map you are working on takes up most of the screen. At the top it says 'Player' to indicate you are currently building structures for the colony the player will control. (You'll find more on this under the Editor Buttons, below, and on the Campaign Editor page.)

Press P to pause. Some objects are animated, causing them to move slightly as you are building. (Aliens will not move from where you place them, though.) If this bothers you, press P to pause the game.

At the top left of the screen is a mini-map, showing an overview of the terrain. As you scroll around the map, using the arrow keys or mouse, this mini-map will scroll too.

Beside the mini-map are three colored rectangles: gray, green and red. Click these to change the type of terrain displayed in your map. You must also set the terrain type in the Campaign Editor.

Editor Buttons

Along the left side of the screen is a series of buttons used for adding various features to your map. Each button brings up a sub-menu with more choices, including objects you can place on your map. Click the main button, click the sub-button you want and then click on the map to place the object or feature.

To de-select a feature or object, right-click anywhere on the map.

Brush Size button - Use this to change the size and shape of the tool you're working with, the way you would change the paintbrush in a graphics program. Choices include a dot plus small, medium and big circles or squares.

Players button - This is not a feature you can put on the map. Rather, it is how you select the type of base you're currently constructing. The default choice is Player; i.e., the base controlled by the person playing your mission. You can also choose Fribulan, Competing Base or Inactive Base if you want to have more than one base on your map.

You'll find more information on how to set up different base types in the section on the Campaign Editor.

Landscape button - This includes an extensive list of terrain features. Unless otherwise noted, these features can be erased using the Delete button (below).

  • Land - Paint this over existing features to restore the original planetary surface. Its exact appearance varies depending on which type of terrain you've chosen (gray, green or red, as described above).
  • Canyons - Impenetrable rock barriers. These also look a bit different depending on the type of terrain chosen. To erase canyons you have built, select Landscape > Land and paint over them.
  • Crater Water - The black water used for argon vents and Fribulan bases. To erase crater water you have put down, select Landscape > Land and paint over it.
  • Escaping Gas - Argon gas vent; must be placed in crater water.
  • Lava - Hot, volcanic terrain. Paint this around volcanoes and volcanic vents to make them look more realistic and/or use lava as an obstacle to prevent players from building in certain areas, or to create dangerous terrain that operatives or machines may need to pass over. To erase lava, select Landscape > Land and paint over it.
  • Small, Medium, Large and Very Large Boulders - Self-explanatory. Players cannot build on these or move through them, and they come in various sizes. Like canyons, they vary depending on the terrain type selected.
  • Volcanic Vent - Place these for players to use as an energy source (with lava power plants).
  • Volcano - These are the big ones. They vary in style depending on the type of terrain you've chosen, but all types eject dangerous lava periodically. They can be used as a hazard or just for decoration.
  • Rocks - This feature is applied with whichever size brush you choose, though the dot or small circle works best. Players cannot build over them. To erase rocks, select Landscape > Land and paint over them.
  • Crater Stones - Like regular stones except they can only be placed on crater water and they have a slight ripple effect where their bases meet the water.
  • Stones - Like rocks only a bit more realistic looking. Also, players can build on top of them.

Vegetation button - This includes an extensive list of vegetation types. Click the links below for pop-up descriptions of each one or check the reference page on Vegetation for a complete list. All plants can be erased using the Delete button (below). When placing vegetation on your map, keep in mind that some vegetation will spread during the course of the campaign, so you may not need to include very much. See the Campaign Editor section for more info.

Aliens button - This section includes buttons for each of the alien types in the game. Click the links below for descriptions or check the reference page on Aliens for a complete list. When you place an alien on your map it "comes to life" only after you create a campaign for the map using the Campaign Editor and start playing the mission. Some creatures (e.g., rockhoppers, protean worms, protoraptors, acidwings, stripper insects, Host, etc.) cannot be placed on the map. Instead, you'll have to place the objects that spawn them (i.e., rockhopper queens, protean worm mothers, raptor pods, Host monoliths, etc.). You can also create alien invasions by placing Invasion Markers (last on the list under the Aliens button) and triggering the invasions in the Campaign Editor.

Fribulan button - Use this to construct a Fribulan base. (First use the Players button to select Fribulan.) Click the links below for descriptions of each object. These structures must be built on crater water and can be erased using the Delete button. The rest of the Fribulan creatures (e.g., harvester, ogre and transporter) are spawned by the Birthing Pod. Fribulan Tourists are created by placing Invasion Markers (under the Aliens button) and then triggering the invasions in the Campaign Editor.

  • Birthing Pod (i.e., Fribulan Mother)
  • Defense Turret (i.e., Fribulan Spitter)
  • Fairy Breeder (i.e., Marsh Fairy Hatcher)
  • Gas Lung
  • Root - A button allows you to place this object, but it does not display correctly in the game and appears to have no function.
  • Eye

Resources button - Use this to place any of the four different mineral resources on your map. They are:

(NOTE: Argon Gas is under the Landscape button; Cylincsus, Hydromorphus and GM Bamboo are under the Vegetation button.)

Buildings button - Here you'll find the same buildings available in the playable missions. For a complete list, see the Reference Library. When constructing your map, only place buildings from the Extra category (e.g., shuttle pad, bridge, etc.), since these can't be bought, plus anything you want players to get for free at the beginning of your campaign (e.g., bio domes, power and oxygen plants, etc.). The rest they can buy for themselves.

Test Visibility button - Use this to toggle between a brightly lit map (for working) and the dark map that appears during gameplay. Place lights (Buildings > Engineering) or photocyn (Vegetation) if you want more light at the start. Otherwise, the player can build lights where she wants them.

Forbidden Zones button - This includes five sub-buttons for building a free zone (the part of the map where players are allowed to explore and build) and up to four forbidden zones, which can be unlocked during the course of the campaign. (See Forbidden Zones for details on how to use this feature.)

Exit button - Click to exit the Planet Editor. You will be asked to save the map or discard it before exiting. ("Discard" just means exit without saving. If you had saved previously, your map will still be available.)

IMPORTANT: Before saving your map and exiting the Planet Editor, center the view on the spot where you want your mission to begin, for example, on the bridge. When the mission starts, players will begin with that same view.


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