Making a Map

Map Size

The first thing that should be done when making a new map is to choose the size. You should not make maps smaller than 6,400 x 6,400 units, because, in a map of that size, you will be right next to your opponent, and in smaller maps there could even be very serious problems with building stations (especially for the Borg). On the other hand, a map larger than 50,000 x 50,000 can be unstable (and will probably crash), so it is unwise to create battlefields that exceed this size. If you decide to make a map larger after already having placed objects, the editor is designed so that when you increase the map's dimensions, the only thing that changes is the distance between those objects. In other words, the spacing between everything on the map increases proportionally.

To set the map size, open the Map Settings window by pressing Ctrl+R. Select the Environment tab. Set the map size and press OK. The editor will ask if you want to save and reload the map. You should click OK.

Editing Large Maps

Some maps are too large to edit without losing the sense of scale at the standard zoom height.

In the  RTS_CFG.h file (found in Fleet Operations/Data/RTS_CFG.h), set the following value as listed below, or to a similarly large number.


This will let you zoom very far out and thus make it easier to balance multiplayer maps by seeing the whole map at once. Note that at the maximum zoom height you will probably be able to see the grand scale (including large nebulae, asteroids, and the start points), but not usually vessels or stations. Remember to set it back to the original number before playing any online games otherwise your game will be incompatible.

Strategic Map Objects

After you have chosen the appropriate map size, you should put in the “terrain”: asteroid fields and nebulae. The resource moons and wormholes can also be placed after setting the map size, but it is probably easier to add them after the asteroid fields and nebulae. Note that "trigger" moons should be placed in lieu of normal moons due to performance reasons and upcoming changes to the resource system: (F1) Map Objects -> (F1) Tileset Asteroids: Resources

To delete map objects, simply press delete when the object or objects are selected. If the map object generates a red “non buildable area”, just ignore the footprint if you move or remove the map object. The next time when you load the map the area will be placed correctly.

Asteroid fields will not block ships from moving through them. The visual layer and the blocking layer have been separated in Fleet Operations. First you should place the visual layer using the map objects menu (F1). After that you can place the blocking triggers (F10 Non Player Races → F2 Trigger → F1 Blocking). Blocking triggers should be placed as an unbreakable chain in the asteroid field. You can add blocking triggers at any time, if you prefer not to place them right after the visual layer. Note that there are two types of blocking triggers - the Fleet Ops engine is designed to use the default (large) blocking trigger for both performance and pathing reasons. The small trigger was just included due to popular demand, but should only be used rarely.

Nebulae and resource moons are placed just by selecting them from the map objects menu.

When you place resource moons, it is often a good idea to check that their Y coordinate is 0. If the Y coordinate is something else, it might cause odd miner behavior.

Wormhole Special Features

Wormholes must be placed in pairs. The first wormhole leads to the second wormhole and the third wormhole leads to the fourth wormhole and so on by default.

By pressing Shift and double-clicking on a wormhole the Wormhole Dialog window can be opened. Note that all options may be combined with one another for interesting results.

Wormhole Partner

This is the name of the other end of the wormhole and can only be used with wormholes. This can allow you to set multiple entry wormholes for a single exit wormhole. You can also set a wormhole to be its own exit and entry wormhole (causing the entering ship to "bounce" out).

This methodology can be used to make one-way wormholes: Wormhole X has Wormhole Y as its partner. Wormhole Y has Wormhole Y as its partner. Thus, a vessel can enter Wormhole X to travel out of Wormhole Y, but a vessel will bounce if it tries to go in through Wormhole Y first.

Note that if a yard produces its units via a wormhole, it is also possible to link this wormhole like any other.

Delete Buddy Label

This can be the name of any object in the map. When that object (ship / station) is destroyed, both wormholes are destroyed and disappear. Each wormhole entrance can have a separate label.

Remember that this can be combined with Delete Craft on Transport, causing the labeled unit to bring about the demise of itself and the wormhole.

Expire on Close

This causes the wormhole entrance to permanently close the first time it is used. As long as the wormhole remains active it will not close permanently.

Delete Craft on Transport

This causes any unit that enters the wormhole to be deleted rather than transported.

Compatible Team

This tag allows the map maker to set which player (not team) can use the entrance wormhole.

Since there are two wormhole entrances for every complete wormhole, this means that you can choose to set each entrance to a different player number, to the same player number, or one entrance can be set for one player, and the other for all players.

Decorative Map Objects

There are several map objects that have only decorative purposes as they do not interact at all with your units. You can place stars and planets on your map to adorn them. You can also put dust fields in your map, and some larger asteroids. If you place stars and planets, don't put them too high or too low (in the Y direction), because it may create some unwanted side effects (they will either obscure the screen, or vanish altogether).

Non Playable Units and Derelicts

If you want to place units that are always on the map, but are not controlled by any player, put the unit on the map, and set its player number higher than the maximum numbers of players on the map by one. To create a derelict, create a unit in a similar way, but set its crew complement to zero.

Note that in order for map units not to self-destruct after some time, the team they are on has to have at least one station.

Note that the Derelict Trigger currently will cause a crash.

Perceived Team (what team the AI and human player perceives a unit as, and thus fires upon) should usually be set as the Team you selected for that unit. You do not need to create a starting position for the AI "team" your derelicts are set to.

Blocking triggers can be used to block in a unit to create a derelict "watchtower".

Map Object Settings

When you double click a map object you will get the advanced map object options list on the left side of your screen/window. You can change many settings in here like the object's exact coordinates, pitch and yaw. If the object is ship or station, you can change its attributes using this tool.

There are three coordinates in Fleet Operations, but the height or Y-axis has been removed from Fleet Operations. The Y coordinate for most map objects (especially for those that have a purpose in game play) should be set to zero. X and Z coordinates are for map object placement in horizontal and vertical directions. The Y coordinate can be used however for decorative map objects like planets and stars that do not interact with your war games. The yaw and the pitch values are in degrees (0 to ±180).

If the object is a ship or a station, you can change certain intrinsic characteristics, such as current shield and hull strength, player, rank (by changing its ODF to the correct rank), current crew level, faction, and whether the craft is invincible or not.

Note that while other characteristics can be changed in the Map Editor, they will not be kept when the map is reloaded. For instance, setting the maximum shield strength to zero will not work for units that normally have shields (it will default to full shields). Likewise, disabling a subsystem in the Map Editor will not effect the status of that subsystem when the map is reloaded for a real game. Even more features are available by unchecking Simple View at the bottom of the Map Object Settings window (such as making invisible or untargetable units).

Note that you can also change the name of the unit in question, but be careful not to use too many characters as it will cause the Map Editor to crash, and the file itself to be corrupted (and thus uneditable). Although the maximum number of characters that can make up a custom name has not been tested - up to nineteen definitely work without causing a crash.

Adding Starting Locations

When your map's basic structure is created you can add the starting locations. You shouldn't put the starting points too close to each other or too close to other map objects or blocking triggers (which will "push" the starting starbase away). Likewise, if you put start positions on the edge extremities of a map, these start points will appear in the map's center and distort other start points that were placed regularly.

Press Alt and left click the location where you want the starting point. Double click the point that you just created and a new window should appear. Rename the point to Camera_1 [replace the number for each player (Camera_1, Camera_2, Camera_3...)]. Make one point for each player. Remember, when you rename the starting points, be sure to capitalize the word “Camera”. 

After you have placed the starting points for each player, open the Map Settings window (Ctrl+R) and select the Start Locations tab. If the map is for less than 8 players, select each unused player number from the list and set the type for unused player to empty. It is recommended that you check that each used player slot is set to player. When ready, press OK.

After that, you should open the Map Settings window again and check that the start locations are placed correctly and that they show up correctly in the drop-down "Start Location" menu.

Note that the center of a faction's starbase will appear roughly 1.25 grid squares (found by pressing Alt+G) above the camera point by default.

Map Background

You can set different backgrounds in your map in the Map Settings’s Environment tab. Anything from a completely black background, to very colorful backgrounds can be chosen here. The small preview box works for most of the background textures. If you can't see the change, check that you have your graphics details at the highest value in the Graphics Settings.

Map Lighting

In almost all maps, there is at least one light source in the map. When the map is first created there is a light source in the middle of the map. You can rotate it like any other map object if you want to change the direction from where light illuminates the map. If you want to add more light sources, they can be put in via the Map Objects menu. Be aware that the more light sources, the more rendering the game engine must do (and thus older computers may slow down).

To change the color of the light coming from the source, double click the light source and select the color from the Advanced Settings. The intensity of the light source can be set by selecting a darker hue of the specific color. If you want to change the ambient light, it can be changed via the Map Setting's Environment tab.

The location of the light source does not affect the light. Only the direction of the light source affects the direction where light comes.

Be careful when editing the lights. The map is not very nice to play with if it is too darkly lit.

Multiplayer Map Types

MP-Regular is the default Map Type, which is useable in both Instant Action and Multiplayer. It has no special win scenarios and is your typical "kill all players" design. Although maps played in Instant Action can be of only one type, Multiplayer Maps have a few more options available to them. The Map Type drop down menu lists each additional type of acceptable map:

MP-CTF is used for Capture the Flag Map Types. To win, a Team must capture the flag of an opposing Team and tractor it back to their own base. In Fleet Operations 3.2.6 the flag is currently not integrated (and thus the map type is not fully useable). The next patch will rectify this.

MP-Collect_Latinum is used for Latinum Collect Map Types. To win, a Team must collect a certain amount of Tritanium (Latinum is renamed to Tritanium). The amount of tritanium that needs to be collected can be set in the Map Settings's Other tab. This can be used to set up King of the Hill style maps, along with other unique situations.

MP-Assault is used for Assault Map Types. To win, a Team must destroy the other Team(s) within a set amount of time. The time limit can be set in the Map Settings's Other tab. Starting resources, units, and even your faction can be predetermined separately of the normal Multiplayer (faction-based) options. These three options can be set in the Map Settings's Start Location tab.

MP-Colonize_Planets and MP-Defend_Planet both require Planets, which are not available in Fleet Operations. Mission is only used for the Singleplayer mission files, which are disabled by default in Fleet Operations, although they can be edited and created using Megadroid's Mission Mod.