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Monster Mapper

Monster Mapper

Nice window based mapper

Screen Shot

Monster Mapper looks pretty good. The map itself is very well drawn on screen and all the contents of a square are easy to see at a glance. The icons aren't very pretty and the form design looks dated (well it is isn't it). All the data is stored in Paradox databases so it is possible to add new creatures, plants, locations and terrain.

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Manual

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Installing the Program
  3. The Edit Window
  4. Dialogs
  5. Adding Map Information
  6. Deleting Terrain
  7. The Stats Window
  8. The Blurb Editor
  9. Misc Info
  10. The Toolbar
  11. Importing and Exporting
  12. Changing the Font used by the Mapper
  13. History and other boring stuff

One. Introduction

The Monster Mapper is a Windows based mapping program designed to be a storehouse for all your MI (Monster Island) data. The program creates print-outs that look just like the data does on the screen. The program will import and export data, so you can exchange information with other members of your group.

This program is being distributed on two levels. One is a shareware version that is a down level release. The shareware version is fully functional, except that most advanced features are not present. It still allows the entry of most kinds of map information, and can still print maps.

The registered version of the program reflects the latest changes. After two and a half years of playing MI, I'm still finding out new things. Some important additions to the registered version are the blurb editor, and the ability to import and export data. SOME OF THE FEATURES DESCRIBED IN THIS DOCUMENT ARE NOT IN THE SHAREWARE VERSION OF THE PROGRAM. SPECIFICALLY THE BLURB EDITOR, IMPORT AND EXPORT, AND CHANGING THE FONTS USED BY THE PROGRAM.

This program stores the map information in several different datafiles. These files are managed by the Paradox Engine. The different databases are:

  • WORLD001.* -- The terrain database. (All map squares)
  • FEATURE.* -- The feature database. (All creatures, plants...)
  • FXREF.* -- The cross-reference database. (xrefs)
  • BLURB.* -- The blurb database.
  • EXPORT.* -- The exported terrain database.
  • EXPORTF.* -- The exported feature database.

There are several different programs supplied to clear (delete) these databases. The are:

  • CLRTERR.EXE -- Clears the world001 database.
  • CLRFEATR.EXE -- Clears the feature database.
  • CLRFXREF.EXE -- Clears the xref database.
  • CLRBLURB.EXE -- Clears the blurb database.

Two. Installing the Program

The program is supplied with an install program. The program is called INSTALL.EXE.

Example: Installing from A:

  1. Put the Monster Mapper disk in a: and type A:
  2. The installation program will ask where you want the program to be installed. Enter the drive letter and press return, and then enter the directory and press return.
  3. The program needs to know where your windows directory is so it can install the DLL for paradox there. Type the drive and directory where you installed windows.
  4. The installation program will copy the files, and you are ready to go!
  5. To make it easier to run, you should add the icon to a group in the program manager. To do this, select a group (just click somewhere in the window for it) and chose New from the File menu. Answer the questions, and the icon for the Monster Mapper will appear in the group you selected.

If the install program dies, or has some problem, or the program wont work after you install it, these are the steps for a manual installation:

  1. Make a directory to place the mapper files into. For example to install the program onto drive C: in a directory called MMAPPER type: md c:\mmapper
  2. Type cd \mmapper to change to the directory you just created.
  3. Put the Monster Mapper disk into a drive and copy the files to the mapper directory you created(copy a:*.* c:\mmapper)
  4. Copy the file PXENGWIN.DLL to your windows directory

Three. The Edit Window

The edit window is where the map is displayed, and where all the editing changes take place. The edit window displays the map squares on a grid, with the co-ordinates displayed along the top and left sides. A toolbar appears at the top, so many of the more common functions can be used with a single click. Scroll bars appear at the bottom and right sides of the window. The map can be scrolled to view other sections with the scroll bar controls.

3.1 Edit Window Menus

There are six menus available in the edit window. They are grouped according to their functions. Many of the more useful options can also be activated by using the toolbar.

3.1.1 File Menu

The edit menu contains these choices: About, Import Database, Export Database and Exit.

3.1.1.1 File Menu - About

This choice will show the program author, copyright information, and the statistics for the databases managed by the program. This is where you can find out how many squares you have mapped.

3.1.1.2 File Menu - Import Database

This choice will bring up the import database dialog. This is used to add map info that someone else has given you to your database. See the section on the import database dialog for more info.

3.1.1.3 File Menu - Exit

Click here to exit the program. (Or use the system menu on the upper left corner of the window) You don't need to save, or anything like that, as your data is saved as you enter it.

3.1.1.4 File Menu - Export Database

This choice brings up the export database dialog. From here you can choose the area to export and the types of things to export. See the section on dialogs for more info about the export database dialog.

3.1.2 Features Menu

The feature menu is where you can add features, delete features, and create cross references (xrefs).

3.1.2.1 Features Menu - Add Feature

This choice brings up the add feature dialog. From that dialog you can select a feature type to add to the map. The type of feature that you are adding appears in the info window (to the right of the icons on the toolbar). The pointer changes to a pointing hand when you adding features.

3.1.2.2 Features Menu - Delete Feature

This menu choice is here for completeness, but it is advised that you should use the stats window to delete features.

Selecting delete feature brings up the delete feature dialog. Fill in the blanks and the requested feature will be deleted. See the section on dialogs for a description on the delete feature dialog.

3.1.2.3 Features Menu - Add Xref

Xrefs are used to correlate data to a particular feature number. Adding an xref for a feature allows the mapper to display a name for the feature, instead of just the number.

Selecting this choice brings up the add xref dialog. Fill in the type and name, and your feature will have a name. See the section on dialogs for a description of the add xref dialog.

3.1.3 Display Menu

The display menu has functions to allow you to change the way the map is displayed on the screen. Many of these functions can profoundly affect the speed at which the mapper draws the map.

3.1.3.1 Display Menu - Stats

Clicking this choice brings up the stats window, one of the most useful parts of the program. This window will give you detailed information about items in a particular square. An alternate way to bring up the stats window is to click the right mouse button on the square that you want info on. The stats window will pop up, with the info for that square filled in. See the section on dialogs for a complete description of what all the stats window can do.

3.1.3.2 Display Menu - Go To

The go to menu choice brings up the go to dialog. Enter a new x and y co-ordinate, and the map display will jump to that location. See the section on dialogs for more information.

3.1.3.3 Display Menu - Size

This choice lets you set the size of the bitmaps that are drawn on the screen. The size specified is the number of pixels that comprise one side of a square. The resolution of the bitmaps you are using affect the optimum size of squares that you should use. See the next section for a discussion of what res bitmaps to use. See the section on dialogs for more info on the size dialog.

3.1.3.4 Display Menu - High Res

This menu selection has a check next to it if it is active. High res bitmaps look nicer than lo res ones, but they draw slower. Hi res bitmaps are 72x72 pixels. Lo res bitmaps are 20x20 pixels. The size you display these bitmaps at determines how nice they look. Using even multiples of the sizes make for less grainy appearances. Good sizes to display the hi res bitmaps are:36,18,72. Good sizes for the lo res bitmaps are:5,10,20,40,60...

3.1.3.5 Display Menu - Names

This menu selection has a check by it if it is active. When names is selected the xref database is used to print the name of the features on the map. If names is not checked, then just the numbers of the features will be displayed on the map.

3.1.3.6 Display Menu - QuickAdd

The QuickAdd window is a palette of sorts for adding terrain. For more info see the section on dialogs.

3.1.3.7 Display Menu - Redraw Window

Clicking this choice will cause the edit window to be redrawn.

3.1.3.8 Display Menu - Preferences

This menu choice brings up the preferences dialog. From there you can choose if the bitmaps and corner text are displayed. For more info see the section on dialogs.

3.1.4 Print Menu

The print menu has choices for setting up the printer, printing out maps, and printing out a list of the xrefs.

3.1.4.1 Print Menu - Print

This choice brings up the print dialog. See the section on printing for more info on printing out a map.

3.1.4.2 Print Menu - Xref (to disk)

This choice creates a file called XREF.LST in your monster mapper directory. The list contains all the xrefs that you have defined. You can look at the file with the Windows notepad, or print it out from the file manager.

3.1.4.3 Print Menu - Select Printer

This choice shows the select printer dialog. From there you can choose which printer you want the program to print to. See the section on dialogs for more info.

3.1.5 Blurbs Menu

This menu houses choices for managing your blurb database.

3.1.5.1 Blurbs Menu - Edit

This choice shows the edit blurb dialog. From there you can enter new blurbs, and search through blurbs you've already entered. See the section on dialogs for more info.

3.1.6 Help Menu

The help menu gives you access to the monster mapper on-line help guide.

3.1.6.1 Help Menu - Index

This brings up the main help index. From there you can search through the choices for the help you're looking for.

Four. Dialogs

The program has many different dialog boxes for receiving input from the user, and for displaying different data. For all dialog boxes, the default button is the OK button. This means if you press return while entering info in a dialog box, it is the same as pressing the OK button with the mouse. To move from field to field in the dialog boxes, you should use the tab key, or click on the field with the mouse. In most cases the OK button means,'I entered info I care about, please act on it.' The CANCEL button means,'OOPS' or 'I was just looking, don't save or act on this dialog.'

4.1 About Box

The about box displays some copyright information, and the number of records in the database for the different types of objects. Click the OK button to close the dialog.

4.2 Import Data Dialog

The import database dialog has four checkboxes, one for each of the different kinds of databases. Currently, only the terrain and feature databases can be imported and exported. After selecting the databases you want to import, press the OK key. Depending on how large of database you are importing, this function may take a while. See the section on Import & Export for a detailed description of this process.

4.3 Add feature Dialog

This dialog has two entry fields and OK,CANCEL and SEARCH buttons.

Enter the feature type that you want to add in the type field. The number can be from 1-32767. Generally you want to pick a number that matches the number of the creature, or the number of the useful object that a plant produces, for a plant.

Enter the priv level in the second entry field. See the misc section for an explanation of priv (privilege) levels.

Clicking on the OK button will close the dialog and place you in the 'add feature mode'. This changes the cursor to a pointing hand. Clicking the left mouse button in this mode will add the current feature (shown in the info window) to the square clicked on.

The SEARCH button bring up a dialog with all the xrefs that you have defined in a listbox. Double click on one of the choices in the listbox and the type of the xref you clicked on will be copied to the type field in the add feature dialog.

4.4 Delete Feature Dialog

This dialog has three entry fields. The first is the x co- ordinate, the second the y co-ordinate, and the third is the feature number that you want to delete. After clicking OK, the program will ask for confirmation and then delete the specified feature.

It's a lot easier to delete features from the stats window.

4.5 Add Xref Dialog

This dialog has two entry fields. The first a feature type, and the second is a name for that feature.

Use this dialog to associate a name with a particular feature type. After you define an xref for a feature type, the mapper will display the name of the feature on the map, instead of the number (unless you have the names option turned off)

To change an xref name, re-enter the xref. The program will overwrite the old name of an xref if a new xref is added with a different name and the same number.

4.6 Stats Window

The stats window is displayed by choosing Stats from the display menu, or by clicking the right mouse button on a map square. See the section on the stats window for more info.

4.7 Go To Dialog

This dialog has two entry fields and a checkbox. Enter the x and y co-ordinates into the entry fields that you wish to go to. The checkbox determines if the map will be centered on the new square, or if the new square will be in the upper left corner.

4.8 Size Dialog

This dialog has one entry field for the new size of the map squares that you want. The value is specified in pixels. Sizes smaller than 5 cause problems with the way fonts are drawn.

4.9 QuickAdd Window

The QuickAdd Window allows you to change terrains while adding without going through the choose terrains dialog box. Open the window from the Display Menu. To close the QuickAdd Window, press the button labeled 'close' in the window.

4.10 Preferences Dialog

This dialog has two checkboxes for toggling the state of drawing bitmaps, and drawing corner text.

If the Display Terrain Bitmaps checkbox is on, a picture of the terrain will be drawn each squares where there is terrain. If it is off, then the bitmaps won't be drawn.

The Display Corner Text checkbox determines if the program will draw a one or two letter designation of the terrain type in the bottom right corner of each square that has a terrain. (Example: low hills is LH)

If you don't have at least one of these options on, then you won't be able to tell what kinds of terrains are in the squares.

4.11 Print Dialog

This dialog has entry fields for entering the upper left and lower right co-ordinates of a rectangular area that you want printed out. The priv entry field determines what features will be printed.

You MUST enter the upper left co-ordinates as the start co- ordinates and the lower right co-ordinates as the end co- ordinates. The program won't accept your choices if you don't follow this!!!

The SETUP button opens the Print setup dialog, from there you can customize a lot more.

After you hit the OK button, another dialog box will pop up to show you about the programs progress as it prints the map(s) you asked it to.

4.11.1 Print Setup Dialog

This dialog has the controls for changing various ways the program creates printed output. A printer setup button is provided that will open the standard printer setup dialog (that is provided with windows).

The checkbox for print margin is for printing a margin at the bottom of the page. Win 3.1 probably needs this set on while Win 3.0 probably doesn't.

In the Squares per Page group box there is an entry field for the number of squares in the x direction, and the number of squares in the y direction to print. Note that the meaning of x and y remains constant in both landscape and portrait modes. If you switch between these modes you will have to change the x and y values to take advantage to the orientation. When the map is printed, these values are used to determine how to break up the rectangle (that you want printed) into separate pages.

Display bitmaps and corner text work the same way as the similar choices on the Preferences Dialog.

Leave the Feature Markers set to symbol. It's been a long time since I've tested what happens when it's set to text. (You can mess with it if you want, but don't say I didn't warn you)

4.12 Select Printer Dialog

This dialog shows the printers that you have installed in windows. Click on one of them in the listbox, and then press the OK button. The program will now print to that printer.

If you don't specify a printer this way, then the program will print to the printer that you have chosen as the default windows printer. (Run the windows control panel to change this)

4.13 Edit Blurb Dialog

See the section on blurbs for info about this dialog.

4.14 Add Terrain Dialog

This dialog is opened by pressing the add terrain icon on the toolbar. It displays a list of the currently defined terrain types in a list box. Click one and then press the OK button.

The cursor changes to a globe when you are in add terrain mode, and the info window shows the name of the terrain that you are adding. To stop adding terrain, click on the stop icon (the fourth one from the left) in the toolbar.

4.15 Export Database Dialog

This dialog has four checkboxes, and some entry fields. Use the checkboxes to select the databases you wish to export. Then specify the upper left and lower right co-ordinates of a rectangular area, and a priv level. Press the OK button, and wait for your databases to be exported. See the section on Import & Export for a detailed description of this process.


Five. Adding Map Information

When you get a turn back, you will want to enter the information into the database. How do you go about this? Well heres a guide to adding some quick map data.

Add the terrain first. Select the Add Terrain button, and pick a terrain from the list, and press the OK button. The cursor will change to a globe. Just press the left mouse button when the cursor is over a square a POOF that square is changed to the new terrain type. To stop adding terrain click on the stop icon in the toolbar.

After you add some terrain you will want to add some features that you encountered during your turn. Let's say you saw a gator. If you've never run into one before first you will want to add an xref for it. Click on the big green X icon in the toolbar. Enter 105 for the type and Gator for the name and press the OK button. Now click on the add feature icon (it looks like a hand pointing down from the clouds) in the toolbar. Press the Search button in the Add Feature dialog, and then double-click on Gator in the Choose Xref dialog listbox. This will copy 105 to the type field in the Add Feature dialog. Leave the priv level at 0. Press the OK button. The cursor will change to a pointing hand. The info window will now say '105 Gator' to show that you are adding gators to the map. Click the left mouse button in squares that you want to put some gators in. When you have enough of them press the stop icon in the toolbar to stop adding features. The cursor will change back to an arrow, and the info window will go back to being blank.


Six. Deleting Terrain

The second icon in the toolbar (the nuclear cloud) will place you into delete terrain mode. The info window will read 'Delete Terrain' and the cursor will change into a mushroom cloud. Click the left mouse button in a square, and the program will ask for confirmation, and then delete the specified terrain square. The features will remain in the square until they are deleted separately.


Seven. the Stats Window

This window provides detailed information about what is in a particular map square. It can be opened by clicking the right mouse button in a map square, or by choosing Stats from the Display menu. After the window is open you can click the right mouse button in other squares to get info about them.

The stats window displays the x and y co-ordinates and the features in the square being examined. The features appear in a listbox. On each line in the listbox shows the feature number, name, priv level (p:) and quantity (q:) in the square. If you click on a feature in the listbox, the Delete and Blurb buttons become active. Click the delete button to remove the highlighted feature. If you have a blurb defined for the highlighted feature, clicking the blurb button will open the blurb editor, and load the blurb for that feature.


Eight. The Blurb Editor

The blurb editor allows you to keep your blurbs on-line for easy review. The editor window has entry fields for the type, number, title and for the actual blurb text. The type is a general classification. Use S for spells, T for terrain, etc.

IF YOU WISH TO HAVE A BLURB BE ASSOCIATED WITH A PARTICULAR FEATURE, GIVE THE BLURB TYPE F, AND USE THE FEATURE NUMBER AS THE BLURB NUMBER.

Generally you want to use the item or creature number as the blurb number.

Pressing the OK button will save the blurb. If you were just looking at the blurb its better to press the CANCEL button when you are done looking at it. The search button will bring up a list of the blurbs for you to review. Double-click on one and the editor will display it.

The blurb types that I have used with the blurbs supplied with the program are:

  • F - Any blurb that can be identified with a feature. This includes creatures, and some plants.
  • R - Monster Races
  • O - Blurbs about gods, and followers of those gods.
  • I - Items
  • S - Spells
  • T - Terrains
  • G - General

Nine. Misc Info

I can't think of a good section to put these items in so here they are.

9.1 Priv Levels

Priv levels allow you to protect sensitive data. There are 6 priv levels numbered 0-5. 0 is the lowest and 5 is the highest. When you export data, and when you print, you specify a priv level to print at. All features with that priv levels or less will appear in the output. For example, if you were trading maps with people, you could enter you temples at priv level 5, and then print at level 4. Your temples would not appear on the printed map, nor would any other features that had a priv level of 5. This feature makes it easy to trade map information with anybody, and not give out info you don't want to.

9.2 The Info Window

The info window appears in the toolbar, at the right of all the icons. It shows what the left mouse button will do.


Ten. The Toolbar

The toolbar contains a bunch of icons for doing most of the common tasks. From left to right the icons are:

  • A globe - add terrain
  • A mushroom cloud - delete terrain
  • A hand pointing down from the clouds - add feature
  • A red circle with a line through it - stop adding or deleting
  • A printer - print
  • An arrow - go to
  • A notebook - blurb editor
  • A big green X - add xref
  • Some little squares and big squares - change bitmap size
  • To the right of the icons is the info window.

Eleven. Importing and Exporting

Importing and exporting allow users of the program to share data. Exporting creates a 'sub-database' that you can copy to a floppy disk, and give to a friend. The friend then copies the exported database to his/her mapper directory, and imports it.

In order to work, importing and exporting use these files: EXPORT.*, and EXPORTF.* The first is the exported terrain database, and the second is the exported feature database. When you choose Export Database from the File menu, it will first erase whatever is in the export databases first (they MUST be present, the program reuses them it doesn't recreate them), and then write the info you specified into them. You can them copy them to a floppy by using a dos command something like this: (first you have to be in your mapping directory)

COPY EXPORT.* A:
COPY EXPORTF.* A:

To import the files copy them from the floppy to your mapping directory and choose Import Database from the file menu. This is not a fast process...

NOTE: MAKE BACKUPS OF YOUR DATABASES BEFORE DOING ANY IMPORTING AND EXPORTING!!!!!!!

(You should make backups of all your databases regularly anyway, but you could really screw them up bad with importing.)

If, for some reason, you lose or destroy export.* and exportf.* you can recreate them by following these steps:

  1. Make a new subdirectory somewhere else (so you don't do the following steps in your mapping directory)
  2. Copy CLRTERR.EXE and CLRFEATR.EXE to the new sub- directory you just created.
  3. CD to the directory you just created.
  4. Run both CLRTERR.EXE and CLRFEATR.EXE (IN THE DIRECTORY YOU JUST CREATED!! OR YOU WILL ERASE YOUR ENTIRE TERRAIN AND FEATURE DATABASE. BE CAREFUL!!)
  5. Type RENAME WORLD001.* EXPORT.*
  6. Type RENAME FEATURE.* EXPORTF.*
  7. Copy these files to your mapping directory.

Twelve. Changing the font used by the mapper

The mapper comes configured to use the Modern font supplied with Win 3.0. This looks really awful, but it's the best font that comes with Win 3.0. If you have ATM for Windows, this makes all the fonts look really good. Now that Win 3.1 is here, and it has True Type fonts, I have added a method for you to use your favorite font with the program. After you exit the mapping program, it saves a bunch of things about what was going on when you exited, so that it can start where you left off. This info is saved in a file called mmapper.ini in your windows directory.

If you edit this file (with the windows notepad) you will see two lines at the end that say something like this:

Font=Modern
Charset=255

These are the values you need to change. Change the Charset to 1, and the Font to whatever TrueType font you would like. (The Charset specifies between OEM and ANSI charsets. OEM is 255, and most others are ANSI, which is 1)


Thirteen. History and other boring stuff

I started this program in June '91. What you have in your possession is light years better than the original versions. The program started out as the player interface for a pbm game I'm working on. I quickly adapted it for use in Monster Island when it looked like that would be a better use for it. (I'd been cutting and pasting map squares since Jan '90)

Now that hardware prices have put 386's and better in a lot of people's hands, lots of people are running Windows, so I decided to put together a version that I could market to other players. The features that I have concentrated on are quality of output, and ease of use. The features that I'm working hardest on now are import and export. My group uses the program to transfer a lot of map info (our database spans more than 10,000 squares). It allows one person to enter his/her turn results, and then just pass around the info on a disk, that the other grout members can upload.

The program is written in C using Borland's C++ 2.0 (and now 3.1). I use paradox to store the map info. This allows several interesting options. I'm starting to distribute ObjectVision forms for modifying some of the databases (like the xref database, as I haven't supplied any way to delete xrefs). At some point in the next few months I will offer a group of forms to other players.


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