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Creating A Map For Begginers - (very Image Heavy)


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Who is this for?

This is for anyone new to mapping or these forums, who does not understand the EA tuts, hasn't got them or needs more visuals or details.

I strongly suggest you follow this tut before you post multiple threads about mapping.




The Aim

This tutorial will talk you through making a simple map. I will be using some different tools along the way to try to teach you some different methods used in mapping. There are many ways to map, and you can do it all within the editor, but I will vary what I use, and chop and change methods throughout, so that you can decide which way is best for you.

I will only touch on the methods lightly, as full tutorials for all can be found within this forum is you search a bit.

The main aim, is to get you aquainted with the Battlefield 2 Editor, and get you a working map.




The Tools

Tools you will need are as follows...

Battlefield 2

Battlefield 2 Editor

Battlefield 2 Lightmap Samples

L3DT Heightmap Generator

Photoshop (any version)

BF2 tpaint

BF2 Pack

Thanks to all the members of the community that contributed some of these tools.

These tools are all available HERE with the exception of Battlefield 2 and Photoshop, which of course you need to buy.




The Words Of Wisdom/Lecture

Mapping is stressfull at times, as is modding in general.

Most people on this forum offer their help in their free time, and are unpaid to do so.

Please be polite when asking them questions and also patient for a reply.

Try things yourself first, and try not to post multiple posts on the forum asking for advice on multiple subjects all at once, stick to one thing until you learn it.

Map only if you have the time, it is time consuming, and to do it properly, at some point you will be without your PC for some days while it is rendered usless during lightmapping!

Remember that saying...

Karkand wasn't built in a day!




Stage 1 - Preparing a map

Load up the Battlefield 2 Editor, and select BF2 as the mod to load.


Go to the top left and select "Terrain Editor"


Go to File/New

Use the same settings as I have here, you can change the map name if you have my test map installed as it will not allow you to use the same name. Click "OK".


Wait for a while as the Editor creates a standard map. When it has finished, close the editor.



Stage 2 - Preparing The Terrain

Although you can use the editor to make your terrain, I will be using a program called L3DT.

Open L3DT and click "New Map"

Choose "Design Inflate" and click "OK"


Choose the Size of your map to corrospond with the size of the map you made in the editor and click "OK"


Play around with the settings on the next window, they are quite self explanatory, but you may need to repeat this steap to get a look you are happy with. These settings affect how your terrain will look, if it is steep, flat and if there are lakes etc. Click "OK" when you are happy.


You should have something like this...


Click "Next" once. Your terrain will be made!

Ok, now we want to get this exported so that you can use it in game.

Use the same settings as I have in the following picture, remember, your terrain MUST be 1 pix bigger than your map.

So if you made a 512 x 512 map, your terrain will be 513 x 513.



Export it to somewhere safe you will remember like your desktop for now.

Once exported shut down L3DT for now.

Navigate to where your new map you made in the editor earlier is, for example...

EA GAMES\Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Levels\Tutorial_Map

Copy your new heightmap you just made and saved on your desktop (HeightmapPrimary.raw), and paste into your level folder. Say yes to overwrighting the exsisting HeightmapPrimary.raw in your level folder.


Stage 3 - Painting The Terrain

Again, this can be done in the editor its self, I am using this though...

Place the bf2_tpaint folder into your map folder (EA GAMES\Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Levels\Tutorial_Map)

Open the tpaint folder and double click on bf2_tpaint.exe

Choose all but "paint surrounding terrain" and click go.

This will create 2 new folders in your tpaint folder, "Colourmaps" and "Detailmaps"

Copy both of these folders and paste them into your levels "editor" folder (EA GAMES\Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Levels\Tutorial_Map\Editor)

Now load up the bf2editor and your level.

Doesn't look too hot yet does it? Well don't panic, we're not finished yet!!!

Switch to "Terrain Editor" and choose the "Texture" button.



Layer 1 = Hills

Layer 2 = High Terrain

Layer 3 = Low Terrain

Now, select "Layer 1" and change the fields in you tweakbar to something like I have. Note: YOU MUST CHANGE THE "LOWDETAILTYPE" TO 2 ON THIS LAYER (Rock Layer).

Also you should change the planemap to "1" on the rock texture layer not "0" as in the picture below.


Now select "Layer 2" and change to something grassy, like I have. This time change the "lowdetailtype" to 1


Now select "Layer 3" and change to something sandy like I have, again set the "lowdetailtype" to 1



You can use the other layers (4, 5 & 6), for any other textures you like, you will need to paint these in manually.

If you find you are getting blocky or pixalated textures when painting manually try changing the "Colour tiling" to 0/0.

If you wish to use the puddle effect, then choose a detail map with an "Env map" (Normally these textures are proceeded with _env or env in the name somewhere).

Once you have selected the puddle texture of your choice select the "EnvMap" box in the tweakbar when that layer is selected.

The puddles will only appear when you have painted the ground, selected the "EnvMap" box and ran lightmaps.

The puddles will only appear in the game and not the editor.

Ok, we're getting there...

Select "Layer 1" and on the right, "click Set Low Detail Texture", Choose "defaultlowdetail" and click ok, then click "Generate Low Detailmap".

Repeat with layer 2 selected, then repeat with layer 3 selected, repeat again on layers 4, 5 & 6 if you have used them.


If you have'nt all ready done so, click "Render" at the top, and then "Detail Texture Mode".

WOW look at what you made!!!


Now, this is important, SAVE TIME!

Go to the top, File/Save

Make sure the following boxes are checked...

Color Texture

Compiled Detail- and Color Textures

Compiled Terrain

Detail Terrain

Ground Properties


Click "OK" and wait for it to finish.


Stage 4 - Sky & Fog

Click on your map name, next to the "Tweak Bar"

Expand lightsettings

Scroll down and click on the box to the right of "Sky Texture"

Choose a sky from the ones shown

Load up Photoshop leaving the editor running

Take a print screen of your editor and paste it into photoshop, in photoshop, take use the pippette to choose the colour of your horizon, there will be a box displayed with the RGB values of the colour you just selected, write those down and tab back into the editor

In the section you choose the sky, scroll back up and click on the box next to "Fog Color" enter the RGB values you wrote down from photoshop. and say "OK".

Now your fog should match your sky!

In the editor, look at the sky in your sky texture, and then at the top click "light" then "Set sun(flare) direction" then "set sun direction to camera". Now save your map.

This sets us up for a later step... LIGHTMAPPING!!!!!


Stage 5 - Placing Control Points, Spawns and Vehicles

Switch to "Level Editor"

Find a suitible place on the map, right hand click and choose "Create ControlPoint"

Call it USMAIN and then say ok.

In the tweakbar on the left, click the box next to "Team" and change it to 2

Scroll down and check the box that says "UnableToChangeTeam" this will make it a fixed US base.

Right click again and make another control point, call it MECMAIN and leave the team as 1

Again scroll down and check the box that says "UnableToChangeTeam"

Now, on the right in the editor bar, click "level settings"

In the box that pops up, under "Team 1" click the box and change to MEC, then under "Flag" change the name from flag_ch to flag_MEC click ok


Now, next to the USMAIN right click and click "Create Spawnpoint[uSMAIN]"

Click "OK" to the box that pops up asking to name it

Do the same next to the MECMAIN and click "Create Spawnpoint[MECMAIN]"

Now you have 2 flags, one for each team, and somewhere to spawn

Again, next to the USMAIN flag, right click, this time selecting "Create objectspawner[uSMAIN]"

In the box that pops up, choose a ME_US vehicle, as they are the teams we are using.

Click "OK" to the box that pops up, asking to name it

Repeat again, but next to the MECMAIN flag, and choosing "Create objectspawner[MECMAIN]"




Stage 6 - Water

Ok, so lets add some water to the map, this is a simple step when you know where it is.

Next to your tweakbar click on your map name and expand the "Water Settings"

You will see it is set to -10000 change it to something like 50 so your water appears on your map, then you can adjust it to the level you think suits the map the best.


Then in the "Tweakbar" play around with the water settings, try different water fog and water colours.

If you can't find what you want you can borrow one from one of the Battlefield2 maps.

These can be found for example here;

Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Levels\Dalian_plant\server.zip

You are looking for the water.con file in the server zip.

When you drop it into your map folder, don't forget to right click it goto properties and uncheck "Read Only" so you can tweak and change it later if you want.

While we are here we can place an envmap, these control reflections basicly.

In the "resource bar" under BF2 expand the editor section then content/objects/common

You will notice something called DefaultEnvMap, switch to "Level Editor" and drag one of these onto your map

Click on it and move it upwards so it is above the water, at around 200 high




Stage 7 - Placing Objects

If this is your first map for BF2 you will need to do a couple of bits to get to the static objects;

1) In the editor at the top, click on Mod then select Mod Manager...

2) In the new box, click the "Editor Content" tab.

3) Check all the boxes on the left, then click ok.

After loading these in for the first time, you will now be able to find and place objects as described below.

In the "resource bar" navigate to BF2/objects/staticobjects/middle-east/city/village_buildings/fishing_hut_pole

Drag this onto your map, as you can see because of its pivot point it is raised too high.

Click on it once and you will see some arrows appear on the object, you can either drag the object around using these, or holding left shift, you can use your direction keys and page up/down on your keyboard to move them slower. Scroll your mouse wheel down and up to control the speed of this "nudge"

Place it where you want it and SAVE YOUR MAP


Stage 8 - Lightmapping


Depending on the amount of objects, compexity of your map and size of your map, lightmapping can take days on the "final" setting!

Just so we can see what the map looks like with shadows, and for time issues we are going to run on medium settings.

You will have allready download the lightmap samples and installed as per the readme with them.

Next to your tweak bar click the name of your map, and then expand "lightmap settings" make sure you have 4 -8 GIlight otherwise you will get very, very black shaddows.

At the top, click compile/lightmaps/generate lightmaps

When the box pops up, use the same settings as in the picture below, and click "Generate"


Make a cup of tea...

When it finishes and askes if you would like to check for obselete lightmaps click yes.

At the top click compile/envmaps/generate envmaps

Now, navigate to your maps envmap folder EA GAMES\Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Levels\Tutorial_Map\Envmaps

Copy the .dds called EnvMap0.dds

Navigate to EA GAMES\Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Levels\Tutorial_Map

And create a new folder called "Water"

Open the water folder EA GAMES\Battlefield 2\mods\bf2\Levels\Tutorial_Map\Water

Paste the EnvMap0.dds in the water folder and rename it to EnvMap.dds

Now goto compile again and select compile/make ground hemi and click ok to the box that pops up

Close the editor and DO NOT save after lightmaps


Stage 9 - Packing The Map

When we get more advance and add ambient triggers and sounds, we will use BF2 Pack as the editor leaves out some objects when packing.

For now we will use the editor as we have not used any objects the editor will leave out.

At the top, click Mod/Package Mod

Make sure the only box that is checked is "Package this level: Tutorial Map" then click "OK"


Stage 10 - Loading The Map

Launch Battlefield 2, create a local game and select your map!

Congratulations you have a working map!!!

This is the one I made using this exact tutorial...



Next Steps

If you enjoyed this tut, found it too easy or just want to move onto the next step, check out my tut for Intermediate Users



Ok, so we made a map, and it works, you learnt a bunch of methods along the way too.

There is much, much more we could have done to this map, and I will cover that in a more advance tut once you have got the hang of this.

There are things like layers for 16, 32 and 64 player, loading maps, mini maps undergrowth, overgrowth and optimizing map size the list goes on.

But this is just the basics in map making for now, I hope you found this usefull, and if remember, everything I covered is on this forum in more detail somewhere, you just need to use the SEARCH FEATURE on this forum.

Thanks for reading first!


Edited by [EoD]Junglist
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  • 3 weeks later...

If it took 15 seconds than somethings wrong... you either dont have the lightsamples(700mb d/l) that you put in this folder

Lightmap samples(scroll down to bottom of page)


C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\Battlefield 2\bf2editor

and/or you didnt change the number of gi lights from 0 to 4(8 takes longer) in your light settings in the editor?


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  • 4 weeks later...

Very nice tutorial Jung. I have a question for you.

I have completed your tutorial and all went well. But when I start BF2 and choose Multiplayer > Create Local the game starts and I am brought into the Select a SpawnPoint screen. I choose my kit and I notice the 2 spawnpoints are present on the map but the USMC spawnpoint is colored red. Printed in large white letters in the upper left and lower right of the map screen are the words "Default InGame Map". Also printed on the screen is "The game will start when 1 more player(s) join."

The level never starts. Based on what was accomplished in your tutorial, am I supposed to be able to enter into this level and drive around the vehicle objects? Is there something I still need to do to enter this level?


I solved my own problem. I had placed a vehicle object directly on top of my Spawn Point control. I guess the game engine concluded a soldier could not spawn into the level with about 4000 lbs of heavy jeep on top of him. :D

Edited by Aidan
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