Comanche 4 Legacy Project

The History Of Comanche 4 and the C4 Community 

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Comanche 4 Player Created Map, Mission History
Authored by Reaper.

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Legacy Information
Some of the information presented here is a matter of memory, we all remember
things differently, and as such this is my interpretation of the history of map/mission
creation during the early days in Comanche 4, and the players involved.

Other mapper’s are welcome to include their own input and information on this page,
If you have anything to add
contact me and I will add your comments on the topic.
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When the term map is used it refers to:

DM, TDM, KOTH, TKOTH, Attack-n-Defend, Search-n-Destroy game types.

When the term mission is used it refers to:

single player and coop game types played as missions.

When the term mod is used it refers to:

Files the player must have to see special effects.

Files needed by the player to load a map, mission or join a server.
Any game content not intended to be used in the game by Novalogic.

For many of us who created maps and/or missions for Comanche 4, the need to tinker, create or improve the game
was as important to us as any other aspect of the game, We spent countless hours working on maps, mod maps and creating new game content, we often worked with members of other squads, and went outside of the C4 community
at times to collect information to complete our projects.

About the game and what Nova gave us to map with:
Comanche 4 was the first game released using a new game engine created in-house by Novalogic. The only map tool  released for Comanche 4 by Nova was a locked version of the C4 med {map/mission builder utility} with a general  instruction manual to learn to use it. Many games don’t release game content creation utilities or software, at least  Nova gave us a med to create new maps.

Basically the med creates 3 files when building a new map,

.MIS {mission project file}
used to choose the terrain, environment, place objects on the terrain and
                                      script mission events while building the map.              

.BMS {binary mission file}
used by the game engine to host/play the map/mission.

.TIL {tiles type and location file}
used by the game to locate and place tiles on the terrain.

The map is built using the .MIS {mission project file}, when complete, the map is exported to the game as and filename.til. Because all game assets: terrains, stock maps, sound files, and game objects are  installed during game install, the host needs the .bms and .til files, but players do not.

Nova maps include a third file type for their maps, A bin file that places the map’s name on the players game screen and lists mission variables. The bin file is not created with the med and Nova did not release a bin editor, player created bin tools were released by Co. Pappy {bin editor} and {BIN2TXT}, {TXT2BIN} tools were released by  Devilsclaw. Unlike .bms/.mis files players need the map bin file to receive the files data. Players get all stock Nova 
map BIN files during the game install so players see all Nova made map name's on the game screen when the map is  hosted. When playing a server hosting player made maps, players do not see the map name on screen because:
Player's do have the player's made maps bin file. Most map builders do not create a bin file for the map they made,  unless they create a mod map pack. In that case players need the mod, so they can download the player's made map's  bin file as part of the mod.

Each maps set of files must use the same file name and should have no spaces or be over 11 characters long, the
map name and file name do not have to be the same as an example:
Map name: Blind Mans Bluff {map name is made in the map's .bin file}
BMS file name:
TIL file name: dm_bmb_1.til
BIN file name: dm_bmb_1.bin

In the above example the file name system used no spaces, is less than 11 characters long and designates the map
as a death match type_lists map name initials_map version and file format.

Using the med players can create maps for game types as simple as dm, tdm, koth and tkoth maps to the more  involved mission creation used in coop and single player missions. The more involved the map gets, single player
maps for example, the more knowledge and experience the mission creator needs to produce high quality maps or

For many map/mission builders, player created utilities, map/mod tech pages and unlocked meds played a
major role in the quality of maps, missions and mods we were able to create. 

A list of must have utilities would include:

• c4bms2mis converter by Col. Pappy
• Pff Utility by FwO Raven
• Terrain Viewer by WATKINS & Rüstinsk
• Fog COLOR Picker by DReAMZ *TF*
• c4medc3 with options unlocked by Col. Pappy
• C4 med unlocked for KOTH/TKOTH by Bane 

The c4bms2mis converter by Col. Pappy was used to convert Nova’s stock .bms files to .mis, so you could open them
in the med to see how Nova created events during mission building. Or check the building process a another mapper used to create a map you liked.

The meds unlocked by Pappy, and the meds unlocked by Bane opened options in the med not possable to access in
the locked version Nova released with the game. In the case of the med Bane unlocked to make KOTH maps the
unlocked med was required to choose the koth/tkoth game type in the meds game type selection field or the mis file
had to be edited by hand in notepad before you could export the map as a .bms file.

The Fog COLOR Picker by DReAMZ *TF* was used to choose fog color and saved the map maker untold wasted time messing with environment colors.

For someone seeking help with basic dm,tdm,koth and tkoth map creation a webpage posted at Comanche 4  information:

• Making maps for C4 {LINK} by Reaper
Offered a good basic instructional tutorial on basic dm,tdm,koth and tkoth map creation.

For players looking for help with more advanced mission building or a guide to use the med:

• Map editor help information in PFD by Charger
• Mission Editor Guide by Charger

Both provided good basic instruction to get started using the med, or a quick review to lay out events, area triggers
and other mission building instruction for more advance missions.

Other useful utilities and information available included:

• Dialog Editor by DV
• Bin editor by Col. Pappy
• Information file for adding sound dialog by Rüstinsk
• C4 Mission Editor Manual translated into German for Euro players by NO ESCAPE
• Information on adding game objects to Comanche 4 by Bluetiereign

When Nova released Black Hawk Down on the updated Comanche 4 game engine, they also released mod tools for
BHD, some of those tools worked on C4. The BHD mod tools and information to use them combined with the above mentioned tools and information already available gave those of us that wanted to expand what could be done in
map and mission creation the ability to do so.
Player created mods, maps and missions were the only new content C4 ever received, Nova did not released any
new maps or new game content after the games initial release.

While discussing map creation one more area should be addressed, Wac script events. Wac script was coded into C4 and not used by Novalogic for any map/missions. Nova would use WAC in Black Hawk Down released after C4 for most of the missions Nova created.  In Comanche 4 limited wac function could be used to add thunder and lightning, change fog color, move fog and place text on the screen. In function the wac files were like a mod, player’s needed the wac
file to see the event. The wac file could be created for the map with notepad.

Fixing what was broke:
C4 was released with text errors in the bin file used by the med to pick the map environment, that med setting was what named the games .EVN file during map creation. The environment setting put the light settings, object/terrain color/shading and sky cloud cover in user created maps, and in general is why Nova stock maps had clouds and
balanced environments and most early dated user created missions did not. At that time when creating a map, the map/mission creator used environmental over-ride settings in the med to place colored fog in the map that other-wise would have had no environment.

Using the Bin editor released by Pappy, Bane and Avenger were the first players who discovered the bin error and were  able to fix the bin text error in the file so we could use the stock C4 environments for user created maps and missions. The bin tool also gave modder’s access to other files giving us the first good look at many of C4’s game files. The information in those files would unlock koth, tkoth, search and destroy, attack and defend map types, make it possible to mod infra-red night vision and other environmental effects into Comanche 4. Use the first wac
script to place text on the game screen or add weather effects to mod maps.

Nova also made changes to the crane object listing used by the med, in user created maps the cranes didn't fall  correctly the same way they did in Nova's stock maps, the bottom of the crane would fall when struck with
stingers, however the top of the crane would remain suspended in air. Using the Pff Utility by FwO Raven to extract
Nova's stock .bms files to get a map with the crane on it. After converting the .bms file to .mis with Pappy's converter  you could open Nova's map in the med then copy/paste the crane set up from nova's maps to player made maps. 

Events that effected the community:

4X4 Team Death Match Uncovered:

In 2002 Shadow<SAS> while messing with game settings in the config file discovered how to host 4 X team death match game types. Testing the settings Shadow hosted a stock nova map in 4 X serve and play settings and had <SAS> squad members Arch Angel, Reaper, and Omega join the server and found we joined as red, blue, yellow and violet colored teams. The problem was yellow and violet teams spawned in the middle of the map because there were no team color start markers for them.

Shadow who also created maps for C4. Created a 4X4 test map, added the yellow and violet team color start markers and we tested the map. Everything worked the way he Expected.

Shadow converted all of Nova’s stock TDM maps into 4X4 format and created a few 4X4 maps of his own.
When Shadow, AA and Reaper started DIE squad, Shadow created a 4X4 instruction page for the Squad website to host the 4X4 game type and released the 4X4 maps to the community. A short time later DIE squad help the first:
Comanche 4, 4X4 team death match tournament.

KOTH TKOTH unlocked:

In 2004 Bane<FWP> and MasterX<BKC> experimenting with game files in Comanche 4 found signs there was information hidden in the game for game types that were not released as part game when Comanche 4 was released.

At the time Bane contacted Reaper and explained they had found information for:
team king of the hill, king of the hill, search and destroy, capture the flag, and search and destroy.
They thought there was enough was coding in the game {while incomplete} to play some of the games.

Reaper volunteered to create the maps, and Bane unlocked the new game types in a med to make map creation
easier. Reaper created a 12 map KOTH map pack, wrote a koth Introduction with instructions. He placed it in the
map pack and posted a copy at his Comanche 4 Information website.

Following the first koth release, Reaper created a second map pack for TKOTH and Bane coded a player utility to set
the players and server settings in the config file.

About 6 months later Avenger<CFS> created some mod maps to play search and destroy, koth, tkoth and attack and defend. Avenger also asked Reaper for permission to edit the TKOTH map pack, correcting some map errors Reaper made when creating the original map pack and adding some new content to the maps.

As a side note:
No one ever got capture the flag to play, koth/tkoth hill needed maps created to play, but the basic game type was  there and did not require mod game objects. Search and destroy/attack and defend required mod game objects to play.


In conclusion:
There were a number of players that created very good maps and missions for C4.
Created tools and utilties we used to create maps and missions.
Created utilities to set config file setting to play new game types.
Created server programs to run game servers and host our maps and missions.

Some of the players were comanche 4 players and known members of the C4 community.
Other's are not well know in Comanche 4, as they played other Nova games. 
either way they are part of our Comanche 4 History and made C4 a better place.
This page is dedicated to them with apologies to anyone I forgot.

Bryon Smith
Col. Pappy
FwO Raven
Poco Loco Dicko

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