Most cRPG maps tend to fall into one of two categories: tunnel style maps, and the more compact wall style maps (for lack of better terms). There’s also a less common third hybrid style that combines elements from both.
Tunnel style maps are easiest to create with the excavate (draw tunnel) tool. To use it, hold down the D key and use the movement keys. The name “excavate” is quite fitting, as all existing cell content will be deleted. Junctions are automatically created on tunnel crossings, and neighbouring cells are joined into larger areas. Of course, you can press D without moving the cursor to excavate only the current cell.
The D key acts as a modifier key when used together with the movement keys (similarly to Shift or Ctrl). There are a few other tools that work the same way:
E – erase whole cell, including walls (we’ll talk about walls shortly)
F – draw/clear floor
C – set floor colour
New cells are drawn with the current floor colour, which is indicated in the tools pane on the right. You can toggle the visibility of the tools pane with Alt+T. To cycle through the available floor colours, press the , and . keys. To “pick” the floor colour from the current cell, press I.
Gridmonger has a virtually unlimited undo history (only limited by your computer’s memory). You can undo most actions with Ctrl+Z or U, and redo them with Ctrl+Y or Ctrl+R. The only action that cannot be undone is the creation of a new map which discards the current map.
So far so good, but how do we create doors, pressure plates, pits, teleports, and all sorts of other paraphernalia brave adventurers frequently run into in well-designed dungeons?
In tunnel style dungeons these contraptions take up an entire cell, so they are represented as different floor types. You can draw them with the number keys 1 to 7. But there are more than 20 floor types in total, so how does that exactly work?
Each number key is assigned to up to four floor types. You can cycle forward between all floor types assigned to a particular number key by pressing the key multiple times repeatedly, and backward by pressing the key with the Shift modifier.
|secret door (block style)|
|one-way door (N/E)|
|one-way door (S/W)|
|hidden pressure plate|
Most door types can be oriented either horizontally or vertically. When placing them in tunnels (as you normally would), they are automatically oriented correctly. Should you need it, you can always change the floor orientation manually with the O key.
The bridge type is a bit special; it has a small amount of “overhang” into its two adjacent cells. You can draw long continuous bridges by placing multiple bridge floors next to each other.
These floor types should take care of most of your dungeoneering needs. The goal was to keep it simple and not overcomplicate matters by allowing the users to define their custom types. In the rare case where you really need something not covered by these, you can always just add a note to the cell using a custom ID, as you will learn in the Annotations chapter.
Drawing walls works slightly differently. The program makes a distinction between regular walls (the most common wall type) and so-called special walls.
To draw regular walls, hold down the W modifier key and press one of the movement keys. This toggles the current cell’s wall in the selected direction according to the following rules:
if no wall exists in that direction, a regular wall is created
if the existing wall is a regular wall, the wall is removed
if the existing wall is a special wall, it is turned into a regular wall
Although this might sound a bit complicated, it’s really simple and intuitive in practice — just give it a go and you’ll see!
Special walls are used for drawing all the different door types you’ve seen previously as wall types, plus to represent some gadgets such as levers, statues, keyholes, etc.
Drawing special walls works similarly to the method described above — hold down the R modified key and press one of the movement keys. This will use the current special wall type, as indicated in the right-side tools pane. To change the current special wall type, use the [ and ] keys.
One-way doors are a bit special; their arrows are drawn towards the direction you’ve used when drawing them. So if you want to flip the direction of the arrow, just go to the “other side” of the door and draw it again!
Draw wall repeat¶
So far we’ve seen how to draw walls in a single cell, but what about drawing long continuous walls with a minimal number of keystrokes? Of course, this is Gridmonger, so there is a way to do just that!
After you have set or cleared a wall in a cell, you have the option to repeat that action horizontally or vertically, depending on the orientation of the wall you’ve just manipulated. So, if you’ve set or cleared the north or south wall, you can repeat that action in the horizontal direction; similarly, if you’ve manipulated the east or west wall, you can repeat that action in the vertical direction.
To use this feature, first set or clear a wall in the current cell using the W modifier, then hold down Shift without releasing W to enter repeat mode. Now you can use the movement keys to repeat the draw wall action either horizontally or vertically, depending on the orientation of the wall you’ve drawn first.
Although you won’t need this often, you can use the repeat feature with the S draw special wall modifier too.
The usage of the repeat tool is probably best illustrated with an example. Let’s see how to draw a spiral with it!
Move the cursor to
1, hold down W and keep it held down until you
6 while carrying out the following (the arrow keys represent
any of the Normal Mode movement keys). Pay attention to
the status bar messages after each keystroke!
Press ←, hold down Shift, press ↑ twice, release Shift.
Press ↑, hold down Shift, press → twice, release Shift.
Press →, hold down Shift, press ↓ twice, release Shift.
Press ↓, hold down Shift, press ←, release Shift.
Press ←, hold down Shift, press ↑, release Shift.
Press ↑, then press →. You can release W now, the spiral has been completed!
Now draw a few more spirals and similar shapes on your own! After a few minutes of practice, using the repeat tool should become second nature to you.
In Trail Mode, the cursor leaves a trail behind as you move it around. You can then “draw in” the map over it (this is really only useful for tunnel-style maps), or you can use it to track your movement over an already mapped area.
Use the T key to toggle Trail Mode; you’ll see two little footsteps in the top-left corner when it’s enabled. Because in this mode you’re modifying the map when moving the cursor, all cursor movements will become undoable actions.
Similarly to the erase cell tool, you can erase the trail one cell at a time by holding X and using the movement keys. You can only use this tool if Trail Mode is turned off.
To delete the whole trail in the current level only, press Ctrl+Alt+X. To excavate the whole trail in the current level (overwriting existing cell contents), press Ctrl+Alt+D.
The trail data for all levels is saved into the map file.
Trail Mode is turned off automatically when performing an action that would yield confusing or unwanted results with it being on (e.g. creating or deleting levels, changing the current level, entering Select Mode, etc.)
Editing in WASD Mode¶
In WASD Mode, the editing modifiers D, W and E are not available because they’re used for movement. But this is not a problem, as in this mode you’re supposed to use mouse modifiers instead for these actions.
For example, to draw tunnels, hold down the left mouse button and use the WASD movement keys.
The following mouse modifiers are available:
Left button – draw tunnel
Right button – draw wall
Right & left buttons – draw special wall
Middle button – erase cell
The mouse cursor must be inside the level area when using the mouse modifiers.
To draw special walls, make sure to press then right mouse button first, then the left button (otherwise you’d end up in draw tunnel mode).
Naturally, the Draw wall repeat tool is available in this mode too.
If you hold the Shift key, you can move the cursor by left-clicking somewhere inside the level like in Normal Mode.