Dix's Terrain Inversion
Terrain inversion tricks (putting top layer graphics in underground levels) was actually a 'bug' of the AoW Map Editor v1.0. The trick was first revealed by Ravager (Argammon) in the Valley of Wonders' former UBB forum. However, it seemed that using this trick caused the map to crash when the map is played on AoW v1.1 and above. This is because the 'bug' had already been removed by the game programmers because of instability issues. This discouraged many map makers from using terrain tricks on their maps for fear of map corruption.
This has not stopped Dix from making 5 XL sized maps, all with terrain inversions - Sorcerers and Warriors, The Green Azaranor, Hunters of Blood, Journey Into The Dark and Hunters of Blood II. By using terrain tricks, he has expanded the map top surface area by 3 times, giving them a very large playing area and the ability to place over 150 cities without the map looking too crowded. Dix's maps are incredibly beautiful, detailed, challenging and most importantly, they don't crash when played on current AoW v1.36.
How to perform terrain inversion tricks.
Open editor v1.00
Place a city or mine or farm in the underground, go to the top terrain, and then go to options and choose player info. Double click on the city you've placed in the underground and then you'll have the tools (graphic tab) from top level.
If you do not have editor 1.00 only 1.31 and higher, then you must open a map with terrain inversions and copy all terrain or graphics needed for your map to one of your map's underground levels. By doing this you'll be able to make a little toolbox with a variety of terrain and graphics in a corner and then copy from your 'toolbox' and paste it where you want it.
(Editor note: If you think this is tedious, reinstall the game, but keep v1.0 of the game in a separate folder, so that you have two versions of the game v1.0 and a patched version.)
Build all the terrain in the underground until you are ready with it,then you can switch to the newest editor v1.36 and continue map-building, making all heros and artifacts in version 1.36. However if you need to do more changes in the underground, do not switch back to the old editor, instead continue to work with the v1.36 and copy and paste instead because the early editor handles hero libraries and artifacts libraries very badly.
An important thing to remember is that the map should always be finished in Map Editor v1.36.
Common Questions regarding terrain inversions:
1.Can I use all the Altars?
No, you cannot. Altars that alter terrain can not be used because the game will crash. So, the only the Fire,Lightning, and Pestilence altars can be used.
(Editor note: There has been prove that this can be done, but at the risk of the map crashing. When a terrain altering altar is used underground, it wipes out underground graphics. If it does cause the map to crash, it probably has something to do with the 'underground water' graphics interaction.
2.Can I mix top level terrain with underground terrain in the underground?
Yes you can.
3.Can underground terrain/graphics be used on the top level.
No, absolutely not, the game will crash.
(Editor note: We all know that FFBJ uses underground terrain on the top in the same way as we would put top terrain tiles underground. Apparently most 'illegal editor placements',as some of us map makers refer to, are possible, but we suspect that there are some issues with the water and lava graphics which can cause occassional disasters. Dix did release a version of Hunters of Blood II with some underground graphics on the surface later on. We would like to emphasize extensive testing when trying something new.)
4.Can I use light water from top level in underground?
No, that's the worst mistake you can make. If you accidently push the save button after doing this, the editor will crash. Then you would have lost the whole map you are working with. So, a very strategic solution to avoid this, is to have 2 backups of the map you are working on.
Make sure the 'water' looks like this.
5.When I'm putting out a teleporter in the underground I only get a brown spot, what's that?
That's because you have forgotten to switch to top level tools and tries to put it on terrain from top level.
(Editor note: Teleporters are available both on underground and top layer graphic tabs - what this means is that you have to put teleporters from underground graphic tabs on placed underground tiles only and teleporters from top layer graphic tabs on placed top layer graphic tiles only. If you do not do this, the object placed will exist and can be flagged but will be 'invisible'. This is also the case with Watch Towers and Farms. )
6.When I'm putting out cave entrances I get a graphical error, why?
That's because cave entrances must be put on dirt tile in the underground so do not forget to put a little spot of dirt where you want those entrances to be.
Article first appeared on Custom Map Makers' Resource Site at MSN communities. I sort of interviewed Dix at the time about how terrain inversion was done and he was kind enough to share it. The points given by Dix are basically the safest way to make use of the terrain inversion trick. Map makers have been known to break many of the basic rules here. :-)