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UDTA

Unit Properties

Unit properties is one of the most important aspects of any scenario editing.
Blizzard's editor allows you to do a few simple things in this area, such as
determining how much punishment a unit can take before he dies, (hit points, armor)
how close a unit has to be to attack other units (attack range), how far a unit can
see, (sight range) how much magic a unit start with, (0 to 255) and how much
damage a unit does with each hit. (attack strength, basic, and piercing)

PUDDraft takes this much further with "plugins", which in this case is well known
two unit properties modifiers written by Scorpion, (War2unit) and Scott Sipe
(UDTAed) allowing you to choose what missile the unit fires, which types of enemy
units the unit can attack, (target- land, air and/or sea units) whether the unit can
explode, (sapper tag) whether the unit is invisible to other units, (submarine tag)
whether the unit can see these units with the submarine tag, whether the unit is
affected by the exorcism spell, (undead tag) and whether the unit is affected by
polymorph, bloodlust, and healing spells (organic tag)

Don't get carried away with unit properties. Blizzard did a pretty good job of
distributing the abilities, strengths and weaknesses to the individual units, and
making changes that are too drastic can easily make the game unbalanced, and no
fun to play. Lets say for instance that you make Skeletons have 1000 hit points. It
would be easy for the player to take a few skeletons and wipe out the computer
player. This leaves no challenge to the game. On the other hand, it is also no fun to
play a scenario in which it is impossible to win. Difficulty is not the issue with
scenario editing, fun is.

Keep the player busy by making scenarios that are well balanced, and have a lot
happening in them. Its easy to create a scenario that is too easy, or too difficult, but
it is a challenge to find that fine line between the two, that makes the scenario
challenging without being overwhelming.

A word about priority settings in PUDDraft's plugins.

This largely ignored ability of War2unit and UDTAed is actually a lot of fun to play
with, and very useful. This setting allows you to determine which units have priority
in battle. For instance, lets say you had a rescue mission in a campaign level, and
the objective was to get Uther Lightbringer to the circle of power alive. You could set
the priority settings on poor Uther really high, and the settings on your other units
really low. If you did this, every time the player came in contact with enemy units,
they would try like crazy to take out Uther if he was within their sight range, and
ignore the other units until Uther was dead. This would make it seem more like the
enemy knew the player's mission, and was out to stop him at all costs.

Another largely ignored and similar set of tags is the annoy factor, and react range
tags. The annoy tag allows you to determine just how annoyed a unit will get if its
territory has been invaded, and to just what lengths it will go to for vengeance.
Demons seem to have a very high annoy factor, while skeletons will generally return
to their posts if your units run far enough away from them. The react range tag
allows you to determine how close enemy units can come before a particular unit
reacts. In this way, you can discourage overuse of magic units like deathknights,
and mages.

Ownership of units

This allows a PUD author to assign units to a player that normally could not be
assigned in Blizzard's map editor. These normally "neutral" units include critters,
gold mines, oil patches, circles of power, and Dark Portals. You can really come up
with some imaginative stuff here too. Imagine gold mines that belonged to a rescue
player on a multiplayer map. The first player to find one of these mines would own it,
and no one could take it away from him. Another thing you might want to do is make
the Dark Portal be owned by a computer player, and also place the gold and lumber
depot tags on the portal. This would make the peons take supplies to the portal,
making it look like they were actually transporting goods to the world on the other
side.

War2unit and UDTAed tags

The Submarine tag, and the Can see Submarines tags

The submarine tag lets you make a unit invisible to other units that are not marked
as able to see sumbarines. By default, towers, flying units, and submarines are the
only units that can see submarines, but you can change this in both War2xed and
War2unit. One of the biggest problems with the submarine tag is that units which
have this tag placed on them cannot attack Land units with thier primary missile.
However, they can attack with secondary missiles. Lets say for instance that you
place the sub tag on Ogres, without making any other alterations. This would make
Ogres useless, because by default they can only attack land units, and only have
one missile (technically, no missile.) (Ogre mages woulds still be able to cast
Runes and Bloodlust, but not attack) On the other hand if you placed this tag on
mages and deathknights, they would be able to use polymorph, or deathcoils
against land units, any missile except for the primary ones, (touch of darkness, or
lightning.) Also, you can use the submarine tag in conjunction with the sapper tag to
create invisible bombers that can demolish land units. If you place submarine units
as rescue on a map, these units will be invisible to the player until he either comes
in contact with them, or is able to produce units that are able to see submarines.
There are lots of things you can do with combinations of tags like this if you use
your imagination.

The Sapper tag

The sapper tag allows you to indicate which units can explode on contact with
enemy units by using the right mouse button. This is the only way I know of that you
can use critters to attack with. Units which have the sapper tag do not have the
demolish button though, so you can't blow up neutral objects such as rocks and
trees unless an enemy unit happens to be right next to the rocks or trees you wish
to demolish.

Decay Rate

War2unit and UDTAed both have a control setting for decay rate. This determines
how long a unit will survive after being built during gameplay. Example of decay rates
being used are the skeletons, and the eye of kilrogg. These units will decay rapidly
after a certain set period of time, and no amount of healing will restore them. To
remove the decay factor from these units, set it at 0, in which case a unit will not
decay at all. In the case of skeletons, this may be OK for a very difficult PUD in
which raising armies of the dead is essential for survival, but in the case of the eye of
kilrogg, this should not be messed with much, because AIs will make masses of
them, and will continue to make them till there are no more units allowed on the
map. This would affect gameplay in a very bad way.

The is volatile tag

This tag allows you to select which units will be destroyed by any magic that is
aimed at the unit. Originally, this tag was only assigned to sappers and demolition
squads, probably to balance the game under the pretense that demolition squads
carried unstable payloads of explosives, that would detonate if the invisibility or
unholy armor spell was used. This is an excellent example of just how much trouble
Blizzard went through to balance the game. They did a good job, and too much
fooling around with things can result in a game that is neither fun, or challenging.

The Can cast spells tag

This allows you to disable magic in units that already have a magic bar, but does not
allow you to enable magic to be used by units that do not normally cast spells. The
one exception is Lothar, who normally can't cast spells. If you use the can cast
spells tag on him, he will be able to use Holy Vision, and Healing.

The Upgrade Armor and Upgrade Weapons tags

This allows you to determine which units can be upgraded in the Blacksmith and
Lumber Mill. If the unit does not normally upgrade either one of these, then the
upgrades will take place in the Blacksmith if you enable this tag. For instance,
archers do not normally upgrade armor, but if you enable this tag, they will be
upgraded when you upgrade your knights and footmen, but the Archer's Weapons
upgrades will take place in the Lumber Mill as they would normally. Peasants on the
other hand do not normally upgrade weapons or armor, so if you enable these tags
for peasants, then all these upgrades will take place in the blacksmith.

The Organic Tag

This tag is only used to determine which units are affected by healing, bloodlust, and
polymorph. If you remove this tag from a unit, it can not be affected by any of these
spells. On the other hand, if you enable this tag on units that normally would not be
affected by these spells, then the will begin to be affected by these spells.

The Undead tag

This tag only determines which units can be affected by the exorcism spell.
Unfortunately, this tag only works on land units. Too bad, demons really should be
affected by the exorcism spell.

The Mass Selectable tag

This tag only determines which units can be selected as part of a group, up to nine.
Demons and Critters are normally not multi selectable, but you can fix that problem
by adding this tag.

Building tags

Build on shore tag

Pretty self explanatory. If you place this tag on a building, it can only be placed on
the shore like refineries, foundries, and shipyards.

deposit wood, gold, and oil tags

The oil tag is not as flexible as the rest, because it can only be used by buildings
that also have the build on shore tag. However, the deposit gold and lumber tags can
be very useful for getting an ai to perform better, because they have less of a
tendacy to get in their own way. For instance, ais have a tendacy to crowd thier own
town halls with footmen, archers and knights. Peasants that are trying to deposit
lumber to the town hall will often just stand there, confused because they are
supposed to deposit this lumber, but units are in their way. If you place the deposit
lumber tags on farms, these peasants will deposit their lumber to the nearest depot,
and have less tendacy to get stuck.

Missile tags.

This is one of the most fun things about editing, but again it is easy to get carried
away and make the game unplayable.

The "noisy" (and extremly destructive) missile tags.

These tags are extremely noisy, and can cause sound problems if you have a lot of
units using them, so they should be used sparingly, perhaps on NPCs and Heroes
only, so that there are not several hundred of gryphon hammer flinging units all over
the board making it impossible to hear what is going on with the rest of the game.

Gryphon Hammer

My favorite, this tag can make any unit fling Gryphon Hammers. This missile has a
pretty wide blast radius, so it is easy for the player to accidentally wipe out his own
units if they happen to be in the way when a unit that has this tag is defending itself.

Dragon Breath

Same effect (differant appearance) as the Gryphon Hammer tag.

Small Cannon

This tag also has a poweful wallop, but has a much smaller blast radius than the
gryphon hammers and dragons breath tags, so its not quite as bad when it comes to
the player accidentally destroying his own units. Units that have this tag applied are
helpless to point blank attacks.

Large Cannon, Catapult Rock and Ballista Bolt.

Same as the small cannon, but these missiles have differant appearances, do more
damage and can't be used to target air units.

Turtle, and Submarine missiles.

Same as the Large Cannon group, but with differant appearances, and these
missiles can be used to target air units. This missile can be used to target land
units, as long as it is not placed on a unit with the submarine tag.

The Arrow group

(Arrow, Axe, Touch of Darkness, Lightning, Blizzard and Demon Fire missiles)

These missiles are very precise, with no blast radius, and no excessive noise
created. They can all be used to target land, air and sea units, and can pretty much
be swapped out equally with a little adjustment to the basic and piercing damage.

The Flame Sheild Missile

This missile is unique. A unit that casts this missile can put a sheild around another
unit. Any unit that comes into contact with this unit is damaged, even if the units are
allies. This is a good spell to use on the enemy when they are all crowded together
in groups, or on one of your own units when he is isolated from your units, but
surrounded by enemy units. He will still go down, but he might take a lot of enemy
units out with him. 🙂

Additional Tags found in War2unit

Is a Hero tag

This tag really applies to campaign and save game editing only. It has no effect on
PUDs. The thing this tags does is to make the computer think that the unit is one of
the heroes from the expansion disk. This could help when working with scenario
objectives, but so far it seems to be that the particular units that are specified must
be used, or the level crashes.

Is an NPC tag

NPCs are the heroes from the Tides of Darkness campaign, and this tag tells
Warcraft that a particular type of unit is an NPC. Again, this only applies to save
game editing, and campaign level editing. In this case, it appears that you can
actually get away with substituting another unit for the NPC that is specified in the
scenario objectives of a campaign level. You might apply this tag to any unit you
wished, and instead of rescuing Uther in level 9, you might have the player rescue a
submarine, or even a critter to fulfill the objectives and finish the level. I'm guessing
that Scorpion figured this tag to be pretty useless, but it is very nice that he included
tags like this to let us see if we could find uses for it.

The extra War2unit and UDTAed missile tags

Most of the missile tags that are actually practical have already been discussed.
War2unit and UDTAed give almost total control over this situation, but the extra
missile tags should only be used with a thorough knowledge of how they act and
what you want to get out of them. Many of these missile tags are harmless to
enemy units, and are therefor labeled as "useless," but Scorpion and Scott included
them anyway, probably just to be thorough. If you are clever, you may find some
uses for some of these tags. I have made volcanoes with the "bright flame" missile,
and after seeing these volcanoes, a friend of mine showed me how to do the same
type of thing with the "tornado" tag. When we get to that point in the tutorial, I will
explain in more depth about what these tags do, but for now I just label them as the
"normally thought useless" missile tags.

Death & Decay
Heal Effect
Rune
Tornado
Dark Flame
Bright Flame
Black Powder
Explosion
Green Cross
Demon Fire
Mini Explosion
Metal Spark

The "unstable" War2unit tags

These tags are dangerous, and it is not generally good to mess with them unless
you know what you are doing. The results are often nothing at all, or maybe there
are results, but not ones that are desirable. This is not because there is anything
actually wrong with War2unit, but certain tags just do not go well with certain units.
For instance, War2unit will happily allow you to place the "can carry oil" tag on a
peasant, but there is just no way to get a peasant to actually transport oil. (I tried
this by placing oil platforms on bridge tiles, and it does not work.) Experiment with
them if you wish, and please let me know if there is any information about them that
should be added to this tutorial. I don't pretend to know everything, and any
information that can be added here is appreciated.

The names of the tags are self explanatory. I will not describe them, but I will list
them to classify them for something that you might want to be careful with, or
perhaps to research more fully than I have. In differant parts of the tutorial, I may
include specific instructions as to using some of these tags properly as it applies to
that topic.

Is a flying unit
Is a land unit
Is a sea unit
Is a building
Is an attacking tower
Is an oil depot
Is a gold depot
Is a lumber depot
Is an oil patch
Contains oil
Contains gold
Can transport gold
Can transport oil
Can transport lumber
Can attack
Can transport units
Around attack
Is a coward (mage)
Is a coward (peasant)

Troubleshooting

Blizzard made it very easy for anyone who had half a notion to create a PUD.
However, even though it is easy to make a PUD, it is difficult to make a "good" PUD.
There is no one "right" way to make a PUD, but there are certainly several wrong
ways. Differant styles of editing can all result in entertaining PUDs, but certain
things should be kept in mind in order for the scenario to function properly. Here is a
list of the mistakes I see most often.

1) Too many units.

This can be a mistake for a number of reasons. First, the AI has to feed all those
units, and therefore must build farms in order to continue to develop. Second, the AI
has certain pre-set instructions, and despite appearances, cannot "think." Lets say
for instance that you assign the land attack AI to black, and put several grunts and
trolls on the map. The Land Attack AI has instructions to build a great hall, (if not
provided) build a certain number of farms, build a lumber mill, build a barracks, build
a certain number of trolls and grunts, and then attack. All the units that the
computer builds during the course of the game are set as "active," meaning that the
unit will look for something to do when he is trained. The units placed by the author
are by default "passive," meaning that they will stand guard wherever they are
posted until an enemy unit comes within their sight range. The computer percieves
that it already has the required number of units to launch an attack party, but is not
smart enough to understand why these passive units are not attacking. There are
two common solutions to this problem. One way is to use skeletons and demons as
guard units, because these units do not consume food, so they don't slow down
production, and the computer never has orders to create these units, so it does not
interfere with the computer's preset instruction routines. Another way to get around
this problem is to place an entire computer player on the map with no function at all
but to guard the AIs that are developing. You would not supply a town hall or
peasants for such a guard AI, because there is no need for such an ai to develop.
You might use this type of AI to post grunts, trolls, ogres, ships, dragons, and/or
towers to prevent the human player from making a quick finish of the ai before it gets
the chance to develop.

2) Too many buildings.

The reason this is not generally a good idea is similar to the too many units
problem. The default AIs have instructions to create all their own buildings, so if you
place them on the map to begin with, then the AI may very well be confused. The
level AIs used for campaign levels are generally designed to accept certain buildings
placed on the map at the beginning of the scenario, but it is not generally a good
idea to use them, reason being that if the player gets on of the buildings that the AI
does not build for itself, then it is immediately crippled, and won't rebuild the
building. Land, Air and Sea attack AIs will all try to rebuild any structures the player
demolishes, except for Fortresses, and Strongholds. It will rebuild a great hall, but
will not upgrade them again. One way around this is to provide the AI with a fortress
at the beginning of the level. The AI will generally go to the nearest goldmine at the
first opportunity, and build its own great hall to upgrade, which will provide it with two
fortresses which must be torn down by the player. There are some exceptions to
this rule. Great halls, strongholds, and fortresses do not seem to cause problems
with the AI if they are placed on the map by the author. Also, it is generally a good
idea to place an oil refinery, an oil ship, and an oil platform on the map for sea attack
ais.

3) No direct line of attack to the player

This is one of the most difficult problems to solve. The AI is not smart enough to go
around large obstacles, and will generally get "stuck" behind them. Large mountain
ranges, forests, and bodies of water may prevent the units from ever reaching the
human player to attack properly. The only solution is to extensively play test the
level, using the "on screen" cheat to see where the AI is getting "stuck." After each
time you locate a problem area, shut down the game and redesign the PUD in some
way to remove the obstacle(s.) Add bridges to rivers, and cut paths through forests
and mountain ranges in areas where units are getting stuck, and play test it again to
determine if you need to make more allowances of this type for the AI. The AI is
really stupid, but a good PUD author finds ways to make it appear as if it is really
smart.

AI gets "stuck" trying to return goods to its great hall, or lumber mill

Another example of how stupid the AI really is. The AI may construct farms directly
between its great hall, and its gold mine. To prevent this, draw circles of dirt around
the great hall, and the gold mine. Another problem of this type is that attack parties
will generally gather around their own great hall until all the members of the attack
party are ready to go. One thing to keep in mind here is that the units will generally
gather at the upper left of the great hall first, so you don't want to place the gold
mine to the northwest of the great hall where all the attack party units will be right in
the way of production. One other method to help with this problem is to mark certain
building as places to deposit lumber with the "lumber depot" tag. Say for instance
you marked pig farms as lumber depots with this tag. Instead of trying to return to
their lumber mill, or great hall to deposit lumber, the AI peons will deposit lumber in
the nearest pig farm instead. This reduces the possibility of them being prevented
from returning their goods, and speeds up production.

Thanks! Tupac Administrator