Which Starcraft Map Editor is Best to Use?

By: Ling Tong

In the world of video games, a level editor, also known as a map editor, is a software application that creators used to design levels, maps or campaigns. Sometimes the editor is an integral part of the game and at other times it is separate from the game. However, when it is separate, this means it is part of a fan-released component. The main StarCraft map editor for the game is called StarEdit.

StarEdit is the map editor for both the StarCraft and the StarCraft Brood War games. Through this system, a user can create custom map scenarios or make radical changes to the maps of the game. With the StarCraft games users can use new editors and various functions? so that they can modify the game and adapt it to what they want to do.

The scenarios a user can create with StarEdit are usually melee or Use Maps settings, also known as UMS. In melee games all players start at a random location with only their main base building and four mining units. The main base building can be either the Command Center, the hatchery or Nexus. This is the game used most often in tournaments and is the most popular.

When playing in a casual setting, the players play on what are called money maps. These are maps with large amounts of resources the players can draw upon while playing. Players do not need expansion sites because the initial mineral and gas deposits are capped at around 50,000 units. Many players do not like using money maps because they feel that they are not challenging enough.

Use Maps settings of the StarEdit are not as structured as the melee settings. The players can use specialized triggers and setups to change the gameplay as they go along. In using this editor, different scenarios have emerged using Defence Maps. Examples of these scenarios include StarCraft Diplomacy, Magic: The Gathering and Lord of the Rings themed maps. There are also single player campaigns that have long scenarios using several maps. The Tower Defense Map has also become popular. This genre began with the Turret Defense that used Terran Missile Turret.

After the release of the Antioch Chronicles, many campaigns started incorporating modifications that included new heroes not seen in other games. Through the editors, mapmakers can create new art files with new units and characters. However, StarEdit cannot perform this function. Because of this StarEdit has become obsolete and has now been replaced by other editors for StarCraft. The most recent editors are StarForge, SCM Draft and XtraEditor.

Some of the editing tools that you can download from the StarCraft site consist of the MPQ Draft, which will further enhance modding by allowing a player to to create a fully customized application. The SCMLoader allows all of the custom changes to be loaded from the StarCraft maps. There are also features of an integrated plug in built into the loader so players can use it in the maps they create.

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