The Construction Kit

The Construction Kit allows you to create your own scenarios for games based on the Tactics Engine. To view the manual, you will require Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available at the Adobe Site (

Construction Kit Manual

This manual describes how to configure and use the Construction Kit.

For further reference, you'll probably want to refer to the Tactics Engine manual. This can be found in our Engines section. To go there directly click here.


The following information outlines a few tips for getting started with the Construction Kit that is included with Dark Reign.

Generate Random Terrain
If you don't have a specific idea for the general terrain of a level, the best way to get started is to use the RANDOM button under the FILE menu. This will instantly create a randomly generated terrain, complete with altitude mapping. By either clicking on the RANDOMIZE button, or adjusting the SEED, GRAIN and WATER LEVEL, you can quickly and easily create a whole new terrain.

Brush Size
There are shortcut keys to change brush size C increases brush size by one, and SHIFT-C decreases it by one.

Auto Ridge
You can use the AUTORIDGE feature under the FILE menu to automatically paint the edges of altitude changes with the appropriate texture.

Unit IDs
Each unit has an individual numerical ID to differentiate between unit types. Under the END CONDITION/FSM menu, there is a SHOW ID/HIDE ID toggle button that alternately shows and hides the unit IDs of selected units. Use this button to determine the IDs of units that you wish to put in Special Forces Groups.

To define a region for use in FSM (Finite State Machine) files, use the NEWREG button under the END CONDITION/FSM menu. After clicking on the NEWREG button, click and drag until you have created the region that you want. You can resize and move the region after it has been created.

Starting Credits
To specify the amount of starting credits you want each player to have, change to the PLAYER OPTIONS MENU and specify it in the edit box there.

Multiple Selection
To make realistic looking terrain's, CTRL-LEFTCLICK on several textures. This will select these textures, and when you go to paint them, it will cycle through those that have been selected randomly. Ensure that the slider bar RANDOM/FIXED TEXTURE VARIATION is set to R (selecting random). Then select your brush size and paint. This way, you can quickly map textures onto the terrain giving it a much more varied, rich appearance. This is especially useful with things like roads, which look much better when multiple textures are used.

The above feature is even more useful when combined with multiple masks. Again, CTRL-LEFTCLICKing on the mask types will multi-select them, and will cycle through the tile-blending masks at random when painting textures. A combination of random tile-blending with random texture placing can create maps that look much more realistic and natural.

To convert flat, featureless terrain into hilly terrain with variations in altitude, click on PAINT INCREASING ALTITUDE and change the brush type to SPRAY. Then increase the brush size, and simply start painting over the same area. This will randomly change the altitude of parts of land that fall under your brush. This effect also works when using multiple textures.

Tile Texture Variation
Pressing R on the keyboard will cycle every tile in the map to the next texture variation for that tile type. Use this if you want to see how your map looks with the different texture variations.

Pressing A on the keyboard will toggle the altitude map for the scenario. This is useful for showing you where flat land that can be built on is, and for placing ridges and cliffs if you want to put some ambush points in your scenario.

Pressing SHIFT A on the keyboard will toggle the overlay effects map for the scenario. This shows how the overlays and buildings currently on the map will affect units. For example, type 3 is the impassible tile; anything that is type 3 on the map is unable to be walked over by a unit. Note however, that these effects can be specific to a scenario, and may change from scenario to scenario. They are defined in the file OVLEFF.TXT.

Eye Dropper
Pressing ALT while in the TERRAIN MENU enables the dropper. When the dropper is enabled, you can select a texture tile of the map, and it will become the currently selected texture.

Painting Random Trees
Placing overlays is a very important part of scenario creation. To create realistic looking forests, it is essential to use a good mix of the available trees. However, to save you the trouble of having to place each tree individually, the Construction Kit includes a feature that allows you to multi-select trees (in face, any combination of overlays can be selected at once) and place them in the same manner as randomly placing textures on terrain. Select multiple overlays by holding CTRL down. You can increase the brush size, and paint large amounts of overlays at once. Note that you can do this with any overlay; it is just as easy to create large rock formations.

Initial Orders
Units can have their settings initialised in the Construction Kit. You can add units, and then from the ORDERS/CONFIG MENU, set their pursuit range, damage tolerance, and independence settings.

Initial Path
Paths can be assigned to units from within the Construction Kit. Simply select the PATHS MENU and outline the path you wish the unit to follow. Then click on the unit you wish to apply the path to, and select ASSIGN PATH TO A UNIT.

Starting Locations
To create a multiplayer scenario, all you need to do is ensure that there are starting points for each player that you want in the game. Go to the PLAYER OPTIONS MENU, and for each player that you want in the game, simply click on START POS button and place the start position somewhere in the scenario. It is always a good idea to place some default starting units for each side in the game as well.

Player Side
To specify what side you want a particular player to be, go to the PLAYER OPTIONS MENU. First select the player number that you wish to specify the side for, then select a side for that player. Repeat for all the players that you want to have in the scenario.

End Conditions
By default, the end condition for a scenario is Allied Team Victory. That is, if all the enemies of an allied team are wiped out, the allied time will win. If it is a single player game, that is, human vs computer, when one of the teams is defeated, the other wins. This can be changed with a customised .END file, which can be specified in the END CONDITON/FSM MENU. For more information on .END files, see the Tactics Engine Configuration Guide.

You can select an Artificial Intellignece Personalities (AIP) for a team to follow from the END CONDITION/FSM MENU. If none of the standard AIPs suit your scenario, you can create your own AIP file, and store it in the scenario's directory. For more information on AIPs, see the Tactics Engine Configuration Guide.

Scenario Status
The STATUS MENU lists the statistics of your scenario, including number of units, number of buildings, net worth, number of overlays, and number of water and Taelon deposits. It also lists any outstanding elements that you have forgotten to put in. For example, a starting point for a team if you have added units for a team, or if you have forgotten to put any water resources on the map.

Tech Level
If you wish to restrict the Tech Level of your scenario, and thus make only certain units available for each player, simply change to the value in the Tech Level edit box in the STATUS MENU.

Remember that if you change any of the standard multiplayer maps, you will not be able to play these maps in a multiplayer game unless all the other players also have a copy of your scenario.

All text and images Auran 2000 / 2001. All rights reserved.