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For this version of Robo-- excuse me, BotWars, there are going to be many different sorts of mechanisms involved. This text file will tell you how to call up a picture that has the game elements you want for a particular square. If you've labelled all the bits correctly, and the picture still doesn't come up, it's because I haven't made a graphic for that particular combination yet. Submit the board with the name the way you think it ought to be, and I'll fill in any new graphics that ought to be included.

The available game elements at this time are:

PIT
DRAWBRIDGE
TRAP DOOR
CONVEYOR (speed 1 or 2)
GEAR
REPAIR STATION (1 wrench or 2)
TELEPORTER
PUSHER
CRUSHER
SWITCH
LASER/BLASER
ELECTRIC EYE
BUZZSAW
WALL
FENCE
OPEN FLOOR


How to call up your graphic

First, consider the list above, and pick out the item in the square that best describes your square.

PIT

Format: pit_[n][e][w][s][ccc...].gif
Abbr.: none

The [n][e][w][s] make up the walls of the pit that are visible and present. A one-square pit is pit_news.gif . The western end of a 2x1 pit is missing its eastern wall, so it's pit_nws.gif . The walls will always appear in the order n-e-w-s.

It's possible that corners of a pit may appear. For example, the Great Divide board has a 5x5 cross in the middle of its board, and the pit is one square wide. The centre square can't ever be gotten to by normal means, since it's not on the edge of a solid floor space, but you can see the corners of nearby squares. Corners are represented by [c]. The square I've been talking about is pit_cccc.gif ; all four corners appear. The intersection of a T-shaped pit might be pit_ncc.gif since the north wall (for example) would be there, plus the two corners opposite. This differentiates it from the north-central edge of a 3x3 square pit, say.

If you've got some corners there and some not... we'll think of something. Right now there are no such graphics in the library, so just indicate it however you like, and we'll standardize later.

Pits pretty much have to appear by themselves in their squares, save for laser fire and the occasional wall or fence.

DRAWBRIDGE

Format: draw_?[??].gif
Abbr.: none

The first ? indicates the direction where the "hinge" of the drawbridge is. The optional [??] indicates whether or not a pit continues off to the sides. Use l-r to indicate the missing pit walls from the direction you would approach the drawbridge on its hinged side. (draw_nl.gif has a drawbridge suspended over the north edge of the pit, and the pit continues off to the east.)

Laser fire can appear over a drawbridge, but be careful when firing "parallel" to it; when the drawbridge is raised, it acts like a wall. Laser fire can be interrupted by it, but if it drops, the laser will pass right through that square.

TRAP DOOR

Format: trap_{0|1}.gif
Abbr.: none

The trap door can either be open (trap_1.gif) or closed (trap_0.gif) over the course of a stage. In board design, really, trap_1.gif is all that needs to be used. Trap doors can have walls, fences or laser fire over them, too.

CONVEYOR

Format: conv{up|dn|lf|rt}_{1|2}f[l][s][r].gif
Abbr: none

The braces indicate the codes for the direction in which the conveyor would move a bot.

The {1|2} indicates the speed the conveyor moves at. Available right now are 1 and 2. Someone on the 'net has suggested a 3-speed conveyor, but let's leave that for later.

The [l][s][r] indicate whatever nearby belts might be feeding the conveyor. The default, if no other conveyor can dump a robot onto the square in question, is s. The s should also appear in the square that is fed from the direction opposite the direction the conveyor is moving. An l or an r should be used if the conveyor is fed from the side. When considering whether to use l or r, use the side that feeds it when facing in the direction the conveyor moves. (So a one-speed conveyor that pushed to the right, but fed from below is convrt_1fr.gif .) If a conveyor is fed from two directions, the indicators should be ordered l-s-r.

Note that conveyors should never point at each other, or directly at walls. A conveyor can have a crusher over it, walls beside it or behind it, which can include pushers and laser turrets, and laser fire over it. Since conveyors can point off a board and since we have the electric fence surrounding all boards, the don't-point-your-conveyors-at-the-wall rule isn't inviolate; we have rules to cover the situation, but try to avoid it if possible.

GEAR

Format: gear_{[c]cw|ut}.gif
Abbr.: none

A gear turns clockwise (cw), counter-clockwise (ccw), or 180 degrees (ut).

A gear can share a square with walls, including pushers and laser turrets, and crushers (though the crusher might obscure the direction of the gear; use with caution). They may also have laser fire.

REPAIR STATION

Format: wrench_{1|2}.gif
Abbr.: none

The {1|2} represents the number of wrenches in the graphic on the square, whether 1 or 2.

A repair site can share a square with walls, including pushers and laser turrets, and crushers. They may also have laser fire. Every board ought to have at least one repair site on it somewhere.

This might be a good place to talk about upgrade stations. To call up an upgrade station, use upgr.gif, but individual boards shouldn't have upgrade stations on them; whole floors should.

TELEPORTER

Format: tele_[colour].gif
Abbr.: none

Teleporters can be included on boards, but don't have to be. They can be placed as part of an entire floor. In any case, the teleporters on a floor should all have unique names, so any colour can be used as a teleporter name.

Teleporters can have walls, fences and laser fire over them.

PUSHER

Format: push{up|dn|lf|rt}_[1][2][3][4][5].gif
Abbr.: _p

The {up|dn|lf|rt} indicates in which direction a pusher moves a bot, not the wall the pusher appears on.

The []'s indicate on which phases the pusher becomes active. Put them in numerical order, from 1 to 5.

If a pusher appears on the same square as a conveyor or gear, then the pusher gets abbreviated to _p{}[], with the two-letter direction and numbers appearing as above. Note that there is no underscore separating them.

Note that pushers have walls as part of their designs, so there is no need to add a wall to hold the pusher up as well. As such, pushers should never appear at the ends of conveyors, pushing against them, since this is tantamount to having a wall at the end of a conveyor. Pushing perpendicular to the last square of a conveyor is fine, though.

CRUSHER

Format: crush_[1][2][3][4][5].gif
Abbr.: _c

The []'s indicate on which phases the crusher in question comes down. Put them in numerical order, from 1 to 5.

If a crusher appears on the same square as a conveyor, pusher or gear, then the short form _c[] is added before the extension. Again, the []'s are the numbers where the crusher comes down. Right now, most of the crusher graphics are on conveyors. I don't know how a crusher and pusher would look in the same square, but I suspect I'd need to move the crusher.

SWITCH

Format: switch_{0|1}.gif or toggle_{0|1}.gif
Abbr.: none

Switches can be on (1) or off (0). Switches can share a square with walls, fences and laser fire. Toggles work the same way, but they can be flipped between on and off many times over the course of a game; once switches are flipped on, they stay on.

LASER

Format: laser_[n][nn][e][ee][w][ww][s][ss].gif
Abbr. (sorta): _laser

The directions represent the directions in which laser turrets point in the square, not the wall the turret is mounted on. So laser_n.gif is mounted on the south wall, not north.

You can have multiple turrets in a square, and up to three on a wall. These are indicated by adding more directions. A square with turrets pointing north and east would be laser_ne.gif ; a square with two turrets pointing west would be laser_ww.gif . Turrets in different directions should be ordered n-e-w-s.

A laser turret is necessarily mounted on a wall, so there's no need to include the wall; it's part of the graphic already. Other walls may be possible and should be included as indicated below.

If a laser turret appears in the same square as one of the items mentioned above, then add _laser_[] before the extension.

BLASER

Format: blaser_[n][nn][e][ee][w][ww][s][ss].gif
Abbr. (sorta): _blaser

Blasers are labelled identically to lasers.

LASER AND BLASER FIRE

Format: none
Abbr.: _l[hh...][vv...] or _b[hh...][vv...]

Laser fire can appear on the board without a turret. Any lasers that don't fire directly into a wall should continue across the board until they hit something permanent. Any laser fire on the board should come from a turret in exactly one direction.

Laser fire away from its turret is always abbreviated and is included after any walls; laser fire is always last, except for blaser fire, which really is always last. The direction in this case should be either h for horizontal fire or v for vertical. (You can't tell from looking at the laser beam which way the turret is.) Again, multiple beams can be in the same square. Duplicate the hv symbols to indicate this.

ELECTRIC EYE

Format: eye_{n|e|w|s}_{0|1}.gif
Abbr.: _e

Electric eyes are essentially wall-mounted toggles. The {n|e|w|s} indicates which wall the eye is on (and, of course, you don't need to include a wall in the graphic name. The {0|1} says whether the switch is on (green) or off (red).

If the eye appears as part of a more complicated square, its abbreviation is _e{n|e|w|s}_{0|1}.

BUZZSAW

Format: buzz_{n|e|w|s}_{0|1}.gif
Abbr.: _b

Buzzsaws are marked with the {n|e|w|s} to show which

WALLS

Format: wall_[n][e][w][s].gif
Abbr.: _w

The [n][e][w][s] indicates the sides of the square where there are walls. Order them n-e-w-s. There shouldn't be all four walls in the same square. Given the smaller size of these boards, it's kind of a waste to block off any squares like that.

When a wall or walls appears in the same square as any of the items above (except laser fire), the walls should be abbreviated _w[].

Walls are already part of the construction of pushers and laser turrets and several other mechanisms, and don't need to be included on the sides of the square where they are mounted.

FENCE

Format: fence_[n][e][w][s].gif
Abbr.: _f

Fences are set up the same way that walls are. 'Nuff said, really.

OPEN FLOOR

Format: floor_[1].gif Abbr.: none

Usually open floor is just blank space, but each board should have its name on it somewhere, preferably on an open floor square. Indicate a title by putting its initials in place of the [1] in the format.

The titles on the squares included in this library are set in Dont Walk Run, a freeware True Type font created by me.


BOARD DESIGN

There are some standards that should be followed to be sure everyone's boards will be compatible.

If a side of a board is rotated so that it is the top, you can expect a conveyor to go off the board in the third square, and to come onto the board in the fifth. As such you can have one long conveyor straight across the board. This is to avoid the dueling conveyors problem.

Lasers should not fire off the board. They should be bounded by walls within the board.

I think walls at, and parallel to, the perimeter of a board shouldn't be used. Since these boards are rather small, access between boards should be as easy as possible. Walls at the perimeter, but perpendicular to it, are fine.

Every board should have at least one square with nothing more interesting than a wall or repair station in it, so that a checkpoint can be placed on the board.


That's about everything, I think. Later on, when we've got this part of things settled, we can add more complicated board elements and special rules.

I hope all of this was clear, and that some of it sparked your creativity. You can download the library of graphics below.