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Creating a Metaroom - Intro - Posted Monday, 21st August 2006 by Liam

The Introduction to a large tutorial/article, written by myself (Liam) and various other developers including zareb, malkin, Kate, fuzzie and more, concerning - guess what - the Creation of a Metaroom: From Inception to Release!

This hopefully will give starting out developers an idea of how to go about the hard process of making a Metaroom!

With this tutorial, I hope to give developers an idea of the processes other developers use when creating metarooms, as well as many hints, tips, and leg ups for those wanting to get started! We’ll be dealing with all aspects of metaroom creation, from graphics and coding to music and bug-testing, as well as all the bits and pieces in between.

So pull on your boots, hike up your britches and let's get going!


Part 1 – Conception
In this section, we’ll look at the simplest and most entertaining part of creating a metaroom – aside from playing with the finished product, of course! There are many different ways of coming up with a concept for a metaroom, but once you have your idea the important thing is to expand upon it, which is what this section focuses on.

Part 2 – Organisation
Organisation is a skill which is necessary for any developer, whether your are a 3rd party developer making add-ons for Creatures or a writer planning a character for Baldur's Gate 2, organisation is one of the main prerequisites to start. Diving in headfirst is all well and good, but a little planning can go a looong way. We’ll be looking at a few different ways of organising projects, among other things.

Part 3 - Background
This is where the fun *really* begins! The background of a room is what will draw your users in, and keep them captivated. Details and beautiful concepts are the backbone of a metaroom, as well as interesting themes and objects. We’ll be looking at collaging a room, modelling a room, and painting a room from scratch, as well as some design elements and ways to add interest to your room.

Part 4 - Implementing the Room Ingame
Finally! You get to see your room in the game, and add norns! Well, after a little work, of course. In this section we’ll be dealing with overlays, and using the Map Editor and easyPRAY to create an .agent that will inject our room.

Part 5 - Agent Creation
This is another important part of creating a metaroom – making the objects contained within it! From plants to toys, all sorts of agents will be dealt with, as well as several nifty tricks to speed up the somewhat labourious process of coding. We’ll be modelling a few simple objects, coding them and putting them in the game, and we’ll begin to see what our room will really be like!

Part 6 – Music & Cellular Automata
Music and Cellular Automata are important but often overlooked parts of metaroom creation. Without Cellular Automata norns cannot navigate, and will tend to huddle in corners of your room. Music can add depth, ambience, and most of all interest to your room - going that extra mile is well worth the effort in the long run, and your norns (and ears!) will appreciate the change from the normal music too!

Part 7 - Beta Testing, Advertising & Release
Beta Testing, by most accounts, the most tedious and boring part of creating a metaroom – simultaneously, it is also one of the most important. Squishing bugs in your room can be a laborious process, but once again, is well worth it in the long run when your users don’t have to deal with annoying disappearances and errors while playing with their norns.

Advertising is arguably *the* most important part when you release a metaroom, and I find it is also the most fun. Teasers, websites, and previews are all part of a good metaroom, and when you release your room, you’ll have maximised the prospective user audience, letting more people know of your great creation!

What You’ll Need – Tools of the Trade

The tools of the trade are many and varied, and each developer does it differently. Generally, however, most use these Tools of the Trade.

• easyPRAY
• The CL CAOS tool
• The CL Map Editor
• Notepad, or other text editor
• An art program (or several), such as Photoshop, 3D Studio Max, PaintShopPro, Bryce 3D, the GIMP, or one of the many other programs out there.
• Initiative, patience, dedication, and perseverance, and most of all, fun!

What You’ll Need – Skills

These skills are not necessary, but incredibly useful in the creation of a metaroom – having a talent for art or coding is wonderful, but any person can create a good room with time and hard work. Just because you don’t know CAOS or how to model in 3D doesn’t mean you can’t learn or ask for aid, after all!

• A working knowledge of programming languages, especially the language we’ll be using in this tutorial – CAOS!
• A good eye for art and design
• A graphics tablet for painting
• Basic knowledge of 3D modelling, texturing and animation

Once you’re ready, its time to get started!

Intro - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

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