How to load maps from a server

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heruca
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How to load maps from a server

Post by heruca » Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:34 pm

v1.0.6 [and higher] includes the much-requested ability to download maps from a server. Since this is not yet covered in the User Manual (which badly needs an update), I'll explain here how it works. Much of this information was posted elsewhere on the forum, but is repeated here for the benefit of users who do not visit the forum regularly.

This new approach to loading maps in online games is in addition to the standard peer-to-peer map transfer feature, but has several important benefits:
1. There's no 2MB limit on map size.
2. JPEG compression (or other compression) is retained (this makes a HUGE difference).
3. There is no longer the bottleneck of the GM's upload speed.
4. It's actually easier to code and performs more reliably.

The only downside is that not everyone has server space for storing images, but I'm sure there are many free solutions to this.

This new map loading feature is making its debut in v1.0.6, but is still in a rudimentary form. By that, I mean that there is no interface for it yet. The GM simply types in the map's URL in the chat input field after the code "map=" (sans quotes). For example, you might type "map=http://www.myserver.com/mymodule/dungeon-level-2.jpg" into the Chat window's text input field. When you hit RETURN, the map quickly loads into every connected client, including the GM's.

Performance is really fast, particularly when compared to the old method of transferring maps. In my tests, I've gotten maps to load within a few seconds after hitting the Return key (but I haven't tried it yet with a full-size 40 x 40 map).

Of course, typing in long URLs is a major hassle, and very prone to typos, so I've added support for pasting URLs into the Chat window's text input field (presumably URLs which you've copied from a browser window, or a Notepad file). In fact, you can now use Cut, Copy, Paste, and Select All in the chat input field, using the standard keyboard shortcuts for your OS. These editing commands should also come in handy during regular text chatting, of course.

Eventually, I will see about adding an interface for this new map loading feature. Ideally, one which allows you to see thumbnail-sized previews of the available maps on the specified server/s.

As of v1.0.6b, if you load a map from a URL, the URL gets saved when you save the Encounter. You need to be hosting a game, even if no one is connected, to get access to the chat window so that you can load a map from a URL. Later on, when a client connects or when you load up that encounter, the player clients will load the map from the server instead of trying to get it via peer-to-peer transfer.
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