15 Feb, 2012, JohnnyStarr wrote in the 1st comment:
Votes: 0
There are many offline builders out there. Some are very complex, and some are very simple in design.
Although I have enjoyed using them from time to time. The downside, for most of us, is that we cannot
install whatever the heck we want at work. Recently, I decided to come up with an Excel spreadsheet that
allows me to very easily create the structure of my zones.

After playing around with it a bit, I have extended its abilities to include a bit more than mapping.

It starts by opening the sheet:





Now, create your zone layout; it doesn't matter what the layout, as long as it is within the borders.
After you copy and paste the provided sector blocks into your *rational structure, you can click the
"build zone" button. You must enter a zone number or zone "prefix" in order for the vnums to be created
correctly.

* I say rational, because right now there aren't exceptions for up/down rooms or non linear mapping; this
feature will be added before release.






Now that we have a completely linked room structure. The comments have been compiled with default
settings in *CircleMud format.

* I'm sure with a few tweaks, it would be ROM compatible.





If you click on a cell, and press CTRL + F, it will bring up a user form with Room information.





Now we can edit the room details like any other editor. (click save)





Now we can verify our updated Room by hovering over the cell and viewing the replaced room code.





Once you have created your zone, you can click the export button and it will be exported to your .are
or .wld file.

Well, there you have it. I will upload the finished project once I have worked out all the kinks.

I'm not claiming to have invented anything new here. I just thought I would share, and maybe get some
input as to whether or not this would be something anyone here wants to use.

I personally think it would be a great way for builders to share projects. Especially at work ;)
15 Feb, 2012, Grif05 wrote in the 2nd comment:
Votes: 0
Interesting. Excel is a great way to map out the areas and here you made it more. Personally I went the old school route originally and used graphing paper :/
15 Feb, 2012, arholly wrote in the 3rd comment:
Votes: 0
That is totally something I would use. It's far more portable than say an executable file and such. Also, assuming you are doing things with vlookups and the like, it is pretty easy to customize.
15 Feb, 2012, Runter wrote in the 4th comment:
Votes: 0
Back in the good ol days when I was building, this sure would have been a nicer way to graph areas than the ruler and pad I used… :)
15 Feb, 2012, JohnnyStarr wrote in the 5th comment:
Votes: 0
I've spent a long time programming over the past 2 years. In that time, I have only written 2 full areas.
It's time to build! Otherwise, what am I doing?
15 Feb, 2012, arholly wrote in the 6th comment:
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Very true. And many times you can do it quicker offline too.
16 Feb, 2012, Omega wrote in the 7th comment:
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This is truly a great Idea! VB Script backbone ? Or pure Excel ? Either way, good job! I look forward to seeing the finished product!
16 Feb, 2012, Kline wrote in the 8th comment:
Votes: 0
Good job man, that's a pretty unique way to bend a common office app to your will. I know a lot about a lot of different things, but Excel sure isn't one of them, lol. Can't wait to play with it when you're done!
16 Feb, 2012, David Haley wrote in the 9th comment:
Votes: 0
Have you considered looking at Google Docs instead and scripting it using apps script? That way I don't have to buy a rather expensive product just to use this :smile:
16 Feb, 2012, JohnnyStarr wrote in the 10th comment:
Votes: 0
@Darien

The backbone is written in VBA

@David Haley

That is a great suggestion. I will have to read-up on apps script. To be honest, I didn't have non Windows users
in mind from the beginning; I didn't really have anyone else mind. :redface:

It appears that there might be enough interest in this project to make the effort.

Thank you all for your input. I will provide updates when available.
16 Feb, 2012, arholly wrote in the 11th comment:
Votes: 0
Heck yeah there is interest. I'd even help with any VB or stuff like that.
16 Feb, 2012, JohnnyStarr wrote in the 12th comment:
Votes: 0
arholly said:
Heck yeah there is interest. I'd even help with any VB or stuff like that.


Ok cool. I'm hoping to have things ready to go in about 2 to 3 weeks.
16 Feb, 2012, JohnnyStarr wrote in the 13th comment:
Votes: 0
Here's the latest screenshot of the Room Edit Sheet.

It's starting to look like a full-blown app :)


16 Feb, 2012, Vigud wrote in the 14th comment:
Votes: 0
Consider this example:
You're in room #1, and you can go south to room #2 or you can go east to room #3. From room #2 you can go east to room #4 and going south from room #3 will take you to room #5. Rooms #4 and #5 are two distinct rooms.

How are you going to make Excel show that?
16 Feb, 2012, arholly wrote in the 15th comment:
Votes: 0
Probably not well. I imagine this is for easier and simpler layouts like plotting towns or other easy to manage areas.
16 Feb, 2012, JohnnyStarr wrote in the 16th comment:
Votes: 0
@Vigud, arholly

I said:
After you copy and paste the provided sector blocks into your *rational structure, you can click the
"build zone" button. You must enter a zone number or zone "prefix" in order for the vnums to be created
correctly.

* I say rational, because right now there aren't exceptions for up/down rooms or non linear mapping; this
feature will be added before release.


@Vigud
I think an annotation could be added to the cell if you have strange irrational mapping. Perhaps some trickery
using arrows or shapes? It's worth looking into, but you can always change the room exit by going into room edit
mode with the User Form I created. It's keeping track of the strange room links that is difficult.
16 Feb, 2012, Mudder wrote in the 17th comment:
Votes: 0
A bit off topic, but why do does it seem so common in MUDs for builders to use irrational mapping? I mean, well… It's irrational! It was always something that bugged me about some MUDs, especially when just starting out and trying to learn my way around.

That said, just because I can't think of it as necessary to show something and provide depth doesn't mean it isn't. So can anyone think of a situation where irrational mapping is the preferred way to display something?

EDIT: This project is looking good btw
16 Feb, 2012, JohnnyStarr wrote in the 18th comment:
Votes: 0
I played a "Princess Bride" zone once.
It had a "Fire Swamp" portion that was very tricky; you couldn't escape unless you took a specific route.

Other than mazes and such, I'm not sure why you would need the zone / area to be irrational.

Unless the laws of physics don't apply. Scifi & Fantasy MUDS use portals, but IMO that shouldn't shape
the zone.

Anyway, I'm sure there's a way to manipulate Excel further to do my bidding. :grinning:
16 Feb, 2012, JohnnyStarr wrote in the 19th comment:
Votes: 0
I figured out you can bind to the Worksheet BeforeDoubleClick Event. This allows you to open the Room Editor for
a cell just by double clicking it.

I had some free time today, so I added a Search feature.

You can open the Room Editor by double clicking the selected result:

17 Feb, 2012, donky wrote in the 20th comment:
Votes: 0
Nice work, any chance of a youtube vide of an area being created? The screenshots are very interesting, but if a picture shows a thousand words, a movie shows a thousand gazillion.. or something.
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