SnowRunner

SnowRunner

Discover a wealth of new maps, vehicles, modes, and more, all created by the community! Discover something new every day and expand your SnowRunner experience.

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Big Book of SnowRunner Map Making

If you own the Windows version of SnowRunner, then you can make and publish your own custom maps. This guide documents every feature of the SnowRunner map editor. If I had to experiment to figure out how something worked, why should you have to run that experiment again for yourself? Everything useful that I’ve learned went into this book. Is it all a bit much? Yes. But is it what you need to know to make a map that matches your vision? Also yes.

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What I put in this book that I can’t find elsewhere:

  • Detailed information about all editable map properties.
  • Full instructions for complex editing tasks.
  • Built-in differences in behavior among the various objects and object types.
  • Bugs to avoid. (So many!)
  • Reference tables, including a concise chart of the capabilities of trucks and trailers.
  • And more!

This book does not cover the creating of modded trucks, only maps.

This guide on mod.io is only the Quick Start. The entire Big Book of SnowRunner Map Making is 400+ pages and will never fit as a mod.io guide. I encourage you to download the entire book from my Google Drive.

Run the Map Editor

Installing the SnowRunner game also automatically installs the editor, but it doesn’t install a convenient shortcut icon. You can start the editor from a path that looks something like this, depending on whether you have the Epic or Steam version of the game:

C:\Program Files\Epic Games\SnowRunner\en_us\Sources\BinEditor\SnowRunnerEditor.exe
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\SnowRunner\Sources\BinEditor\SnowRunnerEditor.exe

The initial map editor window looks like this:

Create a Fresh Map

To create a new map, right-click on prebuild under Media Files, then select New Terrain...

A dialog box pops up asking what to name the map and what size to make the map.

The map name must begin with level_. This is how the game recognizes it as a complete playable map and not an unplayable map section. After the level_ part, the rest of the name must be all lowercase letters, digits, and underscores. E.g. no capital letters or spaces. In this example I’ll call it level_test.

The default is a rather small map 48 meters on a side, so you might want to bump up the sliders for U Blocks and V Blocks to something like 10 and 10, which equates to 240 meters on a side. The default max height of 64 meters is fine.

Don’t go wild with either of these values. A map with large U and V dimensions is very slow to work with, and a large max height causes stair-stepping of the terrain.

The U and V dimensions must be a multiple of 2. The max height can be any integer. For fine control of the value, you can use the left and right arrow keys after clicking a slider.

I don’t know what the Tex memory value is supposed to be measuring, but SnowRunner doesn’t actually require 1 megabyte per texture pixel. So don’t worry if this value seems excessively large.

When you’re ready, click OK.

Because this is a new map, it does not yet have a terrain .STG file. Click Yes to create one.

New Terrain... sometimes fails to create certain initial files such as _snow.tga or mud. If this happens, click away the warning dialogs, close the map, and try again with a different map name. Since we’re trying to get you started quickly, don’t worry for now about deleting the files left behind by the broken map.

Your first time running the Editor, the camera is pointed in completely the wrong direction to see your terrain. To point the camera in the correct direction, double-click in the Terrain Game Map panel on the left. The main (center) panel now shows you a close-up look at the ground.

Move the Camera

Click in the main (center) panel, then rotate the mouse scroll wheel up and down to zoom in and out. When you zoom out far enough, you can see the edges of the map.

When you zoom in, the camera moves toward where the mouse is pointing. So an easy way to move the camera around the map is to zoom out, point the mouse at the area of interest, and zoom back in.

If you lose track of your terrain, double-click in the Terrain panel on the left to restore the camera to a reasonable location.

You can point the camera in different directions by holding down the left mouse button in the main panel and moving the mouse. The camera pivots around the point that you were pointing at when you clicked the button, moving left, right, up, and down.

It is possible to move the camera below the ground. You’re not expected to look at the terrain from underneath, and the terrain is only drawn from the top side. So when the camera is underground, all you see is the reference grid above. Rotate the camera back above the ground to restore your vision.

When the camera is pointed up, the background is shaded cloud gray. When the camera is pointed down as is usual, the background is shaded a pale blue.

While moving the mouse to rotate the camera, the mouse pointer also moves. If the mouse pointer moves outside of the main panel, camera rotation stops.

Make Hills and Depressions

The initial terrain is perfectly flat, which isn’t very interesting. You can raise the terrain in some places and lower it in other places to make it more interesting to drive around in.

To edit the terrain height, first expand the hierarchy under Scene→(Terrain) to show the many editable aspects of your map, including its (Geometry). There is additional hierarchy within (Geometry), but you don’t need to look at that yet.

Left click on the (Geometry) element in the Scene View. This pops up a Brush dialog box. It’s called a “brush” because you “paint” your terrain height changes onto the map. You can move the Brush dialog box to the side if you don’t want it to obscure the main panel.

By default, your paintbrush shows up as a red dot on the terrain. Below I’ve increased the size and value of the brush to make it stand out more.

When the brush is active, you can zoom the camera in and out with the scroll wheel and rotate the camera with the left mouse button as usual. In addition, you can now adjust the terrain height with the right mouse button. With the mouse over the terrain in the main panel, hold down the right mouse button while moving the mouse. The terrain increases in height by the amount of the brush Value if the value is posive, and it decreases in height if the value is negative.

To make larger changes to the terrain, you can adjust the size and value of the brush, or you can make multiple passes with right click and drag.

When you are done editing the terrain height, left click in the main panel to exit painting mode. Note that left click and drag moves the camera while remaining in painting mode, while left click with no mouse movement leaves painting mode.

Place a Truck

Now that you have some interesting terrain, you’ll need a truck to drive around in it.

If necessary, left click to exit painting mode. Then point the mouse over the terrain in the main panel, right click, and select Add Truck from the context menu.

Unlike in most other programs, the context menu does not appear until you release the right mouse button.

A new truck appears in both the main panel and in the Scene View panel. Below the Scene View panel is an unlabeled panel that shows various parameters for the truck. I call this panel the property panel.

The truck that you’ve added doesn’t yet have a type. To tell the editor which kind of truck it is, click in the property panel next to Truck→Edit where it says [press].

The first time you click here, the editor may lock up for 5 or more seconds as it creates icons for all possible trucks. It will be faster for subsequent uses.

The editor pops up a dialog listing all of the available kinds of trucks, as well as other things (such as trailers) that the game puts in the truck category.

For testing purposes, I like the ank_mk38 because it is a very capable truck in its base form, and because I don’t have to scroll to find it. Click to select the truck that you like and click OK.

new ank mk38

There is one more step to make this truck drivable. If necessary, re-select the truck by clicking it in the Scene View panel. Then scroll to the bottom of the property panel. Where it says Active: False, click on False, and change the dropdown value to True.

The truck is now active.

Save and Pack

To save your work so far, select File→Save from the top menu bar or press the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl-S.

Now pack your map for testing. Click the stack of books in the toolbar. The toolbar is just under the top menu bar, and the stack of books is the fourth icon from the right end.

A dialog box warns that packing the level takes time. Click Yes to continue and wait for it to complete. For a small and simple map, it takes only a few seconds.

Packing your map also automatically saves it. So the previous save step wasn’t strictly necessary, but saving often is a good habit to get into.

Make a Backup Copy of your Campaign

In the course of working with the Editor, you will start a lot of new games on your maps. SnowRunner gives you four save slots, so hopefully you have room to create these new games without disturbing the save files for your campaign, but there is always the possibility that you make a mistake.

When I leave SnowRunner idling on the main menu in the background, it will occasionally generate spurious events as if I am pressing the Enter key or other keys. This may cause it to start a new game and overwrite a save slot! I always leave a slot empty so that it is the default location of a new save. This seems to reduce the frequency of disaster, but it’s not a failsafe. Even with my precautions, the game once deleted all of my saves while idling in the background.

To avoid losing your campaign progress, I recommend making a copy of your data.

If you bought SnowRunner from the EPIC Store, your save files are in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\SnowRunner\base\storage. You might know %USERPROFILE%\Documents as your “My Documents” folder. That directory has a randomly numbered subdirectory with your save data in it.

If you bought SnowRunner from Steam, your save files are in a path something like C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata. That directory has a randomly numbered subdirectory. This subdirectory contains directories for each of your Steam games which are also unhelpfully labeled with random strings of digits. If you’ve played SnowRunner recently, then its folder should be one of the most recently modified. Your save data consists of the remote directory and associated remotecache.vdf file.

Make a backup copy of all files in this directory. If you ever need to restore some files from backup, you can either restore them all, overwriting all four save slots, or you can pick and choose. But you definitely want to archive all of the files now so that you don’t discover later that you missed an important one.

Test Your Map

Time to take your map for a spin. Start the SnowRunner game.

You have to wait through the epilepsy warning every time, but you can skip the rest of the ads by pressing the Escape key as soon as the epilepsy warning starts to fade out.

From the game’s main menu, select New Game and then Custom Scenarios.

The game lists all available mods. Most likely this is only the one you created, e.g. mod_level_test. Select your map and a save slot for your custom game. The save slot must be separate from your main campaign’s save slot because progress for each mod is saved separately.

The game does not reliably replace an existing save with a new game. It asks for confirmation as if it is replacing the existing save, but then it sometimes loads the old game instead of the new game. This bug only occurs when a new game is the first game loaded after SnowRunner is started. Exit the (faulty) game and start a new custom scenario again, and it works.

I often leave SnowRunner running in the background as I repeatedly make edits to a map and test it. That means I don’t have to wait for the game to start up, and it works properly when I create a new game. If your PC is limited on memory, however, you may not be able to run the game and the Editor simultaneously.

The game now starts in the truck that you chose and in the terrain that you painted.

The game controls are all as usual, with one exception. There is now a menu of Tools in the upper right of the screen. The Tools menu provides actions useful for testing such as spawning new trucks, allowing truck modification as if you are in a garage, etc.

The default grass and leaves texture on the terrain looks unnaturally large compared to the size of your truck. That can be fixed once you are familiar with the material layers.

Re-editing a Map

If you quit and restart the SnowRunner Editor, it does not automatically return to the map you were previously editing.

The maps that you have created are listed in the File View panel under Media Files.prebuild. To edit a map, double click it.

Example Maps

Saber has not published any of their maps in an editable format. However, their maps use a number of shared map sections that Saber has kindly made available for modders to use. File→Unpack references unpacks these map sections from the installation directory and puts them in the Media/prebuild directory where they can be read into the SnowRunner Editor.

Unpack references takes a very long time (over a minute on my system) with no indication of progress. Be patient, or watch the files as they appear in the Media/prebuild directory.

Get the Book

This guide on mod.io is only the Quick Start. The entire Big Book of SnowRunner Map Making is 400+ pages and will never fit as a mod.io guide. I encourage you to download the entire book from my Google Drive.

3 comments

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maxmike181
maxmike181 @maxmike181

Simply the best!

13Deed
13Deed @13deed

Отлично, я обязательно воспользуюсь! Хотелось бы на русский язык перевести, возможно для этого пользоваться вашим документом?

Fredrum
Fredrum @fredrum

Да, просто следуйте лицензии.
Creativecommons.org