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aidenpons

LAT Using the Puzzle Editor (& a level I made)

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aidenpons

 

Despite the fact that Alpha Team has a built-in puzzle editor, activated by hitting ~ N I B L I K <ENTER> (there's no need to use capitals, that's just there for clarity) and then clicking on the LL icon to change it to PE, and it runs fine-ish on Win10 (unlike LRR), I'm surprised at the lack of level creation there's been.

 

This is for a couple of reasons. One, loading custom levels is a pain. Secondly, the puzzle editor is not the easiest to use... Thirdly, the PAC Extractor seems to have mysteriously disappeared off RRU, which is a shame, although not neccessary for designing levels.

 

I hope this will clarify the first and second points. 

 

As for the first, I noticed that custom levels, despite hanging around in the Alpha Team directory, show up quite happily in the Puzzle Editor's "Load Level" menu. This means that if you have a custom mission, you can plonk it down in your directory, boot up Lego Alpha Team, activate the Puzzle Editor with the key combo above, and load that level.

 

As for the second.... well.... Here's a list of important key controls I've found.

  • F2 - opens Place Objects menu
  • F3 - opens the Select Mission File menu
    • To navigate these menus, use the arrow keys. You can also press the first letter of what you're looking for; eg press U and it will jump to the first thing with a letter that is U, or after U.
  • F4 - save the current stuff in the editor
  • Del - deletes the selected object. You can select the 'world' and delete that, if you want.

 

Here's a list of other controls which aren't so useful:

  • F12 - turns on some information in the HUD which isn't all that useful (eg FPS, animation states of the object you have selected)
  • U - Do not press this key - having any object selected (even the world!) it will freeze, then bork its graphics to something else. This is usually solvable by selecting the offending object and pressing Del. Hammer U enough times and you will get absurd quantities of lag.
  • Q,W,E,S,D, some other keys around there: Other camera controls
  • R - Rotate. Usually rotates in 90 degree increments but can also be used to rotate objects at funny angles, eg 10 degrees. (Team Members that run onto a Direction Tile facing 10 degrees will run off at 10 degrees).
  • Some key I pressed turned off the snap-to-grid placement. I highly recommend you don't use this, because it makes fitting 2 direction tiles on something that is only 8 wide very difficult.

 

However, while we have a puzzle editor and can place anything we like, we're still quite restricted...

  • I have not managed to get the game to accept 'another new lock.' There is always one objective and no matter what you add, you will not change that objective.
  • I cannot move Evil Orbs around to.... anywhere useful.
  • Placing new Team Members is wonky with the Play hud - it doesn't seem to think they're there.
  • I can't get the game to accept a new bomb & plunger.
  • Hints + modded levels = kaboom

 

Other useful notes include:

  • The game handles Trouble Tubes, Radia's Launcher, etc etc all the same way. Place the object down and then drag-n-drop a Team Member into there. You can place Dash on Crunch's Rolling Bomb, for instance. This is also the case for seesaws.
  • It appears to be impossible to create new pathable terrain, except for the 'second' biome - the one where you find Radia, are introduced to sharks and Crunch's bombs, and board the Trouble Train - accepts Platforms being placed on the ground below the water.
  • Jump tiles can be placed on top of stairs, and Team Members will climb the stairs, reach the top, then do their jump off it.

 

 

Regarding the Objects menu, which you open with F2... it's not very neat.

But if you wander into Etc.pac you will find a useful file; CATEGORYUNITS.txt. It is a list of what all those numbers actually correspond to.  (Okay, not all. There are a couple that aren't mentioned, like Flex's Hangar and some stuff in the tutorial down the bottom at U208ish. But it's most of them.

 

For instance, anything under B is "Baddies." U is "Lego Units" and all the fun stuff like Direction Tiles, Motors, See-Saws, etc etc. Anything with the prefix OG is an immovable Ogel object, like the laser beam, the blocks, the doorway, locks, etc. T is Team Members, and oddly has the heading T.I.L.T. - probably from when this was still called Lego Logic.

 

This means that whenever I want to place a direction tile, I hit F2 -> U (to move it to Units) -> Down x 20ish until I hit U0179, which the file tells me is "Dir Tile"-> Enter.

 

The game then spawns whatever I've selected at what one might guess to be 0,0,0. I can't seem to force it to place anywhere else. This is highly inconvenient if the world is in the way. There is a little workaround, but it requires a Platform being present.

  1. Take note of what level you opened
  2. Select the world and hit Del
  3. Spawn your item now, or earlier
  4. Move it on top of the Platform
  5. Hit F2 and select e_____ to reload the world object back

Not ideal by any means, and there's probably a better solution.

 

Fortunately for most levels where objects spawn is in sight / under the water a bit, and you can move it to pathable terrain.

 

 

 

 

Using this knowledge, I've made a custom level. Unzip into your LAT directory, boot up LAT, open the Puzzle Editor ( ~ n i b l i k <ENTER>  then click on LL), open any level, then hit F3 to bring up the 'Open File' message, and then open AP_LEVEL1. (You can open AP_LEVEL1_SOLVED if you want, I guess. OldTonguePNG_transparent.png.e4013114c97501de1099aa06ca5e6529.png)

Also included in that download is CATEGORYUNITS.txt, which is the list of what all those numbers you see upon hitting F2 correspond to.

 

Here's a screenshot:

 

Spoiler

AlphaTeamLevel1.png.35ad8a994401a3a2f82a4deeab1dc9f2.png

 

The level mostly revolves around AI-abusing the Lurchers. I've given you a lot more than the minimum you need to get this level done.

 

 

 

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Cyrem

I don't have the game installed to try this, but really nice work!

 

On 5/8/2018 at 5:59 PM, aidenpons said:

the PAC Extractor seems to have mysteriously disappeared off RRU

They did? Re-Added.

 

Seriously, top job!

 

P.S I moved this to the Alpha Team Modding forum.

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aidenpons

Now that a permissions issue has been resolved (thank you Cyrem!), I can actually access the other topics documenting the puzzle editor. OldTonguePNG_transparent.png.e4013114c97501de1099aa06ca5e6529.pngWhile most of it is... not very useful, there's a.... extraordinarily interesting post:

 

On 11/16/2016 at 11:36 AM, jamesster said:

Change the extension of the original PAC files to something else (for example, Map.totallynotapacfile) or just move them out of the folder entirely. The game doesn't require PAC files with the original names to be present, it'll look for any .PAC files it can find (as well as for files not in .PACs, as said in the OP).

 

The game will run on extracted archives, but you need for there to be no .pac files in sight. This suggests that it is possible to entirely overwrite an existing level....

 

Experiments have not been fruitful:

 

Spoiler

runningextracted2.png.4d89337dec617d6edbd306d749a15092.png

 

This was the result of trying to run the game with an extracted Map.pac, the files inside a folder called Map. I don't think I succeeded...

 

A little testing later, there is an important bit missing in Jamesster's quote; the files must be in the game directory. As in, hanging right next to LegoATeam.exe. This creates an absolute mess, but keep in mind that you don't need to extract all the .PACs... just the ones you want to edit... here, the levels.

 

Unfortunately Etc.pac, which contains the levels, also contains a whole bunch of textures and fonts. This is quite a flurry of files, but nevertheless I shoved them all in the game directory.

 

It would be great if the Pac Builder could 'selectively' build files, and only rebuild some files, but due to the nature of the tool this isn't an option. (Removing a file caused the builder to quit halfway, complaining it couldn't find the file I removed.... actually, wait, this means if I build half the file, I only have to have the other half - the half that contains all the missions - hanging around the level directory.

So  in the folder Etc I renamed M1010.PUZ to M1010_PLEASECRASH.PUZ, and voila - the Pac Builder stopped when it came to that file, having compiled a whole truckload of textures already. Then I renamed it back and took the contents of my Etc folder past that level - which is mostly a) levels, b) solved levels, c) icons for levels, and d) a couple of textures hanging around the bottom - and success! The game will handle half-full PAC archives and then look for its missions right next to its executable! This cuts down on the mess dramatically!

 

 

Now, I grab M1070.PUZ, rename it to M1070_IDONTWANTTHIS.PUZ, grab AP_LEVEL1.PUZ and while it's sitting right next to the executable rename it to M1070.PUZ...

 

success! My level is inside the game and will load it from the main menu! Furthermore, if you replace M1070_SOLVED with AP_LEVEL1_SOLVED, hints will now work! (There are only five though; you'll need a great deal more OldTonguePNG_transparent.png.e4013114c97501de1099aa06ca5e6529.png) Speaking of that level, I noticed a couple of issues with it - one Lurcher was in completely the wrong spot and Dash was off by one tile (which actually prevents finishing the level with one method). So I've fixed that.

 

 

 

Other random tidbits:

  • I can actually see this topic again after Cyrem moved it to an area that I couldn't see. OldTonguePNG_transparent.png.e4013114c97501de1099aa06ca5e6529.pngThank you for fixing that @Cyrem!
  • To get the game to recognise you've added more team members, use F4 to save and then re-load the level.
  • I've finished another level! This is based off Ejector Sector, but contains no Ejector Seat OldTonguePNG_transparent.png.e4013114c97501de1099aa06ca5e6529.pngIn fact, all it contains is a whole bunch of belts and motors and electric stuff; no direction or jump tiles at all. Good luck triggering what you need! To prevent there being ten separate downloads I've put both levels in one file. Grab them both (& CATEGORYUNITS.txt, if you want that) here. Here's a screenshot:
Spoiler

AlphaTeamLevel2.png.0539d4b01903ce4593235e11fc447f28.png

 

 

I feel like I'm getting somewhere with modding this game :D Now we need to see if we can solve the TEEVEE here bug....

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jamesster
23 minutes ago, aidenpons said:

A little testing later, there is an important bit missing in Jamesster's quote; the files must be in the game directory. As in, hanging right next to LegoATeam.exe. This creates an absolute mess, but keep in mind that you don't need to extract all the .PACs... just the ones you want to edit... here, the levels.

 

Look at what you quoted again...

 

On 11/15/2016 at 4:36 PM, jamesster said:

Change the extension of the original PAC files to something else (for example, Map.totallynotapacfile) or just move them out of the folder entirely. The game doesn't require PAC files with the original names to be present, it'll look for any .PAC files it can find (as well as for files not in .PACs, as said in the OP).

 

The aforementioned post:

 

On 8/9/2012 at 11:54 PM, legomoe said:

You may ask why I haven't re-written the PAC builder program. Well, the answer is that I have discovered that Alpha Team will read files directly from the program's folder (all files must be in the same folder as the .exe). This is great for modding possibilities, since if a modified version of a file exists in the 'LEGO Alpha Team' folder, the game will read it INSTEAD of the one in the .pac archives. It also means that to mod the game, no .pac builder is required (I also can't figure out how to properly rebuild a .pac file, so that's your real reason ;) )

 

Also, a lot of your post seems dedicated to all sorts of bizarre tomfoolery with half-rebuilding PAC files or whatever... As Legomoe said back in 2012, you don't need to mess with them at all. For every single individual file, the game will first check in the exe directory, THEN in the PACs. So if you, for example, only want to modify one texture in the entire game, you simply put that one modified texture in the same directory as the exe. You don't need to do anything else. Done. It'll load that one instead of the one in the PACs.

 

(Side note: The game contains some files in multiple PACs, like Flex's head and/or helmet texture IIRC, and a few other doodads... But they're identical so it ultimately doesn't matter which PAC it loads it from.)

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aidenpons
On 5/11/2018 at 8:40 PM, jamesster said:

<A wild Snip appears!>

 

oh

...

oops

....

go with that then, much simpler OldTonguePNG_transparent.png.e4013114c97501de1099aa06ca5e6529.png

 

 

I had presumed that the game would read files from .PACs first, and then check the game directory. Evidently it doesn't. Oops.

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