Definitions and Terms

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.ass (amalgam scene specification): (source file type) An intermediary format file produced by the 3ds Max exporter. When run through Halo 2 Tool, .ass files generate .scenario and .scenario_structure_bsp files, which can then be edited by other tools.

base directory: A directory that contains data and tags folders for Halo 2 Map Editor design.

.bitmap: (Halo 2 file type) An image file that is referenced by other Halo 2 file assets. For example, a .shader file references a .bitmap file for the image of a texture.

.bmp (Windows bitmap): (source file type) An image file used internally by Windows®. It supports 1-, 4-, 8-, 16-, and 24-bit color formats; 32-bit color support with an integrated alpha channel was added upon release of Windows XP and is supported by Halo 2 Tool.

BSP: The geometry of the entire level.

bump map: A map that defines surface relief.

.crate: (Halo 2 file type) A scenery object that has physics and/or may be destroyed in the level. They can be crates, dumpsters, car models, or even teleporters.

.decorator_set: Defines a collection of model objects and decals that can be applied to the level with the decorator brush in Halo 2 Sapien.

detail map: A map that defines the “noise” of a surface, such as that representing fine grain.

diffuse map: A map that defines color.

frame node: An object that controls where the origin of your game world is and which objects within the max file get exported. You’ll be linking objects to this frame node, and anything unlinked is not exported later. Halo 2 does not use frame nodes by default so these can be omitted from the level editing process.

geometry errors: (geometry creation) Reported in the tools whenever they are encountered. These errors are also logged in a .wrl file format which can be imported into most 3D modeling programs to help resolve the error.

.item_collection: Defines a collection of weapons, powerups, or ammo. A collection can be single or multiple items. Item collections are found under Netgame Equipment and placed in Halo 2 Sapien.

.jpg (Joint Photographic Experts Group): (source file type) A 24-bit lossy image file commonly found on the Internet that can be viewed in Internet Explorer and edited in a variety of art packages (e.g., Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Microsoft Paint).

.light: (Halo 2 file type) Defines a stationary light fixture placed in Halo 2 Sapien. These light fixtures are not meant to illuminate an entire level and should be used sparingly.

.map: (Halo 2 file type) A distributable collection of all files (e.g., .shader, .sky) that make up a multiplayer map. The Halo 2 engine loads these files directly.

multilingual_unicode_string_list: (Halo 2 file type) Localizable text used for level preview descriptions and location names for Territories game types.

normals: The direction a face or polygon is facing. Faces are only visible from one side unless the % flag is used on the shader to make it a double-sided face.

photon mapping: A method of lighting in computer graphics using ray tracing. A lighting map using this method takes much longer than traditional methods; however, it realistically simulates the way light reacts in the real world. Photon mapping has the ability to simulate complex visual phenomena, such as refracting light through water and transmitting color through tinted glass.

.scenario: (Halo 2 file type) A file that contains spawn points, weapon locations, flag locations, level shot location, description text location, and other parameters needed to make the architecture design a fully playable level.

.scenario_structure_bsp: (Halo 2 file type) A tag file generated from exported 3ds Max geometry and compiled to be loaded by the Halo 2 game engine.

.scenario_structure_lightmap: (Halo 2 file type) A file that contains the lighting information for a level. These file types are generated by Halo 2 Tool and are used by the Halo 2 game engine to control settings for properly lighting a level.

sealed/unsealed world: (geometry creation) A sealed world is one where the level geometry is completely welded together. For example, a simple box-shaped room where the ceiling, walls, and the floor all share common corners without any gaps is a sealed world. If the ceiling were deleted from this world, it would be an unsealed world with open edges. Sealed worlds are recommended for Halo 2 level creation.

.shader: (Halo 2 file type) A file that determines visual characteristics or properties of objects found in Halo 2. For example, a .shader file containing information for a metal surface would determine how light bounces off the surface as well as referencing a material effects tag that describes the sound made when a player runs across it.

.shader_template: (Halo 2 file type) A tag that tells a .shader file the order to use when rendering.

.sky: (Halo 2 file type) A file containing the properties of the sky, such as sunlight and cloud movement.

.vehicle_collection: (Halo 2 file type) Defines a vehicle or vehicles such as a Warthog or Ghost. Vehicle collections are placed in Halo 2 Sapien.

tags: Data file types that Halo 2 Tool can use. These are created by running raw data files (e.g., .tiff, .jme) through Halo 2 Tool.

.tga, .targa (Truevision Graphics Adapter, Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter): (source file type) A raster graphics file that supports 1 through 32 bits per pixel. These file types are typically uncompressed but can be compressed using lossless run-length encoding.

.tif (tagged image file format): (source file type) An image file that supports 24 and 32-bit alpha-channeled images with either lossless or lossy compression.

.txt (text): (source file type) A file that contains only text. These file types do not support any formatting and can be opened with any text-viewing program.

Unicode text (*.txt) files: A type of text file that allows international characters to be stored and displayed.


Courtesy of Halo Maps website
Halo 2 Vista Maps