We invite interested parties to create scenarios for the MARS engine. In order to develop scenarios for MARS, you need a colour Macintosh with at least 8MB of RAM (16MB recommended). Having a network of Macs handy (to test with multiple players) is also highly recommended.
Our scenario development tools are available for FTP free of charge. We intend to improve and add to these tools over time. In addition to these, you will need a copy of ResEdit (or a similar program, such as Resorceror). No actual programming is necessary to create a scenario for MARS, but MARS does support an internal scripting language.
MARS is by no means restricted to fantasy (as new MARS-based games we will shortly release will amply demonstrate. A screen shot from a project we currently call "Ares" is shown above). We intend to develop and build upon the MARS engine. Stay tuned!
We will provide serious developers with technical support, graphics and animation to order (if needed), and scripting advice, as well as shareware registration facilities and commercial distribution. We will also provide access to the compression/encryption tools we use to package our scenario data for distribution.
But even if you only want to fool around, feel free to download these tools and experiment.
MARS Scenario Toolkit is (currently) freeware, but may only be used by registered owners of Prince of Destruction or other MARS-based games.
Hardware Requirements. To build scenarios, you will need a Macintosh with a minimum of 8MB of RAM (12MB recommended) a 640x400 or larger 256 colour display (i.e. Powerbooks are OK), and a 25MHz 68030 or faster (68040 recommended). Although MARS is accelerated for Power Macintosh, only the slower scenario tools are).
A 12MB LC475 with RAM Doubler works just fine.
The scenario tools comprise: Mapper, Map Builder, Animator, Data Builder, Map Assistant, Script Reference, MaskEdit, and AttackEdit. You can build scenarios with just Mapper and Map Builder if you are happy to use a prepackaged set of graphics and monsters.
Mapper allows you to create and edit maps, and attach scripts to objects. It includes a version of the MARS game engine's parser, and can usually detect errors in your scripts BEFORE you compile your maps.
Map Builder takes all the maps in its folder (or subfolder thereof) and compiles them into a single, much more compact, "maps" file. This file goes into your scenario folder, along with the splash, scenario data, graphics 256, characters, and panel files.
Animator allows you to create new characters from a collection of keyframe graphics. You need two sets of keyframes, one pointing "up" and another pointing 45 degrees left of up, others are created by the MARS engine at runtime by rotation. Within Animator you determine how your characters are animated, controlled, perform combat actions, and collide with things.
You need another tool, AttackEdit, to determine which bits of the character count as part of their "weapon" during a melee attack.
Missiles are actually simple characters that another character launches as part of an attack sequence.
Builder compiles the other data files from files in its folder. E.g. to create a characters file, simply put Builder in the same folder as all your Animator files.
Map Assistant is a HyperCard utility to help assembly and track large collections of maps. You'll need HyperCard and more than 8MB RAM to run it at the same time as Mapper.
Script Reference documents the scripting languages used in MARS in fairly copious detail, including cross-references and examples.