MAPMAKER, MAPMAKER
MAKE ME A MAP!

If you don't like long introductions and want to get right to the download, here you go!
MapMaker Download

IN THE DAYS BEFORE MAPMAKER

Chip's Challenge historians might be interested to know that before Ruben Spaans created his fabulous MapMaker program (see Cool Tools), these maps were painstakingly handcrafted by copying screen prints (ALT+Print Screen) into the very basic Paint program that came with Windows 95. This endeavor required catlike reflexes to capture screen shots while Chip whipped along ice paths or force floors and it needed extraordinary patience (sometimes hours per level) to patch together enough screen shots to get a complete 64X64 square game grid. Once the base map was complete, a winning route could be charted using various colored lines and occasional written instructions. As often happened to adventurers charting new territories, heroic Chip died many times as as the Chipsters charted his course through unknown lands to provide a path for those who came after.

RUBEN TO THE RESCUE!

Nothing could be a better introduction to this great little DOS utility than the words of the programmer, Ruben Spaans, himself:

The reason why I made it was that it took a long time to capture the screens from Chip's Challenge and the level editor in order to make base maps, when everything could be done by an automatic routine. This program just does this, is impossible to customize, and is only useful by a dozen people in the world...

Well, even if there are only a few dozen people in the world that find this utilty useful, they find it very useful indeed! Here are some of the things it does:

If you're one of that dozen or so people in the world who would find the MapMaker useful, here's how to use it. The following directions will walk any aprehensive Windows95 user through the process of actually running and using this DOS program.

GETTING SET UP.

  1. Create a directory to hold the files. I have used a directory called c:\mapmaker for all of the examples in these instructions.
  2. Download the zip file by clicking here or the link above.
  3. Extract the zip files into your new MapMaker directory. You should extract all of the files.
  4. Find the directory where your CHIPS.DAT file is stored. This may be C:\BOWEP (if you have the Best of Entertainment Pack) or C:\WEP (if you have Entertainment Pack for Windows #4).
  5. Optional, but recommended: If you want to save some typing later, put a copy (not the original!) of your CHIPS.DAT file in the MapMaker directory.

GETTING IN AND OUT OF DOS.

MapMake runs in DOS, so if you want to use the program, you're going to have to learn how get into and out of DOS on your computer.

  1. To get to DOS:
    • From Windows95 (is there anyone still using that program?): click the "Start" button and select "Programs/MS DOS Prompt" from the menu.
    • From Windows XP: Click Start / Progam Files / Accessories / Command Prompt.
    • Sorry...don't have any other examples at this point
  2. You will see a screen that looks like this (but bigger):

    The little blinking line is where your typing will appear.

    NOTE: If your DOS screen shows up as full sized, instead of inside a window, you can switch it to a window by pressing ALT+ENTER.

  3. To leave DOS at any time, just type "exit" (with no quote marks) and press enter.

MAKING A MAP.

If you want the details of what is happening and more options on making maps, see the "Program Parameters" section which follows this one.

  1. Start a DOS window (as explained above).
  2. Change your directory to the MapMaker directory by typing the part shown in bold and pressing enter:
         C:\WINDOWS>CD C:\MAPMAKER
    
    Your screen will show:
         C:\mapmaker>
    
    NOTE: On reading over this page for accuracy, Ruben pointed out that if you install the MapMaker on some directory other than C:, you will also have to change the directory. He is absolutely correct, of course, but my personal opinion is that if you have gone and done a thing like that, you don't need directions as basic as these. For the sake of competeness, however: first type the letter of the directory where you installed the MapMaker (such as F:), then type your "cd" (change directory) instruction as above. Use the correct directory instead of C:, of course.
  3. Example for a base map where a copy of CHIPS.DAT is in the MapMaker directory. This example is for level 25, and it generates a bmp file called LVL025.BMP. Type the part shown in bold, and press enter.
         C:\mapmaker>MAPMAKER C 25 LVL025.BMP
    
    The program will do its work, and display the following message:
         MapMaker v2.1 for Chip'sChallenge by Ruben Spaans
         of Megastyle Productions in 1998 (F) Freeware.
         NB! This utility requires MAPMAKER.BMP.
    
         Done!
    
         C:\mapmaker>
  4. Example for a solution map where a copy of CHIPS.DAT is in the MapMaker directory. This example is for also for level 25, and it generates a bmp file called SOL025.BMP with 430 seconds remaining on the clock. Type the part shown in bold, and press enter.
         C:\mapmaker>MAPMAKER C 25 SOL025.BMP -S430
    
    Again, the program will do its work for a bit, and create a new map for you, all ready for your solution to be added.
  5. Look for your new maps in the same directory where you installed MapMaker.
  6. For more examples and details, read Ruben's help file. It's called "mapmaker.txt" and you will find it in the zip file.
THE PROGRAM PARAMETERS.

Doesn't that sound impressive! (Well, it does to me. I don't normally use words like "program parameters," but Ruben's help file makes things easy to understand.) Most of this section is taken directly from the help file, with a few added comments by me.

For those among us who like things really official, the syntax is as follows:

MAPMAKER file_containing_chips_levels level_number out_file.bmp
[-Sseconds_left_in_solution] [-C] [-H] [-N] [-P] [-F] [-T]
Square brackets "[]" around a parameter (switch) mean it's optional.

And, here are the details:

MAPMAKER
Required. This is the command that starts the program.
file_containing_chips_levels
Required. Names the DAT file which the program will use. If the file name you are using is CHIPS.DAT and it is in the same directory as the MapMaker program, just type "C" (without quote marks). For other DAT files in the same directory, type the full file name, such as NEWLEVEL.DAT. For DAT files in other directories, type the full path and file name, such as C:\WEP\CHIPS.DAT or C:\WINDOWS\GAMES\NEWLEVEL.DAT.
level_number
Required. Specifies the level number you wish to map, such as 1, 25, or 132.
out_file.bmp
Required. Specifies the name you want the MapMaker to give your new map file, such as MAP001.bmp, LVL025.bmp, or BASE132.bmp. You can call it anything you want, however it should end with the "bmp" extension.
-Sseconds_left_in_solution
Optional. Specifies the program to add "solution xxx seconds" to the top of the picture. It also adds a "Solution map:" at the right where the map credits are. Example: type -S256 to show a solution with 256 seconds remaining on the clock. (You will have to map the solution route yourself, of course!)
-C Optional. Turns off the showing of objects underneath dirt blocks (like the chips and fire underneath the blocks on level 4). These hidden things are shown as default.
-H Optional. Turns off the revealing of invisible and blue walls. They are revealed as default. Level 6 contains examples of all 4 types of these walls.
-N Optional. Turns off the automatic displaying of the correct level title and password. Useful if you are mapping custom made levels.
-P Optional. Turns off generation of pink ball routes (default is on).
-F Optional. Turns off generation of fireball routes (default is on).
-T Optional. Will force the program to generate enemy routes through traps (enemy paths stop at traps as default).

NOTE: The enemy route generation is not perfect. It doesn't at all support thin panel walls. Teleports aren't supported. Some strange routes may occur due to different circumstances. So, after generating a map, always check if the enemy routes are correct. Remember you can turn them off if they are totally wrong.

THANKS, RUBEN!

This program is freeware, but it's always nice to say "thanks" to the people who do lots of work and then share the results. At one time, this page contained an email address for Ruben so grateful fans could write and thank him, however times have changed, and most people don't want their addresses unprotected on the internet anymore, plus after 12 years, I doubt it still works, however Ruben does have a home page, which is here: www.stubbscroll.com or here: www.pvv.org/~spaans/ (they both go to the same place).

Have fun!