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Creating Swat 3 Missions

Missions are one of the most complex game content elements in SWAT3, as they are a combination of 3d geometry, sound objects, characters, and triggered events. This requires use of the Worldcraft Level Creation tool (included with the SWAT3 tools) and editing of data files, as well as specific console commands within SWAT3 as well, to prepare the mission for final distribution.

Know also that a map is not necessarily a mission. Even with full support for AI characters, sounds, and events, a map requires extra data related to objectives and pre-insertion data to truly be considered a mission.

Never fear, however. We will walk you through the process, step by step.

Mission creation can be broken down into five basic steps:

  • Creating the Map Geometry
  • Building the Map and Materials List
  • Preparing AI and Lightmaps
  • Creating Mission Data Files / Fulfilling Data Requirements
  • Linking All Content into SWAT3 

These steps, once complete, will yield a folder inside your missions directory which you can then zip up and send to other SWAT3 players. Your maps will be suitable for both single player and multi-player modes.

Let's begin.


1 - Creating The Map Geometry

Perhaps the most time-consuming element of map building, but also the most immediately gratifying, map geometry defines the actual building or other location that you will be operating in. The geometry is created using Worldcraft, a free editor that comes packaged in with the SWAT3 editing tools. If this is your first time using Worldcraft, Setting up your preferences is your first priority.


Tutorials Reference
Worldcraft Configuration - ESSENTIAL General Reference
Creating a SWAT3 Map Point Entity List
Advanced Example Map Geometric Entity List


2 - Building the Map and Materials List

Once you decide that you'd like to give your map a try in SWAT3, you will need to build the map itself using Worldcraft's map compiler. This process will convert the Worldcraft map geometry into the SWAT3 format, allowing you to play your new level in the game. There are several build options and types that will allow you to specify how detailed you wish your finalized map to be.

You will probably need to build your map several times during its evolution: test maps, light tweaking, AI placement; Worldcraft provides settings for each type of build.

To The Reference: Building The Map And Materials List


3 - Preparing AI and Lightmaps

To round out your map, SWAT3 itself must be used to build the Artificial Intelligence Cube Cell Map, a listing of instructions that allow AI characters to move smoothly and tactically throughout your map, and Lightmaps, references that are used by SWAT3 to display the lights in your map realistically and quickly. This step should be completed when your map geometry is finalized; as the processes can be time-consuming.

To The Reference: Preparing AI and Lightmaps


4 - Creating Mission Data Files / Fulfilling Data Requirements

To fully integrate your map into a SWAT3 mission, you will need to create a set of data files that provide instructions to SWAT3 as to how you would like your map to be interpreted by the game.

Plus, if you have unique characters, sounds, effects, or visuals in your mission, you will need to define their data files during this step.

To The Reference: Mission Requirements and Data Files


5 - Linking All Content Into SWAT3

You have your mission. Objectives, entry points, and special contents have been accounted for. It's time to get ready for distribution!

To The Reference: Linking All Content Into SWAT3


Additional: Textures

SWAT3 uses the .WAD format for map textures. If you wish to add your own custom textures to our .WAD files, or create your own .WAD files, we recommend using Wally, an excellent freeware texture tool available at the address below.

Important Note:  .wad files require texture names that are LESS THAN 15 CHARACTERS. 



This page taken and updated from the ModHQ © Sierra On-Line, Inc.
SWAT 3 is a registered trademark of Sierra On-Line, Inc. All rights reserved.