The StarCraft II Map Editor improves upon the World Editor from Warcraft III in every way.
Startools, a proprietary toolset, is included along with Galaxy. Startools lets modders design and create doodads. The functionality will be exposed to the community by Legacy of the Void.
Blizzard intends to support the modding community. Some mods will be available for pay.
Downloaded files can be accessed by opening Galaxy, finding any file anywhere on the computer (usually in My Documents\StarCraft II), and selecting "publish file". This makes it available on battle.net.
All unit abilities are data driven, enabling great freedom when designing unit abilities.
Every game database file is exposed for modification. The trigger editor features the ability to define custom functions and libraries.
Galaxy maps are capable of holding thousands of triggers, locations and doodads. It makes all the triggers in the program available to mapmakers.
Map "locking" is enabled, which ensures that no one will lose credit for creating a map.
Climate graphical effects are available in the map editor.
A number of tilesets are available, such as wasteland (Mar Sara), volcanic (Char), twilight (Shakuras), space platforms, jungle and desert. A few new ones are also available, such as a new Shattered City tileset.
Terrain can be mixed and matched; you can define your own tileset in the editor. The terrain textures can be blended, so that a jungle can smoothly transition into a desert. Doodads such as traps can be freely added to any tileset. Maximum map size is fixed at 256 x 256 and sizes of 32 to 256 are available. Map size can be artificially restricted by controlling the camera, preventing units from entering "off-screen" terrain or building there.
Unit coloring and neutral units are supported in the editor. Blizzard added and modified unit models which are not even in single-player to make them accessible to modders.
Many of the units and abilities that did not end up in the final version of the game are still be accessible by modders. However, units that have been cut completely from the game are not in the editor.
Units can be "attached" to other units, and units can even be used as special attacks (for instance, modifying spore crawlers to launch banelings as an anti-ground attack).
Heroes can carry items in StarCraft II UMS maps through the use of a toggle, and can carry more items than heroes in Warcraft III.
Blizzard made sure that heroes and units can also gain experience in Galaxy, although this ability is not available in the campaign or standard multiplayer games. This enables map styles such as Defense of the Ancients to be reproduced in StarCraft II.
Map makers can define any number of custom attributes for a hero, based on their level. However, the UI can only display three attributes.
The footprint of structures can be adjusted to whatever the editor desires (such as "square" buildings).
The UI was supposed to be customizable, but it was not a user-friendly process. The files would be externalized, and while they could be edited, there would not be support for that. Later Blizzard said there would be no UI modding.
The map editor is designed to handle third-person shooting maps.
Blizzard was able to design an old-fashioned "Lost Viking" top-scrolling space shooter game within the editor.
The map editor can create new HUDs, quest interfaces and dialogue. It even supports "mouselook", so moving the mouse influences the player's view.
Upgrades can be extended arbitrarily, and can be modified using triggers.
Custom races are supported, even with melee maps.
"Wrap-around" maps can be made, so that units that walk off one edge will appear on the other side. However, they cannot exchange shots.
Story Mode Space is all done in the map. Heroes from Story Mode can appear in-game, and in-game units such as the Thor can appear in Story Mode.
Information can be stored in "banks", such as characters, which can be moved from map to maps and games.
All information for maps is stored within the map file (such as sound files). Mods can be made available as a single mod pack.
The editor features a proprietary scripting language called Galaxy based on C, but users also have access to the more user friendly Trigger Editor which allows beginner and intermediate map designers to make advanced maps without having to learn the scripting language.
Galaxy is not object-oriented, but most of the functionality is based on modifying game objects.
Triggers are able to "communicate" with each other. The editor supports custom function definitions; for instance, a map maker can create their own actions built up from actions (or custom script code) and use them in triggers.
Galaxy features a "garbage collection" system which will prevent memory leaks.
The map editor was made available in the beta in April 2010.
Heart of the Swarm will feature a number of upgrades for the editor, including making the UI more accessible.
The editor will include tool improvements, such as trigger debugging, a UI editor, a cutscene editor, and art tools which enable custom art and models, a model exporter, and more documentation, tutorials and example files.
↑ 1.01.1On a side note, going along with the Galaxy Map Editor can do anything trend, I hear it may even be able to create a first person shooter style custom game :) Anyone miss those StarCraft paintball games? Our devs internally have already tried out some pretty clever side projects that have been quite successful. Karune. 2009-08-14. Starcraft 2 UMS mini-campaigns. Battle.net StarCraft II General Discussion Forums. Accessed 2009-08-14.
↑Yes, custom races are fully supported, including the ability to choose them from the game lobby while playing melee maps, as long as the mod defining the race is loaded. Karune. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 39: Map Maker Series (page 2). Battle.net StarCraft II General Discussion Forums. Accessed 2008-05-28.