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Working with Effects [Data Editor]

Discussion in 'StarCraft II Tutorials' started by mrzwach, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. mrzwach


    Aug 1, 2009
    This tutorial is a basic introduction to the "Effects" tab of the Data Editor; it will overview each kind of effect and different uses they can have. Effects can be used to create complex and unique spells/abilities without using custom script - almost anything is possible.

    Fundamental Effects

    To begin, we have the Set, Create/Destroy Persistent, Switch, and Search Area effects. These effects do not directly do anything - instead, they apply different effects to a target. This is vital to creating any complex special effect.

    The Set effect is quite simply a set of multiple effects. It allows for you to use multiple effects in tandem where normally you could only use one. Furthermore, it can also apply a random effect (or effects), allowing for you to have a chance-on-apply to apply a certain effect (you would do this by having a few working effects and then several dummy effects that do nothing).

    Persistent effects allow you to apply different effects at certain points in location and time. For example, you can a persistent effect apply an effect every 5 seconds (using periods and periodic effects) or apply an effect at different points (for example, the Hellion and Colossi use periodic offsets but with 0 periodic duration to create a "line" effect of damage). Furthermore, offsets, period durations, and periodic effects can also be randomized, much like the Set effect.

    Switch effects allow you to apply different effects depending on whether or not validators are true. Think of this as an if/then/else - if a validator is true, it will apply effect A, if it is false, apply effect B. This could be used potentially to create a Death Coil type ability, where if the target has X condition, it deals damage, if otherwise it heals the target. The Changeling's morphing ability uses this - it checks if the target is protoss/terran/zerg, and then morphs to the correct unit accordingly, as shown in the below image.

    Search Area simply takes an area, defined by a radius, and applies an effect to each unit in said radius. There isn't much else to it; you can have multiple areas (with multiple effects) and maximum count, but it is rather simple.

    Common Effects

    Next, we have frequently used effects that are key to actually making your abilities do something.

    Create Unit is a simple effect that creates X number of units at a target point. There is not much else to know about it except that you can apply an effect on the created unit and change the owner of it.

    Behavior effects apply, manipulate, and remove behaviors. Behaviors are essentially buffs from Warcraft III taken to a whole new level - while there are many kinds, the only one that you will likely be working with on a regular basis is the Buff behavior, which can do various things that will be covered in another tutorial. The behavioral effects are Apply, Remove, and Transfer (transfers a behavior from one unit to another).

    Damage is a simple effect that deals damage to a target. It can have attribute bonuses, and various flags which are for the most part self explanatory. I don't think I really need to go into this one, pretty simple.

    Launch Missile launches a projectile at the target unit/point. Upon impact, it applies effects (usually damage). However, there is a lot more that goes into creating such an effect and getting it to display properly; it requires appropriate units, actors, and movers to function. This will likely be covered in more depth in another tutorial.

    Issue Order quite simply, issues an order to the target unit. Depending on what the order is you may or may not have to specify a target. Nothing complicated.

    Modify Unit modifies the vitals/ability charges/etc of the target unit. For example, you can have a change fraction of -1 in one of the vital fields to instantly drain all of that vital. It can also change how fast a unit gathers resources, their height, or a heroes experience.

    Modify Player is used to add/remove resources. I haven't found much use for this beyond income over time or maybe units draining resources, but meh.

    Create Healer restores one units vitals over time at the cost of another's. Simple, not much to it.

    Apply Force simply moves a unit a certain amount towards or away from an effect. Note that this is mostly for SFX, as low graphics causes the units to simply run away and that the speed at which they move is limited by their maximum move speed.

    Iterate Transport applies a certain effect to all units in a transport.

    Teleport instantly moves a unit to a target point. This is used by abilities like Blink and Mass Recall.

    In any event, too lazy to finish typing this up right now or add in proper screenshots. I still have to cover magazines and calldowns, so I'll do that sometime later.