To create a map in Glest you will need to download the Glest Tools at Sourceforge Download

Map overview

Maps are single files, that define bi-dimensional matrices of cells, each cell has the following attributes:

  • Height. From 0 to 20
  • Surface type. There are 5 surface types, and the map editor numbering system indicates the texture type, the texture file itself depends on the tileset.
  • Object. A cell can have an object or not, there are 10 types of objects, object models depend on the tileset, but in general terms, objects 1 and 2 are trees, 3 is stone, 4 and 5 are bushes, objects from 6 to 9 can be anything and 10 is an invisible blocking object.
  • Resource. Resources can be placed on cells. objects and resources cannot share the same cell at the same time. Resources depend on the Tech Tree.

Maps also define the start locations for each player, map size, altitude factor, and water level. Maps cannot define the placement of units or buildings. To play maps created with the editor, just place the .gbm file into the Glest directory map folder.

Introduction to the map editor

Glest Map Editor is the default map editor for Glest - the free, open-source, 3D real-time strategy game.

Glest Map Editor allows users to define:

  • Map dimensions
  • Surface height
  • Surface type
  • Object location
  • Resource location
  • Number of players
  • Player and computer faction starting points
  • Other significant parameters

Note: the map editor cannot define unit or building placements, the reason for this is that a map can be played with various tech trees with different unit and building types.

Editor window

Single window properties

  • Top: Menu Bar
  • Center-Left: Map Display
  • Right: Tool Bar
  • Bottom: Info Label

Map display

Map display reflects the current state of the map

The map is divided into cells, each cell has a state: height, surface type, object type and resource type. The way the map reflects the state of the cells is as follows:

  • The big 'X''X''X''X' show the location of each player starting point.
  • Intensity of color reflects height(elevation).
    • the darker the color is, the lower the height of the cell.
    • the lighter the color is, the higher the height of the cell.
  • Color reflects the surface type:
    • Light Green: surface - 1
    • Dark Green: surface - 2
    • Brown: surface - 3
    • Gray: surface - 4
    • Red: surface - 5
  • An 'X''X' means that there is a resource on the cell, the color of the 'X' indicates the resource type.
  • An inverted 'L' means there is an object on the cell, the color of the inverted 'L', indicates the object type.

Note: Objects and resources cannot share the same cell.

Users may interact with the map as follows:

  • Left clicking over the map or to move the mouse while pressing left button modifies the map.
  • Moving the mouse while pressing the right mouse button scrolls the users viewing location on the map.
  • Moving the mouse while pressing the center button or shift+right mouse button zooms the map view.


The toolbar defines the way the map is modified when left clicking on the map display.

Depending on the selected radio button, users may edit height, surface type, object type, resource type or starting points.

  • Radius: The radius combo box is always available and indicates the number of cells modified when editing the map, a radius of one modifies only one cell, a higher radius modified more cells.
  • Height: When height radio button is selected, users can alter the map surface height. (radius and height combo boxes modify the surface in different ways)
  • Starting Points: Each player requires one starting point, this point is the map location where the initial buildings and units are placed. If there is not enough space at the starting point to place all units and buildings, an error will occur and the game will not load.
  • Surface: When the surface radio button is selected, users can edit map surface type(s). Surface texture types vary between individual tilesets, but the default settings are:
  • Object: When the object radio button is selected, users can place objects on the map cells. Objects depend on the tileset, but the default settings are:
  • Resource: When the resource radio button is selected, users can place resources on a map cell. Resource types depend on the tech tree selected, but the default settings are:
    • Custom: 0 - none
    • Custom: 1 - gold walkable(false)
    • Custom: 2 - stone walkable(false)
    • Custom: 3 - undefined
    • Custom: 4 - undefined
    • Custom: 5 - undefined
  • Note: Tech trees can use objects as resources. The difference is that 3d models for objects are defined on the tileset while resource 3d models are defined on the tech tree.
  • Note: undefined refers to resource and object models as well as surface texture settings used in most user created faction and tileset modification files.
  • Note: walkable(false) are objects which restrict or block unit movement across cells where they have been placed - units cannot walk over these cells.
  • Note: walkable(true) are objects which allow ground unit movement across cells where they have been placed - units can walk over these cells.

Menu Bar

  • File
  • Load: loads the selected map file.
  • Save and Save As: saves a map file.
  • Exit: closes the editor.
  • Edit
  • Reset: resets the map, users can specify map dimensions, default altitude and surface types.
  • Reset Players: changes the number of players on the map and resets starting points.
  • Info: here is where users enter the authors name, title and description of the map.
  • Advanced: two parameters can be edited here, altitudeFactor and waterLevel.
    • Altitude factor is a number that divides altitudes when surface is drawn in the game. It defaults to 3, that means that a cell that has an altitude of x, will have a real altitude of x/3 when rendered.
    • Water level is the altitude of the water in the game, note that units can walk over every cell that has a an altitude greater or equal to waterLevel-1.
    • Note: waterLevel is also divided by altitudeFactor.
  • Misc
  • Reset zoom and pos: resets zoom and position to the default values.
  • About: displays the copyright notice.
  • Mouse buttons: brief explanation of mouse functionality when interacting with the map.
  • Info label: here are displayed some parameters of the map.


  • Learn how to edit and design maps using our Wikia guide
  • Map Editing