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Pivots and placement parameters

Items made with NadeoImporter can be placed in maps with the Advanced Map Editor, in Item mode.

This article explains the influence of pivots and placement parameters on how the item is placed in the map.

You can set pivots and placement parameters in the .Item.xml file: see section How to create the Item xml file for more information.


When you place an item in the map, the mouse cursor is aiming at a particular point in the map. But how should the item be placed compared to this point? If your item is a cube, should the editor place the item so that the cursor point is at the center of the cube ? Or the center of the bottom face? Or one corner of the cube?

Pivots are here to answer that question: a pivot is a point of the item that will coincide with the point of the map that is aimed by the cursor.

An item can have multiple pivots. In that case, the Map Editor might choose automatically one pivot according to the context, or you might be able to press the Q key (A with azerty keyboards) to cycle through the pivots of the current item: see the placement parameter Switch pivot manually for more information.

If an item has no pivot, the Map Editor will consider that it has one pivot at the coordinate (0,0,0).

Pivots can also be used as magnets to help align items when you place them on each other: see Pivot Snap Distance for more information.

Placement parameters

These are advanced parameters to help mappers place the item in the map.

They are numerous and sometimes a bit difficult to understand. Just leave the default values, unless you have a specific need for your item.

Three of them are far more useful than all the others: Fly Step, Grid Horizontal Size and Ghost mode. You can read the explanations of these three and ignore all the others!

Main placement parameters

  • Fly Step: If 0, the item will always be placed "on something": on the ground, on a wall, on another item, etc. whatever is aimed by the cursor. If greater than 0, the item can fly above the ground: each time you scroll with the mouse wheel (or press the PgUp/PgDown keys), the item will be offseted vertically by this step (in meters).

  • Grid Horizontal Size: If greater than 0, the item will be snapped to the intersections of an invisible horizontal grid, and the distance between the parallel lines of this grid will be this Grid Horizontal Size (in meters). If 0, there will be no horizontal snapping, you can place the item exactly where you want (but it will be difficult to align several items or align items with blocks).

  • Ghost mode: If activated, the item will never be placed "on anything", it will completely ignore surrounding blocks and items, going through them if necessary.

Advanced placement parameters

  • Switch pivot manually: If activated, the only way to change the pivot to use will be the Q key (A with azerty keyboard). If deactivated, the Map Editor will automatically change the pivot according to the direction of the surface you are aiming with the cursor (for example it may select the lowest pivot if you are aiming at the floor, and the highest pivot if you are aiming at a ceiling). If the editor selects several pivot candidates, you can cycle through them with the Q key (A with azerty keyboard).

  • Fly Offset: Offsets vertically the invisible horizontal planes on which the cursor moves when it is in the air. For example, if the Fly Step parameter is 4 meters and the the Fly Offset is 0 meter, when you scroll with the mouse wheel, the cursor will move to the coordinates y = 0, 4, 8, 12, 16... m. But if you set the Fly Offset to 1 meter, then the cursor will be placed at y = 1, 5, 9, 13, 17... m. This parameter has no effect if Fly Step is 0.

  • Grid Horizontal Offset: It is recommended to leave this parameter to 0, unless you really know what you are doing. It offsets the horizontal grid by this amount of meters, in both horizontal axis (x and z). The only value that might be useful sometimes would be half of Grid Horizontal Size, but even in that case it is probably a better idea to divide Grid Horizontal Size by 2 instead.

  • Grid Vertical Size: If greater than 0, the item will be snapped on the vertical axis, and the value is the step of this snapping in meters. In other words, it sets the snapping along the y axis, just as the Grid Horizontal Size sets the snapping along the x and z axis. The difference with Fly Step is subtle: unlike Fly Step, Grid Vertical Size does not enable the item to fly. For instance, it can be used for an item which is meant to be placed on walls, to limit the available heights and then make it easy to align them. But if your item's Fly Step and Grid Vertical Size are both greater than 0, it is recommended to set the same value on both parameters.

  • Grid Vertical Offset: No effect if Grid Vertical Size equals 0. Otherwise, it offsets the available heights by this value in meters. For example, if Grid Vertical Size is 8 and Grid Vertical Offset is 2, the available heights are y = 2, 10, 18, 26, 34... m. If the item's Fly Offset is different from zero, it is recommended to put the same value in Grid Vertical Offset.

  • Yaw Only: If activated, the item can be rotated around the vertical axis only (y), by 90° with the right mouse button, or by 15° with the Numpad+ or Numpad- keys. If deactivated, it can also be rotated in other directions using the arrow keys.

  • Not On Object: If activated, the item cannot be placed on another item, it can only be placed on blocks (or in the air, if Fly Step is greater than 0). It is recommended to leave it deactivated.

  • Auto Rotation: If activated, the Map Editor will try to automatically rotate the item you are about to place according to the direction of the surface you are aiming at with the mouse pointer. It can be useful for items which are supposed to stay perpendicular to the ground for example. Note: this will not work if there is any grid snapping, so both Grid Horizontal Size and Grid Vertical Size must be set to 0.

  • Pivot Snap Distance: When you are about to place a new item on another item (in other words the mouse pointer is aiming at an item already placed on the map), the editor might try to snap the new item so that its current pivot would be placed exactly at the same spot as one of the pivots of the other item, as if the pivots of the already placed item were magnets that attract the pivot of the new item. If you do not want this feature for your item, set the value to 0. Otherwise, choose a positive value which will be the distance of this attraction (in meters), or use the special value -1 to let the editor choose an automatic distance.

About Free ground item and Free item modes

When you are already in Item mode in the Map Editor, you can activate the "Free ground item mode" or "Free item mode" by clicking several times on the tree-shaped Item mode icon (the shape of the item mode icon changes).

In these modes, all the placement parameters of the current item are ignored and replaced by some default parameters with tiny Grid Horizontal Size.

The difference between "Free ground item mode" and "Free item mode" is that "Free item mode" also has a tiny Fly Step (instead of 0) and Ghost Mode.