- ZK Map Making Guide
- Advanced guide using WorldMachine, by Beherith
Maps are 7z archives which, at their most basic, consist of three image files packaged in a particular way. They can be found in
Zero-K/Maps and be zipped or unziped with 7zip. Maps can contain more than their three image files, including:
- Metal spot layout.
- Start area configuration.
- Tree, rock or any other models to be placed as map features.
- Arbitrary code and units changes that can arbitrarily modify the game. See Mod Creation.
Beginner mapping tutorial for SpringRTS is located here: https://springrts.com/wiki/Mapdev:Tutorial_Simple
Ask for help in #zkmap in on the Zero-K Discord server.
Here are some SpringRTS (the engine) links  
Startboxes are loaded from /mapconfig/map_startboxes.lua and can be generated ingame with the Startbox Editor widget included with the game. Alt-F11 to toggle.
Full guide for the startbox editor here: Startbox API
Metal Configuration and Spot Graphics
Metal spots on maps are done via Lua configs. They can be generated ingame with the dbg_mouse_to_mex_portable.lua widget, available at | TheMooseIsLoose's github.
Download that repo as a zip and extract into your map folder. Load the map in ZK, enable cheats, and then enable Mouse to Mexes in your alt-f11 widget menu. Click to create new metal spots, the values and positions will be automatically saved to your game data directory. Copy and paste the content from MexSpots_YourMap to your /mapconfig/map_metal_layout.lua
To run a map locally put it in
Zero-K/Maps then start the game. Untick 'Only featured maps' in
Settings -> Lobby and start a singleplayer skirmish game. Select 'Advanced', click 'Change Map' and select your map from the list.
Upload your map to https://springfiles.springrts.com/upload/ to make it downloadable and playable by others. Some admin action to feature/support the map may also be required.