Map Creation

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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 unzipped 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.

Creating maps

Beginner mapping tutorial for SpringRTS (the engine) is located here: Simple tutorial.

SpringRTS site contains other useful information for map development and lists some tools to help with map creation.

Ask for help in #zkmap in on the Zero-K Discord server.


Further information: Startbox API

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.

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.

Running maps

Local testing

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 to make it downloadable and playable by others. Some admin action to feature/support the map may also be required.

See also