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Short Tutorial: The "Channel" Ability - and why it is great

Discussion in 'Map Making' started by Woodenplank, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. Woodenplank

    Woodenplank Brigand Map Maker

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    In this tutorial I will be covering the "Channel" Ability found in Warcraft III's object editor.
    I believe that many people new to the World Editor might be puzzled by this ability, I know that I was when I first saw it any way. But once you get the hang of it, Channel is arguably one of the most useful abilities for a Map Maker.

    First I must point out; the Channel Ability does not do anything itself, it cannot deal damage, apply buffs, do healing, or anything of that kind. It is completely meant as a "dummy ability" - meaning an ability which only purpose is to activate a triggered effect.

    Part 1: Art
    Channel Pic1.png
    The first values, under Art and a single field under Data only affect the look of the ability.
    Art - Button Position (normal, research, X,Y)
    The values of X and Y here determine where the ability icon will be placed on the unit/Hero's ability bar. "Research" is for when the Hero is learning/investing points in the ability. For (X,Y) the following table applies...
    WE IconTable.png
    Art - Caster
    As the name suggests, this is the art/effect displayed upon the caster when using the spell. Comparable to the pillar of moonshine on Tyrande, when she casts Starfall.
    Art - Effect
    This is the effect displayed when using Point Targeting, more about that later
    Art - Target
    Obviously, the effect displayed when using Unit Targeting, again more about that later.
    Data - Art Duration
    Determines how long the effect will be displayed

    Part 2: Data
    Channel Pic2.png
    This is where it gets interesting. Here you can modify pretty much every aspect of the ability. I'll cover the points one by one.

    Data - Base Order ID
    Arguably the most important bit. All WC3 spells use a specific order ID, for instance Flame Strike uses "flamestrike", Bear Form uses "bearform" and "unbearform" and so on. This business with order IDs makes it so that one unit cannot have more spells based on the same order ID, if you have two different versions of the Flame Strike spell for instance, any one unit could only ever activate one of them, the other ability would never be used.
    Channel, however, is the only ability in the game that can have its order ID changed, so one unit can have 7 different versions of the Channel ability, all usable provided you change the order ID. In the screenshot you see the ID "channel", but it can be changed to litterally anything.

    Data - Disable Other Abilities
    True/false makes it so that when casting/channeling this ability, all other ability icons become hidden. Usually it is set to false, but in some cases a player might want to hide icons when a spell is being channeled.

    Data - Follow-through time
    Used for channeling. If the ability is supposed to be instant cast, set this to 0. If channeled, it should be set to whatever duration you want.

    Data - Options
    Channel Pic3.PNG
    - Visible is a very important one, as it determines whether or not the ability is visible on the icon bar. If this is left unchecked, you won't be able to see and click the ability icon - though the ability can still be cast through triggers, i.e. "Action - order X unit to "cast Channel""
    - Targeting Image determines whether or not the ability will display its AoE (for point target). For instance, an ability like Earthquake has a targeting image, a large circle indicating the area of effect.
    - Physical Spell determines whether or not the ability checks magic immunity. Abilities like Ensnare are physical, whereas something like Firebolt is not.
    - Universal Spell, determines whether or not the ability gives a shit. If this box is checked, the ability will ignore magic immunity, but this particular method is mostly used in JASS
    - Unique Cast determines whether or not multiple units will try to use the ability together. For instance, if you have 3 units with this ability, and it is NOT a unique cast, they will all try to cast it when clicked once.

    Data - Target Type
    The values are "Instant(selfcast)", "Unit", "Point", "Unit or Point". Rather self-explanatory.
    Instant is things like war stomp, Unit is things like Storm Bolt, Point (which is required for Targeting Image) is stuff like Earthquake, and Unit or Point could be Shockwave, which can be placed on ground or on an enemy unit.

    The duration of the Effect for the ability. If it's a Damage Over Time ability, you would want the duration to match the duration of the DoT.

    The rest are no different than other abilities. But do mind that Stats - Buffs and Stats - Effects do not work, Channel can not apply buffs or effects on its own.

    Hope my wall of text is useful for someone.
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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  2. Sunfall

    Sunfall On Silent Wings Map Maker

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    i feel like alot of newer editors dont really get how to use channel. so this is a good tutorial people.
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  3. Darth Mbites

    Darth Mbites Stoned Eurofag Map Maker

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    Thanks for this tutorial. Will very likely use this in my map! +rep
  4. Ruthrelad the Savage

    Ruthrelad the Savage Guest

    Thanks for the tutorial m8. Finding dummy abilities has been one of my struggles. I didn't realise you can customize channel like this.

    But I just tried it out to create a grenade type of ability and it doesn't work... Does the missle art not register on it? I need the effect to fly like a missle from the caster onto an area... The special art and lightning doesn't seem to work either when it comes to making an area targeting spell...
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2015
  5. Woodenplank

    Woodenplank Brigand Map Maker

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    No, I'm afraid channel does not like using missles, nor lightning effects. You'll have to trigger those. If you're still trying to make the spell, you can PM me, and we can discuss solutions.

    "Art - Effect" should display at the target location (point target), but "Art - Target" will not work, unless it's unit-targeted.
  6. Ruthrelad the Savage

    Ruthrelad the Savage Guest

    I just used a more suitable dummy ability, missle barrage in this case. In my experience with channel so far I only managed to use to effectively for "no-target" abilities, instant casts. It's not bad for AOEs as well but not worse than other alternative dummies. For single unit targets it's inferior because you can't make any art and because you can't order units to use it as "channel" is only an order without a target and altering the order ID does not work.

    I had a frustrating issue where I didn't know why my trigger wasn't working only to discover today that my idea of changing the channel-based abilities order to "chain-lighting" and ordering the unit to cast chain-lightning simply didn't work, just like it never worked with any other abilities. I used the chain-lightning ability as a base for a dummy ability and now everything works fine.
  7. Woodenplank

    Woodenplank Brigand Map Maker

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    I'm afraid you must be making some sort of mistake. I just tested a map where a unit had a Channel with Order ID: chainlightning - and it worked perfectly well with the trigger "Order unit to Orc Far Seer - Chain Lightning target"
    I've attached the map below

    Attached Files: