Tips: Beginner Tips #2

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Welcome back! Today we’ll be talking about driving around, shooting, and using flags.


You can use your mouse or the arrow keys to move around. Use the <Tab> key to jump.

Using the Mouse

In the HUD you can see two squares: one big and one small. If you move your mouse pointer out of the small box, your tank will start to move. If you move your mouse pointer further from the box, your tank will move faster. To move full speed, place your mouse pointer as far away from the small box as possible. This rule applies for going all directions. To move forward, place your mouse pointer to the top of the screen. To go backwards, place your mouse pointer to the bottom of your screen. To turn left, move your mouse pointer left. To turn right, move your mouse pointer right. You can turn and move forward/backward at the same time (like you can with a car).

Using the Keyboard

To move your tank using the keyboard, use the arrow keys. <Up Arrow> moves you forward. <Down Arrow> moves you backward. Press <Left Arrow> to move left and press <Right Arrow> to move right.


To jump use the <Tab> key. If you jump and move at the same time, you will jump towards the direction you were moving. Jumping is good for getting on buildings and dodging some bullets but makes you more vulnerable.


To shoot, press <Enter> or click the left mouse button. To shoot a GM (discussed later), lock on to your enemy using <I> or the right mouse button and shoot normally. There are tactics for shooting bullets. Look for them under “Help: Tactics and Playstyles” in the BZFlag Forums. The most common tactic is to shoot in a stream of bullets.


Flags are things that give your tank new features while holding them. See the description for the flag that you hold by pressing <F>. To pick up a flag, run over it with your tank. To drop your flag, press <Space> or click your middle mouse button. You cannot drop bad flags unless the flag times out or you pick up an antidote flag.

Special Notices for Special Flags

Laser- Infinite range (not really) but long reloading time (about 5 seconds)

GM- Try locking on first, then shoot

Phantom Zone- PZ bullets can’t kill other tanks except for other PZ tanks. Other tanks can’t kill you unless they have Super Bullet, Shock Wave, or Phantom Zone

Genocide- Kills all tanks of the same color you shoot, but can’t kill all rouges; Careful not to hit teammates (disastrous)

Rapid Fire- Reloads faster but have short ranges

Machine Gun- Reloads the fastest but has super short range

Burrow- Careful while using this flag: You can get squashed by other flags

Flag shot limits- Some servers have limits on how many shots you can shoot while holding the flag. When you meet that limit, the flag will automatically drop.

That ends today’s Beginner Tips. Have fun!


Tips: Secrets!! #1

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Welcome to Secrets!! #1! Here we’ll talk about things that you don’t know.

GM Dodging

Never do the following:

  1. Do the back-and-forth trick with GMs: I know this trick works with normal bullets, but not GMs. Use your time wisely and save yourself by going full speed to the nearest solid building.
  2. Jump when you are about to get hit by the GM: It doesn’t do anything. Period. Save your energy.

Shooting Yourself

Yes, it’s possible to shoot yourself with a GM: A reflecting teleporter or one of those auto-moving-strip-thingy. The teleporter: of course, if you’re near it, you’re gonna shoot yourself. If you’re on those strip thingies, you shoot a GM, move forward at full speed, and you’ll catch up to the GM. Then you’ll get hit by it. Then you’ll get a message “Shot myself”.

What does the strip and the GM mean? You can outrun a GM when you move at full speed on a moving strip.

Zoned bullets: Same thing as GM: Teleporter and strip thingy.

L and CL Don’t Mix

You can’t kill a CL with L. Think about it. It makes sense. L is a light. CL is a clear, invisible tank. Lights go through invisible things and doesn’t make an effect on them.

See a Miniature You on the Radar

If you zoom in close enough on the radar, you’ll see a miniature picture of yourself. Press <1>, and hold <4> until you can go no more. drive around. It’s cool. It is not recommended when you’re driving in a busy server.

Zoom with Your Mouse

You can zoom in and out the radar and the HUD. To zoom in and out the radar, hold <Shift> and scroll your mouse down and up, respectively. To zoom in and out the HUD, hold <Control> and scroll your mouse down and up, respectively. To zoom in to the max on the HUD, press <B> (for Binoculars).

I have loads of other secrets waiting for you. But am I going to tell you them right now? No way! Stay tuned for Secrets!! #2!

Planet MoFo’s “Passion” map is possibly the most modded and re-made map in BZFlag history. The original was a map called ‘Christ’ by ducatiwannabe, after it was taken up by Planet MoFo it quickly lost that name and became known as ‘The Passion’, due to the server descriptions of the servers it ran on – it would be advertised as ‘Planet MoFo – Passion Of The Free For All’, or ‘Passion of the Red vs. Blue!’.

In it’s history it has been changed and rebuilt to fit various different play styles and games, but it’s general layout has stayed pretty much the same: A central ‘cake’ consisting of three layers, with eight boxes around the edge in this configuration:

The four corner boxes usually have a flat (0 height) pyramid above them, and the cake usually has tunnels through the bottom layer and sometimes through the top layer too. In most versions there are also four pyramids on the floor by the corner boxes to deflect laser.

There have been so many versions of this map it would be nearly impossible to list them all here, though some variants fo include 3-sided and 8-sided equivelants as well as CTF versions with bases at the corner boxes.

There are a few little secrets that this map has to offer, and there are some prime spots for GM, L and SW that have probably been what has earned this map the title of ‘camper paridise’, though camping is part of this map’s fun. It’s so easy to do, it becomes a battle for the prime spots.

The map has also spawned many similar-shaped counterparts, including the Nativity in Black map and Sir Pants’ Octagon map.

All in all, what makes this map so popular is probably it’s simplicity. The simple symmetry and open space/box balance make it easy to find your way around and it is often a very fast paced Free For All map. With only 25 boxes and 8 pyramids it it’s basic form, it is probably the simplest of all of the most popular maps today.

This topic is free for discussion: what do you like/dislike about this map? Is there a specific version of this map you particularly enjoy?

This is a trick I didn’t realise for quite some time, but it can be helpful.
Whether you use your mouse button or a key to fire, you can also set another key as a fire key. This means you can fire shots incredibly close together.

If you just want to use your mouse button and one other key, then when you are in-game, go to:
Options > Input Settings > Change Key Mapping
Highlight “Fire Shot”, hit enter, then press the key you want to use and hit enter again. Now it should say something like “Left Mouse Button or X”, for example.
If you already use a key and want to use another, repeat the steps above.
This time it should say something like “X or Y”.

To add more than one extra key, you need to open your bzflag config file.
On windows, this file is located at: My Documents\My BZFlag Files\2.0\config.cfg.
On mac os, this file is located at: User/Library/Application Support/BZFlag/2.0/config.cfg.
On linux, this file is located at: ~/.bzf/2.0/config.cfg.

Now, you need to first quit bzflag, then open the file in a simple text editor of your choice and find the line that says:
“bind X down fire” (but substitute “X” for whatever character you set in the in-game options…).
Duplicate this line and change the “X” to any other sensible character.
Save the file, open bzflag and test it.
This should work with any “normal” character.
In theory, you can have as many shoot keys as you like.

The process can also be repeated for jump keys, radar, keys and so on.

Maps: Play Styles #2

Monday, August 7, 2006

This is a series of posts that give some general pointers for designing maps for different play styles.

For a standard CTF map the most important rule is what is known as “CTF Balance”. It needs to be equally easy for both teams to get the opponent’s flag. This can obviously be solved by simple symmetry, but other more ingenious mappers have made maps with perfect CTF balance without total symmetry. One prime example of this is the popular map “Babel”. If you can get a good balance, then you can go on to think about building distribution in a similar way to FFA. More on that in the next post.

Tips: Beginner Tips #1

Monday, August 7, 2006


This is Beginner Tips: the tips for people jumping aboard BZFlag. Here you will find a few tips to help you across the learning curve.

Getting BZFlag

Go to Select your operating system. If Linux, click on bzflag source. Then, select the program version you want. Select the mirror closest to you. Save the download somewhere easy to find (home folder or desktop). After that, for Windows, double click on the setup file. In Linux, unzip and follow the instructions in the readme in the folder, or in Mac OS X, simply drag the BZFlag icon from the disk image into the Applications folder. Read the rest of this entry »

Maps: Play Styles #1

Monday, August 7, 2006

There are three main types of maps, Capture The Flag (CTF), Free For All (FFA) and Rabbit Hunt or Chase (RH/C). Each has a different set of rules that need to be followed (generally) to create a map well suited to that style of play. With a bit of thought you can create a map that encompasses more than one style.

Of course, these aren’t strict rules that you need to follow, they are simply guidelines as to what most mappers feel makes a map most playable, and, in short, playability is what the best maps have. The .bzw platform is incredibly versatile, yet incredibly simple at the same time. With a bit of imagination and a text editor, some map makers have taken maps to places that they have never been taken before.

The next three posts in this series will demonstrate the main map rule for each play style. Next Time: CTF

Tips: GM Tips #1

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Getting your GMs

Note: All tips are for A Meteorite’s Boxy War

GM’s are located on a ledge in front of your fort. You have to jump on to the ledge to grab a GM. There isn’t a transporter or a fall-through hole to the GM’s. In fact, Boxy War doesn’t even have transporters or fall-through holes (you know that, don’t you?). The easiest way to get a GM is to exit your fort, turn towards the ledge, move forward at highest speed for 1.5 seconds, and jump. To get another GM, go back to your fort, stand in front of the exit, and repeat above instructions. Have fun!

Hello Webland!

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Hi, I’m the latest BZJournalist! I hope to be working alongside GMMan and hopefully others to bring you a rich digest of the latest BZFlag news, tips, servers, ideas, maps and almost anything BZ-related.

I will be bringing you all the latest in the way of new maps and servers, as well as tips on mapmaking and all the exiting development in new game styles and plugins.

Spazzy McGee

First note

Saturday, August 5, 2006

All right, people. I was checking out some documentations from WordPress and found that I can’t easily put posts into pages. Unless I group topics into one page (like Tactics >> Laser), I can’t post in there without editing the page over and aver and adding until there’s a big long list. I guess I’ll just stick with single posts…

Oh, right! Comment on this idea, please. And watch for an amusing BZFlag event or a tip soon.