cfed — a level compiler for Crimson Fields


cfed mapsource --tiles tileset --units unitset [-o outfile]
cfed {--help | --version}



is the Crimson Fields level compiler.

It creates a *.lev file out of a source file *.src. You can use any standard text editor to create the level source files (for the syntax of those files, see the section called "FILE FORMAT" below). cfed reads the input file and creates the level file. If the name of the output file is not given on the command line, it is created in the same location as the source file with the .src suffix substituted by .lev.



Print a usage message on standard output and exit.

--tiles tileset

Use the tile definitions from tileset when compiling the map.

--units unitset

Use the unit definitions from unitset when compiling the map.


Print version information on standard output and exit.


Set the name and path of the converted level file.

File format

A level source file consists of sections. A section is started by the section name in square brackets, i.e. the line


starts a unit section. Lines in a section are usually composed like this:

qualifier = value

The only exceptions to this are the map and messages sections. Lines starting with # are considered comments. The following sections exist:


This section defines some global mission parameters like map size or the graphics set to use. The mission section is mandatory and must appear before the map section in the file. Valid qualifiers are


index of a message containing the mission title. This name will be used when presenting the list of available maps to the player. (maximum length 30 characters, mandatory)


[10-200] (mandatory)


[10-200] (mandatory)


the name of another map (without path and file ending). After the current map has been completed, this new map will be loaded automatically. This tag is only valid for campaign maps.


index of the information message that is to be shown when a player requests level information. This message can contain the level name, author, revision, etc.


indicates whether the map is part of a campaign [0|1]. Default is 0 (not part of a campaign). See also campaignname and campaigninfo.


index of the campaign name. It should be set only when the map actually is the first of a campaign. See also campaign and campaigninfo. (mandatory and valid only for the introductory map of a campaign)


index of the information message for the campaign. This info is displayed when starting a new campaign and should contain a short outline of the background story. It is useful only when the map actually is the first of a campaign. See also campaign and campaignname.


indicates whether the map can be played in skirmish mode [0|1]. Default is 1 (true).


selects whether the map is intended for play against another human being (2) or against the computer (1). This is for informational purposes only and defaults to 2.


name of a soundtrack (either MIDI or Ogg Vorbis) excluding the file type suffix to be played during this map. If the setting is missing, the default track for Crimson Fields will be played.


tileset file to be used. A tileset contains the map graphics and terrain definitions. The filename must be given without the .tiles suffix. If omitted, the tile set defaults to 'default'.


unit set file to be used. A unit set contains the unit graphics and definitions. The filename must be given without the .units suffix. If omitted, the unit set defaults to 'default'.


The map section defines the actual map layout. It is a rectangle of the size specified in the mission section, consisting of various symbols which describe a certain map tile type. The map section is mandatory and may not contain comments. The following symbols exist.








shallow water




deep water






headquarters, neutral entrance, east


headquarters, yellow entrance, east


headquarters, blue entrance, east


depot, neutral entrance, north


depot, yellow entrance, north


depot, blue entrance, north


factory, neutral entrance, north


factory, yellow entrance, north


factory, blue entrance, north


factory, neutral entrance, east


factory, yellow entrance, east


factory, blue entrance, east


city, yellow


city, blue


city, neutral


headquarters, yellow entrance, west


headquarters, blue entrance, west


headquarters, neutral entrance, west


headquarters, yellow entrance, north


headquarters, blue entrance, north


headquarters, neutral entrance, north


headquarters, east


headquarters, west


headquarters, north


headquarters, south


road, se-nw


road, s-n


road, sw-ne


road, sw-n-ne


road, se-n-nw


road, s-se-nw-n


road, s-sw-n-ne


road, sw-nw-ne-se


road, sw-s-ne


road, s-se-nw


road, n-se


road, n-sw


road, nw-s


road, ne-s


road, sw-se


road, nw-ne


road, n-s-se


road, n-s-sw


road, n-s-ne


road, n-s-nw


bridge, n-s


bridge, sw-ne


bridge, se-nw


fence, se-nw end


fence, nw-se end


fence, ne-sw end


fence, sw-ne end


fence, n-s


fence, sw-ne


fence, nw-se


fence, nw-s


fence, ne-s


fence, sw-n


fence, se-n


fence, nw-ne


fence, sw-se

There is also an alternative format. If the section is called map-raw instead, the map is defined by giving the hexagon identifiers directly, using the comma as a tile separator. This approach requires intimate knowledge of the tileset used and may break the map if the tileset changes. The format has been created because there are now more tiles than can be represented with single ASCII characters.


This can be used to set some player definitions. There may be a maximum of two player sections in a file. The first section encountered corresponds to the first player, the next to the second. Valid qualifiers are


index of a message containing the player name (mandatory, maximum length 20 characters)


index of the player's briefing message. The briefing can be reviewed during the game by choosing the Briefing item from the Game Menu. It is also recommended to create a message event to tell the players about their objectives on the first turn (see event and messages sections below). If omitted defaults to -1, meaning that no briefing is available.


foreground color to use for this player in the format r,g,b, e.g. 255,0,0 for red. The default player colors match the default unit set, but different sets may use different color schemes (also see bcolor).


background color to use for this player in the format r,g,b, e.g. 0,0,255 for blue. The default player colors match the default unit set, but different sets may use different color schemes (also see fcolor).


Each of these sections creates a unit on the map. Loaded transporter units must be specified before any units they carry. Valid qualifiers for units are


location of the unit on the map. If there is a building at the given location, the unit will be put in. It is also possible to let units begin inside a transport. In that case you have to make sure, however, that in the level file the transport is declared before the carried unit [x/y]. (mandatory)


unique unit identifier [0-10000]. (mandatory)


unit type definition to use for this unit. Known definitions for the default unit set are Infantry, Medium Tanks, Heavy Tanks, Anti-Aircraft Tanks, Anti-Aircraft Guns, Artillery, Mines, Patrol Boats, Fighter Squadron, Personnel Carriers, Troopships, Transport Planes, Scouts, Interceptors, Bunkers, Torpedo Boats, Bomber Wing, Hovercraft, Gunships, Troop Train, Rail Guns, Armoured Train, Submarines, and Aircraft Carriers. (mandatory)


unit controller [1|2]. (mandatory)


number of vehicles for this unit [1-6]. Defaults to 6 (undamaged).


experience level this unit starts at [0-6]. Defaults to 0 (Rookie, no experience).


direction the unit is heading [0-5]. Directions are numbered clockwise from North (0) to Northwest (5). Defaults are North (0) for units controlled by player 1, and South (3) for the second player.


amount of crystals the unit carries. This may only be given for transports and defaults to 0.


A building section is required to actually create a building (sometimes also called a shop) on the map that units can enter. This is not automatically done by placing the symbol for a building entrance in the map section.


location of the building entrance on the map [x/y]. (mandatory)


unique building identifier [0-10000]. (mandatory)


building controller [1|2|0]. Units starting in unaligned buildings are automatically tagged unaligned as well. (mandatory)


type of building. Units can be repaired in buildings of type Workshop. New units can be produced in buildings of type Factory. A building may have multiple types. Defaults to Depot, meaning no special attributes. In addition to these attributes, a shop which produces crystals is (automatically) called a Mine.


index of a message containing the shop name (mandatory, maximum length 30 characters)


amount of crystals produced each turn [0-1000]. Defaults to 0. If given, implies type Mine.


maximum amount of crystals [0-10000]. Defaults to 1000.


amount of crystals in stock [0-capacity]. Defaults to 0.


name of a unit type definition that can be built here. If given, implies type = factory. Multiple factory lines may be given for a shop.


weight of the smallest unit allowed to enter the building [0-99]. Defaults to 0.


weight of the heaviest unit allowed to enter the building [0-99]. Defaults to 99.


Events provide a way to interact with players during a game. They can cause actions like points being awarded or messages being displayed under certain conditions. The event type defines what happens, the event trigger controls when (or if) the event is executed.

Event Types


dynamically change the setting for various internal strings during the course of a game, e.g. the players' mission briefings.


create a unit somewhere on the map.


destroy a unit and remove it from the map.


modify event internals. Currently this can be used to dynamically enable or disable an event.


display a message.


set the amount of crystals for a building.


make a new unit type available for production in a factory, or remove it from the list of available units.


award points to a player.


change a tile on the map.


dynamically adjust the timer trigger of another event.

Event Triggers


the event is executed if the set handicap matches the current game settings. Usually such an event is triggered immediately on the first turn or not at all. You can, however, combine multiple events (e.g. a handicap and a timer trigger) to change the default behaviour.


the event is executed when the player controls a certain building at a specified time.


the event is executed when the player owns a certain amount of crystals.


the event is executed when the player controls a certain unit at a specified time.


the event is unconditionally executed at the specified time.


the event is executed when a specified unit is destroyed or captured by the enemy.


the event is executed when a specified unit ends its move on a certain target hex.

The following list contains generic qualifiers which are valid for all event types.



unique event identifier [0-200]. (mandatory)


event type (mandatory, see below).


event trigger (mandatory). This describes the circumstances under which the event is executed (see below).


index of a message to be displayed when the event occurs.


title of the message window. Only useful when a message is shown.


identifier of another event. This makes the current event depend on the given event. Prior to event execution, the trigger conditions for both events are checked, and the event is activated only if both checks are successful. Mutual, circular, and transitive dependencies are supported.


identifier of another event. When the current event is executed, the given event is discarded from the event stack and removed from the mission.


event flags. Currently, the only available flag is 1 (disable). A disabled event will never execute, regardless of the trigger conditions.

In addition there are special qualifiers which can only be used with certain event types or triggers. All of these are mandatory if nothing else is stated.

action (manipulateevent, mining, research)

For manipulateevent this defines how to handle the specified flags. A value of 0 will set, 1 will clear, and 2 will toggle the flags.

For mining 0 will set the crystal storage to an absolute amount, 1 will modify the current amount by the given number, 2 will set the mining rate, i.e. the amount mined each turn, and 3 will change the current mining rate by the given value. Minimum mining rate is 0, maximum is 200.

For research 0 allows and 1 disallows producing the specified unit type. Default is 0.

building (mining, research)

Identifier of the building referenced in the event.

crystals (mining)

Amount of crystals. The action flag controls how this number is actually interpreted.

eflags (manipulateevent)

Event flags to be modified. Currently the only legal value for this is 1, the disable flag, which can be used to deactivate an event. Disabled events won't be triggered even if their trigger conditions are met.

event (manipulateevent, settimer)

Identifier of the event to be modified.

face (createunit)

Direction the created unit faces [0-5]. Directions are numbered clockwise from North (0) to Northwest (5). Optional, defaults to 0.

offset (settimer)

Offset to use when adjusting the timer. 0 means absolute, i.e. set the trigger ttime to the value of time. 1 means execution time, i.e. set it to the value of time plus the current time index when executing the event. 2 means current trigger configuration, i.e. add the time to the trigger ttime. Note that if the target event is disabled, settimer will automatically enable it.

othermsg (score)

For score events, one often wants to show a message not only to the player who benefits from the event but also to his opponent. Instead of creating a separate message event with inverted trigger conditions you can use this qualifier and othertitle to do just that (optional).

othertitle (score)

Index of the message title for the other player (optional, see othermsg)

owner (destroyunit)

Only destroy the unit if it is controlled by this player [1,2,-1]. Optional, default is any player (-1).

pos (createunit)

hex to create the unit on. The unit will only be created if the target hex is empty at creation time or there is a shop or a valid transporter which is controlled by the player for whom the event is set up [x/y].

pos (destroyunit)

hex to destroy the unit on [x/y]. The pos parameter can only be used if unit is -1.

pos (message)

hex to focus the display on when showing the message [x/y] (optional). If this parameter is absent the game will try to guess a suitable hex from the trigger data, e.g. a havebuilding trigger will cause it to use the shop location.

pos (sethex)

hex to change. If the hex is occupied by a unit at the time the event is executed it may end up on terrain it would not normally be able to enter [x/y].

setting (configure)

Name of the setting you wish to change. Valid names are briefing1 for the briefing for the first player, briefing2 for the objectives for the second player, and nextmap for the next mission in a campaign.

size (createunit)

Unit group size [1-6]. Optional, defaults to 6.

success (score)

Amount of success points the player receives when the event occurs. Any player with a success score of 100 or more wins the game.

unit (createunit, research)

Name of a unit type specification to build or make available, respectively.

unit (destroyunit)

Identifier of the unit to be destroyed. Set to -1 and configure the pos parameter to destroy a unit in a specified location instead.

tbuilding (havebuilding, havecrystals)

Identifier of the building to be controlled. For havecrystals this parameter may be set to -1 to check all shops a player controls, or to -2 to check all shops and all transporters anywhere on the map.

tcrystals (havecrystals)

Amount of crystals needed to trigger the event [-5000-5000]. If the amount given is greater than 0 the player needs at least that many crystals. If it is negative, the event occurs when the player's resources drop below the absolute number.

thandicap (handicap)

Handicap setting to trigger the event [1 (none)|2 (player 1 handicapped)|4 (player 2 handicapped)]. You can add up the numbers to trigger on more than one setting.

tile (sethex)

Identifier of the terrain the target hex will be changed to.

time (settimer)

Time index. The offset flag controls in what way this number is used to adjust the targeted trigger.

towner (havebuilding, havecrystals, haveunit, unitdestroyed, unitposition)

The event will only occur if the owner of the building or unit is the same as the player specified here [1|2]. For the unitdestroyed trigger it is only required if tunit is -1. In this case you can select the player whose units have to be destroyed to activate the event. This setting may be omitted and defaults to the player not owning the event, while for havecrystals and unitposition the default is the player owning the event. You must supply this key for the other two trigger types.

ttime (havebuilding, haveunit, timer)

Time at which the event conditions should be checked. For timer the event will always be executed at this time. Time calculation starts with 0 at the start of a mission and increases by 1 each time the players change. The movement phase of player 2 on turn 10 is at time index 19 ((turn - 1) * 2 + (player - 1)), for example. (mandatory only for timer. If omitted for the other triggers, the condition will be checked each turn.)

tunit (haveunit, unitdestroyed, unitposition)

Identifier of the unit to be targeted. For unitdestroyed and unitposition this may take a value of -1 which will activate the event when all enemy units have been destroyed or any unit controlled by this player has reached the destination hex, respectively. For these two triggers you can also use a unit type, e.g. Infantry to target an entire unit class.

tpos (unitposition)

Coordinates of the target hex [x/y]

value (configure)

Index of the message to use as the new briefing when changing a briefing, file name of the next mission (excluding the suffix) when setting the next map.

xp (createunit)

Initial experience level [0-6]. Optional, defaults to 0.


The messages section contains all text messages that may possibly be displayed in the course of a mission. The format of this section differs from that of the other sections. Here is an excerpt from an imaginary level file.

This is a message.
% this line separates messages
This is the second message.
% separator lines can be used for comments
This is the third message,
containing a line break.
[/messages] this marks the end of the messages section

The two characters in brackets identify the language messages in this section are written in. There is one messages section for each language the mission supports. The (en) in the section title shows that this section contains English messages. All messages must be encoded in UTF-8.


### This is a simple example mission file
# mission title is "The Great Example"
name = 5
mapwidth = 11
mapheight = 10
# the first message in the [messages] section
# will be used as level information
info = 0
# we use the default tileset and unit set so we could
# omit the next two lines
tileset = default
unitset = default
### first player - The Good
name = 6
# second message is briefing for this player
briefing = 1
### second player - The Bad
name = 7
# third message is briefing for this player
briefing = 2
### units for player 1
# this unit will start in the building
pos = 3/2
player = 1
id = 0
type = Infantry
pos = 5/4
player = 1
id = 1
type = Medium Tanks
pos = 6/3
player = 1
id = 2
type = Medium Tanks
pos = 3/2
player = 1
id = 3
type = Scouts
### units for player 2
pos = 7/7
player = 2
id = 10
type = Anti-Aircraft Tanks
pos = 6/6
player = 2
id = 11
type = Personnel Carriers
pos = 7/6
player = 2
id = 12
type = Infantry
pos = 7/7
player = 2
id = 13
type = Heavy Tanks
### buildings
# HQ of the Good
name = 8
pos = 3/2
id = 0
player = 1
# can repair units here
type = workshop
crystals = 25
# HQ of the Bad
name = 9
pos = 7/7
id = 1
player = 2
# can repair and build units
type = workshop
type = factory
# the following units can be built
factory = personnel carriers
factory = anti-aircraft guns
factory = bomber wing
crystals = 25
### events
# player 1 wins if he conquers
# the enemy building at any time...
type = score
id = 0
player = 1
trigger = havebuilding
tbuilding = 1
towner = 1
# the next line could be left out
ttime = -1
success = 100
message = 3
title = 4
# ...or destroys all enemy units
type = score
id = 1
player = 1
trigger = unitdestroyed
tunit = -1
success = 100
# player 2 wins if he conquers
# the enemy building at any time...
type = score
id = 2
player = 2
trigger = havebuilding
tbuilding = 0
towner = 2
success = 100
message = 3
title = 4
# ...or destroys all enemy units as well
type = score
id = 3
player = 2
trigger = unitdestroyed
tunit = -1
success = 100
# display briefings on first turn
type = message
id = 4
player = 1
trigger = timer
ttime = 0
title = 5
message = 1
# Even though time index 0 is during player 1's phase
# we want to trigger the message for player 2 as well.
# This way it gets queued for display during the turn
# replay. Otherwise player 2 would only see the briefing
# after his replay.
type = message
id = 5
player = 2
trigger = timer
ttime = 0
title = 5
message = 2
# we want to support difficulty levels (handicaps)
# if player 1 is handicapped we allocate some more
# crystals to players 2's factory
type = mining
id = 6
player = 2
trigger = handicap
# 1 is no handicap, 2 is player 1, 4 is player 2
thandicap = 2
building = 1
action = 1
crystals = 35
# if player 2 is handicapped player 1 gets another tank
type = createunit
id = 7
player = 1
trigger = handicap
thandicap = 4
unit = Medium Tanks
pos = 3/2
### english messages
The Great Example
Revision 6 (16-08-2004)
by Jens Granseuer <>
This is a nice introductory message, so that player 1 knows what he is expected to do. Word wraps are done automatically, so don't include line breaks if you don't want them. So, Player 1, let's take them apart:
Either conquer the enemy headquarters or destroy all their troops.
This should present the situation to player 2.
You are being attacked. Defend yourself. The attack is considered repelled if you gain control of the enemy headquarters or the entire attacking army is no more.
This is the success message for conquering the enemy headquarters.
Hip! Hip! Hurrah!
The Great Example
The Good
The Bad
HQ of the Good
HQ of the Bad


The file format of level files (source and data) is subject to change without notice. If you get an error "File not of the required type", it mostly should be sufficient to feed the appropriate source file to cfed again to create a valid level file. However, no promises are being made. You have been warned!

cfed will eventually be phased out in favour of CoMET, the graphical map editor for crimson.


Jens Granseuer <>



GNU General Public License