|This article is written from a real world point of view.|
The alternative editor would be a text editor like Notepad or Notepad++, but this is not recommended unless you really know what you're doing and have access to the relevant ModEnc pages as reference for the formatting of Headers, Basic, Lighting, Map, Smudge, SpecialFlags, Tubes, Aircraft, Structures, Units, TerrainTypes, Waypoints, Triggers, Actions, Events, Tags, TeamTypes, TaskForces, Scripts and AITriggers.
It is recommended to absolutely never touch the sections Preview, PreviewPack, IsoMapPack5, OverlayPack and OverlayDataPack with Notepad unless you're absolutely sure of what you're doing and accept the risk of potentially corrupting parts of your map's preview, terrain or overlay like walls, fences, sandbags, ore/gems; or train tracks if making use of the Terrain Expansion.
Note some section can only be modified via INI editing.
FinalAlert allows players to create both single player missions and multiplayer maps. Other than being a map editor, it also has a trigger editor built in, allowing a mapper to create his own scripts to make a level more unique, such as adding light effects, ambient sounds or, in singleplayer missions, in-game "cinematics" (only the ones named the same as originals), messages, effects and so on.
FinalAlert supports mods and mission disks (with the option of disabling them). It does not allow the creation of maps bigger than 200x200, although such maps can be found on the Internet.
FinalAlert is has a user-friendly interface, allowing anyone to create simple maps. The Advanced mode enables INI editing for the particular map, trigger editing and more. This Advance Mode also allows the player to use only one house and begin units with Veterancy and Radars freely.
There are some Tiberian Sun elements left over in Red Alert 2 coding, such as fully functional tunnels. Some beta screenshots show this feature, but were unused in the final game, even though their coding is completely functional. FinalAlert is adapted to create tunnels in the same manner as in FinalSun.
A derived map editor was created specially for Mental Omega, called FinalOmega. It was released with the 3.3.3 update.
There is a hidden minigame in the map editor. Click Help -> Credits and then the smiley icon to play a game of tic-tac-toe. However, the game has a very basic AI and it can be beaten easily.
There are several versions of FinalAlert. The first one was named only FinalAlert. The second one was FinalAlert 2, the first version officially released by Westwood studios. FinalAlert 2 Yuri's Revenge 1.01 was adapted for the expansion and was the last official version. However, Matthias Wagner, the creator, made a specially tweaked version 1.02 which broadens mod support.
Community members E1 Elite and secsome are making fixes for the 1.02 map editor, version 1.03, with enhancments by member RaVaGe.