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Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/26/2008 3:42:47 PM   
larrybush


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I've seen by a few posts there appears to be a TOAW IV in the work (this is a good thing!)

In the present version there are 42 terrain types allowed in the editor. Clear is a non-geomorphed file with some of the other terrain type overlays.

Most of the terrain depicted are tile sets for geomorphable usage in map-making.

Is this a hardcoded limit? Or is it an easy change to lets say allow 48 terrain types in the editor. Not necessarily new types that effect movement/combat (and therefore requiring a ton of new code), but variations graphically. Example would be Hills and then Hills1 and Hills2, their effect would be the same in the game but they would have different graphics, allowing for a more map detail. Could be useful also in the various scales of the game, hills is good for 2.5 k but maybe hills1 looks better for 10 k and up.

Anyway just curious if it's an impossible task or there's some command line number in a file that can be user edited. (wishful thinking?)
Post #: 1
RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/26/2008 9:02:21 PM   
ColinWright

 

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I dunno if this will meet your needs, but note that there are several terrain types in the game that share the same or similar effects. So if your scenario doesn't have swamps of jungle or whatever, you can edit those tiles to be 'desert mountains' or whatever it was you had in mind.

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RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/27/2008 2:39:28 AM   
larrybush


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Yes I had thought about that, I noticed there is a tileset for plateau which does not show up in the editor.
I'm trying to think if there was a patch note or something that took that out (not sure)

Colin, I was mostly curious to see if I could get a response from one of the matrix folks to tell me - no can do
or just change the number 42 to whatever in the whatever file command line--Ha wouldn't that be a trick!
But thank you for your response, I really think I'm grasping for straws, but maybe it will get one of the folks thinking about TOAW IV map editor utility.

Just for my two cents, I started playing the old SPI games with their dull maps, then they started to get more sophisticated along came Victory with really nice maps and then the Gamers. (there were lots of others too)
I do like a really nice map graphics to play on!
It's possible that most wargamers like them simpler (I don't really know) to keep the clutter down and concentrate on game play, but I like them to look like a satellite overhead shot.
Boy those old SPI games! I still have several of my favorites, hate those attacker exchanges though!

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RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/27/2008 3:37:08 AM   
damezzi

 

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http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1706044

I'm with you on this. On the above post I defend the idea of being able to use bitmap images on the background, so that they would show through tiles which the designer don't want to use (just set them to full transparency).

Some wargamers just don't care for graphics, but for me they are essential to create ambience... it is after all a game and we are, above all, fantasing (sorry if this word does not really exist). I would like, for example, to see more details in 2.5 km/hex maps and a more synthetized look in a 50 km/hex map.

Better graphics would also be a great attraction to newcomers, giving the game an up to date appearence.

(in reply to larrybush)
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RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/27/2008 7:10:31 AM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: damezzi

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1706044

I'm with you on this. On the above post I defend the idea of being able to use bitmap images on the background, so that they would show through tiles which the designer don't want to use (just set them to full transparency).

Some wargamers just don't care for graphics, but for me they are essential to create ambience... it is after all a game and we are, above all, fantasing (sorry if this word does not really exist). I would like, for example, to see more details in 2.5 km/hex maps and a more synthetized look in a 50 km/hex map.

Better graphics would also be a great attraction to newcomers, giving the game an up to date appearence.


Ever seen the mapboard for Avalon Hill's 1914? That was really nicely done.

I don't have any objection to nice graphics, but once you're used to a given set, you no longer notice them much -- start concentrating on play (or design, I don't actually play much).

...it would be nice to have different escarpment tiles, though. The current ones are pretty lame.


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RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/27/2008 12:36:13 PM   
larrybush


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I am (slowly) working on an escarpment graphics mod. I'm being distracted now playing Bulge 44 but I'll finish eventually.

I'm using a thinner brown line with little fingers that show which way the slope goes (standard relief map technique). Did a preliminary of 1 hex in the tileset, it looks pretty good. Now I have to paint a big red number in each hex of the tile set so I can figure out how they geomorph in the game maps. I would like the slope "fingers" to make sense when used in game.
I need to figure out the north, south, west and east facings of the tileset and see what works best considering most have dual facings. I may have to optimize them for a North Africa map.

Speaking of the above topic, if I could call out more tilesets that shared the same game effect, I could take hills and make a duplicate with a lighter shade just to show some elevation increase in game, you know, lite brown hills with imbedded darker brown, I think it would look good. Also nice to have 2 other mountain tile sets, one with jungle superimposed on them (no game effect just for looks) and one with evergreen forest superimposed.

(in reply to ColinWright)
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RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/27/2008 7:41:22 PM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grognerd

I am (slowly) working on an escarpment graphics mod. I'm being distracted now playing Bulge 44 but I'll finish eventually.

I'm using a thinner brown line with little fingers that show which way the slope goes (standard relief map technique). Did a preliminary of 1 hex in the tileset, it looks pretty good. Now I have to paint a big red number in each hex of the tile set so I can figure out how they geomorph in the game maps. I would like the slope "fingers" to make sense when used in game.
I need to figure out the north, south, west and east facings of the tileset and see what works best considering most have dual facings. I may have to optimize them for a North Africa map.

Speaking of the above topic, if I could call out more tilesets that shared the same game effect, I could take hills and make a duplicate with a lighter shade just to show some elevation increase in game, you know, lite brown hills with imbedded darker brown, I think it would look good. Also nice to have 2 other mountain tile sets, one with jungle superimposed on them (no game effect just for looks) and one with evergreen forest superimposed.



Yeah. The inability to have forest in mountain hexes has always been an aesthetic problem.


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RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/28/2008 6:47:22 AM   
damezzi

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ColinWright

Ever seen the mapboard for Avalon Hill's 1914? That was really nicely done.

I don't have any objection to nice graphics, but once you're used to a given set, you no longer notice them much -- start concentrating on play (or design, I don't actually play much).

...it would be nice to have different escarpment tiles, though. The current ones are pretty lame.



I couldn't agree more with you. Indeed, we always get used to things in such a way that it doesn't matter anymore. But that is perhaps the biggest trap for games such as TOAW, which are played by a group involved with it for years, so that habits and affections come into play. It's like making movies the same way for years (the way a director is used to) just to discover much later how far away from new paradigms one is. Some renewal is necessary for survival.
I don't think a successful game like TOAW should go through a full change process... great games should evolve and not be changed arbitrarily. Chess is an example. And Chessmaster is an example of a software that changed along time even if the game of chess hasn't. One must agree that if chessmaster was to present today the same look and interface it presented ten years ago, it wouldn't stand a chance against Fritz or any other modern chess software even if chess continues to be a great game even in the first chessmaster incarnation.

In relation to the escarpment tiles, you are right: they are terrible. I've played a bit with tiles and they are one of the most difficult to change, since they are based on hex borders and terrain levels. To create a unique tile which could fit all kinds of terrain would be almost impossible; so, they should be more simbolic in my point of view. Grognerd suggestion will probably work well.

(in reply to ColinWright)
Post #: 8
RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/28/2008 8:44:27 AM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: damezzi


quote:

ORIGINAL: ColinWright

Ever seen the mapboard for Avalon Hill's 1914? That was really nicely done.

I don't have any objection to nice graphics, but once you're used to a given set, you no longer notice them much -- start concentrating on play (or design, I don't actually play much).

...it would be nice to have different escarpment tiles, though. The current ones are pretty lame.



I couldn't agree more with you. Indeed, we always get used to things in such a way that it doesn't matter anymore. But that is perhaps the biggest trap for games such as TOAW, which are played by a group involved with it for years, so that habits and affections come into play. It's like making movies the same way for years (the way a director is used to) just to discover much later how far away from new paradigms one is. Some renewal is necessary for survival.
I don't think a successful game like TOAW should go through a full change process... great games should evolve and not be changed arbitrarily. Chess is an example. And Chessmaster is an example of a software that changed along time even if the game of chess hasn't. One must agree that if chessmaster was to present today the same look and interface it presented ten years ago, it wouldn't stand a chance against Fritz or any other modern chess software even if chess continues to be a great game even in the first chessmaster incarnation.


I'd say my attitude tends to be frankly selfish, to choose the worst possible word for it.

Being used to the graphics, they don't bother me much (that the escarpments do just shows how especially unsatisfactory they are). I'm naturally far more concerned with the flaws and gaps in the actual simulation -- and those I'm hardly likely to get used to, since they conflict with the reality the game is supposed to simulate. The tiles are an adequate representation of reality -- the mechanism for resupplying units isn't.

Naturally, keeping the game marketable is a concern -- but it's Matrix's concern. Mine is to get the improvements I want -- not to start acting as unpaid (and probably unwanted) director of product development for Matrix.

If anything, I tend to be mildly hostile to such improvements as the ones you outline. Not that they are 'bad' in themselves. It's just that I dread the release of a TOAW IV, chock full of 'improvements' -- none of which interest me.

It's like the successive new versions of Windows. They don't actually offer you anything you particularly need -- but you have to get the new release simply because that becomes become the foundation for all new work. I'd have been perfectly happy sticking with ACOW -- happier, in fact. However, to have done that would simply have rendered any work I did inaccessible to an ever-growing part of the TOAW community. So I had to buy TOAW III. I'll also have to buy TOAW IV. I'd just rather have it contain improvements that I see as critical. New graphic tiles aren't among those.

You can argue for new tiles. I don't object. It's just not going to be something I'll be pushing for. I feel I can trust Matrix to do what is in their own best interest -- without my help. My concern is to figure out how to get them to do what is in my best interest. Bribery? Cupcakes on David Heath's birthday?


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Post #: 9
RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/29/2008 6:32:50 AM   
damezzi

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ColinWright

Naturally, keeping the game marketable is a concern -- but it's Matrix's concern. Mine is to get the improvements I want -- not to start acting as unpaid (and probably unwanted) director of product development for Matrix.



It isn't my concern either, but considering that graphics don't play a real role in game dynamics, I just pointed an advantage for it's improval (that would be in my interest).
As for the 'unwanted', well... developers can just ignore what they consider undesirable, be it your suggestion or mine; after all this is a discussion list and people will express opposite opinions and, considering the subject is appropriate, 'unwanted' shouldn't fit.

quote:


If anything, I tend to be mildly hostile to such improvements as the ones you outline. Not that they are 'bad' in themselves. It's just that I dread the release of a TOAW IV, chock full of 'improvements' -- none of which interest me.

It's like the successive new versions of Windows. They don't actually offer you anything you particularly need -- but you have to get the new release simply because that becomes become the foundation for all new work. I'd have been perfectly happy sticking with ACOW -- happier, in fact. However, to have done that would simply have rendered any work I did inaccessible to an ever-growing part of the TOAW community. So I had to buy TOAW III. I'll also have to buy TOAW IV. I'd just rather have it contain improvements that I see as critical. New graphic tiles aren't among those.


I'm a new player, but I owned the first version of the game and, even if I never really learned how to play it well, I always searched the net for news about it. I remember that, after it was abandoned, players became desperate to see it come back just to have some patches correcting critical flaws. I don't think we pay for the product in itself, but for the continuous development (patches) of a game we think is worth it.
If the game doesn't renew itself (to be marketable) it will come to a halt at some point... that means: no more patches again.
I don't mean that my suggestions should be followed for such a renewal - for sure they know better than me what is necessary and what is possible -, but that doesn't stop me from expressing them.


quote:


You can argue for new tiles. I don't object. It's just not going to be something I'll be pushing for. I feel I can trust Matrix to do what is in their own best interest -- without my help. My concern is to figure out how to get them to do what is in my best interest. Bribery? Cupcakes on David Heath's birthday?



I didn't ask you to push for it; I was just arguing, defending my point of view. I accept very well the fact that graphics aren't a big concern to you and perhaps to a great number of TOAW fans. However, for me it makes difference. Anyway, I didn't ask for new tiles; I just proposed more flexibility in the editor allowing users to use bitmap maps. I don't know if it is easy to implement it or not, but just in case...
Anyway, if cupcakes work better than arguments, I'll consider giving it a try.

(in reply to ColinWright)
Post #: 10
RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 2/29/2008 7:46:51 AM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: damezzi


quote:

ORIGINAL: ColinWright

Naturally, keeping the game marketable is a concern -- but it's Matrix's concern. Mine is to get the improvements I want -- not to start acting as unpaid (and probably unwanted) director of product development for Matrix.



It isn't my concern either, but considering that graphics don't play a real role in game dynamics, I just pointed an advantage for it's improval (that would be in my interest).
As for the 'unwanted', well... developers can just ignore what they consider undesirable, be it your suggestion or mine; after all this is a discussion list and people will express opposite opinions and, considering the subject is appropriate, 'unwanted' shouldn't fit.

quote:


If anything, I tend to be mildly hostile to such improvements as the ones you outline. Not that they are 'bad' in themselves. It's just that I dread the release of a TOAW IV, chock full of 'improvements' -- none of which interest me.

It's like the successive new versions of Windows. They don't actually offer you anything you particularly need -- but you have to get the new release simply because that becomes become the foundation for all new work. I'd have been perfectly happy sticking with ACOW -- happier, in fact. However, to have done that would simply have rendered any work I did inaccessible to an ever-growing part of the TOAW community. So I had to buy TOAW III. I'll also have to buy TOAW IV. I'd just rather have it contain improvements that I see as critical. New graphic tiles aren't among those.


I'm a new player, but I owned the first version of the game and, even if I never really learned how to play it well, I always searched the net for news about it. I remember that, after it was abandoned, players became desperate to see it come back just to have some patches correcting critical flaws. I don't think we pay for the product in itself, but for the continuous development (patches) of a game we think is worth it.
If the game doesn't renew itself (to be marketable) it will come to a halt at some point... that means: no more patches again.
I don't mean that my suggestions should be followed for such a renewal - for sure they know better than me what is necessary and what is possible -, but that doesn't stop me from expressing them.


quote:


You can argue for new tiles. I don't object. It's just not going to be something I'll be pushing for. I feel I can trust Matrix to do what is in their own best interest -- without my help. My concern is to figure out how to get them to do what is in my best interest. Bribery? Cupcakes on David Heath's birthday?



I didn't ask you to push for it; I was just arguing, defending my point of view. I accept very well the fact that graphics aren't a big concern to you and perhaps to a great number of TOAW fans. However, for me it makes difference. Anyway, I didn't ask for new tiles; I just proposed more flexibility in the editor allowing users to use bitmap maps. I don't know if it is easy to implement it or not, but just in case...
Anyway, if cupcakes work better than arguments, I'll consider giving it a try.



Well, just to be clear, I think your counters look pretty good -- which doesn't apply to all the mods I've seen. It also wouldn't bother me at all if Matrix took them up. They just don't address the issues that concern me.


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Post #: 11
RE: Question on map editor functions and modding - 3/1/2008 5:53:45 AM   
damezzi

 

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Thank you for the compliment; I do them just for fun, but it's nice to see they are being useful to someone, at least. But even when it comes to graphics, counters don't make really a huge difference... yet I liked playing with them.
Anyway, if you find a nice mod to those terrible escarpment tiles, just let me know.

(in reply to ColinWright)
Post #: 12
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