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Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevations!

 
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Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevations! - 2/22/2015 4:21:19 PM   
berto


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Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevations!


It's been a while. Time for a new Coder Diary!

Among the many new features and capabilities in the forthcoming new Campaign Series game Middle East, we have increased the available elevations from 20 to 50.



Why so many? Well, that's what the map specialists on The Dev Team requested of me. They say they really need that many in order to portray certain scenario locations just right.

Who am I to argue?

Here, in the map editor, is an early screenshot of all 50 elevations put to the test:



+49 max elevation. But since elevations start at level 0, that makes 50 elevation levels total.

Since then, and as you shall soon see, we have tweaked the map colors, achieving the so-called "Saab Speedometer" effect -- where there is greater color difference between the more common lower elevations than the less common higher elevations. In other words, at low elevations, from one elevation to the next, different color shadings are more pronounced. As you move up to higher elevations, the differences in color shadings become less and less pronounced. At the very highest elevations, the differences in color shading are nearly imperceptible to the normal human eye -- not really a problem, as you shall soon see.

Here's a screenshot of one of my ongoing test games:



Kind of hard to discern the elevations, isn't it?

With so many elevations, and especially in the Middle East game, where most maps are set in the desert, or arid terrain -- the color continuum ranges from light sandy yellows through tans then into darker and darker reddish browns. (At the very highest elevations, the colors are almost indistiguishable from black.)

What to do? One thing, we can hit the 'C' hot key (or toggle the ToolBar button or the Display > Hex Contours menu selection) to turn on hex contours:



You don't think the contours are sufficiently clear? No problem, switch from Medium Hex Contours Colors to Dark:



Still not sufficiently clear? Applying a heretofore map editor only feature to the game engine, you can hit the '.' hot key (or toggle the Display > Map Elevations menu selection):



All those numbers are a bit distracting. You probably don't want to play the game with elevation numbers showing all the time. With the '.' hot key toggle, it is so easy to switch the numbers on and off. You might find yourself doing this frequently. (In the screenshot, note the similar Display > Map Elevations, ',' toggle, for displaying/not displaying map coordinates.)

Cool stuff. Does all of this apply to 3D mode also? But of course!



All of the 2D map display toggles and features are available also for your 3D map viewing pleasure.

Again, to be clear: These are not just map editor features. They all apply equally to the game engine.

Here is a screenshot, in 2D Extreme Zoom-Out (hot key 7 mode), of the map contours and on-map elevation numbers in action:



If you look closely, you will see that in that map, elevations max out at "just" 16 or so.

Here is a map of the Golan Heights. Note elevations as high as the upper 20s to 30 in the upper right hand corner.



You might note also that in the preceding map, Hex Contours Colors are set to Light -- for otherwise, the Dark contours would blend in too much with the darker higher elevation colors.

I won't display their maps right now. But the "mad mappers" on the Dev Team are said to be making several Vietnam maps, and at least one Middle East map, using all 50 elevations, or nearly so.

Upping our game! The sky's the limit! ... Um, not really. We are most unlikely ever to increase available elevations beyond the new standard, 50. Reductio ad absurdum, right? [cough cough]

Until the next time...

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Post #: 1
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/22/2015 5:12:14 PM   
Crossroads


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quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

Since then, and as you shall soon see, we have tweaked the map colors, achieving the so-called "Saab Speedometer" effect -- where there is greater color difference between the more common lower elevations than the less common higher elevations.


Who needs Force as long as SAAB is strong with us


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Gott Mit Uns! (Breitenfeld 1631)

Campaign Series Legion
The Blitz Wargaming Club call: Battle Kat

(in reply to berto)
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RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/22/2015 5:14:35 PM   
Crossroads


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Map Elevations are such a nice playing aid. There is so much happening I only found out Berto's put them in place a while ago, and already now the "." is wearing out on my keyboard

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Gott Mit Uns! (Breitenfeld 1631)

Campaign Series Legion
The Blitz Wargaming Club call: Battle Kat

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Post #: 3
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 12:36:46 AM   
rvseydlitz

 

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Will this be backwards compatible to the Campaign Series games?

And as a follow up to that question, will there be any further work on the campaign series WW2 games, once this modern game debuts?

Thank you!

(in reply to Crossroads)
Post #: 4
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 12:52:30 AM   
Jason Petho


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Yes, this will be eventually backwards compatible to the Campaign Series.

Late 2016 will see the next UPDATE to the WW2 Campaign Series games. Based on what is going on behind the scenes, I suspect the next UPDATE will be referred to as UPDATE 3.00

Middle East is due out at the end of May/beginning of June. Vietnam is due out Q1 of 2016. These two games have the priority at the moment.

Hope that helps
Jason Petho

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RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 1:02:14 AM   
Jason Petho


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Being one of the cartographers/scenario designers for the new series, the extra levels are super exicing for me.

Makes a lot of previously unmappable areas mappable!

Jason Petho

< Message edited by Jason Petho -- 2/23/2015 2:04:06 AM >


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RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 1:44:40 AM   
rvseydlitz

 

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I can definitely understand the prioritizing but good to know the WW2 game will still be thought of.

As a further follow up, any plans to put out further titles, possibly hypothetical WW3, etc.?

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Post #: 7
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 1:54:13 AM   
Jason Petho


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From: Calgary, AB, Canada
Status: online
Yeppers. We have a list of games we'll be working on, including the Cold War.

Quite exciting times for the series, with lots of new games being released over the course of the next five years.

Plus the usual free UPDATES to our existing game(s).

Jason Petho

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Petho Cartography

Mapping Military History

(in reply to rvseydlitz)
Post #: 8
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 2:21:19 AM   
rvseydlitz

 

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I appreciate the effort, and the replies.

I also like the term update, better than 'patch' which would seem to imply fixing something that is broken. This game is still marvelous.

(in reply to Jason Petho)
Post #: 9
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 12:12:01 PM   
Hexagon

 

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Looks great, maybe here i have a little question/suggestion about elevations by numbers, expect explain well enough:

With elevations in numbers the map simple is hard to understand, i know the idea is not play with elevations in numbers activated BUT maybe if is possible remove the redundant info... i refer if you have a hex with an elevation and all hexes around it have the same elevation... why not only show elevation in central hex??? if elevation is diferent you show when elevation is diferent.



I dont know if this is posible.

Any way the add is great for game.

(in reply to rvseydlitz)
Post #: 10
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 12:32:50 PM   
berto


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Practically not possible.

It is so easy to toggle on/off the elevation numbers display -- just hit the '.' key. That alone should suffice.

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(in reply to Hexagon)
Post #: 11
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 4:02:40 PM   
berto


Posts: 5959
Joined: 3/13/2002
From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
Status: online

Try these on for size:









Just a sampler.

All in half a morning's work.

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AGElint debugging toolkit, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2978333

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 12
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 6:39:28 PM   
Hexagon

 

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Thanks for the fast reply.

Well, the point with reduce the "number of numbers" to show elevations is have an extra way to show elevations in numbers in a permanent way without activate and desactivate all time elevations numbers but well, is an extra option nothing critical.

But the labels with no white background is a great add, with this is possible play all time with localizations activate great job

And a little question, i notice a Jordan infantry unit that has in low right corner an armored infantry NATO symbol, in the 2nd pic following the quapitiya crossroad to the north east, with the jeep units and the heavy arty unit. Is this to show a special unit or is a test to add in icons the NATO symbol when you dont use NATO in counters???

Thanks again for the hard work.

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 13
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 6:48:56 PM   
berto


Posts: 5959
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From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hexagon

And a little question, i notice a Jordan infantry unit that has in low right corner an armored infantry NATO symbol, in the 2nd pic following the quapitiya crossroad to the north east, with the jeep units and the heavy arty unit. Is this to show a special unit or is a test to add in icons the NATO symbol when you dont use NATO in counters???

The unit counters are still a work-in-progress.

Crossroads & Warhorse might want to answer your question, and comment further on their plans for the counters, bases, etc.

_____________________________

Early MusiChicago, http://earlymusichicago.org
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Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=226
AGElint debugging toolkit, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2978333

(in reply to Hexagon)
Post #: 14
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 6:53:24 PM   
Hexagon

 

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Again thanks for the fast reply.

Naaaa, i leave them some out of forum time to work in game+family... i dont want be the motive they receive some "hard love" from their feminine rulers

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 15
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/23/2015 11:28:48 PM   
Warhorse


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Hi Hexagon! As Berto mentioned, the icons are still in a state of flux, but we are indeed experimenting with the use of the NATO/Military symbols watermarked on specialised units only.

Hmmm, hard love is not always a BAD thing, no?!LOL!!

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Meine Ehre heißt Treue

(in reply to Hexagon)
Post #: 16
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 2/24/2015 11:21:44 AM   
Hexagon

 

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Thanks for the reply.

Ummm the add of miniNATO icons in the corner when you dont use NATO symbols as standar in the counters is a good add because now with bigger counters the extra info is wellcome (with extreme 2D zoom in) and well, if in the end you dont add diferent counter background colours for diferent units at least if they are from diferent types is easy know what is the infantry from airborne btl and what is the regular infantry btl.

PD: in the "love" area i follow 2 rules: "live and let live" and "I prefer to give to receive"




(in reply to Warhorse)
Post #: 17
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 3/24/2015 4:44:15 PM   
berto


Posts: 5959
Joined: 3/13/2002
From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

Try these on for size:



[etc.]

Still another option:


Work, work, work.

_____________________________

Early MusiChicago, http://earlymusichicago.org
PIKT, http://pikt.org
Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=226
AGElint debugging toolkit, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2978333

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 18
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 3/24/2015 6:15:20 PM   
berto


Posts: 5959
Joined: 3/13/2002
From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
Status: online

More labels:




Note also the new larger Toolbar > Large.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by berto -- 3/24/2015 7:15:34 PM >


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Early MusiChicago, http://earlymusichicago.org
PIKT, http://pikt.org
Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=226
AGElint debugging toolkit, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2978333

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 19
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 3/25/2015 12:18:52 PM   
MrRoadrunner


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OK. I am impressed. I love the new enhanced transparent labels.
And, the large toolbar!

These are really good updates.



RR

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“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 20
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 3/25/2015 5:15:58 PM   
Hexagon

 

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Nice, it looks now more "JT"

And now a sweet to help you in your hard work sleeping is overestimated and pain underestimated

(in reply to MrRoadrunner)
Post #: 21
RE: Coder Diary #27 -- Upping Our Game -- to 50 Elevati... - 3/26/2015 12:59:00 AM   
Maus Man

 

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Nice, transparent labels. And to add to the feel of the game, would we also be able to use other characters, like Hebrew, Arabic, Cyrillic? Not that I know how to read it, but why not?

(in reply to Hexagon)
Post #: 22
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