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Chechnya map (WIP/demo) - 11/23/2018 7:40:31 PM   
CCIP-subsim


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Demo here:
(download) https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bbYrXmhRKuTgks837MIZAeXsx1IGayxf
(installation: unzip contents of the .zip file into your Armored Brigade/data/map/ folder)



The demo currently includes a small (512x512 tiles, or 15x15km) piece from the top right corner of the map, along the banks of the river Terek.

Note: I really recommend playing smaller bits of the map than the whole thing - take a smaller piece, and stick to one side of the river rather than both. At the moment, there is only one usable crossing across the Terek, the road bridge on the far east side of the map - so if you try to play the full map, this will likely be very confusing for the AI.

Historically, this was not an area that saw much fighting!



-------------------------------------------


I am working on a map of Chechnya (I feel like AB could do a really good job with some of the scenarios in this one, and it's also just a long-term research interest of mine). It is meant to represent the war during the 1990s, particularly during its civil war and Russian military incursion phases in 1994-1995.
Working with satellite data, 1980s Soviet military topo maps as sources - but also trying to get it to look and play as naturally as possible in-game. Thus the map is tilted 24 degrees, and I'll have to realign road layouts and street grids as necessary to make things look more manageable.

It's probably going to be a long-term project for me, but in the meantime, here's some previews of what I have so far (everything is very preliminary at the moment)

(and a big thanks to 22sec for his help with the height map!)


The map coverage area


city of Grozny (currently using mainly processed map data - its final look will likely change)


northern Grozny, with the height map implemented (again, thanks to 22sec!)


north side of Grozny, isometric view from the south


north side of Grozny, isometric view from the east (height slightly exaggerated)


in the south of Chechnya's main valley, near Chiri Yurt - Caucasus mountains rising to the south (this is all processed map data, just testing elevation)


Kalinovskaya, in the northeast corner of the map, and the Terek river - the first area I've had a chance to work on by hand.
the airfield here housed most of the separatist Chechen aviation, which was bombed and destroyed on the ground on Dec 1st, 1994, prior to the start of the main Russian incursion.


Kalinovskaya village


village details - this is pretty close to the final look of what I'd like to have on the rest of the map!

I'll update previews accordingly as I work on it - no promises yet on when I might have it ready for any sort of play, but we shall see

< Message edited by CCIP-subsim -- 11/27/2018 4:29:35 AM >
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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/23/2018 8:59:39 PM   
22sec

 

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Nice!

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/23/2018 9:00:27 PM   
kevinkins


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Wow, great progress. BTW, how do you guys get the buildings trees, and roads to come out so well so relatively quickly?
,
Kevin

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/23/2018 10:11:07 PM   
exsonic01

 

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Same question with Kevin. I can download SRTM data and set up 60km x 60km zone using QGIS, and I can export them. But I'm not sure how to 'draw' those using GIMP or Armored Brigade map editor, from QGIS raw data. I can draw / mark roads, forest, buildings, and etc... from QGIS, but I'm not sure if this game requires drawings/markings from QGIS.

Or is this something Global Mapper must be required? I can approach to ArcGIS using facility license of my workplace, but I'm using QGIS because it is free.

One more question, is Global Mapper free?

< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 11/23/2018 11:05:57 PM >

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/23/2018 10:25:24 PM   
22sec

 

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I’m not sure how well the game would like the cities as built up as they are in the above screenshots. The village would be fine, but I think the path findin would struggle with so many buildings.

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/23/2018 11:50:12 PM   
CCIP-subsim


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Yeah, the city is admittedly something that only looks good from a distance right now - up close, it's pure nonsense in its current state



I mostly got the data in there through image processing tricks (with Gimp) - after I figured out the terrain palette, I rendered out several different types of maps and hammered on the different layers by selecting colours (usually by heavily compressing the colour spaces of the images I was using) and replacing those colours with the game's various features. The roads are far from perfect - again, the best I get is mostly guidelines that I can then draw over.

With city blocks, I have a feeling I'll have to make some pretty heavy compromises and reduce the number of actual streets to give pathfinding some breathing space. Luckily, the only major city I'm working with, Grozny, was known for broad streets and open spaces even before the war. So that should at least make my job a bit easier!

After a couple of days of tinkering, I would say that for best results, roads and buildings should be placed manually. Things like forests, fields, and water can actually be pulled from GIS data with minimal tweaking - but roads pretty much have to be re-drawn by hand.

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 12:31:33 AM   
exsonic01

 

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Could you please let us know the detailed work flow?

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 1:22:24 AM   
Blond_Knight


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This isometric views look really nice.

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 2:25:34 AM   
CCIP-subsim


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quote:

ORIGINAL: exsonic01

Could you please let us know the detailed work flow?


I wish my workflow was neat and logical - I don't recommend following what I do in detail, and to be honest, I mostly just wing it

However, the trick is to find maps where features that you want are drawn with a distinct colour or shade. You can then select those features by colour, create a new layer, and fill/paint in your selection with a colour that corresponds to the AB map pallette. Like this (in Gimp, in my case):



1) Find a map where the features you need are in a distinct colour or set of colours (e.g. roads are red, railroads are black, cities are grey, forest is green, etc.) Use a GIS software of your choice. Vector map sources or topographic maps work best - but you can use anything if you want, even satellite images. The trick is having a map that has features that you want in very distinctive colour or set of colours - because that way you can select that feature and work with it rather than everything that's on the map.
Make sure you have your chosen map correctly aligned with your base map/height map you will be working on.

2) Select that colour. There are a few ways of doing it - but a "select colour" or "select colour range" tool as above are one thing you can do.
These usually have a tweakable sensitivity, but you can also pre-process your map: e.g. reduce your source map's colour depth to force it to use a smaller, more distinctive set of colours (making it easier to select), sharpen the map, or blow up the contrast/saturation. Anything that helps zero in and select the one feature you're looking for.

3) Once you've selected that colour, create a new layer. Then pick a colour that AB's palette uses for terrain features, and fill your selection with that colour!
Or, you don't have to fill the whole selection, but can manually paint over it with a brush so that you only get parts that you want (rather than everything in the colour you selected).

4) Once you have what you need, repeat for any other map features. Create new layers for each. I recommend always keeping the layers you use for roads on top, then water just under them, then buildings/populated areas, then everything else.

Like I said, it's still not an instant map maker - especially with roads, you have to do a lot of work by hand afterwards to make everything actually line up - but it's handy having things in-game to use as guidelines!

< Message edited by CCIP-subsim -- 11/24/2018 2:27:51 AM >

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 2:38:17 AM   
CCIP-subsim


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Just as an example of the amount of manual work this one has required me...

Before (with combined map data processed from various sources):


After (features realigned and details drawn by hand):


Current in-game look:




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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 5:23:58 AM   
CCIP-subsim


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And just a quick satellite vs. game comparison:

Village of Kerla-Yurt:



Village of Novoterskoye:



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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 5:35:38 AM   
Af1352pasha

 

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how you made preview map?

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 5:59:20 AM   
exsonic01

 

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Thank you CCIP. Now I understand the basic concept and flow of this work. So, the very basic process is
1) Export the map (with topology data) from GIS
2) Read with GIMP
3) Select the color
4) Change the color to the AB pallet's color (create new layer after select)
5) Repeat 3) and 4) until I finish color from AB pallet for different items of the map.
6) Realign and fix details using GIMP
7) Export the map to BMP, load from AB
8) Fix detail from AB or GIMP again
9) Repeat 6~8 until everything become clean.

Is this right?

I'm not sure how much QGIS could provide, but QGIS provide Bing road map or OCM street map so, let's see. I think it would be better to export to map rather than satellite image.

I will try to follow your track. Can I send you PM if I have more detailed questions?

< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 11/24/2018 6:14:08 AM >

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 6:17:33 AM   
davidepessach

 

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This is golden, thanks CCIP, I will also begin playing with this. :-)

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 9:15:26 AM   
HQ-52

 

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nice work!thank you!

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/24/2018 9:54:12 PM   
CCIP-subsim


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quote:

ORIGINAL: exsonic01


I'm not sure how much QGIS could provide, but QGIS provide Bing road map or OCM street map so, let's see. I think it would be better to export to map rather than satellite image.

I will try to follow your track. Can I send you PM if I have more detailed questions?


Sure thing! Please keep in mind I'm a bit of a self-taught hack when it comes to GIS and image processing, so any suggestions I may have should be taken with a grain of salt. There are probably way better way of doing things than anything I can come up with. I also don't currently have software I'd like (e.g. license for Global Mapper, Photoshop) so I'm swapping for programs I'm less familiar with. Actually, I pulled most of the data using the same GMap program I use for creating CMANO map overlays.

One thing I suggest is to always start by picking your area and creating a map base - you may not use it for anything other than reference, but it's important. In my case, I pulled a high-resolution satellite map and realigned it, so that any kind of map I work with (elevation, topo, terrain features etc.) can always be aligned to it. You can then get as creative as you need to be - there are a lot of good sources for online maps, which are not always properly tagged for GIS software, but you can always align them with your base map by hand.

One favourite source of mine, for example, is the University of Texas' Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/

Lots of handy maps there, especially for historical reference!

< Message edited by CCIP-subsim -- 11/24/2018 9:55:08 PM >

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/25/2018 6:42:45 AM   
CCIP-subsim


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Been working on more details today - hoping that tomorrow, I can at least finish up the one 15x15km corner of the map I've mostly been working on. Might be at least a fun one to play around on, even on a small scale

Got map labels working as well!






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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/25/2018 11:36:33 AM   
storm rider


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Looks amazing!!!

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/25/2018 3:13:46 PM   
Bradley62


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Great stuff. Great job.

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/25/2018 3:26:43 PM   
exsonic01

 

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Amazing work!!

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/26/2018 6:57:43 AM   
CCIP-subsim


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Found an even better topo map source - so detail tweaks on the one corner of the map continue



Current comparison between Google Earth and in-game isometric...



The overall progress on the map after a weekend of cracking away at it is something like this:


One small problem with what I started working on is that if you take even the largest playable slice of the map on the top left corner there - there are no crossings over the Terek river, which is not fordable either. So that particular piece is not suitable for playing large-sized scenarios - you have to pick either a smaller part of the map, or settle for playing on only one side of the river (which is what the game defaults to if it cannot find a crossing. I am now getting to the first bridge however, so once I move that little green blob a little more to the left, that should make it possible to have a bridge across the big river in play as well.


I'm hoping I can get about a 20x16km piece of the map into a playable state tomorrow, then!

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/26/2018 11:40:17 AM   
kevinkins


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Post it and I will test it. Thanks.

Kevin

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/27/2018 4:28:45 AM   
CCIP-subsim


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Alright, here's a first demo - a 512x512 (15x15km) slice of the map!


DOWNLOAD HERE: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bbYrXmhRKuTgks837MIZAeXsx1IGayxf
(to install: unzip contents into your Armored Brigade/data/map/ folder)


This area, ironically, did not see much combat in the Chechen Wars. Kalinovskaya Airfield was basically destroyed by Russian air strikes on December 1st, 1994; Kalinovskaya remained in separatist hands for some time, but they eventually retreated themselves.



vs. real-world...


A couple of notes:

-I really recommend playing smaller bits of the map than the whole thing - take a smaller piece, and stick to one side of the river rather than both.
At the moment, there is only one usable crossing across the Terek, the road bridge on the far east side of the map. So if you play the whole thing, you'll likely have forces get stuck separated by the river, and/or the bridge will become a bottleneck.

-The bottom side of the map, especially the southeast quarter, is pretty empty, save for uneven terrain with gullies - so that might not be the most exciting area to fight in either!

-Because I cut a bit off both sides of the map, my original place marks could not be transferred. So, there are a bit fewer of them here than in my previous map shots.


< Message edited by CCIP-subsim -- 11/27/2018 4:34:42 AM >

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/27/2018 5:24:51 AM   
exsonic01

 

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This is amazing, very nicely modeled map. How did you finished so fast?

I will try demo tomorrow.

< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 11/27/2018 5:25:03 AM >

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/27/2018 11:28:38 AM   
kevinkins


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I am up on your map. So far so good. I am finishing a few NTC scenarios to post for the community this week. I might have a scenario highlighting the Chechnya map for the weekend.

Congratulations. That was like climbing Mt Everest in the graphics world (IMHO).

Kevin



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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/27/2018 1:08:16 PM   
CCIP-subsim


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Cheers, thank you

It's far from "finished" - after all, this is just 1/16th of the full map (and one of the least important or interesting corners of it, at that!) There's no secret to finishing maps, except for being stubborn

Up next: now that I feel pretty comfortable with the editor, and know how to make smaller-than-full-sized maps, I'm going to tackle "The Big One": Chechnya's capital Grozny - which fits surprisingly well into a 512x512 map.



If I can get this one hammered out and joined to the rest of the map, that's be 90% of the job, since Grozny saw the vast majority of the active combat - and no lack thereof, considering it was probably the most heavily fought-over city between WWII and recent events in Syria.

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP/demo) - 11/27/2018 1:38:56 PM   
Af1352pasha

 

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New and fantastic work, At lease I saw a river with proper width , not a tiny line! This map will force the designer to do action for river crossing equipment.we have too many river with width of more than 100 m in Europe to cross.

I hope for next patch engineering units which capable to make a bridge and trenches appear here!

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP/demo) - 11/27/2018 3:41:46 PM   
CCIP-subsim


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Af1352pasha

New and fantastic work, At lease I saw a river with proper width , not a tiny line! This map will force the designer to do action for river crossing equipment.we have too many river with width of more than 100 m in Europe to cross.

I hope for next patch engineering units which capable to make a bridge and trenches appear here!


Yes, rivers are no joke, especially in Eastern Europe! And note the high elevations (cliffs, in some places) on the south bank - another common and often under-appreciated feature of many river crossings. If you rotate the map 90 degrees, it could make a pretty good stand in for the Don river near Kalach (as featured in WWII), for example!

Worth mentioning as well that it's possible for scenario creators to designate custom passable/impassable zones on a map for things like crossings :)

I am thinking of adding a small fordable crossing at the river bend on the far west (left) side of the map as well, south of Kalinovskaya. There's no evidence that any heavy equipment ever crossed there, and the Terek is not a gentle river - but historically, Chechen separatist militias were able to move to and from Kalinovskaya even when all the bridge crossings and territory around them were held by federal forces.

< Message edited by CCIP-subsim -- 11/27/2018 3:43:19 PM >

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP/demo) - 11/27/2018 9:33:29 PM   
storm rider


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The heightmaps look very smooth. What source are you using for them?

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RE: Chechnya map (WIP) - 11/27/2018 10:34:02 PM   
kevinkins


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quote:

and one of the least important or interesting corners of it, at that!


Well, maybe this is a plausible hypothetical for your first map:

Real:
On 6 March, between 1,500 and 2,000 Chechen fighters infiltrated Grozny and launched a three-day surprise raid on the city, overrunning much of it and capturing cachés of weapons and ammunition. Also in March, the Chechen fighters attacked Samashki, where hundreds of villagers were killed. A month later, on 16 April, forces of Arab commander Ibn al-Khattab destroyed a large Russian armored column in an ambush near Shatoy, killing at least 76 soldiers; in another one, near Vedeno, at least 28 Russian troops were killed.[48]

Hypothetical Part:
As part of the Chechen raid, separatists attacked the slowly growing airbase at Kalinovskaya. Rumors were circulating that the Russian military was stationing the dreaded Hind attack helicopter at the airbase. On the night of March 6, 1996, the airbase was attacked by Chechen fighters. But the raid failed thanks to an alert security detachment guarding the Russian base. The raiders fell back to the east into small villages and prepared for reinforcements. In the morning, a Russian motorized rifle company was assembled to eliminate the Chechen threat just a few kilometer away.

Note: At this stage, the Chechens would need to be represented by USSR infantry and Russian 1991 equipment selected to represent 1996 realities.



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