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Need some hint for map-drawing efficiency.

 
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Need some hint for map-drawing efficiency. - 12/11/2018 3:39:16 AM   
exsonic01

 

Posts: 687
Joined: 7/26/2016
From: Dusty town, somewhere inside central valley of CA
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This question also coincides with "what is the fastest map drawing method?"

I made 8192 (=2048*4) pixel map and made it as preview. However, game crashed due to not enough memory. I tried with 6144 (=2048*3) pixel as a preview, and this worked. However, now my preview from map-editing mode (press t) suffers from low resolution, I can't recognize about the dirt road or stream or tiny details. I think I may need really high resolution, more than 12000 pixel, but I can't even reach 10000 pixel from game preview due to memory issue.

So far my primary method was AB map editor, check the satellite map by pressing 't' and draw roads and streams first. Then I fill the spaces between road/stream network. I'm working on first 15km x 15km section using this method. However, due to too low resolution of 'preview' from AB map-editing mode, this method become inaccurate or too much rely on alt-tab to check QGIS maps or Google Earth which is sometimes really bothering and takes some time.

Right now I can only spend 30min ~ 1hr per a day for map making because of my works and my kids, and at this phase, it would take more than several months, even more than half a year to finish 60km x 60km size map. (Maybe I can finish 30km x 30km) I can continue this hobby little by little, but I cannot guarantee that I can finish everything with my hand. I may lose interest, or tired of map-making, or get really surer busy in the future... I know we all know that some inevitable events can happen at any time to force us to halt this hobby. Then this mod will be forgotten if no one wants to take over, I really wish to escape from such situation.

So, I need some breakthrough or new way to increase speed.

Is this possible to set "preview" map as super super high quality, so that I can recognize very details from AB in-game map editing mode? I just wish to draw the map within one-go, without alt-tab. Even this method would takes some amount of time I guess.

Or, are there any better method from GIMP or Photoshop? If I give transparency to satellite map layer to follow in terrain layer, how much transparency would be proper? Any other tips for GIMP or Photoshop?


< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 12/11/2018 3:45:57 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: Need some hint for map-drawing efficiency. - 12/11/2018 5:49:51 PM   
CCIP-subsim


Posts: 587
Joined: 11/10/2015
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Question: why do you need the higher resolution in-game?
As mentioned elsewhere, a 61.44 x 61.44km map is 2048x2048, and the game is not designed to support anything larger than that (for memory reasons) - you can make smaller maps safely, but not larger. The map's tile size is fixed at 30x30m, and simply adding more tiles makes the map larger, not more detailed.

If it's for editing with your reference overlaid on top of it in Gimp - what you should do is whenever you save it as terrain.bmp for use it in the game, be sure to downscale it to 2048x2048. Then when you are done with it in game and want to bring it back to Gimp - resize it back. Be sure to set "resampling" to "none" whenever you are resizing it (up or down), because in the case of terrain.bmp, you don't want "smooth" edges on anything, you want it to keep pixel colours exactly as you want.

Mind you, I don't do this because I don't feel I need anything bigger than 2048x2048 when I'm editing - it's a bunch of extra work that way and creates the possibility that when you resize something, it'll mess up or not line up as you plan to.
Instead, what I do (and what I recommend doing) is to keep your working image files and your reference separate. 2048x2048 gives me enough details for the basics (like roughly where roads and towns are). If I need to get a closer look at something, I just pull out a map (e.g. Google Earth) and look at it more closely, then go back to my map and draw it there. There's no need for your working picture files to contain everything - external reference is usually easier to work with anyway since you can zoom, rotate, and overlay new info to your heart's content!

(in reply to exsonic01)
Post #: 2
RE: Need some hint for map-drawing efficiency. - 12/11/2018 6:37:01 PM   
exsonic01

 

Posts: 687
Joined: 7/26/2016
From: Dusty town, somewhere inside central valley of CA
Status: online
Thank you for your opinion CCIP. So far, I used the exactly same way you described. But I think this become too bothering whenever I wish to check high quality for detail. I still think that it would be great if we can import high quality preview map into AB, only for map-editing purpose. If this game plan to make dedicated map-editor inside the game, I really wish they allow modders to import high quality map only for map-editing mode.

Here are some examples:


View from AB map editing mode preview


QGIS very high quality view

You can see some streams and roads, but sometimes it is hard to distinguish those networks from each other from AB preview mode.


View from AB map editing mode preview, smaller region.


QGIS very high quality view

Right now, I'm trying to draw all those dirt road networks and stream networks.

While doing so with AB map editor, I can't recognize what is the dirt road and what is the stream at some points. From AB preview, sometimes it is hard to distinguish some small narrow figures, like narrow streams and narrow roads, building / town or field with crops of different color. I found that every time I alt-tab to check the detail and come back to AB editor is sometimes distracting, and this might be one of the factor for time consuming. If we are able to import high quality maps into AB, map-making with AB map editor would be more efficient IMO.

Or am I adhering to too much details and too much perfection?

I agree that GIMP/Photoshop resize would create additional work and sync issue. On the satellite map layer, I magnified terrain bmp to the size of satellite map. This is easier to check the detail, but this requires some work to carefully decide the pixel size of 'pen tool', so that my 1 click of 'pen' or 'paint' become exactly 30m in size. I tried and this is not an easy work, this need some experience or skill.

So, this is why I wish if this game allow us to import HQ preview map for map-editing only.

< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 12/11/2018 6:40:14 PM >

(in reply to CCIP-subsim)
Post #: 3
RE: Need some hint for map-drawing efficiency. - 12/12/2018 8:52:39 PM   
exsonic01

 

Posts: 687
Joined: 7/26/2016
From: Dusty town, somewhere inside central valley of CA
Status: online
I think I find the reason why North Korea is trickier to work with low resolution map than other nations. North Korea is non-developed nation. Streams and rivers are not linearized, they never performed any stream maintenance projects. This caused their river and streams not straight, rather curvy. Plus, Google satellite map that I'm using now is pictured during winter. Because of this, streams are dried or frozen from google satellite.

Both factors make me hard to distinguish streams from dirt roads. They really looks the same from low resolution map And they have a lot of them. This is why I was feeling tough with map work. I may need new map, and new satellite map other than winter. But I still wish if this game's future map editor allow us to import high quality map.

< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 12/12/2018 8:53:50 PM >

(in reply to exsonic01)
Post #: 4
RE: Need some hint for map-drawing efficiency. - 12/12/2018 10:38:36 PM   
CCIP-subsim


Posts: 587
Joined: 11/10/2015
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Well, there's always alternate sources you can consult as reference - for North Korea, I think the OpenStreetMap data is actually pretty good. Here's the south side of Pyongyang for example: https://www.openstreetmap.org/search?whereami=1&query=38.9864%2C125.7338#map=15/38.9864/125.7338



Bing Maps has virtually no road map coverage, but actually have rather good-quality aerial shots of at least some parts of North Korea:


Although I think for the countryside especially, Yandex.com maps have the best satellite shots - comparable to what Google uses, but I think the buildings actually stand out much better on them:


Maybe most importantly though, use Google Earth (the separate program, not the web client) to go through the historical imagery - it lets you look at all the imagery in its archive (which mostly means 2000 onwards) and you can often catch different seasons in that way.

For seasonal or poorly defined streams, I guess you can go one of two ways - one would be to use whatever your best vector/topographic map says (in this case I'd argue that would be OSM), or split the difference and use bog, soft sand, and/or stream tiles rather than full-on impassable water.

One thing that I've focused on more and more as I go through with map editing is not so much optics, but the gameplay side of things- namely lines of sight, lines of movement, and cover. I think that in the big scope of things, it matters much less what something looks like on the map as opposed to what it does! Fundamentally, a good game map isn't just a bunch of points perfectly lined up with real-world coordinates - but a sum of all the battle plans (including observation, movement, and fire) you can imagine playing out on it. So I think for a map like yours, I'd first think of how you see things playing out on any given piece of the map, and go from there. Start by laying down main routes of movement, points of observation, and barriers - and then go into detail from there. See if you can find some useful information about how historical battles played out in that area (even if they were in a different period!) It makes it a lot easier when what you're building isn't just 'empty' geography, but a 'living' battle space with its own limits and possibilities.

(in reply to exsonic01)
Post #: 5
RE: Need some hint for map-drawing efficiency. - 12/13/2018 2:57:29 AM   
exsonic01

 

Posts: 687
Joined: 7/26/2016
From: Dusty town, somewhere inside central valley of CA
Status: online
Thank you CCIP

Well, it looks like OSM catches well city landscapes and road networks. But in countryside, they miss lots of details. Check follow vector / topo maps I tried:


Google map, red line is polygon layer from QGIS, which I made to visualize my map's boundary.


OSM (Openstreet map) standard. As you can see, it fails to depict all streams and minor dirt roads in the area


OCM (Opencycle map) landscape. Same quality with OSM


OCM (Opencycle map) standard. Same quality with OSM. I think OCM and OSM share the same description on details.


Google terrain map. Actually it shows slightly more road network than OSM series, yet it also fails to check the detailed road network. Also, it failed to describe streams.


ESRI standard map. Comparable level with OSM standard.


Google traffic shows better detail than other maps in some region, but worse in other region. And they also ignores stream.

I know Google Earth history maps, but for North Korean region, they only shows very low resolution map, seems like more than 1:50000 scale, hard to tell about details. Bing aerial map is actually ESRI satellite map as far as I know. Yandex satellite looks promising. It seems like Yandex also mixed winter and summer in different regions, but at least I can recognize crop field and paddy field.

Speaking of gameplay aspects of map, that is also some sort of dilemma to me. Like all other part of east Asia and Korea, there are a lot of paddy field on the North Korean ground. Currently, I use bog tile for paddy field not because I like bog, but because I have no other alternatives (I still wish to know about seasonal effect from default.xml file). In some places in my AO, wide area is covered by paddy over paddy. While it looks good for armored battle (paddy fields are mostly flat ground), they are hell for tanks because it is basically mud during "watered" season. Under this circumstance, missing dirt roads, though a narrow curvy ones, might bring boring game for players. I think I need to give players some alternative route or possible space to maneuver in the middle of paddy over paddy, even if those alternatives are tiny narrow road.

I really wish to ignore all minor road networks except ones described in OSM standard or Google traffic map. However, this might bring too wide 'dead zone' for players because of paddy field.

Still looking for my 'fantasy' map for this region.


ps) How about this method? Instead of relying only on google satellite, I may able to mix maps.
1) Using google traffic and OSM as a preview, and draw the "big road" network for target 15km x 15km region from AB map editor.
2) Save and out of game.
3) Then load the ESRI standard or OSM standard as a preview, draw streams as much as possible for target region.
4) Save and out of game.
5) Load the Yandex satellite and google hybrid satellite, to finish detailed dirt road network and stream network, and fill the empty area between road networks and stream networks.

Some of those 'streams' are actually paddy field canals, very narrow pathway for water. This is because paddy field requires good amount of water supply. Near paddy field, there are lots of terrains like "road right beside the stream/canal" or "parallel road/stream network".




< Message edited by exsonic01 -- 12/13/2018 3:15:11 AM >

(in reply to CCIP-subsim)
Post #: 6
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