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Creating maps - 9/9/2004 11:10:45 AM   
El Savior

 

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Any tips you can give for creating maps?

Where should you start? I start with roads and after this I make forests. Finally I add topography. Adding topography is the most hard part, at least for me it is. How do you do it? I would preciate any tips for advanced users.

What is the best way to copy real map to map maker? Can I use graphic table like Aiptek Hyper Pen? I've been thinking buying cheap graphic table with pen to copy paper maps.

El Savior

PS. Added few screenshots from my Bastogne scenario, view them at El Savior's Airborne Depot. Look my signature for link.

< Message edited by El Savior -- 9/9/2004 12:45:37 PM >


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RE: Creating maps - 9/9/2004 1:07:31 PM   
Grouchy


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Using scans here. I'll always start with the height lines then roads, rail and water. After that marches etc, then the vegetation. And after that the villages, towns and bridges. In the end I work on the names.

quote:

Any tips you can give for creating maps?


Don't make very long lines with a lot of dots, rather split those up in several smaller ones (long lines will slow your system down in the end, too long and mapmaker will not accept them) and backup often!

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RE: Creating maps - 9/9/2004 1:12:53 PM   
Rooster


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For the map I'm working on, I did the elevations first, and the roads, rivers, etc next. It was only late in the process that I discovered that you can "trace" contours in one long movement;, all along I thought I'd have to click for each point, which was tedious. A tablet and pen - good ideas!

I plan on writing about the process of making my map next, but it would be great if the Panther crew could share some tips - every time I play, I am amazed at the maps they created.

< Message edited by Rooster -- 9/9/2004 6:14:08 AM >


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RE: Creating maps - 9/10/2004 2:01:00 AM   
Golf33

 

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You guys are basically on the right track.

A couple of useful tips:

1. Break up your map scans into several pieces (4 or 16). This helps the MapMaker process them and speeds up display.

2. Use a mix of control and corner points. Remember that control points make for a bigger map since each control point is equivalent to eight corner points. You can space control points out a long way apart on features with a big smooth curve, to save on points and make the map file smaller.

3. When using either type of point, hold down ALT and left-click to place a point of the other type. You can also toggle the type of an existing point by selecting it and pressing CTRL-T.

4. Having a good map underlay is really important. The best ones are 1:50 000, followed by 1:100 000 which are also very good. 1:250 000 are useable but only if they are the only scale available as they tend to be not terribly detailed. This isn't really a problem in game mechanics terms but can produce a somewhat sterile-looking map. Libraries that have a good map room will often be able to produce a digital scan of the map for you, which is much better than trying to muck about scanning one A4 area at a time and pasting them all together! If you do get the library or a print shop to produce the scan, make sure it's at 300dpi or thereabouts (in relation to the original document).

5. You can avoid having to resize your map scan if you do a bit of math instead. The MapMaker will automatically resize your scan to fit the map size you enter, so rather than trying to resize the scan, just work out how high and wide it is in metres and use those figures when creating your new map.

6. You don't have to limit yourself to a North-South orientation. If the battle area is more easily depicted by rotating the map, you can do this by rotating the scan before you cut out the bit you want to model.

7. You can edit the text items even after they have been placed - select the item, press Enter (the one on the main keyboard) and off you go. Be aware that sometimes the style of the text gets reset when you do this so make sure you reselect the correct style.

8. It's not a bad idea to put a text item in one corner of the map showing the contour interval, and for use-made maps like yours, put your name in there as well so others know who to thank!

I've always started with the altitude layers, then hidden them and done the roads, then rivers, then vegetation and urban terrain (the last two not in any particular order). I would always recommend using an electronic underlay, even if you have a graphic tablet, because having the underlay up on the screen lets you see exactly how closely your efforts correspond to the original. Remember you can always select an item after it's done and drag individual points, or toggle them from control to corner and vice versa, to refine your map items after they are created.

Regards
33

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RE: Creating maps - 9/10/2004 2:03:01 AM   
Arjuna


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El Saviour,

I like your site and the Bastogne maps - nice.

Re map making suggestions. I will ask our "gun" map maker, Xavier, to respond to this. He works for us part time and so he probably won't be able to respond to this until he's back in the office next week.

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RE: Creating maps - 9/10/2004 7:23:00 AM   
Rooster


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quote:

Don't make very long lines with a lot of dots, rather split those up in several smaller ones (long lines will slow your system down in the end, too long and mapmaker will not accept them)


Are you saying keep the dots close together, or just do a lot of short lines end-on-end?


El Savior - the maps and the site are looking good. Nice work!

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RE: Creating maps - 9/10/2004 11:46:22 AM   
El Savior

 

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Great tips so far, thanks! And we would be honored to hear few words from Xavier too!

My questions was little late thought, because my Bastogne map is already done. But I've been thinking to create new even better bigger scale map. Hopefully I will get good source map for this project. Anyone know site where I can orded WW2 maps? Currently I'm not totally satisfied with my map, because it was my first project. I was learning by doing it.

Have I missed something? Can you really import scanned maps to Map Maker??? It would be much much easier to draw over this map.

Thanks for nice words about my site and map. I was in a hurry, when I done it, but eventually I will make my site bigger and better.

< Message edited by El Savior -- 9/10/2004 2:24:19 PM >


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RE: Creating maps - 9/10/2004 1:40:38 PM   
Golf33

 

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Check out the MapMaker manual for information on setting up digital scans in the MapMaker - it's the section that talks about "bitmap underlays" which is our term for this.

Regards
33

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Steve Golf33 Long

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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 3:58:05 AM   
Willard


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Ok guys, I am real embarrassed about this question, but I am not really good at math.

When Golf33 was talking about scale (like 1:50,000), how do you figure out what scale your map is at? I know many maps have the legend with the mile/km measure on it. Do I need to do some measuring with that? I would assume some conversion would be necessary after that also.

If you guys could give me like a sample or template to figure it out, I should be good to go. Thanks and please don't tell any of my math teachers!!!

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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 4:29:50 AM   
Golf33

 

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All maps should have the scale printed in the marginal information - usually it's either next to the map title or next to the graphical scale.

For a 1:25 000 map, 1cm on the map = 250m on the ground. Usually these maps will have a 10m contour interval. These maps are usually marked with a 1km grid so the grid lines will be 4cm apart. These are normally very detailed but the scans will be huge and a bit difficult to work with.

For a 1:50 000 map, 1cm on the map = 500m on the ground. Usually these maps will have a 10 or 20m contour interval. These maps are usually marked with a 1km grid so the grid lines will be 2cm apart. These are ideal for use in the MapMaker, with good detail but not too large.

For a 1:100 000 map, 1cm on the map = 1000m on the ground. Usually these maps will have a 20 or 50m contour interval. These maps are usually marked with a 1km grid so the grid lines will be 1cm apart. These are quite good in the MapMaker although they can be a little hard to read where a lot of detail is crammed together in a small space.

For a 1:250 000 map, 1cm on the map = 2500m on the ground. Usually these maps will have a 100m contour interval. These maps are usually marked with a 10km grid so the grid lines will be 4cm apart. These are usable if nothing else is available but they lack a lot of detail so will often result in a fairly barren-looking map.

I'll post an example in a second.

Regards
33

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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 4:37:59 AM   
Golf33

 

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Here is the first example. This is the scale from one of the
maps we used for Crete. The scale is listed as 1:50 000 and
I've added the blue text to show you how many pixels that
distance is on the scan. Sorry about the huge image but this
will make more sense if I use the scans at full size, instead
of trying to reduce them to fit on the screen. As a point of
interest, each of these maps when scanned at 300dpi is
around 155MB (for an area of about 20 x 27km).

As you can see, 5km on the map is 1140 pixels on the scan, so
there are ( 1140 / 5 ) pixels per kilometre, or 228 pixels per
kilometre.



Regards
33

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< Message edited by Golf33 -- 9/16/2004 1:46:55 PM >


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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 4:54:49 AM   
Golf33

 

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Now, let's say we want to use a section of that map for our mapscan. Here's the bit we'll be using:



Now note the image dimensions: 495 pixels wide x 489 pixels high.

To get those dimensions into metres, we do the following math:

size in metres = size in pixels / pixels per kilometre * 1000

in this case:

width = 495 pixels / 228 pixels per km * 1000 = 2171 metres
height = 489 pixels / 228 pixels per km * 1000 = 2144 metres

So when you create your map in the MapMaker, enter those values for Width and Height and the contour interval (in this case 20m) from the map key. Then you are ready to rock and roll!

To see where I'm getting the contour interval from, look at the bottom right of the image showing the scale, you'll see the second item from the bottom in the key shows three lines with numbers above them - in the full map this is labelled as "Contour Lines" and shows how 10m (broken lines - not all the 10m intervals are shown on the map), 20m and 100m intervals are displayed on the map. In other maps this might just be printed in the marginal information as "Contour Interval 20m" or "Vertical Interval 20m", usually near the graphical scale. Sometimes there will be too big a vertical change over the map area to use the same contour intervals as the original map. For example, at 20m per elevation layer, our ten elevation layers give us a total vertical change of 200m (in COTA we have 15 elevation layers giving us a bit more room to move ). If the vertical change on the map area is greater than that, we'd be better to use a contour interval of 40m and place an elevation layer on only every second contour line on the mapscan.

Regards
33

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Golf33 -- 9/16/2004 1:58:42 PM >


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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 7:01:44 AM   
Xanthor_169

 

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I think golf33 has pretty much covered all the major map making tips above. But there are a few other tips I have to offer.

1. When dealing with large maps contours will take up a great deal of memory, they are made up of more points than any other object and almost completely consist of control points (if you are looking to produce a smooth looking map). So whenever possible reduce the amount of points you can, I like to click every point on any object, that way it is easier to minimise the number of points. The click and drag tool places points only after you drag the cursor a set distance from the last point, so you may find uneccessary points being put in that will take up extra space, or not enough points will be put in and your shape will not match the underlay (usually at hairpin like corners).

2. The CPU is slowed down a lot more by moving a few large objects, than moving a lot of smaller objects. So whenever you have a large object try to draw it out of a few smaller pieces. If it is already drawn you can cut the object up into smaller pieces. To do this:
select the object -> click edit then duplicate -> delete the points until the object is of desired size
Then click on the original shape, and remove the inverse points. It will be easy to see which points you have to delete because the duplicate (which you have removed points from) will have become solid now and easy to differenciate. This process can be continued until the large shape is cut up as small as you like. As for how big is 'big' I usually estimate about 100 points or so. And it's always safe to keep an overlap in the pieces, this prevents ugly lines when displayed on higher zoom levels.

3. Leave a small gap between roads and all other terrain types (roads include all but tracks and terrain excludes major rivers) usually its only visible on the 2, 4, 8m zoom levels but it makes the roads much clearer and the map more neat (this was a suggestion from golf33)

4. Make sure that roads, rail, minor rivers and stream that run beside each other are not too close. Depending on the terrain grid size (we use 100m) if they are too close together road over-rides all the others and so on. So when the game is running on your map, some features may have no effect on movement of units. For arguements sake say you are using 100m grid size, keep these features 100m apart appoximately. Turn on the grid and estimate the distances.

5. Most map making work I do on 4m level, unless the map is low scale which I then work on the 8m level. Working on the 2m level creates far too many points per object then need be.

Um I can't think of anything else right now, but if I do I'll be sure to post it.
Any questions feel free to PM me

-Xav

< Message edited by Xanthor_169 -- 9/16/2004 5:30:50 AM >

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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 7:21:43 AM   
Golf33

 

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Don't forget to select Map > Calculate Terrain Tables, then Map > Show Movement Table to make sure there are no unreachable areas on your map (if there are, it will crash the game). Before you try and use the map in the ScenMaker, and after any changes to terrain, select Map > Calculate Visibility Tables to build the LOS cache.

Also test your bridges and major rivers in the ScenMaker by using Tools > Best Path > Shortest (doesn't matter whether it's for motorised or non-motorised) and clicking either side of the river. Test the rivers with bridges both intact and destroyed to make sure:

a) when the bridge is intact, units can actually cross the river using it
b) when the bridge is destroyed, units can't cross the river using it
c) units can't cross the river at any point where there is no bridge.

If a) fails, make the bridge longer and/or change the angle at which it crosses the river.
If b) or c) fails, make the river wider and ensure no roads/railways/other terrain is interfering with the river and forming a permanent bridge.

Regards
33

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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 7:23:12 AM   
Golf33

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Xanthor_169

Depending on the terrain grid size (we use 100m) if they are too close together road over-rides all the others and so on. So when the game is running on your map, some features may have no effect on movement of units. For arguements sake say you are using 100m grid size, keep these features 100m apart appoximately. Turn on the grid and estimate the distances.

In the HTTR ScenMaker, there is no option to set the movement grid size - it is fixed at 100m.

Regards
33

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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 9:45:33 AM   
Makoto


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I think I've asked this question before, but I can't find the thread. Where do you guys get your maps? Do you download them or are they physical copies?

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RE: Creating maps - 9/16/2004 10:10:47 AM   
Golf33

 

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http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=589817

Regards
33

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RE: Creating maps - 10/15/2004 6:18:24 AM   
Rooster


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quote]1. Break up your map scans into several pieces (4 or 16). This helps the MapMaker process them and speeds up display.[/quote]

How do you do this? Do you break them up and create one section at a time? Then merge the maps? Sounds difficult.

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RE: Creating maps - 10/17/2004 7:20:26 AM   
Golf33

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rooster

quote]1. Break up your map scans into several pieces (4 or 16). This helps the MapMaker process them and speeds up display.


How do you do this? Do you break them up and create one section at a time? Then merge the maps? Sounds difficult.

Photoshop has the ability to save an image in slices. By default each image has one slice, you can divide that into 4 x 4 slices and save them as separate images using "Save for Web" - save as a .png file then use something like Irfanview to batchconvert to .bmp, and something like 1-4aRename to renumber them from 0 to 15 instead of 1 to 16 (which photoshop does by default). The only thing to watch out for is to make sure you start with an image whose dimensions will divide evenly - by four for a 16-part image, or by two for a four-part image.

Regards
33

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RE: Creating maps - 10/20/2004 3:49:55 AM   
Rooster


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Thank you Golf... I also now see this is very clearly outlined in the manual. You should have just told me to RT*M! You are way too kind.

How about some help here....

quote:

3. Leave a small gap between roads and all other terrain types (roads include all but tracks and terrain excludes major rivers) usually its only visible on the 2, 4, 8m zoom levels but it makes the roads much clearer and the map more neat (this was a suggestion from golf33)


Do you think there is a playability penalty if the road runs right over my hedgerow terrain?

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RE: Creating maps - 10/20/2004 11:36:03 AM   
Golf33

 

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It shouldn't make any difference either way, as long as any gap is substantially smaller than the ~100m movement-effects grid.

Regards
33

< Message edited by Golf33 -- 10/20/2004 8:36:15 PM >


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