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Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain

 
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Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 9/18/2015 3:06:23 PM   
Crossroads


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Joined: 7/5/2009
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As a next look under the hood, I will do a few posts on the topic of Campaign Series terrain, how it all comes togehter, and how to mod it, should the out-of-box look be not quite the thing you'd like it to be.

CS 2D Terrain

Overview

3-D Maps

Ever since Talonsoft's Eastern Front I came out in 1997, the inspiration behind the 3D was that of the table top miniatures. It is our intention to stay true to the wonderful Campaign Series legacy, so should we look to add something new into the play, it is that world where we look for inspiration.

So even though while for instance AFVs represent a troop or a platoon of many vehicles, in 3D there's the one miniature model representing the unit. So here's my random pick of the week regarding our wonderful 3D:



2-D Maps

As for 2D, the inspiration behind the battle maps are that of the Avalon Hill and Simulations Publications Inc (SPI), and those fabulous cardboard games they put out. Again, anything we want to add, this is the scene we are looking for inspiration. My pick of the week: SPI's Across Suez game from 1980



This thread is about 2D maps, for most part. Just laying out the big picture here first.




Full Hex and Hex Sides Tiles

Stating the obvious here, as a 250-meters-per-hex game, CS has a system where the maps are not drawn as such, but are put together from generic terrain tiles and markers.

So if you'd rather see a realistic Google Earth type of a map, it is these graphic files that you'd be changing. For we are to stick to our legacy, and are not likely to step out from these concepts that are the very essence of Campaign Series, as how we see it.


Terrain tiles come in two categories:

Full hex tiles, such as
  • Cities,
  • Villages,
  • various Vegetation types such as Trees and Orchards,
  • various Terrain types such as Hammada and Rough,
  • Water, and
  • the basic terrain tiles themselves, in Green, Brown, Mud, and their Night variants,
  • and so forth.

    Hex Sides tiles, such as
  • Rivers,
  • Escarpments,
  • Gullies,
  • Hedgerows,
  • and so forth.

    Then there are those in between, that essentially are full hex tiles, but are drawn in a manner they just cross the hex sides. These are
  • Roads,
  • Railroads,
  • Paths,
  • and so forth


    Then, there's of course the seven zoom levels that come with the game, listed here by their file identifier.

    First, the original five views:
  • 1d, or 2D Extreme Zoom-Out (25%)
  • 2d, or 2D Zoom-Out (50%)

  • 3d, or 3D Normal
  • 4d, or 3D Zoom-Out
  • 5d, or 3D Extreme Zoom-Out

    Then, the ones added to CS:ME
  • 6d, or 2D Normal (75%)
  • 7d, or 2D Zoom-In (100%)




    In the coming days and weeks let us walk through these, at least the most common ones, where any added change will have a big bang for your modding buck in the mapboard!

    For now though, let us just marvel at those miniatures and cardboard game counters


    < Message edited by Crossroads -- 9/18/2015 5:33:31 PM >


    _____________________________

    Visit us at: Campaign Series Legion
    ---
    CS: Vietnam | CS: East Front 1939-1941 IN-THE-WORKS
    CS: Middle East 1948-1985 Fully reimaged v2.0 available now!
  • Post #: 1
    RE: Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 9/18/2015 4:00:34 PM   
    Crossroads


    Posts: 16208
    Joined: 7/5/2009
    Status: offline
    To get the show underway however, let us begin with a first terrain graphics files.

    Basic Terrain Tiles

    Green, Brown, Mud - the basic terrain tiles

    I guess what are the very basic tiles, are the 'clear terrain' tiles. They come in three categories:

  • Green#d.bmp
  • Brown#d.bmp
  • Mud#d.bmp

  • Snow#d.bmp would be the fourth set in another temperature zone, but it's not featuring in Middle East for obvious reasons

    Then, the darker night variants that display in Night scenarios:

  • GreenNight#d.bmp
  • BrownNight#d.bmp
  • MudNight#d.bmp

    The "#d" refers to zoom level versions, as in the opening post. For instance Mud7d.bmp, or Green1d.bmp

    However, there's then the temperature zones that come with the CS:Middle East, that of Mediterranean temp zone and Desert Zone. For terrain tiles specifically used under either zone, a specific file can be entered

  • Des- , for Desert specific files, such as Des-Green7d.bmp
  • Med- , for Mediterranean specific files, such as Med-Brown2d.bmp

  • If one is not found, then the basic one is used. For instance there's only one Paths#d.bmp in the installation, should you want them different in Desert terrain you'd add a set of Des-Paths#d.bmp files into the game.

    Here's finally a look at an example, the first nine rows, or elevation levels, of Des-Green7d.bmp. This is a good example of above, as the green 'clear' hex of Mediterranean map would be very out of place in a desert map. Hence: Des-Green#d.bmp set is added.

    As for the look of these tiles, they are created by first coming up with the basic color, then adding Noise, then doing a gentle Blur, for this watercolor over cardboard effect we boardgame geeks expect to see here:




    As for no of rows, our maps can have 50 elevation levels (!), so yes, there's 50 rows of graphics, each row getting a darker hue as the elevation rises. Berto's done (of course he has!) a neat little script, that puts in all the color variants in place. So depending what you want to achieve you would mod only the first few, or all rows of this basic terrain.

    Say you want to create a Google Earth / Google Satellite View type of a terrain, this would be a logical starting point then.

    Attachment (1)

    < Message edited by Crossroads -- 9/19/2015 3:02:48 PM >


    _____________________________

    Visit us at: Campaign Series Legion
    ---
    CS: Vietnam | CS: East Front 1939-1941 IN-THE-WORKS
    CS: Middle East 1948-1985 Fully reimaged v2.0 available now!

    (in reply to Crossroads)
  • Post #: 2
    RE: Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 9/19/2015 1:34:23 PM   
    Crossroads


    Posts: 16208
    Joined: 7/5/2009
    Status: offline
    Basic Terrain - Full Hex Tiles

    Terrain#d.bmp

    For that instant effect, once the 'clear terrain' terrain tiles are changed, the next two obvious candidates are perhaps Terrain#d and Vegetation#d set of graphics files.

    Here's a snippet of Terrain7d.bmp. As with most terrain tiles, there's six variants per terrain type. On display here are the residential hexes, from cities (top) to houses (bottom), followed by Rubble.

    No background, these are drawns as full hex tiles over the terrain version (type, altitude) that the map hex portrays.

    Included in Terrain#d files are:

  • Soft sand
  • Hammada (a rough, rocky desert terrain)
  • Rough
  • Wadi
  • Cities, Suburbs, Villages, Houses
  • Rubble
  • Full Hex Bridge
  • Full Hex Pontoon Bridge
  • Individual Buildings (six variants), and
  • Individual Industrial Buildings (six variants)

  • Additionally, there's some placeholders for additional terrain.




    So assuming you'd be after that Google Satellite type of effects, these would be the spots to add the more 3D, photograph like terrain effects.

    Us? Yes, something that would fit those SPI boardgames from those fab 70s and 80s



    Attachment (1)

    < Message edited by Crossroads -- 9/19/2015 2:37:41 PM >


    _____________________________

    Visit us at: Campaign Series Legion
    ---
    CS: Vietnam | CS: East Front 1939-1941 IN-THE-WORKS
    CS: Middle East 1948-1985 Fully reimaged v2.0 available now!

    (in reply to Crossroads)
  • Post #: 3
    RE: Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 9/19/2015 1:48:26 PM   
    Crossroads


    Posts: 16208
    Joined: 7/5/2009
    Status: offline
    Basic Terrain - Full Hex Tiles

    Vegetation#d.bmp

    The other very basic terrain tile set is that including the vegetation. Again, here's a snippet of the actual file

    Included in Vegetation#d files are:

  • Full hex Orchards
  • Orchards with railroads / roads / paths in the same hex
  • Vineyards
  • Scrub
  • Cacti
  • Kunai (tall grass)
  • Fields
  • Full Hex Forests
  • Forests with railroads / roads / paths in the same hex
  • Palm trees
  • Marsh
  • Swamp




    Again, there's some placeholders for additional terrain, more typical to other temperature zones for instance Tropical, say with Dry and Wet Rice Paddies. I removed some of the placeholders from this snippet to make it more compact, as I don't want to post the full files here. Just enough to give some ideas how they work

    This is it for this weekend. Off to Hex Side tiles come next weekend. Any questions, just ask.


    Attachment (1)

    < Message edited by Crossroads -- 9/19/2015 3:45:15 PM >


    _____________________________

    Visit us at: Campaign Series Legion
    ---
    CS: Vietnam | CS: East Front 1939-1941 IN-THE-WORKS
    CS: Middle East 1948-1985 Fully reimaged v2.0 available now!

    (in reply to Crossroads)
  • Post #: 4
    RE: Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 10/21/2015 6:22:20 AM   
    Crossroads


    Posts: 16208
    Joined: 7/5/2009
    Status: offline

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Bradley62

    Could Jison's MapMod for Panzer Campaigns be adapted for CS?


    I very much doubt terrain tiles from other games would fit here. The easiest way to find out is to download his mod and compare them to ours.

    _____________________________

    Visit us at: Campaign Series Legion
    ---
    CS: Vietnam | CS: East Front 1939-1941 IN-THE-WORKS
    CS: Middle East 1948-1985 Fully reimaged v2.0 available now!

    (in reply to Crossroads)
    Post #: 5
    RE: Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 10/21/2015 8:16:27 AM   
    berto


    Posts: 19699
    Joined: 3/13/2002
    From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Status: offline

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Crossroads

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Bradley62

    Could Jison's MapMod for Panzer Campaigns be adapted for CS?


    I very much doubt terrain tiles from other games would fit here. The easiest way to find out is to download his mod and compare them to ours.

    Indeed, we have significantly to drastically reorganized the CSME terrain files, in layout and number, and adjusted the code accordingly. Adapting terrain files from any other JT game would involve a prohibitive amount of work. (Same story for unit and other graphics also.)

    _____________________________


    (in reply to Crossroads)
    Post #: 6
    RE: Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 10/21/2015 4:32:00 PM   
    Crossroads


    Posts: 16208
    Joined: 7/5/2009
    Status: offline
    Making Changes - Every Pixel Counts!

    So how about a little example how even quite small changes can make a visible difference. Let us have a look at the new Field and Vineyard graphics I just tried out and published in the Sneak Peek thread.

    Here's how the terrain looks on map.

    Before:



    After:





    Attachment (1)

    < Message edited by Crossroads -- 10/21/2015 5:35:07 PM >


    _____________________________

    Visit us at: Campaign Series Legion
    ---
    CS: Vietnam | CS: East Front 1939-1941 IN-THE-WORKS
    CS: Middle East 1948-1985 Fully reimaged v2.0 available now!

    (in reply to berto)
    Post #: 7
    RE: Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 10/21/2015 4:33:37 PM   
    Crossroads


    Posts: 16208
    Joined: 7/5/2009
    Status: offline
    Making Changes - Every Pixel Counts, Cont'd

    And here's the two Vegetation tile sheets.

    Before:



    After:

    Vineyards are on the third row, fields on bottom seventh row. Not showing trees here.




    Attachment (1)

    < Message edited by Crossroads -- 10/21/2015 5:34:44 PM >


    _____________________________

    Visit us at: Campaign Series Legion
    ---
    CS: Vietnam | CS: East Front 1939-1941 IN-THE-WORKS
    CS: Middle East 1948-1985 Fully reimaged v2.0 available now!

    (in reply to Crossroads)
    Post #: 8
    RE: Development Thread #6 - 2D Terrain - 10/22/2015 1:40:49 AM   
    Rosseau

     

    Posts: 2515
    Joined: 9/13/2009
    Status: offline
    With most JT/HPS games, it's easy to edit terrain effects. I assume not so easy with ME?

    Do love those 2D maps, though.

    (in reply to Crossroads)
    Post #: 9
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