VIP: Visual Improvement Package
(Release 0.9, Dec.18 2016)
(Updated 1.0, Jan.09 2018)
-small fixes for icon alignment at various zoom levels
FOR DOWNLOAD LINKS AND EXTRAS, SEE BOTTOM OF POST!
Season's greetings! I guess I have a present for this community :)
Now, I realize this game isn't exactly a hot new item, but I hope those of you who are still playing it or have thought of giving EDBTR a (second?) chance, maybe this mod will bring some additional enjoyment. It's one way to give back to the community that gave some good treatment to this game before I only recently got into it.
The idea behind the mod is simple enough - I only rebuilt all of the game's graphical elements (except for the text and some small window buttons), and not a thing else! This means that it's compatible with any patch version (official or unofficial), does not touch the database, will not break your save games, and will make absolutely nada difference to your game performance and stability (for better or worse!)
Now, this may sound like just a few non-essential bells and whistles (not that there aren't any) - but don't go just yet! Rather than simply focusing on fancy pictures, a lot of effort in this mod was spent in order to make everything as clear, practical, and easy on the eyes as possible. In some places, I've sacrificed a little bit of detail to improve situational awareness for the player. In others, I've stuck bits of useful information into what used to be dead space on the screen.
But enough talking - as they say, a picture says a thousand words, so here are a few direct comparisons between the default game and my VIPack!
And a couple more "Afters" for good measure:
Hopefully you're catching on to some of the features I'm going for - I mean, colour-coded planes, who would've thought?
The two maps (ED Britain and BTR Europe) are the mod's centerpiece, providing a substantial increase in detail in realism over the standard game. Although they may look like cut-and-paste jobs with satellite from “Google Earth”, that they are certainly not (although BoB does indeed have data from Google Maps)! Rather, I used actual map data as a starting point, and then combined multiple layers of maps and art (including the original EBDTR maps) and edited, stretched, drew and re-aligned everything by hand in a painstaking process I dubbed “geofudging” - making the maps look and feel as realistic as possible, while staying as accurate as possible to the game’s target locations (which don’t always align with real-world data). I think the results are very good - and you’ll have to look hard to spot areas where they have been “fudged” to suit the game :)
Oh, and one bit of good news about the maps is that you have some options and choices, and you do not even have to use the rest of the mod if you'd like to try the maps on their own. See bottom of this post for details!
But before any more visual showings, let me cover the nuts and bolts:
LIST OF FEATURES:
-Completely rebuilt, high-detail maps for both Eagle Day and Bombing the Reich!
-More accurate geography wherever possible - based on real-world geographic data
-Low-contrast visuals that preserve detail while making map icons
-Place names and fighter group areas (for BoB) labelled on map
-Maps for the editor/debugger app from the 1.02.076 SE “unofficial patch” included
-Additional map options (including no-labels versions and maps with additional markings) available
different levels of map zoon in action, with scaling icons.
Map Icons and Targets:
-Completely new colour icons for all on-map targets at 4 different zoom levels
-Targets reduced in size and increased in clarity (providing better separation between targets, and more accurate depiction of target locations).
-Clearer differentiation between different types of targets and damage levels.
-Eliminated the pixel-art target views at higher zoom levels (replaced with icons) - more consistent with realistic map style and scale.
-For target lists and target selections for a Luftflotte/air command, target images have been replaced with historical photos, while also displaying the corresponding map icon in the corner and making the targets easier to identify.
-Airplane icons significantly reduced in size (for better visual separation)
-Airplane icon size varies by type (credit to simovitch for the idea with his previous “Proportional Aircraft” mod)
-A new always-visible outline added for plane icons, colour-coded for your convenience:
The planes now have an additional outline to help make them easier to identify, and to make situational awareness and reaction much easier. The attacking side's plane are coloured on a gradient from bright yellow to green, and the defending side's - from white to blue. Lighter shades are for high-performance, mainly single-engine or jet aircraft.
-The existing outlines for airplanes indicating their status can still be toggled as normal and will be drawn on the outside of the new light outline!
(And if you don't like these changes to plane icons, links to alternate icons with no outlines, as well as the original large-sized icons can be found in the readme file)
Menus and Interface:
-All menu screens, loading screens, map and information screens have been re-made from scratch!
-Unique visual themes for each of the 4 playable campaign sides, each meant to evoke a different atmosphere.
-Clean, low-colour background visuals - easy on the eyes, helps focus on the action!
-No changes to the actual layout of information, menu text, or ways in which the interface works - all buttons, menus and shortcuts work as previously and all text still appears the same.
-Useful information added wherever possible (e.g. the side bars at lowest zoom levels in Eagle Day now include a quick summary chart of aircraft performance, plus distances to target areas)
-New dialogue boxes; less obtrusive menu items wherever possible
-Black-and-white mini-maps (lower right corner of the main map screen) - making it easier to find units via the mini-map.
-More varied photos and period art materials featured in menu screens.
-Unique end-of-campaign screens for every side and every outcome (win-lose-draw), stylized as (fictionalized) newspaper front pages + clippings of historical documents.
-German elements added where possible (e.g. translated campaign titles for loading screens, newspaper text in victory/defeat screens).
-All-new clouds for the on-map weather
-New explosion sprites, revised flak sprites.
-Updated raid icons (loosely based on RAF Fighter Command plots), with added text to help distinguish inbound/outbound raids (“IN/OUT” for British, “AN/AUS” for German).
quick demo of the revised explosion and flak sprites in action, featuring the least effective raid on Biggin Hill ever!
So, if you like what you see - you may get the full 124mb VIP package, linked from my google drive for the moment. Links will be updated as necessary!
DOWNLOAD LINK FOR COMPLETE VISUAL IMPROVEMENT PACK, v1.0: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aLv4Jq3lcd2PpVn3fDittDGlG7_i-N2Y
And check the readme file for more details. Installation is extremely straightforward.
You can also see the readme file online here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1C7tsjGw0c9EHXY52L9ftL9niVNycAtL_9mLRe_HZU40/edit?usp=sharing
As promised, a small collection of miscellaneous files:
Fix for plane top views on the Weapons screen in BoB, for those who use game version 1.02 or earlier, without any "unofficial patches": https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvdEF1bUJ4ZUowN1E
Small on-map aircraft icons, without added light outlines: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvNHduSnVMSjcxYzg
Restore original, large-size airplane icons from the default game: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvTHA1MlBaUTZPUW8
Note: you can use these without the main mod pack if you want, and each map pack includes compatible target icons just in case. Obviously, the full pack is recommended. You can choose the map variants and change them any time (that you are not running the game) to suit the side you're playing, or just your personal preferences.
You can only have one BoB map and one BTR map installed at a time.
Further map options will be added later.
FOR "BOMBING THE REICH"
"All Clean" version
This map does not have any text, labels, or markings - just the plain terrain.
Download: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvRzdWVHpfa1gzdG8 (27mb)
Standard version, with place names
This map is already included in the VIP pack by default. It features place names for towns and some geographical features throughout Europe.
Download: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvVW1udDZpM1lTOVE (27mb)
FOR "EAGLE DAY"
"All Clean" version
Same as for BTR, this cleaned-up version of the map has only the terrain, with no map labels or symbols of any sort.
Download: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvb2I4QzRncVFJTjQ (19mb)
Standard version, with place names and basic markings
This map of Britain is already included in the VIP pack by default. In addition to the terrain, it includes place names throughout the map area, markings for areas of responsibility for various commands (Fighter Command groups, and Luftflotte for the attacking side), and a line indicating the approximate escort range limit for Me 109s over England.
Download: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvWGdhTk1UdUlvVEU (19mb)
"Luftwaffe Commander" version
This version of the Battle of Britain map is meant for playing the Germans. It includes place names and some extra markings, including range circles indicating range to closest German base in 100-mile increments, maximum 109 escort range, and the Gradnetz reference grid (a geographical coordinate-based grid used by Luftwaffe planners throughout the war). For more detail about the Gradnetz system, you can read here: http://airfields-wwii.com/tools/gradnetz.html
Download: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvb1hfOERYNnRUMVk (19mb)
"RAF Commander" version
A corresponding version meant for the British player, which does not feature place names, but has a detailed breakdown of not only fighter groups but also primary airbase sectors, complete with radio callsigns for those in the main combat zone. Also included is the RAF's reference grid - which unlike Luftwaffe's latitude-longtitude Gradnetz, instead used 100x100km squares based on the entirely different Cassini projection. For more detail about the Modified British system, used by Allied planners throughout the war, you can read here: http://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-welcome.php
Download: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B77YKog18qtvSUZxSmdqWW01dU0 (19mb)
And that's all for now! If you're one of "The Few" active around this particular game, please give this mod a try :)
PS: for those who missed it in the middle of the post, here again is the main mod download link:
COMPLETE VISUAL IMPROVEMENT PACK, v1.0: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aLv4Jq3lcd2PpVn3fDittDGlG7_i-N2Y
< Message edited by CCIP-subsim -- 1/9/2018 8:03:56 AM >