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[MAPS] AAS Community Map Making Guide

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Dleg

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Post Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:51 pm

[MAPS] AAS Community Map Making Guide

As suggested by fly_zo, here is a fresh thread in which we can begin piecing together a basic guide to making new mod maps in IL-2.

I will keep this first thread updated with the latest version.

UPDATE 10/01/08:

Version 0.4 - minor updates and additions since last version.

Download version 0.4 (9/05/08 ):

http://rapidshare.com/files/149821138/AAA_Community_Map_Making_Guide_v0.4.doc.html





Please feel free to review, comment, and most importantly - [u]provide content[/quote]
Last edited by Dleg on Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:54 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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fly_zo

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Post Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:13 pm

great , many thanks :D

its sticky now ...

to all : please limit your posts only to constructive ones , i intend to keep this thread as clean as possible


thank you
Z
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Dleg

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Post Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:24 pm

I have updated the first post with a new version - combined my own and 2bits' collections of quotes, and added some basic introductory narrative. If it would help get feedback, I will just paste the text of the introductory narrative here in this post (fly_zo let me know if I should not do this again - but please note this is only a small portion of the whole document)

PLEASE COMMENT AND HELP FILL THE BLANKS / ERRORS:



Introduction / Map file structure

An individual map in the modded world of IL2 is composed of several files located within an individual map folder. Within that folder, the individual files that compose a complete map package include the following:

Map image files:

map_c - 50m/pixel 8bit/grayscale
map_h - 200m/pixel 8bit/rgb
map_t - 200m/pixel 8bit/rgb
map_f - 200m/pixel 8bit/rgb
map_R - ????
map_M - ?????
map_ed
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fabianfred

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Post Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:48 pm

map F is 100m / pixel (will be same dimensions and size in mb. as ed_m01)

ed_map_t is simply a copy of map_t ....renamed

I haven't found any maps which require the ed_m03 map....and canon's Channel map doesn't even use the ed_m01.....just the 02!
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fabianfred

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Location: Thailand

Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:10 am

When you first manage to get your map to load into the FMB the textures will probably look a mess like this...

Image

try using these lines for your load.ini ... so that each texture has a unique colour and you can easily spot which texture is being applied to what height setting...

[FIELDS]
LowLand0 = land/Pacific/burmascrub.tga
LowLand1 = land/summer/LowLand_2.tga
LowLand2 = land/summer/greed.tga
LowLand3 = land/Pacific/JungleKT.tga

MidLand0 = land/summer/midland.tga
MidLand1 = land/Pacific/ChichiGrass.tga
MidLand2 = land/Pacific/fields_kevtungatt2.tga
MidLand3 = land/summer/grnd/fields_sand3.tga

Mount1 = land/summer/bottommount.tga
Mount0 = land/summer/grnd/GRND_04gr.tga
Mount2 = land/summer/Asphalt.tga
Mount3 = land/winter/Snow4.tga

Country0 = land/summer/GermanFields1.tga
Country1 = land/summer/greynoise.tga
Country2 = land/summer/fields_highmount.tga
Country3 = land/summer/trenches.tga

City0 = land/Pacific/fields_Imphal.tga
City1 = lland/Pacific/field_Clay.tga
City2 = land/summer/field5_burma.tga
City3 = land/summer/factory.tga

AirField0= land/summer/fields_airfieldBurma.tga
AirField1= land/Pacific/Imphal_af_new.tga,-2
AirField2=
AirField3=

Wood0 = forest/summer/JungleKTABurma.tga
Wood1 = land/summer/fields_airbase_dust.tga
Wood2 = forest/summer/JungleFarBurma.tga
Wood3 =

Water0 = land/summer/sk_midland4.tga
Water1 = water/water.tga
Water2 = water/CoralCoastLine.tga, -2
Water3 = land/summer/grnd/fields_sand3.tga


then try adjusting the map_t in Photoshop ...adjust the contrast and/or brightness to get the texture lying at the heights on your map you want them to be at....
some maps with a very large range in height from sea level to mountain tops will even use textures from the airfields/city/or water sections...so you will need to adjust the map_t to lessen or increase the differences, otherwise you will have no textures free to allow building cities/towns/airstrips


Once you have your map showing up as a layer cake with strips of textures at different heights, you can start to assign the textures you require

Work upon the map_c first to get the rivers lakes correct.....then check the water/land edges to pull them down using the blur tool.......then lay the rail and road (this will affect textures underneath) ....... add towns/airstrips/bridges/harbours
last of all check textures by hand in 3D mode

If making a smaller than full scale map then

3:4 scale mapC = 75pixel; h/t are 300m/pixel
1:2 scale mapc = 100pixel; h/t are 400m/pixel
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fabianfred

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Location: Thailand

Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:37 am

Once you are happy with your ed_m01/02 tga's and your map_F ...you can safely change them from RGB to indexed colour to make the filesize smaller for sending through the internet
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fly_zo

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Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:38 am

Dleg wrote: I will just paste the text of the introductory narrative here in this post (fly_zo let me know if I should not do this again - but please note this is only a small portion of the whole document)




its perfectly ok , this way its easier for comments and suggestions cos of quoting possibilities


thanks again
Z
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lowfighter

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Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:06 pm

Hi M8s,
I'll be looking next days more thoroughly over it. One thing which should be covered though is the use of the AUTOPOP utility for populating a map, and creating the corresponding town factory and village templates...
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fly_zo

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Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:38 pm

lowfighter wrote:Hi M8s,
I'll be looking next days more thoroughly over it. One thing which should be covered though is the use of the AUTOPOP utility for populating a map, and creating the corresponding town factory and village templates...



lets take one step at the time .... IMHO we should concentrate on basics and early stages in map building for now . Once that got fully covered we can move on ....

regards
Z
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lowfighter

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Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:40 pm

Yes, you're right!
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asheshouse

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Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:36 pm

ed_map_t

Defines areas of movement for ships or vehicles. Stops vehicles crossing rivers.
Same size as map_T, 8 bit greyscale tga.
Use two shades only, RGB 0 for land RGB 28 for water

-----------------------
Generally any prefix can be used for the file names provided these are defined in the load.ini
This is useful to keep track of revisions or to produce different versions of the actors.static
eg: actors_May1940.static

When working with maps with a large number of objects FMB Map Editor may no longer be able to load the file. In this case Actors tools or Actors_CS need to be used to split the objects into selected areas so that these can be loaded separately for editing. For a dense map like Slovakia the largest area which can be edited in FMB Map Editor is roughly 50 x 50Km

To manage the actors files I have a main file called actors_master.static and sub files such as actors_21NE.static (which is the northeast corner of the map square with the coordinates 200,100)
The sub files are recombined with the master file when editing is completed taking care not to duplicate existing objects in the master. It may be necessary to split the master before recombining with the sub file in order to remove any existing objects in the sub area.

-----------------------
For the first version of the manual it will be sufficient just to note the existence of the special tools:
AutoPop; Actors_CS.exe, with a brief description of what they do.
The help files which come with these are self explanatory.
Last edited by asheshouse on Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Triad773

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Location: SAS

Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:32 pm

This is great! Makes me think about doing a map of the Chicago area and Glenview Naval Air Station where many Navy pilots went through training in WWII. While it's use would probably be limited to training, they did have a converted boat made into a carrier in Lake Michigan.

Sorry for the OT: the point of my post-
Suggestion about handling the Static.ini file:
- If a map contains custom objects, would suggest standardization of map maker have a "Add_to_static.txt" document instead of them trying to furnish their own. In this manner, one would simply supplement their static file instead of over-writing it.

I've installed a few maps, and I found that the ones where a separate custom static.ini was provided was the most difficult to install. I understand that the authors are trying to simplify some elements of installation, but if you have other things depending on your current static file (like, the Ship Pack, Flag pack, etc.) it can create some unintended issues.

Thanks for listening-

Triad
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Dleg

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Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:52 pm

lowfighter wrote:Hi M8s,
I'll be looking next days more thoroughly over it. One thing which should be covered though is the use of the AUTOPOP utility for populating a map, and creating the corresponding town factory and village templates...


Hey, feel free to write something up - remember, I am a mapmaking noob .... my role here is only to organize and pester the master mapmakers into giving out the actual advice.

Along the lines of what fly_zo said, perhaps a logical "break" in the tutorials would be to split into two or more "volumes" -

Volume 1 could cover the basics - what files make a new map, and how to get the files together so that the map can be loaded into the FMB, and then the methods of "cleaning" those basic maps (coastline adjustments, elevations, etc) and basic info on texture tiles, roads, etc.

Volume 2 could then cover the heavy detail work in the FMB - including autopop, airfield construction, considerations for mission builders, etc... Perhaps there's even a natural break in there for a volume 3, but since I haven't personally gotten that far yet, I wouldn't know what it is.

BTW thank you everyone who is commenting so far - I will be incorporating your additions and corrections over the next few days, and will issue an updated version later in the week.

Keep the comments coming!
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fly_zo

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Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:40 pm

Triad773 wrote:This is great! Makes me think about doing a map of the Chicago area and Glenview Naval Air Station where many Navy pilots went through training in WWII. While it's use would probably be limited to training, they did have a converted boat made into a carrier in Lake Michigan.

Sorry for the OT: the point of my post-
Suggestion about handling the Static.ini file:
- If a map contains custom objects, would suggest standardization of map maker have a "Add_to_static.txt" document instead of them trying to furnish their own. In this manner, one would simply supplement their static file instead of over-writing it.

I've installed a few maps, and I found that the ones where a separate custom static.ini was provided was the most difficult to install. I understand that the authors are trying to simplify some elements of installation, but if you have other things depending on your current static file (like, the Ship Pack, Flag pack, etc.) it can create some unintended issues.

Thanks for listening-

Triad



that was covered in map mods rules/gudelines :

(The link is inoperative)

regards
Z
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fabianfred

Posts: 2316

Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:48 am

Location: Thailand

Post Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:41 pm

Don't forget.... especially if you are making a large map..... once you can load into the FMB or FMB+ OK, before you waste time working on it....try to open it in the MapToolsFMB first.
Many maps will open in the normal FMB, but not in the Tools one if size is a problem.......
For example my new Burma map will load Ok in FMB+ and I can even fly over it...but it will not open in Tools FMb so i cannot do any work, that is why i am having to split it into two parts, Upper and Lower Burma.... :wink:
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