We're going to need a map making tutorial

Dr Zaius

Chief Defender of the Faith
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2001
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
514
Location
The Forbidden Zone
First name
Don
Country
llUnited States
Wow, I just spent some time fooling with the Aide De Camp 2 map editor. It's now readily apparent to me that this isn't going to be easy without a walkthrough. Has anyone written any tutorials on making maps with ADC2?

I hope this isn't going to be as complicated as it seems at first glance... :confused:
 

HPS

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
94
Reaction score
0
Location
Santa Clara, CA
Country
llUnited States
I don’t know if we’ll do a tutorial sort of thing for map creation or not. My main map creator started on something like that, but a lot of real life stuff came up and he wasn’t able to continue working on it. I’ve asked another experienced map-creator if he wants to do it, but he hasn’t decided yet. But hopefully we’ll get something together soon.
 

Dr Zaius

Chief Defender of the Faith
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2001
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
514
Location
The Forbidden Zone
First name
Don
Country
llUnited States
Hub said:
Just got ADC 2 in the mail today- haven't even been able to take off the wrapper yet. I've made maps for a number of games- once I get familiar with ADC 2 I will try to write something up.
Okay, good. When you get them done we can host them in our POA2 map archive. There aren't any files there yet, but I hope that will change before long.
 

HPS

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2004
Messages
94
Reaction score
0
Location
Santa Clara, CA
Country
llUnited States
It’s going to be a while before I can get the documentation done for the scenario creation. The delay is because I want to take care of bugs first, but also because we’re going to revamp the creation process and I don’t want to waste time writing about the current system when I know it’s going to be at least partially changed.

One other thing I’d like to suggest, for those users who don’t mind helping me squash the bugs, is that they save their files every turn to a different name. The problem we’re running into is that folks send us files, and we can’t replicate their crashes - because the cause was likely something that happened in a previous turn but was cleared when the file was saved and re-loaded. I know it’s a pain the neck, but it’s probably the only way we’ll ever get some of these things. Also, they should be using the latest patch file and the original databases.
 

tws71669

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2003
Messages
434
Reaction score
0
Location
St. Mary's ER
Country
llUnited States
So maybe the standard format for submission should be T1 T2 T3 etc as a savename? each turn just bump it up a #.
Also, in regards to map making, I use ArcView and MapCAD 2004 for a lot of DEM/DTM stuff. Can I use digitized and modelled material from USGN and NOIA sources in ADC2, and thus port them into POA2.
The GIS software I am familiair with has a tremendous (about $2K U.S. worth) of potential for creating different maps, but I don't know if ADC2 and hence POA2 could interface with such. Anyone have any knowledge about importing into ADC2 DOD quality material from actual terrain models...? help... pleeeze...
 

Dr Zaius

Chief Defender of the Faith
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2001
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
514
Location
The Forbidden Zone
First name
Don
Country
llUnited States
tws71669 said:
Anyone have any knowledge about importing into ADC2 DOD quality material from actual terrain models...? help... pleeeze...
I believe I remember hearing Scott say that this isn't possible at this time. The only way to make maps right now is with Aid De Camp 2. I could be wrong about that though...

Can these map programs of yours produce a topographic image? We may not be able to import the actual elevation data, but it sure would be nice to have a utility that could produce an image that we can use for the topographic map.

1:25,000 and 1:50,000 maps work best and the only source I know for these is the military. Scenario authors will most likely want maps for places like the DMZ in Korea, portions of the Middle East, Africa etc, are not going to be easy to get maps for. I have a complete set of paper 1:500,000 topographic maps for Iraq and Iran, but these aren't much good for POA2. I know there is software on the market that can produce topographic maps for just about anyplace, but I have no idea which programs would be useful or how to use them.

We are either going to need a reliable utility that can produce topographic map images for us, or we need a source for maps of this scale on the internet. If anyone has any ideas please feel free to share them.
 

tws71669

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2003
Messages
434
Reaction score
0
Location
St. Mary's ER
Country
llUnited States
Don Maddox said:
I believe I remember hearing Scott say that this isn't possible at this time. The only way to make maps right now is with Aid De Camp 2. I could be wrong about that though...

Can these map programs of yours produce a topographic image? We may not be able to import the actual elevation data, but it sure would be nice to have a utility that could produce an image that we can use for the topographic map.
Yes... in isometric, 3D or vrml... and straight topo/shaded. I can import elevation data but sources are Hard to get. ONI and DMA have some stuff and the French/Russians have been selling this kind of data opensource now for several years. It's relatively cheap for what you get. It's funny you should ask about the regions you mentioned. I was just working up a digital terrain model of the DMZ and the greater Bagdahd area.

This is going to be all for naught though if I can't drag the data into ADC2... which I currently don't own.

I was really hoping ADC could import common CAD or image formats... if it can, I am in businesse so anyone please keep me posted, especially if you own a copy.

Maddox, thanks for the insight. I am going to keep researching this.

-T
 

tws71669

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2003
Messages
434
Reaction score
0
Location
St. Mary's ER
Country
llUnited States
If I have time tonight I might try and post a attachement or screenshot to give an idea of what I can make... the local area Bagdhad map is very detailed but is probably closer to 1:25000 and HUGE. like 14.6MB so it's gonna need to be seriosly shrunk.
 

Ivan Rapkinov

Harpoon Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
Messages
1,314
Reaction score
2
Location
Australia
Country
llAustralia
I use WinTopo Pro and BlackArt 2.0 to convert scanned topo maps to DEMs (uses raster vectorisation and other such big words) - both free (well, WinTopo needs be be registered for a modest fee) and will even create ATF usable DEMs ;)

I'm more interested in taking a scanned image and assigning eelevation to it a la the TacOps map editor (though in that case, there's two elevations...)

Or even using Squad Battles level maps and overlaying the image whilst keeping the elevation data (unlikely, I know, but one can hope)

first on my agenda is a Groznyy map, then Argun Gorge, then whatever - Dili/Aceh (need some Aussies for that though :( ;) )
 

Dr Zaius

Chief Defender of the Faith
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2001
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
514
Location
The Forbidden Zone
First name
Don
Country
llUnited States
Well, if we can at least get topographic images, it shouldn't be difficult to tranform the file into a standard .bmp image that we can use in Aid De Camp 2. Does this mean we are going to have to enter the elevation data and terrain manually? Yes. Currently, that is the only way to make maps for POA2. That might sound harsh, but it's no different than making maps for TOAW, East front, West front, etc. I only know of about two wargames that have any ability whatsoever to import data from an outside source. Most of the time you have to do it the hard way - one hex at a time.

Simply finding a .jpg, .gif, .tif, or whatever that I could convert to .bmp format for the topographic image was my greatest fear. I have experimented a little in Paint Shop Pro and it's easy to reduce .bmp files to 256 colors, which is hardly noticeable on most images. This greatly reduces the size of the file and zipping it reduces it even further.

tws71669 said:
Yes... in isometric, 3D or vrml... and straight topo/shaded. I can import elevation data but sources are Hard to get. ONI and DMA have some stuff and the French/Russians have been selling this kind of data opensource now for several years. It's relatively cheap for what you get. It's funny you should ask about the regions you mentioned. I was just working up a digital terrain model of the DMZ and the greater Bagdahd area.
Great! Post a screenshot or two so we can see what this program can do. If anyone has any other great ideas be sure to post them here. Also, please post link to where we can find these utilities.

On a side note, owners of POA2 can buy Aid de Camp 2 right now at a discount. Check the HPS homepage.
 

tws71669

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2003
Messages
434
Reaction score
0
Location
St. Mary's ER
Country
llUnited States
first on my agenda is a Groznyy map,


--- Ahh.... the dukhi fighting some makhra ? haha
a good idea I think tovarisch!
 

tws71669

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2003
Messages
434
Reaction score
0
Location
St. Mary's ER
Country
llUnited States
Okay... just a short update on my map importing efforts.
I have decided to use 1M resolution per pixel data from KH11/3 sources. This puts everything circa 1998 to the current date so nothing is too outdated for our purposes.
I can export the raw data into pale b/w images of very clear detail that provide a nice contrast to the unit colours we play with. These can be scaled to appropriate sizes for the units represented on the scale that POA2 models them since every pixel is 1M at max zoom out.
I would like to know from anyone what the terrain scale is for each of the three zoom levels in POA2, then I can manipulate the imagry somewhat and see if I can get a genuinely accurate fit. The largest zoom would be 1:50000 simple topographic format (if I can crack that nut), the second would be 1M per pixel sat-image, and the third is still being worked out, I don't want to lose the effect but it may end up being a classic loking hex-ish format. The first two maps themselves can be any file format POA2 needs them to be... I think it takes graphic image formats, or at least ADC2 should.

This has been very time consuming and brings my AMD2800+ with 2 gigs of RAM to its knees for an hour at a time... but I really think the results will be awsome. I have seen the beta shots I finished and it really puts some clear cut images on the screen. You wanna fight at the gates of Al-Najaf, I'm gonna make sure you can see the grains of sand all the way up to the royal palace's front doors... heehee
If anyone has ideas, comments or suggestions, please tell me...


Regards,
Tiberius
 
Last edited:

Dr Zaius

Chief Defender of the Faith
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2001
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
514
Location
The Forbidden Zone
First name
Don
Country
llUnited States
Do we have any software that can create maps with contour lines on them?
 

tws71669

Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2003
Messages
434
Reaction score
0
Location
St. Mary's ER
Country
llUnited States
Don Maddox said:
Do we have any software that can create maps with contour lines on them?
There is a tool I have from GARMIN I believe, that will interpet rasterized data into topographic contours accurate to elevation in 10 meter increments. What file formats do my maps need to be for ADC2 to make them usefull?

Regards,
Tiberius
 

Dr Zaius

Chief Defender of the Faith
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2001
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
514
Location
The Forbidden Zone
First name
Don
Country
llUnited States
tws71669 said:
There is a tool I have from GARMIN I believe, that will interpet rasterized data into topographic contours accurate to elevation in 10 meter increments. What file formats do my maps need to be for ADC2 to make them usefull?

Regards,
Tiberius
ADC2 simply uses a .bmp image of a topographic map for the two zoomed out views. After loading this "map" you have to manually input the elevation and terrain type info.
 

Ivan Rapkinov

Harpoon Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
Messages
1,314
Reaction score
2
Location
Australia
Country
llAustralia
Don Maddox said:
ADC2 simply uses a .bmp image of a topographic map for the two zoomed out views. After loading this "map" you have to manually input the elevation and terrain type info.
akin to the TacOps map editor?
 

Ivan Rapkinov

Harpoon Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
Messages
1,314
Reaction score
2
Location
Australia
Country
llAustralia
Don Maddox said:
Do we have any software that can create maps with contour lines on them?
going back from DEMs to rasterized topo maps you mean?

BlackArt will do it, but it looks messy. Given DEMs are as rare as hen's teeth in the civilian sector (unless you want to pay megabucks), should be easier just to get get the rasters.

paper maps are the best, but they have nasty writing on them that is messy to delete...
 
Last edited:

Dr Zaius

Chief Defender of the Faith
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2001
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
514
Location
The Forbidden Zone
First name
Don
Country
llUnited States
Ivan Rapkinov said:
akin to the TacOps map editor?
I'm not sure as I haven't played TacOps yet. I believe TacOps simply uses images for the maps, while the actual terrain info is in a separate file. Correct?

Yes, I think scans of paper maps would be best, although I was hoping someone had something that could actually produce an image that looked like a regular paper map.

The problem with the paper maps is getting them. If we could get them on CD I'm sure we could find a way to create an image from them, even if we had to resort to "print screen." Not very glamorous, but it works. 1:500,000 maps are not all that difficult to find, but 1:25,000? These are much more difficult to get.

I know at one time the Army had nearly all the 1:50,000 maps on CD. The problem is that I do not know if these were "unlimited distribution" or not. I also believe the whole set was something like 50 CDs! I'm also not sure if this was availble for retail sale, but I imagine it would be expensive if it were.

Everyone keep posting ideas. I'm sure we'll come up with someting.
 

Ivan Rapkinov

Harpoon Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
Messages
1,314
Reaction score
2
Location
Australia
Country
llAustralia
well basically any TacOps map can be imported then - most of the USMC bases and some canadian ones have all been done. But then there's the issue of copyright.
 

Dr Zaius

Chief Defender of the Faith
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 1, 2001
Messages
8,897
Reaction score
514
Location
The Forbidden Zone
First name
Don
Country
llUnited States
Ivan Rapkinov said:
well basically any TacOps map can be imported then - most of the USMC bases and some canadian ones have all been done. But then there's the issue of copyright.
Are these sold with the game or has someone scanned them from paper copies or what? What scale are they?
 
Top