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Author Topic: RoadBuilder V1.5  (Read 741 times)

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Nowekat

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RoadBuilder V1.5
« on: September 18, 2019, 11:28:28 AM »

There was not much response to the RoadBuilder and i don't know if anyone uses it. But everyone interested in map making seems to have downloaded it, so here is the much improved RoadBuilder 1.5.

Main changes:

Much more precisely road laying.

File requesters for loading, saving, joining roadfiles and saving the inBuildings.txt.

Bridges are showing up now using the inbridges.txt file created with the ActorsTool (See https://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,61796.0.html). Using special markings for waypoints before and after a bridge the program lays the roads directly to a bridge and away from it.



Much improved and expanded road editing: Shifting, deleting and adding waypoints, splitting, merging and deleting roads and changing their parameters.

More hints if something is wrong.

You may download V1.5 here:

https://www.mediafire.com/file/moonaygi2xu6jxv/RoadBuilder1.5.7z/file

Example files and a full readme are included.

I also added this link to the first RodBuilder V1.2 posting.

Novekat
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stanislao

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2019, 04:00:15 AM »

 :)  Hi Nowekat, don't be discouraged because of limited downloads, unfortunately I don't have the skills to work on old maps so I can create new ones, and I can't help .. but I think your work is fundamental for all of us old fans of this magnificent game! The roads and the zig-zag railways have always been a real punch in the eye for lovers of scenic realism and I have dreamed for twenty years that some codex magician could fix this unbearable aesthetic and functional limit! Then you came! Thank you and thank you again for your work, believe me I appreciate it very much and I hope that all the map experts will always adopt it and that given the results they commit themselves to the revision of their previous maps! ;)

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Nowekat

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2019, 10:52:34 AM »

Thank you. It's not the number of downloads. This is about 30 for every version of every mapping tool i made and i assume, this equals the number of guys worldwide still interested im map making for Il 46, also only a handfull of them is still active. What i wonder about is, that there is nearly nothing about using the tools. Does that mean, they don't work for any other because there is a heavy handling or explanation flaw? Or do they work but the guys say, nice, but not for me, whyever? Or are they used, but nobody mention that? I've no idea, and of course you are right, thats not very motivating.

But luckily there is an other point: I'm a hobby coder and like coding from time to time and have the same problem as every hobby coder: There is nothing to code with a meaning. You use a handfull of profesionell programs, and that is it. No use for anything else. So i'm lucky i can code here something with a meaning for me, even if nobody else uses it ;-)
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stanislao

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2019, 02:47:49 AM »


 :)  Bravo Nowekat, we are all fans of this game, and we post our small or big changes for the pleasure of sharing our enthusiasm, certainly not for the onorter and the glory! You're right, however, knowing that what we do is appreciated and useful to our friends is a great incentive to our commitment in this hobby!
It is true a couple of your maps I was not able to open them, despite numerous attempts to find the solution, but Il2 modded often  presents conflicts and hitches that cannot be easily resolved, so in the end I gave up ... Despite this I assure you that, for what is worth, you have all my gratitude and my appreciation for what you have produced! Thanks Nowekat.
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Mission_bug

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2019, 03:59:41 AM »

I have downloaded your tools, however, as of yet not tried them out I am sorry to report. :-[


I now do very little for IL-2 or use it much other than to test things I make, I do collect things like your tools though and keep them safe for a time when I might want to do some map work again, hope you do not mind. ;)

Most of my time away never seems to last long, no sooner do I say goodbye before the cheering stops I am back again, no will power you see and I like tinkering with this game just because I can and people like yourself give us new opportunities to tinker some more. 8)


Maybe one day there will be a SDK with the GB series and CLOD and then I can go and annoy those good folks with my creations, until then I collect and save things for that rainy day when I feel creative with this old game. :D

The maps you altered with this tool really look superb, downside is there are now so many IL-2 maps that none of us know where to start applying this wonderful tool. ::(


Please keep making them, the effort is really appreciated even if you get no feedback, there is a interest and surely at some time those of us who do have some time in with map building will I hope use what we stash away because as old as the game is and as visually lacking as it might be compared to newer creations I very much doubt it will be abandoned.

There are always new people around finding what is one of the best flying experiences around for sheer variety.


Take care.


Wishing you all the very best, Pete. ;D
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Toobone

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2019, 05:47:44 AM »


 :)  your work is fundamental for all of us old fans of this magnificent game! The roads and the zig-zag railways have always been a real eye-catcher for lovers of scenic realism and I have dreamed for twenty years that some codex magician could fix this unbearable aesthetic and functional limit! Then you came! Thank you and thank you again for your work, believe me I appreciate it very much and I hope that all the map experts will always adopt it and that given the results they commit themselves to the revision of their previous maps! ;)

No one will say better about the usefulness of this mod, completely agree. Good job, Novecat, thank you!
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SpongeBob

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2019, 07:12:26 AM »

Hi!
I've been reading about this mod, and I also think that it could be wonderful to have rounded curves on every map instead those unreal zig-zag roads.

I understand that the biggest problem is to update the miriad of maps that already exist, so my question is:
I do not have the slightest idea of map-making, but... is there any chance to use this tool to cooperate and re-work existing maps to upgrade them into curved-road ones? Is it more or less straitforward or should I learn some map-making before using the tool? Do I need to download any other programs before I could use it?

Just wanting to help...
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Toobone

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2019, 06:08:29 AM »

.. I should learn some map-making before using the tool .. I need to download some other programs before I could use it..

..actually, yes..
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SpongeBob

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2019, 10:23:39 AM »

..actually, yes..

Ok Toobone, I figured it out.
These days I rarely fly, because I am far away from home (no joystick, no rudder, no throttle...). So I was wandering if I could be helpful in converting maps into curved-road ones, just in case it was just an easy but time-demanding task. But I see it requires more knowledge that I have.

Well, I can try to learn something about map-making in the meantime.
Thank you!
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Nowekat

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2019, 10:56:55 AM »

Yes, you need to work with the games mapping editor and need some tools. Like everything it is easy if you know it, but it's not so very difficult if not.  In short, it works like this:

1) Add a folder "maps" to your games root folder. Then add a subfolder with the maps name to that maps folder. Example: ...\BAT\maps\NWEurope. Map files changed with the mapping editor are stored here.

2) You must be able to work with the mapping editor. For this save your bldconf.ini and your conf.ini. Than open the confbld.ini and exchange the [builder_plugins] section with the following section:

[builder_plugins]
  (builder.PlMapLoad)
  (builder.PlMapActors,sectFile=com/maddox/il2/objects/static.ini)
  (builder.PlMapAirdrome)
  (builder.PlMapLabel)
  (builder.PlMapText)

This loads the mapping editor, which is quite the same as the mission editor.

Then open your config.ini and add the following lines to the end of the section [HotkeyBuilder]:

Ctrl C=copy
Ctrl X=cut
Ctrl V=paste
Right=bridgeRight
Left=bridgeLeft
Up=bridgeOffset+
Down=bridgeOffset-

Most important but not listed is crtl + left click and move mouse to select an object.

Some very big maps with very big actors.statics don't work for me with the the mapping editor, don't know why.

3) Then you need a map to work with. There is allready a subfolder \mapmods\maps under your #... installation (. ..\#SAS\mapmods\maps). If you ever installed a modmap, there will be a subfolder with the modmaps name. This contains all map files. Otherwise you have to install an new map ;-)

To get access to the maps in the .SFS files you need the SFSExtract.exe with its dll

https://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php?topic=16581.0

This is b.t.w. one of the fundamental great modding tools.

To generate a filelist for the SFSExtractor with all map files you need the filelist generators

https://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php?topic=59717.0

4) Furtheron you must read and write the file storing all maps objects. This mostly is named actors.static or something else with .static. For this you need the actors.tool

https://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,61796.0.html

Well, the title of the thread should be static.actors and not actors.static, never mind.

Feed the Roadbilder with the needed pathes and files (something like ..#sas\mapmods\maps\WhateverMap\actors.static for reading and  ..\#sas\mapmods\WhateverMap\actors.static for writing). For the reading folder type in "actors.static" or however the maps static file is named in to the file requester, if there yet is no static file, else select this.

Extract the actors.static with the ActorsTool and rename the inBuildings.txt found in the ActorsTool subfolder named as the map as something as inBuildings_original.txt or so.

5) No you are pepaired and can start with the roads.

The RoadBuilder needs three files in its folder:
First the ed_m01.tga. If a different name is used, rename it as ed_m01.tga. Enlarge this to 4 or better 8 times of the dimensions of the map_h.tga. Often the ed_m01.tga allready is enlarged 4 times, but 8 times is better. Write the scaling factor (four or eight) into the RoadBuilderScale.txt. Then copy the map_h.tga and the inBridges.txt., the last from the actors.tool maps folder, in to the RoadBuilder folder.
 
Run the program and build the roads as explained in the readme. This is the easiest and fasted part of the game.

You can change the plates name in the PlatesCountry.txt, the PlatesHighways.txt and the PlatesRailway.txt, if you want to use others then the standard plates. Mostly no other change is needed.
 
Select the actors.tool map folder as the saving folder for the plate roads. Create the inBuildings.txt with the road plates with the RoadBuilder. Run the ActorsTool again and so write the static.actors with the plate roads to the  ...\#sas\modmap\maps\WhateverMap folder.

6) Start il46 again with the mapping editor and select the map under Mission-Editor advanced (I don't know exactly how this is called in the english game version). A  part of the roads will look terrible, and this es the part of the map that is uneven. The plates will hang over the height steps and do not follow the ground, as they are not flexible. To partly solve this run the HeightAdapter. This needs the map_h.tga and will create a map_hAdjusted.tga. Change the section length if needed (Read the readme). Use this tga as map_h.tga in the games map folder (..\sas\mapmods\maps\Whatevermap). Run the map again.

You now will find most parts of the roads flattened and most height steps along the roads dissaperared, but the plates still hang over the remaining hight steps. And along the sloped parts of the roads there may be gaps between the plates. This ist because a slope is longer than its projection to the ground. This you must fix manually by shifting and adding plates with the mapping editor, and this is really the bad part of the job. I plan to investigade the possibility to automatisize that, but don't know how this could work at the moment.

The curved roads don't match with city textures as these mostly come with their own roads. So delete the roads within the towns. You must also fix the roads crossings, you should paint crossing roads within 90 degrees more or less with the RoadBuilder.

Save the reworked map, the reworked actors.static will be stored in the ...#sas\maps\WhateverMap folder. Read the new actors.static from there with the ActorsTool again to get the reworked inBuildings.txt in the ActorsTool map folder.

7) Now copy the original biuldings from the inBuildings_Original.txt file (without the leading [inBuildings]) into the plates inBuildings.txt. No empty line inbetween is allowed. Be also aware you get the two leading spaces in the first line of the copied part. Write the complete inBuildings.txt again with the ActorsTool.

Now you have the roads and the original maps object together. Clean the roads from objects and save again, read the actors and rewrite it again. The complete actors.static with the plate roads is ready now.

7+1) (Instead of 8 to avoid a smiley) But the original roads are still in the map. To remove them you need this tool:

https://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,59513.0.html

This needs the map_t.tga. Run the tool and type in "1" when asked for an input, this doesn't matter here. A file map_t_NoRoadsNoRails.tga is created. If you want to remove all original roads and rails (Country, railway and highway), take this as new map_t.tga.

Otherwise first open the map_t_NoRoadsNoRails.tga with Gimp and then the map_t_RoadsAndRails.tga (the roads and rails are in here) as an layer over it. Delete the road in question. Country roads are painted in colour 32, railways in colour 64 and highways in colour 128. Attention: When a deleted roads crossed an other kind of road or a railway, you must repaint the deleted section to avoid holes in the remaing roads or rails. Crossing of highway/rail: Colour 192 (128 + 64), highway/country: 160 (129 + 32), country/rail: 96 (32 + 64).

Then change the picture mode to RBG and add transparency to the layer. Select the white area and change it to transparency; this works only with RGB. Open the layer dialog with "Window/Dockable Dialogs/Layers" or something like that, i don't know the english Gimp version. Select in the layer window "Mode" and than "Addition". Join the layer, remove the transparency and change to greyscale again. Save as tga with no compression and use this as new map_t.tga.

Great! You made it. To distinguish the curved road map rename it to WhateverMapCR or what ever you like and add the map in the all.ini under the ..\#sas folder.

9) Be aware, that the road plates may not be suitable for a very big map with very long roads, as the number of plates may be to big here. Also in very mountainous areas the plate roads don't work, as it's quite impossible to follow the heigths with the plates here or needs a very short sector length for the HeightAdapter. Possibly only a part of the roads can be exchanged than.

10) When you got interested in map making see 

https://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,33463.0.html?PHPSESSID=d1be19ffe4a45da884723b34a4b81329

where also the Map Building Tutorial V.5 By Kevin P is linked.

Thank you for reading. Before starting consider your wife or girlfriend will not like it, because you will spent more time with the maps than with her.

Nowekat
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SpongeBob

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2019, 09:11:41 AM »

Wow Nowekat,
thank you very much for this 'mini'-tutorial.

I really appreciate the time you have spent writing this. I will read it carefully and see if I can learn it.

And thank you very much for the warning! Probably my wife won't be very happy!

 :D
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Nowekat

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Re: RoadBuilder V1.5
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2019, 11:58:36 AM »

Good luck! The Netherlands map (WIP Section) may be a perfect testing map. I yet did not install it, but downloaded it and the map_h is mostly pretty flat, that eases much. The ed_m01.tga, here named as e_nethS.tga, does not show the roads and rails, so use the RoadAndTownExtractor with the map_t.tga first, scale the created road picture up, make it transparency and join it with the the e_nethS.tga. The road & rail system also is incomplete, so there is enough space for adding roads.

But it's still WIP and the author may have his own plans with it, so it may not be suitable for publishing but for testing only.
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