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Author Topic: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders  (Read 376 times)

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WxTech

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Here are 3 height-reduced map_h.tga files for 3 maps having about 1/2 scale (so as to cover much more area than otherwise possible.) And this is easily enough done yourself for any other such maps, if you have software that can manipulate .tga images via curves; basic instruction supplied.

https://www.mediafire.com/file/afy0tsnho9torlg/WxTech_scaled-map-heights.7z/file

From the included readme:
------------------------

When a map is of half scale, the default gray scale for IL-2 height mapping results in a cartoonishly rugged hellscape of towering, spiky mountains and super steep slopes. The map_h.tga terrain can be made more reasonable in height as follows, via curves (I use Photoshop):

- First pass: Click on the middle of the sloped line, and drag down to 128,80.
- Second pass: Place anchor on midpoint, then drag down upper right end to 223.

Voila! Much more 'normal' looking terrain for the scale. If the horizontal distance scale is acceptable at half, the land height should be so, too.  ;)

I did this for three maps made by modders (these are my own folder names, which might differ from the original):
- Algeria_Tunisia_Sicily
- Northern_Africa_Jir_v3
- PNG_42  (New Guinea, Northern Australia, Rabaul area)

If you have any doubt as to applicability, simply compare the original image to this with any graphics viewer that'll open .TGA files. The areal coverage will make things obvious.

As always, this stuff is free to use by anyone for any purpose, without restriction.

WxTech
Jun 29, 2020
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Mick

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 12:10:55 AM »

... this, for sure, is a hell of a very useful tool ...!!!  ;)

Many THX for sharing ...!  8)
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WxTech

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 12:22:09 AM »

I should have clarified something. After the first pass with curves, click OK; this applies the result, upon which the  next run is added. Then open the curves dialog again. It will, as always, have the default straight-line slope from corner to corner. For the second pass, proceed as described (click on the line midpoint to set an anchor there, then drag the upper end of the line at the corner down to 223.)

Users of GIMP or Photoshop should find this to be among the simplest of all mods to make to a map. Or for most any game element.

As much as I like to give a man the proverbial fish, I would prefer to teach him how to fish. ;)
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tomoose

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 08:59:13 AM »

Apologies if this has been covered on this subject but it prompted my memory about an item in the opposite vein....i.e. I noticed in the Channel maps the famous Cliffs of Dover which in reality are quite sheer, for some reason on these maps they are more sloping and not as realistic as they probably could be.

As a non-map maker I'm just curious about the reason the original map makers did this.  Is it a rendering issue?  A texture issue? A vertices/face issue?
I had considered at one point (with my limited modelling experience) to create stationary objects of the Cliffs with sheer 'faces' in the same way as the some of the historic airfield 'plates' so that they could be slid over the existing map as it were.  They'd be pretty big objects obviously.  I confess I lost interest in it.

Just curious.
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WxTech

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2020, 10:24:45 AM »

'Moose,
Unless a cliff face orientation is more or less E-W or N-S, a steep face takes on a kind of zig-zag, sawtooth aspect. The crude sampling size in the map polygons thus makes for an ugly result if one desires a more 'plane' surface. If maps could be made to have rather smaller polygons in local areas as desired, this limitation would at least be largely mitigated. Hence the utility of your idea, where a cliff object can have polygons of whatever size you seem appropriate, and whose vertices are not limited to a fixed grid like those of the underlying map.
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Mick

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2020, 11:07:24 AM »

I should have clarified something. After the first pass with curves, click OK; this applies the result, upon which the  next run is added. Then open the curves dialog again. It will, as always, have the default straight-line slope from corner to corner. For the second pass, proceed as described (click on the line midpoint to set an anchor there, then drag the upper end of the line at the corner down to 223.)

Users of GIMP or Photoshop should find this to be among the simplest of all mods to make to a map. Or for most any game element.

As much as I like to give a man the proverbial fish, I would prefer to teach him how to fish. ;)

... could you please be more specific about the "passes" for noobs that know very little about PS ...?

Where, and how do you make them, where to click/choose ...?

THX in advance ...  ;)
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tomoose

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2020, 11:18:16 AM »

WxTech;
thanks for the clear explanation.  I understand.  I figured there had to be some 'technical' reason behind it but I didn't know enough about the inner-workings of maps and map building.
Maybe I'll re-visit my "cliff as a stationary object" idea at some point as now it doesn't seem so crazy, LOL.

I used a similar concept a couple of years ago with B-17 bomb doors for the stationary version.  I created the doors as stationary objects in the 'open' position, adjusted the height and slid them under the bomber so that it looked like they were open for loading.  Same for the Lancaster.  It worked like a charm and looks quite convincing.  I was thinking along the same lines for the cliffs but the challenge would be 'blending' them with the existing map terrain to avoid 'seams' when placed.
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WxTech

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2020, 12:18:41 PM »

Mick,
When I say "passes", I mean individual operations. It's like saying that I first made a pass at altering the contrast, and then made another pass at altering the white peak level. One alteration is made and then completed by clicking "OK". Then the second alteration is made and completed by clicking "OK."

One can alter an image in terms of contrast, gamma, black level or white level by a number of schemes offered by the software. Almost universal are:
- Brightness/Contrast
- Levels
- Curves

When selecting Curves, one is presented with a dialog containing a square grid representing the input and output grey scales, on a scale of 0-255. The middle is at 127,127. Initially, a straight diagonal line is drawn from lower left to upper right. One can click-drag this line to alter the output levels. A single click-drag bends the line to a continuously smooth curve. That's what the first pass is doing. I click at the center, then drag straight down, watching the X,Y values until setting the cursor position at 128,80. This makes the line now downward, curving more steeply upward toward the upper right.

One can click anywhere on the line, at any time, to place an anchor. This point will be locked. Click-dragging another point on the line will curve the overall line smoothly in accordance with thelocked-down point. This is what's done for the second pass.i place an anchor on the middle of the straight line at 127,127. Then I click on the upper right end of the line at 255,255, and drag it down until the X,Y cursor position is 255, 223. This makes for a mostly straight line to the lower left (it does end up bowing upward slightly, but that's OK), and curving downward more sharply nearer to the right end.

Multiple lock points can be set, resulting in a potentially complex curve winding up and down. I've not found that necessary here.
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WxTech

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2020, 12:23:57 PM »

This is all just to obtain something that looks reasonable. It's not a 'formula' by which to rescale accurately the full height range. I have a table of microdem-to-IL2 grey values by height, which is non-linear. One could devise a correct scheme by which to adjust all input grey levels to the new output grey levels. But that would take some effort. ;)
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Mick

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2020, 12:36:02 PM »

... many THX for the explanations, will give them a try ...  ;)
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WxTech

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Re: Scaled down landscape heights for three half-scale maps by modders
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2020, 01:40:03 PM »

You can practice on the original map_h.tga I'm replacing, to see if you can obtain a similar result.
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