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Thread: Mapmaking help

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Mapmaking help

    Hello,

    Am new to this particular modding gig and have decided to delve into the lesser travelled road of Cartography! to start. Know of the somewhat dated threads and Duke John's summary thread (incomplete???) and the old map library project (defunkt???). Have read much and forgotten more and request a few confirmations of defined entities, if you please:

    1. Maptex.tga and Maptex2.tga -
    The original or "picture" map - from handdrawn, hardcopy, or online source.
    2048 x 1536 pixels (fixed?, max?), size in MB varies w/ content.
    2. Lukupmap.lbm and Lukupmap2.lbm -
    The outline map or "computer's" map - user created with region enclosures defined by color 0, sea regions with 1 unique color and land regions with 2 unique colors ea.
    Fixed pixel???, size in MB varies w/ content.
    There is an implied direct 1:1 scale relationship between the respective Maptex and Lukupmap, correct???
    Reason for 2 maps each is for different display resolutions???
    (I think I remember this from WesW MedMod d/l)

    Two ways to generate:
    A. Lukupmap is made from new layer placed on top of Maptex, edited for coords (pixels -> coords; 8x / 16x multipliers, or does LMM do this?), converted, and run thru LMM, etc.
    --- OR ---
    B. Lukupmap made from scratch (what?!?!) or simple scanned hardcopy outline map, edited, etc. Maptex made after the fact from Lukupmap or original?

    3. Minimap, minilukup, FE..., FE... .bifs - First 2 are minimaps for Campaign, last 2 (FE) for Front End menu(s).
    4. Wood... - Frames or window dressing - recycled, reused
    5. Limit to number of regions - 100 or 108 land (Updated with VI??? or patch) and 40 sea
    6. REGION_IDs are hard coded as such to specific palette position numbers. Mapper must keep a housekeeping list of his own as to which new region names (and colors) matches to the hardcoded MTW (or VI) REGION_ID. California = WESSEX_ID, etc. (Of course, with VI map IDs you're even further limited)
    7. Are region names placed (painted) on the textured (or not) MAPTEX (if not already on the original)?
    Did I miss any important specs??? Will deal with tweaking LMM generated scripted files incl. Startpos at later time.
    Any help on above would be appreciated.

    Oh Yeah, which paint program(s) works best with MTW maps (many opinions vary)..... Conflicted!

  2. #2
    Beauty hunter Senior Member Raz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Ahh mapmaking, personally, Campaign Map Making is the worst subject in modding MTW. Well, from me personally. But I have mingled with it quite a bit and can help you with some of the questions:
    1.
    Maptex and Maptex2... they are short for (You'd assume at least) Map Texture. These are the actual textures you see in-game on the camp-map. I'm pretty sure (can't check and don't know off the top of my head, sorry) that Maptex2 is a larger version of Maptex. I believe that Maptex (smaller one) is/was only used on low-end PC's with a max screen-res size of 800x600... I think. Don't quote me on that. What you should do to start a new map from scratch is find a map texture that is pretty large and build around that. This is referred to as you've posted in 2. b... The Map Texture size is not fixed, as you'll notice in the difference between MTW-Vanilla map and VI map. I'm not sure if there is a max, if there is - modders have not stumbled upon it.

    2.
    As you've posted (quoted?), this is what the engine uses to define regions. It is indexed (256 colours) and listed with special index colours. Colour 0 is a sea region etc. Fixed pixel? Not sure what you are referring to. Sorry.
    Yes, there is a fixed scale. The only time this is not 1:1 is on the map used for the faction/era selection screens. You know, when you select your faction at the start of the campaign. This is what is referred to in 3.
    Sorry can't answer the next issue (3. a.), I could never get LMM to work.
    As for 2.b. I suggest using a che guevara effect... Greyscale your highest res map texture, then use Thresholds until you've got the che guevara effect. You know, this guy:


    3.
    No issues here... right?

    4.
    No issues here... right?

    5.
    No issues here... right?

    6.
    No issues here... right?

    7.
    Region names are placed directly onto the MapTex files. Make sure you've placed them actually inside the province. That is, don't declare regions that cross over the province name... It'll make people say "WTF?!".

    As for image editors. I use GIMP for .bmp and .tga files (only naming the ones used in MTW). GIMP is interchangeable with Photoshop. Biggest difference, GIMP = Free but bad interface. Photoshop = King of all image processors but propriety software.
    For .lbm files you'll need Ultimate Paint. Some use others taken from various sources... I don't heavily edit .lbm files so UP is fine for me. You'll need to wait for others to reply to this.
    For .bif and .buf files, you'll be using readBIF. Available from the Mizus Server. (Go to www.totalwar.org. on the left is downloads).

    I've finished the questions, using 22 minutes of my life... =D
    Last edited by Raz; 03-29-2008 at 11:22.
    Quote Originally Posted by drone
    I imagine an open-source project to recreate [Medieval: Total War] would be faced with an army of high-valour lawyers.

    Live your life out on Earth; I'm going to join the Sun.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Raz

    Thanks sooo much for your reply. Info is either in summary form or in brief snippets between dev. disscussion on utilities themselves (LMM, for ex.). Just wanted to make sure I got everything right. Didn't want LMM to burn it my CPU processing an ill prepard file (I hear its CPU intensive). Got the main utility package D/L. GIMP sounds like a GNU pD program, is that right???
    Sorry it took 22 min. of your time (better spent on modding), but I do appreciate it. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Beauty hunter Senior Member Raz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Gimp is under whatever the free license is... GNU most likely... I know there's a "G" in there somewhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by drone
    I imagine an open-source project to recreate [Medieval: Total War] would be faced with an army of high-valour lawyers.

    Live your life out on Earth; I'm going to join the Sun.

  5. #5
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Campaign maps: lo-res is 2048x1536, hi res is twice this 4096x3072. Despite appearances the Viking map IS the same size - it just has a lot of extra wood background painted on the MapTex and corresponding dead area on the LukUp (yes, I have considered the implications for extending this map eastwards.... it's very tempting ).

    Lukup maps are the same size, also in hi and lo res versions (the MapName2 being the larger version in each case). I recommend doing your actual LukUp map work on the SMALL copy then change size to 200% to make the large copy - this is to avoid losing single-pixel areas which can happen if you do it the opposite way round. As the MapTex is purely cosmetic it might be best to get the hi-res looking right, then halve its size.

    It might well be possible to use different map sizes, but I tend to veer towards the "if it ain't broke, don't break it" approach You have more than enough variables that can kill a campaign map without adding new ones. It's a heck of a lot of work to do to find out your starting premise may be wrong.

    I've used LMM2 for the completely new maps I've made, but small edits are easier by hand (eg moving borders).

    Although LMM instructions suggest using a copy of MapTex as a base then adding in the features using the colours it wants - namely borders, origins, ports and castles, I find I get excellent results by making it as a 3/4 colour BMP, using a solid black background, with the borders in pink and the dots for the other features in their respective colours. These dots get converted into coordinates in LMMs script output, or as you've found you can calculate them yourself as 8x Lukup2 pixels (from top left) or 16x Lukup pixels.

    I found LMM2s "water on land" feature doesn't work well, and it hiccups over large swathes of pink. I edit these features manually later. LMM has a "same province" feature so you can tell it when two separated areas are actually the same province (essential for inset maps )

    Q3 - correct - minilukup being the colour overlay, the minimap is the background - LMM can generate these
    Q4 - correct - wood.tga are the tiles for the "tabletop" background/border to the map, easiest to leave alone but you could probably do something fun if you fancy it
    Q5 - 108/40
    Q6 - not quite - palette numbers are allocated in the order the provinces are declared, and LMM might be a bit unpredictable as to which province it gives which name. I much prefer using the Viking notation (ID_LANDREG_## rather than ID_PROVINCE_NAME) and you'll realise why when you come to cutting and pasting parts of your startpos into a spreadsheet for those final bits of editting
    Q7 - as per vanilla, the province names are part of the MapTex, not the Lukup (but when you get Punic Wars running take a look at that and see if you can work out what I did )

    Personal preference for graphics work is Photoshop - I'm used to it, I know what it can do, and it's already on my PC. Plus it allows you to save and edit colourtables, switch between colour modes, handles almost every format you could imagine (except BIF and LBM, alas!) However I hear GIMP is also very good (and free).

    For LBM work I use MithelImageConvertor to convert to something Photoshop can handle, then make a properly indexed BMP and Mithel it back to LBM. I have UP, but all I've done with it is basically view files and swear at the screen a lot everytime I use it to edit. Personally I reckon it a waste of disc space.

    Oh and as for LMM being heavy on CPUs - remember this came from when LMM was new and CPUs about 5 years less advanced than they are now. Mine is nothing special but it spits out a full LMM run in enough time for me to stop, have a coffee and "comfort break" and work out what I did wrong with some coffee in my hand

    Good luck!
    Last edited by macsen rufus; 03-29-2008 at 12:06.
    ANCIENT: TW

    A mod for Medieval:TW (with VI)

    Discussion forum thread

    Ancient TW2: Eastern Empires is under development again

    Featuring: Rise of Persia, Alexander's Conquests, Wars of the Diadochi

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Thanx, Mac, yet again (feel like I'm leaning an ya')

    Would love to repsond to indi points, but should go fiddle and then ask Q's.
    I read Photoshop has some problems changing the intended palette. If I use it
    will I face same issue and need to adapt, or is that an old issue.
    Just came across your post on ATW3:Roman, will get to it sometime this weekend and D/L. Can't wait and I'll take a close look at your Provinces.

    BTW, I D/L the MTW tools resource pac and found something inside. Was this Intentional???

  7. #7
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    BTW, I D/L the MTW tools resource pac and found something inside. Was this Intentional???
    Depends which pack and which something I guess Was it DukeJohn's pack?
    ANCIENT: TW

    A mod for Medieval:TW (with VI)

    Discussion forum thread

    Ancient TW2: Eastern Empires is under development again

    Featuring: Rise of Persia, Alexander's Conquests, Wars of the Diadochi

  8. #8

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    And something of yours?!?!?

  9. #9
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    If you mean the Ancient TW folder in DJ's pack, then actually that's his own, much earlier venture - some of which I have since been able to co-opt into my own line up.
    ANCIENT: TW

    A mod for Medieval:TW (with VI)

    Discussion forum thread

    Ancient TW2: Eastern Empires is under development again

    Featuring: Rise of Persia, Alexander's Conquests, Wars of the Diadochi

  10. #10

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    OK. 'nuff said. Wasn't trying to be alarmist!

  11. #11
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Phew, and here was me worrying I'd let the Al Qaeda manual slip out somehow
    ANCIENT: TW

    A mod for Medieval:TW (with VI)

    Discussion forum thread

    Ancient TW2: Eastern Empires is under development again

    Featuring: Rise of Persia, Alexander's Conquests, Wars of the Diadochi

  12. #12

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Sometimes strange things happen when selecting files for uplaod in a hurry. :)

  13. #13
    Beauty hunter Senior Member Raz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Heh... just completely contradict my post Macsen....
    Quote Originally Posted by drone
    I imagine an open-source project to recreate [Medieval: Total War] would be faced with an army of high-valour lawyers.

    Live your life out on Earth; I'm going to join the Sun.

  14. #14
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    well, I had to give the proof to when Fenixx said opinions are contradictory

    And I didn't answer this one:

    I read Photoshop has some problems changing the intended palette. If I use it
    will I face same issue and need to adapt, or is that an old issue.
    I had problems with UP doing this (hence me shouting at it a lot ), but with Photoshop you can edit colour tables directly (can be a bind if you need to do 256 colours, but you shouldn't need to...) and also you can save them to retrieve later. So I have colour tables lined up for Lukup maps, minimaps, various faction shields, reviewpanel images, info_pics etc. It's then a simple process, if you need to work in RGB mode at all, to reload the palette at the point where you convert back to indexed. The main reason I need to use RGB is for anything involving layers (which don't work with indexed images) or subtle colour changes, lighting effects etc etc.

    You can also set up custom palettes with some colours "forced", so if you need to create a new palette, you can at least pick up a "template" which has certain values already set (eg background colour for BIFs, faction-colour fluorescents etc) then PS can fill the rest as it sees fit.

    So you shouldn't have any indexing problems with PS as long as you're organised and lay the foundations as you go.
    ANCIENT: TW

    A mod for Medieval:TW (with VI)

    Discussion forum thread

    Ancient TW2: Eastern Empires is under development again

    Featuring: Rise of Persia, Alexander's Conquests, Wars of the Diadochi

  15. #15

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    O.K.
    Some of the trailblazers' posts (Y2002) left me with the impression that only 256-1 colors (the one being reserved for the purply-pink borders) total could be used, and in fact had to be to get the full 108+40 regions. Am I misunderstanding something??? (I know they were trying to decipher mechanics at the time. Its a nice history of modding MTW. They sure have left a legacy.)

  16. #16
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Ooops -- I did mean 107 not 108

    Index 0 = pink, Index 1 = something else or possibly just unused, Index 2 = province 1, Index 3 = province 1 border, etc etc, with 216 to 255 being sea regions.

    Note in the original MTW/VI palette the last four colours are the same, and need to be changed to make all 40 sea regions work - I've done this and it's fine - used the extra seas to divide the Black Sea into three and add a new zone along the Lebanese coast. It's the index position rather than the colour itself that defines the province association - some of the colours are actually repeated (how, I don't know...) so you may need to tweak the final map using the appropriate brush from the index - BMPs do know which index no something is despite being the same colour as another index number. (The actual colours are more for our convenience than the game's...)
    Last edited by macsen rufus; 03-29-2008 at 15:01.
    ANCIENT: TW

    A mod for Medieval:TW (with VI)

    Discussion forum thread

    Ancient TW2: Eastern Empires is under development again

    Featuring: Rise of Persia, Alexander's Conquests, Wars of the Diadochi

  17. #17
    Nur-ad-Din Forum Administrator TosaInu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Hello,

    There are tools to help create campaignmaps:

    Wellingtons LukeMapMaker http://www.mizus.com/files/files/MTW/Tools/LMM/

    Other MTW tools: https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/local....php?catid=168
    Ja mata

    TosaInu

  18. #18

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Thanks much Tosa!

    I downloaded Duke John's MTW_tools_resources, it seemed to be recent and all-in-one (is that all???). Nice of him, or other, to put it all in one place. Just wondering about latest versions (LMM4v1beta, BifR 2.2, Gnome, and Mithrel v1.1???). Also, think I've got it, but noticed other downloads required to run some utils(JRE, VBRE, etc.). Thanks again!

  19. #19
    Nur-ad-Din Forum Administrator TosaInu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Hello Fenixx,

    VB runtime: https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/local...hp?linkid=1016
    Mithels requires Java runtime from Sun.

    There are some BIFReaders by RSW, the latest afaik, is 23c. The file has the label Test, but seems to work fine. The Java Run Time can be obtained from Sun. I think this one: http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/download.html

    It doesn't contain all tools or versions, but it contains a very good range of tools that should allow to get any MTW mod job done.
    Ja mata

    TosaInu

  20. #20
    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    One final word: make sure your palettes are 100% correct BEFORE you start modding! NOT half way through.
    #Hillary4prism

    BD:TW

    Some piously affirm: "The truth is such and such. I know! I see!"
    And hold that everything depends upon having the “right” religion.
    But when one really knows, one has no need of religion. - Mahavyuha Sutra

    Freedom necessarily involves risk. - Alan Watts

  21. #21
    Nur-ad-Din Forum Administrator TosaInu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Hello Rythmic,

    Do you know whether this helps? https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/local...hp?linkid=1035
    Ja mata

    TosaInu

  22. #22
    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Oh wow, I'll give it a try. Thanks Tosa!
    #Hillary4prism

    BD:TW

    Some piously affirm: "The truth is such and such. I know! I see!"
    And hold that everything depends upon having the “right” religion.
    But when one really knows, one has no need of religion. - Mahavyuha Sutra

    Freedom necessarily involves risk. - Alan Watts

  23. #23

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Hello all.

    I have a few questions re: modifying the default map textures.

    1) Does anyone have suggestions for an clean and efficient way of erasing the default province names from the maptex? I understand the most obvious way, but it leaves the map looking altered. Just wondering about other techniques.

    2) When doing a mod using an area smaller than the default maptex, when selecting/cutting/resizing the map, do you consider it more important to maintain the aspect ratio, or to fill in the max size (2048x1536/etc/.)? Again, a question of maintaining look and feel.

    Thanx

  24. #24
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Hi Fenixx:

    1) depends on your graphics package, but I find that the Photoshop "clone stamp" gives near-perfect results with practice - just copy some similar landscape over the letters. Use soft-edged brushes, look for similar landcsape features etc. On the map I did you'll find extra forests, mountains etc in places they didn't used to be

    Another way is to add a layer, fill it with copied landscape, then use a layer mask to fade that from opaque to transaparent over the text, then remerge your layers - even better results than the clone stamp, but will take at least twice as long to do.

    2) I haven't tried deviating from either - note that even the Viking map maintains the actual size of the main campaign map, and its effective playable area has been reduced by having an extensive "dead zone" along the eastern edge. It's one of those areas where "trying it out" entails far too much work to be worth the hassle when we already know that a given size and aspect ratio does work. It might work, but if it doesn't then you're a month down the road and starting from scratch again

    If you have a map that doesn't fill the full area, then just give it a big pink border on LukUp and fill the same area on the MapTex with tiled "wood.tga" - or even make your own texture for the backdrop
    Last edited by macsen rufus; 04-12-2008 at 09:26.
    ANCIENT: TW

    A mod for Medieval:TW (with VI)

    Discussion forum thread

    Ancient TW2: Eastern Empires is under development again

    Featuring: Rise of Persia, Alexander's Conquests, Wars of the Diadochi

  25. #25

    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    Mac,
    Thanx for advice on 1). Hadn't tried that yet, although I'll have to translate that to GIMP.
    RE: 2). Obviously, you just used the VI map, straight up for 43AD, right? But for Punic, I assume you did a cut and/or crop and resized upward preserving same aspect ratio, correct? Just wondering.
    One quick question: The only time , in mapmaking, I need worry about palettes, really, when using the LMM path (new maps) is when retouching the LUKUPs, right?

  26. #26
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mapmaking help

    The 43AD MapTex is slightly altered - I blotted out "Francland" (using the clone stamp) where the new continental provinces are, and I added an extra sea border where I split off the "Mar Germanicum", but left the majority of names in place.

    The Punic map was done by cropping and rescaling the MapTex with constrained proportions, but the LukUp was redone using LMM. I have been using LMM2 (I couldn't get LMM3 to work, and haven't tried v4 yet). You need to have the correct palette for your LMM to output correctly, but that should be bundled with the LMM package - I had to make some changes to the palette that came with LMM2, but I think that was originally developed for MTW basic, not VI. You also get a second shot at sorting the palette if you convert to LBM by using Mithel ImageConvertor.

    When retouching, make sure you do it in indexed mode, then you can only use colours from the palette, and won't introduce any "new" colours due to mixing or anti-aliasing etc. And it's better to work on the 2000x1500 version (approx) and double its size for the Lukup2 than the other way round
    ANCIENT: TW

    A mod for Medieval:TW (with VI)

    Discussion forum thread

    Ancient TW2: Eastern Empires is under development again

    Featuring: Rise of Persia, Alexander's Conquests, Wars of the Diadochi

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