CS Graphics Under the Hood #1 – Biomes and Regions

Campaign Series Middle East Modders Guide

One of the fundamental reorganizations done to Middle East 2.0 is the file system covering the Terrain and Vegetation graphics for the game, both with 2D and 3D. Changes include a common naming convention to files, where now say "Trees" file is named as such under both views, whether the boardgame view (2D), or the tabletop miniatures view (3D).

But, more importantly, also the whole manner how files are used was redesigned completely. Mapping the world one hex at a time,  as the slogan goes, there's now a specific support for the Regions and Biomes of the World.

We'll also have a look at Structures, containing the various buildings and built-up areas the game maps contain.

Display View Variants

Before going any further, let us establish how the file system for graphics works. All files are located under these folders in game root:

  • graphics
    • map
      • 2D
      • 3D

For each view option, there's a corresponding graphics tile set made available.

Here are the 2D (Boardgame view) zoom levels with their file name monikers:

  • 2D Zoom-In View: 8d
  • 2D Normal View: 7d
  • 2D Zoom-Out View: 6d
  • 2D Extreme Zoom-Out View: 2d
  • 2D Strategic View: 1d

Here are the 3D (Tabletop miniatures view) zoom levels with their file name monikers:

  • 3D Zoom-In View: 0d
  • 3D Normal View: 3d
  • 3D Zoom-Out View: 4d
  • 3D Extreme Zoom-Out View: 5d

Examples:

  • Structures0d.bmp: 3D Zoom-In view structure graphics, in \graphics\map\3D folder
  • Structures8d.bmp: 2D Zoom-In view structure graphics, in \graphics\map\2D folder

OK, that done, let us get to Biomes and Regions, next!

Biomes

"A biome is a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in.", says Wiki:

Campaign Series | Scenario design

Click to enlargen the image

Biomes available in Campaign Series, for an individual graphical representation each, are, with the filename prefix first, and explanation in parenthesis next:

  • Alpine
  • Desert
  • Mediterranean
  • SubTropForest (Subtropical forest)
  • Taiga
  • TempForest (Temperate forest)
  • TempGrassland (Temperate grassland)
  • TropRainForest (Tropical rainforest)
  • Tundra

With Middle East 2.0, the two Biomes available are Desert and Mediterranean.

Regions

But what about the buildings, at least? They differ from Biome to another as cultures are different. So imagine, for West Front, you'd want to depict the whole Mediterranean theatre of operations, and would like to have North African, Middle East and Italian peninsula with their individual look and feel?

The solution is to have Regional versions of each biome (Mediterranean, in this case). Regions supported at the moment are, again with filename prefix first:

  • Afr (Africa)
  • EAsia (East Asia)
  • EEur (Eastern Europe)
  • LatAm (Latin America)
  • NAfr (North Africa)
  • Pac (Pacific)
  • SAsia (South Asia)
  • SEur (Southern Europe)
  • WAsia (West Asia)
  • WEur (Western Europe)

Region + Biome / Biome / Region / Default - In this order

So how to put them together, then? Here's how the code covers them:

  • First, look for a completely specified filename, with both Region+Biome prefixes (in that order). If it exists, go with it. Else
  • Next, look for a filename with a Biome prefix only. If it exists, go with it. Else
  • Next, look for a filename with a Region prefix only. If it exists, go with it. Else
  • Go with a default (prefix-less) filename.

For example,

  • prefer NAfrMediterraneanStructures0d.bmp
  • over MediterraneanStructures0d.bmp
  • over NAfrStructures0d.bmp
  • over (last resort and always available) Structures0d.bmp

This can seem quite complex at first, so let us look at another sample.

Structure tiles, including individual buildings, villages, suburbs, and, cities are located in a fileset called Structures[view moniker].bmp. For instance, the 3D Zoom-in view file is called:

  • Structures0d.bmp (this is also what is called a default file, one  that always exists)

Mediterranean structures, if specifically made available (and they are), would be named as:

  • MediterraneanStructures0d.bmp

Italian buildings vs North African buildings, then, if made available (and currently they aren't), here's what they'd be called in turn:

  • SEurMediterraneanStructures0d.bmp
  • NAfrMediterraneanStructures0d.bmp

Also, covering Italy for instance, if not buildings at least the vegetation between Southern and Northern (alpine) Italy varies. With Trees as an example, we'd have these two sets perhaps:

  • SEurAlpineTrees0d.bmp
  • SEurMediterraneanTrees0d.bmp

Note: lots of possibilities for individual graphics, almost too much even. The idea is to Keep It Simple however, therefore each individual files would be made available only when so preferred - by us as part of the stock game, or by any modder, at any time!

Having gotten this far, let us tackle our first graphics tiles set in the opening post. And since I've used Structures as an example, let us go with them.

Structures

Here's how the files look, with background changed to white, 2D file on left, and 3D file on right:

Campaign Series Middle East

Click to enlargen the image

Here's the individual rows explained:

  1. City #1
  2. City #2
  3. Suburb #1
  4. Suburb #2
  5. Village #1
  6. Village #2
  7. Sparse Village #1 (used with roads going through them for instance)
  8. Sparse Village #2
  9. Industrial Buildings #1
  10. Industrial Buildings #2
  11. Special Buildings #1
  12. Special Buildings #2
  13. Airfield #1
  14. Airfield #2
  15. Rubble #1
  16. Rubble #2 (used in 3D only)
  17. Rubble #3 (used in 3D only)

You'll note there's variations for certain tiles. Some of them are altered automatically, like City, Suburb and Village tiles, while others you'll need to toggle with Map Editor, like Industrial and Special buildings or Airfield tiles.

Summary

In this post I've explained how the Regions and Biomes can be used to provide individual detail to a map, depending on its location, and also, what Structures file contains.

We've also covered how to interpret the file names for each zoom level, and where the 2D and 3D map graphics files are located.

In next post, I'll explain the Terrain and Vegetation files in the game. Until then!

 

 

 

4 Responses

  1. Maybe I take a jump But mapmaking Do you guys think it is possible to generate a map with topographically structure automatic. I know this function from other games
    • Crossroads
      Do you mean like the Random Battle Generator, how it creates an map automatically based on some setup information? If so, you can still do that, just go the Battle Generator, set up the battle, and once happy hit go. What you get is the random battle, with SCN and ORG files too, but if it was just the MAP you wanted, take it out and improve upon it if wanted. They are named RANDOM#.MAP/SCN/ORG, # being an ascending number from zero. You can then save it under another name, with Save As. Did this answer your question? Or did you mean something else?
  2. Mapmaking with qgis for FPRS (and FPSS later on) is wel documented bij William vd Sterren http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4146428 if the file structure is documented it is not very difficult for creating a map with proper height value. decoration with road en terrain is a step further.
    • Crossroads
      That's a great link, thanks Harry!
  3. […] continue from the first post of the series, Biomes and Regions, into our very basic building blocks, the Open Terrain tiles, and how they interact with Ground […]