CS Graphics Under the Hood #2 – Open Terrain and Ground Conditions

Let’s 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 Conditions, available in Scenario Editor.

Open Terrain

First, a look at the tiles themselves. This time they differ quite significantly between 2D and 3D.

2D Open Terrain files

In 2D the tiles depict the elevations changes with a color scheme from the light colors of the lower elevations to darker colors of the high elevations. That’s at least how the vanilla implementation is, you as the Modder can fill them out as you wish of course!

Click to enlargen the image

 

The file comes with 50 rows, one each for all the elevation levels available. Notice the color scheme, which gets gradually darker the higher the elevation (row no) is. The first elevations have the highest color gradient, to make it easier to observe the changes from one elevation to another.

Another peculiarity with 2D open terrain files is that we hit the Windows 10 file height limit, and had to divide the 2D Zoom-In files to two pieces, say Normal8d.bmp and NormalHigh8d.bmp.

Normal[moniker].bmp is the file name for normal Ground Conditions, we’ll get to those in a bit.

3D Open Terrain files

With 3D, the file is rather a simple one, as there the map actually builds the elevations visually, with Slopes (, Escarpments, Enbankments, …) to mark an elevation change.

Here’s the graphic file itself:

Click to enlargen the image

 

Five rows, no color changes per elevation, just the terrain itself.

There we have them, your basic Open Terrain tiles under Normal Ground Conditions. Let us look at Ground Conditions next.

Ground Conditions

Ground Conditions, as well a few other things to be discussed later, are defined per scenario with Scenario Editor, with its Conditions dialog:

There’s six Ground Conditions available as a whole, with Middle East 2.0 regions having Normal, Soft, and Mud conditions available. Frozen, Snow, and Deep Snow will make their appearance with East Front, if not earlier.

Specifically, the Middle East 2.0 Conditions dialog allows the following Ground Conditions:

  • Desert: Normal, Mud
  • Mediterranean: Normal, Soft, Mud

Whether in 2D or 3D, the Open Terrain tiles are named accordingly:

  • Normal[view moniker].bmp
  • Soft[view moniker].bmp
  • Mud[view moniker].bmp

Open Terrain is very dependent on Biomes however, so what Middle East 2.0 ultimately contains is something like this: [Biome][Ground Condition][view moniker].bmp 

  • DesertNormal0d.bmp
  • MediterraneanSoft8d.bmp
  • etc…

That’s the Open terrain covered, any questions let us know.

The next post will cover the topics of Terrain, Vegetation, and Trees. Until then!

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!