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Creating topographic maps for a game modification

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#1
Clypp

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Hi all,

I'm assisting in a game modification for successful Battlefield 2 called Project Reality. The goal of the mod is to have large scale combined arms battles while attempting to balance realism with good gameplay. Players on foot can pull out an interactive map that shows friendly troop locations and build bunkers and the sort, vehicles constantly have the map displayed in a corner of the screen as a GPS unit.

This is how the maps look currently, an aerialphoto style that the level editor outputs quite simply.

Posted Image

However, I wish to convert these to military style topographic maps. The following is an example of one of my attempts.

Posted Image

There are some problems. The roads are not as nice as they could be if they were vector based with black edges or hashed. The rail line is hand drawn and looks amateurish. The forests do not depict the tree type and there are many symbols that could be added.

Here are my questions. I found a list of open source GIS applications HERE. Which would be the best for my purposes.

What map features do you sujest to make this as accurate as possible to common NATO standard maps?

If you are interested in some of the already converted maps there are some at the Project Reality Website.

#2
James Hines

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I'm not getting enough information, where exactly is this battlefield?

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#3
Clypp

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The battlefield is fictional, and is created with a level builder. They can range in size up to 4kmx4km. The contour data is gathered from a script that analyzes the heightmap that the level designer creates while making the level. The topographic maps creates are simply done in photoshop by tracing map features from the aerial view, and this I wish to improve to make more realistic.

#4
Adam Wilbert

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Looks like fun!

Personally, I would stay away from any and all GIS software for this project, as it will only introduce lots of "real world problem" headaches that, basically, you don't need to be concerned with. ;) . Seems like Illustrator/Photoshop is all that you need. I'm a little unsure of what you mean by "NATO standard maps" though. Perhaps you can post a couple of samples that you like and we can help deconstruct the elements that you could incorporate.

I assume most labeling will be done on the fly in-game as units move around the board. But perhaps labeling some of the static features. The river, landscape formations, etc. In illustrator, you can define custom line types which, among other things, could clean up your railroad, add road casings for increased legibility, etc. I would also suggest some subtle shaded relief. You could have your level designer export a basic b/w hillshade (perhaps minus the vegetation for clarity) and blend it with the data layers.

Keep in mind the intended use of your map though. It sounds like this will be a relatively small graphic in the corner of the game screen, so don't overdo the details to the point where it is unusable on screen.

I played with the two files that you put up for a few minutes and here is the result:
Attached File  oldogt.jpg   93.66KB   78 downloads

-Adam

Adam Wilbert
CartoGaia.com & AdamWilbert.com
Lynda.com author of "Up and Running with ArcGIS"





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