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Making rails, roads, and trenches. It works.


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#1 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:05

I hope this topic will open new possibilities for creative people here.

As I know everyone who tried to make a new map for ROF has encountered a serious problem: binary format for rails, roads and trenches (they use almost the same format) is not known and there are no known tools to produce them.
A couple of months ago I've tried to reverse engineer the binary format but without the great success. I've also asked devs about it, and they have answered about a way to make new roads and mentioned that it involves conversion of "ini" files into binary ones using a game or editor. If only I knew how close I was to the solution back then…

Yesterday, I was discussing some mods with DiFiS and mentioned that some want to see a railway stations because they are good target for bombers.
I'll skip details right now, but here are results of that discussion:

EDIT: see page 2 of this thread for much better pics! Re: Making rails, roads, and trenches. It works.

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Attached File  2012_5_18__9_57_50.jpg   258.99KB   4352 downloads
Attached File  2012_5_18__9_59_23.jpg   314.6KB   4352 downloads
Do you see anything unusual? ;)
Railways are made by me, object placement and underlying ground texture by DiFiS.

I think I can safely tell that this is the first ever mod for ROF railways. I can also say that sidings are too long and turns have wrong radius, but this is just an experiment that was made in half an hour this morning.

These rails actually work in game. Trains can navigate them - I have checked. There is one problem with initial object placement though - when tracks are close the train may appear in game on the parallel one instead of where it was placed in editor.

Now you may want to ask me what kind of complex tools do we need to make them?
I will answer: None! My example was made in notepad. And binary files are automatically built by the game (or ME) from those "ini" files that we've seen long ago. And it is not a hack, this is official feature. All this time it was so close but unknown…
I will post instructions on how to enable this binary generation, but I need to do more experiments before.

One more question I'm expecting to hear is whether it will work in multiplayer and/or "mods off". The answer complex, but to put it simple: it will work without enabling mods but it can't be easily added into multiplayer.

I have some ideas on how to use this new knowledge. But at first I want to hear your comments :)

UPD. Editor and help
Re: Making rails, roads, and trenches. It works.
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#2 SYN_Vander

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:17

Bloody excellent I say!

I think the best way to go forward now is to add a lot of these rail yards to the big cities we have in the game: Lille, Reims, Amiens, Metz, Cambrai, St. Quentin, Douai and then ask the devs to put it in the game in a new update.
Adding this as downloadable add-ons in MP may be fun, but other than a proof-of-concept it will be hard to maintain (the missions that is).
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#3 J2_Tony

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:25

Very cool!
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#4 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:31

I think the best way to go forward now is to add a lot of these rail yards to the big cities … and then ask the devs to put it in the game in a new update.
Adding this as downloadable add-ons in MP may be fun, but other than a proof-of-concept it will be hard to maintain (the missions that is).
Exactly. I believe the main map needs a bit of facelift. Road network, railyards, some texture layers (substrate) to add life into scenery…

Road network can be edited in SVG format in any editor. I will perhaps make a tool that exports existing ini files as editable SVG and vice versa.

And you are right about the multiplayer. I can add that road data just won't work as downloadable content as we did for clouds, for many reasons.
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#5 J.j.

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:37

That's astonishing work ! Great job! I think Wolfpac will be very glad to see that! :S!:
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#6 Castro

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:40

Nice work! I agree with SYN_Vander that these new rail yards shall be added to the game in some future update provided that the trains will move properly.
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#7 1PL-Lucas-1Esk

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:51

Fantastic work AnKor!
I will be very interesting to test such an utility in the future. The final effect looks great!
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#8 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:53

Don't forget to thank DiFiS! He is the one who knows the right questions to ask devs. And he also knows ho to add that nice ground textures to bring a lot of life into scenery :)
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#9 MarcoRossolini

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:58

Terrific, I can't wait!
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#10 redcoat22

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:03

Very exciting! Lets get these added
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#11 ST_ami7b5

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:06

Wow, guys, you are great!
:S!:
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#12 Panthercules

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:09

Very cool looking - would love to see something like that through my bomb site :)

Press on!
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#13 LordNeuro_Srb

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:09

Woow amezing work. :o I know i would love to see thise in rof, iven if my crapy pc cant hendl it. Amezing, and now if we could add same more solders to the camps , and trenches theat would be awsome. Gr8 work.
:S!:
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#14 ROSS_DiFiS

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:13

Decoration

Attached Files

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#15 -Requiem-

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:19

Just want to say thanks for the work you're doing Ankor and DiFiS. I follow your threads but don't post much in them, but it looks like you're opening some doors for some more immersion in RoF.
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#16 Flashy

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:22

This looks very cool, and is exactly what I need at the moment for my mission! I really do hope you are able to find a way to make this work in MP because we really do need "proper" rail depots and rail yards…
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#17 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:33

New pictures look great! The bottom one is just like a desktop wallpaper.
Замечательно. Самая нижняя так вообще хоть на рабочий стол ставь :)

By the way, if you look closely you will see that there are two engines pulling the same set of boxes in the opposite directions. This is the placement issue that I've told about. Initially those engines were set on different tracks.

Flashy, it is really problematic to use in MP. Perhaps it might work for closed events, but not on public server. Everyone will have to install new map before joining the game.
It may also work for custom-made single player missions. But as Vander said the best way to go is to make something "production ready" to be officially added into the game.
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#18 1PL-Lucas-1Esk

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:40

Again, a-we-so-me!
DiFiS, AnKor, you Guys are pushing the limits so much! :) I hope that at least substrafe textures will be included in the Western Front map. Maybe even there is a chance that you could contribute somehow to the Channell Map by adding such a great stuff while the map is being created ?
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#19 =Fifi=

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:42

Looks awesome!
Just have to know where exactly were those big railroad stations on map (obviously big cities)
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#20 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:48

Looks awesome!
Just have to know where exactly were those big railroad stations on map (obviously big cities)
Yeah, that an interesting question. Would be good to get some historical references.
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#21 TheBlackPenguin

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 13:57

Wow! Hopefully these can be integrated into the main sim :).

This is interesting, not sure if its been posted before or if it is indeed useful:

WW1 from the air.
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#22 LordNeuro_Srb

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 14:21

Thx for the post of film TheBlackPenguin. Wery good video. :S!:
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#23 Happyhaddock

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 15:06

Looks to have some real potential so well done on this guys, and whilst I appreciate that these images are so far only here as a test of the technology/software, and as such this isn't a criticism of your work, but given the high levels of research that go into the aviation side of this sim, as someone who has a background which is more railway focused I'd encourage folk to take a serious look at railway prototypes of the relevant period/location if they are to start using this to develop genuine maps/missions as there's much about these images that "feels wrong" in terms of track design and station layout, stuff that would never have been done in real life.

Nevertheless it's great to see folk putting work into developing the environment in which we fly so congrats on the hard work and I look forard to seeing more of this…

Anyone out there brave enough to think about adding all the narrow gauge, almost temporary lines that moved troops and supplies around much closer to the front line….

HH
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#24 ChiefRedCloud

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 15:23

Fantastic work guys ….. I hope we can work it into MP very soon ….. Bravo
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#25 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 15:33

as someone who has a background which is more railway focused I'd encourage folk to take a serious look at railway prototypes of the relevant period/location … as there's much about these images that "feels wrong" in terms of track design and station layout, stuff that would never have been done in real life.
Sure, I don't have any special background except that I lived near the old (pre-WW2) railway station when I was child and still I see issues here.
But in our defense: everything in those pics has been done just for fancy visuals during lunch-breaks today. I typed rail coordinates in notepad and it took several minutes to start ME and verify results each time. Then I sent binary files to DiFiS and he has placed various building and textures but he hasn't been able to move tracks. So it was a completely uncoordinated effort.
And did you notice working engines pulling the same carriages into opposite directions? :)

Of course if anyone is going to do some real mapping then real photos/documents should be used for reference purposes. And by the way, this is a big question (as always): who is going to do the job? It is a lot of work.

I can make tools and help with technical issues, but I'm not an artist nor history researcher.
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#26 TheBlackPenguin

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 15:39

Fantastic work guys ….. i hopr we can work into MP very soon ….. Bravo

Indeed, but HappyHaddock raises excellent points. Although, where to start researching?
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#27 Waxworks

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 16:00

A few minutes search produced this: Cambrai railway station

Great work thanks guys, this is something I've wanted for a while. Have you got any images of new trenches? Would it be possible to add the Hindenburg Line trenches along with the new railway stations?
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#28 Dutch2

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 16:10

good work guys keep on, who knows next step, putting in static objects
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#29 SYN_Vander

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 16:15

A few minutes search produced this: Cambrai railway station

Great work thanks guys, this is something I've wanted for a while. Have you got any images of new trenches? Would it be possible to add the Hindenburg Line trenches along with the new railway stations?

That's what we need! Do you see how big that rail yard is in relation to the town? In ROF as it is now you have to look hard to even see the train station!
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#30 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 16:48

Waxworks, nice find. I agree that stations for main cities shouldn't be very hard to find. I'm more curious about how railway network and stations should look outside the cities and closer to the front. Unfortunately we can't add narrow lines as Happyhaddock suggested because all railways must be of the same width and use the same texture.

Adding new trench lines is possible using the same tecnique. Although trenches are more complex to edit because a lot of interconnections and details. And they have the same limitation - fixed width and the same zipper-like texture (and while the texture is ok, it lacks variety). Ground textures can be diversified by using substrate textures as shown on page 2 here but these textures are of limited use and better suit localized objects rather than continuous front lines.

I think now we should collect as much ideas and reference data as possible. Then we will see what can be done and what not.

PS: It must be night right now in New Zealand. Looks like O_WolfPac will get a nice surprise in the morning - it was he who first asked me about road data back when I was researching map format for mission editor :)
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#31 Rama

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 16:55

That's what we need! Do you see how big that rail yard is in relation to the town? In ROF as it is now you have to look hard to even see the train station!
Beware: what you see on this aerial photograph isn't the whole town of Cambrai (the Center of the town, the fortified city, isn't on the photo, but on the west (top side of the photo)), but a small part of the eastern suburbs of Cambrai. If you had an aerial photo of lowest scale, this rail yard would look much smaller in relation to the town.
This train station was in 1914 composed of only 2 rail tracks, it was developed further during the war as a depot train station.
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#32 SYN_Vander

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 16:57

Waxworks, nice find. I agree that stations for main cities shouldn't be very hard to find. I'm more curious about how railway network and stations should look outside the cities and closer to the front. Unfortunately we can't add narrow lines as Happyhaddock suggested because all railways must be of the same width and use the same texture.

Adding new trench lines is possible using the same tecnique. Although trenches are more complex to edit because a lot of interconnections and details. And they have the same limitation - fixed width and the same zipper-like texture (and while the texture is ok, it lacks variety). Ground textures can be diversified by using substrate textures as shown on page 2 here but these textures are of limited use and better suit localized objects rather than continuous front lines.

I think now we should collect as much ideas and reference data as possible. Then we will see what can be done and what not.

PS: It must be night right now in New Zealand. Looks like O_WolfPac will get a nice surprise in the morning - it was he who first asked me about road data back when I was researching map format for mission editor :)

Being able to move the trench lines would be top of my list! It would be incredible if we could do this as part of the mission.
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#33 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 17:10

Yeah, how could I forgot to mention: now nothing really stops from making a moving front line as in Modded map.
Well, expect the free time. Note that topic is from 2010 and it mentions custom weather, substrate textures by DiFiS and other interesting stuff too. Everything was known long ago…

It would be incredible if we could do this as part of the mission.
So far I think that the only viable solution is to make a predefined set of front lines for various periods of war. Of course there are other solutions but they aren't manageable.
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#34 Rama

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 17:11

I think now we should collect as much ideas and reference data as possible. Then we will see what can be done and what not.
Yes, and the reference data collect isn't an easy task… and can quickly be quite expensive (believe me…).

The example given is quite nice. doing some "believable" depot rail stations near big towns would be a nice addition.
In order to make more accurate stuff, then the towns should also be made more accurate in size (bigger, most of them are to small), which means that there would be a lot more objects on the map… something that could be a problem to get correct fps…
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#35 HotTom

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 17:22

Brilliant!

This would be a major addition for bomber simulation!

I really hope the work you've done moves forward!


:S!: :S!: :S!:

HT
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#36 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 17:24

Rama,
Hmm yes, I've noticed that cities ingame are rather small. I haven't checked but I have a feeling that railway station from this topic won't fit properly into the designated place in Amiens.
And FPS is a thing to keep in mind too. I've noticed from the forums that there are a lot of people with relatively weak PCs and the game engine has some odd limitations about object count.

And I understand what you say about getting reference data, but at least something is still better than nothing. If we could get some examples like the one Waxworks posted it already makes a big difference.
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#37 hq_Jorri

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 17:29

Fantastic pioneering! Thank you, guys. This opens the door to more immersive maps, maps set in different moments with appropriate trenches, and entirely new maps as well. I can't wait to see what this brings.

A joint effort to make an improved map that tye devs can then use to replace the current one, sounds like a good idea also, to get the best result.
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#38 Rama

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 17:44

I have a feeling that railway station from this topic won't fit properly into the designated place in Amiens.
If it's supposed to be Amiens rail station, no it won't fit.
Amiens railway station was of the "terminal type", with 6 track ending of the station building and a seven continuing to the SW.
I can send you a map for the position if you want.
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#39 Rama

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 17:49

Rama,
And I understand what you say about getting reference data, but at least something is still better than nothing. If we could get some examples like the one Waxworks posted it already makes a big difference.
Yes, it can help to improve from place to place…. but even there, the full-scale photo would be better than just the quicklook (where you can't even see the rail tracks)… and to get the full-scale photo, you have to pay….

My personal problem is quite different, since I need to get good map references for full map coverage. And for the Italian front map, I'm still searching….
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#40 AnKor85

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 17:51

If it's supposed to be Amiens rail station, no it won't fit.
Amiens railway station was of the "terminal type", with 6 track ending of the station building and a seven continuing to the SW.
I can send you a map for the position if you want.
Hmmm… You seem to know a lot about this topic. ;)
Sorry I'm relatively new here and don't know you, are you somehow involved in map making for ROF?
Well yes, the map will be useful. Thanks.

And I actually suspected that Amiens should have a terminal station, I've just used it as an example for relative area and choosen Amiens because I mostly do all my experiments around this city :)

and to get the full-scale photo, you have to pay
I see. No, I think I'm not ready yet to pay to be able to work to improve a game that I've paid a lot for :)
Anyway we'll see what can be found. Piece by piece. We'll see.
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