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Making rails, roads, and trenches. It works.


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#241 AnKor85

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:16

Well, usability doesn't appear out of nowhere. It is either me or you who will have to puzzle over this stuff.
Road generator was ready a couple of days ago as I shown on screenshots - it took me one evening to make it working. However, I already spent more time making it user-friendly and usable for those who don't know about internal structure of roads. And I'm not yet satisfied with the result.
Still I target to make it ready no later than the end of this week. Then I'll take a break as I have other things long overdue, things I'm paid money for, you know :)
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#242 Jason_Williams

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 19:31

AnKor,

You're doing great work. Everyone appreciates it. If the job gets too big shoot me an email and let's talk about it.

Jason
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#243 hq_Jorri

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 19:53

Huzzah!
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#244 AnKor85

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 13:02

Thanks, Jason ;)



And here is the editor as I promised. Sorry for a wall of text, but there are still so much to describe.

One thing though - although I'm putting the tool for public access and tried to make it as simple as time permits, it will be the best if experienced mappers like Lucas and WolfPac try it first so I can answer their questions and fix bugs or add features. I don't have time right now to answer questions from everyone.

Disclaimer: I did some testing but of course use at your own risk. And of course you should make backups of your maps (landscape_***) before attempting to edit them. Roads aren’t stored in gtp and aren’t affected by mods on/off switch. If you break something and don’t have backups you’ll have to use game launcher’s repair feature.

Extract the archive somewhere and start RoadEditor.exe, it requires .NET 4.0 which you most likely already have installed. During the first launch the tool will ask you about Rise of Flight folder. Select one and press OK, it will save your selection and won’t ask you anymore, but you will be able to change the folder later if needed.

Now, to the main (and only) screen of this tool.
Attached File  MainScreen.png   53.15KB   800 downloads

First, you should choose one of available maps in the drop down list.
The tool will show basic information about the map and some folders, which you should note:

This is location (relative to ROF’s “data” folder) of road system from map’s height.ini:
Road System: graphics\LANDSCAPE_DF5x5Verdun\ROADS\RoadsSystem.ini
It is important to check that location is correct, because this is where the game will look for your road data. Note that winter and autumn versions of existing maps share the same road system. This means that when you edit roads for any of them changes will be visible for any of this map, so I recommend working with summer versions of the map to avoid confusion.
Note that if RoadssSystem.ini does not exists (for example you’ve made a new map) it will be created automatically.

Following line is important for editor:
Source Missions: graphics\landscape_df5x5verdun\Editor.Sources\RoadSystem
This is a new folder which will be created when you first export (see below) the existing road data or start editing.
It will contain .Group files which are exported for existing map, and you should put your .Mission file with modified roads in this folder.

Next folder normally matches the road system folder (without the file name).
Output: graphics\LANDSCAPE_DF5x5Verdun\Roads
It is based on BinaryPath value from roadsystem.ini. It may seem redundant here but I’m not sure how ROF road generation works, so I assume this is actually the output folder :)


Next step, for working on existing maps is to export current state of roads. Of course you may skip it if you starting your work from scratch.
Export process creates a number of .Group files - roads_##.Group, railroads_##.Group, trenches_##.Group
Please note that due inconsistencies in ROF files trench lines from Main map will be exported for Verdun and Lake maps too. You should uncheck “Trenches” for these maps when exporting data.

ROF editor can’t handle too much icons at once (not sure why) so each exported file is limited to about 1000 icons. That’s why you may get a lot of them for complex maps.

Next step is RoadSystem.ini settings.
“Save/Load mode” defines how the game (or mission editor) processes roads data - they can completely ignore it, generate binaries or just load existing binaries.
Obviously you need to select second options (generate and save) when editing roads and third (load existing) when playing the game.
Width is just a width of the road (though not without quirks) - I decided it may be interesting to play with.

Don’t forget to click “Apply Settings” after changing any of these options.

And finally, at the bottom of the window goes the main feature of this tool – visual real-time road editing.
What you need to do to get it working.
Create a mission which uses your map and save it into “Source Missions” folder which is shown above. Now, you can either draw new roads from scratch or import one of existing groups.
Every time you click “Apply” in mission editors (assuming you already clicked “Start Real-Time Editing”) roads will be updated based on your mission.

Note that for large maps you won’t be able to add all roads into a mission at once. This is where things get a bit complex.
If you check “Include all files” the tool will build map based on ALL files (.Group and .Mission) from the sources folder. This means that you may use separate missions for separate parts of map. However, road processing is quite slow and you’d better have this option unchecked. Instead you can press “Rebuild All!” to include all files when you need it.

Note that .Group files, exported from original map are also included. However, you may already have one of those groups included in your mission. To avoid duplicates group have a special code in their “description” field. This code is unique for each group and thus allows to avoid duplicates by excluding already processed ones.
Furthermore, you can even “Ungroup” imported groups to simplify editing - each exported group contain additional empty group with name “Unique ID for …” and the same unique code. Unless you delete that one too you are safe from duplicates.

Finally, be careful doing export again will generate a new set of unique identifiers and thus you won’t be protected from duplicates in existing source missions.

Now a bit about editing process.
As you’ve seen on previous screenshot roads are edited by using multiple “Translator: Icon” connected by target links. You can make intersections by using more that one outgoing or incoming target links. Note that every road must have a beginning and an end, so no circles please.
To differentiate roads/railways/trenches - special “Icon ID” is used:
Attack Enemy Transport Column == Roads
Attack Enemy Trains == Railways
Attack Enemy Lines == Trenches
(you can also use “defend” versions of the same icons, but attack ones look better :) )

Also, there’s “Attack Enemy Bridges” icon to denote a bridge. Without it the road will go over the water as if it was solid ground, to avoid it but still keep the road as whole for routing purposes just put “Attack Enemy Bridges” icons on both sides of the river.
Actually devs have a tool that automates bridge placement, I may add into into this editor later if needed.

UPDATE
The latest version of the editor is here:
https://dl.dropboxus...2013Sep30v4.zip" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">https://dl.dropboxus...ntent.com/u/291 … ep30v4.zip

It was updated to fix some bugs (there was a serious bug with exporting large maps into groups, many roads could have been lost) and added new features including SVG export and import.
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#245 J.j.

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 19:23

Sorry if my question is dumb, but after rereading the post twice, I still have one question:

doest this editor allow us to chnage and modify the location of the trenches on the current?
Ie, creating a different frontline for a mission, for example, setting place in 1917?

If so, to have all players in this mission have the version of frontline, you have to give same the edited landscape files?
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#246 AnKor85

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 19:30

:)
Yes, now you can change the location of trenches for current map.
It will require more than just editing the trenches lines, but they are the most complex part.

And yes, you will have to give edited files to players. There are some issues with that (road binaries are huge!), but they can be avoided too.

I believe the best course of action now is as Jason suggested to cooperate and work together on a single project. I will provide technical help, if needed.
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#247 Jason_Williams

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 23:35

Very nice work AnKor!

Jason
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#248 rOEN911

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:32

well i search all the pages very good Work,I was wondering how about the FPS?
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#249 AnKor85

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:17

6 downloads already. That's about 6 times more than I expected :)
Has anybody got any results?

J.j., I didn't mention it yesterday, but I've seen something about moving front on checksix forums. I can't read French, but I suppose it xjouve's work from here Re: Modded map
Now, somebody can try to draw correct trench lines with this tool and by the way, I also figured out how to add smoke, ambient explosions and burnt trees over new no-mans land.

I was wondering how about the FPS?
Well, it depends on what you are going to do :)
Anyway I suppose there won't be any problems with FPS if you add more roads.
There's always a balance between "memory" and "speed" in software development. Roads in ROF are optimized for speed as much as possible, but the side effect of such optimization is that binaries are just huge.

—-

Some hints about using Mission Editor for drawing roads and stuff:

You can add one icon, set its "Icon Id" to what you need and then press "Shift" and click on the map - next icon of the same type will appear where you clicked and they will be already connected. This way, by keeping "Shift" pressed you can quickly add a lot of icons and make a road.

To add a target link between two existing icons you just select the first one, press "Shift+T" once - mouse cursor will change - and then click on the second icon. The target link will be added between them.

If you have 3 icons connected like 1->2->3 and you just go and delete icon #2, the editor will automatically reconnect #1 and #3, so the result will look like 1->3.

Unfortunately there's no easy way to insert a new icon between existing two. Assuming you have following link 1->2 and want to add #3 between them. First you have to delete outgoing target link from #1 (there's a list of targets in icon's properties - click on id of the #2 in this list and press "Delete" on keyboard). Then you add icon #3 as target for #1 as described above (i.e. shift-click to create new or shift-T to connect existing) and set target link from #3 to #2, so you'll get 1->3->2.

Now a couple of important things that I forgot to mention yesterday.
My tool doesn't build road binaries, it only converts between icons in missions to special .ini files and vice versa. Road binaries are automatically built by the Mission Editor or the game itself when a mission is loaded. Of course it didn't happen every time but only when "Save/Load mode" is set to "Generate and save". That's why I you need to set this mode before editing and restore "Load existing" after editing.

Additionally, there's a bug in road generation - it only works when your data are in "LANDSCAPE" folder (the folder of original main map). To workaround this problem for other maps I silently move their road data to the main folder when you click "Start Real-Time Editing" while backup of original roads are saved as "ROADS.EDITOR.BACKUP". When you close my tool or stop editing roads for main map are automatically restored.
Now, although this code should be reliable something may still fail - that's why you should make a backup of your "LANDSCAPE" folder too, even if you aren't going to edit it.
Also, I need to mention that this workaround uses a feature of NTFS file system (directory junctions), that's why my tool won't work if your game is installed on FAT32 drive. Though I doubt anyone uses FAT32 nowadays for hard drives - basically if you don't know what I'm speaking about you don't have to worry.
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#250 ROSS_DiFiS

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:28

it work!

Спасибо тебе добрый человек! пошел играться с твоей тулзой :)

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#251 Rama

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:09

Super job.
Now the possibility is open to adapt the front to a given period.

Many thanks AnKor.
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#252 SYN_Vander

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 10:46

Excellent work! Would someone like to try to make an early March 1918 frontline in the Somme area? This is basically the 1917-1918 Hindenburg line. I could really use this for a new campaign!
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#253 WW1EAF_Paf

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 13:25

You are the man! :S!:
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#254 AnKor85

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 13:50

Paf,
Let's say you want to add some roads for Roucourt. Ignoring railways and trenches at the moment.

First and foremost, make a backup of your "landscape" folder :)

Then you should run my tool, select "landscape" map, remove marks from Railroads and Trenches because you don't need them and click Export. The tool will work for a bit and eventually produce a set of roads_##.Group files in "data\graphics\LANDSCAPE\Editor.Sources\RoadSystem" folder.

Then you create an empty mission that uses the main map and save it in the same folder.

Next step is the "difficult" one: you have to find those roads_##.Group files (one or more) which have roads adjacent to your area of interest. The problem is that the editor will explode once you import too many groups, but perhaps it can handle 3 or 4 of them at once.

Finally, in my tool set "Save/Load mode" for roads to "Generate and save" and click "Apply Settings" and click "Start Real-Time Editing".

Now while "real-time" editing is active you can work on your mission by adding "Attack Enemy Transport Column" icons which will be converted into roads when you click "Apply" in the editor.
You can ungroup imported groups or add your roads into them to make editing more comfortable, but you should keep groups "Unique ID for …" as is - they are needed to make sure my tool won't create duplicate roads.

However, take note that all roads not imported into your mission will disappear. This is done for performance reasons, because rebuilding whole network takes time.
To get all roads you should select "Include all files" in my tool. This will cause all exported groups to be processed as if they were included into the mission.

Finally, when you finished set "Save/Load mode" back to "Load existing" and click "Apply Settings" to stop the game from rebuilding road system every time the map is loaded.

That's it :)

One additional note: you've put a great attention to tree placement in your project, unfortunately roads produce very wide cuts in the forests. It may look bad if you add new roads too close to your forests.
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#255 xjouve

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 17:06

Excellent work AnKor85! :)

J.j., I didn't mention it yesterday, but I've seen something about moving front on checksix forums. I can't read French, but I suppose it xjouve's work from here Re: Modded map

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#256 hq_Jorri

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 17:09

xjouve than you might be the perfect person to bring us updated maps with new front line and corrected roads and rails, considering the great work you have done before? :) :) :)
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#257 1PL-Lucas-1Esk

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 17:20

Let's figure it out :D

Many thanks, AnKor!
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#258 Jason_Williams

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 17:55

AnKor,

Just a curious question. Can this be used to place other 3D things and bend them like say a hedgerow object?

Jason
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#259 1PL-Lucas-1Esk

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 18:07

Works on custom maps as well :)
Thanks again! :S!:

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#260 WW1EAF_Paf

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 18:11

AnKor, thank you for the explanation. When I have some more time again I will test it. I think I gonna stay with roadtextures on my texture because of the forests and alleys. But it is great to have the oppertunity to connect the drawn roads now with the roadnetwork. Will look much more "natural".

Lucas, Warsaw is coming? :)


AnKor,

Just a curious question. Can this be used to place other 3D things and bend them like say a hedgerow object?

Jason

I just was thinking the very same. Would be great to have a tool like this for simple walls & hedgerows.
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#261 1PL-Lucas-1Esk

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 18:22

@Paf,

I have everything done except of roads, rails and custom buildings. I want to learn the stuff on this map. If the community will want to have such a map, well maybe it can be somehow added. But i want to experiment on it, like placing own village and city objects as well as terrain textures. Lots of work but it may be helpful later as a 'base'

sorry for OT. Once I will have someting more serious, I will create a dedicated topic.
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#262 AnKor85

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 18:57

Jason,
Roads in ROF are quite unusual objects - they can bend into smooth curves without performance impact, but the drawback is that they are absolutely flat. Simulating such curves with normal 3D objects will either look bad or become too resource heavy, and although I'm not an expert in computer graphics I doubt ROF's technology for roads can produce non-flat objects.
I thought about making a simple 3D object like a line of telegraph poles with wires and automatically placing them along roads. But if I make a straight line which is 50m long I will need about 19000 of such objects for roads on the small Lake map. If I make it 400m long the number of objects will be less, but it won't be able to follow road curvature very well.

Lucas,
Great to see it works for you!
Unfortunately game doesn't support intersection of more than 2 roads (upper-right corner of your image).
Also I see there is one intersection at lower-right corner which didn't formed properly. I see it happens sometimes, but not sure why. Either my bug, or some kind of in-game requirement.
You can also play with textures (see graphics\landscape\textures\ folder in one of gtp files) and road width to make them better fit the city.

@All,
I said I'll take a break (which is true), but in meantime I want to add support for SVG import/export into this tool. Editing roads and trenches in svg format may be easier for large scale work with fine-tuning done in the mission editor.
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#263 Jason_Williams

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 19:03

Ya that's what I was thinking. I'll ask the guys about it, but I doubt anything can be done.

Telephone poles should not be along every road in my opinion. Maybe just main roads between major towns or something. I'm not sure how common they were in 1914-1918.

Jason
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#264 NakedSquirrel

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 19:45

With hedgerows…

Can road objects be tilted 90 degrees? Perhaps 3-4 roads or a combined road object could be used to simulate hedge rows? And since I doubt roads have a separate collision model, perhaps an 'invisible' forest could be used, or perhaps a forest area without 3d tree trunks.
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#265 J.j.

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 20:21

J.j., I didn't mention it yesterday, but I've seen something about moving front on checksix forums. I can't read French, but I suppose it xjouve's work from here Re: Modded map
Now, somebody can try to draw correct trench lines with this tool and by the way, I also figured out how to add smoke, ambient explosions and burnt trees over new no-mans land.

Yes, you're right, I've included his work in my modpack since he has gone MIA for a long time. But I've just saw that xjouve is back!

On the other hand, the part underlined interests me on the highest point!
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#266 =Fifi=

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 22:06

Telephone poles should not be along every road in my opinion. Maybe just main roads between major towns or something. I'm not sure how common they were in 1914-1918.

Jason

Telephone/telagraph poles were mainly along railroads because they had an agreement with railroads company.
And they were very few only between big cities even in 1914.
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#267 SYN_Haashashin

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 22:22

Works nicely.

Just did a quick test on it, Added some roads and moved the trenches.
Gonna start a proyect base on your work ankor. S!
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#268 Jason_Williams

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 23:17

AnKor,

Can your tool add more flat objects like different types of roads or trenches to add more variety?

As I've stated earlier, I think you guys should organize a unit and make a test subject as proof of concept.

By the way, the Channel map has several new carpets and substrates and building and stuff that could be used elsewhere as well. I really like our new factory substrate.

I think you guys should divide the big map into like 5 sectors (maps within the map) like Vander has done with his previous work and then build up a sector at a time. But maybe take one sector and build it up and then build a few missions based on it and give to the public to test. Try to push the limits a bit.

Or you can just build Paris. :-)

Jason
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#269 MarcoRossolini

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:53

AnKor,

Can your tool add more flat objects like different types of roads or trenches to add more variety?

As I've stated earlier, I think you guys should organize a unit and make a test subject as proof of concept.

By the way, the Channel map has several new carpets and substrates and building and stuff that could be used elsewhere as well. I really like our new factory substrate.

I think you guys should divide the big map into like 5 sectors (maps within the map) like Vander has done with his previous work and then build up a sector at a time. But maybe take one sector and build it up and then build a few missions based on it and give to the public to test. Try to push the limits a bit.

Or you can just build Paris. :-)

Jason


Such a difficult choice…

Looks like you have the royal seal of approval fellas, good luck!
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#270 ROSS_DiFiS

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 13:44

Roads for small map.
:)

Re: Modded map
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#271 AnKor85

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 18:24

Can road objects be tilted 90 degrees?
Well, no. It is not an object in that sense. Think of it as if roads were just painted over the ground (although it is not entirely correct, but a good analogy to show limitations).

Can your tool add more flat objects like different types of roads or trenches to add more variety?
It doesn't depend on my tool.
Right now game engine has strictly three types of "roads": highways, railways, trenches. They basically differ in texture and how AI considers them for navigation. It seems that having some variety shouldn't be too difficult - just allow more than one texture for trenches or roads, but keep them the same for AI. But again I'm not an expert and have no idea what limitations are there in the game engine. So at the moment it is not possible.

On the other hand, the part underlined interests me on the highest point!
I'll write a separate post about moving burnt trees, smoke, and explosions, but later. It is quite simple process actually, however don't expect anyone to be able to remove ambient flak with that knowledge - all components are controlled by a single bitmap: no smoke without ambient flak and no burnt trees without smoke.

—-

Guys,
I just tried to play around with moving front lines, and it seems my tool has some issues with exporting. This might mean that I have to check and fix some possible bugs, and I don't currently have time for that. And I need to add SVG import too, so it will be easier to work on large areas without bothering that the mission editor will crash after adding one more icon (to several thousands of existing ones :mrgreen: ).

And I want to remind what Jason says. Listen to him :)
If you cooperate somehow to work on a single (even "proof of concept" grade) project - it I will be good for everyone, and I will be able to provide more focused help.
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#272 Jason_Williams

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 19:48

Roger all that AnKor. Thanks.

Jason
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#273 O_WolfPac

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:44

Hello Ankor,
Sorry i havent responded properly before page 28

Well Done !
and ofcourse

THANK YOU ! :)

lifes got complicted for me at present so i can not use this great asset but fingers crossed within a month things should settle down enough for me to at least have a home and internet again.

one thought i saw in this thread should be looked into more as its got merit

road side bushes or hedgerows

granted the hedgerow would be visible only but have no collision model because the road texture if lifted off the ground does nothing to a plane or vehicle but it would look right and give depth of view.
COD has visible TREES that do not hve collision and i do not think we shoulod follow that route but hedges and bushes i think is a healthy compromise.
Imagine hedges with afew well placed trees mixed along the hedges and it is worth thinking about an experiment to overlay road textures

Question is :-

how many different billboard textured road maps would be needed to give a illusion of hedgerow for 360 visual effect 4 or 6 ?
it is possible in theory

Anyway Ankor Well Done

i will use this thread its golden and excellant !
It Works !
Greatly required and Very Welcoming



Lucas, i made a map that uses 40x40 tiles it works fine for photo realistic texturing instead of 10x10, it would be nice to allow 1024x1024 or dare i say it 2048x2048 res tiles :) just to compliment rof terrain complex detail.
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#274 AnKor85

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:11

Question is :-

how many different billboard textured road maps would be needed to give a illusion of hedgerow for 360 visual effect 4 or 6 ?
it is possible in theory
Interesting idea, but I haven't looked into how billboards for trees are made. But honestly, I don't want to :)
I doubt it is possible with current rendering engine limitations.
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#275 WW1EAF_Paf

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:51

Would it be possible to "clone" the trenches to bring diffrent type of trenches into the game?
For example to have a combination of staight and zigzagging lines?

a quick test:
Image
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#276 AnKor85

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 13:34

Jason asked the same question above.
Well, I said before and should say again "no, without changes to game engine it is not possible", but I'm beginning to believe I can trick the game into using more than one texture for trenches. Or roads for that matter. But I have other work to do. So maybe someday.
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#277 WW1EAF_Paf

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 14:06

Oh yes, now I see it :oops:
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#278 VonGerlach

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:59

AnKor is there any mod useable form of the tool or the improved rail station/tracks you demo'ed in the opening post for us to try? i am just arriving to read this thread and started at the end and jumped around, saw some remarkable map making going on too. Was not sure if you had released anything yet or not or if this is still research and development. thanks for the hard work. Looks very promising.
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#279 AnKor85

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:53

VonGerlach,
Well, no, I don't have anything to show. Maybe someone else is doing something, but I don't know.
I thought about making some examples, based on historical images shown in this thread, after all it is not too hard. The main problem however is that there is no easy way to distribute modified road network to other players – ROF doesn't support this kind of mods. The only reliable way is to make a separate map (even if it will be basically the same as original but with modified roads), but then you won't have any missions using the new map…

I'm really disappointed about so many underdeveloped features. There could be a lot of interesting mods, but alas, for every idea there are way too many obstacles to overcome.
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#280 O_WolfPac

O_WolfPac
  • Posts: 1294

Posted 18 December 2012 - 19:11

Hello Ankor,

I found a simple way to correct the problem of "you won't have any missions using the new map."

just open the mission in the editor then copy it all as a " group " and then paste onto new map as a Group and save again :)

works a treat

if someone makes a map and its complete,,, i will hold my hand up and put the map up for download on Oceanicwing.com till such time as the offical ROF MOD Website is setup and ready to take over.
I have had alot of discussions with my webhost regarding the size of the zip file of a Totally new map be it a mod map or not and they are happy to host extra large files for download in mass downloads via multiple mirrors the only request they ask for ,is that they can advertise the company services on the mirror download webpage.
So distrubution could also be resolved

But then again ROF may have a MOD Website soon ,,,so again problem solved :)
Time and completed item is key to the success.

Ankor , small request please,
Can you provide some guidance on "Quickstart installation"
I have been messing around with a map please , it would be nice to have a total overview of whats required for a completed project and quick start is something i have never touched as i thought it was impossible to achieve with a modded map , guidance on how it quick start all works, please

Best Regards
Tony
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