Thursday, September 16, 2004

Creating the Map - Part Two

Before importing the composite map I created into the game, I had to calculate the map size and create a map file that would allow me to faithfully reproduce the terrain. I could have done a more accurate job of this, following the instructions in this thread over at the message boards, which is filled with gems of info for map creation. At the time, however, the post didn't exist, so I had to wing a little and I was satisfied enough with the result.

I then imported the map graphic it into the Map Maker that ships with Allied Assault: Highway to the Reich. This is fairly straightforward in terms of getting the file to be read by the game, and it's all covered in the manual.

I was ready to begin! The manual suggests starting with the elevations, so I layered up my map using the tools provided, tracing each contour with the associated elevation.

For some areas, the source map was extremely detailed, and it was also extremely quiet about other areas. In the end, I chose to focus on reproducing the general changes in elevation. As a result, the map is more of an approximation rather than a faithful reproduction, and this is just a trade-off I had to made in the interest of getting the map to the point where I could play on it.

Because the terrain has higher hills than Holland where HTTR is based, I knew I could not use the default layer height of 10 meters, I would have to make it 20 meters to get the elevations I needed. My mistake was not doing this straight off. I created the layers at the default setting of 10 meters and then tried to change the layer height later. This didn't work! Every time I changed the dialogue box to read 20, and then tried to save, it crashed the Map Maker.

Luckily, I posted this issue over at the message boards and the kind folks at Panther asked me to send the file in to see what could be done. A day later, "Panther Paul" had fixed the map and informed me that I had detected a small bug that would be fixed in the next patch. Kudos to Panther!

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