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Want to update your MAP to work with 4.1? Read this

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This thread is a summarized list of how to get your MAP to work in 4.1 (essentially, how to turn your legacy pre-4.1 map into a Map Package). Lots of text here but I am trying to be as thorough as possible in the process, concepts, and possible cases.

 

To see how to update your scenario to 4.1, then see this thread instead:

 

So, to update your map into 4.1, several key concepts that have to be learned:

 

Terrain: Just as in SB 1.0 to 4.0, "terrain" or "TER" is referring to the terrain features applied to a map, such as buildings, roads, ground types, water, bushes, rocks and trees.

 

Height: Just as in SB 1.0 to 4.0 "height" or "HGT" refers to height data only, the ground geometry, the underlying ground.

 

Map Package: A Map package is the name for a 4.1 map, which can either be a Base Map Package (aka. "Base map") or a Delta Map Package (aka. "Delta map"), both of which can either be published or not. 

 

Base Map: A base map (package) contains height data (LNT file), as well as a metadata and TER file, but may also include custom actors and textures as well. The base map is a stand alone map, containing both the height and terrain data, and that base map is generally pretty large in filesize (depends on the map size and resolution of the height data, but typical 10m resolution on a 50x50km map will be about 250-300 Mb in size) . A base map can either have actual terrain or just be an empty terrain map, which is the case for "autocreated base" maps (more on this later).

 

Delta Map: A delta map (package) consists of terrain (TER file) and metadata, and will sometimes also include height data if the delta map has terrain that differs from the base map, which would most often be because someone leveled roads, or adjusted the height data in some way. If height data is not changed, then a delta map will be very small in size, typically about 2 (for a desert map) to 35 Mb (for a dense European map), depending on the complexity of the terrain and size of the map.   Think of a delta map as a CHILD of the base map and all the delta maps share their parent base map's height data. Because of this, the Delta map is NOT stand alone, as it doesn't have complete height data (or any height data at all in most cases).  Therefore, the base map is relatively large, and can be difficult to share, while the delta map is smaller, easier to share, and more convenient if everyone has the base map already. In general, you want to always create a map as a delta to an existing base map, if possible, as this makes maps easier to share since sharing smaller delta maps to a base map that everyone may already have.

 

Published: When a map is published, it is ready for sharing and for playing with others.  Think of publishing a book: its ready for consumption -- you cannot recall the book back to the printing press to change a typo at that point, but you can put out a new edition. Similarly, once a map is published it cannot be changed, its basically read only at that point. The good news is that you can easily turn the published map into a new delta map, which is then unpublished, allowing you to continue working and improving it (more on this later), which is like making a new edition of the published book, in the example.  There are technical reasons on why the map has to be published, but the basic reason is that publishing the map (combined with its Unique ID) ensures that everyone has the same exact map data, and there is never a case of someone having different map data in a session.

 

Unpublished: When a map is unpublished it is free to work on and save as normal, and you can TEST scenarios on the map (via the Mission Editor), but you cannot play a scenario that is on an unpublished map in Offline or Network Session mode, because this ensures that someone doesn't have different map data when playing a scenario together (which would mean that would be in two different worlds).

 

Autocreated base: Generally speaking, an autocreated base map is simply a blank base map that only contains height data, but no terrain data ( the entire map appears as green grass).  An autocreated base is simply there to provide height data to its children delta maps. If you are picking a map to use in a scenario (either a new one, or in order to replace the map) then you should never choose a map that has [autocreated base] on the end of it, because its empty (and actually the autocreated base maps are filtered out of the Replace Map list by default to help you avoid this!).

 

Unique ID (UID): A unique ID is a series of characters and numbers, generated from the map's data, which is unique to each map. Think of it as the map's serial number.  The UID is used to make sure that the user has the correct map that the scenario needs. Once a scenario is saved in 4.1, then it associated it with a map's UID. At that point they are paired. If the map with that UID is ever deleted, then the scenario will not open, but the map can be replaced to a different one (say for example because you made a newer version of the map).

An example map UID:    636b3bb9-3822-4bab-8f3d-12170b499e6f

 

-----------------------------------------

 

Converting your (TER) map into a 4.1 map package:

 

In order to convert you legacy pre-4.1 terrain (TER) map into a 4.1 map package, you just need to do a few simple steps - but there are several cases depending on whether or not you already have a base map present for the map you are converting or not.

 

To convert you map follow these basic steps (which might become a lot of text, but I am trying to be as clear as descriptive as possible here):

 

1. Go to the Map Editor. In the pop up "Map Packages" dialog, select the button at the bottom "Open default map".

 

2. When the default (blank) map loads, in the top menu go to: File -> "Map package from TER..."

 

  • Notice that the file menu also has a "Map package from HGT..." selection available too. This is covered below. "Map package from TER..". is the most common, and 99% of the time this what you want.

 

3. Once "Map package from TER..." is selected, then a pop up Open dialog appears, where you will navigate to where the pre-4.1 legacy .TER file is located. Select the TER file and press Open (or just double left click on the file).

 

  • This is TER path is going to be in the traditional legacy map path ([Windows 7] ...\ProgramData\eSim Games\Steel Beasts\maps\terrain [or your OS equivalent path, if different])

 

...at this point the remaining process depends on two possible cases: whether a base map already exists for the map you are converting, or whether it doesn't...

 

CASE 1: Base map is present locally

 

4. If the map you are converting a TER whose height data matches a base map that you already have locally, then good news!, all you need to do is create a delta map. You will know that the height data is already present in a base map when you get the "Map Package Creation Wizard" pop up dialog that says that "It is possible to create a 'delta' map package..." (see image).


Image111.jpg.70160450ece4dbcfefeaa2a8465195f9.jpg

 

  • Select either the "Delta package" (default) or "Base package" (which is not recommended unless you plan on doing something special like making unique road sign textures, and such), then select the map package in the list (there should usually be just one there), and then click Next.

 

5. Next you are taken to the 2nd "Map Package Creation Wizard" dialog that allows you to enter all sorts of various optional data about the map (see image). When you are finished, click Next.

 

***IMPORTANT: The "Name" will become the folder name and as such you cannot have control characters in the name like # ! @ % $ etc. If you do, then the "Next" button will be grayed out. Once you enter a valid name then you will be able to click "Next".***

 

Image22.jpg.87d51d22ff483da4d1469c5bc5d06bf0.jpg

 

  • Don't worry, you can edit this data later once you load the map (in the top Options -> "Map info..." but once you publish it you cannot edit it again (unless you make a new delta map from it - see bottom).
  • Keep in mind that the initial name you give the map in this dialog will also be the delta map package folder name.
  • In this dialog, if the lat/long values are not grayed out, then it means your map is so old that it has no geodata present. In this case you should research on where you map is located in the world, and enter correct lat/long values here. If the lat/long values are gray, then you are fine.

 

6. After brief moment you taken to the final Map Package Creation Wizard dialog, telling you whether the operation was successful or not. (see image).

 

Image2.jpg.adc43e384454ba7247d51469373354d3.jpg

 

You can now either close the dialog or load the map you just converted in the Map Editor (lets continue with the example as if you loaded the map).

 

7. Now you are in the Map Editor, with your newly converted delta map package. Here you can either edit the map and save it, and open it later for further editing, and/or publish the map so that it can be used in scenarios (and so you can use it to replace the map in some scenarios you are converting to 4.1).  Let's continue the example that you are going to publish it to use in a scenario.

 

  • It is recommended that you publish the map you converted relatively immediately, if you want to use it in a scenario, then you can always create a new work-in-progress unpublished delta map later that you will continuously edit until you again want to share it or use it in a scenario, and repeat.

 

8. (Optional) You now want to publish the delta map to share with others or to use in a scenario. Go to the top menu and select File -> Publish map, then select "Yes" in the pop up dialog. COMPLETE.

 

  • You can easily tell if the map is published by how the upper right side of the screen's terrain types appear. If they are all grayed out (they are inactive and cannot be selected or edited), then the map is published. If they are not grayed out then the map is unpublished (see image).

 

Image3.jpg.5aa89f9fb5e4c7315b9f738c42da410c.jpg

 

 

CASE 2: Base map is NOT present locally

 

4. If the map you are converting a TER whose height data does NOT match a base map that is present locally, then the process is nearly identical to CASE 2, except that you must create a base map package (obviously). You will know that the height data is NOT present in a base map when you get the "Map Package Creation Wizard" pop up dialog that goes straight to the map info (see image).

 

Image11.jpg.cd4904c0b9e90cfbcb1cbcafb6a1d783.jpg

 

  • The difference here from the dialog in CASE 1, Step 5 is in the center of the dialog you will see "Automatically create an empty and published base map package" which is selected by default.
  • This "Automatically create an empty and published base map package" option will create an autocreated base map and publish it, and then will convert your map into a delta map package of that autocreated base. This option is recommended for ease of use, but you can turn it off and create it as a base map package with your terrain as the base map's terrain.

 

The remainder of the process is now identical to CASE 1, Step 6 and 7 (you just have to load the map and choose whether to publish it or not). See above. The exception is that the conversion process will be much longer in this case as it converts the height data into LNT format.

 

Converting your (HGT) map into a 4.1 map package (not normal):

 

Another option is that you can convert a map from an HGT instead of TER, but this is not normal. The reason you would convert a map from HGT file is because you only have height data, and there is no terrain data in existence. This might be becaue the map is entirely new, for example. In any case, you would really only do this if you plan on only having an empty base map package, and then you will start immediately painting terrain on it to make a new map.

 

To convert you map from HGT, its essentially the same exact process as converting from a TER (above) except...

 

1. Go to the Map Editor. In the pop up "Map Packages" dialog, select the button at the bottom "Open default map".

 

2. When the default (blank) map loads, in the top menu go to: File -> "Map package from HGT..."

 

3. Once "Map package from HGT..." is selected, then a pop up Open dialog appears, where you will navigate to where the pre-4.1 legacy .HGT file is located. Select the HGT file and press Open (or just double left click on the file).

 

  • This is HGT path is going to be in the traditional legacy map path ([Windows 7] ...\ProgramData\eSim Games\Steel Beasts\maps\height [or your OS equivalent path, if different])

 

4. Next you are taken to the "Map Package Creation Wizard" dialog that allows you to enter all sorts of various optional data about the map. When you are finished click Next.

 

  • Don't worry, you can edit this data later once you load the map (in the top Options -> "Map info..." but once you publish it you cannot edit it again.
  • Keep in mind that the initial name you give the map in this dialog will also be the delta map package folder name.
  • In this dialog, if the lat/long values are not grayed out, then it means your map is so old that it has no geodata present. In this case you should research on where you map is located in the world, and enter correct lat/long values here. If the lat/long values are gray, then you are fine.

 

5. After some time (and a Please wait... loading dialog) you taken to the final Map Package Creation Wizard dialog, telling you whether the operation was successful or not.

 

You can now either close the dialog or load the map you just converted in the Map Editor (lets continue with the example as if you loaded the map).

 

7. Now you are in the Map Editor, with your newly converted base map package. In this situation it makes no sense to publish it, so you would immediately start working on your terrain data, only publishing it when it is ready to share.

 

Converting a published delta map into a new (unpublished) delta map:

 

As described above, one you publish a map then it is finalized and cannot be edited in its current form and you would do this to share with others and to play scenarios on it (other than testing in Mission Editor). However, if you want to be able to make further changes and improvements to the map then you would save the map as a new delta by following these steps:

 

1. Open the published map in the Map Editor.

 

2. Go to the top menu File -> Save map package -> Save as new delta package...

 

3. You are now in the "Create new delta map package" dialog where you can enter in information (and also change the lat/long data if you desire -- you shouldn't unless you know what you are doing here!).  Once you are finished press OK.

 

4. That's it, now you have your new delta map which is unpublished by default, which is essentially clone of the map you made it from. You are now able to edit the map further (just don't forget to publish it when you are ready to share it).

 

TIP: A tip we learned in testing is to have a published map, even if it is not finished, and then have a "work-in-progress" unpublished delta. Further work would be done until it was deemed as a significant improvement, which was then published, and this is repeated. During the process, the maps were usually named with a letter on the end, example: Brush War 01a,b,c,d,e,f.... current version is something like h (which is the current unpublished work in progress). Eventually you can delete all the older version of the map on your end, and if you open a scenario that (for example) looks for a missing "Brush War 01a" then you replace it with the latest published "Brush War 01g", because you know its in all ways better than "a".

 

Sharing map packages with others (manually):

 

As described above, at some point the Map Download Manager tool (and SB) will handle most of the work, but in the mean time if you want to share the map then you would do so by ZIP / RAR / 7z (I will call it ZIP here) the appropriate map folder and uploading to Dropbox or some other file sharing (or temporarily to the Teamspeak channel - please delete it afterwards!).  Make sure the map you are sharing is published, otherwise you are wasting everyone's time (unless you are sharing it to work on an unpublished map of course)!

 

To share a base map (because the person you are sharing it with doesn't have the base map), then go here:

 

C:\ProgramData\eSim Games\Steel Beasts\maps\packages   [or your OS/installation equivalent]

 

...and find the folder of the map package you are sharing and ZIP it. Upload somewhere and share the link. The other user(s) download it and extract it to their ...maps\packages folder and you are all set. If they are in SB when they do this then they may have to restart SB for it to recognize the map (or press the "Refresh maps" button in the Map Editor initial pop up dialog.

 

To share a delta map (because the person you are sharing it with DOES have the base map), then go here:

 

C:\ProgramData\eSim Games\Steel Beasts\maps\packages   [or your OS/installation equivalent]

 

...and find your base map folder that the delta map belongs to. You can find this information out in the Map Editor by loading the delta map and using the Map info... feature. Once you go to base map folder you will find a "deltas" folder and open it. In the deltas folder, you will see folders for each of the delta maps. ZIP the appropriate delta folder and then upload it. The other user(s) then just need to extract that ZIP to their same ...\maps\packages\[basemap_name]\deltas folder and they are all set. If they are in SB when they do this then they may have to restart SB for it to recognize the map (or press the "Refresh maps" button in the Map Editor initial pop up dialog.

 

Adding custom map textures:

 

A new feature in 4.1 is the ability to add custom map textures to base map package, for example if you want to make custom road sign textures that are specific to your map.  Some important things that you must know:

 

  • Custom map textures are supported at the base map level. You cannot have custom map textures on delta maps.
  • If you are going to have custom map textures, then its best to make it a new base map package entirely. For example, the Bekibekibekistan map has its own custom textures, but the underlying HGT data is for 29 Palms training area. Technically, it could have be the 29 Palms base map package with Bekibekibekistan as the delta of it, but it would make no sense to do this because then all the road signs on the other 29 Palms delta maps (like of the actual training area) would have the custom Bekibekibekistan road sign textures.

 

To add custom textures to your base map package, simple navigate to your base map package folder and add an "actors" folder. Inside of that folder add a "textures" folder. Then inside of that, add a "woodland" folder and from there you can drop in any map object related folder that you want to customer (which can be things like buildings and road signs, and things of that nature).

 

See the Bekibekibekistan map package as the example.

 

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Special cases:

  • If you select to convert a map from TER or HGT and get a pop up error about a file missing, then it means that the pre-4.1 legacy map is missing its associated TER or HGT file (which wouldn't work in 4.0 either).
  • If you are in the "Map Package Creation Wizard" dialog and you cannot press Next, then it means that some abnormal issue exists with the legacy TER or HGT file (which will have need to be troubleshooted).

 

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Check your bumpiness in the map theme before publishing the map

 

When converting maps to 4.1, I found that a typical issue is that map designers generally added too much bumpiness to maps.  In the past, bumpiness pretty much only determined how much the infantry sank into the ground and how much the vehicle bobbled around as it drove.  Now in 4.1, bumpiness still affects how much infantry will sink into the ground (concealment) but also adds physical bumps to the terrain. Because of this, you will want to evaluate your bumpiness values to make sure they are not too excessive.

 

In general, my experience is that most maps should have their bumpiness values across all terrain types reduced by 50%.  This is not always the case though, as some maps did not have excessive levels. So here are some general rules of thumb to go by:

 

In the map theme...

  • Bumpiness should never be at 1.00, unless the terrain is mountainous.
  • Typically, forests should be about .6 to .7 bumpiness.
  • Typically, rocky terrain should be about .7 to .8 bumpiness.
  • Fields and general grassy terrain should be about .15 to .2 bumpiness.
  • Scrub should be about .3 to .4 bumpiness.
  • Bogs/swamps should be 0 bumpiness.
  • Everything else would be something around these points, with most general terrain types being between .1 to .25 bumpiness.

 

Your bumpiness values can be different than this, but this should give you a general idea of where they should be to avoid having terrain that is too bumpy.

 

Also, in general, you should avoid having very high bumpiness with no drag, as it creates silly results (vehicle going airborne frequently, or flopping around violently at extremely high speeds).

 

NOTE: Changing bumpiness values can become tedious, but remember that you can adjust them quickly with the mouse wheel. All you need to do is mouse over the slider and roll the wheel up and down for quick changes. If you end up with an odd number, then scroll to the extreme left or right of the slider (depending on the direction you are going) and then scroll back the other way a few times, and you can get quick adjustments.

 

 

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