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Structures and signs... EUREKA !!!!

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10 hours ago, DK-DDAM said:

well the whole thing with being able to create your own models, and textures now to place on your map, is something i'm happy with. Cause it allows more spectacular maps and designs.  Even if it is a process, its definetly something worth toying around with.

Hi guys,


thanks for the insights into NORMALS and SPECULARS.  You perked my interest and I will look into it further.


Oh, yeah by the way...  EUREKA !!!!

I figured out how to use modifies texture files w/o having any 'global effect' as a downside.  All one needs to do is to re-save the map with the modified files in it as a new base map. Use the mission editor to attach the new base map to the scenario. Now you have a scenario with a dedicated map that displays your modified texture files. The modified files will only display for this one scenario. Should work for network games, too.



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52 minutes ago, Splash said:

Yes @Wax Savage normal and specular files can be important -- particularly from near viewing distances.  


In simple terms, normals govern the surface texture of the model; speculars govern its reflective properties. They give objects a more detailed, 3-D appearance from various viewing angles. 

Beyond that, they are important in the sense that if the normal/specular files don't match up with the skin file, you have issues. See the example below, where the wood-shingle roof on a modded barn retains the specular and normal textures of the stock corrugated tin.  If a player (like me) cares about how an object looks when he gets close to it in-game, he'll definitely want the normals and speculars to match the graphical image.

By following the instructions above and moving my "actors" file path to the Base package, I was able to get the modded building textures to show up in-game. Unfortunately, when I tried putting files in Normals and Speculars folders within the structure described, I couldn't get them to show up. I'm using the following path:
C:\ProgramData\eSim Games\Steel Beasts\maps\packages\plain41 [autocreated base]\actors\textures\woodland ... and within that woodland folder are the individal .dds building skins (which appear in-game) plus the Normals and Speculars folders, which, in turn, contain their respective .dds normal and specular files. The structure pretty much mirrors that of the main installation path.


Could it be I've placed those folders improperly? Or are Normals and Speculars simply not (officially) moddable -- even in this manner? DK-DDAM seemed to imply they work.




Hi Splash,


if you read FALLI's install instructions he included in the "German Buildings Woodland/Autumn (3.002)" download, he instructs us to replace the existing Normals and Speculars folders with his modified Normals and Speculars.

This will enhance the display of his texture files at the expense of ALL the other SB graphic texture files that rely on the original Normals and Speculars folders.


I would guess that SB has not been 'enhanced' to recognize user-modified Normals and Speculars folders.

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Yes, it's true Falli's instructions call for renaming/replacing original installation files. However, the mod is relatively old -- created almost 6 years ago -- and predates the new maps file structure of v4.161. Replacing original files, however, is not now and never has been recommended or supported by eSim. (I think Ssnake mentioned this in one of his posts above.) 

Can it be done? Yes. (Deep dark secret: I've done it myself in limited cases). But one does so at his own risk, and eSim rightly discourages it because, when it comes to technical support for an installation of their software, they need to know a problem is not self-inflicted by a user who altered installation files. This is the reason they provide a modding path in the Documents folder. Plus, as you note, modding these files in the main installation folders affects the models globally, which is far from ideal.


My desire, since normals and speculars were introduced, has been that an approved modding path would be provided. I'm still hoping for that. But unless someone can point out my error, it appears the map packages path is not my answer. 

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That's encouraging ... I'm making the presumption here that normal and specular modding is at least on the_List of things eSim wants to do.

In its current form, the ability to assign modded textures to maps and embed them with distributable map packages is a neat tool, useful, I think, mostly to enterprising missionmakers and mapmakers like @Wax Savage who want to add immersion to their projects.
I think the more casual player -- who's still picky about visuals -- will find it's just as easy (or easier) to move modded files into and out of the existing mod folders as needed.


Also, mods like Falli's excellent structure retextures -- that do anything more than simply change the color of an existing building -- will have the drawback of missmatched textures. 


I think where the feature really shines -- as it stands now -- is in location-specific signage mods. Lots of currently-usable potential there. I'm always on the lookout for maps with lots of real-world "window dressing" ... though I know many avoid them because they can have pathing and framerate issues. 

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Even though they are still early stages on my bunkers, ive managed to do some stuff to danify my map... Which is something i've wanted for a while.... so for example the traffic lights were too non european so i made my own.. the same with the bunkers.. they are quite a feature on the map since the whole of the west coast if riddled with them. Still need alot of work on the texturing and weathering of the bunkers, but the principle is there..



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On 12/5/2019 at 4:26 PM, DK-DDAM said:

well the whole thing with being able to create your own models, and textures now to place on your map, is something i'm happy with. Cause it allows more spectacular maps and designs.  Even if it is a process, its definetly something worth toying around with.

Wait, what? Can we use our own 3d models now?



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Wellllll.... it's "'possible' possible" - in the sense that with the right software tools and if you program your own DLL for terrain data export you could also export building 3D geometry and textures, but it's not as easy as simply dropping an fbx file into a map folder. You may remember the old "Terrastan" map from Steel Beasts 3.0; as hobbled by performance issues as it may have been at the time, it contained custom buildings and other elements to demonstrate that it could be done, in principle.

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  • 5 months later...

Super interesting and very informative Topic.

One thing i was thinking about is when driving a tank in to a corn field the high grass stays up. Was thinking if it's possible to have a layer of flattened  grass and on top a layer of the standing grass. There should be a behaviour like when you driving in to a wooden fence, it just disappears.

It would create a way to see a possible direction of enemy movement. 

Not sure if all of these would add too much processor usage ?

Also when driving in to a wooden fence, there is a sound of it breaking. I remember someone asking for ambient sounds to add to realism, Could sounds be added to ground layer. Like when your inside a forest you have some ambient sounds and in a open field you might hear the wind in the tall grass ?


Another question about maps. Roads are so bumpy like they were plastered on the ground. Perhaps there is no way of adjusting the ground when a road is placed on top or sometimes the road is with a of camper angel of 20%, would make it a challenge for any machine driving on it. 

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