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Shout out to the map makers!


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Don't know who all of you are.  But I commend you unsung heroes for your efforts.  From what I have learned here, map software is up in the tens of thousands of dollars and you folks are constantly bombarded by requests and such.  What you do, I cannot (despite having a degree in geography).  

 

If you are a map maker in SB, make yourselves known!

 

Or, maybe not...heheh.  

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Without the sb pro importing tools (heightmap, shapefile importers), only top tier users can really be map makers these days. Software and data nowadays are free. You can do basically all the processing in QGIS+SAGA+GRASS and export the data as a ready map to import in Steel Beasts, for free. Think that you can even place all the buildings, objects, forests, areas (...) in a relatively "user friendly" editor and for each feature, give it an attribute that Steel Beasts recognizes to automatically pick the said object. This means that all the job is done in QGIS and then you simply import it in Steel Beasts. Compared to doing all this in the in-game map editor, it takes only a fraction of the time, the effort and the stress.

 

The only catch is that the importing tools are only available to top tier steel beasts pro users in order to maintain an artificial product marketing positioning and because of this rigid direction, myself speaking, I gave up map making in steel beasts entirely. The map editor provided to low tier pro pe users, compared to the pro counterpart, are, to be very kind, "rudimentary" and only became more so with the new terrain engine. As it was said by others which I agree, without new quality maps being introduced, the new terrain engine is more detrimental to us normal users than the old system. We only got the bad share of it.

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15 hours ago, stormrider_sp said:

The only catch is that the importing tools are only available to top tier steel beasts pro users in order to maintain an artificial product marketing positioning and because of this rigid direction, myself speaking, I gave up map making in steel beasts entirely.

 

I'm unsure why the comment about an "artificial product marketing positioning"?

 

There is a whole swag of differences between Pro PE and Pro apart from "just" the map creation tools.

 

But sure if you want your copy for cost a quite a few dollars more per license (after doing some rough maths dividing our purchase price and maintenance contract by the installed base), instead of what it currently is, I'm sure they could arrange it, but I suspect that would put it beyond the reach of most.

 

I think the current compromise (i.e. lest worst option) is probably the best under the circumstances.

 

Edited by Gibsonm
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13 hours ago, stormrider_sp said:

Without the sb pro importing tools (heightmap, shapefile importers), only top tier users can really be map makers these days. Software and data nowadays are free. You can do basically all the processing in QGIS+SAGA+GRASS and export the data as a ready map to import in Steel Beasts, for free. Think that you can even place all the buildings, objects, forests, areas (...) in a relatively "user friendly" editor and for each feature, give it an attribute that Steel Beasts recognizes to automatically pick the said object. This means that all the job is done in QGIS and then you simply import it in Steel Beasts. Compared to doing all this in the in-game map editor, it takes only a fraction of the time, the effort and the stress.

 

The only catch is that the importing tools are only available to top tier steel beasts pro users in order to maintain an artificial product marketing positioning and because of this rigid direction, myself speaking, I gave up map making in steel beasts entirely. The map editor provided to low tier pro pe users, compared to the pro counterpart, are, to be very kind, "rudimentary" and only became more so with the new terrain engine. As it was said by others which I agree, without new quality maps being introduced, the new terrain engine is more detrimental to us normal users than the old system. We only got the bad share of it.

It definitely isn't that simple. For a lot of functions the pro editor and the Basic editor are the same apart from the import tools. I can assure you the import tools do not do everything for you. In your example all you could get for building data is points. These do not set the orientation of the buildings. Plus you would have to go through and manually set types to them all.

In regards to roads, a straight output to SB is not a good idea. Most of the datasets split roads at every junction. To make this SB compatible you would have to spend hundreds of hours joining all the segments up to make contiguous roads for SB.

The maps I make for requests are made using a piece of software I wrote myself which does a lot of the heavy lifting from what i said above. I wrote into it a double check road joining routine. I also wrote a very complex piece of code which takes building shape files (as areas) and tries to determine the orientation and closest match building type based on these shapes. This software took me many thousands of hours to write.

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6 hours ago, DarkAngel said:

It definitely isn't that simple. For a lot of functions the pro editor and the Basic editor are the same apart from the import tools. I can assure you the import tools do not do everything for you. In your example all you could get for building data is points. These do not set the orientation of the buildings. Plus you would have to go through and manually set types to them all.

In regards to roads, a straight output to SB is not a good idea. Most of the datasets split roads at every junction. To make this SB compatible you would have to spend hundreds of hours joining all the segments up to make contiguous roads for SB.

The maps I make for requests are made using a piece of software I wrote myself which does a lot of the heavy lifting from what i said above. I wrote into it a double check road joining routine. I also wrote a very complex piece of code which takes building shape files (as areas) and tries to determine the orientation and closest match building type based on these shapes. This software took me many thousands of hours to write.

Hi Darkangel

With respect for your work what you say are completely true and respect for that but its completely irrelevant to what @stormrider_sp said because we have no tools to get to that point where the work you describe starts, and your comment Mark is the same its completely irrelevant because if we don't have the tools or some way to get our maps made made then we don't get any new maps made at all which is the place we are at right now, and what's worse is that suddenly all mapping material for EU is free for us users, which in the old days was the trouble spot (Getting the Maps), but the paradox is that ESIM with their small staff don't have time to do new maps but at the same time refuse to make a map import tool to the now free EU maps (2m Lidar) , and your quiet right, Esim should either make something like your toolset Darkangel or outright buy it or lease it and make it available otherwise the new map mechanism will be just  another set back without any real improvement or dare i say it roadmap or plan for it in Pro Pe, i might have missed it somewhere but i cant see how this can be done otherwise, so the pricing is completely irrelevant as this is an essential part of the program.

And by the way this is with great respect for your work but i really think this issue have fallen down in a crack in your feature plan, and right now i know what i and stormrider_sp is saying gives you the choice of pest or cholera. You could just do nothing but then you lose one of the great selling points of your software and sooner or later it will hit you in the face just saying. 

MD

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45 minutes ago, Major duck said:

<snip> but the paradox is that ESIM with their small staff don't have time to do new maps but at the same time refuse to make a map import tool to the now free EU maps (2m Lidar) <snip>

Most of the lidar data I've seen isn't worth using TBH, it is terribly noisy. Even the DTM Lidar data which cuts "most" of the trees and vegetation out does not cut out the noise from buildings, bridges and parked vehicles. 

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1 hour ago, DarkAngel said:

Most of the lidar data I've seen isn't worth using TBH, it is terribly noisy. Even the DTM Lidar data which cuts "most" of the trees and vegetation out does not cut out the noise from buildings, bridges and parked vehicles. 

 

I'm pretty sure this can be worked out.

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yes it can be worked out... but ITS ALOT OF WORK... trust me, i am currently working with LIDAR 0.4 meter res and that thing is alot of work. Take into mind bridges roads arent always smooth the random dip in the ground.. and other items.. but its good once u get your self sorted into working it, but so far its taken me about a year and a half to work on about 20 % of my 50x50 km map. and ive not even touched much of the height maps outside of the worked zones. specially not towns.

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39 minutes ago, DK-DDAM said:

yes it can be worked out... but ITS ALOT OF WORK... trust me, i am currently working with LIDAR 0.4 meter res and that thing is alot of work. Take into mind bridges roads arent always smooth the random dip in the ground.. and other items.. but its good once u get your self sorted into working it, but so far its taken me about a year and a half to work on about 20 % of my 50x50 km map. and ive not even touched much of the height maps outside of the worked zones. specially not towns.

How do you compare this kind of work against using one of the old low res sb issued heightmaps, and manually map editing it in game, using a software to make steel beasts ui semi transparent so you can see the google maps that you're using as a reference, in the background, while trying to match zoom levels and manually and continuously georeferencing it and placing each feature individually: buildings, fences, trees, fields, roads...? And then hard crashing while road leveling and ending up with an unrecoverable 40Gb+ unpublished map in your limited space ssd.

 

 

Edited by stormrider_sp
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4 hours ago, Major duck said:

...the paradox is that ESIM with their small staff don't have time to do new maps but at the same time refuse to make a map import tool to the now free EU maps (2m Lidar) , and your quiet right, Esim should either make something like your toolset Darkangel or outright buy it or lease it and make it available otherwise the new map mechanism will be just  another set back without any real improvement or dare i say it roadmap or plan for it in Pro Pe

I don't fault you for it because you can't know everything, but your statement is full of bold assertions that aren't entirely accurate.

The assertion that eSim Games, because of staff size limits, doesn't provide new maps is demonstrably false. You recently received a massive upgrade to a map of the Bergen-Soltau training area; granted, not OUR work but still shipped out with SB Pro PE 4.250. Did you even try out the Paderborn-Sennelager map package yet? There is a LIDAR based map that is new since version 4.1, and I have yet to see someone post screenshots or a video of it.

 

The rest of the topic is ... complex. If there were easy solutions, we'd have gladly taken them. We did, in fact, attempt a few other steps. They failed for various reasons, but were worth trying, and we haven't yet given up, but the hard way is also a long way.

 

The fact remains however that importing real-life map data into Steel Beasts is a major factor in the decision of military customers to invest in the classroom version rather than being cheapskates sticking to the Personal Edition in violation of our EULA ... so the demand to give up that element of product differentiation would be, while understandable from your perspective, a rather bold if not reckless decision for us.

Some European states will still need at least a year or more to adapt to the EU directive, so it's not as if the data have been lying around for several years already, and we're just slow to pick up; rather, I'd consider our introduction of the new terrain engine "perfect timing" and we're now discovering issues with the map data import that you definitely want to be solved before the new LIDAR trove is ready for use in any case. Besides, there are even more factors at play.

 

As sorry as I am for your situation, I will not apologize for decisions that were made that we deemed necessary for the financial survival of a single-product company that eSim Games is. Future versions of SB Pro will come with better terrain editing tools and eventually we'll probably have a number of map packages developed from LIDAR data precisely because the EU is (beginning to) open up the market for them ... provided that partner companies we're working with are willing to give away their work results for free (which is a big ask from a commercial entity, let's be perfectly honest here), so no guarantees.

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1 hour ago, Ssnake said:

provided that partner companies we're working with are willing to give away their work results for free (which is a big ask from a commercial entity, let's be perfectly honest here), so no guarantees.

Why ask them, if you already have us?

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Because they have tools that you don't have.

I have never said no to a user submission as long as it was accompanied by a copyright assignment agreement to certify that the map was made by the user and that the underlying source data were actually free for commercial use. Up until recently, that was usually the rub.

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Quote

Did you even try out the Paderborn-Sennelager map package yet? There is a LIDAR based map that is new since version 4.1, and I have yet to see someone post screenshots or a video of it.

Is this the one?

 

 

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3 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Because they have tools that you don't have.

I have never said no to a user submission as long as it was accompanied by a copyright assignment agreement to certify that the map was made by the user and that the underlying source data were actually free for commercial use. Up until recently, that was usually the rub.

Out of curiosity, what kind of tools?

 

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5 hours ago, Swordsmandk said:

Is this the one?

 

 

 

No.

 

Page 7 of the Release Notes:

 

Maps

Included new base map: Bergen-Soltau-Munster (Thank you, Abraxas!)

 

Direct Download (I'm assuming it wasn't tweaked) is available here:

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Gibsonm said:

 

No.

 

Page 7 of the Release Notes:

 

Maps

Included new base map: Bergen-Soltau-Munster (Thank you, Abraxas!)

 

Direct Download (I'm assuming it wasn't tweaked) is available here:

 

 

 

Well, Ssnake said SENNELAGER, which would be 300km to the southwest of this map....

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5 minutes ago, Grenny said:

Well, Ssnake said SENNELAGER, which would be 300km to the southwest of this map....

 

1. Maybe he made a mistake. ;)

 

2. I'm just going off the Release Notes. Those of you closer to the project might know if there is a second or third map based on the new engine but the one I mentioned is the only one that is mentioned in the Open Source Release Notes.

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11 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Did you even try out the Paderborn-Sennelager map package yet? There is a LIDAR based map that is new since version 4.1, and I have yet to see someone post screenshots or a video of it.

 

.

 

I don't find Paderborn-Sennelager in my map packages.

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24 minutes ago, DarkAngel said:

I love how this topic started as a thank you to map makers and turned into complaining about the import functions not being in Pro PE ¬¬

Still love the SB maps.

 

Esp. the new Munster Map by Abraxas is an absolute HOOT....

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