THIS THREAD WILL SAVE A LOT OF TIME AND NERVES
Hi everyone! Around Christmas, I got the idea: "Hey, I wanna make a map from my home area for ARMA2". So I went into the web and soon I found out: a consequent documentation for this is somehow still at basic levels...some things are outdated...lots of information is spread through several forums and so on...but map making is actually so fullfilling, isnt it ?!
So...for the new year I undertook the idea to write a new, complete map making tutorial for ARMA 2, explaining it just the way how i learnt it: very basic and with a lot of patience. I will finish it when I have my first map ready at MY definiton of "good".
As this can still take somewhat longer and I want to encourage everybody new, I will start with posting useful links for every step. This collection is not complete and I hail to all the experienced map makers out there to add their finest links so that we can fill the gap of map making.
Actually I for myself started with point 6, the samples or templates. You can learn how it works by changing small values and files wit these maps, get the idea and then slowly you increase the modifications until you are one day able to make a complete map by yourself.
NOTE: You can ask me for anything concerning map making, but remember that I'm still learning myself and have to improve my skills on some branches of this topic.
0. EXISTING TUTORIALS
MY TUTORIAL PART 1
Big credit to all the authors who spent a lot of time helping the community out. I started here and connected all this knowledge to that from some forums.
Be careful though: Some spots do not seem to be up to date..nevertheless it is just right for getting the basic idea of map making with VISITOR.
ALEX SWORN'S TUTORIAL
DEAD_KENNEDY'S TUTORIAL, TRANSLATED BY KHEIRO
ftp://ftp.fraghaus.com/arma/satpics/...RC3v2ROADS.pdf (only available via google and html copy)
SGT ACE'S TUTORIAL
UNKNOWN AUTHOR, MAYBE BI
Look for corresponding sample file at point 6.
1. BASIC TOOLS NEEDED FOR MAKING A MAP IN ARMA 2
At first, u will need the BIS tools:
Just install every program, they are all useful for map making somehow...at least VISITOR, TEXVIEW2, BIN PBO and the BIS DRIVE.
This is a small manual, but I recommend sticking to the tutorials and forum FIRST:
This VBS2 reference might be useful to understand the big picture, as the program is using VISITOR3 for mapmaking too:
However, there will be a Visitor 4 soon (http://www.vbs2.com/media/docs/Visit...et_preview.pdf)
Some other useful tools are here:
As well as a powerful and userfriendly image editing program:
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/photoshop/ (which I recommend)
So far for the basic setup. Now to the conversion of your ideas....
2. REAL WORLD OR FANTASY WORLD ?
2.1 REAL WORLD
START HERE: MY TUTORIAL PART 1
I like realistic maps the most. Unfortunately, the "normal" user doesn't own VBS2 editing Tools, which would be a great help achivieving realistic maps.
Look at that place for all kinds of data you need for your specific area of the world....
You need high resolution satellite images, which in my opinion can be obtained the easiest way by this well known program:
Here is a tutorial for getting these:
Another useful tool for downloading GE maps:
THIS program is my recommendation, as it unifies GSMD and GMTD:
Of course, there are other programs and sites, too, but I havent tested them yet:
Here are some good threads concerning creation of a satellite image and scale issues:
To these satellite images, you will need according real world digital elevation maps (DEM)
Those 2 are very good and easy to use, as they both provide plugins for GE:
Some very detailed Elevation maps can be found here:
Or u use the counterpart of the upper mentioned GSMD:
THIS program is my recommendation, as it unifies GSMD and GMTD:
So much for the acquisition..for using and converting the DEM, you will need:
http://www.globalmapper.com/ ABSOULTE RECOMMENDATION
Small tutorials to get into DEM usage are here:
Something also very useful is to create a satelite map out of a heightmap, which is mentioned here:
The author of Schmalfelden island, Nicholas Bell (source files of his island see point 6), posted a different approach on making heightmaps:
Here is an excellent explanation of the GRID scale:
Now u got the raw data for creating a real place on earth (or even moon)..so lets see whats there for fantasy places.
2.2 FANTASY WORLD
The basic need here is the same: "satelite"-image and elevation data, so to speak texture layer and hills, mountains, valleys etc.
There are some world creators with easy access and lot of support, while some might cost a "little":
Sometimes fantasy elevation data looks strange in Visitor. There is a built-in tool to fix that, its called EROSION. The guys from PMC managed to demystify it a little:
NOTE: Of course u can combine real elevation data with a fantasy image or vice versa, in case taking satellite pics is too complicated for a start. I recommend it for your first "map tryouts".
3. CREATING A TEXTURE MASK CORRESPONDING TO YOUR SATELLITE/FANTASY IMAGE
The Visitor tools needs to be told which color represents which texture. Unluckily, it DOESNT recognize terrain from the satelite images..which would be just great!
User Alex Sworn, the expert tutorial editor already mentioned above, once created something to do this.....but unfortunately discontinued it (search on this board for GARDINAS ISLAND to learn more about it)
Anyhow, here is what the program needs to work and how u can do it:
4. PLACING OBJECTS IN VISITOR
There are some workarounds here for making your life easier.
Useful links for real vegetation data, roadmaps and stuff. Also useful for the MASK MAPPER tool mentioned below:
Default BIS objects list and, even more useful, IMAGES:
A tool to save a lot of time placing vegetation:
A script for random object placement:
Road placement and smoothing:
5. FINISHING and FINE TUNING
Recommended island config tutorials:
There is a good tutorial from forum user BETON on how to make custom textures
And another texturing tutorial by Soul Assassin:
RVMATS files demystified
Ground clutter for giving life to the map:
Make island objects function (again):
Texture sizes, mask and config issues:
Removing map background (those faraway mountains):
Missing textures in the horizon at high viewdistance:
6. SAMPLE MAPS AND TEXTURES
Here are some useful source files for "learning-by-looking-try-and-error-do-it-yourself"
7. ADVANCED USERS
PMC worked out a way to convert files from good-old OFP WRPEDITOR to Visitor and even ARMA 2. I for myself did not get it to work yet, so maybe u might be more lucky
Here again the necessary tools for that:
So far for now. Phew, 3 hours for 1 thread. I hope for your input to come so that I can finish my project "Arma 2 Map Making Tutorial 2010!