*Official SEOW


Official SEOW Software Forum            

SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Discussions on transforming SEOW into a meta-gaming platform, including concepts, technical development and meta-campaigning.

Moderator: SEOW Developers

SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Postby IV/JG7_4Shades » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:17 am

I am pleased to announce a beta version of the new SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT). The purpose of this tool is to extract small windows from standard IL-2 maps and format them into ARMA2-style "islands" (maps) that can be used either as new public terrains for ARMA2 operations or, more of interest to SEOW, as small Iron Front 44 battlegrounds for resolving ground actions generated as part of SEOW campaigns. Other threads in this forum have shown sample images from maps produced with alpha versions of DMT. Here, we introduce DMT and how it works.

Why do we need such a tool?
There is a couple of good reasons.

First, IL-2 maps are typically HUGE in comparison to ARMA maps. Most ARMA maps are 5x5 km, or 10x10 km. Most IL-2 maps are hundreds of kilometres square and since SEOW actively campaigns across IL-2 maps, if we want to examine the combat outcomes in detail we need a way of focusing locally but consistent with the broader context. One SEOW campaign on an IL-2 map can, in principle, generate hundreds of unique ARMA terrains with many different mission scenarios on each terrain.

Second, the range of stock ARMA maps is VERY limited. These maps are built by very dedicated and talented designers and the results are intricate and spectacular. But the available map editing tools are awful, so to have a summary tool like DMT that can hide most of the gory details from us is a good thing. As a simple computer script, DMT will never achieve the same artistic results as lovingly hand-made maps produced by human designers over weeks and months of labour, but it does produce convincing terrains populated with vegetation, topography, roads and buildings in just a few minutes. The feedback from beta testers is that DMT terrains are more than adequate environments for engaging scenarios in ARMA2 and Iron Front.

What is DMT?
DMT is a PHP script that is integrated into the SEOW Mission Planner (MP). The integration is loose at this stage, so it would be possible to extract it from the MP and run it stand-alone without too much work. DMT depends on some external software tools:

ImageMagick Binaries - for bitmap programming support
IL-2 Map Expansion Tools - IL-2 community-contributed tools for expanding compiled IL-2 maps into component files
GD2 Library - part of PHP
BIS Editing Tools - including object folders etc (see https://community.bistudio.com/wiki/ArmA_2_Terrain_Tutorial for an introduction) - and here is a great piece of advice: throw away the BIS Tools (except Visitor3) and use mikero tools instead. The prime weakness in BIS Tools is BinPBO; the mikero counterpart is pboProject.

In order to extract data from an IL-2 map, the map must first be expanded using the IL-2 community tools. This forms a database that can be used repeatedly by DMT to extract the specific geographic data for each required ARMA2 map.

How does DMT run?
DMT is called through a web browser. It must be supplied with arguments via standard HTTP GET syntax, for example
Code: Select all
http://localhost/SEOW/MP4public/DMT/default.php?Map=AP_Ukraine&ID=GOR&X=241&Y=12&Size=10km&Format=png

In the above example, the AP_Ukraine map from IL-2 is used as a reference terrain. A 10 km square map window is extracted from this map around the centre point located at (241000, 12000) metres, and the small map will have identity code "GOR". The browser output of the DMT script is shown below:
Image

This is a large map for ARMA (100 square kilometres) and it took DMT about 192 seconds to extract and format the required IL-2 data to build the new GOR terrain. DMT processes smaller maps, e.g. 25 square kilometres, in about 30-40 seconds. To actually create the ARMA2 map using DMT output files is quite simple, requiring the use of Visitor3 and pboProject, and takes less than 15 minutes for the above GOR terrain once DMT is finished. These tools are part of the standard map editing suite for ARMA.

The nice thing about DMT is that it reads IL-2 data structures, extracts the relevant information, and formats it into ARMA data structures, supplying ground clutter definitions, forests, urban areas, buildings, roads etc, so the ARMA map looks like (well, similar anyway) what you would see on the ground in the IL-2 Full Mission Builder.

Example Maps
Here are some example maps that can be downloaded and play-tested in ARMA2 or Iron Front (using the PWS Mod), including the GOR example above. These are maps only - no mission files are included. Before downloading the zip files, go to your ARMA2 folder (or A2OA folder) and create a new folder called @SEOW. Inside @SEOW create another folder called AddOns. Download the zip files into @SEOW/Addons and unzip them there, making .pbo files. Start your ARMA2 or A2OA games, enable the @SEOW expansion and look at the maps in the Editor.

Dabryn - map "DAB_5km_37_121" (isolated village near road intersection)
Gorodishche - map "GOR_10km_241_12" (large village on flat terrain near vast forest)
Vakhanovka - map "VAK_5km_33_23" (farming hamlet, crop fields, large hill to south)

I am aware of various issues that need to be improved in subsequent DMT updates:
*) the full 16-bit resolution of the terrain elevation map is not being used, resulting in "terraces" on some hillsides - fixed
*) some trees are too close to houses
*) road junctions need to be handled better
*) Iron Front objects (houses etc) should be used to give a more authentic WW2 look - fixed
*) no provision yet for rivers, coasts
*) cities not yet supported - I have been focusing on rural areas, villages, hamlets etc. City building mappings need to be added, and perhaps some new clutter types

Summary
This page shows that DMT is now working and capable of producing ARMA2 terrains rapidly, using IL-2 maps as a reference. The three examples here were built from the AP_Ukraine map of IL-2, which is 288 k by 201 km in size and land-locked. Many, many more ARMA2 terrains are possible from AP_Ukraine simply by dialling in the desired centre coordinates to DMT. And, apart from AP_Ukraine, we have over 100 IL-2 maps that we can potentially play with...

Enjoy!
IV/JG7_4Shades
SEOW Developer

Image
IV/JG7_4Shades
 
Posts: 2146
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Postby IV/JG7_4Shades » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:01 pm

Update: 16 bit resolution in elevation map now utilized fully.,
IV/JG7_4Shades
SEOW Developer

Image
IV/JG7_4Shades
 
Posts: 2146
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Postby IV/JG7_4Shades » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:38 am

Update: Iron Front houses etc now appear in map
IV/JG7_4Shades
SEOW Developer

Image
IV/JG7_4Shades
 
Posts: 2146
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Postby IV/JG7_4Shades » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:07 am

Screenshot of Dabryn village, showing IF objects (haystack, windmill, primitive well, white house in distance).

Image
IV/JG7_4Shades
SEOW Developer

Image
IV/JG7_4Shades
 
Posts: 2146
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Postby IV/JG7_4Shades » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:10 pm

Update:
*) vegetable patches and pumpkins now placed in villages
*) dirt roads and hard top highways generated automatically
*) village and locality names now placed on map
IV/JG7_4Shades
SEOW Developer

Image
IV/JG7_4Shades
 
Posts: 2146
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Postby II/JG54_Emil » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:11 pm

When do we test?
II/JG54_Emil
 
Posts: 272
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 10:45 am

Re: SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Postby IV/JG7_4Shades » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:19 pm

Hi Emil,

We have been testing for a month or so now. I have also nearly finished the first version of the mission builder that extracts order of battle information from the SEOW campaign database and builds an Iron Front mission for hosting. That is, the IF mission contains all the relevant SEOW ground units in position and formation (with waypoints where supplied) ready for action. We can test that too.

The large remaining feature is to script an eventlog report for the results of the IF mission.

Come over the HQ TS on the weekend and get involved - we need your input. We are using the Arma2 Combined Operations + Iron Front mod install through PlayWithSix. This unlocks IF as a standard Arma2 mod allowing the SEOW addons to work seamlessly.

Cheers,
4S
IV/JG7_4Shades
SEOW Developer

Image
IV/JG7_4Shades
 
Posts: 2146
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: SEOW Dynamic Mapping Tool (DMT)

Postby IV/JG7_4Shades » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:27 pm

DMT now optionally supports rivers/lakes/oceans
IV/JG7_4Shades
SEOW Developer

Image
IV/JG7_4Shades
 
Posts: 2146
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia


Return to meta-SEOW Development

cron