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View Full Version : Easy way to add countour/elevation lines



redleg7
01-19-2010, 12:17 PM
Was wondering if there was an "easy" way to add elevation lines to my map?

If there's no easy way then what would be the ideal way to do this?

Please ignore my horrible ocean, didn't put as much thought into it mainly because I teach small unit tactics (Army). This map will be used to generate scenarios for company/platoon level units, thus the need for elevation lines. I will either zoom in to the right ground scale or take a portion of the map and recreate it at a lower scale (any thoughts on the best way to do this would be welcome as well) whenever I need to generate a platoon level scenario.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Redrobes
01-19-2010, 05:37 PM
If you drew the map then theres no easy way to get contours. If you generated the map using a height map first then colored it using some app like Wilbur, Fractal Terrains etc then there is.

Also just a minor point is that if you zoom into a map then the scale is larger. I.e. Large scale mapping is where things are big. We all quote the ratio like 1:50000 or whatever and the 50K number goes up as the world gets smaller but in map terminology its supposed to be a ratio so that its 1/50000 scale so big number = small fraction so 1/72 scale is large scale and 1/1000000 is small. Everyone including me doesn't say it like that tho.

To create a platoon level map yeah just take a small bit and resample that image up big and start mapping on the new image. Take note of the scale tho. You may find that things are supposed to be quite small on it to maintain proper scaling. Check out this months challenge to - heck enter your new map when you do it if its done in time.

ravells
01-20-2010, 06:42 AM
Hi Redleg - You chould check out Combat Mission Barbarossa to Berlin (CMBB), produced by a company called Battlefront. It's a turn based 3d, WW2 company level wargame. For your purposes it has a tile based map editor, which will allow you to produce maps in 3d. What it also allows for is the ability to check lines of sight (and it's a fantastic game), there is also a version - Combat Mission Shock Force, which is set in the modern day, I don't have it, but it will probably have a terrain editor too (not sure if it is only desert terrain though). Some screenshots attached of CMBB, giving you an idea of what I mean. In the second pic you can see I am checking what LOS the lead tank has (you simply hover the mouse over the point of terrain you want to check). If you are into 3d texturing, the mesh textures are all jpgs so they are easily modded too. In fact there are a large number of mods available. For infantry, the smallest represented unit is a squad, so I think this is the scale you are looking for. I think the largest map you can generate using the map editor is 2km square. Hmm.... looking at your map though it looks like you are after something more strategic though.

redleg7
01-20-2010, 08:44 AM
Hi Redleg - You chould check out Combat Mission Barbarossa to Berlin (CMBB), produced by a company called Battlefront...

Lol, funny you should mention CMSF. I know Steve Grammont who is one of the designers, a few years back he visited my lab at West Point. Talked with him for over an hour one night in regards to how to model the Artillery (FYI a "Redleg" is an artilleryman).

The CM series is really meant for the grognards who like a ton of detail. Unfortunately I only have an hour with the cadets which means I need a fairly easy game that they can start playing within five minutes, and master the interface within 10. There's also a requirement to model actual terrain, at a minimum use some kind of imagery, I still have to code the terrain by hand. I have access to all kinds of map data, but I prefer to work with geotypical maps nothing specific. That way no one can nit pick the area, especially if it's one they've been to.

I didn't think it would be to very easy to generate what I need, but I thought I'd ask. I made some great progress mainly due to Tear's great tutorial, as well as some private convos with a2area, and the CG site in general. The maps that I thought were pretty good are looking kind of bland compared to what I'm doing now, and that's a good thing.

Korash
01-20-2010, 01:20 PM
You might want to look at Wilbur for the contours. It does have a contour feature, but like Redrobes mentioned, you need a hightfield.

PS: Glad to see another devotee of the Guns! :)

Syt
01-20-2010, 02:14 PM
Hi, you're probably aware of Battle Command (http://www.historicalsoftware.com/), if not, it might fit your requirements, though I'm not sure how easily user made maps can be imported into the software.

redleg7
01-20-2010, 03:55 PM
Battle Command? The MAK sim?

ravells
01-20-2010, 09:25 PM
Lol, funny you should mention CMSF. I know Steve Grammont who is one of the designers, a few years back he visited my lab at West Point. Talked with him for over an hour one night in regards to how to model the Artillery (FYI a "Redleg" is an artilleryman).

The CM series is really meant for the grognards who like a ton of detail. Unfortunately I only have an hour with the cadets which means I need a fairly easy game that they can start playing within five minutes, and master the interface within 10. There's also a requirement to model actual terrain, at a minimum use some kind of imagery, I still have to code the terrain by hand. I have access to all kinds of map data, but I prefer to work with geotypical maps nothing specific. That way no one can nit pick the area, especially if it's one they've been to.



I didn't think it would be to very easy to generate what I need, but I thought I'd ask. I made some great progress mainly due to Tear's great tutorial, as well as some private convos with a2area, and the CG site in general. The maps that I thought were pretty good are looking kind of bland compared to what I'm doing now, and that's a good thing.

Oh wow, how cool is that! I don't know if this might be any help (because I have no idea what you want your game to achieve) but Redrobes (one of the CLs) has software which does 3d terrain...might be worth having a chat with him? If want you want is to generate random terrains with contour lines, then the only suggestion I can make is that you get Fractal Terrains and Campaign Cartographer by Profantasy. You can make random heightmapped terrain in the former which you can export to the latter. The result will be a vector map with countour lines which you can set to whatever divisions you want to. Best of luck with your endeavours!

redleg7
01-20-2010, 10:03 PM
Here's a link to some of my older maps.

http://followme.prowargames.com/screenshots.html

I need to generate terrain that scales to 1-50km. Wilbur and FT seem more suitable for larger areas. We mainly fight in a 1-5km area but I can see us maneuvering in 20-50 km areas once we scale the game to company level. I typically create maps where 1px = 1m. My biggest sticking point used to be my trees or forest areas but I'm fairly satisfied with my current technique. I want to improve my hills and make them look more natural. I've been experimenting with randomly generated elevations using the clouds filter but I keep getting the same effect as Wilbur or FT. Looks good for larger scale maps but not so good for my scale. One of my requirements is to show elevation lines which is why the hills in my screenshots look like multi-layered cakes. I'd like to smooth out that stair-step look and achieve smoother transition between elevations. The other problem with my hills is the base layer doesn't look very natural, it doesn't buildup naturally.

waldronate
01-21-2010, 11:14 AM
You did look at the Fun With Wilbur set of tutorials, correct? ( http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/FunWithWilburVol1/ is the first; the rest can be accessed from the main Wilbur page). I ask this because Wilbur can easily generate features that look suspiciously like local to mid-scale terrain with relative ease. It also has a contour shader to show contour lines from these height fields. I need to do an example tutorial that shows how to bake predefined features into the terrain such as rivers but place them in such a way that they correctly add to lower-level setup to get rivers that aren't all at one elevation.

The attached image shows a terrain generated in Wilbur with a smoothed contour map laid over the top of it in Photoshop (mild outer glow in black on the contours to make them stand out a little).

One of these years I need to get a better general-purpose shader into Wilbur to avoid the garish green color scheme that it's been stuck with for the last 15 years.

Syt
01-21-2010, 12:52 PM
Battle Command? The MAK sim?

No, this one is by Historical Software.

redleg7
01-21-2010, 08:51 PM
You did look at the Fun With Wilbur set of tutorials, correct?....

Rgr I did, and I was able to do a few neat things with it, in fact I think I emailed you about how I was using it. I intend to experiment with it even more, I'm swamped with creating maps at the moment for some upcoming exercises. I like those contour linesin your attachment, is there a way to "round" those mountains so they look more like rolling hills? The neat thing about creating maps my own maps is the ability to create terrain decisions of my choosing. For example putting one hill within small arms range of an objective and another hill that's not. Or creating two bridges where one is in fairly open terrain and the other is easily accessible from a wooded area that provides good cover and concealment. This is one of the biggest reasons we do not use any kind of imagery or real piece of "dirt". In most cases I want to create a terrain problem that has one good answer and one bad answer. For more advanced audiences I may create terrain problems that have many shades of right or wrong depending on the situation.

I think Wilbur has some great potential, I just need to figure it out.

redleg7
01-21-2010, 08:54 PM
No, this one is by Historical Software.

Rgr, Mike Pelosi no relation to Nancy. It's a good game but very detailed, learning curve is somewhat steep.

MitchPjm
01-29-2010, 04:40 PM
Not sure if this is what you are asking for or not, but if you have the height map/greyscale image then this might sufffice:

(Quick and dirty for the moment until I get a cahnce to document it properly - Works in either PS or GIMP)

1. Posterize your image (number of levels determines how many contour lines you want) - You can create/duplicate new layers etc here as you wish.
2a. In Gimp Filter > Edge-Detect > Edge (then you can play about with the setting until it looks ok.
2b. In Photoshop Filter > Stylize > Find Edges

Then you can mess with the contour line layer, stroke or blend it with another layer to get your desired effect. You do get double lines where it detects the lower and upper edges. I imagine there are ways around it, and a more adept PS person may be able to help out here. Personally I liked the GIMP effort myself.

As I say, I will try and get a more detailed tutorial here soon.

MitchPjm
01-29-2010, 05:06 PM
Here is the before and after done in GIMP.

And the final one is a Hypsometric rendering from link (http://www.photoshoproadmap.com/Photoshop-blog/2006/07/17/rendering-a-map-using-relief-shading-technique-in-photoshop/)

redleg7
04-18-2010, 11:44 AM
Wow great technique. I tried it for the first time this morning.

Here are the results. Sorry for the really late reply, I finally have a requirement to do a campaign map.

23906


Not sure if this is what you are asking for or not, but if you have the height map/greyscale image then this might sufffice:

(Quick and dirty for the moment until I get a cahnce to document it properly - Works in either PS or GIMP)

1. Posterize your image (number of levels determines how many contour lines you want) - You can create/duplicate new layers etc here as you wish.
2a. In Gimp Filter > Edge-Detect > Edge (then you can play about with the setting until it looks ok.
2b. In Photoshop Filter > Stylize > Find Edges

Then you can mess with the contour line layer, stroke or blend it with another layer to get your desired effect. You do get double lines where it detects the lower and upper edges. I imagine there are ways around it, and a more adept PS person may be able to help out here. Personally I liked the GIMP effort myself.

As I say, I will try and get a more detailed tutorial here soon.

MitchPjm
07-17-2011, 01:14 PM
Since I have just been playing with Wilbur, I subsequently found that it has the ability to generate a contour map of a height map/greyscale image. This can then be saved as an image, loaded into your drawing tool as an image and blended onto the map.
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