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Modding slopes graphics?
11-26-2021, 10:44 PM,
#1
Modding slopes graphics?
(Moved the post here from Napoleonics as I understand other series share the same graphics engine)

I have no previous experience with the current incarnation of the Napoleonic series (and my basically unplayed boxed copy of Talonsoft's Napoleon in Russia has been sitting on the shelf for many years), so after discovering there is a demo available on the WDS site (The Final Struggle), I decided to download it and take it for a spin.

The 4.0 graphics have obviously improved immensely from the olden days, and the stock 3D mode is now good enough that I think I prefer it over the hand-drawn maps included with the download. However, I'm having trouble with the 2D mode, specifically the slopes - they are thick, but look IMO a bit too fuzzy and tend to blend in with the terrain.

Based on screenshots of the previous JTS version, I believe 2D elevation readability has taken a bit of a hit with the uptick in graphics quality. Ground color variation, which typically helps a lot, seems to be a lot softer now. Admittedly the whole thing with elevations is a pet peeve of mine, as my brain has trouble translating heights in 2D (my main motivation behind adding slopes to Squad Battles).

So I went looking for the slopes graphics to see if I could try and increase the contrast or maybe enhance the 3D effect (make NW slopes harsher, shorter and brighter than the SW face, etc), but can't find a matching graphic set under Map. Could it be that they are hardcoded and can only be turned on or off?


Below is an example of the current slopes graphics interacting with fields, the shades of brown are similar and I have trouble seeing the changes in elevation (contours are on, but also brown):

[Image: Slopes_finalstruggle.jpg]
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11-27-2021, 12:13 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-27-2021, 12:24 AM by bigus.)
#2
RE: Modding slopes graphics?
I'm not sure about Nap titles but in Civil War which should be/might be similar,
The slope outline similar to SB (hitting the contours button or view map contours) I believe is hardcoded but you can change the thickness and brightness under settings.
Then there is the 2D slopes which you can mod. In Civil War these are 2DHexSides files and are found in the Map folder.
You can turn these off and on using view.

Hope this helps.
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11-27-2021, 01:08 AM,
#3
RE: Modding slopes graphics?
(11-27-2021, 12:13 AM)bigus Wrote: I'm not sure about Nap titles but in Civil War which should be/might be similar,
The slope outline similar to SB (hitting the contours button or view map contours) I believe is hardcoded but you can change the thickness and brightness under settings.
Then there is the 2D slopes which you can mod. In Civil War these are 2DHexSides files and are found in the Map folder.
You can turn these off and on using view.

Hope this helps.

Doh! They're right there in the 2DHexSides files as well. Don't know how I managed to miss them. Doh

Thanks for your help!
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11-27-2021, 05:33 AM,
#4
RE: Modding slopes graphics?
Have you tried my mod "Ferraris Map"? The slope is seen much more clearly.


[Image: Fer-Waterloo%20magzoom.jpg?dl=0]
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11-27-2021, 06:08 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-27-2021, 06:08 AM by Xerxes77.)
#5
RE: Modding slopes graphics?
(11-27-2021, 05:33 AM)Aoi99 Wrote: Have you tried my mod "Ferraris Map"? The slope is seen much more clearly.

I've been following your "old map" mod (even when I don't own any of the applicable games) for a while now and I think it looks absolutely stunning. Indeed the slopes are easier to see, especially in non-clear terrain.

However I'm looking for a less stylized design, something close to the stock 3D mode but keeping map readability at the forefront - kind of a sweet spot between realism and cleanliness.

Found this screenshot from a previous version of Seven Years War:
[Image: 7yw.jpg]

I can instantly get a clear sense of the elevations involved here, but the tradeoff is clear in the schematic simplicity of the graphics. As we move away from the clean "board game" look towards something more organic, some compromises have to be made. I will see if increasing the depth of the shadows and enhancing the 3D effect for the hexsides does the trick. Changing the ground colors looks to be more difficult.
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11-27-2021, 03:18 PM,
#6
RE: Modding slopes graphics?
(11-27-2021, 06:08 AM)Xerxes77 Wrote:
(11-27-2021, 05:33 AM)Aoi99 Wrote: Have you tried my mod "Ferraris Map"? The slope is seen much more clearly.

I've been following your "old map" mod (even when I don't own any of the applicable games) for a while now and I think it looks absolutely stunning. Indeed the slopes are easier to see, especially in non-clear terrain.

However I'm looking for a less stylized design, something close to the stock 3D mode but keeping map readability at the forefront - kind of a sweet spot between realism and cleanliness.

Found this screenshot from a previous version of Seven Years War:
[Image: 7yw.jpg]

I can instantly get a clear sense of the elevations involved here, but the tradeoff is clear in the schematic simplicity of the graphics. As we move away from the clean "board game" look towards something more organic, some compromises have to be made. I will see if increasing the depth of the shadows and enhancing the 3D effect for the hexsides does the trick. Changing the ground colors looks to be more difficult.

Wow that *is* old (well sorta old) - those elevation changes go back to when they were first introduced into anything - then later they evolved into a variation of what I think David Freer did himself or at least what they were using in Civil War Battles at the time.   What they did was provide a sort of spoke effect.

They're using a variation of that in their newest material, but I like what they'd used before. 

But - I appreciate your having noticed the 'boardgame look' - that's exactly what I was going for - (it's also why I never turned off hexes when doing screenshots) ... the idea being it might make things a little more relatable for someone more familiar with those.   The way I figured it, the 3D could take care of the miniature look (if done right) - so I actually did go about things to make it plainer.

And WDS did a really nice job with their last round of 3D graphics.  I might still go in and swap some around -for instance I think that maybe the Civil War series is using more hex shaped fields, and I might maybe try to swap them around with the more rectangular look from Napoleonic Battles.

I don't really know that depth of shadows is really going to be worth the effort - only in so far as say if WDS does at some point get programming to work with transparency layers -it would save cleaning things up to use true shading.  Just my take as to why someone might not want to ... but, by all means ... go for it :)

Telling apart elevations is really a big deal at this scale -so when I was doing work (like work that was going to be published) - I wanted to make it obvious. Ok - I might have done some of the artwork in that screenshot ... so I guess I need to put that into context. Sometimes I forget that part. :)
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11-27-2021, 08:01 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-27-2021, 08:02 PM by phoenix.)
#7
RE: Modding slopes graphics?
Aoi99's mod saved this game for me, in terms of graphics. It's superb work. Pic of my slightly modded version (for a slightly less cluttered effect), if anyone's interested..

[Image: 1.png]
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11-28-2021, 07:43 AM,
#8
RE: Modding slopes graphics?
(11-27-2021, 03:18 PM)_72z Wrote: Telling apart elevations is really a big deal at this scale -so when I was doing work (like work that was going to be published) - I wanted to make it obvious. Ok - I might have done some of the artwork in that screenshot ... so I guess I need to put that into context. Sometimes I forget that part. :)

You worked on those graphics? Congrats, didn't get to play the game but my eyes would've been grateful Smile

@phoenix I like your modification, indeed the map look less busy.
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