Author Topic: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel  (Read 1232 times)

Offline MajorMajor

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So, let me present my first mapping project, Neufchâtel.

*** Warning: completely irrelevant stuff. Read at your own risk.

Spoiler
About a year ago I decided that I wanted to learn mapping for FH2, but unfortunately didn't get very far. I couldn't get past how clunky it seemed compared to the CoH Worldbuilder. However, now that enough time has passed that I don't remember a thing about CoH mapping anyway, I've found renewed strengh to face the harsh mistress that I've been told the BF2 Editor is.

I've always wanted to see the 1940 Battle of France campaign in this mod, but as I understand the devs have other priorities. So, applying the age old: "If you want something done, do it yourself", I set my sights towards finding a 1940 scenario that would be simple enough for me to do while also being interesting.

After considering various scenarios, like Montcornet (ditched because I felt the battle itself wasn't very intresting, and probably too small for FH2's scale) and Abbeville (ditched because I'm too inexpirienced to make a fun map out of the terrain around Mont Caubert), I decided to do Neufchâtel.

*** Irrelevant stuff ends here.

Now for the actual map.

The Battle of Neufchâtel took place the 22nd of May 1940. After the allied forces in Belgium and northern France had been surrounded during Fall Gelb, the 2nd Panzer Division was assigned with the capture of one of the 3 channel ports in the pocket: Boulogne. One Kampfgruppe approached the city from the south, eventually reaching the crossroads town of Neufchâtel, where the french troops, lacking any AT-mines, had erected some barricades and emplaced 8 AT guns in order to slow down the panzers and allow the evacuation to proceed.

I based my map off this sketch from an edition of "Les dossiers de l'histoire boulonnaise".

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This is the layout that I had in mind for the map. Flag positions are only orientative.

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The playable area fits within a 1kmx1km box. Would it be adequate to do a 1:1 scale map? Or would it be too ambitious for someone who's just getting started? Tedium and hard work don't scare me, but I want to keep my expectations realistic.

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Another thing that worries me is the distance between flags. Can any experienced mapper tell me what distances work best? I want to avoid frustrating players by making them play a walking simulator instead of an FPS.

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I'd be really grateful for any criticism. I know that this project has small chances of ever being finished, but if I have to fuck it up I'd rather do that in the editor than in the planning stage. In my opinion, a badly executed idea can be eventually fixed and polished, but a bad idea can't be patched together no matter how hard you try.
« Last Edit: 21-06-2016, 16:06:51 by MajorMajor »

Offline Oberst

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #1 on: 21-06-2016, 20:06:59 »
Check the typical maps. 200-250 m  are quite good even for a map with a mixed infantry and vehicles gameplay. I dont fear this map to become a walking simulator. Depending on the terrain, placement of houses etc, gameplaywise the layout looks promising.

Online Seth_Soldier

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #2 on: 21-06-2016, 20:06:04 »
 :D cool idea !
i'm from this region !
thx you for promoting 1940 !

Offline FORGOTTENKEVINOHOPE

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #3 on: 22-06-2016, 07:06:00 »
:D cool idea !
i'm from this region !
thx you for promoting 1940 !

go take pictures and report back pronto!

 :P

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #4 on: 22-06-2016, 09:06:20 »
Check the typical maps. 200-250 m  are quite good even for a map with a mixed infantry and vehicles gameplay. I dont fear this map to become a walking simulator. Depending on the terrain, placement of houses etc, gameplaywise the layout looks promising.

Thanks for the heads up. In that case I'll probably end up moving the Axis main a bit further up the road, probably behind the farm building, and add an aditional axis spawn in the D215, the road where the tree barricade is located. We'll see when I actually get a closer look at the terrain in google earth.

I can't wait to start designing the flags and flag approaches, although first I need to finish Ferning's tutorials, then start learning "modular maping", as in creating random roads, farms, towns, etc. before actually working on my heightmap. In other words, real, showable progress is still a long way off  :P .

:D cool idea !
i'm from this region !
thx you for promoting 1940 !

go take pictures and report back pronto!

 :P

I've found some interesting fotos of the battle itself in Axishistory.

One of the 25 mm AT guns at the crossroads:
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This things had quite a punch, in spite of the small caliber. Just ask the couple of PzIII's knocked out.

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From another angle.
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Also, the French decided to block the road to the trainstation with UE chenillettes, load them with oil barrels and set them on fire.
Spoiler

Online Matthew_Baker

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #5 on: 01-07-2016, 03:07:33 »
Awesome stuff here. 8) I really hope you can find the time to get this up to par. If you build it and it's good enough, I'm sure the devs will find a way to put assets on it.

You're going in the right direction right now. You're laying things out like it TS's tutorial and you're following Fenring's stuff, this is great news.

Keep up the good work, show progress and keep us updated!  ;D

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #6 on: 01-07-2016, 10:07:55 »
Well, I was following Ferning's tutorial up to the part when he teaches colourmaps. I was thinking that, given that I strive to have the map as close as possible to the real thing in terms of layout, I might as well paint the map like Mr.Cheese did for Lebisey:

http://fhpubforum.warumdarum.de/index.php?topic=3580.msg71931#msg71931

Now, I can't speak for him (in fact, I wish I could speak with him), but I guess he imported the recon drawing as a colourmap and painted the map by hand on top of it. Since my map is not very big (512x2) I think it might work. At any rate, now that the heightmap's done (there are some problems in how the editor is rendering my surrounding terrain, but it looks fine in Geocontrol) I can start experimenting.

Online Ts4EVER

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #7 on: 01-07-2016, 12:07:12 »
I would be very careful with painting in the editor. In fact, I am not sure Mr cheese actually painted the whole map in there, considering how good it looks. There are some people who can pull off painting the colormaps in the editor, like otolikos for instance, but generally speaking I would recommend looking into making them in Photoshop or gimp, or at least improving them in there (I do a mix form like that).

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #8 on: 01-07-2016, 17:07:44 »
To be honest texturing is (of the few things that I've learnt so far) the part of mapping that I understand the least. My only previous experience was with the CoH worldbuilder (I know, apples and oranges...) and the one map I made there, painted in-editor, looked like shit. So I understand why painting everything in-editor might not be a good idea.

I'll try to learn tpaint. I still don't know how I'm going to texture in the end, but editor+photoshop sounds like a good compromise. Terragen is pretty much out of the picture, since you need the paid version to work with 2048x2048 files IIRC.

Anyway, I imported the aerial fotograph I'm using as reference as the hemimap until I figure out how to import it as colourmap.

Spoiler

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #9 on: 05-07-2016, 18:07:48 »
Small update.

Spoiler

I think all the major terrain changes I had to make are done:

- Changed the TerrainHeight setting to make the one hill in this map more prominent.
- Made depressions where the ponds would be and added the water, they don't look very good (water and slopes don't mix very well) so I'll probably come back at them at some point.
- Judging by google maps images, the factory area is flat and doesn't slope downwards like the rest of the terrain, so I did some work with the level tool. I hope it doesn't look too unatural. Like everything else, it probably needs a thorough check and polish with the smooth tool.
- Added earth mounds to the northern side of the railway, to act as sort of natural fences. When I get to undergrowth and overgrowth, I'll be adding bushes and trees along the mounds.
- Ditched the whole bridge-over-railway idea, at least for now. It required to edit a lot of the surrounding terrain and in my opinion was too much work for an area that will be out of bounds anyway. The time I saved on that can be used in other tasks.

I also started work on the splines. I have already added and smoothed the main roads. I'll be doing the smaller roads, dirt paths and the railway in the coming days. I was thinking of having the main roads being made of tarmac and the small ones made of concrete (since that's pretty usual in small towns around the part where I live), but I found out after looking at some photographs (http://www.notrefamille.com/cartes-postales-1900/pas-de-calais-62/neufchatel-hardelot-62152-69539/la-place-436341.html) that Neuchâtel's roads were made of dirt.

BTW, I know that my in current terrain the factory area doesn't match quite well the aereal photograph (in the image you can see some of the factory buildings sloping down) but I've decided to make the Cement Factory flag much smaller than it really is. The reason is that there aren't a lot of industrial statics (that is, not counting the very interesting but untextured ones  :-X) in the mod, so if I did it in 1:1 scale it would just be a row of the Totalize factory buildings.

At any rate, I'll have to reconsider or redesing the Cement Factory flag. I though there were cement slab stacks ingame, but apparently I was thinking about the wrong game (those are in STALKER  :P).

Offline MajorMajor

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No love for sidewalks
« Reply #10 on: 12-08-2016, 09:08:21 »
Sorry for the triple post.


I've been working on getting the layout of the Crossroads flag done. I've placed the main buildings, now I want to do the gardens, the gun emplacement and then do some texturing.

However, sidewalk placement is driving me up a wall. I've been sinking a lot of time into trying to align the individual pieces, switching in and out of soldier cam to make sure everything looks ok. However, elevation + non 90º angle corners mean that I've been making almost no progress.

Pic for reference.



My original plan was to have sidewalks all along the paved road. I'm not sure wether I should just ditch the idea altogether, or have sidewalks just in front of each house, not connected, Omaha-style (if that makes any sense).

Offline Ivancic1941

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #11 on: 30-12-2016, 15:12:17 »
Nice idea! It looks interesting.
Can I ask you did you made this square in google earth or google maps? In google earth it is imposible to make perfect square
Floppy Wardisc or Floppy Wierdbear

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #12 on: 30-12-2016, 15:12:47 »
Nice idea! It looks interesting.
Can I ask you did you made this square in google earth or google maps? In google earth it is imposible to make perfect square

The square you see in the OP is from Google maps. The actual square I used to get the coordinates of the corners of the map was drawn in Geoportail. I strongly recommend you give it a try, it's really great if you're planning on doing a map set in France. I wish there was something similar for other areas of Europe.

Offline GeoPat

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #13 on: 30-12-2016, 17:12:17 »
I guess your problem with the sidewalk is that it is next to a road that modifies the terrain next to it.  Maybe you should double up the sidewalk vertically.  That would give you more leeway in the dips and bumps of the terrain.  Either that or really smooth the area then redo the road.

Offline MajorMajor

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Re: [Still not even WIP, mostly asking for advice] Neufchâtel
« Reply #14 on: 30-12-2016, 22:12:08 »
I guess your problem with the sidewalk is that it is next to a road that modifies the terrain next to it.  Maybe you should double up the sidewalk vertically.  That would give you more leeway in the dips and bumps of the terrain.  Either that or really smooth the area then redo the road.

Yes, that was the problem. Should I ever come back to this map I would need to delete all roads, adjust the terrain and then start placing splines + statics. I didn't realise back in the day just how inadequate the smoothing I had done was. Anyway I haven't worked on this since August, and if I were to map again (which I do want to), I would start a much smaller scale project. I really bit more than I clould chew with this one.