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Satellite map making tips

Google Earth images give lot of shadows, clouds and other anomalies, what to do?

You cannot use raw GE imagery for the actual in-game sat map. Okay for placing objects in V3, but that's it. What is usually done is the raw imagery is repainted, cloned, touched up to remove these anomalies. You don't really want the player to see the raw imagery around man-made objects either, because they will never align or look perfectly meshed. Better to retouch the image and add back features on the sat map which match the objects on the map (buildings and roads). This is done by creating an EMF file in V3 with just those objects, converting the EMF to png and then using this as a reference as another layer in Photoshop to modify the sat map. I actually make separate EMF files of just the buildings, roads, and vegetation to segregate the layers - easier to work with in PS. Also, V3 will crash if you attempt to make an EMF image with too many objects.

The EMF based layers are also used to create the mask file. It's important to use a texture without clutter associated (like mesto) under and around buildings and roads to prevent stray clutter. I really hate it when there is grass or weeds in a the middle of a paved road or inside a building.

The sat map, mask and textures also need to be coordinated so that transitions between them are not too stark. Often you will see maps where the close range texture colors do not blend when with the sat map at mid and long range.

Making Fake/Generic Texture

One way is to capture real life location from Google Earth as satellite texture, but other method is to create it completely on your own using seed images from real locations.

I took samples of the terrain on the island and created a large mosaic in Photoshop. The grabbed the rock formations off the real Google Earth image, and layered it on to base image. Of course there is a lot of artistic retouching, adding noise, smoothing, etc to create a satellite where the textures are to scale with the actual in game terrain, and which match the texture .paa used for close range terrain reproduction. It's important to get them close in color so that there is not a color shift at the various ranges where the ArmA engine changes how it renders the terrain. Otherwise the terrain close to the player will look dark and the distant terrain look too light, or the other way around.

arma/terrain/satellite_tips.txt · Last modified: 2011-06-30 15:05 by snakeman