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Palaxin

[Scenario] Western Mediterranean (5)

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As AtlasMapper and I discussed in this thread, we want to create a new scenario map based on the civilizations and the real-world topography of the western Mediterranean.

Spoiler

med-west.png.88b6abd2d5a13bee1dc983f1b86

I did a simple sketch about what I have in mind so far, some explanations:

  • blue circles: waterways passable only by ships
  • blue diamonds: waterways both passable by land units and ships
  • grey fields: impassable mountain areas
  • brown symbols: passable hills
  • blue lines: mountain passes and narrow ways around impassable terrain
  • blue crosses: impassable shorelines
  • yellow fields: desert (mainly found in North Africa)
  • horizontal lines: swamp (mainly found in Germania)
  • triangles: forests
  • yellow stars: areas rich of resources (mainly mineral deposits, could also be stone or treasures...)
  • red circles: initial territory of Britons, Carthaginians, Gauls, Iberians and Romans
  • red arrows: primary expansion areas
  • red dashed arrows: secondary expansion areas

I think a circle shaped map is suited better than a squared map because the edges would contain quite uninteresting areas in the real world history of the used civilizations. The map should have maximum size (512x512).

Regarding balance: Carthaginians, Iberians and Gauls have approximately the same amount of "natural territory" where they can expand to. This territory is protected by water or impassable mountain areas. Britons are quite limited in space, however, they can only be reached by ships making it very difficult to rush them and give them some defensive bonus. Romans do not have much free space around their initial territory, but they have the option to expand into a remote area and they can easily control the Adria, so fishing ships can be protected effectively. Iberians and especially Gauls are threatened from several sides giving them a strategic disadvantage. On the other side, they have the most options where they want to expand to and at least Iberians are protected by their initial walls. It may be necessary to also provide the Gauls with some extra defenses for otherwise help them a little bit. Mineral deposits should be distributed relatively equally over the map, preferably at strategic important places like mountain passes. Stone occurs a bit more often in the southern areas, especially in the desert. However, wood will be more present in the areas north of the Alps particularly forming the infamous Germanic forests between dangerous swamplands making the use of formations quite impossible.

Edit: I'm just haunted by the idea to bundle this map with a small mod: it contains pirates, Germanic tribes and Greek colonies as three simple, non-playable factions (using existing models). Pirates and Germani are hostile to all players while Greek colonies are neutral (so trade is possible with them?). Some oak trees in the Germanic forests have a debuff aura affecting Roman soldiers, Carthaginian elephants do have bonuses against Romans, but Romans have bonuses against Carthaginian walls. Roman siege walls are stronger against Gauls which in turn can recruit a special druid at a settlement in Aremorica who gives all units in range OP stats against Romans... Ok let's finish dreams :D

Edited by Palaxin
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This will need a lot of geographical research, important landforms like the Pyrenees and the Alps has to be depicted in the map, same with the important rivers and waterways.

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@AtlasMapper with this thread I officially accepted your offer :D I think let's just start with this one map, I probably won't be able to do anything before in a month or so. Terrain and some really basic texturing will be fine (I can do details afterwards and add all of the units, resources, trees etc.). Actually this will be my first 0 A.D. map, so probably I will need a bit longer and ask for feedback. What is quite important to me is the (non-)passability of the grey mountains and the water streets I marked with blue circles and diamonds. If you disagree, then let's discuss this together. Multiple AI are not really a big problem for me (it becomes laggy though with 1000+ units on the map).

I understand your point of view on the scaling between real world and maps. If you want to replay realistic battles in real-time you are right. The Total War series must be appealing to you then. The game on a map like this however is more like a miniature simulation. Thousands of kilometers are reduced to a few hundred meters, hundreds years of history are condensed to an hour, millions of humans are reduced to a few hundred, many thousand buildings reduced to some dozens. Of course this leads to many simplifications, but with some imagination you can have the feeling to "write history", conquer whole countries instead of taking a single settlement or fighting a small army...

Edited by Palaxin
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7 minutes ago, wackyserious said:

This will need a lot of geographical research, important landforms like the Pyrenees and the Alps has to be depicted in the map, same with the important rivers and waterways.

Yes, I therefore propose to import a heightmap into Atlas and edit the terrain based on that. IIRC AtlasMapper has already experience with that tool...

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So here we go!

The map will actually look like this (just a shore prototype, still need some work, especially with mountains):

screenshot0063.thumb.png.a426da0c71b7a80

So it should cover the area you are expecting. Size 512x512. About your schema, it's a bit surprising to imagine land unit coming by feet from morocco to spain, or from sicilia to italia, but well, it is up to you. Actually, these areas are very close to each other as you can see on the screenshot, so it will be easy to set up. Anyway if such very small areas doesn't fit your need, you'll be able to adjust them very easily, even after the 3D model will be done: lowering only a few squares to allow land units to pass is really easy. But I'll try to do it by myself. About the mountains, I will draw them from real maps, so it will be some natural walls to units. I just have to set up the right height for them. But there should be more passages ways than you think, if we respect the reality (eg. units should be able to pass from italia to france by the south of the alps), but again, it might be easily modified to fit your gameplay needs, if you find it relevant. About the swamps/forests, you'll put them by yourself. Setting the whole netherland, north germany, and south denmark under the swamps it a little bit rude for these countries ;) but again, if you find it fun, it's up to you. There will still be natural rivers there. It should be easy to expand them into swamps.

As you can see, the 3D models (boths west and east) should be ready when you'll be back, in one month. I have some important recommendations, however:

You'll obviously start by completing texturing. But then don't head directly to put units and buildings everywhere. Even if you have a scenario in mind (whatever if you plan to use triggers or not), first complete the map in a skirmish mode. What I mean is just some CC from each factions, to easily test the playability of the map. I'll put some on the 3D model, and I'll deliver the map as a skirmish. You'll need to add and balance the resources, forests, etc. This way, you'll see the features of the map, in term of relief especially, if you need to improve some road, block some access, etc. You can even simulate battles with AI only. This way you'll realy realize how the game will go on this map. If you put already units everywhere, you won't be able to easily see issues, and if they comes from the land, resources, or units. Modifying textures and land will be a pain, too. From the skirmish file, you'll be able to easily resave it as a copy and work on it as a scenario without any problem. That's an important advice I should tell, because I did make this error. Proceed step by step, you'll gain some time in the end.

But for now, think about your thesis ;)

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AtlasMapper, thank you very much for your help! You offered to also model the eastern Mediterranean, but please only do that if you have nothing else to do, since I'm not sure if I want to work on two maps or turn to another project after this one.

My first impressions on the raw map:

  • Regarding the chosen map section, the North African part seems a bit too huge for me.
    This is partly due to the perspective, but I still think it could be a little bit smaller.
  • The water passages at the Iberian west cape and Italian east cape are very narrow, can ships pass them?
    I think this is a minor problem because we can widen them a bit if necessary (reducing the perfect match to real-world land shapes a bit).
  • The heights occur in certain steps like terraces - this is probably due to the limited resolution of the heightmap and can't be changed, right?
  • The geography of mountains and hills seems to be quite simplified. The Italian Apennines are lacking completely, the Alps are much wider in reality, and together with the Pyrenees they should stood out a bit more in height compared to some other areas. Probably this is due to the step simplification. But you could try to increase the height range (I would say a factor 2 is not too much), so the mentioned lack of detail should become less obvious. If the slopes are too step then they can still be smoothed afterwards.

I think the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain and Morocco), the Strait of Messina (Italy mainland and Sicilia) and the Strait of Bonifacio (Corsica and Sicilia) should be passable by foot units because they are so narrow in reality that transportation seems to be very quick (which could be simplified in the game to the extend that they can be passed directly). I also wanted this to allow Hannibal his famous march over land (and not directly ship to Rome). The same reason is why I made only two passes in the Alps (he should not walk at the beach, but high in the mountains). Actually I'm sure forcing gameplay that way won't work in most cases, but as you said I can do little adjustments by myself if needed. I will surely flatten the beach at most points since I don't like this terrace-like style.

Yes I will do the swamps and I'm actually German myself, so I should be allowed to place them in my country :D And I will only place them according to the best knowledge of real world topography at that time, so they might be reduced after some research. I don't want to be rude to the people living there!

Thank you for your tips regarding scenario and skirmish mode! I wasn't thinking about that ;)

Have fun with map making, also with your island scenarios! Finally you don't have to stick 100% to my sketch, if you think that some feature doesn't make sense just skip/change it and I can think of it afterwards.

Edited by Palaxin

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Maybe post the heightmap? I'd like to try my hand at this map.

 

Quote
  • Regarding the chosen map section, the North African part seems a bit too huge for me.
    This is partly due to the perspective, but I still think it could be a little bit smaller.

It is mostly due to perspective.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone

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14 hours ago, Palaxin said:

The geography of mountains and hills seems to be quite simplified.

Well you're quite impatient ! As I said, it was just a preview of the ongoing work :

18 hours ago, AtlasMapper said:

just a shore prototype, still need some work, especially with mountains

I improved it, it will more look like this:

Global map:

Spoiler

screenshot0065.thumb.png.4f491dde4797cfb

From UK, north Africa looks smaller:

Spoiler

screenshot0066.thumb.png.e5c17f4b696161c

France, with Alps and Pyrenees:

Spoiler

screenshot0067.thumb.png.d057254fd51a351

Deutschland wieder alles im der Zeit:

Spoiler

screenshot0068.thumb.png.3776a02c2b11a84

Italy, Caspian see, Sicilia, Corse and Sardinia:

Spoiler

screenshot0069.thumb.png.54966135d63ade9

Spain:

Spoiler

screenshot0070.thumb.png.eec9a84de78d178

Tunisia:

Spoiler

screenshot0071.thumb.png.6f1aa9b63aea80d

 

14 hours ago, Palaxin said:

North African part seems a bit too huge for me.

I followed your schema, I did actually start from an area a bit more in the north than you (you'll see more Ireland, and even Denmark on my map) to make North Africa smaller. Moreover if I move the area more in the North, Ships won't be able to pass on the weast of Spain, or on the east of Italia to Caspian sea.

14 hours ago, Palaxin said:

I still think it could be a little bit smaller.

Well actually, it is not so easy to do, it doesn't work like a frame that you move on a map.. If I would make "a bit smaller" that part, I need to redraw everything from start... That would be lots of work for a minor modification. I won't do that. Moreover, that part will be mostly some desert, so players won't move much there. It will be mostly an area in shadows. You could also use this specificity to make some interesting game features. For example you can create some oasis in the desert with some treasures, to reward players who explore this area. I'll try to add this example while texturing.

14 hours ago, Palaxin said:

The same reason is why I made only two passes in the Alps (he should not walk at the beach, but high in the mountains). Actually I'm sure forcing gameplay that way won't work in most cases, but as you said I can do little adjustments by myself if needed. I will surely flatten the beach at most points since I don't like this terrace-like style.

As I said, it was an ongoing work.. There is one pass in the Alps now (I'll make it better a bit later), and you can pass in the north of the beach. It doesn't look like a terrace now. You'll see better with the right texture. If you flatten the beach, take care not to destroy the shore line... Modifying areas close to river or coast will be very dangerous if you're not experienced. It is easier to start on mountains and underwater areas.

14 hours ago, Palaxin said:

You offered to also model the eastern Mediterranean, but please only do that if you have nothing else to do

Haha don't worry, I won't do stuff if I don't have the time to do so. But as I am waiting for the A20 release, most of my other projects are sort of suspended for now. And I also like to make some pauses, by working on different things, to improve my creativity on projects. But ok, if you're not sure to work on the other one for now, I might wait before doing it. Or maybe I'll do it if I'm bored. We'll see.

I should be able to post the playable map in the next few days.

@wowgetoffyourcellphone:

4 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Maybe post the heightmap?

Guys, I don't think you understand how the heightmap tool works. I think you should try to import maps by yourself, and also try to create realistic maps with your own hands: this way you'll see how messy and how highly difficult it is. I need to draw everything by hand to get satisfactory results. It takes me hours to get some realistic map, only for the topography modeling. So my work is not a simple heightmap import, It is a full 3D model.

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Haha done! I completed the 3D modeling. Units can pass on capes, and cross Alps and Pyrenees, cross rivers, etc. I'm proud of this model, I'm getting a bit better each time. I just added a basic texturing as promised, and I made the map playable, by adding the corresponding CC of the dedicated units.

Here are some teasers:

Global playable map:

Spoiler

screenshot0072.thumb.png.a4e4b4be9c5cdb6

Carthaginian CC:

Spoiler

screenshot0073.thumb.png.1ac508502b23b70

Iberians:

Spoiler

screenshot0074.thumb.png.b28ee890b711449

Gauls:

Spoiler

screenshot0075.thumb.png.477db37bfab8d5d

Britons:

Spoiler

screenshot0076.thumb.png.62a3d74a1f00a87

And Roma:

Spoiler

screenshot0077.thumb.png.1784421e8246783

These screenshot are with generic CC from a skirmish mode, but I changed it in the playable version. Just copy the file in your scenario folder to have the right factions, and play the file as a scenario. This is a minimum playable map, with some basic resources around the CC. But is it enought to test the map, explore the passability, evaluate the potential gameplay of the map, etc. I hided some treasures too. So as I said, I recommend you to play the map in this mode before starting to texture finely, and set up resources everywhere. But it is up to you.

I don't know if I should post the file now, because you have a thesis to work on... ;)

Make your choice. Anyway, for anybody who would like to play this map, here is the file:

 

The map is called Western Europe & Mediterranean. Any feedback welcome guys.
Happy gaming.

Edited by AtlasMapper

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18 hours ago, AtlasMapper said:

Guys, I don't think you understand how the heightmap tool works. I think you should try to import maps by yourself, and also try to create realistic maps with your own hands: this way you'll see how messy and how highly difficult it is. I need to draw everything by hand to get satisfactory results. It takes me hours to get some realistic map, only for the topography modeling. So my work is not a simple heightmap import, It is a full 3D model.

I know how a heightmap works. I have used my own heightmaps a lot. I just thought you used one. You used one right? For the coast outlines (maybe not)? I've used other trick before too like importing decals with map texture on them. I've also hand draw real-world coastlines. They are a pain. Hardest part is to get scale right (like, it cam be easy to make Spain too big or something), and then there are the coast details.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone

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So today I was playing around with the heightmap tool, I was just curious, and got this result:

Spoiler

MedWest.jpg

However, some things are bothering me:

  • The map edges are not updated with the heightmap data, there are always two borders like giant walls (you can see them as black rectangles in the picture). I first tried a 512x512 heightmap, then 513x513, but nothing changed. I haven't heard of this bug before, does anyone have?
  • I couldn't find a good heightmap which includes both ocean and land height data, so currently the ocean is just super flat (I therefore added extreme murkiness). @AtlasMapper which source did you use? BTW you did good work and I currently don't intend to replace it, I'm just curious at the moment ;)
  • In Atlas there seems to be no possibility to get square maps instead of circle maps.
Edited by Palaxin
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Sorry, how can I download this scenario? I am not seeing a download link.

Also, would you be interested in having accurate mine locations? There are maps showing where different minerals are. For example:

I realize N. Africa has no gold according to this map, and would be disadvantaged as far as gameplay. But on the other hand, they are isolated from other players and can focus on building a defense. I hope you don't sacrifice accuracy for balance. A perfectly symmetrical game has no character. There should be stronger and weaker situations for different players. IMO

 

PS  It would be neat having to navigate up the Italian mountains to access the mines. You would be in a vulnerable position so sending your units up there would be a risk. Thoughts?

Edited by Player1
Formatting

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@Player1 you commentary have very great reason , this proves why I'm not like this kind of scenario, isn't for personal reasons, because isn't realistic, I can't handle. 

 

Can an be nice keep by arcade mode or TBS campain but not by default gameplay.

 

is my opinion.

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(Didn't read everything, but from the screenshots I would suggest to move the CC away from the water, so it's less prone to attacks. Italys seems to have a serious disadvantage as its has less space to build. Could be compensated by giving more resources or starting with ships).

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On 4/25/2016 at 1:07 AM, elexis said:

(Didn't read everything, but from the screenshots I would suggest to move the CC away from the water, so it's less prone to attacks. Italys seems to have a serious disadvantage as its has less space to build. Could be compensated by giving more resources or starting with ships).

A CC by the water is more prone to attack, but it is also in position to attack ships. Keep it filled with soldiers and it can be an asset instead of a liability.

I believe IRL Italy is resource rich (gold and fertile soil), if that is true then I support adding metal and forage resources

Edited by Player1
Is there a download for this???

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Nice work. However, the usable area around the Italian CC looks far too small in my eyes.

I suggest to remove a bit of the Southern Alps and maybe add a walkable water path to Corsica and Sardinia. I know it reduces the realism, but a balanced gameplay is more important.

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2 hours ago, Player1 said:

I believe IRL Italy is resource rich (gold and fertile soil), if that is true then I support adding metal and forage resources

Italy has very few natural resources, I remember my teacher repeating that when I was a kid :P

Really, it has very few of them, at least actually, and probably also 2K years ago (in the meaning that most resources have to be / are cheaper to be imported rather than gathering them).

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@fabio, the amount of natural resources also changes with the natural resources you need, and how you can extract them. Like Norway currently has a lot of natural resource: a lot of oil and gas in their seas. But given that oil and gas weren't important then. And there was no way to build an oil-drilling platform in the middle of a sea, they didn't have a lot of resources back then.

The converse is probably true for Italy, where there were a lot of small, superficial  mining places. Very easy to do surface mining and extract the metals and stones from it, but by now already depleted or too small to be commercially interesting. Belgium is a bit in an intermediate situation, there are no mines that are very easy to access, but we had some coal mines that weren't too deep, so it gave Belgium a good start during the industrial revolution. But most of the mines are depleted by now, and the places that still have coal are too small to be actually viable.

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A greeting and I hope to be welcome.

Italy at that time was rich in metals, and agriculture.
The mining part of the peninsula used by the Etruscans and then by the Romans was the Maremma.
The first Etruscan mines were on the island of Elba and in Gavorrano (Pyrite).
The climate was different than now, was the "Roman Warm Period."
The second was the "Medieval Warm Period"
Only when Rome expanded much had the need to use the fertile plains of northern Africa.
They arose in that period several Castrum to defend the barns
now called Tunisia Algeria and Libya KSAR which derives from the Latin Castrum.
From KSAR result, the words ALKA'ZAR in Spanish, Portuguese ALCA'CER, and CASSERO in modern Italian
The granary of the empire was for many years the north africa.
The beginning of Rome, moreover, came with the League of farms on the Tiber.
Throughout Italy there are old remains of farms Republican expansionary period.
For the stone the areas used were for the TIVOLI Travertine, the Apennines to the sandstone; Lazio was an open quarry of tufa and pozzolana to mix the burnt lime to make the first concrete.

On this occasion I congratulate you for the work you are doing with the historical tuning of the game.

PS. Sorry for my English:blush:

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On 3/23/2016 at 0:56 PM, AtlasMapper said:

Make your choice. Anyway, for anybody who would like to play this map, here is the file:

 

The map is called Western Europe & Mediterranean. Any feedback welcome guys.
Happy gaming.

Where is the link?

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1 hour ago, Player1 said:

Where is the link?

If I remember right, it was initially there. He may have removed it (accidentally?) when editing the post...

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18 hours ago, Palaxin said:

If I remember right, it was initially there. He may have removed it (accidentally?) when editing the post...

If someone can give me the file I would send them $5 on PayPal, if that isn't against the rules here. I have been searching for this exact type of scenario for a long time and registered on this forum just to get this file

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21 hours ago, wackyserious said:

@Player1 You just need to wait for @AtlasMapper to comeback, last time he was online was on April 04 (Based on his profile stats)

I am willing to pay a little bit to have it now. The offer stands. Surely someone has it saved on their computer?

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