Create the perfect pda map

"How to create a PDA map that doesn’t need to be enlarged to the 2048×2048 pixels, the roads and fields match exactly and you can really see all the details?"
Which mapper has not asked himself this question yet??
The goal of this tutorial is to answer this question as good as possible.

It must be clear that such a PDA map is not ready in five minutes, but needs some time and patience, especially if it is to be perfect.
None of the items listed below is absolutely necessary to continue with the next one. However, for the best possible quality these are only recommended

  • Notepad++
  • Image editor with DDS support (Paint.NET / Photoshop with DDS plugin / Gimp with DDS plugin)
  • Giants Editor

If you have some practice with it, you can get a PDA map in about 30 minutes. The first time it can take longer, especially if you are not familiar with the GE or image editing programs.

A small warning: In order to really see all the details, you must of course fade them all in, this requires a relatively large amount of performance and can lead to severe judder on many PC’s. But since you are not playing on this map, but just taking some pictures, this is not important.

This tutorial is for LS19 and the GE 8.1.0 adjusted

This tutorial is copyrighted!
The whole or. Parts of this tutorial may NOT be distributed, copied or modified!
Quoting with source is allowed.

Table of contents

1. Prepare Map

2. Create PDA map

With kind regards

Don’t forget to liken ;]

1.1 Copy map folder

You can delete the copy of the map you needed for the PDA map after finishing this tutorial.

1.2 Increase visibility

This is now the first step that can not be undone, so in no case edit the original version of the map!
Now increase the visibility of all objects on the map. Here it is not necessary to click on all objects in the GE and the "Clip Distance" will be increased to increase, it is easier:

  • Open the i3d of the map with Notepad++ and do the "Replace" Open window.
  • At "Search for enter the following value clipDistance="[0-9a-z\+]"
  • For "Replace with enter this value clipDistance="10000000"
  • Check if upper/lower case is enabled
  • Check if Regular Expressions is selected
  • Click on Replace All

You can see in this window (at the bottom in blue, number 7 in the picture) how many values have been replaced. If no values were replaced something went wrong. Normally there is a number above 5000, but it depends on the number of objects in the map.

Repeat the same for two other values:

  • "Search for" lodDistance="[0-9a-z\+ ]"
  • "Replace with" lodDistance="0 10000000 1000000 100000000 100000000"

Now you can also check how many values have been replaced. Here usually comes a smaller number than before.

Finally for the following two values:

  • "Search for" maxLODDistance="[0-9a-z\+ ]"
  • "Replace with maxLODDistance="10000000"

With these two exactly 1 value should be replaced.

Now you’ve reached the point where the map probably jerks when you open it with the GE.

1.3 Adjust textures

This step is only necessary in a few exceptions. Should be similar to the "Before/After" If the image is not visible, this step can be skipped.

If you look at the map in the GE, it is possible that trees and plants have hardly visible leaves at a greater distance. This problem is solved by copying the Mip Maps removed from the corresponding textures. But it may also be that this step is not necessary.

To find out which textures to edit, click on the corresponding sheets in the GE and then open the "Material Editing" window in the GE. There you can find the path to the texture under Diffuse Texture. If you move the mouse cursor to this field [number 2 in the picture], you can see the omplete path [number 3 in the picture].
So you open these textures either with Paint.NET or Photoshop (or any other DDS compatible image editor) and save it again at the same place (overwrite old file). As soon as you have clicked on Save, a window normally opens with the exact settings of the DDS file to be saved. It is important to save the texture as DXT5 and deactivate the mip maps:

I do the same for roads, where the ground markings are not visible at a long distance. I therefore recommend to remove the mip maps as described above for all textures of the roads, where such markings also occur.

Of course, not every map has the same objects, so it may be that more textures need to be adjusted in this way.

1.4 Customize ground textures

But to disable this and adjust the normal textures a bit so they look good on the PDA map you have to do the following in Notepad++:
Search for<TerrainTransformGroup. In the found line you can find these two attributes, which have to be adjusted as follows:

  • lodBlendStart="100 in lodBlendStart="10000000"
  • lodBlendEnd="400" in lodBlendEnd="40000000"

These two adjustments have the effect that the distanceMaps are shown only after a very large distance. But now you will notice that the textures from further away look strange, because they always repeat themselves.
This can be improved by changing the unitSize of all affected layers.
This is still done in Notepad++. The unit sizes can be found by searching for unitSize. The value 128 is a good starting value, but it is probably necessary to change it a little bit to make the texture look like you want (bigger value = less repetition of the texture).

Tip: You can also replace the textures completely with others, if they would look better on the PDA map.

1.5 Adjust water textures

With LS19 the water in the GE usually already has a color, so this step is in most cases not necessary anymore.

In Giants Editor the water always looks completely transparent. The blue color is added in the game. To have a blue water on the PDA map anyway, you can simply give the water tarp a blue color (or texture – but this is not described in the tutorial).

You can do this directly in the GE. Click on the water tarp you want to color and open the "Material Editing" window in the GE. First you have to delete the custom shader from the tarp, then the normal texture and if there is also the diffuse texture . When all this is removed you should have a white water in front of you. But this color can be adjusted without further ado to your liking. To do this, change the three values in the Diffuse Color fields, where you can set the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) values of the color, where 1 = 100% and 0 = 0% of the respective color portion. You can use z.B. use the following combination: 0.02 0.13 0.15

If this is done, it is still necessary to turn off the reflection of the sun, because this leads to a problem later on. Just set all three values of the Specular Color to 0.

1.6 Same color for all fields

Personally I find it nicer if all fields have the same color on the PDA map, no matter if rape, barley or corn is already growing. In order not to have to reload the entire fields from the beginning with the "terrainDetail" If you don’t want to edit the distanceMapIds in the i3d of the map, you can simply adjust the distanceMapIds in the i3d of the map. So you look for the fileId of the desired distance texture (z.B. from "acre or "cultivator") and replaces all distanceMapIds of all FoliageSubLayers with this one ID (except the "grass" SubLayer, if meadows and pastures are still to be green).
Example:Before distanceMapIds=";23;24;25;26;;;;" and after distanceMapIds=";38;38;38;;;;" (38 = fileID of "cultivator_distance_diffuse.png").
Do the same with the DetailLayer , so that on the PDA-Map no difference is to be seen between dug, plowed or fertilized.

1.7 Remove everything unnecessary

Some things have no place on a PDA map because they either don’t belong on it or look funny from above. Some examples of objects that should be deleted:

Such objects look strange on the PDA-Map or are not visible, but they disturb the cropping of screenshots (like e.g. a picture).B. the last of the four images).

1.8 Create camera

But this camera will be used only in the next steps.

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