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Vegetal

"Believability" of maps, realism

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Have you guys ever noticed something on the maps that seem off? Like, weird when compared to reality?

 

First one for me is the terrain on fool's road. There are some really steep hills, but instead of their sides being eroded and showing rocks, they are made of soil. The general height map doesn't seem natural also, the mountains and valleys are very obviously artificial, made with gameplay in mind.

 

The other is very odd to me. The roads in Belaya. There are SO MANY of them, and they serve nooooo purpose! I open up the map and get like "wtf?" Why are there so many large roads leading nowhere? Connecting to each other?

 

Does this feel odd to you?

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This game cannot have large open spaces, because they refuse to either give all classes optics (like PR) or have an innate zoom (like arma)

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Yeah, I had the same thoughts. I was wondering about those roads on Belaya just a few days ago, actually. There are also some weird details like a watch tower that consists of hescos held up in the air by metal posts. It makes no sense. The tunnels also look bland and gamey, like something from 1990s fps, even though the devs have an awesome modular tunnel system at their disposal. I’d like to do more than offer criticism and make something myself in the sdk but work and family make that pretty difficult.

 

I have to say, though. Axton impressed me with his Mestia map and I’m looking forward to the highlands map.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Vegetal said:

Have you guys ever noticed something on the maps that seem off? Like, weird when compared to reality?

 

First one for me is the terrain on fool's road. There are some really steep hills, but instead of their sides being eroded and showing rocks, they are made of soil. The general height map doesn't seem natural also, the mountains and valleys are very obviously artificial, made with gameplay in mind.

 

The other is very odd to me. The roads in Belaya. There are SO MANY of them, and they serve nooooo purpose! I open up the map and get like "wtf?" Why are there so many large roads leading nowhere? Connecting to each other?

 

Does this feel odd to you?

limits to the 'realisticalness' of terrain stuff in game is purely down to the engine and how much effort you want to put into painting your terrain "realistically" and weather you want to use real terrain or make your own from scratch.

from my experience with the SDK, terrain detail and realism comes down to the terrain polygon detail and how those polys are dealt with when changing LOD - i notice some pretty nasty LOD changes in terain sometimes and it looks terrible (hills popping into/out of shape), and the "resolution" you can work at when manipulating the terrain is not great - like 1 sq.metre - makes it hard sometimes. terrain painting is similar - how much time do you want to spend hand painting the terrain - even with splat maps there will still be quirky areas that need lovin to look even half good. oh, also: if we could have literal fields of grass 'n stuff (think of those lovely looking MegaScan images n'such), that would make a big difference (my biggest immersion breaker is seeing the extremely-flat ground texture through patchy ground cover - no ground tex yet actually looks like ground covered grass (etc).) - making a realistic terrain, even from RL reference, is very hard to do well.

as for lots of roads: whats wrong with options? i'd have thought numerous raods to choose from would be a boon, so you're not forced along the same route every time?

 

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True. But it's hard to do real life terrain. Either you need great knowledge of programs (SDK, WM, GIMP and so) to recreate RL layout or great knowledge of geoscience to make believable semi fictional landscape. I think in time, maps will be better.

 

I really like what Post Scriptum team is doing. Their map is excellent (based on videos/sterams; didn't actually play it). They are recreating maps and don't bother too much with gameplay.

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Yeah, the maps for Post Scriptum are very convincing and I like how they’re on a one to one scale. I wonder how performance will be, though.

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HESCO watch towers: yeah they are totally bizarre, forgot about that.

 

@LaughingJackLaughingJack: I think you missed my point completely. The roads in Belaya for example: have you seen a real place with a road network like that? Does that seem realistic? I also disagree with you, terrain realism doesn't depend on the engine at this point, it's purely an artistic skill.

 

1 hour ago, embecmom said:

height maps were taken of real locations...

Citation needed...

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@LaughingJack I agree with @Vegetal on this one when talking about the unnecessary amount of roads the mappers decided on put on Belaya:

 

1200px-Belaya_HighRes.jpg

 

It appears as though each mountain/hill was designed to be surrounded by stretch of road 360 degrees to make it hard for any faction to establish themselves on any hill.

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Looking at that map again, yeah, that’s ridiculous. And most of them are paved.

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55 minutes ago, fatalsushi said:

Looking at that map again, yeah, that’s ridiculous. And most of them are paved.

My western friends, you're all missing the point. Socialist states are excellent at building bridges to nowhere. The reason for the excess roadways is actually to ENHANCE the accuracy of the map. A succinct, efficient use of anything would be downright unrealistic.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, wingman9 said:

...

lol nice

 

8 hours ago, fatalsushi said:

Yeah, the maps for Post Scriptum are very convincing and I like how they’re on a one to one scale. I wonder how performance will be, though.

 Yep, it is important to try to do it in 1:1 even if it may look dull or small at first glance... Dose anyone remember islands of Flashpoint (Malden, Everon and so on)? Layout was excellent but because of scale it didn't feel right either (as in didn't make sense). 

Edited by Disco

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1 hour ago, wingman9 said:

My western friends, you're all missing the point. Socialist states are excellent at building bridges to nowhere. The reason for the excess roadways is actually to ENHANCE the accuracy of the map. A succinct, efficient use of anything would be downright unrealistic.

Quote of the year.

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I like every single map in Squad. If you think otherwise you should spend a weekend opening every single map up in the console and explore every quadrant on foot like I have and then see if you think the same afterwards.

 

In my opinion the maps themselves are hands down absolutely the best feature of the game and if you take the time to open them up in the SDK you can see that a considerable amount of creative effort was put into every single facet of their design. All of the maps are very detailed and highly immersive in my opinion.

 

That said, regarding this I'd interject the expression "you can't see the forest for the tree's" when it comes to these negative perspectives about the Squad maps themselves.

 

Furthermore, I'd challenge anyone who thinks that the maps in Squad lack "realism" or "believability" to download the SDK and show us all something better then. 

 

That said, I come from the Delta Force mapping community and I've personally spent literally hundreds of hours teaching myself the Unreal Editor and created my own maps which are on the Steam Workshop and I can personally testify "this shit ain't easy"...

 

PS: regarding the criticisms of Belaya I can show you places deep in the national forests of Oregon where all the sudden there are entire networks of paved roads similar to this. It's done this way to accommodate the ongoing harvest, replanting and general maintenance of the forest and is more practical and cost effective than maintaining gravel roads so I can assume it's done in other countries as well.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Zylfrax791 said:

PS: regarding the criticisms of Belaya I can show you places deep in the national forests of Oregon where all the sudden there are entire networks of paved roads similar to this. It's done this way to accommodate the ongoing harvest, replanting and general maintenance of the forest and is more practical and cost effective than maintaining gravel roads so I can assume it's done in other countries as well.

I'd agree with this only if those mountains surrounded by paved roads were actually forest but they're not. Belaya compared to Fool's Road for any given mountain you'll see a substantially lower amount of trees. Just fire up the SDK and compare.

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2 minutes ago, CptDirty said:

I'd agree with this only if those mountains surrounded by paved roads were actually forest but they're not. Belaya compared to Fool's Road for any given mountain you'll see a substantially lower amount of trees. Just fire up the SDK and compare.

Belaya is an active forestry area with freshly cut timber, log piles and stumps. I'm not going to open both maps up and perform a forestry audit. I think everyone gets my point that a considerable amount of creative effort went into each and every map and within the constraints of the engine and proprietary game the maps appear quite realistic.

 

 

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re: Belaya. so peeps have differing opinions - that's cool. my opinion is Belaya looks like it has plenty of options for moving around, which i value in a map. i would also second @Zylfrax791 and say that local State & National Parks (Australia) also have similar networks of roads - mainly for fire control and forestry maintenance, and is therefore totally "realistic", imo.

@Vegetal. yes, i have seen, driven on, hiked along and camped nearby, countless areas like this over my lifetime and find it totally believable. Also; have you tried using the SDK?, or done any mapping before? - artistic skills work only until you hit the limits of what the engine is capable of.

Fools Road does have an oddly lumpy terrain, i agree, but i don't know what it is based on or wheather it has been un-evenly scaled, or even what type of geology it is based on, so i can't comment on it's shape or how textures have been used on it.

i will never attempt to make a map that copies Reality - i (and the tools provided) will only ever be capable of making things "Realistic" (i have another island map in the works, based on Flinders Island that IRL is 30+ km long, which is absurd for a game, so i'll be scaling it down to 4(or 8)km because i don't have time to get artistic with over 350 square kilometers).

 

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So what about the hesco towers? I know I’m nitpicking but someone please explain to me the logic behind those.

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Sorry for wall of text...

 

Cool! Just googled on Willamette National Forest (Oregon) and Wabba Plantation (Wabba Wilderness Park, 75km SE of Albury, Australia). There is road network for forest operations. Yet road network is different form Belaya. In observed RL locations, areas have much more hilly height maps so road network is setup according to that. Also, there is main road in the area that have different capacity/quality from forest operation's road network. In Belaya, all roads are two-way paved wide roads (except ones in settlements) and it seems to be valley. Road network would be done differently if not mistaken. Is this how it's done in Russia? Its interesting. Can someone from actual area comment?

 

8 hours ago, fatalsushi said:

So what about the hesco towers? I know I’m nitpicking but someone please explain to me the logic behind those.

There isn't any, I can tell you that. I'm structural engineer but I worked in civilian service only. Military engineering is somewhat different due to even heavier use of patterns and standards (and low concerns of resources in small scale) but even so, those hesco tower don't make much sense. I will call that hesco since i don't know how it's called in Russian use but principle seems the same. Anyway, tower is composed of beams as supporting structure, hesco layer and wooden planks on top. Hesco layer is strange part here, yes. Lets disregard the fact there is no joints on structure and so on. Due to height, beams would be extended to the needed level as height of walking level is not too high (GOST standard is manufacturing beams from 6m to 24m) and planks or steel sheets would be set on top as walking surface. There would be steel beams bracing for floor on which wooden planks/steel sheets rests.

 

But lets come up with their possible use!

  • Hesco layer used as protection for floor - doesn't make sense but i would be like to be proven wrong. From my quick research, military observation towers are not usually made from steel beams. More often it's done from wood or concrete. If they are from steel, there is no special protection of floor (special as in 1m or more of material used).
  • Hesco as afterthought for height adjustment - doesn't make sense. Height of that hesco is not enough to justify (mechanical) energy involved to install it there and dead weight it makes. Actually, it would make more sense if they were all stack up.
  • Punishment for solders - worst thing you can have is bored solder so tasks are given to waste time. Ok, but even so, these tasks are rarely done to mess with something important as structural stability. Even if that is the story, there is no floor bracing to support hesco layer or evidence it was meant to be like that.

Anyway, as said, i would like to be proven wrong.

 

Most of metal structures in Squad's official maps lack some engineering sense. Part of it is due to time but bigger part of it is due to lack of engineering knowledge. I tried once to make comment on it but when i saw response from lead mapper at the time i didn't want to argue. Being mapper is VERY difficult job indeed so it is justified excuse. You need to have good knowledge of software but that is only one part of it. You also need at least basic knowledge in civil / mechanical / electrical / social engineering and at least some knowledge of geodesy / geoscience. That is a lot. Really, really a lot (althou, i'm sure there are some short texts about mentioned matter for level designers... if nothing, you can check out books from elementary school). Or you can stick with first part (software) and try to recreate landscape as much as you can on 1:1 scale. That in it self is overwhelming too. But as soon as you start to deviate from nature, you need that "other" knowledge. I think Squad's mappers are excellent in software knowledge but lacks in other areas so maybe should avoid fictional landscapes and go for existing layouts (height, river/stream placements, flora placement, road network, settlements, other human structures in 1:1 scale). I'm concern about trend. Kalmadesh is fictional and Fallujah will be too.

 

As said, Post Scriptum have very interesting map. Their approach is different? Research is done differently? And as mentioned, performance needs to be checked but there could be some space for exchange of knowledge there definitely.

 

Btw, this thread is for constructive criticism, not to grunge or put down our mappers. We are all well aware that they have tremendous task in front of them and I think they are doing excellent job! But also would like to point out few things that could be better.

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People are quite sensitive nowadays eh? I'm not saying it's easy, I'm pointing out stuff that I think is weird on the maps, and that's it.

 

The idea that in order to criticise you need to able to do better is absolutely invalid. Mestia doesn't have the same problem as fools for example, at least in my view. Another example is the HESCO tower, which is absolutely nonsensical in every way, and I don't even think it was the result of ignorance. It probably was just needing them quickly in the game and not having the time to create proper assets. They just used hescos because they were ready.

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2 hours ago, Vegetal said:

People are quite sensitive nowadays eh? I'm not saying it's easy, I'm pointing out stuff that I think is weird on the maps, and that's it.

 

The idea that in order to criticise you need to able to do better is absolutely invalid. Mestia doesn't have the same problem as fools for example, at least in my view. Another example is the HESCO tower, which is absolutely nonsensical in every way, and I don't even think it was the result of ignorance. It probably was just needing them quickly in the game and not having the time to create proper assets. They just used hescos because they were ready.

Giving constructive criticism without offering alternative solutions is an illogical paradigm. What are your proposals?

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Hello. Criticism is very welcome if it is paired with throughoutly overthought concepts and is not emotionally driven, in my honest opinion.

Emotionally driven inconstructive criticism would be the last thing getting a point heard. Alternative solutions are very welcomed if criticism is already something that is considered as worth putting one's energy into, so please put as much energy in offering solutions into constructive perspectives, and your point will be recepted more easily. Simply taking more time before putting thoughts out helps in many cases.

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2 hours ago, Zylfrax791 said:

Giving constructive criticism without offering alternative solutions is an illogical paradigm. What are your proposals?

They are kinda obvious aren't they? Reduce or modify the roads in Belaya, apply rocks to fool's slopes or modify the terrain in general, modify the watchtowers to use a believable structure. Things like that.

 

And I disagree with you. Pointing out mistakes that could go by unnoticed is constructive in itself, even if you don't know the solution.

 

1 hour ago, invisible.nin/SINE said:

Hello. Criticism is very welcome if it is paired with throughoutly overthought concepts and is not emotionally driven, in my honest opinion.

Emotionally driven inconstructive criticism would be the last thing getting a point heard. Alternative solutions are very welcomed if criticism is already something that is considered as worth putting one's energy into, so please put as much energy in offering solutions into constructive perspectives, and your point will be recepted more easily. Simply taking more time before putting thoughts out helps in many cases.

Is this some kind of bot? O.o

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