Dev Diary PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Terrain

This is dev diary for PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 real world data terrain by PMC.

We have been writing development or developer diaries to PMC Tactical Forums for two decades, these addon dev diaries are spread to many forum topics. One example PMC Tactical Forums: Vietnam: The Experience Neverending development diary 2007-10-13. On 2020 things changed in Farming Simulator 19 editing community when we started to write detailed dev diaries as web html pages because we had no forum, now in 2022 the same dev diary story telling continues in ofp/arma community.

These dev diaries are my current on the fly thoughts and emotions, if I feel shitty I will clearly state that. I try to avoid it but sometimes there might be hilarious profanity rants when things don't go exactly as I planned, so if you are "offended" by few curse words you probably should stop reading now Smiley ;)

Also these dev diaries are written to many addon projects and sometimes repeating the same lines of text or taking exact same screenshots feels stupid so there might be text just listing boring "I did XYZ and then ZYX" type of info without further details. And remember; this is NOT a tutorial, this is entertainment Smiley ;)

Time stamps are Universal Time Coordinated (UTC).

2021-10-24 Project Started

2021-10-24T09:56:00Z Created this page Smiley :)

PMC Suwalki Gap is a 81.9km x 81.9km terrain which was created relatively recently in this whole large real world data terrain project. It was labeled as misc category and just weeks ago renamed to PMC Poland Suwalki to be uniform with out other terrain naming. Poland has a nice farming country side judging by the satellite imagery so I wanted to do one or two poland terrains to fill in our poland country category a bit Smiley :)

Poland Hulskie is the countrys south east corner region near the Solina dam / lake. This area was actually suggested by honger in PMC discord chat.

I was on my "arma3 2021 exit strategy" already but wanted to get these two poland terrains done, if I don't do it now there is no guarantees when it would happen, now is as good time as any.

Global Mapper project created, SRTM online source added, user feature grid created, KMZ exported, Terra Incognita downloading. It has started Smiley :)

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

Things were moving fast again, got satellite mask exported from global mapper, did OpenStreetMap (OSM) shape files as well, etc. Forgot to write all of it, I was like a dog in heat going after editing QUICKLYNOWMOREGIMMEEVERYTHINGNOWQUICKLY style Smiley ;)

While terra incognita was leeching I did more tasks on the background while waiting, latitude/longitude config.cpp, created Terrain Processor dir with obj_*.shp files moved there, copied Terrain Processor TPP Templates there and edited Smooth_Roads.tpp and ran it, then did the same for enoch/livonia forest TPP.

I have never done this while "TerrainProcessor" directory is sub dir for global mapper dir, I prefer to do this task once Terrain Builder project has been created but cant do that now as p:\pmc\ is mounted with taiwan symlink.

Hard at work. Here we have terrain processor which just finished generating only 4.585 million objects for our forests, hmm, odd, it should have blasted around 10 million, need to look into that.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

2021-10-24T11:34:00Z And now we are waiting again for terra incognita to finish, its download 13 of 25 tile now. Zzz ...

It kind of pisses me off that terrain builder is tied to p:\ mount, at least I think it is, never tried to create a new terrain without the path being available, I mean it makes sense for it not to work. Or other way around I never tried to create project on other directory than p:\ like for example in the actual non mounted and symlinked p:\pmc\ dir. Who knows maybe it would work, dunno. Maybe p:\ is only used for buldozer which I never use as its such a piece of shit.

So, we wait. Patiently... Smiley ;)

Finally terra incognita finished, then used irFanview to check the JPG images for Terra Incognita Black Tiles, there was none, but unfortunately there was just utter terrible clouds, just completely ruining the satellite, this needs SO much clone brushing and pattern filling its not even funny. Truly a shame as otherwise the satellite looked great.

Hard at work leeching other terrains satellite and exporting one from this one.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

Global mapper was done exporting satellite texture tiles, then inspected sat_*.png images for clouds which I knew there were way too many.

Cloud tiles: A3, A4, B3, B4, C3, C4, D3 and D4.

The clouds were huge like covering almost half a tile at worst, ugh yuck. I love clouds in real life, hate them in satellite textures Smiley ;)

Can't wait to do some american terrains with US NAIP source, no clouds there.

2021-10-24T13:36:00Z Lunch break, gotta get some chow...

2021-10-24T14:12:00Z Feeding time is over, lets start that dreaded GIMP cloud clone stamp tool brushing.

Got it done and GraphicsMagick then Darken Merge Picturemap Satellite Texture Tiles. Those clone brush and pattern fill locations were so huge you can clearly see them from overall satellite texture, too bad, but hey what can you do if source is so bad, only thing we can hope is that it will improve in future ArcGIS updates. And sure I could check out google/maps maybe it would have cloud free replacement, who knows.

Then started to import those terrain builder generated objects, 4.585 million and it took roughly one HOUR, again we wait hehe, Zzz ...

2021-10-24T16:29:00Z Got satellite texture and mask imported to terrain builder.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

Can clearly see the clone brushed and mostly pattern filled areas, no good, oh well.

After terrain builder finished generating layers, exported WRP and started Convert Layers PNG to PAA Fast bat. At this point I was actually watching a movie on the background, there was not much to do as terra incognita was downloading another poland terrains satellite and hulskie is on the long process phase now, actually this is almost done, just Separate Data Layers for smaller PBOs, re-pathing RVMAT's and then its pboProject binarize time.

2021-10-24T18:19:00Z Alright everything done, pboProject binarization (PMC Editing Wiki: search "binarize") finished. So nice to have another new terrain in-game, not that I'm in any hurry to try it out or anything.

2021-10-26 My Forests

2021-10-26T23:09:00Z New editing day, took global mapper transformed_areas.shp and split the forests up to three individual shapes, so that these shape areas are smaller. Then put these shape files to terrain processor directory and edited the livonia TPP files to use them and increased hectare density to 125, this hopefully makes much thicker forest object density and because they are in smaller import files... terrain builder hopefully accept them without flipping out.

I'm trying to keep each object layer less than 10 million objects, actually if you keep it right up there you only can have two layers, here we have three and should have plenty of room to spare.

Its just that with my TPP task settings, MINDIST most likely, even with 125 density terrain processor doesn't seem to generate any more objects, guess it sees that oh okay this shape area is full of objects cant generate anymore so it doesnt matter even if you used crazy hectare density numbers.

Hmm maybe I need to first make the forest trees and then rocks and dead trees, hmm maybe.

2021-10-27T01:00:00Z Terrain builder exported WRP and it got now 6.850 million objects.

2021-10-28 Generating Objects

2021-10-28T03:10:00Z New terrain editing day for hulskie, was eyeballing bugs/issues list and there was note about heightmap roads not being smoothed. Hmm heightmap.asc was not present but heightmap_smoothed_roads.asc was, so I probably did not import that for the last WRP binarization.

Could not import it right away because pboProject was running for taiwan taipei with taiwan p:\pmc\ mount being active. This always pisses me off that I cannot edit different country / type terrain projects at the same time with terrain builder or pboProject.

Another bug report was that terrain processor task mask linear to clear objects from roads did not work, well not exactly true it did work but not good enough, its object distance was set to 12 meters which is not enough, trees can still creep into roads. I bumbed it to 15 which I used in VTE Nui Chet objects and started to run the TPP files all over again.

Millions of objects generated: First 1.031, second 2.949, third 2.858 hmm okay, that is 6.838 million objects so a little bit less than with 12m object distance for road cleaning, which makes sense. Okay sounds good to me.

2021-10-28 Smooth Them Roads

2021-10-28T19:43:00Z Okay back to hulskie editing. Next bug to fix is heightmap roads not smoothed out. Was a bit confusing as terrain builder source dir did not have heightmap.asc but only smoothed out roads file, there always should be heightmap.asc file first.

Found heightmap.asc in global mapper dir, moved it to terrain builder dir and edited its header for 200000,0 coordinates. Then ran terrain processor road smoothing TPP to it. Then imported smoothed heightmap into terrain builder and rebuild terrain, exported WRP and saved project. Then it was just pboProject binarization of WRP addon (and _data/_cfg as they are instant).

2021-10-28T20:10:00Z pboProject binarization finished.

*** pmc poland_hulskie
Start time: 2021-10-28T1953
pboproject pmc_poland_hulskie_data
pboproject pmc_poland_hulskie_cfg
pboproject pmc_poland_hulskie
End time: 2021-10-28T2010

In-game things look good, heightmap roads are nicely smoothed out, great.

2021-11-14 Terrain Processor Work

2021-11-14T12:12:00Z New editing day has started for this terrain, I'm already doing terrain processor work for poland krus-something terrain and decided that while waiting I'll patch in the same edits into poland hulskie as well.

Plan is to take the latest enoch/livonia forest terrain processor TPP files and use for hulskie, they include tweaked values for dead trees, rocks and trees, the new task for bushes got added.

Backupped original terrain processor TPP files. Then deleted them and Forest_1.shp, 2 and 3.shp files. Used global mapper to export 4 x 4 grid OSM area shape files. Then copied roads.* files into terrain processor dir so I can just use generic copy paste road cleaning task pointing into current dir roads.shp instead of unique relative path+file.

Then generated objects with those TPP files, deleted terrain builder object layers dir err layer files heh. Started terrain builder, loaded poland hulskie and imported the LBT object files.

2021-11-14T15:56:00Z Terrain builder finally finished importing LBT objects, I was scared that terrain builder could be in brink of a crash so I exported WRP right away. Total objects: 13.510 million Smiley :)

Started to pboProject binarize terrain right away, gotta get to test this thing.

Checked in-game, looking nice but I still don't feel that thickness in the forest.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

Here is all the current PMC polish terrains in european map, Hulskie is the southern most while PMC Poland Suwalki is the largest and northern most.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

Funny little thing, PMC Poland Suwalki (gap) has actually more terrain from other countries than poland hehe. Oh well, its still poland for me Smiley :)

2022-04-03 New Editing YEAR

2022-04-03T16:17:00Z New editing day has started. New editing YEAR actually Smiley :)

Yes it was november 2021 when I was editing PMC Poland Hulskie terrain last time, actually it was the so called first time when this terrain was created heh.

Today I just released PMC Ukraine Kherson terrain less than half an hour ago and now I'm jumping right next to the next terrain in line to be released and that is hulskie Smiley :)

Just finished reading this whole dev diary, I cannot say how valuable such detailed play-by-play record is, removes all doubts and such things.

As usual after returning to a terrain project after a long time, it will start with arma3 in-game check, I need to get my bearings, well beyond what this dev diary just told me.

Created new arma3 startup bat file for real world data terrain testing: poland. Started arma3 up and first thing I see is that terrain builder mapframe properties surface mask pixel resolution is 512 or maybe 1024 dunno which, that causes the buggy mapview look when zoomed out. Its a known arma3 bug.

Wrote a bug report about it but it would require satellite texture/mask generate layers and new binarization shuffle and I'm not very happy to do that, I mean we have lived with this bug for over a decade and nobody has been complaining, for this first release I don't think its worth the time to fix as it would take a better part of the day to do so counting everything it includes.

Dev diary earlier listed that satellite imagery had so many clouds you can easily see my GIMP clone stamp tool brush editing work in the zoomed out satellite... however, I cant see shit, I'm looking and looking... and cannot spot one single location where there are bad obvious stamping tool work, hmm odd.

The roads.shp is broken now, need to take the global mapper exported roads.shp, import it to terrain builder and then export it out again to save it in such format that arma3 will read it. This really pisses me off.

At this point added that terrain builder roads.shp import/export step into the real world data tool pipeline. Also created the order of releases so all I have to do is to proceed from the list step by step, fix stuff and release. Its like lazy dude's guide to release all PMC terrains hehe.

Its good to have a roadmap so to speak now, nothing has changed I knew these terrains will be released but now there is clear list of edit/release terrain titles to follow, don't need to figure out what to do next, just have to look top of the list and get it done. Life is so easy Smiley :)

Was checking out the terrain in 3D world, immediately noticed how badly the satellite mask ground detail textures (GDT) fits into satellite texture, for example in forest the GDT is brown dry kind of thing but satellite as seen from the space, is all dark-ish green color.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

It looks quite bad... but honestly trying to match mask into texture is not a small thing to accomplish. Also in theory, kinda, the green image you see from space (satellite imagery) are the trees, in the forest bottom, in theory, you should not see the trees... but yeah life ain't that simple, heh.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

It bothers me that the roads.shp is broken, so I'm going to fix that first before proceeding to do more in-game testing.

Then removed ukraine subst on P:\ drive and substed/mounted poland. Checked out the status of roads.shp and seems like at least proper RoadsLib.cfg has been symlinked, so that is in order. Guess it just needs that arma3 bug fix to terrain builder import/export roads.shp file.

Started terrain builder and loaded hulski project up, inspected satellite texture and I cannot find any airfields in it even though my tool pipeline stopped at airfield runway poly line creation point. Of course you don't need to do what you don't need to do so heh.

Hulski uses 4 x 4 grid tile files for object generation, its funny to see that many object layers Smiley :)

Below screenshot also shows a very bright european woodland type satellite mask.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

Then I proceeded to import roads.shp file and export it out right away, this now fixed the broken arma3 roads.shp when its exported from global mapper like hundreds of times before, prior to 2022.

Next pboProject binarized pmc_poland_hulskie_data addon, as that is where the roads.shp are. Then just back to arma3 to take another look with roads fixed now.

I got a little side track and investigated & debugged that roads.shp broken thing... unfortunately I found out that 2017 created PMC Afghanistan Asadabad terrains roads.shp work just fine, no issue there. Of course this is so million years into the past that I cant be sure if those roads.shp were saved out of terrain builder or global mapper but I'd like to think it was global mapper.

Anyways just wanted to get some base line of which is the last PMC terrain that works. Taiwan/poland terrains roads.shp from 2021 don't work, even mexico terrains from 2020 don't work. But 2017 is way too long to the past to make any kind of comparison as I simply cannot remember that far, maybe it was terrain builder, maybe not.

Also back when I created mexico terrains in 2020 I have bug report about narrow dirt silly looking roads, so it looks like the bug appeared the first time in last quarter of 2020, after my current windows 8.1 and global mapper install. Hmm so maybe there is something wrong with the global mapper settings, dunno.

2022-04-03T17:52:00Z Was editing like my hair is on fire and just realized I'm hungry as hell, gotta go cook some food and eat.

2022-04-03T18:47:00Z Feeding time is over, back to editing Hulskie.

Finally got around to that arma3 in-game check and roads.shp is now fixed, good. However there was an issue with the roads, they get carved into the terrain edges like in below screenshot.

PMC Poland Hulskie ArmA 3 Screenshot

That is fairly minor issue right on the terrain edges. I wrote bug/issue report about it, it will be fixed. Other than that I did not see any further issues in arma3 check.

For what it is, this terrain is ready for release, I don't know what else to fix within this context, meaning needing to do huge shuffle for dozens of gigabytes of file processing.

2022-04-03 Initial Release Day

2022-04-03T19:12:00Z Starting the release procedures Smiley :)

Checked PMC "worldSize" mission pack terrain list and pmc_poland_hulskie was already there, good.

When taking screenshot in arma3 I had a slight scare there, for some reason the road textures loaded really slowly and they were untextured for minute or two, I have no idea why. Must have been my hard disk drive (HDD) somehow stuttering or something, never seen arma3 data streaming texture loading that slow before.

My editing computer has fast M.2 NVMe drive but only arma3 and tools are there, CUP and PMC addons are all on old Western Digital 4tb Green HDD, because they would eat up puny little 1tb NVMe in a heartbeat.

But anyways got the screenshots taken all nicely with 20km viewDistance and 10km objectViewdistance.

2022-04-03T20:05:00Z Screenshots sorted, renamed, edited and converted. Web page php template files done, no just need to add text info content.

2022-04-03T20:35:00Z Started to proof read and add links to this dev diary.

2022-04-03T21:24:00Z Proof reading and link adding done, uuh my copy-paste finger is screaming in agony.

Then I started the actual "physical" release procedure, creating torrent, news and forum post texts etc. After torrent was created, added to qBittorrent and uploading to our "seedbox", I realized changelog page is still to be done heh. Okay got changelog done nicely.

And as I said, there wont be any hysterical neurotic zillion times proof reading biting your nails action going on, I proof read stuff once, images and links look good, we are good to go!

2022-04-03T22:12:00Z PMC Poland Hulskie v0.1 has been released! Smiley :cool:

2022-04-22 Satellite Texture / Mask Generation

2022-04-22T07:32:00Z New editing day has started, or is it. Nope, not really. PMC Poland Hulskie needs terrain builder mapframe properties surface mask resolution increased to 1024 to remove the "mosaic" bug in 2d mapview. Currently I'm burn out and bored out of my mind so have no interest in thorough editing, but while I'm staring empty computer screen why not let these long processes run on the background.

Plan is not to binarize and release hulski today, just get this long process done, ready for the next release.

First symlinked p:\pmc\ from africa niger to poland directory. Then deleted layers addon dirs from pmc_poland_hulskie_data_layers_05 to pmc_poland_hulskie_data_layers_08, next ran _run_delete_project_rvmat_png_paa_files.bat to well delete layer RVMAT and PAA files.

Loaded terrain builder project and changed surface mask resolution from 512 to 1024, then started to generate layers. While it was running did edits for the separate WRP and Data bat files.

2022-04-22T08:20:00Z Generate layers finished, exported WRP.

Started convert layers PNG to PAA fast bat.

2022-04-22T08:26:00Z Powerful convert layers bat finished itself.

Then ran the separate WRP and Data bat file, after that moveObject RVMAT re-pathing task.

Now its ready for binarization which I wont be doing now, no point of it, next release is still ways off so no need to binarize it for no reason. Now we wait until more edits need to be done.

PMC Poland Hulskie: Changelog, Dev Diary, Screenshots. Back to PMC Terrain's page.