Dev Diary PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Terrain

This is dev diary for PMC Taiwan Kinmen 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).

2021-10-21 Project Started

2021-10-21T12:56:00Z Created this page.

Started Terra Incognita downloads for 4 corner pieces of 45km x 45km selection even though NOTHING ELSE has been done yet, haven't selected center coordinates or created Global Mapper project yet. I just want to use time wisely to download that satellite imagery which takes 8hrs or more.

Most likely I wont be returning to this dev diary / terrain for many days now heh. So "KTHNXBY!" Smiley ;)

2021-10-23 Decision Time

2021-10-23T09:01:00Z New editing day has started, todays agenda is PMC Taiwan Kinmen terrain. Interesting day, haven't even decided what size of this terrain will be, its position of course is obvious; kinmen island.

Created 00.txt real world data terrain tool pipeline text file taiwan kinmen task lines. Okay lets get to work.

Used google/maps to pick the center of the terrain just to get the coordinates and fancy dev diary video heh, created global mapper project and switch it to UTM Projection which came out as 50N zone.

Had a huge dilemma about size and location, quickly chose 65.5km and positioned user feature grid roughly so that kinmen is just SE from center position. 65.5km is quite large terrain for this kinmen island, its rather small island, it could be even done as puny 20.4km terrain but that has no china mainland then, now in my 65.5km coordinates there is more china than taiwan in this terrain...

Hmm that actually makes a good point, if it has more china than taiwan... why are you calling it taiwan then? Hmm interesting Smiley ;)

Chose 40km x 40km terrain size instead. Then proceeded to setup global mapper map catalog and added SRTM ASCII Grid heightmap.asc source, exported it and did the nodata text edit to remove ocean data, then imported back to global mapper. Now all 0m elevations are gone.

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

Here you see GEBCO ocean seabed heightmap data on the above layer and SRTM on bottom layer, you can clearly see the difference of 30m resolution SRTM in our grid and the big blob of blurr around it which is the very low res GEBCO data (as ocean bottom doesnt need such details).

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

Then loaded OpenStreetMap (OSM) shape files, they did fill kinmen island but obviously left out china mainland as I only had taiwan OSM files available, so had to go download china OSM as well. That will be interesting as its huge country and most likely need to have data split to different regions for file size wise.

China was one OSM file chunk, surprising, it was 1.6gb in size, not so surprising Smiley ;)

Global mapper assigned colors to OSM area shapes, then started exporting Sat_Mask in 4 x 4 grid tiles.

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

2021-10-23T11:01:00Z Moving fast again, no time to dev diary writings heh, global mapper finished exporting satellite texture / mask tiles, GIMP inspected them and what an horror coastline awaits for me again. Started GIMP paint those now, uuh.

2021-10-23T12:01:00Z Finished painting coastline, it was pure horror. I actually quite cheated the last two tiles, I just had no more patience to do it so I did the selection in zoomed out mode meaning there will be a lot of overlap in the selection line. Ugh.

Then GraphicsMagick was used for Darken Merge Picturemap Satellite Texture Tiles.

Got terrain processor files started, but then it was...

2021-10-23T12:36:00Z Chow time, I'm starvin'...

2021-10-23T13:00:00Z Feeding done, back to taiwan.

Next was to Terrain Builder import objects, those obj_forest Terrain Processor ones. Then to import satellite mask and texture.

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

Then generate layers, its only 40km terrain so wont take too long to chop one satellite up to pieces. In the mean time I did Latitude / longitude config.cpp lines and exported preview-arcgis-17-level.png out of global mapper. This preview image is mostly used for my own reference that I can at any time check current satellite(s) source image.

2021-10-23T14:11:00Z Alright pboProject binarizing started, that wraps up the editing for now (more editing later).

2022-04-17 New Editing YEAR

2022-04-17T07:32:00Z New editing day has started, its actually new YEAR now. Earlier today PMC Ukraine Odesa got its first release, then did couple of PMC multiplayer mission edits and now even though its late in the day for me, decided to start looking into taiwan kinmen.

Dev diary above is quite short, not much meat in in it, hmph.

As usual started with arma3 in-game check, mod.cpp needs an update, coastline is all GEBCO crap with water creeping to land, roads.shp are broken, and bunch of other stuff already listed in real world data tool pipeline 00.txt list file.

2022-04-17T07:40:00Z Its lunch time...

2022-04-17T08:06:00Z Feeding time is over, back to kinmen.

Global mapper dir had zero source files, ugh, so need to export satellite mask right away then because its used for coastline.

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

While satellite mask being exported I went and updated mod.cpp with accurate google/maps link as well as official homepage link.

Was looking at ImageMagick if I could do the next step automatically from command line, but heh cant think of a way how to do it right now, so going to do it once more the old fashioned way, in GIMP.

Open Satellite.Mask/ XCF image, select RGB 0,0,150 blue ocean, open equivalent Sat_Mask_??.png image and copy-paste the selection there, save and exit. Then repeat to all the coastline tiles, ugh...

2022-04-17T08:43:00Z All XCF images gone through and shuffled to Sat_Mask_??.png format, uuh.

Did map catalog for Sat_Mask_*.png images, then did the err what step it was, finding areas thing Smiley ;)

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

And almost done, got all the shuffle done now just exporting the final heightmap out.

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

And done.

Then imported heightmap.asc into L3DT for some airfield runway smoothing. Had no idea where the airfield is so loaded terrain builder project up where its faster to search satellite texture, quickly found the airfield.

Created Terrain Builder Keypoints to it and also airfield_runways shape layer and poly line for the runway.

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

Then exported airfield_runways.shp into pmc_taiwan_kinmen_data\roads\ dir, loaded it up in global mapper and setup ID/ORDER feature values, exported back out. Then imported roads.shp merging the two shapes and exported back out to roads.shp. Then (heh) terrain builder imported roads.shp...

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

And exported right back out again, now the arma3 not being able to read global mapper saved shape files issue is fixed.

Fun, for the whole family. YUP.

Now did the L3DT airfield smoothing and exported heightmap.asc out again.

Then ran terrain processor road smoothing to heightmap.asc, then terrain builder imported those smoothed roads heightmap ASC file again.

Exported WRP and ran moveObject re-pathing on it. Umm, wonder if we are ready to binarize...

Heh somehow been in zombi mode when editing, not tired yet but... this is all too heavy on the muscle memory. Anyways, lets run pboProject binarization and see what breaks Smiley :)

2022-04-17T10:29:00Z Went to arma3 to check it out, unfortunately couple of issues, there is some weird heightmap elevation "line" most likely between satellite grid tiles and made the mistake of terrain processor smoothing roads while airfield_runway shape was present, this caused the runway to have this small "ripple effect" through the lenght of the runway poly line.

In the satellite texture itself, found couple of spots between tiles where in one tile I flagged the area as ocean and in the next I didn't, as its kind of half-breed type area, hmm.

Was unsure what to do with those issues but started global mapper satellite texture export, just in case its needed as if anything I'm going to do... it will be tomorrow, so don't need to wait for export to finish tomorrow then and if I decided not to edit any of this, then can just delete the tiles.

2022-04-17T10:37:00Z Okay time to call it a night, its getting late for me, just some chilling before going to bed.

2022-04-17 Initial Release Day

2022-04-17T22:24:00Z New editing day has started, after doing the morning computer chores, shoveled down some food and now we are good to go for a full day of editing. Todays goal is to finish and release PMC Taiwan Kinmen terrain Smiley :)

So yesterday I found out that airfield runway smoothing went bad, airfield_runways.shp was present in the terrain processor road.shp shape, and that heightmap has some odd "line" between the satellite texture grid tiles.

Used GIMP to open all satellite texture grid tiles but could not find any visual indicator of why such odd "line" was left in the ocean shuffle work I did yesterday, hmm. Then scanned through all the Satellite.Mask/ XCF images too, nothing there either to suggest why that heightmap line appears in terrain builder, odd. Hmm.

In terrain builder inspected heightmap, the line appears close to kinmen airfield, just south east from it. Its between Sat_Tex_C2.bmp and Sat_Tex_C3.bmp grid tiles.

There is also odd satellite texture painting where one grid is ocean and another is ground, its one of those shitty areas where you cant really tell if the imagery is muddy water or ground dirt. These tiles are ground Sat_Tex_A3.bmp and ocean water Sat_Tex_A4.bmp images.

I could easily fix the heightmap oddity using L3DT, but its a fix not a solution, so you should always do a proper solution instead of patchy fixes.

First I used global mapper and deleted the roads.shp airfield runway poly line, this will fix the bad elevations on airfield when using terrain processor to smooth roads.

Opened global mapper project and My_Flattened_-3m_Ocean layer, found the issue there, illustrated in below screenshot:

PMC Taiwan Kinmen ArmA 3 Screenshot

Huh, wonder where that line came from as its not visible in any of the Satellite.Mask/ XCF images.

In global mapper found the heightmap line My_Ocean grid tile, but have no idea how that line got there. Inspected Sat_Mas_C2.png and Sat_Mask_C3.png where in between this line appears, but nothing out of the ordinary in global mapper, hmm really bizarre.

I think its time to get this thing done, going to just fix it in L3DT manually and be done with it, then road smooth in terrain processor and binarize, unless I spot anything else in arma3 check this terrain should be ready for release.

So did the heightmap edit in L3DT, exported heightmap.asc, set its ascii grid header to 200,000/0 and then ran terrain processor road smoothing on it. Next in terrain builder imported the new heightmap_smoothed_roads.asc and the line was gone. Exported WRP, saved project and exited.

WRP exported object count: 612,486.

2022-04-17T23:04:00Z Started pboProject binarization. This is fairly quick with low number of objects and only 40km terrain.

No time to waste, once binarize was chewing the WRP addon I already started release procedures.

Added pmc_taiwan_kinmen class name into PMC "worldSize" mission pack compilation bat terrain list so we can have some missions to play with.

2022-04-17T23:19:00Z Glad to see arma3 check has no more issues, heightmap line is gone and airfield runway is smooth as little girlie men terrain lovers butt Smiley ;)

2022-04-17T23:41:00Z Screenshots taken, sorted, renamed, edited and converted.

2022-04-17T23:56:00Z Dev diary moved to its actual web page, proof reading and link adding started.

2022-04-18T00:19:00Z Finished proof reading dev diary, moved screenshots code to their final resting place, then started to do changelog page.

2022-04-18T00:32:00Z Uploaded web pages online, only few more steps left before release...

2022-04-18T00:38:00Z PMC Taiwan Kinment v0.1 has been released! Smiley :cool:

2022-04-21 Satellite Texture / Mask

2022-04-21T07:46:00Z New editing day has started, or not really. See Dev Diary PMC Taiwan Kaohsiung 2022-04-21T07:34:00Z timestamp for details, sorry I wont be repeating the same thing I just wrote there Smiley :)

First I deleted existing layers RVMAT and PAA files. Then loaded the project in terrain builder and did that 1024 change. Then started generate layers, this will be running on the background.

2022-04-21T07:52:00Z I had three (3) terrain builders generating layers Smiley :o

2022-04-21T10:03:00Z Generate layers finished when I was at PMC Gaming computer.

2022-04-21T12:17:00Z Started convert layers PNG to PAA fast bat.

2022-04-21T12:25:00Z Finished convert layers PNG to PAA fast bat.

Then moveObject re-pathed WRP file and edited separate WRP and Data addon PBO bat files. Next ran the separate WRP and Data bat file. Then started moveObject re-pathing layers RVMAT files.

Kinmen is now ready for binarization.

PMC Taiwan Kinmen: Changelog, Dev Diary, Screenshots. Back to PMC Terrain's page.