Dev Diary PMC Ukraine Mariupol ArmA 3 Terrain

This is dev diary for PMC Ukraine Mariupol 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).

2017 Project Started

2017-04-14 PMC Ukraine Mariupol v0.1 released.

These dev diaries for PMC Ukraine Mariupol started in 2022, however this terrain was initially created in 2017. Even the latest v0.2 release was done in 2017-10-24.

If you want to dig deep into the origins of Mariupol, check out PMC Real World Data Terrain MEGA Project in PMC Tactical forums. If you do read it, remember that you are reading part of history and so many things, plans etc have changed in 2022 when Mariupol dev diary page was created.

We also got Terrain Development (PMC ArmA 3) which looks like very quick summary type dev diary with all the terrains stacked into same topic, nothing like these specific detailed in-depth comprehensive ones being written in 2022.

2022-02-21 Lets Edit Mariupol

2022-02-21T23:48:00Z Unpacked pmc_ukraine_mariupol_v0.2.7z to arma3 addons dir and started to inspect, writing down bug reports. This 7-zip is the 2017 release version.

2022-02-22T05:50:00Z Created backup bat and ran it, just in case I break something when going to terrain builder the first time.

(Edit: apparently I had taken a screenshot here but later I could not find it when creating this web page).

Copied new bat files to WRP data\layers and Source\ dirs. Edited ArmA 3 Terrain Separate Data\Layers into Smaller PBOs WRP separating bat files as required.

2022-02-22T06:02:00Z Terrain Builder started to generate layers.

Added missing config entrys for config.cpp so pboProject wont bitch and moan. Edited pboProject bat file.

2022-02-22T06:29:00Z Terrain builder finished generating layers, exported WRP and moveObject re-pathed WRP. Then started Convert Layers PNG to PAA Fast bat.

2022-02-22T06:37:00Z Started pboProject binarizing PMC Editing Wiki: search "binarize". This binarization doesn't bring anything new, its just about fixing the broken terrain builder project.

2022-02-22T06:47:00Z Finished pboProject binarizing. Alright, we are done here until in-game testing time Smiley :)

2022-02-23 A Day Before Russian Invasion

2022-02-23T01:55:00Z Started Terra Incognita ArcGIS 17 level satellite imagery download. See ArcGIS Web Viewer.

2022-02-23T12:02:00Z Finished terrain incognita downloading, all 4 grid tiles have now been downloaded.

2022-02-23T17:53:00Z Dead tired, should be already sleeping, but still re-exporting terra incognita oziexplorer .map images as one of them had a black tile, didn't bother to check further just started to export it.

2022-02-26 Russia Invaded Ukraine, Welcome To The New World

2022-02-26T03:41:00Z New editing day has started, todays goal is to delete randomly placed buildings and meadow bushes, then create brand new satellite texture/mask from 2022 OpenStreetMap (OSM) and ArcGIS 17 level satellite imagery data.

2022-02-26T03:47:00Z Started to export satellite texture from Global Mapper.

In the mean time edited mod.cpp, added version number 0.3 and formatted it nicely without useless comments. Then started terrain builder and deleted randomly generated building object layers, then removed meadow bushes.

There is still the "grass" objects layer but I cant recall what terrain type that is, it could be for the fields and if thats the case then I have to remove that too. Overall I should re-generate all vegetation objects with latest Terrain Processor projects.

Deleted raster layers for placeholder satellite mask and then the Dsat_*.bmp satellite textures as well, then changed mapframe properties for satellite size with 1m/px scale using 2048 x 2048 pixel resolution surface mask tile.

Downloaded GEBCO ocean seabed heightmap data block, but cannot do anything with it because global mapper has ukraine mariupol project open (cant edit it in second global mapper instance).

Now I'm just waiting for global mapper to finish exporting satellite texture tiles and that will take hours. This sucks, I want to continue editing non-stop, but man its difficult with dev diaries etc. Right now I'd like to start creating the next new ukraine terrain, most likely kyiv (soviet commie scum call it "Kiev") but kind of hesitating because all the dev diary overlapping, especially video recording.

But... I have to do it, I am not going to sit here for couple of hours waiting for global mapper.

2022-02-26T06:33:00Z Global mapper finished exporting satellite texture tiles. Started to load them into GIMP and to make a list of cloud tiles while clone brushing the cloud puffs off.

Satellite texture tiles with clouds: A4, C7, C6, D8, D7, D6, E8, E7, E6, G1, H1

Coastline tiles: F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, G2, G3, G7, G8, H1, H2

Ocean tiles: G4, G5, G6, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, H8

2022-02-26T09:48:00Z Finished GIMP clone brushing cloud puffs off, cooking food and eating.

Then started the satellite texture/mask coastline editing, to paint ocean seabed texture and also create masks for these coastline tiles.

2022-02-26T12:55:00Z All coastline satellite texture/mask tiles are done. Well the mask tiles are still GIMP XCF format because first I have to export the OSM shape area mask stuff out of global mapper.

2022-02-26T14:15:00Z Was global mapper assigning RGB colors to OSM shape areas when it was time for a lunch break. Odd feeling, this day has passed again really quickly, watching ukraine war news, live streams, videos etc while editing. Feels like I just got started but yeah, third meal of the day already, "soon" its bed time heh.

2022-02-26T15:09:00Z Lunch break is over, back to editing OSM area feature RGB colors.

2022-02-26T15:24:00Z Started global mapper exporting satellite mask tile images.

Global mapper is working hard and I'm watching / listening The Pentagon Press Briefing on the background Smiley :)

PMC ArmA 3 Screenshot

And keep forgetting to update dev diary heh, finished exporting mask tiles, then reduced new roads feature count and exported them along with areas.

Then GraphicsMagick converted satellite texture/mask PNGs into properly adjusted BMP image format, all ready for terrain builder importing.

2022-02-26T16:41:00Z Started to terrain builder import satellite images.

While satellite mask and texture was importing, I took backup of TerrainProcessor/ dir files and copied new obj_forest.shp files there.

Configured terrain processor TPP file for forest generation, surprising that I managed to get the roads.shp path correct with first guess heh. Well ok it was not really a guess, I windows file explorer browsed into _data\roads\ dir and counted the ..\..\.. things so yeah guess there is little change of going wrong. Overall terrain processor is very picky about those things and immediately crashes if they are wrong, so yeah.

2022-02-26T17:17:00Z Terrain builder finished importing satellite texture/mask... but unfortunately because I was just editing from memory... I forgot one small but important step, replace the full ocean tiles with actual seabed texture, uh oh.

Well its not a big mistake, I can just do those tiles and refresh from source in terrain builder. But yeah things like that happens when you are not following a strict tool pipeline text file.

From now on; no edits without following tool pipeline text list.

PMC ArmA 3 Screenshot

Also I forgot to do the satellite mask ocean coastline tile merging, oh man this is such a row of mistakes hehe Smiley :)

Did experimental single RGB color ocean bottom texture tile, copied it over to rest of the full ocean tiles, then ran graphicsmagick all over again and imported the full ocean tiles one by one into terrain builder. Decided to skip the mask fixing now. Started to get pretty tired for today already, don't have much editing time left before its bed time.

2022-02-26T19:05:00Z Started terrain builder generate layers.

Then called it a night and went to sleep.

2022-02-27T02:16:00Z New editing day has started, saved project and exported WRP (CTRL-E).

Then pboProject binarized it and checked in-game, looks good except the stupid bushes in farm fields are still there, sigh. Okay I decided to delete ALL OBJECTS and re-generate forests only using latest OSM shapes and Terrain Processor TPP Templates CUP chernarus project files.

Mod.cpp had wrong description info for satellite source and resolution, fixed that.

2022-03-05T08:46:00Z New editing day has started, quick edit to add latitude/longitude config.

2022-03-14 GIMP Painting Satellite Texture

2022-03-14T12:11:00Z Was looking at satellite texture and my experiment using single color RGB (Ocean Satellite Texture) for the full ocean seabed texture tiles (coastline is still done with the GIMP seabed pattern) and decided to restore it back to the usual ocean seabed texture, so started global mapper to export satellite texture in 8 x 8 grid tile setup (I deleted global mapper work files some days back).

No other edits scheduled for today, its already very late for me and I'm really tired. Hopefully tomorrow I can paint those ocean full tiles and import them into terrain builder.

2022-03-14T20:47:00Z New editing day has started, alright lets finish that satellite texture ocean bottom parts.

Used GIMP to open global mapper "Satellite.Texture/" directorys XCF files for the already edited images, these are the ones with clouds clone stamp tool brushed off, also coasts should be done here as well. Now I'm going to paint all the coast selection areas with the standard ocean seabed bottom seed texture, no single color RGB fancyness as it doesnt work as-is.

What I did for coastline tiles was to first open Satellite.Mask/ XCF image, then the matching PNG image straight outta global mapper export (which has the ugly satellite imagery ocean water color). In the PNG did CTRL-A select all and CTRL-C copy, switched to the XCF and CTRL-ALT-V paste-in-place, then of course pasted selection into a new layer.

Selected XCF mask layer and hide "Pasted Layer" which is the PNG layer, SHIFT-O select by color and clicked into the ocean area, now all the ocean mask parts are selected, then set pasted layer visible again, selected pasted layer and used CTRL-; pattern fill from my ocean seabed seed texture.

Then just CTRL-SHIFT-E save overwriting the global mapper directory sat_*.png image which ever grid tile file name it is.

2022-03-14T21:56:00Z Terrain builder removed all object layers except obj_forest, this was to remove the stupid bushes on farm fields.

2022-03-14T22:08:00Z Finished GIMP painting work (copy pasting), now running graphicsmagick to convert the PNGs into BMP for terrain builder importing. Darken Merge Picturemap Satellite Texture Tiles.

Forgot to do one tile, so had to re-do all the graphicsmagick work after fixing forgotten tile.

2022-03-14T22:50:00Z Terrain builder imported the fixed ocean seabed textured tiles.

Decided to delete objects layer obj_forest and re-generate the objects with terrain processor, going to make a new TPP file with the small trees removed, bushes and rocks added, well, maybe, we'll see how it goes.

2022-03-15 Terrain Processor European Woodland

2022-03-15T03:29:00Z Spend hours creating somewhat decent CUP chernarus european woodland forest terrain processor TPP file, its not very good but still better than the previous one I had. So now going to generate new set of objects with it.

Objects generated was 2 million something, interesting to see how it will look in-game and are there any wasteful objects meaning objects which just eat precious object count for no benefit. Wasteful objects for example are small bushes in a forest, you can hardly see them when flying a helicopter and certainly not a fast mover jet aircraft, so no reason to waste object count for such silly object type in a location such as forest... IN GENERAL, obviously if you have plenty of object count space to use, then add some bushes, no problemo.

When terrain builder was done importing, there was some template libraries missing, well of course there was, haha.

Oh well, updated Terrain Builder Template Libraries from PMC github repo and loaded terrain builder back up.

2022-03-15T04:18:00Z Started terrain builder generate layers, going to get those new ocean seabed texture tiles done.

2022-03-15T07:25:00Z That got done some time ago, now finished convert layers PNG to PAA fast bat.

Moments later WRP and data was split, then layer RVMAT's re-pathed.

2022-03-15T07:45:00Z Getting tired, bored, etc for todays editing, will be spending remainder of the day just watching tv.

2022-03-15 Heightmap Ocean Editing

2022-03-15T20:24:00Z New editing day has started, todays first task is GEBCO ocean seabed heightmap data.

2022-03-15T20:32:00Z Got the new heightmap.asc done with GEBCO ocean elevations. Now its time for days first meal Smiley :)

2022-03-15T21:08:00Z Feeding time over, back to editing. Next need to terrain processor smooth roads for GEBCO heightmap, import into terrain builder and see how bad the coastline looks like.

When GEBCO heightmap was on terrain builder there was a lot of coastline areas underwater, as I was afraid of. Could not see any big issues with the coastline in general but what I recall those only show up in-game, its hard to tell from 2D simple color heightmap view.

Used L3DT to import heightmap and texture map PNG, then started to raise elevations to 1m on the coastline where I could see them being close or lower than 0m. Well it didn't take many minutes before I made a mistake. In L3DT you can either see satellite texture (L3DT_texture_map.png) or the actual heightmap. So it is extremely difficult to fix the coastline as it feels like you're doing it blind or one hand tied behind your back or some equivalent expression.

I just hate this shit, ofp/arma water has always been an issue with the current toolset. The only tool that would show the actual genuine arma3 heightmap and water level is a tool that is completely useless (buldozer).

Oh well I just need to suck it up and fix the most offending parts of this coastline, saving the L3DT project after each edit is complete and proceed really carefully.

2022-03-15T21:51:00Z Yeah I'm done editing in L3DT, it goes nowhere. Extremely frustrating situation with the coastline. I'll binarize the terrain and bring it in-game to see how bad the coastline looks, if its horrendous then guess I'll have to suffer through the L3DT crap.

I could already see in terrain builder 2D heightmap view that there was few big issues, looked like I messed up something but judging by the elevations it was not me (mine was 1m and -2m but these were various smooth elevations).

Just overall shitty situation. Hell it almost makes me feel GEBCO heightmap messes up more things than it fixes, what is the point of having super realistic ocean bottom in general if the coastline is all fucked up Smiley :)

Anyways, pboProject binarization and in-game test next, we'll see how bad it looks before stressing more about this subject.

2022-03-15T22:36:00Z Got it binarized.

During in-game testing I was walking across forest tree lines, I'm not totally happy how they turned out as first of all they are way too thin, they need more standard tree objects, then some of the more rarely used trees were not spruce/pine which looked a bit off, but dunno maybe they would still be OK as they are so extremely rare, their terrain processor probability is 10 so they are placed very rarely, maybe I'll bring that to 5 now. Also somehow the forests were not believable, dunno how to explain it. Guess its just the thickness missing, there was gaps in the tree lines you could drive column of vehicles through without an issue, that is not a forest in my view.

Coastline was, lets make it short; broken. It just need so much more work to make ocean look nice, painstaking L3DT careful editing which sucks so much.

Forgot to L3DT smooth airfield runway too.

Overall though... terrain looks nice.

Was driving with ATV quad bike around a bit and discovered a huge boulder rock which was partly on the road. Terrain processor mask linear will clear objects from the roads but the objects are mostly for small width trees instead of these huge probably 20-30 meter wide massive boulders.

So looks like I simply have to leave out the boulders from the terrain processor forest task, it was questionable in the first place to have them there, I think they were with probability 1 and mindist 30m which I thought was sufficient and in the FOREST it is... but apparently issue comes up with road objects cleanup.

2022-03-15T23:45:00Z Oops I leaped forward in wild editing excitement, lets recap; discovered that terrain processor obj_forest task objects were on roads and further investigation shows the damn road cleanup mask:linear task was DISABLED haha moron. So I enabled it and increased main forest density from 100 to 125 and decreased tree mindist from 10 to 7, this should beef up the forest tree line density. Then I generated new objects and just now started to import them into terrain builder after first having deleted the old layer in windows file explorer (quicker than in terrain builder).

After some task fiddling got the Smooth_Roads.tpp project working and generated heightmap_smoothed_roads_airfield_runways.asc heightmap. Really interesting to see if my 40m road with 42m smoothing will work or just makes a mess of things. I assume it makes a mess, but hey who knows maybe I can find some sort of settings to have all this done in terrain processor, it would be the best option for sure.

2022-03-16T01:07:00Z In-game test complete, unfortunately airfield_runways.shp smoothing with terrain processor does NOT work. This is because terrain processor only fixes that one coordinate spot in the poly line and then moves forward, it does not take into consideration the "total whole" of the poly line, so basically it levels the poly line horizontally. My airfield runway was level horizontally but it was a roller coaster up and down elevations because all that was smoothed was the "left and right" elevations if that makes any sense.

In short; doesn't work Smiley ;)

So back to L3DT 3d sapphire heightmap tools with big brush and large nCycle smoothing option.

2022-03-16T01:35:00Z Finished L3DT editing the heightmap coastline and arma3 underwater land areas, it looks good enough in L3DT and will have to do, no more edits for v0.3 release.

2022-03-16T01:39:00Z Started pboProject binarization, last for today.

2022-03-16T02:30:00Z In-game test done, airfield runway is smooth, coastline is ... "acceptable" and forest tree lines are, heh almost too thick now Smiley :)

Overall, I cant think of what else could I edit before v0.3 upgrade release...

2022-03-16 Release Attempt

2022-03-16T22:02:00Z New editing day started more than half an hour ago already. Today (my "today") is mariupol release day.

Used 1._run_sign_generic.bat file to generate bis signature files for addon pbos plus the main signature key file. Then created C:\armap\arma3\Users\SnakeMan\Missions\Real_World_Data\pmc_civilian_aircraft_tour.pmc_ukraine_mariupol\ mission.

This mission is just a simple civilian "cessna" aircraft already flying in the air over the mariupol airfield. Created basic description.ext and script SQF files for briefing and tasks, but they are mere well not placeholders but there is not much to see in them.

2022-03-17T00:12:00Z Checked out my "worldSize mission pack" compile bat file and it generated sickening number of missions, I believe 1040 total for all the PMC terrains. This included dozens of missions for Ukraine terrains and those did not include the new ones other than Yenky.

How playable these single player (SP) missions are, is another matter. There was also couple of cutscene missions like the old "Real War 4" which has been used many times over the years.

2022-03-17 Second Release Attempt

2022-03-17T21:51:00Z Another day has started, yesterday after doing the mission pack work I just didn't feel like editing anything, was one of those burnout days where you stare empty computer screen. It happens when you edit five years straight.

Not sure I feel any more energetic today but I feel pressured to release this and other terrains. It is completely ridiculous that I have now edited arma3 PMC terrains for combined three months or so and all the great terrains which are release ready are just collecting dust in my hard disk drive (HDD) as I cant seem to gather the motivational energy to release them.

Background info: late july 2021 I returned to ArmA 3 editing and created brand new terrains for taiwan, poland, africa and ukraine. All these terrains got left unreleased when in mid november I continued Farming Simulator 19 playing as Farming Simulator 22 got released on nov 22nd 2021. Since then those arma3 terrains have been just collecting dust.

I am monitoring PMC web server Apache log in Linux shell and seeing a lot of traffic / hits to the Falcon 4 PMC Ukraine theater and PMC arma3 ukraine terrains. Everytime I see one of those hits it reminds me that dude, release that fucking stuff will ya Smiley :)

I feel bad for the community as there are some idiots in steam shitshop who have done some kind of collections of "ukraine mapz" which have precisely 0.0 ukraine terrains in them... haha. So I truly don't know what mental cock block do I have for not putting more interest / effort on releasing brand new and upgraded PMC Ukraine terrains (and poland, taiwan etc) for everyone to enjoy.

Anyways.

2022-03-17T22:11:00Z Few moments into planning the release and I was already drifting into the mind goes blank mode, nothing has changed since yesterday, I just don't have the motivational energy to drive me into great editing things, I just have no "feeling" or mood for going through the release procedure.

I do have slight interest to edit some web pages, I am pissed off how many bot "hacking" attempts Dokuwiki PMC Tactical Addons/Mods Manuals website is getting. When these web crawler / spider / bots detect specific login allowing web site they will daily, systematically try to gain access to the web site. I see hourly attempts to login into dokuwiki. This is the reason I want to get rid of dokuwiki in PMC Tactical Addons/Mods Manuals web site and transfer all the information into plain and simple html which is written by me, no logins, no fancy stuff to try to hack into.

Such transfer of course is no small matter, it is huge amounts of copy-pasting, typing and creating new html web page code / text. But in a long run I believe it to be the right option.

I started using dokuwiki and wordpress several years ago because it was new and cool stuff at that particular time, today I feel differently, plain and simple static html code will do just fine, especially when talking about the horrendous garbage that wordpress is. PMC Editing Wiki is fine as dokuwiki, it is used by several communities so transferring that to html would break literally thousands of links not to mention its called PMC Editing Wiki hehe so I wont be doing it, our manuals web site gets very little traffic so wont be a big deal to break those links.

Dunno, guess in a way I want to be in full control of my web sites, I hate wordpress shit with a great passion and now seeing those "hacking" login attempts into dokuwiki makes me worried as well. My own written html is the right way.

2022-03-18T01:59:00Z Been working on release procedure for hours now, mostly writing html web page code/text. Now its time to take a lunch break ...

2022-03-18T02:31:00Z Feeding time over, back to writing this page Smiley ;)

2022-03-18T04:16:00Z Finished editing and proof reading this page. Added links to all important info here, its nice for you guys and hey maybe even me years in the future to quickly click a link to see what the hell I'm talking about Smiley :)

2022-03-18T05:22:00Z Updated screenshots to this page and added few more PMC Tactical Forums topic links in the beginning 2017 header. Time seems to go by fast with little progress, I clearly have some mental cock block about release, nothing takes this long if you really want to get it done. Hoh.

But this is important for dev diary, its not just about editing addons... but also release process, which I'm working on right now. Making proper releases is not just snapping your fingers and shit magically appearing online, oh no not even close.

Edited pmc_ukraine_mariupol.txt and 2._run_pack_latest_release.bat files to PMC Ukraine Mariupol v0.3 release, then ran the bat to actually pack the release.

2022-03-18T05:34:00Z PMC Ukraine Mariupol v0.3 release has been packed.

Then proceeded to take screenshots, this will be to my recollection the first real world data terrain with extensive screenshot coverage, usually I've only used the satellite texture as web page screenshot including PMC Tactical and bis forums posts.

Had some problems as first screenshots I took arma3 as video settings Fullscreen, then I switched to Fullscreen Window mode and first screenshot was all black for arma3 (my left and right monitors were showing up OK), then the last image I took back in fullscreen mode was again different size. Not a show stopper but just annoys me a great deal Smiley :)

Hmm I need to come up with some decent way of snapping screenshots while I play, I will not use the piece of shit steam garbage client screenshot feature, so need to get some other tool, dunno why greenShot util will not work when arma3 is running, hmm maybe need to browse its settings maybe there is something which is disabled. Edit: nothing in preferences that would somehow suggest game capture of sorts.

I'm also freaking out as there is threat of GPU crashing Nvidia drivers, so I'm quickly trying to get screenshots taken before the VRAM or whatever fills up and crash most likely will occur. Heh issue after issue.

2022-03-18T07:47:00Z Editing these release pages just drags on and on, now need to take a lunch break, days last feeding time, then its mad rush to see if I actually manage to release this terrain today.

2022-03-18T09:21:00Z Its UTC morning time, americans are sleeping and euro trash in school or work (well COVID-19 restrictions in mind I guess), so nobody is around. I'm going to delay the release to 18th evening which for me is tomorrow. Currently cant think of anything else to edit, next would really be the torrent creation and uploding/seeding before starting to write release forum topic and news text.

Today turned sneakily to a long day of web page editing, kind of good mood about that, we should be good to go for a release tomorrow.

2022-03-18 v0.3 Release Day

2022-03-18T21:59:00Z New editing day has started, already created .torrent file using qBittorrent v4.4, uploaded it to our web server along with the release 7-zip archive, added torrent magnet into PMC Tactical ArmA 3 Downloads page (not uploaded yet) and now opened this dev-diary for last entries before relase Smiley :)

2022-03-18T22:40:00Z v0.3 has been released Smiley :D

PMC Ukraine Mariupol: Changelog, Dev Diary, Screenshots. Back to PMC Terrain's page.