Dev Diary PMC Ukraine Mykolaiv ArmA 3 Terrain

This is dev diary for PMC Ukraine Mykolaiv 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).

2022-03-01 Project Started

2022-03-01T06:23:00Z This page created and few minutes ago Global Mapper project created.

2022-03-01T06:29:00Z User created feature grid done, KMZ and ASCII Grid heightmap.asc files exported.

Now there is not much to do other than wait until Terra Incognita frees up a slot to download satellite imagery Smiley :)

2022-03-01T08:26:00Z Started terra incognita downloading satellite imagery.

2022-03-01T10:58:00Z Terra incognita finished downloading.

2022-03-01T14:31:00Z Had nothing else to do (terra incognita and one global mapper export project running), so decided to start another instance of global mapper and do whatever I can for ukraine mykolaiv project.

Loaded all OpenStreetMap (OSM) shape files. Then did the usual shuffle to crop them, reduce roads feature count, then export cropped shapes.

Then did ASCII Grid heightmap.asc header fix for Terrain Builder 200,000/0 coordinates and calculated the shift values.

I fucked up the shapefile export. When you run two global mappers at the same time the first load/import/export is always pointing to the last directory, well in this case it was pointing to PMC Ukraine Melitopol terrain dir, which was wrong. I didn't notice it and I now exported shapefiles into wrong dir and I think also overwrote the actual melitopol SHP files too.

Oh well, need to re-export them and later fix melitopol files.

2022-03-01T16:10:00Z Finished assigning RGB colors to OSM areas.

Forgot to write stuff down to dev diary, again. Heh this is ridiculous.

GIMP painting to fix clouds.

Satellite texture tiles with clouds: A4, B2, B1, C2, C1, D3, D1

2022-03-05 Build Some Terrain

2022-03-05T16:27:00Z New editing day has started. I wanted to start releasing the ready to go Ukraine terrains (and others later) but could not get started making a mission pack or had any idea what to write into web page so I chickened out and went back to editing, which lead me to ukraine mykolaiv project Smiley :)

Used GraphicsMagick to Darken Merge Picturemap Satellite Texture Tiles for 4 x 4 grid tiles and L3DT texture map image generating bat.

Then ran _run_graphicsmagick_convert_Sat_Mask_PNG_to_BMP_with_white_fix_4x4.bat for satellite mask.

2022-03-05T16:44:00Z Created terrain builder project. Moved bunch of the source files from global mapper dir into terrain builder source dir.

Then copied terrain processor CUP chernarus forest and road smoothing TPP files in and ran them. Terrain Processor TPP Templates.

Imported Terrain Builder Template Libraries and heightmap.asc out from Terrain Processor smoothed roads. Next imported the obj_forest objects, which was extremely low only about 300k.

Then imported satellite mask and texture. Then created airfield keypoints (why not) and poly lines for the runway "roads".

L3DT smoothed airfield runways and imported the new heightmap.asc back to terrain builder.

2022-03-05T17:22:00Z Started to terrain builder generate layers.

While that process was running, I created pboProject bat files, addon dir and mod.cpp file with google/maps link and up to date information.

Then global mapper edited latitude/longitude config and roads.shp merge with airfield_runways.shp file.

Terrain builder exported WRP, moveObject re-pathed it and then ran Convert Layers PNG to PAA Fast bat.

Then did Separate Data Layers for smaller PBOs addon files shuffle, re-pathed _data_layers RVMAT files.

2022-03-05T18:11:00Z Started pboProject, but for some reason WRP addon pbo gave me an error, odd. Hmm did I forget to run moveObject, heh probably.

Turned out there was nothing wrong with my edits... I just had terrain builder running with the project loaded keeping Source\ dir "locked" Smiley :)

And for now, I'm switching to edit the next terrain in the tool pipeline line Smiley ;)

2022-03-10 GIMP Coastline Painting

2022-03-10T21:16:00Z Today in-game test shows that roads.shp is not saved properly in terrain builder and roads are not working.

Airfield 1 had taxiway alike roads, removed them in global mapper.

Used terrain builder to import roads.shp, then simply exported it back out again into the same file. Yes I know sounds stupid, but something goes wrong in global mapper export and arma3 wont accept the shape file, so I have to do this stupid dance in terrain builder now.

2022-03-10T21:40:00Z Discovered that pmc_ukraine_mykolaiv_data addon roads/ dir was missing RoadsLib.cfg file, heh ouch, my bad Smiley :)

So ran pboProject binarization (PMC Editing Wiki: search "binarize") again and tested in-game, works OK.

I really didn't want to do it... but the big river in mykolaiv area has no GIMP Ocean Satellite Texture painting, so I need to get it done because the water color in satellite texture just looks so bad.

2022-03-10T22:43:00Z Finished doing A1-4 and B1-4 tiles, but it was too much again, had to take a break I just feel like I'm crawling out of my skin when drawing free hand selections along th coastlines, it is just so ... something, not exactly frustrating but ... stressing I guess, something like that, I just find it extremely unpleasant to spend HOURS drawing these selections.

Man if I only knew some automated way to get them selected Smiley :(

2022-03-11 Select My Coastlines

2022-03-11T13:29:00Z New editing day has started, well, technically... I have ZERO interest of drawing these ocean coastline (river edges) free hand selections. But I just loaded next tile and tried GIMP fuzzy selection mode, it worked for a small ocean part fine, but on the following tile which had a lot of water... fuzzy selection started to lag really bad, I assume its because it has so many thousands of individual selections.

Looks like fuzzy selection is not working on 10240 x 10240 resolution images with large areas of ocean colors.

In short; forget fuzzy selection, its not an option.

2022-03-11T14:52:00Z Finished GIMP painting ocean seabed aka river edge coastlines, uuuh...

Then ran graphicsmagick bat files to update the images for terrain builder importing. Got the river tiles refreshed from source, had some difficulties finding the right ones as the preview images on rasters layer were so small, but eventually got them done. In the future, its probably easiest to just refresh all systematically, hmm maybe.

Ran _run_delete_project_rvmat_png_paa_files.bat file to clean out old satellite images and terrain builder grid file.

2022-03-11T15:23:00Z Started terrain builder generate layers.

2022-03-11T16:06:00Z Everything ready for pboProject binarization. Well, hmm heightmap 0 meter elevations on the river needs to be fixed, not sure if GEBCO works for such rivers, need to find out later.

2022-03-11T17:15:00Z Did the heightmap 0m elevation fix using PMC Heightmap Clipper tool, then exported WRP and binarized whole terrain project. But now I'm so tired / burnt out that I am just watching youtube live stream news of war in Ukraine, cant even think of any editing.

2022-03-27 New Vegetation Objects

2022-03-27T18:29:00Z New editing day has started. Today I already released PMC Ukraine Melitopol and PMC Ukraine Chernihiv, before my bed time I'm going to continue editing mykolaiv a bit Smiley :)

Added Russian invasion of Ukraine starting day noon into config.cpp as startDate (mission editor starts on this date/time).

Copied latest terrain processor TPP templates into TerrainProcessor/ dir along with the LBT deleting and roads.* copying bat files, edited the road bat and ran it so now we got roads.* shape files in the dir.

Then ran terrain processor to generate new vegetation objects. It got puny 691,403 objects, heh wow, maybe I need to install training wheels for this little terrain hehe.

2022-03-27T18:51:00Z Finished importing vegetation objects to terrain builder. Then exported WRP and saved project before exited terrain builder.

Then moveObject re-pathed WRP and started pboProject binarization. Lets get updates to arma3.

Whie binarize was processing I started to put together web page files, no rush, just slowly putting php files into the pmctactical.org dir one step at the time. I wont be releasing third terrain today, but just don't want to waste time waiting for binarize to finish.

2022-03-27T19:12:00Z Finished binarizing.

Did the in-game check, everything looks pretty good. Ocean coastline has some slight issues but overall its OK, any changes from this state to perfection would require insane amount of work, probably on piece of shit buldozer as I cant imagine anyone doing it in L3DT, I sure wont. Hopefully I figure out a tool pipeline to do nice coastlines with global mapper and PMC heightmap Clipper.

Right now I cant think of anything else to do, this terrain most likely will be released tomorrow so beginning of the day involves web page editing and screenshot taking. But for now its time for me to call it a day.

2022-03-27T19:29:00Z Enough editing for today, time to chill a little bit before bed time. More editing tomorrow Smiley :)

2022-03-28 Release Day

2022-03-28T04:46:00Z New editing day has started. Today we see mykolaiv release. Just rebooted windows after 22 DAYS uptime, had a lot of updates pending too.

Edited web pages a bit, added mykolaiv to downloads.php and terrain.php pages. The backbone is now done, all it needs is content.

Today begins with dreaded screenshot taking, man do I hate taking screenshots from a large terrain as NO single screenshot conveys the message of massive terrains (OK OK! 40km is not massive but I'm talking in general large terrain terms now).

2022-03-28T05:01:00Z Started release procedures.

First updated PMC "worldSize" mission pack compiling bat file and ran it, new mission pack got done including mykolaiv. Then created bisign keys for the addon PBOs. Edited release packing 7-zip bat file for version and release name, then executed the bat, release package got done.

Inspected pmc_ukraine_mykolaiv_v0.1.7z and everything was looking good, there is basically zero change of errors as bat file handles all the packing, but my release tool pipeline states to check the .7z so I do, heh. File size was 827mb.

Life is so easy when you have a solid well tested tool pipeline to follow, there is no room for mistakes, you just "do as you're told" by a text file, written by you.. Smiley :)

2022-03-28T05:40:00Z Screenshots taken, sorted, renamed, edited and added to the web page(s).

Was following tool pipeline until I reached changelog and dev diary pages and realized, well they are only the templates, no content as of yet. And here I was thinking of pushing big red release button in few minutes, guess not Smiley ;)

2022-03-28T06:22:00Z Finished proof reading and adding links to this dev diary page. Also changelog page got done.

Also realized that dev diary has no screenshots, hmm guess I was too lazy to take any. Once you start to have several days of 17hrs terrain editing work behind you its very easy to just skip such "dumb promo stuff" and just edit like you usually do, its not easy or comfortable for me to take screenshots while editing, I have to stop what I'm doing, take the screenshot, rename it because if I don't do it right away I surely wont remember which PNG it was days if not weeks later when editing this dev diary text. So yeah, its definitely a hassle. But in the end of the day, I love dev diary stuff, sharing info and all that, so just need to keep taking screenshots/videos, they surely will be valuable X years/decades from now.

Then back to making that release...

2022-03-28T06:46:00Z PMC Ukraine Mykolaiv v0.1 has been released! Smiley :D

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