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Simplot2 map making...


KellyC
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The maps I make for SimPlot are just repainted screenshots from Google Maps.  I draw the shorelines and border in one color, and fill the land in another (I don't have the actual colors at hand, but using a color dropper on an existing map will show them).

The scale is represented by "pixels per Nautical Mile".  This is how SimPlot scales the maps in game.

First, choose an area for your scenario.  If the area is large, such as hundreds of miles, then the scale is likely to be very low as making the maps will be excessively time consuming.  Even a high resolution small map can take time to create.  Check out my Falkland Islands Detail Map.  That took a long time to do (and involved multiple screenshots "stitched" together).

The scale is determined before you repaint the image.  First convert the scale bar distance from Miles to NM.  Then measure how many pixels are in the bar and divide the number of pixels by the NM.

Repaint the image.  If you want to confine the map to just the depicted area, then draw a border all around the map (i just use the shoreline color).  If you want an "open ocean" map, then you can leave out the border.  Generally speaking, if there is a land mass that extends beyond the map, then it is best to use a border to truncate the land mass.

The map background should be the ocean color (RGB 70, 70, 70 I think).  I recommend using a separate layer for drawing the land masses and border.

You need a text file that defines the map.  Please look at an existing .txt map files for the format.  The format will change in the future, as I will eventually migrate to using JSON files.

The best way to add country and city names is to create the map, then make a new scenario in SimPlot using that map (I think the map scale definition is the only data you need in the map .txt file).  Mouse click places that you want to name to get the coordinates.  You will have to add that data to the .txt file manually.  Country names are centered at the coordinate.  City dots are drawn at the coordinate, with the name placed Upper Left (UL), Lower Right (LR), etc.  Please refer to an existing map to see the format.

Also, please be aware that my technique does not produce accurately scaled maps when you have a large change in latitude.  A conic projection would work best, but I do not have the ability to use them in SimPlot for now.  So, maps that stretch horizontally, rather than vertically, work best.

I am contemplating a map making utility app for SimPlot.  It seems doable, but I also have to work on improving turn files and a true turn replay capability.

Please let me know if I can be of further help.

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  • 5 months later...

Here is some additional information on map making for SimPlot.

 

1)  AEGIS display colors that I use: (RGB values)

  • Deep Ocean: 70, 70, 70
  • Territorial Water (or Shallow Water): 62, 62, 65
  • Land: 85, 87, 71
  • Coast: 136, 133, 112
  • Text: 192, 192, 192

The colors are derived from the COMMON NAVY WARFIGHTING DISPLAY SYMBOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE, 2007.

 

2)  Here is the minimum data the map.txt config file needs to use a map image in SimPlot

MAP=GIUK1.png
SCALE=2.58

The "MAP" should be the name and type of image file.  The "SCALE" should be the number of pixels per Nautical Mile.  This can be measured in an image editor by using the image scale bar as a reference (such as a Google Map image).  The image scale is likely in miles, so convert that to NM.  Then divide the number of pixels across the scale by the NM.

You may need to splice together multiple image files in an image editor.  You must do this before moving on to the next step.

I always give the .txt config file the same name as the image file for clarity.

 

3)  Open SimPlot and create a new scenario with the .txt map file you just created.  To add country or city names, use the cursor to locate where the city dot or center of the country names will appear.  Add that information to the .txt config file using the following format:

COUNTRY=ICELAND|-150.50|283.50
COUNTRY=FAROE ISLANDS|194.00|84.50
CITY=LONDON|400.44|-502.02|AL
CITY=Liverpool|314.39|-407.83|AR

The country format is Name|X|Y

The city format is Name|X|Y|Position

The position dictates where the city name will appear in relation to the dot.  This is an attempt to conform to cartographic standards.

  • AL - above left
  • AR - above right
  • BL - below left
  • BR - below right

I capitalize countries and capital cities.  The city and country names will not appear on screen until you quit the scenario and either reload it or start a new one.

Please note the X, Y values are SimPlot's Cartesian coordinate system with 0, 0 at the center of the map.  If you change the map scale in the .txt config file, or you change the size of the image, then you will have to update all the X, Y values for the names.

If you intend to repaint the map image, it might be wise to first view the unpainted image in SimPlot so you can get the locations of cities or bases.  Cities are a part of the config file, but bases are technically units in the game, so noting their location first while you can see them will help you to create new base units in the scenario.

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