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This is one instance of something that should be easy enough to do to improve the look of the maps, and yet another reason why we users need the map editor-
In the attached screen, we have two methods for laying out fields-
-The blue box utilizes the fact that these graphics can be strung together to create something that approximates a long, multi-hex field. This is easier on the eyes, and adheres to rational farming practices (even in Soviet collective farming).
-The red box seems like the product of a random process, and no longer takes advantage of the fact that these graphics can be strung together to create something that looks correct and orderly.
This is a small thing that really matters as far as using the available graphics to create something that doesn't look chaotic, unplanned and rather scattershot.
There is a map mod being made by someone at The Gamesquad Forumin the PoA2 forum. I downloaded it today and it does make a difference. It's in beta but still improves the overall look. He has changed that particular symbol which I also feel is the worse one in the game.
Here is a link to the download. You put it in the HPS Shared folder in the Geomap\Symbol Set.
That's nice that fellow purchasers have taken the time to try to fix the game up a bit- but I really expect the developers to do the work to try to improve this game in as many ways possible- especially in the case of this problematic release. My suggestion above is a simple solution to a disconcerting choice- it amazes me that they would allow it to have such an occularly exhaustive graphic arrangement in the first place.
The game is shelved until patched radically. Very dissapointing.
I think what the issue is -is that the program calling locations off of a master bmp file -and doing it randomly... so how is releasing a map editor going to fix that? You'd tell the map editor where you wanted fields, the program points it to fields ... you get fields ... albeit randomly drawn from the master bmp file.
What you are actually asking for is a rewrite of the code probably, which allows someone using a map editor to assign a specific location -which it probably doesn't do now (but would be great, mind you ... as it would create the ability to use things like unique riverbank, coastal, forest, rough hex edges ... ), and I think there is a better chance of getting a redrawn set of fields that all point (probably) horizontally.
:/ Drawing a map digitally (and especially in the way chosen), isn't even remotely as flexible as grabbing some hex paper and coloured pencils (but boy, do I wish it were.) It'd make things a lot more interesting.
The fields thing is minor, admitedly. The code, OOB and database issues are far more troublesome.
As far as what I am asking being hard to code- we have no idea what the map editor looks like at this point. Simple rotation of a graphic is not difficult in coding terms. If that's the issue (inability to change the way hexes are filled), there should be a graphic for each rotation, and then placed in some manner that looks decent. As it is now, the maps look like they were made by a near-random automaton. Some degree of order would help the look of the game immensly.
Consider this, then -all of the graphics that form the map come from a series of bmp images ( based upon the zoom level chosen). So in effect the programming has to be calling upon a single bitmap file (which one, being dependent upon the zoom level chosen).
What I think that it has to be doing is looking for something at whatever x and y coordinates on the master bitmap file that holds that set type of terrain. In the example above, it is a field. Now I know from talking to Rich Hamilton at both HPS.JTS that the TU map system uses a different map editor than does the Tiller material (what that map editor is- well, yes, who knows -when addressing things from the pov of someone who hasn't actually used it -which I am not as well).
In other words, all of my comments are based upon observing how things seem to operate, but not from the point of view of a user of the map building program(s). And I am getting these mainly from working with putting together those planning maps from a couple of series (mostly Tiller's, but now Bruffell's).
I can't find any evidence that you can choose a specific tile to place in a specific place other than a tile series (say 'fields').
Also considering that there is a master bitmap file in use, and those images are not being rotated by the program (but rather are rotated on the bitmap file itself), I can't imagine that creating something that rotates individual items is actually anything less than entirely rewriting the graphics coding. What I think what you are seeing, is just what you said -in effect basically the programming's random calling.
Fwiw, I can't say as you are wrong about the look, in that -it lacks a certain symmetry. At the same time, for me at any rate, what is used, whether symmetrical or not -is still out of scale anyways, so it sort of makes it a moot point. The 'tile' method (just by assembling the odd mod or 2) I can say is a little tough to get a mental picture as to how something will look when assembled.
Mind you, though I want to qualify all of this with, I am not talking about the game mechanics past the point of how I think it assembles the title's graphics collection. I'll defer game play and results of same to people that have spent some time playing it.
All the map tiles drawn randomly by the current code could just be a repetition of the same field. Then they'd all look the same when placed together, and not too unrealistic either.
Interesting -so you are suggesting that the map editor could repeat a specific exact tile. I know that you have access to Tiller's map editor, and will take this to mean that this works in this manner. Feel free to correct that statement, Al.