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  • How to create a custom map-pack for ATC

    Advanced Tactical Center is a windows application that lets players collaborate online to create tactics for MP games like BF2. Anyone can draw lines on a screenshot in using MS Paint, but this is much much better. ATC has built-in network support, so multiple people can all be looking at and brainstorming on the same map.



    (Thanks to JB4 for the screenshot)


    By default, ATC comes with all the vanilla BF2 maps along with the expansion-packs (SF, AF, EF, etc). For mods like PoE2, PR, etc, it's actually not too hard to add support for different maps once you know what you're doing... putting together the PoE2 map-pack only took me a couple hours including taking screen shots. This is a guide for how to do that in case other people want to make a map-pack for other mods *cough*PR*cough*.


    It's a four step deal - getting good screenshots, importing them into ATC, cleaning up how they're displayed in the application, and packaging it for distribution.

    To get a good idea of what you're looking to do, install ATC and the PoE2 map-pack and take a look at some of the maps. (download here)



    Getting screenshots

    First, create a new shortcut to launch BF2 in a window with a square screen... I just copied a short cut and edited the commandline to have these arguments: -fullscreen 0 -szx 1280 -szy 1280

    Then once in game, here's what I did:

    1.) Go to Multiplayer->Create Local

    2.) Add each of the maps you want to document and then join/start the game

    3.) Bring up the console ('~' key)
    - type sv.numplayersneededtostart 1 (this gets rid of the "waiting for more players to join" text)
    - type sv.allowfreecam 1 (this lets you fly around the map when dead)

    4.) Bring up your map ('enter' key by default) and take a screenshot of the map with flag names overlayed

    5.) Bring up the console again and type renderer.drawhud 0 (this hides everything and makes for clean screenshots)

    6.) Hit SPACE to go into freecam mode and fly around the map

    7.) Take screen shots of each CP - I tried to get a close-in, but also a 'medium' zoom picture as well. When you're taking the screencaps, think about how you would design an attack or defense of the flag... is there terrain nearby that you'd use?

    8.) Once you're done with that map, you can advance to the next map in your rotation by typing this into the console: admin.nextLevel

    9.) While the next map is loading, I went to the folder my screencaps land in and create a subfolder for the map I just did. I then moved all the .jpgs in there to avoid confusion later when its time to start importing into ATC.

    10) The regular screens can be used as-is, but the overview screens (maps with CP names) need to be cropped. You can use MS Paint or any image editing app to crop the screen - you just need to remove all but the portion of the screen that shows the map.



    Importing into ATC

    1) The first thing to know is that ATC uses the JPG name as the name of the image in the program. So the first thing to do is to rename all your screenshots to reflect what they are.... either the name of the CP, or location on the map, or whatever.

    2) In ATC, go to Create/Edit Custom map

    3) Enter a name for the map

    4) Import Pictures and select all screencaps for that map

    5) Save, and repeat



    Cleaning up the display

    By default, the map names will be out of order and in for each map, the pictures you imported will be in seemingly random order. To make it look pro, you should make the overview map the default image for each map, and, if you have multiple shots a CP, group them together. Here's how you do it:

    1.) Open ~\program files\foolish entertainment\atc\data\custom.xml in a text-editor (wordpad, etc)

    2.) For each map, cut and paste the line with the "Overview" (the full map with CP names) to be the first line. For example:

    Before:
    Code:
       <node label="ACES HIGH 16" picture="atc_aces_16.jpg" map="ACES HIGH 16" size="87867.0000" icon="defIcon">
          <node label="Air Strip" picture="Air Strip.jpg" map="ACES HIGH 16" size="122652.0000"/>
    -->   <node label="Overview" picture="atc_aces_16.jpg" map="ACES HIGH 16" size="87867.0000"/>
          <node label="Carrier Group" picture="Carrier Group.jpg" map="ACES HIGH 16" size="99436.0000"/>
       </node>
    After:
    Code:
       <node label="ACES HIGH 16" picture="atc_aces_16.jpg" map="ACES HIGH 16" size="87867.0000" icon="defIcon">
    -->   <node label="Overview" picture="atc_aces_16.jpg" map="ACES HIGH 16" size="87867.0000"/>
          <node label="Air Strip" picture="Air Strip.jpg" map="ACES HIGH 16" size="122652.0000"/>
          <node label="Carrier Group" picture="Carrier Group.jpg" map="ACES HIGH 16" size="99436.0000"/>
       </node>

    3.) Once you have the individual maps cleaned up and looking nice, consider moving around the map groups to be alphabetical.

    4.) Save/Close the file, and check your work in ATC (Create offline tactic)



    Creating distribution package

    The map pack will be distributed as a zip file containing three things: a readme.txt, custom.xml, and a bunch of pictures.

    1) Go to your ATC directory: ~program files/~foolish entertainment/ATC/

    2) select the /Pictures directory, the /data directory, and your readme files

    3) right-click and Add-to-zip (save the zip anywhere)

    4) Open the zip you just created and delete all the 'standard' maps from Vanilla, Special Forces, etc. You'll also want to delete any files in the Data\ directory except for custom.xml.

    The zip file should have one .txt file, one .xml file, and a bunch of .jpgs






    .... hope that helps!
    Last edited by WhiskeySix; 08-20-2008, 10:37 PM.

  • #2
    Re: How to create a map-pack for ATC

    :icon14::icon14:


    DB

    «That looks like a really nice house except for that horrible bathroom.» Donrhos

    | |





    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How to create a map-pack for ATC

      YEAH! Using this guide I created Kashan 64 and Jabal 64 screenies and imported them. I'm working on cleaning up the display now. :D
      UH OH: I messed my custom.xml size for the default pics. Hmmm, cant get them back....
      Ahhhh: But it works anyway. Display Cleaned!:D
      Last edited by Fighter; 08-20-2008, 06:42 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How to create a map-pack for ATC

        Great post Whiskey.:icon14: This is a tool that can be used across many mods.
        One minor thing...how can we update the flags or even vehicle choices? In particular, getting a UKR flag for POE2 into the mix or mod specific vehicles/armor. Using your instructions above, is there a place we can insert them into the master ATC package? Different mods use different flags/vehicles. I don't mind doing it, just need to get pointed in the right direction.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How to create a map-pack for ATC

          you mean the Icon 'stamps'? I couldn't find a way to add/edit those unfortunately... I didn't search the web for clues, but hacking around a bit, it seems they're part of a .DLL or something?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How to create a map-pack for ATC

            Originally posted by WhiskeySix View Post
            you mean the Icon 'stamps'? I couldn't find a way to add/edit those unfortunately... I didn't search the web for clues, but hacking around a bit, it seems they're part of a .DLL or something?
            Yes, that is what I meant. Oh well, it is a minor thing. This has been a great tool. Thanks for the POE 2.5 update!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How to create a map-pack for ATC

              I have no clue where those are at either. Possibly they are in the .exe file. I downloaded a few hex editors and looked at the exe couldnt make sense of what was on my screen. Even though it converted the numbers to letters, THE LETTERS DIDN'T MAKE SENSE!!!

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              • #8
                Re: How to create a map-pack for ATC

                BTW I think this is double post not sure if it was then I was too lazy to find the edit button, but maybe this could deserve a sticky? On another sidenote: I didn't know JB4 had a MAC. (by the looks of his menu bar in the screenshot)

                Oh I just had to give little pinguie a shot in a post::icon40: Yes I know thats a Linux icon.

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                • #9
                  Re: How to create a map-pack for ATC

                  it's a little photomagic there - his tactic chopped into my ATC app. I'm using a MAC-esque windowblinds ;)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How to create a custom map-pack for ATC

                    I've always wanted the Mac theme just not the OS so I can actually still play.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How to create a custom map-pack for ATC

                      Originally posted by WhiskeySix View Post
                      *cough*PR*cough*.
                      Your wish is our command: http://www.tacticalgamer.com/battlef...al-center.html

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