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Mini maps

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Moderators :  Winterhawk99, Mermut, Bannor Bloodfist

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Bannor Bloodfist
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Joined:  Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:45 pm
Okies, what are mini maps exactly?

They are the little screens you see in game when you open up your mapping window. They are intended to be exact representations of the individual tiles they represent.

Minimaps can come in several sizes. Their size quadruples on each increase in the size of the base minimap.
16x16 bit texture ends up being roughly 2k in size.
A 32x32 is roughly 5k in size.
a 64x64 is roughly 17k in size
128x128 is roughly 65k in size
256x256 is roughly 256k in size

Those are raw tga sizes. They can be reduced by using Bioware DDS tool AND by also using TGA Flipper to correctly set the tga into a format that the dds compression tool can use.

To create minimaps, there are several ways to go about it.

NWMax, a set of scripts for Gmax and 3dmax, will allow you to generate maps at 4 of the above sizes, from 16x16 to 128 by 128, it will process every single tile .mdl found in a directory that you specify and place the results wherever you tell it to do so.

I personally prefer the options and power provided by Velmar in TilesetCreator. This tool gives you the ability to change/pick door colors, and allows you to pick sizes up to 256x256 for the individual map sizes. Not all TSC features work with Gmax, and I don't know if the minimap options will or not.

So, you create the initial image using one of the above tools. (NWmax or TSC or even Veltools) and from there you have choices on how to proceed.

Personally, I like creating 64x64bit minimaps. This gives the player up to 3 zoom levels on the map, and gives really good details when you do zoom in. However, you end up with a roughly 17k image, which adds up quite quickly, so keep that in mind.

Once you have that tga, you should re-process it with the tga flipper utility listed above, TWICE, yes, TWICE. You flip it once, which cleans up some possible errors generated in the tga files during the export phase, and you then flip it back to proper orientation.

Once you have the flipped images ready, you can then use the dds converting utility from Bioware to reduce your file size by at least 50% and typically as much as 70%.

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Minimaps can also be created by hand, using your favorite paint programs. That would be a good way to get text into the minimaps for instance or to create something with a more artistic style look than a direct top-down screen shot of the tile itself (which is how they are generated by the tools for use in either version of Max.)
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maxam.maxam
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Joined:  Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:08 am
Bannor Bloodfist wrote:Okies, what are mini maps exactly?
Once you have that tga, you should re-process it with the tga flipper utility listed above, TWICE, yes, TWICE. You flip it once, which cleans up some possible errors generated in the tga files during the export phase, and you then flip it back to proper orientation.


Hi Bannor, what kind of errors are we talking about here? I thought TGA Flipper simply rotated the file. If it's fixing errors, perhaps it would be useful for other TGA files?
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Estelindis
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Joined:  Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:05 pm
Yes, it is useful for all kinds of TGA files.

When it flips a TGA image, it automatically configures it to the right format to work for NWN - so the bit rate is correct, there's no compression, transparency is set right, etc. So flipping a TGA image twice is a good thing to do before converting it to DDS or just putting the TGA into a hak (e.g. textures for animated water must be TGA).

:thumb:
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Winterhawk99
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Been flippng them with JASC paint pro 8. This doesnt always give the best results. With the tga flipper Its alot better in tests thank you very much for showing us this este. :)
 

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