Crusader Kings II - Dev Diary 5 - The map

Crusader Kings II - Dev Diary 5 - The map

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Tegus

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Hello everyone, I'm Tegus, one of the programmers working on Crusader
Kings II. Welcome to the fifth dev diary for CK2 and the first one written
by me. In today's dev diary I'm going to talk a bit about the map and why
we've chosen to implement a new one in CK2.

As you all know, in our games the map is an important tool for both
displaying information and setting the mood of the game. In HoI3 we had a
grayish map that we felt was appropriate for a war game. We took this map
and altered it slightly when making Victoria 2, but this time the map was
drawn with vivid colors to portray the progress of the era. The next game to
use the map was Divine Wind because we all felt that EU3 was in need of a
graphical face lift. While this map technology looked good in the
mentioned games, there were certain technological limitations which we
wanted to improve upon or get rid of.

With CK2, we have devoted time to rewrite the graphics code for the map
from scratch. We are back to a pure 3D map similar to the one used in EU3:
Rome. We have visible topology and you will be able to rotate the world
around the way you please. While neither the technology nor the art assets
are in any way final, we do feel that the new map already has great
potential and is a big step in the right direction towards our visual
goals. Hopefully this new tech will also span multiple games, so we
can steadily improve it.

crusader_kings_2_devdiary_5_ss1.jpg

To be fair, if I would describe what we have done with the map so far, it
would just be sentence after sentence of technical mumbo-jumbo, so I'll
spare you the details. Let's instead focus on what visual details that
have been improved and what we want to add before the game is shipped.

We've improved the looks of the water significantly and added refraction
so you can actually see topology under the ocean surface. Aerie has taken
the time to find real-world topology data(although we've exaggerated it
somewhat), it definitely gives a cool feel to the terrain. Borders have
also gotten some love and now use a new system which enables us to make
them much smoother. Much of the previous jaggedness is gone. We've also
begun to implement and test a more detailed lighting model, which we will
continue to improve upon until we release the game. Another cool
feature(which isn't really part of the map) are the units, whose tabards
now show the heraldic flag of the unit leader.

crusader_kings_2_devdiary_5_ss2.jpg

But there are still some things which we're missing. We need trees and
rivers. We need to add province names and realm names, which exist in all
our latest games. I'd like to add more information to borders, so borders
between two realms are colored by the realms' respective colors. There are
of course lots of more things we want to do, but I won't spill the beans
just yet.

crusader_kings_2_devdiary_5_ss3.jpg

All in all, we are very happy with the way the new map is coming along.
Hopefully you will enjoy it as well once you get to play the game!

Fredrik Zetterman, Deluxe programmer, currently working on Crusader Kings
II
 

Romtos

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Jolly! :D Reading time.

Edit:
I really like the CoA on the tabards. I'm affraid the reintroduction of the topolgy map makes map modding somewhat more difficult.
 
Last edited:

tuore

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Excellent! Beautiful indeed.
How about Civilization-style borders?
 

safferli

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I wasn't a big fan of the topology map of Rome, and I'm still not a big fan of it in the current screenshots, sorry... On the other mapmodes, can we easily get away with the "3d-ishness" of the map? Like in HoI3, if you had counters, the map behaved in zooming like a map should. If you used sprites, the zoom behaved in this 3d-ish way.

That would be awesome, for instance in the third screenshot, the entire back half of the screen is practically lost screen realestate. And with today's widescreen monitors, vertical screen realestate is the most precious thing there is :)

EDIT: the units in screenshot 2 look yummy! :)
 

Calantyr

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It is certainly impressive so far.

But I was wondering just how dynamic the new map is? Maybe not in this game, but in future could this map support alterations in-game? Such as province borders changing due to events etc or even it's texture?
 

RedRooster81

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I like what i'm seeing. Italy is looking very nice, as are the CoA-specific tabards on the troops. (Do you care to comment by the way on why some of the troop sprites have open-face helms? Differences in culture maybe?) It is also nice to see how the different tiers are represented on the map. I can clearly see how empires like the HRE is differentiated from kingdoms, duchies, and counties.

My other question is about map modes. How many will there be (e.g., physical, terrain, economic?). Thanks.
 

vadermath

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Very nice DD, Tegus! The Rome map was my favourite of all the recent Paradox games, so I'm very glad to see CKII taking a few leaves out of that book.
 

Tegus

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Is the 3D terrain created via bump maps? Will it be hard to mod our own maps?
The height is determined by a grayscale bitmap, but everything else can pretty much be modded exactly like our other games(i.e. provinces.bmp and terrain.bmp are there as usual). Modding will probably be faster even, since we have removed large part of the map cache(it's now calculated at the start of the game instead)
 

Sam L

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I thought it was going to be like the Rome map. It's a nice map.

Can I suggest something? I know in Rome you can make the map so that it views to a certain direction. I thought it would be neat to make the map view towards Jerusalem so wherever you are in Europe, you could switch to a view towards Jerusalem. Not a big thing but I thought it would be fun.
 

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It is certainly impressive so far.

But I was wondering just how dynamic the new map is? Maybe not in this game, but in future could this map support alterations in-game? Such as province borders changing due to events etc or even it's texture?
Makes me wonder if we'll see..

a. farm land graphics showing after we research farming technology
b. roads showing up after they are built (as in CK1)
c. smoke coming from razed cities
 

Johhog

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May I ask if this really still is Clausewitz?
 

Sute]{h

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Looking nice. What resolution is the province.bmp file? I'd love to be able to get a head start on a map mod and knowing the resolution should make it easier to ensure that it will work once the game hits the streets. :)
 

RhoDaZZ

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Certainly a technical "leap forward" compared to other Clausewitz games, but hopefully the map will receive the necessary polish before release to make it superior to previous games. I actually like the 3D (some still swear to the "neatness" of 2D), but borders (a tad too wide imo, especially sea borders which should be extra thin to not appear jagged and pixelated (at least without transparency)), cities (models are placeholders I presume?), a few of the textures (woodlands and hills are tiny bit blurry) need additional "love":p. BIG pluses imo are the new dynamic unit models, the water and the topography.

Also, about the 360 degree view, will it be possible to bookmark positions and possibly lock a position using a shortcut?
 

Johhog

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@Tegus Thank you for your answer, that's good so we still have a hint about how to mod it.
 

Tegus

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Certainly a technical "leap forward" compared to other Clausewitz games, but hopefully the map will receive the necessary polish before release to make it superior to previous games. I actually like the 3D (some still swear to the "neatness" of 2D), but borders (a tad too wide imo, especially sea borders which should be extra thin to not appear jagged and pixelated (at least without transparency)), cities (models are placeholders I presume?), a few of the textures (woodlands and hills are tiny bit blurry) need additional "love":p. BIG pluses imo are the new dynamic unit models, the water and the topography.

Also, about the 360 degree view, will it be possible to bookmark positions and possibly lock a position using a shortcut?
I think that all of the things you mention will change before we release the game, such as cities, borders and terrain texture :)

If we have time and feel that the game needs bookmarks, we will add them, but as of now there is no plan to implement that feature.