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Topic: Altitude indicator and undo at all possible?

Astuur
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Joined: 2009-02-28, 10:08
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Posted at: 2011-04-21, 18:45

I'm currently trying to get more used to the Editor.
One thing I really miss is an indicator (possibly next to the coordinates) for the current altitude of the terrain under the mouse cursor.
Without one, modification of altitudes always is guesswork and I often destroy what I already have.
I also wished there was an undo button for that reason. Height control is critical of course
since what you can build depends on the terrain profile.
Do you think, an altitude indicator would be possible?
And an "undo" function?


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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ixprefect
Joined: 2009-02-27, 14:28
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Posted at: 2011-04-22, 06:42

An altitude indicator should be really easy to do.

An "undo" function is of of course technically possible, but it may require a major re-architecting of how the editor works internally. I'm not really familiar enough with those internals to estimate how difficult that would be.


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Astuur
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Posted at: 2011-04-22, 08:32

Thanks, that is good news
I'll file a feature request for an altitude indicator then.

As for an Undo function, -- well, save and reload is an alternative, albeit not a comfortable one.

I am currently starting from an automatically generated map.
The automatism does quite a good job in regard to naturally looking landscape, but
when you have some afterthoughts in mind, especially for campaigns etc., you need a better acessability control.
So I erase all immovables (Stones, trees) to see the building possibilities.
I then modify the altitude to make sure an area is accessible...
In that process you must even out a relatively large area, before you get green symbols in the build help.
Having done that, you can again increase the altitude differences to some extent before the green symbols disappear again.
This is where an Undo would be most welcome.

There is another question I'd like to ask: I am trying to create an area in a map that would allow buildings of medium size (yellow),
but not large ones by changing the altitude profile.
For some reason I can't manage.
Can anyone shed some light, please? .


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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SirVer
Joined: 2009-02-19, 15:18
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Location: Germany - Munich
Posted at: 2011-04-23, 14:01

I cannot answer the question with big <-> medium buildings. You might achieve better control with immovables that cannot be removed though.

About the undo feature: beside the major redesign it would need, it is also quite hard to achieve as some actions are not easily reversible. E.g. if you change the height of one field on a flat terrain to 30 or so, the neighbouring fields change as well. This is not done by the editor but by the map recalculation. One would need to cache the complete height map in each step to make this reversible.

Of course this is a technicality and should not be an excuse for not having undo support.


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Astuur
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Posted at: 2011-04-23, 15:04

OKay, maybe someone capable feels like takling this.
Would be a great help


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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ixprefect
Joined: 2009-02-27, 14:28
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Posted at: 2011-04-26, 18:19

Height differences only account for whether one can build big or small buildings. Medium-size build icons can only appear when there are other immovables in the vicinity, especially roads.


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Astuur
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Posted at: 2011-04-26, 18:50

Ah -- thank you.
This is a bit strange, isn't?
Are there technical reasons for this? Otherwise, Why should mapmakers not have the freedom to
forbid large but allow medium size buildings? I must find out waht immovable might do the trick then.....

Edited: 2011-04-26, 19:00

Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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ixprefect
Joined: 2009-02-27, 14:28
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Posted at: 2011-04-26, 23:07

The reason is mostly historical. When we first wrote the buildcaps computation, we tried to keep the results close to those of Settlers 2, so that S2 maps could be loaded in Widelands without too many changes. And now changing the way those computations are done comes with a lot of pain because changing those calculations requires us to go over the existing maps again to make sure none of them are broken by the changes.

So even though strictly speaking, it would be logically consistent to have a range of height differences that eliminates big buildings but not medium ones, there is a lot of inertia and changing those computations seems a bit daunting to me.


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Astuur
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Posted at: 2011-04-27, 08:03

It's always a great pleasure to be rewarded for asking simple questions with such in-depth explanations!
Again my thanks!
Your comment made me go right back to the Settlers 2 Editor and compare this feature.
I have of course noticed that the S2 and the WL editors produce very similar looking landscapes, and indeed middle-size building space is equally hard to create.
Is that map compatibility still a goal?
I am asking this in regard to the idea of eliminating the "worlds" and allow all terrain types within the same map.

I guess this is the same fragment of code that does the "smoothing" of the landscape altitudes?
The logic that prevents creating terrain that is inaccessible due to abrupt altitude changes.
The S2 developers must have expected their users to create a lot of maps themselves, and so implemented that to keep them from designing unplayable maps.
I'm not sure, whether this ever really happened. It seems to me that map design remained the
sport of a few chosen ones, and the majority was too lazy to ever care.
But saving map makers from possible traps may not have been the only consideration.
The shading and rendering of the landscape may also not work for broken land.
Okay - so no cliffs, no clefts, no waterfalls face-smile.png

The comparison also made me realize how superior the WL editor really has become!
There is one aspect, however, where I favour the S2 output, and that is the borders like the coastline.
IMO the old S2 Editor produces less geometrical looking borders; less straight lines and less visible triangular shapes.
For me it looks like S2 does not fill the underlying grid structures to the very edge, so coastlines look a lot better.
I wished our WL editor could be improved in this aspect.

Do you think this can be done at reasonable effort?
Yeah- that's what you get for encouraging inquisitive folks face-smile.png


Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).

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ixprefect
Joined: 2009-02-27, 14:28
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Posted at: 2011-04-27, 16:19

We still want to be able to load those old maps, even though direct compatibility has become less important over time. For example, if you really want to play S2 maps in Widelands, you almost always have to adjust the resource distribution. Still, this is one of those things where not just compatibility with S2 matters, but also compatibility with Widelands itself (existing maps and so on).

As for merging the worlds into one so that all terrain types can be used within a single map, I like this idea as a long term goal. Of course we need to think about how the different immovables (such as different tree types) interact with such a merger. It shouldn't really be a problem in terms of map compatibility, we just need to establish a dictionary that translates the old "separate world" terrain and immovable types into the new ones.

Your inquiry about cliffs and friends is a good one. I remember we had a discussion about possibly adding cliffs not so long ago. I think they could be realized with a combination of altitude changes and something like an additional object - the good old fake approach to cliffs, seen in so many strategy games from I believe the original Dune to StarCraft, to Age of Empires. But it's not a minor change to allow consistent, unbroken cliffs, so it really requires an intense combination of code and artwork for a proper implementation.

Finally, about the "shape" of the tool for changing the terrain, I am also not too happy. In my opinion, the smallest tool size should change individual triangles of the terrain, and all larger tool sizes should change an entire hexagon of the terrain, to make it easier to create smooth coastlines. I've added an entry on Launchpad to keep track of this: https://bugs.launchpad.net/widelands/+bug/771838


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