Ukraine scenario/heightmap

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popka.enota
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Ukraine scenario/heightmap

Post by popka.enota »

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I started with an idea I want to play a Ukraine scenario or at least a map. Ukraine is quite a big state, in fact the largest in Europe. It has a lot of interesting natural features, various landscape and diverse economic regions, which I think can be used for a really great OpenTTD scenario. Additionaly, due to russian military agression in Ukraine, many people saw the maps and heard the names of cities, rivers. That's why I think the scenario can be of interest to people.
There is one heightmap in the downloadable content and I thought that could be a great start for what I want to do. But that map has 1 major issue, for OpenTTD heightmap, an image must be 45° rotated. I tried to rotate it, but then you either has to crop the corners or fill the voids. So I realized I need to create it from scratch. And here we go!

Currently it is work in progress and I plan to post my progress here. Surprisingly it is a very interesting project for a computer nerd.

The plan is the following:
  1. Generate the heightmap
    • Add big water features (Black and Azov sea)
    • Add mountains (Carpathian and Crimean)
    • Add rivers
    • Form the overall elevation
    • Add certain local cultural/historical features. Like Snake island and slagheaps in coal-mining regions. These features are small at scale, but important and recognizable
  2. Create scenario
    • Add towns and villages
    • Add industries
    • (Optional) Potentially add decorative features like monuments.
My first milestone is to create a heightmap that I'll be happy with. I want it to include the two seas, two mountain ranges and rivers.

UPD:
Current status: The heightmap Beauitiful Ukraine x2048 v1.0 is out. Or search in the `Check online content`.
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Last edited by popka.enota on 12 Feb 2023 23:00, edited 1 time in total.
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odisseus
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Re: Ukraine scenario/heightmap

Post by odisseus »

You don't have to create a heightmap from scratch. Here's a tutorial on getting the height data from satellite images and converting them into OpenTTD-friendly format. Granted, the instructions are quite old, and I haven't checked whether every service still works the way it worked back in 2006, but conceptually the process remains the same.
popka.enota
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Re: Ukraine scenario/heightmap

Post by popka.enota »

Yeah, you're right. I didn't mean to create the map manually. Although I do not follow the instructions in that post, I think the approach is pretty much similar. At least I'm using the same source for elevation data.
popka.enota
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Re: Ukraine scenario/heightmap

Post by popka.enota »

So here is the first update! My first iteration of the map is ready. I am pretty pleased with the results so far. I uploaded 2048x2048 version of the map here Beautiful Ukraine x2048 - BaNaNaS - OpenTTD

Here's how it looks on the minimap:
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Next I am trying to improve rivers. Couple of issues:

1. Small narrow streams sometimes appear as a set of separate ponds. In some places I actually like it, looks like an interminent stream. Sometimes it barely has any water and looks like a small ravine, which is also cool.
2. Rivers have a fixed width. In my implementation rivers are actually fixed-width lines, there might be other water bodies merged with rivers like water reservoirs(you can see a lot of them in Dnipro, the main river in the center north to south). But the river object itself has same width along itself. I'd like rivers to become wider as they flow. Especially it makes sense when a river starts in mountains, it is narrow and fast and as it goes down to flats, it slows down and widens.
3. All the rivers are at sea-level. Rivers should also change their elevation altogether with the landscape. Currently I implement all water using heightmap and it doesn't allow to place river tiles, only water tiles. Moreover, heightmap only allows to place water tiles as sea level. It makes nice river banks though. And it makes very pronounce relief in the mountain ranges.
4. Also, there's a river cluster at the very west of the map that looks more like a lake than rivers, need to fix it too.

Couple more words about rivers since they play an important role in my design. First issue I face is that their width is not big enough to translate to the map at scale. So I had to widen them. In fact I grouped rivers into 4 classes based on their length and assigned different width according to the class. I keep them as a vetor layer in my project and that allows me to adjust the width if needed.

What I like about 2048 map is that there are several areas with distinct landscapes. South and Crimea are plato flat with low river density which makes this area good to start the game. East and central east also have big open territories between rivers, but with small local hills and +-1 level difference. It shouldn't make a big problem. Whereas North and West have mucch more water and the more you go to the west, the harder becomes the relief due to Carpatian mountains. There is an interesting area located behind the mountans. Its called Zakarpattya, which means "behind Carpatians". It is really secured from the rest of the map by the mountain range and it may be a great challange if some essential industries are places over there.

Also I think there might be some great usage of water transport around Azov sea or between Ukraine and Turkey on the very south.

I am not sure if it is possible to limit landscape altering in the scenario, or at least make it expensive, but it would be an interesting option for harder play.

Some screenshots of the current map:

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opre
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Re: Ukraine scenario/heightmap

Post by opre »

Hi, yes I agree this is a great idea. I tried the heightmap and it's very nice. Did you end up creating a scenario as well with the towns placed in the correct locations?

Best,
OpRe
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