Author Topic: The Evangel Map Project  (Read 5092 times)

Evangel - Project 7

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The Evangel Map Project
« on: November 17, 2012, 04:13:16 PM »
*note: wasn't sure where exactly to put this so mods feel free to shuffle this somewhere else*


At the announcement of City of Heroes' closure I had made a post on here about my intent to create and extensive map project for the purpose of being able to create and edit video demorecords after the sunset of CoH. I've been playing with demorecords since launch, won one of the two video contests back when they were around, and recently published my Farewell Video to celebrate 8 years of memories in Paragon City. And the great thing about the demorecord function is that it doesn't require the CoH servers to be up, it only requires you to have the game installed. But you need some other things too, and that's why I started this thread now.

This post I'm going to talk about what my map project is, what I have, what I need and what resources we have to work in demorecords - and most importantly what you might want to capture before the ultimate mapserver on Nov. 30. Then I'm going to copy/paste my post in this thread to give an example of how my project works using Atlas Park as an example.


What is the Evangel Map Project?

Using the demorecord function in CoH  (typing /demorecord <filename>  in the chat box) I mapped the four corners (or more than four in most cases) of most of the zones in CoH. Then, using a grid program I map out the zone's map to scale with each unit of location on the grid equal to one foot. The units in the CoH coordinate system appear to coordinate to feet, so if you type /loc and then move about one foot and type /loc again one or two of the numbers (depending on your location relative to center, and where you're facing) should move by almost exactly 1.

My goal is to create a map grid for every zone and host them for download so that after sunset you can create demorecord movies and screenshots of your hero, so that you can still enjoy the game in a fashion. The project is currently on hold because I want to spend the next few weeks doing what I loved about CoH - playing it. I don't want to spend time on a project when I can still enjoy the game. But as you'll see below I'm posting this now so that you can prepare your character in case you want to use these maps.

After sunset I will finish the grids and host the maps. And then I plan to do an extensive set of how-to posts and perhaps a few videos to get people going on how to record/edit/dump their files to make videos and screenshots.


What I Have:

All hero, praetorian, and villain zones, as well as a few dozen unique indoor and outdoor maps.



Resources:

There are many but my particular favorite is The CoH Codex Site. It's out of date but has a massive collection of movement files, NPC character names, and FX animations. It even has a map section for zone files. If there are any more like this that you know about please post them here, it's great work by the author capturing all of that!


What YOU Need:

If you want to take advantage of these maps to make your own movies or screenshots then you'll want to prepare with your character(s) by making demofiles of what I call their "skins". You can log in to the game and make a demofile that contains all of a character's costumes and once that is saved you can copy/paste that info into new demofiles even after sunset and you can have your hero walk the streets of Paragon once more! Here's how:

How to make a demorecord:

1) The less clutter in a demofile the better - so I like to either enter a mission and clear it out completely or, easier in my opinion, make a quick MA arc that has no villains and something trivial like a glowie and then go into test mode and enter the mission. Either way the trick is to have it empty so that you don't have 100 other models cluttering up your demo file.

2) Once ready, keep the camera still, don't mess around with the mouse and pans because that clutters up the file as well.

3) in the chatbox type  /demorecord <filename> and hit enter  (note: replace <filename> with whatever you want to call the file, like: evangels_costumes )

4) in local chat type costume 1 and switch to that costume. wait thirty seconds, then type costume 2 and switch to that one, rinse and repeat. You can name them whatever is helpful for you to remember that costume.

5) when all done type /demostop and hit enter. You're done with the game portion!

6) navigate to your game folder (usually Program Files/NCSoft/CityOfHeroes) and there should be a folder labeled "client_demos". Inside that you should find your file. You can open it up using Notepad and if you scroll down a bit it should look similar to this:




7) Keep that file in a safe place and then go back to playing CoH while you can!




As stated above later I will do some how-to's so that you can clean that file up, make some edits and have some fun in Paragon City even after the doors are locked. The next post is an example of how I've used this all to map out AP. For now, capture your character(s) and then put it aside for a bit. Go enjoy the game!!




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« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 08:57:58 PM by Evangel - Project 7 »
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Evangel - Project 7

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2012, 04:14:35 PM »
The Atlas Park example copy/pasted from another thread:



1) I mapped each corner of AP using demorecord and got the following coordinates for the map, using "top" and "bottom" in coordination with how the map looks in the view window in game. Positions are in x,y,z with x being the horizontal, z being the vertical (when looking at the map from birdseye view) and y being the height of the object on the map:

Bottom Left: 2815 -25.843838 1023
Bottom Right: -1792 20.917597 1023
Top Right: -1792 16.555946 -2432
Top Left: 2815 18.061245 -2432

For purposes of mapping I ignore the Y coordinate as that can be determined through basic trial and error when mapping later on, as far as I can tell each integral is equal to about 1 foot so you can use your zone knowledge to think "oh, that bridge is about 20 feet off the ground", etc...


2) I took a picture of AP's map from the wiki and pasted it onto a simple square in Google Sketchup - a program that allows you to accurately build shapes based on feet measurement which, as stated above, seems to be the rough estimate for each coordinate integral in the game. Using the above coordinates we can determine that AP is 4,608' by 3,455'. But based on the positive to negative ratio the map is actually read 180' opposite from how it appears in the view finder in game, so the bottom right of the map in the game actually belongs in the top left when viewing it as a graph, if that makes sense.


3) Using either a demorecord or math, I calculate 0,0,0 on the map and center the Sketchup model so that 0,0,0 corresponds with the center of the x,y,z plane. And the result is this:






Now you can accurately find a coordinate (x,z) anywhere in AP using the measurement tool in Sketchup. So if I want to place a character at, say, the tram station, I can measure out:


x-coordinate:


z-coordinate:



Now I put them into the demorecord, assuming that the tram station is probably about 74 feet up from ground level (actually I cheated, I guessed 70 but when I tested the record I noticed I was off a few feet) so my position would be 690, 74, -1399. I make a simple demorecord:



You'll notice I placed the camera a dozen or so feet further on the x plane, so that Evangel would be in view. Also, I'm not going to bother explaining the PYR functions right now as this is just an example to answer your question... albeit a lonnnngggg example :)


Once I dump that demo I get this pretty little record that has Evangel placed nicely where I wanted him:








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Cinnder

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 09:33:16 AM »
OK, Ev -- I have emailed you all the Praetorian zones.  Will get to work on the Isles soon.

This finally got me round to recording bases as well.

Mister Bison

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012, 10:08:04 AM »
Am I stupid or doesn't /loc (or whatitsname) give you correct coordinates already ?
Yeeessss....

Evangel - Project 7

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2012, 06:01:07 PM »
Am I stupid or doesn't /loc (or whatitsname) give you correct coordinates already ?

Indeed, and all the demorecord does is record the same numbers. But the demorecord also records other important information like the map filename, and different array information that's good to have. Essentially you could get these same numbers by just going to corners of the zone and typing /loc and writing that down but it's just easier to record it. And post sunset there will be no /loc command to utilize.

The point of the Map Project is to be able to make movies after sunset, so the more we can get before using the "easy" way (i.e. logging into the game) the better. In fact I record regularly each night. If I see something I like I record quick just to be safe. Ran a BAF and Lambda last night and thought "hey, I like those turrets on top of the Lambda sector but I don't know if I have that model name" so I did a quick record.



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Kaiser Tarantula

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2012, 07:50:03 PM »
Praetoria's zones might be hard to map like this - you can't actually physically reach the corners of the map, due to the sonic fences that shut off all your powers (including travel powers and resistance toggles) and then inflict a heavy unresistable DoT on you until you either get out of their range or run out of HP.  Not even sucking down a shedload of oranges will save you.

Also, specifically for Nova Praetoria/Imperial City, the west edge of Nova and the east edge of Imperial are a zone-change border.  Crossing the line puts you in the corresponding other zone.

Do these zone peculiarities make your method unusable?  Or can they be adapted to account for the effects?

Evangel - Project 7

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2012, 08:17:28 PM »
Praetoria's zones might be hard to map like this - you can't actually physically reach the corners of the map, due to the sonic fences that shut off all your powers (including travel powers and resistance toggles) and then inflict a heavy unresistable DoT on you until you either get out of their range or run out of HP.  Not even sucking down a shedload of oranges will save you.

Also, specifically for Nova Praetoria/Imperial City, the west edge of Nova and the east edge of Imperial are a zone-change border.  Crossing the line puts you in the corresponding other zone.

Do these zone peculiarities make your method unusable?  Or can they be adapted to account for the effects?

Cinnder actually did a great job of capturing those. Essentially I told him just to get as close to the border as possible, then I can use the demorecord to push those limits a bit to get the exact numbers. Currently Preatoria is all captured.


Still Needed:

All CoV zones



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Kaiser Tarantula

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2012, 08:44:19 PM »
Oh whoops, I missed Cinnder's post.  My mistake.

Cinnder

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2012, 08:52:10 PM »
Oh whoops, I missed Cinnder's post.  My mistake.

You probably didn't notice when I offered to give you my car either. :-)

Morvani

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2012, 07:31:11 AM »
I was wondering... did you get a /demorecord of Pocket D -with- the ski chalet?

Mister Bison

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2012, 02:44:51 PM »
I was wondering... did you get a /demorecord of Pocket D -with- the ski chalet?
Carefully looking at the map shows that the chalet is always here, just the door doesn't open.

I have a friend that touted having access to the old Paragon Dance Party, should I drop him a mail ?
Yeeessss....

Mister Bison

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2012, 02:49:08 PM »
Indeed, and all the demorecord does is record the same numbers. But the demorecord also records other important information like the map filename, and different array information that's good to have. Essentially you could get these same numbers by just going to corners of the zone and typing /loc and writing that down but it's just easier to record it. And post sunset there will be no /loc command to utilize.

The point of the Map Project is to be able to make movies after sunset, so the more we can get before using the "easy" way (i.e. logging into the game) the better. In fact I record regularly each night. If I see something I like I record quick just to be safe. Ran a BAF and Lambda last night and thought "hey, I like those turrets on top of the Lambda sector but I don't know if I have that model name" so I did a quick record.


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So you also want the map name, but it's still easier to do a single demorecord for it and then note the (other if demo'ed in a corner) locs by hand, less work. Just wanting to point the possible alternative.
Yeeessss....

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2012, 03:19:29 PM »
Carefully looking at the map shows that the chalet is always here, just the door doesn't open.

Not quite, the geometry layer is present, but hidden, so it would be invisible even if you were to fly out there. I'm not 100% sure if demorecords capture the visibility state of groups or what the magic command is, but I can find out.

Evangel - Project 7

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 05:29:24 PM »
I did get Pocket D and even did the chalet when the winter event was active just to be safe. I think the Dance Party map is available through the Codex site I listed above but a capture would be nice if someone has access. The big thing now is any newer mission maps (say, past i15-ish) that you like, if you can get a character to capture them that would be great!


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Cinnder

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2012, 07:29:49 PM »
OK, got all the Isles zones, including Abyss and Monster Island.  Saw the Tom Hanks easter egg, which I would never have known about otherwise!

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2012, 01:36:20 AM »
OK, got all the Isles zones, including Abyss and Monster Island.  Saw the Tom Hanks easter egg, which I would never have known about otherwise!
WILSON!!!!

Cinnder

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2012, 09:16:20 AM »
WILSON!!!!

Yes!  Except in this universe it's, "SPAULDING!!"

Evangel - Project 7

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2012, 05:53:22 PM »
Thanks a bunch Cinnder for getting all the extra outdoor zone maps! Now nothing is really needed, just capture whatever you feel like and especially get your characters and their costumes and keep them in a safe place for now, and get back to cleaning Paragon's streets while you still can.



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Evangel - Project 7

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2012, 05:23:28 AM »
I have a demo of the most amazing base I have ever seen for you, Evangel.  It's a castle.  A real castle, with 3 levels, a moat, a dungeon, hidden areas....I've seen a lot of bases and this one blows me away.

This was posted in my farewell video thread and thought it would be a good comment to address here as well: base capturing.


Demorecords do have some odd limitations/quirks. Invisibility and any phase powers, for instance, do not work in demo mode. Also all interactable objects do not appear in demos. The model names exist and you can put it in the file but it simply does not play back - I don't know if this was intended or not. But the other thing this effects is base objects.

If you do a demorecord of your base it will playback 100% accurate to your base layout. All objects will be present. But you can't edit those objects in the demo file to move them around. So my point here is feel free to do demos of your bases as well for sake of nostalgia - but just know that what you record your base as will be your limitation after sunset for if you ever use it to record a movie or make a picture. After Nov. 30 you can't move the couch to the other side of the room when you have a desire to do some spring cleaning. That couch will stay where it's at... forever!!!



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healix

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Re: The Evangel Map Project
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2012, 02:24:11 PM »
Yes!  Except in this universe it's, "SPAULDING!!"

I LOVED finding that...it was by accident, and of course, had to take a screenie!
For those who have never seen it....
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