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Detailed Mini Map Tutorial

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This tutorial will explain everything you need to know to help with the detailed mini map project. We are looking for people to create and upload blocks. Feel free to contribute.


How to create the mini map block image:

There are two ways to do this- Using an automatic stitching program or doing it manually

Using stitching software:

This method is easier than manual stitching but may take more time if your photos are not accurately taken.

  • Download Greenshot - This is a screen capture program. We use it to capture screens of the mini map ingame.
  • Download Microsoft ICE for your correct operating system - This is an advanced panoramic image stitcher. We use it for combining several screenshots together in order to form a full block.
  • These programs are both completely free! How nice, right?

How to set up Greenshot for our purposes:

  • Open up the settings by right clicking on the tray icon and selecting preferences.

Greenshot prefrences

  • Okay, lets get started, we want to make sure that the Screenshot files that you take are going to be saved and placed directly where you want them to go. To do this you will need to go into the "Destination Tab" located just 4 tabs in.


  • Now make sure that only "Save directly (using settings below)" is the only box checked. You will find that it will be the second option down on the check list. make sure that its checked and we can move on.


  •  Now lets click on the "Output" tab. Lets start with the "Storage Location", this will be where each screenshot will be placed in your desired save location for you on your computer. We suggest creating a new specific folder for your mapping needs.


  • Now onto the "file name pattern" These will show the specific coordinates of the Area you are going to be mapping. Now all you need to do is copy the format shown in the photo below. even the weird ${NUM} its important.
1002x1003 - 000252

The numbers are the X and Y positions of which block your currently going to map and can easily be found here .

These will have to be changed manually each and every time you start mapping a new area.

It allows you to easily track each screenshot that belongs to each area. The ${NUM} command line automatically numbers the Screenshot Files starting at 1 etc.

So now and you can easily tell what order you took what photo in and the area it belongs too.



  • The number will increase with every photo that is taken and will never reset to zero. So if you mess up and dont erase the screenshot, your going to need to use an easy combination of time stamps or lineing streets up visually if need be.


  • Finally, lets set the image format to Png, and your almost ready to start mapping.

═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════


Now you are ready to capture the screens within Dead Frontier!

  • Upon entering the Inner city press your "print" key to set the screen capture region. Set this up on the minimap making sure not to grab any unnecessary edges and keep the selection perfect square for best results.

       

<WARNING>

ANY SCREEN CHANGES SUCH AS SCROLLING WILL AFFECT SCREENSHOT 

SO ALWAYS KEEP SCROLL BAR AT THE TOP                     

<LINK>Mapping Mishaps and Mistakes<LINK>


  • Go to the block in the city that you wish to start your map, remember to keep your aggro low and avoid the zombies. Set up a route to walk through the block and use your "shift+Print" keys to capture the last set region. aka the current minimap posistion.
  • You will want to make sure the image overlaps with the edges of your previous screenshot, a good trick is to keep the last 1/8 of your minimap screen from the last screenshot's edge, this ensures that Microsoft ICE will stitch them propperly.


  • There are a couple different methods you can use to map a block, the more you use it, the easier it becomes and you will eventually find your own way that works best for you. I will explain to you two different yet similar ways to acheive the same goal to a beautifully crafted map.


  • One way is to stay on the side of the road closest to the edge while first screening all the edges of the block and then moving inward toward the edges. basically dividing the area into 5 strips all together to create the map,  It is usually around 30-60 pictures in total.


1002x1003 - Street lvl Mapping
Fairview Map 1004x1006


  • Another way is to map the four streets around the edge of the block. after stiching these photos together you can get a general idea of what is covered by a street level mapping. EXAMPLE TO THE RIGHT


  • After you have the photos stiched you can see what areas are missed and the best way to capture the details, and go from there.






  • By running down the center streets you may not be able to capture all of the map. To do so adopt The 25 Shot Strategy below and run top to bottom or vise versa eventually filling out the missing peices. you will need to stich the pieces then add them to the whole end process to create something like this.





  • The best method found to taking pictures of an entire zone is displayed below here, you take a sceenshot in starting area (spawn) the middle of each street, at intersections, and in the center of each block for a total of 25 pics. Doing it in this fashion not only makes it easy to organize and leaves very little room for error, but also makes the stitching come out clearly. I take the photos in order for simplicity, but they can be taken out of order and reorganized later if you wish but making the whole process a little more complicated due to the risk of missing random squares or worse lines.


STREET MAPPING IN 25 SHOTS

The 25 Shot Strategy

1tut



  • Like i said these are just a few methods that you can use that we find effective and time efficient you might find one that might fit your play style or the ones mentioned above might be what suits you best.
  • This isn't a rule book so please don't take it that way these are just methods that we find produce the highest quality map and the best use of your time, we encourage all of you to experiment with different methods or improving the ones recently mentioned and let us know, we might even end up adding it to the list.


═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════



EXAMPLES OF CENTERING


  • You can always tell when you're centered, because the edge of the mini map will line up with the sidewalks, as EXAMPLE BOTTOM RIGHT
  • You may not always be able to center yourself but try to keep to it as much as humanly possible. The game will throw debris in the way, so popping an early pic and moving on should work just make due with what you got. don't be afraid to think outside of the box you may find a way that works better, and add it to the tutorial.
  • Now another way to find the center is to do all the outer streets first starting in the area where you came in. there will always be a center there and you can usually find it. If you really take a good look at what your standing on, graphics are built in pixels and there's always going to be a center. EXAMPLE BOTTOM LEFT
  • A good rule of thumb is to find the double yellow street line and center yourself on that and follow that til you reach the end of your road, taking pictures along the way.
  • Don't limit yourself to a number of shots you need, the more you do the better chance of creating a great map, the more you do the more you will get a better idea of the required process, you will start being able to reduce the amount of screenshots it takes to do a single street.
1002x1003 - 000254

2tut



  • By using the centering skills explained above and the different tactics you can choose to achieve a detailed mini map you can repeat this 4 times and then fill in the gaps by moving through the center of the areas. like i said you may have to get creative but it is possible to do.


  • Now you can pause and get ready to try your hand at Stitching


═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════


  • Start Microsoft ICE


How to use Microsoft ICE to stitch the mini-map images:

  • Ice is a tricky little program, but it has a nice interface.
    The basics are, just drag and drop the files you want merged, set the stitch type and picture settings, then press "Export to disk" when you get it right.


  • After taking the photos, the folder you saved them to should look something like this:

3tut

  • Now it's important to know that ICE works best when the photos are lined up in a straight line. Also, it can't do too many at a time without screwing up.So the best way to stitch them is by taking them in groups of five like so:

4tut

If you did them in order, pics 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, and 21-25 will be the five sets. 5tut Here, the block is divided now into 5 strips which whould come out clearly without distortion. Next, patch those 5 strips together and you're done!: 6tut(revised)



Some tips:


  • Scout the map out first for the main streets and try to follow the yellow lines when mapping. If you can't capture the whole map by following the streets, you may have to go down some alleys.
  • Enter Single Player Mode (if you can handle the zone by yourself)
  • Set in-game graphics to BEST
  • Keep ICE on Planar Motion 1 all the time.
  • Make sure the image format is set to .png
  • Make sure when you press the print screen hotkey, that you're not pressing other keys on your keyboard. For example, if your holding down shift and left arrow key, the print screen hotkey won't register. It's best to stop pressing all keys on the keyboard for a moment when taking a screenshot to make sure it works.
  • The center of each block is almost always open.
  • Some buildings cover the center of the block, so you may have to work around them.
  • Make sure to get the very edge of the map when taking an edge screenshot. To do this, make sure you're standing on the close side of the double yellow lines.
  • The closer the pics are to being in a straight line, the better your map will be in the end.
  • If you try to stitch 5 blocks, but only 4 show up on ice, it's most likely because it thought the two corner pics were the same thing rotated 90 degrees. This can be fixed by doing the set of five in two sets of three pics and then stitching them together.
  • In any case where the photos don't stitch properly, try stitching in smaller groups first.
  • Using this method in a block with no problems, you should be able to make each map in under 15 min a piece.
  • As an alternative to ICE the Photomerge function of Photoshop CS2/CS3 can be used: File -> Automate -> Photomerge, then select "Reposition Only". Unlike ICE this method is actually meant for 2D images and therfore works with more images, less overlap and causes less distortion.


Manual stitching

This method although a little harder but saves time as u will have to take fewer extra pictures if u get anything wrong.


Image 112










then set the shortcut keys to your convinience Image 3

  • Enter inner city and the block you want to map.
  • Use your shortcut keys to open the 'capture region'. try to do this when in ~AFK~ (menus) as you will be safe from zombies.NOTE: if u were in full screen mode, the first time you use your hotkeys, you will come out of fullscreen u will have to hotkey a second time to capture the minimap.
  • Take about 4-5 overlapping photos for one strip as shown below
  • The photos will be opened in an image editor. let them be in the image editor. don't close this editor.
  • After all the required photos are taken they will be in tabs like this(green highlight) got to each tab and bring each piece to the first image one by one, gradually stitching them together.
  • Use overlapping features (straight fences,cars,patches of blood,trees,objects) to line up the images(blue,red highlights) while they have just been pasted to form one larger image as shown below. if all your photos are good you should get through one area like this in about 20 minutes.
  • Remember to save the final image as a png (portable network graphics) image.


2012 05 27 21 38 39 1024x768


tips:

  • Be sure that the images overlap sufficiently but not too much
  • Sometimes, when moving an image a black border develops which appears when you are overlapping the images. to overcome this, select the image a few pixels inside its border before moving it.
  • If the image edges are not neat, just copy what part of the image you need to a new tab.
  • Remember to save the images in png format.




Now you know how to help with the map project! All help is greatly appreciated.

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