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Optimal badge/plaque collection path maps

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I extend my sincere thanks to Blondeshell and the other contributors to the VidiotMaps/MoreMaps4U project, upon whose work these maps were built.


I respectfully request that discussion/feedback in this thread be limited to the use and development of this mod. Feel free to discuss topics not directly related to this mod in this thread.


In order to minimize the time and effort required for exploration badge and history plaque collection, I developed a set of in-game maps, based on the most up-to-date VidiotMaps, depicting optimal paths for efficient collection of exploration badges and history plaques in zones containing more than three badges/plaques. These maps replace the existing in-game maps for those zones, and work best when collecting all the badges and plaques in a given zone. Notes regarding map installation, map use and symbology, as well as map development and other notes, are contained in the spoiler sections below.


Here's an example of one of the maps (Echo: Atlas Park in this case, cropped to show the badges/plaques and paths)




This mod can be installed either via CoH Modder, or via manual installation. For those that might prefer to remove this mod when not needed, uninstallation instructions are included. An offline version is available in this thread.


Installation via CoH Modder (strongly recommended)


This mod is available in the CoH Modder tool as Optimal Badge/Plaque Collection Path Maps, version 7. Please see the CoH Modder homepage for instructions regarding mod installation.


When badge/plaque collection is complete, the user may wish to uninstall this mod depending on the user's in-game map preference. The CoH Modder tool greatly facilitates this process.


VidiotMaps users can restore the original VidiotMaps by removing both this mod and the VidiotMaps mod, and re-installing the VidiotMaps mod. Users of the standard in-game maps can simply uninstall this mod. Users of maps other than VidiotMaps or the standard in-game maps will need to re-install their preferred maps as necessary.


Manual Installation


If installing via CoH Modder, skip this section. Otherwise, please carefully read this section before installation, in order to appreciate the complexity of the manual installation (and uninstallation) process.


Users more comfortable with manual installation may use the link below to download the mod in zip file format.


Optimal Badge/Plaque Collection Path Maps Zip Archive


For manual installation, locate the root folder for your CoH installation. If using the new Homecoming Launcher, click the settings button (which looks like a little gear) in the upper right corner of the HC launcher. When the settings window appears, the installation location is shown at the top of the window. The following screenshot illustrates what you will see (the settings button appears in green here):




If using Tequila or Island Rum, you will either need to search for the install folder manually, or you should be able to check the properties of the shortcut used to launch Tequila/Island Rum, and the installation location should be listed there.


Prior to manually installing this mod, please check your CoH installation root folder (which I will abbreviate as <CoH Root Folder>) to see if it contains a "data" folder. If so, check for the following three subfolders:


<CoH Root Folder>\data\texture_library\MAPS\Dark_Astoria_makeover
<CoH Root Folder>\data\texture_library\MAPS\static
<CoH Root Folder>\data\texture_library\V_MAPS\Static


If these three subfolders exist, I highly recommend making a backup copy of each of them. This will make un-installing this mod much easier.


The zip file contains the necessary directory structure such that the contents of the zip file should be placed directly into the CoH installation root folder. If your <CoH Root Folder> already contains a "data" folder, then the mod files and subfolders should merge into the existing "data" folder structure. If your <CoH Root Folder> does not contain a "data" folder, then the "data" folder along with all appropriate subfolders will be created when the contents of the zip archive are placed in your <CoH Root Folder>.


When badge/plaque collection is complete, the user may wish to uninstall this mod depending on the user's in-game map preference.


If your data folder contained the three subfolders listed previously in this section and you made a backup copy of them, copying the backup .texture files back into the appropriate three subfolders will effectively un-install this mod.


If your data folder did not contain the three subfolders listed previously in this section, you can move these three subfolders to an alternate location to effectively un-install this mod.


If you decide to install any other map mods after installing this mod, pay careful attention to the exact folders and files that are installed, as other map mods my impact this mod and/or may make manual uninstallation of this mod difficult.


Use and Symbology


These maps will appear via the in-game map window (or in your web browser if using the offline version). Each map will show each badge/plaque marker, connected via a series of lines, as detailed below. Simply locate the badge/plaque marker nearest you on the map, travel to it, then travel to the next badge/plaque as indicated by the connection lines. Repeat this process until you have collected all the badges/plaques in the zone.


Small "halos" around each badge/plaque marker increase their visibility and give context with respect to their location:


  • Red halos indicate badges/plaques that are found at or within a few feet of local ground level
  • Green halos indicate badges/plaques that are above ground level (on buildings or other structures)
  • Yellow halos indicate badges/plaques that are below local ground level
  • Orange halos indicate badges/plaques that are inside a building


Between each badge/plaque is a thin (usually red) line that indicates the optimal path to collect each badge/plaque:


  • Red lines represent normal travel through the zone via common travel methods
  • Yellow lines represent travel below ground level
  • Orange lines represent travel inside a building
  • Blue lines represent instantaneous travel within a zone via a doorway, gate, or other portal


The connection lines are merely a schematic representing the straight-line path between two points, and do not necessarily represent the true path between badges/plaques. Obstacles such as buildings, natural barriers, or underground cave/tunnel systems may prevent straight line travel. Where applicable, red lines may lead to points of entry as follows:


  • In cases where a badge/plaque is under impenetrable tree canopy but otherwise at ground level, the red line will connect as closely as possible to the nearest point of entry to the tree canopy
  • Red lines connected to yellow lines indicate points of entry below ground
  • Red lines connected to orange lines indicate points of entry into a building
  • Red lines connected to blue lines indicate points of entry to a door or other portal


Some connection lines represent special cases with slightly varied symbology:


  • Some connection lines are curved in order to avoid inadvertent connection with nearby badges or unnecessary overlap with other connection lines
  • Some connection lines are modified to account for zone boundaries where travel along a straight line path would intersect a zone boundary
  • Badge/plaque markers with only one connection line represent an out-and-back path
  • Some badge/plaque markers are too close together to allow for connections to be drawn between them


The images below show examples of the symbology mentioned above.


Image 1 (below) shows examples of:


  • Red, green, yellow, and orange badge/plaque marker halos
  • Red, yellow, and orange connection lines
  • Red to yellow and red to orange connection lines
  • Badge/plaque markers with one connection line




Image 2 (below) shows an example of badge/plaque markers that are too close together to allow for connections to be drawn between them:


Image 3 (below) shows examples of:

  • Blue connection lines
  • Curved connection lines
  • Red to blue connection lines



Image 4 (below) shows an example of connection lines modified to account for zone boundaries:

Image 5 (below) shows examples of:


  • Red line connections to badges/plaques under impenetrable tree canopy
  • Curved connection lines






This project was approached as a travelling salesperson problem and solutions for each zone were computed using brute force and genetic algorithm methods. At least two independent solutions were computed for each map.


The straight-line distances between badges/plaques are 3-dimensional Euclidean distances, with coordinates surveyed in-game using the new /thumbtack command to verify accuracy. As noted in the Use and Symbology section, straight-line paths between each badge/plaque do not always exist due to badges/plaques inside buildings or below ground, and obstacles to travel (like buildings). Accounting for non straight-line paths would have been too complex, but in cases where the computed path was not feasible, as optimal a path as possible was determined.


The maps themselves were made using the original VidiotMaps textures (except in cases where I have created new vidiotmap textures), converted from DDS to BMP format. The BMP files were then manipulated to add the halos and paths, and were then reconverted to DDS files and then back to texture files.


Available Zones


Optimal badge/plaque collection path maps are available for the following zones:



Atlas Park
Cascade Archipelago
The Chantry
Crey's Folly
Echo: Atlas Park
Echo: Faultline
Echo: Galaxy City
Firebase Zulu
Founders' Falls
The Hive
The Hollows
Independence Port
Kings Row
Peregrine Island
Perez Park
Skyway City
Steel Canyon
The Storm Palace
Striga Isle
Talos Island
Terra Volta



The Abyss

Dark Astoria
Echo: Dark Astoria
Echo: Rikti Crash Site
Rikti War Zone



Cap au Diable
Mercy Island
Monster Island
Nerva Archipelago
Port Oakes
St. Martial
Sharkhead Isle



First Ward
Imperial City
Night Ward
Nova Praetoria



Bloody Bay
Recluse's Victory
Siren's Call



Although the maps for the Sewer Network, the Abandoned Sewer Network, Underground Imperial, Underground Neutropolis, and Underground Nova contain more than three badges/plaques, I did not compute solutions for them because they are all underground zones where travel is restricted within a tunnel network. Straight-line paths, like those computed for the rest of the zones, would not work for these zones, and it would have been far too complex to try to model the pathways in the tunnel networks. Suggestions for badge/plaque collection in the Sewer Network and Abandoned Sewer Network can be found in this thread.


There are also certain badges that I did not include, namely badges that appear in multiple zones. These include the Thrill Seeker badge, the River Rat badge, and the Rail Rider badge. The Thrill Seeker badge is obtainable inside AE buildings in multiple zones, and the River Rat and Rail Rider badges are not typical one-off badges in that they require visiting multiple locations to earn the badge. I felt it best to stick to the typical single-location badges, and that adding these badges would have made computation of some of the solutions more difficult than necessary.


These maps are more easily navigable using travel powers that produce more-or-less straight line travel, such as flight or teleportation. While collection of badges and plaques with these maps using jumping or super speed is certainly possible, the user may find that teleportation or especially flight are the most efficient travel power to use with these maps.


With regard to the halo color assigned each badge/plaque (which gives context clues for the badge/plaque location), keep in mind that some badge/plaque locations could potentially fit more than one color category. Some badges/plaques were judgement calls, so please keep this in mind if you see a badge/plaque halo color with which you disagree. Otherwise, if you find a gross error in badge/plaque halo color, please let me know.


I placed the halos and connection lines without regard to the existing symbology on the original VidiotMaps, but in most cases I have tried to retain as much of that symbology as possible. Where the connecting lines cross text or other symbols, the connecting lines were placed beneath those symbols. Where the badge/plaque halos cover text, I placed the halos beneath the text, but in cases where the badge/plaque halos cover symbols, I placed priority on the halo in most cases.


Future Work


Kallisti Wharf only has one exploration badge at the moment, but I think there are plans to add more in the future. If/when that happens, I will add a map for Kallisti Wharf.


Now that the /thumbtack slash command has been implemented (currently only on the Beta server), I have created a popmenu with a set of rolling keybinds that allows the player to cycle through the badges/plaques in a zone according to the optimal collection order. More information on this popmenu can be found in this thread.


Update Log


Feb 13, 2021:

  • Update background maps for Siren's Call and Warburg


April 4, 2021:

  • Minor path adjustment to account for zone corners in: Dark Astoria, Port Oakes, Recluse's Victory
  • Minor path adjustment to account for badge under tree canopy: The Hive
  • Path changes to account for updated badge/plaque locations in: Brickstown, Founders' Falls, Nova Praetoria


June 6, 2021

  • Re-publish all maps to incorporate change which permits map visibility at all world texture quality levels
  • Update all maps such that, in most cases, existing map symbols will no longer be obscured by connecting lines and halos
  • Improve path location on some maps
  • Adjust halo color for a few badges/plaques to more accurately reflect their location
  • Other minor fixes/adjustments as necessary


June 28, 2021


November 26, 2021


December 01, 2021

  • Updated Cimerora map to account for relocation of Vision of Ambition badge



Edited by AboveTheChemist
updates as per change log
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I manually collected highly accurate coordinates for all exploration badges and history plaques. I also re-ran my optimal path scripts to check for any route changes due to the more accurate coordinate data, and the routes for Brickstown, Founders' Falls, and Nova Praetoria did change slightly. I also updated a few other maps to correct a few other issues I found. Here's the full update log:

  • Minor path adjustment to account for zone corners in: Dark Astoria, Port Oakes, Recluse's Victory
  • Minor path adjustment to account for badge under tree canopy: The Hive
  • Path changes to account for more accurate badge/plaque locations in: Brickstown, Founders' Falls, Nova Praetoria

I have updated the manual install zip file as well as the version that appears in the CoH modder tool. If anyone notices any other issues please let me know.

Edited by AboveTheChemist
minor wording changes for clarity
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I've published what is essentially a complete overhaul of this mod. The most important change is the implementation of the fix that permits these maps to display properly regardless of the user's world texture quality setting. This fix took a little longer than anticipated because it involved a complete overhaul of my map production process, the efficiency of which should be greatly improved going forward.


The other major change users will notice is that, in most cases, existing VidiotMap text/symbols are no longer obscured by the connecting lines or badge/plaque halos. There were a few cases where obscuring some symbols was unavoidable, but overall map readability has improved.


I also improved accuracy of connecting lines on some maps, adjusted the halo color on a few badges/plaques to more accurately reflect their location, and made a few other minor fixes/adjustments. The full change log is in the top post.


 I have updated the manual install zip file (in the top post) as well as the version that appears in the CoH modder tool. If anyone notices any other issues please let me know.

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Minor updates to a few maps, primarily to account for updates to the underlying vidiotmaps. Installation instructions and change log are available in the top post.

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Added Cimerora map, which just received a full complement of exploration badges, and updated Cap au Diable to account for updates to the underlying vidiotmap. Installation instructions and change log are available in the top post.


Edited Dec 01, 2021 to update Cimerora map due to relocation of Vision of Ambition map. The badge was moved a short distance and the change is quite minor.

Edited by AboveTheChemist
updated 01-Dec-2021
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