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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.

 

If anyone would like to use this mod as a starting point to build your own mod, please feel free to do so. All I ask is that the previous authors of VidiotMaps and I be acknowledged for the work that has been done to date, and that you take credit for any modifications that you make to this menu.

 

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

 

tsp_image1_new.png.49048d84853c3e5a37270f6ac0069036.png

 

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

Spoiler

The current version of the Optimal badge/plaque collection path maps is available via the City Mod Installer as Optimal Badge/Plaque Collection Path maps (version 1). Installing via City Mod Installer is the (strongly) recommended installation method.

 

Manual installation is via a .pigg file (named hc_vidiotmaps_opt_path.pigg) available on Google Drive at the link below:

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FvkDLuzuJjtyaoId2f2ZR3saNgP_iKqW

 

For manual installation, locate the root folder for your CoH installation (which I'll refer to as <CoH Root Folder>). 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):

 

hc_location.png.8ef810a54fda3afef668727639162e03.png

 

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.

 

The .pigg file is a self-contained archive that functions identically to the .pigg files that contain all of the game data. It should be placed in:

<CoH Root Folder>\assets\mods

If your <CoH Root Folder>\assets folder does not contain a directory named 'mods', please create a directory named 'mods' within <CoH Root Folder>\assets and place the hc_vidiotmaps_opt_path.pigg file within.

 

The final step is to modify your game launch parameters to tell the game to check your <CoH Root Folder>\assets\mods folder for the new mod by adding the following text:

-assetpath assets\mods

This is a one-time change so if your launch parameters have already been modified to add the above text, then there is no need to do it again. Instructions for locating and modifying your launch parameters can be found in the excellent post at this link.

 

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

 

Removing/Deleting Old Installations

Spoiler

Users that had previously installed the optimal badge/plaque collection path maps either manually or using the CoH Modder tool will need to remove or delete their old installations in order for the new version to be visible in game. This is because the installation process now uses a .pigg file and the old process installed the mod files individually into the <CoH Root Folder>\data folder.

 

Old versions of the optimal badge/plaque collection path maps were installed to the following folders:

<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

The folders listed above must be relocated or deleted in order for the new version to work correctly.

 

Use and Symbology

Spoiler

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

 

tsp_image1_new.png.49048d84853c3e5a37270f6ac0069036.png

 

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

tsp_image2_new.png.9b5971e30b88fa34666d954c1c116b91.png


Image 3 (below) shows examples of:
 

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

 

tsp_image3_new.png.dd91a39b25ff944209caeff054284af1.png


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

tsp_image4_new.png.efa71b6cb0d65bb55de9038dc9332bab.png
 
Image 5 (below) shows examples of:

 

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

 

tsp_image5_new.png.800d6445262545b8c80cd8da3c2f3b20.png

 

Development

Spoiler

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

Spoiler

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

 

Hero

Atlas Park
Boomtown
Brickstown
Cascade Archipelago
The Chantry
Crey's Folly
Croatoa
Echo: Atlas Park
Echo: Faultline
Echo: Galaxy City
Eden
Faultline
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

 

Co-op

The Abyss

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

 

Villain

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

 

Praetoria

First Ward
Imperial City
Neutropolis
Night Ward
Nova Praetoria

 

PVP

Bloody Bay
Recluse's Victory
Siren's Call
Warburg


Notes

Spoiler

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

Spoiler

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, 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

Spoiler

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

August 24, 2022

  • Updated maps for Atlas Park, Imperial City, Mercy Island, Neutropolis, Nova Praetoria, Perez Park, Talos Island
    • Optimal paths did not change
    • Some badge/path markers were adjusted for accuracy, and some base maps changed
  • Uploaded mod to CoH Modder tool as Optimal Badge/Plaque Collection Path Maps (v8)

October 03, 2022

  • Minor tweak to Atlas Park map text, added Atlas Park Halloween variant map
  • Uploaded mod to CoH Modder tool as Optimal Badge/Plaque Collection Path Maps (v10)

October 12, 2022

  • Updated Cimerora map to account for minor marker changes
  • Added Atlas Park Fall and Winter variant maps
  • Uploaded mod to City Mod Installer as Optimal Badge/Plaque Collection Path maps (version 1)

 

Edited by AboveTheChemist
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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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Updated Atlas Park, Imperial City, Mercy Island, Neutropolis, Nova Praetoria, Perez Park, and Talos Island maps to account for updates to the underlying vidiotmaps. Optimal paths did not change, but some badge/plaque markers were adjusted for accuracy, and the base maps had minor changes. Installation instructions and change log are available in the top post.

 

If anyone notices any issues, please let me know!

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You helped me with my Vidiot name change issue in CoH Modder, and it worked like a charm, but it also removed my optimal paths. This makes sense since they are modding ths same overlays, but it begs the question: If I install this mod, do I even need Vidiots? Are there any maps that Vidiot mods that this one doesn't? Or can I just install the optimal paths and essentially get both?

 

Thanks for all you do to support the community. I've introduced several fellow players to this mod and they all find it very useful.

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Thank you for the kind words! I am quite happy to hear folks are putting these mods to good use.

 

4 hours ago, Perfect Square said:

If I install this mod, do I even need Vidiots? Are there any maps that Vidiot mods that this one doesn't? Or can I just install the optimal paths and essentially get both?

 

The optimal paths mod doesn't include every map in vidiotmaps, so for maximum benefit I'd recommend installing both. I'd install vidiotmaps first for the full map set, then the optimal paths to overwrite those zones with an optimal path map.

 

The optimal paths maps use vidiotmaps as their base and shouldn't be any missing vidiotmap data. I tried to layer the optimal path data such that it appears 'beneath' most of the vidiotmap data, but there are some things that may be partially obscured by the paths and/or the halos that I put around the badges/plaques. As long as you don't mind a little bit of data being obscured, then there's no problem leaving the optimal paths mod installed. 

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I've updated both the CoH modder installation and the manual installation files in the top post to include a new Halloween variant of Atlas Park, and a slightly tweaked version of the 'normal' Atlas Park. Users will not notice any difference between the 'normal' Atlas Park map and the Halloween variant. This change was necessary due to some internal changes with respect to how the Atlas Park map is handled during seasonal events.

 

Once the Halloween event starts, if you notice that your Atlas Park map has reverted to the stock map, then installing this update should cause the Atlas Park optimal path map to display once again.

 

Edited by AboveTheChemist
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I have updated the top post to account for the new mod installation tool that Michiyo developed. Part of that update changes the manual installation process from a zip archive of individual files, to a single .pigg archive. Users will need to refer to the installation instructions in the top post to account for this new installation process. I also added a section for removal/deletion of the old installation, which will be necessary in order for the new installation to work. Going forward, I think this new installation process will greatly simplify mod installation, particularly for mods with multiple files such as this.

 

There were some minor map tweaks/additions, which are noted in the update log.

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