A finished Dune Scenario

Blake00

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Hey guys,

While hunting for scenarios I've found a cool Dune one but did anyone in the English speaking Civ community ever managed to finish a Dune scenario for Civ3?

I've been going through the forums here and there's so many threads where people say "hey here's my dune scenario ideas/plans" that then lead to nothing.. not even beta or prototype scenario eg..
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-arrakis-request.207098/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-fight-for-arrakis.121203/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/people-needed-for-dune-project.116097/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-has-it-been-done.111217/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/what-about-emperor-battle-for-dune-mod.97051/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-scenario.109112/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-scenario-questions.94191/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-a-civ-3-conquests-mod.70785/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-mod.77749/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-scenario.69928/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/a-dune-mod.68272/
etc etc
Maps and icon packs to inspire scenario makers but no go..
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/escape-from-dune.15215/
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/dune-2-pack.126073/

Quite surprising really.. HOWEVER I have managed to find a finished and rather impressive looking Dune scenario by Ghaldak called Arrakis - The Desert Planet released waaaaay back in 2006 on the German Civ forum here:
https://www.civforum.de/showthread.php?25019-SZENARIO-Arrakis-der-W%FCstenplanet

Interestingly thanks to google translate I can see in that thread discussions about several 'not so good' English Dune scenarios in existence over at Apolyton however I've been unable to find anything there (their search box demands longer words grr) or in backups sadly.

However since people were saying Ghaldak's scenario was way better than them obviously I wanted to try it despite not being able to speak German. He's been having hosting issues for years so there was no download but I contacted him and he kindly gave me his copy along with permission to uploaded it to a more permanent host. So naturally I've re-packed it in 7zip and stuck a copy here on CivFinatics!
https://www.civfanatics.com/users/downloads/civ3/Dune_DE.7z

Ghaldak warned me that it would likely crash to desktop while loading on an English copy of Civ3 due to different unit directory locations however in the end I had no problem with them (maybe they'll be a problem later lol I dunno) but I still did get a crash to desktop caused by his music.txt file using this "..\..\Conquests\Dune\" instead of this "..\..\Scenarios\Dune\". Once I corrected that it worked fine! He's made cool Dune 2 music tracks!

Naturally I couldn't understand a thing and could barely navigate so I switched the labels file to my default english one and thankfully that worked a treat (although it probably ruined some of his custom dune related labels sadly). However this change makes it 'essentially' playable to an English only speaking player like me however of course nearly all descriptions and building/unit/gov names etc are still in German but that's not too bad.

I'll have to ask Ghaldak if he is okay with an English translated version of his scenario being made as I could run all the pedia text through google translate which wouldn't be perfect but at least we'd have a better understanding of what each thing does. Maybe change unit and building names too if it doesn't break anything (I'm still a noob when it comes to Civ3 modding haha). Then we'd finally have a decent Dune Civ3 scenario in the English speaking Civ3 community. Not to mention Ghaldak will earn himself a whole extra fan base haha.

Scenario description was in English though.. nice custom desert map
upload_2020-5-24_2-21-52.png


Faction leaders use Dune 2 advisor faces
upload_2020-5-24_2-23-0.png


Empire descriptions are in English. Even the Emperor himself is playable (mmm Sardaukar)
upload_2020-5-24_2-24-34.png


In-game! Looks like its got some cool dune themed custom animating units! I also ran the intro text through google translate and pasted it back into the scripts file, not too bad lol.
Dune.png


Jucy custom units and buildings! I LOVE the custom Dune 2 icons and pedia pictures!
upload_2020-5-24_2-28-48.png
upload_2020-5-24_2-30-0.png


Looking up a building in the city screen
upload_2020-5-24_2-30-56.png
 
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We do have a few German-speaking members. It might be possible to get translations done of labels, civilopedia, unit names, etc ...

That would be cool! And certainly better than what'd I'd get from google translate lol.

Does it include a custom terrain set? If not ...

It involves a lot more work, but it would be possible to create a set combining elements of various desert sets.

Yeah from the looks of things he just used default Civ3 terrains. Which explains why the mountains have green grass at the bottom. However his entire map is desert or plains (presumably with some resource value changes to allow towns to grow) so theoretically such a simple map means changes could be kept simple too with just some drier looking mountains, and maybe the addition of some orange spice over the top of a unused terrain that could be 'sprinkled' around the place.

Here are his terrain files.. sure enough he just made a few minor changes and no full terrain replacements.
upload_2020-5-25_16-59-17.png
 
The advantage of using multiple terrains instead of having a big block of desert is that you can do things like slow down or restrict movement, change basic production values, etc. You could even do things like make the worms naval units & have coastal water terrain that just looks like more sand. Not to even mention the eye-candy value. Which is a genuine concern for a designer - monotonous terrain = visual monotony = player fatigue.

It's worth taking a look at sets like the one by Ares de Borg, Balthasar's Mars terrain, or some of the special terrains that are not complete sets - iirc there's one that's erg (heavy dunes). A thorough search would probably find existing terrain graphics to represent karst, badlands with hoodoos, malpais, bare basaltic boulder fields, etc. etc. etc.
 
The advantage of using multiple terrains instead of having a big block of desert is that you can do things like slow down or restrict movement, change basic production values, etc. You could even do things like make the worms naval units & have coastal water terrain that just looks like more sand. Not to even mention the eye-candy value. Which is a genuine concern for a designer - monotonous terrain = visual monotony = player fatigue.

It's worth taking a look at sets like the one by Ares de Borg, Balthasar's Mars terrain, or some of the special terrains that are not complete sets - iirc there's one that's erg (heavy dunes). A thorough search would probably find existing terrain graphics to represent karst, badlands with hoodoos, malpais, bare basaltic boulder fields, etc. etc. etc.

Eeek! Somehow I missed your reply @Blue Monkey , how rude of me!

Yeah I agree, it certainly would be better to have multiple terrain types across the desert however personally I'd just be happy to leave it all as the designer intended but just have a nice translation of all the units, techs and text to English so it's properly playable to us.

I would like to fix those green based mountains though. I realised I still had Ryhes greener terrain mod turned on which wasn't helping things so I turned it off and took a brand new screenshot and have replaced the old one in my post above (and will stick a copy below as well). With default terrain tileset its a bit less green now and the mountains are red instead of grey which helps a bit too. However there's still green there.

So I grabbed the mountains from Balthasar's Mars terrain however quickly realised that (sort of similar to Civ2) the mountain base is in a separate file (xdgp.pcx). So I replaced that file with the one from Balthasar's Mars terrain and that did NOT go well haha. Balthasar's reddish terrain is made to mix with other reddish terrain in the set so when you mix it with regular terrain its a disaster of big square tiles with no gentle edges or 'rastering' as we called it in Civ2 modding. So I pretty quickly realised that unless there's a dry desert like version of the xdgp.pcx terrain set that mixes well with other regular terrains then I'd have to do it myself and yeah... while I'm good with Civ2 MGE tileset I can see these Civ3 tiles require someone with artistic skills above mine due to all the extra colours and details in play haha. Oh and I had a look at @Ares de Borg 's stuff and man he's done some cool work however even in his dry terrain packs it looks like the mountains have green bases.

I might go and have a good look in the Civ3 downloads section for anything desert related as maybe there's some more stuff there that might better mix with other default tiles or maybe a full desert set to replace everything removing the need to mix things.

 
Ronning's desert set gets rid of the green but it's too grassy and there's no white sands.. shame as you can clearly see the superior quality of his work compared to vanilla.

https://forums.civfanatics.com/resources/desert-landscape.24573/

Once again I'm unable to mix and match between 2 terrain sets either.. Hmm maybe I'll keep ronnings yellow mountains, but revert everything else back to default terrain. I tried replacing all the green terrain files with xdpc.pcx which lead to some amusing results lol but also show that some areas were good so if I can replace individual green cells instead of entire files with equivalents from xdpc.pcx then perhaps I can get what I want!

EDIT: Turns out mountains use multiple files as the green base so more replacing required!

upload_2020-11-30_18-57-46.png
 
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SUCCESS! I have removed all the green and avoided any more glitches!

Just put the contents of attached zip in the Dune/Art/Terrain folder and no more green!

Also I've noticed some weird midi to mp3 conversion issues (the music is super fast) with his Dune soundtrack for the scenario. I actually have high quality mp3 conversions of the dune midi soundtrack without the conversion issues on my pc so I should be able to overhaul that too! Maybe even add some more tracks!

So that just leaves the whole messy German to English translation issue lol.. unless some German civ3 experts come and save my ass ( @Civinator I know you're too busy but maybe you know some people?) I'm gonna have to try and use google translate .. I also still have a very limited understanding of the relationships in config files when it comes to unit names etc so no doubt when I change a name in one place it'll break about 3 other places lol! Shall save that headache for another day in the far future as I need to get back to finishing my Civ2 mod projects lol.

Dune.png
 

Attachments

  • DuneTerrain.7z
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Quick question - when you tried combining the terrains did you change the mode of the files to RGB then do the combining then re-index? Would get the best results by creating an RGB file with all the terrain files concerned as one big image, converting to a 256 color file, then cropping them into separate files as needed.
 
We do have a few German-speaking members. It might be possible to get translations done of labels, civilopedia, unit names, etc ...
There's also a most decent browser extension - for Chrome & Edge/Chrome - which seems to do a good enough job. It's simply called, "Translator."
 
Quick question - when you tried combining the terrains did you change the mode of the files to RGB then do the combining then re-index? Would get the best results by creating an RGB file with all the terrain files concerned as one big image, converting to a 256 color file, then cropping them into separate files as needed.

Nah, I got no idea how to do that stuff haha! What I did was far more simplistic lol.

Noticed that xdpc has a whole lot of sand and plains tiles with the merger/raster/connections between them. Also noticed extra sand to plains varients in xdgp and xpgc. I simply loaded up the files in my good old paint shop pro and copied and pasted each tile I wanted over the top of the ones I needed replaced. I built 2 files..

One with pure full plains to replace the grassland to water title files xggc & xpgc.. I was originally going to carefully replace each grassland to water merger tile with their plains to water equivalent but this scenario has no water so there was no point and I just replaced every title in those 2 files with variants of full plains titles.
upload_2020-12-2_15-51-21.png


The second one was the harder job as I needed to replace all grassland to plains mergers and grassland to desert mergers with plains to desert or pure plains so I couldn't cheat that one and had to one by one look at each tile and find its dry equivalent. Once built I replaced xdgp, xdgc, xdpc with it.
upload_2020-12-2_16-4-39.png


Obviously this would be sacrilege for any other scenario as I obliterated all shoreline and grassland tiles haha. However since this scenario didn't use either grass or water at all, and the bloody game uses parts out of most of these files for green mountain base tiles I was able to do it this way haha.

The reason I used an old copy of paint shop pro for this stuff is cause A - I lose patience quickly with over complicated modern paint programs and B - There's no import and export required as old versions of PSP will load the file as is, allow you to edit it and will save it using all of its existing settings (eg custom colour palettes and layers etc). Been a life saver in all my Civ2 MGE modding thanks to all the custom palettes in play in that game haha!

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Blake00... Good work on the Terrain adjustments and I agree that the Old Version of Paint Shop Pro is all around Best for the Civ Game Graphics Work. I still use the Full Version of Corel Paint Shop Pro 9 from years ago. Faster, Easier and Best Results,
 
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