Information, maps, new graphics, and more about the original The Settlers II: Gold Edition as provided by the community

Welcome Astro, goodbye Wordpress!

Time flies they say. And so it does! I’ve had this site for over 12 years by now, and even before that I spent time doing stuff with The Settlers II. And here we are, with a refreshed look using a new site building tool, Astro! It lets me build a mostly static website using whatever frontend tooling I want.

Ten years ago I switched many of my sites to Wordpress in hope that it would let me provide more content. In hindsight it seems it did the opposite: I lost some of my interest working on my sites. Wordpress never felt good to use for me and using it feels a bit like fighting against things. It just doesn’t work for me as a tool. I am more of a programmer type of person so I like to have control over things.

So now I have Astro here. I love it! It is very much a delight after so many years of tools that force bundling big JavaScript on all pages, even static ones that don’t need JS at all. Astro provides snappy and lightweight by default while also providing developer conveniences that have emerged during the past few years. This flexibility made it easy for me to convert the Map Generator project from being a legacy React project into a Preact one, with TypeScript goodness (which fits with a complex map generator type of project; I’m not always pro-TypeScript).

With this renewed site I have worked on rearranging content as well as adding some new stuff. And I’ve also done some little work with the map generator so it has a few new tricks. But admittedly it is still a bit of a mess: UI isn’t fully intuitive yet, I could provide more options to internal features of the generator, and the generator code itself is in a big need of cleaning up to better coding style.

The site UI is also still in need of some polish. The main menu doesn’t work in mobile, at least in iOS. That is sad. But I think right now it is much more important just to get the new site released, because it always motivates a bit better when something is out in the wild.

New Map Generator features

  • You can use a seed value: given seed provides always the same results with the given input values.
  • There can now be snow peak mountains
  • You can find some small swamp areas on the map
  • Palm trees have been allowed to be generated in coasts

Happy 25th Anniversary!

Oktavianus on a horse The original Die Siedler II: Veni Vidi Vici hit the store shelves on August 31st 1996! 25 years is a long time. During the years Return to the Roots has kept on continuing the legacy of the game by expanding it with online multiplayer, new features, and new content. And of course The Settlers II 10th Anniversary was released some 15 years ago, but in retrospective it failed to catch the charm of the original game, and followed it too soon after while being incompatible.

Reading newspaper

What will the upcoming years bring? It is hard to say. In recent years we’ve seen many more remakes from the same era which have been more successful, such as Command & Conquer Remastered and Final Fantasy VII Remake. Of course these games were much more popular back in the day, too. We know we still have people interested about the game, especially in Germany. And even this site gets the occasional update!

Maybe there is still a slot for a lighthearted economy simulator in old fashioned 2D pixelated graphics style? A game where the focus is more on building infrastructure and see your people do their daily routines. A mashup of The Settlers II and, I don’t know, Animal Crossing maybe?

Map Generator has been fixed

I’m not sure how long things were broken, but Map Generator’s download feature has been fixed. Alongside that I’ve fixed HTTPS related issues and warnings. As an additional reminder the maps generated are fully usable with S2EDIT and it is a good idea to decorate the maps further using it :)

I haven’t had a lot of time for this game in the past five years as I’ve had a lot of focus in my other hobby projects, such as Civilization VI Finnish localization, and recently HoMM III Finnish localization as well. There has been some changes in my life as well, I now have a house and a wife.

While I haven’t really done anything in the past five years I still have the map generator on my mind every now and then. I might some day continue the development and finally fix some of the core issues it has, such as lack of a proper seed value so that you could always generate the same map from given seed and options.

Have a nice summer!

TEX5.LBM Greenland Debug Texture

If you ever want to consider drawing your own texture for the game then this information here will be quite useful! Download can be found at the end of this post.

Tex5

Normal textures

These are triangles within a 32 x 31 sized rectangle. The two triangle textures overlap each other. This gives some additional challenge for drawing a seamless texture, because repeating parts will be also within the triangle and not just in the outer edges.

Also normal textures have their minimap color ripped directly from the texture from position 16 x 0.

Water and lava

Water and lava textures are quite simple in that they are two triangles stacked on top of each other. Each triangle fits within a 53 x 27 rectangle. A more challenging thing to understand is that the textures are rendered 135 degrees clockwise (so that the “water” text in the debug texture above appears horizontally in the game).

Roads

Regular roads, gravel / donkey roads, waterways and mountain roads consist of two parts: the main road part and a node part that is drawn to the ends of a road.

The odd part about these graphics is that they are inverted vertically. In addition to this the node part is rotated 90 degrees clockwise after being inverted so that the dashed line will points upwards.

Another thing to note about roads is that they are drawn at roughly half the resolution. Each pixel does get used at some point though depending on slopes, height etc.

Edges

These triangles are drawn to the edges seamlessly so that if you have a lone triangle texture the visual end result would be a hegaxon if the edges would be of a fully solid color.

Also note that all the debug textures use the same color that is in the edges.

Unused lava textures

These were once part of the game but were removed before release, however they do remain usable. They are drawn exactly as you can see them, which makes them somewhat more convenient. The sad part about these textures is that their edge is desert so when they are against each other a desert edge is drawn.

As these triangles are quite small they appear quite low resolution in the game, which is also a bit nasty.

Solid color texture

There is a lone pixel at the bottom left corner in position 0 x 254. This will result in a solid single color texture with no shading and no edges.

Other things to note

  • Magenta pixels around the textures are never drawn. If you use this debug texture and see magenta somewhere then please report it to me so I can adjust and fix the debug texture file!
  • I drew a dotted line near each road texture. I think this is the point where going much further makes the edge look a bit “off”. At least if you attempt to make a smooth transition.
  • You can see a single pixel extending off water and lava textures. It is actually a lone pixel that can get drawn outside of the triangle area probably due to a small calculation error within the game.

2015-09-06 Greenland Debug Texture Preview

Download

TEX5.LBM Greenland Debug Texture

Remember to backup the original TEX5.LBM!

Texture regions

I just wanted to know which parts of textures are actually drawn by the game. So it uses two simple triangles and both triangles use the same texture. On flat surface the triangle is within roughly a 31 x 30 rectangle, but it can stretch by one additional pixel to both directions to 32 x 31 when drawing slopes.

The image below is most helpful when looking at it with some additional zoom. Things to note:

  • Barely any water pixels are drawn; the ones that are drawn are leaked from the right side of the texture
  • Most of yellow comes from the right side of the triangles, barely any from left side
  • Top right magenta pixel makes an appearance
  • Top right green pixel below magenta doesn’t
  • Magenta midpoint pixels don’t make an appearance
  • Green pixel above right one does; the one below doesn’t

Texture triangles

This is only interesting if making texture mods or adjusting RttR rendering, but at least it has now been researched and somewhat documented :)

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