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Selecting the Proper Terrain Cat

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-Selecting the Proper CAT file to use:


It seems that this issue is cropping up more often, in particular with older terrains, or those that are missing a proper readme with the necessary instructions for use (or folks just simply NOT reading a supplied readme!!)


These instructions are 100% valid in ALL versions/iterations of 3rd Wire sims. It matters not if it's 1st Gen or NextGen (SF2 series) or even First Eagles, although FE and WoI are special cases, and will be covered later. It should be noted, however, for 1st Gen Sims, it's a real good idea that you have ALL the terrain folders installed to which ever version of the game you're using. As most everyone (for the original series) has them all already, it's a simple matter to copy the Desert and VietnamSEA into WoE, or vice versa for SF or WoE (adding Desert and GermanyCE to WoV, fer instance).


What exactly IS this magical "Cat Pointer Line?"


Basically, what this does, is point the Game Engine ™ to an preexisting terrain cataloge (or "cat" file) that contains all the necessary terrain objects that are needed for 3rd Party or Add-On terrains. These are the usual suspects like the airfield runways, all the buildings, terrain tiles, etc and so forth.


The Original 3 ™ Terrains are:

Desert in SF/SFG/SF2

VietnamSEA in WoV/SF2:V

GermanyCE in WoE/SF2:E


In the example below, taken from the readme from my America Southwest Terrain, explains HOW to make the necessary adjustments to point to an available cat. Now, mind you, in 1st Gen Sims, this is ONLY for SF/WoV/WoE. WoI, while having some of the same terrain objects, has some slightly major differences, and is NOT reccomended for use, unless the terrain is question is propose-built to USE the items in the IsrealME.cat (the only terrain I know of that is so designed is Gepard's Afghanistan terrain). Another, is the Vogesen terrain for First Eagles; it also needs to stock FE terrain cats to work.


Let me repeat that....


Almost all existing add-on terrains are desinged for use ONLY with one of the Original 3 Stock Terrains


But for right now, lets leave FE and WoI for later, as mentioned above, they're "special cases".

So, lets take a look at the ASW.ini.....



quoted directly from the ASW readme:


As you can see in the example below, copied directly from the ASW.ini, all the needed cat pointer lines are listed, just not activated....



TerrainFullName=American South West









//CatFile=..\Desert\Desert.cat <---

CatFile=..\GermanyCE\GermanyCE.cat <---

//CatFile=..\VietnamSEA\VietnamSEA.cat <---




You'll note the commented out lines for SF's Desert.cat, and WoV's VietnamSEA.cat. You just simply 'uncomment' them - remove the double slashes (//), and add them to the Desert line. It should look like the examples below:


For SF (and probably SF2, although I'm not quite sure):






Same thing for WoV users, but using the Vietnam cat:







You can see I've indicated the Original 3 terrain cats, and given instruction on how to select which ever one is needed for the game to which YOU'VE installed the terrain.


It's really very simple; which is the main reason I always included all three cat pointers. The End User ™ simply makes a few keystrokes, and VIOLA! the terrain works in what game is chosen.


=Special Cases: WoI and First Eagles=


One can easily add 3rd Party terrains to these games (a perfect example is my upgrade of Gepard's Isreal2 for WoI, BUT it does REQUIRE one of the stock terrains be present in the WoI /Terrain folder for the cat 'reach around')


Let me say that again: you can add any terrain to these to games, as long as one of the Original 3 terrain folders is present in that particular (FE/WoI) game install. This was discussed in the FE forums a year or two ago. So, you want to fly that SPAD or Alabtross over Palestine? No problem, just copy/paste the relevant terran folders -in their entirety- to FE's /Terrain folder, and adjust the cat pointer line as needed.


In the example mentioned above, you'll copy the Isreal2 (or better yet, the recently released WW2 Palestine mod as it's closer to the WW1 feel, although you'll have edit out some GroundObjects) into FE, followed by SF's Desert terrain folder, or WoE's GermanyCE terrain folder.


In the case of Wings Over Isreal, I can't stress enough the importance of having either -or both is MUCH better- the SF Desert terrain AND WoE's GermanyCE terrain folder in WoI's /Terrain folder. This simplifies things so much, you almost wouldn't believe.


One can also go the other way, at least in the case of 08 Patch Level SF/SFG/WoV/WoE, and add the IsrealME terrain to those games, just to have the terrain present for fun single missions.


The most important thing to remember is:


90% plus of all add on terrains are designed and built for use with the Original Stock 3 Terrains, and they MUST be present in the terrain folder of the game you're using.


Comments? Questions? Elaborations? Post them in the Mods/Skinning Forum, and we'll address them!!


Happy Landings!


Kevin Stein

Edited by Wrench

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