Post news RSS Dev Diary 08 - Custom Font Colours & Better Backgrounds For The Civ2 Heroes Of Might & Magic 2 Mod

In this eighth dev diary we add custom font colours into Civ2 and completely overhaul all the ugly old GUI backgrounds for the Civilization 2 - Heroes of Might and Magic 2 Mod!

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Intro

In this eighth dev diary we add custom font colours into Civ2 and completely overhaul all the ugly old GUI backgrounds for the Civilization 2 - Heroes of Might and Magic 2 Mod!

Background

As a kid growing up in the 90s playing endless hours of Civilization and Heroes of Might & Magic Blake always wanted some sort of hybrid game that gave him the HoMM experience but in the Civ sandbox world. Games like Master of Magic and Age of Wonders 2 sort of granted that wish however Tom2050's amazing HoMM3 mod for Civ3 mod has REALLY fulfilled that dream of a sandbox HoMM game. Blake was so inspired by the awesomeness of it that he wanted to try and make a Heroes of Might & Magic 2 Civilization 2 Mod to compliment it. Soon after this Blake discovered a talented Civ2 modder on the other side of the world called Metropolis had already started a similar project and the two of them got to work on finishing their dream!

Dev Diary

The time has finally come that I'm back working on my scenario projects and intend to get them all finished and released over the coming months if all goes well! The first one I want to finish is the biggest of them all, this Heroes of Might & Magic 2 scenario that MetroPolis and I started all the way back in 2019! One of the advantages of the 3 year delay is that I've learned a lot more about Civ2 modding allowing me to do some of the crazy stuff I posted in the previous dev diary and also look at better ways of redoing some of our old stuff. Starting with GUI and all the backgrounds! All of the old backgrounds I did were painstakingly edited down in quality to fit in the tiny original Civ2 dll files using GifX to keep things compatible with pre-MGE versions of Civ2. However next to no one plays those old versions anymore and some of our recent additions have broken support for them anyway. Civ2 MGE supports much bigger files in it's DLLs so we can do a way better job! Now don't get me wrong, I put a huge amount of work into carefully downsizing and colour reducing all those original background images but let's be honest, they didn't look good, so I've thought for years about redoing them. I also recently discovered how to do custom font colours in Civ2 which requires new colour palettes applied to all backgrounds so if I've gotta edit all the files anyway I may as well redo them!

To get things started I applied new custom font colours giving the primary and secondary headings a bright slightly golden yellow (similar to many HoMM2 GUI titles) ensuring they don't get as lost in our leafy marble HoMM2 GUI as much as the old grey ones did, I was going to make the regular info text bright too but that had some unwanted side effects, so I instead made it darker.
Secondly thanks to these new custom font colours, I was able to finally import the true HoMM2 brown GUI background (albeit a bit lighter still). For those who may wish to stick with the old cream one I've left it in a safe unused spot in the Icons file though.
Thirdly I decided to take on the city backgrounds as while they didn't suffer the dll limitation issues I still used rather simple conversion techniques resulting a huge amounts of colour and detail loss. So all city backgrounds have been redone too!

To demonstrate all these changes below is an old marketing shot I made up that shows some of the map, the GUI, a custom wonder video, the title and the city screen. You can see the old cream GUI window background, our headings getting lost in the marble leaves, and the lack of colour in the city background.

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And here's a brand new shot where you can see the true brown HoMM2 GUI window background, bright coloured headings for the city and map windows, and the city background has much more colour in it. As a fun side effect the custom yellow font colour has also changed the city building list and the flashing end of turn message!

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Next I started looking at Civ2's Intro.dll file to get things looking better in the main menu/title screen. Our original background was not good as the default Civ2 background lady statue with the scales etc was all brown making the file size so small forcing me to spend hours gradually taking so much detail and colour variety out of our custom background to fit in the dll that it just looked terrible! Plus its lack of quality was made even more obvious by the fact that Metropolis had crafted a beautiful custom intro video using this castle on the lake sequence and the transition between the two was quite jarring due to the huge quality difference!

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I also didn't know until I discovered Matt Dempsey's Game of Thrones scenario that you could put giant images on the Civ2 title screen and they would still nicely stay centered even if you're viewing resolution is smaller than the picture. So knowing that I not only created a better version of the HoMM2 castle title image (that looks similar to how it looks in Metro's intro video) but I also mounted it on a giant 1080P background image using the HoMM2 addon title screen image of the dark moody sunset battlefield. Naturally I've also gone through all the extra window image backgrounds that appear as you start a new game and redone them in much higher quality so you'll also notice the cobblestone street village image on the top left is also much better too! And of course the custom fonts and new GUI background are in play here now too!

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I then commenced upgrading all the advisor background images now that I'm free of the GifX pre-MGE leash on Civ2 dll image sizes. Previously we used fading and blurring whereas this time I simply used darkening on all images just enough to make the text in front of them still readable (yes I know I probably should have gone even darker but they're sooooo pretty lol).

As you can see things are looking much nicer now!

<- Old / New ->

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I also decided that since we're already using HoMM2 Castle screen pictures for our city background images that we didn't really need to continue using them again in all those advisor backgrounds so I decided to boot up Heroes of Might & Magic 2 and take brand new screenshots of it's good old cutscenes to make new background images for many of the advisor screens! I also noticed that we never replaced the old Civ2 credits screen either so I changed the background and text for that too. :)

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I also found where Civ2 keeps that little miniature icon version of its main menu title image (lady with the scales) that appears on the start a new game and quitting windows. It's very small so I couldn't think of anything good from HoMM to put there, so for now I just stuck a Black Dragon & Crusader from our units file in there squaring off heh.

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And lastly I successfully converted all the city sky view screen image files in the CV.dll file to support the custom fonts palette which stopped it cancelling out the custom fonts everywhere else whenever you looked at your cities. The city sky view itself doesn't look any different to what you've seen us post before though other than the city name being golden yellow and more obvious now.

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That's it with the overhaul for now.. next I'm thinking about replacing Matt Dempsey's custom dragon breeding screen that we used to replace the Civ2 spaceship launch sequence in the previous dev diary. His dragon is cool but it's not from HoMM and it needs to be a special dragon different from the regular dragons you can build as units in the game so I'm cooking up something fun and interesting I'll show you guys next time! ;)

After that all that will be left to do is designing a cool map for the scenario, test playing it and then we can finally release this thing! :)

If you like my work please feel free to check out my other mod projects such as my & Metropolis's Civ2 - Heroes of Might & Magic 2 scenario, my Civ2 - Red Alert 2 Siege of NYC scenario, my Civ2 - Command & Conquer scenario remaster, my Civ2 - Dune 2 Dynasty scenario, my Civ2 - Terminator Future War scenario remaster, my Civ2 - Civ1 Graphics mod demaster, my Civ2ToT - Master of Magic Jr scenario remaster, my Civ2 - Deadworld Reborn scenario remaster, my Civ2 - Starcraft scenario addon, my Civ2 - Warcraft scenario addon, my Civ2 - Better Terrain Graphics mod, my Civ2 - Playstation Graphics mod remaster, my Civ2 - ToT Graphics mod remaster, my Civ2 - Alpha Centauri scenario remaster, my Attila's Conquest - Play as Barbarians in every Civ game scenario series, my old Civ2 - Star Wars scenario, and my Civ1 - Soundtrack Overhaul mod. I'm also the creator of the popular GZDoom - Star Trek TNG Doom and GZDoom - Quest For Glory IV 3D Hexen mods.

Comments
ApornasPlanet
ApornasPlanet - - 4,120 comments

Nice!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Blake00 Author
Blake00 - - 259 comments

Thank you! :) New dev diary 9 is out now too. Not long to go now!

Reply Good karma+1 vote
senpai-sama
senpai-sama - - 28 comments

Nice job with it

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Blake00 Author
Blake00 - - 259 comments

Thank you! :) New dev diary 9 is out now too. Not long to go now!

Reply Good karma+1 vote
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