Yep! I pretty welcome this topic. That's a feature I always missed in the heightmaps (the so-called PPM files)
I think people here have talked "a lot" about heightmaps that were capable of defining the position of cities, touristic attractions and factories, but no one has "formally" opened an extension request topic about it, if I'm not wrong.
If I, for example, wanted to create a heightmap of my state or country, the first thing I'd like to define would be the position of the cities and its names. Next, the touristic attractions, and then the factories. If I want something "fancier": the rivers and the biomes (i.e. the climates, which are currently an altitude-based feature, not a region-based feature, like in this game
. But this is another subject).
Right to the point, those are my thoughts about the new heightmap, which I'd like to call map file:
- map files would be provided as today's pak files. A single file that you load and play. (instead of *.ppm, why not *.map?)
- a map file would be made of PNGs and DAT files, which are merged and converted by a tool similar to Makeobj. Perhaps a map editor would be welcome.
- the PNG files store the "form" of the terrain: heights and climates (if it were possible).
- the DAT files store the position of the objects in the map: cities, touristic attractions, factories and rivers.