Page MenuHomeFeedback Tracker

Terrain Builder generates "tartan" layer masks / Default Satellite file doesn't exist error messages
Assigned, WishlistPublic


Terrain Builder[TB] generates "tartan" / striped layer masks from import data using high resolution imagery (1/2/5m/pixel) - IF it accepts it without giving "Default Satellite File Doesn't Exist" error.

(Can we have messages pointing to what is actually wrong? This seems like a genericly vague error message, that is quite frankly of no help what-so-ever..)

Using my map sources TB generates my layers / grid without any errors when I have 10m/pixel Sat & Surface masks - anything above this level of detail results in the "Default Satellite Files Doesn't Exist" error OR generates a map with a "tartan" effect on the sat/surface masks - which is un-usable as a terrain.

There are a bunch of people having multiple mapframe errors with the "Default Satellite File Doesn't Exist" error, or when they do actually get TB to generate layers - usually after trying with every available mapframe setting and when they hit the 2048x2048 Sat/Surf mask tile size - it results in the "tartan" effect on the sat mask in game.


Legacy ID
Steps To Reproduce

There are no set in stone steps to repro this - it varies by mapframe settings and source files.

I can give you very rough steps to repro this - but again like trying to figure anything out in TB's mapframe properties - it is pot luck.

Generate a hieghtfield that is suitable to be imported into TB
Create satellite & Surface masks at 10/5/2/1m/pixel resolutions relative to your terrain dimensions.

Try and get TB to Generate Layers for each of the above resolutions - compile the succesful layer generations into a working map
Load them up in-game to check for layer mask errors.

This is such an annoying bug due to the unhelpful nature of TB (vague error messages), the sheer amount of time involved in generating the data required for import only for TB to break itat the layer generation stage, when it should not generate tiles like this in the first place - it should either refuse to generate or at least point to where the error is occurring.

Additional Information

These are my terrain settings, yes I know they are large, but they should generate layers without issue, and they do provided I use 10m/pixel resolutions

MapFrame Properties:
Grid size: 4096 x 4096
Cell Size(m): 10.00
Terrain Size(m): 40960.000

Satellite/Surface (mask) source images:
Size(px): 20480 x 20480 <--- Will not let me define 40960(1m/pixel), even though I have 4x20480 image's tiled in my mapframe.
Resolution (m/px): 2.000000

Satellite/Surface (mask) tiles:
Size (px): 2048 x 2048 <-- Will not generate at anything below this setting (Do you know how difficult it is to have a detailed map when each one of your surface tiles is 2km in game?)
Desired Overlap (px): 16

Texture Layer: 40.00 x 40.00 <-- Just about every forum post & tutorial stipulates not to deviate from this setting, is it will create errors - messed up maps (tartan & other issues)

Source Files Properties:
Heightfield = 4096x10m grid generated with L3DT, saved as an .ASC
Satellite Source Images = 4 x 20480(TIFF) images tiled into a 40960x40960 Sat-mask
Surface Mask Source Images = 4 x 20480(TIFF) images tiled into a 40960x40960 Surface-mask.
Normals Mask Source Images = 4 x 20480 (TIFF) images tiled into a 40960x40960 Normal Mask.

NB - I have tried with just about every format TB will accept - BMP/PNG/TIFF/XYZ/ASC - I had to, to get beyond the 2GB limit on importing files when I generated 40960x40960 single source images - so it is definately not a source image issue, and definately IS a mapframe properties / layer generation / grid issue.

The only time my map has generated layers without issue was with 10m/pixel resolution Sat + Surface mask source images, which on a 41km terrain is a shockingly bad level of detail.

There are quite a few people in the Terrain builders Skype group reporting issues like the above, from small terrains to large and is prohibiting a lot of people from working further on thier terrains.

Event Timeline

Uro edited Steps To Reproduce. (Show Details)Apr 10 2015, 9:14 PM
Uro edited Additional Information. (Show Details)
Uro set Category to Tools.
Uro set Reproducibility to Always.
Uro set Severity to None.
Uro set Resolution to Fixed.
Uro set Legacy ID to 1794551935.May 8 2016, 11:54 AM
Uro edited a custom field.
Adam added a subscriber: Adam.May 8 2016, 11:54 AM
Adam added a comment.Apr 13 2015, 9:56 AM


Any chance on how to get quick reprosteps?

Thank you.

Uro added a subscriber: Uro.May 8 2016, 11:54 AM
Uro added a comment.Apr 13 2015, 6:26 PM

Richie made a post on the BI forums with his mapframe settings - which would be "quicker" to generate source files for.

See his post here -
And a screenshot of his mapframe settings -

Icebreakr and Jakerod are also generating coming across this "tartan" bug with varying mapframe settings they are using, I will try to get them to post up thier mapframe settings also :)

From chatting to BISIM guys - they have never seen/heard of this error while using VBS and told me that VBS works with pretty much any setting they throw at it.

I'm thinking some bugs may have crept into TB when it splintered from VBS affecting the mapframe computations.

Uro added a comment.Apr 13 2015, 6:31 PM

There is also another similar bug report already on the tracker here which has more repro data -

Okay, here are our findings from our "Tartan Bug Taskforce". Most stuff by Miro:

  • The Tartan Bug is not a Terrain Builder problem, as terrains created with Visitor3 for ArmA2 suffer from it too (but look as expected in ArmA2 and OA).

These are some of community terrains that show the bug: Fallujah, Podagorsk, Aliabad, Thirsk / Thirsk Winter, Afghan Village,Celle, Hazar-Kot Valley, Reshmaan Province, MBG_Nam. Also BIS terrains like Porto and Proving Grounds show the bug too when directly loaded in A3.

  • The tartan bug is a mipmap problem in the sat texture. You don't see the bug on the sat texture when zoomed in the A3 2D map/editor or at the distance where detail texture is blended into sat texture (in A3 and buldozer). You see the tartan bug only if zoomed out in the 2D map or in the distance ingame and in buldozer (for example when flying or looking down from a hilltop).
  • The bug is an engine problem as the mipmaps in the paas generated by TB are correct.
  • High resolution sat textures suffer more from this bug than low resolution sat textures. When using very low resolution (10m/px) nobody has encountered the tartan bug yet, where using high resolution sat images (1m/px) often show the tartan bug.

With this info I suspect a simple error in the mipmap selection in the engine itself. Maybe something simple like an variable overflow or faulty rounding of numbers when the textures/layers are large?

On the image uro posted, it looks like two different mipmap resolutions are loaded for the same image and stitched together.

Uro added a comment.Apr 27 2015, 7:55 PM

Thank you Neo & Miro for the time you guys have diverted from your own work into these issues :)

Without people who have your level of techical expertise looking into and tracking down issues like these - the arma community and especially the terrain building part of it would be at a loss :)

This issue has been fixed in the development branch (1.47.131055). Please, feel free to comment if you experience it again.

still happening with current build for me

Are you sure you use the development branch*? Fact is this fix is not yet in the main branch, only on the development branch.

  • When the development branch is used, a blue ribbon with the label dev is displayed on the top left corner of the launcher.

In Steam my Content Build (in Arma3 Tools Properties in Steam) is 679373.

The Version of Terrain Builder I am using is from the Arma 3 Tools Steam release. The version from within Terrain Builder is:

Terrain Builder
From Jun 23 2015 13:11:27

I am running the Development Branch from Within Steam.

Sorry, I meant the development branch of the game. This issue has been fixed on the game side, not the tools.

So bulldozer in the tools still shows the errors but in game it is ok?

If your version of Buldozer is prior (1.46 and previous) to the fix, yes.

For the records, Buldozer is a "sub program" of Arma 3:



Copy the executable of the game “Arma3.exe” to P and rename it to “buldozer.exe”


Thanks for the education lesson. ;)

Status changed because the issue is still present (less but still) and being investigated.

Uro added a comment.Aug 1 2015, 8:26 PM

hey tom, I thought my terrain's map was fixed, but alas it isn't.

I was encountering the tartan when zooming in before, and now only when zooming fully OUT I still get that dreaded tartan :|

If you need anymore info from me, or if there is anything I can do to assist throw me a PM on BI Forums - Username: Uro1

Uro added a comment.Nov 21 2015, 10:06 AM

Any updates / progess on this?

It's been 4 months since last ticket update by BI....

some time passed....

Uro added a comment.May 23 2016, 8:06 AM

Any updates on this? Issue should still be marked open, since it still exists. See

Uro added a comment.Aug 16 2016, 6:36 PM

Any more news on this issue? it is still present.

well maybe fixed with ARMA 4..... year 2018 or so