descr_geography.db (RTW) and descr_geography_new.db (M2TW) are the files that determine which ground textures are used in the battlemap, which colours are used for groundtypes in distant views and various factors concerning the elevation and shape of the battlemap and distribution of rocks and vegetation. The RTW and M2TW files are similar but not identical.
Editing descr_geography_new.db for M2TW
With earlier patches of M2TW a timestamp issue meant if you unpacked your M2TW files you had to delete completely the unpacked version of descr_geography_new.db and the descr_geography_new.txt file so the game refered back to the packed version. Failure to do this resulted in a CTD when attempting to start a battle. With the later patches you could simply delete the descr_geography.db file and use
- rebuild_geography_db = true
in your config file and a new db file would be generated from the txt file each time the game launched.
However the re-generation process has been found to cause various problems with texture memory and deletion of distance colours. The recommended solution is delete the .txt file only, DO NOT use the rebuild function and if amendments are required use IWTE to edit the .db file directly.
The exact effects of many of the settings aren't completely understood and are best explored by trial and error. In 'SGT_To_G-Hardness' table the 'hs fade-out' value, appears to increase the bumpiness of the terrain, a value of +1 or more can make battles unplayable if it effects the area in the centre of the map.
As noted above the recommended method of editing descr_geography_new.db in M2TW is to use IWTE. This avoids the problems caused by letting the game re-generate the file (loss of distance colours, and texture memory over-load).
Editing descr_geography.db for RTW
The RTW file appears to have been originally based (by CA) on the contents of descr_geography.txt however unlike the descr_vegetation.db in RTW it will not re-generate from the text file if deleted, the text file is not read by the game and is only useful for record-keeping purposes.
The file is located originally in RTW/data only, it can be copied into BI or a mod-folder and any changes made to that version will effect BI / the mod solely.
The file can be opened with a normal text editor but attempts to edit with a text editor will result in a non-functioning game. The file can be edited successfully with a hex editor. The main source of information on editing this file is the Guide to Battlemap Modification tutorial by Muizer.
The file can be edited easily with Squid's descr_geography.db editor available here
Re-pathing for mod-folder
The texture file paths are listed in the db file as path:
when using a mod-folder if you put revised battlefield texture files on that equivalent path in the mod-folder they are not read and the game goes directly to rtw/data/terrain.
However you can relatively easily edit the path so it looks for a name not present in rtw/data/terrain.
If amending the file with a hex editor the path length should remain the same. Putting files in my_mod/terrain/battlemynew/ folder so path length stays same and entry becomes:
seems to work without messing up the .db file and picks up the revised textures from the mod-folder. Using the tool mentioned above allows more flexibility