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What are "normal map.bmps"?  I see a lot of them in my uniforms mod folders and wondered what they do. 

I like to combine mod folders that have the same type of mod eg: to create a definitive folder full of all the helmet mods rather than have several helmet mod folders.  When one combines folders that contain both graphic mod bmp's and "uniform map.bmp's" should one copy all the "uniform map.bmp's" as well?  Or, can safely I delete them? 

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I’m no expert, but from what I can tell, they map the contours of the texture bmp, and do help make the model “pop” a bit in-game by adding a little depth. When someone mods a generic helmet, say, or a uniform, if you change nothing but the color, a normal map won’t be needed because the game is default normal map will still follow the contours of the model. But if you mod a helmet by putting a camo net on it, and use the game’s normal, that netting is going to look very flat and odd in the game because the netting contours aren’t there. If you make a normal map (many programs free on the Interwebs, and they are very easy to make) of that helmet-with-netting bmp, then in game it will look better. Depending on what you added to the original bmp, normals don’t always make that big a deal, IMHO. But when I make new faces, and don’t make a corresponding n-map, you can really tell the difference.

Best  I can come up with, hope it helps.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Has anyone noticed that in Shock Force 2 almost all the building and wall textures have 12kb blank normal maps? A few doors have actual normal maps, but they don't match up. I wonder if the correct normal maps were made but wound up not getting put in place on accident and no one noticed. Or was it decided that it was just not worth the effort.

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