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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Re-encouraging track modeling

  1. #1
    GT VIRUS's Avatar

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    Re-encouraging track modeling

    In my opinion, track-modeling has always been low in interest. There has never been much interest from modders in creating new tracks, but these days it seems even less so. Since the fall of RSC, I've struggled to find any new material on creating new tracks. While BTB has helped with the creation of new tracks, the standard of these tracks, overall, is lacking. And it's no wonder, as the techniques for creating the truely beautiful tracks aren't being shared anymore.

    Even now, 5 years after the release of rfactor, tracks are still being poorly converted and not finished correctly, with shaders being basic and textures not correctly updated. It's a tough job sure, but I feel as the community has been starved of great tracks, that we have become more accepting of sub-standard tracks, to the point were it seems acceptable to release a basic conversion without need for any improvement.

    I used to make tracks, unforcinatly never getting to the stage to producing a release-able track. For me, the lack of motivation has been what has stopped me continueing with track-making. With the release of iRacing and it's laser-scanner tracks, every attempt I have made to restart track-making has felt sub-standard, and that now stops me from continuing on.

    So what can be done? I do not know. It is obviously not possible to just give everyone laser scanners and tell them to crack on, but the development of techniques to improve track accuracy and feel I think are vital, and hopefully rf2 will help on this front.

    I hope that this forum will bring back all the track modellers together, and maybe they can start sharing again. There are techniques in track-modelling now that i'm sure the community can help embrace, and bring a new standard to tracks. Not ever track will be of top quality, but hopefully we can begin to improve most tracks, and at least make them modern.

  2. #2
    Alex Sawczuk's Avatar
     

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    Would help if people learnt how to use 3ds Max instead of using other tools which end up with butchered mapping and bad smoothing etc. 3ds Max isn't so hard when you know how, but admittedly the learning curve is steep. With a little bit of persistence it's not that hard to pick up the basics though.

  3. #3
    WiZPER's Avatar

     PC Specification Facebook profile @tomasbeha Where I race 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Sawczuk View Post
    Would help if people learnt how to use 3ds Max instead of using other tools which end up with butchered mapping and bad smoothing etc. 3ds Max isn't so hard when you know how, but admittedly the learning curve is steep. With a little bit of persistence it's not that hard to pick up the basics though.
    But how many can really pay the price of a 3dmax-license ? :P BTB, 3DSimEd are tools you can LEGALLY make your tracks with (and in great quality too)

  4. #4
    rstratton's Avatar
     

    New Member
    Oct 2010
    i think isi should make plugins for gmax which has most of the basics of 3ds max, which would be good enough for modeling tracks and cars

  5. #5
    xzess's Avatar

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    Agree with GT virus. Make this the biggest rfactor comunity. Now modders are on one side, some webs in other side, some make bad copies of another, some modders in other side... disperssed.

  6.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #6
    Scott Juliano's Avatar ISI Staff

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    Well, as with rF1 the release alone will of course generate interest again, which is a good start. But game art, especially environments, is not easy by any stretch. I've been doing this since 1999 and I still learn something new every day. What people don't understand is that to do this well takes a LOT of time and dedication. Someone who has never done this before can't sit down and immediately start building Watkins Glen, for example, and expect it to be a work of art. The other issue is that a track builder HAS to have a good understand of race craft (especially if they're creating fictional tracks)--how will cars drive it, enter turns, exit turns, the flow and rhythm of the track, curbs, camber, etc. It all matters....

    And there's the problem. As soon as people realize just how hard it is they get discouraged. What needs to happen really is that the experienced modders have to start taking these new folks under their wing, as it were. Find the ones that are really serious and perhaps start working on a track with them. They'll get valuable experience, and you'll actually have help getting stuff done. This is what makes some of the larger mod groups so strong really....

    But really, this is why there never seem to be a lot of track builders--it's just a LOT of work and out of 100 people who think they can do it you may only find a handful that have the skill to do it, or the patience and commitment to LEARN the skill to do it....

    For our part, Luc and I certainly have plans, after the sim is done and finished, to work on tutorials to explain the new features and how to implement them. Of course, it's just time that's required, which is something we never seem to have enough of
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  7. #7
    GT VIRUS's Avatar

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    That's a good point. Without the help of the iDT team, particually Alex, I proberly would never of developed any skills. I proberly still don't have the skills, as some things (particually combination curbs :S)

  8.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #8
    Scott Juliano's Avatar ISI Staff

     rFactor 2 Not Validated PC Specification 

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    Quote Originally Posted by JorgeANeto View Post
    Well, I think to create fictional race tracks it's not a huge work but, by other hand, to recreate a real-life circuit it's not a job for a single person but for a staff.
    This is SO not true, in my opinion If anything I'd say it's harder, and here's why. With a real track you have reference, you have defined turns, camber, elevations, architecture--it is what it is. With a fictional track you have to make it all up yourself, it has to race well, it has to make sense architecturally, you have create believable elevation changes, curb placements, camber, etc. All this is the difference between a good, believable fictional track, as opposed to a bad one. It is hard to get all those elements right...

    But yes, one central location where information can be found and questions can actually be answered would be wonderful. For one person to answer all those questions would be a full time job, and sadly I don't get paid to sit and read/reply on the forums all day :P
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  9. #9
    Alex Sawczuk's Avatar
     

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    I never found making believable fantasy tracks layouts that hard, but then again I've spent far too much time in the past doodling track layouts when I should have been doing something else...

    The surrounding scenery is usually what I have trouble with tbf.

  10.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #10
    Scott Juliano's Avatar ISI Staff

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    Quote Originally Posted by JorgeANeto View Post
    True, but I didn't mention that create a GOOD fantasy track is easy... I recognize the ISI’s hard work on RF1 official content, there’s great fantasy tracks on there… It’s not easy but to create a functional simple track is achievable without massive work. It’s more about good imagination and inspiring and some technical knowledge.

    In other hand, although real-world tracks has well defined cambers, bumps, angles and topography once that they are already built, these content are not available for a couple of reasons. We should drive on it for feel how different surfaces pull or push your tires in each track sector, be able to take a huge bunch of pictures, have access to the papers to check the actual cambers and so on…

    Just for an example, I live in neighborhoods of Interlagos Circuit (Brazil) and I’m almost unable to drive on that because of too expensive prices and restrict opened periods. I don’t believe that observation from grandstands or onboard Youtube’s videos are enough for a good track building at least in a track with lots of height variations. That’s the why I said it’s a work for a team.
    Good points, for sure. The long and the short is that each type, real or fictional, has their own specific challenges, true enough. But certainly, yes, for a beginner you could create a very simple fictional track to learn the basic skills required for track making. Trying to tackle an extensive fictional track, or a real track with all its many fine details would CERTAINLY not be a good way to start learning
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  11. #11
    mianiak's Avatar

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    Bob's track builder is a great foundation for building tracks on, some of the best tracks available today were made with BTB, but the developer has stopped developing it and it is lacking some vital parts.
    The shaders for example are not a complete system, the animation is limited to 2 texture frames, you cant weld veritces, you can't remap the mesh, you can't give certain objects an individual name, it exports way to many repeated materials and a few other issues.

    On the brighter side, you can import gps data, you can add camber and make smooth corners, you can use lerp and blend textures (terrain only, track blending was planned but never got done). You can add objects and move them around, you can use string objects which makes for adding things like light poles very easy.
    As for the gps data, btb becomes a great time saver for setting the layout of the track, from there you can import it into max and continue on.

    It would be great if ISI would take up BTB and continue developing it then release it as a tool with rFactor2. It seems like a logical thing to do, you have a very modable base with rFactor, but the tools to mod it are hard to use and not available to everybody. I have met people who have major potential to build amazing tracks and with BTB their potential was put into reality. The community would have missed out on those tracks if it was not for BTB (if that makes sense).

    Whilst on this subject I have a question for Scott. In your tutorial you use a bend modifier to make the corners, I have wondered why you chose to do that instead of having it follow a spline? I know there has to be a good reason, but I can't seem to figure it out.

    Cheers

  12.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #12
    Scott Juliano's Avatar ISI Staff

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    Quote Originally Posted by mianiak View Post
    Whilst on this subject I have a question for Scott. In your tutorial you use a bend modifier to make the corners, I have wondered why you chose to do that instead of having it follow a spline? I know there has to be a good reason, but I can't seem to figure it out.
    Cheers
    Nope, not my method That tutorial was created by the original track artist for rF1, long before I arrived on the scene, and that was his preferred method. I use a spline, extrude method myself.
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  13. #13
    mianiak's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Juliano View Post
    Nope, not my method That tutorial was created by the original track artist for rF1, long before I arrived on the scene, and that was his preferred method. I use a spline, extrude method myself.
    I had to refer back to the tutorial then, I see now you added a few notes in it which led me to think you made it . Ok cool thanks for that, Now I don't have to learn a new thing

  14. #14
    GT VIRUS's Avatar

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    I have to agree, using a spline is my prefered methood these days. I remember my first track was using a simular technique to that original tutorial, except using a Pathdeform on the section created. However i found later on in the build that it creates when streching the run-off area's using FFD boxes like originally intended in the model. Created some very thick walls that i didnt notice until it was too late these days its splines for tracks and walls, and joining them as nessiscary with fill

  15. #15
    Alex Sawczuk's Avatar
     

    Registered
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    Quote Originally Posted by mianiak View Post
    Bob's track builder is a great foundation for building tracks on, some of the best tracks available today were made with BTB, but the developer has stopped developing it and it is lacking some vital parts.
    The shaders for example are not a complete system, the animation is limited to 2 texture frames, you cant weld veritces, you can't remap the mesh, you can't give certain objects an individual name, it exports way to many repeated materials and a few other issues.

    On the brighter side, you can import gps data, you can add camber and make smooth corners, you can use lerp and blend textures (terrain only, track blending was planned but never got done). You can add objects and move them around, you can use string objects which makes for adding things like light poles very easy.
    As for the gps data, btb becomes a great time saver for setting the layout of the track, from there you can import it into max and continue on.

    It would be great if ISI would take up BTB and continue developing it then release it as a tool with rFactor2. It seems like a logical thing to do, you have a very modable base with rFactor, but the tools to mod it are hard to use and not available to everybody. I have met people who have major potential to build amazing tracks and with BTB their potential was put into reality. The community would have missed out on those tracks if it was not for BTB (if that makes sense).

    Whilst on this subject I have a question for Scott. In your tutorial you use a bend modifier to make the corners, I have wondered why you chose to do that instead of having it follow a spline? I know there has to be a good reason, but I can't seem to figure it out.

    Cheers
    You can do all of that in max quite easily.

    I have some documents that I'll see if I can adapt for public consumption at some time.

  16. #16
    mianiak's Avatar

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    When using a spline to lay out the track, do you make the cross section a ~10m long section and set up the materials as in the rf tutorial, or do you just use a single line for a cross section?

    I have only watched one tutorial video on this which is this one,
    http://www.b2-net.com/download/doc_d...l-rally-trophy
    Here he makes a cross section out of a single line.

  17. #17
    Alex Sawczuk's Avatar
     

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    i personally loft rather than extruding which Scott does, it achieves the same effect though and quicker imo. Yes I loft a single line to create the roads, and then i add extra polys on the road at a later date by a mixture of chamfering and connecting edges. I use the border of the roads to create new lofts or shapes for my grass pieces too.

  18. #18
    mianiak's Avatar

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    Interesting, I never thought about using extrude, I can see some advantages to it, like being able to mould the terrain around the track as you go. I build cars too, so it would probably suit me more to use extrude rather than loft.
    Thanks for the reply, I'll have a play with both techniques and see what I like the most

    Cheers

  19. #19
    mianiak's Avatar

     rFactor 2 Validated PC Specification 

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    I ran into a slight problem, I found height data for a track that was recorded on an AIM, but each point is far apart, I spent all last night trying to figure out how to smooth the up/down axis of the control arms so I don't have a steep drop. Is there a function that will let me do this? or is it something that has to be done manually?

    Also, when I tried to use extrude, it was ok for the start along a straight, but as soon as I hit a corner the edges didn't pivot with the spline, is there a way to get the edges to do this?

  20.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #20
    Scott Juliano's Avatar ISI Staff

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    Quote Originally Posted by mianiak View Post
    Also, when I tried to use extrude, it was ok for the start along a straight, but as soon as I hit a corner the edges didn't pivot with the spline, is there a way to get the edges to do this?
    After you extrude the spline up by a set amount--say 10 meters for example, grab the upper perimeter edge (using edit poly) and then apply a "push" modifier. Adjust the push values so the track is as a wide as you need it (you'll use ffd's later on to tweak width, add camber, etc). With another edit poly grab the same perimeter you pushed over and move it down by the same amount you extruded it up. As long as you had "generate UV's" checked when you first extruded you should now have a standard track surface...

    After you have the basic camber, elevations, and width changes made, you can grab interiors edges and you "connect" to create subdivisions for crowns, bumps, whatever... It is a bit slower than lofting a cross section, but I prefer to attack the track in stages, and this method allows me finer control of each step. Just personal preference really....
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