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A Rational Approach To.. Track Design

Discussion in 'Bob's Track Builder' started by Phil Blunt, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. It is, but it's very catered to the arcade user. 'How to make driving a track easier for beginners and/or arcade racers'. Imho, this has very little to nothing to do with simulation track design. The only main criterion there is how accurate a track is compared to the real one, not how easy or hard it is to drive. That's a *simulated* track, after all.

    (Fantasy tracks, though sometimes very nice, don't quite count since they're not sim tracks in the real sense of the word, of course.)
  2. I have to defend fantasy tracks a bit: we are running out of good real life tracks. It's not a conincidence that the most popular tracks that have stand the test of time are the legendary circuits, Spa, Monza, Brands Hatch etc. The reason they are popular is the track design and the legendary past. After those big name tracks we got the second set of real life tracks that are good like Brno, Paul Ricard. Then comes the national tracks that usually are shorter and not so exciting but enjoyable. And then we have the ones that haven't yet been made, the local tracks and boy... Those small local tracks rarely are worth to simulate unless you live near to it or have another personal reason to model them.

    So what are we suppose to do? Produce less and less raceable courses from obscure rubbish tracks or make new ones? Fantasy tracks can be very good, in some cases even better than real life tracks. Specially the ones where local council has affected the track layout, or poor contractor has messed up the foundations, cheeshhhhh...

    There are some oldies still that haven't been made or not converted to spesific sims. There's a lot of work to be done, also we are missing some layouts from different eras and the most modern F1 venues etc. But all these require lidar or very good GPS data to start with that aren't easy to get and when aqquired, are not shared with anyone (for obvious reasons, they are not easy to get).

    For some, the only possibility is fantasy track design and tutorials would be needed. Thius particular tut is for arcade, specifically for old school coin operated arcade racing but it has some fundamentals right. The balance between fast flow/twisty and slow, easy vs hard is there to think about, how to create some depth, overall feel, learning curve etc. And how to stop yourself from creating every corner excactly the way you like them as those tracks turn out to be extremely boring... In real life tracks they have thought about those things and they have had the opportunity to tweak it year after year. The trackbuilder then recreates the track and doesn't need to think about why some things are there, why is that runoff barrier shaped like that or why is that piece of rumble strip sligthly wider in last corner etc.

    That statement is not to diminish the skill, talent and passion of trackbuilders that concentrate for recreating reality. I'm just saying that fantasy tracks are here to stay and they will only increase in the future. I would like to put that track "ranking" to all time classics, national, fantasy and local tracks. Quality should follow the same steps, all time classics needs to have single branched of trees to be modelled (not really but that's the detail level required..), national tracks should be recognizable. Fantasy track detailing should be at medium level and those local tracks need just to be basic, maybe some special unique features.

  3. I'm sorry, but you *must* be joking Kennett :tongue:.


    Check out the list for Japan and France alone.

    Even if you weed out half the ones we wouldn't like, there's still plenty to choose from. In fact, even if trackmakers limited themselves to making 20 per cent of real life tracks that haven't been made yet, by the time they'd be finished there'd be several new RL tracks built.

    Now I'm not saying that there aren't any good fantasy tracks; some of them are very good, would be as good as real life, you'd immediately wish they'd build them IRL. Some fantasy track makers have real talent (just wasting it a bit, imho).
    But; that said... the real good ones, that's also the minority. Most of them, especially made in BTB, aren't, well, that special. And they're still just fantasy. In a simulator, that'll *never* have the same status as a real life track.
  4. Hello,
    I am a "only fictionnal track builder" and proud of it. I have less time to create sim track, so no choice for me, I have to avoid real track, too much work to be realist.
    But I agree, there's so much to do in much country, so many good tracks to discover.
    That's one of the reason I like BTB, easy and fast tool ;-)
  5. Agree, a lot of tracks we don't know about in Japan and elsewhere in Asia aren't build yet. I still think that maybe two dozen of them are actually any good but there's a lot of material. But. It's pretty much limited by geographical locations, try to do a track from Japan here in Europe.. And since sims don't seem to attract Japanese players or they are otherwise so separate from European communities that there's no hope of us ever getting them.

    So, maybe i should adjust the statement: we are running out of good real life tracks that we can actually build. Also the ones we got need a lot of work but as NOBODY will share their source projects, you can't get in touch with authors to get their approval etc. Those tracks will stay in the state they are in. I've tried, no hope... Those tracks that need the most work are out of reach for sunday builders. I do think that modeling the reality is the goal in sims as it is simulation.

    But the attitude that old school track builders and modders seem to share is that fantasy tracks are rubbish, they should not be made and most certainly don't deserve any more attention than as a niche, more toys than tools. And possibly are afraid that everyday simracer won't know the difference, thus rendering countless hours a moot.. I believe that they can and when they can't, then it's starting to be a real fantasy classic and the amount of work will also be at par with modelled tracks.
  6. There's a compromise to be made: Fantasy tracks based on reality. For example, my current track is based on an airfield perimeter road, and then I made a few layout changes to improve racing. It's not as big as Silverstone, but the basic shape is similar to the 80s version because they both go around 3 runways.

    Another option is to use country roads. Either way, the track has a feeling of legitimacy, and we can choose to do a 60s-style version, with no barriers, gravel traps etc, or a modern version with kerbs, white lines, pit buildings etc, or something in between.
  7. I agree with R Soul. Fantasy tracks are most good when they are based on real roads. Maybe you don't even have to call them fantasy, they are just virtual recreations of roads of certain location. I think that is great also because I personally prefer public road tracks over traditional racing circuits.

    I've made 2 published tracks so far, another being based on real roads and another pure fantasy. The public road track definitely has real substance in it while the pure fantasy track is more sort of an "test" and gimmick. I believe that simulation game needs real content, either real race tracks or real public roads. Fantasy tracks are more for arcade games where you don't have to care about realistic feel that much. And which I think almost all fantasy tracks lack of. It's because arcades is supposed to be fun and rather easy - that article in first post explains how they are designed. I never actually played any good fantasy tracks in any arcade racing game. Okay Stunts 4D Driving being exception :D

    There is endless number of awesome real tracks yet to be made, but it is really a challenge to make them because lack of reference material. You'd have to actually get there with video camera and still camera. Not many are able to do that unless they live next to certain track. That's why for example I am restricted to make semi fantasy or fantasy tracks, I use what I got best possible way. I made IMO good track of my hometowns public roads, which I will work further whenever I have time. I see its really worth it.

    Problem with many fantasy tracks (public road type) are that the actual road and layout is designed first, and then surroundings and terrain based on that. It never looks right because in real world that is done vice versa. I think it is possible of course make it feel really realistic and natural, but haven't yet seen that happen really...
  8. When it comes to sim-racing, what IS a fantasy track when it's all boiled down to it?
    Would Parramatta Park 1952 be one with it's modern ripple strip in one corner or modern deviation in another section be one due to it never being raced like that?
    Or a road thats an absolute hoot to drive in sim OR the real world yet never been raced on be one?
    For me,once it's not an 'arcade' game & into the land of proper simultor home PC gaming, my definition of a 'fantasy' track would be one thats great to drive no matter the road-side 'furniture' AND never existed anywhere before it was made besides on the inside of the track builders head.
    (Edit)Maybe we need to start defining a lot of tracks that fall in between pure fantasy ones & real life race track copies & then those as described above as 'Fictional' for a better definition of their own genre within the wider scope of sim-racing?
    As much as Im astounded by the awesome work that all you folks are capable of (*), either recreating from real life or seeing something on Google Earth & going,"That will be cool to drive & even more so if I do this....", what REALLY has me tipping my hat in 'Oh, wow-ed-ness' is those of you who DO build strait from the imagination a track that has that addictiveness for the drive itself in a realistic car.
    If a track doesn't have that 'hook' for me then it doesn't matter how accurate OR visually stunning it is- although that IS a cool thing too!
    IF it does have that 'hook' though, I couldn't really care if Im racing through Lava-land or a sea of green, so long as it doesn't distract from the drive....
    Anyway, Ive had my spray & thats my 2cents worth on the subject....
    I enjoyed the article although there wasn't really much in it that I hadn't read before appart from how the 'Arcade' designers 'dumb' it down to make near impossible cars work for the 'everyday' arcade punter.
    Thanks for sharing the link/article

    (*- Im absolutely bewildered how someone can 'knock out' a track from BTB that can be pretty damn good to drive before their 'free-period' is even finished besides the bloody awesome work all of you are capable of when I compare it to myself!
    (Over 12months & Im still yet to finish & release a proper work of my own!)
    I only got my first PC in '07 & came to sim-racing not long afterwards & I came to it due to being able to build tracks-namely, one track/piece of road that I desperately wish to race on but can't in real life & will never be made by any 'disc-in-a-box developer'.....
    I've since found a few more too!
    But here's to ALL you track & mod builders out there, in admiration- CHEERS & THANK YOU!)
  9. ?... Huh? I did a track from Japan, here in Europe. And it's fairly accurate if I do say so myself :tongue: (check out Hokkaido Speed Park - and then check out the onboard videos on Utube).

    Same thing for the American track I did (Vaca Valley Raceway). It can't replicate every little detail, but even despite never having been there (it's just an empty field anyway) and the track having disappeared since 1972, still managed to hammer it out after countless hours searching for every available picture & video.

    It can be done, you just gotta like digging into research :rolleyes:

    Agree with that as well, I prefer the real-road-based fantasy tracks. But they're fairly thin on the ground, I think, compared to the pure fantasy (quickie!) jobbies.

    See above... Not necessarily. You can go a looong way with studying onboard videos, Google Maps photos and pictures made by the people who *did* visit the real location, and made their recordings available.

    I'm currently making a real life American track (Beaverun) based on gps data by a chap who rode the track. After adding scenery, he noticed a guardrail that he thought wasn't there. Of course, it actually was ;) So we had a laugh about it, since I've never been to the real track and he's been there lots of times. It's just a matter of paying attention.
    So the main scenery is there because *other* people recorded it, even if I can't just go there myself. (Not that it will be a Com8-style superjob, of course, but I still strive to make it as real-life like as is possible for me. And that takes time - more time to slap together a fantasy track, imho, most of us can do that in a day or two. With RL tracks, it's a bit more difficult...)