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City Track: street detailing

Discussion in 'Bob's Track Builder' started by Alex Kyriak, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Ok, so I've created my Spa-alike track, my Suzuka-alike, my Nordschleife-alike, my Catalunya-alike, two Bahrain/desert-alikes, and even a Le Mans style endurance event-alike. I'm now onto city circuits. I've knocked up a nice little track inspired by Monaco, Long Beach, Surfer's Paradise, Singapore, etc.

    My question: does anyone have any tips on how to do the street markings convincingly? When you watch a circuit like Monaco, SP, LB, Albert Park, etc, one of the main things that really adds to the sense of speed (other than super close barriers, lamposts, and tight buildings) is the way the various street markings speed by the car, and do not follow actual circuit.

    How is the best way to do this in BTB? I know there is the Road XPack (very good it is too), but this doesn't really allow for driving across lines that aren't aligned to the track. I suspect the best way is to make a city grid/streets and texture it using the Road Xpack (or similar), then create a track on the city grid/streets, as opposed to making a track in the conventional sense of drawing all the curves using the track tool and adding markings afterwards.

    Anyone tried a city track? Any pointers or tips to share? Much appreciated :)
  2. I don't know if it is possible (never tried), but first model these all streets and markings and don't care about the actual racing line. Of course this will probably need a lot textures, roads, and walls. When it is done, now apply the actual circuit exactly at the same height with the city streets. After that, just remove all textures from that road so that it doesn't Z-flicker with the city street.

    I am thinking also making a city track, but I have to test this method first I think.
  3. You can just use that track as a temporary thing, hold ctrl when you move the points to snap the them to the street roads you have laid out, then you can use that track as a dummy guide for your aiw, once you export it you just remove the instance from the scn file. (you don't want to delete it from the project, just incase you need to edit it and fix anythign up)

    Then if you want to go a step further, you can weld all the joins from the roads together using simed and blender. You can export the track from BTB as .x, then import that to blender and fix up the joins, then break it apart into smaller sections and export from blender as 3ds. You will loose your shaders though, what you need to do then is use simed to convert them back to gmt. If you have any blending on the track you will also lose that. There is a way to use simed to weld the points together but I don't know how to do that.

    You can also import them back into btb using xpacker, but it is not the best way to go, they will be solid objects and you wont be able to adjust them, plus you will have a hard time lining them up. I think there is a way to make complex objects and set them so they are in a certain spot in btb, but I have never gone down that path and can't advise on it.

    1 more thing, try keep the amount of different textures you use to a minimum, each new texture creates a new material. The biggest thing that causes bad performance in rf is materials, the more you have the worse it will perform. Try to utilise the same texture over and over as much as possible. A trick you can do is join textures together, instead of having 2 1024x1024 textures, make them into 1 1024x2048 texture with 2 different images on them. Then if you have 4 different road textures, it drops the material count down to 2 instead of 4, which means you can do twice as much :D.

    The hard part is, this won't work well if you use the existing dds files in the road xpack. The dds files are already compressed, if you open them and edit them, then re-save them, they will loose quality. You would be best to make new textures from scratch.
    Here is a good place to get road textures from http://www.cgtextures.com/textures.php?t=browse&q=350
    Then you will need to make the texture seamless. http://www.cokane.com/textures_tutorial.html
  4. Do you have tutorial or something of how to make texture atlas to use it in BTB?
  5. I have always just used the + button in the material editor to duplicate an existing material then added new textures and such that way. I think having an xpack full of textures is a bit too much, it makes the project folder really big cause it copies the whole xpack over, but you will never use that many textures in your track, so doing them one by one is more practical. In the end, your doing the same thing as you would if you were making an xpack, so it doesn't take any extra time.

    But if you wanted to make an xpack of textures, then you just add them into an xpack.
    Open xpacker, create new xpack, go to the materials tab, down the bottom left, click 'Add from textures', select your texture, select the shader (diffuse, bump, spec, etc) add extra maps, adjust the material names and tweak the other values, save. Then File>zip to btb.
  6. This is also how I do it, makes editing textures much more faster because they are located in their own folder. But what I meant was that is there some trick how to import texture file that consists two different textures? Is it worked via offset and scale tools in BTB to choose which texture of the two-texture file to use?
  7. Ahh, what you will have to do is remap it once you have put it in the project. You would have to have separate roads to do this as you can't remap the same road differently. But it's not a big job, you just have to remap one axis to 50% or 0.5 how ever it goes. You don't want to do anything in xpacker or the material editor, cause the only thing you can do there is make 2 separate materials and that would defeat the purpose.

    @martinez, http://3rdgearmotorsports.com/image...' - www_cokane_com_textures_tutorial_html.jpg
  8. Are you sure? I recently edited a track a friend made that was getting around 30fps, I removed a lot of unneeded materials and from just doing that, it went up to 120fps. A lot of those mat's were just simple t1 mats with no fancy shaders.

    I'm going by what Scott Juliano posted in the ISI forums when he warned track makers about keeping the material count down.

    When I had reverse engineered professionally built tracks in my learning days, one thing that caught my eye was how roads were mapped out in some games, the base texture was nothing special, just a single grey colour with a white line on it. That tex was then mapped to the roads, the road surface mapped onto the grey colour and the road lines were separate poly's mapped onto the white line (which also works to reduce aliasing), then the road surface was brought out using specular and normal mapping. But basically, an entire town had one material for the entire roads all mapped out this way, they also used vertex shading to change the tone of the road.
    Ingenious if you ask me. Especially if you have a really really big map.
  9. @Ehrlec and Mianiak - thanks :) Very interesting! Redfield plugins work with PS2.

    @Johannes - I used horizontal texture atlases for roads containing 4 parts, then with scalling 0,25 and offets 0%, 25% 50% and 75%, also with flipping horizontally and vertically they worked perfect. My RBR stage Rally Poland Shakedown was made this way. I reduced then number of textures/materials by 4. I used two textures for roads (8 pieces, including smooth surface transitions) and 3 textures for roadsides (12 pieces), also on another small atlas i put 3 types of tyre marks and one "water" (this was for walls and the texture had an alpha channel - DTX3 texture). So, I managed to use just 5 materials instead of 20 - a big deal, wasn't it? ;) Additional texture was grass for the rest of terrain. I could not use BTB blending, because original RBR format did not accept it (I'm on my way to convert the track soon, I hope).

    For rF, i think it's very good thing that meshes can use multimaterial and blending. With new BTB features, tracks can be even better :)

    It works better for RBR since there is Material Editor which allows to paint any surface physics - anyway this can work also for rF, but in this case you have to use the same type of surfaces on atlas - for example 4 pictures of tarmac on one texture. Then you add "roada" as physics to this.
  10. @Martinez yw :thumb:

    @Ehrlec, That track is still under development and is not available at this time. At any rate, it's not my track so I wouldn't be able to give you a modified version anyway. My system is quite capable of dealing with all this and I really don't want to get into a mass debate about it, nor do I want to hijack someone else's thread, I was just curious with what you said about materials when everyone else says use as less mat's as possible.

    Thanks for the tip on those ps plugins btw, it will be able to save me heaps of time, cheers!
  11. Thanks all for the responses. I have no problem with the thread becoming hijacked! Its what this forum is for. Am currently away - am typing this on a beach on holiday, it's a hard life, but I miss you lot - but have been sketching out on paper how I think i will make this city circuit (no btb, what can I do?!). I will use several sections of open ended track. The blends will be the most tricky I think. I have had to sketch a fictitious city around a sketch of the "traditional" track layout I did before I left so as to be able to give some sense of realism and plausibility to the environment but also to let me work out which bit of track should be made from what sort of road - highway, normal road, car park, park road, etc. I will have to pay more attention the environment outside the track also than I might normally do for one of my normal purpose built circuits. I'll also need some more boat models if anyone has some! Anyway, paper is better than no btb, it's actually quite therapeutic!
  12. I recently made a couple of lo-poly boats, one sail boat with two variations (baltic 50) and one motoryacht. I'll send you the packs later tonight.
  13. Thanks Kennet I appreciate that. The thing I think will be tricky (other than the smooth blends between tracks), which Mianiak has already touched upon, is the aiw. If I go through the ISI aiw editor, which i got to grips with recently,I will have to control the drivable track widths manually, as last time it hunted out all my surfaces with roada textures and set the width to these automatically.

    On a separate note, I once went to Monte Carlo, when there was no gp on, and it was interesting to see how the track made it's way through town. Some parts were initially quite hard to recognise in their day to day configuration. Has anyone been to Valencia? It looks from tv as if the track surface is dedicated 'race spec' asphalt, as opposed to monte carlo which for much of it literally is the city street with all the cambers and manholes etc
  14. Make a copy of all the terrain and roads etc and replace areas you want as non drivable (by AI) as a non road material, like grass. Then when you do your AIW, it won't set those areas as drivable, once it's done, put the original mesh back without the grass material.
  15. Alternatively you can put walls marking the edges of the track width before you do the corridors, then remove them when the corridors are done.
  16. Quick update: Have now transferred the layout from the master track to a series of multiple open ended tracks (with much track layout tweaking along the way...). This includes all height changes.

    Next step is to make the joins between individual tracks more smooth.... no easy task. Then it's cross sections, for real life road cambers.

    Then its adding the individual walls and barriers - I currently have two copies of the master track with the cross sections in the vertical - an easy (if lazy) walls technique which made it much faster to get the flow and feel right of the circuit.

    Then it's some custom textures for road signs and markings (currently using the excellent Ennis Fargis Road xpack in the meantime).

    Then it'll be the objects, buildings, boats, etc. If anyone has boat models they're willing to share would be very interested.
  17. what kind of boat(s) ?
  18. Hi p00se2, am after a range of models, the sort of boats you'd see in a Marina at Monaco or Abu dhabi. Yachts, luxury cruisers, etc. Alternatively I could use images of boats as a texture background surface instead of loading the track model with lots of additional polygons. I think I've seen that technique used before. I could use one or two boat models in front of a texture surface giving the impression of many boats but with hopefully a lower hit on the track performance. Would definitely need to use alpha channels on this one.
  19. Kyle Puttifer

    Kyle Puttifer
    @ Simberia @Simberia

    Smallest to largest: Small dinghy, yacht, luxury cruiser, planet, star, galaxy, universe, Vijay Mallya's boat. :tongue: