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Raven 2.0?

Discussion in 'Racer Physics and Technical' started by Harey, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. Ok it may just be a working title, and it currently uses the icon and no preview images from the original. But as my semester is winding down, I feel as though I've learned plenty about Visual Basic, and decided to make another little program for Racer. For those that remember Raven was known for being able to not just select your vehicle, but also your options, and the track. You could also display time related things with it.

    the version I'm making, while calling it 2.0, does lack a lot of features that the original had, though they may come in at a later date. At this point it is a work in progress, and is not fully functioning. I wanted to gauge response, and have input on what features others may want this program.

    Right now you can select your car, paint color, engine/transmission options, and other options (body mods, wheels, etc), as well as the track you want, view or clear the Qlog. I also made it so you don't have to use just "raven_variants" anymore, now you can also use "variants" or "options" if you want (all 3 will work). I also separated the vehicle preview, and the options previews.

    Currently the program is more or less just does what you see in the picture below, it does not Start Racer, nor does it move any files around, but it does clear the Qlog, and it does actually view the car or track folder.

    I used my old Caravan as a tester for this thing.
  2. [​IMG]
    It may not look it, but I've done quite a bit to the program now, only things that don't work is, it won't select the car or track in game, and it won't start Racer. It also now goes off of the old variant.ini for naming the variants, car.ini's name field for the car, and the tracki.ini's name field for the track.

    Still trying to figure out how to get Racer to run from Raven though.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Hi, to make your raven run racer, is not it with something like a fork?

    The idea is nice, even if I would prefer more advanced options for car's configuration , exemple, body A not aviable with engine Y etc (and the best will to be able to edit the car in racer).

    I would like to change my java program to C++, because I feel my java is too slow :(
  4. I remember there was a way, but at least every bit of code I've found for Visual Basic, just pops the program up, creates some Error messages, and kills it.

    Yeah that is the only issue with a general-ized car configurator, though you could just use the Other setting, and have your body A car only available with engine A. I simply give you the tools for configuring your car, its up to you as to how they are used.
  5. I've been using Raven exclusively as my Racer front end for a decade now, since Racer's menu is still lacking in functionality even compared to Oliver's old gem. So, to see you having a go at an update is great, Harey.

    Thinking about how I personally use Raven, there are aspects of it that I would consider essential and others I could do without, of course. As practical feedback for your development choices, I'll list a few thoughts that came up.

    Apart from the basic "Start Racer", "Save options" and "Reload cars & tracks" interactions, "View QLOG" with its colour coded highlighting and cleanup option is an immensely handy feature that gets a lot of mileage from me.

    On the other hand, I don't use the telemetry features at all.

    Vehicle and track selection with previews is obviously the meat of the application, though setting up (multiple/different) AI vehicles and race events is nice to have during development work, too, and it would be great to have them included in the future.

    When I want to have a round of multiplayer, I really appreciate the ability to toggle Racer's main menu temporarily on (under the miscellaneous options), which I normally keep turned off otherwise since it's only adding to loading time and requires an extra click to get the free drive started.

    Display settings or in fact most other racer.ini parameters are not something that I would adjust through Raven. Racer.ini is changing with nearly every beta release, so it would be extra work to keep Raven 2.0 fully compatible. Also, people might run into issues if Raven 2.0 and their particular Racer version don't match up.

    Laptime storing and viewing can be nice. Unfortunately, we don't have any hotlap competitions or similar anymore, but it can still be useful now and then. A few additional features such as displaying multiple graphs, mouse-over info boxes with things like sector times or similar could be neat, but certainly not a priority in my opinion.

    Raven variants are an interesting topic: On the one hand, Racer is still missing support for basic functionalities such as vehicle liveries/options and this pretty much makes Raven variants a requirement. On the other hand, we content creators have taken it up to create tools that enable the management of relatively complex user-made selections, often with more efficient handling of the setting changes (editing specific lines in car.shd versus copying a bunch of texture files from sub to main folders, for example). Keeping Raven variants alive is a good thing, if not simply for compatibility, but it would be really nice to see support for other solutions as well. Now, since there are a number of different approaches (.bat, Java, as well as Flash based .exe...), perhaps it would be possible to have Raven 2.0 look for matching file types in the car folder and present them in a drop down list or such, allowing the user to execute them from within its interface, opening in a new window like what you seem to have going with the enhanced variants structure already.
  6. One of my drop down menus will let you view or clear the Qlog, though it just opens it in your default application, but I'll look into opening it in its own window for editing with color coding. Also in that drop down menu there is a clear option.
    Just to give you an idea of the menus with Raven currently.

    And my main focus was on setting variants for cars, which right now the original raven_variants folder can have 2 different names, though this may change in the future. And setting the menu on/off in Racer could be done, didn't think of that even. You're idea of running a possibly provided file, I didn't even think of (as most of my cars do not have that), but this could would I think. Shouldn't be more than just some If..Else statements more or less to make it work.

    Laptimes, Not sure how to capture that kind of data, but I'll look into it once I have Raven functioning completely.
  7. Ok now that my finals are done I can devote more time to this program, though before my finals even started I had this program in this form already.
    I'm considering it a 0.01a release as there are some known (minor) issues
    • After clearing your Qlog, trying to view the blank Qlog will result in an error (but it will still display the viewer)
    • Currently the Options can be run through an external .bat file, Java files are acting a little strange currently though, and external .exe files for options are not currently supported
    • if you put the .exe anywhere other than the main Racer folder it will not start Racer (but any other function will work properly, this has to do with the commands for starting Racer, will eventually fix this)
    Install is quick, and simple. Drag the Raven 2.exe to your Racer main folder, double click to open and select your location (again this has to do with Raven 2 eventually being able to be run in its own folder). My suggestion is to create a shortcut on your desktop for easy starting.

    All previously released cars that supported Raven are supported in this version (if there is an issue contact me). to use the new options menus, in your car folder create a "engine_variant" or "other_variant" folder. You can also now use "paint_variant" or "color_variant" instead of just "raven_variant". Putting a variant.ini in each varaint folder is suggested (proper syntax can be found in the readme.txt, or in old cars that supported Raven).

    Things currently missing is the checkbox for displaying the menu on or off (the code is there, its just not working currently). And the Qlog Viewer window doesn't have color coded text (but the window is resizable).

    Any bugs you find, contact me. And I'll look into / resolve them. And anything else I missed can probably be found by reading the readme.txt included in the .rar file.

    Download 0.01a: http://1drv.ms/1Ikns2R
    (credits: Silver for the icon and no preview picture)
  8. Ohhh thanks for updating. I love Raven too, and use it all the time!

    Just wondering, did someone once make an AI editing tool?

    It'd be great to have a top down view of the splines, and then a top down view of the AI lines along the splines, with another side on profile window with the speeds.
    I swear someone made one, and maybe was it even part of Raven at one point?!


  9. Dave,
    I have ver 1.7.4 and ver 1.7.5 of an aieditor. Will have to zip it up and remember how to post a link.
    It is quite time consuming to implement, but does work quite well. Don't remember who made it.
  10. Alexander Knoll

    Alexander Knoll

  11. Hi Boomer, that sounds cool.

    Anything visual that I can just edit AI with. Having to record smooth AI lines is nearly impossible, because to go fast to get the fast line, you are on the ragged edge, and then any mistakes mean wobbly lines.

  12. Thanks Boomer, I'll give it a try next week and report back if it did the trick or not :D

  13. Geez Dave nothing like sending my thread OT :roflmao:

    I've been trying to get the menu display option in Raven to work, it works to a degree right now, except for the part where it changes the value in the racer.ini... so basically it doesn't work lol.
  14. Do you remember that UI thingy I did for the Gallardo configuration tool?

    It'd be cool if while you're messing with Raven, you perhaps build in a system whereby we can configure cars like that...
    Think the rFactor system/ini.exe system (as used in the Gallardo), combined with nice graphics?!

    Raven variants were ok, but quite heavy on memory and didn't leave any option for multiple configs of multiple parts without really heavy duty raven variant sub-folders... and despite all that the cars still didn't work so nicely in multiplayer, ie, it still wasn't as good as entirely unique car folders per car variant so you'd see the other player had chosen the other colour car etc.


  15. I don't remember that but I had the car on my hdd so I looked it, and it looks nice, but (at least to my knowledge) to get something like that would require more work on the side of the car creators.

    I will admit, it can be heavy on the memory side (some cars already have that problem naturally). In theory at least you could code an entire program that works on a specific car and when you want a different color, or change the trans, it just changes that values to what is preset in the program. But I think you can figure out the issue with that one for most people lol. At least with my improvements you can just set your engine/trans, paint, and accessories without having to jump in and out, or move files around manually, or choose from a list of 50 of the same car each with different settings.

    See the problem with have an entirely unique car in a different color is you're wasting a lot more memory just to see someone in a different color car. It would be nice to somehow make each car in multiplayer unique without having the car copied 50 times with just different colors. So unless things change IN Racer, there's no real good way to do what we want it seems lol.
  16. Yep, having a single car folder with unique choices would be great.

    I kinda employed that approach with the Lambo Gallardo update, since it uses nested variables/options which are simply swapped.

    It is in essence going down the route of what rFactor does really.

    The config tool for the Gallardo was pretty basic really.

    I suppose you can make them yourself if you want, but a simple framework would be fairly nice to have, eventually, maybe :D

  17. The tool for the Gallardo is nice, but I'm not sure on the ease of making something that would work globally, even if all the cars were made the same way by the same people (which obviously is not happening lol). But I don't have much (if any) experience with Flash. I still think it would just be better for something to change in Racer.

    My thought was kinda simple really, the body texture is in white and you have an ini that defines the color names, as well as the RGB values, and you define the shader material that it'll change the color on. Obviously cars that you don't want the color to change on you define a single color in that ini as whatever you want the color name as. Then in Racer you just have a drop down menu on the car select screen for the colors.