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tracked ASE to DOF texture missing?

Discussion in 'Racer Problems & Fixes' started by Sneer, May 30, 2013.

  1. I'm using tracked to convert ASE to DOF, unlikely all textures are missing (after importing the DOF-Objects into tracked). I've tried tga and dds, but there's only a pink-blueish surface without textures shown in tracked and ingame, aswell.

    The ticked Exportsetting are:
    - Mesh Definition
    - Materials
    - Meshnormals
    - Mapping Coordinates
    - Geometric

    Is there something else I'm missing?
  2. Yes, in fact, you are.

    The dof file format exports geometry and its properties. The textures you used for the objects will need to be defined in a separate file, for tracks, this is track.shd. In this file you can define shaders and create materials which use those shaders. This is automated to a certain extent by hitting the Make track_template.shd button in TrackEd. This will automatically generate a list of all the materials in your scene with the appropriate textures already filled in. The only thing left to do is supply the custom shader definitions you like to use and alter the materials you want to use them with.

    Examples can found in other tracks, but a better place to learn more about this process is the page on racer.nl:
  3. Thank you William! It's working now, I've created the track_template.shd, but I did'nt renamed it to track.shd. Sorry, I've played Racer for the 1st time today and I need to get used to the basics.
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  4. Got stuck again. May somebody can help me without opening a new thread?
    I've added a spline in TrackED, but there's no noticeable smoothing in game.
    TrackED saved this (1st lines of spline.ini):
    I've tried:
    Still no smoothing. What part am I missing: http://www.racer.nl/reference/tracks_spline.htm ?
  5. If your track is very bumpy to begin with, it will always be bumpy ingame, just a little less. You could try to use less splines, skip every other edge for example, to help smoothing out the bumps a bit but generally you want a smooth surface to start with.
  6. Edit: Actually you are right! Too many subdivision messing with tracked splines. :)
    Thanks again.

    Attached Files:

  7. I'm still tinkering with the splinetool without much luck.
    The car drives on the mesh-surface as soon as I'm going under 5m distance of the subdivision (trackedges in length). Only a very lowpoly trackmesh gives me a smooth result (which looks pretty ugly in visual).
    Are these spline-properties in trackEd tweakable? (see "?" in screenshot)
  8. Stereo

    Premium Member

    Once you have the spline.ini saved, you can change the track mesh - it doesn't refer to the mesh beyond Tracked's use of the mesh to quickly pick out the cross sections. I'm not sure why there's a limit on how close splines can get before it goes to the mesh, though.
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  9. I always use a separate mesh to generate the spline from, so you can purpose build and optimize that one to suit your needs, while keeping your visual mesh entirely intact.
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  10. Yeah it seems better to make a separate mesh for the splines.

    Remember splines don't just control driving surfaces, you can also use the visual mesh to drive on and use splines for the AI etc...

    AI in particular seems to have varying quality with different quad density, I've had AI learning and driving really really well with a spline mesh tweaked to fit my needs!

    I'm still trying to figure out an elegant way to get a 'messy' mesh from Max to a spline.ini file. I'm almost there. The main problems are you can often not build a mesh for your splines from fresh, so the vert ordering isn't always something you can just loop through and store the coords.

    So a weird combo of array saving and selection expansion then last array removal etc to get a looping selection seems the way to go hehe.

    That way you can just build up a mesh from existing road surface, cut into it, scale it, reduce density or introduce extra density and the vert ordering is irrelevant.

    The main bugbear for me is the editing geometry.ini file to show only your special spline model. It'd be really nice if trackEd could scan for spline.dof (for example) and if it finds one then when you go to spline mode it'll just load it and hide everything else.

    No need to touch geometry.ini etc, and a really nice fast process that would be intuitive for newbies and also save heavy users a notepad++ editing nightmare swapping between geometry.ini files etc :)

    • Like Like x 1
  11. Some things can be so simple it is easy to overlook them.
    When working on a track I always have 2 geomtry.ini files which I use. One is just all of the available geometry, the other one just the spline. I just rename the spline_geometry.ini to geometry.ini and rename the actual geometry.ini to _geometry.ini. Usually it's also a matter of workflow. When you're still working on the spline, I wouldn't bother with all the rest too much yet.

    To make sure you only get your spline geometry imported, when in trackEd and you choose Import DOF, do this:
    This one, trackEd doesn't care which material is on there or what the *.dof name is, it is only interested in the exact letters between the asterixes (asterixée? :p )

    Don't get me wrong, but sometimes I get the idea you guys are making things more complicated than it really needs to be :)

    You never physically drive on the spline. You always drive on the visual mesh, when the wheels see that they are on the spline, the spline dictates how much smoothing is carried over to the wheels to negate edges in the visual mesh to counter 'steps' for example. (Ruud can explain this better and verify I'm correct here)
  12. I'm driving around in thin air right now on splines... I'm pretty sure the visual mesh is avoided in the presence of splines (not sure exactly how it detects it, Ruud can probably explain better :) )

    That is unless you use 'use mesh hits' of course... but even still if the mesh disappears then the car will continue on splines.
    The joys of being able to author splines easily in Max and independently of geometry in trackEd allows me to test this in seconds hehe ;)

    Yep, you can just have a geometry.ini renamed and so on, but it's a hassle if you are going back and forth a lot...

    Maybe you are trying to get a corner feeling right, but each time you change a few corners you have to rebuild the spline file from scratch to try it out, because it's really slow work trying to edit existing splines... impossible to go in and add a new interval or remove one without a full rebuild.

    It can drag hours out of a day of tinkering with refining corners etc, just going through holding A down for a few minutes each time, renaming files etc.

    I agree that trackEd has it's strengths, and for the workflow that is employed by you guys it is fast and efficient.

    But as soon as you deviate from that, ie, you want to go back and change something, then there is a LOT of work that has to be re-done despite changes only perhaps impacting a small amount of the track.

    That is where it becomes a struggle, and for those who are not making tracks all the time, or can just play around with ideas etc, they may tend to be more flippant and creative and change their mind a lot (me especially haha :) ) and so that time cost to make small changes adds up and before you know it you've spent two of your four hours of your time at the weekend spent tinkering with a track in Racer just doing exporting via trackEd :)

    I don't believe it's making things more complicated than they should be, it's making better tools that give authors the freedom to work how they want to because you work in a non-destructive workflow (ie, everything is saved in Max that is important... well that is the goal anyway)

    That is valuable to begin with, but for people doing stuff in their free time then it's even more precious I think :)

  13. You are driving on the mesh stored in your trackcollision.bin if I'm correct ;)

    Building a spline from scratch, convert the mesh, select the first two verts, shift+a and it automatically finds everything. When it doesn't automatically loop to the end, that alone is a good indication your spline has some issues.

    I'm working the same at the office or at home, no change in hassle. It's just at home I have less time, but it really should not take you longer than one minute to export a new spline and drive it ingame. If that is too much time spent, well.. :p

    Just double checked, and yes you are driving on the spline indeed, I misunderstood the explanation before :) The visual mesh is only checked for surface properties. I stand corrected :)
  14. I'm running my AI car here with the "wireframephys on" and "show splines" and the physics mesh clearly ends, and the car keeps driving along the splines happily.
    Obviously I can go for a spin on them too, it's not just limited to AI.
    Using mesh hits is set to 0 too.

    I actually think it's a useful feature for whatever reason you might want to use it, say a jump on a track which the AI might not like, it can with a spline across it in mid air hehe :)

    Thing is 'convert the mesh' is what, a few minutes. Select, export to ASE in Max, find location, export.
    Load modeller, nav to the folder if it's different to last thing you worked on, load ASE, export to DOF, check folder is the same as you need, navigate across if not. Hit export.

    Rename geometry.ini to geometry_main.ini, copy geometry_spline.ini to geometry.ini, delete spline.ini, load tracked, load track, find starting spline point (hard usually because nothing else is loaded haha, more so if you use decals for the start/finish markings, or it's arbritrary)
    Sit holding two buttons for a minute or so.
    Save track.
    Delete geometry_spline.ini, rename geometry_main.ini to geometry.ini.

    Or press a button in Max.

    I do get what you mean but all these slightly long processes on track building do add up and eventually you are finding 10% of your time on a hobby project might be spent just doing stuff in trackEd.
    After a few weekends of doing the flags again and splines again you start wondering why you don't just store all that data/info in 3DS Max and never have to set it again :D

    I'll happily work either way but for most stuff I like the completely non-linear non-destructive nature of throwing all the stuff directly to Racer from Max :D

  15. Yes you were right about the spline :)

    No need for modeller in there at all, Tracked has the AUTO- ASE to DOF button,allow for a double edge in the spline at start finish and you know where to start. Again when writing that down it already looks like much more effort than it really is. I'm also sure that whenever you edit your max spline, the vertex numbering gets screwed up, so you'd have to re-sort the vertex numbering again, or you'll have one total mess when re-importing the new spline (like using a blendshap/morphtarget where the vertex numbers have been messed up).

    I know how cool it would be to describe what you want, considering I use that every day as well at home, the ISI gMotor tools are exactly that. Only thing is, changing the track and having to redo all the freaking AIW lines is a total pain in the behind. I prefer the racer approach in that case :)
  16. Sorry just to be clear, the vert ordering is the thing I'm currently fixing so the spline can be a 'messy' mesh with random vert indexes and export ok from 3DS Max.

    The current logic is to select the edge you want as the start spline, select the trackside edge for the direction, then press the button and it'll use that selection and recursively run around like that :D

    Right now it indeed does have to be a 'nice' mesh and just uses nicely oredered vert indexes but I'm almost there with making it automagically do a messy mesh :)

    Once the spline one is out of the way I want to make one that will fill special.ini haha... lets see how hard that becomes ;) :D

  17. Thanks for the tips, two meshs are working well together (much better than I thought).

    Maybe I've not yet progressed that fare, but exporting the trackpath seperately for AI and smooth trackgeometry is no big deal (for clean lofts). I'm rather concerned updating the sciptfiles after each change in 3dsmax (specially if it's getting more complex).
    Anyway, I'm still surprised at how intuitiv TrackED is.
  18. "How hard can it be.." ;)
  19. One more simple unsolveable problem here :)
    I've added some billboards onto walls. Now I've got some flickering.
    I found the shaderlist and tried:
    But sort_offset=0 or 1,2,3,...1500 doesn't fix the flickering.
  20. Stereo

    Premium Member

    If you use 'depthwrite=0' in the shader that also helps them get drawn after the walls.