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WIP Tsukuba Circuit 2012

Discussion in 'Racer Tracks' started by smr597, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Hello!
    Well since the old GPL conversion is to old and i am going to need a great track for my own simulation project. I Started modeling this track. I'm using google street view as a reference. Will be testing this track out on racer.
    The goal of this track is to be my first as good track as possible. So far i have been using 3ds max 2013 with splines and lofting. Here are the results:

    Any sugestions, tips on what i should concider using in 3ds max for better track modeling are also welcome!

    Try it out, http://sideways.dezine.net.ee/Tsukuba2012.rar

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  2. Looks good smr597 so far. I work with Blender so can't help with 3ds Max but can give a bit of info on skies. The sky protion needs to be a tga image with an alpha channel making the sky transparent so the sun will be visible. There are a lot of free textures on the internet, just use Google to find them.

    Will try what you have done so far.
  3. Nice work so far.

    Just a note on splines/lofting I fell foul of recently. If you use multiple profiles for the course for example, so you have a corner entry, corner apex, and corner exit profile, and you apply them as usual, the interpolation method is a smoothed type.

    So if you drop the inside apex to add camber the profile is actually like a best fit in out in curve between each pair of points, rather than a smoothed profile between ALL points.

    This means that you can end up with what is essentially a pinched dip on your apex, rather than a smooth blend to that new cross-section.

    The linear interpolation is much better because it smooths out these changes linearly between the same point on the next profile. That isn't ideal either but it's better by a big margin for tracks.

    The Max loft tool really is due an overhaul in my view. Axis management is really un-intuitive so you often loft a profile and it's twisted in it's long axis (so hard to spot till it's too late).
    There is probably good process to follow if you work out what it is (like always draw left to right in top viewport maybe?! or always reset x-form and set axis coords per object before any lofting begins, I've even had EACH vert in a loft path have it's own local axis haha!)
    I'm using 2010 and I'm sure the loft is still not very nice in 2011, maybe it's better in 2013 but probably not :(

    You can obviously avoid all these issues if you just loft to get the basic shape then start to dig in manually but then you really want to be sure the main shape is right to start with because changing it later gets harder.
    There are tools like smoothEdges by mariussilaghi.com which can help, you select a bunch of edges then press a button and a control curve is drawn to fit the edges which is then selected and you can control a whole curve with just a few control points. That is useful but again is fairly limited because if you have multiple track profiles (ie, lengthways edge strips) you start needing to select EACH one and then you are back to what feels like pulling verts rather than having a nice smooth control for the entire thing.

    I know this sounds silly, and I haven't tried it yet. I used patch grids loads back in the old days but kinda abandoned them. I've recently been modelling a high density model again and they just work so nicely. Not without their problems but they do generally work and give intuitive results. WYSIWYG.
    I'm very tempted to try them on a new track.

    Ooooorrr, I'd try look into some other program for lofting. I'm not sure how good Blender is for example.

    Max's lofting is really shoddy basically, imo. If it created a patch grid network from your inputs it'd be great, then when you edited profiles or corners the reference profiles and base spline were back updated etc, so it was a really intuitive to tweak but non-destructive process I'd be happy!
    The limited interpolation is also a bit crappy too, with linear working ok but not being ideal for a WHOLE track as there will be bits where you want the other type of interpolation (no way to mix them)

    Part of me thinks sometimes trying a sub-d track would be interesting, but then a big issue with that is that we can't set points to be intersected, they simply add a weight to the direction of our line, so you end up moving one thing for something else that was set to move off line. Grrrr (another thing I want to know the fix to, if there is one) Nurms work like that if you want em to.

    Ultimately there doesn't seem any nice ways to build tracks in Max that give you the power to have a load of control but also be easily able to leverage the initial track profile spline path and cross-sections to make changes late on in the process.

    At some point you have to dig in and at that point you want to be sure stuff is pretty damn accurate already to minimise adjustments later. It's possible just a royal pain in the ass to manage the loft once it's lofted basically.

    I'd be tempted to look at loft solutions in other apps too, or maybe even better loft plugins for Max... hmmm...

    Max is still good, just my 2p on it. Every track I make I fight with the bloody loft tool. I fought with it back in 1997, I still fight with it today :D

  4. Heh yeah Dave, youre right lofting is a pain in the ass, and if you need to redo some corner you basically need t odo it from start, ive allready remade the hairpin before the dunlop tirebridge. Wasnt a nice thing to do, but mostly terrain generation is the part thats causing more issues for me, at the moment I'm using road surface outer and inner borders to loft terrain elements, but i'm not sure if this is a good method, tho it seems to be the most accurate one at the moment.

    Never used nurbs, they seem stupid for me, but maybe im just to stupid myself to use them haha. Anyway yeah first the road layout must be as perfect/drivable as possible before any other updates are made, otherwise there are alot of reworking on the mesh witch is not so good for the overal workflow...
  5. Maybe lofts work ok, but you really probably have to be very tidy and methodical to make sure they react properly.

    Far too often I've been working with them and they just don't react nicely.

    Ie, if you do a sub-select of a cross-section path and rotate it, you can't undo the rotation. It's really horrible.

    That is why I try set up as many cross-sections as possible and then adjust rotation by actually modifying the properties of the cross-section instances. Ie, lay out the reference objects alongside your loft where they are used but all facing the same direction (so you are not rotating them out of world space coords)

    I think if you are organised they work ok it's just a royal pain.

    The general loft logic is really good though. In theory with the right tools accessing your loft reference data you could probably build most of a track this way right up to the export!

    NURBS is not so nice in Max either, I've never really got them. They are known to be not so great vs other apps nurbs like modo and rhino etc, even when they were first out they were better than Max's nurbs :D

    I can't tell from your pictures, but have you done the grass/terrain/armco with lofting too?

    In theory with enough cross-sections you can get all that into the loft using sub-object material references etc... it can get quite messy so that is why an almost separate layer with all the control instances and stuff in it is a good idea, then another layer with the final result in another... that way you can try manage the mess as much as possible.

    There will always be times when you have to dig in there to edit stuff manually :D

    Tsukuba is a good track to test on as it's fairly well enclosed and pretty short. I've made the mistake of doing a 7km long windy road course with lofts haha!

  6. Oh Dave, seems like you could write a little tutorial on this and it would be really useful, since ive really been using max for conversions and slight modifications mostly (well i have modeled and animated characters but im not a 3d artist). SO if you could explain this sort of a work flow with images it would be super cool, since I'm not that familliar with layers and stuff in 3ds max, I sometimes even forgot to use symmetry instead of mirror, witch leads to an unwelded mesh haha.

    Anyway thats just a request, if you have some time and willing to explain more on how you do things. Would help me alot, and others also.

    As for placing objects I'm planning to use Max's Tools\Align\Spacing tool. I think this should be a good tool for placing stuff along splines. Thinking about those porolon wall boxes that tsukuba has would be perfect example of using this tool.
  7. Tried your track and it looks good. one error - version=090 missing from track.ini file. I like your textures. and I note that there was another Tsukuba track posted on RD, it was a poorly done conversion though.

    I made a 10 km track with Blender accurate in location and elevation within 1 foot using topo maps for the "lofting" and location, I also made a tutorial about 6 years ago for making tracks with Blender which is a bit out of date and needs updating.

    Blender will do just about everything 3ds Max does and its FREE.

    Just my 2 cents.
  8. Heh Boomer, i did that conversion of the conversion, it was for 655 i converted it to 838, since i like the track and it was, as you sayd poorly done. I didnt get in to the whole conversion, just made it drivable and left it.

    About blender being free, well 3ds max student version is also free, but yeah i have both. If blender suits to making tracks better il take my time and try one there.

    Textures are placeholders so they are not mine, when i find it looking feeling good i'l make my own.
  9. Haven't given it a try yet, I might have a look tomorrow.
    I'm not a big fan of lofts in max, but then again these days I tend to stay away from them. For roads and the such I use sweep pretty much exclusively. I've never really needed the ability to change the profile of the road between corners and stuff.
    Plus, sweep is non-destructive, you get to keep all your curves and reuse them if needed.
    Thinking about this though it gives me an idea to try out. It'd give you complete control of the road surface and be basically non-destructive...hmmm...

    I was going to model Tsukuba a while ago but never got around to finishing it. Looks like a good start you have going, keep it up!
  10. Tsukuba is a great little track, fast laps and enough stuff going on to be an action packed minute or so of driving :D

    Easily manageable and great reference materials available if you hover around in photomode in GT5 :D

  11. Laying out a track in Blender is done with a bezier curve which allows for sharp angles, sweeping curves, lofting and banking the track. Blender can export, using Brent Burtons exporter, direct dof's to racer, No ase conversions needed. I don't know if 3ds Max can export dof's.

    It is a bit of a task to learn to use Blender but once learned it is fun to use to make changes easily.
  12. I graduated to blender after mucking around in zmodeler YEARS ago. Blender's great keeping in mind the fact that it's free - but I absolutely hated the UI.
    I know they've changed it since but now that I use Max every day it's pretty hard to turn back.

    Max also uses bezier curves and can export to dof's using the RTC (or whatever) plugin that Ruud's guys developed. Pros and cons but I'd much prefer it if it didn't rename everything.

    I know some1 developed a tool that also exports to dof but I recently found out that it won't export with smoothing groups/split meshes depending on SG's. Which I use very heavily in my workflow. I guess for track's it's not so much of an issue but for cars it certainly isn't ideal for me.
  13. I thought Some1's tool used SG's ok. Pretty sure I can export with SG's using it.

    For cars though it seems slow. I can go ase > modeller > dof faster than max > dof.

    But for tracks Some1's tool is great, total control.

    I don't get the whole split edge smoothing method, does the dof format actually split to get sharp edges? Pretty sure my unified meshes with sg carry the same very count into dof very count readout in modeller info readout and in racer itself. Hmmm.

    IMO RCT is great but it needs to move away from ANY destructive processes. Doing anything the author can't control or save is just a massive no no to efficient workflow.
    Ie splitting a max object with multisub mats is fine for tracks IF you want, but for cars it's bad. For dev work it's also slow going if your doing 'reload track' and checking the appearance and it's renaming/splitting your object to different names each time if you add a shrub to the object and introduce material splitting auto renaming of dof!
    Imo RCT needs to try do less for you but simply have many options and be very reliable.

    For tracks right now Some1's tool does everything for tracks I want mainly because it doesn't do anything I don't want it to. I can control and save every detail of my track in max rather than do costly timely post work in tracked that goes down the pan at every single export :(

    Ie set dof names, split for optimisation, add flags and lod. If suddenly I change one of my meshes for an lod model and add a multi-sub mat its a 5s job to change it. RCT method might be 30s or do as its name changing and splitting without asking, old tracked method might be 10min or more and complex hard work!

    Hmmm, I'm all for smaller helper tools/scripts as they let you be flexible and innovative with them. Right now I can get a track like Carlswood totally exported with new geometry.ini, splines and dof in about 20s.
    That's a 20 line max script file and some1's tool :)

    Will post a video soon as I think it's be helpful maybe :)

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