Reiza Studios Interviews: Nick Ovey

Discussion in 'Stock Car Extreme' started by Patrick Giranthon, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Patrick Giranthon

    Patrick Giranthon

    To celebrate the next release of Formula trucks, here is a new interview of a Reiza's member.
    You can also take a look to my previous interview of Nils et Renato.

    Nick, it is your turn ;) :

    1- Hi Nick. You are in charge of the 3D modelling for Reiza. Many members of Reiza have started their work with rFactor. What about you?

    I didn't start with rFactor, but rFactor did mark the beginning of using somewhat more professional
    tools and methods. My most well known work is probably the CART Factor mod for rF, but I actually started on this path modding Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix series of games, starting with a few (really bad) 256-colour car skins for GP2 and collected car sets for my friends.

    From there, GP3 was a revelation with 16-million colour, hardware-accelerated graphics and higher polygon models. Eventually I got into editing the shapes of the cars, which was my first taste of "3D modelling" (in the loosest sense) where I really began to think about car shapes and proportions.

    With GP4 came proper 3D editing, as it eventually allowed for the export of completely custom art export. I created a whole bunch of cars over the years, and then came rFactor. This (at the time) revolutionary platform, designed to put creative control in the hands of the user. Some sporadic pro work and the creation of CART Factor fitted around my studies eventually led to a career. It's been a long road but very worth it!

    2 - Making a 3D model doesn't seem really easy. Can you explain us what is the process used? I think photos is a good start for you, right?

    It isn't easy but neither is it the most difficult thing in the world, though having years of experience at this point helps. I like to think that my background in engineering is also a big help as it gives me a working knowledge of real car design, as well as aspects of project management which aids in plotting out timeframes and milestones and all that boring but essential stuff!

    The starting point for a car model depends entirely upon what references/data you have access to. Normally I'll either set up blueprints/photos matched to their real dimensions (be they supplied, well known or calculated from reading technical regulations) and either model to that or build a 3D blueprint using splines, depending on the complexity of the vehicle and the time restraints. That's the "standard" approach if I don't have a CAD model or scan data to work with, in which case the process is a little different, but I don't want to give too much away there!

    No matter what though - I look at a LOT of photos of racing cars, and I'm always saving detail photos from the web, or taking photos up close when I have the chance. Anything that helps me visualise things better gets dumped in a folder for inspiration. It's not a bad life!

    3 - Among all the cars cars you have done for GSC, what is your preferred one and why?

    I like to think that I never stop learning, and I'm continually refining my methods. As such the latest car (in this case the Mini) is always the "best" one, though I do have a soft spot for the Stocks, particularly the interiors. I also owned and restored a classic Mini in my teens, so any kind of Mini I have a fondness for. Having said that I'm also partial to a v8 muscle car, or Grand Prix cars. We've been fortunate to do quite a variety of vehicles in GSC, even if the overall number isn't as high as some other sims.

    4 - When you create a 3D model, are there things more difficult than others or is it only a question of patience?

    Patience is required, that's for sure! Even now occasionally I can still get stuck and have to think harder than I'd care to admit to come up with a solution to modelling a certain part. It's normally some small part of bodywork that you just can't quite get the mesh to flow correctly on... at that point you step away from the keyboard and go for a walk or something. Usually by the time you get back to it you've figured it out without realising it!

    5 - Is your your job connected with other persons? I can imagine that you don't need specific infos from Alex, but perhaps you need Niels physics before starting to create a car?

    Generally there isn't a huge amount of overlap as we start with the same data - the parts of physics development that effect the vehicle graphics tend to be nailed down pretty early. That's things like the wheelbase, track width, wheel/tyre dimensions etc. From that point we can work fairly autonomously.

    Usually we'll have some kind of placeholder model ingame quite early on in the process to allow for non-graphical development to continue while the "final" vehicle art is put together.

    6 - Some persons of Reiza would like to have more resources for the future. What about this? Did you have real limitations during GSC?

    Well, no matter how much time is available I'd always rather have more! We always strive to do the best given the resources we have, whether it's purely working from photos or utilising manufacturer-supplied CAD data or a laser/digital scan. Hopefully our simracers ultimately won't be able to tell the difference in the final product, but certain things (like CAD) can certainly streamline the internal development process.

    7 - Everything can be modelled. Have you done others things like planes or buildings? Professional work or hobby?

    I've done some environment modelling work in the past, including a huge pit complex, garage interiors, bridges etc. Pretty much everything I've done has been motorsport-related though, I'm very fortunate that something I enjoyed immensely as a hobby for a number of years has become my profession.

    8 - I let you dream 5 minutes. What kind of project appears in your mind?

    Five minutes is a long time to dream! I'm never short of ideas, unfortunately it's not always feasible
    to try and turn them into a reality. There are a bunch of things I'd love to do one day, I think a
    Dakar-style off-road sim would be a lot of fun, as would anything involving endurance sportscar/GT racing, and historic Grand Prix cars. I could go on for hours...

    9 - No doubt you are a good modeller. But are you a good driver?

    Haha. Occasionally I'll have a good race. Most of my driving time these days is limited to short runs
    with a gamepad doing bug testing, so whenever I get behind an actual wheel to attempt some proper sim racing I'm rather rusty. And not terribly easy on tyres.. or brakes, for that matter. I think I'm a rather better driver in real life than in the digital domain!

    10 - Thank you Nick. A final word?

    Thanks Patrick, a pleasure. I'd just like to thank everybody that's enjoyed, raced and supported GSC and hope it'll continue with Formula Truck and our future projects.
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