Building My First Track - Help/Comments Please

Discussion in 'Track Modding' started by Alan Frost, May 7, 2012.

  1. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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    I have spent the last few weeks still finding my around max and trying different methods.

    I've started my circuit 4 times using various techniques. None of which have quite worked out.

    Yesterday I started from the beginning and decided to try the loft technique.

    I drew my centre line using a smooth/smooth line. Normalised the spline to 10m.

    Then used the Glue plug in to attach it to my terrain. I then carefully refined the elevations so it all looked flowing.

    Then detached segments for straights and corners and bends so I was left with about 20 separate splines. I then normalised each spline. 4m for straights. 2.5m for gentle bends. 1.5m for tight bends.

    I again carefully checked it all.

    Then attached everything back into one spline and welded all the verticies.

    I drew a 10m cross section line, and lofted the main spline.

    And now the problem!

    Whilst the loft is generally flat, it is not flat, it twists all over, usually giving off camber banking.

    Whilst I will need to add banking (I will follow VirtuaLM's vid tutorial) its too much of a mess to start with.

    Is there a way I can loft so that my new road surface will be horizontally level all around the circuit? I'm wondering if the path verticies need to all be corner or bezier etc..?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    The spline vertex type shouldn't be the issue. Perhaps the normalizing the split segments misaligned their orientation though. Have you tried selecting all the vertices, making sure you're in World mode (dropdown in the top bar), selecting the rotate tool and entering 0/0/0 in the Transform Type-In?
    I'm not sure that'll fix it but worth a try I guess.

    Does the same mess occur when you loft from the initial centerline spline (before normalizing/splitting/reattaching)? If so you probably have checked a wrong box in the Loft -> Skin Parameters rollout. Uncheck Banking as you'll be doing that manually.

    You're going far beyond what I usually do and using normalized splines to 4/2.5/1.5m sounds like an interesting approach. I just eyeball it. :)
    Are you adding path steps to the spline? 1.5m sounds bit on the long side, depending on how tight your corners are. In a late rF1 track we went as low as 0.75m and at Fuji as low as 0.5m in that dreadful chicane.
     
  3. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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    ethone, I'm an engineer - can't help but try to be precise!

    My original spline is set to Adaptive under Interpolation. The loft has 0 path steps and 5 shape steps, which gives me approx 1.6m wide ploys across the track. With path steps set to 0, the loft is using my vertices on the spline, so in corners my polys are 1.5 x 1.6m, on the straights they are 4 x 1.6m etc. This is more or less what Luc has previously recommended.

    I used your first tip and it made no difference. I've never used that drop down before, I leave it in 'View', is this correct?

    I'd cloned and hidden my spline at every step. So I just went back to my original flat spline, normalised with 10m vertices. The loft is perfectly flat.

    I then lofted the 'glued' line and it twists. So I just quickly took the flat spline spline and manually added some rough elevation to it by lowering the vertices on the Z axis. Lofted, and I have some twisting.
     
  4. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    View is just fine for 99.9% of cases.

    Did you at any point invert the direction of one of the detached splines? Rotated it?
    Could the glue plugin (I'm not familiar with it) not just move the spline vertically but also rotate the vertices to conform to the environment better?
     
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  5. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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    No, i didn't do anything unusual though it's true that Glue may have.

    But I repeated with a fresh new line, elevations changed by myself - and got similar results.

    I also made a fresh spline, lofted it to form a flat road surface, then re-selected the original spline and lowered some vertices, I can see the loft twist as I'm doing it.

    Thanks for your help. I will keep experimenting.

    In theory this should be the easiest part of the circuit!
     
  6. Denstjiro

    Denstjiro Registered

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    Such a depressing thread.....

    Because for a long time i wanted to get into track making somehow. But seeing all the above (great thread btw, very informative) i see that it might be a tad over my head.

    I will have to wait for the noob-version i guess, someone somewhere will build us a trackmaker proggy :)

    Good luck Alan, can't wait to try your track somewhere in the future!
     
  7. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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    Well I'm glad it's generated some new information and help. Hopefully it will fill in some gaps for some people, or maybe inspire others.

    I'm not giving up yet, it's an excellent track and I've put in a LOT of advance research to try and do a proper job of it. I hope to keep adding to this thread as I learn more. Unless I do have to give up!

    You should at least make a start - some things come easier to some people.
     
  8. blakboks

    blakboks Registered

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    Did you uncheck 'Banking' (next to Contour) in the Skin Parameters of the Loft object like Ethone suggested? I've just tried doing a spline by hand and that was the only thing that affected the camber of the road. I even tried selecting vertices on the spline and rotating, but that had zero effect.
     
  9. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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    blackboks/ethone,

    I stupidly missed the comment about the banking option. Will try soon and report back....
     
  10. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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    I'm so annoyed I missed that, cost me a precious day! Many thanks - unticking banking has helped a lot.
     
  11. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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    My road is starting to take shape, although with the big elevation changes it is taking many hours of tweaking vertices and testing to try and get it smooth. I'm hoping within a couple of days to finally have a loft I can be happy with and start making terrain off.

    I see it's a good idea to have a strip of polys all around the track, which can be used as a grass to edge of road texture transition. Is there a recommended width for this? I haven't got into materials and textures yet (plea for help to follow soon!) but want to do this bit of preparation work now.

    If 0.3m were recommended I would draw my shape line as:

    |--0.3--|------------10-----------|--0.3--|

    So that once I've lofted I have a 0.3m strip of polys around the outside of the 10m road.

    All advice welcome!

    Thanks.
     
  12. Mitt Wilson

    Mitt Wilson Registered

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    ;) Keep it Up! you can do it!!
     
  13. Vis

    Vis Registered

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    Can you design a completely flat track like a hyppodrome (horse track)?
    I was thinking about 2 lanes back and forth around 5 km each connected by 2 U-shaped corners.
    Everything completely flat for aero-evaluations (could be good for slip-stream battles too)
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    ( _ _ _ _ _ _ _ )

    should not take too much to make, thanks
     
  14. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    Alan, I'd generally use bigger strips at the edge of the track. I used to have very narrow ones (you can see them on Fuji and Topeka) and they only give you a very simplistic and not very noticeable area to transition between road and grass.

    It comes down to the specific track though. If it's a sharp edge between the road and grass a narrow strip will suffice. If it's a track where much racing has been done and plenty of cars have worn down the grass next to the road, a wider strip would be in order. Choices!

    Wider strips also have the added advantage that you won't have to tile the texture in the direction of travel quite as much (or have to use a 8092x128 texture), meaning you are less likely to get a tiling effect on it.
     
  15. DeM

    DeM Registered

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    Thank you for your work
     
  16. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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    Hello all,

    I finally have my road mesh finished and have decided I’d like to tackle it’s material/texture before I move on to the terrain.

    I have absolutely NO idea about textures so would like to initially apply the Joesville example to it, and then change to suit the track at a later date, once I’ve learned what I’m doing.

    I think the best way I can get some help is if I carefully write out what makes up the Joesville road, and hopefully it will help people in the future, so here goes:

    MAIN SECTION:
    ID 1 is called road_TrackMAIN_WET
    SourceBlend: One
    DestBlend: Zero
    ReflectionMapper: REFLECTEDENV
    Ambient: White: M
    Diffuse: White: M
    Emissive: Black: M
    Specular: White: D
    Material Alpha: 255
    Specular Power: 8.0
    Min:0.0
    Max: 4.0
    Exp: 1.0
    Shader: Road Shader Two Diffuse Maps

    I'm not sure what any of the above means but I presume the above is always the same for a road surface?

    Now we get to TEXTURES, I only mention a setting if it's different between the 7 textures:

    Track_Main
    Track_Main.dds : 2048x1024 : looks like a smooth road surface
    Colour : Multiply
    MIP Bias: -2.0
    Map Channel: 1

    Asphalt_MULT
    ASPHALT_MULT.DDS : 1024X 1024 : looks like TV static
    Colour : Multiply
    No Compression
    No Detail Reduction
    MIP Bias: -1.0
    Map Channel: 2

    Track_Main_NORM
    Track_Main_NORM.dds : 2048 x 1024 : hard to make out, a blue-ish speckle
    Bump : Shader
    No Compression
    No Detail Reduction
    MIP Bias: -2.0
    Map Channel: 1

    Race_Groove
    RACEGROOVE.DDS : 1024 x 512 : grey with 'tyre marks'
    Colour : Shader
    No Compression
    MIP Bias: -1.0
    Map Channel: 3

    Asphalt_SPEC
    ASPHALT_SPEC.DDS : 1024 x 1024 : a more detailed looking road surface
    Specular : Shader
    MIP Bias: -1.0
    Map Channel: 2

    Marbles
    MARBLES.DDS : 512 x 512 : white/dirty
    Colour : Shader
    MIP Bias: -1.0
    Map Channel: 2

    PLNR_REF
    MARBLES.DDS : 512 x 512 : white/dirty (same as above)
    Reflection Map : Shader
    MIP Bias: -1.0
    Map Channel: 3

    That's probably all far too much for anyone to explain, so for now I can accept the settings as they are. What I'm most curious about is what the textures are, and how do they fit together despite their different sizes? Some of it seems obvious and I presume I can reuse the marbles and race groove textures, the rest I have no idea about. For now I will use these textures on my track, but I want to understand them, and probably change them in time.

    And then, how do I apply this to my lofted road surface and make it look good. I am a total beginner!

    In places I will also want to add darker patches where the road has been resurfaced, I can't see how this comes from the above settings.

    Apologies for the overwhelming post! Any help would be fantastic.

    Many thanks.
     
  17. Alan Frost

    Alan Frost Registered

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  18. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    First off: I'm currently trying to track down the fairly immense VRAM-usage of Fuji and I'm suspecting I have gone overboard with the poly density of the RaceSurface - yours looks very dense as well. Before mapping or otherwise altering the mesh that would have to be re-done if you were to change the poly density you could re-consider one last time. ;)
    Across the road surface it looks just fine with a width of 8 polys. If you're not having an unusually wide track that should suffice. I've a hunch that more polys in width will help make the groove a bit smoother but Fuji is 8 across as well and fairly wide in places. Along the direction of travel your mesh looks very very high poly though. That's where I think I could have saved a lot of polys on Fuji - I currently believe the new RealRoad does not need any higher poly density along the direction of travel than you would need for making the corners appear smooth.

    For the materials - Tuttle had an excellent illustration of how the stages work together. Essentially you have one base texture (Track_main) that has several detail stages added on top of it through varying mathematical processes (usually addition and multiplication). The Wikipedia article on texture mapping has some more general basics on the concepts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texture_mapping
     
  19. blakboks

    blakboks Registered

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    Textures are going to eat up much more VRAM than polys--at least traditionally...but I can see the race surface itself eating up a lot of VRAM due to the RealRoad stuff going on.
     
  20. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    I've spent the day cutting the dds file size footprint from 85MB to 55MB but VRAM usage is still out of the ballpark. Mid-Ohio's dds footprint is 47MB so there's something else going on with Fuji that's not textures. GMT footprint for Fuji is 62MB, Mid-Ohio's is 100MB.
    Just goes to show you, size doesn't matter, it's in how you use it. ;)
     

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