Why conversions are cool

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ethone, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    I wrote this for my blog, but I think there's a an audience for this topic here too. Unlike some posters who made rather negative comments over the last few weeks, I think having converted content (tracks, mostly - cars convert less easily with more technologically different between sims) is pretty damn cool.

    Here's why:

    Quickly available catalog of tracks
    This is most apparent with newly released sims, and is glaringly obvious with the current state of rF2. The catalog of available tracks is rather small. Every single track that gets converted at this stage is an addition to it and gives users more choices. On top of it, a conversion allows modders to add tracks to the sim in a timely fashion. Creating a track from scratch can take between 3 months (if you're working on it nearly full-time) and 2 years. Converting a track, depending on the source sim and quality of the data you have, can be done within a week.

    Reduction of required resources
    Why create another version of Heartland Park Topeka when there is a decent enough version for rF1 that can be brought over? Instead of someone spending their time and effort on a track that is already done to a decent enough level of quality, they can spend their time and effort on a track that has not seen the light of any sim or re-do a track that is only available in a very low level of quality.
    Similarly, the demarcation lines between sims can be artificial and arbitrary. The Race XYZ series essentially consisted of a collection of commercial rF1 mods. "Converting" a track from there to rF1 merely makes a jump over a theoretical demarcation line, not a technological one. There can be much bigger differences (both in quality and technological features) between tracks for a single sim than between track of two separate sims.

    No inherent quality disadvantage
    Conversions don't need to be bad. They will only be of low quality if the modder doing the conversion mishandles the process or the original version of the track was already of low quality.
    If you convert Virtua_LM's staggeringly excellent Mid-Ohio or Le Mans to rF2, they will still be staggeringly excellent and they will only have added quality through the new/specific features the target sim supports

    Better than nothing at all
    You might be surprised what kind of tracks some people are willing to run on. In a rF1 league I was part of we ran a version of the Belle Isle course in Detroit that was essentially a conversion from IndyCar Racing 2 with mildly updated trackside objects and new curbs. And as a venue for a championship race, it was fine. Based on that experience, I dare say that no matter how bad a track is, if it is functional there will be somebody who will happily run it. Thus, even if a mediocre (or worse) track is converted, it adds to the joy of the userbase, it doesn't detract from it. If you don't want to race it, it doesn't cost you a single thing to follow through and, well, not race it.

    They can be entry-level projects for newcomers
    Creating a track from scratch doesn't only take a long time and even more effort, it also requires knowledge. So when a newcomer would be faced with his first project, there are three huge hurdles (time, effort, knowledge) she has to clear. Missing just a single one will result on a less than optimal quality of the finished track, if it doesn't outright drive the newcomer back out of modding.
    Conversions cut out a big chunk of the work that's left for the modder, in that she doesn't have to (re)create all the objects. Especially conversions from sims that aren't similar to each other (like e.g. rF1 and Race 07), they will still learn an awful lot about the process and requirements of the target sim. Due to the decreased overall amount of work, the chances of seeing the project completed rise and there is less chance of them giving up before producing anything.
     
  2. buddhatree

    buddhatree Registered

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    It's been my experience that conversions are usually lacking in quality. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part they are worse than the original and most often worse than the stock content of the game itself.
     
  3. les

    les Registered

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    but at least if for not another reason it gives more choices in the way of tracks does it really matter how bad it looks when it comes out no not really, the reason i say no is because im sure when the person who converts the tracks begins to see that it is low quality will ask more questions and update the track to make it look better. this is where constructive criticism comes to play and suggestions from others that make tracks, will help out or give give information to the person to make it look better

    take for example Watkins Glen 0.2 was the track perfect no did others make suggestions to make it better i see a few yes but i also seen posts as to this track is bad its not worth it to download. the only way to make the track better would be too give advice and say hey try this or this needs to be fixed and then if you know how to fix it give the person the information they need to do it. why give the info the person who converted the track might not know what needs to be done or how

    just my opinion
     
  4. Guineapiggy

    Guineapiggy Registered

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    But if the technology evolves it's better the mods evolve with it. I'm not saying all will be rushed out but frankly more than half will.


    True enough for the most part. Doesn't work as well with cars I find.

    Uh, I wouldn't encourage illegal conversion on the offical forums. Just sayin'.

    The conversion will be necessarily less suited to the technology and whilst this may make a legendary track just great it can make a mediocre track plain bad, not to mention many tracks are conversions already. It wouldn't take me too long to find something that can trace its lineage back to F1 challenge or even earlier.

    Yes and no - the community must make efforts to separate scratch and converted tracks because as it is places like rFC don't exactly have a particularly accurate ratings system. (Not their fault, mind.)

    Conversions will teach them little of modelling technique or texturing and those are the main skills you need to gain to make good tracks. Anything else is fairly easy to come to terms with by poking around in devmode with the oval. The same tools are required either way so why not just follow one of the many excellent tutorials to get to grips with the basics?
     
  5. Omicron

    Omicron Registered

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    It depends where are they converted from. Conversions from GPL or even F1C are usually really bad, but tracks ported over from modern games (mostly illegal stuff) are quite nice.
     
  6. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    Guineapiggy, you gave me two new ideas - why modders shouldn't piss their pants when their bladder isn't even full and the proper use of the word "illegal". ;) You might have missed it, but there have been original tracks from modders for Race XYZ which would only jump a theoretical line between Race XYZ and rF1 when converted. Automatically going into conversion-angst because a track wasn't originally created for a sim makes no sense as they're technologically identical.

    As for learning: You see how tracks are modelled. You see how objects are split for performance reasons. You get a feeling for poly count. You learn how to model round edges, when to use alpha blending, chroma transparency or when to model in full detail.
    You learn stuff like night lighting, necessary objects, how to make starting lights work, how to set up the AIW, menu graphics, scn files, rfcmp and rfmod (sic) files.
    You and I probably know this stuff sufficiently well there wouldn't be much to learn from doing a conversion, but think of someone interested in track creation who will be turned off by the half year he would have to spend . Picking a conversion first gives him a starting point, a learning process to gather essential knowledge and a first feeling of achievement from having completed a project.
     
  7. Guineapiggy

    Guineapiggy Registered

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    Wow, that was an unnecessarily dickish response. Just for future reference the ambiguity was your doing, just wanted to point that out.

    Anyway, most of the stuff you mention is so basic that I'd honestly be surprised if people didn't pick it up extremely quickly. If people really do struggle with the concepts it'd work, sure, but most people I know went in at the deep end and did just fine.
     
  8. les

    les Registered

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    well im still new with track conversions and i will say doing one from scratch is beyond what i know right now, im still struggling with parts of converting like racegoove i know its a separate gmt and as far as modeling it in 3ds max even though i have watched the tutorial like 20 times trying to follow it i cant grasp they way the tutorial goes. the thing is if i had to start from scratch i would have given up. i have not given up on the conversion yet but im getting close why cause i just dont understand a few things and when i ask questions in the forums, even though i do a search first some give advise do a search as the only advise they give.
     
  9. jtbo

    jtbo Registered

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    I can't see anything dickish in his response ?

    Anyway, it might be true with graphics that you can just dive in, but try that with physics and I mean to level where you truly understand inner workings, there I think starting with conversion might work as stepping stone, also why not with graphics where one can pick up pointers from works of others.

    Most of the stuff is such that you can get average guy from the street to do it if given enough background of why and how, but most of stuff is such that we can make it very challenging for even dedicated and skilled person.

    However I don't really approve releasing anything without permission or something that is ripped off from other games, however I think that there is nothing wrong to use those as stepping tones to learn, but I don't think it will bring much good to release other's work without permission. That is at least how I look things, someone else probably will look differently, but I hope everyone respect each other and supports others despite different views, it should work for best of us all.

    One important thing currently from my opinion is to get a lot more modders, so at least I do everything I can to make it easy as possible to get in.
     
  10. Revvin

    Revvin Registered

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    The biggest disappointment for me with rFactor was the moment track convertors were released. All of a sudden the fairly steady stream of quality content became a torrent of poor conversions with mod makers just rushing cars and tracks out to be 'the first', the first Silverstone, the first Suzuka, the first F1 car etc etc. What we ended up with was tracks made from old data gathered for much older sims which had then been filtered once through a game and had lord knows what tweaks made for gameplay then rehashed with a new interpretation and released in the most part with original flat lifeless textures and trackside objects. You can only copy something so many times before that final facsimile becomes a poor representation of the original.

    Some mods took rFactor to new heights but in my opinion most kept rFactor looking dated and with rFactor 2 already struggling to impress compared to other titles then poor conversions are the last thing it needs in my opinion. New game, new engine, more original scratch built content please.
     
  11. LeZaz

    LeZaz Registered

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    Totally agree, just compare the original rf1 vs most of any other tracks and it can't be compared.
     
  12. Guineapiggy

    Guineapiggy Registered

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    I agree but I honestly wouldn't mind so much if conversions were categorized as such rather than being lumped in with the scratch-made tracks. It'd be even more helpful if they listed the game the track was originally created for.
     
  13. les

    les Registered

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    what is the point of categorized tracks it will just cause more work for whoever hosts these tracks i know ISI wont again what is the reason, i know it will not make a difference if it is scratch made or converted, you will still have to download it put it in game then play it, then you will know if you like it. you know if you dont like converted tracks dont download them. here is another point how will you know if you like it or not if it says converted. there are some conversions that really look good, others that dont. i am working on converting some tracks for oval racing, i do it because its fun to do, will i try and make them look good, and feel right yes but what i think looks good and what you think looks good. are different period.

    the next person to download the track might think hey this track is incredible, but you might not like it, does it matter to the person who likes it what you think, not at all the putting things in categories scratch or converted just causes more work,
    and we have enough work without all the extra just my opinion
     
  14. ethone

    ethone Registered

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  15. peterchen

    peterchen Registered

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    Hi all!

    Conversions don´t have to be bad! That´s rubbish (excuse me)!
    It´s a matter of original-quality (here from rF1) and how assiduosly the modder do his work!
    There are many stages that a conversion process can go deep I think.
    Therefor it´s also a question of how much is made new and how much left origin.
    There are many great tracks out there!
    Let´s make high quality conversions and have more fun in an early stage!
    The situation here is not comparable to early rF1 days:
    The old conversions to rF1 wouldn´t make sense to take over to rF2, while a conversion from
    GTR2 or similar games to rF1 was OK.
    But high quality tracks that where made for rF1 original, would be very nice to see in rF2!
    Take a few new textures and let´s go!

    Greets
    Pete
     
  16. Jaka Ursic

    Jaka Ursic Registered

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    I don't mind conversions. Sometimes the already great mod/track can be made even better if the person who converted it has skill and does it with passion. As long as he/she get permission from the original maker i don't see no problem with it.
    I personaly like to fidle with Cars in rF1 , i could never make a car from scratch, but i'm pretty good at improving a mod which was great from the start.
    1 good example would be the carrera F1985 mod for rFactor, the graphics were great but physics were lacking. So i changed the physics a lot and had great time driving with my friends in LAN races.
    Just depends how much effort and skill goes into the conversion/improvement.
     
  17. feels3

    feels3 Member

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    I think you completely misunderstood the point of poeple who made negative coments.

    It was not about conversion. There is nothing wrong with converting already existing tracks and cars.

    The point is that what track are you converting. If you will convert track which original was made many years ago it is obvious that if you don't put a lot of work in conversion it will be looking disgusting.

    But if will take some good looking track which was made 1-3 years ago, it has a sense but still it would be good if you add some more stuff (improved textures and models), not only new rf2's features.

    Regards.

    EDIT: this is shot from original Croft circuit (5 years old). Do you think I should convert it?
    Circuit has o lot of mistakes in geometry, has poor textures and basic 3d models...looks terrible.
    So it is better in this case to start from scratch and that's what I'm doing now.

    In my opinion, doing the conversion instead of building from scratch is going to cut corners.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2012
  18. K Szczech

    K Szczech Registered

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    To put it bluntly - why do we even need better simulator if we use it for poor tracks and cars?

    If you like tons of cars and tracks with little regard for realism - your best option is still rFactor 1 because tracks and cars are allready there. rFactor 2 will not magically make car behave more realistic if physics is messed up in the mod in the first place.
    rFactor 2 offers more possibilities, but if you use it for content that didn't even properly take advantage of rFactor 1 possibilities, then what's the point?

    Look at the screenshot in feels3's post above and then look at screenshots from his own Croft Circuit that he's making for rFactor 2. Difference in quality is tremendous.

    It's not about "preferring not to have more tracks" or "discouraging people" - it's about prefering quality over "mass production".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2012
  19. Guineapiggy

    Guineapiggy Registered

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    Nicely put.

    First - a new category would be little hassle. Second, a lot of converted stuff isn't tagged as converted and third the bad/good argument is not always subjective. See above.
     
  20. les

    les Registered

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    i bet someone could take the above track the way it is, work on it to make it alot nicer looking, things like surfaces can be redone textures can be reworked, new tso's can be added and replace the ones that are there, there are possibilities. does it mean that it has to be done from scratch no, but feels3 feels like he has too, good for him.

    but some of us, that have not learned how to build from scratch, and people are not working on the things i like. Im doing what I can (conversions of ovals) so I can get the type of tracks i want (does anyone want to build them from scratch) well I am sure there will be some, but right now there really is only one oval coarse done (joesville). will these conversions be good as a scratch built track maybe, maybe not, but who cares Im doing this for me, this might be selfish, but if 1 person other than myself likes the tracks i have converted, i can call what i have done very successful, and that is what counts
     

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