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Messages - Nuno Lourenço

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Track Modding / Lights Guide
« on: July 28, 2014, 08:26:14 pm »
Most tracks aren’t run at night, but don’t think you can just forget about them. There are inevitably going to be some lights on the track, be it in the pit garages, in a tunnel, or the big ones out on the track for night racing.

Note: Lights should have some kind of virtual source or they will look weird. Don't go overboard with lights either; each object can only be lit by 4 lights max, so if you have alot of them you will have to break the parts up accordingly. I generally don't make a light for every light bulb, or use very small light diameters; I just make big ones and use them where there's darkness. You can use light poly's to create the illusion of lights too, using the NightLight67Glow naming scheme; these objects will appear when lights normally turn on.

The Max "easy" Way
1) Open up you’re project in 3D Max and create an omni light.

2) Go to; Intensity/Color/Attenuation and adjust the End setting - in Near Attenuation. This setting will define the range of the light in meters. I've found that 40-50 meters is a good setting for most lights; this lights up an 80-100 meter circle.

3) Name the light;
     NightLight00 – Used for night racing, turns on at dusk and off at dawn.
     TunnelLight00 – Lit up all the time and used for garages and long tunnels.

4) Clone the light, and then start placing them around the track. Make sure the center of the light is near its virtual source.

5) When you're done, generate the SCN file in the GMT converter, being sure to check the lights check box in the SCN section.

The Old School "hard" Way
Back when I was modding F1C and SCGT and didn't have a fancy GMT Converter for Max, I had to do things a different way. I know alot of people use other methods than Max, so I'll include this way too.

1) First Plot the coordinates of where you would like you're lights to be placed using you're 3D editor, be it Zmodeler2 or whatever you use, and be sure to swap the Y and Z axis's to conform with rF's "wacky axis".

2) Now copy and paste some night light instance into you're SCN as many times as you have lights.

3) Rename the lights so they all have a different number at the end i.e.; NightLight00, NightLight01.

4) Paste the coordinates that you just got done plotting into the Pos=(125.596409, 4.161264, 521.101804) section of each light.

5) Set the range of each light; numbers of 40-50 meters seem to be optimal for flood lights.

Note: I’ve used Step 1 and 4 of this method for several applications; such as Starting Grid, Pit, and Garage positions; Camera positions; and F1 2002’s and F1C’s Shadows. The main advantage of this method is that it allows for precise positioning of coordinates. I still use it occasionally for staggered starting grid formations.

Track Modding / Animations Guide
« on: July 20, 2014, 03:39:55 pm »

Here are some tips to adding movement to your track.
Currently gMotor 2.0 does not support 3D animations. However, we do have a rudimentary function to program rotational animations using the naming conventions of a GMT.

The code works on an instance level so the instance will already be set up for you that way.

   Moveable=True Planes=(4) VisGroups=(32)
   MeshFile=radartop.gmt CollTarget=False HATTarget=False ShadowReceiver=False ShadowCaster=(Dynamic, Texture, 256, 256)

The letter following that can be x, y, or z...this defines the axis of rotation....for score tower toppers that would be Y. The number following the axis is rotation speed. I've found that 10 is a good speed for the logo boxes at the top of the towers. After the speed number...there must be an underscore. Following the underscore can be doesn't matter to the code. Objects that are going to rotate must be tagged w/ move in the converter.

Note: You must set the pivot of your object in your 3d program editor (3ds Max) in order to make your object rotate correctly.

Track Modding / VisGroup Guide
« on: July 20, 2014, 12:16:54 pm »
VisGroup Guide

These are setup in the SCN file and control the tracks detail settings, from high to low in the graphics settings menu. By editing the VisGroups, you can choose which objects to remove from the track in lower settings. They also control what objects show up in the different race modes, and mirrors. This page shows how to affectively use VisGroups.

The first and most important thing to realize is that VIS groups are setup NOT TO LOAD. VIS groups are not to say what is IN the scene but rather what is NOT, so keep that in mind. This list is just a general idea of how to set them up on a track. Use good judgment on whether or not this exact pattern is good for your track.

Detail levelVisGroups not used
FullAll VisGroups are used
HighVisGroup A is turned off
MediumVisGroup A and B are turned off
LowVisGroup A, B, and C are tuned off

Grouping suggestions:
If no VisGroup is assigned: It shows up in all detail settings: Use this for the track surface, tree lines, and all other hittable objects. It can also include key scenery objects used to gauge braking points, like certain trees, and signs.

A or VisGroups=(01) - Only Shows up in max detail
In VIS group A includes the least important objects on the track. These are objects that can be removed because they are not important and can reduce the poly and texture counts. Objects included are: out houses, camera stands, speakers and poles, the second layer of double layered trees, all the seats put in the bleachers, misc small side objects, and maybe a few back ground buildings that are there just for parallaxing.

B or VisGroups=(02) - Shows up in Max and high
Remember everything in A is turned off as well. VisGroup B includes a selection of objects that are high poly counts and are highly visible as you drive. Objects include transparent skids on the track and start grid, jumbotrons, cranes, most side buildings, some grandstands and bleachers (and their associated people, all trees that are not connected to or will cause big holes in the track, and some fences.

C or VisGroups=(04) - Shows up in Max - medium
Remember that everything in A and B are turned off as well. This VIS group is the last resort. Most everything else must go... A few exceptions to keep in mind. Anything that includes or is attached to the starting lights must stay. Most Billboards can stay, you can get rid of a few if they are complex but please leave the majority on the track (good visual reference at not much cost). Also turn and brake signs must stay. One more exception is the pit buildings they must also stay. Bear in mind that you still do not want to have giant gapping holes in the outside database even in the lowest of settings so keep in the objects that block the holes as well. Objects include the rest of the grandstands (and their associated people), all buildings, all trees, bridges (and there shadows), all shadows, all camera stands, most transparent fences (keep some for diversity and if they are attached to the wall), the rest of the people who are not in any bleachers or not removed in an earlier VIS group, anything else loose you still have around.

The next two VIS groups are a bit complicated but are there if you have the time to use them.
D or VisGroups=(08) - High detailed objects that you want to replace with low detailed object form VIS group E

E or VisGroups=(16) - Low detailed objects that you want to replace the objects in VIS group D
When a user selects Low detail, D will automatically be turned off and replaced with E. If nothing is tagged with either, nothing will change. It will then work just as above A-C.

Special groups
F or VisGroups=(32) - Do not show in mirrors
Just about everything in VisGroups A and B can be assigned in this setting.
Basically you want everything OTHER than the cross-section of the road and the pit buildings in this VIS group. So those are the only things other than the cars rendered in the rearview. Objects include outside geometry not connected to the track, starting lights and associated bridges, all billboards, all buildings, all trees, all brake signs, all shadows... etc... This is a very important visgroup.

G or VisGroups=(64) - Remove from Practice
Granted there is not much other than most if not all people you want to remove from the practice session but it will allow you to get rid of special case objects like grandstands that only appear in race mode so they can be replaced in practice mode with objects with no people mapped on them.

H or VisGroups=(128) - Remove from Qualification
Use this to remove some of the people and perhaps the objects that you only want to appear in Practice mode.

I or VisGroups=(256) - Removed from race
Not much will be removed from the race session. If you have any objects that are just for Practice or Qualifying mode than this is the tag for them.

J or VisGroups=(512) - Things viewed in daytime only

K or VisGroups=(1024) - Things viewed at nighttime

L or VisGroups=(2048) - Things viewed from active trackside cams

M or VisGroups=(4096) - Things removed from warm-up session

Note: If you're writing in VisGroups by hand and need to use more than one type of grouping, like "VisGroups=(02)" and "VisGroups=(32)" simply add the values together. So this example would equal VisGroups=(34).
You should be able to add as many together as you need, as long as they are used logically.

Track Modding / File Structure
« on: July 19, 2014, 08:18:47 pm »
Here's how the files are supposed to be laid out in the Locations folder. To start a track project, you need to setup some new files. They can be ones from an existing track, or generated from the ISI tools. The MAS, SCN, and AIW files can be made pretty much completely with the tools, but the folders, GDB and CAM file are best started out with existing track files and edited to your needs.

First you should make a new folder in the rFactor/Gamedata/Locations folder. I suggest naming track after the track's official name, rather than the area/location, for menu navigation ease, plus other tracks could be in the same area.

You can easily give the track multiple layouts using the same assets by make a subfolder in your track’s directory , and then making a new folder for each additional version. They can all share the same track geometry and texture files, but need to have separate AIW, CAM, GDB, SCN and image files.
Here's how everything should look:

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