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International Competitive Racing Mod Development Thread

Discussion in 'NR2003 General Discussion' started by Mystical, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. crazyboy335

    crazyboy335 Duck Dynasty

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    I think that they meant (or at least what I meant) was making the indent wider overall on the spoiler.

    upload_2019-11-27_0-11-54.png

    Either way it's really starting to grow on me - it reminds me of the spoilers the Pontiacs would have in the late 90s and early 2000s. The progress shots are awesome to see, and if I'm being honest it's really making me want to try my hand at modding myself.
     
  2. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    [​IMG]

    One more update tonight (probably). I added an upper lip to the top of the bumper for that extra definition. I also carved out the inner curved section of the middle section of the bumper so there was some detail to compliment the upper half. That lower carved out section I may keep for the other bodies or do something different for each. I don't want to touch the middle or bottom bumper areas becasue that would defeat the entire purpose of this mod. I want those to be flat and open as possible so any taillights or exhaust decals/rookie stripe things could be added easily there.

    Another adjustment to the bumper I did was make the curved area not so large so the top and bottom section could be expanded height wise a bit more. Last but not least I subtly rotated the spoiler and its braces a bit so they are not as angled.

    I think that is good now and will get back to cleaning the model up and preparing it for the UV unwrapping like I mentioned in the last dev post.

    I may give that edited version a try and see if I like how it looks.

    Also for making your own mod:
    [​IMG]

    Just fire up whatever 3d application you have and start modeling. If you don't have one I highly recommended the latest version of blender 2.8.1. If you make a thread for making a mod I can help guide you and I'm sure others will chime in as well.
     
  3. nascarfreak88

    nascarfreak88 Sarcasmus pessimus

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    Agreed, especially since stuff like this...
    ... is pretty inspiring. Unfortunately the time to learn either doesn't exist for me or will take a loooonnnnggg time thanks to grad student life. Same reason I don't do tracks.

    Coming together quite nicely, this. I've noticed too Mystical that a lot of the stuff on there really complements your aesthetic style you've shown in your prior projects, like the spolier(s), braces, roof rails, and the shape of the rear window. Very creatively different, which is really neat.
     
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  4. DaleTona75

    DaleTona75 Unhealthily Obsessed With Backmarkers

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    Now that I think about it, I might use this mod in place of the Gen6 when I get to that point in my mock season universe.
     
    Buescher37 and Mystical like this.
  5. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    I apologize for not having the dev post as planned over this weekend. It is not becasue not much happened but the exact opposite actually. A lot of work has gone into the mod this weekend and I made massive progress. However, I found a bug that I'd like to rectify first before I make the post so everything is looking the most presentable. I will explain the issue I ran across in the post as well. I will say though the first non-damaged car in its entirety (body, chassis, wheels, etc) is in the game successfully. I look forward to sharing the progress, I just need a few more days probably to resolve this issue which requires me to rework some stuff to fix it.
     
  6. Jonny683

    Jonny683 Well-Known Member

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    I might not the the only one who see's this, maybe not, but this looks like an NXS car from the side profile.
     
  7. Nathaniel Burnham

    Nathaniel Burnham Well-Known Member

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    If you need more engine photos I recently went to the Nascar HOF and took some pics if you still need them.
     
  8. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    Development post #4

    While the mod is still in pre-alpha and there is a ton of work left to do before this thing is every really finished some major milestones were completed this past week. These milestones have set up the foundation of the mod from just being some models in blender to a working car in NR2003 now. When we last left off I was still doing the modeling in blender. The next step was to unwrap the UV's for every part of the car. Essentially for those who don't do 3D modeling unwrapping is the process in which you 'unfold' the faces of a model onto a 2D plane. This plane then can be exported as template to a 2D/3D paint editing program where you add the textures to the model. This is how the 'templates' that people paint their paint schemes on the car are done. Every part of a 3d model has uv's unwrapped or the texture data wouldn't be able to display correctly. For several days the tedious but very important task of unwrapping every part of the model ensued.

    For all of the parts of the car it doesn't really matter how I layout the UV map since the end user will never see these. The only real important one is of course all the paintable parts where the player will paint their own schemes. This is where I spent the most time making sure every paintable piece was properly placed on the template I was creating. It takes a lot of work to fit everything within the UV space. Also with the extra challenge of making sure there was little to no deformation on the UV body of the car. If you've ever painted on a mod and found out the lines on one side of the bumper didn't line up exactly on the quarter panel on both sides even if you mirrored your design that is the UV map not being entirely even. While its virtually impossible to make perfect UV's with asymmetrical models you can get pretty close but it takes a lot of time moving those UV shells pixel by pixel on the UV space so everything will line up for the painter.

    To counter some of the challenges of UV unwrapping and the manual labor it can required 90% of the unwrapping was done in 3D Coat. Unlike unwrapping in even professional tools like 3ds max, 3D Coat has a more powerful method in unwrapping models in real time with real time feedback on warp issues, UV shells of the same model not being the same texel density (this means same size), and many unfold methods. Its hard to explain to non-3D modelers but essentially 3D Coat makes UV unwrapping a lot less time consuming and gets you unwrap results that are more accurate and better than having to manually planar project every section of a model and then having to manually stitch everything up manually. This doesn't take away from the understanding of UV unwrapping or skill needed though. The challenge to have multiple objects all sharing a single UV space so when the player paints a part the corresponding made sharing that same texture is colored correctly. You still need to define seams so 3D Coat knows how to unwrap the model and even then you need to spend time laying all the shells out in a coherent manner.

    3D Coat offers a state of the art way to unfold UV's on 3d models in real time while also displaying a proportions texture over the model so you can see any warping as you unwrap the model:
    [​IMG]

    The end result after every model is properly unwrapped for just the paintable parts is the template:
    [​IMG]

    While its not set in stone technically I can't just easily go back and update the template once I export the model and start hooking it up to be a mod for NR2003. That would require me having to re-export the model again and prepare it for NR2003 which is a lot of work. Unfortunately that bug I mentioned in my previous post was what made me have to do over all the work for all the paintable parts. The original template was going to be a resolution of 3072x2048. Unfortunately NR2003 and winmip2 only allow square integer UV maps and 3072 is a not one of those numbers. I had to remake the template to be 4096x2048. Basically any number such as 2, 4, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096 in combination could be used as a template size and I just was dumb and chose the wrong size. This meant having to rebuild the UV"s for the new size. Now before you go crazy no 4096x2048 is not the intended template size for the game. I chose large so when painters and render scenes will be made the template will be the highest resolution. For the game I will have a layer telling the user to downscale their paint schemes to 2048x1024 or 1024x512 for low end pc machines.

    Another bug I ran into I did something with my models for UV efficiency and that was to include UV sets, this is essentially one model having separate parts of the mesh shared across two or more textures. Unfortunately the 3ds max needed to make the mod didn't support that feature/broke my uv sets so I had to just include one texture per model. This is also what delayed me this past week.

    So why did I go with a wide template and not a traditional square template like all other mods mostly do? The reason is more space. Things such as a paintable chassis and tires needed extra room thus the wider template. It was a lot of work and can get very overwhelming to try and piece it all together. For example to make paintable tires I needed 3 of the same model duplicated for the slow, medium, and fast speeds of the tires. This means they each need a different texture. To do that I had to place the tire UV"s for all 3 in different spots on the template if I didn't they would share the same space and the texture would look the same for each of them. As you can see here I color coded each tire in my template for testing purposes (blue = slow speed, yellow = medium speed, red = fast speed):
    [​IMG]

    This way when the game switched between the 3 different tires the UV's of each model go to a different area of the template and 'pick up' those textures to use. So when you want each car to have a different tire brand you can and they will all have the correct speeds as well.

    [​IMG]

    All of the other pieces thankfully did not need as much thinking to set up but they all had to be placed somewhere on the UV map so they could be painted. For example the rollbars since that entire mesh will share the same color texture I just placed all of its UV's on top of each other in the same spot. It is tricks like these that allow you to save more UV space. That is the ultimate challenge, not only fitting everything on the UV map but the more you shrink shells the less resolution they have. The goal is to make shells as large as you can while everything still fits on the UV map. There are some open spaces left on the template and that is reserved for when I model the driver I can use that area for their uv's.

    But that is enough about the unwrapping process. I'd be glad to explain more but if you watch any 3D model tutorials or look up a 3D Coat UV unwrap tutorial you could see a similar process. Once I had all the models unwrapped and I cleaned up the models making sure there were no issues on the mesh and each one was under the poly limit it was finally time to prep the model in 3DS Max 8 so I could get the models in the game. Alongside the models being prepared in 3DS, the script also had to exist as well. The script (a psg text file) is the code NR2003 understands to compile your model scene file (a exporter PAS file). This sounds easy enough but its a very time consuming and complicated process. Essentially every model I intended to show up in NR2003 I have to 'call' it in the script and then tell the code what to do with said model piece. So If I created a Tire model the game doesn't know what it is until I use the NR2003 code and tell it this is a tire, where it should be positioned, and what state of the tire speed it belongs to. Just an example of the script here is a excerpt for just the slow speed of the left front tire:

    Code:
    #############################################
            #Left Front [SLOW]
    #############################################
    
        Tire_LF_Slow:                    MESH maxCars LF_Slow
        Tire_LF_Slow_Rim:            MESH maxCars LF_Slow_Rim
    
        L1_LF_Slow:        GROUP (Tire_LF_Slow, Tire_LF_Slow_Rim)
    
        Left_Front_Slow_LOD:  STATIC_LOD  (0 L1_LF_Slow,
               2.0    L1_LF_Slow,
               4.5     L1_LF_Slow,
               6.8     L1_LF_Slow,
               9.2     L1_LF_Slow,
               12.3   L1_LF_Slow,
               16.4   L1_LF_Slow,
               20.0   L1_LF_Slow,
               30.5   L1_LF_Slow,
               48.2   L1_LF_Slow,
               70.0    L1_LF_Slow)

    It would unfortunately take me a creating a tutorial series to really show how to make the script but if you are following along and want your models in the game there are the tutorial files from The Pits.com, Burnouts video (which also has Dan Nibset's 3do files) and Cosmin's thread to show you more of the process. I basically have to build the script calling all my models and once that is done and I compile the script using makea3do I then have a working 3do file that the game recognizes as a car mod. This of course includes the textures that I set up as materials in 3DS Max and a custom series folder in the NR2003 directory. The end result is in game a custom mod with custom models and textures:

    The tires in the menu having the wrong texture is a known bug
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Either I am having beginners luck or I've just conditioned myself to deal with making complicated mods for games but I only had to fix a few typo's and one silly error in my script and I got the mod working in the game. Shockingly even with no lods the performance in a 43 car field was hilariously decent. Of course I plan to optimize the crap out of the mod regardless and make the LOD's very good with a lot of tricks to lower the resolution for father distances best I can. When we get to that phase I break it down just like I did with the UV's.

    It looks like the mod is close to done but that couldn't be farther from the truth. This is just one of the makes (still 3 to go) and there is no LOD's or damage, a custom interior or rear view model scene yet, presentable textures or templates for painters to paint on. In the coming weeks and month(s) that is where the grind will take place. My next step is to get some decent alpha/beta textures on this car so when I generate the LOD's I can make sure the textures are not distorting too badly.

    So for those following along wanting to make their own mod: We've introduced a whole lot of new programs into the mix. I went from just using Blender 2.8 to now 3D Coat (UV unwrapping and complex texture work), Affinity Photo (for textures), 3DS Max 8 for model compiling. While you won't need to use the same programs as I am it makes things a lot quicker for me for sure. You can totally unwrap your model using just blenders unwrap features. Also for image editing textures you can use whatever 2d paint application you like whether it be gimp, paint.net, photoshop or whatever. But as you can see the process gets a lot more complex and you need a lot of skill to use the tools or have some friendly teammates who know those applications to take that role for you.

    Speaking of roles and managing such a large project how do I keep track of everything? Simple I use an application for project management and issue tracking called Jira. While this is not something you'd have to use or need I highly recommend you have some way to track all the stuff you need to do, fix, and plan for. There are so many moving pieces and it can feel very overwhelming if you are just trying to remember it all. So whether you use a piece of paper, notepad, or another program I definitely recommend having some way to keep track. Sometimes you find an issue but are not ready to fix it, have a great feature idea, or want to know what to do next so thats why I started using Jira on my personal projects several years ago. Wish I used it earlier when making NR2003 tracks. Its been a super helpful tool since I started using it with Skyrim and Fallout 4 mods and now I'm using it for NR2003. This tool is going to be even more useful as the mod gets hopefully tested by others and I will have a way to get those bugs logged and prioritized to be looked into. It makes taking care of all the moving parts a breeze since I never have to remember anything on my own and just cross one work item off the list and if I need to create new stuff I can log it and forget about it until the time comes. I built a custom database just for my NR2003 projects and here's what one of the pages in Jira looks like, each of those lines is an item that opens a new window with more info. I can attaches images, videos, code, or whatever I need as well:
    [​IMG]

    Well that was a long post, I feel these dev posts are getting longer, I'll try to keep the next one shorter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019 at 3:36 PM
  9. Nathaniel Burnham

    Nathaniel Burnham Well-Known Member

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    I really love the detailed explanations for what you are doing and every step you make. This makes the idea of one day doing stuff like this, which is something that I have wanted to learn for a while now, less intimidating. Thank you so much for you unparalleled work and detailed explanations. The amount of help this provides cannot be said enough.
     
    Mystical likes this.
  10. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    No problem, if you ever need more information on a process, tool I use, or something else feel free to ask and I can try to explain in more detail or direct you to a video/source that has the info you seek.
     
    Nathaniel Burnham likes this.
  11. halfwayglad

    halfwayglad BBMC Tracks

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    A mod seems much more achievable now. Thank for you the consistent updates. Your posts are a pleasure to read through.
     
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  12. T18

    T18 Well-Known Member

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    It looks from the image like the left/right side of the template are symmetrical and meet at the horizontal middle of the template which if true mean much like the old N4 template one could simply copy and flip a base to do both sides (my favorite old N4 trick btw). Man do I miss symmetry
     
  13. crazyboy335

    crazyboy335 Duck Dynasty

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    This thing is looking really good so far. I love how the template has all the extended space on the side for the parts and chassis colors. One thing has me curious, though - will there not be a paintable firesuit? I don't typically paint suits but the template seems bare without one.
     
  14. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    Yeah with this mod being all about painting, customization, and "big logos will fit nicely on the quarter panels" I wanted the template to be just as user friendly as possible. That entire UV shell (roof, left, front) is the area I took the longest to layout. I used 3D Coat to generate the starting shell and then in blender adjusted it further so it was as even as possible. As mentioned in my dev post there will still be some margin for error. I looked at several other mods and their templates and the left and right side when you mirrored stuff was still several pixels off, this is just to be expected as other sides of the car are not 100% symmetrical. For one the 3d hole for the gas opening on the left side of the car causes the UV shell to be a little different in proportions for example. Even though my model is mirrored left to right when I add any extra 3d detail to only one side of the car it will indeed make the UV calculation slightly different by several pixels.

    But yes, with minimal effort you should be able to mirror left to right and then have to do minimal pixel nudging probably to get a completed base. I will go into more depth of course about the template and having some painters maybe try it out when its in a more completed form. The template will also include a help overlay you can toggle on and off so it will label where each part is/what you are looking at as well so no guess work would need to be done.

    Yes there will be a paintable driver, as mentioned in the dev post I just have not modeled the guy yet. Even though the template is 'complete' any open space I can still fill in later, I just can't move any of the existing shells. How it works is you could have 100 unwrapped models and they all share the same image, as long as none of their shells overlap on that same image UV space you can always add more models to open spaces (unless your intention is to overlap certain parts of a model for repetition.
     
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  15. Smoke14

    Smoke14 NR2003 Painter

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    Looks like a more spaced out IndyCar template. Also, interesting idea with the tires.
     
  16. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    Does the Indy car mod use a wide template as well?
     
  17. Smoke14

    Smoke14 NR2003 Painter

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    No. It's just that the IndyCar templates are so packed with everything in a 2048x2048 template. You just spaced everything out more. 2019_IR18_Template.jpg
     
  18. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    ahh I see yeah, the only way on a 2048x2048 to make more space is shrink everything but then you lose resolution. I figured since NR2003 can use wider resolution why not try it for a template and it works fine so far.
     
  19. Smoke14

    Smoke14 NR2003 Painter

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    Instead of the template being 4096x2048, can you make it 262,144x131,072? :p
     
  20. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    That is possible but not for games, its known as udim textures and is mostly used with visual effects/models in CGI movies and such. Its basically like 200 2048x2048 texture maps all forming together for a single model.

    Believe me, if NR2003 was a newer game and we had mod support for it you'd see a whole other level of detail on my work. Like normal map baking and PBR materials, the same type of detail I do with my Skyrim and Fallout 4 mods. I'd make the most detailed racecar if I could have higher poly count and normal maps were a thing for NR2003.
     
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