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Sandbox 2

Discussion in 'NR2003 General Discussion' started by TChapman500, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    Like with any tool for any medium the user will still need to have the skill and understanding of what they are doing and the groundwork to make proficient content, in this case a track with NR2003. Us track makers are excited for Sandbox 2 becasue it will make workflow faster, certain tedious tasks eliminated, better render viewport for easier panning around the track, more stability, and when Sandbox 2 is in its final versions it will ultimately allow tracks to be created and released sooner.

    There is no magic button to just make tracks or do the hard work if a user has never made a track before. I firmly believe anyone that has gone through the fire and brimstone of sandbox and has released a track will be able to do a lot with sandbox 2 and really home their skills and also get stuff done better. Things like making custom 3do's, good track layouts, proficient AI, and all the track ini tweaks will still take the time and dedication to learn and accept its going to be hours upon hours of work still. Most of that isn't even done in Sandbox but are essential pieces for a track.

    I do feel Sandbox 2 will be more inviting for newcomers but its still going to require those users to learn the ins and outs of NR2003 track making to know what the tool can do. I've been away from NR2003 for awhile but this tool will bring me back for sure. Knowing I no longer have to slave away in the old sandbox with all those annoyances will let me just create stuff and not have to spend so many hours doing a lot of tedious things (like I hate having to place my 3do's over and over again using the very old placement system sandbox uses).
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  2. J.R.Franklin

    J.R.Franklin Well-Known Member

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    Very well stated Mystical.

    I have been making tracks for NR2003 for the better part of the last 19 years and while I'm excited about Sandbox 2, it will probably not make some of the other stuff outside of Sandbox any easier. Things like making good bug-free A.I. and dialing in and balancing the A.I. over 4 different physics for a given track. All of that takes lots and lots of time consuming testing and adjusting if you want to produce a quality track. Things like making and texturing objects to look like their real-life counterparts is also very labor intensive. Time spent researching photos and videos of the track you are trying to recreate will also take a significant amount of time. Time will be needed to make sure that A.I. pitting and the pace car work as they should and that penalties are not assessed erroneously due to improperly labeled track surface designations.

    So if you want to make a quality track, Sandbox 2 will certainly look like it will make the process a little easier on the track building, object placing, etc. part, but those other things I just mentioned above will still take plenty of time if you want to do it right. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019 at 7:46 AM
  3. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    The geometry that the car interacts with is placed down in segments that are connected together to form a loop. On each segment, are a number of sections that change the visual and physical characteristics of the track (drivable surfaces between F Sections, physical walls as W Sections, and elevation profile as X Sections, and bumps as a combination BM Sections and BS Sections). Everything else is either a decal placed on the track (eg: starting line, pit road limit marker lines, track logos) or as 3D models placed around the track that we can't interact with.

    Track making tends to be rather difficult because Sandbox doesn't have any undo features and is not designed to handle multiple-course tracks or track segments that are used to mark-out areas of more complex geometry. Not to mention, as you build the geometry, the framerate gets lower and lower until the program crashes. This process is greatly accelerated by opening and closing other views. And woe to the one who does not save the track before Sandbox crashes! Their progress can be set-back by several weeks because there is no temporary backup file that is saved.

    If you want custom objects, then you need to know tons of tricks for getting the object from a modeling program into a 3DO file. And there are no tools currently available that unlock the full potential of the 3DO file. At least I have not found any. If you open-up a 3DO file in a text file, you'll notice "StateSwitchDescriptor" (eg: day/night, population, session, weather) and "LODSwitchDescriptor". That should tell you everything you need to know about the potential of the 3DO. Also, figuring-out what texture and 3DO files your track is using is a pain. And don't get me started on how one goes about figuring out what textures are missing!

    Some other minor annoyances are the fact that we can't use the 3-point method for curved segments (which would be useful when using background images of real race tracks) and that we don't have keyboard entry for segment and section positioning. We're also limited to a single, linear guide as well as a single background image. I'm hoping that nearly all of these issues will be fixed by my track editor. And for the 3DO files, I'm guessing a few other supplementary tools will fix those issues as well.

    EDIT: Mystical and Franklin beat me to it!
     
    USSTalladega likes this.
  4. Rufio2031

    Rufio2031 Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of "LODSwitchDescriptor". Does anyone know how this works or how to create LOD? Or even if we can use some sort of mipmapping for 3dos?
     
  5. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    The LODSwitchDescriptor contains several objects ordered from highest detail to lowest detail (optional "EmptyDescriptor" at the end to make said object disappear). There's also a list of doubles with the same number of elements as the objects that it contains. The doubles mark the distance at which that detail level will be swapped-out for a higher detail level. Eg: Distances of 0.0, 25.0, and 100.0 will render the highest detail level from a distance of 0.0 to 25.0 meters out. From 25.0 to 100.0 meters out, the next lower detail level will be rendered. And from 100.0 meters out and further, the lowest detail level will be rendered (which may be an "EmptyDescriptor", which will cause the object to disappear at said distances).
     
  6. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    My workflow of custom 3do goes as follows:

    3D model it (Blender 2.8) > Texture it in a paint program (Affinity Photo/3D Coat) > Convert textures/models (Winmip2 and 3DSimED 3) > Scripting if necessary for like caution lights etc (make3do).

    The real way to make a 3do is in 3dsmax 8 I believe. One of the much older 3ds max programs is what Papyrus used to make models and with it had a PAS plugin (Papyrus scripting). This was a plugin that allowed you to export models to the pure NR2003 3do's and also allow you to do the scripting part as well. Pretty sure it is how mods NR2003 mods (new cars) are made. Sadly it only works with the older versions of max.

    My workflow doesn't allow me to do the really complicated scripting but most 3dos I make don't need it so 3dsimed 3 works great for me to make my 3do's. I made a video tutorial on how to do this process. I think its in the tutorials section here still, its a little old now but still shows the complete process and you can swap out most of the design programs for whatever you like to use.
     
    TChapman500 likes this.
  7. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    So, I removed the code from the shader that modified the origin marker to be a constant pixel size and I got this result.
    Sandbox 2 Preview 2.png
    This means one of two things:
    1. The data isn't getting to the buffer.
    2. The shader doesn't know where the buffer is.
    A little bit of digging later and I discover that I have to keep a copy of the grid properties on the CPU side of things when writing to the GPU-side. The result is this:
    Sandbox 2 Preview 3.png
    Then it's just a matter of feeding the correct data to the GPU, and I get the Sandbox origin diamond!
    Sandbox 2 Preview 4.png
     
  8. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    Now that everything is working on the CPU side, it's nice to know that my grid shader almost worked perfectly on the first try. Now all I need to do is re-implement the zooming/panning system and we'll be one step closer to reaching the Bare Minimum goal.
    Sandbox 2 Preview 5.png
    In case anyone is wondering, the background, origin, and minor grid colors are identical to the original Sandbox colors. Nearly everything you see in this viewport will eventually be customizable.
     
  9. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    Looking fantastic already.
     
    TChapman500 likes this.
  10. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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  11. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    I love it when I get a function to work correctly on my first attempt!
    Implementation List:
    • Panning (Implemented correctly on the first try!), hold middle mouse button.
    • Zooming (centered on mouse), move mouse wheel.
    • Sandbox-style zooming and panning (should I keep this?). Removed!
    • Dynamic grid scale (it's either that or melt the GPU using only the grid).
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
    USSTalladega likes this.
  12. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    Not much, but I got enough to do a demonstration video.
     
  13. USSTalladega

    USSTalladega Making a comeback!

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    Looking good dude! Congrats at getting this far!
     
    123456789colton and TChapman500 like this.
  14. 123456789colton

    123456789colton Well-Known Member

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    I'm so excited to try this!
     
  15. EarnhardtFan

    EarnhardtFan Residential Twitch Addict

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    Been keeping track (heh) of this project since like 2016, great to see you've gotten as far as a working demo!
     
    mtblillie and 123456789colton like this.

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