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Thread: Chapman Track Creator

  1. #1
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    Chapman Track Creator

    Basic Information
    This is a track editor to create race tracks for the rFactor, rFactor 2 and NR2003 racing simulators.

    The reason I’m making this editor is because all of the track editors that I have used for building tracks either have severe limitations or don’t have features to help me find out why a track either fails to load or causes the simulator to crash. And also, I’m a perfectionist! I want pin-point precision on every track I make and there are no track editors available that allows me to achieve that. Not very easily, anyways!

    Concepts For Track Construction
    Since this track editor will be able to create tracks for NR2003, and since I already know the concept for track building for NR2003, I figured I’d just copy the concept and use it for rFactor and rFactor 2.

    You will build tracks by laying down segments to define the shape of the track. Then within those segments, you will be able to create splines to define surfaces, walls (including safer walls and catch fences) and elevation data (including banking transitions and bumps).

    Plus, outside of NR2003, you can create far more complex tracks. So for rFactor and rFactor 2, I’ll expand the concepts to allow for far more complex track structures including straight pit roads on curved segments with far better looks, pit roads that bridge under/over the race track to the other side, and multi-course tracks where the exact same geometry is used for the portions of the courses are the same.

    Planned Features
    This feature list has been modified to exclude features exclusive to NR2003. Only features available for the ISI simulators are listed here.

    • Create tracks for rFactor 1, rFactor 2, and NR2003.
    • Debug tracks with absolute precision before you even attempt to drive on them in-game.
    • LUA interface to allow for scripts that make it easier to build tracks.
    • Keyboard entry to make absolute positioning of track segments, walls, ect. very easy.
    • Hierarchical object browser for easy navigation of the objects that will make up the race track.
    • Multiple types of guides to help in the construction of track features.
    • Guides are saved to the project files.
    • Multiple background images allow for higher resolution maps without sacrificing performance.
    • Easy-to-use context menus with detailed tool-tips on what everything does.
    • Edit not only the track geometry and scenery, but also cameras and AI lines.
    • Create meshes of the track geometry for different resolutions with a fixed-resolution physics mesh.
    • (rFactor 2) Takes advantage of RealRoad technology.


    Requested Features
    A short list of features that have been requested. Requested features already planned are in blue. Requests under consideration are in bluish-green, requests that have been accepted are in green, and requests that have been rejected are in red. Requests that are not necessary (eg: because of how the editor handles certain things) are in plain text. Some feature requests may be a mix of colored and plain text.

    • (rFactor 2) Allow for RealRoad technology.
    • Allow control points of splines to be constrained.
    • Ensure a fast undo response.
    • Copy Texture/Object Packs into local track folder.
    • Easy reload of updated objects/textures in Object/Texture Packs.
    • Ensure that tracks can have a different number of sections per segment.
    • Make seamless transitions of different courses on multi-course tracks very easy.
    • Allow customization of sky object.
    • Allow overlay of the track and surrounding terrain onto a heightmap image.
    • Linux or Wine compatibility.
    • Make the track editor a global solution.
    • Track editor with blender support or as a blender plugin. (For Blender plugin, see this thread)
    • Setting to adjust viewport clipping planes.

    Please feel free to correct me if I have misinterpreted your request.

    Screenshots
    Attachment 11015
    Track editor opened, but no track project opened.
    Attachment 11014
    Track project opened, but 3D accelerator not yet implemented.
    Attachment 16401
    Screenshot showing progress of the Scene Explorer and Properties windows.

    Project Progress
    The following is a 10-step summary of the stages of development. Completed steps will be highlighted in green text. The current stage may have a percentage marker on it.
    1. Create project start point.
    2. Add prototype menus and dialogs for starting race tracks.
    3. Start developing a parallel 64-bit version.
    4. Brainstorm/develop track components.
    5. Program UI elements to create track components.
    6. Add and program settings dialogs enhance customizability.
    7. Develop documentation for the track editor.
    8. Test editor-developed tracks in the simulator.
    9. Start Open-Beta Stage.
    10. Release the Track Editor.


    Official Track Editor Links
    Official Track Editor Page
    Official Track Editor Forum
    Official Track Editor Subreddit (No Longer Maintained)

    Note: By "Official" I mean official for the track editor, not ISI.

    The "Other Track Editor Resources" section is where I may post stuff about the track editor to, but is not solely dedicated to the track editor.
    Last edited by TChapman500; 12-26-2017 at 07:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi TChapman and welcome over to the RF2 Forums.

    Very interesting product, how far along the development process do you think you are currently? Do you have a estimated release date?

    Also with regards to RF2 Track Creation will you be building in tools to setup features such as Real Road?

    Regards

    Rob

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    +1

    great news! Thanks Mr. Chapman

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJames View Post
    Hi TChapman and welcome over to the RF2 Forums.

    Very interesting product, how far along the development process do you think you are currently? Do you have a estimated release date?

    Also with regards to RF2 Track Creation will you be building in tools to setup features such as Real Road?

    Regards

    Rob
    I'm mainly in the very early stages of concept development. I'm developing the file structures that will be used to store project data. But my resources are rather limited right now. I prefer not to set a release date for any of my projects because if I have to put them on hold for any reason, I'd be guaranteed to miss that date.

    For real world in rFactor 2, I do intend on having that feature, I just didn't know what it was called and I forgot to list a feature that would imply that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rik View Post
    great news! Thanks Mr. Chapman
    Thanks. And you're welcome.

  5. #5
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    Updated the first post with an extra link.

  6. #6
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    Very interesting project. If you haven't done so already, I suggest you browse through the BTB forum to see what issues people have that you could address in your program.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TChapman500 View Post
    For real world in rFactor 2, I do intend on having that feature, I just didn't know what it was called and I forgot to list a feature that would imply that.
    You mean RealRoad?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by R Soul View Post
    Very interesting project. If you haven't done so already, I suggest you browse through the BTB forum to see what issues people have that you could address in your program.
    Sure thing. But could you give a short list of the most annoying issues that you've run into?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodigy View Post
    You mean RealRoad?
    Yes.

    First post updated. Added an item to "Planned Features."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TChapman500 View Post
    But could you give a short list of the most annoying issues that you've run into?
    Some of the issue's you've already addressed - lack of precision etc. It's been a while since I did any track editing work but I'll see what I can come up with.

    * Moving a node's control points. If you plan to allow the user to use nodes and control points to manipulate the spline, bear in mind that in BTB it's very difficult to move a control point without accidentally rotating it about the node. So an attempt to modify a corner can easily un-straighten the preceding straight.
    * The undo system is very slow. I think BTB just copies old versions of the track file and loads them when Undo is used.
    * File duplication. Object/texture packs (XPacks) are stored in a folder, and when imported into a project they are copied to its local folder.
    * Importing objects. We have to use BTB's separate XPacker program to import a new object. It's okay if it all goes to plan the first time round, but updating the object requires re-importing to XPacker, then updating the XPack file. XPacker only updates what's in the XPacks folder, but not the project's folder.
    * Track merging. BTB tracks are spline-based, so it means two tracks cannot just be joined together. My preferred method is to align the polys in a certain way, and then use an external program to delete/move vertices and remap textures if necessary. It gets good results but is very time consuming, and cannot be imported back into BTB for further use. Changing the track layout requires the merging to be done all over again. I think a good solution would be to allow some polys to be extruded from the end of one track to the side of another, but leaving the tracks under the control of splines or whatever other parameters you would use.
    * Cross sections. Each track has a default cross section with 5 points. Multiple cross sections can be used at different parts of the track but they all have to have the same number of points. If one part of the track needs a lot of points, say to make a smooth curved banked corner, the whole track will have extra polys.
    * BTB has a skydome/horizon template but it's within a .mas file and we cannot see it in BTB. This makes it quite hard to customize these elements.

    And here's an idea:
    * Drape a track and terrain over an object or heightmap image. BTB can import kml/gps data but the generated tracks are often too jagged. We can reduce the number of points processed but then the track loses its profile. A while ago I found a set of heightmaps and was able to make a 3d object out of it. I imported it into BTB and began draping my track over it. It was a tedious process, especially when it came to the terrain where I had to do one node at a time. I've never done a complete track that way but I think it has potential.

  10. #10
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    wow, great project TChapman500!

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