It's Boxing Day afternoon and the rest of the family are inevitably fast asleep; a festive edition of excessive food intake has occurred...
So I am taking time to recap on the progress of my hobby, 3D modelling/modding. Early in 2016 I (rather regretfully) paused progression of my Rockingham track, owing both to a wish to improve my skill set in Blender to do it justice, and a fall in motivation due to a lack of variety of tasks. Later in the year I commenced work on Sandown Raceway, and this remains a track which I am actively working on. In the last part of the year I have been broadening my knowledge by investigating how cars are modelled - testing this out with some practice on a Volvo S40 TWR.
3D modelling a car has surprised me - in fact it is the opposite of what I had imagined. It calls for a completely different style of modelling and has undoubtedly given my hobby the variety it was missing. The Volvo was meant to be a quick test, but has developed into an obsession of sorts.
I have linked up in conversation with Ben Lee and Patrik Marek (PM3DM), of the AC forum. They have assisted by providing 3D Photoscans of the real life car, a tonne of car photographs and car modelling advice. Step by step, I have reported back my progress over the last few months and steadily this Volvo has been taking shape.
I am intrigued to see how far I can take this, and whether one day, collaboration can contribute towards a whole set of 90's SuperTourers in the virtual form. It is a much loved car class, with an evocative heritage, and for which there is limited opportunity to experience (certainly in terms of driving) in the real world today.
Volvo S40 TWR progress...
A New Year calls for a New Years resolution. With this in mind, it is my objective to revert to the 3 projects which I have and progress with them at a more effective pace and be able to use and release them in the future.
The Springvale suburb of Melbourne, Australia, is home to a rather special motorsport venue. 1.9ish miles of changing tarmac surfaces, suspension testing kerbs, long straights with punishing braking points, and the echos of the V8 supercars.
This is, The Sandown Raceway.
Inspiration to work on this circuit, initially as a mod for Assetto Corsa, came a few months ago, with Daniel Ricciardo posting a video of him thrashing a Holden Sandman V8 round this track - which I retweeted at the time.
Discussion with @learie, originally allowed permission for a conversion of work completed a few years ago for rFactor, however since this discussion, his mod has been used more as a handy elevation tool, working side by side with Google Earth, to inform my rendition of Sandown. Thank you @learie for enabling me a little head start in this modding process. More progress updates to come...
It will soon be release day. Whilst I get the track ready and tested, please enjoy some preview screenshots.
When you take a step back and look at something, and you are surprised how much you have achieved. That was me yesterday. Exported into AC and it had the beginnings of looking and feeling like Rockingham does. I had been completing bits and pieces each day, mentally ticking them off in my head and not really paying attention to the bigger picture. Suddenly it became some 34 or so laps later, and I was sat wondering "Where did my evening go?". It’s going properly well.
The surprise extends to the good news that the creation process is speeding up too, as I have been using blender for a while now, and the number of times I go wrong is reducing, I am able to fit more into the small spare moments of time I have.
In terms of progress, the elevation is nearly there, the textures are still mostly temporary, but there are an increasing number of track side walls, barriers and huts, and most of the kerbs are now in in some shape or form.
The only drawback, after completing a proper test run I have a list of things that I don’t like, can be improved or I am unsure on. I’d better get back to it!
It has been longer than I wanted before a new blog post. But I am here. The track has been quietly progressing with the addition of kerbs and rails in gradually advancing forms.
The elevation and camber is something i have put a lot of time into and it keeps getting better and better. The Photogrammatic LIDAR has proven valuable, and if I get to make another track gaining LIDAR data again will be my first top priority in the future. I only bought inexpensive LIDAR data for this track, at 2m grid and of 1m accuracy, but I am truly impressed with the results. It doesn't absolutely clearly show camber, however, so I have invested many hours watching youtube clips of Rockingham noting down where the cambers lie. Hopefully in the later stages of development it will be possible to create comparison videos that can become the true test and reveal if this effort has paid off.
I have also worked on creating my own textures for the mod, or rather finding (eg. CGtexutes), and then editing them to match exactly to what can be seen at Rockingham in real life. This is the case with the asphalt particularly, where i have been attempting to match the colour of Rockingham's track, and in kerbs where I have created my own stratch/wear textures for the corner kerbs to match closely. The small details seem to make the biggest differences.
Finally I have been thinking about speeding up development so have been looking for a modeler to create grandstands, pit garages etc (an advert can be found on the first page of my tracks thread on the AC forums). I look forward to potentially collaborating with someone of equal interest for motorsport, AC and Rockingham. Cant wait for this track to be in game for everyone to race on.
The first progress update! It might not be laser-scanned but I obtained some photogrammetry height data, so elevations should be pretty accurate. Most of the work has been spent on testing shapes, getting the banking of the oval smooth (really tricky!) and outputting it all in to AC. The textures used are temporary, as are some of the meshes. But.. I'm happy with progress so far.
There have been many endless hours spent watching youtube tutorials, trying different techniques in blender, and occasionally getting things right. I arrive at a point where it is time to start creating. But creating what? My wishlist of cars and tracks to create has had time to grow, and is now looking more like a book than a list.
Much time and a fair few beers later...
I am working on bringing Rockingham as a mod to Assetto Corsa! But why? It is close to where I live, it is unlikely to be laserscanned by Kunos, it is home to some great BTCC action, it has (what seems to be) a never ending list of configurations, there is plenty of reference material online to work from and it's location makes it easy to get hold of topographic data. Reason a plenty!
Kunos' standards are high, but I hope to come close to matching them for quality. I'm not sure when this will be done, or how smoothly the designing will go, but feel free to follow my progress on this blog, and hopefully some day soon you'll race at Rockingham on Assetto Corsa.
It all started with a "I wonder if I could do that??", and has developed considerably into something much more, both a hobby, and the learning of a creative skill. The 'that' in question is creating content for racing game Assetto Corsa. It is a combination of motorsport, design and a racing game that has me hooked, addicted even.
And so the story begins. I thought I would start simple (fighting aback my ambitiousness to do something bold that would, inevitably, fail) and this was a livery for a car. A forum member was asking for a particular BMW livery, one that I thought really stood out (Alzen's Z4 GT3), so I made it. Much to my surprise, it got great feedback when released. This feedback, however good, was not so for fighting aback my ambitiousness ...
So I give in... and with the little spare time I have, I will see where my ambitiousness takes me. Aim high and succeed?