International Competitive Racing Mod Development Thread

  • Member of the Year 2019-Jopajoe

Mystical

Always 110%
VIP
Hot Pass Member
Dec 21, 2017
77
18
With making something fictional 90% of the content never sees the light of day. With all the content I've ever made there are always scraps of assets that never get finished or were cut due to not fitting the final plan. The same can be said with this mod. Just conception of the Spoiler design I came up with a few:



#4 is the one I like to go with. It fits the overall angled design of the car and is unique enough its not just a cookie cutter spoiler from the real Nascar cars.

I also am thinking of going with form spoiler braces. Gives it a bit of that early Nascar 2000's spoiler vibe while still looking modern enough it would fit the car:
 

Mystical

Always 110%
VIP
Hot Pass Member
Dec 21, 2017
77
18
Had some good feedback from the SRD thread of this post over there so here is the updates so far:

My idea with the large indent with the spoiler would allow more air flow to the cars directly behind. Also if the car is going backwards and flipping I was going to put a flap on the decklid which when it raises would line up with that indent to 'catch' the air as air would go the least resisting path and go through the indent faster. Would it engineering wise and aerodynamically actually work in real life? Who knows but this is fiction so I'm going with that as the idea lol.


I kinda like #4 with the larger indent but here is what it looks like if I make the indent a little less (the right is the one with less)


You can see the original design for #4 from a rear cam angle isn't as huge looking. I wanted a cool looking silhouette and when I minimize it more its a lot harder to see from the distance when viewing the car from other angles.

The rear spoiler braces have been refined since last post as well, made then skinnier so I can have 6 fit on the back, feels a bit more 'full' with 6 I think.


EDIT:

Ok while making this post I've made a compromise with the original #4. How is this? Its slightly less of an indent, the spoiler was lowered like a few pixels as well:



As you guys can see you move a few pixels in a mesh and a completely different design that can alter the entire shape of a car, building, or whatever 3d0 you are making for NR2003 or any game model will occur (same can apply with textures and painters). You then go through a battle with yourself comparing design choices and ultimately having to come to a decision even if you like 5 other choices becasue you have to move on at some point, art is never done you just have to stop a some point or you'll never get anywhere.

With time and practice you can iterate on those changes though and get a more desired look faster, that comes with a lot of practice and knowing how to manipulate the edges, verts, and faces of a mesh to get it how you want it to look. But rushing this process can create undesired results. So far we are sitting at 65 blender files and I've really only been modeling this thing for a week and a half. I constantly use the 'save as' button when I make changes. If I somehow jarble up a mesh too badly (which I usually can just hit undo) I can always go back and recover the mesh from another file. One thing I love about blender (and many other 3d applications have a similar feature) is the new outliner with collections. I can create these folders and sub folders and store all the meshes in different places labeling them as I go. So I can make 100 spoilers and keep them in a sub section and toggle them one by one looking at them as I make changes). Tricks like this can really help you see differences in a model shape or even keeping backups of a copied mesh in the same file but not having them visible until you need them.

Regardless if someone is making the next Cup/Xfinity model, adding the Daytona Grandstands in, or making a firetruck 3do for a trackside object it all takes time and care to get it right. Anyone can open a 3D application and make a model. The devil is in the details as they say though and if you get those details wrong well you can ruin the entire shape or silhouette of the model. Just go back to the golden age of NR2003 when we had tons of mod teams making the Nascar Cup cars and trying to release them around the same time. Everyone liked one over the other for one reason or another and that is a perfect example of how little shapes and designs can make some like or not like the mod. Personally I never took sides becasue I liked we were getting mods regardless and having 2 in the same year for the same series was crazy cool.

But anyways, all I can say for those who really want a mod made exactly how they want totally go for it. The only thing holding yourself back is probably time to learn and use the tools but that comes with anything in life really. There are those in the community who will help (just as those who have made mods and knowing the scripting have been showing me the way). Speaking of that golden age for nR2003, it doesn't have to be over. We get enough people making mods and tracks again and we are back in the game.

I am hoping by me making this mod development public it will make the process less scary and less of a daunting feeling. It really just comes down to building blocks and keep going through the grind to the next phase over and over until you have a finished mod.
 

Mystical

Always 110%
VIP
Hot Pass Member
Dec 21, 2017
77
18


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.
 

Nuttyboy812

Member
Cold Pass Member
Jun 11, 2017
3
3
Damn, I didn't notice how tall this car was until that side view. He's a longboy too. Anyway, looking at the SRD thread, I support the idea to allow the tire brand to be changed on the template itself. I think MENCS19 works this way as the tire sidewall is on the template, but I haven't messed with it to find out for sure. For the bottom edge of the rear bumpers, I would suggest maybe removing that indent and just keeping it a straight edge for each chassis to allow for the highest variety of potential templates. That's just my two cents though, I don't want to ruin this for everybody by making tons of requests.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mystical

Mystical

Always 110%
VIP
Hot Pass Member
Dec 21, 2017
77
18
Damn, I didn't notice how tall this car was until that side view. He's a longboy too. Anyway, looking at the SRD thread, I support the idea to allow the tire brand to be changed on the template itself. I think MENCS19 works this way as the tire sidewall is on the template, but I haven't messed with it to find out for sure. For the bottom edge of the rear bumpers, I would suggest maybe removing that indent and just keeping it a straight edge for each chassis to allow for the highest variety of potential templates. That's just my two cents though, I don't want to ruin this for everybody by making tons of requests.
The car is actually the same height and length as the Menscup 2019 mod but the proportions are different enough it gives a different profile when viewed from the side which is what I was going for. It probably appears to be taller since the roof doesn't curve nearly as much as the current Gen6 model does. I wanted a flatter roof and more room for logos on the decklid like the Gen4 cars had.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mtblillie

Easty

Member
Cold Pass Member
Nov 5, 2019
3
3
It's so us Aussies get a more realistic view when we watch em on tv.
probably get a bit better angle for the camera being to that side a bit too I guess.
 

Rollo75

Well-Known Member
Hot Pass Member
Dec 1, 2018
461
63
It's so us Aussies get a more realistic view when we watch em on tv.
That would be this?

800.jpeg

That is of course the reason why Don Bradman was the best cricketer in the history of the world. If he was good while playing upside-down in Australia, then imagine how good he was playing the right way up in England!
 

Mystical

Always 110%
VIP
Hot Pass Member
Dec 21, 2017
77
18
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.
 

Mystical

Always 110%
VIP
Hot Pass Member
Dec 21, 2017
77
18
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:


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


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):


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.


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.
 
Last edited:

Mystical

Always 110%
VIP
Hot Pass Member
Dec 21, 2017
77
18
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 except 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




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:


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:

Our Partners