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3D Track Modeling

(UPDATED: September 28, 2017)

As I returned to 3D modeling recently, I want to make cars and tracks. The latter is what I have mostly been doing lately in my return. This blog post shows practice runs of mine modeling tracks in Wings3D. It will give you an idea of what I hope to provide in the future for all of you.


LATEST UPDATE(S)/REVISION(S):

SEP 28 2017 - added another section, edits made






3D Track Modeling


When designing a race course, you have to consider designing a course in regards to making something that will be enjoyable and fun. Your ability to create a virtual space that serves as a quality race track is paramount to making something memorable. I tend to believe you need quality locations to challenge the limits of vehicles in games. Without fine venues, a car, nor its driver(s) will ever shine. So it pays to build some quality material in your own world and with your own level of craftsmanship and expertise.

A long time ago, I had envisioned making tracks for rFactor. Nothing ever materialized from my work then, and I lacked the skill and desire to make 3D models. It wasn't until recently that I decided to give 3D modeling another try. You may remember I discussed why I abandoned the 3D modeling scene some time ago. Now... I'm back!

I want to show a bit of my evolution in trying to re-learn Wings3D and Blender. I still use Wings3D for my modeling, but I am doing more of re-learning Blender to put everything together. The next section will show some practice modeling runs of mine.



Track Designs


None of my designs here will be part of any project, but I did practice designing courses. I have shown a few of my practice runs in pictures in my Facebook profile, but never truly worked on them much since. So what you are going to see are mostly practice runs with a slow evolution of my skill.

NOTE: I am now using Flickr to display some of my images.


Practice Run 1: Oval.

TestOval

A lot of racing fans would find oval racing boring. However, these are some of the most basic courses anyone can construct. Just think about it for a moment- you have some simple straights and a few corners. Completely simple to make. If you want to do more complicated ones, though, you'll have some extra work to do.


Practice Run 2: Oval With Objects.

TestTrackModel

This practice run was about designing a race course with objects. The objects on this course include a gate at the Start/Finish line, grandstands, and a garage. Even the outside concrete wall is a separate object. The advantage to a design like this is that if the performance is low, certain track objects can be removed to help improve frame rate for games. I probably shouldn't have made the outside wall a separate object, but I did. Remember- this is practice. This probably will not likely going to materialize into a track.


Practice Run 3: Road Course.

TestTrackRoad

One time, I learned a skill important in the design of race courses- the ability to bend geometry. I made a road course once that was mostly a bunch of rough cubes. Learning how to bend pieces allowed me to make smoother corners for tracks. As you can see in my test run for a road course, you can see the smooth corners.


Practice Run 4: Elevation Changes and Overpass.

TestTrackRoad2

(ADDED: September 28, 2017) This unusual-looking track was created to practice making elevation changes and an overpass. Careful placement of vertices were key in making this possible. Selecting individual loops were key in preparing this model and making the different elevation changes. Elevation changes, when making a race track, are paramount on how you actually model them. Providing too steep an angle can almost make a vehicle seem like it is hitting a wall. So you need to be careful to not make the angle too steep for whatever vehicle(s) may maneuver around it.


Please note that in all of my pictures and in my test modeling runs before my 4th practice run, the track itself is flat. I have not yet gone to the level of making modeling runs of race tracks with elevation changes or overpasses. Perhaps I will share those runs in a future post. Stay tuned to my blog for more on that front! Meanwhile, check out the next section.




Explaining the Workflow


How did I create these in Wings3D, and how can you make your own work? Well, part of my workflow is to design the basic proportions of the course followed by drawing points through the center of the different edges. The center line drawn around the track is then beveled using the Bevel function. Three colors are used to mark the outer section (usually grass), the bounds of the course (usually the white lines marking the edges of a track, and the road itself (usually tarmac or non-tarmac). It is also possible to extrude the outer portions of the track to put up barriers to help keep the car in-bounds. Or in the case of temporary circuits, what could be used to define the boundaries of the road and the outer part can simply be used as the barriers as you see on most street course tracks.

You can build your courses any way you please, but this is how I've come to learn how to design courses.



An Interesting Observation...


I imported a model of one car from one game and did a little experiment on it. When you make a basic cube in Wings3D or Blender, you get a cube that is about 2x2x2 units. Each unit from the basic scale is one foot (or one meter for Metric measurements). A car with a measurement of two units wide and four units long will require about two cubes under it to properly fit it onto the ground. When you make a 3D model or a scene, you can always upscale it to your heart's content. So in the case of a 4x4x4 cube, a car of 2x4 dimensions would fit onto it but wouldn't look too good on such a small surface. So you would need to scale it up by twice or thrice as much for it to be used as a model to race on a track.

You can start small but then raise the scale to make it better able to be used in a game or in any animation. If you are making a track for a game, be mindful of performance limitations of whatever device(s) you are developing for.


Other than that... have fun modeling!





That's all for this post. If I do offer something fun, I'll share it with all of you. Meanwhile... thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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A 3D Confession

There is a reason why I haven't made 3D models for some time. Now, I must confess. I had never successfully made a 3D model from start to finish until 2016. This was nearly 20 years of trying then. Once I got going, I had a stretch of success making merely basic 3D models. Nothing of mine was too in-depth or overly complicated. One day commenting on a message board, I came across someone who made a 3D model of his own. It looked extremely basic and with not much complexity. I commented that his work was very good but could be better. Another person more qualified said it was a terrible model and would not sell well on (this site). If that wasn't bad enough, this other guy who ripped the modeler wanted me not to encourage him, as if he'll keep making crappy models that won't make any kind of profit for that certain site. Both of us weren't professional-style 3D modelers, but at least I gave the benefit of the doubt to this other modeler.

One thing about me... if you say something convincing or in a convincing way, I will tend to look at things a different way and either not be into it anymore or make me appreciate something more. The former describes me when it came to 3D modeling. Being part of one community sometimes makes you think differently trying to come up with content as a content publisher. You know your level of skill will or will not be enough to satisfy everyone, especially in certain communities. You can only do so much based on your level of skill.

Having said that, the impact of dealing with this incident has led me not to be as active in making 3D models anymore. One person or a group of people can be just enough to make you not care about something or have the same level of joy and confidence in trying to make something. Parts of me do want to get back into the flow of 3D modeling. Trouble is, you have to ease into it- almost like exercising. You know you are not going to burn 50 lbs. in a day or in a week. Thankfully for me, Wings3D is not overly complicated to learn and use. So any 3D projects I may take on probably won't be as difficult. They will only be difficult if I intend on making something incredibly complex.

To see the 3D work I've come up with, visit my portfolio of 3D work on my Weebly site here: JMDesigns - 3D Portfolio. And if any of my 3D models interest you, you can shop for them here on my Weebly page: JMDesigns - 3D Store.





I can't believe it's been months since my last post on "John's Creative Space." Most of that, though, is because I have mostly been working on material for the PC fighting game engine M.U.G.E.N. Stay tuned to this blog and to my Weebly site for more information on these deals. How do you do that? Just click on the items below this paragraph! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Vector Practice

I have practiced vectoring lately. Vector art is a fine form of art if you are able to create quality material. A number of indie games even utilize vectored art rather than pixelated material. One major advantage to vector art is that you able to resize the art to be small or large without losing quality of the image. That is why a lot of today's games and art utilize vectors over pixels. Prior to recently, I have never successfully made any kind of vector art.

I took a picture of a high-heel platform pump and made a vector out of it. This was the result:

vector art practice
^ Original image on left, vector on right.

I tried vectoring an image while also adding some extra vectors for lighting detail. Check it:

vector art practice
^ Rather than fill in vector shapes, I instead made separate vectors to add some light details. I also modified the bezier curves to my liking to mold the vector image on the right.

Really, I think I can get better at making vectors. The real challenge for me is actually in trying to trace a basic outline and then try to make something look as detailed as possible. Some people make absolutely impressive vector graphics. I even have some vector graphics for logos for cars. I am grabbing skills from various vector graphic artists to refine my vector art skills. To be honest, vectoring seems like a lot of hard work, but it really isn't. All I have done was mostly take advantage of tracing and if need be, modify the vector paths.


Vector Plans?

I have taken on an interesting project. I am considering using Inkscape (the program I am using for my vectoring) to make MUGEN characters; but more importantly, I am also trying to design as many original characters as possible for 2D game projects. That even includes my host of original fictional characters. I may even come up with entirely unique personalities made exclusively though vectoring. So be sure to follow my work for more details.





I hope you got to enjoy this blog post. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Historically-Accurate Car Skins

I attempted historically-accurate GTR2 skins. It wasn't the period I initially hoped for, but I tried out some minimalist skins for the 1986 Volvo 240 Turbo. A GTR2 mod had someone convert "Volvo: The Game" cars into GTR2. So I took the opportunity to take templates for the cars and paint up some cars. My first attempt to try historic style cars was to be with "GT Legends" cars converted to GTR2, but I wanted to try the Volvo 240 Turbo because I was somewhat '80s nostalgic. I focused on computers and software, especially the likes of two companies as you'll see below:


^ 1986 Apple Volvo 240 Turbo


^ 1986 Microsoft Volvo 240 Turbo

I don't do period-specific style cars. Sure it offers authenticity and realism, but I am just not good at certain time-themed works. You can see more of my work by going to my "JohnMarineDesigns" page and going to the Game Mods page of my Portfolio. Or if you want to go there now, visit: JMDesigns - Game Mods.

What I really want to do in terms of historically-accurate liveries is work with the GT Legends cars. You amy see that work in the future from me.





Thank all of you for your support! Please continue to support my work if it interests you. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Pizza Hut Cup

Earlier in 2016, I made a skin for GTR2's Saleen Mustang SE Challenge. The motivation was to make another GTR2 video. The cars share the same Pizza Hut livery. There is a story behind making a one-off event, and this blog post details that storyline. As of yet, I haven't made any kind of video or anything on it. Rest assured I will be providing links to any video material or anything else I come up with in this blog post. As of the initial blog post, however, I am simply announcing the storyline.

Since this is my first post to this blog of 2017, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


DISCLAIMER:

This story and its contents are purely fiction. Any relation between this project's storyline, characters, or anything of that nature is purely coincidental.

Pizza Hut and its name, logos, and related marks are a registered trademark of Pizza Hut, Inc.






Pizza Hut Cup


Here is a look at the skin I created for the GTR2 mod:

Pizza Hut Porsche Cayman S
^ from: (my Weebly site) - This is the Pizza Hut Cup car, a 2011 Porsche Cayman S. I originally had a Saleen Mustang SE to serve as my race car for the Pizza Hut Cup.

And here is the story...


Pizza Hut Cup: Story.

The main story of this race is that there is a race sponsored by Pizza Hut and promoted to run a special support race. A collection of 20 identically prepared and identical liveried cars will compete among each other. While the event is a racing event, there is one important caveat. Each of the drivers paid certain fees that went towards providing vouchers for individuals. The vouchers allow for individuals and families to be fed to a proper Pizza Hut meal. Those vouchers will be part of a raffle. The meals these vouchers pay for include the following:

• a large size pizza with any choice of toppings and crust
• the customer's choice of wings or breadsticks
• pasta
• a 2-liter bottle of soda

Racing hard while also providing delicious dinner is the premise behind this series and how it is catching on. I want this to be a rather interesting story of "paying it forward." Good food and doing good for others. Win-win, right?


Pizza Hut Cup: The Competition Car.

The car is a Porsche Cayman S race car. The car is nimble and makes fairly decent horsepower. Prior to recent times, the car I intended to have as the competition car for this series was a Saleen Mustang SE race car. I only went as far as designing the outer skin. And just like the Summer Speed Series deal I created for GTR2, the drivers featured are mostly generated or generic drivers. I have to have some kind of way to identify the drivers so it doesn't seem like a bunch of drones racing each other.

JUST SO YOU KNOW... I also created a skin for rFactor long ago to make a Pizza Hut car for that game. However, I haven't made a proper set of cars to make it unique for rFactor. I also used a different car. For rFactor, the Pizza Hut car I created is a Panoz Esperante GTS race car. If I make something for rFactor on this topic, I'll be sure to share my work with you all.

One of the real challenges was in trying to design the car skin. I can't seem to load the skins for the car using 3DSimEd, so I have to load GTR2 to get a general feel for what I am trying to design.


~~~ this space reserved for a video - check for updates ~~~





I hope you enjoyed my work here. Make sure to Subscribe and Follow this blog (and my others) if you enjoy my work. Also be sure to follow me on social media for more of the goodness I have to offer. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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