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Monday, November 10, 2014

Rendy's Car Skinning Life EP 03: A Skinner's Block and a Dive to rFactor


New month, new post. As promised, it's going to be a post about skinning. This Skinning Post marks the third episode of my Skinning Life post series. Previously, I did post about working the Citroën Trophée Xsara, which unfortunately sees a sabbatical (exactly for months) due to no feedbacks given. Alas, I quit skinning for a while but not until I dive into rFactor recently. Like how I dived into GTR2, there's one rFactor mod that motivated me to try this game: the ChoroQ mod, made by Aoitori. And then myriads of ideas flow like a landslide...

But in this post, I won't just talk about rFactor alone; this would also be the time where I spill TMUF WIPs that held up for a long time. When I was working the Trophée Xsara car and that I had other WIPs that are dormant, the thing that etched in my heart was "don't spill any of your WIPs before you finished your currently-working one". Since I "failed it" a.k.a can't get to work the current WIP in a short time, I think it's time to open all my cards before others claim any of mine.

INTO THE rFACTOR HYPE

One day, I browsed the internet and searched for some mods for GTR2. It turned out that there are more rFactor mods than GTR2 has, and what's worse is that most of the mods are what I am interested into: endurance racing mods, specifically the ones that also involve prototypes in conjuction with sports cars. Everything changed when I saw the words "ChoroQ Mod" under the rFactor section right in front of my eyes. Suddenly, thoughts of getting rFactor ASAP flew, and it grew even faster, I can't seem to hold it a little further anymore, so I get a copy of rFactor and play it without mods so I can get the grasp of the game, and after that, the ChoroQ party happens. Worth noting that I get the game by the means of downloading as I can't find it at my nearby PC Games store.

Panoz Means Business; rFactor features lots of cars, some of which are the Panoz family with the likes of the GTR-1 and GTLM GT2 and the BMW F1 Sauber. (Image: Finish-Line.net)

A little about rFactor, it is one of the first racing simulators for PC developed by Image Space Incorporated, and is also an evolution of its Sports Car GT game. The game features cars of different kinds, including the tourers, grand tourers, rallies and open wheelers, but the real jokers of the game are Panoz cars and the BMW Sauber F1 car. Panoz series allows you to race Panoz Esperantes, the American marque's flagship sports car in the sports car racing scene that started its humble beginnings with the Esperante GTR-1, debuting in 24 Hours of Le Mans as a GT1 car. Years later, Panoz shifts its focus to the Esperante GTLM, the tamer, GT2 Esperante, which drove its run in not only the coveted 24-hour race but also in American Le Mans Series (the past tense of Tudor United Sports Car Championship along with the Grand-Am series).  The game also offers a variety of racing tracks from fictitious tracks with great views (such as Toban Raceway and Lienz Festival) to real world tracks under different names (such as Northamptonshire, which is actually England's Silverstone Circuit), and has same but improved core gameplay carried from SCGT, plus allowing even more cars in one race, whereas SCGT's maximum is 16 (24 with a third-party tool). Thousands of mods, be it tracks or cars, are available on either rFactor Central or any other mod-sharing sites.

BECAUSE CHORO Q

German (car) Suplex; The ChoroQ Mod is an rFactor mod based on the most popular toy line of the same name by Takara. The mod features 11 cars including the garbage truck and Mad Special (Image: Aoitori's rFactor site)


The only principle that I use when I install and play rFactor is "to differentiate itself from another". What I mean is that I want to have separate experiences for both rFactor and GTR2 because they are both racing simulators, save for the tracks (I had a Tsukuba Circuit for both games, and incidentally both versions are made by the same person / people). The more accurate meaning is that I can't have the same experience for both games, meaning that I can't make both games center around sports cars and prototypes racing for hours. Fortunately, there are a sufficent number of mods that can make my rFactor experience far from my GTR2 experience, like the ChoroQ mod for example. If you don't know about ChoroQ, it is a Japanese pull-back toy car line first made by Takara in 1978, with each car's length vary from 3-4 cm. The series saw many video game iterations throughout different console systems aside from the sold-in-stores models, which the models range from low-detailed ones targeted to children buyers to highly-detailed cars for collectors. The rFactor mod itself consists of eleven car models (including Choro Q's originals like the garbage truck and the Mad Special), with variety of base colors plus one special color for most cars (which are based on models that compete in real-life motorsport events). More special colors are available, and the templates for each car are available in the download pack.

The base cars are too slow for racing, rendering them unfit for longer tracks, but then there are upgrades that you can buy. These upgrades vary from Engine, Transmission and Tires to name a few, and these parts are sold in similar fashion as in the video games. Putting the mentioned matters in mind, it seems that the mod is geared towards online racing, but you can make AIs to have your desired specs with intensive tweaks here and there. Also worth noting that when it's upgraded to the max, it is an unstoppable beast with insane acceleration and top speed, and can eat corners like frenzy, but if you want a challenge, use a steering wheel and try to buy the "Rear Wheel Drive" upgrade under the "Wheel Drive" section of the Upgrades tab. It is a cringe using the keyboard but is a real challenge using the wheel. The small proportion of the cars also allow for packed racing, and at the same time makes packed racing much more enjoyable. The only downside? Lack of car models and more visual parts like wheels and wings, just like in actual Choro Q games. Other than that, it's one hell of a mod, a total recommendation, especially if you're either a fan of the Choro Q series or you want a packed racing in a different dimension online.

This mod also opens my skinning opportunity, but this time I limited the skins for this mod to fictitious race cars inspired by fandom things. The first car I skin is a Corvette with Castle references in it, to the point where you can see how much Caskett and Stanathan references are thrown in a single racing car livery. A big project it is, but for starters I do one car, and when I'm done working one, another skin is a go. But I wanted to make this more than just skins; BOTS! However, I'm still learning every aspect of making AIs and creating class upgrades. This is obviously not a short project as I have said earlier and, considering my real life situation, will take quite a time. Thanks to its proportions, however, livery designs would take a shorter time to finish, unless you need to work on the fictitious sponsor logos for a particular car.

Caskett Goes Racing; funded by Stanathan

It is still WIP, but more will come on the way.

SUPREME CHALLENGE AND OPENING ALL MY TMUF CARDS

So knowing all this stuff and looking back at the Supreme Challenge project I proposed months ago, Supreme Challenge is a nada considering that I can't find a very long time to allocate for skinning tens of cars for a mere project in a fast time as fast as possible and that most of the skins that I envision have either complex liveries or the right colors for each team's main sponsors. Also worth noting is the total understanding of the racing regulations; the first draft was to pit FIA GT3-spec cars with GT300-regulated models of the Super GT fame with thorough balance of performance. Unfortunately GT300 materials are awfully scarce (you won't find a Prius GT or a CR-Z model on either GTR2, TMUF or rFactor yet), ending up with me using GT300-regulated models throughout JGTC years whenever Super GT models aren't found. Creating the series' logo was a pain in the butt as the first logo draft doesn't seem to be "rightful" enough. All these bombshells lead me to the halt (YES, halt, not cancel) of the project, leaving me working on single skins instead. The project is paused with half-finished WIP cars like (the falsely-colored) Croatia Racing Team BMW Z4, Taylor Swift Racing Porsche and Debenhams Aston Martin, among all others.

Il Bello Rosso; Maranello Motorsport's 458 Italia, the winner of 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour, is one of my TMUF WIPs. Car model is provided by justspeeding.

In the TMUF's side of story, I chose to recreate real-life skins out of available cars on the Carpark. One of those is the Ferrari 458 Italia, which is the rightful model to make a right skin to work on: The Maranello Motorsport 458 Italia GT3 a.k.a the outright winner of this year's Bathurst 12 Hour, driven by the likes of Mika Salo and Craig Lowndes among others. For the front and rear parts, easy work it is, but everything gets worse as the asymmetrical nature of the template made the side work a pain in the obvious part. The white part and green lines I was working on, assuming that I didn't know the asymmetrical nature, seemed easy until it doesn't seem to be fit in-game. In the end, there goes my challenge in working the Il Bello Rosso stripes where I must understand the car's anatomy. Working with 3D would be easier, but I realized my laptop isn't strong enough for such a work.

The Proton; 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans entry of Dempsey-Del Piero Racing Porsche 991 RSR. Model provided by GKRacer.

Another TMUF WIP I have is the Porsche 991 RSR, which is sufficent enough to replicate a 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans entry of Dempsey-Del Piero racing, driven by Patrick Long, Andy Lally and Dr. Derek Shepherd Patrick Dempsey. There's no apparent difficulty in working on the black stripes apart from how they look. The stickers are quite challenging to find, but it's no big deal with a couple of Google searches. This car is quite relaxed template-wise compared to the previous 458 Italia.

The VDS; Marc VDS Ford GT1. Model by GKRacer

Last but not least is the Ford GT GT1, the right car to be made into a Marc VDS car. I faced the same asymmetrical-related difficulties as the Maranello Motorsport car, and it has something to do with the side intakes, top parts and the rear bumper. Once I managed to complete Marc VDS car, I would try the Matech Ford one. But then, I'm wondering to myself that the Matech livery is much simpler and straightforward to work on than Marc VDS, why I don't work the former? (insert a random Homer Simpson reaction here)

But there is ONE MORE Ford GT skin in progress, and that is Nikki's Ford GT, the Ford GT in Need For Speed Carbon. With its straightforward livery and no other stickers on the car, this one would be the first one to finish, in exchange to the awful-looking Trophée Xsara car, for now.

Carbon Goes United; Nikki's Ford GT. Model by GKRacer (link above)

Apart from the already-shown TMUF WIPs on the last two posts, these WIPs are all my cards I have, and before any other skinner claim these skins, I have no other choice but to reveal them.

SKINNING WILL HAVE ITS OWN HOME



But all the skinning work of mine, regardless of the game, will eventually have its own home in the new [R]GARAGE site. Aside from adding three additions, including the MiniRacingOnline section and one SECRET! addition, all skins for each game will be released there, but these works will be linked to sharing sites instead of my online drive to make sure that all my skins are stored in credible sharing sites so that no one would steal my works. Another benefit of sharing to the credible sharing sites is that you can give credit to the original mod maker(s) and the template maker(s) even better. In the end, it woulld be a win-win situation for both the community and my site in general, although the only downside is that people can just visit my mod page instead.

So in the end, I have more single, project-unbounded WIPs to work on in exchange to the skin project involving tens of models, with most of them are replications of real-life racing liveries, aside from the smaller-scale car skins. Time will be the main factor to ensure their effective work, all the way to the finishing product.

~[R]

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