Friday, August 26, 2016

The 360 (No, not the Endurance Race Project!)

Apologizes yet again for the almost-zero activity in my blog this month, because I had to prioritize my unfinished Internship business, which I had to wrestle with a software I am remaking due to my advisor demanding a fix since a couple of months ago, which unfortunately took its toll to my motivation to combine the two applications. What's worse is that my "brute force" approach (read: literally going without any plan whatsoever) also costed a lot in the remaking, so I had to make a concrete plan as I restart this process. Nevertheless, I have to soldier on.

Between the process of "soldiering on", however, I peeked at two of the already-downloaded ZIP and RAR files on my laptop. These two files hold some of the interesting cars that can be useful for my next batch of projects. I'm very amazed at how the roster for those packs are considering that they do relate to what my big project really needs.

Those files are in fact Whiplash's unfinished car packs, divided into two different packs. These cars, while having no defined physics as they are "unfinished cars", exactly what the tin says, have 360 rotated images which reflects the lighting for each rotation. In addition, these cars are taken from 3D models of Forza Motorsport series, of which car models for this series are available at... drumrolls please, this site, of all others.


So what's the deal with this kind of cars? To simply put, these cars harness the 360-rotation image feature introduced in Turbo Sliders version v2.4.1b, one of the versions worked in private in 2014 before the public release version of v2.5.0 and is actually shipped with the ability to create 4K tracks on the editor by default. Facilitating this feature is the car parameter 'rotations' which allows a number of image rotations, 64 minimum (was the default number) and 360 maximum, with max image width being 16384. This allows for a smoother rotation effect and simulates better lighting transition as Whiplash's various cars have demonstrated.

Hand-drawing 360 images of one car is an impossible feat to do, especially knowing that you really have to mind the "lighting" effect in the shading for the sake of realism, so the only reasonable way in getting 360 images is to take a 3D model, set some lighting, and save each frame which simulates rotation in top view (hey, it's a top down game!). I talked to Whiplash a few days back and the tool to make this possible is none other than 3DS Max, with no additional plug-in needed to make this possible. All that's left is to play with some lighting, particularly by using "Skylight" and "Omni".

While the 3D models are available via the site I linked above, that isn't the only site where you get them. In fact, there is a bigger gold mine for you 3D model hunters who:, a Russian 3D model marketplace for racing games that has caught the attention of the modders and a site known as Pretend Race Cars. The Russian site hosts a number of car models ripped from numerous game titles, as well as several miscellanous parts. Recently, I have been visiting this site very often to get myself some 3D models in an attempt to turn them into 360-rotation cars just like what Whiplash did with his numerous cars, and with getting 3D models done, the next thing to do is to research the textures which is useful to turn my car into fully blank red or green with some adjustments.


Discovering this very technique, I have now gone to the Gran Turismo 5+ approach where cars are separated into to groups pertaining to their quality: Standard and Premium. Seeing the 360-image car images, I looked back at my previous cars and realized how I executed some of the shadings badly, but then I don't want to no longer do hand-made cars because frankly not every car has its 3D models in my project, the ASL Garaiya (and its GT300 counterpart) is being one of the obvious mentions nevermind, it's already there. Another notable factor would be the availability for select liveries for a certain 3D car; until I can find all the liveries I need for the 3D McLaren F1 (the ones I have already made last year), I have no plans for my McLaren F1 going Premium although Whip already got that one in one of his packs, in road-going form.

Basically, this divide only specifies the car's image used; whether it uses a static image or an image with multiple rotations. A Standard car refers to cars with a static, hand-drawn image and low-key lighting compared to the Premium's more intense lighting which consists of rotated images that simulates the dynamic lighting of the car, with a minimum of 64 rotated images and a maximum of 360 rotated images for more realistic effects (usually only possible for cars whose images are taken from a 3D model viewer).

Easily put, all my released cars are Standard, while Whiplash's releases of WTCC Pack, GT Pack, and others are Premium. Then again it is down to the individual's tastes whenever they prefer cars that are hand-drawn or those with 360 rotations, or probably something out of a 3D model viewer like in F1SL mod's cars?

The main reason why I wanted to make some 360-rotation cars is because I had troubles with shading. It always happen everytime, and I would most likely have a hard time dealing it, for instance the roof shading which might not be as good as anything Vivndum does in his MRO cars he created, but then again I'm creating a 50x100 car relying on tracing the car's blueprint and make sure that the car I am making has correct proportions as in real life, which is double the difficulty in creating 36x36 MRO cars where shading work is more relaxed because of the size. Don't get me wrong, I love doing hand-drawn cars, but I just couldn't work a better shading somehow. As shading work is a "trial-and-error" process, though, I might just do it until it does look good.


Another day is another trackday.
Out of my boredom, I took three of Whiplash's unfinished cars to one of TSE's tracks. Those cars were Honda NSX-R, Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II, and Toyota Supra RZ, all of them are taken from their Forza Motorsport models as far as my gut and my research tells so. These cars were then given their respective physics based on their real-life specifications, which resulted in the Skyline being the most stable, Supra being the fastest accelerator, and NSX-R having the best top speed. This thought got me when I was tinkering with another of Whiplash's unfinished car "Scion FRS" in the second pack which I labeled as "Toyota 86" instead for some reason (thankfully FRS and 86 are the same!) before working with those cars and somehow I turned into road car racing after focusing a lot in endurance cars.

And then I remembered that I also had a road car already released: Shelby Daytona Coupe, so I raced the car I made with those three. In theory, the Coupe would win the race because it has a top speed of 306 kmh and a 0-100 kmh time of 4 seconds (based on's figures), combined with its utterly light weight, topping the three cars in real life. But after the race, maybe I should consider fixing the physics for the Coupe, because actually the three cars, the 86 and the Coupe are part of a "bigger" project that I have been keeping for long. No, not that project, but it's a TS project involving a big roster of cars! More on my own TS project will follow after this post, hopefully.

Maybe I should stick with hand-drawn cars until I've got 3DS Max and getting proficient at it...


P.S.: Unfortunately, I cannot link anything off of the Turbo Sliders site because at the time of this posting, the site suffered an "509 Bandwidth Limit Exceeded" error since yesterday. Hopefully it will be sorted out in the next couple of days. I'll update everything with links and stuff when the site is up again!

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