Sunday, October 30, 2016

Turbo Sliders vs. The Mountain

Closest. Finish. Ever.: Will Davison and Jonathon Webb of Tekno Autosport took Bathurst 1000 victory earlier this month from Shane Van Gisbergen and Alexandre Prémat after the fated incident between Whincup, McLaughlin and Tander which effectively denied Whincup's lead as he was given a 15-second penalty post-race. (Image: PSP Images / Touring Car Times)
So, it was a hot Bathurst 1000 weekend earlier this month. The race itself may not be up to the 2014 standards but everything changed at Lap 92 when Andrew Jones's big crash before reaching Brock's Skyline caused the Safety Car period, which pretty much gave a change of pace in the race. However, there was that one move that got everyone talking: Jamie Whincup, crashing into the Jandal Man Scott McLaughlin and domino'ed Garth Tander, nullifying Whincup's win due to penalty and lodged an appeal afterwards which was eventually dismissed. Thankfully, things took a positive turn for Whincup and McLaughlin, as proved by this clip courtesy of Australian Supercars' official Twitter. The race is won by Will Davison and Jonathon Webb of Tekno Autosport, with Shane Van Gisbergen and Alexandre Prémat just tenths of a second behind, making it the closest Bathurst 1000 finish in history, and apparently, second Bathurst win for Tekno and its drivers if you also count their Bathurst 12 Hour success this year.

So much happened before the Great Australian Race took place this year, one of them being Real Racing 3's own take of Supercheap Auto 1000 event in the new update and its inclusion of three Supercars cars, namely Ford Falcon FG, Holden Commodore, and Nissan Altima (which can be won in the Gauntlet Season 9 event). the three marques with quite a history of their own in the Supercars universe: Nissan marked Bathurst as their territory the first time in the early 90s with their Nissan Skyline GT-R Group A, dominating the 1000km marathon much to the dismay of both Ford and Holden fans. Years later, it was all Ford vs Holden until more manufacturers like Volvo and Mercedes Benz entered (until 2016), and Nissan returned as well (which marked its territory once more last year, but in a different race).

But of course we have lots of Mount Panorama and Supercars being featured already in numerous games, yet something doesn't seem to kick here, and a question popped out of my mind: what if there's Mount Panorama in a top-down perspective? Like...


"How can you put Mount Panorama to Turbo Sliders?"
Mount Panorama is hands down one of the legendary tracks in the motorsport world, known for both Bathurst 1000 and Bathurst 12 Hour, two races that have become Australia's key events of motorsports. Its elevation changes, as well as its series of tight and blind corners, plus the two long straights, made the track it always is, but with this track being made in Turbo Sliders, which is a top-down racing game which, obviously, features no effects on elevation changes, the challenge lies on making the corners as exciting as the real track offers, while staying true to the original layout.

The initial tracing process, which started way long time ago, relied on the track map found somewhere on the internet, and after driving the track with such an original shape, the excitement factor isn't there. I'm talking about the section that follows after the Skyline, which, in TS, can be taken in one steering, even with the challenging track width. The Chase also falls to this as well as, even with the left hander, it could be taken effortlessly. My goal there is to make sure that Mount Panorama in Turbo Sliders isn't a track that can be taken full throttle all the time, allowing drivers to slow down in certain sections to save fuel in fuel-enabled races.

Going into the Esses from Brock's Skyline. This is one of the sections that underwent a major layout change to improve difficulty alongside The Chase. The green marks in this screenshot is meant to be a set of reference points for putting trees.
Opening back the WIP, with Real Racing 3's new update being the reason for re-igniting my spirit on finishing Mount Panorama, I took this time to fix whatever it needs to be. Previously, I already added the tarmac extensions and adjusting the section after Skyline, which resulted in a more exciting section courtesy of yours truly adjusting the corners with a new extreme approach, same story with The Chase. This results lesser time spent on the accelerate key which should contribute to the coasting strategy for fuel races.

As of the current progress, the majority of the tiles are done, leaving the placements of trees and appropriate houses, as well as the addition of the racing tiles, in the works. The green-marked areas which overlay the track act as the reference for tree placements, loosely following the real life placements of the real track. Minor tarmac placements for the miscellaneous parts of the circuit are also to be considered as well, and apparently, I'm still wondering what kind of font used for the Mount Panorama wording as seen in the above screenshot as it is used in real life, as the wording used here is directly taken from a screenshot taken off of Google Maps and edited accordingly in Photoshop. Maybe I should do some bump-map too like this track, perhaps?

Speaking of tiles, there were also some "adjustments" in order to fit the theme. Yup, I modified Jazzyclub's original Toca Tiles and make it "more Australian", or "More Bathurst" to be precise (the same way I did with my Tsukuba). Notice that the track has an Armor All-sponsored tire bridge, and there are Supercheap Auto banners seen in the second screenshot. Apparently, I also succeeded playing with the sponsorship on the pedestrian bridge, taking advantage of Photoshop's Wrap function on the Transform tool and overlaid the original sponsorship with Supercheap Auto, which is pretty much what I need. There are still more exclusive Bathurst-only tiles to be made, including the "Happy Bathurst Day" banner and the "Supercheap Auto 1000" one. I can totally consider a Bathurst 12 Hour version with a different set of sponsorships as soon I finished this track.


Apparently, with me working on Mount Panorama, my focus has shifted from endurance with GTs and LMPs, to touring cars as awesome as the Australian Supercars, plus some road cars (as an effect of me working with Whiplash's blank cars) with, appropriately, a track record that involve mountains.

First one is... the V8 Supercar, a rather-blank car based on the current-gen Australian Supercars car which you already saw in the screenshots of the track's WIP. The pitch was I had to finish the "base" image of this car first before going to the exciting bit: slapping some manufacturer-specific parts such as the front grille, the headlamps, the appropriate badge, and the rear spoiler for distinct models. In total, it is expected to have four variations based off of Holden, Ford, Nissan, and Volvo, and it will be based on the 2016 season.

The physics are still WIP too. Initial draft had my "guesswork" physics taken into account, with some research where I found out it has a superb acceleration and a lower top speed than the GT3 cars possess if we were to compare them in the Bathurst scope, but its better handling and grip compensates for the Supercar's weakness. Later on, Real Racing 3 came up with their Supercars and these cars in-game have a subpar braking yet an astounding grip, which made me wonder if they do have the worst braking strength out of all touring cars, triggering me to do further research and resorted to asking the guys at Motorsport 101 podcast, to which Adam Johnson (the Team Bombersports guy) commented that the Supercars are actually "just a normal touring car", meaning it behaves like any top-level touring car you could name (link to the episode where he replied my question here). In the end, it's still WIP.

Since this post bears a "Mountain" theme not limited to just Mount Panorama, I thought that this would be a good mic-dropper: Introducing Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, the face of drifting, the one the Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya drifts with, and the poster car of popular manga and anime series Initial D. I've been trying to make this car properly a long time ago which resulted in a shape that doesn't look like AE86 at all although relying on the blueprint image found on the internet. Despite those failures, my latest attempt finally has it right, both base shape out of the blueprint image and the shading, but this is just the first step as there are lots of other versions which complements this very car. Has anyone thought about me bringing D1GP-styled AE86 to TS?

Being a Drift King it is, its physics inherits part EasySlider and Slider, but it's more to the former as it is just a base model, while the drift-tuned counterpart would inherit much to the latter once the work for the version commences. It's an interesting car that would complement the selection of TS cars that hasn't been made by anyone, ever (because nobody is making new, custom cars in Turbo Sliders sadly, apart from a few people). More road cars are to come.

Speaking of more road cars however, I also planned to make two other cars: Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) and Mazda RX-7 FD3S. Both raced in Mount Panorama (and won) at least once, and both are also the cars in the touge (Japanese for mountain pass) racing scene, not to mention they also appear in Initial D as well. I haven't got to work on these two cars right now, but these are my bucket list cars, with their respective Bathurst and tuner versions also standing by. The inclusion of these two cars, along with the AE86 and the Supercars, would be a fitting theme for the "Kings of the Mountain" pack if it were to launch sooner or later, but maybe there'd be a rather small twist as a Plan B: the pack would feature blank versions of the mentioned cars, with other set of cars with different forms and liveries (i.e., Supercars series, tuner series) will be released as their own respective series in order to not clutter the pack, which saves release time window for me but at the cost of having to download different ZIP files.

Once either Mount Panorama or any of the cars are finished, the stage will be set for a new batch of touring cars, more road cars, and tuner cars, after dedicating my time making endurance racing cars. With those new categories in mind, my project has started to shape well in terms of car diversity...


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