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Track Building Tutorial

Track File Explanations
Though rF has a complex structure at first glance, the track files are easy to work with if you work on them one by one, and they allow you to customize every detail to whatever you plan on making. Most of them only need to be setup once and if they are properly made, will work on the first try. It takes practice though, so be patient if it doesn't work the first time around.

Opening and editing files
Here are some explanations about how and what to use to edit files.

File Structure
Here's how the files are supposed to be laid out.

Troubleshooting Files
When things go wrong with a track (and yes they will), you need to know where to look for the problem and how to fix them.

GDB File Definition
The GBD file contains information about the menu names and description of the track, day/night light levels, race settings, the scoreboard setting, and other condition related settings.

SCN File Definition
This file is used for loading of all assets, lights, timing meshes, and sounds.

VisGroup Explanation
VisGroups are used to setup the tracks detail settings, from high to low in the graphics settings menu. By editing the VisGroups, you can chose which objects to remove from the track in lower settings. This page shows how to affectively use VisGroups.

AIW File Definition
This file controls the path that the AI and user's driving aids drive, the race groove, as well as the locations of starting, pitting, and garage, positions.

TDF File Definition
An optional file that can be used to setup special terrain affects, like; bumps, sparks, traction adjustment and smoke/dust.

CAM File Definition
Contains all coordinates and setting for the track cameras used in track cam view.

Track Name.mas File
A compressed file used to hold all of the track's mesh files

Track Name Map.mas File
A compressed file used to hold all textures for a track.

TrackName_LOADING.jpg File
The wallpaper used while loading a track. It should be 800x600 pixels in size, or at lest be a 4x3 aspect ratio.

TrackNameThmb.tga File
The small graphic use for the track selection menu used to identify the track. It needs to be 613x294 pixels in size for it to work correctly.


Research and Development
Now that you have some basic files setup, you can move on to designing and constructing some artwork.

Finding data and photos
Photos are important for any project to establish the "look" of the track. unless you have some vision for the track, it'll just be a piece of plain road and not be very interesting.

The Layout
You will need a good 2D map to accurately model the track.

Proper Scale and Dimensions
After you find the layout map, you need to get you're track length as close to perfect as passable.

Elevation data
Most tracks aren't flat as a pancake, so its critical to nail you're elevation changes.

Track Modeling Techniques
Everyone has a different way of modeling a track. there are two schools of thought when doing this; Some use splines and some start with a FFD Box Here are my modeling methods. Ive built and released dozens of tracks using these techniques.

Uses a combination of a path and cross section splines to extrude a track surface. It's the classic way to model a track and has been used for years to model simple low poly tracks, but it's capable of much more if used correctly. Lofting is great for roughing out a new layout quickly and gives quick results. Its a good technique for beginners, but requires ALOT of post-lofting poly editing and UVW coordinate mapping to really flesh out a design.

Also try Brendon Pywell's Bob's Track Builder its very similar to lofting, but much easier to use.

FFD Box modeling
I pretty much stumbled over this modifier and its the basis for my current modeling style. It requires some prep work but once the FFD Boxes are setup you can easily pile in tons of detail without much work or forethought. Using this technique you can make a track layout without any post production modeling. Great for making highly detailed, more organic looking tracks.

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