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Sandbox 2

Discussion in 'NR2003 General Discussion' started by TChapman500, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    I have decided to split the Chapman Track Creator into two projects (and have finalized this decision). The Chapman Track Creator will be able to support almost any simulator using plugins, but I think that NR2003 requires some special attention, requiring a more specialized track editor which I will call "Sandbox 2" or "Sandbox 2.0" at least for now. The goal of splitting the project to create this "Sandbox 2" is to have an emphasis of improving on the features of the original Sandbox while also providing extra tools to track developers to utilize more of the simulator's features that no other tool is currently providing. The screenshots posted previously for the Chapman Track Creator still represent a good deal of what this track editor will look like, but it will support only NR2003.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  2. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    Progress Report:
    I believe I have figured out how I'm going to implement things like physical bumps without the use of Sandbox' bump map system. I will split each segment into two layers. The first layer is the "base" segment which is the geometry that would be generated if the user doesn't use any bump mapping. The second layer (if used) is what will be exported to PTF. When used, only the wireframe of the base track will be rendered. The surface rendering will come from the second layer.

    I will be putting as much of the mesh generation on the GPU as possible. But the wall meshes will have to be generated on the CPU. This will be done on a separate thread so that there won't be any lag spikes while the mesh is being updated.

    Since this is a split from the Chapman Track Creator, it should be relatively easy to import most of the code from the other project into this one. There are however, several internal changes that I am going to make to increase the efficiency of the editor, which will then be copied over to the original project.
     
  3. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    Progress Report:
    I've been modularizing the various components of the Chapman Track Creator so that I don't have to recreate all of the functionality for this editor. So far, things have been slow and there's not that much to report on.
     
  4. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    Progress Report:
    This week, I was able to do a test of what is essentially an empty application just to see if the modularized systems would be able to load. So far so good. So now I need to add some functionality to one of the modules so that I can get it to communicate properly with the editor. There are two modules to this editor which at least load. One module is for the scene explorer and the other is for all of the scene objects and the scene manager. It should be pretty simply to move most of the code from the old scene explorer into the new module. Some of it will have to be changed and/or be rebuilt from scratch because of the module.
     
  5. James76

    James76 Well-Known Member

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    Hope it is not out of line or in the wrong thread here. If so my apologies.

    One feature I would love to see in any kind of sandbox utility is the ability to display LiDAR cloud data (.LAS), and the ability to use that info to loft a track from 0 elevation to banking etc.

    Even if it is just drawing the cloud in the camera view and you have to manually adjust the x sections in the same manner as we have been doing. Having the ability to display the cloud right in "sandbox" would make things way easier and more precise.

    Especially if it has the ability to retain intensity and color settings in the cloud data.

    I realize this would be low on your work load list but worth asking!
     
  6. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    I think that is perfectly doable.
     
  7. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    I've posted an update to this project on my blog. To summarize, I've changed how the scene objects work to reduce the complexity of the projects. I'm also adding a module called the "Component Viewer" to display a list of components that are attached to an object. The properties window will now display the properties of only the selected component.
     
  8. Naja Tech 93

    Naja Tech 93 Happy Member

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    Are there pit editing feature or Track.ini editing in easier eay?
     
  9. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    That has been the plan from the beginning of the project.
     
    Naja Tech 93 likes this.
  10. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry it's been so long since the last update, but I think I've finally cracked NR2003's 3DO file format! At the very least, I've come one step closer to cracking it. I now know why every entity inside the 3DO file contains an index. I also learned of a few structures that were not listed in the definition file that I was given, so I added said structures to said definition file. I think I'm ready to create a file structure reader/writer into the track editor now (I'm putting them in as I write this).

    In case anyone didn't see the announcement I posted on my gaming channel a couple of weeks ago, I had to start the project over because it was getting too burdensome to remember which copy of the project was the current one and which copies I needed to copy which portions of code from to the "current" copy. And Visual Studio seems to like making even that very difficult.

    EDIT: I think that the 3DO file structure is inefficient.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
    USSTalladega and Mystical like this.
  11. RacerXero84

    RacerXero84 Obnoxious old fart

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    It's certainly good to hear from you, I know a few people have been inquiring about this project around the internet, and I myself was wondering if it became too tedious that perhaps you set it aside.
     
    TChapman500 and Mystical like this.
  12. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    It has been several years since the first mention of this track creator and how ever long it takes I'll still be looking forward to it. Glad to hear progress has been made. Look forward to future updates as always.
     
    TChapman500 likes this.
  13. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    I must admit, for a little while I wasn't working on it. But now I am, and I even made a video announcement concerning it. I believe that this is the announcement that I update my viewers on both my track editor projects:

    EDIT: I am beginning to really HATE the 3DO and PTF file structures!
    EDIT2: Oh, and I've cracked the PTF's Track Decal structure (maybe)!
     
  14. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    No need to explain or feel bad, for what its worth I've contributed very little to the NR2003 community myself since 2017. I would like to return to 'work' as well. Just tied up with so many others things at the moment that keep me occupied. I will admit a track editor that makes things faster and easier would surely bring me back if at the very least to try it out and make a tutorial for it.
     
    TChapman500 likes this.
  15. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    I'm bad at tutorials. If it turns out that your tutorial is the best, I'd like to include it in the official documentation for the track editor.

    EDIT: By the way, once I get it "working" (as in bare-minimum features to get the track in-game), I am thinking about publishing it on Steam Early Access with a trial version available. Opinions?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  16. frow78

    frow78 Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely, yes! Great work on what you have completed so far.
     
    TChapman500 likes this.
  17. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    That would be great, would be a way I could post about bugs found and feature ideas.
     
    TChapman500 likes this.
  18. TChapman500

    TChapman500 Well-Known Member

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    Blog Post Update. I figured I'd do it this way since I'm going to be posting updates on multiple forums. Why post the same thing multiple times?
     
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  19. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    There is a lot on the list for phase 3 (after the program can do everything Sandbox originally does) I'm excited to see like:
    -Convert models to a 3do
    -Generate AI lines
    -Undo/redo
    -Being able to copy paste the same 3do multiple times

    Before we get there though I'm really looking forward to the steam early access alpha phase. Not sure if the program will cost money but I don't care. I'll do whatever it takes to support this tool and help with testing.

    I've been waiting for this for a long time, I hope all goes well to get to that steam early access milestone which sounds like it will be the hardest part finishing up the PTF file structure.
     
  20. J.R.Franklin

    J.R.Franklin Well-Known Member

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    I am quite excited about the project and am really hoping for the best. A much improved, stable and user friendly Sandbox program will hopefully bring more track editors into this sim which we greatly need to keep it vibrant.

    Having worked on tracks in Sandbox for 16+ years now, I have some pet peeves about Sandbox that I'll list here and hope that perhaps you can consider and maybe incorporate them into your new Sandbox 2 program.

    1. X-sections. You cannot make a straight X-section in a curved segment. It would be a huge improvement if you could make X-sections to be Euclidian (i.e. remain in a straight line) inside of curved segments just like you can make F and W sections Euclidian inside of those curved segments.

    2. Smoothing out bumps. When working in the "Height View" box, it is next to impossible to locate and smooth out bumps and dips. It is very convoluted and confusing working in those left and right screens in Height view. Especially that left side screen with all of those strands of "spaghetti" and no way of knowing which one is the one you need to select to smooth out that bump or dip you're trying to fix. Mode Absolute, Mode Interp Left/Right and Mode Interp Forward/Back can be very frustrating figuring out how to use them and what each one does to accomplish what you looking to create in your X-sections. Many times I have had a "bump" or "dip" I want to have smoothed out or simply be straight. I also find that bumps and dips get created in the track surface inadvertently when splitting a segment. Then to go and try to find that bump or dip in Height View after the fact and smooth it out is next to impossible. I can't tell you how much time has been spent doing this with most cases ending in me just giving up trying. Working on X-sections in this program is in my opinion the biggest negative aspect of Sandbox and perhaps the reason why most people who try to make a track for NR2003 end up just giving up. This should be a major focus for improving Sandbox. Not sure you can address it or make it any better, but I'm throwing it out there for you to consider. Pretty sure many other NR2003 track guys will agree.

    I have been trying to make the most detailed and accurate reproductions of short tracks for NR2003 over the years and getting the elevations, slopes and subtle nuisances of the terrain around the tracks to be accurate is very labor intensive with Sandbox, if not outright impossible.

    3. Closing the "hole" in an infield. When making short track ovals there is an area or 2 in the infield (usually at both ends of the track inside of turns 1 and 2 and inside of turns 3 and 4) where a "hole" has to be made. This is due to a number of reasons. The configuration of the track, the radius of the turns, etc. Especially with short tracks, the innermost "Point" of those pie shaped segments cannot all perfectly line up on one central inside origin point. Thus a "hole" is left that has to be filled. This can be done with a 3do object textured the same as the rest of the infield in that area (i.e. asphalt, grass, sand, etc.). However, there are some faults to this method. 1. you cannot perfectly match up the textures between the 3do and the F-section. For instance, the infield on the F-section has a grass texture. If you take the exact grass texture and apply it to the flat 3do that you are using to fill the "hole" they do not match and trust me, you can try all day long to try different shades and will never get them to match perfectly. Secondly, placing a 3do to fill that hole will not allow shadows from the cars or tire skid marks as these will not show on 3do objects. You can try placing a TSD over the hole textured to match the surrounding F-section texture, but doing that has it's pitfalls as well. From certain angles, you can see the "world" below the surface where those TSD's are placed.

    These are a couple items from my personal "wish list" for a new and improved Sandbox. I have others (i.e. being able to better edit horizons and the associated ground that goes with it, improving the A.I.'s current inability to find the center of their pit stalls on curved sections with many small tight segment splits such as what happened on the new ISM track, being able to apply "dynamic" lighting to all 3dos in Sandbox so they are lighted properly with regard to their angle to the sun or light source (right now only the walls or W-sections are coded to have dynamic lighting in NR2003), simplifying the process for applying shadows to surfaces so they look realistic, improving the night environment, etc. etc.), but I didn't want to make this post too long or confusing. Thanks for reading. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019

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