RBR long track making guide
This is a guide to building long rally tracks using BTB v0.7 or later.
After recently spending several days creating my first really really long rally track, I though it would be helpful to others to learn from my experience.
Here's how the first part of the track looks after 3 long days of creation ...
BTB is aiming to provide an RBR experience that is better than the original. The format we use allows us (eventually) to do much more than if we’d stuck with the original RBR format. Internally we use technology that allows several hundred thousand objects to line a long stage. The creation of that environment is easier with BTB by the use of the Object planting tools and String Objects. Everything created by these tools is efficiently loaded and displayed using the RBR RX plugin coded by black f.
Having completed this stage, as much as I intend to for now, there are some things I would do differently had I to create it all again. So here are the steps I will take in my next track.
- Create a basic path using Nodes spaced 300-400 meters apart in the top view to create the whole track. (Note: For speed reasons I have recommended that you use multiple tracks, and I still do. I intend to create a tool to split tracks but that might be a while).
- Adjust the height of one Node, then select XXX number of nodes nearby and use the Smooth Nodes by height popup menu to smooth out the change in height between those nodes. Repeat this step until you have a good height variation.
- Add more Nodes by selecting and splitting track sections. Adjust the direction and height of these nodes. This will take some time. Leave some sections long and straight, others windy and hilly to give variety.
- Use the surface modifier to add variety to the track’s cross-section. This can add bumps ditches and camber to the road. Initially set the Panel Size to 20m so that recalculation is performed quickly. Afterwards you can set it to lower values for more track detail. I steer clear of the width and camber tools.
- Use the terrain tool to create 20 meters of terrain either side of your track. Use the randomness and slope it slightly upwards. This will act as a safety barrier when you test your track.
- Place a large object such as house or large tree every 3 kms along your track. This helps to identify different parts of your track when editing it later.
- Export to RBR and drive it. Then remove the terrain and go back to step 3 and adjust until you have a track that drives well. (I could have spent more time doing that myself .. but, well this was just a demo).
It is important to get the above steps done and your track driving well before continuing further. It is much harder to go back from here and re-edit the track and terrain.
You can move the start position to help test the track in smaller pieces.
- Add/edit your own textures to the scenery. Some people have great skill in this area (not me) and it shows in the result. You can edit the textures in the RBR track folder and press F2 to see their immediate impact. The track cross section can be made to have the center part as road with the edges being grass or dirt.
- Each texture file has a corresponding *.rbr file that provides the physical characteristics of the surface determining the sound and grip levels. These can be edited using the RBR_MaterialEditor in the Support\RBR\MaterialEditor folder. See the BTB manual for more help (press F1). I wish I had more time to devote to this myself as they play a very important role in obtaining a good feeling for your roads.
- Add around 20m of terrain either side of the track. The Quick Add tool of BTB is designed to generate the driveable terrain very quickly. It is important not to try and overuse this tool to cover everything as you should only be trying to make part of the terrain a driveable surface. Anything that is going to be out of bounds should be marked as non-collideable.
- Use the Pull tool to enlarge the boundary of your terrain for the entire track. This is best done by selecting the outer edge of terrain anchors and dragging it outwards. I set Reduce to 4 to dramatically lower the polygon count.
- Section, by section highlight the polygons created in step 11 and Split them into a new Terrain Area. I name this “Outer” and keep it as one big terrain area to begin with. Later you could divide it into smaller areas so that the LOD ability helps increase frame rates.
- Use the Raise/Lower and Flatten tools to alter the terrain in the 3d view. Limit the visible terrain to just a few Terrain areas Left and Right of the road and slowly work your way along it to add variety.
- You can’t resist, so drive it again now. Go back to 13 until you are happy or fed up. ;)
Objects and SObjects
If you do go back to terrain editing after adding BObjects and SObjects, be sure to turn off these items to speed up recalculations of your track. Note when you switch back to editing BObjects or SObjects there will be a delay as they get recalculated to sit on the terrain.
- Depending on the type of track you are creating will determine what objects you put in and how densely it will be populated. This is where your artistic and aesthetic talents are needed.
- Keep Objects logically grouped by type, merge multiple groups of the same type of Object into one to make management easier.
- Add SObjects in order from the start of the track to the end as this makes finding them easier later on.
- Set LOD and collision values to fine tune the track.
- Use the latest Object Add to Track tool for relatively rapid planting of the entire track. Test by click-dragging on the track first in order to get the density right (press the Delete key afterwards to remove). I will be making this faster in a future update.
- Test many times and repeat until happy.
OK, that’s it from me for now. My eyes are starting to blink and stay closed for longer than they stay open.