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The base of Racer is mostly software. The software allows you to generate cars and tracks yourself. Racer is still alive because of all the content that is being generated by the community (see the forums). But how do you go about creating new content for Racer?
Internally, Racer uses a 3D file format called DOF. Technical information on this format can be found here, although modelers will be more interested in exporting their data to DOF rather than how DOF is structured. Information on the physical (non-graphical) side of things is stored in INI files, which are simply text files to let you edit things easily. Most often, there is a distinction between graphics & physics; not often are people good in both areas. So 1 person makes the 3D mesh, and someone else does the physics. You can find people on the forums who are good in physics.
To convert from other packages, Racer is most comfortable with the ASE file format, which can be imported using Modeler or Tracked.
You can use a number of 3D modeling packages to create Racer content. Here is a list in order of (personal) preference, with detailed explanations below. If possible, use Max.
You can also choose to convert existing content. Note that a lot of content is copyrighted, so take the appropriate steps if you want to publish converted cars and/or tracks.
<skip section on modeling software>
MODELING SOFTWARE - 3D STUDIO MAX
The tool most people use to create cars, and also tracks. Has lofting capabilities, and multi/sub materials that fit the Tracked framework quite well. Before starting, check out the 'Using 3D Studio Max' document.
Exporting/importing can be done using the ASE file format. More info on importing tracks can be found in the Tracked documentation (using Multi/sub materials with lofts is preferred).
MODELING SOFTWARE - ZMODELER
An excellent and FREE modeler to create cars. Use ZModeler 1, which is free and contains a native DOF import/export plugin. It is mainly used for designing cars; for tracks this tool may be a little less suited, although it seems to have been done by some for small tracks.
Download it from here. Note that you need version 1.7; the 2.x version is no longer free and doesn't contain a DOF import/export plugin.
MODELING SOFTWARE - MAYA
I know very little about Maya, except that it's a professional package, like 3D Studio Max. It probably is nicely suited to creating cars. Stecki once used it to create some car masterpieces.
Exporting to DOF can be done using a couple of filters. Here are several:
If you know how to actually use these, drop me a line so I can update this part of the documentation.
MODELING SOFTWARE - AC3D
A package I haven't ever tried, but it seems to be ok, and available for Linux. Find it on the web here. Exporting to Racer (from Linux) however seems to be a matter of exporting to 3DS, booting into Windows, converting 3DS to DOF with ZModeler1.
MODELING SOFTWARE - BLENDER
This modeler, which originated on SGI's, is still alive and Open Source these days. Download it from here.
For an exporter for Blender (using Python) look here.
After selecting a modeling tool, it's time to learn how to create a new car. Read the document on how to start a new car.
You can also choose to convert an existing car. There is a document on converting an SCGT car here.
Tracks are mostly created either by converting or creating from scratch using 3D Studio Max. Next to 3D modeling you will need to describe the track for it to work physically. You will use Tracked for that. To make a track you can:
You can also take parts of other tracks:
van Gaal, Dolphinity
last updated January 15, 2007