Monday, April 30, 2012

Chernobyl NPP v1.3 released

I have released my latest update to the Chernobyl NPP circuit. It is available here at nogripracing and as always you will need a member's account to access the download link.

Unfortunately the release was not the 1.5 or even 2.0 version I had been aiming towards for a release. I struck yet again the same problems with converting my models into files for BTB and rfactor to use. The .png files were being compressed so much that the alpha channels simply turned black, thus the detail on reactor no. 4 cooling tower are very low still. In fact, any scaffolding on the circuit that is my own has the 'negative space' filled with a black texture. This is truly frustrating as it does not reflect my efforts in circuit design, it seems to be a bug in the Xpacker program that ruins the .png files.

I naturally want this fixed some how and am absolutely open to advise and help from anyone in the Rfactor and BTB community who can help me fix this problem that has plagued many of my circuits. I am however happy enough with the current build of the track to classify it as a v1.3 and released it.

So what are the changes you might ask? Well they are mostly cosmetic, but valuable changes that improve the overall circuit design and aesthetics. The most notable are :

1. Sand traps. I have watched a few videos online of people setting blisteringly fast laps around NPP, however all the lightning laps use a little more than the circuit I had designed. Generally people are using the run-off areas as a means to generate more speed or not need to break as hard. The main offending area was turn's 1,3 6 and 7. Using the run-off areas in these places can quite literally take seconds off the lap times. Now the AI don't do this so I have changed all the run-off areas to be tighter with closer walls and populated the circuit with sand traps. While you can drive through the sand traps relatively fast, they do hinder blistering speed and thus from version 1.3, we should see more realistic lap times within the confines of the track itself.

2. Crisp, sharp and smooth track corners. I have set the 'panels per metre' much lower in all the corners, and the tight corners now have 1.0m panels. This means that the corners now look more as though they were drawn with protractors in stead of a ruler. While this is mostly cosmetic, the track surface is where the 'heat' and 'grip' are, so now utilising the whole track surface should mean that my record in a 1992 March F1 will be beaten soon. For what it is worth, I am only interested in lap times in the same machinery. Naturally a 2012 F1 will smash the 1992 record, so I don't care about them or even regard them as new records.

That is pretty much it. I have added some trees here and there and boosted the shadow quality of many areas around the track, but for the time being, these changes will do for now.

Okay off to my next project, enjoy folks!

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