Steps To Building A Track
#1 Get an idea: Know what you want to make before you get started. Decide what track you want to base off of; what you want to do to the track: bank it, flatten it, make it night/day; what you want to call it; etc.
Ex. I will be making a banked, night California called Speedville.
#2 Changing Names: Open the Tracks Folder and find the track you will be working on. Make a copy of it in the Tracks Folder and then rename the copy of it to whatever you want your new track to be named. Then open that file and rename the .dat file and .txt file to the exact same thing that appears on the folder title. Here is where you will need that dat packer/unpacker. Assuming you are using DooDat, double click on the dat file. A screen should pop up listing the files within the dat file. Locate all the of the files that contain the name of the original track, there should be 4 and they should end in .3do .trk .scr and .cam. Right click on them and rename them to whatever you want your track to be named. Finally extract all of the files from the dat to a subfolder so you can work on them.
Ex. I open the Track Folder, Copy Calif Folder, Paste Calif Folder, Rename Copy of Calif to Speed, Open Speed, Rename Calif.3do to Speed.3do and Calif.txt to Speed.txt, Make a New Folder, Open Speed.dat, Rename Calif.3do/trk/scr/cam to Speed.3do/trk/scr/cam, and finally extract all of the files to the new folder.
#3 Making Sure it Works: I suggest making sure you did everything right by running it in the game. To do this you must open the all.cal file with notepad/other word program and add it to the bottom of the list. To do this, simply add a line before the last one and have it follow the same format as the lines above it.
EX. I go back to the N2/3 folder, open all.cal, scroll to bottom, enter a line before the last one, and type in 37 11 27 0 0 SPEED Speedville_400 Speedville_400 400. You should see the pattern the first number fits in, the second is the month, the 3rd is the day, the 4th is always 0, the 5th determines night or day: 0=day 1=night, the sixth word is the name of your track in caps, the next two is the name of the race, the last number is the number of laps, and the last two words are optional though they probably do something and should be included. You should see a pattern for these two also. Finally, I go into the game and make sure it works.
#4 Track Editing: Physical Track: Using one of the .trk editing programs, edit the track to your liking. This may include a lot of trial and error. If you used a program that does the .3do file too, then you should be done. If not then you still have a ways to go.
Individual Programs: Bank Editor; Will do all trk files from N2 and N3, will do select 3do files from N2. When doing a track with an editable 3do file (a 3do file the editor will bank) run the program as directed, type in the original banking (as close as possible, though it really isn't absolutely necessary), then type in the new banking. Don't forget to adjust the cam files and add the new files to the dat file. You're done!
Bank &3do editor; For tracks with uneditable 3do files, run the bank editor as instructed above. Don't add the 3do file to the dat and don't be worried when you don't get a done message and you can't adjust the cam files. That's how it's supposed to be. Here is where it is very advantageous to know the original banking and to use it in the editor. Divide the new banking by the old banking, this is your banking factor. Now run the 3do banker. Type in the location of your 3do file and then the banking factor. Add it to your dat file but make sure you have a copy of the original somewhere (hint, the base track is a source of the original) Go check to see how close they match, the bottom of the car should touch the bottom of the wall and the car should be the same height above the track all the way around. The corners are especially sensitive so play close attention to them. If it doesn't match up go back to the editor and try increasing the factor to raise the graphics or decreasing the factor to lower it.
Ex. I open bank editor, select the .trk file I want, type in the original value and the new value, select N2, and let it go. It does the 3do, trk and cam files. I take them and put them into the folder where the originals were, then I back up the originals, and rename the new ones to Speed. Finally I test it to make sure it's right.
#5 Track editing: Graphical Track/3DO Editing: Open the track.3do file with 3do Editor and start moving the objects where you want them. You will probably have to change the wall height, to do this select all of the points one at a time and drop/heighten them by a constant amount. If you can't see the walls and you flattened the track, they are still there, you just shrank them with the banking. Pick a point where the track and wall should meet and zoom in. Eventually you should see two lines "Pull" apart from each other. That's your wall. If you went to negative banking, the top of the wall may actually be below the bottom. You can also use the mass color changer if you want to change most or all of the colors in any 3do. Sometimes it changes colors you don't want it to so be careful.
Ex. I open the 3do file and realize all of the walls are too high. I spend the better part of 2 days lowering them and getting rid of the fence. BTW, to get rid of an object, I usually set its z coordinate so that it appears oh say 2 miles below the track. Just add some zeros to the end of it.
#6 Mip Editing: Use winmip to convert the mip files to bmp files. Then go in and make the stuff look like you want it to. And definitely get rid of all original track logos.
Ex. I open Winmip and spend the better part of a week editing the stupid pictures.
#7 LP Editing: This can get interesting. Those cars don't know that the track was changed. They're still going like nothing happened. You have to change them. The only files you need to worry about are pass1, pass2, and race unless you did a major edit like changing track shape. In which case Justin9 and I have come up with a way to edit them. I can't tell you how though 'cause then he'd kill me. The LP editor will convert the files to txt so you can work on them in a word program or you can use the LP editor to edit the files. I use another program that takes replay laps that I ran and converts them to txt files. Backing up the old files, I replace them with the best laps of mine. The I go into the LP editor, clean them up, and set them as the LP files.
Here's a brief overview of the lp files and to edit them:
1, Maxpanic: To make, the maxpanic lp/txt file, run a lap next to the inside wall and right next to the pit wall. I did a very simple trick here. Run right next to the inside wall all the way around, forget the pit wall (and the speed for now). Then make another lap setting out where the pit wall is. Try to make a "reference point" so you know where the wall starts and where it is for position #. When you get back into the txt files, use the inside wall file as the base file. Then add the position for the pit wall on the records it takes up. Make the speeds all 40
2. Maxrace: Run a lap right around the bottom of where you want the cars to run the possible lowest during the race. High banking- right along white line, low banking- I'd say bottom of apron. Also set a speed that will keep everyone moving. Just a few sec/10 mph off race, pass1, pass2.
3, Minpanic: Run a lap on the wall. Hit the wall and don't come off it. And don't stop either. Set speed to about 40-50mph
4, Minrace: Using a spreadsheet, put about .05 (pretty sure you have to add) more room between the minpanic line and the wall. Use the minpanic file, add, and save as minrace.
5, Pit: Run a lap on warm-up lanes and on pit road. Set pit speed here as well as in txt file and don't accelerate/ decelerate too quickly. I can testify that this one is tough.
6. pace: run right down the center of the track. Make the speed in between the race speed and caution speed. If the cars hit the wall in the game, move them closer together in the track txt file with the PaceA line. Check sim cyber World for a list of definitions for the track txt file.
7, pass1, pass2, race: Run a good line, Worry about speed later. I usually run one low lane lap, one middle lane lap, and one high lane lap and then distribute them to either pass1, pass2, or race. Next I run some fast laps. I take the fastest and put it with the high lane, the next fastest with the middle and 3rd with the low. This balances them out and will help keep them bunched up. I used to use the exact same speeds for all three but found this works better. You may need to switch which file is which as the game reads each one slightly differently. Sometimes the track itself, reads them differently.
8, Spot1: Oh boy, you gonna have fun here. This one is exceptionally difficult to edit. You'll probably spend weeks on it. Then again, you could just as easily forget it because N3 don't use it. lol Seriously, you don't need it, just leave it alone.
Ex. I convert the LP files to txt, run some hot laps in the game, take my best three, and put their speeds only into the old txt files. If I can get a better line going which I usually can, I do a little line editing.This applies only two those main 3 files. This part of it has taken me anywhere from 1 hour to 2 weeks.
#8 Track Looks good, Now what?: Now you use that zip program to zip the track up and post it on the net where other people have a chance to see it and use it. This isn't required but it is appreciated. If you don't have a website, you can email it to someone who does or you can just email it to every sim racer you know.
Ex. I'm done so I zip it up and load it to my site.
#9 Handling Negative feedback: I believe that negative feedback occurs mostly because of jealousy and rarely because your track is actually a piece of crap. I have never received a bashing save for the time I was chewed out about how I make tracks. I guess that means my tracks aren't great but they aren't bad either.
Alright, that looks pretty good. As you go, you will learn a lot more and be able to do a lot more. I started in June and didn't figure out how to make a track even work till the end of July. Ever since then, my collection of tools has been growing and my knowledge has been, well, overwriting other important stuff. BTW, I should have mentioned that a really good track takes a lot of time and patience to make.