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How to: GPW Track Editor

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How to: GPW Track Editor

Postby Veedub » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:00 am

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What is the Track Editor?

The Track Editor is a previously hidden tool inside the Grand Prix World (GPW) executable that is used to overlay the racing line of 3D race cars onto a 2D track photograph.

There are 16 tracks in GPW and the definition of each track is stored in the game folder under individual subfolders called TracksX (where X = 0 to 9, A to F).

In each track folder, there are a number of file types.

  • mm???.tga - The TGA image used for the track mini map.
  • mm???.mmp - The binary file used to overlay car numbers on the track mini map (may have DNA from GPM/GPM2).
  • ???.rti - A text file that defines track picture data, apparently.
  • *.tga - The TGA images used for the 2D track photographs, for dry and wet conditions and a transparency layer.
  • *.e3d - Binary files used to define the 3D racing lines that overlay the 2D photographs.
  • *.mar - Binary files used to assist in the development of a racing line by using indicator marks. Not required during gameplay.
Refer to earlier analysis on track files and their purpose here.


Track Editor Terminology

  • Frame - the 2D photograph (or camera view if you like) of a particular piece of track.
  • Point - a waypoint in a series of waypoints that guide a 3D race car through a racing line.
  • Mark - a temporary indicator used in the development of a racing line.
  • Plane - a flat surface for the racing line to be plotted against.
  • Viewport - one of the four televisions seen when watching qualifying or the race.

Track Editor Basics

Each Frame has a 2D photograph and one or more E3D files to define racing lines.
Each racing line is built via a series of Points that the car must follow, with adjustable X, Y, Z, Scale and Speed values to animate the 3D object across a 2D scene.
The Plane can be rotated on all axis to match the scene perspective.
Marks can be created/loaded and saved to aid in the development of the primary racing line.
Points should be created at frequent intervals to form a smooth animation across the Plane.
Each Frame should have one primary racing line (no suffix on E3D filename) and depending on circumstances the Frame may include racing lines for overtaking ('o' suffix), retirements ('r' suffix) and the grid ('l' and 'r' for each side of the grid and 'a' and 'b' for alternate lines leaving the grid).


How to use the Track Editor

It is recommend you use the Track Editor with a full size keyboard rather than a laptop keyboard, as hotkeys may conflict with function/numpad keys and gets incredibly cumbersome.

  • Using GPW Edit v1.1 or above, go to Configure Game > Click Import > Track Editor tab > Enable Track Editor > Home tab > Export.
  • Load GPW and start a career and go to the first race. You should see a warning 'Track Editor Enabled'.
  • Viewing Options should be set to include at least View Qualifying, as there's no need to simulate Qualifying.
  • Once the Track Editor loads, press the following keys, separated by around one second from each other.
  • Press F12 to reset the track editor. (Or at least I think that is what this key does.)
  • Press 1 on the numpad to start/run the car.
  • Wait about five seconds or until the graphics in the top left viewport update, partially. The top left viewport may appear distorted, as the Frame may fail to load completely.
  • Press + on the numpad to advance to the next Frame. This will cause the background image in the top left viewport to update.
  • Press U to Load. This (re)loads the selected E3D file (racing line) for the Frame and should show the car on the racing line through turns two and three at Albert Park.
  • If you do not achieve the expected result, repeat the previous 5 steps again, or press +/- to switch Frames and press U to Load to refresh the Frame. Note it may take up to five seconds for the track editor to respond to your inputs, as it loads track data from file, especially when switching tracks.
  • Press 1 to toggle start/stop the car.
  • Press T to toggle the display of ghost cars.
  • Press +/- on the keypad to go forward/back a Frame.
  • Press U to Load the selected E3D file (racing line) every time you change Frames or if you want to reset the racing line by reloading the E3D from disk (any changes you have made for the Frame within the editor will be overwritten without warning).

That's the basics. The next challenge is on how to inspect the racing line.

  • Press 1 to stop the car.
  • Press 9 to go to the first Point for the selected Frame.
  • Press P/O to go forward/back a Point, so that you can cycle through each Point as required.
  • Remember you can press T to toggle the display of ghost cars.
  • Press +/- on the keypad to go forward/back a Frame.
  • Press U to Load the selected E3D file so that the racing line is displayed correctly over the 2D track photograph.
  • Press P/O to go forward/back a Point, so that you can cycle through each Point as required.
  • If you want to edit XYZ values, press R to toggle between the four 'modes' to rotate the car, the Plane or the 3D Camera location.


Clickable areas

The Track Editor is both mouse and keyboard controlled. You can click on Zoom+ and Zoom-, CamX=ViewX, Marker options etc. and the arrow brackets <<<<< >>>>> to alter a value by increasing/decreasing magnitudes. To change tracks, click on the "Trk:" heading in the top left and to cycle through racing lines, click on the Frame filename to the right of the heading. There is also a hidden button on the right of the screen that will toggle the weather conditions when the mouse is left clicked with an X coordinate between 783 - 799 and a Y coordinate between 17 - 31.

A series of hotkeys that are not displayed are to change the Scale using L to Reset, K to Reduce and L to Increase.


Creating new Frames

If you were to use a completely new track photograph, you would likely delete all existing Points, adjust the perspective of the Plane to match the photograph and lay down Marks to indicate your primary racing line, prior to developing the racing line with Points that you require for the Track Piece. Once you have perfected and saved your racing line, exit the track editor and make copies of your racing line to overwrite your 'o' and 'r' racing lines for the same track piece (if applicable). Then go back into the editor and adjust the 'o' and 'r' racing lines as required and delete your Marks file. As to how to insert new Frames, let's experiment with the tools and files we have access to.

Any questions, just ask, as it's been over 20 years since this internal tool was used in anger by anyone!

I encourage you all to keep it simple and start by tweaking some of the original racing lines. There are a few in the game that are eligible for improvement, so let's give it a go. Any decent improvements could be added to the Upgrade process in GPW Edit.

Enjoy!
There is no limit to what a man can do so long as he does not care a straw who gets the credit for it.
Veedub
 
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