Bahrain for rFactor2 by McNolo

After our previous attempts to update Bahrain and bring it up to speed for rFactor2 failed, we decided to look for people outside of the team to work on a conversion to rFactor2. It took a while, but, we got in contact with McNolo, who worked on other tracks and also started his personal conversion of the tracks. His work-in-progress on youtube already convinced us:

This was about 4 months ago and since then McNolo has continued work on the track with our blessing. This will be more than a conversion as he is also updating the track to 2012/2013 specs. In this time he posted regularly work-in-progress screenshots. Among them are these:

To follow McNolo’s progress and the newest screenshots, we suggest to follow him on twitter or flattr him if you like his work.

We should note, while McNolo has our permission, CTDP is not involved in the project, but we have the feeling, the track is in good hands. Good luck!

Status update on IFM-2009

Status is, there is not much update.

We feel in a stalemate situation at the moment. As we wrote a couple of months ago, CTDP has had some hard years and we have awaited rFactor2 with high hopes. To boost morale in the team, we pushed the developed of the IFM-2009 mod forward in favor of F1-1994. We had to adjust and get results with less people, and a smaller mod such as IFM-2009 was just the way to go. rFactor 2 Beta was released in January and looking back on the past months, we realized, many of our hopes have yet to be fullfiled. Beta means rFactor2 is not stable and in a constant change. This is software, this is normal, however, this has consequences on the community and on the modders in particular. For us it feels like the community has been holding it’s breath since the first release of rF2. Very few leagues switch and embrace the new platform, even fewer mod teams. And we can understand this, as CTDP is also experiencing the disadvantages of being cutting edge: sometimes you cut yourself. We discovered several bugs in export tools and shaders, we have been embracing the new platform and sometimes we had setbacks and wrong decisions. That’s alright, however what makes it frustrating is, that even after 10 months it feels like developing against a moving target. Software is supposed to evolve and change, but especially interfaces to external components (ie exporters, shaders, physics, packaging) need to be frozen at one point to allow for third-party devs to get things done and build upon it. This has not happened yet and every new build requires to update things on our current alpha of the IFM2009 mod and reexporting the models. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. Bleeding edge.

While the community held its breath waiting, modding within CTDP appears to suffocate. We have all but one car textures ready. 15 helmets are left to do and no texture artist is motivated to work on it. We have basic physics who need work especially on the tire model, which is its very own story with rFactor2. We have a running alpha version, and no testers who provide solid and helpful feedback. We are down to a handful of people and not sure what to wait for right now.
We are considering other platforms, but right now there is no alternative available/suitable to us.

We are still innovative and full of ideas. We have better tools and utilities for modding than ever before. If we had the same means 4 years ago when we were working on F1-2006, I would shed tears of joy. Still all the tools don’t help it if modding is not enjoyable. And right now it isn’t and we don’t know what we can do to help it. 🙁

The times they are a-changin’

The truth

In every life, there is a point where you have to be honest to yourself and to everybody around you. This point has come now and we (CTDP) want to let you (our fans & followers) know, about our current status. The truth is, after CTDP 2006, a lot of the guys disappeared. In order to compensate the loss, we said CTDP2006 was maybe our most complete mod and will ever be. It was just perfect, it was something nobody has done before and maybe nobody will ever do again. The details and blood, sweat and tears we put into that mod was impressive. Not only to everybody who played the mod. Especially to everybody who was part of the develpment team. But with the release of the mod there was a turning point. Almost four years of develpment demanded its price – and it was very high. While right after the release motivation was high to start new projects, within months we lost many people which caused us to cancel the 2009 mod. Some members quit because they got offers from game developers, some just disappeared and never showed up again, most got job, girlfriend, life.

So what was the next goal to aim for? Our very much awaited 1994 mod should come back to life and should get released at some point. We started the project with our even more limited resources, did a very good research and even built up our own wiki for this season. We were ready to start over, but there is the point we struggled. We thought, it would be enough to give our “old” cars a smart overhaul to get them up to today’s standards, but after had our Wiki and about 5GB of photo material, we discovered, that lots of proportions are wrong and each car has a lot of visible mistakes. Our philosophy turns out as a “neckbraker”. We always wanted to achieve nothing else as the best we can do. And knowing about all the faults it wasn’t good enough for us anymore. So we started fixing the mistakes or even completly redid cars. So far we have 2 cars ready and 3-5 more on a good way. That makes 7 in total, but we’re far from coming even close to a release.

You may ask why?

To answer that question I have to explain what the motivation is the members in CTDP work for.

In a recent comment we were asked if it’s worth the extra time doing all the track specifiy upgrades, liveries etc. for CTDP 2006. That’s a tough question and I think that you can answer it with yes and no. No, because in hindsight it was a huge project that cost us so much time and yes because it’s shows the spirit of CTDP.

The spirit

We are always willing to improve ourself and keep pace with the professional developers in the industry. In case of CTDP 2006 we did something that even professional developers never did before and probably never will: recreate a complete F1 season with every upgrade that was raced during that season. We’ll probably never again create a mod to such an extent but we will always try new ways and technologies in creating our mods.[nbsp] In the end we’re not just modders that create the content, we’re also hackers and gamers. We have certain expectations on how a game/mod should look and feel – like everyone else out there and we work and fight to get the means to do it the way we want it.

Personally if I play a game like Forza, pCARS etc. I look at the graphics – especially the models and textures – and analyze them, to get inspired, to develop new techniques for myself. I wonder how they did this and that and then I try to do something similar to improve my work.

The consequences

The price of the high quality our mods comes in the time and sometimes money spent. Creating more detailed models and textures that look better ingame requires time and skill to create. And to get that skill you need to spend time to practise, improve and experience. To create more realistic physics you again have to invest time and also money to get your hands on books and/or magazines. Creating a mod is much more time consuming than 5 years ago; at least if you go with the time and exhaust all possibilities the engine offers you.

As I wrote above I often take a look at the techniques used in other games or even mods and try to recreate them or even improve them. It’s time that I could have spent in creating another model or whatever. But I think in the end it serves the mod more to create a better looking experience than to release the mod a few weeks earlier with models that look like they were already out of date two years ago.

The consequences – Part II

Our high standards have another negative side effect: it’s hard to find[nbsp] people that have the talent and more importantly the WILL to improve themselves. As every modding group knows members will come and go over time. That’s pretty normal and also understandable – quite often we loose members to the industry. So you’ll try to compensate your losses by recruiting new people. The best thing would be to get someone that[nbsp] already has the skills to work on your level so that you can continue your work without any transition.

As we’re already reached a pretty high quality standard it’s hard to find those people. It’s much more likely that you’ll find some less experienced modders that you’ll have to teach some of the advanced techniques.

I remember back in the days when I started modding with community 3D app that loads in GP2/GP3 models. In this app you can manipulate just the vertics a model had by clicking on it and entering x/y/z co-ordinates. That has tought me the real spirit of modding back in the days and I still remember these days with joy. As for textures, you had your common template and by today’s means you got create a mod within a few weeks.

Modding is constantly evolving and games like rFactor2 will provide us with new[nbsp] features that we want to and should take advantage of. Complexity and difficulty have become harder and where more possibilities were created, the amount of people who is actually able to use them diminishes.

The consequences – Part III

So if you haven’t stopped reading you now know how CTDP ticks, how we define our spirit and what consequences that spirit is asking for.

While we still have talented guys in our rows, it’s not enough. The amount of work for 24 cars is just too much. The IFM mod was a good way to see if we can effort single car mods with just one model and it was a good testing ground for us to get known to rF2 and its new techniques and limitations. So what are our learnings from IFM, if we reduced it to the team work and not to the technical part of the job.

The part of the team that is left, did a great job and we covered almost 80% of our todo’s.

Who is actually part of CTDP right NOW?

  • Stefan Triefellner (3D artist, Physics artist, 2D artist)
  • James Bendy (2D artist)
  • Dennis Schmidt (2D artist) – inactive atm
  • Andreas Neidhardt (3D artist)
  • Daniel Senff (2D artist, Website) – inactive atm

Volunteers who help us on occasion:

  • Michael Borda (ISI)
  • Luc Van Camp (ISI)
  • Tuttle (3D artist, 2D artist, Physics artist)
  • Ben (2D artist)
  • radu teo (3D artist)
  • AndreasT (Research)

Friends long gone or M.I.A:

  • afborro
  • Codan
  • Gonzo
  • Raulungo
  • Shaun Stroud
  • Paulo
  • Ennisfargis
  • Roberto Yermo
  • Eugenio Faria

What does that mean?

Maybe we have luck and 20 new, talented and well experienced members will join right after that post. But that would be something quite unrealistic to expect and actually not easy to handle as well ;). So for now, we will focus on IFM and then we will decide IF, HOW & WHEN we continue work on CTDP 1994.

It’s also possible, that IFM is CTDP’s last mod ever released. If CTDP will be gone, we want to see it go in glory and on a highnote, but we will let you know, as soon as we know. It will not be a decision easily made.

Thanks for your attention, patience and your support.

Your CTDP Team (everybody who was & is still part of the team).

Written by
Andreas ‘Neidryder’ Neidhardt

Signed by
Daniel ‘Dahie’ Senff
James ‘Juluka’ Bendy
Pier ‘tuttle’ Murru
Stefan ‘erale’ Triefellner

On this day in May…

… in May 2011, we have been working on the new Ferrari model for the 1994 mod. The first of a series of new models to bring the mod into the modern age.

… on May 1st 2010, we released the first version of rfDynHUD, a plugin for rFactor that allowed to display and customize your own on screen widgets. Today rfDynHUD is open source and can be extended by everyone. Later that month, we also released the first iteration of our DDS Utilities.

… in May 2009 we were in heavy discussions and lay some foundations about a new project, that was going to be the Superleague Formula Game 2009. The hot phase of development was August to October and it was released in late November.

… on May 1st 2009 we released the beta of Bahrain V2 for rFactor. Debs surprised us with this new version a few weeks earlier and gave us his legacy. We released this track as beta, but it was surprisingly bugfree and amazing to drive, so we never released a follow-up. Today we are looking for talents who help to convert the track to rFactor2.

… in May 2008 we were at full speed to finish the F1-2006 mod. All cars were finished, Safety-Car was just being done and a long ordeal of testing and improving was about to begin. The mod was released in December that year. May was the last month in discussions about a proposed GP2 2007 mod, that never saw the light of day.

… in May 2007, we were working on cars such as RedBull and BMW for the F1-2006 mod. We discussed a Formula Nippon mod, but decided against it.

…on May 1st 2006, with Bahrain V1 for rFactor CTDP released their first featured track and the first CTDP release for rFactor. Meanwhile, first models for the F1-2006 mod were created and the rFactor conversion of the F1-2005 mod was being prepared. This would be the first major F1 mod for rFactor featuring multiple cars, physics in a state-of-the-art quality.

… in May 2005, the F1-2005 mod for F1Challenge was already at full steam. The mod would be released later that year in November 2005 and to this day would be the last F1 season mod to be finished within the same year.

… in May 2004 we have been working on the F1-2004 mod and F1-1998 mod for F1Challenge. Both would be released later that year. Gee, modding was a lot simpler back then.

…in May 2003, after several single car releases, somebody got the idea of creating a full-scale mod of F1-season 2003 for F1-2002, to be released later that year. The modding group TDG folded and members joined us, bringing with them the idea of the F1-1994 mod.

… in May 2002, preperations were done to create and release selected single cars and a 1995 mod for GrandPrix4.

…in May 2001 – CTDP was founded by some German modders with too much time on their hands, who liked F1 cars and decided to release some updates for games such as F1-2002 and GrandPrix4.
While many people came and went, some members in the core have been with the team for all this time and we are grateful to everyone who helped us in our endeavors and who enjoyed our work.

… on May 1st 2012, we present you some new screenshots of the upcoming International Formula Master 2009 mod for rFactor2.

Auri sacra fames.

CTDP is discussing its financial future at the moment, as we described in an earlier post, I’d like to sum up a few points of the discussions with people in and outside of the team, that may also concern the community and may be of general interest. As I do sometimes, I speak here from my perspective alone and not as team CTDP. Money is not an easy topic in this community, but I think it’s worth talking about.

CTDP has been very stable for the past few years, but even modding has costs, although they may not be as visible as for example running a league or a website. CTDP is not out here for profit, but since modding is increasingly more difficult, so are the expenses. This is an hobby for us, hobby usually are not cost-neutral, but since we take an active part in this community, have our share of impact and truely believe to do a good job in providing you with the means of good simracing entertainment, we’d like to believe our work is worth something to the community – to you.

We frequently discuss this and often the conversation revolves about same basic arguments and facts, I’d like to sum up here. Continue reading Auri sacra fames.

Mirror, Mirror

Why there haven't been ingame shots of the IFM model

During the development of the IFM mod for rFactor2 we stumbled upon a problem that looked like some messed up normals on a few places of the car. So we looked again at the car and its normals. Re-smoothened them over and over again and still got this nasty normals on the car. We were clueless what could cause the problem. Then we noticed that those normal issues only appeared on one half of the car and together with the fact, that we didn't have this issue with the unmapped model we came to the conclusion, that something on our mapping has to cause these normals issues.

CTDP maps its cars differently to most or all(?) other modders out there. For the 2006 mod there were three textures: one for the top of the car, one for the right and one for the left side of the car. Right and left had exactly the same mapping which has the following reason: While painting the design of a car you don't have to adjust it for the opposing side of the car. You just copy it over and mirror the sponsor logos and save memory as both drivers share the same textures. Ingame everyhting looks like it should and it saved our painters a lot of time.

We did the same style we used for 2006 with 1994. Just for IFM we experimented with a slightly different approach. We now have 2 instead of 3 textures for the car. Left and right aren't seperated textures anymore. They're both distributed over these 2 textures. But still one side is mirrored for easier painting so that our painters just have to move their design up/down and mirror the sponsor logos.

Continue reading Mirror, Mirror

Alii sementem faciunt, alii metent

Today we want to talk about money. A topic, which is currently also discussed in rFactor2’s forums. We spent a lot of money in all these years developing our mods and providing our website, devblog and forums. So far we handled all expenses ourselves, but to continue funding the required infrastructure for our future developments we’re looking into a few possible solutions to cover our expenses.

Where do we invest the money?

Let’s start with our current situation: at the moment we have a webserver which runs the website, the devblog and our forums. This server accounts for around 120€ a year. Also we have a server running Subversion-Server which is provided by one of our members.
As we had some technical problems with the SVN server lately and maintenance is all in done in our spare time, we decided to look for a different solution.

One idea was to rent a root server and to run the webservices and SVN together on one server only. Given the server is powerful enough another idea was to run a rF2 dedicated server on that root too. This solution would be pretty expensive with costs of about 660€ a year.

Another idea was to keep our current hosting package for 120€ a year and use a dropbox account as a SVN replacement. A suitable dropbox account for our needs would cost us about 10€/month. So that would account to at least 240€ a year and about 420€ cheaper than the root server idea.

We are currently evaluating further options. And are happy to get input in services and solutions we may have overlooked.

So far, we didn’t mention additional investments such as buying books about physics, F1 season overviews, technical analysis or magazines which help us in developing and improving our mods. Also we have subscriptions on websites to get access to high resolution pictures of the cars. That all did cost a lot of money and in the end everyone playing our mods profits from these investments. For example AndreasT bought all old Autosimsport magazines on e-bay to give the team a good base to start with F1 1994.

So you see that modding and providing forums/blogs/websites for our mods comes at a price. In our second article we evaluate our financing ideas and hope to get some feedback from you.

rfDynHUD avaliable at github

The first release of rfDynHUD was almost 2 years ago and last year we decided to make the project Open Source to allow Third-Party developers to write their own widgets, enhance the code and contribute to the development. So far we gave access to anyone interested. This week we decided to take the next step and release the source code to the public.

rfDynHUD source code is now available at github. You can browse the project, clone your copy and start hacking new features with Github giving a great interface to manage all contributions and integrate them in future versions. If you have never looked into git, we suggest you do, because it allows for a very comfortable workflow.

We invite everyone who has had a look at Java to have a look.

Getting started to … Texture

Number two in our series of Tutorials to get you started into Modding. Today our topic is textures.

How do I start?

Compared to modeling, creating textures is rather simple and all good modding teams provide templates to get you started painting car designs. This is a rather autodidact approach, but a valuable nonetheless.

Turns out there are very few dedicated tutorials for car painting. They all require some basic understanding of Photoshop.

What’s next?

Get cracking and get experienced.
Be flexible in your approach to painting.
Before I repeat more platitudes, let’s get to some special skills that have a lot of potential and aren’t used very widely so far.

Using vectors

Textures are pixel-based with discrete width and heights, however Photoshop offers neat vector functionality. Instead of drawing lines, you can set up vector paths, that describe the areas and lines of the car design. Those lines are as smooth as can be and it’s very easy to change lines. With painted pixels scaling and distortion becomes very tedious and you lose a lot of quality. Instead, you can change the path and the affected area updates automatically.

One of the difficulties of painting are the edges between mapping surfaces. These seems can become tedious, especially if you have a logo that goes right across such a seam. This seperates the skilled painter from the lazy one. The latter tries to work around those bits and rather puts the logo someplace else instead of positioning it correctly. The same can be applied on design lines. Using vectors helps tremendously as you can work more exact – and again, change lines without quality loss.

Working with Vectors can be a bit messy in Photoshop and it takes some time to get used to it, admittedly. However, the benefits outweigh this by far.


Imagine the situation the 2D artists had with the 2006 mod. Each car had 3 textures, each had roughly 50 layers with all designs and logos for 10 track variants on average. The effort of saving each texture variant, each shader maps was quite large and it quickly becomes a boring, repetitious and error-prone process. For the 1994 mod, we will do it differently using a method we should have looked into a long time ago.

Photoshop supports scripting. You can use Javascript to write linear workflows to create a build script for your texture.
This script switches defined layers on and off and specified states to files. The script is rather simple, the execution is still slow, but it far beets the manual work.
In case of our Ligier, the result are 16 texture files in TGA format. Saving right to DDS does not work, as the nvidia plugins can not be used in the script. To convert all TGA files to DDS you can use Dropps, part of my DDS-Utils. This will convert all files in one batch based on the predefined settings.

Scripting has been one major improvement of our workflow at CTDP.


At last, some no-gos we suggest you never do.

A difficult part about skinning a car is finding the right logos. And even more difficult: finding them in a suitable size and format. We have this problem very often working on F1 1994, especially with the smaller teams like Larrousse or Pacific. They had many sponsors, for which it is impossible to find proper logos on the internet. However, you should never ever resize a small logo to make it bigger. It will hurt the quality and leave you to ridicule.

Something else to be concerned about are the alpha channels. Alpha layers determine the amount of reflection on a certain part of the texture. Generally, the alpha layer has the same mapping as the texture. Alpha channels are greyscale only and do not support colors. The general rule is: the darker an area on the alpha layer is, the less light does it reflect. So, black will cause no reflection at all; white will mean the biggest possible reflection and is in most cases completely useless. The more reflection you have, the less you will see ingame of your actual car livery. See also this tutorial teaching what’s up with alpha channels in rFactor.

We take questions! If you are stuck with a problem or have questions related to modeling or textures ask them and we will adress them in a future post here on the blog.



It’s been more than 4 years since our last big redesign of our website. All of the team loved the gritty-used paper look and it took quite some convincing to move to something new hopefully equally likable, while at the same time practical website. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as we. Right now there are no new contents, hopefully this will change soon. 🙂

Also we opened up a flattr-account, but more about this some other time.