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

Deciphering the past: Simtek 1994

As you know, we are currently busy with the IFM project. However, that doesn’t mean F1 94 is out of our heads.

The F1 1994 project involves a lot of investigation and research, mainly on sponsors because high quality photos are rare to non-existent. A lot of guesswork is needed and often a little luck. During our research, we often stumble upon little anecdotes we like to share with you guys. For example, we talked about the various small logos on the Minardi that were quite hard to find.

One particular sponsor on the Simtek has been following us for over two years now. It’s been on the rear wing endplates only at the Pacific Grand Prix; we had numerous photos but none of them were good enough to decipher the company behind the logo. We contacted the former driver David Brabham about it and he couldn’t help us in this case. We even mentioned it in a devblog article and posted it on numerous forums but no one was able to help us.

Until last week.

The guys at F1 Rejects love everything that is bad, funny, mysterious or embarassing in the world of Formula One and one of the members contacted a Japanese friend of his about the matter – two years after we posted the request! And he came up with an incredible result: what we thought could be Eastside Roccs, Sastiana Pocos, Mastana Pocos etc. turned out to be Marutama Foods. And even better, we were provided with a good photo of the logo.

Well, it’s only a very small part of the mod that none of you guys would even pay attention to – I guess., but for us (especially for me as I’m painting the Simtek), it’s the story we will remember for a long long time I think. ­čÖé

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

Inside F1 1994: Measuring Williams

We welcome Radu Teo, a new modeler who has started to work on the new Williams model. The first preview we have for you is a bit different than usual. Over the years we did alot of research on the cars to get as many technical data as possible. This also involves blueprints (if possible, usually impossible), specifications and measurements. Very often we find contradictory sources and especially the wheelbase is something of regular debate for many cars. Williams is another prime example, as we have found 3 different measurements for the wheelbase: 2990mm / 2950mm / 2890 mm
Radu did among others the attached photo comparison to find the correct wheelbase. The picture gives 2.84m,which is shorter than any of our sources. Unless we find something canon and concluding, we will probably opt for a compromise of 2.89m.

Edit: And another one.