History: 15 years of car painting

I’ve been car painting for almost 14 years now. I started with GP2, joined the active community with GP3 and met with CTDP along the way. In addition to the last post about the changing times in the Modding community, I’d like to visualize that in my field of car painting and take you on a small history trip through the years.

A little gloassar at the beginning. The surface of a car is not just defined by one graphic, but by multiple maps with different properties which – defined by the material – influence the look of the surface. The regular color texture is also called diffuse map. Height-differences are encoded in the normal-map (bumpmap, if the map is only greyscale). The Reflection map defines how reflective a surface is and the Specular map how much direct light is reflected. Occlusion maps can be described as the shadow applied to a car.
Continue reading History: 15 years of car painting

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. 🙂

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.

Call for Collaboration: Museums

An important part for building mods is research and we spent a lot of time to collect pictures, technical manuals and other resources to simulate the Mods as realistic as possible.
When we embarked on the 1994 mod, we knew, we wouldn’t have the same access to high-resolution material as we did for 2006, but over the years we collected over 3GB of photo material from the season. Still, every now and then we wondered what happened to the old cars from 1994 and where they ended up. Our research found some of them in Museums around the world, but for many cars we did not find any information. This brought us the idea to crowdsource this search.
We’d like to know which museums around the world have any Formula One cars. I’m sure this is very useful information for other Modders as well, which is why we invite anyone to join in on the research and help to collect a complete list of museums and their exhibited cars.

For this purpose we set up an Etherpad and started to collect and discuss car models and museums.

List of Formula-One models in museums

Etherpad is a javascript-based collaborative tool for parallel writing. Once you enter, you can change your name in the top-right corner, or you can write anonymously. You see anyones writing in a different color and you can just come in and help writing. Every change is saved automatically, so vandalism can be traced.

Once we feel we have a complete list, we may republish this here on the devblog, so everyone benefits from the research.

In a second step, we are also looking for people who’d like to go to a few museums and take pictures of selected cars. If you have a museum near you and would like to help out, contact us.

The Honda Project in 1994

Another article in the series of anecdotes and stories we find around the year 1994, while researching for the mod. We all know that Honda has a certain relationship to Formula 1 Racing, but people only know about the rise and fall of Honda F1 Racing in the last couple of years and perhaps also the phase in the 1960s when they have already been involved in Formula 1.

However, Honda has been on the verge of joining the sport more often than they actually did. In 1999, they bought a chassis from Dallara and made some first tests under the direction of Harvey Postlethwaite. Nevertheless, the project never got beyond that test drive, which was performed by Jos Verstappen, as Postlethwaite died from a heart attack. Honda instead decided to rejoin Formula 1 as engine supplier, joined BAR and you all know about the rest.

Today, though, I stumbled over the story of the Honda RC100, which was supposed to enter F1 in 1993 after Honda’s withdrawal as engine supplier. It was developed without official Honda-backing, but with acknowledged by the company. The first car was completed at the end of 1992 and was due to enter in the next season, but unfortunately, the car didn’t survive the crash test. This is why the car was evolved and they eventually did succeed to do some testing in Suzuka with Saturo Nakajima as their driver. However, he destroyed the car in the crash, so no further testing was possible.

What has this got to do with our mod? Honda still developed the car and the RC101B was ready for the first public test session at Suzuka in – you guessed it – 1994. After the test, though, Honda decided to concentrate on their CART program and it’s not known what actually happened to the car afterwards.

Now just imagine what kind of effect it would have on today’s Formula One world where one of the most important topics is whether manufacturers are good F1 or not.

Thanks to Nuppiz for bringing this story to my attention.


Wikipedia: Honda RC100

Forix: Honda’s After-Hours project

F1Review Blog: A Honda ama a F1 e vai voltar, ô se vai

Wrong sponsor in the wrong time

During our work on the 1994 mod, there are always new things you can learn. Apart from new experiences on the technical side like modelling joint lines, you also learn a lot about the season itself and the teams and drivers involved. Today, Dahie was told a story about the Pacific Grand Prix team, that seems to be quite a weird coincidence. It took place during the San Marino Grand Prix but as the deaths of Ratzenberger and later Senna dominated the headlines, hardly anyone has ever heard of it.

As 1994 was a time when the Formula 1 was not as professional as it is nowadays, the small teams such as Minardi, Simtek and Pacific were desperately looking for sponsorship money which resulted in different liveries from race to race, which you can see in this post concerning the Simtek team.

For the race in Imola, Pacific Grand Prix has persuaded a cigarette company called “Black Death” to sponsor the team. Their logo featured a skull and apparently a crossbone, which cannot be seen here though.

As the stickers for the cars didn’t arrive in time, the Pacific team ran the cars without the new sponsor on Saturday, when Roland Ratzenberger died. However, they seem to have arrived later that day and were ready to be put on the racing cars but for obvious reasons, the Pacific team declined that offer by now. “It’s actually a very difficult situation.” explained Pacific’s Graeme Glew. “The backing could be a saviour, but obviously it would have been inappropriate here.”
The “Black Death” company never appeared in Formula 1 after this incident. Quite an ironic story, isn’t it?

Thanks to Felix Schönhofen who brought this story to our interest.
Sources: The AUTOSPORT Bulletin Board and Rally Racing Nr 6 June 1994

McLaren polished

When I wrote the Making-Of for Toro Rosso I already had a second text in mind for the McLaren. However time constraints pushed it back several times. Also I was waiting for somebody to actually ask for it. I ended up sending Mediocre to send somebody to ask, to keep the illusion. I prepared the text anyway. 🙂

This is about the chrome-effect of McLaren. Continue reading McLaren polished

Chapter B-194 – 4 Years Ago

I elaborated about the general history of the CTDP94 mod in the last long entry. Now let’s take a look at one specific car: Benetton Ford B-194. I liked the Benettons of that time, and since I never painted any car, that has ever won a GP, I actually wanted to take the Championship-car this time. While the mod has quite a troubled history single cars can also have quite an history, which I’d like to show you on this example. Read, why it is not good to work on a project for too long. Continue reading Chapter B-194 – 4 Years Ago

Previously on F1 1994

Imagine you tune into your favorite TV-show and at the beginning they have the recap of previous episodes to give you a head start into the episode. I think it’s about time we do this for the 1994-mod.

It feels like forever that we work on this mod. Actually, our timing is much worse for CTDP94 than it was for CTDP06. We worked on CTDP06 a total of 2,5 years. CTDP94 is in the making since 2003, so for about 6 years. This sounds terrible, it was certainly not the plan, but looking a bit at the history might shed some light on this shocking figure.

Continue reading Previously on F1 1994

Fattura del Toro Rosso

I have been asked nicely and because I liked the idea I proceeded and wrote a little Making-of for the Toro-Rosso livery. I’d like to explain a few things about the way I made it. The car got alot of my intention, because by the time I made it in late 2006 there were very few good STRs done and so I was challenged to recreate the car as authentic and as high-quality as possible. Here is the full story with full-size illustrations.

Continue reading Fattura del Toro Rosso