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Racing on the PC - Skinning & Custom Textures

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ajokay
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Racing on the PC - Skinning & Custom Textures

Postby ajokay » 20 Jun 2014, 13:47

This guide applies to Race 07, but other games will be similar in the approach you take to adding custom car liveries (aka skins, textures). For the Official SimBin manual on this, check the Extras folder in the Race07 section on the RlyR FTP.

Folder Location

Race 07 reads all custom textures from your CustomSkins folder in My Documents at:

..\\My Documents\SimBin\RACE 07\CustomSkins

This is where you need to put custom textures if they are to show in-game. If another player races online with a custom livery on their car and you do not have that set of texture files in your CustomSkins folder, you will not see their livery and they'll be racing in one of the default in-game liveries. If all you're worried about is the racing, then there's no real need to possess everyone else's textures. If, however, you plan on making a video of the race in some form or other, or you want to see at a glance who you are racing against, or you just like seeing all these super cool awesome liveries everyone creates in the game and wish to fully immerse yourself, then you will need their texture files in your own CustomSkins folder.

For the purpose of racing with the club, and for general neatness and upkeep, it's best to keep textures in a folder by series (Formula R, GEARS, Masters, etc) and then in sub-folders by team.

Image


The .ini file

First things first. There is a small text file that the game uses to locate the custom textures. It's called the ini file (named for its file extension). These can be opened, edited and saved in notepad. You can create your own one simply by creating a .txt file and changing the file extension to .ini

The ini file should be named for your team, and contain the name of the team and driver, the car the textures are applied to, and names of the texture files themselves; in the following format:

Code: Select all

[[[Team Name]]]
[[Driver Name]]
[Car]
body=texture_body.dds
windows=texture_window.dds
helmet=texture_helmet.dds


The team name should contain the name of your team encased within 3 pairs of square brackets [[[ ]]]
The driver name should be your full real name encased within 2 pairs of square brackets [[ ]]
The car should be the name of the car encased within a single pair of square brackets [ ]

You can have multiple drivers within a single ini file:

Code: Select all

[[[Team Name]]]
[[Driver 1 Name]]
[Car]
body=driver_1_texture_body.dds
windows=driver_1_texture_window.dds
helmet=driver_1_texture_helmet.dds

[[Driver 2 Name]]
[Car]
body=driver_2_texture_body.dds
windows=driver_2_texture_window.dds
helmet=driver_2_texture_helmet.dds


If you are unsure of the car name, it's the name given to the car on the car selection screen within the game:

Image

These 3 bits of information are followed by the names of the textures themselves. Different car models will require one or more of the textures listed below. Some use only a couple, some might use most or all of them. Cars from user-made mods might use fancy exotic ones not listed below, but the SimBin-made cars will use all of the below in various combinations.

All cars will use:

Body - the texture for the bodywork of the car
Driver - the texture for your driver's racing suit (high-res internal view only ever seen by you if you drive in cockpit view - not needed if you don't)
Ext_Driver - the texture for your driver's racing suit (low-res external view seen by other drivers during the game, and on the replay by TV cameras)
Helmet - the texture for you driver's helmet (view seen by other drivers during the game, and on the replay by TV cameras). There are 2 helmet textures. One is rectangular and contains only the helmet and visor, the other is square with the helmet and visor, plus extra detail. Both of these are used by different cars. If you're not sure which, guess. If you helmet texture looks odd in-game, then it's the other one you need.

Cars with windows also use:

Windows - texture for the car's windows (low-res external view seen by other drivers during the game, and on the replay by TV cameras)
InteriorWindow - the texture for the car's windows (high-res internal view only ever seen by you if you drive in cockpit view - not needed if you don't)

Some cars use:

Numberplate - texture for the dashboard-mounted name/number plate (high-res internal view only ever seen by you if you drive in cockpit view - not needed if you don't)
Interior - the interior cockpit texture for the car (only used on the F3000, I think)

The game's menus will use:
MenuImage - the car preview used in the car selection menu screen (i didn't even realise this was a thing)
MenuFlag - the driver's national flag used on the menu screen (can also be a team logo)
IngameFlag - the driver's national flag used on the results screen (can also be a team logo)

Image
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ajokay
Original Boss
Posts: 12072
Name: Alex Odell
Car No: 23
Team: POWA
Steam ID: ajokay
Twitter: ajokay85
Location: Herts, UK
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Re: Racing on the PC - Skinning & Custom Textures

Postby ajokay » 23 Jun 2014, 23:07

File Formats

Race 07 uses a texture file format called dds. This is a format that contains the texture in several different sizes. This allows the game to load in a lower resolution texture when the object is further away, replacing it with a higher res texture when the object is closer. This saves memory and helps the game run faster. The textures also appear smoother from a distance and at extreme, edge-on angles. The menu flag images are different and use the .TGA (Targa) image file format.

Some paint programs handle dds files natively, others need a plugin, some can't read them at all. Although if you struggle, there will be someone somewhere in the club who can help you.

DDS Types

dds files can be saved in a number of formats. The car window and driver helmet textures use an alpha channel, which is a greyscale layer within the file that handles transparency (white = 100% opaque, black = 100% transparent. Light grey = mostly opaque, dark grey = mostly transparent).

As windows and helmet visors contain a degree of transparency, this alpha channel will need to be maintained, and so the dds dxt5 format must be used.

Textures that require no transparency, such as car bodywork and driver race suits should be saved in the dds dxt1 format which ignores the alpha channel and therefore saves memory and space.

Image

Once saved, the files should be named appropriately, and that file name copied into the ini file so the game knows which textures to use. If the name of the texture is different to the name in the ini file in any way, the game will fail to load the texture. Likewise, if another driver on a multiplayer server has an ini file with even slightly different information in it than your own, your custom livery will not display on their machine in an online game and/or vice versa. So pay particular attention ot this when updating your textures. If possible, once created, keep texture names the same if/when you change/update them (hopefully once you've created them and submitted them to the FTP, you shouldn't need to change them).

I suggest the following naming format:

<driver>_<team>_<car>_<type>.dds

eg:
ajokay_powa_volvoc30_body.dds
bookoi_jemtech_formulabmw_number.dds
racepro_monolith_scirocco_windows.dds
smifaye_blackcats_helmet.dds

Checking & Uploading

Once you've created your textures and referenced them in the .ini file (with a file name the same as your team name), place them all in a folder (with a folder name the same as your team name) together within your CustomSkins folder, and load the game. Navigate the car selection menus until you find your car. Check your team and driver name appear and that your car spins round in all its glory. It's also a good idea to head to a track and check your car looks correct out on circuit, and that all your textures are present and mapped correctly.

Then and only then should you upload the entire folder containing the ini file and all textures to the appropriate folder on the RlyR FTP site. From this point on others will be able to download that folder, add it to their CustomSkins folder, and see you in your car on-track when racing in a multiplayer game.

Image
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Have fun.

User avatar
ajokay
Original Boss
Posts: 12072
Name: Alex Odell
Car No: 23
Team: POWA
Steam ID: ajokay
Twitter: ajokay85
Location: Herts, UK
Contact:

Re: Racing on the PC - Skinning & Custom Textures

Postby ajokay » 23 Jun 2014, 23:08

Creating Custom Textures

coming soon.
0x
Have fun.

User avatar
ajokay
Original Boss
Posts: 12072
Name: Alex Odell
Car No: 23
Team: POWA
Steam ID: ajokay
Twitter: ajokay85
Location: Herts, UK
Contact:

Re: Racing on the PC - Skinning & Custom Textures

Postby ajokay » 29 Nov 2015, 10:29

Specularity is dictated by the file's alpha channel. If you go to the channels tab, you'll see an extra channel after the usual colour ones labelled alpha. Depending on what grey shades you use here, your car will be different levels of shininess. Anything that is white will appear like chrome, anything that's black will appear like charcoal. Dark grays cause a matte finish, mid greys cause a satin sheen, light greats will give the car a nice showroom finish.
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