Making of Flatout 1

Hi,

As I promised in the introduction thread here is some work-in-progress shots from Flatout 1.

If you're wondering about lack of trees and foliage in them it's because back then we had this system that placed trees and other foliage on tracks based on a 2048 x 2048 pixel image that was stretched to cover the entire 850m x 850m area that our tracks were made to. On that image we had these different colored pixels that each would then be replaced to trees, grass, bushes etc. when the track was sent to buildmachine (=your own workstation, oh yes we had lot's of coffee breaks back then!)

Anyways, below is the first batch of shots - can you name the tracks? ;)

Shot 1.


Shot 2.


Shot 3.


Shot 4.
 

John Burning

Create, destroy and dominate!
Team Bugbear Member
Wow! Thank you for screenshots, they are amazing!
Shot 1- Brad's Sand pit.
Shot 2- Fairgrass rounds
Shot 3- Redpine river
Shot 4- Whattahoo town
Is it right? :D
 

psychicparrot

Always look both ways before crossing the street.
Awesome! What kind of poly limit did you guys have back then? Any idea what the poly counts were for those levels?
 
psychicparrot said:
Awesome! What kind of poly limit did you guys have back then? Any idea what the poly counts were for those levels?
I don't remember the exact limit we had but I can get you some statistics. Whattahoo town in shot 4. (you got it right, John!) has total of 288 665 polygons without counting trees and other foliage that would add quite a bit to that number. Our tracks were designed so that in each 850m x 850m area we had 3 tracks to drive.

Here's an example of different routes in one area:

Shot 5.
 

John Burning

Create, destroy and dominate!
Team Bugbear Member
And what programm are you using? Something like 3Dsmax? Or you making your program by yourself?
 
John Burning said:
And what programm are you using? Something like 3Dsmax? Or you making your program by yourself?
Ok, so software that we're mainly using in art department at the moment:

Photoshop for 2D graphics
3ds Max for environment and asset modeling
Lightwave for vehicle modeling
Perforce for asset version management
Hansoft for project management
Confluence for documentation
Skype for communication

In Flatout 1 we had Photoshop, 3ds Max, Lightwave and notepad :)

Also we have our own game engine and tools for tweaking it + bunch of own plugins for 3ds Max. I might post more about our own tools later on.
 

John Burning

Create, destroy and dominate!
Team Bugbear Member
Jukka Merikanto said:
John Burning said:
And what programm are you using? Something like 3Dsmax? Or you making your program by yourself?
Ok, so software that we're mainly using in art department at the moment:

Photoshop for 2D graphics
3ds Max for environment and asset modeling
Lightwave for vehicle modeling
Perforce for asset version management
Hansoft for project management
Confluence for documentation
Skype for communication

In Flatout 1 we had Photoshop, 3ds Max, Lightwave and notepad :)

Also we have our own game engine and tools for tweaking it + bunch of own plugins for 3ds Max. I might post more about our own tools later on.
Cool! Thanks for information! :D
BTW your game engine is AWESOME! Really, this is the best engine I've ever seen! But you've change it for RRU. Can you return old mad skills of FlatOut to your next project?
In RRU there is more drifting and the game is more arcade.
 
John Burning said:
BTW your game engine is AWESOME! Really, this is the best engine I've ever seen! But you've change it for RRU. Can you return old mad skills of FlatOut to your next project?
In RRU there is more drifting and the game is more arcade.
It's the same engine, the same physics, actually. We've just added a bunch of stuff on top to make it more accessible and, yes, drifty, for RRU. It wasn't easy to make the cars handle so easily in RRU, using the same physics base. So underneath it all, it's actually running all the same simulation as in our previous games. And yeah, we could strip it back down easily.
 

psychicparrot

Always look both ways before crossing the street.
I posted on Twitter recently that I was amazed how robust the engine is... after 11/12 years Rally Trophy just installed on Windows 7 with no patching etc. and ran at the highest resolution I could throw at it. I have games that are two years old that won't run on my widescreen monitor because they don't support the resolution and games that are three years old that don't even run on Windows 7. To think that you guys made an engine so clean and reliable as to do that blows my mind.

Another thing I like is peoples amazement at the fact that RR:U is only 1.2GB (something like that anyway!).. we're all getting so used to games at 4GB+ and here's this amazing, beautiful racing game weighing in so low everybody thinks there must be bits missing lol

Add to that those beautiful physics and incredibly fast load times.. just blows my mind!

Enough of me gushing over the tech... ! ... it's awesome that you only had Photoshop, 3ds Max, Lightwave and notepad! Not even Notepad++!!

How did you add dynamic objects to the environment, like tires to crash through etc.? Was it a case that you put in placeholder objects in Maya and the engine replaced them at runtime, or did you have some kind of naming/attributes system or something like that? I ask because I am always impressed by the loading times of each level and it seems as though there is very little initialization stuff happening for it to go so fast... :)
 
Wow!
I thought nobody really uses Lightwave anymore in games industry, at least in Finland.
Why use it just for vehicle modeling? Is your vehicle artist Lightwave guy? :)
I've used LW in school. Then i switched to Blender.. and now im using 3ds Max too. All great tools.
 

John Burning

Create, destroy and dominate!
Team Bugbear Member
Guys, you are amking ideal games, really. Incredible graphics, unbeliveable physics and it needs not a lot memory! I still can't believe in this :D
 
psychicparrot said:
How did you add dynamic objects to the environment, like tires to crash through etc.? Was it a case that you put in placeholder objects in Maya and the engine replaced them at runtime, or did you have some kind of naming/attributes system or something like that? I ask because I am always impressed by the loading times of each level and it seems as though there is very little initialization stuff happening for it to go so fast... :)
In Flatout 1 we didn't have placeholder objects. Every single object was placed by hand in 3ds Max. Each object had a name like "DYN_tire_A_I_single_01" that our engine would then read an handle accordingly.

Here's an example of forest track with all dynamic objects (4464 in total) marked with yellow:

Shot 6.


Waltteri Reunamo said:
Wow!
I thought nobody really uses Lightwave anymore in games industry, at least in Finland.
Why use it just for vehicle modeling? Is your vehicle artist Lightwave guy? :)
I've used LW in school. Then i switched to Blender.. and now im using 3ds Max too. All great tools.
Heh, you're right. I was just informed that our vehicle team has also switched to using 3ds Max instead of Lightwave. Lightwave was used in Flatout 1 though. I also started with Lightwave but switched to 3ds Max when I got a job here.
 
Is it possible to model own tracks to any of the Flatout series games? How moddable are they?
I would love to do my own track as portfolio piece of my environment modeling skills..
 

John Burning

Create, destroy and dominate!
Team Bugbear Member
"Every single object was placed by hand in 3ds Max. Each object had a name like "DYN_tire_A_I_single_01" that our engine would then read an handle accordingly. "
WOW! So much work!!!
 

Purple44

Well-Known Member
Team Bugbear Member
Jukka Merikanto said:
In Flatout 1 we didn't have placeholder objects. Every single object was placed by hand in 3ds Max. Each object had a name like "DYN_tire_A_I_single_01" that our engine would then read an handle accordingly.

Here's an example of forest track with all dynamic objects (4464 in total) marked with yellow:
I can relate to placing a bunch of objects. I use close to 3000 exploding gas bottle for a King of the Roof derby pit in Flatout 2. I did cheat and copy a few gas bottles at a time and paste them into the next roll.



Placing all them tires around a track, must of been fun. :eek:
 

Purple44

Well-Known Member
Team Bugbear Member
Waltteri Reunamo said:
Is it possible to model own tracks to any of the Flatout series games? How moddable are they?
I would love to do my own track as portfolio piece of my environment modeling skills..
We were unsuccessful in modding the terrain file ( track_geom.w32 ) in Flatout 1 & 2 and thanks to Pav and GulBroz, we got track editors that let use move and copy objects that are on the track.

And we were able to make new startpoints, splitpoints and spline points for our new tracks and derby pits.

Pavcules track editor for Flatout 1 ( I also use it to do startpoints and splitpoints for Flatout 2 ):



Here video of track you see in Pav editor above. We got Codemasters permission before Shadow converted GRID Jupiter to Flatout 2.


Here me moving a stack of cars ( before Pav release his track editor ) trying to find the right startpoint to put the cars in the barn so I could do a derby pit inside the barn.





GulBroz Blender track editor for Flatout 2. Made moving objects a lot easier:



 

psychicparrot

Always look both ways before crossing the street.
Thanks for the info, Jukka, that's awesome!

How about AI pathing? Did you add AI waypoints in Maya, or was there some kind of cool AI editor tool for Flatout?

Cheers!
Jeff.
 

psychicparrot

Always look both ways before crossing the street.
Wow, Purple.. your post didn't appear when I replied earlier.. must have been all the images! Fantastic!

I take it that they are homegrown tools you were using there? What were all the splines for? Can you explain 'em? :)
 

Purple44

Well-Known Member
Team Bugbear Member
psychicparrot said:
Wow, Purple.. your post didn't appear when I replied earlier.. must have been all the images! Fantastic!

I take it that they are homegrown tools you were using there? What were all the splines for? Can you explain 'em? :)
Ya, we have some pretty smart people at Flatout Joint that made us the tools. With out them, I would not been able to make the customs tracks and derby pits that I did.

About spline points, these points tell the AI were to go. AI will drive to the next spline point. Getting AI to take a turn well can be tricky. I would park my car near a turn, with a high in the air camera and watch the AI take the turn. If AI are going to wide to make turn, I adjust the spline point(s) until the AI do OK.

The pink and blue lines in the Flatout Track Editor pic are drawn between the spine points. Also the spline points is where your car will reset to.

Here some videos of the derby pits I did for Flatout 2:

Derby Flatout Joint style with DD pack. Part 1

Derby Flatout Joint style with DD pack. Part 2

Derby Flatout Joint style with DD pack. Part 3
 
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