Sunday, August 14, 2011

Knockhill dilemma


I've been working on a track for some time now, Knockhill in Scotland.

It is a 2 km long (or better, short), fast track with very interesting corners, turns and altitude changes. What gives me headaches is the latter one. The information available of the track says that it is "varying by around 200 feet (60m) from highest to lowest point." I've mapped the track outline, tried to get the altitude and banking changes right, but I have a burning un-certain feeling in my soul about it.

At first try I've made it so that the Z-size, ie the difference between the lowest and highest point on track was 200ft. Man, was that track hard to drive? Sure it was. It had some drops that you would even think about going down there by bike, not even a racecar... Robots behaved very different in the drops and climbs, some were flying out straight ahead like an F-14 catapults from a carrier ship, others slowed down and managed to follow the track more safe. In short, the track looked and behaved too dangerous.

Now, I haven't been to the track IRL. I only know it from photos and BTCC races available on Youtube. So I've never walked down there on those slopes to get a real feeling of them. There may be this kind of sharp changes in altitude, or there may be not.

My next idea was to halve the altitude changes of the track. It was easy to do, only had to change the 'grade' and 'profile end tangent' values of each segment in the track XML file. After generating the track, I was eager to see how it feels to drive around. And - I liked it more than the original! It seems the robots like it more, too. It simply feels more natural.

So I have this track that feels great to drive, and another one that is more hi-fi in regards of data. Which one is better? I cannot decide, so please help me! The two versions are available here (safe one) and here (tricky one). Please download and test them and share you views either in the comments or via e-mail.

Remember, I need your help
or this track won't be finished ever and all the great resources used for creating it will be lost forever to humanity :D

NB the tracks are unfinished - they don't have a pitlane, textures are basic, etc. But they are drivable. I've driven them in Speed Dreams, but I guess they also work in TORCS. To install them, just copy the contents of the archives to the track/road location, in a folder named 'knock'.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't had a chance to test your models, but having been to the track, I can tell you a couple of things. First is that there is a very steep incline over two parts on the straight towards the start/finish line. Also, the first two corners are on a very steep decline which makes them challenging. An interesting fact is that no corners on the track are level, so if any of the corners on your track are, they're probably wrong!

    There are quite a few videos on YouTube onboard a Ford Fiesta XR2 (which is a regular series at Knockhill) which might be of use to you. I can also email you some photos I've taken over the years if you want, although it sounds like you're pretty well equipped in that department.