Setting Up the Car

Hello again.  And welcome to the 4th installment of the Create a Car for Carmageddon Series.......(You know the series doesn't have a name, I just make that up)  This portion of the seiries is pretty easy once you understand how to do it... It requires you have a Car (learn how to make it here and here.) and a TGA map with a alpha channel (learn how to make that part here).  You will also need a original Max file set up for this... just to make it easy... (get that here) and a text file containing starters for the user text...(get that here).

Put the FRED.max file into your Max Scenes Directory, and the max_data.txt into whatever root directory that you want to keep all your personally made cars.

OK... now you also should have a Name for your car.  Mine is Bugatti, because that is what I am making, a Bugatti Veyron 18/4.  So, I have a Max file named Bugatti.max, two image files named Bugatti.tga and Bugatti_Damaged.tga.

1. Getting Started

OK, here is a picture of my just completed car, as done from the previous 3 tutorials.

First thing to do is Select your entire model... Everything, and go to the Group pull down menu, and then Group. (Trust me, if you don't do this, you WILL  have a mess.)

Next that that I want to do, with my Max file open, is to go to the File pull down menu, then Merge File.  Use the Merge File Window to Navigate to FRED.max.  Click OK.  In the next window, click Select All, then OK.  Next you will get a window like this.


You want to Use Scene Material here.  Note:  If you get any other messages, click Merge, you don't want to replace anything you did.  If this window doesn't come up, it is still OK... you wont be using any of the materials from the FRED.max document anyways.

OK, now if you followed the directions in the first tutorial, you will not see any new stuff here.

Select your car and goto the Select and Uniform Scale Button , and Scale your car down, oh, we'll say small.... Down there, somewhere is another car.

After you get is small.... Zoom Extents All Windows , you should see the other car now.

Chances are, your car wont be positioned here.... Actually mine wasn't it was pretty far off.  Keep reducing it until it is proportional to a Corvette.... That is what the other car is..... Actually it is Limey from the game.

Next, with your car selected, go to the Hierarchy Tab, and press Affect Pivot Only, then click the Center to Object button.  Your car's Center now moves to the Center of the Car.  Even if it looked like it.... do this... it isn't worth the headache.

Next, click the Modify Tab, then Right Click on the Select and Move Tool and you will get the Move and Transform Type-In Window... Make the Absolute World: X value 0.

Your car now should move to the middle in the Top and Front Viewports.  Next, Click on the box in the middle of Fred (the other car).  This box, should be called ViewFX.... Ok, the picture below says MAIN_NULL, but if you Click on it again, you will see that, course if you click on it again, it will switch back.... and again and again and again..... OK... Enough with the clicking.  Get the Select and Rotate Tool and Make sure that the Angle Snap Button is set to on .  Rotate Fred, until he points forward in the Front Viewport.

Next Click on the Select and Move Tool , and move your car on top of Fred.  OK, In the original Tutorial, they said that the center of the world was the car's center of mass, but as I found out, if you put the car too low, the car's tires will sink into the ground.  Sucks when you are trying to drive it, so if you follow the image below, this is about where I put all my cars.  In the future you can test everything on your own, but in this case..... try it here first.

OK... Here is your last chance to Modify the size... if you notice.... My car is just a little big.... So.... Down She goes...

Now, Delete Fred, and his wheel, and his data_chassis..... Bye Bye Fred.


2. Setting up the Center

Click in the Front Viewport (it is very important that you use the Front Viewport for this as you are about to state center points for your entire model).  Go to the Create Tab, then Click Box, rollout the Keyboard Entry Rollout.  Give the new box a Length of 5, Width of 5 and Height of 5.  Then hit Create.

You now have a big Box.  Next you want to make sure that your Box isn't a Box..... Go to the Modify Tab, and Right Click on the Edit Stack Button and make it an Editable Mesh.

Next, Click the Sub-Object Button, then the Vertices Button.

Zoom Extents all the windows , and click the Select and Move Tool , select all the Vertices for your box, and move them all up, and out of the way.

Next, Duplicate (shift-left click, on the box) the Box and Name it's duplacate 'lod13_chassis'.  The name is code for Carmageddon telling it that the mesh that you have is the chassis with no damage.  Click OK.

Next, Click the Attach Button.

Then, Carefully Click the Main Body Mesh that you set up.  Click the Sub-Object Button and the Vertices button, if they aren't already done. (If they are you will have to Click the Attach button again, to get it to go away.)  Click the Select Tool , and select all the Vertices of the original Box.  Press the Delete Key.... They go away.... After all, did you need a big box on the front your YOUR car.... YOUR baby.... YOUR.... Yet I digress.......

OK, now, Click off the Sub-Object.... and Hide the mesh....

Clone the Box again and Name it Front_Window..... Oh now if this isn't Obvious.

You know the drill.

OK, it might be hard to discern exactly what the heck in that mess is your Front Window.  So here is an alternative, actually it helps if you know this part, cause you will use it a lot later.  To get the right object, click the Object Selection Button .  This little handy dandy button allows you to state by name, what you want.  Click on the front_window mesh, and press Pick...... 

Next delete the extra Vertices, like you did before, and you are off to your next part...

OK, another repeater, do this for all the Windows, the driver and any other object which isn't part of another object...("What do you mean?",  you might ask, in my model, the Bottom is part of the chassis, so I don't make it an object.)

Naming... Well the body should have lod13 in front of it, at least for now, Any other part which has a separate mesh for damaged and not damaged should, in theory start with lod13.... Those which differentiate between near and far, start with lod12.  OK?  For the basic cars, just name them lod13 and basic names, I haven't seen any spaces in names, so it might be taboo.

OK, after you have finished with the Major body parts you should have a few pieces left over, those which were not part of a major body part, and the wheels. 


3. Wheels

Select one of the Wheels, then Right Click the Select and Move Tool .  The Move and Transform Type-In Window will appear and show you the exact Coordinates of that Wheel.... 

One by one, copy the X, Y and Z coordinates to one of the Dummy Boxes near it.  Making the Dummy Center where the wheel is.  In theory, this will be where the Wheel will appear.  Carmageddon, however must have that wheel in the Center of the World.  So, set the position of all the Dummy Boxes to their wheel location, if you have to delete them to match your car, do it, you can even rename them.... Carmageddon doesn't care.  

You can see here, that I have a few pieces left over, they will be attached later.

Next, select one of the Wheels, say a Front Wheel.  In the Move and Transform Type-In Window, give it the Absolute coordinates of 0, or the Center of the World.

If your Rear Wheels are not the same as the front, Do the same with one of them.  And of course for you wacky people out there, if none of your wheels quite match, do every one.  After, you finish with one of each, delete the remaining.  (i.e. you will only have one front wheel master and one rear wheel master.)

OK, now back to the box.  Clone it, and name the New one something like Front_Wheel_Master.  That sounds professional, then attach the Front Wheel to it, delete the extra Vertices, and hide it.

Do the same for the Back Wheel, and any other Wheels that you might have.


4. Finishing the Body

OK, as you might remember, I still have pieces left over from my first part.  Unhide the body and you will see all of this stuff.

With the body selected, click the Attach button, then click on any applicable meshes you want to attack to the body.

This is what you get.

OK, now we take care of the new data_chassis.  The purpose of the data_chassis is to act as a guide for what the car hits in space.  It would be unbelievable for you to have a car that just can't be hit.  So, go to the Create Tab, the Shapes Button and then click the Line Button.

In your Left Viewport, draw a line which encompasses your car's body, or at least where you want it to be hit at.  Make sure that you finish this line.  Also, Don't make this too complex.  It is just a basic mesh.

Next, go to the Modify Tab, and click the Extrude Modifier.  Give it an Amount of 3.

In the Front Viewport, Move the Extruded Line, Right to the Left Side of the Car (yeah, that's right!)

Now, in your Extrude amount, change it (add or subtract) until it's width matches, as close as possible, to your car.

Here is where you really should rename this mesh to "data_chassis"

OK, now this is just basic editing, Right Click the Edit Stack Button and Convert the Extrusion to a Editable Mesh.

Get your Select and Uniform Scale Button , in your Left Viewport, Drag a box around one of the Vertices, actually, when you do this, two points will become selected.  Scale them, and watch the results for that pair in the Perspective Viewport.  Once they pretty much match where they are supposed to be, get another set of points.  Only scale one set at a time.

Notice how you can use really any, or all Viewports to help you with this.


5.  The Data

OK, now it is pretty much all down hill.  First thing to do is to Set up all your data, so open the little text file called max_data.txt.  It is basically broken up into 8 categories (listed below).

1. Bend Properties
2. Chassis Properties
3. Axis Properties
4. Switch Detach Properties
5. Switch Deform Properties
6. Pivot Properteis
7. Mover Properties
8. Glass Properties

First thing to do, Unhide everything.  Click on the data_chassis, then go to the Edit pulldown menu and select Properties...

Click on the User Defined Tab, and copy the information from the Bend Properties section of the max_data.txt file, and paste it here.

Change the Mass(kg) rating to whatever your car is.  Bugatti is a 1300 kg Car.  It is probably best you not change any of the other stuff just yet.

Click OK

Next Click on the lod13_chassis, get it's Properties and copy the Chassis Properties from the max_data.txt file to it.

You will want to now change the Damage level 1 texture to your car's name, and the Damage level 2 texture to your car's name plus _Damaged, like here.

Next, select the Front Window.  Copy the text from the max_data.txt file from the Glass Properties section to it's User Defined Properties.  

All the windows will basically have the same text, but there is one difference:  The line that say's "Crush Type" will have a list of numbers past that, telling what side impact makes that particular glass break.  Make sure that you give it the appropriate number or else your Glass may break on the wrong side when the car is hit.


6. Duplicating Body Parts (It's Alive!!!)

All right, almost finished.  First thing's first, this is about what the whole thing looks like.

First click the Select Tool , click the Object Selection Button   and select the ViewFX Dummy.  Duplicate it.  I don't think the game cares what you call it.

Click the Link Button , then click the Object Selection Button .  Select the data_chassis, and click the Link button at the bottom.

Next, Click the Select Tool, then the Object Selection Button.  Select the Driver and all the Windows.  (Use the Control Key to select multiple items.)  Notice I have the Display Subtree selected, so that I see the structure in which things are linked.

Click the Link Button , then click the Object Selection Button .  Select the Driver Dummy that you set up, and click the Link button at the bottom.

Click on the Body, the Duplicate it, and call it lod23_chassis.

Next, go back to your Material Editor, and Create a Material for the Damaged texture.  Load up the bitmap onto it labeled "Car_Damaged.tga".  Note that the Car in that should be the name of your car.  Mine is "Bugatti_Damaged.tga"

Apply the Material to lod23_chassis, and your set to go there.

OK, Now you get to Link the rest together.  The wheels you created are linked directly to the MAIN_NULL, while the Chassis parts are Linked to the ViewFX Dummy.  And that should do it.  Look below, match it to your car.... Is something not linked?


7. Exporting

OK, if you have followed every tiny detail, you wont have any problems here.  Of course, if you missed a step it will probably let you know.  The first check that you have is if everything is labeled how you want it, an weather it is linked to something.  The second is the tga test.  Did you copy and paste your map onto an existing tga file with a alpha channel?  That would cause this to stop.  Did you make sure to map everything?  Any duplicate names?  Oh there are lots of things that could happen.  But they will be answered.... Oh, now would be a good time to save it, and not on top of your original file.

Select the MAIN_NULL Dummy, and get the Select and Rotate Tool .  In the Left Viewport, Rotate the car until it's nose points straight in the air.

Go to the File pull down menu, then Export Selected.  Up pops the Select File to Export window, make sure that you give it your Car's name. and Save as Type should read TDR2000.PAK.  If this is not an option, get it from the SDK (Available on my Site).  Maneuver to your Car's Directory (This is something I suggest, because the Meshes directory in Max can get full real quick.)  Press Save.


Next window to pop up is the Torus Max Exporter.  Choose Use LOD Prefix, then Hit OK

There you go, it is waiting for you.  But you can't use it just yet.... There is still one more tutorial.


8.  Last Minute Information

OK, your car is out, your feelin' frisky, time to get liquored up and go huntin' with Grandma.  Well maybe not just yet.  There is some Info that you have to have.  Wheel Radius!!!!

Simply Click the Create Tab, the Shapes Button, then Circle.

Start at the Center of the World and draw a Circle.  Observe the Radius number, as it goes up as you enlarge the Circle.  Once you feel Comfortable that the Circle that you are drawing is the same size as your wheel, you can either let it go and write it down, or make a mental not of it and go to the next wheel.  If you only have two different sizes, that ain't so tough, but if you got 10 different sizes, well lets just say that you can always make another Circle.  Remember to Delete the Circle after you are done with it.  It wont hurt to leave it, but it's just cleaner.


Next, Go to the Creation Tab, Helpers Button and to the Tape Button.


In the Left Viewport, Create a Tape, starting from the Driver's Head, to where ever he should be looking at.

OK, In the Top Viewport, Move the Base of the Tape over the Driver's Head (if it isn't already there), and the Dummy to where ever you want the Driver to look at.

OK, now select the Base, and Right Click on the Select and Move Tool , this will bring up the Move Transform Type-In Window.

Jot Down the Absolute Coordinates, and Click on the Dummy for the tape.  When you do this, your Move Transform Type-In Window will change slightly, but all you need are the Absolute Coordinates from that one too.

These values are for the Descriptor.txt file for your car.  You will use them in the next Tutorial.


OK that's it for this one.  See you next time for the last one.... That one isn't even done in Max.  It is the Descriptor files.

This tutorial was made by Beroc-Lord of Destruction, and Should not be copied without permission.  You may use Links to this tutorial, as long as you provide information about it's creator on your website.  The Veihicle represented here is sole property of Bugatti Motor Cars, Inc.