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Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 28 Jun 2020, 17:18
by RX1
Hello everyone,

I would like to show you the STK track Toy Block Raceway, which I built in Blender (v2.79) together with my friend RuJo.

First of all I'd like to thank Jean-Frédéric (Linux Guides, https://www.linuxguides.de/) for his tutorial series on YouTube. Without his videos, we probably never would have tried modeling an own STK track.

Some facts about the track construction:
  • We started this as a learning project for 3D modeling with Blender.
  • The track design is based on classic toy block shapes. We chose this concept because we wanted to learn the basics of 3D and STK track modeling with simple models and still get a nice and colorful result.
  • While learning and playing we realized lots of ideas and the track quickly became more complex than expected.
  • Image

Some facts about the game play:
  • It's a small to medium size raceway track built of virtual toy blocks.
  • It supports forward and reverse race direction with some alternative and direction specific drive lines.
  • Image

  • Over 100 movable toy blocks in single player mode, including a Jenga tower that can break down and a destructible wall with a screaming smiley.
  • Image
    Image

  • A ramp and a cross road. Depending on the direction and choice of line you can either jump over an obstacle or cross the road.
  • The whole track can be explored. There are no invisible walls or such things.
  • It supports Easter egg hunt, with 42 Easter eggs in expert mode. Some are placed in quite challenging positions. My best time to pick all eggs so far was 12:18 min, but I claim that a time under 10 minutes is possible for a really good player, once you know where they all are hidden.
  • To support networking mode, most of the movables are replaced (by scripting) with static copies or alternative models.
  • Image

  • The track also supports CTF mode, but we couldn't test that mode a lot, yet.

You can watch more pictures here: https://rjotz.uber.space/sc/index.php/s/kJLjSs5wj36dpbd

To try the tracks WIP state you can download the installation files here: https://rjotz.uber.space/sc/index.php/s/Ky3ZinPAkL8iiN4
and the source files here: https://rjotz.uber.space/sc/index.php/s/25JXeRPCfzj8p92
License information is already included. If no one reports any serious issues, we are going upload theses files to STK add-on site soon.

We had several issues and had to find some workarounds to get certain things to work well. I'll post something about that later.

Greetings

RX1

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 28 Jun 2020, 19:32
by GeekPenguinBR
Hi, RX1!

Firstly, congratulations for your nice job. I'm not talking for all, but I'm sure that a lot of members of the STK community will agree with my observations.

The Graphics
I liked the look of the track. It's colorful, fun and cartoons like I think it should be. I liked the minimalist 3D of the trees and their appearance based on basic geometric figures, but I assume you are aware that these trees with very basic form don't match the 'realistic cartoonish' ( :think: ?) graphic style of Supertuxkart. Actually, I think that the graphic style of the game could be situated between "Formula 1 Race Stars" and "Sonic All Stars Racing", IMHO, of course.

The Gameplay
Well, I didn't see any difficulty to drive on your track. It's relatively easy to memorize the path after the first lap and the shape of the Driveline is balanced: it's nice and allows passes and high speed as well demands a certain level of skill to break or to reduce the speed at the sharp corners.

I think this is a cool track and the gamers will have fun while driving. I uploaded a short video for those who can't test your track at the moment, so this is a 'spoiler' for the rest.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQyliUPW81A

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 29 Jun 2020, 01:10
by RX1
Thanks a lot for the friendly and positive response and for putting a video of the track on YouTube.

Like mentioned before, I want to add some notes about issues we had, while creating the track and some workarounds we came up with to get certain things to work:
  • Optimizing the drive lines for the AI took quite some time.
  • I added extra rescue drive lines, especially for AI karts that crash on the ramp / cross road section, to minimize the number of "false direction takers". Maybe this wouldn't be necessary if the game would properly direct the AI karts to the correct next check line after they were reset.

  • Stacking movable boxes works surprisingly well in single player mode. Unfortunately at some unpredictable occasions, some towers I built, break down on their own. How well they last also seems to depend on the export of the Blender file. You can have an export where a tower crashes every time you load the track in game and then you export the same file again and the same tower never or just rarely breaks.
  • Stacking movable "LOD-Standalone" boxes works much better than stacking "Object" types, because in game, Objects always drop down from 1 unit of height above their actual position when the track loads. This caused lots of trouble for us.

  • The number of movables is restricted to 16 for network games. So I replaced most movables with static copies and designed alternative obstacles.
  • To exclude or replace movables for networking, it appears that they must have the type "Object". It seems like only these allow proper scripting. I also tried to "script out" LOD-Standalones, which at first seemed to work, but then I found out that they were just invisible. Having invisible things on the track is really annoying and actually exploits the intended limit of 16 movables.
  • We had to remove a really cool feature (a breakable race tower) because it only worked with LOD-Standalone movables, but the number of parts was way too high for networking. With movables of type "Object" the tower did crash or even "explode" right away when loading the track in game. If we knew how to scripted LOD-Standalone movables properly, we could have saved the feature.
  • Here is a nice video of the original tower crashing: https://rjotz.uber.space/sc/index.php/s/AY4nj3HWRgfWqBL

  • In network mode, movable boxes often behave weird (on our track). Without ever being touched, boxes move and spin around on their own and spheres roll away or keep spinning. This ruined some of the obstacles I tried to build for multiplayer mode. I figured out that the ground should be perfectly flat to minimize this behavior. The vertexes must have exactly the same z-axis coordinates in Blender object mode.
  • Example video of crazy moving objects in networking mode: https://rjotz.uber.space/sc/index.php/s/NeGtPaN5GoT6G9x

Greetings

RX1

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 29 Jun 2020, 02:08
by benau
you can have a look in volcano island blend file for movables for networking disable with scripting, check the wooden table there (and i think you don't need LOD-Standalone movables, try apply all rotation, scale before exporting)

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 29 Jun 2020, 16:55
by RX1
Thank you benau, for that hint, but I compared the object settings and couldn't find any relevant difference between my objects and those of the volcano_island table. The table also drops down a little bit, but my tower drops down much higher and destroys itself already before landing when it loads. I also applied "rotation & scale" again to all parts, but it didn't change anything. I don't understand where the differences in high of the drop down come from and why objects have to drop down at all.

Here are two videos that show the differences:
volcano_island table objects drop: https://rjotz.uber.space/sc/index.php/s/QpLjY5yA5wrNmPA
Toy Block Raceway racetower objects drop: https://rjotz.uber.space/sc/index.php/s/XXN4Em2DQQ7z44m

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 29 Jun 2020, 18:06
by benau
try move the table below the ground (like golf in minigolf and see if it works better)

you can create a duplicated versions of table and use one of them in non network mode (use visible condition isnetworking)

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 29 Jun 2020, 18:12
by benau
also if u use keyframe in blend make sure it exports at first frame

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 29 Jun 2020, 18:15
by benau
btw 100 movable objects may have performance problems for old pc / phones...

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 29 Jun 2020, 19:32
by RX1
Thank you for trying to help.

try move the table below the ground (like golf in minigolf and see if it works better)

I did that already for the "OW!"-obstacle cubes. But i don't like that workaround. It would be better if the objects would just spawn at their actual position.

you can create a duplicated versions of table and use one of them in non network mode (use visible condition isnetworking)

Like mentioned in my previous posts, I already did that for most of the movables. I have only 14 movables in network mode and I also desinged alternative obstacles, which only appear in network mode. We programmed script functions to deal with the different combinations of race direction, game mode and networking mode.

also if u use keyframe in blend make sure it exports at first frame

I don't know that feature. If it is being used, I'm not aware of it. Do you mean the settings under "object -> Motion Paths"?

btw 100 movable objects may have performance problems for old pc / phones...

I'm on a 10 year old PC here. The movables have never been a performance issue. We have played the non-networking track version with 19 AI karts and in split screen on this machine. The track is not running slower than any of the "normally" detailed standard STK tracks and is still much faster than the higher detailed tracks like Blackforest.

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 30 Jun 2020, 04:34
by tempAnon093
This track is excellent, thank you both! (and thank you for reminding me to thank Jean-Frédéric, his videos made understanding Blender tools much easier)

There are a couple of corners I felt were blind on the first run but once I completed a couple of laps I didn't think this was an issue.
There is a lot of choice of routes and I think this is a wonderful thing! It's great to see the AI karts using them properly too.
The zippers and shortcuts appear to work well on both Novice and SuperTux difficulties.
I'm also very happy you made the tunnel a magnet with a big nitro at the top. It reminds me of my first track (unfinished) which was also fun trying to reach the nitro.

I can clearly see that you've put in a lot of effort and paid attention to details. The end result is wonderful. I rank this as one of my favourite tracks :)

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 30 Jun 2020, 18:01
by RX1
Thank you TempAnon093, for your very nice response and that you mentioned some details of the track. :D It indeed took lots of time to get the AI karts to drive the alternative routes properly. We tested the track a lot, to make sure that it works well with the different skill / speed modes in both directions. In the end we even managed to get AI karts, which fly over the barrier behind the ramp in supertux forward mode (which rarely happens), to take the path over the "toy block temple" (at the hairpin section). That line was actually intended for players only, but if the drive line fits well, such lines are possible for the AI, too.

The tunnel curve is one of my favorite parts, too. It's tempting to get the big nitro barrel and challenging because of the elliptic shape of the tunnel.
I'm also looking forward for people to try Easter egg hunt.

I finally restored the breakable race tower now.
I figured out, that the tower objects are actually not dropping down from one unit of height, they are dropping down from half of their own height (z-dimension value / 2). This allowed me to recalculate the required heights for the Blender model. See the differences of movable (left) and static (right) race tower version in Blender:
Image

Another issue was, that the rotation of the parts actually must not be applied. Applying the rotation just didn't work here. It made the collision boxes of the parts bigger than their visible model and again made the tower crash. Without applying the rotation the boxes are correct in game.

The only open task for this track I have now is an issue with the global shadows, which are falling into the wrong direction compared to the sun light I additionally build in.

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 01 Jul 2020, 18:52
by RX1
I fixed the lighting and uploaded the track on STK Add-Ons site. :) I hope it will be available soon.

Have fun everybody!

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 02 Jul 2020, 18:00
by RX1
Hello again,

so the track has been released and can be dowloaded in game.
If I create a server to play online, I can host the track, but on existing dedicated servers it can't be selected, even if everyone on the server has it installed and there aren't any bots.
Can anyone here tell me why?

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 02 Jul 2020, 19:02
by FabianF
(Handled this in STK online, server doesn't have track installed) - I tried to play CTF but it didn't work for me.

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 02 Jul 2020, 19:22
by RX1
Technically it should work because RuJo and I tested race and CTF mode together online on a private server.
But just with 2 players and I dont have a lot of expericence in CTF mode, so its hard for me so guess how it plays with many players.

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 02 Jul 2020, 22:20
by Worldblender
I got to try out this track now, and I like it for the fact that it tries a theme that hasn't been tried by any existing STK track before: kids' toys is something that I've never seen before tried in a STK track. Thank you! :D One thing I noticed: there is the option to also upload the source files to the STK addons website, which I have not seen uploaded over there yet. While I have downloaded it from your private NextCloud instance, I prefer it also be uploaded over there in case your instance ever goes offline.

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 03 Jul 2020, 09:53
by RX1
Thank you for the positive feedback about the track concept. :)

there is the option to also upload the source files to the STK addons website, which I have not seen uploaded over there yet.

We uploaded the source code to my user account along with the track data (see attatched picture) and wondered why only I can access it, but RuJo and others can't download it.
I already wanted to post that isses here, but then we thought that it may have to be unlocked by a moderator first and that checking the souce files might take longer than checking the exported files. So we deceided to wait.
We noticed though, that there have been alot to tracks released recently which appear not to have the source files attatched.
Maybe there actually is an issue with the add-on website or I missed a checkbox to make the souce public?

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 03 Jul 2020, 12:21
by FabianF
Not exactly sure that's what you meant, but your track is already approved and can be downloaded in game.

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 11 Jul 2020, 12:56
by s3boun3t
great map
it's a shame that the music is not more in the theme of the map

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 14 Jul 2020, 23:02
by QwertyChouskie
s3boun3t {l Wrote}:great map
it's a shame that the music is not more in the theme of the map


Miniature Motoring (https://jacobspctuneup.tk/STK/Music/motoring.ogg) might be a good choice

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 03 Aug 2020, 03:44
by RX1
With the new STK Version 1.2, all the stacked movables (in single player mode) are breaking down now right after the "go / start" signal. This destroys the whole game play. :(

Can anyone tell me what has been changed that might be causing this and what could be done?

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 03 Aug 2020, 10:02
by benau
Need some time to check....

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 03 Aug 2020, 10:41
by benau
Did you use 1.1 / 1.2 in windows / linux / osx / phones? (Before / after)

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 03 Aug 2020, 11:18
by RX1
I used "SuperTuxKart-1.2-rc1-linux", downloaded yesterday. My previous version, which didn't have this problem, was "SuperTuxKart-1.1-linux".

I would like to add that the Volcano standard track is also affected.
The parts of the coconut table slowly drift away, coconuts are falling down, rolling over the track into the main driveline. Finally the table falls appart entirely and the separate parts keep moving.

Re: Track: Toy Block Raceway

PostPosted: 03 Aug 2020, 11:46
by benau
Ok i think i found out whats wrong, do you use 64bit linux (distro name?)