22 1 11

A few more recent screenshots showing Lighting,
Mountain Mist and Ground Fog effects in selected
locations. Same link - see above.

13 10 10

A few Work In Progress screenshots uploaded.

25 9 10

My thanks to Bill at the GPLPS for taking over
the background hosting of my larger files, to
Bernd for facilitating that change and to
Paul Jackson and associates for their hosting support until now.

31 12 08

My First U TUBE Video of Start area and Bray Hill in the full length Isle of Man for GPL.

13 9 08

AN UPDATE POSTED AT Race Sim Central GPL Forum Today

37 3/4 mile ISLE OF MAN MOUNTAIN COURSE - Myth or Substance?


To allay any doubts that this track is still under construction, I thought I'd just put up a new post/thread, as the old threads have disappeared into the server, it seems.

Probably no bad thing.

There are some comprehensive notes on my site News page dated about a year ago. I don't wish to repeat any of that, but should simply bring them up to date.

The track is being worked on solidly between my other commitments.

Still only one builder and one consultant/tester. That's my preferred method.

The track surface/routing/cambers/elevations are 99% complete.

The stock of buildings took over two years to complete. There are 488 of those each with unique architecture and mostly unique texturing. Where textures are shared, there are still many variations used; eg 28 different chimney pots and 55 different roof textures, most of which also have shade variations.

In a DX7 environment without dynamic lighting, texturing using cleansed original photographs takes longer because the lighting variations on each face of buildings, roof surfaces, gables, chimneys etc has to be varied, usually with three levels of light intensity depending on the sun's static position.

I only mention this so you might understand why such an exercise took me so long.

My present work is building trackside walls, driveways, fencing and hedges around the track. Then will come constructing new trees [as I am not satisfied with the original trial textures], placing those, then doing other objects/crowds, lampposts, and other street furniture. Lastly will come asphalt variations, static shadows, and vertex shading.

So you may gather that there is still much work to do to complete this project. Also that because of this 'layered' approach to track building, there are really no areas yet that will produce a screenshot that will give you a fair impression of the intended finished result.

Nevertheless, I have attached a couple of WIP screens here of the Pits and Bray Hill.

Please just note that the street furniture, gardens and trees in those are not representative of the end result.

I also stated that I was producing a new Track Guide. Here is a shot of the cover and first page of the current draft.

I don't expect the track will be finished this year. I hope and expect that Targa Little Madonie will be out well before that and you will have something fantastic to drive and learn with that.

When the full IOM MC comes along later on, you will just have another long track of quite different driving character, to sink your teeth into.

Please don't let this thread degenerate into a 'conversions' argument. This is not the time or thread for that IMO.

PS. Sorry it's taking so long, but I am doing my best.

Cheers from down under.


31 10 2007

Full Length 37 mile Isle of Man Mountain Course - Build Update

My current views regarding conversions to other simulations

I appreciate the patience of those of you who are waiting for this GPL track and feel I owe you some indication of how this build is progressing.
So here are some succinct points.

I estimate I have put over 2000 hours into building it so far, with about another 1000 to go.

I still hope to release it for GPL during 2008. I can't give any more definite indication.

This is a big exercise for one builder and one consultant and has been a constant tale of two steps forward and one step back, all in the interests of achieving high levels of accuracy.

The object is to deliver a very immersive and realistic driving surface and visual experience. That requires detailed study of source material and a lot of work creating textures and building the structure and texturing for each micro environment over 37 miles of track. As always, the devil is in the detail!

I am very pleased with it so far and regard it as my best work. Others will eventually judge it but I have no interest in odious comparisons with other trackbuilder's work. I only really care about how good a representation of the real track I can make.

Is it fun to drive?. Yes!

How long will it take to learn? If you have on board DVD/Video laps from Duke and know the track really well from that, you should be able to drive a lap without a mistake at 80 - 90% of your capability after 5 laps. If you have no prior knowledge or just knowledge of the short IOM MC version, probably after 15 - 20 laps.

Some facts about the current Alpha state of the GPL track.

62MB track file zipped.

61MB track 3do unzipped.

2097 track sections.

60,718.5 metres.

About 80 tree varieties.

247 unique building 3dos with individual textures completed.

150 or so more to be made.

Textures are mostly 16 bit this time with a few larger than 256 X 256 where necessary. Eg, The sky dome is built from twelve 512 X 512 textures and one 1024 X 1024 sky cap.

Vertex shading will be used extensively courtesy of Guru's shader.

22 separate intermediate horizons are used, to blend with or replace the horizon dome lower scenery to recreate authentic sight lines at the correct parts of the Course.

Complex bump mapping for the driving surface using two methods in concert. There will be some sections that, as in real life, you will feel your teeth rattle when you drive them. This isn’t a flat, smooth short circuit, its a man's sized real public roads course, so get used to the idea that some sections will be bumpy and you will feel that! Still completely drivable though.

Crowd and announce sounds tailored specifically.

Billboard blanks system to allow for 3rd party or individually produced period or modern signage. Keys to this tool box will be provided.

Frame rates are looking good /smooth. Should run reasonably on any PC purchased in the last 3 - 4 years and probably older.

Screenshots? I would like to oblige, but because of the progressive nature of my build method this time, there is no single completed section that will give you a reasonable impression of the end result yet. Sorry.

I will release some screens as soon as I have something finished to show you.

There will be many screens embeded in a completely new Course Driving Guide in PDF format, already half written. These will aid recognition of the sectors being described. It is  probable that this guide will also contain actual extracts of Ken Murray's own handwitten riding notes from the early 90's and be available for download and perusal before release of the GPL track.

They say patience is a virtue. I hope you eventually agree it was worth the wait.



OK now to the thorny issue of conversions.

There seem to be recurrent questions about converting my GPL tracks to other Sims, so here is another attempt to clarify my current attitude.

I have stated on previous occasions in different forums, mainly at RSC, that I had several real objections to what was going on in the conversions 'scene'; that is, the tendency for third parties to convert GPL tracks to Sims like GTR/GTL/rFactor to name but three, without people necessarily understanding or caring that these Sims have quite different game engines, driving surface arrangements and rendering. So tracks that just look good enough for GPL but have good frame rates and run smoothly in that sim, can look and be degraded and unfinished in other Sims. That such conversions were often done without asking permission first, without acknowledging the copyright of the original builder, without using the original readme, associated with requests for donations for making these conversions available and without due care to address the degradation issues, is in my view an insult to original trackbuilders.

I also have some severe reservations about the tendency I feel is becoming prevalent in the PC gaming industry, for some game builders to obtain an indirect commercial benefit from amateur 3rd party work. Lets just say that I am more comfortable building tracks for a sim that is now sold for $5 than for any of the more modern ones.

Why should I care so much? Because of the vast amout of work I put in to each of my tracks plus the way I believe the real life tracks should be represented.

Having said all that I have recently relaxed my stance in relation to the two Dundrod tracks, principally because I believe this RL road track deserves to be appreciated by the widest audience. That doesn’t mean a free for all though. I still expect people, using their real names, to approach me by private message at RSC with any conversion proposal, listing their experience and indicating a willingness to accept some simple conditions, designed to protect my copyright and the amateur status of this work. I am also not against texture upgrading, so long as the replacements are reasonably authentic.

With respect to the currently released Isle of Man Mountain Course, I have been slightly surprised by the continued interest in this track beyond GPL. Why? Because despite it being the best I could do with my skills and the GPL track length limits at the time it was released, it is NOT AN ACCURATE REFLECTION OF THE TRUE MOUNTAIN COURSE. No 15 mile version of a 37 mile track could be!

So, I just don't want any more versions of this cut down "shortened impression" of a track out there, when clearly, I am close to releasing a full length and much more accurate / better looking simulation, built absolutely from scratch.

Please understand, that I built the short version as the only way I could pay homage in the car sim racing community, to this great track and all the brave riders, past and present, who have raced on it for 100 years now. I am not ashamed of it and am glad I made it, but the only version of mine that I want to see out there being used and discussed in future by the car sim racing fraternity, if it is discussed, is the full length version. If people are ignorant of the fact that the current version is abridged, then their ignorance is not my problem. If they really must race it, then there are about 25 different chassis in GPL and another 15 or so tin tops and sports cars of various types in NASCAR 2003. That’s enough to go on with.

So the obvious next question is, ok if you don’t want people to drive the short version of IOM MC in other Sims, besides the version already allowed for NASCAR 2003, will you allow conversion of the full length track to other Sims, once completed?

Please understand I am making this full length track for GPL first and foremost. There will be some features of the GPL track that will definitely be lost irretrievably in any conversion. Some of the bump mapping [not all] and the shading for starters. Yet at least the shading could be replaced in other Sims by skilled people.

IMO anyone who is serious in future about converting the full length GPL track would need to drive it for some time in GPL to appreciate how its made and how it drives and looks. Same goes for the people who race other Sims. If they are not prepared to try it in the sim it is intended for first and pay me that minor level of respect for the work I've put in, then I don’t much care for their wish to just have it in their sim of choice. Don’t say GPL is too hard if you are not prepared to at least try a 65 chassis in it.

Yet for the same reasons I gave above with respect to Dundrod, I will keep an open mind on the subject and will be prepared to discuss the possibility of properly attributed, fully finished, quality conversions, AFTER THE GPL VERSION IS RELEASED! I won't discount any sim in this regard at this stage.

Because there may be some unique technical issues to overcome in any such exercise, [ scale/world centre positioning/multiple horizons/no of objects etc] I suggest that conversion of this track would take some time to do well and would not be a job for first timers!

I make no apology for the length and breadth of this discourse. It is my attempt to correct many understandable misconceptions that I see in forum threads and to take some of the heat off RSC Forum Moderators, who do a good job trying to balance the sometimes conflicting aspirations within their sim community.


LATEST VIDEO IOM MC Start to Ballacraine up on YouTube

"Cheat" corner direction indicators
are removable.

Recorded at 60FPS but only half
normal resolution 1024 x 7680, due to double load
on CPU of FRAPS capturing and
GPL rendering simultaneously.

Runs at 1920 x 1200 for me in GPL at 60 fps.

If anyone feels they absolutely have to contact me, they can do so through private message at the SRMZ (Sim Racing Mirror Zone).
I wont respond to questions in the Guest Book that require an email reply)
10/4/2014 ...................New batch of screenshots Ballig to Kirk Michael in thread "Isle Of Man Mountain Course 37.75 Mile.... A Few Little Teasers "


29th January 2015 updated 2nd August 2014.   Second W.I.P Progress Video. to HD 60 FPS Must use Google Chrome to view at 60 FPS

Video has two parts.

First part represents a run from the Start Line in Douglas out to Ballaugh with the weather set fine and sunny.

Second part is a shorter demonstration from Greeba Bridge out to Alpine of some "Environment Change Options - Threatening Skies/Ground Fog and/or Mist patches" which operate using file swap "Sets".

This video captures a replay of a lap I drove yesterday in the BT24 with my track tuned setup at a quick, but not flat out pace, in order to keep the car straight so you could see the track layout properly. Speeds achievable [ in MPH ] can just be seen in the usual readouts top of screen.   

NB: I had to use  a display resolution of 1024 x 768 in GPL to get reasonably smooth FRAPS video capture. The Fog/Mist looks a little better/finer at the 1920 X 1080 and 60 FPS I usually use in GPL.

With respect to the state of the whole work, the section of the track out to Ballaugh is pretty complete, but a few minor graphical tweeks/ tidy up have been left till the end of construction, whenever that turns out to be. The Mountain section after Ramsey Hairpin is also fairly advanced and simpler to finish, which leaves the remaining object placement/graphical work to Ramsey representing the majority of work still required. [ 37,000 objects so far and counting!  ]

I have no idea yet when I will be able to finish though; sorry.

In the meantime, please enjoy my little preview!