By Mike Saunders
16 January 2000
As anyone who has tried some of the edited tracks knows, most of the changes we've made so far have been cosmetic. It has proven to be much easier (although still tricky) to modify some of the attributes of roadside objects, rather than the dimensions of the track itself. For example, take a look at this comparison:
The first shot shows a typical scene at Monza, with the wall's attributes totally normal. However, the second image shows how we have moved the wall closer to the track, and made it considerably higher too. This effect can be achieved anywhere on the circuit - so the design of the track can be modified to a certain extent.
Using these modifications, it is possible to create tunnels or wide open plains to drive along, and significantly alter the "theme" of the circuit. It may not be radically different, but this is one of the things we are very confident with, and could be easily implemented into a track editor program.
But we can do some more altering too. In the course there are certain "command bytes" which can be used to alter parts of the track. For example, we have found the command byte used to alter the wall heights, and there are many more. Well, one we may have found is the "track-width" code. We aren't completely sure with this one, but have managed to adjust the road with on several courses now with a high level of success. Check out these screenshots:
The track width is seemingly measured in car widths, so a width of 1 means that only a single car can fit. In fact, the lowest safe number is around 3, as lower numbers cause problems with the driving line. In the first shot here, the track width is one wide, with the walls brought right in. The second is entirely different, with a road width of 4 (and the walls as they are usually). Higher values than 7 can cause problems again. Still, these screengrabs were both taken on the same stretch of track, and highlight the difference we can already make.
For now, work continues (admittedly at a slow pace). Keep contributing in the forums, and if there's any major developments you'll hear about it here first. We'll do another update on the progress in a few months or so.