I'm making an N64 Car Museum

I could make a whole fuckin thread on Ridge Racer. Boss fight books is taking pitches this month, maybe I'd do one for that! Ridge Racer Retrospective.

oh, you absolutely should pitch! And get some of these car models in there!

At a point where I‘m currently slapping together a space for the vehicles, which is a big problem because I kind of want them to be “person scale”, and several of the vehicles (Like the Wipeout and Hydro Thunder ships) are pretty big. Someone in my twitter messages is very enthusiastic about adding some scaffolding so people can climb up and see the tops of them, something I’ve considered but I feel scope creep coming on.

So anyway, credit placards will probably look like this. It'll be a little weird because I'll credit all of the artists (unless their roles are mentioned in mobygames), but that's probably fine, better to overcredit than leave someone out.
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/vuBNmQZ.png]

For the museum itself I went back and fourth on a lot of ideas and, to be honest, I'm lazy as hell. A lot of auto and plane museums are just big warehouses with partitions, so maybe a warehouse-like space is appropriate?
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/ROIXo1b.png]

I've put together some scaffolding and brick wall meshes and put in some lights, and I kind of like the look of it. I may put partitions up to better group off the different sections, but I think an open area suits the museum better.
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/ZkFUKP3.png]

I think a warehouse is good! but like give it a concrete floor and white walls!?

@exodus#1082 Hm, I get where you're coming from, this seems a bit cleaner. I kind of prefer the industrial look a little? [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/2273EOD.png]

@marlfuchs2#1083 I‘m a big fan of the concrete floor (the wood one feels like it’s clashing with the cars somehow?). I like the brick of the original warehouse a little more, but again, the color feels like it‘s interacting with the color of the cars in some weird way? Either way, I like that over the sterile feel of the white walls (even if that really lets the cars take over the space with their more vibrant palettes).

All in all, it’s looking amazing either way!

Either is ok but if you‘re going with white I’d change the wood texture to metal (might be able to get away with desaturating it and adjusting brightness/contrast for a quick fix). I‘m glad there are placards! I was curious if you were going to provide some way to know what game a model is from but didn’t want to suggest extra work. Instead of scaffolding to see the tops of cars honestly I'd just put a toggleable “Fly” mode in.

@brentporter#1088 basically how I've done that is group them by rough, roughly, and placed a placard at the start of the row. I think this should be enough. [upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/pkJBkIj.png]

As for flying, I think that's a better solution to see all of the models.

I also need to figure out lighting. Unity has baked lighting which should be good, but that means generating lightmaps for...everything. EVERYTHING. damn. Considering how weird these models are I dunno how they would handle a light map. and I would have to go back and enable it on every single model, which would be time consuming.

This project has been interesting in that I'm discovering my process for cutting features and additions. Already I've cut like 3-4 things that would have taken loads of time. I originally visioned a huge multi-level museum level to hold them all, but that would take so much time to put together. Also a section for the jokey unlockable cars. It sucks but, like, I do want to eventually finish this so in order to so do you have to cut lots of good ideas.

Currently facing down the barrel of a huge problem: lighting the scene. Unity‘s realtime lighting looks great, but I had like a hundred lights per scene and that isn’t a realistic prospect for any computer, so I‘m experimenting with baking lightmaps. Now, these are all imported models and so a lightmap is baked onto each in game object, which is great for performance but I have never gotten it to really work. Thus in order to present the cars properly I’m either going to have to break it up into smaller rooms so I can better light each one, or make the museum “outdoors” and use one big directional light. That might be weird but it's the easiest solution.

Baking lightmaps is hit and miss, this test scene here almost works but for some reason 3/4 of the cars end up black. I would also have to go through every model and enable lightmaps, and then re-import. it would be very tedious! and would probably add another week to the project. I'm prepping for code tests and I dunno if I'd have time to fix everything for this.
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/OaoTjJ3.png]

@marlfuchs2 I might be appearing too invested in this project but . . . i‘m invested in it haha. Feel free to ignore me any time buuuuuut I was also thinking about how to handle your lightmap situation! My thinking was to lightmap the environment mostly from a “setting the vibe” perspective and to just go ahead and treat the cars as non-static and maybe light them all separately with a single realtime sun lamp. I think it’s ok to do that even if we‘re indoors. I honestly think you’ll end up with something surprisingly similar (but obviously not super accurate) to a proper lightmap. In your example here you have these four cars that are lit mostly from up above so it‘ll probably look mostly right for way less work. It takes forever waiting on those lightmaps and if even one car is wrong you have to fiddle around and redo it all over again. You’d need to make sure your sun lamp isn't interfering with your nicely lightmapped environment etc.

@brentporter#1105 I came to the same conclusion. I also have 4 really big dynamic spotlights so the cars are all lit from separate angles. With only one sun light the models appear dark on one side and washed out on the other. With this set up a warehouse ceiling really didn't make sense. I thought about setting it outdoors but that would seem a little weird. I looked into glass ceilings and I managed to whip this up in blender in about 5 minutes.

[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/D9MtkW6.png]

It's an Ico Sphere but with a cast modifier to square off the base, then with a wireframe modifier to make the scaffolding. It worked so well that I think I'm going to cap the museum with this. But now I want to hang something in the center of the sphere! I'm thinking the Flutter from Megaman 64

@marlfuchs2#1106 whoa this rules!

Yeah, it definitely rules, I'm looking forward to hanging out in here

Well I threw together some snazzy graphics and stuck a bow on it, and published it! Check it out! https://leoburke.itch.io/auto-museum-64

Wow it‘s done, cool! I love being able to look at these cars in a chilled out fashion. Those Wipeout models are huge, huh? It makes sense next to all the other cars which is part of what makes this interesting. Maybe you could interpret the scale a few different ways but it’s fun to compare sizes.

A fun side effect of following this project is I've been playing through N64 racers I'm not familiar with like RR64 and Aero Gauge. RR64 doesn't look nearly as cool as R4 but it's not horrible!

Also! I checked out one of your other games on itch. I'm beginning to see a theme with car collection ;).

I'm sure ripping and editing all those individual cars was a ton of work. Great job on this!

@marlfuchs2#1130 Congratulations! What a cool project. I really like the mood of the museum’s design.

@marlfuchs2#1130 Just tried it out - this is amazing. The how to is incredibly cool.

The incredible boxy-ness of the wipeout vehicles was interesting - the AeroGauge models blow them out of the water in so many ways.

The lighting turned out really well - it's easy to see and appreciate everything. And the floaty jump works great for getting a good look around.

Absolutely brilliant stuff! Thank you so much for making this!

And now I need to go play some N64 racing games…

Also, I'm a terrible guest to your museum - the very first thing I did before even walking inside was turn around and walk through the trees and off the edge of the map. I'm very sorry for what I've done, and I wanted to apologize to you.

I made the conscious choice not to do that, ha ha. It's usually my first instinct. I DO think it might be cool to hide a single car in the woods though…

Auto Museum 64: The official post mort 'em + cut content

Media Features:
A few people were kind enough to write up on the game!
(going to brag here a little and mention this is the *second* time I've been featured on rock paper shotgun)

Cut Content:
Was originally going to do a series of car focused art using some of the 3D models. Specifically
Jenny Holzer's BMW V12LM art car
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/cTSFoij.jpg]

Jonathan Schipper's The Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/ybyA3HI.png]

Cai Guo-Qiang's Inoppertune: Stage One
[upl-image-preview url=//i.imgur.com/O6XKCNy.png]

I cut these for time mostly, also it kind of changed the focus of the museum? It would be a bit more work too. Wanted to put them in to better educate players on just art in general.

I also left out several games, including the Formula 1 games, one or two racing games I didn't check, and I wanted The Flutter from Megaman Legends, but ultimately the effort to do so had outstripped my energy and momentum. I also left out the Star Wars Podracers because even though it's a very good racing game and this is clearly within fair use, I didn't want to chance getting the ire of Disney.

**Good Things:**
Learned a lot about blender. Knowledge of a tool is always good, and I learned a bunch of shortcuts in dealing with model restoration, specific to texturing. I would estimate that I am probably a leading expert on this very niche subject.

Seeing how a lot of old games did texture mapping, especially given the constraints of a 64x64 texture and very limited polygons. I think if I wanted to make a similar style game I'd have a very good starting point. Studying the AreoGauge and Ridge Racer 64 models in particular is a good lesson in using bold, distinct colors and designs for a better look.

Learned (sort of) how to cut content. This is a big one, and I think it's a combination of several factors. One was "I don't want to work on this forever". I did not have a set deadline but I had originally timeboxed it to one week. When I saw the entire scope of the project I began to cut more and more stuff, like extra cars from each game. Towards the finish I had the attitude of "Well, maybe 50 people are going to download this" which was partially to set expectations but also to lower the bar for myself so things would be "good enough" without taking forever. There's a lot written up on why you have to cut content from a game to ship, but it takes working on a project to really get a sense for how to cut and why.

This game did much better than I expected despite being about 1/4th the vision I originally intended it to be. Laziness leads to innovation and shipping.

Good stuff all around, I say. Probably cutting that stuff made the message easier for people to get, as well.

I'd say the stuff you cut would make for a good sequel, but I wonder if a sequel would do as well as the original? I'd sure look at it though. You could also put your "hidden texture message" finds in there too. But that'd be like... if you wanted to pick this back up in a year.

Overall congratulate yourself on a job well done - you inspired people's imaginations enough to get people talking, which is 90% of the battle with any game these days. And I liked it, so 🕶️