Cars for GTA3© and GTA© Vice City
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In   2002,   game   editing   (or   let   alone   „modding“)   was   in   its   early   state. The   only   powerful   tool   of   interest was 3D-Studio-Max© but it was very expensive and not affordable for any private user. Another   tool   we   know   today,   that   has   its   origin   in   this   period   is   Maya©   by Autodesk©.   It   only   became popular   in   the   gaming   industry   after   about   2008   though,   because   official   SDKs   for   games   rarely contained official exporters until then. I   do   not   judge   which   program   is   better   –   Maya©   or   3D-Studio-Max©.   Every   user   should   test   every program    on    the    market    and    chose    for    himself    which    suits    better.    Today    we    have    much    more (sometimes   free)   tools   available   and   Maya©   and   3D-Studio-Max©   have   become   more   similar   to   each other. I guess, ultimately  personal preferences are important. But   back   in   2002   we   had   no   choice.   Fortunately   it   was   not   absolutely   necessary   to   use   expensive tools,   because   3D-modelling   with   LODs   or   special   modifiers   didn’t   exist   and   neither   did   games   that supported   their   modding.   And   we   are   not   talking   about   the   quality   and   options   we   know   from   today. Looking   at   my   bills   archive,   my   PC   in   2002   had   an   NVidia©   GF4600TI, AMD© Athlon   XP   2600+,   512 MB RAM DDR333 and a 120GB HDD. The beginning of my 3D-visualization I   came   in   contact   with   the   creation   of   3D-models   in   2002,   when   the   game   GTA3©   was   released   and other   users   from   the   game   „Need   for   Speed©“   began   to   convert   their   cars   for   it.   I   was   fascinated,   but not   only   by   the   new   GTA3©.   I   was   also   intrigued   by   the   option   to   bring   custom   cars   into   the   game. „Mapping“   I   had   met   and   learned   with   Quake   3 Arena©   but   not   the   implementation   of   custom   content. And this subject interested me very much. One   year   earlier,   in   2001,   I   had   joined   a   group   of   free   US-car-friends   in   Langebrück   (Germany),   a small   town   next   to   Dresden.   In   the   same   year   we   founded   the   label   Sundaycruiser “   for   the   group. Indirectly,   the   start   of   my   3D-work   has   relationship   with   this   group.   In   1999   I   had   bought   my   Chevrolet Camaro Z28© and my first idea was to bring it into GTA3©, just like other cars from our club. As    I    have    written    above,    big    commercial    tools    for    3D-modelling    were    not    affordable    to    buy. Fortunately,   mainly   modders   from   the   Need   For   Speed©   community   joined   into   the   upcomming GTA3©   modding   community   and   suggested   the   tool   Zanoza   ZModeler   “,   by   the   programmer   Oleg Melashenko.   Compared   with   modern   techniques   this   tools   was   simple   but   it   worked   very   well   and taught   me   to   recreate   reality   in   3D.   Scenarios   for   which   modern   tools   offer   lots   of   help   were   all handmade in 2002! But   in   September   2002,   when   I   downloaded   the   free   tool   Zmodeler   1©,   my   first   reaction   was disillusion.   I   had   greatly   underestimated   the   work   and   effort.   But   I   did   not   give   up.   After   a   few   tests and   first   simple   objects,   I   chose   to   start   with   a   conversion   of   an   existing   Need   for   Speed©-car,   as practice. In   October   2002,   I   started   the   conversion   of   the   first   car ,   not   without   getting   permission   from   its original   author   (AdR).   And   well,   I   started   a   „repeating   circumstance“:   modding   games,   after   playing them   for   just   a   few   hours.   I   realized   that   I   had   more   fun   with   creating   or   modifying   things   that   with playing the games. Below   you   find   a   few   pictures   of   the   most   important   cars   that   I   worked   on.   If   you   follow   the   links   you will see that most of the cars are available until today.
My first converted car for GTA3(c). Original author for Need for Speed(c) was "AdR".
On   the   picture   on   the   left   you   can   see   the   1968 Camaro     that    converted    for    GTA3©.    As    I    have written   in   the   text   above,   the   original   Autor   (AdR) gave me the permission to do this. I   released   two   versions   of   the   car.   The   first   one , which   had   no   bonnet   and   the   second   one    where   I added   one   (my   first   own   mesh,   after   a   little   bit   of modelling practice).   The   term   „conversion“   may   sound   little   derogatory but   it   is   not!   Cars   created   for   Need   for   Speed©
were   closed   and   not   accessible,   in   contrary   to   the   GTA3©   cars.   For   this   game   it   was   necessary   to convert   the   cars   to   make   them   usable.   This   means:   separation   of   the   doors,   the   rear   hood,   the bonnet,   the   windscreen   and   both   wings   at   the   front.   After   that,   all   visible   areas   between   inner   and outer   meshes   had   to   be   closed   with   new   polygons. The   reason   is   simple:   when   you   disassembled   the car,   it   left   no   closed   surfaces   between   both.   For   example   at   the   inner   wings   or   doors. And   no   trunk,   of course.   Please   imagine   that   I   disassembled   the   complete   car,   set   the   necessary   dummies   for   GTA3©, set   all   required   parts   back   together   and   created   &   textured   the   missing   parts. After   finishing   the   car   I wrote its handling-file and packed the required files together for final use.
My second half converted car from a free webside (original author unknown).
One   of   my   next   cars   was   inspired   by   the   last years’   (2001)   movie   „Training   Day“   by   „Warner Brothers©“.   Because   of   the   few   cars   available   for a      conversion      (most      authors      do      this      by themselves)   I   browsed   the   internet   and   found   the free   model   of   a   Chevrolet   Monte   Carlo   (1979) . After    a    huge    modification    of    the    cars’    mesh,    I prepared   it   same   way   as   the   Camaro   and   set   it up for final use.
My converted 1932 Hotrod (original author for Need For Speed was the user "P R O")
Another   conversion   was   the   1932-HotRod    by   the original   Author   „P   R   O“.   As   I   have   written   above, the   conversion   process   was   almost   always   the same. - Disassembling the car - Adding new polygons to close open areas - Retexturing, mostly with newly made textures - Creation of new textures when it was need - Damaged parts for the damaged state - Dummies, which the GTA©-engine needs - Paneling of the inner wings under the hood and     in the cars’ trunk - Packing and setting up the car with the needed   scripts
The same but highly modified 1932 Hotrod (original author for Need For Speed was the user "P R O")
After   a   little   bit   more   practice,   I   released   a   Special Version  of the 1932-HotRod .
Original Need For Speed(c) Author for the Vipers base mesh was the user Martin Leps.
My   next   car,   the   Viper   GTS   V1 ,   was   a   bigger project   and   my   last   one   for   GTA3©.   Due   to   high demand,    I    overhauled    and    tweaked    the    car several   times.   There   are   3   versions   of   it.   The   last one   ( Version   3 )   also   has   an   added   special   wheel- mod by the Author „Rumba“. The   original   Author   of   the   car   was   „Martin   Leps“, another    German    modeller    from    the    „Need    for Speed©“-modding community. I   gave   myself   a   lot   of   trouble   to   setup   the   car perfectly in the engine and added a lot of details.
Original Need For Speed(c) Author for the Vipers base mesh was the user Martin Leps.
GTA Vice City© One   year   later,   in   2003,   the   switch   from   GTA3©   to   GTA   Vice   City©   was   not   hard.   The   exporter needed   an   update   but   the   process   remained   the   same.   When   the   game   was   released,   I   first exported my for GTA3© converted cars and adjusted the material files. After   that   I   thought   about   what   to   do   next.   I   had   the   confidence   to   start   my   first   own   car   made   from scratch   and   started   its   construction.   Because   of   one   of   our   US-Car-Club   members,   who   owns   a   1968 Dodge    Charger©    and    the    movie    „Bullit“    with    „Steve    McQueen“,    I    chose    this    car    and    not    my Camaro©.   Why?   The   old   muscle   cars   have   more   defined   edge   flows,   a   detail   I   rated   as   „too   hard   to model“ on my Camaro© as a first car. Sure,   I   had   collected   lots   of   knowledge   in   the   last   months,   but   I   wanted   to   work   on   an   easier   car made   from   scratch,   to   get   more   practice.   The   clear   lines   of   an   old   muscle   car   were   ideal   for   this.   But nevertheless   it   was   challenge.   It   took   3   attempts   before   the   first   chassis   looked   acceptable.   I   didn’t archive the cars or pictures, the reason I will tell you below. After   the   1968   Dodge   Charger©,   I   modified   the   car   to   the   1969   and   1970   version   because   these versions   shared   the   same   body.   From   today’s   perspective,   my   3   versions   were   ok,   but   not   really good.   My   motivation   for   a   redo   lacked,   so   I   chose   to   build   my   next   car   made   from   scratch   and   to   gain more   experience   in   modelling. This   one   was   another   friends’   car,   a   1972   Plymouth   Cuda©.   I   used   the same   method   here   and   created   3   versions.   The   1970,   1971   and   1972   version.   It   was   the   same „easy“   job   because   all   3   again   shared   the   same   chassis,   with   just   a   few   modifications.   The   other head-   and   taillights   and   a   few   other   details   was   easy   done.   Fortunately   this   method   of   construction   is not   as   much   effort   as   to   make   3   new   chassis   from   scratch.   When   I   had   finished   these,   I   thought about the modification of the 1971 version to a convertible and realized this too. In   the   meantime   we   had   the   year   2004   and   the   games   Far   Cry©   and   Doom©   were   released.   I   took   a break   from   the   creation   of   cars   for   GTA3©   and   GTA   Vice   City©,   although   I   wanted   to   overhaul   the Chargers   and   Cudas.   I   decided   to   do   this   with   the   next   GTA©   title   (San   Andreas),   one   year   later. Actually, the game was released for PC in June 2006.