Track Designer Tutorial Logo


(page 5)


The next step is to assign Segment numbers to the spaces on the track.

Each space is either part of a straight or part of a corner. Formula PC uses this information to determine when cars have entered, stopped or exited corners so that proper overshooting rules can be applied.

Setting Segments is very easy, just go to Tools and select the Assign Segments command.

Assign Segments command

A msgbox will pop up, telling you how many segments were created and how many corners the track has.

Segments Created msgbox

This is correct for our tutorial track. If you click on spaces around the track, you will see each one's Segment number displayed on the status bar at the bottom of the screen.
Note that the Segments are numbered starting with 0, so the first straight (with the Finish Line) is actually Segment #0, then the first corner is Segment #1, etc, etc.


The last component of track design is tagging "Next" and "Adjacent" spaces.

Each space on the track needs to have values assigned to it which let Formula PC know what next moves are valid if a car is on the space and what other spaces are close enough to require Possible Collision rolls.

Once all the Lane Position values and Segments have been assigned, there is a tool which helps automate a large part of the "Next" and "Adjacent" tagging process.

Go to the Tools menu and select the Auto-Tag Spaces command.

Auto-Tag Spaces command

The process of tagging spaces works like this:
1 Select and set the "Primary" space. This space will be treated as if a car is sitting on it.
2 Select and tag a space that is a valid next move for a car that is sitting on the "Primary" space.
3 If there is a second valid move from the "Primary" space, select and tag it as well.
4 Select and tag any spaces (other than the two "Next" spaces that were just tagged) as "Adjacent". "Adjacent" spaces are any (up to 4 for each "Primary") that would cause a Possible Collision roll if a car was occupying the "Primary" space.

Here's a graphic of how a typical set of "Next" and "Adjacent" spaces works out for a straight:

The "Current Space" would be the "Primary". Notice that certain "Next" moves and "Adjacent" spaces are assumed by Formula PC. Typically a car can move forward to the next space on the same lane, so tagging it is not necessary. Just as the space behind the car is assumed to be "Adjacent", meaning that if a car is occupying the "Primary" space and another car lands in the "Adjacent" space directly behind it, then there is a Possible Collision.

Straight with "Next" and "Adjacent" tags

Since we've already run the Auto-Tag routine, let's take a look at what it did for us.

Select any space on a straight, on the Middle lane of our tutorial track. Set that space to be the "Primary". You can do this by clicking the Set Primary Space button on the toolbar, or by pressing P Key.

You should see a blue "P" appear on the space, as well as blue "N"s on the "Next" spaces and blue "A"s on the "Adjacent" spaces (if you don't, go to the Options menu and make sure that Show Next Spaces and Show Adjacent Spaces are both checked).

Straight with "Next" and "Adjacent" tags

The "N" directly in front of our "Primary" space is assumed by the program, as is the "A" directly behind.

The Auto-Tag Spaces routine tagged the spaces to the upper and lower right of the "Primary" as valid "Next" moves, then tagged the spaces to the upper and lower left of the "Primary" as "Adjacent". So if a car is in our "Primary" space and another car lands in one of the "Adjacent" spaces, a possible collision has occurred.

You can feel free to select any of the spaces (on any lane) on either of the straights, set it as the "Primary" and then you should see the Auto-Tagged "N"s and "A"s for that space appear.

But, just like with Lane Position values, the corners get tricky.

As we discussed in the overview of the .TRK file format, there is no 100%-accurate way to Auto-Tag the corners (at least not yet).
So it is up to the track designer to manually tag the "Next" and "Adjacent" spaces in corners so that they conform to the arrow symbols that were placed on them earlier.

Let's start by clicking the Heavy Arrow space on the Right lane, just before corner 1.

Set this space to be the primary.

Notice that we have one valid "Next" move, forward. This makes sense because when you land on a heavy arrow you can only move straight forward.

Inside lane, 1st corner, 1st space

We also have the default "Adjacent" space to the rear. This makes sense as well.
Finally, there are two "Adjacent" tags on spaces in the Middle lane. This again is correct, since a car landing in one of those spaces (while another car was occupying the "Primary" space) would initiate a Possible Collision.

Now, select the next space on the Right lane and set it to be the "Primary".

Notice that the default "Next" and "Adjacent" tags are present at the front and rear of the "Primary", but the "Adjacent" spaces on the Middle lane have not been tagged. This will need to be done manually.

Inside lane, 1st corner, 2nd space

Select the first space on the Middle lane that needs to be tagged as "Adjacent" to the "Primary"

Middle lane, 1st corner, 1nd space

Now click the Set Adjacent Space button on the toolbar
(This can also be accomplished by pressing the A Key key).

You should see a blue "A" appear on the space.

This means the space is now tagged as being "Adjacent" to the "Primary" so anytime a car occupies this space while another car occupies the "Primary", there is a Possible Collision.

Middle lane, 1st corner, 1nd space, tagged


The next space on the Right lane is also "Adjacent" to the "Primary and needs to be tagged as well.

Select it and tag it the same you did the last one.

When this is completed, the tagging for the "Primary" should look like this:

Middle lane, 1st corner, 1nd space, tagged

You will now need to select the next space on the Right lane and repeat this process.
Since the Right lane is all Straight Arrows, you will not need to tag any "Next" spaces (the only valid next moves are forward, and they have all been Auto-Tagged), but you will need to tag any spaces on the Middle lane that are "Adjacent" to the "Primary".

Once you have finished the corner, if you select any space on the Right lane, first corner, and set it as "Primary", you should see blue "A"s on any adjacent spaces on the Middle lane.

Next we need to tackle the Middle lane.

Go back to the start of the corner, this time selecting the space after the Heavy Arrow. Set this space as "Primary".

Since the Auto-Tagging routine does not handle the corners, no tags (other than the 2 defaults) appear.

Middle lane, 1st corner, 2nd space

You'll notice that the "Primary" space is a Double Arrow, with one arrow pointing right. This means that we will need to tag a move to the Right lane as "Next".

Middle lane, 1st corner, 2nd space

The Heavy Arrow space to the lower left of the "Primary" needs to be tagged as "Adjacent", as do the 2 spaces on the Left lane that touch the "Primary".

When tagging of this space is complete, it should look like this:

Middle lane, 1st corner, Next-Adjacent tags complete

This way a car sitting on the "Primary" space has the option of going forward or changing into the right lane (just as the arrows dictate).
There are also 4 spaces wrapped around the "Primary" that are tagged as "Adjacent" and will trigger Possible Collisions when occupied.

Note that Formula PC also checks any "Next" spaces for Possible Collisions as well. After all, if a move is a valid "Next" space then it must be "Adjacent" to the "Primary". Since the space is tagged as "Next" it is not necessary to tag it as "Adjacent" (in fact, the Track Designer will only let you tag a space as one or the other).

The rest of the corner needs to be tagged in the same manner. Work your way around the corner in the Middle lane.
Set each space as "Primary", tag its "Next" and "Adjacent" spaces, then move on.
Once the Middle lane is complete, move to the Left lane and repeat the process.

Once the first corner's tags are complete, move to the second corner and repeat the process.

After all the corner tagging is finished, there is one last bit of work to do.

You guessed it, the Pit lane.

As usual, the Pit lane has to be handled differently than the rest of the track. It is the only place where 2 spaces can point to the same "Next" space (the Pit entrance), and also the only place where a "Primary" space can have 2 "Next" spaces on the same lane (the Pit exit).

The Garages also pose a bit of an issue, since the Pit Paint spaces point to them as a "Next" and then the Garages point right back to the Pit Paint spaces.

Make sense? Of course not! So let's go to the graphics.

Start by selecting the first possible Pit Entrance on the Right lane and setting it to be the "Primary".

Notice that the space is tagged to go forward and to go left, but the Pit entrance is not yet included as a move option.

Middle lane, 1st corner, Next-Adjacent tags complete

Select the Pit Entrance space and tag is as "Next".

Pit lane, 1st space, Next tag

Now select the last possible Pit Entrance on the Right lane, make it "Primary", select the Pit Entrance space and tag it as "Next".

Pit lane, 1st space, 2nd Next tag

That takes care of giving out track the ability to enter the Pit lane, now we need to tackle the Pit lane itself.

Start by selecting the first space of the Pit Lane and set it to be "Primary"

Pit lane, 1st space, Primary

The only tag on this space is the default "Next" move.
We need to set the two spaces that connect the Right lane as "Adjacent":

Pit lane, 1st space, Next-Adjacent tags complete

Now, move to the next space on the Pit lane and set it to be the "Primary".

Since collisions cannot occur in the Pit lane, there is no need for "Adjacent" tags, this is why we do not see one here.
We do see the "Next" tag, showing that our only valid move from this space is forward.

Pit lane, 2nd space, Primary

Now select the first Pit Paint space (with the thin, black rectangle) and set it as "Primary".

Notice that the default "Next" space is tagged, but we also need to create a "Next" space that points to the Garage itself. Formula PC will handle determining which car is tied to which Pit Paint space when pitting, we just need to make sure that each Pit Paint space points to the correct Garage.

Pit lane, 1st Pit Paint space, Primary

Select the first Garage (black) and set it as "Next"

Garage, 1st, Next tag

Now, select the Garage, make it "Primary", the select its matching Pit Paint space and tag it as "Next".

Garage, 1st, Primary, Pit Paint Next tag

This process needs to be repeated for each Pit Paint space and Garage.
Select the Pit Paint space, make it "Primary", tag the Garage as "Next".
Select the Garage, make it "Primary" tag the Pit Paint space as "Next".
This allows the appropriate car (determined by Formula PC) to move into its Garage, then when the pit end, the car can move back out into the pit lane.

Once all of the Garages are we need to deal with the Pit exit.

Select the last space on the Pit lane and set it to "Primary".

Pit lane, last space, Primary

Now select each of the two spaces on the Right lane that will be available for cars to exit the Pits and tag them as "Next".

Pit lane, last space, Next tags

There is one last bit of tagging.

Select the first of the spaces you just tagged as "Next" and set it as "Primary".

Now select the last space of the Pit lane and tag is as "Adjacent".

Inside lane, 1st Pit exit, Adjacent tag

Then select the second of the spaces you tagged as "Next" and set it as "Primary".

Select the last space of the Pit lane once more and tag it as "Adjacent".

Inside lane, 2nd Pit exit, Adjacent tag


Now for the final required component to create a track.

And when I say final, I mean FINAL.
Once this is done you will actually have a 100% playable circuit (but we'll still do a couple of extra things to make it both playable *and* nice to look at).

Each corner needs to have a large, yellow flag created for it. These flags display the number of required stops in each corner. When the player clicks on the flag, it brings up a dialog that shows the corner name as well as the longest and shortest paths.

To start creating Corner Flags, select the Create/Edit Corner Flags button on the toolbar.

Corner Flags button

The only thing to be very aware of when creating Corner Flags is that they need to be created in the order that the corners occur on the track.

Our tutorial track has 2 corners, so we'll start with Corner 1, on the right end of the oval.
Place the flag cursor somewhere near the first corner and left-click.
A dialog box will come up, asking you to input information about the corner.
Input the corner name, the required number of stops and the longest and shortest paths.
The path distances have to be counted manually as there is not an automatic way of calculating them.

Corner Poperties dialog

You'll also notice that all spaces which are a part of the corner are now tagged with a small yellow flag. This helps to ensure that the corner spaces are assigned to the correct corner.

If you need to move the Corner Flag, just click in its yellow area and drag it to where you want it to be. If you need to delete a flag, right-click on it and choose "Delete Corner".

1st Corner Flag

 You will need to create another Corner Flag for the second corner, just follow the same steps.


With that, you can stand up, take a bow and give yourself a huge round of applause!

You've done it! Your track is now fully playable in Formula PC!


But first... let's take care of two things to make the track look a bit better when it is loaded up in Formula PC.

The Track Designer has a dedicated set of tools for creating background polygons. These can be used to draw parking lots, roads, gravel traps, trees, lakes, etc, etc. We won't go into that here, since it's all just eye candy, but eventually I'll publish some help on using the polygon tools (if you have any CAD/Vector drawing experience it'll be a breeze to pick up).

What we will do is use an automated tool to create 2 background polygons. These create a pad of "concrete" beneath the track.
This helps to fill the gaps that occur between lanes in the corners and also offsets the track from the background.

Go to Tools and select Create Outline Polygons

Complete track with Outline Polygons

To see better how the polygons affect the view, press F Key to Draw Filled Polygons.

Complete track with filled polygons


The final, absolutely last, finished-for-all-time step is to center the track.

If you notice on the previous image, the World COR (the Origin, drawn as a green crosshair. On the last 2 images it is covering the Finish Line space on the Right lane) is not in the center of the track. This has no major bearing on gameplay, but it is nice to have the track centered, so that when users center the view in Formula PC, the track is actually centered on the screen.

Again, it's an easy thing to do, just select the Center Track command on the Tools menu.

Center Track command

And the track will center itself about the World COR.

Complete track with filled polygons, centered



All done, ready to roll! Or, more importantly, ready to build other tracks for all of us to play! So dive in!


This completes the Formula PC Track Designer Tutorial.
I hope everything was clear enough and made sense.
If you have any suggestions about the process, or little tricks
you develop, please let me know and we'll tell the world.
No go play some FPC!


If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me:


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