Eutechnyx and System 3 ran a competition for custom livery creators to get their designs into Ferrari Challenge successor Supercar Challenge and I won with the following designs. The text link takes you to more pictures and a discussion of the creation of the livery while the picture link shows you a larger picture.
I hate AI that isn’t affected by grass and gravel and kerbs and camber and G-forces and momentum and variable grip and their line through corners and your car being in their way and you driving into the side of them at 100mph and, like most racing games, Race Pro is guilty of this. So why the high score? Communication. Race Pro communicates the relationship of the driver to the car and car to the track more successfully than just about any other console game. This means that every single time you crash, understeer, oversteer, slide or nail a corner oh-so-sweetly, you know exactly why. Every time. Forza Motorsport 2 and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue are more forgiving and far more polished and Ferrari Challenge: Trofeo Pirelli has more heart, but this is probably the best driving experience available on 360 or PS3 at this time.
Classified 3+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 3 or over.
President System 3 Software: Mark Cale
Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli (2008)
Partake in the international Ferrari 430 Challenge series across fifteen tracks then take over twenty models from Ferrari history for a spin in one-make Trophy championships. Additionally, you can be tutored around Ferrari’s Fiorano test circuit and take the challenge online.
One-make racing game which boasts rewarding and convincing driving and racing, outstanding rain effects (unlike a lot of games, they remembered the wiper animations), a good livery editor and some terrific tracks that we haven’t seen before in a game (Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Virginia International Raceway and the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California and, for the first time in a long time for cars, Circuit Paul Ricard). There are some nice touches such as wildlife, leaves and men with flags (yay!) at circuits and a personal favourite music track over the main menu (Ebla by E.S. Posthumus). For me, the single marque is no limitation at all (indeed, I love single marque games) and the cars exhibit a wide variety of handling; some of them are an absolute joy to drive including the F512 S, F355 GTB, and the F40.
Classified 3+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 3 or over.
I’m not too convinced that I pulled this idea off. It’s supposed to be a race track with kerbing and grass. The racing numbers are styled as a grid marker (I was rather pleased with that idea).
While I felt the design looked a bit naff in the screenshots above, in replays it worked surprisingly well and that, coupled with the fact that the car was great fun to drive, made me feel a lot better about how the paint job turned out.
The idea behind this paint job, as indicated by the title Ying Yang, was a two-tone design with a different colour on each side of the car and the demarcation pattern to be styled after the classic ying-yang icon. Unfortunately, you can’t tell from the finished job. This is a case of one of those ideas which simply didn’t work when applied. It is posted as a complete failure.
I’m really bad at abstract pattern creation but this is my attempt at one and, because it is made from the neutral colours of black and white, the base paint can be changed to almost any other colour and it still looks fine. While I was quite pleased with the design in these screenshots, I didn’t feel it looked as good during the race.
This design is inspired by the iconic Saturn V rockets which took men to the moon in the twentieth century.
It is a particularly simple design and quick to reproduce. I initially produced it on the 512 S in FCTP and then realised that I done it on the wrong car as I’d already won the 512 S trophy. I reproduced it on the 512 M in a couple of minutes.
When deciding to upload an entry to Rate My Ride in Midnight Club Los Angeles, the Saturn livery was the obvious choice. I applied to the Mercedes-Benz S600 “DUB” Unfortunately, in MCLA, paint jobs are not rendered too nicely with elements degenerating into a blur inside the length of a single car. For example, in the two garage shots, compare the black stripes at the back with the crisp black boxes at the front. At most angles, this effect was even worse. Shame, as MCLA is, basically, a really nice looking game.
This is another red, white and black paint job and the principle design is the silhouette of a Formula One car along the side (a 2007 Renault, specifically). The silhouette was created by placed red blanking pieces over the chequered flag pattern and there’s nothing else to say. The painting went really smoothly.
The inspiration of this was a super documentary on music conductor Herbert Von Karajan (called Karajan: or Beauty As I See It) and I wondered if I could spell something racing-related out with musical notes. C, D, E, F, G, A, and B are the letters available and I couldn’t readily think of one. Then I remembered the rest notation and realised that if I called that an R, I could make the word ‘racecar’ in musical notes. As a bonus, it is a palindrome and so should mirror to the other side with little work.
The stave was pretty straight forward to start with. I placed the notes and, after failing to create the fancy rest symbol (crotchet rest), I went for the easy route and used the breve and semibreve rests which are small blocks. This redefined the size of my stave because the minimum size of a square primitive in FCTP is rather chunky. So I made my stave and note heads bigger and ran into a significant problem. The minimum size of a square primitive in FCTP is rather chunky. Meaning that I couldn’t produce the stems for each of the notes.
I solved this by breaking the stave. I’d already considered the inability to produce a thin line by placing four long white primitives on a black background creating the impression that I had produced thin black lines. I now needed to pull a similar trick to produce the stems of each note. So, the first white space of the stave was broken above the two A notes; the first white space is made up of three white primitives. The second is broken in four above the A’s and below the E. The third is broken into four below the C’s and the E. The fourth is broken into three below the C’s.
Needless to say, this was a bit fiddly. When I mirrored the design I made it even more fiddly for myself by moving all the white spaces instead of just moving the note heads but by the time I realised how stupid I was, I had to finish what I started and it didn’t take too long anyway. While it doesn’t look terribly neat on the side-on screenshot above, looking at it in the angled views and replays gives a much better impression.
The F50 supplies the problem of disguising, ignoring or using a thick black line that goes from the front of the car to the back along the side. I disguised it by making the car essentially two-tone red and black.
My racing logo, dynamic number 4, chequered flag motif and blank stave were added to round out the livery. The blank stave also wraps around the front. The chequered flag wraps around the rear.
In motion, this strong colour scheme works brilliantly and this livery looks fantastic. Even without knowing that the notes spell ‘racecar’, this livery looks fabulous in replays and, for me, the knowledge of that little detail is very pleasing.
I started this one knowing what colours I wanted to use and that I wanted a bright livery that would be more abstract than I normally produce. After fiddling around for a bit I came across a vinyl that, if I turned it, looked a bit like a blob of paint had splatted against the side of the car. After that it was simply a case of placing the splats with appropriate elements for the racing logo and number.
Again, FCTP’s trump card in the livery editor is the ability to paint the windows and so I had some of the splats go right across the windscreen. Naturally, I was careful to ensure that I don’t obscure the view from the cockpit.
I also made sure that the splats weren’t symmetrical and are slightly different on each each side, on each mirror, across the front bumper and across the top / hood.
My first attempt used a large gold circle for the rear quarter and, though I was happy with it, it didn’t seem quite right. I changed it to a series of paint brush style vinyls which were carefully placed to hide the orange half of the pattern.
In replays, the car looks fantastic, especially from the front and, while driving in cockpit view, you’re always reminded that you’re driving a custom livery because of the splats running over the windscreen.
A simple idea this one. Rainbow and clouds with sponsors and racing numbers in the clouds.
As is typical in in-game livery editors, getting a pattern to transition smoothly from the side to the roof is extremely tricky. It’s harder than most in FCTP as the aspect ratio of vinyls on the roof is not maintained and is nothing like the aspect ratio of vinyls on the side. For instance, a circle is circular on the side and a tall thin ellipse on the roof. A square is square on the side and a tall thin rectangle on the roof.
This accounts for why the rainbow pattern does not perfectly match when viewed from the side. As you can see from the slightly higher shots, the pattern is maintained but when viewed from the side the piece of the rainbow that was drawn on the roof area of the car is not wide enough. I did attempt to add pieces to make the rainbow appear correct from the side but I abandoned that idea for the sake of my sanity.
I did take the time to correct the SR Slimm Racing logo on each side.
While glaringly obvious from the side shots, the rainbow mismatch isn’t apparent in replays and the car looks light and bright though not quite as colourful as I had hoped.
The most immediately obvious shortcoming of FCTP’s livery editor compared to the mighty goodness of Forza Motorsport 2 is the lack of gradient vinyls which are an easy and powerful way to make extremely cool paint jobs. However, concentrating on shortcomings is an easy way to become despondent and so we come to a custom livery which I thought I wasn’t capable of in an editor which I thought would not be able to produce particularly artistic imagery. The value of a positive attitude and, critically, a non-perfectionist attitude has resulted in what is probably my best original design.
The impetus is a competition to get your custom livery into Eutechnyx’s next game SuperCar Challenge. The rules are be unique and be clean. The guidelines are be innovative, cool, sophisticated and stylish rather than gimmicky. And I’ve done a dragon. Oh well. Interestingly, as an example of something that was “too off-the-wall”, Eutechnyx cited a police car design. Of which I’ve done two (a UK and a US one).
Still, I’m proud of my efforts. I found some typical dragon images on Google images to get a handle on the head. I knew I was going to go for a Chinese-style dragon with a long snout and long neck with a wing motif across the rear quarter.
One of the pre-made designs looked a bit like teeth but as I started trying to put pieces together, nothing clicked for a long time. Suddenly, there it was: a recognisable dragon head that didn’t look too rubbish or childish or malformed and I gained hope that this might turn out to be an idea I could finish.
My first attempt included yellow highlights across the rear of the car and, after seeing the car in replays, I decided to remove the yellow from the dragon wings area and replace it with dark red. When I did this, I accidentally went to the wrong area and added a vinyl to the rear window. This is FCTP’s principle area of triumph over Forza Motorsport 2: the ability to paint on the windows. I realised I could finish the wings on the rear window and make it look like the wings wrap around the rear corners of the car. Again, quite a lot of fiddling and two or three failed ideas gave way to the finished article. Things don’t quite line up perfectly if you look closely but the effect is definitely there.
So, while I might not get this into SuperCar Challenge as Eutechnyx may consider it gimmicky (or it just may not be good enough, of course), I think it’s cool and I’m really proud of the finished result.
There were two problems going in. The first was relatively minor and that is that the 575 is a completely different shape to the Porsche 911 as it has a relatively short passenger cell and relatively long bonnet. The second was a bit more critical: Ferrari Challenge doesn’t have any orange paint making a grey and orange paint scheme somewhat, well, challenging.
Initially, I decided to change the orange on the design to the gaudiest red in the pallet and had half-completed the roof and side of the car when I realised that orange is available. On the Racing Stripes 2 page, there is a thick double line in orange. By scaling to its full thickness and placing several overlapping each other, it is possible to create blocks of orange. I scrapped the red paintwork and replaced it with orange. There were some fiddly moments painting under the rear wing and lining up the pattern crossing from the roof to the side because the camera controls are strictly limited when painting each area, especially Top/Hood (it doesn’t let you see under the rear wing). I wish that the camera was completely free and just reset to a new location when moving to a different area to paint.
The logo was created by putting the letters JOTA twice, slightly offset, and then using a white blanking piece on the A to make the leading edge thinner than the trailing. The leading elements of the J were extended with primitives. Because there is no orange paint in Ferrari Challenge, the SPORT is coloured bright red.
I also used blanking pieces to get a Ferrari logo (though italicised) on the rear wing. It does seem odd that in Ferrari Challenge, there is no Ferrari logo; not the word, nor the prancing horse. The Ferrari logo is taken from the Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB Senna S vinyl with the appropriate bits blanked. The same idea was used for the Ferrari logo on the rear of the car.
One area where Ferrari Challenge trumps Forza Motorsport 2 in the livery editor is in its ability to paint the windows. So I placed the System 3 logo in a banner across the windscreen and a dynamic number behind the rear view mirror.
I’m extremely happy with the outcome though, ironically, the action wallpapers on the Jota Sport site appear to be, in a trick of the light, red and grey.
The Ferrari F40 was touted, at the time, as a Formula One car for the road and was Ferrari’s most expensive and their and the world’s fastest production car. Given that and the strong Senna branding in Ferrari Challenge, I hit upon the simple idea of implementing the classic Marlboro livery from Ayrton Senna’s MP4/4 McLaren from the same era.
I used the non-cigarette advertising version of the livery which made things nice ‘n’ easy. Pirelli logos on the bonnet were created from the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli vinyl with the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo elements masked out. A Senna S on the side and an eighties Senna / Slimm windscreen name banner rounds off this simple but effective livery.
There is no orange paint for cars or primitives in Ferrari Challenge. Therefore I changed the colour to red and hope to evoke the classic Gulf livery rather than accurately duplicate it.
As there are no small letters in Ferrari Challenge’s vinyl editor, the “u” of Gulf used a capital U shrunk down and required two to generate thickness.
Pirelli’s logos on the front wheel arches was created by placing the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli logo and masking out the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo bit. You can see the white background of the original logo inside the P and R of Pirelli but, especially in motion, you’d never notice it.
After that was complete and I was happy, I twigged that there was an orange racing stripe (on page 2) and set about replacing the red with orange. It was a bit fiddly but it resulted in a more accurate Gulf livery. This also had an effect on another paint job I was doing with a Jota Sport 575 GTC which I’ll post later.
As a bonus, the car was great fun to drive.
I based this design on a sign (pictured right) at Ferrari’s Maranello Village. I immediately liked the two-tone and replicated it using grey (Canna Da Fucile) primitives on a red (Rosso Corsa) base paint with strong white text. Once the simple background was complete and running around the whole car I simply pasted the available logos with white writing. The last touch was an arrow pointing forward made from rotated and squished V and I solid letter vinyls.
I borrowed the ostentatious placement of a chequered flag motif from the side of one of the buildings in the village and stuck it on the mirrors. They were created using the large chequered flag from design 1 and placing a white primitive behind it.
One thing I don’t understand is why there is more than one dynamic number, er, number. The number is dynamic. No matter which one you place on the car, it will change to reflect your starting position.
Attempting to come up with an appropriate paint job for my North American Challenge F430 and not wanting to replicate my black-and-white police car by hand (you can’t copy part or whole liveries from one car to another, even the exact same model), I ended up thinking of a yellow cab taxi.
Using our old friend Google turned up this rather brilliant if possibly impractical Lamborghini taxi and I noticed that even some normal yellow taxis had chequered flag stripes down the side.
Fortunately, Ferrari Challenge provides a chequered flag strip and so I simply ran five end-to-end from the headlights to the rear grill. A taxi sign on the side and a monochrome chequered flag on the roof complete the job. The flag on the roof is, by default, heavily slanted but Ferrari Challenge’s skew option straightened that out for me.
Rather more appropriate than my Italian 430 Challenge car, my European entry featured the circle of twelve gold stars on a blue background that comprise the flag of the European Union.
There were a few unexpected complications. The main one was I produced the flag so that the circle could be seen in its entirety on the side of the car. It was then my intention to scale the group of vinyls to the size required but Ferrari Challenge’s livery editor doesn’t scale correctly and my first circle of stars was destroyed by scaling to the smallest extent. Still, I didn’t make that mistake again. Next time, I only scaled up.
The second complication was that I couldn’t copy the pattern as a circle to the top / hood area. When it copied, it became elliptical and there was no way I was going to build another just for the odd aspect ratio of the top / hood area.
Still, it was a nice simple and fitting livery for my European campaign.
Following up my UK police Ferrari F430, I had a bash at a black-and-white US-style police car. Unfortunately, I hit many limitations of the Ferrari Challenge livery designer and, while I completed this design, it is clear that it isn’t really suitable for complex scratch designs.
Scaling a group doesn’t work properly. This means that you can’t create a group nice and large and scale it to a final size. In Forza Motorsport 2, for example, I would create a complex vinyl group on the roof and then copy and scale it to the desired place on the car. This is not possible in Ferrari Challenge.
You can’t colour a whole group of primitives. This means that it is time-consuming to produce effects like drop shadows or to easily change the colour scheme of a car.
This means that creating scratch artwork and logos from primitives is all but out of the question.
The shortfall is not made up with sponsor vinyls (there are only a couple) and a lack of gradient textures means simple to produce but striking and complex-looking livery is also out of reasonable reach.
However, this is a commendable effort and System 3 has shown a willingness to finance patches. Most of these concerns are quite minor technical details (possibly gradient textures aside) and maybe they’ll see fit to tweak them in a future release.
Patch V2 arrived for the rather under-appreciated Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli recently and brought all manner of goodies including Trophy support and a photo mode for the livery editor. Unfortunately, in order to earn all the Trophies, you are required to reset your profile (so you can get the ‘The Graduate’ and ‘First Challenge Win’ and other trophies) and your custom liveries are, inexplicably, part of your profile.
I had already completed the above custom paint and was thankful for the photo mode to record it for posterity before I reset my profile and lost the livery.
That said, it is a nice simple design and wouldn’t take long to reproduce. It is based on police cars in the UK from a few years ago and, principally, on this picture on Wikimedia. UK police cars now have flourescent greeny-yellow which is impossible to replicate in Ferrari Challenge.
The livery editor is very, very similar to the one in Forza Motorsport 2 but it lacks the precision that editor supplied (everything is done by eye here), there are no gradient textures and you cannot store groups of vinyls in an external library to be applied to any car. In every other way, it matches Forza Motorsport 2’s reference quality livery editor and, as a bonus, your car looks much better in-game than it did in FM2. Ferrari Challenge also saves the photos in lossless PNG format (because it doesn’t have to upload them to the web) which is very welcome and allows us to use a higher quality compression setting when converting to JPG (FM2 used an awful-quality JPG compression setting).