Tips on creating the best liveries in Steam Workshop

Tips on creating the best liveries in Steam Workshop
Enter our Car LIvery competition and win £1000!

Our car livery competition has been open for a few days now and we've already seen some fantastic entries!  If you've been looking at the entries we've posted online and wondered how you can get involved, we've made it even easier for you with this detailed guide to creating car liveries.

As if you need reminding, we'd like you to design your own car livery and our favourite will become an official part of the game as well as having the designer themselves placed into the game as a driver.

Not only that, we will award the winner a cash prize of £1,000. We're looking for imagination and inventiveness so be as creative as you can and upload your work to Steam Workshop. Once you've created your masterpiece, you will need to email screenshots to: social@motorsportmanager.com along with your Steam ID.

We will contact winners directly via Steam. T&Cs apply, click here.

So what about this guide?  We're just getting started.  Read on and we'll take you through the process of creating a livery from start to finish.

 

Getting Started

The first thing we need to do is download Unity. This free game engine is used by Motorsport Manager and acts as the bridge between your content and the workshop.

You will need to download Unity 5.3.6 (the same version that Motorsport Manager uses), which is linked here: https://unity3d.com/get-unity/download/archive

Once you’re at the Unity download page, you need to:

 

1. Navigate to Unity 5.3.6

2. Click ‘Downloads (Win)’ (This tutorial will assume that you’re using a Windows device, but this can also be done on an Apple computer by clicking ‘Downloads (Mac)’)

3. Select ‘Unity Installer’

4. Download and install Unity

 

Once Unity has installed, you need to do the following:

5. Create a new project (make sure the project is selected to ‘3D’)

6. The latest MM Steam Workshop update installs a template UnityPackage to your machine. You can find it in the MM installation folder (eg. C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MotorsportManager\MM_Data\StreamingAssets\Mod Template\)

7. Import the mod template UnityPackage into the project, by going to Assets -> Import Package -> Custom Package and selecting MM_WorkshopPackage.unitypackage

8. Import the package.
9. The Unity project will now be populated with sample assets for you to edit. It contains the default databases, atlases, materials and so on.

 

You will notice that one of the folders is called Liveries! This is where we will be adding our new workshop content.

How Liveries Work in MM

Before we go any further, we need to know how livery creation works in Motorsport Manager.

Liveries in Motorsport Manager are projected onto the car from a top-down image and a side-on image. Both images are needed to create a complete livery.

Liveries use a special material that allows a car pattern to change colours depending on what team it’s assigned to. Because of this, all liveries are created with a ‘Primary Colour’, ‘Secondary Colour’, ‘Tertiary Colour’ and a ‘Trim Colour’.

When a new livery is added, the game looks for these specific colours so that it knows how to apply the livery to each team’s colours. When creating a livery, it’s important that you stick to these colour guidelines to make sure that your livery can work across different teams.

Making a Livery

Now that you know the basic systems behind liveries, it’s time to start making one! The first thing we need to do is download the side-on and top-down projection livery templates.

Side-On:
https://d1yt7fro2zr3ai.cloudfront.net/LiveryBase_v2.psd

Top-Down:
https://d1yt7fro2zr3ai.cloudfront.net/LiveryDetail.psd

These are Photoshop files, but you can use any software that allows PSD file editing. A free alternative is GIMP, available here: https://www.gimp.org/

Before we start making a custom livery, it’s a good idea to get the templates working in-game first:

1. Open the LiveryBase and LiveryDetail PSDs in your image editing software.

2. Hide the layers titled ‘GuideDontLeaveOn’.

3. Save both files as PNGS in an easily accessible folder. The LiveryBase PNG must be called LiveryBase_1 and the LiveryDetail PNG must be called LiveryDetail_1.

4. Open your project in Unity.

5. Import the two files by going to Assets -> Import New Asset -> and then selecting the two files you just saved.

6. Click on each file within the Unity project view. You will see in the top right-hand corner a variety of options that can be applied to the file.

7. First, change the ‘Texture Type’ from a ‘Sprite (2D and 3D)’ to ‘Advanced’.

8. You should now see the list of options shown in the image below:

9. Change the following options: set ‘Sprite Mode’ to ‘None’, untick ‘Generate Mip Maps’ and set ‘Wrap Mode’ to ‘Repeat’.

10. Make sure you do this for both images.

11. Make sure both images are dragged into the Assets -> Liveries folder in Unity.

We’re now only a few steps away from seeing our livery in-game!

 

Getting the Livery In-Game!

Motorsport Manager uses a Unity feature called Asset Bundles to create mods. Any liveries we create will be packaged as Asset Bundles. To do this we need to:

1. Click on one of the two PNGs in Unity. At the bottom-right of the screen you should see a small box labelled Asset Bundle.

2. Click the pop-up box that says ‘None’ and click ‘New…’.

3. Type into the box ‘liverypack’ (without the quotation marks). This name is recognised by Motorsport Manager and will treat your liveries as a brand new livery pack!

4. Click on the second image and click the asset bundle box. ‘liverypack’ should appear as an option. Set the second image to ‘liverypack’.

 

We’re now going to build our first Asset Bundle and put it into the game!

1. First, go to: Assets -> Build AssetBundles

2. Navigate to where your project is located and open the ‘AssetBundles’ Folder.

3. Hopefully, you should be able to see your ‘liverypack’ asset bundle! Copy the file (don’t copy the .manifest file) and paste it into C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MM2\MM_Data\Modding\Images

4. Your Motorsport Manager modding folder should now have your asset bundle in the Images folder (Shown Below)

5. Boot up Motorsport Manager and go to the Steam Workshop tab. Turn on the ‘Test My Mods’ button located at the top of the page.

6. Start a new career (turn the tutorial off for ease of use).

7. Navigate to the Car Screen.

8. Press ‘Edit Livery’.

9. Then, click the ‘Workshop’ tab in the livery panel. Your livery should appear!

 

You’ve created and imported your first livery! From here, you can go back and edit the PSD files in more intricate detail…

 

Editing my Liveries

You’ve created your first livery, but it might not look quite right…

Every time you change your livery, you must repeat the steps of building the AssetBundle by going to Assets -> Build AssetBundles

You must then re-copy the new bundle from the AssetBundle’s folder to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MotorsportManager\MM_Data\Modding\Images

You don’t need to quit the game to see updates to your livery. You can go back to the Workshop tab and press ‘Refresh’ instead!

Creating a Pack with Multiple Liveries

It’s also easy to create a pack with more than one livery! Just simply change the number on the new files to 2/3/4 etc. For example, if I had a pack with 2 liveries, my asset bundle would contain the following files:

  • LiveryBase_1
  • LiveryDetail_1
  • LiveryBase_2
  • LiveryDetail_2

Replacing Existing Liveries

If you wanted to replace the liveries on the current teams instead of adding new ones, simply change the asset bundle name from ‘liverypack’ to ‘liveries’. Each numbered LiveryBase and LiveryDetail PNG will now overwrite the livery that existed on its corresponding team.

 

Livery Painting Tips

Now that you know the nuts and bolts of livery creation, here are some tips and tricks to help you create great liveries!

 

Photoshop Layers

Firstly, the Photoshop files that contain the livery examples are not rigid templates. Since we save our liveries as PNGs, feel free to add/remove and change any layer in the Photoshop file. You can import images into the file and even create a new file with the same canvas size.

The only rules that need to be maintained are the special colours for ‘‘Primary Colour’, ‘Secondary Colour’, ‘Tertiary Colour’ and ‘Trim Colour’.

Leave Space for Sponsors

You may notice when importing your livery that it clashes with the many different sponsor logos you can acquire in the game. Every original livery in Motorsport Manager leaves blank spaces for sponsors to ensure that they can be easily read.

Luckily, sponsors are placed in pre-determined locations on the car, which means that you can predict where they will be and leave space accordingly.

Use Numbers that Can be Flipped

Since the livery is mirrored on both sides of the car, words and numbers will look flipped on one half of the car. Use numbers that can be flipped easily (e.g 8,0,1) and avoid words on the sides of the car.

Start with Geometric Shapes

Our artists quickly found that basic geometric shapes can provide great liveries while also being quick and easy to create. When starting out with livery creation, it’s recommended that you begin with simple shapes and develop from there.

 

Publishing your Liveries

Finally, once you’re ready to publish your livery mod, you need to:

  1. Go to the ‘Workshop’ tab in Motorsport Manager.
     
  2. Click ‘My Workshop’.
     
  3. Write a title and description.
     
  4. Press ‘Publish to Steam Workshop’.

And that’s it! If you want to have a preview image that displays in the workshop, simply add a PNG file titled ‘preview’ in:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\MotorsportManager\MM_Data\Modding

The image needs to be smaller than 1mb, and preferably with an aspect ratio of 16:9.

You now know how to create your own livery packs! For more information on modding other aspects of the game, consult the modding guide on our website: http://www.motorsportmanager.com/content/making-most-steam-workshop

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