In case you have ever dabbled with mods for Wreckfest, you would have been hard-pressed not to pay attention to a track pack having an intriguing nameThe Very Track Pack
available on the game's Steam Workshop. In case you're not familiar with the mod, it's an impressive collection of tracks by an ever-prolific modder Tor Ole Lerbæk who goes by the name The Very End in the community circles.The Very Track Pack
has been one of the most popular mods on the Workshop ever since it's inception in 2016, and indeed, it's also a mainstay on many community servers running custom content.
Now there are many remarkable mods available on the Workshop, yet we've always been particularly impressed by Tor's work, not only because of the sheer amount of varied content included but also because his tracks are fun and feel like they're a perfect match for our game. In fact, many of the Tor's tracks would fit right in to the base game! That lead us to think that actually, why not make some of them part of the base game so that more people can enjoy them? So, we got into talks with Tor, got him interested and that's exactly what happened!
As a result, we're thrilled to let you know that two of Tor's track will be coming to the game as official content in the next update, and they will be included in the console version at launch. We've started with the rallycross style tracks since those are always loved by everyone and fit the bill perfectly, with more on the way. Together with Tor, we've also been busy giving these tracks a makeover so what you will be getting are the absolute definite versions of the tracks that have been completely overhauled. Tor being as prolific as he is, he's been helping us otherwise too, creating for example animated banners, pennants and camera cranes that will reinforce the dynamic nature of our tracks. All those will make their way to the game in the next update, and no doubt Tor is already busy hatching up new improvements!
A huge props to Tor for making this happen since he had to go through the trouble of setting up a business for himself and sort out all sorts of legalities, but at the end it all worked out great.
Check out some impressions below:
Given the occasion, we also thought this would be a great opportunity to get up close and personal with Tor and give you a glimpse of the man behind the tracks. Most of the time you get to play the mods and appreciate them, but the authors themselves are very little known. Time to change that! And who knows, maybe he can even share some modding tips so without further adieu:
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for the fans of Wreckfest! To start this off: could you please introduce us to the man behind the mods and tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and what you do?
Thank you so much for this warm welcome!
The name is Tor Ole Lerbæk, a 31-year-old potato from southern parts of Norway. I have done a range of things over the course of the years, such as been a firefighter in the military, driven trucks (the big ones), worked at factories and worked at call center just to mention some of my work experience (hence the potato reference).
These days I am working on my master degree at the University of Agder, in Information Systems Development and Management. Bachelor in same topic, with a deep-dive into developing a GDPR compliant newspaper system (yes, you have my rights to use my data in any way you like).
Regardless of what I have done and what I do, the interest in computers and games has been there since I was a child. It always fascinated me, regardless of genre of game. Being as old as me I have grown up to witness the birth and extreme development of computers and games! I still remember those good ol’ days playing theDestruction Derby
,Command & Conquer
You're hailing from Norway. How is it like being a gearhead in there? Do you also do folk-racing or demolition derby, and if yes, have you ever attended such an event?
It is great! Being spoiled by living in a small country with rich natural resources means most people have the means of doing (mostly) what they want. We have a pretty good folkrace scene, as well as a range of other leagues and classes, despite our small population. I’ve never been lucky enough to participate myself (I do really suck at fixing things), but I do regularly drive to the close by tracks Konsmo and Rugsland to watch the show. The smell, the sound, the entertainment of watching these crap machines drive around on small tracks is just too much of a fun to miss out on. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but folkrace in Norway is made to be accessible. If someone offers a certain amount for the cars, they have to be sold to this person, meaning that the attenders keep their cars as cheap as possible to ensure that people won’t buy these. When you have this combination of cheap cars and part-time drivers just wanting to have a bit of fun on the weekends this makes for a great show for those lucky enough to witness it!
As for derbies – I love them too! But never seen on in life. Actually, anything that involves cars and crashing makes me exciting, regardless the league.
What is it that made you choose Wreckfest as your modding platform? What makes it special?
The base of the game and the accessibility. By base I mean the gameplay, the feeling of the game. I like simulators and I like arcade racers, but blending the best of these two worlds together in an entertaining package sold me. It just feels good, and it is fun and accessible, a balance which I have not felt since probably the two firstFlatOut
Secondly, accessibility. Sure, it was a nightmare in the start to learn everything from scratch, but at same time most other games don’t have any native way of getting your work into the game. When you get past the technical and artistic challenges, getting your creation into the game is not so much a big issue as the two first aspects. Furthermore, having the ability to peek into the file structure and read most of the game files helps understanding how everything is interconnected. This I have never seen in other games (even if they support custom additions), making it a natural platform for me to develop on.
What drew you towards modding initially and how did you learn how to make mods? You didn't start modding with Wreckfest, right?
I guess with age you start to know yourself a bit more. The creative part of me (which I for the better part of my life believed I didn’t have) just kept growing over the years, and the wish to create something just became too much too ignore. The turning point wasWreckfest
, firstly through the BagEdit tool. Here I could change a range of parameters, such as creating suicidal AI’s, indestructible player cars, bombs, random events and so on. But the more I did this, the more I wanted to truly create, to build something from bottom up. There really was no other way, I had to learn a 3d modelling software.
I remember opening 3ds Max for the first time and wondering “what am I even looking at?”. To even get anywhere, I used days, weeks, months (or has it been years already?) looking at guides, learning one small bit at the time. Learning one thing lead me to wanting to learn more, and thus the cycle continued – and continues. I still got a long way to go but seeing how starting from zero around 3 years ago to where I am now, it makes me happy for the future. There is so much to learn, so much to create! So back to original question, despite some small mod projects to games in theCommand and Conquer
series as well as the gameCrashday
was my first actual game to truly mod on more than just a technical level.
You are known for being a very prolific content creator, constantly evolving and trying to break boundaries of Wreckfest modding. Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you ever sleep?
Probably not enough, hence my constant red eyes and blue bags under them… *sigh* The fun part is, inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. Sometimes they just fall into my head at evening while I should really sleep, sometimes by listening to music, walking in the nature, watching ski jumping on TV (…), playing other games, speaking with friends, daydreaming and so on. It’s the moments when I try to not force the thoughts on new ideas and projects that they just sort of reveals themselves to me. Fun thing is, the more I delve into the 3d modelling word, the more inspired I can be by the stupidest stuff. Like yesterday for example. Walked in the local forest, and then I saw this lovely small dirt road with an interesting transition to the surrounding terrain. My head thought following: “This is lovely, I want to create a forest road course sometime with these elements”. I guess what I try to say is, creativity and inspiration comes in many shapes and forms, don’t try to force it. Listen with your eyes and mind to your soundings – you’ll be surprised what you mind can do at it’s own when you do not force it.
Are there any tools, tips or tricks you would recommend to budding mod authors? What's the best way to get started with modding?
Oh, this is a tricky one! If you read on the web you’ll find “best guides” or “best tools / practices” etc., but ultimately it is about finding your own way. I read somewhere from someone much wiser than me something like the following: “a program is a mere canvas and extension of your imagination”. What I think this means: find the path that works for you. If it be Blender or 3ds Max, Photoshop or Gimp, etc. Find the thing that feels just right for you. Take small steps, look ahead, and accept that you will never truly create that “perfect piece”. Don’t be discouraged by last sentence, what it means is that as you progress your skills, you will also progress your own expectations. Nobody judges you as hard as yourself, but instead of looking at it as a bad thing, think of it is a personal development. We will never be perfect, nor is it the goal, but it will regardless make us better humans - or in this context, better creators.
What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself, say, two years from now?
Hmm! Then the question becomes how much honest do I dare and want to be? Well, on a practical level my first goal is to finish master’s degree by spring next year. And that is mostly it for the practicalities. Then we delve a bit into “what do I want”? I think it is safe to say that what these last 3 years has taught me, is that I aspire, work and dream towards being able to be a full-time software / game developer. Being able to invest all my time and energy, (and not school and two part time jobs at same time), at creating software with a team of people is what I’d hope I will be doing. At same time I got to be realistic; it is a hard marked and a lot of more talented people out there, yet again, dreams are important and what drives us forward. Time will show; I don’t know what the future holds, but I will nevertheless meet it, head-on and ensure to make the best out of it!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Even if I am extremely humbled by all this attention, I wish to put the spotlight on the teams. By teams I mean both the team around me at the modding community scene but also team Bugbear. The former has brought so many ideas, thoughts, feedback and joy to me personal, and I think it would be unfair for me taking all the credits. Much of what the mod has become is because of you, and there are lot of unsung heroes here. The same goes for the latter, team Bugbear. I won’t do name calling, but you know who you are, you who has answered so many AI questions, tech questions, art questions, personal motivation and support in times when needed.
I believe in the effort of the team and a group of people. One person only reaches so far, but a team of people working together can move the world. If anything, this horrible long text and history should be a testimony of what lengths people can go with the support of others. This is why modding communities are so important; We inspire and help each other’s to bring forth the best in us and create truly unique creations only limited by our imagination! (Oh and time, please, give me like 2 semi-trucks of time please! There is just not enough time in this world!)
A huge thanks to Tor for taking the time to answer our questions! Like said earlier, a number of Tor's overhauled tracks are coming to the base game in the next update but in case you can't wait make sure to check out The Very Track Pack in the Steam Workshop (and if you do, make sure to let Tor know!):