History of Heat
A bit of history lesson about how Stockcar Heat came about, first part is a piece from Dirtnz off the original Dirtshop Inc. Second piece is written by Ratman.
Dirtnz started out editing back in 1997 for a game called Dirt Track Racing from Ratbag by searching online he was able to figure out how to do texture editing for this game and that’s where it all started. Shortly after DTR came Ratbag's second title Dirt Track Racing Sprintcars. After Dirtnz proving himself to be good at what he was doing he was generously given the very sacred DE2 Editor, which only certain people at the time had access to and only once they had proven to be trust worthy and eligible to use it.
Dirtnz went straight to work creating the first ever New Zealand Stockcar chassis for DTRSC, now for those that know the DE2 Editor know this is no easy program. This was back before any converters or excel programs that were compatible with it become available, so every change was done by manually finding the correct polygon and moving them one by one, which was never easy.
After about 6-8 months of trial and error the NZ Stockcar chassis began to take shape (well as best as the good back then). Although these thing look like crap on wheels at the time they were amazing and the best thing since sliced bread for NZ speedway fans. When they were finally released in 1998-1999 at the Kiwi Things with Wings website.
The birth of online stockcar racing, DTRSC with Dirtnz's Stockcars add-on, circa 2000.
Shortly after release the first New Zealand online stockcar league started which is where it all took place big hits, flag racing, cursing and swearing you name it just like the real thing but online and we loved it so much so we carried on playing for years to come until his journey came to a sudden end in late 2002.
After leaving the DTRSC community in 2002 Dirtnz started working on his next project. Stockcar Heat this was to be bigger and better than DTRSC but unbeknown to him it was to get a lot bigger than he had ever imagined in years to come.
The original Stockcar Heat took Dirtnz roughly around 3 years to make from scratch. With very little help been given from anyone as being the lone New Zealand editor for this thing not a lot of other's were willing to help, so he shrived on by himself with a lot of swearing, late nights, coffees and thousands of trail and errors and in 2005 Stockcar Heat was born. First released for sale at the Palmerston North Teams Champs out of his backpack for $25.
Dirtnz made a few sales at least enough to cover his weekend in Palmy. It was a little disappointing but he was in for a huge surprise. Not long after returning home he received word that Inspire.Net in Palmerston North were going to put up a full time dedicated server and free hosting for the download of Stockcar heat for the public.
Dirtnz was absolutely blown away and to this day is forever great full to Inspire.Net and all the guys that made it possible.
So now we had a full time server and free download. We needed a league, this was to quickly become a logistical nightmare for those running it. Within such a short span we had over 300 members, 3 individual leagues running and a 12 team teams league with about another 150 people waiting on lists to get involved, and it was chaos.
Teams even held practice nights, the server was busy 7 nights a week.
We then had a brilliant full page article written up in the New Zealand Dirt Track Magazine courtesy of Tim Savell. To which we obtained more people wanting to join until it got to the point we just could not carry it on for much longer without taking drastic measures.
But right when we thought it couldn’t get any worse it did when a select few members of the community decided it was in their best interest to cheat. We were left with no option but to shut the whole operation down, the website, the leagues, everything died with the drop of a hat.
After about 6 months of no leagues etc. going on, Dirtnz and Ford Prefect re-worked the physics of the game along with a lot of other updates to produce Stockcar Heat 2006. This was to be cheat proof at least a damn sight harder to cheat than the original game. With slower cars and more realistic handling it was what we had all been waiting for.
So we could get everything back up and running with new leagues etc. which happily to say has gone from strength to strength with the help of some magical men Ford Prefect, Inspector, Riven, anyone else that was involved and Kiwi Sim Racing (KSR).
2006 KSR New Zealand Stockcar Heat Championship Highlights
Dirtnz then moved on to help mod the new rfactor stockcar game and then continued and made the KSS Superstock rfactor mod.
Dirtnz was responsible for the mod and the initial ground work that we have today and is the father of Stockcar Heat. There were a few skin updates in the first year that Dirtnz made, but once found rfactor and started modding for a Rfactor mod and the heat mod was left at that time.
The Nascar Heat mod that we know today started its life at the beginning of 2006 with the Stockcar06 mod release with updated physics, grips and damage models that we are still using today.
Ratman came along in 2007 and with the help of Shorty we managed to get the templates from Dirtnz so we could do some skin updates and keep the game current. We did a skin update which was the 07 update, we also made this a single mod download as when I joined you had to do about 6 downloads to update the mod to the latest version. I personally was not happy with this update as it was not finished as I had hoped when Aaza put it together.
In 2008 I decided I wanted to give Stockcar Heat pretty much a total makeover and new look. First thing I did was altered the look and sent images to Dirtnz for his approval. I got his approval and his permission to alter the mod. He also gave me the original 3d models which I used to render the car selection menu screens.
The Stockcar Heat 08 mod was born!
Off the top of my head there were 76 individual cars and 60 Teams cars (12 teams of 5 cars) and a few admin cars. This mod took me personally 5-600 hours+ to make from conception to completion and had the help of Shorty for a few of the skins. The release of the Stockcar08 mod renewed a lot of people’s interest in the game and an old game was given a shot of adrenaline and showed people that it was not going to lay down and die of old age yet.
In 2010 KSR decided that they were going to drop the heat mod support from there community as there was a strong following for Rfactor and the release of the KSS Superstock Mod.
The New Zealand Stockcar Heat (NZSCH) idea was born by a small dedicated group of people (mainly from the Admin Team) that wanted Stockcar heat to continue and fill the gap for people that did not want to race Rfactor and for the younger part of the community that could not afford the computer to race Rfactor or did not have the skills to be part of the Rfactor community. We also wanted to foster the new players that many in the end would later move up and race Rfactor.
In the beginning we setup the new forum (Big thanks to Fluffy for a generous donation to help with costs of domain name and hosting) but at that stage we did not have a dedicated server to race on but still had use of the one that KSR had supplied. We looked into quite a few options and all that were going to cost quite a bit to have up and running. The Tank approached the owner of Inspire.net.nz (the company that supplied the server to KSR) and he managed to get us the use of the server that was supplied to KSR for our use. NZSCH was up and running at full steam and looking forward to the future…
Another update and this was again a revamp including NZSCH branding. This update was to be released in 2010 originally but unfortunately life changes took priority and a later release date was done. Tis was a partial revamp and a transition between the 08 and 13 updates with screens from bot being used. The update/revamp was finally finished with new car selection screens and branding in 2013
The next update was taken over by Shorty as I was pretty well burnt out with the work I had done over the years and the 2015 Revamp was born.
How many more updates will there be we do not know, hopefully a few more to come…
The NZSCH forum has been over the years a reliable forum apart from in 2014 the forum had a major failure as the hosting company we were using collapsed with no warning just after we had paid for a year’s hosting and domain renewal. We got locked out of the domain name which also locked out the possibility to transfer of the forum and domain names to another site. We were shut down and helpless with what could be done to solve the problems.
After a few weeks trying to sort it out, ringing the collapsed hosting company and many long phone calls to the NZ domain registry company I finally got the domain released and transferred back to me and away from the collapsed hosting company.
Then I was able to renew it (again) and get some new hosting for the forum.
I was still trying to get the database file off the old hosting site as I had very limited backdoor access but could not end up getting a workable copy. I did have an old backup of the database in which in the end I had to install and then alter the forum back to the NZSCH look and get it back up and running. Unfortunately we lost about 10 months of data and posts off the forum never to be replaced….
But we were back up and running and that was the main thing!
That was defiantly a trying time, not knowing what was happening at the beginning and sometimes getting into the too hard basket and wondering if it was going to finally be the end of NZSCH.
That IMO is the hardest struggle that NZSCH has had to overcome in the past 6 years, it was more stressful then starting the site from scratch.
Another issue we have had with Stockcar Heat is getting it to run on the newer Windows platforms as the heat game platform I am pretty sure was originally designed for Windows 95/98 or earlier and a hell of a lot has changed since then. We have to remember that this is a very old game platform and to still have it going this far along is pretty amazing as it’s over 20 years old!!
The big question is how long can it keep going? This question has been asked by many people over the years, some have even tried to take us down but we have defied the odds and kept going. The community support is great at the moment and is looking strong. Over the years we have had good and bad stretches as you would expect in a very diverse community that has and caters for all ages, different backgrounds and from all over NZ and even a few in Aust.
Over the years there have been many admin team members, some migrated from KSR, some new and some have been, gone and then back again. All our admin have different personalities, ways of thinking and ideas but one thing remains in common… all have brought enthusiasm and dedication to Stockcar heat and the NZSCH community.
When you look at it he current admin team have a vast amount of knowledge and years of experience between them. Over all whether you like the decisions that the admin have made or done past and present they have done an amazing job to keep this community going and increasing in password member over the past few years.
Another thing to remembers is in the 8 years we have been going NZSCH we have lost 3 members, CJ Racing, Ford Ill Do and lately Ronnie. They are gone but not forgotten...
How long we last? I don't think anyone at the moment can say as we have lasted longer then a lot have thought we would of. Hopefully there is going to be a few more years and we may even make 10 years...