<a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZBBV7gW82nnWvIf4VxcSDw"><img src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/_CapNPuhxgzI/SQ5aIv5eUII/AAAAAAAABm4/csMhLs_-3oM/s800/windowchevy1.jpg"></a>
What you see here is the beginning of something I've wanted to try for some time. As I've made clear here before, I think the detail and vert level of the "modern" MTM2 truck is well out of hand. My newest trucks have full 3d engines, triple-bypass shocks, full swaybars, and complex frames...and also weigh in at 2200 verts.
At one point in time, MTM2 trucks were presumed to have a 1000 vert limit. Much of that was due to the limited performance of graphics cards and computers in general at the time, but the game also does not like excessive vert counts. But still, we like the detail of full 3d chassis and whatnot. So are we totally up the creek? In my opinion, no, because there is a compromise.
Take a look at the stock Boogey Van:
Note that, while the frame is still a painted-on object, the wheel cutouts are also there, but solid across the width of the truck. This is the key to what I am proposing...use this basic method of truck making, with one simple change: make the shocks (and a simplified header) 3 dimensional. In this way, you keep some form of realism while also crashing the vert count. By lacking a 500+ vert frame, a 200 vert engine, 200 verts of inner body fiberglassing, 200 vert headers, and several more accessories, you get the truck back down to well under 1000 verts. On my trucks, I waste 512 verts on the bypasses on the shocks alone...take that away from my trucks and the number really tanks.
OK, that's great you say, but the truck above has no frame or anything on it right now, so what does it have to do with your concept? Simple - I think that some verts under the 1000 mark can be "reclaimed" for a cockpit!
NASCAR Racing 3 came out about 2 years after MTM2, and it has a "tinted" windshield with a cockpit visible. Now it's tough to tell from these shots, but there really isn't much to the cockpit itself...just some bars to represent the rollcage (they appear to be just 2d there, BTW), and a driver's head, torso, some arms, and a wheel to provide the human inside. I'd like to see this for MTM2 as well, since it's my opinion that the solid windows are much more noticeable and ruin the illusion more. I think this could be done for under 100 verts, too, using the same strategy. Just the upper half of the driver with some texturing inside to fill out the cab. TRI has used this themselves-remember Anderson from 4x4Evo?
At this point, though, I admit that I could use (and would greatly appreciate) some help in the project. I'm an easily frustrated modeler, and could use some assistance in crafting the aforementioned cockpit. The good news is, once the first truck is done I think the other makes and models of pickup would follow quickly because it would just be a matter of closing off the fiberglassing and making some windows. So please let me know if you could join the cause!
Hopefully, if this works like I hope it will, it will be both easier and less stressful to make good looking trucks, and that the detail in the trucks will be focused in a different place. And the trucks would get drivers!
(Sorry about the novel length...but I hope it all came over clearly!)