Tutorial Horizon 2D+3D Combination Tutorial v1 Part I

Lengthier learning guides you can learn more in-depth processes to improve or setup NR2003 or related tool/programs
Horizon 2D+3D Combination Tutorial AKA 2D/3D Horizon Extra Tips v1 Part I By MeandMe

Due to the recent release of skies on https://hdrihaven.com/ AKA https://polyhaven.com/ it is now possible to actually have both the NR2003 or GPL type ground and a custom sky above it. But until the most obscure lighting method used in Rainbow road and Inferno Pool is found out, you’re going to have to use them on a night track to create day or a different night track. Still good though.

This tutorial shows you how to have both at the same time. Material for these can be either used from rainbow road, or my horizon uploads on Stunod or Armory Digital etc.
This tutorial takes into account methods learnt from the Original two 2D and 3D Horizon Tutorials, and is required, as this is a different tutorial. So, lets get into it.

First unpack a default NR2003 track and rainbow road, as explained before, you can use DATx and copy all your files in a folder named unpack, then do the same to the default shared folder (found in your track folder directory) unpack, and copy and paste those into your unpack folder. If it asks you to overwrite click skip or no so no re-textured files e.g. skies or flagmen are overwrote. (This is to open up the tracks if needed).

As you go along, ALWAYS back up the files your about to remove or edit so you can’t lose anything.

Important note: Use DatX to extract a tracks DAT file to see everything the track includes, then copy everything in the unpack folder, (the extracted track contents and shared together), this now means we can see JUST what’s inside a track in front of the Unpack folder, (without shared disturbing it) and inside the unpack folder, we can open up a track, as well.

It turns out that the 2D horizon files can be replaced as long as you use the other files from the converted GPL or default NR2003 format. These are:


Image - 01.jpg


Image - 02.jpg

Note: if you do not have 3dSimEd the files appear as just a 3do file (name) Instead of the 3D Sim Ed Icon. Also, depending on what default NR2003 horizon your using, there are a few extra files mine where mid_trees03.mip and mid_buildings.

If stuck, right click and open up the 3do file in notepad, you can see all of the mip files to make the 3do work (Thanks to Cynon for this tip).

Image - 03.jpg
Image - 03a.jpg
Image - 03b.jpg

The ONLY difference is the NR2003 sky.3do file, can be replaced with the material above. In other words, leave the horizon material in your track, delete the sky.3do this is what shows the NR2003 sky files from the shared folder or custom ones in a track e.g. c_sky_01.mip (cloudy sky), s_sky_01 (sunny sky), c_nsky_01.mip (cloudy night or normal night) and s_nsky_01.mip (sunny sky (Actually dusk)) and replace it with the NEW sky file which displays the HDRI or skybox (also named sky.3do).

Leaving the horiz files, and associated files shown in the images above. Delete the GPL sky.3do file and .mip it is not needed. Even better just re-name it to xsky.3do so you don’t lose it if needed

Now, go to https://hdrihaven.com/ or https://polyhaven.com/ and select a pure sky file as an 8k Tone-mapped.

Image - 04.jpg

If you look inside of the 3D preview window, it should look like this:

Image - 04b.jpg

Image - 04c.jpg

As you can see, there is no ground file but that’s the idea.

Please use my 3D Horizon Tutorial v1 to lean how to process this as a .mip (It’s quite straight forward once you learn how).

https://www.adrd-forums.net/index/threads/3d-hdri-horizon-tutorialv1.339/ (Armory Digital)

https://stunodracing.net/index.php?threads/3d-hdri-horizon-tutorialv1.13213/ (Stunod)

New Note: As you may have heard from my HDRI/Skybox releases, if you flip the image horizontally in paint, when turning it into a 24bmp image, it will display exactly as seen in the 3D preview image and on your tracks. (found this out when names on some building were seen in reverse). Use this button here in paint:

Image - 05.jpg
Image - 05a.jpg

NOTE: If using for your tracks, ALWAYS credit the authors in your work: this HDRI was done by Greg Zaal, and the pure sky edit was done by Jarod Guest.

Image - 04a.jpg

Remember, default tracks may look like they have forgot the files, but that’s because they are using the shared folder, any tracks that contain custom skies for example, will have the sky files, is so it appears differently from shared, (Anything with the same file name .mip will overwrite what’s in shared in a track, or just outside a tracks’ DAT file).

After you’ve processed this as a .mip file and named it stars.mip, you can now, as explained before, delete, the sky.3do that you are using in your unpacked track folder. (Or just rename as xsky so you don’t lose it, probably better).

Here are some examples in an unpacked tracks, in camera view. On my Moon Track, if you’re seeing more bits and bobs that’s because it’s currently being updated.

Default Daytona

Old Sky

Image - 06.jpg
Image - 06a.jpg

New Sky

Image - 07.jpg
Image - 07a.jpg

Note that the n2k3_ground.mip is still present which means you don’t see the artificial void from the HDRI.

Here is the same process on my moon track

Old Sky

Image - 08.jpg

New Sky

Image - 08a.jpg

If you are not a Track Maker, don’t worry, as simply placing the new sky.3do, and stars.mip of your choice in front of any .DAT file will overwrite what is inside of it. Just remember to make sure it is definitely a night track for this. Removing these files will revert the sky back to normal.

Here is an example of that on Gravis City Zone 7

Old Sky

Image - 09.jpg

New Sky

Image - 09a.jpg

Here is an example on an much more appropriate Sugar Rush (You get the idea by now)

Old Sky

Image - 10.jpg

New Sky

Image - 10a.jpg

NOTE: Reason why track looks darker is because it’s not a night track or has something invisible to light everything like rainbow road, also, you may have noticed that you don’t see much sky in the game, that’s because of the way the Monaco GPL type horizon was made, might have a medium sized one in future (optional).

You may have also noticed this message:

Image - 11.jpg

Here it is on a track that cannot be edited (Zanarkand) Now it looks like day.

Old Sky (NOTE: Night skys not working at the moment)

Image - 12a.jpg

New Sky

Image - 12b.jpg

Note on images above: the n2k3ground and n2k3.mip (NR2003) or ground.3do and mips (GPL Type) were used on Sugar Rush but not zanarkand, as it has a custom horizon (IMPORTANT) but most don’t have these, so there's nothing to worry about. Remember the sky.3do is the most important thing being replaced here.

More and more of these skies are going to be released soon. And Remember, these are also the first 8k skies in NR2003.

The ONLY unfortunate disadvantage, is the skies themselves cannot change the way they look i.e. you only get the one at a time, and no I do not know how to do a day to night track; which is a good idea, as it might be useful here.

For now, they can be dimmed (look at my 2D Horizon Tutorial For That) But remember to do the 2D one as well! I consider this optional because, it’s easier to just use a night sky HDRI instead, meaning you’ll only have to dim the 2D one to match it (see below).
Sunset would also work well here.

Further notes: if your worried that your pure sky would not match the reflections on the cars, which are just skies anyway, use this:


It’s just a non-specific, general reflection, space HDRIs would have maybe different files. From Zmodellerv1.07b. It was enlarged using a process below.

It contains all the files that NR2003 uses to shine onto a car, I might do a further tutorial on how to get the same reflection onto the car as the sky. This should not be an issue for now, and what the default track has should also be fine anyway.

*Note: Work In Progress Need to do night version*


Dxtex For WinMip2

Generic Sky Car Reflection File 4k Off Zmodellerv1.07b



-Cynon (Sky and horiz files, Gravis And Zanarkand Examples) MY notes to self – Ask if o.k. to release/us

-Greg Zaal, (HDRI) and Jarod Guest (Pure Sky Edit)

-Mciarlo (Managed to release ordinary 4k skies first so he deserves to be credited)

Check Here

Check Here

*In part two I will show how to enlarge a demo image with AI assistance on a horizon, and can also be used on textures, and I may even release that*

Happy Track Making (y)



*The tutorials are clones on both the ones on Stunod and Armory Digital. Check below in case of questions and answers on both*

https://www.adrd-forums.net/index/threads/horizon-2d-3d-combined-tutorial-v1-part-i.371/ (Armory Digital)

https://stunodracing.net/index.php?threads/horizon-2d-3d-combined-tutorial-v1-part-i.15450/ (Stunod)
Last edited:
Who read this thread (Total readers: 0)