Midnight Club 3: Customization Guide Written by Matthew Norton, Chief Editor of the Division of Game Assistance, a division of The Contact Publishing Corp. ---- Table of Contents ---- 1. Intro and Copyright 2. Version History 3. Performance Parts 4. Detail Parts 5. Paint Sets 6. Paint Adjustments 7. Body Parts 8. Re-inventing the Wheel a. Identify What You Want To Do b. Misconceptions c. Tires d. The Wheelie Bar e. Bike Treads f. Spoilers g. Hydraulics h. Airbag Suspension i. Menu Tuning j. Conclusion 9. Interesting Builds 10. License Plate Musings 11. FAQ 12. E-mail Disclaimers 13. Outro ---- 1. Intro ---- Ah, yes, Midnight Club 3. For any system, it is indeed a marvel of entertainment and engineering, melded together to create a great driving experience. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and bikes, a greater mix of vehicles than anyone can assemble. Oh, who am I kidding, THIS GAME ROCKS OUT LOUD! I created this guide because I found a disturbing lack of knowledge about actual parts in the game, and how even small things can be changed to contribute to overall performance. Even the official BradyGames strategy guide didn't know about these things! This is cry for help, people: SEND ME YOUR CAR BUILDS! PLEASE, I BEG YOU! Ok, I'm done. ... And as for the Copyright? (C) 2005 The Contact Publishing Corp. The Division of Game Assistance is a registered trademark of The Contact Publishing Corp. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is (C) 2005 Rockstar Games. All rights reserved. Rockstar Games is a registered trademark of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. ---- 2. Version History ---- 1.00 - All sections filled to the best of my knowledge, no FAQ, yet... 1.10 - Added some FAQ e-mails and the Menu tuning section. 1.20 - Changed some grammatical and spelling errors. 1.30 - Added some more info on the Tires section of "Re-inventing the Wheel", and detailed descriptions about Vinyls, unlockable customizations, and the Engine section of the Performance Parts section. Also added the License Plate Musings section. ---- 3. Performance Parts ---- Engine: Turbocharger/Supercharger: Forced air induction/Increased power through the pulley. Intake: Air intake for combustion. Consists of the intake manifold, the plumbing from the manifold to the engine (or through the turbo, when applicable). Headers: Exit pipes from the engine to the exhaust. Exhaust: Releases exhaust from engine. Engine Upgrade: Changing interior parts of the engine, such as pistons, camshafts, and engine vavles. Also involves polishing and buffing methods. Nitrous: Boosts speed when used by injecting Nitrous Oxide (N2O) into the engine's intake. Computer/Jet Kits (Bike): Changes the computer to increase power. Transmission: Clutch: The interface between person (or computer) and gears. Gear Kits: The transfer of power from engine to axle. Chassis: Suspension: The springs, shocks and struts connecting car to wheels. Sway Bars: Adjusts amount of roll (tendency of car to shift weight in turns). Airbags: Compressed air suspension (does not effect car). Hydraulics: Hydraulic suspension that allow for the movement of the distance between wheel and car (not required). Tires: The rubber that transforms movement of the axle and engine into movement of the car. Brakes: Stops or slows car. There are three levels for each upgrade (stock, level 1, level 2), except the tires, which has four (stock, level 1, level 2, level 3). Hydraulics has only two options (on or off), and the airbags purchase depends on the way the airbags depress. Also, some vehicles do not have some of these tuning methods available. For example, the only tuning option for exotics is the nitrous. ---- 4. Detail Parts ---- Vinyls: a. Styles: Modern: Sharp lines and geometric shapes. Flames: Self-explanatory. Splash: Liquid-mimicing designs, like mud splashes and thrown water. Stripes: Race-inspired stripe designs. Graphix: Drawn images, including animals, people, playing cards, and even the Grim Reaper. Wild: Odd ambient shapes, and other strange styles Rips: Similar to the looks of teared fabric. Tribal: Sharp curved lines, usually situated closed together. Manufacturers: Vinyls made specifically by the car's manufacturer. Flags (Unlocked by collecting 12 R* logos): Different versions of the R* logo, including the logo placed on national flag backgrounds. b. Colors: Most can have their color changed, except the Flags, which are predetermined. License Plates: a. States: They consist of every state, including older versions of the California, Georgia, and Michigan license plates, and of unchangeable special plates, including TIS, DUB, and R* logos (The Rockstar Logo license plates are unlocked after collecting 24 R* logos). b. Letters: All states' numbers can be changed except the special plates. Decals: Front/Back: Consist of writable, Manufacturer and After-Market logos. Side: Only after-market companies are available. Can place up to 10 logos. Standard Color: Stickers are pre-colored (except for custom), and are flat in finish. Chrome Color: Stickers are colored by the same methods as the rims, exhaust, and trim of a vehicle. Badges: Side: Consist of the DUB logo and 20-28 inch labels that signify the size of the rim. Placed near the front wheel well. Rear: Same as the Side badge, except placed somewhere on the rear of the vehicle, usually near the name of the vehicle on the trunk. ---- 5. Paint Sets ---- Matte: A flat, no-shine paint job. If time is taken in the custom settings, one can make a jet black "secret-agent" type color that is totally black and unreflective. Gloss: A flat, shiny paint job, but without reflective flakes in the paint. Metallic: A deep, shiny paint job with specially designed flake in the paint, causing a much shinier reflection. Pearlescent: A pearl-looking paint job, in which the two chosen colors meld together into a unique color pattern. Color Shift: Also called chameleon paint, when viewed in different lights, it reflects different colors. ---- 6. Paint Adjustments ---- Note: All color changing options have a custom setting (costs $1000), which allow the user to change the color from a palette. Paint Job: The paint that covers the exterior of the vehicle. Window Tinting: Replaces the tint color of the windows. Rims: Changes the colored metal plating of the rim. Brake Calipers: Changes the paint color of the calipers of the brakes. Exhaust: Changes the colored metal plating of the exhaust. Neon: Allows for the addition of neon, along with changing the color of the glow, and speed of the flash on the neon. Nitrous: Changes the flame color of the nitrous exhaust when activated. Trim: Changes the colored metal plating of any other metal components (badges, one shot kits, tower engines.) HUD: Changes the color of the Heads Up Display (speedometer, time, directional arrow). ---- 7. Body Parts ---- Note: Not all parts are available on each vehicle. Front Bumper: Replaces the front of the vehicle. Rear Bumper: Replaces the rear of the vehicle. Side Upgrades: For Tuners, SUVs, trucks, and sedans, it replaces the lowest part of the vehicle's side panel. On most muscle cars, it puts a side scoop or cover over the rear wheel well. Hood: Replaces the hood, or changes the hood's material. Spoiler: Places or replaces the wing on the rear of the vehicle. Taillights: Changes the style or material of the taillights. Exhaust Tips: Changes the end of the exhaust. On bikes, it changes the material of the muffler. On muscle cars, it can change the muffler from the rear of the vehicle to the side (Useful if the muscle car in question needs a side panel to match the low front and rear of the vehicle.) Front Grills: Changes the front grill pattern of your vehicle. Chop Top: Lowers the roof of your vehicle. One Shot Kits: Changes the smaller parts of your vehicle (door handles, other molded parts) to chrome or painted. Brush Guards: Adds a protective bar to the front of your vehicle, meant for removing obstacles from your path. Wheelie Bars: Meant to control rear ups (see Re-inventing the Wheel, d. The Wheelie Bar for more information). Mud Flaps: Adds mud flaps to protect vehicles behind you from getting hit with kicked-up objects. Louvers: Adds a series of flat, metal bars connected down the windshield to contour the air. Riders: Changes the driver of the bike. (Note: Race Starters and Police riders are unlocked after collecting all 36 R* logos.) Rims: Changes the rims of the wheels to a different style. Tires: Changes the style of the tires. On bikes, this changes the visible tread of the bike. ---- 8. Re-inventing the Wheel: Utilizing Wheels and Body Parts for Performance and Looks ---- a. Identify What You Want To Do Many times, people automatically go for "big rims, little rubber" because that's what they think looks the best. But many times after, they end up heading back to the garage, cursing themselves because they slid head on into that wall near the end of the race 50 times. Why? Because the tires are the problem. Identify what you need to do, is it over steering (easy to spin out or too slick in the turns), or is it under steering (too difficult to turn, have to hold the e-brake too long which slows you down)? b. Misconceptions Myth: The car is impossible to drive. Fact: No car is too difficult to drive, it just need work. Myth: But I don't have enough money to work on it! Fact: Working on small things like tires and body work can improve vehicle drivability, and are usually inexpensive or free. Myth: But then it might not look good. Fact: Maybe, but do you want to get past this part or not? And besides, maybe it will look good. c. Tires The more tire width you have, the better. Period. Increasing tire width will increase the amount of efficiency the brakes, steering, and acceleration have, because all of those things work on the tire, and the less the tire has to work with, the less the other things can use. The lowest drive height can increase traction to a point, but sheer point of contact (the patch of tire on the road when moving) is the biggest player. Size difference in tires of the front and rear can improve speed and drivability. For example, large tires in the rear can improve stability of the car on acceleration, while small rear tires can improve top speed, but only somewhat. This is because when there is less radius of a tire, it takes less time for the tire to rotate fully on the circumference. Decreasing the amount of rubber and increasing the size of the rims can improve on the rigidity (strength of the movement of the suspension), allowing for much more responsive handling, but can cause a car to bounce on the curb. I always leave the tire profile at 2 when purposely increasing rim size, and sometimes increase tire profile to suit my drift-happy nature. Increased tire thickness between ground and rim with give a softer movement. Think about silly putty, and how if you flatten it in your hands and move your hand across it in different directions. The thicker it is, the more time it takes for the putty to roll in your hands. That means when turning, you have more play with the tire, giving a smoother turn. Ride height can be lowered even more than you may think. By decreasing the rim and tire sizes, you might unlock up to 3 more inches of lowering, plus the decreased size of the rim and tire will add to the lowered height! This is because of restrictions placed on the distance between the center of the rim (where the axle is placed), and the wheel well of the car. By opening up space by decreasing rim and tire size, you allow the axle to get closer to the wheel well, which of course is what happens when you lower a car. d. The Wheelie Bar Many people I've come across during play online laugh at my gaudy wheelie bar, saying it makes the car look goofy. But they aren't laughing as much when after I let go of the burnout, I don't rear up (the car's torque lifting the front wheels up) as easily. Why? BECAUSE THE WHEELIE BAR ACTUALLY WORKS! By putting the wheelie bar on the back of your muscle car, you can improve start time due to the fact that you have more control of your car. Think of a teeter-totter. Someone pulls up on the one side (the torque making the car rear up). But if something resists the force of the pulling up, say someone else also pulling up on the other side (the wheelie bar acting against the rear up) the forces balance out and the teeter-totter does nothing (the front wheels stay on the ground). If the wheels stay on the ground, you have full control of the steering! e. Bike Treads Useless? NO! The treads you put on your bike actually affect the drivability of the car. The more complex and prominent the treads, the more grip, but less steering. The less complex and prominent the tire is, the more prone the bike is to over steer. f. Spoilers The biggest spoiler will not always be the best. Consider the size and shape of the car before you put a spoiler that does nothing but weigh down your car. Trucks and the El Camino have open beds in the back. These open spaces are cut off by the tailgate, which creates an air pocket, which increases air resistance. Air resistance is obviously not good. Close it up to increase top speed and acceleration. Luxury sedans have a very slick body styling, and do not require spoilers, but the performance can be improved by putting one on. g. Hydraulics Activating the hydraulics during a race is not a good idea. But certain SUVs can be driven with hydraulics during a race when the tire width is set to its thickest level, and the tire profile is as large as possible. That will require the rims to be as small as possible. h. Airbag Suspension The airbag option adds a slight softness to driving, while giving the best reliability when driving. This will also lower the vehicle to the lowest possible height automatically, unless you already have it at the lowest setting, or a special custom setting, in which the airbags will adjust the car to a higher setting and lower the car to the set height. i. Menu Tuning While driving, there is a menu in the pause screen called "Tune Your Vehicle." This is the best method of increasing drivability, because the effects are immediate. There are three options: Drift Factor, Traction, and Friction Bias. Drift factor is the tendency of the car to begin drifting (sliding sideways) when hand-braking and turning at the same time. The effects are changed as followed: Low-----|-----High Traction is the grip of the tires on the street. Superior grip can increase acceleration, but can decrease your overall ability to drift. But since the traction is always set to the highest in the menu, it is best that it stay there. The effects are changed as followed: Low-----|-----High Friction Bias is similar to drift factor, but it only increases the over-steer/under-steer bias of the vehicle in turns. This is different because drift factor tells the car when it will slide, while friction bias tells the car how easily it will turn overall. The effects are changed as followed: Over-----|-----Under j. Conclusion In conclusion of "Re-inventing the Wheel," I must stress that no matter how difficult it may seem; any car can become the best car with a little work. ---- 9. Interesting Builds ---- Support the Exmortis Competition Garage: Spread the word about my guide by officializing one of your cars with the Exmortis Competition paint job! If you enjoyed my guide, paint one of your cars white, put the double line Stripe vinyl that has the two stripes on either side, and two of the same style running down the front, over the roof and down the back. Color the vinyl with the preset blue and red combo color, and ride to support my tuning company. No, this isn't to support my race team, my team is the Kutting 3dge. :) The Dragster Muscle Look: By decreasing the size of the rim and tire profile to the lowest size, lowering it as low as possible, then change the rear tire profile to the maximum size. Returning the rear to stock height, decreasing the front tire width to the smallest, and increasing the rear to the largest, you obtain the look of a classic dragster. IMHO, it looks best with the '69 Camaro. Monster Truck: Decrease Rim size to the smallest, increase the profile to the max, and widen the tires to the fullest. Looks even better when you raise the truck with the hydraulics. Drives the best in the H2. Hearse: The El Camino has a topper back option. Put that on, paint it black, and the rest is up to you. The Fast and The Furious: Many of the available tuning, body, and vinyl options are similar to the cars in the movies. Just look up the pictures on the 'Net. ---- 10. License Plate Musings ---- Suggested by 'Paul.' This section is devoted to funny, smart, or inspiring license plate phrases that you, your friends, your enemies, or anyone you see puts on their license plates. Send me your license plate musings at TheContact23@aol.com! ---- 11. FAQs ---- Questions? Ask me at TheContact23@aol.com. <Sent by Jake> >>My 57 Bel Air's height is at stock. You said that the lowest height >>setting would make the car slightly more stable. Does a higher car >>mean less traction? By lowering the vehicle to the lowest height, you increase the flow of air over the car (the aerodynamics). Since the car is being pressed down by the air, there is more pressure on the tires, increasing traction. So yes, more often than not, a higher car means less traction. <Sent by atlien> >>I got the Escalade EXT that you win from the Hotlanta Tournament and >>I raced it with the Big Playas car club and won, but it still was >>extremely slow. Mainly in acceleration and somewhat in top speed. I >>tried the fixing the tires up to how you said but it still needs >>work, any ideas? Unfortunately, I'm afraid that tuning the tires will do very little to increase top speed and acceleration. Tuning the tires can often mean everything in a race, but should only be a supplement to your overall performance. It may be important to fix your tires, but you should tackle your actual tuning options first. ---- 12. E-mail Disclaimers ---- Don't ask me for help on a race, how to get the tuning options, or where to find any secrets. This is the e-mail acceptance list: E-mails regarding: 1. how to modify the tires a certain way 2. my opinions about your build 3. any unclear things about my FAQ 4. any (positive) suggestions or comments 5. additions you want to supply to my Interesting Builds section will be answered and/or taken care of. ---- 13. Outro ---- And so, I hope this guide will help you on your way, whether you learned something, or whether you found a new build idea. I have no one to thank except Rockstar Games, DUB, and my boredom. Oh, BTW, if you want to race, my name is CNTCT23 on the PS2 version. Keep rollin'. Can't stop, won't stop. (C) 2005 The Contact Publishing Corp.