Back in March of this year I reviewed a series of MX/SX tracks by mxkid, and instead of going the traditional route, which always culminates in a “Copey Rating”, I took mxkid’s newcomer status into consideration and altered my approach. Basically I made several observations about each track, and wrapped it all up with suggestions concerning the track making process. I’ll repeat that pattern somewhat this time around by reviewing five of his circuits. I will, however, rate his two most recent tracks – “braxtonX” and “MountainDew”.
Initially I started off with the intent of covering three tracks; BADracer, BADshorty, & BADwatercross. I decided to throw in two additional tracks to wrap up the review on all the circuits by this youngster, but also to illustrate a point…a positive point. In the tracks that preceded “braxtonX” & MountainDew, I couldn’t help but think that if kid took his time, honed a few basic skills, incorporated a little self-study, and solicited input from others, we could be treated to some very nice tracks. By and large he proved me right with “Mountain Dew”, however, I don’t want to get ahead of myself here. I’ll take it from the top and work my way thru in order to illustrate exactly what I mean, so let’s get going…before someone asks me to race (or my wife calls me…again), which would most likely delay my completing this review lol.
BADracer [Recommend garage settings: 1300 med tires/soft susp]
A short little circuit with lap times just under a minute (around 56 seconds for a decent run). It uses texture sets from the stock track “Crazy 98” with the exception of a “cameo” appearance by a deep-sea blue texture. Although basic in design, it’s a pretty nice layout with just a touch of motocross flavor. “BADracer” certainly shows signs improvement over his first tracks, however, there are still a number of small oversights and flaws that highlight his inexperience. Here are a few examples:
• Lack of blending
between textures. The circled areas indicate points where the white outer lines of the road don’t physically connect.
• This area shows where he at least made an attempt
to blend texture types
• Here’s another corner where any plans of alignment & blending
went woefully awry.
• I’m not sure what the purpose of the white divider line
is. I’m not suggesting it’s a flaw since it may well have been put there intentionally. Visually, however, it breaks up the continuity of the track—looks out of place.
• There are a few trees that actually dissect
• Here’s a shortcut
that looks as though it was intentionally put in…or possibly intentionally left without any attempts to negate the obvious path to checkpoint 4. In general terms shortcuts are fine, however I tend to believe racers should have to earn the advantage afforded by a shortcut. On a track of this size I think it would have been better to close off the cut altogether.
BADshorty [Recommend garage settings: 1300 med tires/soft susp]
This is another nice layout that comes up short due to the lack of fine-tuning and polish is concerned. I like how he effectively used the water trap, which can cost you if taken too aggressively, but poses little or no problem when you nail the “sweet spot”. To his credit the flaws in his tracks are mostly visual blemishes versus ones that inhibit a racers ability to run the track. “BADshorty”, like “BADracer” uses textures from “Crazy 98” and is about 38 seconds of pretty intense fun. Here’s a rundown of what I took note of:
• Looks like an unsuccessful splice job
. My guess is he was attempting to match textures.
• Trees set to collide, but not facing
model should have been set to no collide, then fitted with an object box to match its height/width to overcome the flaw of non visible model portions interfering with the racing line.
• Checkpoint markers should be turned inward
, set to no collide, then fitted with an object box to give the impression of a pole.
• Checkpoint 2 (right marker) floating http://mtm2.com/~forum/images/racerfloat.jpg
• Lack of effective checkpoint placement resulted in a major shortcut between checkpoints 2&3. http://mtm2.com/~forum/images/racershort.jpg
BADwatercross [Recommend garage settings: 1100 med tires/soft susp]
The name pretty much says it all; it’s a 1-minute long splash-fest provided by sections that force you to jump across small bodies of water. Of course, it’s impossible to make it across without getting wet, so if water isn’t your thing, you might want to steer clear of this track.
Once again there’s plenty of potential here for a very nice track, but inexperience & possibly rushing “just to get it done” resulted pretty much in the same types of errors you see in the previous tracks; poor texture alignment, little or no blending between texture types, & trees floating & not set to facing. Speaking of trees, my personal opinion is if they’re in very close proximity to the road or they’re used to negate cuts or make corner cutting more difficult, set them to no collide facing, then use ground boxes and manipulate them to accurately conform to the shape/diameter of the tree trunk. The end result is a much more realistic effect. A racers truck will collide with the tree trunk alone and versus the entire tree (branches & leaves). Other notable comments are as follows:
• The start line archway
is set into the mountain on the right side. Actually “BADracer” has the same flaw, but not as extreme as this one.
• Your checkpoint markers give off a transparent effect
given the type of placement you chose. Actually smaller markers may have been a better option for a track of this size.
• Mountains and hills – try to avoid spikes
at the tops of hills/mountains. Rounding them off as you see in this example
significantly improves a track’s visual appeal.
braxtonX [Recommend garage settings: 1000 med tires/soft susp]
Here’s where we start to see kid’s growth and maturity. This is a pretty nice little abstract mx track (just under 30 seconds) with snow-covered, “rounded” hills lol (much better), trees set to facing, and he went conservative by opting to use boulders for checkpoint markers vs big, cumbersome boxes – smartly done. Yes, his trees are still set to collide, but it’s pretty much a moot point since they’re out of harms way. A fairly nice effort on his part, but more importantly it’s indicative of his changing views and attitude where track making is concerned. Braxton picked up a Copey Rating a respectable 7out of 10 possible points. Additional comments:
• Sunken bales of hay
(a few of them scattered about) and lack of texture blending
• An option might have been to make the hay bales moveable, use fencing in areas which would cause a racer to go off the track
MountainDew [Recommend garage settings: 1500 med tires/soft susp]
This is what I consider to be the crown jewel of the lot. At just under 2.5 minutes in length, “MoutainDew” is radically different than anything he’s done to date. Moderate to extreme elevation changes, all sorts of angles, speed, a few jumps for airtime enthusiasts, and staying true to his name, he added a little motocross flavor in the mix with a few whoops…and on angled roads no less lol. I can’t help but be reminded somewhat of Spaz’s SMX Two when I run this track. There’s a huge difference between the two for sure, but at the same time there are enough similarities to justify the comparison.
It’s unfortunate he didn’t solicit help during the production phase of “MoutainDew”. This could have easily been one of the better tracks of the year in my mind. I will take a step back and point out that it’s still a blast to run, but given the size and openness of the track’s layout, one can’t help but be constantly reminded at how unfinished and under developed it looks. Suffice to say this one will go down as the diamond that never got past its “rough” stage. Regardless, I very much like the direction kid was going in with MountainDew, which earned it a Copey Rating of 7.5 out of 10 possible points.
• I think It would have been significantly more interesting to set trees
within close proximity to the road (or in the racing line itself) to no collide, then insert a tree trunk using an object box.
• Checkpoint 2 fails to trigger when you shave it too close
to the marker coming from right side. It appears as though the trigger point is set too far in front of the actual markers. Also, the right marker is slightly submerged below the road texture.
• One of two trees
not set to facing.
• Starting line model improperly set
Nice work on “BraxtonX” & “MountainDew”, kid…very nice indeed. I sincerely believe you have what it takes to make an impression on the track-making scene, bud. I don’t know how many times I’ve encouraged people (especially newcomers) to use the MTMG Beta Testing Room, but I’ll tell you like I’ve told others; it definitely pays off five and six times over. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and you learn so much from the experience.
I haven’t seen you around in the Zone lately, so if you happen to catch this review, look me up – I’d love to chat with ya again.
Keep at it, kid – you’re starting to really improve, and remember, there’s absolutely no reason to go it alone because there’s plenty of people in the MTM 2 community who are more than willing to help. Take care, and we’ll see ya next time around!