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 Post subject: City Attack by Tarres
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:30 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:22 am
Posts: 37
Track: City Attack
Type: Rally (actually a circuit)
Checkpoints: 8
Lap time: 1:26
Music: Splash

City Attack is made up from one of oops' texture sets, and building models from various sources form the few blocks of a quaint little town. Just off the north road is an outdoor arena, and the only road out of town turns around, and like Pleasantville, brings you right back in. The town itself has an office district, a residential area, and off to one corner is a postmodern structure we might speculate is an art gallery or some sort of funky nightclub. There is a summit in place just waiting for the rumble zones to be installed, and smack dab in the middle of town the streets are under construction, which no doubt causes traffic jams during rush hour. There is a clean and tidy air about the place, and the whole setting seems poised for muddying up by a few monster trucks.

There are a few minor technical difficulties, so let's get those out of the way before digging into the meat and potatoes of this track. In the furthest corner of town is a building into which you may enter, and you can even explore its basement - the problem, however, is that you'll need gold mode to get yourself back out. There are several texture patterns to the south east of town, but they are far enough off track not to be a distraction. There are a bunch of road cones buried just beneath the pavement that'll jump up at you when you least expect it. The white tower buildings toward the hill dig into the landscaping, but this is minor and it doesn't look too badly at all. But there is one with a floating corner near the construction site that should've had a stronger foundation. Speaking of floaters, one of the backhoes has its front end buried in the dirt with the result the right rear tire is losing considerable traction. Biggest of all, is that several of the L shaped buildings have invisible protrusions that can really disturb a race when you suddenly encounter force fields that prevent your passage. For those who are unaware, all bin models are cuboid in shape in the game, and that is without exception. This is why we often find the twigs of trees and such with the power and ability to stop a monster truck in its tracks. The workaround or solution is to set the model to no-collide and fit it with object boxes in the appropriate places. For a tree or telephone pole, that would just be the stump or post. For L shaped structures, that would be one object box for each wing of the building. But like I said, in City Attack, these are minor difficulties at their worst.

Now we come to the map. Turn it on and you'll see an incredible maze of undecipherable spaghetti, which is nearly impossible to untangle, and the computer trucks happen to agree with us lol. However, despite its complexity, there are only eight checkpoints, and getting to them is just a matter of following the finder. Whatever course Tarres had in mind (undoubtedly something that provided a complete and scenic tour of the city) never comes into play, as we're not held to any particular road or in any direction. I believe it would be a mistaken notion to consider this a free roam track (an easy assumption to make since Tarres' Hogwart Adventure is defined as free roam) given that so much time has obviously been expended on the course and layout. Our general impression is this is a case of not enough checkpoints to force racers to the course, and possibly an honest expectation that drivers will follow the layout as intended. Unfortunately, racers are notorious for defying a track maker's plans, ignoring their intentions, and otherwise flouting their sincerest, if not naive, designs. Here's a replay to illustrate how "most" racers will approach this track. But never a cramp without some gripe water - the fix is easy in most cases. We would be remiss if we failed to once again make reference to The MTMG Beta Room, which would be the perfect place for Tarres to grow given the abundance of information and friendly people available to provide feedback. There's little doubt that one of the first things noted would have been the paucity of checkpoints, resulting in well, the sort of racing you witnessed in the replay. Shortcuts often times can be fun, adding excitement in the form of risk taking, culminating in either great success or agonizing failure - both of which add to the overall enjoyment of the game. In the case of City Attack, we feel Tarres came up short where enjoyable racing is concerned...but who knows, there's something for everyone out here. With that in mind there are those who may find enjoyment from a track such as this, and to that end, maybe it's underscores why this game has endured as long as it has; there's something for everyone.

In summary, City Attack is a nicely constructed track whose enjoyment is arguably marred by the profuse number of shortcuts that render the course all but meaningless. But Tarres is an ambitious and hard working guy, so we trust he'll soak up all this info and continue to improve with future releases. We have a fine new maker in our midst and we're looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

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