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 Post subject: ProMT by BowtieBandit2004
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:30 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:22 am
Posts: 37
Track: ProMT
Type: Drag
Checkpoints: 0
Garage Settings:
Music: RockX

Bowtie has created a simple, straight, two lane drag, similar to the ProMT courses that are run in real monster truck racing. Bowtie tells us in his readme that the inspiration for this track came from watching a ProMT home video, and although it is not an exact replica of any particular ProMT track, it could pass for many of them, hence the name. The track preview picture is that of a real monster truck jumping over the cars in an outdoor drag, which seems to be a very good indicator of the action in the track itself. Bowtie also says of his track: "theres not a whole lot to explain about it", which may be true considering the scope of the landscape and the simplicity of the layout, but a reviewer can always find plenty to write about. : )

For the sake of those who may be unfamiliar with "drag" tracks we should note that they're a type of track that caters to the fans of the sport of monster truck racing, designed to be played using rules that are "outside of the box". Since no actual checkpoints are used you'll generally need at least three people in a game to run a competitive drag race, one of which positions themselves with a side view of the finish line, starts the two other racers and then determines the winner.

ProMT is a <a href= target=promt>pleasant looking</a> drag course with all of the track elements nicely and realistically arranged. The simple outdoor venue is set within a fenced-in grassy field surrounded by trees, with concrete barriers enclosing the driving areas. Grandstands full of fans run the full length of the drag strip and city streets and skyscrapers can be seen in the distance. The side by side straight drag courses are marked with white lines, cones and some signs, with two rows of crush cars and dirt ramps in each lane. The models are very nice and unique, not the run of the mill stuff seen in a lot of drags. The white lines are actually models and are layed out with admirable precision. There are also two cars flanking a van at the sidelines creating a car-van-car pyramid for some freestyle action, which is pretty solid overall when it comes to that. Extended course segments have been placed, thus enabling the race cam view, but do not be mislead, that doesn't mean there are working AI lines, such things generally aren't taken into consideration for most drag tracks.

First impressions of this track are that it has a very clean, realistic looking layout, but there is an inconsistancy between the two lanes which creates a problem for competitive online racing. At first glance the lanes seem identical, but the left lane with the red cars uses shorter car models (4.5 ft.) than the blue lane, which has taller cars (5.12 ft.), the result being that the blue lane's taller cars can throw the truck into the air higher and thus slow it's momentum. We must note that the visible dirt ramp objects are set to non-collide by necessity, and invisible "object boxes" are used to provide the solid surface the trucks use as ramps. In the right (blue) lane the object boxes serving as the ramps intersect with the cars at a lower point than the ramps in the opposite lane, creating quite a "bump" as the truck runs into the cars, which is not a bad thing by itself but is unfair in comparison to the ramps in the opposite lane. Shown <a href= target=promt1>here</a>, the tire in the image on the left shows the level of the invisible ramp as it intersects with the car, the image of the tire on the right shows the roofline of the car as the truck rolls just forward of the ramp. By comparsion, the first ramp in the opposing lane (red) intersects with the roofline of the car almost perfectly.

In the case of the second ramp in the left (red) lane the object box used as a ramp is rotated 10 degrees more than the three other ramps used, creating a sharper incline that clears the car's roofline completely and rises well above the visible ramp, shown <a href= target=promt2>here</a>. Such inconsistant placement is unacceptable when only four simple objects like these invisible ramps play such a crucial role in a short drag course. This inconsistancy in the lanes may be a serious enough flaw to prevent the track from being used in an online drag league. Apart from the inconsistancy of the car heights and the one oddly angled ramp these object boxes are fairly well placed in relation to the visible dirt ramps. Other invisible object boxes placed around the cars for use as ramps during a freestyle run are not particularly well placed in relation to the visible car model, but they serve their intended purpose. Apart from these errors the track provides for some fun racing.

The terrain textures could have used more attention than was given; only one grass texture for the whole landscape leaves something to be desired, and it doesn't even tile well unfortunately. Additionally, the lack of an appropriate track palette renders the grass texture quite splotchy and crude looking. Track makers are well advised to familiarize themselves with the "Palette" options found under the "Special" menu in Traxx, generating an "optimised" custom palette can make the terrain and model textures look their best, and in the case of this track it would have made a tremendous improvement, as shown <a href= target=promt3>here</a>. If custom textures were on the agenda some tire marks from past qualifying runs would have been in order, and maybe even a bit of dirt to break up the monotony of the grass.

Overall this is nice effort from BowtieBandit, providing a decent outdoor drag and some freestyle fun.

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