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 Post subject: Banana Boat Rumble by IAM_Clawfford
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:30 am 
Member

Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2003 7:22 am
Posts: 37
Track: Banana Boat
Maker: IAM_Clawfford
Type: Rumble
Music: Custom

IAM_Clawfford is a guy whose forte seems to be creating tracks around an idea, typically something unusual and fairly unique. You almost get the impression Claw is somewhat of a frustrated inventor of some sort who's wife (or similar facsimile thereof) got sick and tired of all the gadgets, specialized tools, scrap metal, etc laying around the house, and "suggested" he find better ways to channel his energy. Enter MTM 2. It's neat, clean, there's no mess or spare parts to contend with (at least there shouldn't be lol), and best of all, it's absolutely free. Some day we'll have to ask him how he got his start in this game, but for now, it's kinda fun making up stories about it lol.

Claw's contribution to this year's expo is Banana Boat rumble, and it's quite impressive to say the least. As we alluded to in the previous paragraph, the word "ordinary" doesn't seem to be in this guy's vocabulary, and after playing this rumble you'll see what we mean. You begin on a dock by the ocean in what appears to be a tropical location, and the first order of business is to mount the flat bed boat in front of you. Mind you, this boat doesn't wait until all its passengers are aboard before setting sail; it goes whether you're on it or not, so like…you'd better get to steppin!

The platform itself is fairly large, and easily supports a full house of rumblers, but regardless of the number of players, Banana Boat should prove to be quite entertaining with respect to its playability and eye-popping appeal. Claw combined some of his own creations with items he borrowed from Malibu's site to produce what's arguably the best looking rumble to hit the scene in quite some time. A single trip "around the world" beginning and ending at the dock includes a flying airplane with a banner, a stranded Robinson Caruso (not as tall as we thought he would be, either lol), sharks in the water, a cyclone, extremely impressive water geysers, a maze, a lighthouse, buoys, and a few nice islands perfectly suited for hoisting up hammock and enjoying the view, along with the beverage of your choice. By the way the geysers aren't just nice to look at; they're actually used to catapult you back onto the platform when (not if) you get knocked off. The maze gives you one additional hazard to contend with in addition to trying to stay atop the moving platform. Specifically, square-shaped boxes extend down from the bottom of the deck and hamper your movement across the platform. In some cases they can actually prove to be your downfall if your not careful. There's also a section toward the end of the trip where giant nails are protruding down from underneath a deck. The effect, and maybe even the intent is much like the maze, but we feel it was overdone and drags on for much too long a period of time.

Claw cites Pounder & MoneyMaker as the originators of the moving platform in a rumble, and in fact, even Pounder & Moneymaker believe that. The truth is Monsta Driva was the first to come up with such a concept, and the name of the track he applied it to is called <a href="http://mtm2.com/~tracks/dl.cgi?dl=569" target="_self">Ramble</a>. Not many people are aware of that because a lot of the old timers are long gone. Still, moving platforms are great fun, and this one is certainly no exception. As for the cyclone, we've never seen one quite like this before, however, conceptually speaking, mike204 used the idea in a track he made back in '99 called <a href="http://mtm2.com/~tracks/dl.cgi?dl=1085" target="_self">3-Way Paper Run</a> whereby he used twisters, and which was pre-dated by <a href="http://mtm2.com/~tracks/dl.cgi?dl=1433" target="_self">BNB Tornado</a> by BlackHawk. We can't say with any measure of certainty that he was the first, however.

Other observations are more technically oriented with exception of this road texture here, which seems grossly out of place. That's our impression, although some...most notably, Claw himself, may disagree lol. Ok let's move on to the tech talk portion of this review. It's gettin to be lunch time, and when that whistle blows, we're outta here...whether this review gets done or not. Needless to say lunchbreaks are serious business here at MTMG lol.

For starters, the bottom half of the boat should've been fitted with properly sized and angled object boxes. The top portion of the boat was done that way, so if for no other reason but consistency the bottom portion should have been done as well. As it is, there are large areas you can't drive in, and they're very close to the boat and rumble zone. In the case of the cyclone, it crosses the path of the rumble pad, which in and of itself isn't a bad thing. The problem occurs when the cyclone's bounding box forces trucks off the platform and into the water, leaving you wondering what happened. The easy fix to this would have been to alter the route of the cyclone. However…it is our belief that Claw intended for the cyclone to cut across the path of the boat, creating a hazard for rumblers, hence he could have loaded that spout into binedit, then translated it about 100 feet along the X or Z axis before loading it into the track. What that would do is trick the game into placing the bounding box 100 feet out of harms way but the visible water spout would be where it's supposed to be as 'non collide'. Then he would have to build a second simple 'invisible' model that is the same size as the smaller base of the cone, place it inside the center of the cyclone cone and set it in motion at the same speed and heading as the cyclone model. This photo illustrates what it would look like. Finally, the banner attached to the plane is set to MTM 1 transparency type vs MTM 2 transparency. As a result, it's visible thru everything between you and it. We also noticed that Claw omitted setting the extended courses, which we felt was a rather significant oversight on his part. As a result, some camera angles don't work and others bury you under water.

When it comes down to it, given everything that's been said, whether positively or contructively critical, the bottom line is Claw has produced another very nice track. Furthermore, the reception it received from MTMers in the Gaming Zone attests to that, which comes as no surprise to us. If you've never heard of Clawfford or sampled any of his work, we highly recommend you do so. He's an extremely talented track maker who happens to have carved out a nice little niche in the MTM community. Very well done, Claw - superb effort on your part, guy! Oh one other thing; if you see this guy on your trip down the ocean...throw him a can of shaving creme and a razor! :)


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 Post subject: Questions, Answers, Things, and Stuff
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:02 pm 
Member

Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 2:01 pm
Posts: 59
First off, let me thank everyone who organized and participated in the Expo. It was great fun, and I’m gonna be playing with all the new tracks and trucks for a long time to come! And I always wear the gift ball cap I received for participating (except when I nearly lost it down the drain the other morning while taking a shower… at least it’s clean!)

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“IAM_Clawfford is a guy whose forte seems to be creating tracks around an idea”.

- Gosh, that’s sorta like a THEME, eh? [;)]

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“You almost get the impression Claw is somewhat of a frustrated inventor of some sort”.

- Hmm… has anyone ever made a Professor Potts “Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang” monster truck? Maybe Expo 2004…

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“a stranded Robinson Caruso (not as tall as we thought he would be, either lol)”

- Darn! Believe it or not, I DID spend a bit of time trying to make him the right size. He’s just slightly taller than a monster truck wheel. I’ve never actually seen a real-live monster truck up-close-and-personal, but isn’t that about right? Didn’t the early trucks actually use big ol’ tractor tires? Otherwise, he’s a straight screen capture of the classic screen saver “Johnny Castaway”. See my included info file for a link to get your free copy!

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“There's also a section toward the end of the trip where giant nails are protruding down from underneath a deck. The effect, and maybe even the intent is much like the maze, but we feel it was overdone and drags on for much too long a period of time.”

- You guys really did your play testing! Yes, I agree it is definitely too long. My excuse: I wanted to earn “brownie points” by getting Banana Boat in by the original deadline, and I was in the 11th hour. So I extended that section instead of finding something else new and interesting to do in that stretch of the ride. In the long run, I guess I should have poo-pooed the time limit for the sake of the game. Sorry! [uhoh]

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“Claw cites Pounder & MoneyMaker as the originators of the moving platform in a rumble, and in fact … Monsta Driva was the first to come up with such a concept, and the name of the track he applied it to is called Ramble.”

- Well I STILL thank Pounder and MoneyMaker, since it was their “Crazy Train” which inspired me. And thanks to Monsta for the original concept! (“Ramble”, eh? That’s how I describe my “Monster Mash” track… it’s half race and half rumble – a “Ramble”!)

==========

“As for the cyclone, we've never seen one quite like this before, however, conceptually speaking, mike204 used the idea in a track he made back in '99”

- Mike204? There’s that name again! It keeps cropping up! I remember talking with Cope or Phineus or someone about trying to get hold of him concerning “Landslide”, still one of my all-time favorite add-on races!

==========

“Other observations are more technically oriented with exception of this road texture here, which seems grossly out of place.”

- I was shooting for “boat ramp”, but living in Dayton, Ohio I don’t really see them very often. I needed another way back up to the pier, but the ramp was too hard to see when I left it sand-colored. So I used a stock texture that was very visible. In my imagination, I figured a boat ramp would probably be a bit worn and cracked from exposure to the water and lack of regular maintenance. I don’t imagine any boat ramps run underneath a pier, though… how about a jet-ski ramp?

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“the bottom half of the boat should've been fitted with properly sized and angled object boxes. The top portion of the boat was done that way, so if for no other reason but consistency the bottom portion should have been done as well. As it is, there are large areas you can't drive in, and they're very close to the boat and rumble zone. In the case of the cyclone, it crosses the path of the rumble pad, which in and of itself isn't a bad thing. The problem occurs when the cyclone's bounding box forces trucks off the platform and into the water, leaving you wondering what happened. The easy fix to this would have been to alter the route of the cyclone. However…it is our belief that Claw intended for the cyclone to cut across the path of the boat, creating a hazard for rumblers, hence he could have loaded that spout into binedit, then translated it about 100 feet along the X or Z axis before loading it into the track. What that would do is trick the game into placing the bounding box 100 feet out of harms way but the visible water spout would be where it's supposed to be as 'non collide'. Then he would have to build a second simple 'invisible' model that is the same size as the smaller base of the cone, place it inside the center of the cyclone cone and set it in motion at the same speed and heading as the cyclone model.”

- If I understand you correctly, that is impossible from what I know about track making. First (correct me if I’m wrong), aren’t all moving objects – no matter what their shape – surrounded by an invisible box that is defined by the outermost points of the model in each direction? For this reason, the bottom of the cyclone may APPEAR narrow, but the invisible box around the object is still as wide as the TOP of the twister. (No biggie in this case – I figure that you probably don’t have to be in direct contact with the funnel of a REAL tornado to be blown around, right? And yes, I DID intend for it to be an obstacle and not just more moving scenery.) Second, an object with the MOVING parameter drops to ground level, no matter how high it starts. So since the platform on top of the Banana Boat sticks out beyond the hull below, the invisible box that it defines drops to the ground, blocking close contact with the boat’s underside. Third, I use TRAXX. With TRAXX you can only associate ONE parameter with an object, so it would be impossible to make an object that is both NO-COLLIDE and MOVING. Please prove me wrong! I would love to know a way around that so I could institute the trick in future tracks. Learning new tricks is almost as fun as coming up with original stuff! Teach me!

==========

“Finally, the banner attached to the plane is set to MTM 1 transparency type vs MTM 2 transparency.”

- DOH! Oh, well… I TOLD you in the info file that I’m still pretty new with BinEdit, and the plane was one of the first things I did. But I sure learned a heck of a lot in the process of making Banana Boat! I wonder… can you save a TRUCK using MTM1 textures? Could you make a “Ghost Truck” that you can catch glimpses of through obstacles? Interesting… (THAT’S what I love about you MTM Guilders… you make me THINK and LEARN! And now that I have an official MTM2 thinking cap…) [;)]

==========

“We also noticed that Claw omitted setting the extended courses, which we felt was a rather significant oversight on his part. As a result, some camera angles don't work and others bury you under water.”

- You see? There’s another thing I never realized before! I never imagined there could be any reason why the extended courses would be necessary in a rumble. Exterior camera views are dependent upon them, eh? If anyone was ever impatient with you guys to just skip the reviews and get on with the judging, tell ‘em that people LEARN THINGS from being critiqued, and hopefully will do better the next time around. (There are some cool technical things I want to find out about other tracks in the Expo. I can’t wait to read the other reviews and start asking questions!)

==========

(Aww… you guys never said anything about my no-train-whistle moving objects! Oh, well… I thought “Banana Boat” was a significant example of the technique in action, but probably not anything you need to go into any detail on in a review. Besides, it’s in my info file.)

==========

THANKS AGAIN to everyone who coordinated and participated in the Expo! If anyone nagged about how long it took to write the reviews, consider this: the tracks AND trucks all had to be rigorously play-tested, notes had to be exchanged between the judges, and THEN lengthy, detailed reviews were written. ALL IN ONE MONTH! If you don’t think that’s extremely fast, then see how long it takes you just to READ all the reviews! I find it hard to believe that any of the judges could possibly have both a job AND a home life for the last month or two [;)]

Hats off and a big pat on the back to you guys! Your efforts are appreciated!

Clawfford, the Big Red Cat
www.gameroom.com/clawfford


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 Post subject: Re: Things, and Stuff
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 7:26 pm 
Glow Ball
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 1999 7:00 pm
Posts: 8
> I always wear the gift ball cap I received for participating

Now you just need a <a href="http://rhinoseros.com/~mtmg/contests/expo2003/prizes.html" target="_blank">camera</a> - no shower pics please.

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> Hmm… has anyone ever made a Professor Potts "Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang" monster truck?

Not that I'm aware of. There's a few antiques around that might work as a starting point for one.

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> You guys really did your play testing!

Yes, we did.

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> Well I STILL thank Pounder and MoneyMaker

They didn't enter an expo track, so no review at this time ;-)

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re: the bottom half of the boat and the cyclone

> First (correct me if I'm wrong), aren't all moving objects - no matter what their shape - surrounded by an invisible box that is defined by the outermost points of the model in each direction?

Yes, that's true, but moving objects can be an exception to the rule.

http://mtm2.com/~forum/images/cyclone2.jpg

However, given that this is moving AND it's a large model, there might be visibility issues with offsets like this.

> I figure that you probably don't have to be in direct contact with the funnel of a REAL tornado to be blown around, right?

Rationalizations are great, aren't they? Wind, in the game, lol.

Anyway, we understand that trying new things can pose challenges... but by the same token, we've been conditioned to hate invisible barriers. In situations where perfection eludes us, finding the correct compromises can be important.

> Second, since the platform on top of the Banana Boat sticks out beyond the hull below, the invisible box that it defines drops to the ground, blocking close contact with the boat's underside.

An angled object box should continue moving on an angle, but the top platform poses some challenges. A dilemma indeed.

> Third, you can only associate ONE [property] with an object, so it would be impossible to make an object that is both NO-COLLIDE and MOVING.

Correct. I tried editing a sit file to get multiple properties (set to no-collide in traxx then set it moving in sit) but it didn't take - once moving, it's collidable. Believe us when we say, if it was possible (with current knowledge and experience) you'd've heard no end of beefing. So, you're safe.... for the moment ;-)

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> can you save a TRUCK using MTM1 textures?

Yes. Furthermore, no object has to use one face type only. You can mix and match.

> Could you make a "Ghost Truck" that you can catch glimpses of through obstacles?

Trucks don't respond the same way as track props. Most people are concerned with getting things looking and functioning as well as possible. However, if you discover special effects that are <i>reproducable</i>, please let us know.

> THAT'S what I love about you MTM Guilders… you make me THINK and LEARN!

Mission accomplished. Good stuff.

==========

> you guys never said anything about my no-train-whistle moving objects!

It's already in your asteroid track, it was discussed in the general forum, and many people over-ride the train horn with a fix pod. If it makes you feel better, you did do a nice job of hiding the first blower.

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> I find it hard to believe that any of the judges could possibly have both a job AND a home life for the last month or two

The secret: no sleep.


> Hats off and a big pat on the back to you guys! Your efforts are appreciated!

Thanks, and nice follow up.


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