To briefly explain, this track was an Expo 2003 submission, however it wasn't reviewed with the others because Mal was a judge, and tracks submitted by judges were excluded from competition. We made the decision to sideline three tracks (all by judges) to get the other reviews done in order to wrap up the Expo. This was one of the three, with the other two being Zo0N Kitchen 2
and Crazy '98 2003
. Those reviews will be posted over the next several days.
Garage Settings: 1600 shallow tires/soft suspension
Lap time: 00:11
Music: Sidewinder (Surf.wav)
Having been fortunate enough to be selected as one of the judges for this year’s Expo, I was pretty hyped (young guy lingo) about being in a position to view all the tracks firsthand – before anyone else got a look at them. Needless to say when Mal stated he was going to enter a track, I was tempted to quit my job and just wait by my computer until it was released. I had it all planned out, too. Chief among my priorities was keeping my energy level up while I waited. I was just about set to purchase one of those mini refrigerators and install it next to my desk when my son leaked all my well-laid plans to The Warden (my wife), and it was all over in the blink of an eye (and a lot of yelling lol). Even though I was forced to keep my job, I would still get a look at his track when it came out, and if you know anything about this guy…well, let me put it like this; the possibility of Mal coming out with a track that isn’t a creative masterpiece is about as remote as the sun failing to rise in the morning lol. I’m telling you, and I’ve said this before (somewhere) – when the history books are written and the MTM Hall of Fame is erected for this game, rest assured Mal’s name will be prominently displayed as one of the best there ever was. THAT, my friends is an irrefutable fact. NOTE²
: I had to include this; it was Phin’s input after previewing this review: [Yea, especially since he’s the guy who’s likely to build it
] LOLOL I love it!
In this particular instance the emphasis is on creativity. Actually, it just occurred to me that the Expo gave way to a rather ironic twist; we had a consummate drag track maker (RobbyH14) make a circuit, and Mal threw in a change up by making Orange County International Raceway (O.C.I.R.) - a drag track. Yep, that’s what I said, a drag. Ah but there’s more than meets the eye here…quite a bit more, in fact.
Since I mentioned eyes, let’s start there, and mind you, a lot of this info comes from Mal’s readme.text included with the track. It’s a great story, and I know some of you out there have a nasty little habit of skipping over the readme.txt file and jumping right into the track. I for one firmly believe tracks should automatically go into “lock down” mode if it detects that the readme file hasn’t been read lol. I’m sure there’s a way to do it, but for now let’s stick to the task at hand. It’s a pretty amazing story, so read on!
Ok here we go…and hey, when the game begins, try to refrain from running straight down the track if you would, please. The game will end if you do, and that means I’ll have to wait for you to restart so I can finish this story lol. Your first order of business is to max out your graphic card settings (triple buffer, scenery set to complex, image quality on high) and take a drive around the track. Everything you see was made specifically for this project using BinEdit 2, which was actually released after O.C.I.R. Interestingly enough, this track (and Phin’s Alphaville for that matter) is the product of beta testing Bin Edit 2, meaning every model was usually made three or four times, sometimes more, because they wouldn't work right in game and had to be redone following the next update. Pretty amazing stuff, is it not? In Mal’s own words, “The track consists of 108 different models, all of which I made from scratch one vertice at a time. There's also 250 ground textures and another 29 model textures that I custom made specifically for this track. ” If you’ve ever made models for MTM 2 before or you aspire to at some point in the future, you can’t go wrong using O.C.I.R. as a reference, a showcase for excellence if you will. I’m a racer – I don’t make tracks and I’ve never even thought about making a model (although I’ve run into quite a few of ‘em over a period of four years lol), so I won’t attempt to venture into the specifics of modeling or the inner workings of BinEdit 2 because…well, it would be pure gibberish lol. There’s a forum
here for those of you who want to know more or if you want a few technical questions addressed. I will say this much: one of the beauties of this simple game is its depth; there’s more to it than most people realize, so much to be appreciated.
I made mention of there being more to this track than meets the eye, and there most certainly is. Orange County International Raceway was the very first “super track” known to mankind. It opened August 5 1967, but sky-high land values forced it to close its doors October 30, 1983. The company that owned the land O.C.I.R. resided on tore it down in order to construct office buildings…of all things. Mal’s father worked there from 1969 to 1974, and during that time Mal and his brother would accompany him to help out. Of course, with a job like that comes little perks, like getting to watch the races for free, up close and personal like lol. Yeah, killer job for sure. By Mal’s own admission the time he spent at O.C.I.R. was his “Disneyland” of sorts, and the best job he’s ever had…and ever will have.
O.C.I.R. was much more than just a drag track, however. There were also courses for Super Bike, Sport Rally, and Motocross racing. Unfortunately Mal didn’t have enough specific info on those courses to include them, so you won’t see them on display. However, he vowed that if he ever does get the necessary data he’ll make an update to this track, which I would truly love to see. In the mean time by all means make use of the extraordinarily huge jump he threw in just east of the drag strip. On the landing you’ll get a little surprise compliments of TRI and ZOtm_BigDOGGe lol. I’m told by a fairly reliable source who shall remain unnamed (Phin lol) that the models on top of that jump are Mal’s trademark – they’re in every track he’s ever made. Figures. Seems like in order to be a genius at something you have to have some kind of a weird quirk. I thought Mal was different. I guess I should’ve known better lol.
As a racetrack, although it’s just under 12 seconds long, it’s pretty darn entertaining, and one of the few tracks where the computer trucks WILL give any pro a serious run for his or her money. With your garage settings adjusted as above, you’ll typically take the win “if” you’re lucky enough to get what’s called “the hole shot” - coming out of the blocks ahead of the other trucks affording yourself a clear advantage. You’ll find that the other opponents will make every attempt to pull the old squeeze play on ya, pinning you in between the other trucks, ultimately slowing you down so one of the computer trucks can pick up a cheesy win lol. It accommodates six trucks across, so everyone starts on even footing. Give it a go or 10 – you’ll get a kick out it for sure.
Mal - all I can say is you continually amaze me, bud, and in several different ways. I only hope I’ve given what I think is a masterful display of workmanship (as well as a very interesting historical piece) its due. My hats off to you, fella for doing it like no other.