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 Post subject: Smoke & Mirrors
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 4:21 am 
Trackologist
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Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2001 2:01 pm
Posts: 1011
Location: Nebraska
Fast Lap: 4:24.17 by Malibu350
Garage Setting: 1700 med tires/soft suspsension

The phrase “smoke and mirrors” is generally used to suggest intentional deception, an illusion, or that things are not quite what they seem. I submit to you that Marquis de Sade’s (Phin in one of his many disguises lol) chose to name his recent release “Smoke & Mirrors” to suggest that what you see is not necessarily what you think it is. Indulge me for a moment while I head due west on a slight tangent, but I was having trouble starting that last sentence. You see, it’s true that this Marquis de Sade fella has only put out one track, but who knows how many tracks Phin has made lol. He’s probably been cranking out tracks left and right with all the names he uses. Mind you, this is the same guy claims to have actually cashed a check with the name “Phineus” lol. It’d be fun to dig into his psyche a bit more, get inside of his head…but I’d be afraid of not being able to get out. Besides, this is a track review, not Psychology 101 lol.

To shed a little light on how and why this track came to be, a fellow by the name of “Mat-Allum” started a thread to discuss a project he was working on using 256X256 textures. Cutting to the chase, the consensus by others was that it wasn’t possible. They contended that MTM 2 couldn’t handle it, and the effort would amount to little more than a waste of time. Phin suggested that maybe it was possible given the right approach, and low and behold, “Smoke & Mirrors” was borne.

The lack of models is for the most part out of necessity than anything else. If Phin had started throwing trees, houses, rocks, etc. into this track, lag would have been an issue for sure. Still, there are a few tracks that can get away with the “model-free” look, but this is certainly one of ‘em. Why? Well, it’s the layout. Even though the primary intent was to demonstrate that a functional track could be made using 256X256 textures, good ‘ole Phin gave us a huge bonus by making this one of the most exciting and compelling rallies to be released in quite some time, and that’s a fact! The ample room for maneuvering, coupled with the directional options by use of splits in the road definitely adds to this track’s appeal. Combine those characteristics with a few breath taking drops and the tremendous sense of speed, and you’re in for one heck of a ride!

Interestingly enough, the layout of “Smoke and Mirrors” is…well, first take a look at this picture. The horizontal line that stretches across the middle is a highway, which divides the track in half. Now take a look at both sides of the track. Notice how it’s the same layout on either side, just flipped 180°, then attached to the other half. The best part is while driving the track it never dawns on you that it’s two halves of the same layout. Pretty slick, huh? As for the names you see in the picture, during beta testing Mal suggested that the four near 90° drops in the track needed “character”, and as you can see, Phin was obviously up to the task. In the end the only thing those names represent is Phin’s overactive imagination lol.

Beta testing with Phin is always interesting (for lack of a better word…and it probably wouldn’t be allowed in here anyway lol). Here are a few quotes from the man himself during the testing process:


• "Cope had a run on it and told me to take out two bridges, five checkpoints, and put in those checkers. I want no trouble so thought I better, you know." (Cooperative/agreeable Phin)

• "This ought to do it … and if it oughtn't, too bad, lol." (Grumpy/pushy/I got up on the wrong side of my spaceship Phin)

• "You know, I gave this way more attention than I set out to do. Believe it or not but I started it cuz I was bored waiting for you guys to try the track mod page. But stalling like this probably helped make it a bit better drive." (Slacker/demanding/slave driver Phin)

There’s more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Hey, it’s never dull around here, that’s for sure!

Well, in an effort to keep this review reasonably short, I’m gonna wrap it things up here. I can’t call this thing a wrap before assigning a Copey Rating, so with that said…this one’s a definite “10”! In my book it’s topnotch for what it proves from a technical standpoint, as well as the endless amount of fun and excitement it’ll give you when racing. It just doesn’t get much better! Excellent work, Phin – outstanding, bud! Oh, and who's truck is that on the race screenshot? That's the bestest, fastest looking truck I've EVER seen! LOL

BONUS Material - A quote from Mal after running his fast lap:

"Now someone give me a shout out and a pat on the back here ... keep in mind I have no stick, no wheel, no shaved back, or greased head, I don't jump out of airplanes and the only thing I have that resembles a cape is a torn Howard Johnsons bath towel... nope none of that stuff for me, just a keyboard and a big pot of coffee.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 7:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2000 2:01 pm
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Location: Canada
Yup i'll have to admit All that cope said about this track is true. This track is truly splendid. I've often said that to be a great track, the most important thing is a great layout. This one sure have what it take to enjoy a few hours of crashing. If you didn't try it, i highly recomend you stop reading and start downloading it.
I enjoyed all of it.

_________________
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."
Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut
<a href="http://www.hof.slojumper.com" target="_blank" class="postlink">Team SLO's hall of fame</a>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2003 7:40 am
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> Psychology 101

You honestly think that would help?


Thanks Jumper :-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:18 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2002 2:01 pm
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Location: Switzerland
Quote:
If Phin had started throwing trees, houses, rocks, etc. into this track, lag would have been an issue for sure.


Is this a conjecture or a beta-testing hardened fact?

Is there a texture cutter Slice240 available (perhaps by Aynsley Dunbar) or was it all done with WTE (Winterkill torture exercise)?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:18 am 
Glow Ball
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 1999 7:00 pm
Posts: 8
> conjecture or hardened fact?

Educated prognostication. To be literal, the track is not at the limit, but adding the same number of components normally found in normal tracks, which often exhibit signs of stress even without large textures, then, under those conditions, it's safe to assume such a track would become unruly. In short, this track succeeds in its purpose but it is by no means the end of the road, so to speak. There's a lot of mileage here yet.


> Is there a texture cutter Slice240 available

:(

> (perhaps by Aynsley Dunbar)

LOL, you guys are paying way too much attention.

> or was it all done with WTE

[bump]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 11:21 pm 
easy company
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Joined: Tue Feb 29, 2000 2:01 pm
Posts: 2018
First and foremost to me Smoke & Mirrors is flat out just a great great race track, this may have a lot to do with my personal likes and dislikes but when I first ran this beute I was stunned at how well he got the wide flat flowing straights to mesh so well with the abrupt hill climbs and subsequent cliff drops... 'why didn't I think of that' was one of my thoughts right at about lap 67 :o) hellafun... and the texture work as Cope brought up is superb, very wintesque, every time I'd crash I would take a few seconds to see all the fine detail... beautiful scenery... then hit the gas.

Just for the record I ran with 2000 gears, soft suspension, and medium tires for my best laps (downshifting a lot)... I tried lower gears but could never manage anything under 4:28 even though I felt I had held a good line.
Also when I raced Boom he would take 3 different forks than I did during my replay and he still ran 4:25's so that says a lot at how well marquis (lol) balanced the alternate routes.


Very nice work Phin/\________/|_______/\_____l\_____


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2002 2:01 pm
Posts: 205
Location: Switzerland
How many textures are used in the track?

Here is my arithmetics about total texture memory (non-hardware related):
512 64-textures => no problem
one 256-texture uses as much as sixteen 64

The conclusion would be
32 256-textures => no problem?

Does something happen with more than 32 textures?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:33 am 
Glow Ball
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 1999 7:00 pm
Posts: 8
541 / 16 = 33.8

S&M has 23

I'm sure you could go 40, maybe even a bit more.


z-mode, using stock bigfoot, bottom left of screen

C98: Total : 55 256x256 : 28 of 64 64x64 : 401 of 1024 32x32 : 1 of 64

S&M: Total : 34 256x256 : 28 of 64 64x64 : 101 of 1024 32x32 : 1 of 64

I believe stats include models, and obviously 101 suggests it also includes game files (eg water, sky, speedometer, etc).

8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 8:11 am 
MTM2 Fanatic

Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 1:48 pm
Posts: 670
Gorgeous track, Phin.

I like that you mentioned me in there, SLO_COPE. A track of 256x256 textures makes things look great.

I love the names of things in it.

Keep up the good work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 8:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 1:48 pm
Posts: 670
Umm.... How do I get the track?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 8:28 am 
Glow Ball
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 1999 7:00 pm
Posts: 8
http://mtm2.com/~tracks/tracks.cgi?sear ... 26+mirrors

lol


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 9:21 am
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Location: Venlo/ Eindhoven
What now... 512x512 textures? [:-)]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:28 pm
Posts: 448
Ok, I've been wonderin, what song is playing in the background? I know Orgy remade it a few years back but I remember it from YM's tracks long before then. I'd like to hear the original!

Awesome track, btw, but I'm guessing you already assumed I thought that :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2000 2:01 pm
Posts: 360
I believe it was called blue monday


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:19 am 
^*bump*^

Excellent race track bro..

now how an 'bout S&M 2?

time for a curtain call me thinks :-]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2002 2:01 pm
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Location: Missouri, USA
Great track Phin. Absolutely OUTSTANDING!! [tu] [tu]


ps. See Cope, short & sweet. [;)]

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To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 10:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 1:48 pm
Posts: 670
Honestly, this track is built like something from NFS. All that's missing is the guard rails.

Come on, Phin, admit it... This is the coolest track you've ever made. Keep up the good work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:09 am 
Glow Ball
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Joined: Tue Feb 02, 1999 7:00 pm
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<center>
Image
</center>

hehe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:06 am 
You Gonna Eat That?
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Posts: 923
Location: Nebraska
Always on my "never delete" list, but Deja Vu was better...

I'd only get rid of these 2 if someone takes out my brain, hours of fun. Nice pic, lol. At least the places you can wreck all have names now...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:48 am 
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Image


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