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 Post subject: Tracks by Road Demon
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2001 2:01 pm
Posts: 1015
Location: Nebraska
From what I can tell Road Demon appears to be a newcomer to the track-making scene as of this year…that is, unless he’s authored tracks under a different name. Regardless, my statement is derived from the appearance of his work, and as such, what I’ll do is group his 6 tracks together (Desert Racing, Devil’s Fury, Devil’s Fury 2, The Moon, Snowland, & Zoom) in this one review since the similarities, both positive and negative are many. Of the six tracks, “Zoom” is probably the best developed, most comprehensive of the lot, so I’ll focus on it later in the review.

For starters, I noticed that all 6 tracks were made last month, between 13 and 31 January. The quality of work and attention to detail is exactly what you would expect given that all 6 were made over a period of 18 days, and mind you, that applies to anyone lol. It varies depending on the type of track being made, but if you finish a single track in just over two weeks you’re doing pretty darn good. Please avoid the “assembly line” method of track making at all cost. Hopefully your goal is to create something you’ll be proud of, as well as have it available for people to enjoy. With that in mind, I encourage you to take your time. The racing takes place on the track after it’s complete as opposed to during the creative/development stages. So once again, slow down, partner. ;)

Without assuming RD knows what beta testing is, its purpose is to allow others to view your work and point out errors, offer up suggestions, look for unwanted shortcuts, and provide answers to problems you’re having. Finding at least one objective person to view your work is certainly a good start. Ideally however, it’s better to have several people give your track the old once-over because different people see and look for different things. The result: a much better product in the end – guaranteed. Prior to allowing others to beta test your track, however, what you can do is make every effort to attend to the basic requirements of track making, which are addressed during Traxx School. If you feel a repeat session would help reinforce what you already know, by all means go for it!

Alrighty – as promised I’m ready to move on to what I feel is the crème of the crop; “Zoom”. To begin with, the name itself is apt, for it’s a 46 second jaunt on a mostly narrow road surrounded by mountainous terrain. I think the layout is good, very good in fact, and it’s clear to me RD knows a thing or two about making tracks. For instance, tracks with narrow passages require a little clearance where cornering is concerned, and he provided that. All shortcuts have been negated by the terrain, which is a plus, particularly on small tracks such as this. Speaking of terrain, his hills/mountains would be more appealing if they were rounded off and shaped so that they look natural, more realistic as seen here. Getting back to shortcuts, I would recommend steering clear of them altogether (especially intentional shortcuts) and focus on making good, solid tracks. Here’s one aspect of what I'm referring to, and I’ll use “The Moon” to illustrate: Here’s a shot of the start line and its relationship to checkpoint 1. Pro racers look for the absolute quickest possible path between point A and point B, so if you want people to race “on” the track rather than around it, be mindful of checkpoint placement. Without making any terrain adjustments or adding additional models to cutoff shortcuts, placing checkpoints as shown here would force racers to adhere to the road. That’s 15 checkpoints, but with a little creative model placement and terrain work, only 10 or 11 checkpoints would be required.

Getting back to “Zoom”, RD used several texture sets, and although quite a few of them are nice choices, in my opinion it’s overkill. The textures used where the race begins are just fine and would have worked throughout. As is all the texture changes disrupt the visual continuity of the track, as well as pave the way for poor transitions between texture types, as shown here and here. Transitions (commonly referred to as “blending”) should look more like this. Also, notice in this picture here how the road texture is riding along the terrain close to the road. Finally, several of your checkpoint markers are not properly placed, and if you’re going to use markers from Crazy 98 (as you did in “Snowland”), use flag numbers that correspond to the checkpoint number lol.

There’s no doubt you have a reasonably firm grasp on what you’re doing, RD. In fact, there were aspects of all 6 of your tracks I liked (like this split in "Zoom"), but at the same time there were things I couldn't figure out for the life of this lol. Overall I think reviewing the fundamentals of track making and a heavy dose of patience will make a world of difference in your work. Take a look at a few tracks by other track makers and note how they smoothly transition from one texture set to another, observe their checkpoint placement, use of models, terrain, altitude changes, etc. The Beta room is a good place to hangout as well. There’s a lot to be learned there just by following along. After you’ve done a little research, gathered some information and made a few observations, put together a layout (with checkpoints) and drop it by the beta room so we can have a look at it and provide feedback. And mind you I said “a track”; not three or four lol. We don’t do the mass production thing, but we’ll gladly checkout a single track for ya! Keep at it, bud – you’ll get there! As for the Copey Rating, I’m going to go with “A Work in Progress” rating and see where you go from here, RD. :)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:47 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Lying on my bed in the middle of the night, editing tracks with Traxx on my laptop, in Sarasota FL
Just joined, so I wasn't sure if I could reply or not if I wasn't a member. I just "released" two more tracks... has my work improved?

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