Fast Lap: Not Yet Established
Garage Settings: 1300 med tires/soft suspension
As the story goes, almost three years ago SLO put together a list of tracks to supplement our Always Podded List because in our collective opinion, limiting ourselves to 30 tracks was bordline crimminal lol. This new list contained 78 tracks, and with 15 racers on the team, each of us got to pick five or six of our favorites. SLO_ObeOne picked Nrrivas' “Heights of Mérida” - a beautiful track, gorgeous in fact. But I'll tell ya, it seems like every time I got to the very
narrow, very uneven straight section (marked off in yellow here
), I'd lose control of my truck, and the next thing I knew I’d be tumbling, stumbling, rolling, and crashing for almost the entire length of that stretch. I can’t recall the exact words I used after one of my “gymnastic exhibitions” on that track, but I’m fairly sure most of them were socially unacceptable lol. Furthermore, I remember vowing to hunt down this “Nrrivas” person in order to tell him what I thought of his track, in particular the 10-inch wide straight that seemed to spawn so many crashes. To be perfectly honest I grew to detest the “Heights of Mérida” lol,…with a passion, but the reason I did was because I didn’t know how to drive, and if you’re going to run a Nrrivas track, that particular skill is an absolute necessity. For the record, however, today I consider it to be a classic—one of my favorite tracks, and if you check SLO_Jumper’s HoF or pull up the informational pop-up at MTMG, you’ll see that the current fast lap holder is for that baby is yours truly.
It’s amazing how a few years and learning to drive in a straight line can change a guy’s opinion, huh?
Nrrivas marked his return to MTM 2 with his ninth track named “La Julia” - a very nice track, I might add. But then again, I (and quite a few others I’m sure) expected nothing less. It’s interesting in that he seemed to progress by leaps and bounds in terms of the quality of his track making. He made his very first track, “Hill Climb” (listed as “rrhl”), in August of ’98, and it looks and drives…well, very much like quite a few first-time tracks lol. But then he followed it up with three more between November and December of that same year – “Los Roques”, “Macaray Motocross”, and “KOM’s Suicide MX”. All three are substantially better than his first attempt, but “KOM’s Suicide MX” was decidedly his best effort up to that point, and is still a great track to race on. For whatever reason he took eight months off from track making, but when he returned, boy ‘o boy did he come back with a bang. “Cayo Barracho” was the name of the track, and it too is one of my all-time favorites. A few months later he paid homage to TRI’s “Crazy ’98 with “Crazy 2000”, which was the year he reached the pinnacle of his track making career. Ironically it was also the year he vanished from the game altogether. In February of 2000 he gave us the “Heights of Mérida”, which arguably still reigns as his best track to date. It was extremely well received, and even garnered high praise from “The Godfathers of Track Making” - Winterkill, Malibu350, and Phineus. Hehe kinda stole that “Godfathers” line from SLO_PaPa (it’s a long story lol). Anyway, getting back to Nrrivas, just three months later (May) he entered the Expo 2000 contest with a little number called “The Hills of San Juan”, walking away with honors as numero uno in the straight-away category for his extremely impressive work.
Alrighty…I realize that was last paragraph was essentially a Nrrivas highlight show, but in my opinion the guy definitely deserved to be spotlighted. Heck I’ll admit it—I was extremely excited when I saw his name on the track page at MTMG, an since he disappeared from the game when I was pretty much just getting started, I’m sincerely grateful (honored even) to get a chance to do a review with his name on it. And now that I know how to drive, all the better lol.
“La Julia” more or less is derived from the mold of “Heights of Mérida”, which is interesting in that maybe he too realizes and/or acknowledges that it was indeed a groundbreaking track for him, so sure, why not revisit that particular style. Hehe I even like how threw in these sections here
in the texture work, which are definitely “Mérida-like”. Additionally, I love the custom texture work (looks custom anyway - don't recall seeing it before), as well as the roman numeral checkpoints. In a nutshell, “La Julia” is a short circuit, approximately 1:38 in length (for a decent lap) that is not only slightly reminiscent of the “Heights of Mérida” visually, but also requires a similar mindset in terms of how you should approach it from a racing perspective. The potential for danger is not nearly as imminent, but at the same time this baby will definitely take you on a tumble or 10 if you allow your concentration to waiver (take it from someone who knows lol). Basically, a hefty dose of a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e, a fair amount of accelerator control (specifically, when to give it gas, and when not to) coupled with finely honed cornering skills will get you thru it. Ah but there’s more! One could probably get the impression that Nrrivas doesn’t care much for the smoothing tool…or if he’s even heard of it lol. Yes, the road is bumpy in a few places and somewhat unpredictable, but that’s by design. Furthermore, and pay attention now…if you approach the turns and your mindset is “Oh geez…oh gosh…oh no…”, you’re toast – plain and simple lol. Again, you have to anticipate the turns on this track, then go into them with controlled aggression or it’s going to be a long haul lol. There’s not a great deal of room for outright passing, but rest assured passing opportunities will be plentiful, for “La Julia” will
extract mistakes from racers of every skill level. That’s part of the fun, though; you not only have to contend with other racers looking to exploit any and all available opportunities to pass, but you also have to wage a mini war with the track, ensuring you don’t give the race away because of a mistake in execution. This is the kind of track that can leave you somewhat drained physically and mentally after 4 or 5 laps of close-knit racing…and I love that stuff!
For a guy who hasn’t made a track in four years, Nrrivas sure did a heck of a good job. I only have a few observations, and they’re very minor…extremely so in fact. First up are the bridges. I love how he put an intentional gap between them and the road (as shown here
), but I also think he should’ve used bridge models instead of groundboxes to form the bridges, which often times cause racers to stick on the landing. It’s possible to avoid that nasty little characteristic when landing on groundboxes by letting off the gas just before getting airborne or even dropping into 2nd gear, and shifting up to 3rd right at impact, but neither method works consistently. Running the track in software mode works quite well, but in a word, “yuck” lol. Moving on to the tree models, none of them were set to no collide, and then fitted with an object box to act as a tree trunk, which is standard procedure nowadays. Again, the guy has been gone for four years, so I think we can cut him a break there lol. Besides, the trees aren’t a factor during the race anyway, unless you’re trying to shave a few seconds by cutting a corner too much or trying to find a shortcut, which you won’t. Finally, this backhoe
is slightly recessed into the ground…and that’s it. My guess is Wint, Mal or Phin could conjure up a few minute technical snafus, but not anything you’d notice during a race, that’s for sure.
Nrrivas didn’t include a readme.txt with “La Julia”, so it’s tough to know for sure what the future holds for him and MTM 2. I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping he sticks around. He’s quite a talent, and his tracks are unique, challenging, tons of fun, and in the case of his last 3 tracks, visually stunning. Oh, and just for the sake of information, his real name is Rodrigo Rivas, and he hails from Venezuela. His nickname is Nrrivas, which now makes a heck of a lot more sense now that I know his real name.
Well bud, I applaud you for what you’ve accomplished overall, but also for coming back with a track that’ll undoubtedly prove to be a big hit amongst racers. “La Julia” earned a well-deserved “9
” out of 10 possible points on the Copey Rating scale, but maybe more importantly, Nrrivas get my vote for “Comeback Track Maker of the Year”! LOL ok sure I just came up with that title, but come on–producing work of this caliber, especially given his four year hiatus from the game transcends phrases like “great job” and “impressive work”. “Truly awesome” is close, but still like “Comeback Track Maker of the Year” a little better. Any objections? Didn’t think there would be lol. Awesome stuff, Nrrivas – an extremely impressive showing, bud.