Tracks by Grim2004 and Falco Lombardi
By now several of you have probably noticed a couple new track makers on the scene, and although they are relatively unknown they already have eight tracks to their credit.
- Escape the Graveyard
- Haunted Hills
- Haunted Jungle Island
- Mountain Fun!
- Mountian Terror!
Grim2004 and Falco Lombardi
I have opted to cover their separate works together here in one review because they obviously know each other, they even co-authored Freaky Forest, and in fact, at one point I even thought they were one and the same person - apparently the writing style of their readme files had me drawing conclusions. Anyway, their work has in common many many rookie track making problems and over-sights. I will not cover every single instance of every single problem - that would be more than anyone could bear - but I will try to touch on all the highlights. So...
To begin, then, since it's <a href="http://forum.mtm2.com/viewtopic.php?t=2823" target="_blank">topical today</a>, I really must insist to all new would-be track makers that you must uncheck the "<i>hide file extensions for know file types</i>" checkbox in <a href="http://cownap.com/~mtmg/folderoptions.shtml" target="_blank">folder options</a>. Failing to do so will always result in the *.bin file extension being <a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim01FolderOptions.gif" target="_blank">chopped off</a> your work and thus causing errors and problems in the <a href="http://cownap.com/~mtmg/errors.cgi?e=57" target="_blank">game</a> and in <a href="http://mtm2.com/~mtmg/errors.cgi?e=56" target="_blank">traxx</a>. It's not hard, but it must be done. This is not an option. If you want to make tracks, you must do this.
The terrain in all but a couple of these tracks is basically flat with a few attempts at landscaping. Unfortunately, however, it is all for naught since most of these artificial moguls can be avoided with ease. For example, in <i>Escape The Graveyard</i> (seen in the picture below) the hill is intended to provide a bit of added excitement to the drive, and perhaps avert collisions with cross traffic, but in the interest of pulling the fastest lap time, all you need to do is drive to the left or to the right and you are on your way, without being hindered or obstructed in the slightest.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim04EscapeTheGraveyard.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim04EscapeTheGraveyards.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
Also in <i>Escape The Graveyard</i> we find a noble effort at a bit of banking but alas, the road is too rough to navigate. And it is unnecessary anyway since you can just head in a straight line directly for the next checkpoint.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim05EscapeTheGraveyard.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim05EscapeTheGraveyards.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
Likewise in <i>Haunted Village</i> shortcuts abound as hills can be driven around.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim10HauntedVillage.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim10HauntedVillages.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
<i>Haunted Jungle Islands</i> has this problem beat. Unfortunately, however, the randomly generated terrain was relied on without editing and the track can hardly be driven at all at anything faster than a slow crawl.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim13HauntedJungleIsland.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim13HauntedJungleIslands.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
In <i>Freaky Forest</i> the drive around situation transforms itself into a complete follow-the-finder style track where it is unnecessary to follow the road at all. Just turn the finder on and point your truck to the next checkpoint.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim06freakyforest.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim06freakyforests.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
Terrain, roads, models and checkpoint placement should all be considered carefully in order to create the best drivable course. Following the course and staying on the road is fine when you are driving for fun, but in races it's often too slow and racers will find all the shortcuts... even if you don't intend them to be there.
Once the terrain issues have been solved, we can turn out attention to model placement. The first aspect of which is, of course, making models fit the terrain properly. Again, this example is from <i>Escape The Graveyard</i>. As the picture shows, you can drive your truck completely under the grave stones for a very unique six-feet-under experience.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim02EscapeTheGraveyard.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim02EscapeTheGraveyards.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
The next two are important ones.
Most new track makers do not realize that all models in a track are cube shaped, and that even if part of the model is transparent, it is still collidable. If you click the following picture to see the enlargement, you will see the yellow lines that mark the "bounding boxes" of the models. In this case, you can see nothing in front of the truck and yet it cannot proceed past the tree. To solve this problem, you must set the tree to "no collide" in the object property box in traxx.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim03EscapeTheGraveyard.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim03EscapeTheGraveyards.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
The next part about trees is that they are all flat models. The reason for this is that they are normally set to "facing" so that a driver always sees the front side of the model. If you do not set them to facing, then they all stand side by side just like card board cut outs.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim07freakyforest.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim07freakyforests.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
The solution to both these problems is easy. Always set trees to "<a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim03aEscapeTheGraveyard.jpg" target="_blank">no-collide facing</a>." Other models may be set as collide or no-collide but trees must always be no-collide facing. If you wish to make the tree more realistic, then you can include an extra <a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim03bEscapeTheGraveyard.jpg" target="_blank">object box for the tree truck</a>. Then you position it carefully so it is exactly aligned up where the tree trunk is. This is usually a good idea since it makes the track more realistic. But even if you don't include a trunk, the tree itself must always be no-collide facing.
Lastly, I have no idea whether this is a custom model or if it's been borrowed from another track (grim and falco have done a nice job ransacking team death's work). In any event, it would be my guess that this model, and others like it, would benefit from transparency.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim11HauntedVillage.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim11HauntedVillages.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
When creating new models, you must be aware of the face types that you assign to your models. In this case, we'd want 0x33 Transparent Color #0 (MTM2) as described in the <a href="http://cownap.com/~mtmg/binedit/facetypes.html" target="_blank">binedit help pages</a> and on the <a href="http://binedit.com/help/" target="_blank">binedit.com</a> site.
Now this is a very common problem. When the bottom of a ground box extends down below the water level, the lower end of the ground box will appear transparent and you will be able to see the terrain and surrounding area below.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim08Halloween2004.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim08Halloween2004s.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
The solution is to raise the bottom of the ground box so it is just above the water level.
Texture alignment does not directly affect how a track drives, but it sure can make a differece on the way it looks. All these tracks have problems with texture seams and alignment but perhaps it's most noticable in Mountain terror and here in Halloween 2004.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim09Halloween2004.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim09Halloween2004s.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
Like I say, this is not the worse problem in the world, and certainly not the worst problem of these tracks, and it's true there are a lot of tracks with seams and alignment problems, but certainly stark and contrasting colors such as these needn't be overlooked. We should at least make an effort at blending the roads together with the surrounding terrain and environment.
Lastly, comes lighting. At least, I think this is a lighting problem. I don't think I've ever seen a track so dark that you couldn't drive it.
<center><a href="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim12HauntedHills.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://cownap.com/~forum/beta/grim/grim12HauntedHillss.jpg" border="0"></a></center>
The only thing I could suggest here would be to review the notes on <a href="http://cownap.com/~mtmg/traxx/lighting.html" target="_blank">traxx lighting</a> and try and few things out. But as it is, this track, Haunted Hills, is nearly impossible to see where you're going... right from the very beginning and on right to the end.
In conclusion, these dudes or dudettes need to slow down on the track making assembly line and make use of the beta room here on the forum. All the problems I've described above, and several I haven't mentioned at all, are common and well known issues. By posting a track for testing, and getting feedback, you can avoid making the same mistakes again and again, and eventually start producing tracks that everybody will look forward to driving.
Make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with what you've done so far. It's all part of the learning process, and goodness knows there's lots to learn when it comes to track making. So, please, review the notes I've made for you and put this knowledge to good use in your new tracks. And by all means, keep working at it. I'm sure you've got good potential, you just need to apply yourself to it.