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 Post subject: Rhubarb by Wint
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:58 pm 
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<center><a href=http://mtm2.com/~trackville/tracks/rhubarb.htm target=rhubarb><img src=http://mtm2.com/~trackville/tracks/rhubarb_mini.jpg border=0></a>

Click the picture for some larger screenshots, the download, and more.</center>

Rhubarb, a rugged and tricky circuit with lap times of about 32 seconds.

Why the name Rhubarb? Even while I was trying to think of a name
for the track I was eating a piece of homemade strawberry-rhubarb
pie. Eureka! At the same tasty moment I realized the colors of
the green vegetation and the red trees in the track reminded me
of rhubarb (which is a big, leafy plant with celery-like stalks
that are used for pies and jams). Also, considering the terrain
was a direct adaptation of my "Ruach" track I thought the name
fit, since it has a vaguely similar look and sound. I also figured
some people would like it and others would hate it, just like the
very tart rhubarb. And! rhubarb is also a slang term that means
"a quarrel, fight, or heated discussion", which seems quite
suitable for this tricky little racing track. I hope you like it.

How did it come about? When I was making the track "Ruach"
I created some off-track roads, upon reflection I realized I
could squeeze a whole new track out them with a little effort.
So, I changed a few things and here it is. I pretty much consider
Ruach and Rhubarb a set, sisters - if you will. :)

Check out the readme for more info. ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 11:49 pm 
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Stunning.


To stupefy, as with the emotional impact of an experience; astound.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:04 pm 
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This one is the most exiting figure 8 track i've ran since i've been playing this great game. All level of players will sure enjoy it. Suitable for fun large group racing as well as for running laps by yourself offline i doubt very much anyone will have anything negative to say about such a track.

As usal, Wint again came out with a series of thumbs up... Well done budy

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:06 am 
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This jewel of a track has a very simple layout, yet is subtle and challenging to drive.
In practice, this means that once you had a look at the map, you know the track well enough to race immediately: there won't be any qualms about the direction of the next turn.

But then it will take a couple of laps to figure out how to be fast. And maybe some more.
The right hander after the start (in fact a sequence of three curves with cleverly designed irregularities) requires some time to get harnessed, especially under multiplayer racing conditions.

The other masterpiece is that left hander over the crest at CP4: the fast line is very narrow and the time penalty for a mistake here is more likely to be expressed in full rather than tenth of seconds.

Nobody writes about the execution of the track because everybody expects good looking and seamless textures, nice objects with accurate collision properties etc. And of course Wint, who has established himself long time ago as a label of technical perfection, once more lived up to these expectations.

I've found a formula for those who skip lengthy text chunks and jump to the bottom line:
Instant fun + long term replayability + technical perfection = :!: Golden Antler Award :!:


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:16 pm 
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• Replay: Rhubarb
• Garage Settings: 1500 med tires/soft suspension
• Fast Lap to date: :30.27 by SLO_Jumper


Excellent review, rocket!! You know, I was working my way up to this one (among others), but with a review like this I guess I can just springboard off of your comments.

You are quite correct - both Ruach and Rhubarb are very simple tracks indeed, and as you noted even basic layouts can prove to be challenging and quite fun. I've already heard comments like "Well sure, they're nice tracks, but there's nothing to them really". Not so. They're exceptional pieces of work, and most likely more complex to master than people give them credit for. Besides, what is it being compared to? It would be unfair to pit Rhubarb and Ruach against Wake Up! because there's just so much more going on in that track - a whole lot more. Even Expo Loading Dock is quite a bit more complex than Ruach and Rhubarb, but by no means does that make these two little munchkins inferior tracks. The quality of workmanship is second to none, and their race-worthiness is outstanding, and it's because the guy knows how to make a track - period. Quite frankly, as far as I'm concerned Wint is a genius where track making is concerned. Nope, no sarcasm there whatsoever. It's just my own personal opinion. No one does it quite like he does, regardless of the type of track it is.

Ok Rocket, you brought up the topic of execution and how no one has mentioned it or discussed it. Oh wait, before I get into the finer aspects of racing lines and so forth, sure, I go a little nuts when I see tons of tiling blemishes, floating models, and seams in a track. For most track makers I think much of that stuff can be prevented if they focused more on detail and allowed beta testers to look at their work to pick up things they may have missed. But at the same time by no means does a track have to be free of slightly floating models and/or misaligned textures to be a great track, but I certainly wouldn't expect guys like ONaN, PreaCh Rocket, and the like to release a track loaded with flawed texture work. If you did, I wouldn't hesitate to call it what it is; crappy workmanship lol. But realize it would be based on what I know you're capable of. Nowadays I think the standards have changed. There are some old tracks out there (for example, Wun Lake by GTX_Iwunagan) that are full of flaws, and of various types, yet the MTM racing community maintains that it's a classic, and it is, but that was based on the 6-year old standards and expectations. Thanks to MTMG the tools exist to raise that standard, so expectations are higher, as they should be. At least that's how I feel about it. Ok enough of that; let's have a little Rhubarb pie!

So you want to talk about execution, do ya, Rocket? I just ran 8 laps to refamiliarize myself with the way this baby races so that I know what the heck I'm about to talk about. As with any track, if you're shooting for super fast laps you're going to have to spend some time on it learning every little bump, the characteristics of each turn and so forth. From there the next step is to set about making minute adjustments, and I'm here to tell ya, often times the adjustments are seemingly insignificant, but when you're talking about shaving hundredths of seconds off your lap time, they are indeed more significant than they appear. Even if running :30/:31 second laps on Rhubarb isn't your goal, you'll definitely learn a little about this track based on what you're about to read.

Here's a shot of the layout with the checkpoints marked for reference. As you start out, you'll want to stay tight up against the rock structure as you pass through cp 1. You'll maintain that line (staying close to the inside as you round the corner) until you reach this section here, where you'll want to drift slightly out to the left where it's a touch smooth. If you stay too far to the inside you'll find the your tires momentarily leave the ground due to the roughness of the road. It's only for a fraction of a second, but again, it all adds up in the end. More importantly, positioning your truck a little more to the left sets you up for the next checkpoint. As you pass thru cp 2 you'll want to try and get more to the right because the track terrain will start to dip downward, and it's more pronounced on the left, hence your truck will become airborne. Actually, you'll catch some air regardless, but for a slightly longer period of time if you stay to the left. As you proceed downward toward cp 3, the track will start to swing to the left in a subtle banked turn. Use the bank to build speed, and as you close in on cp 3, start moving in close to the marker so that as you pass thru, it's immediately to your left as shown here. Allow the truck to drift slightly out to the right, which is pretty easy since your momentum will be pushing you in that direction anyway. Let off the gas momentarily and start making the turn through cp 4, again, maintaining close proximity to the marker. As you pass the marker, downshift into second gear to regain control, allowing yourself to drift outward in lieu of immediately turning downward toward cp 5. As your truck becomes aligned with the marker for cp 5, start down toward the finish. The reason for taking that approach to and through cp 5 is to allow for maximum speed to the finish, which should be around 92/93 mph. Now, having said all of that, you can down load and watch the replay on our HoF that Jumper made. Lap 5 of the replay is run pretty much exactly as I described above. Similarly, the marked picture of the overhead shot shows the line to take at each juncture of the track. So as you can see, there is in fact more to Rhubarb than most people realize. ;) Actually there's more to what you've just read, because there's no way to communicate the accelerator control that's involved to hold a line like that. It's more about "feel", so all I can say is practice, practice, practice!

As technically involved as that was, I’m sure Wint wasn’t saying to himself as he was laying the terrain, "Let’s see, if I put a slight little bump here, that’ll force racers to drift wide to the left, then as they pass cp 2, they’ll have to go back to the right and use the bank turn to build momentum . . . " He’s not THAT kind of genius lol. Make no mistake, however, the way that this track performs in a race is no accident; the guy knows what he's doing when it comes to constructing a race track - that's just an irrefutable fact.

I love both Ruach and Rhubarb – they’re outstanding tracks that obviously appeal to quite a few people with 112 and 74 downloads respectively at the time this review was posted. In my opinion Rhubarb is the more difficult of the two because the line is harder to find and hold. With Ruach it’s mostly a matter if hitting those turns as close to the fencing as you can, then executing the swinging left turn into the finish line as smooth as possible with as much speed as you can muster. Note that on Ruach your first lap will be the fastest due to the starting position of the trucks, so don’t go killing yourself trying to hit :30 second laps after the first lap; it’s just not going to happen. The fun factor on both are neck-in-neck as far as I’m concerned, proof positive that you don’t need wiz-bang special effects, a heep of models or a 4-minute long course to have a ton of fun when racing. With Wint I never have to justify or explain why I give his tracks Copey Ratings of “10”. The guy is simply a master track maker that doesn’t miss a trick.

I do have one suggestion for ya, Wint. In your readme.txt for Rhubarb you explained how the track got its name. The next time you find yourself in the midst of creating another masterpiece, try to eat before you sit down and open Traxx or maybe save satisfying your hunger after you're done working on a track. My fear is we’ll end up with names like “Pot Roast & Mashed Potatoes” or “Oatmeal & Toast” lol. Once again awesome work, partner! I have to tell ya, man . . . the more I run these things the more I love ‘em, and although I haven’t tried ‘em out against my fellow teammates, I’m definitely looking forward to it. These kinds of tracks make for exciting, drama-filled finishes, so it should be a blast!

Now, if I may borrow a few choice words from Phin . . . “What’s next?”

P.S. - I had no intention of posting a review for this track today, but that dang Rocket got me going lol.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:25 am 
Glow Ball
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> As technically involved as that was, I’m sure Wint wasn’t saying to himself as he was laying the terrain, Let’s see.....

Maybe. A good line is all important, so you never know how technical the thinking can get. Perhaps not exactly the way you're describing, but it's all a factor, fersure fersure.


> Golden Antler Award


I'll second that [tu]


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:58 am 
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Oh hey, I most definitely agree that a good line is important - very! It looks like I failed to properly communicate the point I wanted to make.

Believe me I know that a lot of track makers invest a great deal of time constructing a good layout, and on some tracks they're pretty complex. But what I was trying to say was by in large I can't imagine any track maker knowing that their track will be disected to the point where miniscule little bumps, nooks and crannys are examined, experimented with, and sometimes re-examined to the point where a particular "line" is the end product. Additionally, tracks like this (partly rough terrain, uneven sections of road, etc.) require a great deal of accelerator control whereby you're letting off the gas just so in certain areas to adjust to the terrain, usually to set yourself up for the next turn, jump, bank, etc. The end result is a formula for how to best run that track.

I'm not trying to blow this stuff out of portion or make it seem more significant than it truly is, but trust me, sometimes days have been spent trying to figure out how to beat another person's lap time, and it always comes down to the same thing; finding an ever-so-slightly more efficient line, and to do that it requires doing the very things I mentioned earlier about examining every little crack and crevice in search of just a fraction more speed. It's how Jump bested RIP_DirtyRacer's time on Zoon Climber (Jump - 1:42.01) and how I edged out RIP_PonyExpress on Zoonette Euro (my time - 1:39.08). ValveJob's Strip 'N Go Coal is another good example, as well as his Lakebed Extreme - there's a ton of stuff in those two tracks to figure out where it comes to line. Have a spin on them to see for yourself. They're both awesome tracks, but boy are they brutal (painful even) to run lol.

Now . . . if you're saying it's thought out to that degree, whereby the smallest little bumps, crevices and such are there by design because they yield specific characteristics with respect to line, then by gosh we'll start sending money today, to include back pay lol.

Team Death - "You can bet if the track has a bump I put it there." Sure, but I'd bet money he had no idea how such bumps would be used, that some more than others would be instrumental (sometimes critical) in achieving fast laps. If so, he was a genius AND a heck of a racer lol.

Edit: Just so I don't come across wrong here, the lap times I posted where Jump and I bested times by DirtyRacer and Ponyexpress aren't carved in stone. They certainly have the skills to beat our laps if they were willing to invest the time/effort.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 3:24 pm 
Glow Ball
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I don't think you failed to communicate anything. I'm pretty sure I knew what you meant. However, I just wanted to add that, although perhaps not in the terms you use and as unlikely as it may seem, there is more that goes into the positioning of this or that bump than it might appear.

For example, in the <a href="viewtopic.php?t=3825">Electric Hellfire</a> review (to choose something handy) you note Onan's style as clean, wide lanes, few shortcuts, and smartly placed custom models. On his tracks, any sort of misplaced bump or model is going to stand out a mile away (eg. the noted bump in <a href="viewtopic.php?t=3829">Omou</a>) and it's the elimination of those aspects that precisely give his tracks his characteristic stamp. So, in his case, when making a track, the "hmm, let's see..." is exactly what's being taken into consideration. Conversely, when doing <a href="http://cownap.com/~tracks/details.cgi?t=3883">S&M</a> one of my questions was whether reducing the number of checkpoints would open up unwanted shortcuts, but was told that because of the terrain, going off road was counter productive. Now, in each of these cases, we're working on a grand scale. But the same principle applies when looking at the miniscule details like the bump at cp2 in Rhubarb. I'm not suggesting that a track maker can know every possible variation on the way a racer will navigate the entire course every time, that would be like flipping a coin and knowing whether it will turn up heads or tails and never be mistaken, but what I am saying is that such things are conscious choices - in the more well constructed tracks. I won't presume to speak for Wint, but we all know for a fact that Mal, because he's told us time and again, that he test drives his tracks hundreds and hundreds of laps while he's making them. And we can believe it too because when we see tracks like <a href="http://cownap.com/~tracks/details.cgi?t=2935">MomentumX</a> we can be good and sure that such perfection was not the result of happenstance. I'll bet that feller said "let's see..." ten thousand times on that track. Speaking personally, I can say without a doubt or uncertaintly that <a href="http://mtm2.com/~tracks/details.cgi?t=4052">Acropolis</a> met with the same scrutiny at creation time. And lest there be any doubt, the three versions of <a href="http://cownap.com/~tracks/tracks.cgi?s=black+gold">Black Gold</a> not only involved the same kind of decisions but they were done three times over and by request. More examples available if needed.

Now, as far as Zoon Climber, Strip 'N Go and Lakebed are concerned, I tend to think that those track makers didn't leave much to chance. Of course, they'd have to confirm themselves but they were also a couple guys who usually didn't scrimp when it came to detail. As for Team Death, I remember beta testing one of the first tracks he included that line for and I laughed at him and asked what I could possibly contribute after a statement like that. His response was something like he put the bump there even if somebody else suggested he do it.

Regarding back pay, I'll PM you my snail mail address and recommend Mal, Wint, Shoe, the moose, etc. do the same ;-)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 4:36 pm 
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Good stuff! You kinda said it all:

Quote:
"I'm not suggesting that a track maker can know every possible variation on the way a racer will navigate the entire course every time . . . "


True, and I agree, exept for the 'every time' part. There's only one way to run Momentum X to get 1:41s, and Jump figured that out, just as there's only one way to run KC's Backyard and pull 1:02s. The same applies to RAZ's score on Black Gold (which I'm still in awe over lol). To me it's comparable to figuring out a puzzle, and each piece to that puzzle only fits one other piece. Your points are absolutely well-made (yeah, I know you know that already lol), but what I'm saying is I'm sure Mal, Wint, that moose guy and maybe even you (like for Black Gold) never thought you'd see the types of lap times that have been produced on your tracks. If they were around, I think Zoon, ValveJob, Guitar Bill, and others would be surprised to see some of the lap times on their tracks, never realizing such times could be achieved when they created it. That's why I maintain that there are aspects about a track even the trackmaker is probably unaware of, but as a racer, if you want to own the fastest lap, you'll have to examine every part of that track from top to bottom.

Finally, I hope this discussion didn't detract from the topic at hand, which is Wint's awesome tracks, Rhubarb and Ruach. I wouldn't dare presume that track makers, especially the ones mentioned in this discussion, are generating the kind of layouts they do by happenstance - no way, no how. Heck I'm one of the first to stand up and tip my hat to them all, vowing to sing their praises til the end of time lol . . . but I'll be darn if I'm gonna start sending money (especially to a moose). I'm just not THAT convinced by Phin's perspective lol.

Great discussion though, Phin. Like I said, you won't be getting any money out of this whole deal, but I'll see to it that you get an extra cookie today lol. ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:28 pm 
Glow Ball
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> There's only one way to run Momentum X to get...

Yes, but will you do it every time?

> it's comparable to figuring out a puzzle

A racer is comparable to a musician in the execution of a complex piece of music. The musician may hit the correct notes every time but there is more to a performance than mechanical reproduction. A good racer will discover the nuances that make the difference.

> what I'm saying is I'm sure [track makers] never thought you'd see the types of lap times that have been produced on your tracks

I might even go so far as to say that lap times, of any duration, aren't even a consideration at all, except in a general sense (circuit/rally) and as a point of idle curiosity. If I make a strativarius or a classic mark iv, no matter what my own abilities there is a point at which I hand them over to the real artists... after all, my art goes into the making of the instrument, not the playing of it. But when I finally do give them over, I'm fully aware of what they're capable.

> I hope this discussion didn't detract from the topic at hand

On the contrary, how many tracks could give rise to this sort of chat? It's precisely that we are talking about Rhubarb and Ruach that we're talking at all.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:09 am 
Trackologist
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Quote:
On the contrary, how many tracks could give rise to this sort of chat?


Oh quite a few, I think hehe. I love talking about tracks, but I think the real question here is when is Wint going to make another one? That's what the world wants to know. You're not getting off the hook that easy, Wint. Not even Phin's attempt to distract everyone with talk of strativariuses, classic mark iv's, and musicians is going to do it lol.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:51 pm 
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Quote:
To me it's comparable to figuring out a puzzle, and each piece to that puzzle only fits one other piece.

Excellent remark. That's pretty much how I see it from a track maker’s perspective, although different people certainly take different approaches. When I am making a track, I start with a strong idea about how it should feel and what kind of manoeuvres it should reward. During development I permanently check the result with extensive driving sessions, all performed with automatic gears. Once I'm satisfied with the track, it will get the edge from the extra power available with manual gears.

Getting back to Wint, I don't know how fast he is but I doubt a track maker can create a consistent driving challenge without the slightest idea about speed. And we all agree that Rhubarb is great for racing.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 8:42 pm 
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Wow. Many thanks to all of you for the kind words! It means a lot to me coming from you guys. [<-)]


Jumper, I've appreciated your comments both here and at the SLO Forum, and... it was cool to see your fast laps and replays (HOF).


The Golden Antler Award? Wow, what an honour. :)

Rocketalces, I was quite pleased to read your comments about the "cleverly designed irregularities" and the "left hander over the crest at CP4". It was cool to see that you understood what I had said in this 'language' we have in common.


Cope, thank you for the detailed review, lotsa laughs, and for your very generous appraisal. You've been most kind, I hope it doesn't tarnish your reputation. :D


SLO_COPE wrote:
Now, if I may borrow a few choice words from Phin . . . “What’s next?”


What's next? Well, <a href=http://mtm2.com/~forum/images/oatmealandtoast.jpg target=oats>Oatmeal & Toast</a> is ready for beta testing. [:P]




Regarding the discussion...

Cope, as for the thought that can go into some tracks Phin is very much on target, but you are also correct about how racers can navigate and exploit terrain in unforseen ways. Still, if the track maker is an obsessive type, and the racing line is rather clear, you can expect that every bump, crease and altitude adjustment was very carefully considered, and has been through an evolution to get where it is, with full consideration for the truck navigation possibilities. Not every track maker is so careful, but there are many who would be, especially on a circuit designed for serious racing. So, make the checks payable to.... oh, nevermind. The thing is, as track makers are aware, the smallest increment in terrain formation is actually rather <a href=http://forum.mtm2.com/viewtopic.php?p=11502#11502 target=d2s>large</a>, so that almost every bump and crevice is indeed quite deliberate, and... often the result of compromise. However, I will grant that no track maker could really forsee the truly 'perfect run' I think you have tried to describe, with every nuance of throttle control necessary to achieve the fastest possible times.

Personally, I can visualize how a single great racer can make the most of my terrains, even if I can't drive so skillfully myself. Seeing Jumper run Wake Up! is a perfect example, he followed the ideal line just as I'd visualized it, doing so in a way that I would never be able to. However, what I have trouble visualizing is what works well in a multiplayer setting, or knowing how well racers might like my tracks for competition. I'm always unsure how things will balance out -- having no multiplayer experience to rely on. However again, I have learned a lot just reading the many Copey reviews, to better understand how competitive racers can think.


Thanks again y'all, I do appreciate it, and I'm very glad the tracks were well received.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:45 am 
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Oh trust me, I hear ya, Wint. In fact, Phin's words made perfect sense. I just figured I'd press him a bit more to see what he'd come up with. Never in my wildest dreams did I think he'd break out the stratavarius/classic mark iv analogy lolol. I figured I'd better let it go after reading that. I mean, who knows what he would've came up with next lol.

Quote:
Well, Oatmeal & Toast is ready for beta testing.


Oh geez, I hope not lol.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 8:33 am 
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Dang, to bad i wasn't here to follow this thread as it was ongoing.
Very interesting (even flattering comments) by you guys.

Here's just a few things i'd comments on.

Cope wrote:
Quote:
but trust me, sometimes days have been spent trying to figure out how to beat another person's lap time,


On some tracks (so many actually lol) i've spent well over beyond any reasonnable amount of time to often grab barely a few split second at the end lol. So not only days have been spent but entire weeks preparing for a tourney. As Copey stated so well, Many track makers would be surprise to see how much time we sometime put into trying to profit for what many would condider insignificant details. Combination of things make it worth.

First of all a layout that flows well is certainly the most important thing as what feel good stimulate the desire (much like sex lol) It doesn't feel like wasting your time to work it out as you're simply just having fun doing it.

Next is of course the scenery. For pretty much the same reason as I described for the layout. However, scenery alone will not generate long term interest, therefore it's of secondary importance.

For the more experience (and or patient) drivers, the choice of obstacles and how difficult they are to either avoid or to deal with.
Not to many drivers i know of (including me) will enjoy figuring out how to deal with obstacles when success reside more into luck then abilities. But if the makers give us the tools ie visual cues to aim for sometime as discrete as a small rock laying up ahead or a tree sitting near the landing area. the interest will remain high. So to speak, the better the track the more surprise track makers will be when they realize what we can do on them.

Quote:
Quote:
On the contrary, how many tracks could give rise to this sort of chat?


Oh quite a few, I think hehe


I'll second that, tons of tracks and many made by all you makers (and we'll never thanks you guy enough for all those) participating in this thread could've easily trigger this sort of conversation.


Quote:
Quote:
To me it's comparable to figuring out a puzzle, and each piece to that puzzle only fits one other piece.

Excellent remark. That's pretty much how I see it from a track maker’s perspective, although different people certainly take different approaches.


From a driver perspective, it would be more like figuring out a better way to fit the pieces of that puzzle to other pieces where they were not meant to fit so you can finish it earlier lol

Quote:
Jumper, I've appreciated your comments both here and at the SLO Forum,


Hey! Nothing easier than to simply express how good I felt after enjoying myself a few hours and all of it for FREE. Dont thank me, I thank you

Quote:
Great discussion though, Phin. Like I said, you won't be getting any money out of this whole deal,


Not that you wouldn't deverse it for all you've done for us. It's just that I dont have anything left to donate after refuelling my truck lol

Beware! The better I understand how track makers think, the easier it is for me to screw their plans lol

Quote:
What's next? Well, Oatmeal & Toast is ready for beta testing.


Dang! Do you really think i'm gonna drive my so cool looking truck in oatmeal? 8)

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