Ok let’s talk music here for a second, and stay with me on this; I promise there’s a method to the madness...or I at least hope there is. Eddie Van Halen and Eric Clapton - both superb lead guitarist, yet they produce completely different sounds using the same instrument. Imagination, interpretation, creativity…attributes that cannot be taught, and just as in track making, any time you set 4 or 5 people loose with the know-how of using a standard set of programs for making tracks, you’ll come out with different products each time…or you should. NOTE: I’m a jazz enthusiast actually, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the aforementioned artists are exceptional at what they do.
This marks my very first review on a track by ZR1_DKriderX, and yes, he most definitely has his own unique style. I guess the best way for me to describe his tracks are...clinical, for lack of a better word. Hehe, ok let me explain that just a little to affirm that I am in fact referring to an add-on race track…for MTM 2…the game made by TRI. Specifically, he seems to prefer a more linear style vs. one that’s wild and abstract. His roads aren’t pitched this way and that way with gobs of unorthodox angles and crazy twists/turns. He’s more up, down, straight, jump, right, left, curve, dip, another jump, etc. You won’t see anything extreme or radical, and his layouts are fairly predictable. Of course, he’s not limited to that, and I’m certainly not knocking the guy at all. I’m merely stating what I’ve observed in his work thus far.
Pirate’s Bay represents groundbreaking territory for Dk (as he’s known around the Zone). First of all, it’s definitely the most eye-catching track he’s produced to date. It’s...it’s...well, it’s beautiful! I was trying to come up with another word, but it’s late, so that one will have to do. As I mentioned earlier, Dk’s layout is fine, very good, in fact. Not that this is negative in any way, but I didn’t find any particular parts of this track I’d deem worthy of giving special attention to, such as a uniquely manufactured banked curve or a heart stopping, death defying jump. As I mentioned earlier, his approach is straightforward and uncomplicated. He’s not out here trying to copy another track maker’s style or anything of the sort. He stayed within the confines of his theme, and he didn’t cram a bunch of models in under the misguided assumption that “more is better”. It’s sometimes easy to focus on a track’s obvious characteristics, but I think it’s also good to be aware of what the author didn’t do, which can be a good thing!
I know it may come as a surprise to some, but when I ran this for the first time, I didn’t really like it that much. Now here’s why: I was in a room with a few guys who had already sliced and diced it, sniffed out all the shortcuts, and believe you me there are several. I didn’t know the shorts, so I ran the track according to the map layout. When I learned the shorts, it kinda took some of the air out of my enjoyment; I didn’t like it nearly as much. A sizeable portion of this track is chopped out due to the shortcuts, and at the time I thought it was semi-tragic given the work he put into it. He was totally unaware they existed except for the one he intentionally put in. After running it on my own a few more times, thinking about it a little, then running to the fridge to get food (hehe), returning to my desk to run it a few more times, my opinion of it gradually changed, and for several reasons.
First off, this track will still be enjoyed my many as is. Newcomers won’t have a clue about things such as going off the side of a ramp, jumping across the track, and then doubling back to trip a checkpoint or bypassing a jump to save time by skirting along the side. They’ll do what I did when I first started playing this game; they’ll run every track as it’s laid out until someone shows them differently or they figure it out (or stumble across it) on their own. That realization helped me come to terms with this track a lot. I just think it’s much too nice to not be appreciated to its fullest.
Secondly the shorts are actually kind of fun, but the biggest reason for my change of heart is the shortcuts had to be “created” by the racer. In general I’m not a real big fan of shortcuts, but some tracks are actually more enjoyable with the cuts than without them. Some shortcuts are pretty darn tough and require a good measure of precision to pull off, which means the risk factor is high, and I definitely find that appealing. If you stand to make significant gains during a race by using a shortcut, my feelings are it shouldn’t come easy. Make it, and all is right with the world. Blow it, and you pay a hefty price for taking the chance - pro racing at its best. For Pirate’s Bay it’s unlikely you’ll burn up brain cells trying to figure out the cuts and how to execute them, but it’s not ice cream and cake, either. A mistimed jump here, poor acceleration control there, and the next thing you know you could be...well, not winning.
As for the “Copey Rating”, this one rang up a very respectable 8.5 out of 10 possible points. Nice job, Dk - impressive stuff, bud! I didn’t notice any major flaws at all, however the checkpoints register quite a ways out from the outside of the poles, which is nothing serious. Your man-made cut isn’t completely hidden due to the road texture being visible as you turn the corner, but maybe that was by design – not sure. Phineus says he likes the texture work, by the way, so hey...that’s a major compliment; Phin doesn’t usually like much of anything! Hehehe.
Dk, I love the look of this track, and the course is a blast to run, however if you don’t want pro racers dicing up your tracks with shortcuts, my recommendation would be to employ a few shortcut-finding specialist during the beta testing process, and make that their sole responsibility. I would suggest guys like SLO_Jumper, RIP_DirtyRacer, RIP_Death1, SLO_Preacher…and there are several more. Also, you might consider dropping your beta off here at MTMG in the Beta Testing Room. You’ll get all kinds of feedback, and from some extremely knowledgeable track makers who’ve been around for a while. Oh hey, don’t listen to that Malibu350 guy; he can’t make a decent track to save his life! Hehehe. At any rate, the above are just a few things to consider, Dk. Once again, a very nice effort on your part!!
[This message has been edited by SLO_COPE (edited 11-07-2002).]