If the perception that OLD_FlatWheels (pro racer/crasher, track maker, webmaster, family man) came out of nowhere … then your guess would not be too far from the truth. He made his first track (“Flat’s Island”) around the latter part of 2001, and followed it up with what I thought was a pretty nice effort in “Flat’s Snow”. After that he kind of disappeared from the scene until October of last year, marking his return with “Tuindorp” – a very colorful SX styled track. In my opinion his “coming of age” track is “Flat’s Formula” – a Formula One styled track that was extremely well done, particularly for something he “threw together in a couple of hours” (his words lol).
“The Next Run” to me represents Flat’s newfound confidence, willingness to be creative, and his determination not to avoid confining himself to any one particular style. Along the same lines as “Flat’s Snow”, (but not nearly as long), this one takes you on a scenic journey from the city, to a shipping dock, thru a rural countryside, and finally to the beach, at which point it starts all over again. It’s pretty interesting stuff, and the course is challenging and fun. Overall I very much enjoyed his layout and how he transitioned from one area to the next. Oh, and I love the barge in the shipping dock that allows you to go from one side to the other. Be careful there; one slip and you’ll be asking for a towel.
Objectively speaking, the lag hits in the city portion and along the beach are caused by the high model count (lots of girls on the beach, guys) clustered up in one area. Setting some of the models so that they could only be viewed in “Complex” scenery mode would’ve helped to alleviate the problem. I can’t say how intense the lag would be with 3 or 4 racers in those areas, but it’s “tolerable” running it solo. Several portions of the course have texture alignment issues, and he was aware it prior to releasing the track, but couldn’t figure out how to effect repairs. Having said that, whether you’re an old-time vet or just starting off in track making, I highly recommend using the Beta Testing Room
. Its purpose or goal isn’t to provide a one-stop spot for quick-fix actions to every problem that pops up during track production. However, a lot of “Master Track Makers” (you’ll recognize ‘em pretty easily; they’re the ones wearing the white lab coats lol) frequent the forum area at MTMG, so you might get a suggestion on how to resolve a problem in ways you never knew were possible. Moving on, the other things that caught my eye were the bridge at the very beginning (extends out into the road too far after crossing) and the map flaw that shows a rather acute right turn (it isn’t) shortly after checkpoint 6.
Still, “The Next Run” is a worthy download in my opinion. Its uniqueness is appealing, and as I said earlier, it provides enough of a challenge to keep your attention. In the end it chalked up a respectable “7.75” out of 10 possible points on the “Copey Rating” system. Not bad at all, but certainly not his best. No worries, however – Flat is still refining his craft, and making great progress, as you’ll soon see in the next review I do with his name on it.