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 Post subject: LaPaMa beta uploaded
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 9:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2002 2:01 pm
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Location: Switzerland
LaPaMa http://mtm2.com/~tracks/dl.cgi?dl=3209

Notes for Beta release 5.April 2003
====================================
Beside the standard items, (fun, driveability, texture alignement, truck traps etc,) I would be interestred in feedback on the following:

Layout
If you have sold the brakes of your monster truck, you won't be happy with this one...

Still reading?
The track starts near a gravel oval. Currently, you have to perform one and a half lap before jumping out of it (use finder).
I'm not sure whether this is fun or will rather quickly become annoying.
Do you want the full oval lap?
Did you have problems finding your way around the track?
Did you find any shortcut? [I try to prevent shortcutting]

Your lap times

Popups
For me, landscape and objects popping up when getting closer to them are the turn-down of MTM2 . Therefore, I spent considerable design efforts to prevent this artefact on the normal racing line. (Tons of popups happen when driving the track backwards or off-track but I'm not (yet?) maniac enough to get bothered by that Image
Please report popups visible when driving a (nearly) normal racing line, ...and don't be shy if you have a cure for it.

Objects
For the moment, all trees are set to no-collide. Because of the popup thing, I'm still moving them a lot but
each one will get a collide trunk in the final layout.
The setting of scenery density is not defined for the moment, so please report frame rate hits.
Suggestions for improving the aesthetic are also welcome.
The checkpoints are provisional. I don't know yet whether I will use Malibu's Kodiak items (like the start finish point) or revamp my LaPaLu checkpoints, they will be numbered.

AI trucks
I target the AI for 50 fps systems, but aim to have it running decently on all system with 30-60 fps.
(AI is framerate dependent, see discussion topic )
From dozens of trials with the LaPaLu track I know that it is hopeless to get AI trucks running decently on 100+ fps systems, so I did not even try this time.

Please specify your frame rate with reports of weird AI behavior (like driving outside checkpoints,etc).
If you report AI lap times, make sure that you arrived last. (Because, once you completed the race, the AI race- and lap times of the trucks behind you are calculated (not simulated). This often produces impossibly fast AI lap times.

Enjoy
Rocketalces


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 12:33 pm 
Trackologist
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All righty then! I'll have something for ya by tomorrow, bud. Until then you're welcome to wait in the lobby (complimentary coffee & donuts) or return in about 24 hrs to see the results lol. Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 4:26 pm 
Glow Ball
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First, once around the track.

At the start line, there's a wall that looks like it should meet with a ground box so it gives the appearance of a continuous structure. As it is now, you can peek through in an odd sort of way.

The oval. It's an age old concept that's received a lot of attention lately. I think the best thing I can do is give you this link and let you decide for yourself.

A few trees dig into the terrain as they turn to face you. It's not the worst I've seen but you should be aware of it.

There's a box floating in the water beside a boat. Don't know what that's about.

You're attempts to match texture colors where the seams don't align is pretty good. Short of making custom textures, I think this is a good solution.

Checkpoint placement needs work. We go a long while with nothing, then bang bang bang bang. CH_2005 made a nice utility that lets you see the map in a line drawing. It can be helpful for determining where to put cps. C-POD and some info about it

Your working track patterns are visible from the roadway. You will probably want to blank those out before you're done.

Texture types to be avoided
- grass
- gravel
- mud
- rocks
- sand

Texture types that are safe
- default
- cement
- dirt
- wood

=====================

> Layout
If you're going to put in terrain that can send you flying off the road, you might want to consider strategic model and terrain that minimizes the damage. A fence on the far side of a curve, a hill to hold you on the road.

> Still reading?
no ;-)

> Did you have problems finding your way around the track?
not after a lap.

> Your lap times
Didn't race it. I was looking at the track, and I think the texture types should be corrected before a serious lap can be considered.

> Popups
Generally pretty good. If you highlight a model, then get down horizontal to the terrain and use the S and X keys you can do pretty good just eye balling them. However, there are some that you just can't do because of the box shape and they way it sits on a hill. In those cases, no collide (with or without an object box) is the only way to go.

> For the moment, all trees are set to no-collide.
Good move. Trees should <u>always</u> be no collide facing. No exception. Trunks are a good thing but not always an option. It's a judgement call.

> frame rates
no lag at all.


edit. Elch Bar & The fastest Elk on the internet. hehe

<font size=1>Edited by Phineus (06-04-2003)</font>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 9:23 pm 
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Hiya Rocketalces, I did enjoy.

Since you seem willing to receive specific suggestions, here are some before and after shots of changes I'm suggesting:

<a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/vel0001.jpg>before</a> / <a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/vel0001a.jpg>after</a>

^ Here you have perhaps one extra CP, the rest of CP placement seems very good. Note also, in all of the before/after shots, that a custom track palette was generated, which seems to look much better all around.

<a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/vel0002.jpg>before</a> / <a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/vel0002a.jpg>after</a>

^ Here a suggested texture transition, also note the palette differences.

>> Short of making custom textures, I think this is a good solution.

Agreed.

<a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/vel0003.jpg>before</a> / <a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/vel0003a.jpg>after</a>

^ Here two groundboxes, set to the smallest width, fill the gap where the bottom the of the building is see-through. Note palette changes.

I don't like <a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/vel0004.jpg>this</a> texture transition.


I got bumped and flew over <a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/vel0005.jpg>this cliff</a>, going through the checkpoint just outside the exit of the oval, I suggest keeping the profile of the ridge as seen from the road, but turn the cliff into smooth hill or plateau so that one could drive back up if they go over the ridge.

I agree with Phineus about the gap between the wall and the groundbox, if that wall is your model I would lengthen it, or lengthen it and rename it if it isn't yours. I think I see how you are using it to mask the texture transitions, which is a good thing, but it's just not long enough to span what it needs to.

The oval "works for me", but a full lap is not necessarily necessary, if you want to cut it short.

The groundbox in the water that Phin mentioned - it is odd, but one thing to learn from it is that the bottoms of groundboxes shouldn't penetrate the level of the water - when they do you see transparency near their bottom, correlating to how deep they penetrate the water level.

I have more to say..... good things to say, but that must come later, for now it's just the tech stuff. I have no further complaints, except perhaps for texture transitions, and AI performance.

<font size=1>Edited by Winterkill (06-04-2003)</font>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 9:30 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
About that weird ground box in the lake Phin mentionned...
Don't know what that's about? Hard to believe, but such a thing actually existed. For the Swiss national exhibition 2002, they put a rusty cube, size of a 4 floor building, (that's art, folks) into a beautyful lake.It's been removed now , but you can see pics here http://www.picswiss.ch/NE-L04.html

What I don't understand, is why it is floating: I checked that the bottom value is set lower than water and ground level.
Rocketalces


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 10:41 pm 
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>> landscape and objects popping up

At first I didn't realise what you were referring to, but when I did I went back into the game and was amazed. I doubt anyone has approached the limitation of the MTM2 viewing distance quite like you have. Allow me to post an explanation, 'review' style...

<blockquote>
Most everyone knows that the maximum viewing distance in MTM2 is 20 "grid squares", terrain beyond that view distance can be seen being "drawn" (rendered) on screen when the view is uninterrupted, popping into view as it's drawn. Clever screenshot takers have always been on guard against this effect, minimizing the "ugly" half-drawn aspect when taking a scenic shot. Models tend to show up even before terrain, beyond the 20 square limit, and when they show up at the horizon they "pop" into view suddenly. Models are rendered in the environment when their center axis comes within a certain distance from the camera, this is why very large models will suddenly pop into view when you are quite close to them - it's your distance to their center that determines when you see them.

Rocketalces has deliberately designed his track to make all of the on screen rendering happen out of sight of a driver running the track as intended. At almost every point in the track the terrain and models are rendered before you see them, the result is that one might never notice that MTM2 even has a view distance limit! This is a remarkable design goal, one that could surely limit the type of terrain one could create, yet Rocketalces has accomplished it even on a very diverse terrain.
</blockquote>


Well done Rocketalces! This track meets your goal almost perfectly, and I must admit it is quite a bold endeavor. After realizing what you were up to I took note of a hill that was surely designed for no other reason than to hide the rendering process, yet it fits into the track quite naturally.

Admittedly, even on my very first track (1999) I was conscious of the view limit, I tried to create scenic terrain (off to the side) that would remain in sight of the roadway, and my track would wind back around to maximize the use of terrain already created, to use it as scenery after it was used as a road. Your efforts are beyond anything I've considered before, except as it would relate to really large models. Very interesting approach to track design!


Edit: High-quality <a href=/~trackville/tmp/lapama/mooses.jpg>moose</a> (left and right facing versions): <a href=/~trackville/models/mooselch.zip>mooselch.zip</a> - 19 kb

<font size=1>Edited by Winterkill (08-04-2003)</font>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 6:43 am 
Trackologist
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Took a few spins on this solo, as well as 6 laps with SLO_HotShoe & scrooch_dog to get the feel of it in a race environment. To keep things organized, I'll address the issues you cited in your initial post, rocket:

<B>The track starts near a gravel oval. Currently, you have to perform one and a half lap before jumping out of it (use finder).
I'm not sure whether this is fun or will rather quickly become annoying. Do you want the full oval lap?</B>

Hehe yeah, interesting topic considering we just finished a beta where the oval became kind of a focal point. However, as wacky as this may sound, it seems to work here. It's only 1.5 laps long, and to get around it efficiently you have to really make good use of skidding into turns & and downshifting smartly. I don't see a problem with it.

<B>Did you have problems finding your way around the track?
Not at all - pretty straight forward, however, I think if you keep the oval, you might cosider some kind of sign/visual prompt to let racers know they can't exit before making a fool loop.

[b]Did you find any shortcut? [I try to prevent shortcutting]</B> Like Phin said, your checkpoint layout is suspect, particularly in the middle portion of the track where you get the rapid-fire effect lol. After you reposition your checkpoints I'll have another go at it for shorts. However...there is a little jump over the fence you can use to shave a little time off your lap. It's not so much a short as it is an alternate route, and I highly encourage you to leave it in. Gives racers option, and as I said, it probably shaves a 1/2 sec at best, but it comes with a risk, and that's how I believe it should be.

[b]Your lap times
Here's a replay of a 2:45 first lap. I did do a few 2:42s and one very high 2:41. NOTE: Phin suggested changing the texture type to preclude the slippery nature of your track. I'd say 90% of the time I'd agree with that, but something to consider (if you haven't already, that is) is the current type setting really makes this track a challenge - some will hate it, some will love it. It's not the kind of effect you want on blacktop or concrete roadways, but for the type of road this appears to be, it I think it's a workable option. Let me counter that by adding that if you did change the texture type, it would decrease the level of difficulty by 2 or 3 notches easily. Again it all comes down to what you want, and also figuring out if what you want works. If this is what you want, my opinion is it definitely works - it's extremely raceable. Image

Popups - Phin covered those, but I'll keep my eyes open.


Objects Yep, if you can make use of a tree trunk, all the better - adds more realism. If not, leave as no-collide facing.

I don't know yet whether I will use Malibu's Kodiak items (like the start finish point) or revamp my LaPaLu checkpoints, they will be numbered. I think different cp's would a plus visually if for no other reason. The ones in place don't quite mesh with the rest of the atmosphere.

AI trucks - didn't test yet.


Much improved over your first effort, rocket...which is how it's supposed to be hehe. Don't have much to add technically since Wint and Phin wrapped that up. If you're looking for suggestions to improve your track's appearance, you might wanna checkout the trees on HotShoe's Oregon Outback & Crabtree Lake . They're superb, and really improve the visual quality of a track. Maybe some slight vegetation in the shallow water...slight is the operative word there lol. Beyond that I try to steer clear of recommending decor for tracks; it's kind of a personal preference thing. If you overload it I'll definitely let ya know, however. Image


<font size=1>Edited by SLO_COPE (06-04-2003)</font>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 6:35 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
Winterkill, so you decoded my racing name... hehe Image
Thanks for the elk bin. I definitely have to find a way to include it in the track. Of course I would love to have a moving elk like the fantastic puma in Malibu's Buzzard Country, but that's clearly beyond my abilities for now.
About the hidden rendering, I see one place still needing some work: when flying high enough on the big jump over and into the water, before the climb in the gravel pit, you can see the lake building up in the distance. The problem is that the diagonal vieweing distance is only 14 sqaures (which is no surprise as the square root of (2*14^2) is about 20).

Phin, why are grass and mud texture settings to be avoided? I think the grip should relate to the visual texture, i.e. when seeing mud, one expects it to be slippery.

SLO_COPE, what do you mean by "you might cosider some kind of sign/visual prompt to let racers know they can't exit before making a fool loop" ? Any suggestion beyond my obvious "use finder!" recommendation?

I'm working on most of the suggested improvements. Although I had decided I would NOT get into the texturing business, I'm slowly changing my mind (getting better in using PSP).
Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 6:55 pm 
Glow Ball
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> Phin, why are grass and mud texture settings to be avoided? I think the grip should relate to the visual texture, i.e. when seeing mud, one expects it to be slippery.

Realism v Playability. It's a choice that has to be made. I opt for the playability side, as most downloaders will. (I recently changed an entire terrain because of playability). But ultimately it's up to you. I just noted what I've found.

> Any suggestion beyond my obvious "use finder!" recommendation?

A clear racing line is always a benefit to a track. In general, visuals are preferred over the finder.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 8:29 pm 
Trackologist
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Whoops! Type-O there, rocket. Should be "full loop" vs "fool loop" lol.

What I meant by having a visual prompt in the oval section, is at the point where you exit, a directional sign that points toward checkpoint 5. I know, it seems obvious to you and me that you have to make a complete circle at that point before exiting, but I assure you, it'll be be a source of confusion for many.

Texture types - I think what you have is fine. Challenging, but fine. However, like Phin says, if you're looking to maximize playability for any level of play (rookie, intermed, pro), go with his recommendation. If not, stick with what you have. Again, it's raceable, and you can pull decent laps with it as is, but you'll likely find that it won't be popular. Hehe I've already heard feedback to the effect that it's much too hard, too slippery. I've also know of a few that love it. It's a judgement call...and it's all yours. :)

<font size=1>Edited by SLO_COPE (07-04-2003)</font>


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 11:54 pm 
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Yup, one of the fews that love it is me <font size=+2 face=Wingdings>J</font>.
I think the slippery oval gives your track his own signature, with the result that it won't get forgotten quick (by me). I can't imagine I will find the 1.5lap oval getting boring after a while, because you're just to busy keeping your line to get bored.

The thing I dont really like is when you come out of the tunnel. There are at least 3 mis-patterned sections (err how to say that properly).
I think this , this and this will show what I mean. The last picture counts at least 3 patterns that don't go over in eachother smootely.

The section with where the trees hang over the road so much, I love that a lot. Especially driving that section in dusk gives a great ambiance. It's one of the best looking sections I've ever seen on a track (with dusk enabled).

Keep up the good work!

<font size=1>Edited by scrooch_dog (07-04-2003)</font>


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 2:10 am 
easy company
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Theres a model conflict that needs to be addressed, the general store bin was doubled in size but was not renamed, which appears to be just [url=javascript:void(0)]fine[/url] until your track is mounted under another that uses the original bin, then you get [url=javascript:void(0)]this[/url], whenever a bin is changed in any way it <u>must</u> be renamed to avoid this, also if you alter any of the art files associated with a bin they will need renaming as well.

..to see this floater just mount Alps Undeniable beta above your track


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 10:12 am 
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Very nice layout bud! Original and very (very as in extremly) challenging layout. If you're looking for that fast laps, this one will sure have you sweat before you get there.

I liked it exept for that oval thing. I suggest you make it either with more friction or either not overlaping on that loop. Heck maybe a little of both would do great.

Overall, speed feeling gave way to a very slow (but very challenging) set of winding curves. That's not a bad thing. Sometime it's fun to test your limits and sharpen those skills.
Yet i'll have to try it with Cope or guys like that to see how a race would be like.


------------------
Jumper
Only those who will risk going to far can possibly find out how far one can go.

<font size=1>Edited by SLO_Jumper (07-04-2003)</font>


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 3:29 pm 
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Thanks for the hint, Mal
I observed that effect too after resizing some models but thought it was some sort of bug since it appeared nicely in traxx but floated mid-air in the game.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 1:31 am 
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Major rule:

ANYTIME you modify a pre-existing model, rename any mesh or texture files that get changed....This goes for trucks too.

The less conflicts, the better.



------------------
- BigDOGGe's Boneyard ...The Best Custom Trucks in MTM2 -


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