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Creative Trackbuiding: evolving tracks from good to wow!
Creative Trackbuiding: evolving tracks from good to wow!8:11 AM 26-Nov-06 : Quote : Report : #
Toy-Car Racer

First of all, this tutorial is not someting that tells you a 100% concrete what to do. You will have to think yourself, about human psychology, but on a fairly basic level. Some people are aware of thinking like this, some aren't and still manage to do it, but for those who don't and want to make their tracks that more special, well, grab a cup of coffee and start reading!


Making tracks is fun. Building something everyone can enjoy, and seeing your creation being driven on, is the thing that has kept me with Trackmania since the start of it 3 years ago. I do notice some stuff that I am quite bored with lately, and I will try and teach you a new way of looking at trackbuilding in this tutorial.

Hopefully, this will bring a lot of people’s tracks from “good” to an entirely new level of tracks: tracks you can love, that provide huge experiences... classical wow tracks!

Lately, trackbuilding is becoming more and more of a one sided “I have to make tracks” thing, if you look at the overall servers. This is not only caused by the overload of available pieces, but also by the fact that I notice a lot of people thinking less and less about the experience the driver should get from a track.

We had to do that back in the old days. Consider the fact that we did not even have checkpoints; It was all about arranging, mixing around, making new creative ideas that weren’t done before.

The two pillars

I think we can roughly state two types of good tracks. On one side, the overall fun track to play, with not much to remark, tracks that do good, nice layout etcetera. Then there are tracks that give you a “wow!” feeling while playing; they do not even have to have a good layout or whatever, but it is something that apparently switches our minds from the rational “good flow, good turns, good” tracks to “what the hell was that light, I’m flying, wow this is fast, these colors, awesome!”. If you manage to get both types out of one track, you have a winner!

I personally work a LOT the second, and that is what I am always aiming for when I make standalone tracks. (The shortrun alike series need more of the first type of approach). The best tracks get born out of both principles. Think of Panis tracks with Sunrise, but I will get into that later.

So, what makes us go wow?

It is something that happens to the driver, created by the trackbuilder, with the use of existing parts.

The driver experiences something that is not trackmania, but that is part of his or her primal emotions: the feeling of flying, the impact of certain beauty, the way everything is in harmony, amazement.

The trackbuilder creates this experience from his own mindset, taking in consideration these primal emotions, even if he is not that aware of it. For example: I build tracks from what it would look like in the drivers seat, I switch scenery around until the track fits the mental image I have of what it should look like, instead of placing it just for decoration. Good scenery can make or break a tracks experience. More of that later.

The existing parts are there as like colors on a painters pallet. The trackbuilder can use them to make a virtual, dynamic and moving painting. This is so powerful, it is like making a movie for the driver where he is the director and actor all at the same time.

How to reach the wow feeling for tracks?

The tutorial part! I will work this out soon, later today probably. If possible, I will get some pictures to illustrate different thoughts, and make this into something sweet!
Last edited 26-Nov-2006 by   Mannijack
7:26 PM 04-Dec-06 : Quote : Report : #
Toy-Car Racer

In this next section I will talk about “The Perfect Track”, but before that introduce some important things fast. I will go into them later.

Think about the effect of scenery

A quick advice for all of you now: Imagine what it will look like when you drive it. If you’ve done that, you’re passed the first step. No one is going to drive the track in bird view cam, so you’ll have to focus scenery and such in a cone around the driver. The angle they are going to see it. The impact of scenery is so much different from one side then from the other.

The second step is thinking about what you want to do with the scenery and the track. What is the scenario you have in mind, do you want to have players rushing on adrenaline between high buildings, giving them that fast city feeling, or quiet between the grass, and is the sky open, or dark?

Lets take a look at this example from my track "»Motherload« by   Mannijack"

In the overview we see the way the track is build notice how a lot of scenery looks like its random placed around the track. That is anything but the truth. The red lines describe the camera angle in the other situations

In situation 1, we see the way it is raced now. I had in mind a scenario of the player driving this grassy dark metal environment, and the player had to have a feeling of being in this underground kind of area which appears to be closed but feels kind of light at the same time.

Now let’s look at situation 2. A different part of the track... or is it? Look closely, it’s the same part! See how the scenery is not just there for decoration, but also for a certain impression for the player? Now it is like you are going from an open dock alike environment to something hidden, something inside this black metal thing. A totally different experience!

With this I want to illustrate that scenery is not just there to look nice. It can have a powerful effect on how you experience the track, and what image you create of the track in your mind as a player. I can ensure you that you can make two identical layouts, and by choosing scenery to create different experience, youll trick the driver into thinking they are different.

Soon to be expected: (because I need to sleep, honestly )
Transfering your thoughts to the track
The Perfect Track
Loving every single piece
Track Theme
Using an analysis system:
Special Things
Last edited 04-Dec-2006 by   Mannijack
8:57 AM 05-Dec-06 : Quote : Report : #
Toy-Car Racer

Wow.. hope the tutorial will be continued as well as it is now..
Really cool work and nice done.. you wrote really much until now.. and it seems to get much bigger ;-)

Thanks Mannijack!
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