Few weeks ago, I asked Mr.A of TMX (the largest track-exchange server for Trackmania) few questions about StarContest. Today, you get the chance to read the answers…
(Al)Q(ator): When did you first learn about Nadeo’s plan for a community-built campaign?
(Mr.)A: It was in the build up to the the release of the Forever games. We had alot of chats with Nadeo about it and actually the StarTrack Contest might have happoned much earlier in the year. The original idea was to do it with the beta version of United Forever, but for various reasons that diddn’t happen and so we decided to wait until after the summer (when people are less likely to have holidays booked during the contest).
Q: Have you had any influence on the structure of the competition, or did Nadeo already have the rules pretty much cast in stone??
A: It was Nadeo’s idea for a rounds based contestest where builders are eliminated at each stage. I guess you can liken that to the way those TV shows work where a contestant is voted out each week. The detail of the schedule, the way tracks are named, the rule set, all that stuff was a collaboration between us. Quite alot of things changed from the orirginal plans becuase you really only start to realise how things need to be when you are trying to put the whole thing together.
Q: How much coding (code lines, scripts, database structures) were needed to allow for the competition?
A: I dont know about lines of code, but it was a huge ammount of work. Buzz made the initial work on the allocation program and then Ricardo Rix picked that up, finished it, built the front end presentation and the way TMX handles the changing stages of the contest through the rounds. We spent weeks and weeks with him coding, then me running simulation contests (we had a button to randomly enter people) and reporting back with what happoned and how things looked or worked.
Q: How long did the coding and other tasks take before the competition was announced to the public?
A: Well, the idea was always to be ready before Forever came out, so we were ready by then. I think it was 2 or 3 months in developement, as we knew right from the first rumblings of the Forever update that we might do a contest… not a bad length of time to keep a secret
Q: Are there any plans for some special TMX awards for those who either make it into the campaign or make it to the final few rounds?
A: Nothing like that is planned at the moment, but we will see. We still need to decide how we will deal with the Star tracks once the contest is over. (ed.: As it turned out, several TMX mugs were distributed to the finalists and some of the best drivers on the finalists’ tracks. Also, as you may already know, Nadeo promised an ingame TAG for PapyChampy as the ultimate winner.)
Thanks to Mr.A for answering the questions!