Screenshot of the Week – Week 52, 06

December 31, 2006

The last post of the year! And the last SotW for 2006! A special one indeed, so the winner get’s 100 coppers instead of the usual 50 😀

And now for the screenshots:

Screenshot Collection

Sent in by JumperJack:

Desert

Sent in by Jonkster:

Rally

Screenshot of the Week

Bay

Screenshot sent in by Hawk_ger

Now, since this is the last SotW for the year, I’d like to encourage all of you to send in a lot of screenshots for next year. As suggested in the previous SotW, a “New Year”-special would be nice. Make a screenshot (or several) with New Year as a theme, and it will get posted here in the blog 😀

Weather a New Year special or not, send your work to Jozii@pp.inet.fi.


Track Advertisement

December 30, 2006

United Untied

JumperJack at TMX uploaded a track on the 6th of December (2006) called United Untied, and this track has gotten a great deal of attention. And without doubt, United Untied deserves every bit of it! The around 30 awards (at the time of writing) given to the track at TMX, whereof 24 was given in the first week, should speak for themselves. This is simply a beautiful Stadium track! Platform racing, dirt parts, asphalt and off-road, all combined in a fast and technical style. With smooth jumps and an a**-kicking driving feel, United Untied sure is one of the best Stadium tracks around.

Here are a few quotes from the awards given to the track:

“Superb track with great transitions between different road surfaces”– Silvert

“It has a smooth flow all the way and the use of blocks is astonishing” – Quick

“Very good track layout and a superb authortime”– keyS | keek

“Amazing Speed-Tech mix”– Buchi

Additionally, the track has some cool and suitable custom music, MT work on all possible areas, as well as a little special GPS idea.

If you have not downloaded this track yet, there is no excuse to wait further! If you have tried it, please also award it (unless you really don’t like it).

United Untied is a perfect Stadium track, one that everyone should at least have tried once 😀


Top 10 most underrated tracks (by Hawk_ger)

December 29, 2006

A few weeks ago (17th of December) Hawk_ger gave the TMU Blog the following list of what he considered to be the 10 most underrated tracks. While some of these may no longer be underrated, all of the tracks should be worth a go, should you not have tried them already 😀

Creative° by TEP Really
UNITechED by janbanan
Univited by X-MASTER
Kiwi Squeeze TMU by GD
tech for dummies by keyS | keek
Thoughts by Supamanu
Bang Whiz by GD
Speed Of Sound 2 by HolyMooner
Cross Stadium by Kev717
SweetInsanity by Max

Enjoy the tracks, and don’t forget to award them if you like them!


Article – Destination TMU (by Hastings)

December 27, 2006

One month has gone by since the release of TrackMania United, the latest update to the TM universe, and the number of players going over from TMOriginal, TMSunrise and TMNations to TMUnited and new TMU players has grown fast, in many countries. Pretty fast, some would say, although the sale in stores and on websites is limited to France and England until February. So who actually buys TMU, and why?

Of course, the solid core of TrackMania fans who regularly race on the internet servers, build maps, create models, paint skins, organize competitions, shoot videos, write programmes and administrate websites are the first people that should be named. Like in every other game, the veterans want to experience a new dimension of their favourite game and consequently shift their activities to where the community is mainly active… and where they get the most credits for what they do. For those people who are neither English nor French, Nadéo offered TMU for sale on their website with a limited number of 10,000 copies. This way, entire popular multinational clans like OTMB were able to shift to TMU.

Not only may TM veterans have exploited this offer, also many of those who raced on TMNations are likely to buy TMU. From today’s perspective, this free internet racing and sandbox game, advertised in game magazines and by the Electronic Sports World Cup 2006., kind of served as a “demo” for the “full” Stadium environment in TMU. Thus, especially the top racers and active clans from TMN gained interest and have showed up again at TMU.

All of the more or less experienced trackmaniacs visited www.trackmania-le-jeu.com, the main information site from Nadéo for the community. Here Nadéo announced the famous Beta Test N° 3 where more than 1,500 people had the opportunity of an exclusive look on the improvements and additions of the Stadium environment and the new “existential” features. This second demo is very likely to have convinced some more players, be it any of the TM versions, because the honour of being chosen for the test run might have been the trigger for buying the full game, including all the other 6 environments.

What about new players? There sure are racers who have never played any of the beta tests or demos or full games before. But especially many French players have soon decided for TMU, due to its very large French community, several preview articles not only in game magazines and a big report on “NextGen”, a French video game broadcast.

In conclusion, there were and are good reasons that the community is growing fast. TMU, with its large possibilities for a creative and solid community, is destined to be and stay popular and deserves the attention it gets. That Nadéo helps advertising, building it up and providing access, is, in my opinion, a big plus.

This article was written by Hastings.


Track Review – Electro Cox V.TMU

December 26, 2006

Review by Alcator!

 Track: Electro Cox V.TMU (Download)
Author: -cC- kaly (TMX)
Environment: Rally
Mood: Day
Custom content: None

First impression

Powerslide-heavy technical track, for the most parts with no vertical changes and with a very nasty jump at the exit from the second tunnel. Interesting, although no jaw-dropping. Rating: 3.0

Consistency

There are two jumps in this track – one is a bump-jump over narrow water channel, the second is a long jump with miscalculated* landing zone. This second jump breaks the track’s nice flow , while the first jump, if not aimed properly, results in wall scratch and the loss of tempo.

*)Notice – an attempt that is good enough for gold medal cannot be blamed to be “slow” or “wrong”; the car lands on a transition tile from asphalt to dirtpath, followed by immediate hard chicane – it’s extremely difficult to stay on the path AND make the turn and virtually requires braking for like 4 seconds. Rating: 2.0

Scenery

Scenery is somewhat lacking – the “castle wall” which connects the various gates has very unrealistic shape (neither a full castle, nor anything like a ruin), and for example the trees placed around the tracks have all the same orientation (please mind that you may rotate the tiles!); also, there is a warning sign that apparently makes no sense (you can’t see it during racing). Rating: 1.5

Originality

There’s not a single original element here. Rating: 1.0

Gameplay

This is what matters most – Is the track interesting? Would I play it again? The track is definitely challenging and provides lots of varying curves a chicanes. Lovers of technical tracks in Rally environment will like this, although they’ll curse the big jump which has very nasty landing. Rating: 2.5

MediaTracking

The track has very short intro with two linear camera passes above the track; this flight doesn’t show the track very well, it gives only an initial impression “This is a rally track”.
There’s no in-game MT nor replay, which is a pity, because there are nice places that could be turned into something special if shown from interesting angles in replay. Rating: 1.5

Summary

The track is worth trying, you won’t be bored by it, but it could use some serious tuning (basically the long jump and perhaps some tricky place here and there). Rating: 2.5


Screenshot of the Week – Week 51, 06

December 25, 2006

And yet again, here are a few screenshots for you to enjoy 😀 Sadly, the rate of screenshots sent to us have decreased greatly since the start of the Screenshot of the Week contest, so it would be nice to see some new ones being sent to us (Jozii@pp.inet.fi)! How about making a new-year special that can be posted during the few first days of January?

Anyway, here are the screenshots of the week:

Screenshot Collection

Sent in by Hawk:

Rally

Sent in by Jonkster:

Coast 1 Coast 2

Screenshot of the Week

Stadium 

Sent in by Hastings

Hastings will be awarded 50 coppers for this screenshot.

If you have a screenshot or two, send them to Jozii@pp.inet.fi. Most screenshot will get published in the blog, and every week one screenshot is selected as Screenshot of the Week.


Article – The Closing of the Original and Sunrise Exchange

December 23, 2006

As you may or may not know, it has been decided by the TMX crew that the Original and Sunrise Exchange will be closed. For those of you who are or have been active at any of these two, this is sad news indeed. This post is dedicated to the memory of the two, as well as a newsflash to bring you all up to date.

The Story

Years ago, no one ever dreamed there would be four different versions of the TrackMania Exchange – Original, Sunrise, Nations and United. The progress shows clearly, the improvements are vast, and the history is long. It has been a long and epic journey from Original to United.

The results are what we see today, in the United Exchange. United, the game that brings the three previous games together, and gathers fans and community members from all the previous games into one common area. Original is where it all started, Sunrise was a new experience for Original veterans as well as new players, and Nations recruited plenty of new blood into the community. And now, years after it all began, all of these players can finally come together in one place.

The Future

It is clear that the Original Exchange will be closed shortly, and whiles the Sunrise Exchange will survive for a while longer, it too will see the end in the near future.

But why is this happening? According to MrA, currently the top guy at the Exchange community, the Exchange community has exceeded its size limit. The activity at the Original and Sunrise Exchange is currently so low there is no point in keeping them. “We are spending an additional $35 a month while we have all the sites open, so we don’t want to be spending donator’s money on something which is now getting very little use,” says MrA. Additionally, the TMX crew currently focus entirely on United, so there is no one to moderate or update the Original or Sunrise Exchange.

As for the Nations Exchange, things are looking better. MrA does not want to rule out the possibility of the Nations Exchange being closed as well, but as the facts currently remain, the Nations Exchange is more active than the United Exchange. “We see the Nations Exchange as a gateway to TrackMania,” says MrA.

As most of you know, TrackMania United have not yet been released in stores in most parts of the world, and won’t be until February 2007. To top it all, Nations is a completely free game. It is currently hard to tell how the player activity will be divided between Nations and United in the future. Most likely, the TM veterans who have not already bought TMU in stores or online will do so once the world wide release of the game is completed. However, since Nations does not cost, it is also likely that activity will remain steady even at the Nations Exchange. On the current balance of activity between the Nations and United Exchange, MrA comments “In terms of paying the bills, maybe the Nations Exchange players are actually allowing the TMU Exchange to exist.

Both MrA and the rest of the TMX crew are aware that closing the Original and Sunrise Exchange might not be too popular among the veteran players, but in the words of MrA, there is no point in keeping old stuff simply because it exists. “I think the closing of the original exchange is a good thing as it’s a dinosaur that’s taking up donations,” says Giler from the TMX crew. “The faster the better,” he adds.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is time to let go on the Original and Sunrise Exchange. Old stuff can’t be kept up and running simply because it exists, and since it’s not free to run four Exchange sites, it would be better to spend the money on the active sites only.

MrA and the TMX crew advice all members of the Original and Sunrise Exchange to get whatever tracks they want, because soon there won’t be any tracks left.

We thank the Original and Sunrise Exchange for being borne, since without them the Exchange community would not be where it is today. However, it is time we all let go and move on, and start looking into the future, at United, and whatever the future might hold for the TrackMania series.

United is the Exchange of today, Nations is a gateway into the world of TrackMania and Sunrise has helped shape the TrackMania series into what it is today, but it is with the first game, Original, that it all began…