It makes your car shake, jump, slide and covers it with a thin brownish dust: Dirt. This is the new Stadium terrain of TrackMania United, spotted on the first published screenshots and since then enthusiastically discussed and expected. Indeed, it offers a new dimension in racing and differs in many aspects from the other Stadium terrains Street, Platform/Inflatable and Grass.
Terrain shape and characteristics
Whereas all the other Stadium terrains provide a very regularly and smoothly shaped driving ground, the Dirt roads are irregular. It has the smoothest, therefore fastest and easiest controllable conditions in the broad road centre and becomes the bumpier and shakier, thus slower and harder to control, the nearer the car approaches the road borders. So driving on the ideal line and cutting corners can be pretty risky and dangerous at times and a nasty bump may smack one of high score runs. Only the middle is quite safe.
There is no speed limit for Dirt, unlike the 500 km/h limit of Grass.
Roads can only be built on the ground, not in the air. Unlike Grass though, its height can be changed and transitions connecting two levels are possible. Bends with a varying radius, banked roads and obstacles are there too, of course. Alas, artificial jumps like Street has do not exist.
– At lower speeds: Even at lowest speeds, the car slides, but always stays controllable and reacts well enough to the racer’s steering, even at the road borders. May turn out to be good for technical tracks.
– At higher speeds: The more speed the car gains, the less you can control the car. That’s a rule. The car extremely slides and reacts only with large delays to the driver’s commands. With the irregular road conditions, staying on the road becomes almost a matter of luck. Nevertheless, as long as it’s not frustrating, it’s thrilling! Dirt does not seem to be made for speed tracks…
– At jumps: The weak point of Dirt is apparently jumping. Due to the ground, any jump which is not straight enough is destined to make the car lose speed or even flip over. Accordingly, jumps which use Dirt as take-off area and are neither straight nor centred either will go wrong or make your car spin in the air.
Off-Road Dirt feels like Grass. It is almost as smooth, but is a tad more insensitive in comparison.
Dirt looks like a reasonable addition to the Stadium environment, because Stadium was originally made for sporty, technical and rather slow head-to-head-competition tracks and Dirt fits right in there. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t fit the trend of sensationally “stunty” and speedy tracks, due to the lack of control at high-speed sequences and over-sensitivity at jumps.