TMX Track List #3

February 28, 2007

Reminder: The TMX Monthly Track Contest for February has ended. Read the results here!

My apologies for the one week delay of the third update to the TMX Track List. So without any further delay, here are the new tracks…

TMX TRACK LIST #3

Note: If you have signed up for the TMX Track List, but are not listed, it’s because you have not uploaded a new track since the last time the list was updated, or because the limit of maximum 10 tracks listed has been reached (in which case you will have a greater chance of being listed next time instead).

Third Eye

  • Author:Hawk_ger
  • Environment: Desert
  • Mood: Sunset
  • Length: 45 sec
  • Rating: 8.0/10

Gravity Warp

  • Author: T_Z_
  • Environment: Desert
  • Mood: Sunset
  • Length: 45 sec
  • Rating: 4/10

UrbanJungle

  • Author: Micster
  • Environment: Bay
  • Mood: Day
  • Length: 45 sec
  • Rating: 8.0/10

Himalaya

  • Author:[ATP] Alcator
  • Environment: Alpine
  • Mood: Night
  • Length: 45 sec
  • Rating: 8.0/10

Python

  • Author: [PDX]Snake55wildcat
  • Environment: Coast
  • Mood: Sunset
  • Length: 1 min 15 sec
  • Rating: 6.0/10

Rockin’ Hard *Online*

  • Author: [RX] Alselius
  • Environment: Alpine
  • Mood: Day
  • Length: 1 min
  • Rating: 7.5/10

Coastal Chill out

  • Author:Buchi
  • Environment: Coast
  • Mood: Sunrise
  • Length: 1 min 15 sec
  • Rating: 7.5/10

Would you like to have your tracks included in this list? Sign up by paying a one-time fee of 300 coppers in-game to “Jozii”. Once paid, you will have one track listed every time the TMX Track List is updated. Note that only tracks uploaded after the last time the list was updated can be included in the new list, and that all coppers from entry fees are guaranteed to be used as prizes in future contests.

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Track Review – Hurricane

February 28, 2007

Track: Hurricane (Download)

Author: Hastings (TMX)

Type: Race

Environment: Stadium

Length: 45 sec

Mood: Night

Custom Content: None

Hurricane

First Impression

Fast. Very fast. But still quite tricky, which is a good thing. The design looks original too, but we’ll see how it is in detail…

Track Design

Hurricane is one of the fastest Stadium tracks I’ve ever seen. Yet it also have it’s difficult sections, like any good track should – a bit too much, perhaps, and many will probably get frustrated over this track. The design, scenery (many coppers), and difficult parts all make this track not suitable for online play, but in Solo mode, it’s a blast!

The design is very smooth, consisiting of speedy asphalty parts, wide platform sections, great off-roading, and some quite tricky stunts – including a very long wallride/jump and a corkscrew with a twist to it. Transitions are very innovative and interesting, adding a bit to the design score.

The asphalt parts have a technical style, yet the turns can all be taken at full speed. The technical look and the fast feeling shows that the author has cared for what blocks have been used and where they have been placed. However, some more straight sections exist. At these sections, great speed is achieved, but the design isn’t quite that innovative or interesting.

The off-road parts – both dirt and grass – are very well done and add to the variety of the track. Overall a very nice design, but which could use some details to make it have a better driving feeling. Rating: 9.0

Scenery

The scenery is very nice, especially the lights. Night tracks usually look very cool in Stadium, and in Hurricane the lights have been especially well placed. As a little detail, there are some building blocks casting lights at the first wallride, which looks very cool.

Unfortunately, a lot of the scenery is “broken” (like, flying objects (even worse than what’s normal), poles just ending in the air, etc.). This of course isn’t a major issue, but it makes the overall picture of the track appear a bit unprofessional and only half finished.

Additionally, considering the many coppers used (4700), the scenery looks a bit sparesome at places. Of course, as the track is full speed, it is also longer than usual, so many coppers must have been used for that. Longer speedy parts could have been made more interesting, however, if the scenery was placed differently. Rating: 8.5

MediaTracker

The MT work is quite decent. What’s worth mentioning is that the intro adds a bit of a “story feeling” (although the track isn’t really a story track), and this is quite interesting. This also explains the name of the track – test the track and you’ll understand.

Also worth mentioning is that cam changes in-game work fine, but there are some places (like wallrides), where cam changes are not included. This adds to the challenge, but in this case I think most would prefer if they were included.

There’s also a GPS, which unfortunately is quite unsmooth. A little interesting touch, though, is that the GPS also displays the speeds you’ll (most likely) have at some specific parts of the track.

The outro is good with nice and smooth camera angles, but it sometimes looses the car and at points there’s annoying scenery which get in the way. Rating: 8.0

Originality

Hurricane is a quite original and innovative track. Several interesting and rare sections are included, and even the scenery has a unique touch. Rating: 9.0

Fun Factor

Because of the great speeds yet very tricky parts, the track is very fun to drive once you learn to master it. However, the tricky parts will most likely annoy you a great deal at first. If you enjoy a challenge, this is something for you, but even if you prefer easier driving this track is very interesting, and you can be sure to get a fun experience once you get the hang of it. Rating: 8.5

Summary

Very good and innovative design, which makes the track very interesting. The high speeds and the various tricky stunt-sections add to the challenge, and thus to the fun. The scenery and MT is a bit flawed, though.

Final Rating: 9.0 (excellent)

***

Notes:

– Ratings range from 1 (bad) to 10 (perfect). 5 is average.

– If you are interested in writing track reviews for the TMU Blog, you may apply by dropping an e-mail to Jozii@pp.inet.fi.

– If you want to have your own track reviewed, you can sign your track up for a fee of 250 coppers. Simply send an in-game message to “Jozii” with the coppers and the name of the track (which must have been uploaded at the United Exchange first).


Blog Community Track #2

February 27, 2007

Reminder: Don’t forget our TMU Raffle! The deadline has been extended by two days, so the new deadline is now on Wednesday the 28th. Results will be posted on Thursday (the 1st of March).

It’s been quite some time since the creation of the second TMU Blog Community Track began, but now, after a long time of hard work, the track is finally here!

BT Com #2 – The Island Express is, as the name so graciously suggests, set in the Island environment. The track it self is simple yet extremely fun to play. The simple design makes for a nice driving experience and is good with the eye.

While the track isn’t exactly the most difficult track around, it do offer quite some challenging parts when it comes to making good times. There are many places where time could be saved in a great fashion, and as the track isn’t hard to complete at lower speeds, plus has a more simple design, it should be excellent for online play and general WR hunts (so don’t forget to submit your times at TMX).

The Island Express Screenshot

The Authors

The following authors should be thanked and congratulated for making this awesome track:

  • Ozku
  • MikoZ
  • Topork
  • Gommers
  • Loozerr
  • Shady (track tester)

MediaTracker work by:

  • Smok3y
  • Hastings

Special thanks to:

  • Smok3y, for an excellent screenshot
  • Gommers, for leading the project

Many thanks to the authors, and I hope everyone will enjoy the track 😀

BT Com #2 – The Island Express *** (direct download)

You might also like the first TMU Blog Community Track, or any of our other Blog Tracks. You can find a list of these tracks here!


MediaTracker Camera Clips Tutorial

February 26, 2007

Written by Alcator.

This tutorial tries to explain one particular aspect of Replay creation: Continuous camera clips. CCCs is a serie of replay clips, launched by triggers, that create an illusion of one continuous shot. The reason you may want to use CCC instead of one long clip that passes along a complex path is that you don’t really know how fast or slow the car that is being shown will be – the racer might have scratched a wall here and there, or may be surprisingly fast due to perfect driving – and both of these cases result in the camera running away from the car and not showing it the way the trackmaker wanted.

One word of caution: This does not mean you should always use continuous camera shots in replays; many times a cut between wider shot and closer shot or between custom camera and racing camera works much better – just like in a movie. The good thing about CCC is that the spectator or viewer has perfect continuity in the ride – so a newbie racer may use it to learn the track and how to drive it, while from cut-o-plenty replays, this is harder.

For this tutorial, I have prepared this very simple test track. As you can see, it has a start, followed by roughly diagonal road with 2 boosters, a loop, and finish lane.

Cam Clip Tutorial Pic 1 Click to enlarge

Now, what we will try to achieve is the following camera passage:

The camera will start on the right, observing the start. Once the car starts moving, the camera moves along the track and comes closer. Once the loop is entered, the camera moves to a place “inside” the loop section, thus showing the car above, doing the loop. And when the car leaves the loop, the camera starts moving behind the finish.

Cam Clip Tutorial Pic 2 Click to enlarge

I always recommend to put a replay clip called “Idle” that shows the start. The thing is – the car doesn’t have to leave the start immediately, the player may be typing a message or do something else, and he may still be focused on during replay online. Don’t forget to make this clip “Keep playing”, so it doesn’t switch to follow-cam after the clip ends.

Both the start KEY and the end KEY of the camera TRACK have the same properties (you can copy one key to another by selecting the target KEY, and then Ctrl+leftclick on the source KEY. In this case, I’ve set the Interpolation to None, but you may leave Hermite or any other there – it doesn’t really matter in this case.

Cam Clip Tutorial Pic 3 Click to enlarge

Once the car starts moving (enters the “Take-off clip”’s targetting cube), the second clip starts playing. This one features the camera movement. If you created this clip immediately after creating the Idle clip, your view should be at the same position as in Idle clip; if you moved the view, you will need to use the trick described later to make sure the camera positions connect.

This picture shows the end KEY of the camera TRACK on the Take-off clip; please note that I finetuned the Block End time to a moment when the car is just about to enter the booster where the loop clip starts. Again, this clip Keeps playing. As I mentioned before, you need the start KEY to be at the same position as the keys of the Idle clip’s camera track.

Cam Clip Tutorial Pic 4 Click to enlarge

When you try to add the Thing clip (the loop clip), your view will return to the starting position of the Take off clip (or, actually, to the same position where it was when you created the Take off clip). There’s virtually no way you might move the view to the exact location where you want it using the arrow keys, and changing it using number input is too slow. Therefore, use the following “Pro” trick:

1)Select the Take-off clip and click the Export button at the top. Then give the clip any name you want and click the Save button. This will store the whole clip with all tracks into a Gbx file.

Cam Clip Tutorial Pic 5 Click to enlarge

2)Once that is done, click on the “Thing” clip (empty so far). Then, click the Import button at the top, choose the previously saved clip and load it. Warning: Any content of the clip into which you import will be overwritten without comfirmation and without any way of UNDOing it!

Cam Clip Tutorial Pic 6 Click to enlarge

3)Now, what you get in this way i two identical clips, each triggered by a different cube. But you don’t want to see the same camera movement twice, you want to continue from the point where the TakeOff clip ended. So, you want to COPY the END KEY of the TakeOff clip’s camera track to the START KEY of the Thing clip’s camera track. After you imported the Take off clip to The Thing clip, you have all the information for this copying in the same clip, so you can use Ctrl+leftclick to copy:

4) Select the Camera track in The Thing clip.

5) Click on the Start KEY of this track.

6)Ctrl+leftclick on the end KEY of this track – the end key will be copied to start key (and since the end key is the same as the end key in Take off clip, you just copied the end of take off clip to the start of The Thing clip!)

This is how the start key of The Thing clip will look like (you can compare it to one of the pictures before to see the values are the same; the car actually triggers the clip a little while after entering the cube, which is why the picture looks differently).

Cam Clip Tutorial Pic 7 Click to enlarge

After you have this done, you only have to move the End key of the Thing clip to the end position of the camera for the loop. Something like this might work very well:

Cam Clip Tutorial Pic 8 Click to enlarge

You can of course use this to copy the Idle clip as well (if you moved the view before creating Take off clip), just make sure that you have other than “None” interpolation selected.

In the same way, you can create the last clip of this track – from the End key of The Thing clip’s camera track to some position behind the finish.

When players watch this replay, they will see one beautiful continuous shot that shows them the right things at the right time.

For additional help, you can download the demonstrational track used in the examples above by clicking here!


Screenshot of the Week – Week 8

February 25, 2007

This week we have some beautiful creations to show…

Screenshot Collection

 By Jonkster:

Desert Jump

By Hawk_ger:

  HAWKIsland1

By TimeBreaker:

Rally01 Stadium02

Screenshot of the Week

 Sunrise

TimeBreaker wins 50 coppers for this weeks SotW.

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


TMU Raffle

February 25, 2007

The idea of making a sort of “lottery” where you can win in-game coppers is already old and over-used, so I thought we could take it to the next level. With this TMU Raffle, you can purchase “tickets” (there are several kinds, each with different prizes) for an amount of coppers. Later on, random winners will be drawn (one to five per ticket type).

Simple but fun, and as there are several types of tickets to choose from, you can buy the one(s) you find the most interesting 😉

The Tickets

1. Review Ticket

  • Prizes: 1 free Track Review
  • Winners drawn: 3
  • Cost: 25 coppers

2. TMX Raid Ticket

  • Prizes: The TMU Blog (read: Jozii) will “raid” your TMX account (test up to 10 of your tracks uploaded at TMX and award the ones worth awarding) + give feedback on what’s good/bad about the tracks
  • Winners drawn: 1
  • Cost: 50 coppers

3. In the Spotlight Ticket

  • Prizes: Have a post dedicated to you, where your tracks, creations, servers, clans, achievements, or just about anything positive conserning you is revealed to the public – A day in the spotlight, in other words
  • Winners drawn: 1
  • Cost: 75 coppers

4. Mini Copper Ticket

  • Prizes: 50 coppers
  • Winners drawn: 5
  • Cost: 20 coppers

5. Mega Copper Ticket

  • Prizes: 75% of all coppers from ticket sale
  • Winners drawn: 1
  • Cost: 100 coppers

How it works

Here are a few points of interest you should take note of:

  • You do NOT have to buy all types of tickets – choose the one(s) which offer the prizes you are interested in. But of course, buying tickets of each type increases the fun 😉
  • You can buy up to 5 tickets of each type to increase your chances of being drawn. However, you can not win the same prize twice. If you buy several tickets of the same type and one of them is drawn, the others (of the same ticket type) are automatically excluded for the next draw (if any).
  • Winners are selected by drawing a number of random tickets (equal to the “Winners drawn” point listed above) for each ticket type. The owner of each drawn ticket wins.
  • Deadline for entering the raffle (purchasing tickets) is on Monday the 26th (so hurry up!). The results are listed on Tuesday.

How to buy

To buy one or several tickets, send an in-game message to “Jozii” (by using the message system through the Optional Toolbar in the upper right corner in the game). In the message, include the following:

  • Under “Donation”, include the amount of coppers all of your tickets cost together.
  • In the actual message, include information about what type(s) of ticket(s) you buy (simply state the number and/or name of the ticket(s)) and how many you buy of each type (max 5).

If you have any questions regarding this raffle, simply comment this post or e-mail Jozii@pp.inet.fi.

Enjoy 😀


Track Review – Unreal Transitions

February 24, 2007

Written by Alselius.

Track: Unreal Transitions (Download)

Author:-poOT!- (TMX)

Type: Race

Environment: Island

Length: 1m. 15 sec.

Mood: Night

Custom Content: Custom signs

Unreal Transitions

First Impression

The screenshot at TMX seems a bit odd, the water effect isn’t for this track. Intro is very nice and gives the fast feeling what’s in the track, but hits blocks often. Still, it’s only MediaTracker.

Track Design

The GPS cam at the start makes it hard to start racing ‘perfectly’. Anyway, this ends soon. The track has two multiroute parts. One of them is just in the beginning, it has a slower and a harder route. As you will notice later on, both of them are of quite the same difficulty, but the slower route kills your time very much. The faster part is harder on the first few tries, though.

The second multiroute part is soon after the first, but this time it’s a big difference between the routes you can choose between. The harder route is very tricky at first an is probably challenging even for very good racers, while the easier one is really slow but also very easy.

The track also features a hangar-roof ride. It’s quite interesting, but getting on the roofs and further off is quite annoying in this track. Also, the track has reverse boosters. The finish is after a big wallride, which itself is hard to master; it appears too fast and sudden if you come with full speed and is very annoying if you attempt a CP respawn.

Other than these few points, the track design is pretty well done. Rating: 8.0

Scenery

Scenery is a bit hard to make new-styled in island but this track has quite managed to do it. Some places look odd, though, and have a bit too much of it, while some places look very empty. Rating: 9.0

MediaTracker

Intro is fast and stylish, fitting the track’s own style, but roughly made, hitting some blocks at times. Other than that, nice pre-look of the track.

In-game: Loop-cams in their place and a custom cam in the second multipart place.

Outro is again a bit roughly made at some places. What’s even worse – it doesn’t start before you’ve chosen your way at first multipart! Other than that it’s nice to watch.

Good ideas for a perfect MT work but very roughly made, causing a few flaws. A bit more time spent on MT could have made it awesome! Rating: 8.5

Originality

The multiroute parts both have quite original ideas made with the normal-road 90 degree jumps. Racing on hangar roofs is also quite new but seen before in TMS. The quite original ideas here added to the fun of this track. Rating: 6.5

Fun Factor

The track is a bit hard and tricky at the first tries, so many people may give this up early. But don’t – if you try it again a few times it gets quite fun soon! The track is very interesting but only if you race good enough and know the track by heart can you get the full experience out of it. Otherwise you will most likely be annoyed by it. Rating: 7.5

Summary

Nice track design, though tricky and hard. Annoying on first tries. MediaTracker ideas are perfect but not well executed, though scenery quite fixes it in most places. The original parts are nice and boost up the fun factor.

Final Rating: 7.5 (good)

***

Notes:

– Ratings range from 1 (bad) to 10 (perfect). 5 is average.

– If you are interested in writing track reviews for the TMU Blog, you may apply by dropping an e-mail to Jozii@pp.inet.fi.

– If you want to have your own track reviewed, you can sign your track up for a fee of 250 coppers. Simply send an in-game message to “Jozii” with the coppers and the name of the track (which must have been uploaded at the United Exchange first).