Article – Theory of Scenery

Written by One.

Read the first two articles:

This is a continued article of the above listed articles in the “Theory” series. For the article a special track is used, which was created in the first article (Theory of Track Building). You can download this track here.

Sick of this track yet? Don’t panic, we’re almost done. I thought I’d dedicate an update to scenery.


Because scenery can have a HUGE impact on how much fun your track is to drive.

Think about it: What’s more fun, jumping an empty gap or flying over a building? Both are performed the same way, but going over a building is a lot more fun. Using scenery correctly can completely change the way your track feels.

Also with scenery: You can use it to justify getting away with basically any track-making no-no. For an example: Check out my track “City Loop” (available on TMX). I use a lot of sharp 90 degree corners which break up the flow a fair bit, but because I justify it as weaving between buildings and stuff, I can get away with it. Not only can I get away with it, but it actually makes the corners fun.

When using scenery in Stadium tracks, it’s best to use it to create a sensation.Make the driver feel like he’s really high or going real fast. Remember: You don’t ACTUALLY have to be miles high or flying at 1000 k’s an hour as long as the driver THINKS he is.

In other tracks such as Bay or Island, scenery can be used to create a sensation, but it can also be used to set a mood, but we’ll get into that later.

Firstly: When putting in scenery I don’t like a cluttered race-track. Sure, it can feel like you’re driving faster, but in my opinion, it generally looks crappy. I prefer to be a bit conservative when laying some scenery in. The rule I use is that one piece of scenery should be visible almost the entire time.

Also: I like my scenery to “make sense” so to speak. I don’t like putting floating signs or pieces of road in the track. This is all personal choice so if you dig random bits of road floating in the middle of nowhere: Put it in.

To quote Bob Ross: “This is your world. You can do anything you want in it” (If you’ve never heard of him, look him up on YouTube and watch an episode of his show).

Theory of Scenery 1 Click to enlarge.

Here’s the first bit. It’s a double-arch over the first twisty bit. Not only does it look pretty cool, but it gives an awesome “woosh” as you drive underneath it which makes it sound like you’re going faster than you actually are.

For the corner before the jump: I didn’t put anything (hence no screenshot). This is because when you’re driving on that straight: Nothing below it is visible. All you can see is the road and the sky. This makes it feel like you’re quite high off the ground. It also makes the jump a bit more fun because it feels like you’re a lot higher in the air than normal.

Theory of Scenery 2 Click to enlarge.

These two inflatables stop this straight from being dull and uninteresting. Since red seems to be used by everybody who uses inflatables, I prefer to use orange so that they don’t look over-used. I also hung a bar over the track with a sign on it. This once again gives you that “woosh” sound and also makes the jump a bit more intense. The white structure at the end is just there to break up the scenery a bit.

I didn’t use any scenery around the loops, I think they’re scenic enough (especially with the road going through one of them). The next bit that followed was the twisty section inside that tunnel. As explained in the first article: The tunnel makes that section of track feel a lot faster than it actually is.

Theory of Scenery 3 Click to enlarge.

The last thing I used was this arch. They’re normally a bit high to do anything other than look cool, but quite frankly: I recon they look awesome.

There we have it. We now have a pretty track. The scenery adds to the track and emphasises certain points (EG: Which bits are high\fast) and looks good at the same time without looking cluttered.

To summarise: We now have a good looking, fun, easy multi-lap track which should easily provide 5 minutes of entertainment on most servers. We didn’t use any more than 2 boosters, neither did we have any outrageously stupid jumps which cause pain upon landing. There’s twisty bits, fast bits and stunty bits so there’s something for everybody.

I hope you enjoyed this breif simple guide on how to make a decent track using the editor!

And now I need your help.

I quite enjoyed doing this write-up thing and based on some of the reactions, I think you folks liked it too. I’ll do the same thing next time (yes, more articles from me coming up), but base the track around suiting the environment it’s in and point out ways to make a fun Bay\Island\Stadium\Snow Track. What environment would you like to see me build a track for next? Give your answer by commenting this post.

I’m going to have to be a bit of a stinge and ask that you not request rally\coast tracks because I haven’t quite got around to making a good one of those yet, but perhaps in the future.

So: Leave a comment saying which environment you’d like me to build the next track in. Whichever environment gets the most votes will have a track built for it.

Happy racing all!

– One.


10 Responses to Article – Theory of Scenery

  1. Hastings says:

    Entertaining, easy and comprehensive guide for scenery. 🙂

    In my opinion, scenery is necessary for a third point, beside beauty and sensation: Orienteering/Borders. I use especially houses or similar, easily visible sceneric elements at bends or wide spaces to mark bends or simply show the right way to go. Like this, orienteering is easier, the track becomes more beautiful and I save (comparably ugly) signs.

  2. djoszee says:

    in my opinion the scenery was still rather poor. Especcialy the part with all the building atached to each other. That looks really newbish :s

  3. T_Z_ says:

    It’s a very nice article 😛 Helps in some things, but i have to agree with djoszee 😉
    And I vote for Island

  4. Hubby says:

    Very well written article(s) , i enjoyed reading it 🙂
    I vote for a nice coast track ( my second choice would be a rally track ) 😉
    Greetz, Hub

  5. Alselius says:

    Imo the scenery isn’t very good here :$
    You should have had more work for a tutorial…

  6. One says:

    Hey all, thanks for the kudos.

    Agreed that the scenery isn’t brilliant, but I didn’t really set out to make a brilliant track, just to show some examples to get some ideas flowing or to help you understand scenery a bit better.

    In regards to voting for which one: Jozii pointed out that if I were to do an article like this for each environment: It’d get very repetative, dull and boring.

    So what I’ve decided to do is to combine all the environments into one or two articles (depending how long they are). Thanks for the votes anyway. It shows that you read it 😉

  7. djoszee says:

    i vote island 🙂

  8. Hiuspaa says:

    Hey, One!

    A really nice series of articles, I read them all and am sure I too can make better tracks now!

    I would have voted for snow, but guess I don’t have to 🙂

  9. Jozii says:

    Djoszee, that looks very funny 😛 One just pointe dout that theres’ no need voting anymore, and then you placed a vote 😛

    Anyway, as One said, and as the title points out, the article is meant to give some basic theories of each topic. The track is admittably not very good 😛

    I’ve got another article called “Stadium Fashion” coming up (although you may have to wait quite a while for it), where a few “fashionable” ideas for the Stadium environment are presented. I’ve made a track based only on these ideas, with no other thought behind the track, and the it actually turned out quite good.

    The track will be featured in the article 😀

  10. Dutchman says:

    Very good introduction into track & scenery building!
    step-by-step, well documented & explained, logical and giving backgorund infos not only on “how-to” but on “why”.

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