Article – The Stunt Tracks (and how to build great ones)

Once again, Alcator brings you in-depth info on what you can really do with TMU – and this time it’s about Stunt tracks 😀 

Overview of the stunt mode

In Stunt mode, there are two key values: Time remaining, and Stunt points. The time starts at the maximum value and counts down towards zero; once the time’s up, you:

  • start losing points at the speed of 10 per second
  • can’t gain any points for completing stunt figures

The reason for the second thing is that it would be possible to construct a stunt track where you gain points faster than you’d lose them, thus allowing for virtually infinite score.

The stunt points start at zero and can never decrease below zero. You gain points for many different stunt figures, from simple short jumps and longer jumps, through spins and flips, up to some really complex figures.

All stunt figures are airborne; you can’t get points for two wheel driving or on-the-ground 360° slide-spins. The stunt figure is finished as soon as any part of the car makes contact with any part of the track (including scenery), except for water (!). This is especially important to keep in mind because sometimes the contact with the scenery or track may be so gentle that you don’t notice it visually, but the game does notice it and starts “counting anew” from that point. That’s also why sometimes you don’t get credit even though the car seemingly did make some valid stunt figure, such as 180 degree spin – if the car touched the track after let’s say 45°, the next figure was actually only 135 degrees, which is not enough.

Chained, Straight and Masterful

“Chained” happens when there’s short enough time between two consecutive stunt figures. The number of consecutive (chained) stunts is displayed next to the last figure’s name, and it’s cumulative, which means you may see “9x chained …” and soon after that you may see “10x chained….”. Surprisingly enough, checkpoint-respawning does NOT end chains, but it usually does because you don’t get to making a new stunt soon enough; still, in my “Alcator’s coaSTunts” track, I managed to chain stunt figures through CP-respawns.

“Master” (or its lesser version “Straight”) indicate precisely performed stunts. E.g., if the stunt is “180 degree spin” and you spinned 210 degrees, it’s not “masterful”; if you spin 180-190 degrees, that’s a masterful spin. These precisely performed stunts are worth more points. 

Types of stunt tracks

There are 3 basic groups of stunt tracks: “Transformed stunt tracks”, “Rush stunt tracks” and “Respawn stunt tracks”. Here’s the definition and difference:

1. Transformed stunt track is a track that was originally normal race track, but then the author decided to make it a stunt track, because the car does do some nice stunts in it. Quite often this happens to tracks with PF starts, sometimes also to PF tracks, where the whole track is finished by merely holding the Up arrow (so everyone scores the same points). Problems:

a.Quite often, if you CP-respawn, you don’t make it to finish on time.
b. The stunts are too spread out, and there’s a lot of regular racing between them. Consequently, the track is boring for normal drivers as well as for stunt drivers, because racers can’t compete for best time (time does not matter that much in stunt mode), and stunt drivers fail the great racing needed.

2. Rush stunt track is a track that has more stunt objects along the path, was obviously build for stunt mode, but there’s only very limited time, so you basically have to chose between very few different options (like “Will I do a spin or a flip, here?”), and after one or two stunts that can actually make the difference in score, you rush to the finish.

3.The “Respawn stunt tracks” have the following structure: Start – 1 CP (usually followed by boosters) – a little space, with finish gates on the sides from this – and several jump ramps (for launching the stunts) after the space. Behind the jump ramps, there’s what I call the “Chaining stuff” – scenery tiles etc. that the car may collide with, creating wilder stunts. The racer starts the race, passes the only CP in the track, makes a stunt, respawns in the CP, makes another stunt, respawns, … , respawns, … , and finally goes to finish when the time is almost up.

I really advice against the transformed tracks; either it’s a PF track where everyone will score the same points, which means those who come first occupy the top positions in the WR list… or it’s a regular race track and there’s very limited room for preparing the best stunt.

The second type is a bit better, and it’s possible to queue the stunts so that good drivers may indeed manage some nice chained stunts, but too often is there only few seconds of real fun in a 40 second race.

The respawning style is good in that stunts are independent – if you screw one of them, you can still make up for it within few seconds if you make a cool stunt. The track I was talking about before, “Alcator’s coaSTunts”, is only 85 seconds long, but the high score is over 1700 points, and on average, you’ll score over 200 in one stunt (if you go for the WR, that is) – that’s something that doesn’t usually happen in rush tracks, unless the first stunt is a PF stunt, in which case all players get it for free.

Coast is most probably the best environment for respawning style tracks, as the coast car is “massive” and more likely to collide with scenery; also, the stunt ramps are available for both normal track, bridge track, and racing asphalt track, meaning you have plenty of options on how to build the ramps.

Tips for building stunt tracks

  1. Set the time limit to 60 – 90 seconds. Don’t make the time limit 5 minutes just because you want someone to score 2000 points; when stunt mode is played online, the time limit for one track is usually about 5 minutes, which means anyone who gets online later than at the track’s start, will not have all the time.
  2. If you use the respawning style, which I recommend, try placing the ramps so that those drivers who go directly forward and at full speed get only about 50 – 100 points per stunt; this way, you’ll force the drivers to deviate from straight path in order to score high. Otherwise, they would only keep the Up arrow pressed and occasionally hit Enter to respawn 🙂
  3. If you know how to work with the MediaTracker, add textual navigation tips / instructions about where the next checkpoint is / where’s the finish is, otherwise,it might happen that racers would be driving cluelessly somewhere in the dropzone of the respawning-style track, and typing “Where’s the next CP?” questions 🙂 A good way to make sure they know what to do is adding a Clip that has a text “Hit Enter to respawn in the CP” that starts about 10 seconds after the Clip is triggered, and placing the clip’s triggering cubes at the jump ramps – this way, the car normally makes a stunt, and if it idles too long in the dropzone, the message is displayed.

Stunt figures

Basic jump

Very simple – the car gets airborne on a ramp or bump, flies straight ahead while slowly lowering the front, and then lands. Basic jumps may be short or long; the longer the jump, the more points you score.

Spin

Same as Jump, but while airborne, you rotate around the vertical axis, that means your rear goes to one side and then to the front. Bottom of the car stays at the bottom.

Aerial

Aerial is a figure in which you fly vertically up and do a spin in the air, then you descend directly down and land.

Alley Oop

Alley Oop is basically the same as Aerial, but with anti-movement rotation. This picture shows in black the position of the car, and in blue the heading of the car’s front, for the two figures:

Aerial vs. Alley Oop Click to enlarge.

Flip

Flip is a backwards salto: The front of the car raises UP, then flips back; in the same time, rear of the car goes below, then flips to get to the front.

Roll

Roll is a jump during which the car rotates around the front-rear axis – either side rises up, then flips onto the other side, while the other side goes below and then flips to the first side.

Twister

Twister is similar to Roll, but the axis of rotation is slightly deviated from the front-rear axis of the car.

Rodeo

This is a wild figure with rotation in two axis at the same time (such as forward and to the side).

Spin Off

This is a special version of Spin, I believe it depends on how you leave the track whether it will be Spin or Spin off.

Free style

Everything not precisely includable in one of the other categories is called “free style”.

Wrecks

If you land on the wheels or at most 90 degrees rolled to either side, then it’s “OK”, if you are rolled more than 90 degrees (i.e., the car is closer to landing on the roof then to landing on the wheels), it’s a wreck. Wrecks are worth less points, but it’s always better to do a Rolling madness wreck 1080!!!!! than a Master Short Jump 🙂

Madness & Mix

I have no idea how exactly the game decides what is Madness and what is Mix – they both seem to be mixes of two or more of the stunt figures.

Angles

In all cases except jumps, the stunt figure’s name is followed by a number – 180, 360, 540, 720, 900, 1080, … – these numbers are the multiples of 180 (degrees), which is “half a circle”. The number indicates how MUCH you rotated in that particular figure. E.g. if you do a Spin 180, it means you got airborne on a ramp, and you managed to spin so that the rear of the car is now in front of the rest of the car. Spin 360 means you spinned a full circle and are again facing in the jump’s direction. In most cases, the even values (360, 720, 1080…) are better, as it means the car will land in a good way for continuing the race. However, in case of Aerials and Alley Oops, you begin returning somewhere in the middle of the stunt, meaning you need to turn in it if you want to gain speed for the next stunt.

Obviously, higher angular value means more points (significantly).

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6 Responses to Article – The Stunt Tracks (and how to build great ones)

  1. JumperJack says:

    “The stunts are too spread out, and there’s a lot of regular racing between them. Consequently, the track is boring for normal drivers as well as for stunt drivers, because racers can’t compete for best time (time does not matter that much in stunt mode), and stunt drivers fail the great racing needed.”

    when you want to play some really good tracks in this style, go and search for the “ztuntrack”-series by “z3383z”… 🙂

    and the article is one really great one again, jozii, you’ve produced some amazing work last weeks at the blog!! 😉

  2. Jozii says:

    Oh, I forgot to give the credit to Alcator >.

  3. JumperJack says:

    ok then, alcator, one amazing article again!! 😀

    almost forgot that tuesday was alcator’s day… 😉

  4. T_Z_ says:

    Another great work Alcator 😉

  5. alcator says:

    Perhaps too bad Nadeo didn’t write the figures in the game manual themselves… Could have been a bit clearer.

  6. FireWire/MikoZ says:

    GW alcator!

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