Article – Timing Events in MediaTracker, Part 2

Last week, we learned how to add an MT navigation tip that only displays for slow drivers – those who need to take a detour around Speed Requiring Section (SRS).

The approach shown had some disadvantages:

  1. The navigational tip (instruction) appeared at some moment, but it was possible for some players to see it for only a split second, thus being unable to read it.
  2. Unless the detour path was significantly harder to enter (such as a sharp turn from a straight road), there was a risk that the fast player might choose to go through the detour even though he didn’t have to.

This time, we will try a different method. I’ve named it the “smooth pointer”, and unlike the previous method, this one can be used to instruct the player to take one of several paths, depending on his speed. The demo track for this method has 3 different paths – one of them is so called “safety net” (passable even from checkpoint-respawn), second requires speeds of 500+, and the third and hardest requires speeds over 900+.

The method works like this:

  1. At a suitable point (typically a checkpoint), you trigger a clip. This clip immediately shows some schematic (map) of the area ahead, providing the player with information about all the exits (in the demo track, they are called “lane A”, “lane B” and “lane C”).
  2. Also, a marker (or pointer) appears, pointing at the exit that requires the highest speed.
  3. The marker immediately starts moving to the second fastest exit, then to the third fastest exit etc.; the marker moves from one exit to another at the moment when the former exit is no longer usable (because the car doesn’t have the speed).

Timing Events in MT, Part 2, Image 1

This screenshot shows the car going in the wrong lane – the marker tells him to take Lane C, but the car goes in lane B. He won’t make it…

In the demo track, the schematic map is very simple – it’s basically the names of the three lanes, separated by black vertical lines (this very well works with the series of billboards hanging above the three lanes). Whenever the marker passes the separator, the screen flashes, indicating the moment when the faster lane is no longer usable.

Timing Events in MT, Part 2, Image 2

This time, the car has enough speed (although the marker is dangerously close to the separator line) for the lane A jump.

Now, how do we set the marker to work well?

First of all, there will always be a small risk of mis-pointing; in the demo track, it is possible to see the first “flash” a split second before you make the “Lane A jump” and still landing OK. This is caused by the fact that the speed loss (which results in slower passage through the measured section) can occur at the beginning, at the middle or at the end, and the effect such speed loss has on the “jump speed” differs. (Because the faster you go, the longer distance you travel at constant time).

This means some heavy testing is needed to ensure the results are very good. The demo track is specific in that to get enough speed for the faster lanes, you must perform additional tasks at the start, which ensures big speed difference (slow = 300, medium = 600, fast = 950). In fact, if it wasn’t for checkpoint-respawning, I could easily trigger hinting clips at the ends of the respective “acceleration zones”, and these clips would simply tell the player “You have enough speed for lane A”, “You have enough speed for lane B” and “You must take lane C”. But since there is a checkpoint where drivers may respawn, the “Smooth pointer” is used.

Here’s what you do to finetune the marker:

  1. The marker starts pointing at the fastest lane. That happens at time “0:00”. Next it moves to a point between fastest and second fastest – so add a key to the MT object that works as a marker and position the object to such point. Later, you will be adjusting the key’s time, so that the marker comes to the point right at the moment when players must take the slower of the two paths.
  2. Do the same for all other pairs of adjacent lanes/exits (2nd fastest and 3rd fastest, 3rd fastest and 4th fastest etc.).
  3. Finally, the marker should end pointing at the safety net (slowest) exit/lane, so that will be the ending key’s position. In the demo track, the marker stays there (“keep playing” is ticked), because this way, even the slow players are assured that they can actually make it through that lane.
  4. Record the fastest ghost (through the fastest lane) you can.
  5. Place an empty clip’s trigger to the “point of no return” in the fastest exit/lane – to the point where the player can no longer choose a different exit. This trigger will switch off the navigatinal tip.
  6. Go to in-game MT editor and look at the navigational clip – check at which time the perfect driver gets to the “switch off” trigger.
  7. Next, try recording a slightly slower ghost but still using the fastest exit. Repeat this process, each time trying to be a little slower, until you find the speed (or time delay) which no longer allows the player to take the fastest route. When you find that speed, go to the in-game MT editor and once again find out when does that car enter the “switch off” trigger. Let’s say that moment comes “6.35 seconds” after the navigational clip is triggered. So, you will want the key between fastest and second fastest lane to be at 6.30 or so. Adjust it to that time.
  8. Now do the same speed-search for all other exits; always look for the slowest speed at which the lane is usable (or the highest speed at which it becomes unusable). Then adjust the keys between the exits on the map.
  9. If there actually is a safety net lane, make sure the marker stays pointing at it so that slow drivers know where to go.

As usual, there must be a switch-off trigger at the point of no return for each exit, so that navigational tip doesn’t show for the rest of the track.

And that’s all there is to it! Next week, we’ll discuss yet another method of providing these navigational tips, and the whole serie will be concluded with an article about bi-directional sections of tracks and how to provide navigational tips for them.

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2 Responses to Article – Timing Events in MediaTracker, Part 2

  1. MikoZ says:

    nice useful tip !

  2. […] – Timing Events in MediaTracker, Part 3 Last week, an article taught you how to create smooth navigation tips – tips with a smooth direction indicator that sort of counts down from the best (fastest) route to […]

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