Written by Micster.
I’m sure many of us have once been daunted by the Track Editor, the amazing tracks you find online, even the creativity of the Nadeo tracks.
So here are some tips for newbies (and maybe even veterans) of track building that should get you on your feet:
1. Start small
If you’re going to build great tracks, you’re going to have to start small. Newbies will probably want to build some huge super track that takes a ridiculous amount of time to finish, but ends up being mediocre in the end. The best way to start is to build smaller tracks, preferably under 30 seconds each. These mini tracks should be based around ideas that you’ve thought of.
2. Get inspired
You’re going to need inspiration from other tracks in order to get some ideas on what to construct next. Note that when I say inspiration, I don’t mean deliberately copying of other people’s creations. What I mean is to play a few tracks, then see whether any of them give you ideas for transitions, transfers, scenery, start and end sections, you name it. If you find parts of those tracks fun, then see whether you can do something similar. A great place to find such tracks is through Multiplayer, or on TMX.
3. Don’t rush
Good tracks take time. I’ve had one or two tracks that were rushed due to release dates or time, and they turned out to be rather uninteresting. If you’re trying to push yourself into finishing a section really hard and don’t really know what to do, I fully recommend you stop, cool down, maybe think about what to add instead, or simply leave it for another day. I know many amazing tracks that come from people who simply add little by little every day or week, as this provides them no rush, and can clearly think about what to add next.
4. Try every Environment available
If you’re new to the Track Editor, you’ll find 7 Environments sitting right in front of you. You’ll probably want to either just stick to one and work hard on getting better at it (usually the popular ones like Island), or you’ll want to try a little bit of each and see which one sticks to you best. I recommend the latter, as you will be able to find out which ones are easiest to build with, and which ones are the hardest. Personally, when I got TMS, there were three Environments available at that time (Island, Coast and Bay), and after trying all of them during building, I found Coast to be the easiest and most fun to use, and Bay quite possibly the toughest.
5. Get good at driving
To be a good builder is to be a good racer. If not, players will find your tracks either too easy or maybe too hard. Playing Multiplayer and/or competing against other people’s times on tracks are excellent ways to do this. Watching replays on how people drive is a great way to do so as well. You must have the patience to learn, however. Getting good at driving can take days, weeks or even months.
6. Don’t make your race tracks platformers
I remember when as a newb, I would often make race tracks that were often played like platform tracks, where you would have to get past certain sections in many difficult ways. As challenging as those were, they didn’t flow well, and the current trend today is to have tracks that actually flow smoothly. If you want to build platform tracks, be my guest, but be sure to set it so that it claims to be a platform track. And so I refer you to tip number seven:
7. Go with the flow
Good tracks flow well, and by that, I mean that sudden turns without warning, sudden breaking without warning, sudden needs to slow down, etc. are a no-no. All these things add up to become a very frustrating track which is in no way fun. Try and keep the speed in each transition and turn similar, and if you need to slow the car down, I recommend “natural” brakes, like turns that require the car to burn rubber, certain jumps, things like that.
As much as I hate to say it, you’ll need to practice. Playing video games, painting, playing musical instruments, and even getting used to your new TV remote: All these things require practice, as you will need to repeat yourself often. Making mistakes is OK, as long as you are capable of learning from them. For example, say I released a track that was too fast for its own good, and people are making comments that they didn’t like it either. No problem in that, as you will know that you probably shouldn’t do it again. Or say that your track lacked in scenery and thus a lot and people didn’t like it. You can easily learn from that by trying other tracks and create scenery similar to that.
9. Make and create feedback
When you upload a track on TMX, it will be in the running for awards and comments. When reading awards (preferably more detailed ones), see what other players like and improve on that. If people didn’t like certain parts, play the track again and tell yourself about what you feel about it. If you yourself liked it, it’s fine to do it again if you simply can’t break away from it, but also try new ideas to improve on. I suppose you could even say I’m repeating myself from the other tips, and I might just be 😛
10. Have fun
Last but not least, have fun. This is one of the most important tips I can give. If you’re not having fun on your track, chances are others won’t either. If a certain part of your track is responsible for making your track less fun, you should see what you can do about it.
That’s all I can think of when it comes to newbie tips. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it, as this is the first TM related article I’ve ever written.