Alcator’s Purity Rant – Mixmaps are evil

Written by Alcator.

This article will be very different from anything I’ve written for the blog before. After a long row of guides and tutorials, I’m going to rant. I’m going to rant, because something that shouldn’t be happening is happening and it’s supported by those whom we’ve learnt to consider “authorities”.

The thing in question are the so called “mixmaps”. Mixmaps, with the name probably originating with TM/TMX user “Mixo”, are TrackMania tracks which contain blocks that you won’t find in the in-game editor’s building blocks lists, and/or transitions/connections of these blocks that are not possible within the editor. Examples of such “new blocks” are:

  1. Blend-blocks: These are two or more blocks placed at the same position such as a road booster and grass checkpoint at the same spatial unit (so you’re getting a speed boost and passing a checkpoint at the same time), elevated dirt checkpoint, or even start/finish blend block (so you start the race and 0.01 second later the finish gate registers you passing through it).
  2. Morph-blocks: These are blocks that have been transformed (such as shrinked or stretched in some direction). This means that there is now a two-floor ramp for desert (instead of the standard one-floor ramp that results in bumpy driving if you need to go more than one level higher or lower on it) etc.
  3. Bug-block: with these blocks, you’re experiencing driving or riding behavior (of the car) that is in discrepancy with the visuals – such as you’re driving in empty space (inside supposedly filled area, such as a mountain), or you fall into water (in Rally) without the game registering you as “sunk”… Or you may see things like a grass checkpoing floating in the air that you later drive through etc.

Before anything else can be said, one thing must be set in stone: Contrary to the claims of the “designers” of these tracks, these mixmaps are NOT done in the TMU game editor.

SOME of the things can probably be done using unpatched versions of some of the earlier games in the TM series; it seems that in one of the first versions of TM Power Up! (the free expansion to TM Original), you could move already placed blocks and thus cause them to blend with other blocks. After mixmappers create such “bug” using an unpatched version of an earlier game, they save the track, import it into TM United and have the bug in a United’s track – but the TMU editor doesn’t allow the creation of such thing.

OTHER mixblocks, however, are created using hex-editting of the track file (meaning: you open the track file in hex-editor, which is an editor that operates on Byte values inside a file) and modify some of them, thus avoiding the automatic checks performed by the in-game editor during normal in-game track building. In other words, while in-game, the editor won’t let you place a standard road block next to standard elevated dirt block (you need to use a transition block between them), this is possible using hex-editing.

Now, in the first paragraph, I said that mixmaps are supported by those we’ve learnt to take as authorities. This is perhaps slighlty exaggerated, as legally speaking, the administrators of TM-EXCHANGE.COM are not authorities for TrackMania, they just happen to run the greatest track swapping site in the universe and they just happen to pick tracks for showcasing and it just so happens that whenever they do pick one, people tend to try that track and think in the line of “wow, this is what is considered good”. Now, not only was a mixmap showcased, but one of the administrators made a tool that makes the hex-editting much less tedious, thus opening the Pandora’s box of mixmaps to the larger public.

Finally, I’m getting to the idea that “Mixmaps are evil”. I understand that it’s just my opinion and I cannot be considered an authority for this. There are multiple reasons why I consider Mixmaps evil:

  1. Replacing originality with hacks: while without mixblocks, authors that are aiming for originality (innovativeness) have to look for yet undiscovered ways of connecting or laying down the building blocks “legally”, with mixblocks, they simply brute-force blocks to fit. In normal building, you often try to solve a spatial problem created by the required transition tile between two tiles; in mixbuilding, you simply hack the blocks to connect. As one side-effect, this creates an unfair advantage in competitions where creativity or innovativeness is sought for – while some builders try to be innovative with what is available courtesy of Nadeo, others (mixbuilders) simply create the new blocks and automatically get an originality boost. I’d say it’s similar to things like bribing authorities in real life: As soon as bribes are not punished harshly, all companies that aim for subsidies etc. are “forced” to bribe just to “ballance out” the bribes of other companies. Back to TM: I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that if I wish to succeed in a competition, I have to violate the game I love, or I don’t stand a chance.
  2. Corrupting the TM’s idea: Trackmania has always worked in the way that “what you see is what you play”. When you saw a road tile, you knew it’s a road tile where things like acceleration, braking, sliding, landing etc. work some way. However, with mixmaps, this is no longer the case. It’s possible to create mixblocks that have “hidden” properties (meaning: a normally looking track tile that actually works as a reverse booster, etc.); so, when a player encounters such block on-line, he (or she) may be surprised that the car is behaving differently without any obvious reason.
  3. Blocking certain mechanisms: In normal maps, one of the things you can do is inspect the track using “free” (or orbital) camera. You simply look at the start, then travel with the view along the track and evaluate it, make notes about the needed driving activities. With mixmaps, parts of the driving may consist of moving through bug holes, invisible paths etc., which means it’s difficult or impossible to evaluate the track in this officially provided method.

Have you ever played Diablo 2 online? Have you ever met a player that was using hacks like maphack, chickenrun, or tradehack? How did it feel? Is it really fun to appear in an unknown map and see your teammate or opponent run directly to the exit that he or she sees on the hacked minimap, while you don’t? Is it really fun to play against someone who will be automatically logged out if his health drops below 5%?

Nadeo provided the in-game editor and offered a list of blocks and a set of connectivitiy rules for them. They did not provide a block-creating tool, nor does their editor have some ‘second layer’ option for placing two tiles at the same place. Some said that nadeo didn’t provide car-mesh editor neither and still, players are making models for the game, so why don’t I protest against them as well? Well, the reason is – I don’t have to see the custom model and I’m still able to compete against the player; in fact, the change of model does not change anything driving-wise. While messing the blocks certainly does.

Final thought: This is a rant. Still, I tried to keep it civilized. I’m not calling anyone any names, I’m not cursing anyone and I’m not using vulgarities or obscenities here. I’d appreaciate if any response to this was as civilized as my rant. Thank you.

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41 Responses to Alcator’s Purity Rant – Mixmaps are evil

  1. Ditra says:

    No, i don’t think so Alcator. The phisics remain the same, infact between tmu and tmn are lot of difference because of it! Infact man that are skilled on tmn not at all are skilled on tmu!
    So mixing blocks are only a new way to drive a track, like difference between FS and tech track! 😀 So just learn it 😛 But to mix block is too difficult for me, i’m not enough nerd to hack that XD

  2. Hastings says:

    Excellent article. And I fully agree to you, Alcator. Mixmaps are the wrongest way to go. Since mixmaps appeared, the TM editor and TmX in general have lost a big deal of attraction to me, because these hacks are getting more popular and popular and many influential mappers support it in their greed for recognition and fame. Even if mappers are now at the limit of originality, facing an innumberable amount of tracks and ideas which have been realized, corrupting and hacking the game code and building ugly tracks out of it definitely is not what I consider fun anymore.

  3. matto says:

    I agree with you on some points, but i don’t think that racing and mapping are going to be changed by mixmaps. If these tracks are bad as you think (and often they are) people won’t award/play them 😀 it’s just another way to make a track… maybe nadeo after all will release a block editor, who knows… 😀

  4. Ditra says:

    Yeah, but this isn’t a good motivation matto, i think it’s a new kind of mapping, that seems “cool” to the noobs 😛 I never awarded a ZooZ’s map, because are do with this method, but their sucks XD So let’s wait some wonderful map. The idea isn’t so bad, but the maps theirself are horrible XD new but bad XD

  5. Jozii says:

    I fully agree with Alcator! Mixmaps SUCK! (So much for civilized 😛 )

    The idea in the first place is nothing I’d personally stand for, no matter if the tracks are good or bad to play.

  6. LordMzn says:

    i can’t agree with you

    some of those map are really innovative. also, nothing change in players: if youre a good one, you still win every race.

    and i dont think mixmap as an hack. trackmania is about building track, but it’s also a racing game… so hacking is changing replays for getting WRs, or not showing the car during competition or things like that…

    i mean, it will be a mess when those maps will be included in some server, but it isn’t so bad.

    the only thing i can wonder is why mixmaps today are so awful… they are really bad-made -.-‘

  7. Hageldave says:

    I couldnt agree more alcator. with mixmaps you dont have to be good anymore in building to get things smooth and well working, you do not have tofind solutions anymore, you are simply hacking the code and there you go… As an addicted tracker, I can only say that mixmaps are some lazy rubbish made to impress non-advanced and probably caused by nonskill.
    thx for that article dude

  8. TimeBreaker says:

    mix maps will destroy the fun of mapping for me, for sure
    they actually already destroyed it, because trackmania always was about tracks, and how to build them
    theres an exact number of blocks, reachable for every one, and they all work perfectly
    the aim is to make a track that is fun due to the creativity of the author, solving problems between two blocks, on how to fix gaps, and what you can do with “only” the blocks, existing in the editor
    i never supported the idea of mixmaps, and I never will
    its buggy, damn ugly and is just another stupid hype, which robs the attention from people, who try to stay fair
    I have to confess, that I was impressed abotu the first mixmaps, but it already became boring now, and most mixtracks arent good either
    But they will get awards, not for the track being a good one, but for the author, being an advanced hex editor user

    nice article alcator, should get showcased on tmx, lol

  9. Hageldave says:

    time breaker you are speaking frommy soul 😀

  10. micster says:

    Great, article, agree completely. 😀

  11. DanDaMan says:

    Fantastic article alcator!
    I have to admit though, I did enjoy the mixmaps the first time I played one… but with this article you have really opened my eyes to the big problem here.
    Thanks for writing this article! 🙂

  12. CMCZeo says:

    i don’t know how to make a mixmap and i think i’ll never want to learn it. It’s just a bit unfair IMO. For example – notice that authors of mixmaps gain awards mostly… just for bugs, even not for bug usage – just for bugs. Is time for searching any bugs really worth that much? I have to agree with Alcator in this article, great job man

  13. BrummHummel says:

    Some days / weeks ago i really thought that it´s possible to build these so called mixmaps within the editor.. somehow and for everybody!
    i thought everybody can do this!

    but as i realized that it´s a hack i ashamed to gave 2 or 3 awards!
    I´m really ashamed and if i could i would delete all of them!

    I totally agree to alcator and i hope that this article will be shown on TMX!!!

    …i´m waiting for the day when i´ll download a map and after playing it i´ve a problem with a virus.. (i hope that´s not possible 😉 ) ..hacking is hacking and cheating is cheating… there´s nothing that can palliates this!

    so.. great article alcator and thank yopu for writing the truth!

  14. XTMarkus says:

    i fully agree with you in all points!
    nothing more to say

  15. Bye Tom says:

    I kinda liked bugmaps before. After realising that it was a hack, I started think that this was a bit bad idea. Then I downloaded the Software for creating bugs easy.

    It was there I realised… *Scary music*

    I don´t wanna make tracks with those kind of bugs in it, it just feels wrong to do that, I mean… Actually it is cheating, and now with that software you don´t even have to be good at it. Now everybody can create these bugs.
    I put down so damn much time on building tracks, to make transitions and bring as much innovation as possible in my tracks, I really go deep into detail and figure out what happens if you drive in this angle, test-drive the track thousands of times.

    And then some TM n00bs that is good in hexing comes and makes tracks in like a hour. And then everybody says… Oh, you´re so innovative, man… You´re the best. And gets glory for making tracks wit notepad.
    And now with that software, every single n00b can make those bugs. And it just feels pointless to work so hard with tracks when whoever that wants can build a track that people will like almost as much in one day.

    That´s my point of the wiew.

  16. KEV Fan says:

    I fully agree to your article.
    Where are the limits of that “hacking” ?
    Creating hidden booster sections near the best line? Creating cuts not to be seen because they look solid? Changing uploaded times ?
    This might kill the fun of the game.

  17. BCS[Santino] says:

    I agree with Alcator on all points, but I would like to say they are fun to see in LOL servers, but I disagree that they should not be showcased on TM-X and should be highlighted as hack-tracks not mix-maps.. I have awarded some of them as well, as I was not aware it was a hack. I thought it was part of an editing software kit.

    Maybe instead of awarding these tracks in future, we should all add in comments on these tracks: Sorry cannot award as its a Hack-Track!

    thanks

  18. Retodon8 says:

    I agree with the article. Mix maps basically exploit a security hole in the software, which is bad by definition. It might not seem like a big deal, but it really is opening up a Pandora’s box. Whenever a newbie ask for the ability to race all cars in all environment, (s)he is quickly shot down, and it seems for the same reasons that apply here.

    @Ditra, the physics themselves may be identical, but if every block is potentially buggy, gameplay will still be unpredictable at best. Neither FS or tech tracks are unpredictable, so you can’t compare them.

    @LordMzn, mix maps are abusing a flaw in the game’s software, so how is that not a hack? The definition has nothing to do with the impact on the game. That way a hack that makes me 1% faster would be less of a hack than one that made me 10% or 100% faster, but a hack is a hack. The fact that it’s a racing game doesn’t change anything either. I haven’t played any mix maps, but from the article it seems the impact can actually be huge, disallowing good players to win races against the map builders, even if they suck at the game.

  19. alcator says:

    I’ll jump into the discussion at this point, clarifying one thing:

    Retodon8 said: “I haven’t played any mix maps, but from the article it seems the impact can actually be huge, disallowing good players to win races against the map builders, even if they suck at the game.”

    The mixbuilders say that you can still download the best replay posted on TMX for a mixtrack and do the same things the author or best driver does; they take this “excuse” as a proof that mixmapping doesn’t hurt anything.

    However, this has some “flaws”:
    1) it requires a replay be posted on TMX
    2) it requires much more effort than just observing a player online (on a server)
    3) the official blocks for TMs all provide somewhat “wide” space in them – boosters, even on Alpine tracks, are wide, there’s quite a lot of space around obstacles etc. With mixmapping, it may be possible to create very small or narrow segments within tiles that behave differently (imagine an obstacle pole in the middle of a “one third” booster tile on Alpine track). So, while on normal tracks, watching a replay of the best driver leads to learning “Oh, I have to keep on the right here and on the left there”, with mixmaps, it may be more like “oh, I have to be 150 pixels from the left edge here and 20 pixels to the right from this obstacle to get the invisible boost”… Together with the 2nd reasoning in the numbered list in the article, i.e. together with the fact that in mixmaps, the car sometimes bounces off or hits invisible obstacles, it breaks the fun and changes competitiveness into “winning by knowing the secret”

  20. Ditra says:

    No sorry all, but the problem is to made good maps with this mix. I agree with Alcator only because people awardet thoose maps only because are a new idea, but the track is a shit XD
    So when there will be nice tracks i will vote thoose, but now sucks 😉

  21. Vincent says:

    I also fully agree with the article.

    Hacking the game to make maps with hidden or unpredictable effects is clearly a form of cheating, as TMU is a competitive game where the drivers fight for little parts of seconds.
    TMX is an extremely competitive site – as you can see from the leaderbord structures and most-awards-list on the main page – so cheats should not be tolerated on that site.
    The whole problem looks very similar to doping in some sports to me. There may be no way to prevent people from doping, but it definitely kills the competitive spirit and may leave the game pointless in the end.

    Vincent

  22. [MegaManX] says:

    For what it’s worth, Alcator, I fully disagree with you. The comparison between TrackMania and Diablo II that you gave is probably one of the most ridiculous comparisons I’ve seen in a while. (The Diablo II hacking examples you gave were giving certain people unfair advantages. But do mixmaps have unfair advantages that are like any of the Diablo II unfair advantages that you listed? Heck no.)

    “However, with mixmaps, this is no longer the case. It’s possible to create mixblocks that have “hidden” properties (meaning: a normally looking track tile that actually works as a reverse booster, etc.); so, when a player encounters such block on-line, he (or she) may be surprised that the car is behaving differently without any obvious reason.”
    1. To the best of my knowledge, you can not change what a block looks like without it changing what it actually DOES. 2. You can make a mod that makes all boosters look like normal road if you so wanted… And yet, I’ve NEVER seen you argue that mods should be removed.

    Also…
    “Morph-blocks: These are blocks that have been transformed (such as shrinked or stretched in some direction). This means that there is now a two-floor ramp for desert (instead of the standard one-floor ramp that results in bumpy driving if you need to go more than one level higher or lower on it) etc.”
    Uh, IIRC, those blocks that you mention were actually IN TMO, just hidden for some weird reason. They are NOT stretched blocks. (If they were, we’d probably see a lot of five-tile wide checkpoints/finishes and such)

    …I’ll stop typing here since I don’t feel like going on a counter-rant right now (I’ve got stuff to do). I’ll pick this up later (or whenever someone says something ridiculous in the comments, whichever comes first.)

  23. High Plains Bifta says:

    Hi guys, as one of these supposed “Figures Of Authority” I feel I must say something about this.

    I am one of those who has learnt the art of mix-mapping, and who have used it, and I must say …

    I AM NOT ASHAMED.

    There are many attitudes toward this art and even more personal opinions, many of which are either confused or mis-informed. I use mix-mapping for one reason and one reason alone, It provides me a freedom to create smoother and more interesting tracks which otherwise I couldn`t have made. Yes this art can be abused and used to make horrible looking maps which are almost impossible to drive smoothly (sorry Mixo and Zooz but thats my general opinion of both of yours mix-tracks so far.) I made my most recent map which I will just call “`bixed” to prove to myself that mixes could be used responsibly to create something new and interesting which would help me keep my joy of map-building which has been slowly fading of late because of the lack of anything new in the game. I am sorry but as one of the more skilled but less noticed mappers out there I have slowly been getting more and more frustrated with the lack of new content or tricks available within the editor. This skill allows to relieve this frustration but still make something cool which others will enjoy. Yes many mixes can be horrible to look at and horrible to enjoy and thusly in the spirit of TM it is in the hands of the other players to tell the authors of these mix-maps that their mixes suck and look horrible and destroy the feel of the map. No-one should outright claim all mix-maps are crap without trying them ALL, only then can you create a truly informed opinion. Some are good and there will be more good ones as time goes on especially once the novelty of this has worn off in the scene, It is down to you people to try these tracks and tell the authors what you think of them so hopefully they won`t do something horrible next time.

    My next section is in regards to some of the claims about the different mixes or what it takes to do them.

    1. Blnd Blocks – These are the single primary form of mixes I have used in my new map `Bixed, I have used these because they actually have helped me smooth out my map, I have taken out that horrible gap between black platforms and buildings and I have created transitions which not only look good but work smoothly when racing. Yes they can be used to make something horrible and to-date often have been, in fact I will agree nearly all mix-maps so far have been ugly horrible messes where the mixes were far more important than the race itself and I do agree that these clunky horrible maps should never end-up on a multi-player server and should not be considered proper race maps, they are basically just demo`s that someone can do it.

    2. Morph Blocks – I am afraid Alcator that you are very badly mis-informed here, there is no such thing. These stretched ramps you are talking about in Desert have been there since the days of TM:SUa (SpeedUp Alpha, an unreleased expansion pack for TM1) but were locked away for unknown reasons. Though they have always existed in the code since, through TMO and TMU, they are genuine blocks designed and built by Nadeo, all that has happened is that they have been unlocked by Mixo for all TM Players to use, his info on how to do this is public and available to everybody. In fact if you look in the two screenshots of TMUF released so far you can actually see that Nadeo has unlocked at least some of these blocks for all to use after the update.

    3. Bug Blocks – Now here is where we share some commonality of opinion. I personally do not like driving on invisible floors or inside hills where you can see the world outside but not the wall in front of you, I think it looks awful and destroys the feel of the environment you are driving in.. BUT if the author put in enough work this can be alleviated somewhat (I intend to make a track to prove it soon), Though I also agree that I don`t like the idea of a cp hanging in mid-air, it annoys me enough when normal signs hang in space with nothing to connect to.

    With regards to other concerns I also have a mixed opinion over some of what you have said above Alcator, so I will go through them in bulletin points like you did.

    1. Replacing originality with Hacks :

    Sorry but aren`t hacks original in their own right? They are something the author has created or used to do something NEW which hasn`t been seen before. With regards to how this affects the “originality of working within the editor restrictions”, I will sort of agree, I am going to put this in caps so people understand clearly ok.

    AN AWESOME MAP MADE WITHIN THE RULES OF THE EDITOR IS A MUCH BETTER ACHIEVEMENT THAN A GREAT MAP MADE WITH MIXES!!!,

    Also I do say that mix-maps should NOT be allowed in proper track-building competitions as yes they are an unfair advantage as they use skills not natively available within the game. In racing competitions as long as the map is smooth and neat and without ugly rendering errors created by the mixes I can`t see a problem.

    That said a good mix-map which looks good and plays well is also a good achievement and not to be sniffed at, I know from experience mix-mapping is not easy in any way, it is an art which takes time and effort to get right, it is not just a case of “I want that block there” and 5 secs later it is done, It can be a half hour of frustration, mess ups and bad errors which crash your game to get something that even slightly works in order to get one block in place, and each block you mix can accidentally create errors elsewhere in the map which can sometimes cause you to start again. If I made `Bixed again without any mixes it would have taken a quarter of the time to build and would have been a much lumpier experience than it is. Also Alcator your point about locking starts and finishes together is stupid, thats just a bad track by anybodies standard.

    2. Corrupting TM`s Idea – Agreed some of the mixes people have made do this, but as said above I kind of agree, I myself don`t like floating cars and driving through invisible spaces, if people can make their hack/mixes so that they are all visible and neat the happier I myself will be.

    3. Blocking certain mechanisms – Also this I do not approve of, though I have not yet seen a proper example of some of the things you are describing, I have not raced over invisible boosters or anything similar that I know of YET. And if I do come accross it I will point out loudly to the author that it is out of order. Though as far as I know the car has to be in contact with the boosters for them to work, which will force them to be visible (If flickery because the surface is at the same level as another without the boost texture) which is already kind of considered a sin in mixing (See even us mixers are already creating a code of ethics which we try to encourage those who are trying this to accept) and is something which I am glad to say even Zooz discourages. Any track which takes advantage of bad mixes to give certain racers an advantage because they know about as you say “Blocked Mechanisms” is a bad track.

    Now for my reaction as someone who knows coding and game construction techniques to a certain degree.

    Hacking of any game by it`s public is inevitable, there are always those people who have computer programming knowledge who will want to hack/mod a game more to the way they like it rather than as it comes out of the box. There are many reasons for this some are malicious, most aren`t. The biggest reason is plain curiosity, an exercise in testing your skills and a pure example of problem solving. In my case I mainly do this to achieve simple things which I feel should be part of the ingame editor in any case. Things like the double loop roll near the start of my track is one example, the red loop blocks in Bay (as well as the big loop halves in stadium) have no real reason to not be able to lie side by side to create double rolls or more except that the empty space surrounding them is considered solid by the editor, I have ALWAYS felt that this space should be able to be used as the restrictions it creates can make a map lumpy and ugly when it could have been sweet. Anyway back to my point, It is impossible to stop hackers/modders trying something and wanting to show it to the world, and sometime what they create is fantastic. If you work form the logic you have given above I should hope you never ever play Counter-Strike and that you consider it a sin as after all it`s origins are as a hack of Half Life Deathmatch. My hope as someone who has programming and game construction knowledge is that some of the better looking hacks and mixes which do work and help make certain things smoother will be taken up by Nadeo and integrated into the editor in a future update, though I severely doubt that will happen.

    My True Concerns:-

    Yes I may come across as pro mixing but even I will say I do have concerns, and they as follows. The true evil here isn`t ugly maps or hidden bits of badly buried functions of blocks, It is the fear of true hacking.

    What do I mean by true hacking? This is what I mean, hacking replay times, scores files and peoples track passwords etc. If this ever becomes easy and popular I can only fear that this will truly break the game, and like all of you I pray this never happens, I don`t want to have to install PunkBuster TM if I can ever help it, That will be a bad day for this game we love. If we ever discover anybody doing this in tracks on TMX I promise all now that they will be BANNED IN PERPETUITY!

    Though whether you like it or not the secret of mix-mapping is out there and available to all. I learned everything I needed to know from the TM-Forum by picking out details and actually properly reading it. Also whether you like it or not there are people out there who can actually fully decompile any .gbx file and recompile them after alterations or even create their own and this info will eventually get leaked by someone, It is called Freedom of Information and is impossible to stop.

    At TMX I have to admit we are concerned with where this can go though we are not at all surprised by it`s development. It is something many of us have been expecting for a long time. In fact some of us are very surprised it has taken this long to get going. It is something we cannot stop or truly effectively police. It would be wrong and almost Fascist of us to declare all mix-maps as wrong and ban them from the site, as that is against the ethics of what our site is about. What we have done instead is create a policy to handle them which is this :

    1. Any mix-track uploaded to TMX that we know of will be watched and examined, If it involves a true hack (such as a an author time of 10 secs even though the track can only be raced in a minute or more) will be locked and the author banned.

    2. Any mix-track uploaded of which we hear causes troubles on servers will be locked and the author warned (such as one which was uploaded which when run a server caused everybody to kicked and banned including the admin.)

    3. Any other issues which develop from this will be addressed directly as they arise and appropriate action will be taken.

    Though at the end of the day it is down to YOU the users to help us out here, If you feel mix-maps are wrong then don`t award or download them. Though I would like to think the vast majority of our user-base is a little more open-minded and would make a more balanced judgement based upon trying the tracks and then creating an informed opinion, but at the end of the day it is your hands not ours. Also plain open abuse about this subject as with any other on our site/forum will not be tolerated. It is the best we can do and we hope you all will understand that.

    Also for those of you who wonder what Nadeo think about this subject here is a small note.

    There is no “Official Opinion” as yet, but Florent ( Nadeo`s director) has posted his personal opinion on Trackmania Le-Jeu and goes as follows.

    Quoted by florent (In French)

    ]j’ai rien suivi, enfin si un peu, pis jsuis tomber sur le post de MappYng, qui apparement ce plaignait des awards, et Weetos, qui rétorquait joliment, juste pour dire que pouêt les ptits bonhomme, en aucun cas vos “map” à bug mérite des awards contrairement à une map normale. Certe vous vous êtes détruit le derrière toute une soirée à le faire, mais rien ne vaut une bonne map sans bug, car les bugs c’est bien, mais quand y en a pas beaucoup, et surtout, quand ça vous fait pas des morceaux de 3D par ci par là ultra moche qui détruise totalement l’impression de réalisme ou de jeux complet. Enfin c’est mon avis. Flèche

    and loosley translated by google

    I have not followed, if there was little worse jsuis fall onto the post MappYng, who apparently complained that the awards, and Weetos, which rétorquait nicely, just to say that the pouêt ptits man, in any case your “map” to bug merit awards unlike a normal map. Certe you have destroyed an entire evening behind to do it, but nothing beats a good map without bug, because bugs is good, but when there is not a lot, especially when it makes you not pieces 3D here and there by ultra ugly that totally destroy the impression of realism or complete games. Finally it is my opinion. Arrow

    From what I can make out of that it seems He actually quite likes the idea of Bug/mix-maps but only when there a a few which add to the flow of the track and don`t do horrible looking clashes and ugly things. It looks like he reckons it is reasonably fair play especially as you must have lost a whole evening behind doing it. Though he does say he prefers a well built bug/mix free map. And I think he says that bug/mix maps do deserve awards but only when the award is for the track and not just for the bugs.

    and heres the link to the thread where this came from.
    http://www.trackmania-lejeu.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25158&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=405

    I hope this helps clears a few things up and will lead to a bit more understanding between all in the TM scene.

  24. High Plains Bifta says:

    Oh and a authors post edit button on this blog would be nice as I have spotted some nasty typos and spelling mistake I would like to get rid of in my post above.

  25. Procurve says:

    I dont understand why people can have such strong opinions about things being totally good or totally bad. I guess I’m too nuanced for that. 😉 Sure the first time I heard about mixmaps I also had my doubts and I’ve seen bad mixmaps but after seeing what CAN be possible it brought a smile to my face. 🙂

    I’ve tried a little mixmapping myself and it was alot of fun (and isn’t fun the main goal of a game). Finally there are block combinations possible that I already dreamed about way before mixmapping was invented.

    On the other hand I agree it’s a bigger effort to create a good flowing track without any hacking. If I could choose I’d wish mixmapping didn’t exist but it does and we need to learn to live with it. If you don’t want to award mixmaps so be it but don’t burn down trackbuilders just because they used mixmapping. I’m sure the novelty will wear off and mixmaps will be judged and criticized just as normal tracks. Consider it as a new genre. 😉

  26. High Plains Bifta says:

    Oh and on TMX If you don`t really agree with a mixmap or it does something which you hate please feel free to post comments instead of awards as at the end of the day that is what the comment`s box is for. BUT ANY ABUSE WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!

  27. KEV Fan says:

    Wow HP – nice and long comment. Just a few thoughts.
    To me the whole discussion is NOT about “is it harder or easier to create such a map” or “are good hacked maps better than good non-hacked maps” or “are all hacked maps crap maps concerning their driveability or not” to me the one and only point is about:
    “Should we tolerate manipulated (hacked) maps in the TM world YES or NO”. To me it´s NO and I don´t want to repeat my reasons and the reasons of this article stated above.
    You guys at TMX seem to have decided it´s tolerable and that´s your good right because it´s your site. I really hope that I´m wrong and that supporting/tolerating instead of banning manipulated stuff does not have weird effects in the future which lead to a total loss of fun for this game (it´s only a game 😛 )
    I´m sorry to read that you are at the end concerning “new stuff” in the normal editor. It was today when I found something new on TMX (at least new to me) – if you take a look at the start of the map “Edge” released today. I think most of us still got enough potential to be found in the normal editor (at least I´m not finished with that :P) and for those who think they don´t…..TMU-F is not so far away.
    There are very few maps on TMX which deserve the title “ART” – the mixed maps I´ve seen so far are not among them.

    I wish you guys at TMX good luck in deciding what is “cool” and what is “abuse” in future hacked maps.

    I´ll avoid them if possible and recognizable.

  28. Hageldave says:

    well bifta… but what about solving those smoothness problem and making intresting tracks with the tools available and usable for everyone wich are supposed to be your own mind and the nadeo editor… seems kinda lazy to me though I dont care what or how you’re doing it. but imo it spoils the whole tracking buissness

  29. High Plains Bifta says:

    @Hageldave , I have tried and often it just doesn`t work the way I wish it to. Also it is not just about that, it is mainly about the hunt for something NEW. I have built many many maps, most of which never get posted on TMX and over the last 4 years I have slowly but surely got tired of seeing the same transitions, combinations etc. There has always been small touches which I have wished were possible which for ME would improve the track I am trying to build, as at the end of the day I create tracks for myself which I enjoy. I often fins many of the restrictions of the editor are un-necessary and clunky and cause parts of tracks to be extended which could be much much smoother and neater and shorter. Mostly this is due to restrictions caused by “clips” or the total lack of a transition block which I feel should exist but doesn`t.

    @ All

    What I personally disagree with is the “All Mix-Maps ARE BAD” reaction by people who haven`t really tried any or have only tried bad ones. You never know some of these mixes and ideas may be the springboards for the creation of future-blocks and functions in the editor which will give all players that little bit more freedom to create what they have in mind, And what`s important at the end of the day to me is the Freedom to create. You may not like it and that is your opinion.

    At the end of the day it is about personal taste and opinion, some people will like them and some won`t but I would rather people had an informed opinion than one made up out of thin air. Yes this craze could go bad, but it could also go well and possibly improve the game slightly for all. But please don`t have a go at people for wishing for more, it is the natural state of being of the human animal, we are always curious and often wish to test the boundaries of the world around us, whether it is real- life or a game. Also trust me it is not “Lazy” some of these mixes can take much much longer to create than it would trying do an extended version of said within the editor which can destroy the flow of the track. (I find it hard enough keeping the bay car at a good speed to corner properly as it is, without having to use 5 blocks and three transitions in a straight line which allow the player to gain too much speed, and I personally don`t like using reverse arrows to slow cars down, I would rather they get there at the correct speed and often the editor restrictions do not allow this.

    At the end of the day all I ask is that people try these tracks first as they would any other, some will be awfull, some will be great, you don`t know till you try. And if you like the track but don`t agree with Mixing then leave a comment on TMX. It is wrong and small-minded of people to just dissmiss them out of hand. No matter what is said or what people think they are a form of creativity and this is what is important to me. There is nothing more insulting to me than trying to block peoples creativity, We are not Fascists I do not live in a Fascist society. If people wish to explore or create then I cannot and will not stop them.

    If the track breaks the game then that track is wrong certainly, But if they enhance the game then where is the issue? So they had to do something to create it which you currently can`t, there is nothing stopping you from doing it yourself, the information you need is out there, you just have to look for it.

    If you don`t approve then just don`t take part, I am not forcing you to play mix-maps and I am not forcing people to like them, all I want is people to be a little more open-minded and to make them think about things properly instead of forming closed opinions. I am open to everybodies opinion on this subject and I will never think any the less of anybody if they have an informed but negative opinion, at least it is informed, they know what they are talking about and can debate it.

    Whether I like it or not opinion will always be divided and I can`t say I truly condone or totally disapprove because there are elements I both like and dislike about this “Trick” (though I do consider it an Art, as I do consider all TM track-building an Art, When done well It is both creative and pretty as all art is, but that doesn`t stop there being bad examples). But I will not put up with people who wish to deliberately restrict the attempt by others to expand their knowledge and skills or who wish to express themselves in a manner you are not used to.

    As KEVFan says above hopefully TMU-F will address some of this and it will not be so much of an issue. Maybe Nadeo will add some of the better mix-blocks to their collection or possibly create a new way of stopping them we don`t know as yet. Maybe they will give provisions within the editor to allow Mixing officially (and hopefully get rid of some of the worst and uglier problems with it ) , as yet we do not know.

    As with anything TM, If you don`t like it you don`t have to play it. Just don`t be an Ass and shout your mouth off over it when you don`t have all the facts or haven`t really thought about it.

  30. alcator says:

    HPB: Thanks for the reply.

    However:

    1) For way too long, the mixbuilders were unwilling to disclose the method used for building them. With normal tracks, all you need to re-create something you’ve seen in other people’s tracks is just look at that part and re-build it tile by tile; with mixmaps, this is not possible, and the mixbuilders were keeping the method very secretive.

    2) Also, for the longest time, they were claiming that those mixblocks are doable in the game editor, and they were mocking those who were asking “how to do them?”

    3) The big danger lies in competition submissions: If a competition has very restrictive rules, such as a spatial restriction (5×5 etc.), then some builders will have to solve a lot of problems with connecting tiles together, while mixmappers simply brute-force the tiles to connect. Talk about fair…

    4) Take “Little BigMap” by Mixo for instance: Copper-wise, the track is very light, and if it was a normal track, it would play perfectly. However, since the track is stretched in one dimension way too far, the graphics card has a lot of troubles displaying it, framerate drops and gameplay goes down. There goes the usefulness of copper-cost of tracks: Before, it worked as a guidance “This track is light and will run smoothly on your older hardware, while THAT 9000 copper monster will drop the framerate”; with mixmaps, this no longer works.

    ==
    I also have to admit that the 2nd type of mixblocks, the morph-blocks, may not exist, they may be the hidden blocks. I apologize.

  31. High Plains Bifta says:

    Thanks for the considered reply Alcator.

    1) Agreed, but now if you look the information you need is out there, you just have to read between the lines a lot, or look in other places but I promise hand on heart that everything you need to know about how to create/edit a mix-map is in the public domain as long as you look for it.

    2) Yes they did and I agree that was kind of wrong and mis-leading of them I have no intentions of being so, I create mixes using to techniques, RixMix and Hex editing and if these are used I do feel that people should say so in their track comments on TMX.

    3) Agreed NO mix-map should ever be submitted to competitions in track building unless all entrants are capable of it and have the knowlege available as it is unfair on those who can`t do it. In Racing competitions as long as all players can have a little time to learn the track and it`s foibles then I see no problem, but it should be stated in any competitions rules whether mix-maps are allowed.

    4) Yes I can understand this one too, it is a trick I have since deliberately worked out and now know how to reproduce, but I cannot pretend that this map is nothing other than a gimmick as the technique used to create it is a little complicated and suffers from it`s own restrictions. But yes I can understand how this does complicate things but at the moment there is no way to stop this. I hope it can be solved in some way.

    and to your closing comment, no problems. I understand, I am glad I could help give you the information about it.

  32. FoF RooBah says:

    Golly guys.. this will be interesting to see what happens.
    I have ran two of these MM’s and I was not overly impressed. One was soso.. the other was just perfectly poor. One analogy might be that Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose looked awesome…. but we all know (now) that it could barely get airborne.

    The last thing we need is a new even more tedious way to have noob mappers releasing (to put it in a civil manner) ‘things’.
    Likewise, the main thing we need is a larger community of racers, spectators AND mappers.

    I think this will have to be in the hands of the Game DEV’s or the community before it is all said and done.

    There are no free lunches to ‘cure’ this one.. We shall wait and see.

  33. DaKKoN says:

    I’ll better keep this short: Alcator!! You’re the man for writing this article m8!!! I apreciate the effort a lot!!! I actually never knew how mix-maps were created, but common sense told me it wasn’t possible in the standard editor… 😉 I even enjoyed the 1st and maybe 2nd and presumeably the 3rd drive I had on a mix map, but after that I started to dislike. Simply put there’s no challenge in driving a “not-smooth” track.
    There might be some of them, but bottomline is I think creativity is never overrated!! But hacking is!!

    My biggest fear is that the hacks will evolve and will start influencing car-physics… I mean what insane times could be set if you drive the desert car (in desert off course ;)) with the physics of the Island car… Sliding with 600-900km/h on desert. That’s my biggest fear of the whole mix-mapping.. I mean hax make hax 😉

    Hmm I already talking for a long time already 😦

    One other thing: Before people are starting to flame me for being “dumb” or anything, I’m a noob when it comes to any data… I love using the custom cars, but have no idea how to create them!! In other words: I’m a noob on that department. I only have some (mostly wrong 😉 ) strong opinions!!

    Anywayz, Nice discussion here and again: Alcator you rox!! 😛

  34. Mixo says:

    There are so many falsehoods and straw men in this article that I just can’t spend the time to refute them all, so I will focus on just a few of them.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    2. Morph-blocks: These are blocks that have been transformed (such as shrinked or stretched in some direction). This means that there is now a two-floor ramp for desert (instead of the standard one-floor ramp that results in bumpy driving if you need to go more than one level higher or lower on it) etc.
    [/quote]

    You cannot shrink or stretch blocks.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    3. Bug-block: with these blocks, you’re experiencing driving or riding behavior (of the car) that is in discrepancy with the visuals – such as you’re driving in empty space (inside supposedly filled area, such as a mountain)
    [quote]

    That has nothing to do with blocks.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    or you fall into water (in Rally) without the game registering you as “sunk”…
    [/quote]

    That has nothing to do with mixmapping.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    Before anything else can be said, one thing must be set in stone: Contrary to the claims of the “designers” of these tracks, these mixmaps are NOT done in the TMU game editor.
    [/quote]

    Interesting, but you cannot paint everybody with the same tar brush. For example, I have never claimed this, so accusing me of lying like this is personally offensive.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    SOME of the things can probably be done using unpatched versions of some of the earlier games in the TM series; it seems that in one of the first versions of TM Power Up! (the free expansion to TM Original),
    [/quote]

    Ugh, so much misinformation here. 😦 Mixmaps can be made in *every* version of TMO (TM 1.0.0, TM 1.1.0, TMPU 1.2.5, TMO 1.5.0), using only the in-game editor. This has nothing to do with patching. There was only ever *one* version of PowerUp, so saying “one of the first versions” of PowerUp is nonsense. PowerUp wasn’t an expansion to TMO, it was an expansion to TM. TMO was an expansion to TMPU. PowerUp and TMO are still supported by Nadeo.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    you could move already placed blocks and thus cause them to blend with other blocks.
    [/quote]

    You could not move already placed blocks.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    After mixmappers create such “bug” using an unpatched version of an earlier game, they save the track, import it into TM United and have the bug in a United’s track – but the TMU editor doesn’t allow the creation of such thing.
    [/quote]

    So what? Are you going to ban all maps from PU and TMO now? TMU is *supposed* to be able to load maps from TM, TMPU, and TMO. That’s how it’s *designed*. That’s how it’s *supposed to work*. You cannot create maps of size 32×32 or 36×36 or 30×30 or 20×60 or 10×150 in TMU either, you have to import a map from an earlier TM. Are you going to ban them too?

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    Now, in the first paragraph, I said that mixmaps are supported by those we’ve learnt to take as authorities.
    [/quote]

    And why shouldn’t they be, if they’ve been created in a TM editor?

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    This is perhaps slighlty exaggerated, as legally speaking, the administrators of TM-EXCHANGE.COM are not authorities for TrackMania
    [/quote]

    Maps with mixed blocks have been on TMX for *three years* now. This is not something new.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    1. Replacing originality with hacks: while without mixblocks, authors that are aiming for originality (innovativeness) have to look for yet undiscovered ways of connecting or laying down the building blocks “legally”, with mixblocks, they simply brute-force blocks to fit. In normal building, you often try to solve a spatial problem created by the required transition tile between two tiles; in mixbuilding, you simply hack the blocks to connect. As one side-effect, this creates an unfair advantage in competitions where creativity or innovativeness is sought for – while some builders try to be innovative with what is available courtesy of Nadeo, others (mixbuilders) simply create the new blocks and automatically get an originality boost.
    [/quote]

    This is just utter nonsense. There is no way to brute-force blocks to fit. You cannot hack the blocks to connect. I spent *hours* getting the first two cubelets right in the map KeyQuay. I doubt if anyone using traditional building techniques has ever spent that amount of time on just two blocks. There is nothing “simple” or “automatic” about doing this.

    You think “creating new blocks” is easier than simply using what Nadeo has given you? That’s so backwards it’s incomprehensible to me how you can believe that.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    2. Corrupting the TM’s idea: Trackmania has always worked in the way that “what you see is what you play”. When you saw a road tile, you knew it’s a road tile where things like acceleration, braking, sliding, landing etc. work some way. However, with mixmaps, this is no longer the case. It’s possible to create mixblocks that have “hidden” properties (meaning: a normally looking track tile that actually works as a reverse booster, etc.); so, when a player encounters such block on-line, he (or she) may be surprised that the car is behaving differently without any obvious reason.
    [/quote]

    Again, this is just nonsense. With mixmaps, what you see is still what you play. There is no way to create hidden properties with mixmapping. But, there is a way to do it with traditional mapping techniques – you just create a mod where for example boosters have the same texture as normal road. Bingo, hidden boosters! So again you have this completely backwards – when it comes to “what you see is what you play”, mixmapping is the good guy, and traditional mapping is the bad guy.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    3. Blocking certain mechanisms: In normal maps, one of the things you can do is inspect the track using “free” (or orbital) camera. You simply look at the start, then travel with the view along the track and evaluate it, make notes about the needed driving activities.
    [/quote]

    And with mixmaps you can still do that.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    With mixmaps, parts of the driving may consist of moving through bug holes, invisible paths etc., which means it’s difficult or impossible to evaluate the track in this officially provided method.
    [/quote]

    No, this is just wrong. There is nothing you can do with mixmapping that makes the route harder to follow than, say, having tunnels in a map.

    [quote=”Alcator”]
    Have you ever played Diablo 2 online? Have you ever met a player that was using hacks like maphack, chickenrun, or tradehack? How did it feel? Is it really fun to appear in an unknown map and see your teammate or opponent run directly to the exit that he or she sees on the hacked minimap, while you don’t? Is it really fun to play against someone who will be automatically logged out if his health drops below 5%?
    [/quote]

    Yeah, that would suck, but what does it have to do with mixmapping? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

    [quote=”Hastings”]
    corrupting and hacking the game code and building ugly tracks out of it definitely is not what I consider fun anymore.
    [/quote]

    Mixmapping is not corrupting or hacking the game code. If you consider existing mixmaps to be ugly, I doubt if there is anything stopping you creating a mixmap that you consider to be not ugly. What’s ugly about a non-glitchy checkboost for example?

    [quote=”BrummHummel”]
    hacking is hacking and cheating is cheating
    [/quote]

    Yes, and hacking is completely different from cheating.

    [quote=”KEV Fan”]
    Where are the limits of that “hacking” ?
    Creating hidden booster sections near the best line? Creating cuts not to be seen because they look solid? Changing uploaded times ?
    [/quote]

    It’s certainly right to be concerned about these matters because yes, I’m sure some people will use hacks to cheat, but it has nothing to do with mixmapping.

    [quote=”BCS[Santino]”]
    I was not aware it was a hack. I thought it was part of an editing software kit.
    [/quote]

    The distinction you’re trying to draw is meaningless, unless you are using some meaning of the word “hack” that doesn’t apply to mixmapping.

    [quote=”Retodon8″]
    I agree with the article. Mix maps basically exploit a security hole in the software
    [/quote]

    No, they do not.

    [quote=”Retodon8″]
    @Ditra, the physics themselves may be identical, but if every block is potentially buggy, gameplay will still be unpredictable at best. Neither FS or tech tracks are unpredictable, so you can’t compare them.
    [/quote]

    What do you mean “buggy”? Mixmapping cannot create blocks more “buggy” or unpredictable from a driving point of view than traditional mapping.

    [quote=”Retodon8″]
    I haven’t played any mix maps, but from the article it seems the impact can actually be huge, disallowing good players to win races against the map builders, even if they suck at the game.
    [/quote]

    What? You haven’t played any mix maps but you believed and agreed with everything in the article anyway? Come on! Use some initiative, don’t believe everything you read!

    [MegaManX], yes you are completely right. Finally, somebody who has facts and can think!

    Bifta (January 14, 2008 at 8:42 pm), I’ll reply to that one on TMX if I see anything good. 😉

    KEV Fan (January 14, 2008 at 9:58 pm) I disagree with the conclusions you’ve come to, but it’s good to read something from someone who actually has a rational, informed point.

    [quote=”alcator”]
    3) The big danger lies in competition submissions: If a competition has very restrictive rules, such as a spatial restriction (5×5 etc.), then some builders will have to solve a lot of problems with connecting tiles together,
    [/quote]

    Well yes, obviously it would be best to be clear in the competition rules whether mixmapping is allowed or not. For a competition restricted to 5×5 mixmapping would certainly give a lot more space for creativity. I don’t see how this is a “big danger” though. What’s hard about stating the rules for the competition?

    [quote=”DaKKoN”]
    I actually never knew how mix-maps were created, but common sense told me it wasn’t possible in the standard editor…
    [/quote]

    Well, since block mixes can be done in standard TM editors your common sense has misled you.

    [quote=”DaKKoN”]
    Simply put there’s no challenge in driving a “not-smooth” track.
    [/quote]

    Being smooth or not smooth has nothing to do with mixmapping. If you’re referring to my maps or Zooz’s maps, they can be driven smoothly, it’s just that you have to be a good driver to drive them smoothly. That’s the challenge.

    [quote=”DaKKoN”]
    My biggest fear is that the hacks will evolve and will start influencing car-physics… I mean what insane times could be set if you drive the desert car (in desert off course ;)) with the physics of the Island car… Sliding with 600-900km/h on desert. That’s my biggest fear of the whole mix-mapping
    [/quote]

    That would suck indeed but fortunately it’s nothing to do with mixmapping, and it’s not possible in TMU without much more advanced hacking.

  35. XTMarkus says:

    i see it from this point:

    mixmaps could be the beginning of an ongoing way to get deeper in such things!
    means: now we have mixmaps…ok, who cares?! Some know how to do it, some not…and others dont want to know how it works and wont build such things (like me)
    ok maybe i`m an idiot because of my thoughts…but lemme explain…

    today mixmaps (wich are made by some authors who knows how to do, so they think they`ve done something cool…others dont think so, every one who find something different will protect his found)
    Tomorrow…. “maybe” a step moire because of trying and typing and and and…tata hey i can make a map larger than it is already and do you know that i could spreed things within the file?

    all i want to say is: i give a sh** on mixmaps because i see it only than beginning of some bigger (bader) things, wich will come (in my eyes and thoughts)
    no matter on wich thing you think…but all what had a beginning was a tiny thing and anotherone made more and better and maybe bader things of it.

    maybe i`m 2 frightened if i look at mixmaps, but if you change things in a file wich wasnt thought for such things it is and stay hacking!

    And if the authors of such maps disagree with that point of view, they only want to protect theyr found

    i`m out of this
    cheers

  36. interesting to see alcator’s and mixo’s point of view 🙂

    personally, i am quite feared that people will now begin to try to hack deeper for reaching the physics… then the part of tm which i prefer most – the skill-oriented driving- would be in danger. lets see how it will end ._.”’

    for me it is equal for me if more tracks will be built with crappy block-merges and so on. i see really some nice possibilities for new stunts which brings more fun in the end.
    we already have way too many crappy maps in tm-community, so who cares for some more?^^

    @ mixo: will there be a tutorial for dummies some time so that mixing will be available for ALL people who want to? is something like this even possible? because even after working me in a bit on this mixing thing it is really hard to understand the whole thing with all its availabilities…
    when not, block-mixing would be only available for a little circle of players and that wouldnt be tm-spirit in its original meaning :>

  37. Skubidou says:

    Hello,

    I follow discutions about mix-map since some days, and being in TM since first version, having taken part to most of beta, and having ‘study’ Gbx file format since the start (when MrD put the first explaination in the old wiki), the thing i see is that people don’t know exactly what they are speaking about (and some don’t even know what happen when they use RixMix) and like everything they don’t understand, it’s evil 😉

    1. It’s not possible to create new blocks. All blocks used in mixed map are in the game code. Some are perhaps hidden (ask Nadeo why) in fact they are not presented in the block menu but are in the game code, for other, it’s simply a reorganisation of their position. When you modify the Gbx file (Hexa or RixMix), you simply modify position, height, ‘aspect’ (the simple road can be a point, a line, a 3 way cross, a 4 way cross. Modifying Gbx you can ‘make’ a 4 way crossroad even if no other block surround this block. That’s all)

    2. Limitations in editor are not their to limite creativity, but to avoid game crash/bugs. During betas, we get some crash puting this block above that one, … The red/green indication is their to avoid bugs (texture), crash, … and to avoid needing to manage each possibility. With Gbx modification, you simply disabled this protection, at your own risk… Nadeo can not take the risk to give a game where you can make all this things but having the game crashed every 5 minutes… ‘Lambda’ user would not accept it 😉

    In fact, Hexa edition and RixMix can be saw has an external editor, with less protection and some more manual control (on aspect) but it still use original game code. It is not modifying the game, the code, the physics, … Some bugs can even be reproduce in the internal editor (even with TMU) after the ‘protection’ failed.

    3. For those who are feared MixMap is only the begining, like said before, it’s not a hack of the game code (it’s only like taking a word document in an hexa editor and modifying some text… This is not hacking Word ;-). And the physic is not in the Gbx file but in the main code of the game. Hacking the main code is what is made with the no-DVD ‘patch’. This could be done (everything can be done with a software code), but it would be really difficult and would need a patch, not simply distributing a challenge. More over, Nadeo is working mainly on this part for TMNF/TMUF, to consolidate the main code

    4. For TMX, Awards, …
    Who care 😛 The award system has always been what it is, and represent what it represent 😉 I don’t thing the first PF maps in the past received less awards than the MixMaps at this time. I don’t thing the first FP maps where better than most MixMaps at this time. I don’t thing the first maps made with a new version of the game (PU, TMO, TMSX, …) and new blocks where better, but they also received awards because it was new, somehting all people aren’t used to, new combination of block they didn’t success to make themself…

    Like for new blocks, in the begining, you see lots of craps, simply because people only try to use ‘new blocks’ and still don’t try to use them correctly (and only when they are needed). At the end, this will be the same with MixMaps… good mappers will continue to use them and will use them correctly, other will not continue because it’s not new… 😉

    Bad maps are bad maps (FP, map created in the editor, mixmaps) and they will always be 😉 At this time i agree that mixmaps should be avoid in mapping contests, competitions, … because it’s not possible for everyone and still not well known, but it’s not Evil 😉

    Skubidou:~

  38. well skubi^^
    i think it hasnt something to do with the topic here, but look here:
    http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/6/15/1178349/StadiumB1_durk_%280_22_91%29.replay.gbx

    on this replay (stadium b1 “record”) it seems that someone found a way to modify something in the physics or at least in the block’s properties… 😦
    you can read it here: http://www.tm-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=11370&start=15

    strange^^ i watched it ingame and have no clue how he did it

  39. Skubidou says:

    Perfect run? 😛

    But it has nothing to do with this topic 😉 The Challenge.Gbx has not been modified (i’ve check, he didn’t hide normal road or boost under the dirt 😉 And the block physic is not contained in the Challenge.Gbx (the Challenge.Gbx only contain a text list of bloc to use, their possition, and their ‘view’ aspect like explained) More over, when you upload a challenge ingame, it’s compared to the original (even the same challenge, but one with MT, second without are incompatible with ingame official upload).

    If this replay is false (still not sure. Wait the answer from Nadeo. Is the replay deleted now?), it’s made with a trainer or something like that (like for the trainer to stop the chrono). Trainers exists since the first version of TM, so it will not begin because of hexa edition of challenge.gbx file 😉 And like said, this is the part Nadeo is working on for TMNF/TMUF

    Skubidou:~

  40. Gaussflayer says:

    Here im totally with High Plains Bifta (i learnt some really cool tricks from yout tutorials btw). Mix-Mapping is an artform, and like art all mixmaps cannot be catogorised together. I believe in two types of mixmaps, and they are:

    Crude maps, these are the ones which are completely mashed together to create a track, where two pieces of track cross in such a way that no real builder would ever build them, or the track creates a ‘bug’ that renders the track cheatable.

    Subtle maps, these are the ones where it is done artfully, in a way which looks smooth, drives smooth and isnt bugged. For example by creating a brindge of two pieces of 311 track and then placing a 3×2 lane change under it you will create a piece of track which looks perfectly fine, drives fine and does not provide anyone who plays the track an advantage if they know how its done.

    One more thing i must mention is that not mixmapped tracks can be created with more ‘cheats’ in them than many mixmapped tracks. These tracks may contain jumps which, if you head off at a certain angle you will land on a road hidden by scenery from which you can pass through the last few checkpoints and finish well ahead of the other players.

    /GS/Gaussflyer/EUR/ (it is worth saying that the GS servers only play maps in which the times are possible for everyone to get, we dont beleive in unfair advantages)

  41. FreeDoo says:

    I know im a couple of years late to find this.

    Blockmixing and hacks isn’t the way to go. there should instead be expansions with alot of new blocks every now and then. but i would say blockmixing is ok as long as they only use them to for example put blocks closer to each other like paralell kurves, loops and reducing distance between to roads in height to make it more narrow for the fun of it. but not to really put different blocks inside eachother. One thing i would love to see in trackmania2 would be to have the option of adjusting the amount of bend a curve or a jump has. so you´re not limited to 90 degree curves or the angle of jumps and such. I guess you get the idea.

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