No time to post…

December 19, 2008

I’m terribly sorry for the recent inactivity, it was (and is still) caused by the workload and demanding family life, which I of course prioritize over TM.

There will be a cool post coming on 22nd of December, and some Christmas themes are due between 24th and 31st, though.

Anyway, should you not visit the blog next week, then

I wish you the very best Christmas and Full Throttle in 2009!


TMX Monthly Track Contest revived!

December 7, 2008

Just a quick promo message:

Jozii has revived the popular Monthly Track Contest over at the TMX. If you like trackbuilding, be sure to check out the official rules and try building something that fits. I know I will. 🙂


Interview with Mr.A about StarContest

November 26, 2008

Few weeks ago, I asked Mr.A of TMX (the largest track-exchange server for Trackmania) few questions about StarContest. Today, you get the chance to read the answers…

(Al)Q(ator): When did you first learn about Nadeo’s plan for a community-built campaign?

(Mr.)A: It was in the build up to the the release of the Forever games. We had alot of chats with Nadeo about it and actually the StarTrack Contest might have happoned much earlier in the year. The original idea was to do it with the beta version of United Forever, but for various reasons that diddn’t happen and so we decided to wait until after the summer (when people are less likely to have holidays booked during the contest).

Q: Have you had any influence on the structure of the competition, or did Nadeo already have the rules pretty much cast in stone??

A: It was Nadeo’s idea for a rounds based contestest where builders are eliminated at each stage. I guess you can liken that to the way those TV shows work where a contestant is voted out each week. The detail of the schedule, the way tracks are named, the rule set, all that stuff was a collaboration between us. Quite alot of things changed from the orirginal plans becuase you really only start to realise how things need to be when you are trying to put the whole thing together.

Q: How much coding (code lines, scripts, database structures) were needed to allow for the competition?

A: I dont know about lines of code, but it was a huge ammount of work. Buzz made the initial work on the allocation program and then Ricardo Rix picked that up, finished it, built the front end presentation and the way TMX handles the changing stages of the contest through the rounds. We spent weeks and weeks with him coding, then me running simulation contests (we had a button to randomly enter people) and reporting back with what happoned and how things looked or worked.

Q: How long did the coding and other tasks take before the competition was announced to the public?

A: Well, the idea was always to be ready before Forever came out, so we were ready by then. I think it was 2 or 3 months in developement, as we knew right from the first rumblings of the Forever update that we might do a contest… not a bad length of time to keep a secret 🙂

Q: Are there any plans for some special TMX awards for those who either make it into the campaign or make it to the final few rounds?

A: Nothing like that is planned at the moment, but we will see. We still need to decide how we will deal with the Star tracks once the contest is over. (ed.: As it turned out, several TMX mugs were distributed to the finalists and some of the best drivers on the finalists’ tracks. Also, as you may already know, Nadeo promised an ingame TAG for PapyChampy as the ultimate winner.)

Thanks to Mr.A for answering the questions!


StarTrack Aftermath

November 21, 2008

PapyChampy became the ultimate winner of the StarContest today, with +0.01 gain against Dakkon, and Mr.A finishing third. As the competition is now over, it is somewhat hard to access the list of tracks submitted, so if you want to play some (or all) of the submitted tracks, try this link (provided by Mr.A). Pappy’s track is now showcased on TMX, so hop in and try it if you haven’t yet!

The StarContest brought many awesome tracks which I hope will make it to the final campaign, but it also raised many questions or created some commotion; on multiple occasions, the judges’ decisions or remarks about tracks caused the TMX users to stare in disbelief, some concerns appeared about the (lack of) difficulty in tracks supposed to be hard.

Nonetheless, the resulting campaign should be enjoyable, especially if Nadeo does indeed shift some tracks to easier or harder “layers” (such as shifting a C track to B or D category) in order to balance each group.

For the TMUblog, the competition provided plenty of writing opportunities, so now I’ll have to find something else to write about. *Sigh*


Startrack reporter 19 – Who’s gonna win?

November 21, 2008

In about 7 hours, the winner of round 6 will be announced. Two days ago, PappyChampy’s track had about twice as many awards as Dakkon or Mr.A, who were roughly at the same number of awards, but since then, Dakkon started gaining heavily, and is now just few awards behind. Mr.A is last as far as awards are considered, but he still got enough awards to get a green card in the Awards part of judging. Still, the number of awards is not a major judging factor, so there can be a lot of surprise when the results are finally made public.

The clock is ticking…


Startrack reporter 18 – The Final is here!

November 14, 2008

Finally, after 5 weeks, we’ve come to the final of StarContest. The three builders who made it through all the elimination rounds into the final are Mr.A, Dakkon and PappyChampy.

These three finalists will now build their Stadium E track, due on monday 17th, and from those 3, the supreme winner will be chosen.

Please, also give a warm welcome into the Loosers Lounge 😉 to Phil83, Raxor and Dengel, who were eliminated just before the finish straight. Good work anyways, guys!


Vacation announcement

November 13, 2008

Hello, folks!

From Saturday (November 15th) till next Wednesday (November 19th), I’ll be on a vacation, which may mean I won’t be able to cover the final round of StarContest as much as I would like (although I will try).

On another note, my son is now 13 months old and growing nicely 🙂