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Making New Tracks
- Time to put the pedal to the medal. What will it take to make tracks?
- Skill: Easy.
- Time required: about 30 - 35 minutes.
- What will you need to make tracks?
- TrackMania Nations (provided free) or TrackMania United Forever (which you can find on Steam and includes additional track types).
- The TrackMania map editor, which is included with both editions of TrackMania.
- Are there any additional resources required?
- The TM Exchange - where the top maps go to be downloaded.
- The TM Carpark - the best choice for new skins and cars.
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Let's Get Started
Creating TrackMania courses isn't a difficult task to execute. Basically, there are two editors, simple and advanced; we'll begin with the simple one. Start TrackMania, head into the Editors window, and start-up the simple editor. The first thing you should do is to pick a course, pick stadium this time, this way you won't lock out the Nations gamers. Once we try the simple editor, we'll try to create a track with a little more content that will show off the advanced editor's ability.
In reality a TrackMania course only requires two parts, which are listed first in the menu at the bottom of the screen. The green-capped block represents the beginning point of the track and the red-capped block is your finish line. All you really need for a course is to place these two blocks and you really don't even need a track in between them. Place them a distance from each other and then just click the car icon at the bottom left of the screen. This will let you try the new track for real and see if it meets your expectations. Before you can distribute it, you have to validate the track by completing it yourself, which can save others a lot of hassle and frustration.
Normal roads are designed with two block types; straight lines and ninety-degree curves. Look for the road icon fourth from the left on the menu at the bottom of the screen. Using this button you can lay as much road as you want, simply hold down the cursor at the starting point, drag to the point you want, and then release the button. The editor takes care of most parts for you, if you create an intersecting road, the editor will create the junction. Lay two road pieces side-by-side and the editor will round them off to make a good spot for a U-turn.
You need to have patience while building tracks and remember that high-speed and 90-degree turns don't work well together. You need to take your time with getting tracks to join together; it can be difficult at times because the pieces don't join any old way. If the box turns red then you're trying to do something that just won't work and you need to try something else. Fortunately, if you come up against a wall or just don't like what you've created, you can simple click the bulldozer icon to take pieces out.
Once you have the basic track laid, you can drop-kick the law of physics by adding a ramp or two to your new course. The ramp icon is the third from the end of the menu at the bottom of the screen. You can put a ramp on the end of the track for additional racing excitement.
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The Advanced Editor
We'll that's enough of the basic stuff, time to give advanced mode a try. This time head into the Editors window and start-up the advanced editor. You'll be asked at this time to pick a location and then a time of day. We're going for a sunny day near the beach, so pick the Coastal option, during the day, and you'll have a huge expanse of ocean. You're going to add the land where you want it to go. Each block represents a type of track piece, with the choices hidden behind. Just click the first one, select land, and add some land for the race. Don't worry about the look right now, you can tidy it up and make it pretty later.
Our first map will have two islands connected by a roller coaster-type track. It will be a short but sweet and challenging track that will take about 30 - 35 seconds to drive. Let's begin with the first island. If you want to raise or lower the land, use the Page Up and Page Down buttons, and then paint it on. A good way to start is to put down a large piece of land, and then decrease it later with water, once you have figured out the tracks shape. The track will fit the island better this way and look like it was made for the island. Don't worry about making mistakes, just click Undo to remove any.
Telling exactly what piece does what can be hard at first. If you're working on ground roads, go to the second set of items, first collection, and select the flat-piece second from the side. Paint this like any other road, just add the green-capped start point and build from there. You'll need to do a little trial and error with the curves to locate a section that fits properly. Just remember that it will be necessary to put road sections between more specialized blocks to get them to join together and eliminate dead-ends.
We're going to add a loop to our track, to give the course a little flourish. Just to upset gamers who are realism freaks and for fun, we're going to build it in thin air. The loop is located in the second set of items, in the fourth collection. Grab two loops, both the same section, and we'll make a loop-de-loop. Just put the first loop at the end of the track, and then right click a couple of times to spin it around and finish the course. Now, select the racing mode and take a run. We can guarantee the first run won't be smooth, but fool with it a bit, and everything will be fine.
We're also going to add a few turbo blocks to our track to spice things up a bit. You'll find them in the second folder; look for the block with the chevrons. Add a few regular yellow blocks and even a few purple superfast blocks, but take care where you place them in relation to ramps and loops. Placed behind a ramp, turbo blocks make landing a random adventure, and if placed to close to a corner they can take away your ability to drive in a corner.
After this, add a second island and maybe a tough curve, using the same procedure outlined. The way you design your track impacts the race-strategy, the speed you can attain without leaving the track, and so on. Once you finish the rest of the course, of course. After your new course is finished, click the Validate button and take a run on your new track. A new track only works in the editor until you actually Validate it.
It's time to add the finishing touches to your creation by adding houses, boats, and plants to add a little graphical candy for the eye. Find the seventh slot of the beach tile-set and you'll find environmental objects you can scatter around the map. Once you have everything the way you want it, just re-validate, and your new track is complete.