What makes a good Race map?

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What makes a good Race map?

GodlyPerfection
Administrator
So with the Racing towards Matchmaking challenge going on right now I wanted to start up an intelligent discussion of what you guys think makes a good race map. Think about all the racing games you played growing up. What did your favorite maps do well and how could these be applied to make your own awesome map?


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Re: What makes a good Race map?

noklu
Administrator
I had a random idea for race maps.

One can have a track where there are two sections of the race which are directly next to each other, but one is raised some distance higher. They would be completely different sections of the track and this would be accomplished by slopes up and down. The higher track does not have a guardrail on the side which drops down to the other section of track. To increase the fun factor, a large curve could be used, with the outer edge of the curve being the side with the drop to the lower track. For a touch of madness, fusion coils could be placed on the edge, so players can try and knock them down to the lower track -- and onto an unsuspecting player's head. This, however, is countered by the fact that one could fall off or blow themselves up.

So yeah, that's my two cents.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

DavidJCobb
Administrator
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Some opinions and some personal observations:

I want to be able to choose between taking a curve as tightly as I can for maximum speed, or staying more towards the middle if I don't think I can make it; IMO the track should be wide enough to accommodate this. I should be able to get some degree of traction on your track, or else the traction shouldn't vary too much; I absolutely hate it when I'm making turns nicely, but then I come to a section of track and suddenly, the slightest tilt of the joystick becomes a complete U-turn. (Related note: Reach's vehicle physics are shit. Compensate for this in your track, as much as you can.) Right-angle and other sharp turns suck for the same reason; Reach's vehicles aren't designed to turn (or do anything else) responsively or efficiently.

(If I screw up a turn or fall off of the track after taking a curve too tightly because of my own error, then I'm cool with that. If I did it because your track suddenly and without warning turned into Satan's slip-and-slide from Hell, I will loathe your track until the end of time.)

Narrow tracks are terrible unless the racers are so far apart that the room is enough -- in which case, the leader is guaranteed to win because no one's close enough to pass him, and the track isn't wide enough for that anyway. There's also the lovely problem of narrow tracks having insufficient room to drive around a newly-respawned player without clipping his side and spinning wildly out of control (and you will spin wildly out of control if you so much as nudge the spawnee, even if you're moving at the speed of a dead grandma, thanks to Reach's terrible vehicle physics).

Don't add a jump unless there's a considerable chance of making it. If that means putting shield doors in to baby players, then so be it. Jumps aren't competitive anyway; the ones that aren't assured are a black-and-while element that's mostly determined by luck. It won't eliminate skill from your map; there's still the skill of taking turns tightly without falling into the ocean, positioning yourself in crowded areas, and knowing when to slow down when things get congested or turns turn tricky. On a related note, try to be nice about the landing, and try to make it so that players land upright, facing the right direction, still able to drive.

And man cannons? They very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very rarely work consistently or reliably in racetracks, especially because of Reach's shitty vehicle physics. I have played on many tracks that used these abominations. Nearly all of them had random and frequent problems: small slivers of track that appeared to be part of the man cannon, but that weren't; man cannons that launched you too short or too far, dropping you into the sea; "trick" man cannons designed to make you do barrel rolls or other cool stunts, but that usually only led to you smashing into a wall... Man cannons suck ass. Avoid them like the plague.

Keep your track smooth, fast, and free of bullshit. Death should be due only to user error, not poorly-implemented gimmicks or badly-Forged track or Reach's bad vehicle physics, the latter being something you should compensate for to the fullest extent possible.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

Kaine
Banned User
This inspired me to build a race track , and yes I will try to use default forge instead of overloaded maps
DavidJCobb wrote
Some opinions and some personal observations:

I want to be able to choose between taking a curve as tightly as I can for maximum speed, or staying more towards the middle if I don't think I can make it; IMO the track should be wide enough to accommodate this. I should be able to get some degree of traction on your track, or else the traction shouldn't vary too much; I absolutely hate it when I'm making turns nicely, but then I come to a section of track and suddenly, the slightest tilt of the joystick becomes a complete U-turn. (Related note: Reach's vehicle physics are shit. Compensate for this in your track, as much as you can.) Right-angle and other sharp turns suck for the same reason; Reach's vehicles aren't designed to turn (or do anything else) responsively or efficiently.

(If I screw up a turn or fall off of the track after taking a curve too tightly because of my own error, then I'm cool with that. If I did it because your track suddenly and without warning turned into Satan's slip-and-slide from Hell, I will loathe your track until the end of time.)

Narrow tracks are terrible unless the racers are so far apart that the room is enough -- in which case, the leader is guaranteed to win because no one's close enough to pass him, and the track isn't wide enough for that anyway. There's also the lovely problem of narrow tracks having insufficient room to drive around a newly-respawned player without clipping his side and spinning wildly out of control (and you will spin wildly out of control if you so much as nudge the spawnee, even if you're moving at the speed of a dead grandma, thanks to Reach's terrible vehicle physics).

Don't add a jump unless there's a considerable chance of making it. If that means putting shield doors in to baby players, then so be it. Jumps aren't competitive anyway; the ones that aren't assured are a black-and-while element that's mostly determined by luck. It won't eliminate skill from your map; there's still the skill of taking turns tightly without falling into the ocean, positioning yourself in crowded areas, and knowing when to slow down when things get congested or turns turn tricky. On a related note, try to be nice about the landing, and try to make it so that players land upright, facing the right direction, still able to drive.

And man cannons? They very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very rarely work consistently or reliably in racetracks, especially because of Reach's shitty vehicle physics. I have played on many tracks that used these abominations. Nearly all of them had random and frequent problems: small slivers of track that appeared to be part of the man cannon, but that weren't; man cannons that launched you too short or too far, dropping you into the sea; "trick" man cannons designed to make you do barrel rolls or other cool stunts, but that usually only led to you smashing into a wall... Man cannons suck ass. Avoid them like the plague.

Keep your track smooth, fast, and free of bullshit. Death should be due only to user error, not poorly-implemented gimmicks or badly-Forged track or Reach's bad vehicle physics, the latter being something you should compensate for to the fullest extent possible.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

GodlyPerfection
Administrator
In reply to this post by DavidJCobb
DavidJCobb wrote
And man cannons? They very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very rarely work consistently or reliably in racetracks, especially because of Reach's shitty vehicle physics. I have played on many tracks that used these abominations. Nearly all of them had random and frequent problems: small slivers of track that appeared to be part of the man cannon, but that weren't; man cannons that launched you too short or too far, dropping you into the sea; "trick" man cannons designed to make you do barrel rolls or other cool stunts, but that usually only led to you smashing into a wall... Man cannons suck ass. Avoid them like the plague.
I can almost fully agree with this... the only time it has worked well and consistently was in Mythic's map where he uses it as a booster and not a jump... that works perfectly fine.


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Re: What makes a good Race map?

Der Flatulator
This post was updated on .
GodlyPerfection wrote
DavidJCobb wrote
And man cannons? They very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very rarely work consistently or reliably in racetracks, especially because of Reach's shitty vehicle physics. I have played on many tracks that used these abominations. Nearly all of them had random and frequent problems: small slivers of track that appeared to be part of the man cannon, but that weren't; man cannons that launched you too short or too far, dropping you into the sea; "trick" man cannons designed to make you do barrel rolls or other cool stunts, but that usually only led to you smashing into a wall... Man cannons suck ass. Avoid them like the plague.
I can almost fully agree with this... the only time it has worked well and consistently was in Mythic's map where he uses it as a booster and not a jump... that works perfectly fine.
I was about to post that. They work well as boosters. I would never use one as a "one and only" route, only as an option.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

SnoozieDoes
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Race map needs to have multiple ways, easy and hard. It doesn't even have to have multiple paths, just one road with many drive lines. There needs to be something that separates bad drivers from good drivers and good drivers for great drivers.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

MythicFritz
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Concerning man cannons, I think we should be careful not to discredit them so quickly. Yes they are difficult to get to work well, but we don't want to push players away from trying or create an immediate negative response out of racers as soon as they see one on a map.

Done well, I think man cannons can be just like any turn or ramp. If drivers hit them perfectly they have a perfect landing. If hit less than ideal, the driver is penalized. The trick is getting them consistent and not punishing players too drastically for errors.

For example, a new track I'm working on features a lift. Racers that drive over the vehicle cannons are launched upward and are then caught by one way shields to direct them onto the upper level. Another one way shield is placed at the base of the lift to control the speed racers enter. I think my lift works for several reasons. The greatest being it is consistent. Racers are given plenty of straight track leading up to the lift so they have time to straighten out their mongoose and hit the lift well. The leading path also narrows as they approach so they can only hit it from one direction. The one way shield at the base of it slows vehicles and forces them to enter the lift more controlled. All of these things increase consistency. It also works because players aren't severely penalized. If you enter the lift with your mongoose angled slightly, you'll exit equally slightly angled, not upside down. The only way racers don't land on their wheels at the top is if they enter the lift sideways. And because of everything I mentioned before, that is very hard to do.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

Kaine
Banned User
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Hmm what makes a good race map. Oh I know Kaine does.

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Re: What makes a good Race map?

Zombified Panda
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
So i agree and disagree with some of this. I'm basing my opinion on the only racing game i'v ever liked and that's mario kart. If halo was a racing game, then yes i would rather the track be centered around the competitiveness. But since halo's an fps and its been noted that the vehicle physics aren't the best, then i would center my map around FUN. This does mean jumps, side path's ext. but that doesn't mean it cant have some competitive aspects.

Having multiple paths is a great way of making the track more dynamic and making players feel like they have control rather than just taking this one beaten path for 5 minutes.

Jumps, they're hard to do but when you do them right, it feels incredible. When you're in first place, last lap and you're looking at the final jump, there's so much anxiety knowing if you screw this up you're not going to win, i love that! But i would keep it to one, maybe two jumps on the entire map otherwise it does start to get repetitive. Maybe instead of you missing the jump and dying you land on a lower track, slows you down but you're sill in the race.

Man cannons, if you put one on your track, you should probably spend most of your time tweaking it. I have yet to race on a map, where i didn't absolutely hated taking the man cannon, you loose all control (FACT: players hate loosing control), sometime's it shoots you perfect and others it'll spin you in circles. I don't feel man cannons are consistent enough to be enjoyable.

The solution for throwing a one way shield in a race track to me is a bad one. I understand it's purpose, to slow you down so you don't sail over a particular jump, but i think it destroys the tracks pacing. Race maps are are suppose to be an adrenaline pumping, fast pace experience. You're going 50mph, you take this jump with a fat lip, you go soaring through the sky, then your momentum is slowed to a crawl as the one way shield slowly places you back on the track. It just breaks the mood for me. If players are over shooting a jump, fix the jump! I always looked at one way shields on a race track as a quick fix.

Curves, just like cobb said up there, throw in plenty of twist and turns with different elevation's. But be sure to accommodate the speed they'll be going when you create that turn, its ok if the player has to slow down a little, but don't make them come to a screeching halt just to make a turn.

Also make sure the track is wide enough to support those tight or mid turns, so players have some leeway and so racers have the option to pass when possible. I think a 2x4 block width would be suitable. Be sure to experiment with different idea's though, like if the tracks width should be minimized to one vehicle on a part of the map, that would make for fun game play as well. You can see the track is about to shrink and you're side by side with another racer, do you slow down or is it a fight to stay on the track.

Keep in mind if you have only one flaw on the track, players are going to have to encounter that mistake every lap and that minuscule hiccup might be the difference between your map being good or great. Make it fun and good luck to you guys.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

CrazedMeatball
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
 Reliability. It needs to give a consistent track but still have those halo moments when something amazing happens out of the blue that you'll talk to people in the lobbys before going again
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

Der Flatulator
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Simplicity and memorability.
Things such as a unique aesthetic, or something new. Something that will make the player want to vote for the map in the voting round.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

Locke087
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Dynamic Routes and Hard to do short cuts make good track. Mario Kart tracks also actually work really in reach to so look to mario kart when designing.
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Re: What makes a good Race map?

blackrosegul
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I have played on many tracks that used these abominations. Nearly all of them had random and frequent problems: small slivers of track that appeared to be part of the man cannon, but that weren't; man cannons that launched you too short or too far, dropping you into the sea; "trick" man cannons designed to make you do barrel rolls or other cool stunts, but that usually only led to you smashing into a wall... Man cannons suck ass. Avoid them like the plague.???
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