How To Build A Good Track.
A building guide.
This is my own opinions, and how i set about building tracks.As Custom track builders, we take it serious. For a majority of trials forum goers, Building a GREAT track is a lot of trialers ambitions. I would say that 90% of the people that visit the forum, and stay active, are purely there for the building aspect, and to learn. There is just one problem that we all overlook. Everyone has their own opinions as to what makes a great track, and everybody builds differently. Some will say that its decoration, others will say the driving line.Well, as far as I'm concerned, its a mixture of both, but also, lighting and atmosphere play a key roll too. Even sound could spoil a track if not used at all, or used in a stupid manner, that doesn't make sense. I'm not talking about gimmicky tracks though. I'm going to explain in my own opinion as to what I think it takes, to build a great track. I will give a detailed account, and step by step instructions on dos and don'ts. A few things that are note worthy first off is to have pen and paper handy at all times. You never know when you get an idea for your track. Sometimes, this could just entail an image flash in your mind, that will then turn into a good idea. This is where the paper comes in handy. Chances are that you will not remember every idea that springs to mind, so get it written down. Like i said at the start, building is a serious game, and you really need to take it this way.Once your in the mindset that your wanting to build, then ideas will come to any person that takes it serious, at any point of time. In fact, for me, once i'm ready, i don't think about anything else hardly.I constantly try to figure out ways to come up with unique or good ideas, as you don't want your track to look like the last one, or anyone else's for that matter.
So, with all this in mind, and remember that this is my opinion, and the way i build.For a start, i always aim to build a true trials track. All this means, is that it looks real. I try to base tracks of things that i think could look like they should in real life. I always start by getting a theme for a track. A theme that i will continue consistently throughout my track so it gives the rider a sense of reality, and depth, and this way they will enjoy that track. This is all based on the track being of medium difficulty too.
- Theme.(visual style of track.)
2. Checkpoint placement and Area.
Now i have the theme in mind, and i have done some 'research', i now have to decide on my checkpoint placement, and whether or not it is going to have a curve in it. As a rule, and if your new to track building, then i would stick to a straight line.A curve in a line only works if the curve itself is a 'sweet' curve. What i mean is that when you ride the line, then you don't turn sharp all of a sudden. Also, finding a good area in the editors maps is a key thing to me, although not absolutelly needed as you can make your surroundings look like anything you want to.This is by using 'Terrain' mods. Its a tool the a more experienced builder will use often.I will explain more about these in this build tutorial further on. Using checkpoints correctly will also make a track fair, and fun. There is nothing worst than having to repeat a certain part of the track purely because of bad checkpoint placement. Don't allow a track to run for a long time before placing a C.P. down. I always make sure to leave enough space around it too, incase you make a fault and have to start at a given C.P. Keep them on a flat surface where possible, and never leave one floating in mid air. This looks very rushed and tacky.
Lighting in a track is a big deal.You can make a track visually look amazing by using good lighting, or absolutely kill it.I always leave the lighting til the end of a track when i'm building, unless i have an absolute picture in my mind of what i'm doing.The only time i started with lighting ,is when i built a snow themed track. I had to get this right first, for the whole track to feel like it was snowing. There are camera filters that can be used too, to get the exact feel and look to a track that you want. I would STRONGLY recommend that getting used to this feature is a must.Mess around, and play with the lighting before you set your track out. Its amazing as to what the light can produce.
4. Constructing obstacles.
There are a few ways to build your 'Driving Line' on a track.D.L. first and decor afterwards, or both together.There isn't one true correct way.What ever your technique though, you should always have variety in your track to make it fun. An example would be to have elevation in your line, and having variety of obstacles throughout. If its going to appeal to all riders, then you need to make it as Varied as possible. I would not recommend it to be flat all the way through. A good way to remember this is to do the 'LICENSE TESTS' in game, and use this as a reminder on how to do different obstacles and to properly set your track difficulty. Another way is to play as many custom tracks as you can.Learn from them. Like i suggested, jot things down on a pad, or on paper.It takes time to think up obstacles that are unique. Building obstacles with good flow to them can be great fun too.Always be aware of checkpoints though. Make sure you place enough of them so the track is still a challenge. To many will spoil it, as will not enough. Good checkpoint placement is a vital key factor in building a good/great track. If not done correctly, then this frustrates the rider, and your track rating will suffer due to this. One last point, is to never randomly place an object that serves no purpose.If your track has flow to it, don't stick a block in your D.L. for the sake of it.Something worth remembering is, "if your objects look like their supposed to be there, then its right." Blend your decoration with the D.L.
Its always nice to see physics in tracks, or animation that really accompanies it. Like with the 'waterworks' as the example, seeing pumps operating correctly, water flowing, steam, etc.All these effects will make your track stand out, but again, only if its done in a way that it aids the visual look of the track. It adds depth, and gives the rider the impression that they are actually within the atmosphere your creating.Never go over the top with physics. This can cause issues with 'lag' and will again frustrate the rider. I would never use physics actually on the D.L. as this will do one of 2 things.Slow you down, or make you stop. These are something that you don't want to purposely cause.An elevator is the best example i can use.If you suddenly come across an elevator,then, at some point, you are having to slow down or stop deliberately. If your track has flow all the way up to this point, then it'll make the track less fun. A track doesn't NEED physics or animation in it for it to be a great track. It can help though.
6.Track settings,medal times, etc.
Track settings is where new builders to trials evolution go wrong. They normally set impossible medal times, wrong track difficulty, and wrong bike selection. This is where friends come in. If you have half a dozen friends test your track, they can be of a massive help.They can give their opinions on how the track looks firstly.They can point things out that you might have missed, or just doesn't seem right to them.They can race your track to give you some medal times feedback. If your using 6 friends to test your track, then, their times will be different. If you don't know how to set medal times, then this is a good way to get used to it.Setting achievable, but not to easy platinum times will give your track replayabillity value. I think that if your friends are replaying your track until they get the platinum, then it means they have enjoyed it, and chances are that others will too.
When you have built your track, always make sure that you allow the correct bikes. What this means is, only allow the bikes that can definitely complete the track.Otherwise, whats the point. There is no point in trying to run a track when its obvious that one of the bikes just cant make a jump.
So,this is what i can offer as a tutorial,or tip as to how i build personally, and valuable information that has to be taken into consideration before starting to build.In the next part, i will explore more in depth Answers, and give more reasons as to why i think that this is a MUST know, when building.