Advanced map editor (Canyon)
The TrackMania² Canyon maps editor is a very powerful tool. However, you will need time and practice to discover all editor subtleties. We are going to present the map editor features and then to detail the different steps for creating an efficient map.
1- Presentation of the map editor and useful shortcuts
The blocs number available on the maps editor may first disconcert you. So don't hesitate to gain knowledge of blocs and all possible transitions between each blocs families. Some shortcuts can make easier the editor browsing. Right click and the “ALT” button allows you to freely move the camera in the editor. Having a general view of your track avoid to lack space for adding blocs. The “Ctrl” key allow you to select a bloc already put in your track The “W” key is the underground mod. The “X” key is the eraser mod. The macroblocks function (F3 for the shortcut) allow you to save a blocs combination and to use it when you want. The copy/paste mod is a very useful function too because you select the whole track or a track part to move it. If you start by building your track too close from the construction area limits, you will be able to move your track to keep on building it. By clicking on the “hammer” icon (the advanced customisation tools), you can set the following parameters: -set manually the different medals times -edit the snapshot camera and the comments -compute shadows -choose a custom music -choose a password for your track to avoid anybody to edit it. The “paint bucket” icon is the skinning mod (F4 for the shortcut). This mod enables to edit the appearance of some blocks. For example, you can add some road sign arrows or put customized images in your track. As soon as the paint bucket icon is clicked, all paintable blocks on the track are highlighted and you can select one of them with your left mouse button.
2- Define the map aim
To have an harmonious track, define the style and the type of your track. Your track will be played on-line or not? If your track will be only played on-line, pay attention to well indicate the way and to moderate the track difficulty because players have only few minutes to finish the track. The choice of the track style (lol, fullspeed, technical...) is also important and is a guide line to respect during all the track building process if you want to build a consistent track.
3- First step: define an efficient route
The track route is the spinal column of your track. The transitions quality (the blocks combination) is very important. Don't try to make too crazy combinations for your first tracks. It's better to start by building a simple and efficient track. When you will be enough familiar with the editor, this would be easier to find interesting and fun combinations. An important advise: drive your track very often during the map building to check that new blocks added work. Check also that respawn of each checkpoints works. If a checkpoint respawn doesn't work, you can also add an alternative way whose the purpose is only to enable players to finish the track.
4- Second step: having efficient roadsigns
Your track route must be intuitive, this is a key factor to have a good track. The player testing your track for the first time, must not look for the way to go. A good track shouldn't contain many roadsigns, the way should be intuitive. However, this can be fine to indicate a dangerous jump or a sharp bend with roadsigns. You can add roadigns when your track route is finished or add roadsigns at every stage of the track building.
5 – Third step: the track enhancer: the design
The track design is sometimes made quickly by players however this is a key element. The design gives the general atmosphere of the track and also shows the finishing degree. Ideally, the design should be various. Anywhere the player is on the track, his field of vision should be stopped by a design item. This is much fun to play on a track with cactus, big canyons or cracks than driving on a road in the middle of nowhere. The design helps you to have a track more realistic and also gives to your track an atmosphere.
6 – Fourth Step: Registration of the author time
A good author time is always appreciated by most players. Don't content your self with driving your track only once when you validate it. The author time (Nadeo medal) determine the Gold, Sliver and Bronze medals. An author time hard to beat shows the hard work of a trackbuilder and this is much fun to beat.
7 - Fifth step : MediaTracker : Ghosts, GPS, Intro and Outro
The mediatracker is a powerful tool to personalize your track. More explanations will be written later.
8 – Last step : Track testing and upload on Mania Exchange / Manialink to present your track to other players.
This is always interesting to get opinion of your “TM fellows” about your track. They can tell you if your track goal is achieved, if the track route is well indicated. This beta test step is however optional and some trackbuilders make really great tracks without having made some tests sessions. To show your track to other players, the best place is the community website, Mania-Exchange. Uploading a track is quickly done once you registered an account on the website. You can also create a manialink to present your track. Besides players will be able to play on it directly.
So have fun with the track editor! Some mixmapping tools have been developed by players as TM²Unlimiter which enable players to free oneself from some editor limits. From my point of view, this is a false solution to free oneself with these limits because some tracks look like very strange with layered blocks. However the use of some mixmapping tools can also be useful in some cases.