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ModNation Racers Track Studio Walkthrough with Track Designer Mark Riddell

Mark Riddell's Avatar + Posted by Mark Riddell on Dec 23, 2009 // Track Designer for ModNation Racers, United Front Games

I’m Mark Riddell, a track designer for ModNation Racers on PS3. Last week, Rob laid out even more details of the character creation features in the game, and today I’ll be talking to you about some of the features of Track Studio.

One of the design goals of Track Studio has always been to cater to both casual and advanced users. You’ve probably seen and read about people easily creating tracks in just a few minutes. But as a track designer, I’m more interested in what I can do with the tools, and how far I can push them. So today I’m going to talk about a few powerful features that we use to create cool gameplay moments on our tracks.

When you drive out your track, we’ve tuned it so that you’ll always make a track that is drive-able to ensure a good experience. But we don’t want those constraints to stop you from making something unique and wild. That’s why we’ve provided basic width, lift and bank in Quick Edit to allow further customization of the track after you’ve driven it out. They are easy to use, and will give most people what they need to customize and tune their track. As a professional track designer I require an even finer level of control – and this led to the development of the Advanced Edit tool.

With Advanced Edit, I can directly manipulate all the points that make up the path of the track, allowing for very fine control of position, elevation and slope. Even better, I can edit any of the four points across the section of track that defines the width of the road, fence and runoff on either side. While still intuitive to use, this allows me to get precise banks, fun drops and cool technical sections that you can’t get just by driving out a track. Another great trick is with one or more points selected holding the square button will smooth the selection, which has proven immensely handy!

Populating the track with props is another good example of advanced tools. While a casual user may enjoy our impressive Auto Populate feature, advanced users often have more specific ideas of where things should go. We have tools to let you place objects almost anywhere on the track or terrain. The object will automatically snap to the ground, which is a big time saver. You can choose to ‘unpin’ the props as well and just their elevation above or below the track or terrain. These tools also help you place things more easily, such as flattening the terrain under a building you’ve placed, or allowing you to “spray” down a row of fences, even over hills! The tool also allows you to lasso select a group of props and move or rotate them, even spread them out over a larger area or delete them.

Driving on terrain was something that was fun right from the start, and we knew we wanted to include it. We’ve given you Erase Surface road style – just paint it down like you would cobblestone, for instance. It smoothly transitions from the road to driving directly on the terrain, and allows you to construct the drive using terrain sculpting tools – great for rally style tracks! I’ve found the Advanced Sculpt brushes really useful for tight control while adjusting terrain for these sections. Also remember to paint the terrain using Surface and Ground Cover brushes to help define paths for the players — you don’t want people getting lost.

Breadcrumbs also are really useful here. Breadcrumbs came about as a way to make shortcuts across the terrain, while allowing for the game logic for racing, weapons and A.I. to keep working. Starting from the main road, create a trail of breadcrumbs leading off the track and then back, and now that becomes a race-able part of the circuit. It’s awesome for making shortcuts or alternate paths across terrain — just remember to get rid of the roadside fences to allow the players off and back on the main road.

There are so many more cool features to talk about in Track Studio. I look forward to seeing and racing your cool designs!

//Add Your Own

65 Comments

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1

+ XxDeathDoctorxX on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:06 am said:

hey got a ? i already reported the bugs but i got one ? are you guys working on a patch to fix the server problems and also my friend kept inviten me to his game the accept invite thing wouldnt work it wasnt high lighted also by the way its good and better than mariokart just the beta is better


2

+ alexandro2K on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:15 am said:

Are you going to be giving more betas? if so may i have one??? Anyways, the game looks amazing. My friend got it and i went over to his house to play it and i got to say it is incredible.


3

+ SiliticX on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:22 am said:

Have they given Qore invites yet? Kinda pissed that random people got keys but we’re still waiting…

Anyhow the game looks great!


4

+ bayn_ on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:24 am said:

I’m also looking for a way into the beta, :( all the facebook invites are gone FAST.


5

+ packy17 on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:27 am said:

@3…

I got my key from Qore… Make sure you’re account settings are set to receive emails from PSN/third parties. Oh, and you can bug Jeff about it on Twitter. I got a little worried when I didn’t have it the day before the beta opened, and he told me they send out keys in waves. He also told me to let him know if I didn’t have it by this Monday… So if you don’t, it would be a good idea to hop on Twitter and let him know.


6

+ LILBUDDY2000 on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:28 am said:

Awesome game…thx for the video.


7

+ alexandro2K on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:30 am said:

I really don’t mind checking every once in a while if there are more betas but it really pissess me that they don’t tell you if they are going to give more betas. If it were up to me i would continue checking but sincr they don’t tell you there are more betas it makes you think there are no more.


8

+ Kchow23 on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:31 am said:

Love the beta so far, just having a few issues… once you log in it is laggy and several times the music keeps stopping every few seconds which is very annoying


9

+ alexandro2K on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:39 am said:

anyone got an extra code if so please send it to me to my email which is [DELETED]


10

+ PullusPardusUS on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:42 am said:

waoh i read your name Mark Riddler.
must be too much batman!


11

+ Sindred on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:42 am said:

Mark, that looks awesome. I hope when you guys market this game, that you really incorporate the tools into the marketing because that stuff is amazing!


12

+ mywhitenoise on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:49 am said:

I’m loving the beta so far (except for some lag and choppy frame rate…though, Im sure that will be fixed).
I should have pre-ordered this game instead of that crappy MAG game.


13

+ veddermatic on December 23rd, 2009 at 8:57 am said:

Very cool to see some of the stuff we’ll be able to do in the full game. The editor now is a blast; it will be almost overwhelming to have all those options and cool things to add.

If any of you beta folks want to check out my newest track ‘Canyon Chaos Beta1′, it’s a pretty fun drive. :)


14

+ zombie9 on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:00 am said:

Loving the beta!! got it from Qore and I have had a few problems going online with other players also. But any way I finally did get online last night and after 3 races is was easy to get the hang of the controls and I was hanging with the best of them. Had a blast. Game is just fun! :)


15

+ Stedeo on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:02 am said:

The guy looked like he was having fun just demonstrating it. I can’t wait to play this


16

+ BalramRules on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:14 am said:

AWESOME! DEFO PURCHASE FOR ME IN 2010, IM BUYIN, UC2, AC2, MW2, INFAMOUS, MODNATION RACERS, DCUO AND TONNES OF PLAYSTATION HOME CONENT, ALONG WITH TONNES OF FREE REALMS CONTENT WHEN IT RELEASES FOR THE PS3!! WOO HOO = P
XD


17

+ phinnv8 on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:14 am said:

I certainly hope the Beta improves dramatically before the release. It’s practically unplayable for me. It takes forever to connect online, the frame rate is bad, you can’t race with friends, and 90% of the time I try and load a track to race it either 1) Locks up my PS3 or 2) Keeps loading forever until I turn the game off.


18

+ TubaDude49 on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:21 am said:

@3, we’re mot random people, we just registered intrest early.


19

+ DZORMAGEN on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:25 am said:

Ah!…I LOVE THE SMELL OF MODNATION RACERS IN THE MORNING!….IN FACT I LOVE THE SMELL OF MOD NATION RACERS in the Morning, Afternoon, and Evening!!

The Beta is lots of funs guys! And there are some awesome, and detailed looking Mods, Karts, and Tracks. Make sure NONE of these get deleted for the final build, cause these creators have spent LOTS of time on them!

Can’t wait for the game!

Happy Holidays to a company that is beginning to look like it’s going to win some awards in 2010!

P.S. The Beta seems to be improving everyday, and thanks for that. Just load times need to be less, but all in all great Beta!!


20

+ bushisprez on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:46 am said:

Mark you forgot to post more beta codes that are used up within a 20 sec period after posting them


21

+ Spham23 on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:47 am said:

Will there be a Battle mode like all the other popular kart racers?

-Mario Kart
-Diddy kong racing


22

+ King-of-Jimmys on December 23rd, 2009 at 9:59 am said:

I can not wait to get my hands on this game. That level was ridiculous. I’ll spend days and days editing races. Thank you. This game is awesome so far!


23

+ Alex_dlc on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:01 am said:

wish you could use a logitech wheel to drive in this game


24

+ colonel007 on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:04 am said:

What I would like to know is how you lay the track to achieve that kind of..track.

Laying the track gives a completely different result from what you get when you make changes. For example: In the track Market Rush, I would like to see how they laid the track to achieve the broad part before the finish line. Also in Sandstorm at the beginning where the pillars are.


25

+ BlackMoney18 on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:06 am said:

Can i have a beta key?


26

+ BlackMoney18 on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:08 am said:

plz give me a beta key.


27

+ mywhitenoise on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:22 am said:

Also, can you guys give more camera options?


28

+ VofEscaflowne on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:23 am said:

I’ll join in the whole beta key topic here and ask a question. Were the people that subscribed to the mailing list guaranteed to receive a beta key? I signed up on one of the first days the website went live I believe and I’ve yet to receive anything from it. Just wondering if this was a guaranteed thing or not. Thanks :)


29

+ TopBanana0769 on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:26 am said:

I fell in love with this game after seeing the E3 demo. I pre-ordered the game a week later and even bought a Qore subscription solely on the chance I’d get into the beta (it worked). I’ve already poured over 30 hours into the beta and paid off my pre-order yesterday. The game is really, really fun. I’m anxiously waiting for it’s release date to be announced (and to arrive, of course). This game is going to take over my life, and for that, I thank you, Mark, and everyone at UFG.


30

+ haff0777 on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:28 am said:

i love this games. can i have a beta key .thanks


31

+ PushinNshovinMe on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:35 am said:

Still waiting for Qore Beta Key!!


32

+ poweredbyzen on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:41 am said:

thanks for the free beta! this would be a great creative outlet for me! salut!


33

+ Pirate43 on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:44 am said:

@24, since this is a beta, they obviously didn’t include a good tutorial. However, since it looks like they are following a lot of littlebigplanet examples as far as the play create share genre, there will be no doubt they will explain EVERYTHING in great detail by the game’s release.

i just hope they release an update to the beta that increases framerate, because the modspot gets laggy, and so do races when everyone is using weapons all at once and making me finish in 3rd or 4th :P

anyways, great beta, and glad to be a part of it. The only thing i can’t figure out is where to submit my feedback lol.

~Pirate43


34

+ nYcFrEeWiLL82 on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:47 am said:

um..i put my email through the modnation racers website..and i recieved A BETA KEY on the 18th ..THANKS SONY and MNR..THIS GAME IS AMAZINGLY AWESOME..TRACK EDITOR IS STUPENDOUSLY SIMPLE..ALTHOUGH IM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW OR IF I CAN MAKE A LOOP TRACK…:/ BUT BESIDES THAT ..THIS TRACK EDITOR AND THE CHARACTER CUSTOMIZATION ..IS PERFECT! KEEP UP THE FANTASTIC WORK! AS FOR THOSE WHO DIDNT GET THIER BETA CODE..I FEEL REALLY BAD FOR YA..HOPE YA GET IT B4 XMAS :P IT WOULD BE ONE OF THE BEST GIFT U WILL EVER GET!


35

+ jrnoz on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:53 am said:

I already got my Qore Beta key. maybe your “Notification Preferences” and “Partner Opt-In” are not enabled in your account? Cuz when they were giving out MAG beta keys for Qore they told me that i should probebly have them enabled i think.


36

+ challen on December 23rd, 2009 at 11:05 am said:

Framerate framerate framerate!

With a racer, framerate is extremely important. 60 fps should be a minimum. Less particle effects are worth the extra framerate. I expect this will be fixed by the time it comes out, and I look forward to the game. The customization is awesome, and I look forward to what people create!


37

+ shelmoon on December 23rd, 2009 at 11:23 am said:

got my beta code, signed up on the website bunch of months ago.
the only thing i don’t like about this game is the harsh loading screens


38

+ bteezy4 on December 23rd, 2009 at 12:15 pm said:

FYI, I’m putting up 20 ModNation Racer BETA codes up today on my twitter @brian_tong! 5 dropping every hour starting at 12 PM PT. Good Luck!


39

+ WarEnder on December 23rd, 2009 at 1:01 pm said:

I still haven’t gotten my code from Qore yet. I e-mail costumer support twice. I got the auto-reply but nothing else. I have my account set up for emails from 3rd partys. Can you contact someone from Qore because I know I’m not the only one.


40

+ alexandro2K on December 23rd, 2009 at 1:09 pm said:

brian_tong i got 5 codes so i would like to give them to you so you can extend the giveaway.Contact me here in the blog brian _tong


41

+ etur0 on December 23rd, 2009 at 1:21 pm said:

@35 did you get quore after Dec. 15 if you did you are screwed also do you buy the episode or did you subscribe(pay $25 for 13 episodes) if you just buy the episode you are screwed must be a subscriber and subscribe before Dec.15 those are the only things that I can think of for not getting the code

and I got my code Quore just need to figure out how to do jumps I know how to do the jump pad can’t figure out how to make the gaps in the track also I wish there was tunnels in the beta if they are there then how do you make them


42

+ etur0 on December 23rd, 2009 at 1:26 pm said:

oops I meant 39: WarEnder


43

+ WarEnder on December 23rd, 2009 at 1:38 pm said:

@41 Yes, I’m a year subscriber I have gotten other betas from Qore. I have had problems as well. Like MAG, I had to contact them and they sent me one.


44

+ TheGuardianFID on December 23rd, 2009 at 1:48 pm said:

The game is fantastic, yeah it has a few issues, but it’s a beta so it’s expected, but it’s a great game!!! I created three characters, two cars, and once I get a better handle on the track studio I’ll create the most death defying track you’ve ever seen!!! :D


45

+ bteezy4 on December 23rd, 2009 at 2:10 pm said:

alexandro2k, get at me with a direct message on twitter ok?


46

+ likedatkilla on December 23rd, 2009 at 4:47 pm said:

everybody should try out ny_beast24 tracks
Loco RoCo
Peace City
Modnation Racers-Sand Track

good tracks


47

+ bow7 on December 23rd, 2009 at 6:26 pm said:

Really, really excited about ModNation Racers. If any of the devs are reading, I would love it if you could manage to get not just 2 player split-screen but 4 player into the final game. That would make the game even better. Anyway, looking forward to the release and already have a few ideas for tracks floating around in my head.


48

+ OldSkool27 on December 23rd, 2009 at 6:47 pm said:

that was a cool track. i’m always thinking of neat ways to make my tracks once i get the game. i have the beta but can’t use it cause my stupid ps3 won’t complete the download. i try everyday hoping that it’ll work, in fact i’m trying right this moment but i’m sure i’ll experience the same result =(


49

+ dan678762 on December 23rd, 2009 at 6:47 pm said:

Are any of the features you used in the video included in the beta such as moving platforms are you guys going to include more content in the beta as time goes on


50

+ LilBig47 on December 23rd, 2009 at 7:16 pm said:

Can’t you guys turn on at least one split screen option? I really wanna verse my brother!


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