Trackmania 2’s Press Forward Maps Are Amazing

One of my favourite niches among level design communities are creations which are designed to pinball players through their geometry without requiring your control. Levels for the platformer N, for example, which allow you to sit back and marvel at their daredevil complexity, or race tracks for Trackmania [official site] in which you need to do nothing but push forward. An example of the latter recently popped up on Reddit and so I did a little digging, resulting in the video I made below.

It looks a little like I’m steering at certain points, but I’m not: each tilt or skid of the car is the result of the game’s physics working together with the layout of the track to keep me on course. That track is called [PF]SuperNatural, by N!troGuY, and it’s downloadable from Trackmania’s Steam Workshop.

I remember playing on these kinds of tracks years ago, for perhaps Trackmania Nations, but I was reminded of their existence by a Reddit post showing a GIF of one such track. That GIF was a shortened version of this video by AccelTM, below:

That track is the longer, more complex and appropriately named [PF] Extra Large by vossi84. It doesn’t appear to be available through the Steam Workshop, but can be downloaded from mania-exchange.com.

Racing games are, in most circumstances, about taking corners in order to maximise your completion time, but there’s something wonderful about being able to so simply see the physics and speed of Trackmania in action without any skill required. It takes everything that’s good about the game and it turns it into a kind of rollercoaster, the linearity of which we often consider a criticism in games but which I enjoy here.

It’s cool.

30 Comments

  1. Prolar Bear says:

    The regular maps are even better though! Driving through one of these incredibly complex structures can be very rewarding, if the map is well crafted.

    Looking forward to TM Turbo, hopefully it shakes things up a little.

    • FullMetalMonkey says:

      I’m looking forward to Turbo too.

      Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but Nadeo bringing Trackmania to console should also help the series considerably too so we should see bigger and better things in the future too, like QuestMania… TM has always done pretty well on PC but I think it will sell extremely well on the Game TV Boxes as racing games generally do.

      • FullMetalMonkey says:

        Hmm, I can’t seem to edit my reply. The ‘correct me if in wrong’ bit was meant to have been followed up with ‘but this is the first Trackmania on console’.

      • Cinek says:

        I already seen players complaining about features being cut out from the game due to it’s availability on a consoles, so I’m not sure if that is a good thing…

    • EvaUnit02 says:

      I hope you guys realise that Trackmania Turbo uses Uplay. YMMV may vary with that service.

      • frymaster says:

        depends what you mean by “uses” I suppose. AFAIK the multiplayer is still going to use nadeo’s own system, but as an ubisoft-published game it will launch through uplay

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        Uplay? *vomits*

  2. BTAxis says:

    This stuff is what I enjoyed about Sonic the Hedgehog too. Sonic Advance 2 has a few nice sections where you can ram through the level just by rolling.

  3. stonetoes says:

    Do you need to use a specific car for each track? Otherwise wouldn’t the differences in speed or whatever throw everything off?

    • FreeTom says:

      Physics and performance-wise, there’s only really one type of car per environment in TM games. You can change the skin – or even the entire model – but it still handles identically.

    • Javaa01 says:

      TrackMania is a competitive game and as such doesn’t have “Different Cars”, you can reskin your car or put a different model on it but that won’t change its behavior, so no matter what you still have the same hitbox, stats, physics so on and so forth. The only times cars are different are between different versions of the game, so TM2 Stadium and TM2 Valley have different cars that behave differently but you can’t load a map from Valley to Stadium for example, because the two games use different tilesets from which the tracks are built from.

  4. Jediben says:

    Not a game (am I doing this right?)

  5. FreeTom says:

    I remember these from the TM games of old. There must, surely to God, be some programmatic way of predicting a car’s future speed and position from a given current one within the track editor. Getting all of that right by trial and error makes my free-time glands ache just thinking about it.

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      edna says:

      I’m with you all the way. I watched the whole thing with a sort of horrified fascination thinking all the time, “my GOD this must have taken a long time to do.”

    • Caerphoto says:

      There is not, barring some absurdly complicated scripting I don’t know about.

      I’d guess with experience you learn to get a feel for how the car will behave, so you can generally get the results you want with fewer iterations than someone new to the editor.

  6. caralimon says:

    I miss the original Trackmania and its 3 original environments. It was wonderful and charming without resorting to absurd speeds and track layouts, no offense intended.

    I’ve been baffled ever since TM Sunrise, I don’t get the attractive of the new environments,at all. Surely I can’t be the only one, can I?

    • shoefish says:

      You are not alone. Original Trackmania also had the amazing puzzle mode, where you are given a start, finish, and limited track pieces and have to beat certain times. Was an amazing combination of puzzling to get the right track layout, and then challenging racing. I’d still be buying and playing Trackmania’s if this mode still existed.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Trackmania Stadium is pretty much a newified version of the original Trackmania, you know, so I don’t get why you’re complaining. Furthermore, the absurd layouts are largely left to those using the editor, because for some reason, people much prefer tracks with oft-frustrating amounts of flying through the air and driving sideways rather than the well-tuned and skillful tracks made by Nadeo.

      As for why the new environments? Drifting adds a whole new twist on the gameplay, and it’s bloody brilliant.

  7. alms says:

    What about LOL tracks then?

  8. caff says:

    This reminded me of every track I’ve ever played in Trackmania, ever.

  9. racccoon says:

    The vids dont make players rush in to get the game, it as if they look like a new modder came up with the idea of the map, as they make absolutely no sense at all, just a maze of silly platform models placed together to form a crazy loop of sillyness. Its not really something I would of thought as real driving game play.
    Sometimes.
    I believe Trackmania is caught in its own mania & is heading to the asylum as its not thinking outside the box but developing within its headache, which only works for a few.. not the many.

    • Caerphoto says:

      “The vids dont make players rush in to get the game”

      Good thing they’re not trying to, then.

      Its not really something I would of thought as real driving game play.

      Did you even read the article?

  10. Chirez says:

    What strikes me is the incredible determinism of the systems involved. There can be absolutely nothing in any of the physics which is imprecise, random or variable, even at the smallest scale, otherwise this would rapidly become chaotic.

    The fact that the ONLY variable in Trackmania is your own use of the controls may be exactly what makes it so tight. I wonder how many other games share that property, it seems unlikely that any of the more sim racers allow that complete absence of fudge.

  11. Cinek says:

    What the hell is happening there?!

    It looks like some pre-programmed AI follows track that was build for nothing else but this super-perfect run. Impressive to watch, but also seems to be super-unfun to play.

    • Kitsunin says:

      As said, they’re “press forward” maps. You hold the up arrow key and what is in the video happens. No AI needed. Very pretty but not fun to play, and that’s the entire point.

    • Urthman says:

      As Graham said, it’s just a roller coaster ride. But, it’s a pretty neat roller coaster, especially if you’ve played the regular game some. It’s fun to just put your foot on the gas and be surprised by all the crazy stuff your car does.

    • vorador says:

      It is more of a level designer challenge than anything else. Do the craziest ride that doesn’t require user input. That’s it.

      The user simply press the gas and the level plays by itself.

  12. TheMajor says:

    I’d LOVE to see this put on an Oculus Rift – yeah, everyone would throw up, but it’d be a glorious experience

  13. nitroguy says:

    little note to the author: the first PF map is actually by Suptimal, not me. here’s the link to it on trackmania exchange: link to tm.mania-exchange.com