Ranking STK tracks

Ranking STK tracks

Postby Alayan » 22 Mar 2018, 01:59

I decided to evaluate all official STK tracks, along with a few of the best former official tracks and addon tracks. This feedback may be useful for the STK team to prioritize track replacement/redesign and to know what type of track designs are the most fun ; but this is foremost a way to share thoughts with other STK players.

Tracks are ordered first by their overall note, then in case of tie by their gameplay & fun note, then in case of tie by my personnal preference (which already plays its part in the notes, but I tried to not be too wildly subjective in those).

You'll certainly disagree with me on some and agree on others ; don't hesitate to share your thoughts.

26. Black Hill Mansion
Gameplay & fun : 1,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3,5/5
Overall note : 5/10

It will be replaced. And honestly, it's time. While the music, the theme and the look are pretty well done, the gameplay itself is a failure. It has been designed to be challenging, but the 180° virage inside the mansion isn't as much challenging as frustrating. It pains the player, it's even worse for the AI. Same for the thing which makes us jump. Also a bit short.

25. Sandtrack
Gameplay & fun : 2,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 5,5/10

The redesign it passed through a few years ago definitely improved it. Still, I can't help but feel that this track is not very interesting to play or to look at.

24. Fort Magma
Gameplay & fun : 3/5
Graphics & ambiance : 2,5/5
Overall note : 5,5/10

The bridge part has issues even for the human player, but the AI having its weaknesses is very bad at it. The driveline is a bit basic, and is so rough that one can see the angles on the minimap instead of nice curves. The graphics are outdated, and not very immersing. A complete redesign, including a rethought path, is needed to bring it to par with the new tracks. Nice music though.

23. Snow Tux Peak
Gameplay & fun : 3/5
Graphics & ambiance : 2,5/5
Overall note : 5,5/10

The path is a bit simplistic, but there is still some fun to it. However, the graphics are badly outdated.

22. Tux Tollway (0.6+) (former official track)
Gameplay & fun : 3,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 2/5
Overall note : 5,5/10

Despite the terrible graphics, it's still a decent track to play on.

21. Minigolf
Gameplay & fun : 2,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3,5/5
Overall note : 6/10

The track felt very nice in 0.7.3 ; it today feels aged in comparison to newer tracks. While this was one of my preferred track at the time, the AI never was good there. The fun exploits in time challenge have been closed, the track has been partly redesigned, but the AI still struggle there. The track is a bit too short also in my opinion. A disappointment.

20. Zen Garden
Gameplay & fun : 3/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3,5/5
Overall note : 6,5/10

The graphics aren't up to the level of the next-gen track, but with the help of the music, it has a good ambiance. I find the curves at the start too short and close to each other. STK is not designed so that the kart really slow down in curves, and while a human can still straighten its path, the AI suffers there. Then, after the wooden bridge, it's one long curve and there is no real difficulty until the end of the track, which is rather short.

19. Bovine Barnyard (former official track)
Gameplay & fun : 3,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 6,5/10

While its replacement, Cornfield Crossing, is clearly superior, and while the overabundance of nitro was probably a bad game design choice, the track was still very fun to play on, and the poor graphics were quite compensated by the nice music.

18. Oliver's math
Gameplay & fun : 3,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 6,5/10

graphics are limited, but still a good improvement over the old version, and convincing enough for the ambiance they aim to create. It's short and fun, the curves are not that easy to take properly : all in all, a decent track, which has the added power of nostalgia for old-time STK players.

17. Scotland ("Nessie's Pond")
Gameplay & fun : 3,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 6,5/10

The buildings still look nice, but its otherwise quite outdated in graphics. The road curves are not smoothed, some tree models are poor, and there are various other issues. The gameplay itself is not exceptional, but there is no obvious weakness either. I find the gameplay in reverse is really fun, better than the normal direction.

16. Green Hill (addon)
Gameplay & fun : 3/5
Graphics & ambiance : 4/5
Overall note : 7/10

One of the best addon track out there, with decent graphics. However, there are way too much big nitro cans (small nitros should be used in easily accessible parts of the road), and the alternative paths are not well balanced. In the first separation, the left path is around one second better despite the two paths being very short. In the second, the right path is around half a second faster, despite being much easier. Overall, pleasant but with gameplay weaknesses reducing its fun value.

15. Abyss
Gameplay & fun : 3/5
Graphics & ambiance : 4/5
Overall note : 7/10

There are nice things to look at, but you don't pay much attention to them in race : they are not where you look at, and what is inside the racetrack is a bit boring. As is the track's path. Still a great improvement over the old subsea (which was very boring), in both categories.

14. Lost Chasm (addon)
Gameplay & fun : 4/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 7/10

The theme of the track is a bit weird. I've not figured out what exactly it's about. The graphics are a bit too much grey, and they are rather outdated. The road is not very smooth and the kart vibrate a lot on it. Still, the path itself is fun and challenging, and this compensate for a lot of the other weaknesses

13. Hacienda
Gameplay & fun : 4/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 7/10

No big strong point, but no great weakness either. The graphics look dated in comparison to the new tracks, but are still decent. The music fits well, and the path vary well - right, left, up and down. The big nitro can is impossible to get properly, but ignoring its existence there is no serious gameplay issue.

12. Green Valley
Gameplay & fun : 4/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 7/10

It's graphically quite outdated, with badly looking trees and grass. The sheeps are a bit weird in that they all eat at the same time. The music created for it is also, sadly, a bit boring. It creates a relaxed ambiance which doesn't fit well with a race. The gameplay, however, is good. The AI has some difficulties to manage certain parts of the tracks, but overall the narrowness and the rocks in the middle of the road at certain points are part of the fun.

11. XR591
Gameplay & fun : 4/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 7/10

There was a time when this was one of my preferred tracks. Today, it's not on the level of the best tracks. The music is as good as ever (excellent), but the graphics are really not on par with the recent tracks, or even some of the remastered tracks like the Mines. The path is very fun to play, with a real challenge in time-trial, sadly in normal races the AI suffers even more than the human player. There are also still some rescue issues, and there is also a big shortcut which needs to be fixed. One of the tracks with the greatest potential for improvement.

10. STK Enterprise
Gameplay & fun : 3,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 4/5
Overall note : 7,5/10

While I'm rather the type to like a few straight lines, I feel there is a bit much in this track. In one of the few places where there are not, I find that the two very close banana are too punishing, as you can't see them until you're very close to them, making it less a skill thing and more a luck thing. graphics are not extraordinary, but have no clear defect either.

9. Volcano Island
Gameplay & fun : 3,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 4/5
Overall note : 7,5/10

The big curves up and down the mountain are a bit too long for my liking. The track is longer than most others, but that wouldn't really be an issue if the path was a bit more varied. The graphics are not excellent, but they are still good. Much nicer looking magma than in Fort Magma. By its name, it reminds the old Island and Volcano tracks ; it's clearly way superior to both of them, and it's nice it brings back their theme to STK.

8. Lighthouse
Gameplay & fun : 4,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 3/5
Overall note : 7,5/10

A bit short, and not very pretty, but very fun to drive. One of my preferred tracks.

7. Black Forest (addon, alpha)
Gameplay & fun : 4/5
Graphics & ambiance : 4/5
Overall note : 8/10

This track is still in alpha version. It seems inspired by green valley, as its share some similarities in theme, along with the track's music (which I find as boring here as in Green Valley) and the same ugly grass. Overall, it's much nicer to look at : most trees are nice, the village is cool, the locomotive on the railtrack is very cool, and overall there is variety. Despite the fact that this track is way longer than usual STK tracks (around 80s in a good time trial, more 100s in an average race in SuperTux), this variety means it is not boring - the player feels like he's moving from one place to another. The path itself is not repetitive, and the changes in elevation help significantly here. The first two tracks by the same author had a boring/bad path, this is not the case here. It is also decently challenging. While this is yet only an alpha version, I find it already superior to a lot of official STK tracks. I've already posted some suggestion in the track's topic. I'd add here that it would be very helpful to have difficulty-specific objects : the length is perfectly acceptable in SuperTux, but the 150s it takes in novice (I tested, racing without skidding) are too much. This is probably the main roadblock to an inclusion in the main game. Some accelerators only for lower difficulties would nicely solve the issue.

6. Gran Paradiso Island
Gameplay & fun : 3,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 5/5
Overall note : 8,5/10

The best STK track in overall look and ambiance. The beach, the plane, the airport sounds... The gameplay itself is good enough, but the bridge path is at least 2 seconds shorter than the other, and easier to follow properly as long as you know where to jump. This disbalance seriously hampers the track's gameplay potential. I also find the huge 360° curve a bit too long to be fun.

5. Mines
Gameplay & fun : 4,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 4/5
Overall note : 8,5/10

The AI currently suffers in this track (while it does well in Snow Mountain), making it currently less interesting. Still, a challenging track, with a good ambiance. The improvements to lighting effects have helped to make this track more nice to look at.

4. Candela City
Gameplay & fun : 4/5
Graphics & ambiance : 5/5
Overall note : 9/10

A very nice looking track, with a fitting music. All is consistant in a thematic, and there are a lot of nice fun things for those who want to look at details (though samuncle, you should fixe la "rue des Empreurs"). The track's path itself is more standard. No real issue, fun enough, but not outstanding either - and to be fair, a track running on a city's road can't have all the variations necessary to have the greatest gameplay value.

3. Cocoa Temple
Gameplay & fun : 4/5
Graphics & ambiance : 5/5
Overall note : 9/10

It's impossible to get the big nitro can inside the temple without having an accident. Otherwise, it's a nice track with good alternative paths (always useful when playing with a higher number of karts), which maybe lacks a bit of challenge. The graphics are quite obviously very good compared to most STK tracks, and it has a good music.

2. Cornfield Crossing
Gameplay & fun : 4,5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 4,5/5
Overall note : 9/10

The cannon feels a bit weird in the way it transports the kart ; but otherwise very nice track. Not overcomplicated, but with a decently challenging path. The music is a good fit, the graphics are good, and they create together a nice ambiance, even if not to the level of Candela City and Gran Paradiso. Still my preferred of the next-gen tracks.

1. Snow Mountain (aka Northern Resort)
Gameplay & fun : 5/5
Graphics & ambiance : 4/5
Overall note : 9/10

Fun and challenging, with a music fitting very well, with nice though not outstanding updated graphics : clearly one of STK's best tracks, even after all those years.
Last edited by Alayan on 06 Apr 2018, 14:31, edited 6 times in total.
Alayan
 
Posts: 105
Joined: 25 Mar 2012, 22:11

Re: Ranking STK tracks

Postby QwertyChouskie » 22 Mar 2018, 03:43

Just curious, which Tux Tollway? There are two :)
Not an official dev, but a huge fan of STK!
User avatar
QwertyChouskie
 
Posts: 203
Joined: 29 Jun 2016, 14:57

Re: Ranking STK tracks

Postby Alayan » 22 Mar 2018, 06:58

The one with the refill station with nitro. IIRC, the other is even older.
Alayan
 
Posts: 105
Joined: 25 Mar 2012, 22:11

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest