Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Alayan » 26 Apr 2019, 18:06

SuperTuxKart 1.0 having been recently released, it's time to think forward.

We will have a smaller release later this year with bugfixes and non-gameplay improvements, and with the same set of track (the intention is to keep 1.1 fully compatible with 1.0 for online play, etc.).

But for STK 2.0, which will come after that, we'd like to phase out the most graphically outdated tracks (see my track evaluation thread here : https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=11374).

If you have 3D modelling skills and/or are interested to participate in this improvement, let us know by replying to this thread.

The relevant tracks are :
- Nessie's Pond (Scotland) : the gameplay is rather good though it lacks an extra bit of challenge. Rather than a from-scratch replacement, the best would likely be an overhaul. Besides making models (and as much as possible, textures) on par with better tracks, there could be some pathing changes : instead of going directly from the sea front to the lake, the tunnel could be reoriented and the road have the player go through some highlands decorum (with a secret "hard but a bit faster" path) before going back to the lake. The specifics would need more work.
- Hacienda : Samuncle already has an advanced draft of a visual overhaul, so he'll handle this one. Gameplay should stay the same besides a fix to the zipper-ramp.
- Snow Peak : this track is a good fit for a from-scratch replacement. Sven already has a snow-themed track project, so this will probably be it.
- Fort Magma : as it is the final track of the game, it requires extra attention. As making the gameplay better with better pathing and dynamic obstacle is just as important as getting rids of the very polygonal models, it might be easiest to start from scratch.
- Shifting Sands : this track is somewhat boring. Visual improvements would be nice, a deeper overhaul and or a complete replacement too.

There is also one non-official track which could see inclusion if it receives a visual overhaul (no pathing changes required) : Paradise Peaks. The only blend I've found is a 0.8 compatible one however : https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=5631 . That version also doesn't have some graphical enhancements, but it shouldn't be an issue as it would have to be overhauled anyway.

If someone is interested, while Green Valley has been taken out of the main release, with a proper visual overhaul it could make its way back (while of course keeping Black Forest) as the gameplay was nice.

With lower priority (they look better than the tracks listed above) :
- Zen Garden : It looks rather good compared to the previously listed tracks, so is of lower priority. It now has good water, but still suffer from terrible grass (shapeless texture, too dark), and low polygon road/models in some spots (including exceedingly regular road to wall transition). There are also some annoying invisible walls it would be good to eliminate. The upscale has been wrongly reverted in 1.0, it will have to be restored. Pathing changes are not required though there is potential for a bigger Zen Garden.
- The Old Mine : the gameplay is good, and adding a newbie path alternative to the bridge may be too much work to be worth it. So it would be pure visual enhancements : 1)finding decent textures. The dirt textures are awful. Some more rocks could be also used. 2)Better looking water (maybe muddy rather than transparent ?), splash effect and well-timed rescue when falling in it. 3) Have the long wooden bridge look like it's really made of planks, the shape (esp. on the left/right borders) gives up this is just one big textured blob. 4)Improve all the inappropriately low-poly models. The road-to-wall transitions are way too regular. In general, the walls/ceiling should not be butter smooth (unrealistic and poor looking), but excessively regular edge like the current road/wall borders aren't better. 5)Any good improvement I didn't list here.
- Northern Resort : a lot of low-poly models/road parts to improve. Any other visual improvement welcome.
- Volcano Island : the track is rather good looking, but the sand and grass are bland, there are texture transitions to improve/create, polygonal curves to smooth and some visible low-poly models. It would be also nice if the trees didn't look like shiny plastic toys. The part with the magma around also should receive graphical enhancements : less smooth lava pools, bigger height difference with the road, instant rescue on touch (right now, the rescue plane is well below the magma surface), and any other way to make it look better.
Alayan
STK Moderator
 
Posts: 206
Joined: 25 Mar 2012, 22:11

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby GeekPenguinBR » 26 Apr 2019, 23:04

Alayan,

I can contribute with original tracks or objects for the update of current old tacks. If desired by the team, I can work on remodeling objects and textures for No problem.

I have several projects that I can conclude if the community expresses interest in them (I don't expect this). Any of these tracks could replace an old track from scratch. Just to remember, my work in progress tracks are listed here:
https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic ... 18&t=11581
Last edited by GeekPenguinBR on 27 Apr 2019, 06:19, edited 14 times in total.
"Making cool harmless games makes the world a better place".
User avatar
GeekPenguinBR
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 00:41
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby GeekPenguinBR » 26 Apr 2019, 23:07

Cont....

Desert (a track placed in a region that looks like North Africa and Emirates)
A concept described in your post:

"Shifting Sands / Egypt Track
By the way: since 2014 my brother has already the idea for an epic Middle Eastern track keeping the Pyramids, but crossing the dunes of the desert, passing by an oil field and a refinery and finishing by entering a country which has very old and very modern places in its capital. The track, which will be named "1001 Nights", is like a trip from the North Africa and Saara to Emirates. We have the complete plan. We are working on it and believe me: we did the complete research and the track will look stunning after finished. It was not inspired by the new Alladin movie and it traillers, but it has it all, including Ali Baba's cave and the old market with carpets and lamp shop."

https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic ... ert#p84333
Attachments
1001 Nights 02 - Copia.jpg
1001 Nights 01 - Copia.jpg
Last edited by GeekPenguinBR on 27 Apr 2019, 06:21, edited 1 time in total.
"Making cool harmless games makes the world a better place".
User avatar
GeekPenguinBR
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 00:41
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby fluffrabbit » 26 Apr 2019, 23:51

I don't even play STK and I have certainly not been here for more than 3 years, but that last track looks amazing. I'm seeing stuff from all over the Middle East there, and it has an epic feel indeed. Though I imagine texturing would be a small nightmare.
fluffrabbit
 
Posts: 552
Joined: 11 Apr 2019, 11:17

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby GeekPenguinBR » 27 Apr 2019, 01:47

fluffrabbit {l Wrote}:... that last track looks amazing. I'm seeing stuff from all over the Middle East there, and it has an epic feel indeed. Though I imagine texturing would be a small nightmare.


Thanks for you comment, fluffrabit. Check my complete reply:
https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic ... ert#p84333
Last edited by GeekPenguinBR on 27 Apr 2019, 06:22, edited 3 times in total.
"Making cool harmless games makes the world a better place".
User avatar
GeekPenguinBR
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 00:41
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby fluffrabbit » 27 Apr 2019, 02:09

That's a lot of imagery and a very ambitious plan for a track. What you've modelled already looks epic, so adding onto that would be even more epic I suppose. I think it could almost work as a standalone game without the racing element, there is just so much area to explore.
fluffrabbit
 
Posts: 552
Joined: 11 Apr 2019, 11:17

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby GeekPenguinBR » 27 Apr 2019, 02:28

fluffrabbit {l Wrote}:That's a lot of imagery and a very ambitious plan for a track. What you've modelled already looks epic, so adding onto that would be even more epic I suppose. I think it could almost work as a standalone game without the racing element, there is just so much area to explore.


Actually, it all fits in less than 1:50 minute. Even if there is a lot of elements and many different sectors, the concept is very simple. Look:
https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic ... tel#p84334
Last edited by GeekPenguinBR on 27 Apr 2019, 06:28, edited 2 times in total.
"Making cool harmless games makes the world a better place".
User avatar
GeekPenguinBR
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 00:41
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby tempAnon093 » 27 Apr 2019, 05:42

It would also be worth thinking about what we want to see more of regarding track layouts and features. The theming is extremely important too, of course.

A relevant post:
XGhost's post about track layout and track features. While some of it is specific to a certain track, there are some great things to think about when designing a track which is legitimately fun to drive the entire way through.
As some of my posts suggest, I'm also a fan of gimmicky track features such as magnetic inversions, sharp hairpin corners or inversely banked curves. I am curious if this is something other users want to see more of.

I think Paradise Peaks is a nice track but I was always really turned off by all the leaves/fossils. I think it's the white outlines.
tempAnon093
 
Posts: 95
Joined: 02 Feb 2019, 12:09

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Alayan » 27 Apr 2019, 22:08

GeekPenguinBR, thank you for your interest.

However, due to a lack of clarity about the goals of the developers, I simply paused all the projects because, as you can see, my tracks (mine and my brother's) are too complex graphically and I don't like the idea to waste my time taking years of work for nothing.


There is always less interest in stubs than in track projects which can be tested. It may also be better practice to aim for doing some good addons then with the experience learned try to get a track included in the main release.

In any case, for tracks, the goal are mostly as follow :
- Graphics : As good as possible, of course. The minimum bar for a new track to be considered for inclusion in the main game at this stage is around Volcano's Island level (decent but not great), but better models, textures, lights, etc. are appreciated. The visual theme of the track should be consistent, and preferably fit in the STK universe.
- Performance : The track must run at a playable (even if choppy) pace on low settings on weak hardware (intel HD 4000 ; right now the official minimal requirements is HD 3000 but it's much weaker and old enough to not justify limiting quality), and on higher settings on decent hardware. This limits somewhat can be done on the graphics side but is necessary to keep the game playable. Changing the graphics settings before each track is unpractical, so a more demanding track means lowering settings across the board even for tracks which could run well at a higher level. Right now, the most demanding track is Black Forest, which is somewhat more demanding than Cocoa Temple, so you can consider this as a limit. Of course it's a balance. If the graphics are poor and the perf hit is similar to black forest, it's unacceptable. If the graphics are outstanding and despite some optimization work, it's 10% more demanding, we will still ship it.
- Gameplay : The track must be interesting to drive, with challenging parts putting the player's skill to the test, while not being confusing (if all newbies get lost because where to go is unclear, something has to be changed). It's hard to explain with few words what make good gameplay, but "We know it when we see it". This is an important criteria, a beautiful but very boring track (imagine Alpine 2 with outstanding graphics) wouldn't be a good fit for main game. A secret area or two are a good bonus but not required. Similarly, offering two alternative paths for a portion of the track (it must not be a huge part of the track's length) is ok, provided they are well balanced for difficulty/speed.
- Miscellaneous : Things like item placements, karts start position, music choice can be fixed on our end afterwards and are not blocker, but if they are good from the get-go it helps.

I'm very interested by your desert track project, it could potentially be a good Shifting Sands replacement. I like the oil field idea. :)

It's hard to judge that project without being able to drive around to get a better idea, however ; even if models/textures are unfinished it is very useful to assess potential gameplay issues/improvements.
Alayan
STK Moderator
 
Posts: 206
Joined: 25 Mar 2012, 22:11

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby GeekPenguinBR » 28 Apr 2019, 01:35

Alayan {l Wrote}:There is always less interest in stubs than in track projects which can be tested. It may also be better practice to aim for doing some good addons then with the experience learned try to get a track included in the main release.


Ok, I agree about the tests, but, as said in my own post, a surprise was intended. I thought that some experienced drivers would receipt well a track where the gameplay was planned to be on hard level. I was wrong, but it was intended to. Not being pretentious, but I could easily design a good drive-in at first attempt since I really don't see what's difficult to get this. Not offending anyone, but I assume that a person with knowledge, skills and enough time, should be intellectually limited to try, try and try again many times until reaching the decent level. So, lets forget the driveline of Las Dunas.

Alayan {l Wrote}:I'm very interested by your desert track project, it could potentially be a good Shifting Sands replacement. I like the oil field idea. :)

It's hard to judge that project without being able to drive around to get a better idea, however ; even if models/textures are unfinished it is very useful to assess potential gameplay issues/improvements.


It's very nice to see you, as well as Ludsky, Mr.XX99, QwertyChouskie and others expressing your interest in this project. This is a clear indication that I have to prioritize this track, of course.

I will try to release a drivable track in this first semester, but, at first, a plain, flat Driveline, with the only purpose to get some feedback about the shape itself: the sharpness or smoothness of curves, the length of the track and each sector, the visibility of the main objects, etc., because it seems easier to model the terrain after putting all the ups and downs of the characters relief of a desert.

Stay tuned, because I plan to release a testable track as soon as possible.
"Making cool harmless games makes the world a better place".
User avatar
GeekPenguinBR
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 00:41
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Alayan » 28 Apr 2019, 01:57

GeekPenguinBR {l Wrote}:I will try to release a drivable track in this first semester, but, at first, a plain, flat Driveline, with the only purpose to get some feedback about the shape itself: the sharpness or smoothness of curves, the length of the track and each sector, the visibility of the main objects, etc., because it seems easier to model the terrain after putting all the ups and downs of the characters relief of a desert.

Stay tuned, because I plan to release a testable track as soon as possible.

Good, I'm looking forward to it. :)
Alayan
STK Moderator
 
Posts: 206
Joined: 25 Mar 2012, 22:11

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Ludsky » 28 Apr 2019, 22:16

I'm agree with Alayan. Your better project is the desert track. It will be great if it can replace the actual and old Shifting Sands.
After I'm interesseted by your Soviet project but perhaps change the direction for the new Russia project.
User avatar
Ludsky
 
Posts: 680
Joined: 07 Aug 2011, 12:52
Location: France

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby GeekPenguinBR » 28 Apr 2019, 22:40

Ludsky {l Wrote}:I'm agree with Alayan. Your better project is the desert track. It will be great if it can replace the actual and old Shifting Sands.
After I'm interesseted by your Soviet project but perhaps change the direction for the new Russia project.


Maybe, but there are enough conspiracy theorists even against Russia. I must say, not only Russia but also toward the Muslim World. Which implies some level of rejection to "1001 Nights" too. However, there is another point: the track needs to be rich in a number of objects and not all laptops are able to run a track like this.
Last edited by GeekPenguinBR on 29 Apr 2019, 02:49, edited 1 time in total.
"Making cool harmless games makes the world a better place".
User avatar
GeekPenguinBR
 
Posts: 412
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 00:41
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby QwertyChouskie » 29 Apr 2019, 02:32

While we're taking about new tracks, Sven's WIP Snow Peak replacement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxwwVl6ShfE
Not an official dev, but a huge fan of STK!
User avatar
QwertyChouskie
 
Posts: 361
Joined: 29 Jun 2016, 14:57

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby tempAnon093 » 29 Apr 2019, 03:05

QwertyChouskie {l Wrote}:While we're taking about new tracks, Sven's WIP Snow Peak replacement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxwwVl6ShfE

Wow, this is the first I've seen of it.

I do like the second half of Snow Peak a lot, but this is an excellent track!
tempAnon093
 
Posts: 95
Joined: 02 Feb 2019, 12:09

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Wuzzy » 01 May 2019, 17:46

If you want to improve tracks, start with The Stadium and Soccer Field. These are the most ugly tracks by far. I consider these much more important than any other tracks.

They are way too underdesigned, look very boring, have poor textures and color palettes and almost no decorations. The seating area is *completely* empty and undecorated. The goals look horrible (flat color, basically).

BUT! I like the gameplay. The arenas are good for their minimalist gameplay, so I would not change the layouting or the collision areas. It's just the graphics really need a serious facelift. Hell, even just a change of textures would be a huge improvement.

Seriously! Just compare Soccer Field with Las Dunas (Soccer) Stadium, the difference is like night and day. Your complaints about the other tracks seem like nitpicks compared to that.
I like bitcoins: 17fsUywHxeMHKG41UFfu34F1rAxZcrVoqH :-)
User avatar
Wuzzy
 
Posts: 783
Joined: 28 May 2012, 23:13

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Alayan » 01 May 2019, 20:50

These are arenas/stadiums, not tracks. This post is focused about improving the regular tracks, not the arenas.

I however think you make are absolutely right about those arenas having extremely basic graphics which could be vastly improved while keeping the same gameplay as it works rather well. It would be good to have them revamped.
Alayan
STK Moderator
 
Posts: 206
Joined: 25 Mar 2012, 22:11

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby krash » 05 May 2019, 00:30

Hm, from what I have seen, both Snow Peak and Shifting Sands are very popular in online games (btw, are there some statistics available for these kind of things?).
The players seem to like the tracks (count me in).
Is there any chance just to refine the graphics but keep the overall characteristics of the tracks?

Followup question, are the supertuxkart creators trying to keep the number of official tracks below a certain limit?
Otherwise maybe new and old could co-exist?
krash
 
Posts: 14
Joined: 24 Dec 2012, 01:11

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby tempAnon093 » 05 May 2019, 02:16

krash {l Wrote}:Followup question, are the supertuxkart creators trying to keep the number of official tracks below a certain limit?
Otherwise maybe new and old could co-exist?

I am not a creator, but I think a reason not to include all the old tracks in main is to make sure the official experience is all of a similar level of quality.
If someone begins to play a game and half the levels look very outdated compared to the rest, it may give a bad impression. However those tracks would still be available as add-ons so they can still be recommended and enjoyed.

On that note, I would like to mention the importance of what order players are introduced to tracks, especially in Story Mode.
A general criteria for tracks introduced to the player ASAP could be:
- beginner friendly
- fun to drive
- excellent visual quality
- (bonus) shows off interesting or unique features, such as the cannon in Cornfield Crossing or the 90° track in Cocoa Temple

I haven't got time at the moment to go through Story Mode again so I can't give proper critique on this topic. For an example, I believe Oliver's Math Class is not a good track to show early, as it starts with two sharp U-turns, does not have an immediately clear driveline in some parts and has lots of sharp boundaries, walls and table legs which may completely stop your kart if you make an error. I do not mean to say it isn't a good level, but it simply is not a beginner friendly track.
tempAnon093
 
Posts: 95
Joined: 02 Feb 2019, 12:09

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Julius » 05 May 2019, 19:29

Just as a quick feedback, I managed to play a round of STK with some friends that are normally not into open source games and overall they liked the game.
Main gripes however where old "too flat" tracks and the music. They basically agreed that the music was not energetic enough and somewhat childidsh (no offense to the musician who did it) and actually went as far as disabling it completely.

So maybe that could be another STK2.0 task :)
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby QwertyChouskie » 07 May 2019, 00:49

I'd like to know which songs they specifically didn't like. Do you happen to know?
Not an official dev, but a huge fan of STK!
User avatar
QwertyChouskie
 
Posts: 361
Joined: 29 Jun 2016, 14:57

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Worldblender » 08 May 2019, 21:45

Now that my school semester is over, I may try my hands on revamping existing tracks, whether they're former official tracks, or addons made for older STK versions. At least I Both the Git repository and associated forum post are now updated.
Forum post: https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=7450
Git repository: https://gitlab.com/Worldblender/stk-contrib-addons
User avatar
Worldblender
 
Posts: 59
Joined: 15 Aug 2014, 18:46

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby Alayan » 12 May 2019, 10:21

Worldblender {l Wrote}:Now that my school semester is over, I may try my hands on revamping existing tracks, whether they're former official tracks, or addons made for older STK versions.

This would be a nice contribution to the STK community. :)

If you want to contribute improving one of the tracks referenced in this thread, let us know.
Alayan
STK Moderator
 
Posts: 206
Joined: 25 Mar 2012, 22:11

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby CinusMinus » 14 May 2019, 22:19

Thinking about Fort Magma this is what came to my mind:
Vulkan.jpg

I am not yet sure what should be expected inside the volcano, maybe Nolok Industries is based there, maybe it's just a giant stone statue of Nolok surrounded by a volcanic abyss.
As of now however, I don't know whether I will have the time to build this.
CinusMinus
 
Posts: 19
Joined: 12 Aug 2013, 12:19

Re: Track revamps and replacements for STK 2.0

Postby QwertyChouskie » 15 May 2019, 22:46

Not an official dev, but a huge fan of STK!
User avatar
QwertyChouskie
 
Posts: 361
Joined: 29 Jun 2016, 14:57

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest