GZ Interview: Roller Coaster Twists + Fast Racing Action = TrackMania

Roller Coaster Twists + Fast Racing Action = “TrackMania”


Louis Bedigian


Racing maniacs,
start your engines for one of the hottest PC racers of the year.



Unquestionably, the two best
extreme racing games on the market are WipeOut and F-Zero.  Both of those
games were developed exclusively for one game console and one game console
only.  No Xbox port.  No PC release.  Just one version and that’s it.


Don’t you think it’s about
time that PC gamers received a great racing game exclusive to their favorite
gaming platform?


Game developer Nadeo does. 
They hope to satisfy our needs with TrackMania, an intense and
inspired racing game for the PC.





The graphics look great. 
The corkscrew tracks look even better!  And after hearing about all the
success the game has had in Europe, we couldn’t wait to hear more.  Nadeo’s
director, Florent Castelnérac, fulfills our wishes by giving us all the
details of their hotly anticipated racer.



TrackMania looks like a fun and colorful
racing game.  Did Hot Wheels or any other toy car create inspiration for the


Florent Castelnérac:

Yes, the toy in itself is the first inspiration for the game. We had those
kinds of games when we were kids and we wanted to create a virtual toy.


What has been the most
exciting thing about developing the game?



To play the game during the phases of development. From the beginning we all
played TrackMania and were addicted to our own game. People outside of the
development team, including our publisher, Enlight Software, have also gotten
addicted.  Everybody is playing it everyday.  That is exciting 😀


Up we go…



How would you define TrackMania?  Is it
entirely arcade action, or are there some simulation elements as well?



There are two things that sum it up. Realistic physics are for the strength
and immersion. Arcade gameplay is for the fun and extreme action of the game.
The challenge is to keep the advantage in each field instead of being weak in
one of them.


How intense are the races?  How fast does
the game feel?  How many twists and turns are there?



The races are really intense. As you ask that, I realize that you never have a
break in TrackMania. You can do tracks with long straight roads and long
curves but it looks like all of the tracks are seamless, like heavy metal
music. The cars mainly run at 100 mph but often goes to 200 mph and can even
get to 300 mph. The record is at more than 500 mph.


Speaking of twists and turns, could you
describe the various types of tracks that are featured in the TrackMania?



There are more than 200 building blocks in TrackMania: jumps, turbo, slopes,
holes, loops, tunnels, bridges etc. There are three environments with really
different gameplay and different types of building blocks. One is more speed
oriented, one is more stunts, and one is more offroad.


…Round and round…



Is this strictly a single-player
experience?  Or does it include some type of online ranking system, or even a
multiplayer mode?



There are many ways to play TrackMania; it is more like a toy than a game that
you finish. You can play alone or you can play with other people on the same
computer with a hot seat mode. You can play by mail by sending your tracks and
your replays or only your scores. You can play with the community online at
the different tournaments; in Europe over twenty communities have been born,
so far. You can also play online directly with other players. As soon as you
connect to a game you download the tracks in no time and play on other
constructions. You can play as an architect by building and proposing your
tracks to other players online or to download sites with votes. A lot of
players enjoy the fun of creating skins for cars, horn sounds, visual modes,
tool software and making fun videos with the complete replay system and video
editing software. There are players that play more than ten hours a day, since
the launch in Europe last November.


What kinds of game modes
does TrackMania have to offer?


FC: Three modes in solo: Race,
puzzle and survival. In the race mode you have to beat different levels on
each track.  There are fifty tracks to race but you can download thousands
online. The puzzle mode is a invention from a programmer at Nadeo: you have a
start line and a finish line, you have a limited number of building blocks and
you have to build and drive the best to get to the end with the fastest time.
The survival mode is about racing, if you don’t finish last you can go on the
next track – there are 18 total tracks available.


Reminds of me a dream I once



Has it been easier to achieve a higher
frame rate and better graphic quality on the PC than if TrackMania had been a
console game?



To develop on PC is kind of a nightmare. We have four different PC rendering
engines for the four different generations of graphic boards available: before
transform and lightning, transform and lighting, first pixel shaders and
latest pixel shaders. Something like DirectX 6, 7, 8 and 9. The scalability is
really a though thing on PC nowadays and some big games should have some
headaches with it. For TrackMania, our goal was for the game to run at good
framerates and on a lot of computers. A solid framerate is one of the keys for
fun in this type of gameplay.


Are the controls optimized for controller
and steering wheel peripherals, or is mouse and keyboard the preferred control



There are three types of controls for TrackMania: keyboard, joypad and wheel.
There is no force feedback.


In all, how many courses and
vehicles will the game include?



There are one hundred twenty tracks, but you can build as many different
tracks as you want! There are three vehicles.


Thank you for your time.