TrackMania

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TrackMania is a series of racing games for the Windows PC, Nintendo DS and Wii platforms, developed by the French team Nadeo for the PC. Instead of following the usual trend of choosing a set car and track to play the game, in TrackMania the players can create their own tracks using a "building block" process similar to that of the 1984 game Excitebike, the 1985 game Racing Destruction Set and the 1990 Brøderbund release, Stunts.

Unlike most other racing games, the TrackMania series lets the player race a track as many times as they want within a time limit. Players may choose to respawn at any time if they land upside down, leave the track or get off to a poor start. Although in multiplayer games, multiple cars race on the same track, they cannot collide or otherwise influence each other.

History[edit]

There are currently four basic games in the series. After receiving a freely available patch along with extra content, a game becomes available which adds a word to the title. These newer versions are also offered in stores while a fifth game has been created for the Nintendo DS.[1]

  • TrackMania, the original, often referred to as TMO
    • TrackMania Original
  • TrackMania Sunrise, the second game, (TMS)
    • TrackMania Sunrise eXtreme, (TMSX)
  • TrackMania Nations, the freeware game of the series, (TMN)
    • TrackMania Nations Forever, also available as a freeware game, (TMNF)
  • TrackMania United, sometimes considered, a compilation of all previous games [see "TrackMania United" below], (TMU)
    • TrackMania United Forever, (TMUF)
  • TrackMania DS, a version for the Nintendo DS
    • TrackMania Turbo, the sequel to TrackMania DS
  • TrackMania Wii, a version for the Wii
  • TrackMania 2, the complete sequel, (TM2)

There is also a small, promotional Macromedia Flash online game called Mini TrackMania.

Games[edit]

TrackMania (Original)[edit]

TrackMania
Developer(s) Nadeo
Publisher(s) Digital Jesters (UK), Focus (France), Enlight (US), Buka (CIS), Steam (international)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, Wii
Release date(s) November 2003 and 2004/2006/2007/2008 (France and UK), May 2004 (rest of world)
Genre(s) Racing game, Puzzle game
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer
Distribution CD-ROM (1)

Tracks[edit]

TrackMania includes some pre-constructed tracks that players can race on to unlock "coppers", the in-game currency. These can be used to buy different building blocks, usually called "blocks", for their track, including regular roads, checkpoints, long bends, loop-the-loops, and jumps, which all snap to a grid automatically. Regular roads can be dragged to create straight sections as well as 90 degree corners. Most other blocks are automatically connected by placing them next to each other. There are three environments to choose from: Rally, Snow, and Desert, each of which offers a unique car. There are also three modes: Race, Puzzle, and Survival, each of which features an equal number of tracks for each environment. The "Survival" mode does not appear in the later games, though Platform bears some similarities.

Cars[edit]

Other features[edit]

The game features a network option, which allows players to compete via a LAN or over the Internet while players may upload their created tracks or skins to the game's website for use by other players.

A large number of tracks for both the original and sequel are available on the community-driven site TM Exchange website. Skins and 3D car models are also available from the community – TrackMania Carpark having the most car models.

TrackMania Sunrise[edit]

TrackMania Sunrise
Developer(s) Nadeo
Publisher(s) Digital Jesters (UK), Enlight (US)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) April 2005 (UK), May 2005 (rest of world)
Genre(s) Racing game, Puzzle game
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer
Distribution CD-ROM (1)

The second game in the series, TrackMania Sunrise, features more realistic graphics and contains three environments: Island, Bay, and Coast. As in the original game, each has a unique car to fit the environment's characteristics. "Island" features fast sports cars which can turn sharply on mostly wide roads while "Bay" has bouncy cars with less traction, making accidental oversteering more likely. "Coast" features slower cars with little traction and small roads where cars are able to drift through corners. The game was built on an overhauled engine for better visuals and Internet connectivity with tracks that include skinnable advertisement panels. This version also features two new gameplay modes:

  • Platform gives players a start and finish point with mandatory checkpoints and restart points in between. The objective is to finish the race while restarting as few times as possible. Many of these races have jumps and other features that make it difficult to stay on the track.
  • Crazy returns to the race course, but this time pits the player against ghosts, each of which has a faster time than the last. Players must score a faster time than each ghost but at the same time not exceed an overall time limit.

Some of TrackMania Sunrise other enhancements were later added to the Original edition of the game. These include the ability to import new car models and customize many more aspects of the game. "Sunrise" features improved Internet connectivity and implements a peer-to-peer system allowing players to share car models, skins, and more. The new track editor primarily uses the mouse as opposed to the keyboard-driven original, and makes possible special effects like displaying text and changing the camera angle using Media Tracker.

A free expansion pack called eXtreme was released later while the game was also repackaged as TrackMania Sunrise eXtreme, which added multiple elements to enhance the speed and number of stunts in the game. The new "stunt mode" lets players obtain points by performing stunts, such as spinning the car around in mid air and doing flips. After the expiry of a set amount of time, points earned are quickly drained, so players must try to finish with the best score before the time expires.

Mini TrackMania is a simple, online, Macromedia Flash game developed by Inbox Digital to promote TrackMania Sunrise. The game is played with a side on, 2D perspective, and has only one track featuring jumps and a nitrous boost on both sides of the road against a backdrop featuring some islands. Only the keyboard's left and right arrow keys are used to play the game, which are assigned to "brake" and "accelerate" respectively.

The object of the game is to score as many points as possible by jumping off a series of ramps without crashing the car on landing or failing to clear the gap. The key to successfully clearing the ramps is to keep the car's speed within the two indicated points on the car's speedometer, which move closer to each other after every jump.

TrackMania Original[edit]

TrackMania Original is a version of TrackMania that runs on the Sunrise graphics engine. It features over 10 new block types, from PowerUp! and (unreleased) SpeedUp! patches as well as some functionality from Sunrise such as ad-panels and Media Tracker effects. This version also allows the player to import 3D models for the cars, which can also be skinned. It was released free of charge for owners of TrackMania, in the form of a patch//expansion pack, and made available in store as a cheap collector's edition containing bonus features.

TrackMania Nations[edit]

On January 27, 2006, Nadeo released TrackMania Nations, partly as a promotion for the Electronic Sports World Cup, and also for TrackMania itself. This free, stand-alone game had one new environment, "Stadium", and many of the Sunrise edition features, including the advertisement panels, which show ads from sponsors streamed from the internet. The game contains 100 single player tracks, the earlier ones relatively simple in both design and gameplay, but it is largely pitched as an online game. One of the main attractions is the leader board, where players compete for the best times and points. The top five players can be seen on the game's homepage. Nations quickly became popular with almost 1 million registered online players within weeks of its launch[citation needed]), largely due to the wide availability of the freeware game.

TrackMania United[edit]

TrackMania United
TrackMania United box art
Developer(s) Nadeo
Publisher(s) Deep Silver (UK), Buka (RU), Enlight (US), QV Software (AU)
Valve Corporation (Steam)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) November 17, 2006 (online), France, Canada, Belgium and the French-speaking part of Switzerland

RU December 22, 2006
DE February 23, 2007

  • NA March 23, 2007
  • EU March 9, 2007

Steam June 14, 2007

Genre(s) Racing, puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution DVD-ROM (1), download

On June 30, 2006, TrackMania United was announced, a version that amalgamated all previous TrackMania editions into a single game that includes all the environments from the earlier games, and subsequently future installments of the series. TrackMania United features a peer-to-peer networking system allowing players to share custom content more easily, and a unified ranking system. The updated graphics engine includes a shadow mapping acceleration system, which is used in the most recent Stadium version. The new engine allows for more realistic shadows on high end systems while the Stadium environment has double the number of blocks featured in the free version, including dirt paths, water, and indoor sections.

Focus announced on November 9, 2006, that 10,000 copies of TrackMania United could be bought and pre-loaded online then activated from November 16, 2006 onwards. The game became available in retail outlets in France, Canada, Australia, Belgium and the French-speaking part of Switzerland later in 2006, and then from February 23, 2007 in all other regions.

The game is available in the UK and was made available in the US via download for $49.99 on March 23, 2007 and $39.99 on April 17, 2007.[2] As of September 7, 2007, the game is available for $29.95.[3] It was made available for pre-order and pre-load on Steam on June 7, 2007 and unlocked on June 14, 2007.[4]

Players who previously purchased TrackMania or TrackMania: Sunrise can earn a daily copper bonus in TrackMania United by registering their product keys through the game.

Trackmania United Forever is an updated version of Trackmania United featuring seven environments and an all-new mediatracker. It was published by Focus Home Interactive and developed by Nadeo and has a similar layout to Trackmania Nations Forever. Four main modes are available: "Race", "Stunt", "Platform", and "Puzzle" as well as all the tracks from Trackmania Nations Forever.

TrackMania Forever[edit]

On 7 October 2007, Nadeo announced that they were working on updated versions of TrackMania United and TrackMania Nations. Both new versions have Forever added to their name, and are network compatible. "TrackMania Nations Forever includes the new stadium blocks and physics system introduced in TrackMania United, which allow TrackMania United Forever and TrackMania Nations Forever players to compete on the same (Stadium) servers.

Nadeo has stated that because they want the game to have a long lifespan, they are working on the engine and user interface rather than adding new content. TrackMania United Forever, for instance, no longer requires the CD to be in the drive due to different copy protection and anti-cheat systems. They also warn players that some features may not be the final versions.[5]

TrackMania United Forever was released on April 15, 2008,[6] with TrackMania Nations Forever released the following day.[7] Both titles are available for download, including on the Steam platform.

TrackMania DS[edit]

TrackMania DS
Developer(s) Firebrand Games
Publisher(s) Focus Home Interactive (Europe)
Atlus (US)
Distributor(s) Nintendo[citation needed]
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
Release date(s)
  • EU November 14, 2008
Genre(s) Racing, puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution 512K game cart

The TrackMania edition for the Nintendo DS was in production for several months by Firebrand Games and released in Europe on November 14, 2008, then in the United States by Atlus on March 17, 2009.

TrackMania DS features gameplay similar to that of the other titles in the TrackMania series and also features a comprehensive track editor. It supports single-player and multiplayer play and contains more than 100 tracks and three game modes ("Race", "Platform" and "Puzzle"). Of the seven environments available in the PC version only three are featured in the DS version: "Rally", "Desert" and "Stadium". With Trackmania DS, players can share tracks with other game owners but there is no online connectivity.

Main Article: TrackMania DS (French)

TrackMania Turbo[edit]

TrackMania Turbo is the successor to TrackMania DS. It was scheduled for release on 21 May 2010, but was delayed until September. On July 19, 2010, a new release date of December 21, 2010 was announced. The game was delayed yet again and 19 April 2011 set as the release date. It will feature the "Coast", "Island" and "Snow" environments from previous games, as well as 150 new tracks. The edition and adds three new exotic environments alongside "Stadium": "Island", "Snow" and "Coast", while nearly 150 new races have been specifically created for DS' new environments and game modes.

A track editor has been reinstated which allows players create an infinite number of new tracks then share them worldwide through the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.

Multiplayer mode also returns with a "Hotseat" mode allowing many players to play on a single console in "One Card" and local "Multi-Card" modes. The release includes the long-awaited online mode available through the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.

Key Features:

  • Three solo modes ("Race", "Platform" and "Puzzle") and nearly 150 new progressively difficult tracks.
  • Four environments of which three are new on the DS, four completely different vehicles to drive and to play; "Island", "Coast" and "Snow" and "Stadium".
  • A 3D track editor and hundreds of available blocks to create custom tracks using the mouse.
  • Multiplayer mode for up to four players using one or many cards, or compete with players from all around the world using Nintendo Wi-Fi.
  • Share your tracks using Nintendo Wi-Fi.
  • Earn coppers by winning medals in solo or multiplayer, while unlocking new tracks, blocks and skins.
  • Compatible with Nintendo Rumble-Pack.
Main Article : TrackMania Turbo (French)

TrackMania: Build To Race (Wii)[edit]

On June 30, 2009, TrackMania Wii was announced by jeuxvideo.com in an interview with one of the developers. The game features all the environments from TrackMania United apart from "Bay", due to the complexity of its scenery. The game was supposed to be released in North America on July 20, 2010 but on July 19, 2010, Michael Mota of Dreamcatcher Interactive, TrackMania Wii's publisher, told the Examiner "We made the announcement to the major retailers about the Trackmania delay; I’m not sure why that hasn’t been changed. The game came out in North America on March 24, 2011. It has a more primitive online play system than the PC line of games. It has an unusual feature where at a certain number of medals, you can unlock a set of 'f' class bonus tracks.

An updated Wii release date on the Nintendo website for the region GB version published by Focus Home Interactive has been given as September 23, 2010.[9]

TrackMania 2[edit]

TrackMania 2: Canyon[edit]

TrackMania 2: Canyon was released on September 14, 2011. There was also a combination of an open-beta/preorder of the game which became available on August 17th, 2011.

TrackMania 2: Stadium[edit]

TrackMania 2: Stadium was announced on November 2, 2012. (Announcement Trailer) This environment was opened to the public with an open beta on February 27, 2013. The game features the classic Stadium environment that was introduced in TrackMania Nations. There have been some improvements to the graphics, and it uses ManiaPlanet's client and interface. The game was released on June 20th, 2013.

TrackMania 2: Valley[edit]

TrackMania 2: Valley was announced on November 2, 2012. (Announcement Trailer) This environment became available on ManiaPlanet on July 4th, 2013.

Environments[edit]

The game's featured environments are "Stadium", "Desert" (aka Speed in TMO), "Rally", "Snow" (aka Alpine in TMO), "Bay", "Coast", "Island", "Canyon", and "Valley".

Reception[edit]

Aggregated scores
Metacritic[10] GameRankings[11]
TrackMania 74 73.73%
Sunrise 82 82.66%
Nations Forever N/A 87.33%
United Forever 84 80.00%
DS 75 75.41%
Build to Race 74 75.89%
Turbo 77 80.00%
TrackMania 2 81 79.80%

Due to the success of the TrackMania series, Guinness World Records awarded the games six world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These include "Biggest Online Race", "Most Popular Online Racing Sim" and "Largest Content Base of Any Racing Game", with hundreds of thousands of user created tracks and hundreds of unique cars available for download.[12]

Copy protection system[edit]

The games in the TrackMania series used a copy protection system called StarForce, which silently installed a driver with all versions of TrackMania Original, TrackMania Sunrise and the original TrackMania Nations. Many sources falsely reported that TrackMania Nations updated the StarForce drivers only if they were already installed, although versions released after 28 May 2007 installed the StarForce drivers on all computers, even though TrackMania Nations is freeware. The original TrackMania United features StarForce restrictions built into the executable to check the software's key, but does not install the driver.

Although Valve Software originally included it in the system, on 29 June 2007, the company announced that the version of TrackMania United distributed via their Steam digital distribution platform would no longer include StarForce.[13]

TrackMania United Forever and TrackMania Nations Forever do not include StarForce. If they are applied as upgrades to version of TrackMania United or TrackMania Nations which include StarForce, they attempt to remove it.

Spin-offs[edit]

As the TrackMania games have grown in popularity, Nadeo has started plans for two completely new games, which instead of racing games they will be RPG and First Person Shooter games.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TrackMania
  2. ^ "TrackMania United Forever Star Edition". Retrieved 2010-06-19. 
  3. ^ "TrackMania United". GamersGate. Retrieved 2010-06-19. 
  4. ^ "Trackmania United Forever Star Edition". Steam. Valve. Retrieved 2010-06-19. 
  5. ^ "TRACKMANIA FOREVER". Nadeo. 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2007-12-04. [dead link]
  6. ^ "TRACKMANIA UNITED EXPANDS TO BECOME TM UNITED FOREVER". TM-FORUM. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2010-06-19. 
  7. ^ "TRACKMANIA NATIONS FOREVER, FREE AND FOR ALL! (INFO/TRAILER)". TM-FORUM. 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2010-06-19. 
  8. ^ "TrackMania DS dated for North America, published by...Atlus?". DSFanboy. 2008-10-19. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  9. ^ "Trackmania — Nintendo — Games". 
  10. ^ "Search Results". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  11. ^ "Browse and Search Games". GameRankings. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  12. ^ Guinness World Records (2008-03-11). Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition. pp. 150–151. ISBN 1-904994-21-0. 
  13. ^ Twelker, Eric (2007-06-29). "Trackmania: United Updated". Valve Corporation. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 

External links[edit]