I like what Rainbow has done with terrain deformation in Reflex. It really adds a lot to the game. The tracks included in the game show it off really well and after spending a few hours with the PC version I decided that I wanted to write up a little something about each one from a Track Makers point of view.
I plan to cover each National and SX track over the next several weeks. I will be doing them in the order that they show up in the career mode and finishing up with the 4 DLC tracks that are in the Arcade mode. Each track will have it's own page and each track will have the following:
Scawn7 has gratiously offered to give riding tips on each track. If all you care about is how to get around the track quickly then just right to Scawn7's riding tips.
A detailed lap around the track with screenshots.
For each track I will go turn by turn and talk about the track. I will discuss lines and options. I will certainly talk about what things I like. If there is some technical information that I learn about the track I will mention it and if I learn something in the future I will update these pages. I still have a lot to learn about the subtleties of terrain deformation and the traction mapping.
Features of the tracks that interest me:
Terrain Deformation - This adds so much to the game. Some of it is smoke and mirrors and some of it is real time terrain deformation. The smoke and mirrors part is that the tracks are already rutted to begin with. They have a nice natural look to them. There are many spots that have ruts that if you spin donuts over them they are as hard as a rock and hardly deform. There are also eye candy tricks to make it look more rutted then it is. Quality texturing accomplishes that. The greatest stuff is that this is just the starting point and that in many areas the track actually ruts in real time.|
I commented to RBW_Checkerz448 about things that I had noticed with the deformation and he replied with this:
"As far as the deformation, it does get more beat up with more riders because the ruts are actually left by the tires and really reads off of whether the tire is slipping or not as well as how much the bike is compressed.
As far as after 10 laps it not changing much, well, the deeper it goes, the slower it deforms to simulate the track getting packed down and also to keep from having a 300 foot crater after a 30 lap race. As developers, we control both how fast and how deep the deformation goes seperately with masks. The slip you notice is actually the lack of bumps from the terrain getting "polished" smooth and pushing the "loam" into a berm which lets you really rail."
Traction Mapping - This is much improved over what we had in MCM 2. I really tried to use it Valley Ride and the transitions from one level to the other were too extreme. It is much more subtle in Reflex and combined with the terrain deformation adds a lot to the fun factor.
Water/Mud - The way this is used in the game adds a lot to it. Tracks like Moto 448 and Razorback really take advantage of it. In every iteration of the game they have improved how well this works. Does everyone remember us painting water on the texture or using models to simulate a puddle?