I don't think I could design, in any significant way, a sort of traxx
school that deals with altitudes. There is no easy way to
teach altitude work. Having said that, this page will NOT be a review
or repetition of the side bar
buttons. Instead, I will try to address issues surrounding the
many problems faced by new track makers and, hopefully, provide strategies
to avoid these errors before they occur. I will present the material
on a problem by problem basis so that I can add to the page as new ideas
are brought to my attention.
1. Transitions to and from hills
In real life, roads do not have a sudden rise at the bottom and top
of hills. For a good driving track, MTM2 should have smooth transitions
on hills too. For example, in the following two graphs the red line
line represents a cross-section view of the terrain. Assuming that
the road follows the red line, ask yourself which road you would rather
drive on (going up and/or going down).
Yes, there may be places where a "sudden impact" type rise or fall will
be exactly what's called for, but generally the reason we see this kind
of altitude work is from a misunderstanding of the ramp
button on the terrain side toolbar. In order to achieve smooth transitions
to hills, I suggest you use the plane button
with the height set to 1 and the width set equal to the width of your road
(or the area you're working with). For example, like this :
To get a smooth transition to a hill, increase the altitude by 1 foot
on the first step. On the next step, increase by 2 (that is, add
2 to the first step). On the next step increase by 3 (using the S
and X keys will help make these adjustments easier). On the next,
by 4. Continue with this gradual increase until you reach the steepness
you want, then increase by a steady amount. Continue with that value
until you get near the top of the hill. Then, begin decreasing the
value by 1 on each step until you are flat once again. Remember you
are still adding to the terrain altitude but by smaller amounts.
The following table shows what I have been trying to describe.
Above is a gradual transition to a medium steep hill. You may
also use a more dramatic approach for a steeper hill. For example
the following table of values will have a more sudden increase and a much
You can play around until you get the hill the way you want. Experiment
with transitions that are more gradual or more sudden, and try different
rates of increase (steepness) on the main part of the rise.
2. Banked U-Turns
Use exactly the same method described in question 1, but extend the
altitude line so that it stretches all the way across the entire turn.
For example, like this:
Increase the altitude for each step as you move toward the outer part
of the corner.
3. Copy & Paste Terrain Area
Sometimes you will find that you've made a corner (or something) with
which you are very satisfied. You can re-use your work in another
part of your track by copying and pasting it. To do this, in terrain
edit mode, set the working area to the size that you want to reproduce
using the width and height values on the side bar (the altitude value doesn't
count here). For example.
Next, place the cursor's yellow grid marker over the area you want to
copy and right click. From the popup menu, select copy area.
Now move to the spot where you want the curve to appear. Right
click and select paste area. Yes, you may also use Ctrl+V.
That's it! Your curve has been successfully copied from one place
4. Raise & Lower Terrain
Sometimes you will find that you want your hills to go higher or your
valleys to go lower than you have room for. Provided you have not
used the full 0 to 256 altitude range, you can gain extra room by raising
or lowering the entire terrain. To do this, in terrain edit mode,
right click the terrain and select Raise/Lower:
This will bring up the Raise/Lower Terrain box.
The current minimum and maximum values show you the lowest and highest
points in your track. This will help you know just how much you can
raise and lower the terrain. Set the "Altitude Increment" to the
amount (positive=up; negative=down) you want to change your track.
It is a good idea to leave the "avoid clipping" box checked so that you
don't get flattened mountain tops or valley basins in your track.
Click OK and the entire grid area will rise or sink by the amount you have
5. Jagged Landscape
I don't know exactly how people do this, but I've noticed that many many new track makers have scenery with jagged and unformed scenery. This is totally unnecessary and very easy to avoid.
When you want to create landscape around your track, try using the hill
on the side toolbar. Instead of trying to build mountains all at
once, use the hill feature to gradually add to the terrain. This
gives a much nicer effect. If you don't want the surrounding area
to be smooth, you can always use the roughness button
to make your hill bumpy. The difference will be that your track will
look much nicer but still prevent drivers from looking for short cuts.
6. Rough Corners (with some notes by Malibu350)
First you lay the track suface down. Then using the edit terrain/slope tool set the height and curvature you want to the sections of the track where you want the bank (start with a low bank and gradually get steeper, then taper down again to flatness for the straights). At first, it will be very rough. This is where it takes alot of time and a good eyeball to smooth it out.
Getting those banked turns just perfect is extremely difficult. There is only one cure: be patient and spend a lot of time fine-tuning with the manual "hand" tool
Tip: set the zoom "Z" button low and "page up" so you are on the track
surface and just follow the track surface weeding out the bumps.