TrackMania One – Alpine: The story behind the success
It’s finally time to release a new environment. It has been in development since June 2018 and during one year, a bunch of items became a whole collection of blocks and maps. Unbitn Studio is delighted to reveal our newest creation – TrackMania One – Alpine!
If you’re interested in the technical background and the issues we had to deal with, you’re welcome to find out more about the development in this post!
As you might have noticed, the SnowCar physics have been added to ManiaPlanet with the ManiaPlanet 4.1 update. Unfortunately, besides the “original bugs”, the new physics also introduced new, awkward bump-like bugs, which mostly appeared when driving on sloped roads or transition blocks. The issue was known across all TrackMania 2 environments. The bug became a heavy issue in Alpine, as our blocks don’t have so-called freeclips. Besides the physics and gravity issues, also the suspensions of the vehicle were oddly deformed, so we had to adapt the model in order to make the bug less visible.
You might be wondering how this physics bug actually happened. Due to hitbox issues, the car sank slightly below the road surface after landing a jump or driving on a slope. Blocks like platforms or ramps usually have solid and collidable sides (even when connected and not visible), and those caused the car to bump oddly since the hitbox was slightly below the actual surface.
This problem almost caused us to stop the project and wait for Nadeo to fix the issue.
We managed to fix this bug after a long investigation by eyebo. All blocks using potentially dangerous side faces have been updated and the upper half of the sides is not collidable anymore. This way we fixed 99% of all the bumping bugs and maps can be played flawlessly.
Special custom hitboxes
Since Alpine’s main ground surface is snow, also the hitboxes of all blocks containing snow had to be adjusted. It was a special hard task to pull this action off for all blocks and we often had to review blocks and adjust the hitbox and lightmap UV maps. Shadows in Alpine can be really random due to a game issue which destroys Ultra lightmaps and the compression of High lightmaps to Default lightmaps. The block lightmaps have been adapted to result in more accurate shadows. Anyway, heavy and complex maps still do have darker spots here and there.
During the beta, we always had to use static and unanimated signs. It’s different from previous TrackMania games, since the classic and custom signs can be animated there. However, in July we found out that with some magic you’re still able to animate certain textures. It was a last-minute change – but a good one. We updated all the classic TMO signs to show animated and glowing arrows and finally Purification Pictures created new, exclusive animated signs in style of newer TrackMania games.
Thanks for reading the short breakdown of our development process. If you have got technical questions or want to talk to the devs and the community, we invite you to join our Discord server.
Now go play Alpine! Unbitn wishes you a lot of fun during your journey in a new environment.