Saturday, August 9, 2014

FAST FORWARD: Tapio - The one that almost made it

Were this year's Le Mans race recap posted no later than a week, I could talk about this around... well, probably a week after the post, but once again, I had a brutal Software Engineering final project that needed to be finished at that time. Nevertheless, this post is born regardless when actually. The sheer lateness of the previous post sums up why "Fast Forward" is in the title.

This post brings up my recent GeneRally track Tapio, a small race track that crosses the park and the city streets, spelling "technical" to its name. The reason why I post this late is because that as the track was released, it was nominated for Track of the Month, raising its prestige more albeit its simple environment, but failing to get the podium was hard, even if your track finished fourth. Despite of that, the track itself is really good, and the concept is nice.


The reason why I named it Tapio because it just flew on my mind while trying to make up a name for this track, such that it isn't related to either "tapir" or "tapioca" at all. The city, in its GRIF thread, is described as "New York and Los Angeles set to 'liquefy' to make a busy city with a park, recreational buildings, and a beach where everyone can have varied choices of taking their leisure times". In essence, the fact that there are lots of recreational places makes up for how citizens of Tapio City are pretty much relaxed living in this city, unless they want a trip to any recreational places located on a mountain that is or they want to go to their relatives who live far away from the city. The thread also states that Tapio City is also one of the highly sought-after destinations for vacations. For your information, one of the city's biggest malls is located 5 kilometers southward from the track, and it has pretty much anything, even a department store that occasionally holds big discount events, and if a shopping mall isn't your fancy, a beach can be accessed northwards, approximately 10 kilometers from the track.

But where's the "New York" in this city? Yup, this is the downtown Tapio City used for racing, full of New York-inspired buildings and a park that looks like a carbon copy of Central Park. The bottom right building is in fact given a New York building feel. The downtown of the city is heralded as its busiest part of the city, with corporate buildings almost everywhere, alongside stores and stuff. Because of how busy this part is, don't be surprised that there's always traffic jam, even on Mondays. Don't let the "attractions" posted in its GRIF thread fool you, but don't let the fact that it's always congested consume you further; these one-way roads used for racing is actually a solution to this whole enchilada. These changes were made from its initial state after a series of complaints filed to the city's mayor regarding to the roads always being subject to standstill traffic.

No matter how much they hate the city, Tapio City Park is always a refresher for every citizen living there. The park itself has been a long time there and is an irreplaceable landmark of the city, complete with its park roads and greeneries, and don't forget the lake located inside the park.


"A good mixture of street track and a regular track." -RobertRacer99

The track takes parts from the City Park and link it to the two one-way roads with hairpins made out of a turning road and a crossing zone, eventually entering the park once again for "the Snake", the track's own series of tight turns which lives up to its name.

The opening part's 90-degree corner takes you to the park's exit, entering the one-way road portion. Taking this corner requires avoiding the sunk tires planted inside the corner, especially if you're racing with AIs. They would "fly" from that corner and chaos can ensue right away. The course then proceeds to the turning road, which you can pass the New York-styled buildings as you drift the hairpin.

There's a small chicane that utilizes the supposed parking lot of one of the buildings, and it then takes you to the track's second hairpin which is actually the road's crossing zone, and then it takes you yet again to the park entrance, once again a 90-degree turn as opposed to the first turn, this time it's less chaotic than the first turn does. Actually, there is a small crossing zone at the bottom-right part, right below the first hairpin, so technically there are two crossing zones. Yet, the above one leads to a street complex with lots of stores around it, while the small one is... well, a normal crossing zone.

"It's a very well made track. The layout is what I really like in it -especially the section between 1st turn-2nd hairpin- and the "snake" section is really tricky to take it well. Lmap is really good too. I think, I race this track many times." - david999

The park section is where the action actually starts, with a series of tight turns dubbed as "The Snake", talk about being true to its name. The Snake consists of four consecutive turns (if you also count the right hander after the entrance) before leading to the final turn. The last two turns of this section has a gravel runoff, which, although I felt that it might be impossible for the cars to be thrown off track while snaking through these last two turns, makes up the circuit feel of the track. Also visible are the straight wall outside the first The Snake turn which was initially to follow the second turn's shape (the straight wall is a suggestion by Mad Dan actually :D ), the walkway inside the third Snake that makes up the "Central Park" feel, and the house that leads to the first gravel run-off. It's projected as a small house made of wood actually, even though that there is only ONE house shape in GeneRally (mind you), and we thought we just leave it as it is; we don't even know whose house it is...

The last section lies after the Snake, which is actually a fast left hander that you can take even without lifting your throttle if you're able to figure out the right exit line from the last Snake turn, and of course the pit stop which only consists of three pit stations. Mind you, the pit stations might look a little too "oblique" as you look at the pit lane and the pit crew, but it's just my awfully-perfectionist eye.

Last but not least, though, is the paddock section. Yup, it's not a raceable section but this one's essential, very essential. Every good track has one, right? The object here is that the paddock has to be filled with a couple of buildings, and the two visible buildings are my work of art... More like "mix and match", but both terms are perfect. The paddock also had problems with the density of "Person" objects, yet I'm able to overcome this one easily. Overall, the paddock is good, although certain things looked "oblique".


During my GeneRally days, my tracks have never tasted a higher place than this track does. I had Frappe Snowland track which unfortunately ended up last in May 2013 ToM election, even with two votes, then there's Cilandak Town Square with no votes in July 2013. Last but not least my newer release Grupard has 2 votes and ended up 16th out of 19 tracks. This time, in April 2014, the track is placed higher than all my tracks combined, I thought this track is my best so far because I had plenty of passion while making this track. Despite that, it finished seventh out of fifteen tracks, sporting eight votes, with six tracks that snatched that month's podium, with Dragon's Rontemey with 12 votes as the victor, Maciej1's Pau-Arnos with 11 votes and a 10-vote 4-way tie with david999's Dusty, Areen's Sepang, AeroWiewiur's Termas de Rio Hondo, and Maciej1's Yahuarcocha. Full results here.

Despite not getting the podium, I've finally had a joy making tracks, and able to execute it right away, unlike most of my WIPs where I had a couple of doubts putting things here and there. But if I were to rework them once again and make all of them published, why not? Trackmaking in GeneRally never sleeps and is always evolving as the time goes.


GRID Hat-trick @ Audru Ring competition marked my first 2014 compo after a long hiatus from All In One Championship S2 due to my Typhus, and that I joined NAGRCA GT Series Management Competition before this even though that not only was I outbid on the drivers, but also short on cash and didn't score a good result (the only best result would be Matias Maldonado reaching the Last Chance Dash in the final round, which should be Round 5 of 10 but shortened due to the host's, puttz's, real-life activities). My run on GRID Hat-trick sadly was full of awful bad lucks, starting from how I forgot to save my game at the Hotlap, how my laptop didn't charge throughout my trying to submit Time Trial session files that it eventually died, and how my pace was slower than my practice races. My teammate ACM, however, did score a better result which should be enough to counter my bad luck. Full results go here.

In the end, I had to suck my bitter pills of bad results, and probably scored a black mark in the history of Team [R]GARAGE, but even every good team can have a black mark too, like the Swedish DoTA 2 team Alliance in this year's The International 4 for instance. Being the champion of last year's the International, the team unfortunately didn't pass the qualifying phase due to series of subpar plays and had to say its second title goodbye, even Natus Vincere (Na'Vi), its Ukrainian rival that fought the Swede team last year and is the first season's champion, is also subject this. I guess I shouldn't vent my bad results online next time... orz

This time, Team [R]GARAGE entered two competitions; GR Formula Cup Season 4 by zgr, and GeneRally Touring Car Challenge Season 3 by Marcinho. In GR Formula Cup Season 4, Team [R]GARAGE plots its open-wheel revenge in the non-login competition after the bad luck that struck the team in the previous open wheel race, which, in return, is actually the GRID Hat-trick race, with the Polish driver Marcinho taking the second seat. The livery I used may look like Hispania Racing Team's livery due to the similarities of the theme colors used. Thankfully, I leave certain parts with 0-4 colors so that each driver's car is different. Performance-wise, I am able to snuggle in for a couple of test laps and races to see how fast I could go, especially with the fact that it's fast yet somehow hard to control, requiring every driver especially me to think more of the perfect racing line while dodging the AIs, plus the perfect pit strategy due to the fact that the fuel settings make the car deplete the fuel faster than how Queen Elsa makes her castle from ice.

[R]GARAGE Pandawa RTC. RTC in its name stands for "Racing-spec Touring Car"

GeneRally Touring Car Challenge also marks the team's second Touring car competition venture after GeneRally Touring Car World Cup. Upon the team's entrance, I decided to make the team's new car: [R]GARAGE Pandawa RTC, the touring car racer that looks like Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Touring Car from Gran Turismo 6. Not only that, I also give RobertRacer99 the teammate's seat for this season, hoping for a good result in the competition's fourth season (if you count Season 0 that is). Here's my car's description as written on the competition's thread:

"After a long hiatus, Team [R]GARAGE returns to the GeneRally racing scene once again, bringing its creation to the play, this time in the world of Touring cars. The team initially planned to use its SST Sports R to the competition but it is far from being eligible, so for the last 40 days (including holiday breaks), the staffs worked on a new touring car that can be competed in GRTCC's third/fourth season. While the team already expanded its ventures to open-wheel races, its closed-wheel business continues here with the arrival of its new touring car racer: Pandawa RTC. The name Pandawa is taken from Mahabharata, a Hindu epic text in which Pandava (the car's originated name) are five acknowledged sons of Pandu, whose names are Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. The RTC in its name is short for "Racing-spec Touring Car", which is an obvious nod to the car itself and is based on GRTCC regulations, with the car's aesthetics look similar to Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II touring car. A road going version of the Pandawa will be released shortly to comply the regulations."

Semester break is long enough, but it feels like the days are numbered as the new semester approaches, plus I'm unable to manage ALL of my social media and the site plus my game add-ons before the break so hopefully I could manage all of them in style, yet I owe myself skins from variety of racing games (including TMUF and GTR2) and learning some PHP coding so in case [R]GARAGE has to use a new look, it deserves one. In the end, I have to treat everything as if I'm making an application using RAD Programming method.


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