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Do you think every great track needs some "special feature" to be great?

Discussion in 'Bob's Track Builder' started by Ghoults, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. (First of all sorry for maybe putting this thread on wrong forum. It is not all about making tracks but still has something to do with that topic)

    By special feature I mean a special corner, straight or some other feature of a track which makes the track stand out and unique. Like Laguna seca has the corkscrew, Mosport has the Moss corners, Nordschleife has the caroussels and the length, Spa has Eau Rouge. Or the Circuit de la Sarthe has the long straight or Sebring has the bumpiness.

    And by greatness I really mean the fun and challenge factors, not the greatness of the sporting event tied to that race track.

    Do you see that every track needs some kind of special corner or other feature which makes it different? Can a track be a great track without having an individual thing or two to make it memorable? Would Laguna seca be what it is without the corkscrew. Could the corkscrew make an unknown track better? And really should a fictional track have a special corner or straight of some kind to make it stand out from the rest?

    What do say? Can a race track be a great track just by having a good flow to it without necessarily having any special corner(s) or places?
  2. Hi, of course, each circuit has its onw special feature, and there are circuits where it s easy to say what feature is special, like eau rouge in Spa, and there are other which for different people has different speciial feature, personally each circuit has its "special magic", ambient, track, turns, straight...

  3. I think that this is true to some extent. Without one special feature, a track would become "just another track", which is why I don't approve of all of the new F1 tracks created by Tilke. I mean, the current F1 calendar wouldn't be anything special without tracks with variations in defining features. We have contrast between tracks like Monaco and Monza, both of which have unique history, and both of which are classic tracks, but for very different reasons.

    Of course, most of these tracks also have downsides with their defining features. For example, the Nordschliefe might be a great track, but it's too dangerous and long for F1 cars. Istanbul might have turn 8, but it has no spectators. Monaco has no overtaking. There will never be the perfect track, which is why variation is so important.
  4. There are many reasons a track is "great".

    For instance, Laguna Seca acheived greatness not because of the corkscrew, which is an admittedly exciting feature, but because it is very accessible to spectators. What makes it a great driver's track today was the infield turns created in about 1980(?). Without those turns, it is mostly an oval with this corkscrew thingie.

    The other factor that makes tracks great is whether they are known by the public. Lime Rock Park, for instance, is a mild little bullring, but the fact that it has held famous races for 60+ years makes it a great track.

    Portland International Raceway, on the other hand, has a 50 year history of not so famous races. CART put it on the map for race fans around the world in 1980, but since they've departed it's really only locals who maintain an interest in it.

    Level tracks are less likely to be great and need something to get them to stand out. If Road Atlanta were flat, it would likely not be a great track. Miller Motorsports has managed to avoid mundaneness as a level track because it has a zillion turns, famous races, and good spectator access, but it's still not a "great" track because most people don't know it exists.
  5. for me, i find elevations and camber the key features. why? not just because they look pretty on tv, but because the let the cars mess with physics in way's the just don't on flat road. for example a tight corner on flat road will mean you apply a brake and throttle percentage that match the radius of the turn. an up hill braking zone into and uphill and cambered corner of the same radius means you can break later and use full throttle much earlier. essentitally burry the car into the road and it just sticks and keeps going round the corner. down hill corners can make you slide out at the rear. having to turn in early when you go over a crest and then catch it when it lands. stuff like that. it's real character stuff, you learn the character and take advantage of it. it's all about physics right?
  6. Elevations are one of the keys to a great track.
    Phillip Island has Lukey Heights & MG,
    Bathurst has Mt Panorama,
    Albert Park has ... well it's flat....

    There are other factors which can't be manufactured such as the history.
    Monaco, Monza etc..

    I think Monaco is an awful track to race on (maybe because I'm crap),
    But it is one of my favourite races of the year to watch because of the constant concentration required by the drivers.
    One mistake & you're out.

    Monza doesn't have many elevations but again it's got the history & awesome speed.

    I don't think you can give any track one element to make it great.
    It's a combination of things.
    Whether it be elevation, cambers, history, speed, scenery or just great racing and overtaking opportunities.
  7. i like the elevations at monaco, wooeee round Massenet and Casino Square. getting tailey out of Antony Noughes. it's just a totally intense circuit.
    Melbourne is boring as sin, but Monza is pretty flat to, at least in the curves, so yes, i give big credit to history as well.
    but... Sebring has history and i don't find that track particularly intersting, partly because i havn't seen much american racing, and Indianapolis is a boring oval, but i like it because it is a mecca.

    Nordschleife, Le Mans, Monaco, Spa - no one would doubt that these are a fair portion of the cream of the crop as far a reputation goes. if they have history and elevations, i'm (personally) generally going to be pretty big on it.

    i'm sure sequences of corners are a big factor too and elevations are a great way to add character to a sequence of corners.

    But, i say, extreme physics. drivers do it cause it's a thrill, and the thrill comes from pushing physics as far as they can, while still staying alive.
    (eg Monza is very high speed, as is Indy). The better the corner sequence the more fun it is to ride the physics.

    so if it's flat, it has to have a unique physics attitude eg. high speed and/or lateral g-force rollercoasters (cornering in particularly enjoyable sequences). Elevations multiply the physics attitude.

    and yeah, overtaking helps, but that would be more a problem related to F1 type car's brakes and areo right? maybe they need a whole new generation of tracks specifically for them. they are out of the league of GT type cars and many older tracks.

    or Bernie could just find rich people who's nations don't have a history of Formula 1 interest and get some german architect to make interesting buildings and generally preset tracks and it would be ok, or even great for a year or two. then the people who aren't really interested in F1 have seen the spectacle for a year or two and are now just totally over it. It's just not a solid fan base Bernie. They need a famous driver first, or a maybe a team (force india usf1) : sorry off topic a little. disregard.\

    so i propose: a good track needs a characteristic physics attitiude or elevations.
    ever enjoyed a flat, straight and slow rollercoaster? maybe you have: cable car etc. history, atmosphere helps, but you don't ride a cable car for a physics thrill (although, you are way up in the air...)

    physics thrill: i'm just throwing it out there.
  8. i should add that corner sequencing should be important too, because after a bunch of tough corners, the driver wants a rest. eg, Nordschleife, Bathurst, Le Mans, or even Indy where you have two deadly corners, then a long straight, followed by two deadly corners, followed by a straight.

    and i'd like to add that i personally prefer a track that covers a large geographical area. to feel like i'm actually going somewhere, rather than round in circles like a go-kart track. i couldn't tell you which direction is north while i'm on the nordscheife, i feel directionally disoriented and lost, and i love it, then somehow i end up back at the start and think... again please.

    there may be ideal ratios of average speed over say three sectors of a lap. maybe (for example) medium start, slow middle, fast finish = 2:1:3. maybe they don't have to follow a particular sequence, but there should be a 1, 2 and 3 over the course of the lap? maybe over four sectors? a highly questionalble notion though measurable if we all obtained emperical data from tracks we subjectivly enjoy. Are speedway ovals exempt from this notion?

    My Theory:

    1. Physics thrill: high speeds or good corner sequences so it's fun
    2. Overall corner vs straight sequencing over the course of the lap (drivability): because driving in a rhythm is nice and driving fast is exhausting.

    a. history/reputation
    b. atmosphere/environment (very helpful - ties in with history/reputatation)
    c. elevations (very helpful)
    d. varying camber
    f. obvious over-taking areas (depends on type of cars)
    g. sense of geographical position or lack thereof (maybe). try and escape the feeling of an enclosed area, more like an open road?

    i love this topic. let's all try and boil it down and make better racing for all, or destroy the mystery...
  9. I think it's very important to have tracks that looks and feel a bit
    different / ..using it's own theme..

    BTB is tailor suited to construct real life road / street courses via
    the .kml file import feature..

    Hopefully we will see a lot more non-conservative race tracks,
    based on RL countryside / city roads n streets.

  10. i think that's already happening for sure.
    personally i would like to see more historic/abandoned/legendary tracks and cars in games (ISI and rF2 anyone... 67spa).
    i want to relate to what i see in old videos and photos, the history and reputations, without the fear of death preferably.
    but i would prefer to see real life streets and street cars than fictional tracks and cars, not that there isn't a place for those as well.
    my 2c on that one.

    on the loss of a sense of direction i experience at Nordschleife, i also like the definitive feeling of changing direction at La Source and Stavelot at Spa, so that discards the loss of direction but still accomodates the feeling of going somewhere. one might call it the "heading out/heading home effect". in a sense i get it a Karuselle too, "this is the last section", then the concreted mini-karusell later on is "nearly there". Tertre Rouge and Mulsanne corner at Le Mans too (heading out/heading back). i guess i would improve my spacial awareness at Nordschleife the more i drove it.

    so a sense of distinctive position within the scheme of the track is important, if not the actual compass directions.
  11. I have the perfect track for you woochoo.

    But you're gonna have to wait till i get home from work.:wink2:
  12. oh really? i'm interested.


    does it look like this?

  13. Not quite like that but you're on the right track (pardon pun) :)

    Here it is.

    The best track ever !!

    Good luck to the poor sod who decides to try & make this.

    Attached Files:

  14. Stuart Thomson

    Stuart Thomson
    The Stoat Without Fear ™ Premium

    This track "Legion" was made out of the 11 default tracks in Grand Prix Legends, all 67 layouts.

    Mexico City
    Watkins Glen

    Attached Files:

  15. Here is one more example from me too :p

    As for the topic, personally I think the flow of the track is the most important thing. The sequence of right type of corners can make even a pretty flat track a very nice track to race on. And even if a track is relatively flat and doesn't really have any special features a good flow of corners can really save it, or even make the track awesome. There are quite a few good fantasy tracks made for gpl and especially one of them, Thornham, has a really good flow to it and is one of the tracks I usually do some laps everynow and then. As for bad tracks I really dislike the chinese F1 track. It just doesn't have a flow to it, it feels more like a set of turns than a race track.

    What is a "good flow" is another question and defenately something worth thinking about -especially when making a fantasy track. I think there are few essential points what makes a track "flowing". One is defenately the right ratio between the speed of the corners that follow each other. If you get it just right the corners really connect and if you do it wrong the flow of the track is broken in every turn.

    Another important factor is the variety of the corners. I'd say that every great track (purely from driving perspective) has one fast and one slow corner. At least one of each. And then probably more corners that are pretty similar. The similar corners make the flow and the slow and fast corners add some variation to it. The similar turns usually don't have variable radius (not tightening or opening) for example. With right amount of each the track flows from start to finish.

    Then there is the special corners. I'd say that there are two kinds of special corners. First type of special corners are just corners which have all things right. Camber, entry speed, length and radius. Usually these corners are quite typical corners but are really fun to drive. Then there are the special turns which are really one-offs. I think a relatively bland track requires a special corner but a track with good set of "regular" turns might be better without one. Or maybe a great turn needs a bit bland track around it to really make the great turn stand out?

    Obviously good flow of a track is down to practise as well. Learning the track and its nuances will make the track flow better. But imho good tracks have the good flow from early first laps and it just gets better as you learn more of the track.

    Attached Files:

  16. I think that you are all missing the point. Monaco, Spa and Monza would no longer be great if every circuit was designed to be exactly like them, with duplicates of their corners. Variety is what makes a race series calendar great.

    This is what my ultimate F1 calendar would look like:
    Pacific Grand Prix, Fuji Speedway
    Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul Park

    Spanish Grand Prix, Jerez
    English Grand Prix, Donington Park
    Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo
    European Grand Prix, Nurburgring
    San Morino Grand Prix, Imola
    Portugeuse Grand Prix, Estoril

    US Grand Prix, Laguna Seca
    Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal
    Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos

    Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
    French Grand Prix, Dijon Prenois
    German Grand Prix, Hockenheim
    British Grand Prix, Silverstone
    Italian Grand Prix, Monza
    Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps

    Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne
    Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
  17. Also, if Brands Hatch is going to be included, Paddock Hill bend is missing, as are the Craner Curves and Old Hairpin from Donington and Maggots and Becketts from Silverstone.
  18. Paulo Ribeiro

    Paulo Ribeiro
    Animals and Racing Lover

    Lets not forget the different weather at SPA. As you know, for sometimes
    on S/F section the sun is shining and at the forest section its raining...:glasses-cool:
  19. tre


  20. It produces good racing and has beautiful scenery. The only problem I currently have with Fuji is the fact that Suzuka exists in the same country, but having them both on the calendar would solve that.