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Checkpoint Placement Guide

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Cuz05
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#1

Posted 23 March 2014 - 01:02 PM Edited by Cuz05, 01 June 2015 - 09:06 PM.

  • Checkpoint placement is something of an art, simplicity is key. The following items are guidelines rather than rules but it's well worth treating them as unbreakable until you've learned how to express yourself more freely ;)

     

  • The Basics
  • One CP should be placed either on or slightly before every corner apex. Not one before, one after. There can be leeway if the bend is gradual and the path is clear. Generally and preferably, place it such that the outside edge is not more than half a car width from the curb at the apex of the turn for street races.
  • Placing CPs beyond the apex of a turn should be avoided at all costs. There are circumstances where it may become necessary, such as when 2 CPs are placed close together to signify a chicane or similar. However, it's better to not do it than to get it wrong.
  • Make the chevron of each CP point down the path/in the direction that you want the driver to follow.
  • A CPs directional chevrons will always point to the following CP, rotation only affects the direction of the spawn points.
  • Try to avoid placing CPs on a straight unless there is too great a distance from one corner to the next, there is a dip that obscures the continuation of the road or an ambiguous junction arises.
  • Only use as many CPs as the race demands. Every unnecessary CP is a distraction from the race itself.

     

     

     

  • Additional Considerations
  • CPs associated with jumps take into account what happens when a driver fails the jump and needs to re-spawn. This should be tested with both stock and custom vehicles by hitting respawn immediately after the jump.
  • CPs on a high speed straight need to be far enough away from the next corner so that the driver has enough time to react to the corner CP and correct speed.
  • Hairpin CPs are ideally placed slightly before the apex so that they're clearly visible on approach but occasionally, the apex of the hairpin may be low enough to allow clear visibility of a CP placed directly on it. In either case, be careful not to end up with the arrows pointing back the way you came. 
  • Check that your points are visible enough against the background. Sometimes they can be hard to see against blue sky on uphill courses, for example.
  • CP chevrons should indicate the type of corner they are signifying. 1, 2 or 3. 

    Sometimes you will find a sharpish corner with only 1 chevron on the CP before it, this can be very misleading. It's not always possible to maintain a good placement and still get the desired CP to show but this can often be corrected by tweaking the next CP. If it still proves inadequate then either good prop placement or rerouting the course may help.

      -On the other hand, a 2 chevron CP may occur on a very gradual bend. This is not so serious if the road is clearly visible but does require similar attention.

  • If a corner is preceded by a rise in the road that levels off a little before the corner, the CP can either be obscured by the road or become visible too late for adequate braking. In this case its often helpful to place the CP at the top of the rise rather than on the corner itself. 

      -A dip in the road can cause a similar problem, particularly if it is a dip that leads to a corner. There is rarely an easy way to solve this and still maintain good CP placement. Good propping/description warnings can sometimes help if the CPs fail but this can be a major problem on a track and must be carefully considered.

  • Be wary of using all 68 CPs. This could mean that you have stretched your course too far and parts of it may be flawed or you have simply used too many on a shorter course.

  • When placing a CP, make sure you have at least 2 valid spawns in the 3 cars illustrated behind it. Sometimes only one will be possible, this is not ideal but can work for smaller races where respawns are not expected. When deciding the respawn direction you should take traffic and other racers into consideration as well as potential obstacles at the front end of the car. 


     

  • Creator tips
  • Put each CP on a DRIVER's driving line. A DRIVER wants to go outside, inside, outside on each turn. If your CPs unnaturally restrict the driving line, with no respect for natural obstacles, then the driver will be annoyed and uncomfortable. For example, if your course directs the driver around a natural obstacle, let's say a light pole, then your CP should allow the driver to put his fender right on the light pole during the turn without missing the CP. If the driver can miss the CP here, then you as a creator have failed.
  • CPs should mirror the road in an intuitive way. With city street races the roads tend to be straight with clearly defined corners, these are simple to mark. When you get into the Vinewood Hills and beyond it becomes trickier to manage. Try to identify the apex of sweeping curves by driving the racing line and then place your CPs before those apexes. Maintaining visibility between CPs is important. Doing this should help the yellow line marking your course stick to the road rather than cuttting across from one part to the next. You should be trying to make it possible to drive by reading the CPs not the road, the ideal being that both sit neatly together. Remain aware of the other guidelines mentioned above, particularly elevation changes, placing too many CPs and sticking to one per corner.
  • A simple way of checking the visibility from one CP to the next is to look at the line connecting them as you place them. If it passes through parts of the landscape then you have lost a degree of visibility. This is especially helpful with elevation changes.
  • A great way to learn the major pitfalls in custom race creation is to play other people's tracks.
  • The best way to find the major flaws in your track is to follow a driver around your course. Don't be that douchebag who normally races with catch up on but turns it off when he finally gets people to drive his track and then ups the laps to make a 10 minute race, bets on himself and laps the pack as everyone stumbles around the course.
  • If you promote your track, first ask yourself, "Is this at least as good as a Rstar track"? If the answer is no, then you're being self indulgent.

 

 

 

 

Credit is due to all contributors

 

Please do ask if you have any questions related to the topic, I or another member will undoubtedly attempt to answer them. Please bear in mind that this does not mean you can post a creation and ask me to tell you where to put the checkpoints...

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LuapYllier
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#2

Posted 23 March 2014 - 02:16 PM

Checkpoints:
-Placed in such a way that they effectively direct traffic to the next checkpoint.
-Placed so that when the driver turns his/her vehicle in the direction the arrow points the next checkpoint is visible thus the path to it is intuitive.
-Checkpoints associated with jumps take into account what happens when a driver fails the jump and needs to re-spawn.
-Checkpoints on a high speed straight are far enough away from a corner point at the end of the straight to give the driver enough time to react to the corner and correct speed.


Cuz05
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#3

Posted 23 March 2014 - 03:06 PM

Actually, that's what I looked at 1st Luap. Certainly worth inclusion.
I'll post a few points myself later, bit short of time atm. I'm thinking going from the absolute basics and covering as many eventualities as possible.

LambentBunny
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#4

Posted 23 March 2014 - 03:17 PM

-Checkpoints on a high speed straight are far enough away from a corner point at the end of the straight to give the driver enough time to react to the corner and correct speed.

This one is pretty key as I have learnt 


Cuz05
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#5

Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:19 PM Edited by Cuz05, 23 March 2014 - 09:21 PM.

Well, maybe I'll add points here as they occur to me and maybe collate them in the OP if it seems worth it. Please correct me if any points seem wrong or misleading.

Some basics...

 

-Only use as many CPs as the race demands. Every unnecessary CP is a distraction from the race itself.

-One CP should be placed either on or slightly before every corner apex. Not one before, one after. There can be leeway if the bend is gradual and the path is clear.

-CPs must never be placed beyond the apex of a turn.

-Only place CPs on a straight if there is too great a distance from one corner to the next, there is a dip that obscures the continuation of the road or an ambiguous junction arises.

(--Placed so that when the driver turns his/her vehicle in the direction the arrow points the next checkpoint is visible thus the path to it is intuitive.)

-Place the following CP at the furthest visible point from the one just exited, i.e the apex of the next turn, unless the points made above apply.

-Be aware that a CP acts to obscure whatever lies beyond it, be it a turn, another CP, an obstacle or a change in elevation.

(-Checkpoints on a high speed straight are far enough away from a corner point at the end of the straight to give the driver enough time to react to the corner and correct speed.)

 

??

 

Would obviously need to work in Luaps points more effectively.

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Cuz05
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#6

Posted 24 March 2014 - 04:42 PM

 

Icky's General rules for checkpoint placement:

1) Make each CP visible from the last. On some tracks you can fudge this a bit, mostly when there are no intersections between CPs.
2) Make the chevron of each CP point down the path/in the direction that you want the driver to follow.
3) Don't stack CP's unnecessarily , particularly before a turn.
4) Put each CP on a DRIVER's driving line. A DRIVER wants to go outside, inside, outside on each turn. If your CPs unnaturally restrict the driving line, with no respect for natural obstacles, then the driver will be annoyed and uncomfortable. For example, if your course directs the driver around a natural obstacle, let's say a light pole, then your CP should allow the driver to put his fender right on the light pole during the turn without missing the CP. If the driver can miss the CP here, then you as a creator have failed.  Try to let the obstacles on your track determine the driving line.
5) Make sure the driver knows what to do at each intersection. If the track takes a turn, put a C/P at the corner. Generally and preferably, place it such that the outside edge touches the inside curb at the apex of the turn for street races. If the track continues straight then you must have a checkpoint in plain view, it doesn't need to be at the intersection.


A few tips:

- A great way to learn the major pitfalls in custom race creation is to play other people's tracks
- The best way to find the major flaws in your track is to follow a driver around your course. Don't be that douchebag who normally races with catch up on but turns it off when he finally gets people to drive his track and then ups the laps to make a 10 minute race, bets on himself and laps the pack as everyone stumbles around the course.
- If you promote your track, first ask yourself, "Is this at least as good as a Rstar track"? If the answer is no, then you're being self indulgent.

 
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Cuz05
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#7

Posted 25 March 2014 - 01:41 PM Edited by Cuz05, 25 March 2014 - 01:42 PM.

CP chevrons should indicate the type of corner they are signifying. 1, 2 or 3.
Sometimes you will find a sharpish corner with only 1 chevron on the CP before it, this can be very misleading. It's not always possible to maintain a good placement and still get the desired CP to show but this can often be corrected by tweaking the next CP. If it still proves inadequate then either good prop placement or rerouting the course may help.
On the other hand, a 2 chevron CP may occur on a very gradual bend. This is not so serious if the road is clearly visible but does require similar attention.

Hairpin CPs are ideally placed before the apex so that they're clearly visible on approach.

If a corner is preceded by a rise in the road that levels off a little before the corner, the CP can either be obscured by the road or become visible too late for adequate braking. In this case its often helpful to place the CP at the top of the rise rather than on the corner itself.

Check that your points are visible enough against the background. Sometimes they can be hard to see against blue sky on uphill courses, for example.

Cuz05
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#8

Posted 25 March 2014 - 07:50 PM

Edited OP. Constructive criticism/additional material/editing suggestions are very welcome. Hell, you can troll if you like, I can handle it.


Black Rabbit
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#9

Posted 25 March 2014 - 08:02 PM

Checkpoints:

-Checkpoints associated with jumps take into account what happens when a driver fails the jump and needs to re-spawn.
 

Absolutely this. So many times someone puts up a difficult jump that needs to be hit perfect (which they do and continue on to win without care) and if respawn is required...the respawn is too close to the jump to gain enough speed to get where you need to go. These maps gets thumbs down, every time. 


stronktank
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#10

Posted 25 March 2014 - 09:28 PM

Great topic Cuz! Maybe highlight (fatten, or underline) the essential parts per note as they can be summarized more clearly imo.

 

Something I find annoying in a lot of races: The 68 cp limit should not be reached in any race as the cp's are then placed to reach the limit and can't be at their best spot,...


LuapYllier
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#11

Posted 26 March 2014 - 01:39 AM

Could use some editing maybe. Some things are repeated and kinda hodgepodgey.

 

Why never checkpoint after apex?

I don't like seeing the fudging in number one either.


Cuz05
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#12

Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:31 AM

Noted.


I've never seen a good CP after an apex and I have seen many, many absolutely terrible ones there. I can imagine that there may be the odd circumstance where it might be necessary but personally I think it's one of those things where you should feel you're doing something wrong so that you only do it if you really, really have no choice.


WBaker
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#13

Posted 26 March 2014 - 09:25 AM Edited by WBaker, 26 March 2014 - 09:27 AM.

A list might work well for the formatting.

Example list --
  • Item 1
  • Item 2
  • Item 3

[List]
[*]Item 1[/*]
[*]Item 2[/*]
[*]Item 3[/*]
[/List]

Cuz05
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#14

Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:07 AM

Thanks WB. Atm, it's obviously just a quick C & P to see how the points fitted together. I'll certainly tidy it up and try to homogenize it. Anything's better than a text wall, lol.

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#15

Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:34 AM

nice guide and all points well made dude... completely agree on all fronts :)


Cuz05
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#16

Posted 26 March 2014 - 10:54 AM

Why never checkpoint after apex?


Been thinking about this and I think I'll change the wording. Probably too much emphasis and I did think of a couple of situations where it may be necessary, chicanes for example. I think its mostly when you're having to put 2 CPs in close proximity in order to signify successive turns at lower speeds.

Cuz05
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#17

Posted 27 March 2014 - 08:40 PM Edited by Cuz05, 27 March 2014 - 08:44 PM.

Edited again. Basically deleted the lot and pasted it in from another tab so I've no idea why the 1st section is still reduced in width. Dammit, now I've edited it again and it's doubled the list spacing....

 

Right. Better?

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stronktank
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#18

Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:35 PM Edited by stronktank, 27 March 2014 - 09:36 PM.

 

[...]

  • Only use as many CPs as the race demands. Every unnecessary CP is a distraction from the race itself. Using the maximum CPs (68) means not all CPs are at their perfect spot as it would mean you stretched it to some point.

    [...]

  • CPs associated with jumps take into account what happens when a driver fails the jump and needs to re-spawn. You can easily test this by holding triangle (PS3) or ? (XBOX) right after the jump.
  • The best way to find the major flaws in your track is to follow a driver around your course.

^this can be highlighted imo

  • Don't be that douchebag who normally races with catch up on but turns it off when he finally gets people to drive his track and then ups the laps to make a 10 minute race, bets on himself and laps the pack as everyone stumbles around the course.

^this can go imo as creators reading this won't be of that kind. Let's think positive!

 

GREAT topic though! Adding it to my sig.

 

 

Much better, and yellow is what I'm saying :)


Cuz05
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#19

Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:43 PM Edited by Cuz05, 27 March 2014 - 09:49 PM.

Thanks man.

I missed the maximum point you made, I thought it was a good one. Tbf tho, I have a 68 CP race, they are a little stretched in places but I took pains to make it work and I do believe it does, so I'm kind of iffy on including it as a 'rule'... I may put it in the additional considerations part.... done.

I'm not so trusting of creators to take out the douchebag warning, lol.


stronktank
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#20

Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:09 PM

Oh and you can definately change the question mark in the title to an exclamation mark!


LuapYllier
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#21

Posted 27 March 2014 - 11:11 PM

I have a couple of 68 checkpoint races as well...as long as you are building the course to the checkpoints and not the checkpoints to the course...you should be fine.

 

I linked this in my approved thread as well. Nice editing.

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Cuz05
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#22

Posted 28 March 2014 - 01:53 PM


Oh and you can definately change the question mark in the title to an exclamation mark!


I looked at that but couldn't find an option....

Cuz05
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#23

Posted 29 March 2014 - 12:35 PM

 

Oh and you can definately change the question mark in the title to an exclamation mark!


I looked at that but couldn't find an option....

 

So yeah, I'm stumped on this. Is it possible for a mod edit it? If I ask nicely of course... Otherwise I'll have to consider C & Ping it into a new thread.


LuapYllier
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#24

Posted 29 March 2014 - 03:19 PM

 

 

Oh and you can definately change the question mark in the title to an exclamation mark!


I looked at that but couldn't find an option....

 

So yeah, I'm stumped on this. Is it possible for a mod edit it? If I ask nicely of course... Otherwise I'll have to consider C & Ping it into a new thread.

 

Use the report button and in the text window ask them nice. They usually are pretty good about helping.


Fachuro
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#25

Posted 29 March 2014 - 05:45 PM

 

  • Make the chevron of each CP point down the path/in the direction that you want the driver to follow.

 

 

That's not the chevron you can choose direction for, that's the direction of the respawn points.  The chevron is automatically pointed towards the next checkpoint, at all checkpoints.  By turning the checkpoint to point in the desired direction at any cost you are more likely to be messing up the spawns (get spawns behind walls and stuff if there's a wall close by).  What you should pay attention to when turning the checkpoint around is where the 3 cars behind it is placed, to make sure all spawns are valid spawns.  Most often you still want the respawns to point in the right direction, but in some cases it might be more beneficial (for example some hairpins) to have the respawns pointed straight forward (you've already seen which direction the chevron points when you respawn at a checkpoint).  There is no right answer to which way the respawns should be pointed, it's mainly a decision you want to make based on the individual corner.  When deciding the respawn direction you should also take traffic and other racers into consideration, as well as proximity to nearby objects for the front end of the car.  To see what kind of a turn the chevron will indicate, look at the angle of the blue lines. I'm not sure exactly what angle is indicated by how many arrows though.

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Cuz05
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#26

Posted 29 March 2014 - 06:15 PM

Good point Fachuro. I was thinking that one from Icky was referring to CPs pointing the wrong way because of the next CPs placement.
I will add a point about respawning, important one and it was an oversight leaving it out.
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#27

Posted 29 March 2014 - 08:35 PM

 

 

 

Oh and you can definately change the question mark in the title to an exclamation mark!


I looked at that but couldn't find an option....

 

So yeah, I'm stumped on this. Is it possible for a mod edit it? If I ask nicely of course... Otherwise I'll have to consider C & Ping it into a new thread.

 

Use the report button and in the text window ask them nice. They usually are pretty good about helping.

 

:orly:

 

Nice guide.  :^:


Cuz05
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#28

Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:12 AM

Much appreciated, cheers!


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#29

Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:27 AM

Here's a question - how do you guys feel about checkpoints to limit potential lines around a track?

For example I'm finding that on one of my circuits the best line is to head onto the grass a little bit (it's the double right hander after the tunnel on Los Santos GP for those who have played it recently). I'm not entirely sure whether I mind that or not yet, but in terms of checkpoint placement, how would you guys feel about a checkpoint on the road between the two corners to limit cars to actually staying on the road (this is assuming no prop allocation remaining)? In general this goes against the guidelines as it's essentially a needless checkpoint for anyway just looking to get around the track, but it would serve a purpose for keeping the higher performing guys in check. Just some thoughts I'm having.


LuapYllier
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#30

Posted 30 March 2014 - 12:40 AM

What you will end up with is people missing the checkpoint and disliking your creation. I have seen it so many times. If you have any ability to use props...maybe the 10 dynamic ones? That would be the way to go. Otherwise...just let racers race.

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