- 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...