I have finished my Trackmania Driving Guide after a week of solid writing so here it is!
Here we go. This is going to be my biggest post yet, and it’s going to be all about Trackmania.
The most technical driving game ever.
If you play Trackmania and are looking to improve, or simply just want advice, this post is ideal for you. I am going to split this entire post into different sections, which will go into massive detail about how to drive certain corners, and also give tips on how to execute certain techniques effectively.
I will keep all these posts in the same catagory, so if you have a certain part of driving you need to work on, you can check that section
This may seem slightly obvious, but the placing of the controls in Trackmania can make a big difference on how fast you can potentially drive.
There are 2 types of drivers in Trackmania; drivers that drive with one hand, and drivers that drive with 2.
By driving with 2 hands, i do not mean 2 hands on the arrow keys. This would be too cramped for fast driving and would cause several unforced mistakes. By 2 hand driving, i mean moving the break to the left of your keyboard (left ctrl) so it can be controlled with the left hand instead of the right. the right hand can now concentrate on accelerating and turning. (This may feel strange to start with, however you do get used to it very fast).
Driving with 2 hands in Trackmania is far faster than driving with 1 for the following reasons:
1) Your ability to ‘power-slide’ is now much easier to execute (will go over ‘power-sliding’ in a later chapter!)
2) Breaking now requires no backward movement of the finger/ no movement of the finger that is used to accelerate.
3) You can now keep your right finger constantly on the accelerator, therefore can now drive faster!
These 3 reasons are the reasons that ALL of the top drivers (that drive with a keyboard) in Trackmania use 2 hands to drive instead of one.
So the main tip from this section is: If you drive with a Keyboard, USE 2 HANDS TO DRIVE!
If not, read on. Or read on anyway
The other way you can drive is with a ‘Pad’. This means driving with a controller (xbox 360, ps3 etc.) or with a gaming pad. This is even faster than driving with 2 hands on a Keyboard for several reasons:
1) You can still have 2 different hands on the accelerator and brake.
2) You have a degree of turning; so you can choose when to turn hard and when to turn lightly, unlike a keyboard, where you have to turn hard (unless you tap very fast but that is not very effective).
The second point is what makes driving on a pad faster than driving on a keyboard. Die to having a wider array of turning degrees, this allows you to turn the degree of the corner and take the fastest line possible; whereas with a keyboard you have to turn a certain degree all the time, and so cannot always take the fastest possible line through every corner.
This makes driving with a pad the most effective way to drive in Trackmania, however more people drive with keyboards. This probably due to most players using keyboards because they are available, and also just play the game for fun. However, i do advise using a pad if you plan on driving competitively, or at a high standard; however you can still drive very fast with a keyboard!
End on Chapter 1. Oh Yeah.
On with the guide i say!
Basic/Essential Driving Skills
Suprisingly, basic driving skills are needed to become a succesful driver in Trackmania. Some of these skills are very obvious, however some are overlooked. Lets start obvious.
Accelerate as much as possible
Yep, that is a tip. To get a really fast time, you want to make your car go as fast as possible (that is true), which means using the width of the track. If you’re going round a corner and you have space on the side of the car furthest away from the corner after completing it, you could have done the corner at a higher speed. However, sometimes taking a much closer to the line can be faster, depending on the next corner (this will be covered in later chapters). Trackmania driving does not reflect driving in reality; as you can also accelerate at the same time you are braking, which is quicker than just braking, so use it as much as possible (covered in depth later).
Keep 4 wheels on the ground as much as possible
Due to your car being 4 wheel drive, you want to keep as many wheels on the ground at all time; which allows for more acceleration. This applies to certain large areas of driving in Trackmania. Firstly, a suprising amount of tracks have a downhill after the start of the track. Instead of going straight down the hill like most players will, you go down the hill at a sharp angle. (NOTE: this only really works when there is a downhill straight after the start).
As you approach the crest of the downhill, sharply turn left or right (depending on where you need to end up at the bottom of the hill). This causes your car to stay with 4 wheels on the for after going over the crest of the downhill. Just after going over the crest of the hill on roughly a 45degree angle, you want to sharply turn the opposite way to align your car straight again. This should happen around halfway down the hill and so you still have time to turn in the direction that you need to go.
This tactic can also be implemented when going at a higher speed down less steep hills. However you will not have to turn as sharply as the drop is not as steep. This can also be implemented uphill, although it is a hell of a lot harder! (trust me.)
Another technique that i will go over very briefly (because it is very hard, and makes a tiny difference) is landing on 2 wheels earlier than you would land on 4. For example, after going over a ramp, you would slightly miss the end of the ramp with your front right wheel (for example, it could be your left). This causes your car to stay at the same speed over the jump, however because it is now tipping in the air, will land earlier than if you completed the jump normally. This means your wheels will land earlier, therefore give you more acceleration than normal.
HOWEVER: This technique is not used very much throughout Trackmania, as it is very risky; you can recieve some dodgy landings and slow down LOADS; and is not very consistent and so you only really see it on VeryShort maps as you can just keep trying again very quickly.
As obvious as this may sound, the tighter you go round corners, the faster time you will probably get (assuming you can maintain a decent speed). On FullSpeed maps, cutting corners (and not skidding) is what will get you a really fast time; as well as holding down accelerate..
Cutting corners with drifting will explained in detail further on when i have the finger power to type enough letters to get my point across. And less of this random typing stuff.
ANYWAY, that pretty much covers basic driving, basic drifting next
Lets get technical..
Trackmania is a game all about drifting (for the most part) and braking in the right places; to allow your car to smoothly transition from corner to corner. There are several types of basic drift that you can easily implement into the game, as well as some more complex ones, which i will go over later.
Basic Drifting 101:
1) Brake slide: This is a slide used for turning your car, and also for fast decelleration. This is mostly performed when the car is going at high speed and you need to slow down quickly as well as go round a corner.
How to perform this slide: As you approach the corner (depending on your speed, you’ll have to practice ^^), and reach the point where you want to drift, release the accelerator, hit the direction you want to turn, and just after you turn hit the brake. This will make your cars back end slide out (away from the corner, like a real handbrake turn), and so turns your car at an angle to allow it to pass the corner at a faster speed than if you just brake then accelerate. You can then release brake and press accelerate when you think you have the angle on the corner to accelerate out.
This is slower than the ‘Power-slide’ in most cases, however some corners do require the ‘brake slide’ as they are much tighter or you’re approaching at a much higher speed.
2) Power Slide: This is the most commonly used slide in Trackmania. This allows for the driver to maintain speed as well as effectively cut corners.
How to perform this slide: This slide is very similar to the brake slide, however you never release the accelerator. Braking and accelerating at the same time allows the car to drift, whilst losing practically no speed (depending on how long you drift for). When approaching the corner, simply turn into the corner and after turning press the brake, with the turn and the accelerator (NOTE: this is why it is advisable to move your brake and drive with 2 hands. NOTE2: This drift has to to be done at decent speed or your car will not drift). This will cause your car to heavily drift sideways (practice needed), and so you can release the brake when you feel your car can complete the second part of the corner with the right line. (This is based on power drifting a U corner).
3) Just Brake: Pretty easy to describe this one. If you have to slow down REALLY FAST, then simply just brake. This involves releasing everything and just braking. However this is rarely used, as it is really slow and there are better alternatives (which i will go over, suprise suprise! e.g. Wallbang.)
In the next chapter i will be going over some basic/intermediate manouvers to increase the skill of your driving!
Starting to get a bit more advanced here to don’t worry if you can’t do it straight away!
There are some driving techniques is Trackmania that require a little bit of finesse to apply properly, however when mastered improve your driving a hell of a lot. Lets get this going:
1) Air-Brake: As you jump through the air, your car tends to dip or move around before landing. This makes your car bounce, causing loss of speed and unwanted drifting. This can be stopped by air braking.
How to peform this technique: After you jump, continue holding the accelerate button, however at the same time TAP brake. This causes your car to ‘pause’ where it is in the air, so you want to tap your brake when your car is parallel to the ground/track. Also, by holding the accelerator and tapping the brake, your car looses no speed, and also gains speed once it hits the ground as it will not bounce, making Air-Braking a very useful tool in your Trackmania arsenal.
2) Turning in: Turning in involves turning into a corner after you jump. This allows for more acceleration and less braking and turning as you effectuvely use the jump as your brake, or just to cut the corner easier than you would jump straight.
How to perform this manouver: As you are about to jump, simply flick the car in the direction of the corner. If this is done just as you are about to lift off, the car will rotate in the air (if done wrong the car will just turn and you will most probably hit a wall); however the amount you need to turn depends on the corner. This is an easy technique that you will pick up with a bit of practice so don’t worry
3) Turning in + Air Brake: Put 2 + 2 together. After you flick the car to turn in, simply tap the brake when your car is flat to the track for the fastest landing you can get.
4) Not Air Braking (into tight corners): Sometimes when you air brake and your car does not bounce after landing, it is hard to drift as the car isnt unbalanced at all. Therefore sometimes (trial and error) you need not airbrake so you easily drift into the next corner. Useful if you can’t seem to go round a corner fast whilst airbraking.
5) Wallbang: This is a type of turn that involves hitting the wall to slow down your car incredibly fast. This is done on fast tracks that have a tight right angle corner or a U-turn after a high speed part of track.
How to perform this manouver: As you are approaching the tight corner, and are around 4-5 car lengths away (this does depend on your speed), sharply turn into the wall furthest away from the corner (trying to hit the all with your front wheel first). Your car will then slam into the wall and bounce away, and at this time you need to ‘power-slide’ (see pt. 4). This should take you round the U turn at a fster speed than if you simply drifted round the corner, if you had enough room to perform a power slide anyway. (NOTE: This type of turn is not common on most tracks. NOTE2: You may have to transition forn the power slide to the brake slide, depending how fast you’re going after you wallbang. I will cover this ;D)
I can’t think of anymore at the moment so i will add them in if i remember
Next section is advanced techiniques or cuts and bugs I’m pretty sure it will be out tomorrow.
Right, the parts of the game i struggle with!
1) Neo-Slide: Cool name, i know. This is low speed slide where you make your car drift by holding brake-accelerate together as well as turning; however this slide will make your car do a ‘donut’ drift due to the low speed. If you want to know what this drift looks like then hold brake-accelerate-turn from standstill. You will go round a corner faster than you would if you just rolled round the corner without braking. NOTE: You will only really need this drift if you plan to become a PRO veryshort driver or a PRO LoL track driver. Otherwise, you should be safe..
How to perform this slide: You should be going very slowly when performing this slide, and mostly as the start of a track. As you approach the corner, hold accelerate and then hit brake BEFORE you turn in to the corner (opposite to power slide). This SHOULD make your car Neo-slide, however most of the time (for me anyway) my car tends to to not drift and brake turn into the side of the track..Very hard drift to master in my opinion.
2) Grass-Slide: A very strange slide, perhaps a game bug. This slide involves you jumping and landing on a grass surface, and then sliding on the grass a high speed on a sharp turn (not normally possible on grass). This slide is pretty easy to learn, however is rarely seen.
How to perform this slide: Once you have jumped, air brake when your car is level to the ground. You will also have to turn into the corner that you wish to grass slide around (you have to land at a 90degree angle to the JUMP for this to work effectively). Once you land (on all 4 wheels and perpendicular to the jump), hold brake, accelerate and the turn key to perform the grass slide (NOTE: You do have to hold brake round the ENTIRE corner you wish to grass slide on, strange..). Your car will complete the turn with a strange ‘power slide’ sort of drift, however it is on grass..
3) ‘Flick-Slide’: The reason this is in ” is because i don’t actually know the name of the drift. However it is another slow speed drift, which is easier than the Neo slide and so may be prefered, and can be used much more often as it is more adaptable.
How to perform this slide: As you approach the corner (tends to be a U turn), turn into the corner (slightly earlier than normal) as you would do a power slide. However just before you brake quickly tap the other turn key (as well as holding the same turn key, it will turn the other way so no need to release), which will cause your car to become slightly unstable so a power drift is much easier to achieve (right after you release the opposite turn). This makes going round slow speed corners a fair bit easier due to not relying on the neo-slide so often. Harder drift to get right though, but if you do, it makes your time much, much faster.
They are all the hard drifts i can think of, however the hardest chapter is up next…
The last section :O
AND The hardest section (i find).
Exploiting Cuts + Bugs
Cuts (skipping part of the track)
Cutting a track that isn’t supposed to be cut is very challenging. Most of the cuts you will do involve driving over a wall (so frustrating), or jump of a certain bit of track to land on another bit of track (without your car flipping or spinning off the track). Mostly this involves soem sort of luck, and sometimes i find it is easier just to drive a decent time follow the actual track layout (obviously you will not be gaining and world records this way; if the track has a cut in it).
Here are some generic examples of cutting a track:
1) Wall jump: Possibly the hardest cut on Trackmania. This involves hitting a wall at medium to low speed, and simply driving over the top of it. To do this your car has to hit the wall in a certain way, and also have the speed to clear the wall without flipping over.
How to perform this cut: When approaching the part of the wall you wish to drive over, you should be driving slightly off centre of the track, closer to the wall. When you are at the part of wall you want to drive over, turn into that wall (trying to hit the wall with the front wheel of the car nearest the wall). This causes the front part of your car to bounce, and so the front tyre grips the wall (accelerate all the time through this cut), therefore allows the back wheels of the car to push the rest of the car over the wall at enough speed to clear it. This is a VERY HARD cut to perform; i never use this cut as i don’t have the skill or the patience to carry it out. So good luck!
2) Check Point cut: This cut involves a jump that skips part of an un-checkpointed track (a part of track with no check point on..); to land in the next check point and re-set the car (enter key) in that check-point for a faster time. This cut is not too common, and is usually a mistake by the Track-maker if it is made possible.
How to perform this cut: The aim for this cut is to skip part of a track that doesnt have a checkpoint on it, to gain a quicker time. By jumping into the checkpoint, and resetting your car, you should (on certain parts of some tracks), be able to get a faster time. (NOTE: Obviously, the faster you reset in the checkpoint, the more time you can take of your time. This is normally what seperates the world records on check point cut tracks.
They are the 2 msot used cuts in Trackmania, there are a couple of others, however i have only seen them on a couple of tracks so they aren’t worth mentioning!
Using a bug on a track is probably the hardest way to gain a faster time. the main ways to exploit bugs are as follows:
1) Jump-Bug: On some tracks (mainly LoL tracks), there are jumps which either land in water (so you skim and slow down A LOT), or you can’t actually jump far enough to land properly. This is when you can use the jump bug to jump a fair distance further. This is a hard bug to get right everytime, but does make you drive a hell of a lot faster.
How to perform this bug: When leaving the jump to attempt to land on the platform you wish to land on, you want to leave the jump on the side. What i mean when i say this is your cars front wheel nearest the side of the jump need to be off the jump when you take off. This makes the front of the car hit the side of the jump, and sometimes launch higher into the air than the car normally would. Trail and error really helps with this bug; once you are aware of it, it isn’t too hard to transition into the game. (NOTE: When you successfully achieve this bug, you can sometimes rotate or land badly and experience a landing which slows down your car A LOT. This can be very annoying, and so the use of this bug is rarely seen in online tracks.)
2) ‘Side of track’ Bug: Another made up name.. This is similar to the jump bug, however the aim in this bug is to jump LOWER so you hit the ground faster; therefore gaining more acceleration. The way this is achieved is with the side of the track (the grey edge).
How to peform this bug: When there is an ‘upside-down U’ in the track which makes you jump with our car, there is opportunity to use this bug. As you are going uphill, drive on the grey side of the track. IF you are lucky (i’m pretty sure this is a luck bug), you car will lift off from the jump, but at an angle, so 2 wheels will hit the floor first. This will make your car accelerate faster than normal and so you can achieve a faster time. BEWARE however, as this puts some crazy pressure on therest of your lap, as this bug is pretty rare to catch nicely. I for one have never completed a lap with a good side-track bug. VERY VERY VERY hard bug imo. Not really worth practicing as any good map will not have an area where you can use this effectively.
This pretty much rounds of my Trackmania Driving Guide, if you want me to put in another section on something you think i have missed, leave a comment!
I might see you out there as Funteam.Merel.