FNG Logo created by Nick Serr

29 November 2009

Turkey Bowl 2009 Results

Final Standings

  1. ThatOneGuy (Jeff Litster) - 300 pts
  2. DirtyDan (Dan Wetzel) - 221 pts
  3. d6Amefath3r (Brennan Litster) - 193 pts
  4. angus4ever (Roger Douglass) - 149 pts
  5. SpeedMonger (Chance Allen) - 145 pts
  6. bomajoe (Joe Hargadon) - 144 pts
  7. thundr (Jarin Blackham) - 117 pts
  8. beuchety (Tyler Beuchert) - 80 pts
  9. BigBadMrT (Mark Thompson) - 55 pts
  10. Mando (Mandi Litster) - 41 pts
  11. atholon (Walt Weidner) - 39 pts


Recap

Without a doubt, this year's Turkey Bowl was our biggest and most successful Turkey Bowl ever. I really hope it will set a precedence for future Turkey Bowls.

This year, sadly, we had to shelf Motocross Madness 2 (MCM2) due to incompatibilities with Vista and Windows 7 for many FNGers. Fortunately we had TrackMania United Forever as an excellent alternate. We raced 15 of the highest ranked tracks on TM Exchange (TMX); 2 from each environment (except Island which had 3.)

Bomajoe said the tracks were "challenging, yet doable"; and FNGers found it necessary to practice the track pack before the tournament in order to do well.

We had 11 gamers in the tournament, and the only glitch we ran into was when Atholon's internet connection failed just before the tournament began. I ended up hosting the server on my measly 6Mbit/700k internet connection, hosting 4 of the players in my own home and the rest online. No one lagged and everyone stayed connected (well, with the exception of Chance who kept tweaking his control settings, heh.)

We welcomed many newer FNGers this time around... angus4ever, bomajoe, and SpeedMonger; who proved forces to be reckoned with, taking 4th, 5th and 6th places. My daughter, Mando, also made her first official FNG appearance. We hope to see more of them in the future!

The competition was exciting; especially with 4th, 5th and 6th place being within 8 points of each other. SpeedMonger barely claimed 5th place from bomajoe besting him by a single point. I was fortunate enough to "bowl a perfect game", despite a few close calls on a couple of the tracks.

Atholon gets special mention for "keyboard powa" and "paired driving" as he was assisted by his beautiful fiancee, Kris10. The two will be married next month... congratulations y'all!

Congrats to the FNGers on the podium after the tourament: ThatOneGuy brought home the Gold, DirtyDan the Silver and my son, d6Amefath3r won Bronze.

I hope everyone had a great time, and again, I appreciate all the support everyone has given me over the past seven years of Turkey Bowls... they've certainly seen their share of problems! But the number seven must really be lucky, because this one went off without a hitch. Here's to the next seven Turkey Bowls!

For detailed race results, see the recap on the Official FNG website.

27 November 2009

Thanksgiving gift from Nadeo - StarTrack Campaign for TrackMania Forever

See the official announcement.
Download the update from links in the official forums' thread.

Today, Nadeo deployed a ~20MB patch for TrackMania Forever (both United and Nations) that fixes some defects and crash issues, as well as treats us to 140 more tracks in a campaign (United only.)

Those of you that installed the DVD or Digital Download version from Focus/Metaboli will be prompted to get this update the next time you launch TrackMania and get the settings dialog. Those on Steam will have to d/l manually, then point the install directory to the Steam installation path for TrackMania
(something like C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\trackmania united)

NOTE: Vista (and potentially Windows 7) users may have problems installing this update.
If so, Slig has offered alternate file links as workarounds on the forums. Please try those and come here and share your experience to help others get this cool update.

It looks to be a fun campaign... I'm already finishing up the greens in Stadium... going to work those first so I can open the Black track and get the ability to see the author medal times/ghosts.

Happy Thanksgiving... thanks Nadeo for making it even better! GG

22 November 2009

FNG Turkey Bowl 2009 - TrackMania United Forever

It brings a tear to my eye to even have to say this... but since many of the FNGers are having problems getting Motocross Madness 2 to correctly detect their video card so they can have 3D-Hardware rendering instead of Software rendering, we need to change the game for the Turkey Bowl to TrackMania United Forever.

That said, I'm pleased to announce the first ever TrackMania Turkey Bowl for FNG. DirtyDan and I decided we should kick this one off by taking the two highest rated tracks on TMX from each environment (three for Island) to present a total of 15 tracks. We will run tracks at 6:00 minutes per round in Time Attack mode, and points will be awarded according to the same structure used in past MCM2 Turkey Bowls:

1st: 20 pts
2nd: 17 pts
3rd: 15 pts
4th: 12 pts
5th: 10 pts
6th: 7 pts
7th: 5 pts
8th: 2 pts

Download the track pack from the FNG mirror on Xmission. This spot is temporary. You can also download the track pack from the FNG website; where it will permanently reside, but won't guarantee as fast of bandwidth.

The pack is a self-extracting EXE. When it asks where you want to extract it, choose:
{MyDocuments}\TrackMania
(... where {MyDocuments} is the path to your My Documents folder... usually
"C:\Documents and Settings\{YourUserName}\My Documents")

All the files will be put in their proper places... this track pack includes all mod/media pack files for tracks that require them, like "Eye in the Sky" and "The Golden Scarlet"

Trust me when I say this, especially those of you that consistently come to Turkey Bowl without practicing beforehand... PRACTICE!!! If you don't, you're going to end up with a lot of frustration come game night. This isn't your grandpa's TrackMania... :)

Let me give a run-down of the Track Pack and you'll see why:

You'll notice that there are many repeat track authors in this pack... the community obviously loves these guys... and incidentally, the ones highest ranked on TMX happen to be the ones that are some of my favorite track authors too. Great minds...

Make sure when you're practicing that you watch the Intro and Outro movies... most of them are quite fun; and you won't have time to watch them during the tourney.)

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Tracks are listed by:
Environment - Track Name (Author Name)

Bay - [GR] Poco Loco (ganjarider)
I raced it 4 times and still haven't won the bronze. :) ganja does provide a GPS on this one, so use it during practice for help on where to go.

Bay - AntiBoost (buchi)
Bronze on the first try, but it's funky use of the Bay track pieces that I haven't seen done before (pretty impressive, but will be easily frustrating come tourney night if you haven't practiced this one.)

Coast - Dream Coast (smok3y)
Barely missed the silver on the first try of this one, and that was after making a mistake at the beginning which sets off a friendly trigger that shows you how to really do it. The beginning is well crafted... interesting use of a particular "hole in the road" track piece.

Coast - The Golden Scarlet (Crusard and Andree)
What can I say?! It's got Crusard's name on it... he's like a demigod of track authoring; well respected in the community, and easily one of the most creative track/mission creators out there. This particular one has a desert-like mod to it, and is accompanied by some music from the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. How can you go wrong, really? (Well, if you don't follow the map, I guess you can.)

Desert - Creative (pitstep)
Wow, keep your speed on the first jump or your screwed. If you can keep your speed the entire race, this track has killer flow, like unto that of Mosquito Hill in Motocross Madness 2. If you can't... there are alternate routes, but they aren't near as fun as taking the full speed path.

Desert - Eye in the Sky (Crusard)
Another fun mission map from Crusard. Multiple paths at the end, depending on how you want to finish the mission. The mod on this one is "out of this world."

Island - Old School (smok3y)
Fell short of a jump on my first try, but nailed Gold on the second. This track is FAST and fun, and excellent MediaTracker on the replay. Enjoy.

Island - Mad w0rLd (smok3y)
Wow, the beginning of this is mad if you don't have enough speed for the first big jump... but when you get used to this track... it's insanely fast and fun too. I barely missed Gold on my 2nd complete run of this one.

Island - Etherlight (hawk_ger)
This will be the one that makes everyone mess their pants and break their controllers. It requires some serious precision, but has massive payoffs if you can pull that precision. There is a jump in the middle that is like hopping stairs that is quite epic... either in the win category or the fail... it all depends on how much speed you have when it's time to angle-up for the jump. You'll see what I mean when you get there... it took me several tries, and I've found ways to still make it if you get stuck at the checkpoint... if anyone needs help with that, I'll try to post a video before Turkey Bowl day.

Rally - Lunacy (iquere)
This track lives up to its name... especially the jump where you have to land on track above a house that is directly in front of you as you fly off the jump... it's not far from the beginning; you'll recognize it when you get there. I have a feeling most of us will spend our time running that small stretch of the track; especially those that don't practice this track pack before game night. I highly recommend you do... and focus on jumping that freaking house. Once you get past that, fails that deserve facepalms are actually fun and forgiving. Most of them I've come across after passing the house I've been able to recover from; and triggers in the track give you funny messages on how to do so in most cases. It will be interesting to see how many finish this one.

Rally - Celt!c Sp!r!t (smok3y)
This one is fun, and not too difficult. And best of all, it probably has the best directional guides of any of the tracks in the pack. Arrow signs everywhere make it easy to always know where you're going. This one is most likely to be enjoyed by FNGers everywhere.

Snow - Snow Park (tmjonas)
Fascinating transfers... this one is fairly easy to learn and quite enjoyable to play. I look forward to more of tmjonas' work.

Snow - Stuntman Mountains (tmjonas)
Dang this guy has some fun ideas. You'll know what I mean when you play this track. Booya!

Stadium - [GR] Night Hawk (ganjarider)
I love ganjarider tracks. For those that count on directional arrows, he's not necessarily the guy for you... but his tracks have a fun flow and feel as you get used to them, and where there is a lack of direction... it's not hard to figure out after a couple of errors. Some interesting use of the Stadium track pieces in this one.

Stadium - Artemis' Arrow I (pepperjack)
This track also has interesting use of the Stadium pieces... and some fun transitions. There was a jump I couldn't make on the first run; but thankfully there was a forgivness path underneath. This track has a fun flow to it.

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Again, make sure you practice!!! I know everyone's week will be busy, but even if you have to practice the night before the Tourney (who can't make time Thanksgiving night?!) do it... you'll be glad you did.

I look forward to racing with everyone there. After the tourney, for whoever can still stick around, we'll be playing some classic tracks that made us fall in love with TrackMania in the first place... like Dutch Delight, Flushed, etc.

If anyone needs help before the tourney on a particular track... those of us that have succeeded in getting a good run on that track will be happy to provide replays.

Please come back to this post and leave comments on what you think of this year's track pack after you've tried it. Be specific about individual tracks, please.

Good Game!

07 November 2009

GEEX is on for 2010

Booya! Good news...

Back in 2008, DirtyDan (Tsam back then) and ThatOneGuy took the 2nd and 3rd place podium spots after an extremely close volley between the two in the first-ever GEEX show TrackMania Tournament. The point spread between the two after the competition was 1 point. They were awarded super-sweet nVidia 9800GX2 video cards for prizes, and there was much rejoicing.

Tsam and I were stoked to return in 2009 and compete again, but were disappointed to find it cancelled, due to epic recession.

We discovered this morning that as of 16 October 2009, GEEX is on again for 2010!!!

GEEX stands for the Gamers and Electronics EXpo

The GEEX site says: "Mark your calendars! On July 16-17, 2010 GEEX will be coming to the SouthTowne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah."

All we need to know now is if the TrackMania tournament will return (and use United Forever instead of Nations Forever.) Either way, if TrackMania is there, you'll find Team FNG there. And with an array of new racers (jgappm, angus4ever, SpeedMonger, durichards and craing) we're hoping to have a larger representation at the 2010 show.

So... hone your TM skills and get ready to hit the road with Team FNG in 2010.

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Also remember, FNGers, that we're still having fun with the TrackMania Solo competition; so if you want to have double the fun honing your skills, race the stock tracks for official times and claim your throne as the best in FNG.

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