In relation to the anniversary of TMX, we decided to do an interview with one of the founding fathers of the site: JayPee
How did it all begin? How did you discover TrackMania, and what lead to the start of TMX?
First a little of my personal TM history.
Well... I don't remember how I heard of Trackmania exactly, probably during one of my browsing sessions back then. But somewhere in 2003 I got my hands on one of the first beta versions of trackmania and I've been hooked ever since, somehow I always keep coming back to playing trackmania, I just can't seem to put it away :)
The first (beta) version I played only contained the desert environment back then (which is still my favorite environment) and it really got me hooked on playing online. I'm not much of an online player, I usually prefer offline singleplayer games and Trackmania is to date still the only game I play online.
When the game came out officially, published by Digital Jesters back then, I bought it instantly. And really played it to bits, that's when I met Ross (MrD). Back then he built really cool short mirrored tracks which I still remember playing with great fun. While playing, MrD and Mannijack (the founder of the clan Fools On Wheels) invited me to join Fools On Wheels (FOW for short). And we enlisted in the first ever trackmania league. I remember the first race we ever played which was against the Grouiks. We'd never heard of them but they sure made an impression because the completely slaughtered us on the track. They kept coming in first, second and third every race but even if we lost big we had so much fun.
In total I think I've played about 6 seasons of trackmania leagues. First with Fools on Wheels and later when FOW stopped some of us joined team crazyCarz.
During our time in Fools On Wheels MrD and I gotto talking about our work and discovered we're in the same field being software development. I was trying to develop some small TM tools like a track manager (which actually never got completed) and somehow we got to talking about creating an international TrackMania track website. Especially because back then all the websites available were french.
When TMX first started as a website, what was your role in it? Was it you or MrD, the second creator of TMX, who took the initiative?
I don't remember exactly who took the initiative but somehow it came up in one of our online conversations to start building an international website. MrD had the technical know-how to create a website in a short time and somehow he thought I had the creative know-how to make it look good
From the get go we were, perhaps overly, ambitious and had the idea that we were creating the best track website around. That it actually became the biggest and best track repository online I never could've dreamed of.
How would you describe the development TMX has made from when it first started to what it has become today? Are there any special moments you specifically remember? Were there any obstacles along the way, or did everything run smoothly?
When TMX first started we had a track of the week which we handpicked by playing all of the uploaded tracks. Soon after there was no way we could play all the uploaded tracks so we got rid of that pretty quickly. That is also one of the moments I specifically remember, frantically playing through all the track and trying to keep a list of the best tracks around.
From the start everything has run pretty smoothly I think, especially within the time I was involved with the website. Probably due to MrD's excellent coding skills.
TrackMania is a French game, and TMX is one of the few big websites that run only in English. Would you imagine TMX to expand by offering multiple languages, like many other TM websites do?
The main goal when we started TMX was to provide an english site for all the non french speaking people. Back when we started the community was mainly french so we wanted to serve others too. I don't know if it's necessary to offer more languages than only english. I think english is a perfect universal language, but maybe that's because I don't speak french or german ;)
What are your hopes for TMX in the future? Would you imagine it to continue on a steady path, or would you like to see it grow even further?
The only thing I think TMX really needs in the near future is a complete redesign of the graphics of the site. It all feels a bit dated, the current design is v2 of the TMX and it has been online for many, many years. When and if the site gets redesigned I hope to be a part of that.
And as the site's size is concerned... We always need more tracks...