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Interview with Golo2. March 2010 21:17
Posted By: View User Profile HawkGer Permalink | Comments (2)



From our friends at tmaniacs, Hawkger translated an interview with Golo! Since I [Januy] haven’t got much free time for the blog atm this is a really nice surprise that tmaniacs allowed us to publish it! Many thanks, TManiacs for letting us publish their interview, and of course HawkGer for making an outstanding translation and sharing it with us from the RPG Blog. Now, TMX; Enjoy this interview with Golo!


More than two months ago the German TM-blog Tmaniacs published an interview-article in which Golo gives answers to a wide range of topics regarding RPG, making the interview especially interesting as Golo is one of the only few authors who builds United RPG-tracks. I found this piece of writing so interesting that I decided to translate all of it into English so that a broader audience can read it. So if you like to know more about Golo and his ideas on RPG and TM in general, keep on reading!
Screenshot from Golo's newest RPG, The Lost Island

Hello Golo! Could you first give out a few words to our readers about you personally?

Sure. In Trackmania I'm known as Golo, but in real life I have a prettier name of course, namely Arno. I live on the outskirts of Berlin and currently occupied with my A-level examinations which goes quite well so far. My exact age I don't want to tell but it is somewhere between sixteen and eighteen. On the further course of my life though I do not have any specific concept yet. Apart from that I'm playing piano and football but also enjoy other sports such as badminton. Moreover I like writing articles.

How did you get into the world of Trackmania? How did things proceed after that?

The Tm-World; that's certainly a fascination itself. Actually I find it rather odd during my down-periods how a few blocks can get you occupied for so long. Back then,a long time ago, I read an article about the very first Trackmania which also happened to receive a very good rating. The cover with that extremely long track and with the many extreme blocks impressed me. That is why I instantly bought the game. Even though the game experience wasn't really the way I had expected, it did provide a really big appeal for me.
Early on I already had contacts to a server on which long tracks were driven. That seemed to have shaped me a lot; at least I was impressed by their creativity and wanted to replicate it myself. The editor has therefore always been of most significance for me. Somewhat later on I also bought the successors Nations and Sunrise which didn't occupy me too much though. In Trackmania United I then, for the first time, had enough experience to build good tracks on my own and to publish them. Since then I'm more or less active.

"More or less", how do you mean that? And what is your point of view towards the future with TM2?

I meant that occasionally I did not have motivation anymore to continue driving or building and as a consequence ruthlessly turned away from the community. It happens to many players I think...but one still eventually returns. Momentarily I'm playing again a bit more TM. About TM2 I'm not able to tell much yet. Didn't really inform myself more detailed about it but I believe there are only a few information available anyway. Those sound very interesting and the video makes a good appearance too, concerning graphics etc. But for me there still remains the most significant factor; that the key-principals of TM won't be thrown over. Thus I stay sceptical for now.

As you already mentioned trackbuilding is your main activity in TM. Which are the best tracks of yours in your opinion and why?

The way I see it is that my tracks, despite big differences, have a very consistent quality. Whereby one cannot compare the long-tracks, especially Inca Temple with all the other mass-produced tracks. Needless to say I'm insofar the most proud of Inca Temple because I put the most work into that track. But I generally also regard the track as having turned out very well. From the other tracks I probably like Bite before you bark the most because it expresses my rather crazy side.

Good you mentioned those two tracks since I would argue those were the beginning of your "RPG-career".

Yes one could look at it that way; I wouldn't really call those few RPG-tracks a "career" though. At the time I was inspired from the stadium RPG-tracks but as I thought that I couldn't do them much better anyway, I tried to be the first to create a United-RPG which I succeeded with halfway decent.
Afterwards I got the urge to try it in the Stadium environment nevertheless, but that is bound to a lot of work and is really difficult to build. And by now it is essentially impossible to surpass the best tracks in any way. Therefore I rather tried to continue building United-RPG's. I hope that this will be received well.

With that we come to an important (for me not understandable) issue. The RPG-community takes place nearly completely in the stadium-environment, why is that?

Well, I want to be honest and simply think that TMNX has the better trackbuilders. Even though all the Non-RPG's do not appeal to me the least one cannot overlook the fact that they are build very detailed. Seemingly every nuance (for example in the scenery) is being thought about twice. This certainly is due to the bigger TMN-community in which more trackbuilders build tracks on the highest level. Primarily they do not back off from a little spare time work, though. One can notice this from the numerous, long and quite perfectly build PF-tracks which surely require a lot of work. The same applies for RPG tracks. I just do not think that many TMUX-user would spend so much energy to build a perfect RPG track. And in TMNX there only exists stadium as an environment.
The crucial point is probably though that stadium is also somehow perfectly suited for it. I can not imagine that Nadeo has ever thought of doing this, the more crazy it is how well, for example a perfect temple atmosphere can be created. One can easily build enclosed rooms; by adding a mod it then really looks like an authentic building. Even the handling of the cars is almost perfect for such tracks too, there are many tricks and challenges which are suitable for those tracks. In other environments it is difficult to create something like rooms. For example I first tried it in Snow but the only solution was to create one huge room in which everything takes place. And apart from that everything is also just not as perfect as in Stadium. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that it is also possible in other environments. The growing number of United-RPG's confirms this (if you type RPG into TMX), even though the total number is of course still very low.

What do you think must happen so that more TMU-RPG-tracks will be build? Is it only "take away the laziness", or how how some TMU players would put it: to become a no-lifer? Or could there be other ways?

Surely it must not necessarily be build more United RPG's but it would be nice of course. Well now, I think that it is generally difficult since users who are mainly active on TMUX do not witness much of the Stadium RPG's and would likely not play those tracks till finish. If one namely picks up a particularly hard RPG-track it can be very deterring. I believe it is not in any case of need to become a no-lifer if one divides the time and especially at United-environments the building process is, from my experience, substantially shorter. I think it would be quite a good animation if a few good TMU-RPG's would be released, as they would be driven by people who in return might get inspired themselves to build a similar track. I do not hold high hopes for this though. And due to TM2 the time is additionally limited. How it is going to be in TM2 we will have to see. I do think though that RPG's will fade into the background at first as there will already be enough to discover.

RPG-mapping, also a field of activity because one has "enough from the rest"?

Hmm, yes, I think one always needs some advance in order to not get bored. This indeed worked out at first in TMX-United; the jumps got shorter and smoother, new ideas were added, until the transition-maps came. I have absolutely nothing against transition-maps and found them pretty cool at first, but then it eventually got exaggerated which was rather a step backwards.
Then came a period that could be described as a split. Some cheerful kept on building 'Island-Ideal Line-Transition-Maps' while others as a counter-movement again very simple old-school funmaps. Thereby I think it would have been possible to break new grounds, for example with tracks in which one has to get used to the brakes; tracks which do not run quite as smooth...just to give an example. But I saw no progress anymore and no attraction. Along with it important personalities became inactive which let me to visit TMNX. But I must say that RPG-tracks would have charmed me also with a better United-community and then would have forgotten the rest.

Can we expect to see you increasingly on normal tracks in the future?

Actually, I cannot say anything to this; my mood changes so quickly. First of all I don't even know if I will generally be increasingly active. But a new one minute long track would also be cool once again, if I can actually do that still.

I would not doubt that. Yet again regarding another topic which interests me, namely the building process of an RPG-track: When you're in the editor in front of the empty area and want to build an RPG-track, how do you go ahead?

In the editor I do not stand in front of a blank area and think to myself "Hmm, well, let's just start building"; the way I actually do it on many other tracks. You really need a distinct concept in advance and must ask yourself: What can be displayed in the editor the best? What would look the most authentic? Ultimately the goal is to get away from Trackmania as far as possible. At best, one should think to be in another game. One also needs to be concerned about, preferably innovative challenges, tricks and enigmas which need to be implemented into the mentioned atmospheric background. A certain harmony should be established which is only possible within specific scenarios though.
During the actual construction I must admit that I so far in my three stadium-tracks composed only very simple scenarios. Constructing a temple is therefore relatively easy because it's just a giant cube or cuboid in which inside one can create whatever wanted. Partly open RPG's are more difficult there. In the temple itself one first has to think of a clever segmentation however: There is not unlimited space available which should thus be used. So I use a few blocks for the basic structures and then build chronologically. The ideas sometimes even come spontaneous and instant. One still must note that it always should look good; meaning that the challenges and the scenery harmonize or in best case enter a symbiosis.
The rest is then only minutiae work but which takes up the most time and is very annoying; the reason why I not always have so much motivation. The endless amounts of platform-blocks required to fill a room with walls and ceiling and the many necessary blockmixes can drive you crazy. In United-Environments it is much more relaxed.

Did I understand correctly that in United you get along without mixes and in Stadium you implement them? And above all: Are mixes in RPG-tracks inevitable?

In the United tracks are much less mixes included because they are not absolutely necessary, but in Stadium they do often make sense. Inevitable they are not; there are also good tracks without mixes, for example Abandoned Factory by Max. But it should be noted that they are considered not as much of a sin on RPG-tracks than they usually are.
The rejection for mixes elsewhere is surely justified, especially when they are being used because no other possibility can be found to place a block. In Stadium however there does exist for example the possibility to blockmix water up. When you then drive on the blocks, one doesn't see the water because it is above the field of view. The result is that one drives on invisible blocks. Such mixes are beneficial for RPG-tracks and expand the possibilities.

From construction to driving. When you drive an RPG-track for the first time are there certain "techniques" or strategies one acquires?

There are certain techniques. Therefore as a beginner one should first drive a track in which these techniques are not required. I'm going to make some advertising and advice everyone who is interested to try the track Prey and Shadows by Enai Siaion. It is simple and not too long. Additionally it has an impressive atmosphere (a certain performance of the PC provided).
Going back to your question: To overcome anti-booster or for the driving on wallride-edges for instance one needs to acquire techniques which must be discovered and learned for yourself. Otherwise, there are often many friendly people on RPG server who can help you out. Other than that you often just need to have patience or try to gain much speed on small space or estimate the flying curve at jumps well. With a bit of practical exercises the standard repertoire won't be too difficult anymore.

What goes beyond the "standard repertoire" then?

Well, practically a few things are considered as standard repertoire; the driving on invisible blocks, on halfpipe-/wallride, on those white pipes, on the small platform-ledges, anti-boosts, also simple jumps. If you will, everything else goes beyond that. Which doesn't mean that everything else would be innovative, and in the end it is of course important for a track to be innovative. If there comes an obstacle that requires one to open the eyes, meaning riddles which are not so easy to perceive or the question of where or how to continue, it is certainly a good thing!

Are there a few RPG-tracks you like best which you could recommend to our readers?

First of all I can recommend a video for all those who do not want to try it themselves or do not have the possibilities.
Regarding the tracks: As previously mentioned I guess Prey and Shadow is the best track for beginner. Whoever wants to experience a bit of hardness could also start with easy temple-tracks, such as Sobekite by Kryw (with which I also started).
Furthermore the other tracks from Enai Siaion are also very interesting; atmospheric and not too hard. One level more difficult are the tracks from Fish, in which he very impressively erected a complete legocity for instance (Legopolis). Similarly all of his other tracks are an eye candy too.
Especially beautiful and realistic does the track Cargo714 by solix look from the outside in which one can admire a ship with an entire port. However, not very easy.
If you prefer to stick to United-environments, one could give Bay Watch and Sahara a go. Apart from that unfortunately I still haven't discovered any really good United-RPG. Not to mention that the RPG-Blog always provides good information about everything relating to RPG.

We are already at the end of the interview. Is there still anything you would like to get off your chest?

I would like to thank you for the interview! To say one thing that goes beyond RPG's: You should not forget that you alone are the master of your own thoughts. I find that one should try from time to time to take a shot at a new style in TM. Even if it is not always crowned with success it will bring you further all in all. One can even say that for life in general. I hope you always have your own minds and that TM is only a pleasure for you, not a burden or main occupation. I myself am still young and can hardly dictate anything. But I can say with certainty that you should always think in the long run.

External links:

RPG Blog

Tmaniacs Blog

The original article in German

Information about RPG tracks on the TMUX-Forum

Categories: Interviews Tags: , , , , ,


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