New sections added March 6, 1999 and May 8, 1999

Papyrus has given us a very professional tool to use with SODA Offroad Racing to create tracks in a very easy manner. Tracks are created completely from scratch through the use of a mouse driven editor.

I have played with the editor only a little bit but have a few suggestions to give you to get you going. I will be creating some tracks of my own in the very near future and of course as I learn more about the editor I will share it with you here.


Having some experience with track editing one thing I always do before building a new track is I sit down and put it on paper. I draw out the surface, what I want it to look like, what object I want where and then I picture it in my head (I'd say mind but someone might argue :) )!

There are some real advantages to doing this. First, you have a blueprint by which to go by when you sit down with the editor and begin your work. Second, it actually is faster to pre-plan your editing and then edit than it is to "edit on the fly". Most of the guesswork goes away in this process.

Now don't worry if you don't have great drawing abilities. I sure don't. I take the old number 2 lead pencil with a good eraser and a notebook and draw a goofy picture of something only I could tell what it was. Then I put things here and there and again, only I can figure it out later. So good drawing isn't necessary or important, but having some type of roadmap sure makes it easier to do the job.

Ok, so your ready to build the track now you have to answer a few questions yourself. The first one is "what do I want the track to be like? Do I want a fast course, a slow muddy course, do I want a lot of jumps? The second question has to be is this course for me or am I building it with others in mind?

Now we're ready to fire up the old track editor and get down to business.


Start here on a flat surface so you can lay out the track. You will start with a nearly square surface and through the use of the mouse can drag the track surface to anywhere on the screen you like. By clicking on various points you can create new points to drag around to create new turns or straight sections.

I always try to keep the track sections within the grids themselves so later when you add hills and objects it is easier to do so. It is not always possible to do, but whenever it is, the best advise is to do so.

Once you have finished your base layout on a flat track (no hills) you will want to test the track so generate the new track and run a few laps and make sure the turns and straights are the way you like them. This is the best time to change the course layout.

After finishing the course layout and all your testing is done and you are satisified with it, you will notice three additional things under the road button. These are track width (narrow, normal or wide). Now is a good time to determine which parts of the track you would like to make wide (hairpin turns, preplanned jumped areas), which parts you would like to make narrow and then do so. This is easy to do. Just choose either wide or narrow and click on the white dot on the track section you wish to change. You will notice the track width change. If the wrong section changed, no problem, just change it back to normal and try again.

Then of course, generate the track again and run some more laps and make sure it's what you really want. Once you start adding hills and objects, it get's much harder to change.

Finally, the last thing to do before you are ready to move on is to choose surface types. For each section of track you can choose whether you want a mud or dirt surface. Once you have made these decisions and put them in place, go back once again, generate the track and run some more laps. Make sure it's what you really want and remember that it's easy to make changes before other objects are added.


Thanks to James Trapp for the information below:

It's important to plan your track knowing that not only you, but AI trucks or buggies will as well. The common misconception here is that AI stands for Artificial Intelligence. I personally think Another Idiot is sometimes more appropriate :)

What I mean is have you ever seen the AI run into an object for no other reason than that it's there? Most of us probably have. From what I learned from James all the AI do it and it doesn't appear to be a random event. The result? In a few laps the AI are history.

While it's impossible to say exactly why it occurs we can take steps to prevent it. The best thing to do is simply create your track at normal width to start out. After you have the layout in place, the hills, the curves then add your objects. Only after you have added objects then go back and change the width in the sections you desire to.

Since the phenom of AI Stupidity occurs mostly where the track is made narrow, remember to keep your objects at a safe distance from the track in these sections. That's the basic reasoning for planning your track and object placement around the normal width course. If you do just that, AI stupidity should not be much of a problem.


First you must choose the environment in which they are going to create there track Country, Desert, Tropical. Each type has its own set of environment objects and not all types have the same number of objects to choose from. One type is not better or easier to design in then any of the others. It is purely a mater of personal preference by the designer. Make sure you do this before you layout your track. To change the environment simply go to file pulldown and then click on new. It will give you a toggle box to pick the environment you want to create in.

Ground is the key to success when designing your own track. There are a lot of things to really think about when designing the ground of your track. There is the Environment in which you want to create Country, Desert or Tropical, elevation changes, walls, jumps, bumps and surrounding environment. Be careful of what I like to call the dropzone effect. I have also heard it called the invisible wall. What happens is the vehicle bottoms out and takes an extremely large amount of damage at one time. This happens more then one would think and the only way I know to remedy it is to change the elevation in that location. You will not know you have it until you are testing your track. I recommend testing the track several times when changing the ground layout and not moving on to other sections of the design until it is complete. If you change elevations when there are such things as objects and cameras on the track those items may not automatically raise or lower with the elevation change. You may have to click on them to bring them to the same elevation and that can be difficult sometimes.


There is a toolbar provided on the right side of the Track design screen. The top section of this toolbar is the view section. It is the same for all tabs on the design screen. From here you can move up, down, left, right, rotate up, rotate down, rotate left, and rotate right.

Below that section is the Mode section. Here the designer chooses what point or set of points they want to change. There are three choices available, Vertex, Line and Section. The Vertex is one corner of any section where a section is defined as one square of the grid in the design area. When the designer has a vertex chosen it will place a little black dot on the point that is chosen. A vertex that is chosen may be detached. Detaching a vertex means that you will create a verticle elevation change much like a wall. It will detach based on the section the designer was in when choosing the vertex. An example would be if you wanted to detached a vertex so that the left side of it was elevated when you detached it then left click just to the left side of the vertex you want to detach. Once you have detached the vertex it creates another vertex. Now you have a vertex at the top of the wall and at the bottom of the wall that you may click on and change the elevation of independent of the other. If you raise the lower vertex pass the height of the upper vertex it will raise both of them at the same time but not reattach them. To reattach the vertex click on the upper vertex and click the attach button. This button is the same as the detach button and will change based on the state of the vertex. This button is located in the ground section of buttons just below the mode section. If you do not have a vertex selected it will read special. There is also a limit to how many vertices you can detach. When you reach the limit it will not change the button to detach instead it will continue to read special. You cannot detach a vertex at the edge of map. You also cannot lower an edge vertex lower the beginning elevation. You can however raise a vertex at the edge of a map (design area). When detaching vertices to create such things as wall make sure that you get all of the vertices detached. When you detach the first vertex of a section it will split the section in two and you will have another vertex at the same point to detach.

You may only detach or attach one vertex at a time. The special button will not change is you have multiple vertices picked. To pick multiple vertices at one time hold down the control button and select or deselect vertices as desired.

The next option is a line. The vertices at the end of the line will be highlighted when a line is selected. A line is a side of a section or the diagonal line between corners of a section. The diagonal will only appear after you have changed the elevation of a vertex. Once you change the elevation of a vertex it creates a diagonal line between opposite vertices of a section. You will only be able to select diagonal lines when a line is being shown. A line cannot be detached only a vertex can be detached. You may only change the elevation of a line. You may select multiple lines at the same time by holding down the control key and selecting or deselecting lines as needed.

Lastly is a section. A section is one full square on the design grid. The four vertices identifying section will be highlighted when that section is selected. It is dividable into two separate triangles by changing the elevation of one of its verities. If you have changed the elevation of one of the vertices and have a diagonal line between appoisng vertices you change which way it splits the section using the toggle button which is located at the bottom of the ground section in the toolbar on the right side. This may be helpful to get the proper elevation break in a section. An example would be if you have a piece of track that covers only half of a section you may want to toggle the diagonal line to better fit your track. A section is not detachable only a vertex may be detached. You may select multiple sections at the same time by holding down the control key and selecting or deselecting sections as needed

All three modes have a maximum elevation change. When you reach the maximum elevation change the designer will start to beep each time you hit the up or down key. You cannot detach the edge of a map. You also cannot lower the edge of a map lower then the beginning elevation.

Below the mode section of the tool bar is the Ground section. The up and down button allow you to move the selected parts of the map up or down. If you have detached sections be careful that you have selected the correct portion of the map. To select multiple section of the map hold down the control key and select or de-select sections as desired. The third button is a special button. If you are working with vertex mode then it will read detach or attach depending on if the vertex that is selected is currently attached or detached. The special will only work on one vertex at a time. If multiple vertices are select it will not appear but will remain to read special. If you are working in section mode then the special button will read toggle if the vertices of a section are at different elevations. It creates a line across the section, which can be toggled. The special will only work on one section at a time. If multiple sections are select it will not appear but will remain to read special.

Lastly is the Sky selection. There are two selections. The only difference is the color of the sky and the background and if you have detached portions the walls will change as well.

Designer Tips

Elevation Changes

Working with elevation changes can be difficult to do. The designer needs to decide what part of the tracks is to be higher or lower then other parts. There is always a transition area between elevation changes also. The changes should not be so severe that the driver cannot see what is coming up in front of them in arcade mode. Extremely steep elevations either in the upward or downward direction can make the track unmanageable by the driver and thus no fun. All tracks do not have to have a great deal of elevation change to be good. A lot of the tracks in fact do not have a great deal of elevation change. Even some of the tracks that came with the original game do not have a great deal of elevation change.

Elevation change must be decided early on to help the designer layout the track and how it will flow when it is done. The idea is to make the track believable and able to race. If you are going for realistic make sure it can be raced with all vehicles and with damage on. Elevation changes can add a real flair to a track by making switchbacks, mountain climbs, valley descents, and other inventive track layouts. Try to get the major elevation changes done first then work on perfecting more detailed sections of the track after it is close to completion. Use major elevation changes to set the base of the track and to create supporting background in areas where the track does not go.


Detaching a number of verities along the same line creates walls. You can use walls to create walls near the track, sheer drop offs, canyons, cliffs, obstructions, splits in the road, or anything else you can think of. The number of detachable vertices is limited so keep that in mind when creating a section of wall. I typically do not create boxed in section that a driver cannot get out of. If you are playing a multiplayer game it is not fun to sit and watch others race because you cannot get out of some pit. You can use walls for looks or as obstructions in or near curves to keep a racer honest. You can also use them in jumps and as stops so if a driver overshoots a corner they pay dearly by hitting a wall. Walls can make some functions of a track more appealing or they can kill a track. Never place a wall in a position where it is too difficult for the driver to overcome it as an obstacle.


Almost every designer wants to adds jumps the their track because it is one of the things that really makes SODA different then a lot of other games. There is a wide variety of jumps available to work from like the standard detached jump, elevated line jump, canyon jump, jump onto a plateau, jumping an obstacle, etc, etc…. Jumps and the placement of jumps are very important. First you do not want to create a jump that is not makeable. The take off is also important, If you have the angle to the edge of the jump too steep the vehicle will not take off properly or land properly.

If you have the angle too flat the vehicle will tend to hit nose first more. Do not have a take off that changes the elevation in the last section to severely, if this is done then the vehicle may take a lot of damage before the jump and also get out of balance. If the jumps are too big the vehicle will take to much damage on the landing. One way to soften the landing is angle the landing section down so the track is moving in the same downward direction as the vehicle when it lands. Landing sections can also be very difficult. If there are not designed properly the vehicle may bottom out when it lands.

I call this a dropzone; others may call it hitting the invisible wall. This is where the vehicle takes an extreme amount of damage. To correct this, change the elevation of the landing. Do not place jumps to close to corners, walls, or gates where the driver can either jump over or through them. It is OK to have sections of the tracks that are speed critical, where the driver must slow down or be at a certain range of speeds to make the jump work right. If the speed is a narrow range and it happens frequently on the track it becomes more like target jumping and it does not allow the racer to race all out which is what most racers want to do. You have to have sections that are all out or it tends to even out the racers too much.


This is also very important and usually where most people have the most trouble. You want to create bumps and dips in the road that challenge the driver but be forewarned that it is very easy to make them to big or choppy. You want the driver to be thrown around some after all it is off road racing but you do not want the car to explode after one lap. After you create a section of bumps or whoopty whoos, then run the track and see how it is. If it is too harsh then go back and make adjustments. This is where the fine tuning of the track is really done and it takes a lot of time to do it properly.

There are a lot of tracks where the terrain is too brutal on the trucks and to hard to stay on the track. You do not want your track to be one of those tracks so spend a lot of time working on this. Watch out for spots where you have raised the elevation of the land near your track and a small steep section is in your track. This can really cause problems with vehicles when they hit them. Sometimes it spurs what is call the "Hand of God" where it takes the vehicle and totally thrashes it until there is not a part on it that is not destroyed. Keep in mind that buggies cannot tolerate the damage the other two vehicles can.

Surrounding Environment

This is not as critical to the track design but can really polish up an otherwise ordinary track. This is where you use unused section of the design area to create mountain ranges where you can create waterfalls and other things, or canyons so that if the racers get off course they fall in. The surrounding environment can also be used to create obstruction if you need more ways to stop racers from taking short cuts or it can hide short cuts that you want the driver to find. This is really the icing on the cake when it comes to ground design and should always be done to support your already very cool track.



Sorry I have not finished this section yet.


Sorry I have not finished this section yet.


Sorry I have not finished this section yet.


Sorry I have not finished this section yet.


Sorry I have not finished this section yet.


Sorry I have not finished this section yet.