TrackMania² Stadium

TrackMania² Stadium

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[E-sports] A Guide to competitive TrackMania
By znik and 1 collaborators
This guide will explain the different competition formats, driving styles and techniques in TrackMania² Stadium.You will also find important links, a list of tournaments and tips to become a better player. If you have any questions or suggestions for this guide, please contact me on my facebook page[facebook.com] or leave a comment below.

The guide contains a lot of information, but you can use the index menu on the right to find your desired content faster.

Thanks to Shortz Production for graphics. Follow him on facebook[facebook.com].
 
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INTRODUCTION
TrackMania² Stadium, also known as TM2S, is a racing game developed by NADEO which dates back to 2006 when the first edition of the game TrackMania Nations ESWC was launched. This racing game was developed specifically for the French event, Electronic Sports World Cup, which is an annual international championship on different gaming platforms.
TrackMania² Stadium is a part of the TrackMania² franchise consisting of in total three environments. The other two environments are TrackMania² Canyon and TrackMania² Valley. With over 12 million players, Stadium is the all-time favorite racing game on PC and was the environment that grew to become the most popular in tournaments and competitive gaming.
The game puts a lot of emphasis on creativity and comes with built-in tools to create your own tracks and video material. In the game you drive a Formula 1-like vehicle in an unrealistic setting where you, among other things, come across big jumps, loops, wall rides and technical track sections.
TECHNIQUES & TERMS
TrackMania² Stadium offers a very diverse selection of driving techniques that can be used to improve your racing and lap times. I will explain all of them in detail and attach a showcase video to them if available.


POWERSLIDE
- View tutorial
The most important drift technique in TrackMania to become a faster driver. To achieve a powerslide you need enough speed. You start by turning to either of the sides followed by breaking, meaning that during your powerslide you hold throttle + turn + break simultaneously. To release the powerslide you simply stop breaking. This will result in a much more speed-efficient turn. To recognize a powerslide you have to look for three or four slidemarks following your car. If you powerslide too early you can adjust it by tapping on the break or tapping the turn in order to extend the line.

SPEEDSLIDE
- View tutorial
In order to get a successful speedslide you need at least 410 km/h speed. When doing the slide you have to make sure that you get a powerslide, but keep it as close to a noslide as possible. In theory you will have three or four slidemarks, but they should be as close to each other so it looks like you have only two slidemarks. This technique will give you a slight boost in speed.

NEO SLIDE
- View tutorial
This technique can be used when you do not have enough speed for a powerslide by releasing the turn in a millisecond as you start breaking. This creates an opening for the neo slide to activate instead of getting a usual noslide.

GRASS SLIDE
- View tutorial
When doing a grass slide you preferably need more speed than a powerslide and you need a drop or jump to make it work. Right before the drop or jump, you have to flick the car a lot to either of the sides and then prepare for a powerslide. The reason to why you get a grass slide and not a powerslide is because of the much higher horizontal rotation on the vehicle.

AIR CONTROL
Controlling your vehicle in air is very important to prepare the car for the best landing. Depending on how the track continues after the jump or drop, you have mainly two techniques that will affect how the car handles in air. Right before the car lifts off the jump or ledge you can quickly press the turn button to make the vehicle rotate to either of the sides. You can also counter-turn during air time to decrease the horizontal rotation. After a jump or drop you can also stop the vertical rotation of the vehicle by quickly tapping the break button which is known as air-breaking.

In most cases you should always try to seek less air time and more time on the road accelerating. When jumping or dropping, you can decrease your air time by making a diagonal line from lift off to landing. Air-break can also be useful to make your car land sooner and smoother with either your back or front wheels.

NOSLIDE / NODRIFT
When a powerslide fails to activate the result will be a noslide. This happens mainly because of breaking before turning or not having enough speed to activate the powerslide. This can be recognized by having only two slidemarks following your car. It means you will not be able to activate the powerslide during this state unless you get a transition.

WALLBANG / WALLBOUNCE
- View tutorial
This technique is often used in hairpins (180 degree turns) where you quickly need to slow down your car before entering the turn. Instead of using the powerslide you can save time by crashing full speed into the opposite side of the apex, then to bump back in the correct direction. You can continue powersliding after the wallbounce if needed. This needs timing and practice and often comes with a high risk, high reward.

RAMMSTEIN / BOARDER
The dotted metal sidelines elevated on each side of the track, often referred to as the rammstein in TrackMania Stadium. You should be careful crossing these in a wrong position because of its unpredictable outcome in terms of bugs or small bumps. Because of its instability and change in grip, it can be used to achieve a powerslide where otherwise a powerslide is hard to achieve.

SLOWDOWN / GEARDOWN
The result of changing to a lower gear while powersliding or turning on dirt. The car will slow down significantly and will potentially interrupt an otherwise good racing line, unless the track is optimized for it. To avoid a geardown you have to monitor your engine sound and make sure it stays in the same gear during your powerslide, preferably low to mid torque.

TRANSITION
When either surface or block type changes enough to make a slight transition or bump. This opens up for an easier initiation of the powerslide or speedslide, but might end up with a noslide if timed incorrectly.

RACING LINES
- View tutorial[www.drivingfast.net]
A wide line is used to achieve more exit speed. A short line is used to achieve a faster turn but with lower exit speed. The wideness of your line should increase in compliance with the length of the stretch coming after the turn. The apex is at which point you will be closest to the inside of the turn. Hitting correctly on the apex is crucial to maintain the highest speed possible. The position of the apex changes depending on the formation of the track and how much exit speed you want.

DEDIMANIA
- View homepage[dedimania.net]
Dedimania is the record system used in most trackmania servers. It's a database collecting your records and sharing them with all the other servers. The dedimania record list includes only TOP30, thus making it quite the achievement to enter this list on popular tracks.
DRIVING STYLES
TrackMania² Stadium offers many different ways to compete in, both in format and style. Due to the different blocks you have available in the game's built-in tool, it has developed different types of driving styles and communities around them. The following describes the different styles.


TECH / SPEEDTECH
Tech is the most widely used style in competitive contexts with technical turns and transitions on asphalt. This requires precision and detailed control and is characterized best by the use of the so-called "powerslide". This is one of several techniques that increase speed and improve lap times. Speedtech tracks are basically the same, but optimized for higher speeds and longer "powerslides". Here you might stumble upon long jumps, wall-rides and loops, even though it is not very commonly used for tech tracks in general.

DIRT
- Visit community page[www.tmdirt.com]
The big difference here is that you are driving on gravel surface. The grip changes drastically from asphalt and you get a completely different driving experience. Here you meet technical jumps and turns and you often have to use non-traditional lines to get the best lap times. It is very essential to monitor the engine sound because changing gear may have substantial influence on your speed, especially when turning on gravel. Releasing the throttle instead of breaking will also help you maintain better speed and control when turning.

FULLSPEED
Here we are back on tarmac again, this time in much higher speeds. The track is designed to hold full throttle from start to finish. In this style you'll see a lot more use of loops and wall- rides , and it is characterized by the use of the technique called "speed slide". Fullspeed ​​is very relentles as a crash will destroy the entire race and you are in great danger of not reaching the finish line.

RPG
- Visit community page[www.trackmania-rpg.com]
This style requires patience and good maneuverability of the vehicle. A typical RPG track takes several minutes to complete and you see a mixture of all types of blocks. Typical features in RPG is problem solving in terms of difficult jumps, narrow passages and balance on thin edges. Thanks to a very comprehensive titlepack with over 3000 new objects to build with, RPG continues to rise in popularity.

NASCAR
- Visit community page[cms.tm-nascar.com]
Nascar tracks can look quite similar to fullspeed tracks but rarely includes loops or wall-rides to maintain a certain realism. You can make use of the speedslide technique, but in many cases it's all about keeping the noslide. Thanks to their newly released Stadium Racing Revolution titlepack there is a lot of improvements to this style and the new blocks offers a much better driving experience.

FORMULA1
F1 tracks tend to be a little more similar to tech maps. This style puts a lot of emphasis on recreating the real formula1 style in terms of endurance and rules. You have to take into account a pit stop strategy and often follow specific rules that deny powersliding and wallbang to maintain the F1 realism. The community have also here introduced an improved experience with a titlepack that changes the game completely with new blocks and terrain.

LOL / MINI / VERYSHORT / LUNATIC
There are many names for this genre, but generally you recognize them by having short tracks with a weird or funny course. Even though it is rarely used in competitions, it is very popular amongst new players who seek quick and fun races. These styles are a good start for new beginners to get to know the limitations and behavior of the car traction and physics.
COMPETITION FORMATS
These formats are independent of the descriptions above and can be used in all kind of driving styles. In most formats you will be able to respawn at the last checkpoint, but in some cases tournament organizers choose to disable the respawn and you have to retire if you don't make it to the finish line at first try. It is also common to force opponents on during offline events, otherwise you are allowed to turn your opponents off completely.


CUP
The first and most popular individual format is CUP. In this format all players start at the same time and will compete until they reach the finish line. Points are awarded for each round depending on what position you take and players will fight until they reach a certain amount of points. When you achieve this point limit you will be set in "Finalist Mode" which dictates that you must win one more round before being crowned winner. During this time you do not collect more points, and the opposition has a real chance to make a comeback if they manage to finish before you again and again until they achieve "Finalist Mode" as well.
This format is widely discussed whether it is fair or not. ESL has responded by coming with a modified CUP format where the "Finalist Mode" still gather your points so you do not get punished as hard for not being able to win the final round.

TIME ATTACK
In Time Attack you have to set the best lap time within a given period. You can start a new lap whenever you wish to continue the hunt for the best lap time. When the time period is over, players will be ranked after best times. This is often used prior to the CUP format to seed players, and is the most used format for online servers.

ROUNDS
Rounds is basically the same as the CUP format but without the finalist mode. That means when you reach the point limit set, you will instantly become the winner and the race will end with the current standings. You can also set a fixed amount of rounds per map and end the race once all maps have been played, instead of a fixed point limit. This mode is often used on public train servers for those who prefer to train on stability and not just Time Attack.

TEAM
This format can be used for 1vs1, 2vs2, 5vs5, etc. As with CUP mode, everyone starts at the same time. Here again, points are gathered depending on what position you take that round. When everyone has passed the finish line, the overall points from players in each team will be gathered and the team with the most points wins the round. First team to win seven rounds is the most used point limit in order to win a map. If a tournament choose to use "tennis mode", that means either of the teams has to win by a two point lead if there is a tie on map point. So if the point limit is 7 and both teams have 6 points, then it will become a race to 8 points. This can potentially create some intense and close battles between even teams.

TEAM CHASE
The first game mode in TrackMania to support maniaplanets matchmaking system. In Chase mode, the goal is to cross the finish line first with its team or scoring enough points to outrun the opponents. A match is divided in several rounds, by default a team must win three rounds to win a match. During each round the players will race as usual with one additional constraint. The last player to cross a checkpoint for its team has to be the first to cross the next one. If the right player crosses the checkpoint, he scores one point for its team. More about this mode can be read on maniaplanet's documentation page[doc.maniaplanet.com].

LAPS
Laps is most used in NASCAR or Formula1 settings where the goal is to run the same course over a longer period. A fixed amount of laps is set that must be completed before the winner is crowned just like any other normal racing game.

KNOCKOUT CUP
This is a modified format originally written by "CavalierDeVache" and improved by several other community members. In the knockout cup format, everyone starts at the same time. The last player to finish every round or players who are not able to finish at all will be knocked out and kicked from the server. This will go on until the last man is standing as the winner.
TOURNAMENTS & EVENTS
Here is an overview of the regular and well known tournament organizers. Starting off with the online competitions then to move on to offline events. For an updated list of upcoming and ongoing events, check out maniacalendar[maniacalendar.com]


------------------------------------------------------ O N L I N E --------------------------------------------------


Electronic Sports League (ESL)
- Online / Various driving styles
- Homepage[play.eslgaming.com]
- Facebook[www.facebook.com]
ESL has been around for a long time hosting all kinds of tournaments, from serious prize-pool tournaments like EMS, to smaller fun and night cups covering all the different driving styles. To date, their biggest success is the regular ESL CPS league which is held two times a year for TECH. As of May 2015, ESL has created a competition titlepack with new blocks to play with and will use it for their future cups and leagues.


TrackMania Masters (TMM)
- Online / Various driving styles
- Homepage[www.tm-masters.com]
- Facebook[www.facebook.com]
Their first tournaments were hosted back in 2008 and has exploded in popularity since. Hosting a variety of tournaments for everyone's taste, it is especially their yearly TECH competition TMM Team Cup and Knockout cups that attract the most participants.


Electronic Tournaments (ET)
- Online / TECH
- Homepage[www.et-generation.com]
Known from hosting many United tournaments, ET has become one of the major households for TrackMania competitions since. Their most successful series are the Stadium Team Championship and Nations Cup that both play at the same time on the same maps.


TrackMania Tournament (TMT)
- Online / TECH
- Homepage[tmtournament.com]
- Facebook[www.facebook.com]
With their first TECH competition back in 2009, TMT has regularly been hosting a tournament each summer and has attracted many teams every season. Their map style is a bit shorter than many other tech competitions and is one of their reasons to success.


Ultimate F1 Racing (UF1R)
- Online / FORMULA1
- Homepage[ultimatef1racing.com]
Holds approximately 1 hour races on F1 tracks and includes qualifying during the week before as well as a grid start and several different pitstop strategies. Players are put into F1 teams of two drivers for the whole season on a (flexible) calendar which is decided by the admins pre-season.


Black Angel Racing Team (Ba)
- Online / FORMULA1 / DIRT
- Homepage[www.blackangelteam.net]
Black Angel team is known for serving the community F1 and DIRT championships known as BaRally Championship and Ba Championship F1. Holds approximately 45 minute races the week after a real life Formula One race on a version of the real life track created in TM2S, with mandatory pitstops. Players may choose which team they drive for or create their own.


Nascar Racing League (NRL)
- Online / NASCAR
- Homepage[cms.tm-nascar.com]
One of the leading nascar competitions for TrackMania, offering three different types of races; Stadium Cup, Sprint Cup and Endurance Cup.Their newly launched Stadium Racing Evolution (SRE) title pack is a great success and compliments their league with many new and useful blocks to build with.



----------------------------------------------------- O F F L I N E ------------------------------------------------


Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC)
- Offline / TECH
- Homepage[www.eswc.com]
- Facebook[www.facebook.com]
The Electronic Sports World Cup is a worldwide competition of video games, starting locally with national qualifying, to end with a World Final gathering all the cyber-athletes and designed as a live show. Starting back in 2003, ESWC is now one of the biggest offline event for E-sport competitions around the world every year.

World Champions
  • 2006 - Dorian 'Carl' Vallet(FRA)
  • 2007 - Freek 'XenoGeaR' Molema (NED) | VOD
  • 2008 - Kalle 'frostBeule' Videkull (SWE) | VOD
  • 2010 - Fredrik 'Bergie' Bergmann (NOR) | VOD
  • 2011 - Erik 'hakkiJunior' Leštach (SVK) | VOD
  • 2012 - Tim 'Spam' Lunenburg (NED) | VOD
  • 2013 - Carl-Antoni 'Carl Jr.' Cloutier (CAN) | VOD
  • 2014 - Carl-Antoni 'Carl Jr.' Cloutier (CAN) | VOD


Gamers Assembly (GA)
- Offline / TECH / DIRT
- Homepage[www.gamers-assembly.net]
- Facebook[www.facebook.com]
Since 2000, Gamers Assembly has hosted offline events aimed at the French community. However, their prize-pool often attracts international players as well.


The Gathering (TG)
- Offline / TECH
- Homepage[www.gathering.org]
- Facebook[www.facebook.com]
The Gathering has been hosting TrackMania competitions in Norway regularly for many years, however their focus on E-sport has dropped significantly the last couple of years, resulting in lower prize-pools and fewer foreign players attending.
PLAYER PREFERENCES
A quick explanation of the different player preferences in terms of controller device and camera choice.


CHOOSING CONTROLLER DEVICE
Keyboard and gamepad are the most used devices. Preferably give both options a try to see which you prefer the most. One month should be a reasonable time to adapt to a new device.

- Keyboard has the benefit of instant reaction. Input lag will be decided by the quality of your keyboard. Preferably you should go for a mechanical keyboard with no ghosting. Ghosting can be a problem on cheaper keyboards often found on laptops. What this does is that it will limit the keyboard to a certain amount of keys pressed simultaneously. This can be in the way of doing a successful "powerslide" and other techniques in the game. A fix to this problem is to change the default break button to a different one, e.g. "CTRL" or "A", in which you will control with your left hand while maneuvering speed and turn on the default keys with your right hand. This is advised to be changed regardless of having a ghosting problem or not.

- Gamepad has the benefit of more detailed adjustments with the joystick. Executing a successful line in every turn is hard and having the possibility to change direction smoothly with a joystick is for some more comfortable than tapping a button. There are no ghosting problems on a gamepad, so the button configuration is all up to your personal preference. Primarily you want to pick up a gamepad with cord/USB because cordless gamepads have the disadvantage of battery life and possible frequency interference when playing offline with others.


CHOOSING CAMERA
There are a few things to be mentioned about the differences and possible advantages to the three cameras, but essentially it all comes down to which one you prefer and get used to over time.

- Camera 1 is positioned farthest away from the vehicle. In contrast to camera 2 and 3, this camera will not change position when your vehicle does. The placement of the camera will give the best overview and makes it easier to predict the course of the track, especially before hills and jumps. However when driving under tight passages, you might loose vision of your vehicle.

- Camera 2 is positioned lower and closer to the vehicle and will follow the rotation of the vehicle at all times. The most noticeable disadvantage with this camera is when driving with opponents on as they often tend to cross the line of sight, especially during jumps or drops.

- Camera 3 is positioned in front with no vision of the vehicle or slidemarks at all, which means you have to rely more on your game sense. This is the most static camera because it will not move during breaking in contrast to camera 1 and 2. This camera benefits of a longer hiding distance of your opponents that are in front of you. Combined with the fact that camera 1 and 2 will allow you to see opponents closing in on you from behind, arguably makes camera 3 the best suited camera for driving with opponents forced on.
IMPROVE YOUR GAME
In this last chapter I will try to give examples and tips for you to improve as a player and get ready to perform in matches and tournaments.


FIND YOUR STYLE
Whatever driving style you choose, the most essential part of becoming a better driver is to understand the car physics and traction on all the different combinations of blocks. This can only be achieved by driving a lot on different tracks and by studying your own mistakes and others success. The best way to do this is to compare your own replays to the replays uploaded on http://tm.mania-exchange.com. Just search for the track you want and find good replays to watch. Based on player statistics, TECH is the style that has the biggest community and the most tournaments both online and offline.

TRAINING METHODS
As a new player your first focus should be to find the fastest lines with the help of the driving techniques explained above. Once you feel you've got these under control your next move should be to get match and tournament experience and compare yourself against others. To make it a bit easier I tried to separate the most traditional training method into four stages.

1. Set a good time as early as possible to find the limits of both the track and your driving. Try to experiment by changing between wide and tight racing lines to see which one gives the best result. Watch out so you don't push the limits for too long, because it usually ends up in a lot of resetting. This is very inefficient because you won't get to practice the end of the track as much as the start.

2. As you practice, your fingers will get familiar with all the break and release points on the track. The more you practice, the more your muscle memory will adapt and remember. This is why it's important that you practice safer lines and figure out at which points of the track you need to be more careful. This will prevent you from making the mistake of driving safer in the match compared to what you did during training which will confuse your muscle memory and ultimately produce more mistakes.

3. If you want to take training to the next level, you can do practice sessions where you drive to the finish line every round even if you crash. In this way you will build up knowledge on how to recover in the fastest possible way. It might turn out decisive in cases where players do equal mistakes in the same round in a match.

4. Map awareness can be very decisive, especially in 1vs1 situations. Many players like to drive with the HUD disabled until the finish to avoid distraction. However, being able to check on your opponents now and then can be very useful. If you are aware of your opponents making mistakes then you can easily capitalize on it by driving more safe. Try to locate the best points on the track where it's easier to take a quick look at the checkpoint list or switch your opponents on and off.

Circling between the different stages is a good way to continuously improve. It's not really necessary to know about these steps to become a better driver, but it may come in handy if you want more dedicated and measurable practice.

PRESSURE HANDLING
Many thanks to finalist mode in TrackMania cup format, pressure is something that is imperative to overcome if you want to be a consistent winner. Why do we often choke under pressure and why is some better at it than others? Time and experience is usually the key to improve your match mentality and driving under pressure. When you know that one single mistake will cost you the win and possibly prize money, your mind tends to panic or try to focus too much on not making that mistake. Here we see similarities to the muscle memory problem, because this is not your mental state while training and your mind is not used to it. One method to overcome that panic mode is to calm your self down somehow and try to forget that it is an important round. Accepting that you might do a mistake and that someone else is better than you may also help you avoid mistakes under pressure.

Others may find that simply not caring about the outcome of the match will lower the pressure. If you have the mental strength and will, you can also enter a focused mindset where you go all in for the win. Convince your mind that you are the best and you can win it. Note that this method usually has a bigger mental downfall in case of failure. There can only be one winner and in most cases that won't be you. However, you can increase the chances of being that winner by not giving up and learn from your experiences.

At the end of the day there are a lot of factors playing a role in how you perform in high stake matches. Make sure you are rested and have eaten enough before the race starts. Also make sure to take drinking pauses in between matches in longer tournaments or cups to keep the focus up and avoid dehydration.

FIND YOUR TEAM
You can create your own team with friends or join existing ones by searching on servers and asking people in the chat. You can also add players who are on your server to your buddy list for private chat sessions. Many teams also operate with external forums where they recruit new players. You can look for bigger forums that have "Player searching team"[forum.maniaplanet.com] threads. Just make sure to read the requirements before applying. Things that will help you find teams is to behave nicely, try your best to improve and be active on the servers.

When moving up the ranks, better teams start to scout for talented players by watching their Dedimania records or positions in tournament matches. If you stay active in tournaments and try your best to reach the Dedimania on tournament maps, that should put you in a good spotlight for teams to pick you up.

STAY MOTIVATED
Motivation is important to keep your momentum when practicing to become a better player. If you are stuck in your training and don't see much improvement you might want to consider small breaks to release some pressure. Things that might keep you motivated are watching videos of good records, change perspective and discover new driving styles or even start making your own tracks or videos with the built-in tools.

Noteworthy videos to watch

GOOD LUCK!
If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below or contact me on my facebook[facebook.com].
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59 Comments
amoeba Dec 4, 2019 @ 5:55pm 
while i agree. i don't think trial is relevant enough for an entry here. even rpg is barely competetive.
Asdrion TM Nov 24, 2019 @ 5:46pm 
Your forgot the style: Trial. I mean the difference between RPG and Trial.
Is as big as NASCAR and Fullspeed.
amoeba Aug 2, 2019 @ 5:17pm 
yes
Absolute_Zero Dec 21, 2018 @ 2:12pm 
nice:steamhappy:
DreamerDream May 19, 2018 @ 5:27am 
POWERSLIDE video guide
"This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."
Stashmaniac Jun 3, 2017 @ 10:38am 
Some of these are not applicable on other Trackmanias, right?
Kingjay | Denova May 9, 2017 @ 12:52pm 
nice
Cake Jr Jun 25, 2016 @ 6:41pm 
Great thread thank you very much, looking to get back into trackmania!
vlnr Feb 15, 2016 @ 1:02am 
nice
Mr.Hf72 Jan 20, 2016 @ 7:50pm 
This really helped. Thank you!