The Spark Cup Pack (The Monolith Awakens)

The Spark Cup Pack (The Monolith Awakens) 2.7

Good evening! It's been a long while, hasn't it?

After beating this recent burnout, and in the span of just a few days, I've been able to throw another update! Not the huge new track (or remake of that other track) people were maybe expecting, but instead, it's the turn to give a facelift to my very first track: Magical Monolith!

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Inspired by stuff like the Caverns of Time in World of Warcraft, this track now goes all out with the non-sensical geometry and weird "portals" towards the outside of the mountain, playing heavily with thok barriers and making this otherwise very technical, compact track feel expansive. A few new zones have been added, as well as a new intro music, inspired by the level starts in "Need for Madness", the game this track takes its music from.

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Apart of that, a few more bug fixes concerning Cerulean Riviera, Touge, and also, the addition of Magical Monolith Classic! The very first version of the map, when it was released as a standalone, as a memento of older times. It also includes new music, which was the original track I had during music testing before changing it to what it is now.

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For the next one... Maybe? Ironbed River and Submerged Shipwreck may get some touches. The very last "new" track will be the last of the whole pack. Until then, I hope everything goes okay! It's good to be here again!
Greetings!

This update is meant to be another transition update that brings the maps from the original Spark Cup into a new level by mostly giving them a needed coat of paint. Today's turn is Cerulean Riviera!
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The Monaco-based track now boasts a slightly altered layout that's generally wider and friendlier towards players, and it features more flare and less gray railings and floors! In addition, the casino visuals have been updated and Lap 3 adds fireworks to the mix to make racing here a thrilling experience! Try it out and don't forget that any ads, banners or other creations you want to be seen always have a space here!

In other news, Touge Zone has been fixed! No more skipping sections by looping backwards, accidentally or not. Nothing I can promise about GBJs, but the map Hell version isn't meant to be serious anyway. Enjoy the jank!

By request of the original author, Unusual_Infuriation, the original version of Touge that they refined has been finished and given a bit of the MOBJSCALE treatment. It can be found if you download KR_TougeOriginal, and loading it after loading the Spark Cup will bring this slightly refined Touge out of Map Hell so you can play it more often in the way the original mapper intended. Thanks to them again for creating this gem!

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As always, the full changelog can be seen in the overview post. Massive thanks to everyone who helped improve the pack! Next update, 2.7, will finally feature a reworked Ironbed and bring it to its final state. Cheers!
  • Cool!
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Surprise!

It's been a while. Today I release the Spark Cup V2.6, with some significant changes, including the separation between race and battle (See the battle map in a different file), no more dynmusic in favor of native Encore music, some minor changes to most tracks... And the addition of a certain legendary track, Touge Zone, by Unusual_Infuriation, into Map Hell (as MAPVJ). Remember that this track is meant to break all general mapping conventions, so take it as it is for how fun it is to drive there, rather than the map's objective quality.

This update also marks the start of the end. Depending on how soon is "soon", some maps will stop being updated for good. Sweet Wonderland, Sloppy Sludge, Submerged Shipwreck Mini, Sound Insanity and the newly added Touge are good to stay like this until the end, lest an egregious mishap has happened during the update process. My time as a mapper will soon end (since other things do pop up) but needless to say, this was fun!

As such, here's a story about Touge.

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More than a year ago, a Discord user by the name of Unusual_Infuriation approached me with general questions about mapping. After finishing their first test track, a simple oval, they went on with their first true map, which, bravely enough, happened to be a sprint track, something very few people attempt to do on their first map due to how much longer it takes to make a sprint map compared to a traditional lap track, plus the added difficulty and a new mapper.

This track was based on traditional curved mountain roads in Japan, whose setting for drift-based racing has inspired media like Initial D and Ridge Racer. This kind of racing is known as "Tōge" ['toʊge], most commonly known as Touge. It's a racing discipline where the racer has to fight the track itself, with unending turns and drifts as they flow through the narrow and curvy mountain roads.

On July 31st, 2020, I received the first (unfinished) build of Touge Zone, by Unusual_Infuriation, for me to comment and review.

It was the absolute craziest track I've ever been in.

In a crazy fit of "what the fuck am I even doing", I decided to recommend Unusual_Infuriation to submit the map to Jartcast, Tyron and co.'s SRB2K mapping podcast / map review. Although some of the more egregious parts at the start were fixed compared to the first build, the map was still, by far, way too unfinished and unplayable by normal standards to be compared to the more traditional, objectively playable tracks that often made their appearance on the podcast.

This is what happened in Jartcast, Season 1, Episode 11, when Unusual_Infuriation's map was revealed. First looks start at 1:47:59, gameplay at 2:59:44.

The track quickly became the stream's highlight and spawned lots of fun talk, commentary and even an emote, still used in the Jartcast / :D? / hyuu.cc Discord server today.

Far from being discouraged by the laughs, Unusual_Infuriation finished the track (although it was still missing checkpoints and waypoints) and sent it to Jartcast for the next episode. It featured a proper ending, featuring buildings, and an improved layout, which thanks to MOBJSCALE, made it more playable as well by traditional standards.

Here's what happened in Jartcast, Season 1, Episode 12. First looks start at 2:31:47, gameplay at 4:08:30.

After this, the map was more or less finished, but was never published. The reasons as to why are unknown.

Touge Zone is part of a select group of maps that are considered so "bad" that they have become revered by the community as one of those special tracks where racing through it is fun in its own way. In this case, it's due to the extremely narrow roads, brutal drops, wild use of long ramps, topped off with a well known Touge-related music track turned into a crusty MIDI and the... Unusual way everything boiled together into a perfect storm of kart madness.

As Tyron and company state in the podcast, no one here intends to laugh at the creator. The act of submitting this track in this state TWICE is a sign of extreme bravery and a gesture that now transcends what was funny at the time and has become a staple of the SRB2K V1 Kart community.

"Tyron: People are losing their fucking minds because this breaks every single established rule of mapping that any of us are familiar with.

Chengi: And in spite of that, it can continue to slap.

Tyron: Because, t-the fucking soul of humor -the engine that makes shit funny- is subverting your expectations. And ho fucking boy does this do that."

[Jartcast, S1E11]

This version of Touge Zone is an amalgamation of the very first draft sent by Unusual_Infuriation, and the two versions seen in Jartcast, with some elements added by myself in an attempt to keep the map jank from start to end. IN NO WAY is this meant for normal play, and in fact, this is more to be taken as an obstacle course, which is the reason this is in Map Hell. All in all, this is a unique take on the track itself, one that Unusual_Infuration has all rights to take down, edit, or release for themselves, should they see this post.

I hope you enjoy the experience, and look forward to more updates!
Hello! It's been a long time, and I've mostly taken a break from mapping. However, in the future (sooner or later, whenever it may be) I'd like to finish the pack and finally get it out of beta.

As a first notice, this is not a pack update so if you're only here to download stuff, you can move on. Thank you!

As for the plans for the future, this is what I have in mind regarding each track.

  • Magical Monolith
    • This was the first track that I made. Although I think it holds up, it's generally visually outdated. I'd like to rework parts of the track even if I still intend to give it a cave / ruins-like feel to it. I haven't yet decided if it's going to be a remake from the ground up or simply touch the (admittedly archaic) slopes and geometry, but something will be done to bring it up to par with the other maps.
    • In that same sense, since it's going to be largely the same track, but better, I doubt there will be any "Classic" Hell Map version of what's here now.
    • Regardless of the changes, it will remain as a 2-lap course.
  • Sweet Wonderland
    • This is a track that has barely gone through changes since it started. As it stands, beyond minor graphics and texture changes, it's very likely this stays the same way. I'm grateful that this inspired tracks like Alpine Cake which I think are phenomenal additions that pretty much do everything I wanted to do in terms of map improvements, so instead, let's just enjoy the fact we get to have both cakes.
  • Submerged Shipwreck
    • The map will undergo some changes, especially at the ship part. The area right before the huge jump may be a point of contention, and the skybox could be improved. Otherwise I'm happy with the state of the map and I am glad to see it played so often.
    • The hell version is remaining and IT'S NOT BABY PARK, I SWEAR. Expect a cool and hard-to-reach easter egg, though, since those are sweet.
  • Cerulean Riviera
    • While the layout is going to remain the same (for obvious reasons) I'll attempt to improve the visuals significantly and change the item set placements in order to nerf the "P-Scene" shortcut that often was too powerful, despite the few turns coming after it. I'll likely just force an item vs shortcut route, but we'll see.
    • I also want the third lap to include more fanfare, seeing as the music calls for it.
  • Ironbed River
    • This one needs the most changes. I plan on adding at least a whole section and rework one of the existing sections entirely.
    • At the same time, I'll try to balance the split path after the bungee jump a little so the lower route isn't too much faster than the upper one.
    • Expect some graphic reworks of the sections with more vanilla textures.
    • Also expect new music. Infinite Azure is a great theme but a track with such a multitude of locales (even more to be added) needs music from the video game of all time. Thanks, Tyron.
  • Sloppy Sludge
    • The announcer is not annoying. You guys are just mean.
    • Regardless, I'll make sure everyone can see somehow that you can turn it off. You've always been able to! It's just a little hidden under the console.
    • Expect some balancing between both routes, which mostly will come to making the final turn of the inner loop (as in, the loop that goes through the village) faster and easier to take. But still slippery.
    • I'll try to add a shortcut, but there are NO guarantees. You know how hard it is to balance that?
    • Pls try Encore Mode if v2 comes out I'll actually port this track and flip both versions and call it Sloppy Slush okay
  • THE NEW MAP
    • The new map is still in a layout phase. Although it has three laps, in logistic terms it's essentially a sprint map.
    • It also aims to feature a new gimmick that's so hard to get it right that it's been basically in lua hell. And by that I mean, I don't even know enough lua to make it work. If it doesn't get to be, I'll just release the gimmickless version of it. I think it's still a cool concept.
    • That said, the vibe and music are already chosen, of course.
    • This will be the final map of the pack. After that all of my efforts will go in improving what's already there.
  • Sound Insanity (Battle)
    • Due to how many Freeslots the Spark Cup occupies, it's probably gonna go in a different file so that people can choose if they wanna bloat their sounds with piano keys or not.
    • Otherwise it's not going to have any changes. The music syncs and that already makes me happy.
  • General touches
    • Dynmusic support is probably going to end, as it's hard to have to update two files at the same time. The encore music is going to simply get inserted as part of the main pack. I think it also adds to the experience. This also means final lap music will be removed from tracks which originally do not support it. It sounded janky anyway.
    • Expect some slight changes to map numbers inside the slots that are already reserved.
    • Record attack ghosts are probably gonna be limited to just 1 per map. Otherwise it's really, really time-consuming to get.
  • ???
    • Touge.

Thank you for your attention! I don't know when (or if any of) these changes are going to be implemented. It may take 1 patch or 10, but this is what I have planned, and hopefully by then, I can deliver! I have a good feeling, though, because Kart will never die.

Cheers,
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