The 1K Project: Trackmania

By Deane Barker on September 4, 2006

User Movie: 1K Project II by sMull: This video is something to behold. It’s a clip of 1,000 cars racing at the same time in a game called Trackmania. It’s one of the more amazing things I’ve ever seen on the Net.

Trackmania is an interesting racing game because you can create your own tracks (and apparently, dump 1,000 cars into it), cars don’t affect each other on the track (thus avoiding a massive traffic jam), and the concept of “crashing” in Trackmania is very loose. You “bounce” more than you “crash.”

So, these guys got 1,000 cars running at the same time, and the result becomes art. The cars alternate between a swam of locusts and a mechanical carpet rippling down the road. (I tried to get a screencap, but nothing I grabbed did the film any justice.) The editing is wonderful, and in the end, all the cars make like lemmings.

The resulting fluidity of the graphics and independent movement of the cars rivals anything Pixar has ever done. I shudder to imagine the machine they had to have to run this.

And the music is perfect. An odd choice, to be sure, but strangely hypnotic.

As for Trackmania, there’s a downloadable demo on their site. It’s a riot, and has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen.

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  1. It is fun, but like most driving games, it’s hard to play with the keyboard. Since the arrow keys are binary (they’re depressed or not), you tend to steer in quick jerks, and over-correct a lot.

    It makes it tough when you go off a jump because unless you’re going dead straight, you’re going to land well off the track. And getting dead straight before you go airborne is not easy.

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