The best racers where you don’t just master the courses, you make them...
There are plenty of great racing games out there, from Mario Kart to Forza. Not so many of them let you make the tracks you drive on, though. Here, we take a look at the ones that let you craft the circuits, and find out how you can become a whole new type of mechanic in the process.
Ridge Racer Unbounded
Ridge Racer Unbounded is the latest entry in the long running arcade racing series, and for the first time, includes a surprisingly advanced track editor that will let you create make challenging tracks if you put in a bit of TLC. The basic mode will let you make simple courses that serve as great starting blocks, but if you switch over to advanced mode, you can create all sorts of tracks that are almost like roller coasters. Steep banks, vertical curves, loop-the-loops, collapsing scenery, and well, even dinosaurs too.
Built from the ground up with user made tracks as the focus of the game, Modnation Racers takes the "Play, Create, Share" ethos of LittleBigPlanet and applies it to a racing game, with great results too. While the game might resemble Mario Kart from the outside, the core of the game is the creation mode, and the in-depth level tools are quite in depth. You can even tweak the vehicles and characters too. And when you’re done “painting” your track onto the landscape, you can share your creations online and try out others’ too whether they be weird, intricate or just plain good fun.
Red Bull Soapbox Racer
Red Bull Soapbox Racer is an ambitious game based on Red Bull’s Soapbox events, which lets you create both your own soapbox and track - and all you need to play is a web browser. Start off by creating your profile on the Red Bull Soapbox Racer website, customise your racer and downhill demon, then either dive straight into the racing or try your hand at the track creator.
Gran Turismo 5
Surprisingly given its focus on realism, the long-awaited, jaw-dropping Gran Turismo 5 came with a course maker - but it’s not as in depth as many were hoping. Instead, you get a more simple track maker that generates new courses based on boxes ticked by the player. You can choose what kind of road surface is on the course, how many sections it comprises of, what kind of weather is affecting the track, how wet it is, how fast the weather changes, what time of day it is and how quick time passes during a race too. The end result: an easy way to try out new tracks, without getting bogged down in all the details - save that for the garage.
Almost the granddaddy of the modern day track editing racer, the Trackmania series revolves solely around the game's heart: tracks. Whether they be complex, straight up racing, puzzling or filled with insane jumps and loops, the arcade-style racer series has no shortage of tracks: the online community creates and hands out new ones like they're candy. The series has a loyal fanbase, and was even chosen as one of the games to be played at esports tournament Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) a few years ago. Give it a go yourself, and it’s not hard to see why.