Scale

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This page is a part of the Custom Track Tutorial. Back to the main tutorial page.

Introduction

Track scale (track size) is an important topic for Custom Track authors. A track that is scaled too small will make players hit corners on turns and complete the course too quickly. An over-scaled track will be boring and take ages to complete. Picking the right scale early is important. It takes far more time and effort to change a track's scale when the track is close to completion than it does in the early stages of the project.

Scale Factors and Percent

This article uses scale factors and percent numbers. Multiply a scale factor by 100 to get the percent value.

Examples
  • Factor 1.2 == 120%
  • Factor 0.8 == 80%

Using Meters

Making the Simple Meters template in SketchUp the default template.

It is up to the creator to decide his or her preferred unit so as long as they are consistent all the way through the custom track creation process. Most modeling programs use SI (Metric) units by default. It is much easier to calculate scale changes and make measurements with SI units than English measurements (inches and feet). Therefore, it is a good practice to use meters.

It is highly recommended for SketchUp users to use the Simple Meters template. If SketchUp normally starts with a template using English measurements, set the Simple Meters template as the default template for new projects. Click on Window > Preferences then click on Template and select Simple Template - Meters from the list and press OK. 3ds Max starts up unit-less by default.

Choosing a Scale

Note: These recommendations are for SketchUp. Scaling factors may be different when using other 3D editors.

A good scale for the width of a road can range anywhere from 2000m to 4000m across. Narrow sections shouldn't be much less than 1500m across. Your road should be at least 3000m wide at the starting line to accommodate player starts. This all very flexible because the road width is influenced by many factors, including:

  • Length of straightaways
  • Angles of turns
  • Angles of slopes
  • The presence of off-road or guard rails
  • Boosts and Jumps
  • Boosts from nearby item boxes
  • Intended difficulty
  • "Natural" roads (dirt roads) can vary widely in width.
  • "Artificial" roads (streets, corridors) will have fixed widths through much of the course.

Avoid making long stretches of narrow roads without any wide sections; this can lead to problems when players fall off the track. Respawn points need to be placed on wide sections of track because when more than one player respawns at the same time, the additional players spawn to the left or the right of the respawn point. If there is no track below the player, they will be picked up by Lakitu and dropped over and over again.

It's a good idea to compare your track's scale to other custom tracks, especially if this is your first track. Many custom track models are available to download from the Google 3D Warehouse.

Inside vs Outside Drift

Mario Kart Wii vehicles have different handling characteristics. There are two main categories, vehicles that use outside drift (all karts and 9 bikes) and ones that use inside drift (Mach Bike, Flame Runner and 7 other bikes). Some turns that might be easy when using one type might be overly difficult with another. Therefore you should test your track with a variety of vehicles at different speeds to determine if your scale works for everyone.

Changing Scale

To change your track's scale, you have the following options:

  • Re-scale your model in your 3D editor. In SketchUp, this means using the Scale Tool. First you should mark the zero point before scaling so you can recenter it afterwards. Then highlight the entire track and choose Scale from the Tools Menu. This is usually the best choice while you are still editing the model, and before you have finished the KMP.
  • You can also adjust the scale when importing your model into CTools, but it is not recommended to do this by extremely high values because it may mess up texture mapping. Adjusting the scale this way will let you use your old .obj file.
  • Use Wiimms SZS Tools to automatically scale the whole track. This includes the course model, vrcorn model, KCL, minimap and all KMP points. For more information see Track Transformation. This is usually the best choice when the level is complete.
  • Use SZS Modifier by going into the course_model MDL0, add a Matrix. Now create a new KCL using the same tool, and update your minimap, and KMP.

Scaling the entire model is not the only option. Sometimes it is better to change the width of roads or the angles of turns, especially if only certain parts of the track are problematic.

After altering your model in your 3D editor, you will also need to edit your collision model to generate an updated KCL, update your minimap and your KMP.

Calculating Scale

To calculate the scale of a track, first import the track into 3ds Max and export the model as a .3DS file into Sketchup. Next, measure the width of the road with the "Tape Measure Tool", and then, use the following formula to calculate the percentage to multiply your model by in 3ds Max.

w*x=s

w= Width of current track
x= Percentage to multiply track by
s= Desired width of track (Usually 2500 near the finish line to accommodate starting)

When you plug in your variables, the equation should look like this:

57.15 (Current scale of track)*x=2500 (Desired scale of track)

Next you solve for x:

x=43.74

Multiply x's value by 100:

x=4374

This is your percentage to multiply your track by to achieve your desired scale. (Tutorial by Pointy Pighead Games)

Recommended Scales for Retro Tracks

These recommended scales are not definitive. When possible, comparisons with Mario Kart Wii's retro tracks were made to determine the scale used by Nintendo. In other cases, the values listed here were arbitrarily made by custom track authors.

Note: Scaling factors may be different when using other 3D editors.

Mario Kart Games

Game Scale
Super Mario Kart Assuming that 1 pixel is 1 game unit:
  • 40.625 for Ghost Valley 2 and Mario Circuit 3
    • 37.5 for the walls in Mario Circuit 3
Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart: Super Circuit Assuming that 1 pixel is 1 game unit:
  • 31.25 for Shy Guy Beach
  • 36 for Bowser Castle 3
    • 27 for the walls
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
  • 1.2 for Peach Beach and Mario Circuit
  • 1.44 for Waluigi Stadium and Cookie Land
  • 1.56 for DK Mountain

BCO files converted to OBJ using MKDS Course Modifier have to be additionally multiplied by 7.5.

Mario Kart DS

NSBMD files converted to OBJ using MKDS Course Modifier have to be additionally multiplied by 16.

Mario Kart 7
  • 11.1 (100/9) for Wii Mushroom Gorge, Wii Coconut Mall and Wii Maple Treeway
  • 12.5 for Wii Koopa Cape
Mario Kart 8 For the models submitted by Ray Koopa to The Models Resource:
  • 1000/2.54 for Wii Moo Moo Meadows
  • 1000/2.413 for Wii Grumble Volcano

Other Games

Game Scale
Diddy Kong Racing
F-Zero (SNES) The scale for White Land I and Big Blue was determined by measuring recharge lanes and narrow sections of track (80 pixels) and giving them a value of 2,000 game units. That works out to 25 game units per pixel. Smaller scales, such as 20 game units per pixel would be acceptable for many tracks, since the tracks vary in size.
LEGO Racers (N64) 1,600,000 (when importing the VRML into MeshLab, exporting as 3DS, and then importing into SketchUp)
Sonic Adventure (DX) A scale factor of 20 was used in SADX Twinkle Circuit
Super Mario 64

Next

It is a good idea to test the scale of your model as soon as possible, so follow the Solidity tutorial to make your track solid.

You will also need edit the KMP to put the start position over the track. Once you are satisfied with the model's scale, you should return to the Modeling Tutorial if your model is not complete.