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Many years ago I was playing this classic INT game with my uncle when he found what looked like a hidden road. I remember that he passed through an opening in the trees and found a road that led to nowhere. 

Does anyone remember which track that was on and how to get to it?

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They’re scattered all through the game. You can find a drag strip in the middle of track one. Go to about 9 o’clock on the course and turn inward. On other tracks just explore. 

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the easiest way to find a road segment is track 1.

Drive your car to line up the top (left side) of your car with the edge of the bottom of the road.  So, your car is JUST of the road. 

This will let you go around the "globe" and you will see a "drag strip"

 

I have explored a lot of the globe and found many segments of roads, curves etc.

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Posted (edited)

For sure, I remember getting on the drag strip, trying to do 180s to stay on the road.  I don't remember where, but someone did document it all. Checkout the website linked below.  Turns out there's one within course one, northeast section.

https://web.archive.org/web/20161215123652/http://gameplay-archive.org/GPA_EARproject.html

 

The one I remember ran north-south, so maybe I found the one in course two.

Edited by mr_me
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Here's a video from that page I linked earlier.  The website seems to be gone but the youtube video is there.

 

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9 minutes ago, mr_me said:

Here's a video from that page I linked earlier.  The website seems to be gone but the youtube video is there.

 

Really cool!!!👍

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Keith Robinson wrote, on the intellivisionlives website (now at history.blueskyrangers.com ) "The five courses are mapped on a globe; you can drive off one, through the trees, and onto another, or onto the hidden drag strip. Drive off at the right place and the trees are spaces so that, without touching the hand controller, your car will circle the globe forever (well, until the screen-saver times out)."

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On 7/19/2021 at 5:38 PM, BSRSteve said:

Keith Robinson wrote, on the intellivisionlives website (now at history.blueskyrangers.com ) "The five courses are mapped on a globe; you can drive off one, through the trees, and onto another, or onto the hidden drag strip. Drive off at the right place and the trees are spaces so that, without touching the hand controller, your car will circle the globe forever (well, until the screen-saver times out)."

Wow! I want to see this... Any idea where this spot is?

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13 hours ago, Intelligentleman said:

Wow! I want to see this... Any idea where this spot is?

There are two drag strips that I know of, one runs E-W and the other runs N-S.  Or perhaps you mean the spot where can keep going forever.

 

The N-S drag strip is just south of where you begin Track 2.  Find an opening anywhere you can between the trees and buildings.  You can just barely make it out if you stay far to the right while the track is heading SW, just after the first turn.

 

The E-W drag strip can be seen inside Track 1.  Stay far to the right while the track is heading NE, just after the first turn.

 

Where you can keep going forever is the card row just below the road from where Track 1 heads west.  Your position has to be pixel-perfect.  I suggest using the white car for easiest positioning.  While there, you'll catch a couple more dead-end roads heading in a diagonal direction.

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I just posted a ROM hack on my website to disable crashing - and also to end a 2-player game when somebody reaches 5 points instead of 50.  This should make it easy for somebody looking to resurrect the Explore Auto Racing project.

 

Turns out, there are a lot more drag strips than I originally realized.  There are two inside of Track 1 and three inside of Track 2.  There are a few in the vicinity of Track 4, including one that looks like a chunk of Track 5 and one that's just a curve.  I'm curious now how the world data is condensed into this 4K ROM.

 

Let's go exploring.  (No, this isn't my intended last post, for those of you who know the reference.)

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Posted (edited)

I found a total of four places where you can go "around the world" travelling east or west.

 

Three of them involve Track 1.  In any of the three "tiers" where Track 1 is heading east or west, position yourself immediately off the road one card to the south.

 

The fourth one is also one card off the road to the south, and it's right at the beginning of Track 4.

 

There are a few places where you can travel a long time but will eventually hit a tree before you go all the way around.  Next I'll see if there are any north-south wraparounds.

 

Update: there are no north-south wraparounds.

Edited by Zendocon
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FYI some trees are random.  So, some paths may work some of the time and not others.

I did a little demo of short cuts a few years back during an auto racing HSC.  This is one of my favorite games.  It was one of my first and one of the few 1 player games early on.

 

Track #5 has 2 short cuts that save a bunch of time, one of them will be blocked some of the time.

 

Going to have to check out your hack!

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On 7/18/2021 at 6:19 PM, classicgamer74 said:

Many years ago I was playing this classic INT game with my uncle when he found what looked like a hidden road. I remember that he passed through an opening in the trees and found a road that led to nowhere. 

Does anyone remember which track that was on and how to get to it?

This is exactly how I was introduced to Intellivision. Not this game, but by my uncle showing me.

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It seems the world is comprised of 16x16 "rooms".  The dimensions of each room I don't know just yet, but the drag strips provide clues.  Of particular interest is the chunk of Track 5, found in the void SE of Track 1.  Where this and the other strips end would be where one room ends and another begins.  The two drag strips hidden inside Track 1 are right in the middle between adjacent "horizontal tiers" which I mentioned before.  Also, there is a repeating building pattern on the left side of the road where it travels north-south, seen often in Track 2.  The use of repeating rooms explains how it all fits into 4K ROM.

 

What does all this mean in plain English?  If you're familiar with Motocross and designing your own tracks, this might be easier to visualize.  Each room has different types of road (curved or straight, and in what direction, or nothing but trees), and with it, the nearby buildings.

 

If I were to do screen captures of each of the rooms, splicing the car graphic out of the picture, it wouldn't be too hard to copy & paste those room graphics into a huge bitmap file and finish what the EAR project started.  I could even leave a small separation between rooms, so people can easily see the 16x16 grid layout.  If there is indeed random tree placement, it might make things interesting, but it won't affect the tracks.

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Using the keyboard to steer...  Did the best I could to get shots.
I also forgot how to get screen shots. :(  So used snipping tool in windows.  But had to crash to do it. 

I know it can be done with some function key, I just didn't take the time to figure it out.

But this is the same corner of track 5.  You can clearly see the trees change.

some tree.JPG

less tree.JPG

no tree.JPG

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1 hour ago, Zendocon said:

It seems the world is comprised of 16x16 "rooms".  The dimensions of each room I don't know just yet, but the drag strips provide clues.  Of particular interest is the chunk of Track 5, found in the void SE of Track 1.  Where this and the other strips end would be where one room ends and another begins.  The two drag strips hidden inside Track 1 are right in the middle between adjacent "horizontal tiers" which I mentioned before.  Also, there is a repeating building pattern on the left side of the road where it travels north-south, seen often in Track 2.  The use of repeating rooms explains how it all fits into 4K ROM.

 

What does all this mean in plain English?  If you're familiar with Motocross and designing your own tracks, this might be easier to visualize.  Each room has different types of road (curved or straight, and in what direction, or nothing but trees), and with it, the nearby buildings.

 

If I were to do screen captures of each of the rooms, splicing the car graphic out of the picture, it wouldn't be too hard to copy & paste those room graphics into a huge bitmap file and finish what the EAR project started.  I could even leave a small separation between rooms, so people can easily see the 16x16 grid layout.  If there is indeed random tree placement, it might make things interesting, but it won't affect the tracks.

Do it!! 👍

 

It would be awesome to finally have a full map detailing the tiles (detiling?) that comprise the world map.

 

If you can get all the screen captures done and label them accordingly, I can volunteer to stitch them together and clear out the cars from view as well.  If there's any interest, I can then have large posters created.  :)

 

     -dZ.

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That would be a cool poster and maybe a puzzle also!  Very difficult puzzle with the limited colors.

 

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Status update: I made good progress on the world map last night.  I should have it ready by the end of the week.


The rooms are 16x16 cards in size, as I predicted.  Getting screen captures of an entire room is a pain, because it takes a minimum of 2 screenshots, since the display only shows 11 cards at a time vertically.  I have to get the car into the right position as I take each shot, but at least there's some leeway here.  With the two shots, I then pixel-blit the car out of the picture, calculate the exact amount to trim out of each edge, and splice the two shots together.  Fortunately, once that's done, I can lay it out in multiple places on the world map.

 

Here are a few interesting findings from just the 7 rooms I captured so far:

 

The "curlicue" stretch of dead-end road just south of the east end of Track 1 is what I used as a starting point to know where one room ends and another begins.  Where it angles on the right side is the "international date line" from a latitudinal standpoint, wrapping around between the southern edge of the map to the northern edge.  East of the room comprising the south end of the curlicue is the northernmost edge of Track 3.  Perhaps I'm wrong though, and the whole curlicue is in the NE corner of the map, putting the south tier of Tracks 1 and 2 right at the "international date line".

 

Diagonal and curved parts of the road begin and end in the corners, with the middle of the road being in the corners.  There must be a bit of data that indicates when to draw a tip of roadway in each of the 4 corners, because I have two "diagonal" rooms captured which are identical, save for the presence of a tip of road in the corner of one.

 

Speaking of diagonals, in case you were wondering why these roads are a little crooked, it's because the "corner tips" of road are curved at one edge, so they can be reused as turns onto straightaways.  In the center of the room, the road offsets slightly back again to correct itself.

 

I haven't gotten to the north-south straightaway room just yet, but the east-west straightaways have the road drawn in the bottom 3 rows, with the same arrangement of trees, buildings, and water hazards in the 13 rows above.  These same rooms are used to draw the two drag strips inside of Track 1.  The one drag strip immediately south of the Track 1 starting point is one room greater in length than the other one.  This particular room is reused a lot, so once I started copying its image onto the world map, I suddenly appeared to have made a lot of progress.

 

@1980gamer was right around random tree placement.  This happens in the "forest" rooms that contain trees only.  They can contain road patches in the corners.  Other than that, all but the top row and left column draws trees randomly at the moment that row/column comes into view.  I discovered that while getting two screenshots for the first "forest" room.  I had a small patch of water barely in view from the room to the west, which I used as a landmark, but I had to circle around a bit to get the car into the exact position for the shot.  When I spliced the 2 shots together, I noticed the trees didn't line up.  So far, I have two "forest" room captures, one with a patch of road in the SW corner, and another with a patch in the SE corner.  I'll have to extend the final image size to fill the dimensions of a 4K TV display, so I can add notes in the margins, including the random trees.  In all the other rooms, the trees, buildings, and water hazards are non-random.

 

I'm wondering if Track 5 wasn't an afterthought.  It's clearly a result of clever room tile arrangement to create all those hairpin turns, fit into the little bit of space left in the north central portion of the world map.  The "curlicue" I mentioned earlier might have been left over from the level designer's scratch space in the corner of the world map, and was probably meant to have been taken out before the game went into production.

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On 8/1/2021 at 7:38 AM, Zendocon said:

...

If I were to do screen captures of each of the rooms, splicing the car graphic out of the picture, it wouldn't be too hard to copy & paste those room graphics into a huge bitmap file and finish what the EAR project started.  I could even leave a small separation between rooms, so people can easily see the 16x16 grid layout.  If there is indeed random tree placement, it might make things interesting, but it won't affect the tracks.

I thought maybe you'd extract the data from the rom and write a program to plot an image of the map.

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Of course, hacking the ROM and changing the tracks, with their starting point and checkpoint locations, is also on the list.  But I thought doing it through meticulous screen captures would get a more immediate result.

 

I made a lot of progress yesterday.  All the tracks are filled in, save for the various "forest with corners" tiles.  As I go, I'm driving around and finding a couple more drag strips I didn't know about.  There are only seven unique rooms, barring the corners.  It's impressive how the tracks turned out in the end, knowing all this.

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How cool is it that what we used to just explore by crossing over tracks now will be in a map form.  I used to try and draw out what I found until I realized all the tracks were active and I was just driving on each one of them.

 

Always remembered that.   Can't wait to see the map, although that posted video has it at the end, will be great to see a printed version of it as well.

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Ta-da!

 

I included a .zip file with the entire world map as well as the individual room tiles.  I wanted it to be 100% lossless, so they're all saved as 24-bit bitmap files.  Yes, I know the world map is 12MB in size.  From here, do whatever you want with it.  I left one pixel of space between room tiles so you can see how it all fits together.

 

As I mentioned before, the "forest" rooms randomly draw trees as each row and column comes into view, except in the leftmost column and the top row.  I created separate tiles for the 12 combinations of "road corners" so you don't see the exact same tree pattern throughout the whole map.

 

I think there might also be random trees in the one quadrant of the two "curve" rooms, but I manually erased the trees & water and drew the road corners for these rooms, rather than take separate screenshots.  In one place, a small part of the building's shadow is erased as well.

 

One more takeaway from all this is that I think all the extra drag strips were put in not so much as an easter egg, but to draw extra buildings beside the tracks.

WorldMap.bmp Auto Racing Map.zip

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