Advanced Track Editing FAQ
Author: Chad Hancock
Email: xxchadxx@aol.com

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Table of Contents
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1: Purpose of this FAQ
2: General Tips & Hints
3: Lesson 1 (Removing Boundaries)
  +++ Remove Wall and Ceiling Boundaries
4: Lesson 2 (Basic Techniques)
  +++ Tunnels
  +++ Jump Flaps
  +++ Spirals
  +++ Additional Scenery
  +++ Shortcuts
5: Lesson 3 (Bending the Rules)
  +++ Intersections
  +++ Multi-level Track
  +++ Half / Full Pipes
  +++ Extra Wide Track
  +++ Instant U-Turn
  +++ Raised Starting Platform
6: Lesson 4 (Extreme Difficulty)
  +++ Double Track
  +++ Intentional Slow Down
  +++ Extreme Jumps
7: Frequently Asked Questions
8: Legal Nonsense

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1: Purpose of this FAQ
-----------------------------------------
This FAQ was created for two reasons.  The main reason is that there was a
thread on the HSX Message Board that has some great posts with strange and
interesting ideas for the track editor.  Rather than continuing to bump the
thread forever or possibly losing the information, I figured I'd copy and paste
some of the better ideas into a FAQ.  This FAQ then evolved to include a bunch
of my own ideas as I fiddled around with the track editor.  The second reason
I created this was because there are (or were, when I wrote this) no other FAQs
for HSX, and I figured there should be at least one.  For $10, you really can't
beat this game as a purchase, especially if you love level editors.

The FAQ is divided into four different categories of tricks, called Lessons.
I've tried my best to divide the different ideas into appropriate lessons so
that you can find them easily.  Each item in the lesson is divided into two
categories: Description and Example(s).  The description is a brief synopsis of
what the trick is and how to do it.  After that I may list one or more examples
of how to use the trick.

I've also tried my best to give everyone credit for their ideas.  If you feel I
didn't give you proper credit, drop me an email.

On a side note, this is my first FAQ, so keep that in mind while reading it.

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2: Tips & Hints
-----------------------------------------

Here are some general tips and hints to keep in mind not only when using these
techniques, but also when designing tracks in general.

- Don't underestimate your speed!  The cars move really fast.  Sharp turns are
going to be really hard to take,  Also, sharp declines are going to make you
airborne.  Unless you are trying to make things extremely difficult, gradual
and smooth are the key words.  I wouldn't recommend making turns much sharper
than 10 degrees unless you have banked them.  I also wouldn't recommend making
changes in decline more than 10 degrees per segment, unless you want to be
airborne.

- Smooth out the track!  Use the circle smoothing feature as much as possible.
A really easy way to bank your track smoothly is as follows.  Say you want to
bank your turn 50 degrees.  Lay out some flat track, then, in two pieces of
track, bank the track to 50 degrees.  Lay out some more track.  Now, highlight
the track using square so that the blue marker is exactly at the halfway point.
In other words, the blue piece of track will be one of the pieces that you
banked.  Then, use the smoothing feature.  You can use a similar technique to
make very smooth hills.  Be careful when running track along the terrain,
especially in hilly or mountainous areas.  The bumps can send you airborne very
easily.

- Longer is better!  The cars go very fast.  Make straight aways and landing
platforms longer than you think they should be.  Don't make corkscrews shorter
than 20 or so pieces of track, unless you want to go flying off.

- Play test your stage!  Play your stage every so often while you're making it,
to ensure every section runs as you planned.  It is better to find out the bad
parts early; it is easier to go back and fix them now than use "Replace Region"
later.

- Pay attention to the AI!  Watch how the AI handles some of your tougher
sections.  Can they make the jumps?  Sometimes the AI isn't able to steer in
midair, or they don't know they have to push down to make the jump.  If there
is a tough jump you think they might not make, hang back and see if some or all
of them die and regenerate before the jump.

- Use alternate routes!  The AI will NOT be able to figure out some of the
tricks listed in this FAQ, especially the stuff in "Bending the Rules."  The AI
will not correctly navigate a half pipe or extra-wide track, so put that stuff
on an alternate route using a fork.  The AI will see the extra track, assume it
is the longer path, and choose the other way.

- Don't forget about Slalom courses!  You don't have to connect the track back
to the starting point.  Some types of tracks work better as Slaloms.  Like most
other things, it should fit in with the overall theme of your track.

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3: Lesson 1 (Removing Boundaries)
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+++ Remove Wall and Ceiling Boundaries

Description:
This is possibly one of the coolest tricks around.  It was discovered by the
HSX guru, BiggieY2Killer.  Normally, when you reach a certain height or a
certain radius from the starting distance, you will reach an invisible wall and
the game will prevent you from building track any further.  However, using this
trick you can temporarily remove those invisible walls.  Naturally, this allows
for some crazy possibilities.

The trick is performed as follows.  Highlight a section of track using the
square button.  The size of the section is not important, but be sure to note
where the section ends.  Next, push start to go to the menu.  From the menu,
select "Region" and then select "Replace Region."  You will now be back in
track adding mode, except the pieces will be orange and purple like in track
edit mode.  Now, for as long as you are in this mode, the vertical and
horizontal boundaries no longer exist.  You can make track as high as you'd
like or as long as you'd like.  To exit this mode, you have to reconnect the
track to the end of the section you highlighted earlier.  It shouldn't be too
tough to find, because it's where that annoying thing at the end of your track
has been pointing the whole time.  Just get your track in the general region
and push select to exit "Replace Region" mode.

Example 1:
Obviously this creates many different possibilities for tracks.  One idea is to
break the vertical limit and then dive back down towards the ground, either
with a 90 degree slope or by a jump.  If you take the track up high enough you
can get above where the sky and stars are drawn.  From high enough up, the
cylindrical polygon used to make the sky looks pretty funny.

Example 2:
Breaking the horizontal limit can be interesting too.  My brother made a track
called the "Baja 500" which is literally a five-hundred mile, ground hugging
straight away across Baja California.  The normal horizontal limit is around 40
miles.  You can also use this limit break to make a really long jump.  I have a
track which had a really long ramp leading up at about 45 degrees with speed-up
paint and nitros the whole way.  At the end is a jump which literally takes
about 30 or so seconds to land.

Example 3:
Here's a tip to making limit breaking easier.  Say you get to a the boundary
and you want to add a decent amount of track but plan on returning to the
general area that you're in eventually.  Simply make a U-Turn plus a few extra
sections of track right at the border, then use the removing boundaries trick
on the U-Turn.  Now, make whatever track you want before returning to the end
of the U-Turn.

-----------------------------------------
4: Lesson 2 (Basic Techniques)
-----------------------------------------

+++ Tunnels

Description:
There are a few different ways to make tunnels.  The first, and most obvious
method, it to highlight the section of track you want and select a bridge,
probably bridge 1, from the menu.  This makes a pretty cool tunnel, but longer
tunnels are often accompanied by a serious drop in frame rate.  A second method
is to use the long, horizontal billboards to make a tunnel.  You can place them
either facing inwards or outwards and use them for the ceiling of the tunnel as
well.  This method won't have any slowdown, but doesn't look quite as cool.
Another method that I really like is to use Trackside #21.  This is the one
that looks like the base of a building with no building attached.  I use the
same highlighting method as before, then add this object.  You then have to go
through and increase the height of each individual object.  Increase the height
so that the bottom is exactly touching the tops of your side rails.  Zoom the
camera way in to determine the height.  This method of tunnel making creates a
really cool visual effect when you're driving through it.  You can also make
really long tunnels with absolutely no slowdown.  The only problem with this
method is that you can't put in any banked turns or inclines because the
trackside object will clip through the track.

Example 1:
BiggieY2Killer suggested putting bridges on a track which has waves on it.
This can make for some really crazy looking tunnels.

Example 2:
You can make some extremely difficult jumps using tunnels.  One of my tracks
has a ramp leading to a jump at an incline of about 45 degrees.  I then have
the track gap section of track decline at about 20 degrees to the ground, where
the normal track resumes.  The track gap section then got a tunnel made out of
Bridge #5.  This makes the jump extremely difficult, because you either have to
go low through the tunnel and risk not making the jump, or fly over the top of
the tunnel, which is hard to do because of the girders at the top of the
bridge.

Example 3:
Using extra wide track (see Bending the Rules) and the third tunnel method
above, you can make a "parking garage" to drive through.  Be sure to make it
on an alternate route, or the computer AI will be in trouble.

+++ Jump Flaps

Description:
From BiggieY2Killer, "This a way to make jumps that constantly pop up and then
go down flat. This adds some variety to the jumps. Choose a symmetrical wave.
Then move two to five blocks down the path. Then put down a normal track block.
You will be left with a single piece of ripple track which acts as a jump when
up or as just regular track when flat."

Example:
Using Multi-level track (see Bending the Rules) or a fork, create another track
running parallel to your current track but right above it.  Make a Jump Flap so
that if you hit the jump right, you can bounce up onto the shortcut.

+++ Spirals

Description:
Spirals can be a lot of fun.  Just run track at a 90 degree bank with a slight
incline or decline and a left or right turn.  You can then have tracks or jumps
run through them or around them for some really cool racing.

Example 1:
From timmypowergamer, "Another favorite of mine is creating a tunnel by making
a track spiral upward at 90 degrees, then later have another track run through
the center of the tunnel. For added fun, make it spiral going down, or better
yet, make it a gap. Its cool because you can see the rest of the racers
traveling up the tunnel while you're falling."

Example 2:
Have the spiral be a fairly thin piece of track, say less than 50% width.
Occasionally create a "pocket" by briefly widening the track to 80% or greater.
You can then throw powerups in the pockets and tempt racers to nab them.

+++ Additional Scenery

Description:
Sometimes the game's limitations on where you can put buildings and such can be
troublesome.  To get around this, use a fork.  Create a fork in the track, but
make the first piece of track in the fork a track gap.  You can then run this
extra track wherever you want to create any extraneous scenery you need.  Don't
even bother reconnecting the fork.

Example 1:
I wanted my track to go at a 90 degree incline up the side of a building.  I
used a fork to put the building in the right place, then used invisible track
to give the appearance of driving right up the windows.

Example 2:
I made a track set in China called "The Great Wall."  I found a fairly rocky
region but with a large, flat canyon in it.  Towards the beginning of the track
I made a fork, which I then ran straight track for a long time.  I then used
four stacked up Trackside #21s all across that track to mimic a gigantic wall.
The regular track then jumps back and forth over the wall a few times.  It also
drives across the top of the wall at one point.

+++ Shortcuts

Description:
Shortcuts can be a lot of fun.  There are ways to make shortcuts without using
forks, but they make the game a little easy if you know about them and the AI
doesn't.

Example 1:
Jump Collidables can be used, if positioned correctly, to throw you off the
track and onto another track.  You can also make the track more difficult by
having the collidables send you further back in the track, rather than a
forwards short cut.

Example 2:
Sharp decreases in the tracks incline while traveling at high speeds can often
send you flying off of the track, and possibly to a point much later in the
race.  Sharp banks (from either turns or corkscrews) can do this as well.  I
once played a track where, if you were going the right speed over a hill, you
could jump to the right and skip over two minutes worth of track.  Avoid these
pitfalls by always smoothing out your track using the circle button.

-----------------------------------------
5: Lesson 3 (Bending the Rules)
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+++ Intersections

Description:
Intersections are a neat trick that can be done fairly easily.  All you need to
do is have two sections of track criss-cross.  In the location that they cross,
drop the barrier heights to zero.  If the two pieces of track are at the exact
same height and incline, you should be able to transfer between them without
crashing.  Thanks to timmypowergamer for coming up with the idea.

Example:
A really great usage of intersections that can heighten the probability of
collisions is to create a figure-eight or pretzel-like shape using a fork.
This way, in a close race, there is a good chance that lots of cars will get to
the intersection at the same time.  Thanks to BiggieY2Killer for this
suggestion.

+++ Multi-level Track

Description:
From BiggieY2Killer, "Just wrap track in a rectangle going up or down like a
staircase then use the track gap option to delete the unwanted portions of the
track. When you're done deleting you should have the tracks stacked above each
other."

Example:
Make a jump leading to a few levels of multi-level track.  Put various power
ups on the higher levels of the track, so that if you hit the jump going fast
enough, you will be rewarded.  Alternately, you could make the jump a small one
so that it is difficult to reach the lower levels easily and put the rewards
down there.

+++ Half / Full Pipes

Description:
Here's another interesting idea from BiggieY2Killer.  Wrap the track in a
spiral form, connecting the edges, and drop the track barriers to zero.  Then
use track gap to delete unwanted portions.  This is a pretty tough trick to
do and might take you a while to set up correctly, but it is pretty fun to
drive through once you get it working.

Here is a more detailed description of the trick that I put on the message
board.  Keep in mind this trick is VERY hard and takes a LONG time.  Anyway:

Say you want to run your pipe in a northerly direction (i.e. heading north).
You're best bet is to set up a jump leading into the pipe. From where you start
your track gap, move forward and left a bit, then turn your track right so that
it is facing east. You are going to be making the bottom of the pipe, so center
the track with the jump (if you want).

Start moving forward, increasing the incline by the same amount of incline each
time. I recommend using a number that divides evenly into 180, such as 3, 4, 5,
6, 9, or 10. Once you have completed a full 360 degree revolution and your
track is back to zero incline, move the track forward a bit and turn around 180
degrees. Here is where it gets really tricky.

If you just straight up turn the track around 180, you will get gaps in your
pipe because even the widest track doesn't line up correctly. So you need to
actually turn the other direction a bit first. So, if you're heading east, you
turn x degrees right, now turn 180 + 2x degrees left, then back x degrees right
again to straighten yourself out. I'm not exactly sure what a good value for x
is... I forget what I used. Try something around 15 or so.

Now the track is facing west, so repeat the above step to make another iteration
of the loop. Turn yourself around again and repeat. Do this for as long as you
want the pipe to be. Now go back and use the track gap feature to remove the
"turn around" parts. For a half pipe, remove the top half of the track.

Example:
As an alternate to the above, try making an inside-out full pipe.  In other
words, make a pipe so that you are driving on the outside of the pipe.  They
have these sorts of things in F-Zero for Nintendo 64.  You can't make the
pipe too steep, though, if you want to be able to drive on the bottom of it.

+++ Extra Wide Track

Description:

This trick, suggested by BiggieY2Killer, is pretty fun and a lot easier to do
than Pipes.  Run a section of flat track, then warp the track around and run
another section of track along side of it.  Be sure they are touching and at
the same height.  Continue doing this until the track is as wide as you like.
Then, drop all the barriers to zero.

Example 1:
See the parking garage example that I used in Basic Techniques.

Example 2:
From BiggieY2Killer, "My current track in production is 5 tracks wide. Pretty
much a field of track. I'm populating it with trees. It all runs on Terrain
Through track. It's my wide open, off road course."

+++ Instant U-Turn

Description:
This technique can really throw human players for a loop, but can still be
figured out by the AI.  From timmypowergamer, "create a jump, and have the
landing spot going the wrong direction with a gap at the end. If you place a
billboard at the end of the backwards track it forces the AI to stop and turn
around to continue on the track, or else they crash and burn."

Example:
One track I made had a jump leading to two landing strips.  One strip was
facing the correct direction, while the other strip was facing backwards.  The
backwards facing track led to a shorter route, but you had to stop all your
momentum and turn around before you plummeted to your doom off the end of the
track.

+++ Raised Starting Platform

Description:
Here's a trick my brother discovered.  By messing around a little bit, you can
raise the starting platform completely off the ground.  Even more bizarre, you
can use this trick to bank the starting platform, or even flip it completely
upside-down!

Example 1:
Make the starting track between 6-12 sections or so.  Highlight the entire
starting platform, and use the up button to raise it to the desired height.
The starting platform will look like a giant hill.  Now, highlight the first
half of the hill, and again raise it to the desired height.  Do the same for
the last half of the hill.  Continue this process until the entire starting
platform is flat.  You can even get the very first section of track to raise
off the ground if you mess around enough.

Example 2:
To bank the starting platform, simply repeat the above trick, but use the
banking feature.  A word of caution, though.  This only works well on slalom
tracks, because the last and first sections of track have to connect at a zero
degree of bank.  Thus, if you try to make this a circuit, it will create some
crazy bumps that cannot be smoothed out with the circle button.

-----------------------------------------
6: Lesson 4 (Extreme Difficulty)
-----------------------------------------

+++ Double Track

Description:
If you have two pieces of track running very close to each other, you can make
things extremely tough.  Run one piece of track upside-down, parallel, and
directly above another piece of track.  Be sure the upside-down road leads to
an easier route.  Basically, if you fall off of the top track and onto the
bottom track, you'll be in a bad spot.

Example 1:
BiggieY2Killer does this trick using a half-wave on the upper track.  If you
drive on the wrong side, the wave will throw you off onto the lower track.

Example 2:
timmypowergamer does this trick using Jump Collidables on alternating sides of
the top track.  This forces you to slalom through the upper track.

Example 3:
Make the "upper track" actually run right-side up and right below the lower
track.  Litter it with Jump Collidables or a wave that will shoot you up onto
the bad track.  This is a little less realistic because you will be jumping up
through the bad track.

+++ Intentional Slow Down

Description:
This is a trick that's possible due to the limitations of the game.  If you
create a lot of polygons using the bridges - namely bridges #1 and #5 - the
game's frame rate will slow significantly.  If you know the game is going to
slow down, you can make some ridiculously difficult jumps passable.

Example:
From BiggieY2Killer, "The tunnel spirals at a steep downward angle. You have to
'fly' down in a spiral because you don't really get to touch the track because
of the angle of the tunnel. However, because every thing goes in to slow motion
at that part it's actually possible to make it through the tunnel as it spirals
downward."

+++ Extreme Jumps

Description:
Jumps are definitely one of the most fun parts of the game.  By extensively
play testing your jumps, you can make highly technical jumps which force
players to hit them at just the right speed or the right angle if they don't
want to die or miss a short cut.  Just be careful to observe the computer while
you're testing.  Usually, if all nine computer guys don't make the jump on
their first try, they'll never make the jump.  And that wouldn't be any fun,
now would it?

Example 1:
From timmypowergamer, "Mid-air crossovers are kind of neat. You have one track
running on top of the other in an opposite direction and them cross them over
in an x, then remove the x portion with a track gap. If you jump too high off
of one you will screw yourself over because you will be going backwards, so it
requires some precision jumping."

Example 2:
I have a track which jumps you through some floating buildings.  The buildings
are all positioned in such a way that you sort of have to weave through them to
make it to the landing platform.  You either have to be very good or very
lucky.

Example 3:
Angular jumps are often really easy for the computer but can be tough for human
players.  For example, have a jump with a 45 degree bank to the right.  Keep
the track straight, but then have the landing platform at a 45 degree bank to
the left.  This type of jump can be very disorienting.

Example 4:
I always find it really hard to make precision jumps.  To do this, start your
first jump at a fairly high altitude.  You then make a series of small
platforms which require you to land and then hit another jump to another
platform further down.  If the platforms are sufficiently small and the jumps
are far enough apart that you have to hit them at max speed, this can be a very
tough endeavor.

Example 5:
Turning jumps can be tricky.  Some of my tracks have jumps which force you to
hit the stick to either the left or the right as soon as you jump.  I usually
put buildings or billboards to give the rookie driver a hint that you have to
turn.  For example, I'll put a building straight ahead and another one to the
left if you have to turn right.  If you put no advance warning for these jumps,
though, then watch out.

Example 6:
You can make a really tough, super long jump using the "Removing Boundaries"
trick.  See the example outlines above.  You can also make a really tough jump
by going past the vertical boundary.  Have you track heading straight down when
you start the track gap and then force people to make a precision landing on a
small strip of track from 200 miles up.  Not easy.

Example 7:
Here's a trick for upside-down jumps from my brother: "Be going upside-down and
then put in a jump-type bit of track followed by a gap. Turn the track over 180
degrees so it's upright again and bring it down to the desired level of the
landing. The further the better. If there's a turn off to the right, the
steering has to be done to the left. When the ship lands it'll automatically
right itself and not blow up. It can make for some really tricky jumps which
the computer can make with a decent level of reliability."

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7: Frequently Asked Questions
-----------------------------------------

1: What are some cool locations to build tracks at?

- Here's a cool website recommended by Teitoku.  You can find coordinates for
almost every city around the world.

http://www.planetware.com/free/cl.htm

- He also recommends this location:

Swiss Alps: 46.26N, 9.49E

- Here's a pair of websites that my brother found:

http://www.meridianworlddata.com/Product-Sample-Data.asp?ItemID=473
http://www.about.ch/geography/index.html#CH_Geo_Mountains

- Here are some other locations that were posted to the message board.  I
forgot who posted them.  Email me if it was you and I'll give you credit.

Grand Canyon = 36N, 112.13W
Mt. Everest = 27.6N, 86.6E
Mauna Loa = 19.3N, 155.35W
Mountain Valley = 60.8N, 7.38E
Snowhill Creek = 77.65N, 12.46E
Candigan Mountains = 30.725N, 78.55E
Dry Sands = 31.035N, 76.8E
Scorched Earth = 1.075N, 113.750E
Windmill Plains = 56.15N, 158.305E
Calm Sands = 77.22N, 66.13W
The Wellings = 43.09S, 69.315W

- If you know of any other cool locations, send me an email and I'll add them.

2: Why do banks look so strange when you use them on a steep incline?

- Like some other things in this game, it seems like not everything was
completely thought through.  In my opinion, the bank feature should always bank
the track in a spiral manner, no matter what the incline is.  In addition,
turning right or left should always turn the track, no matter what the incline.
For whatever reason, though, that isn't the case.  If you want to make a spiral
going upwards, use turn right or left.

3: Why doesn't it save my time trial times for custom tracks?

- Not sure.  It'd be cool, but I'm not sure how hard it would've been to add.

4: Why doesn't weather work for custom tracks?

- It seems that weather effects only work when you're testing the track in
track edit mode.  I certainly haven't been able to get them to work in either
time trial or circuit mode, but maybe I'm doing something wrong.  If you have
some insight, email me.

5: How do I get the boost off the starting line?

- Try to hit the accelerator exactly when the "Go" sound starts.  You will glow
blue if you did it correctly.  The closer you get to hitting it exactly on the
sound, the longer you will glow for.

6: I just added a bridge (or something) to a highlighted section of track when
I didn't want to.  Do I have to delete every piece individually?

- No.  Just highlight the sections you want to delete, go to the region menu,
and select "Depopulate Region."  Of course, this will also get rid of all of
the other items that you've added in that section.

7: Why do the Jump Collidables have their own menu?

- Who knows?  They might've planned on adding more features, but the game feels
somewhat incomplete.

8: I just drove through a building (or billboard or tree) and didn't blow up!
What happened?

- You have to be airborne for the game to detect the collisions.  You can lay
track down directly through a building and you won't blow up unless the track
is the landing pad for a jump.

9: The building (or billboard or tree) polygons are clipping through my track
in the race, but I can't see it in the editor.  What's going on?

- The track editor doesn't show everything completely accurately unless you
zoom in really close.  If you have lots of buildings laid out near the track,
be sure to zoom in throughout that whole section of track and look at it from
a few different angles.  Unless, of course, that is the effect you want.

10: Is there a code to unlock all the tutorials?  Do I really have to play
through the whole game?

- As far as we know, no to the first question and yes to the second.  Don't
worry, it's really not that tough.  Just put it on difficulty level #1 and play
through the stages.  Once you learn how to use the shoulder buttons to turn, it
should be really easy.  You only have to finish the top three for the cup.  The
only one that I even had to play a second time is the third circuit cup.  Plus,
playing through will give you a good feel for how to create tracks and maybe
give you some good ideas.

11: What car is the best?

- None of them really stand out.  I usually use the last one, the Kato WASP,
simply because I thought it looked the coolest.

12: Should I buy this game or (fill in blank - F-Zero, Wipeout, etc)?

- Well, if you want a really outstanding single player game and frantic
multiplayer game play, go with one of the other ones.  Maybe save your money
for the new F-Zero for Gamecube, because that looks pretty cool.  However, for
$10, this game is a really great deal, especially if you like level editors.
Personally, I would've paid $20-30 for this level editor.  So if you want to
make your own tracks, get this game.

-----------------------------------------
8: Legal Nonsense
-----------------------------------------

Copyright 2003 Chad Hancock
This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal,
private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other
web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a
violation of copyright. All trademarks and copyrights contained in this
document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders.