At this point in time, there are twenty videos on my Youtube channel showing off a variety of my custom designed races across both the PC and Xbox One versions of GTA Online. Ever since I first got onto it in 2015, one of the first things I had done was get into the Creator and make a few races.
I sought to use a wide range of areas within the map, though even I can’t deny there were a few areas that I liked to return to. With Rockstar adding a greater range of options to build races, such as a wealth of props that easily allow players to take the action away from the limitations of the map, creations could get a lot more wild, as I started to experiment with.
New vehicles to play around with and a Transformed race mode to allow vehicle swaps mid-race brought even more options to the table. I can’t claim to be one of the best map makers, but I always try to find new ways to create a race that makes it unique from other creations. While I’m not going to detail a complete history here, I do want to talk some highlights.
One of the cruellest of the early races involved Mount Chiliad. From what I’d seen around, there were races that involved part of it, but there had never been a race that used all of it. And so I set out to do so. Needing to take a trip to the top via the pathway, and then back down the other side on that pathway, I then created a circuit that used no roads. Only the mountain.
To make things even harsher for prospective racers, I turned the motorbike class off. They were banned. Motorbikes, I felt, would make it too easy. Cars always struggle on the pathways of the mountain, and here I was pushing racers to speed along them. It would clearly end up in plenty of frustrating moments, but I still I kept it in, even if such made the race longer than it had to be.
The circuit around the mountain made for a better race, but even that still presented a harsh environment for a race. Powerful vehicles would struggle going full throttle up the slopes, and the less powerful vehicles wouldn’t stand a chance. But the race was possible to complete – even during the winter snow. Others who I took on those adventures gave up pretty quick, though.
Another of the PC races from the early days is City Escape. You can see the idea behind it straight away, with three of my tracks named after Sonic the Hedgehog related things. Seemed only a matter of time before I took it a bit further and tried to base a race closer to the inspiration. And what better choice to do so than City Escape – a level based on San Francisco?
Yeah, yeah, San Francisco and Los Angeles aren’t the same city even if they’re in the same state, but there were still hills to use. One obvious thing I realised was that I couldn’t recreate the starting part on a downhill area, so I instead mapped it purely based on a top-down view. Then I tried to find an area where I could end the race with a jump into the finishing checkpoint and do the same with that ending section, though to a lesser effect than the start.
Then all I needed to do was connect the two parts, and where better to take the race than into the Vinewood Hills. And since the map will be called City Escape, what if I put a number of roadblocks around that made it seem like the racers were being forced down a certain route? There wasn’t a lot placed, but the thinner roads would make tighter turns difficult. There were a few difficult turns regardless, however, including a part where racers had to make a handbrake turn.
When the stunt props were added to the Creator, I tried a few things with them. I used the tubes a fair bit, with one race taking place almost entirely within them as it twisted up Mount Chiliad, along with another that had racers fighting to stay on the track as they raced on top of the tubes rather than inside them. Split Ends was also a tube heavy track, featuring a few jumps between sections of tube, along with being the first track I’d experimented with two routes for racers to travel.
After a year of staying exclusively on the PC version for Online, I decided to jump on the Xbox One version for more than the story mode. The first few tracks weren’t the most exciting of endeavours, with The Beach being a circuit race that included the Del Perro Beach, The Long Beach that aimed to take a race across the entire western beachfront, using props to bridge gaps, and a porting of City Escape (but this one using a lot more props to block the roads).
I didn’t truly get into my stride until the latter half of 2017, where I created loop CRISIS loop, which was a simple race that involved two loops created with tubes. I wanted it to be simple, with a single great setpiece followed by a smaller one, which is where the idea of a vertical and near horizontal loop came from.
The vertical one was meant to shoot racers down a sloping tunnel on their roofs, where they would connect to a vertical tunnel and land on their wheels to continue on. That didn’t work as well as I’d hoped it would, since there wasn’t enough speed to shoot racers onto their roofs, but it worked as a race so I allowed it to be published.
Races set around a specific special vehicle were something I had experimented with through Rooftop Rumble – using the Ruiner 2000 to jump between rooftops of the city, and Flying Faith – using the Rocket Voltic to boost across to checkpoints that would otherwise be hard to reach. The Oppressor might have been added in a later update, but it became one of my favourites. And I wanted to create a race based upon it.
By this point, Transform Races were a thing, so I had the option to be a bit creative. I also wanted to visit a place I’d been to a lot in the early days. Bikes could easily get around Mount Chiliad, but a flying bike would make such even easier. The Oppressor would be used for getting up the mountain, then, but what of down? Another thing I’d wanted to feature in a race was a freefall from Chiliad. This race allowed me to do so twice.
Recently, I’ve been focused on two things with race creation. I’ve been returning to the older style of race creation, where there were no such props to escape the limitations of the map. At the same time, I also want to create a race entirely from those stunt props. I’d already experimented with both before, with Run Around and Dare to Drop creating races that had some great parts to them. I wanted to go further with both concepts, though.
While I wouldn’t use props to escape the limitations of the map, there was nothing to stop me from restricting the field of play with them, to make the route feel more racetrack-like. For larger races, that is a problem with the 200 prop limit, as I found with the other style of creation. Such meant that Sapphire Fury had one corner without a barrier on it. The race didn’t suffer for it, though, as that corner would always have had a wide area.
The race made completely from props was much harder to create, thanks to the 200 prop limit. The plan I’d had involved a larger area of play, with a bit more of a complex route through the use of green panels to simulate grassy run-off areas that would be elevated slightly above the road. That plan quickly shrunk in size, with the route seeing several changes to shorten it.
One thing I had wanted to include was a chicane, but the place I wanted to include it moved from near the end of the track to the middle. I named it the lightning bolt, though the similarity was barely there, as once again I had to make cuts to make sure everything was enclosed. Such limitations also made for some awkward looking corners. But there was a serviceable race here, even if it remained completely flat.
Since I spend so much of my time on the Xbox One version of GTA, I have been wanting to return to those older races of the PC version and – just as with City Escape – port them over with a few changes that make sense for what the race is. Crossovers is one that would benefit from a few stunt prop additions, for example. I wouldn’t be doing so with all the races, though. Just those I feel are worth it.
I still have ideas that I want to try, and I will be within the Creator testing them out. There’s also a few vehicles that I still have yet to touch when it comes to races, whether that be Transformed or normal. One thing you can be sure of, though (at least on the Xbox One) is that there will be more races appearing created by me, with videos on my channel to show them off.