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I played TrackMania long before it was available on Steam. I'm unsure but I recall it having a different map editor and different tiles than the current free version, TrackMania Nations Forever. How do the two versions differ, specifically in gameplay and maps?

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Trackmania has a pretty unusual release/upgrade path, where three games have become 1 game with a demo.

  • It all started with Trackmania
  • Then came the second game Trackmania Sunrise which ran on an improved engine
  • Trackmania Sunrise got an free upgrade to Trackmania Sunrise eXtreme
  • Then Trackmania got an free upgrade to Trackmania Original which ran on the same engine as Trackmania Sunrise
  • As a promotion for the Trackmania games and the Electronic Sports World Cup TrackMania Nations gets released for free.

Now we have three different trackmania games, and here is where it gets unusual.

  • a Fourth Trackmania game, Trackmania United gets released containing basically all content from the previous games.
  • TrackMania Nations gets updated to the same codebase as Trackmania United, and forever get's added to the name, resulting in TrackMania Nations Forever and Trackmania United Forever

As the codebase, including the shared stages and the networking code between the games is now the same, TrackMania Nations Forever is now nothing more than a demo for TrackMania United Forever and TrackMania United Forever includes everything that is in TrackMania Nations Forever.

(afterwards, there was a contest and corresponding free update, which updated it to TrackMania United Forever: Star Edition )

So effectively, the trackmania now availble on steam, is an updated re-release of the previous trackmania games all together.
The free edition is what used to be a seperate game, updated to be a demo of the full game.

TrackMania Nations Forever consists of a single stage (Stadium), first seen in TrackMania Nations while TrackMania United Forever: Star Edition consists of all stages of all the previous Trackmania games.

  • Stadium (TrackMania Nations)
  • Desert (TrackMania)
  • Rally (TrackMania)
  • Snow (known in TrackMania as Alpine)
  • Bay (TrackMania Sunrise)
  • Coast (TrackMania Sunrise)
  • Island (TrackMania Sunrise)

More information can be found in the Trackmania Wikipedia Article

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I started to get lost around mid answer (wow that's a lot of games, I only knew of three of those!) but now I know the Steam one missed nothing from the old one, thanks :) –  Sadly Not Aug 6 '10 at 14:12
    
This Answer definitly deserves way more interest. –  Sinity Apr 24 '13 at 19:09
    
And there are now three versions of TrackMania2: Canyon, Stadium, and Valley. –  Shaderach Sep 2 '13 at 6:18

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