Trackmania Deep Dip II: The Most Difficult Challenge in Gaming?

A Foddian racing game tower climbing map and a massive Twitch event

Trackmania Deep Dip II: The Most Difficult Challenge in Gaming?
Source: Press Kit.

On May 3rd, 2024, a new Trackmania map called Deep Dip II was released. It’s a 2,100m tall tower with many difficult jumps and zero checkpoints - one mistake means you have to start over from the bottom. The map is said to be twice as difficult as the original Deep Dip, which took 6 days to be completed for the first time and has only been finished by 12 players. Deep Dip II is a massive event on Twitch where thousands of people watch the top players compete for a community-funded 30,000$+ prize pool.

The original Deep Dip and Foddian Games

The first Deep Dip was released in November 2022. It’s also a 2,000m tall tower, divided into 14 floors, and has no respawnable checkpoints. However, it wasn’t the first implementation of the idea: a year before it came Bennett Foddy ate my CPs. With the name of this map, you can clearly see where the original concept came from: Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, the infamously difficult game where a guy in a cauldron has to climb a mountain with his hammer.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is the first Foddian game (hence the name). The defining attribute of Foddian games is frustration, where even small mistakes are incredibly costly. The games are very difficult and often involve climbing something. There are no hard saves, although there can sometimes be soft saves when you don’t fall all the way to the bottom but land on a higher-up ledge instead. Other notable Foddian games are Jump King and Pogostuck.

This Foddian concept is what the Trackmania tower-climbing maps use; players must climb a massive tower with very challenging jumps and tricks. The maps don’t have any checkpoints, but you can sometimes get lucky and land on a previous floor.

Deep Dip. Source: Press Kit.

As mentioned, the first Deep Dip was hugely challenging; it took 6 days before the French streamer and Trackmania Pro Bren became the first to finish the map. Second place was the biggest Trackmania streamer Wirtual, who finished the map after 60 hours of playtime, followed by Ixxonn in third place. The map had a 1,000$ prize pool with 600$ for first place and was a massive event on Twitch with almost all Trackmania streamers reaching peak viewer and subscriber counts.

Deep Dip II

With the massive success of Deep Dip I, the organizers began working on its successor almost immediately. Just like completing the map, building it was no easy feat. Every jump has to be possible and consistent; RNG should be avoided when a single mistake means losing 30 minutes and more of progress. While Deep Dip II was completed almost half a year ago, Trackmania released major updates that changed essential aspects of the game, which meant the map had to be re-verified to make sure the new physics didn’t break it.

After much anticipation, the map was finally released on May 3rd and even managed to exceed the impossibly high expectations placed upon it by the popularity of its predecessor. On release day, Wirtual was the most-watched English-speaking streamer with a peak of more than 35k viewers on Twitch. The Trackmania category as a whole had one of its highest viewer counts as the top players started to compete for new heights. In just 13 days of the event, Wirtual grew from 3,950 Twitch subscribers to 25,000+ and is the #10 most subscribed channel on Twitch with the biggest hype likely still to come when the players are near the finish.

Wirtual's peak viewers on the top and subscribers on the bottom. You can clearly see the massive spikes from the Deep Dip events (and the Deep Dip II spikes will likely get higher near the finish). Source: Twitchtracker.

Since the first Deep Dip was such a massive success, the organizers also opened the price pool for community donations and at the time of publishing this piece, the pool sits at over $32,000 already. This is more than the pool for the official Trackmania World Cup. The first finisher gets 50% with 30% and 20% respectively for 2nd and 3rd place.

The organizers have also developed a special plugin that tracks the height to which players climb. Not only is it used for a detailed stats website and ranking, but also for an in-game “minimap” on the side that shows the current height of other competitors on the server.

Why is it so difficult?

As mentioned in the intro, Deep Dip II was supposed to be twice as difficult as Deep Dip I. Assuming the difficulty scales linearly from the 6 days it took to finish the first one, the map should have been beaten at 12 days. It turned out to be much more difficult than that; only two players have beaten the map, more than a month after its release. 13 days into the competition, players were only at about 60% of the total height, having reached only the beginning of floor 12 in that time. Even optimistic predictions expected it to take at least 20 days to finish and the reality ended up being much longer.

On paper, the maps appear to be similar: Both are around 2,000m tall and the number of floors only went up from 14 to 16 floors. However, the mappers made a very impactful design decision: Deep Dip I was a normal tower where every floor was directly above the previous one. This meant all floors were stacked on top of each other and a fall from a higher floor had a realistic chance to land on a lower one. Deep Dip II, on the other hand, was designed as a big spiral, which means there is a lot of air below each floor making falls a lot more painful. Additionally, if you change a 2,000m straight line to a 2,000m tall spiral, the length of the line increases significantly. Because of this, the total driving distance of Deep Dip II is quite a bit longer. And driving distance is a very misleading term here since you don’t really drive normally on a map like this. Instead, the longer distance means more difficult jumps and tricks.

[BF-DONE]Trackmania Deep Dip II - The Most Difficult Challenge in Gaming?
Deep Dip II - The most difficult tower climbing Trackmania map ever created? Source: Press Kit.

Another interesting aspect of the map's challenge is that it’s basically impossible for a new player to finish. Other Foddian games like Jump King or Only Up are just platformers, very difficult ones, but normal platformers without any special tricks. All of us know how to play a platformer, which means that with a lot of dedication, we could conceivably beat these games. Deep Dip II, however, requires deep knowledge of special Trackmania mechanics like turtling (where you drive upside down), ice, wet plastic, bug-sliding, neo-sliding, speed-sliding, and many more. Nearly all players who have finished Deep Dip I and are competing on Deep Dip II have more than 10,000 hours in the game.

The final design decision that drastically increases the difficulty is that the floors seem to be ordered mostly from lower difficulty at the bottom to higher difficulty at the top. Getting to the beginning of floor 12 (roughly 75% of the way to the top) takes about 30 minutes of mistake-free driving just to explore and try the next difficult jump. Every tiny mistake on the way up causes a big delay or forces a restart from the bottom of the tower. Even the best players only get a couple of attempts to progress per play session and some don’t even get back to their personal bests for days because they get stuck on the lower floors.

It should also be mentioned that practicing in the map editor is strictly forbidden, so players cannot get an unfair advantage by practicing the higher jumps; everything has to be explored naturally.


One of the most interesting aspects of Deep Dip II and Foddian challenges, in general, is psychology. Imagine you spent the last few weeks of your life grinding a single map; you spent the last 45 minutes driving almost 2,000m up an extremely difficult tower, you are on the last few jumps of the map, and you can see the finish. $15,000+ is on the line, probably 50,000+ people on Twitch are watching, and you cannot make any mistakes if you want to win. The pressure must be insane. I get sweaty hands when I bridge over lava in Minecraft with my Elytra equipped and I would probably faint in that situation.

A particularly difficult-looking trick where you have to drive upside-down on a narrow ledge. Source: Wirtual's VOD.

Even just handling the frustration of grinding the map is very difficult. All players want to progress their personal bests and explore new jumps, but even in the best-case scenario, it takes 30 minutes to get to that position. Small errors or distractions on the way up mean you have to restart; maybe your nose itched or somebody outside honked his horn, so back to the bottom you go. Since nearly all the top contenders are streaming, they also have to balance driving with chat interactions; many of them turn off their chat, camera, and microphone to better focus. Still, there are hours when they make many small mistakes on the lower floors and never get any higher. As the frustration increases, the mistakes do too, and breaking that cycle is very difficult. Many rage quits have been observed and not coincidentally, the best players tend to have the best mindsets.

“Casual” Deep Dip II?

With all of the hype that Deep Dip II gets, the mappers have announced that they are working on an “easier” version of the map, that players and streamers who have never played the game before can realistically attempt to beat. It’ll still be very difficult and based on the same map, but all jumps will be made easier and the highly obscure mechanics will be removed. The exact release date hasn't been announced yet, but it’s expected to be out sooner rather than later.

Deep Dip II is an impossibly hard challenge and a fascinating event. Maybe it’s the fact that normal players cannot complete the map that draws thousands to watch the competition online. Even for the best players in the world, the map is the ultimate skill and endurance challenge. The stakes are high and a single mistake can mean starting all over again. With two champions having already bested it, fans will wait to see how many more can mount the tower's ultimate heights.


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