Shootmania is safe for children, and you can turn it into any FPS you’d like
I played Shootmania Storm at an Ubisoft event before E3, but the game I played wasn’t Shootmania Storm as much as it was an example of Shootmania Storm. I played for the red side, and our goal was to capture the blue team's towers before they captured our own structures. Our arm-mounted weapons fired splashy, firework-like blasts at each other. Players disappeared in a neat Tron-like “de-rez” effect after they were hit twice. It was fast, precise, and pleasantly non-violent. “The idea behind it is that we aim to be the most accessible FPS possible. In competitive gaming there has been a problem in the past, even if it’s a great game, of presenting the e-sports scene with an FPS because it’s violent, with the headshots, blood, and all of that,” Edouard Beauchemin, the product manage for Nadeo Live, told the Penny Arcade Report. “It’s good that those games exist, but we think there are also people who would watch a sport that, like any other sport, it’s not about killing your opponent but eliminating them.”He stressed that he wasn’t judging violent games, but that there are very few choices when it comes to shooters that you might feel comfortable playing with your family. “We think there are many very fun, violent and gory games out there, that we enjoy playing ourselves, but we thought there was something more positive and more fun about shooting without violence,” he explained. While that’s interesting, the real hook is that Shootmania Storm isn't just a game, it's a platform for game creation, and all are welcome to create the FPS they've always wanted to play.
Make whatever you want
Fans of Nadeo's the existing Trackmania games know that while the racing is fun, the real joy comes from the fact that gamers never have to play the same track twice. Trackmania comes with an editor that allows anyone to create a fun track to race on in a matter of minutes. The community pours new maps into the servers, and you’ll often find new maps that do something interesting and fun with the game. Shootmania Storm takes that strategy of community empowerment to the next level. The game will ship with a powerful but simple level editor and a scripting language that will allow people with even limited experience to create their own game types, modifications, and rules. I asked Beauchemin if anyone, no matter the skill level, would be able to play with the rules of Shootmania, just as anyone can make a Trackmania track. “Scripting yourself? No. Choosing scripts, yes,” he explained. Just like levels, scripts will be uploaded and shared on the game’s servers, so you’ll be able to look at what the community is doing in terms of modifications, and then load those into the maps you create. But you will need some knowledge of scripting to work with the these tools, even though they promise to be intuitive. “If you have some knowledge of scripts, this is a very simple [scripting language]. If you know anything about scripts, you can modify it. There are tons of people out there who know how to do that, and it’s a text file, so you can download it very easily and you can use it in your map,” he said. Players will be able to create a level very easily, and then download additional scripting for the type of game you want to play, set up any variables that need to be set up, and the game will give them a green flag if they’ve done it well or a red flag if something doesn’t work. The system is designed to allow maximum ease of use and experimentation. “The great thing that we’ll be releasing this summer is ManiaPlanet2.0,” Beauchemin explained. “Creating maps is great, but now we have this scripting language called ManiaScript where you can modify the script, you can make your videos, set up pre-plays and all that, and pack that in one single file that others can download and install easily with one click, like a skin. You can play it just by clicking on it, with dedicated ranking, and the modes that you want. It could be something like your own tournament with a set of maps, your own rules, or you can create an adventure with different objectives. That will all be possible and easy to share.” This creates multiple layers of modifications for the game: One group of people can use the level editor to make new levels, and another group who knows more about scripting can create any number of game modes and rules. At this point anyone can browse the selections of both, mix and match the two, and play the games online. Just like Trackmania, you’ll never know what you’ll see when you log on, but unlike the racing game Shootmania Storm will allow players to change the very rules of the first-person shooter along with the levels. In Diablo terms, your maps are socketed. You create the level, and then you can download a set of rules to snap into that map to adjust how the game is played. Nadeo will be providing all the tools to make this sort of sharing as simple as possible, and this will also open the possibility of creating packages that will act almost like self-contained games.
The possibilities are thrilling
The game will be released later this year for $25 and I'm excited to see what the community is able to do with these tools. Of course, all of these options would be useless if the core game play isn't fun, but I had a blast playing with the simple level concepts and modes that were shown to us. The game looks and feels like a sport, not a celebration of guns or military power, and that's a great change of pace for a competitive shooter. Go ahead and sign up for the beta, and I hope to be shooting you online very soon. Imagine a game where anything can be changed, re-arranged, and adjusted, and the tools are provided from the time of purchase to allow you to create your own take on the game. You will be able to play different maps and different games altogether just by moving from server to server, and everyone's work can be made available for remixing and use in our own projects. If Shootmania Storm finds even half the community Trackmania has enjoyed in the past, this could keep players occupied for a very long time.