Reviewing Nadeo's multiplayer shooter ShootMania is an odd exercise; it is, in style if not in substance, rather like passing judgement on a box of paints. It is a matter of fact that some are red and some green, but what really matters is their eventual use. Do they sit in a drawer or become a constant companion - end up as a dilettante's plaything, or in the busy hands of a Picasso? The metaphor doesn't quite hold, of course, for one good reason; these days, everyone shares a canvas.
In ShootMania's case this means ManiaPlanet, a production that perhaps marks the ultimate expression of Nadeo's player-centric philosophy. Ever since its breakout success with the stunt racer TrackMania the developer has focused, with no small degree of altruism, on feeding its dedicated community with more tools, more options, more avenues for sharing. ManiaPlanet is a wonderful endpoint to this vision, a shared hub for Nadeo's games that has been knocking around in prototype builds for several months but seems now in a final form - until the next major update, naturally.
I can sum up why ManiaPlanet is a good thing very easily: it is not a pain in the ass. As you may imagine I have accounts on every gaming service going, and it never ceases to amaze that something like uPlay (from ShootMania's publisher Ubisoft) is such a lousy user experience; this is because it's been misconceived for a world where people play nothing but Ubisoft games. ManiaPlanet avoids such overestimation of its own importance and instead concentrates on fuss-free and fast start-up (yes!), clear navigation (YES) and providing easy access to downloads of community creations (YES I WILL YES). It's won a desktop shortcut on my PC, and that says everything.
ShootMania Storm's release date has been delayed until April 10th, publisher Ubisoft has announced.
The upcoming FPS from TrackMania developer Nadeo had previously been set to launch tomorrow - although we hadn't heard anything about the shooter for several months.
That'll change next month, when Nadeo throws the doors open to its customisable arenas in a new PC beta - due to begin 12th February - lasting until the game's launch. More details on that are on the way.
Classic setting coming as part of free-to-play push from Nadeo.
TrackMania's classic Stadium setting is making a return for Nadeo's sequel, and it'll form the free-to-play component of the soon to be expanded TrackMania 2.
Stadium's on course for release at an as yet undisclosed date early next year, and it'll arrive in tandem with Valley, the first expansion proper for TrackMania 2 since it launched with Canyon last September.
Whereas Stadium places an emphasis on the over-the-top elements of TrackMania, Valley's a more down-to-earth approach. It's based on a map that allows for tree-lined roads, tight corners and an experience that's more like that of a traditional racing game - although its taste for ludicrous jumps ensures that it holds on to the TrackMania character.
Back in 2004, Florent Castelnerac was first introduced to the world of eSports by his friend Matthieu Dalon, founder of the Electronic Sports World Cup. He liked what he saw; 400 players assembled against the French fantasy backdrop of the Parc du Futuroscope, competing across the likes of Counter-Strike, Quake 3, Unreal Tournament and Need for Speed.
Watch them inside. (Or outside - lovely weather, innit.)
It's been a few weeks now since Rezzed concluded, but we thought you still might be interested in checking out a couple of developer session videos that slipped down the back of the sofa. Ubisoft was at Rezzed in force, presenting Ghost Recon Online and ShootMania Storm to the audience on the show floor and in the sessions auditorium.
It became about entertainment, not skills, ShootMania dev says.
The big FPS rivalry of 1999 was fought between two games that decided to ditch single-player campaigns and focus on the future - on being multiplayer and competitive. They were Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament.
Not content with Peter Molyneux, Randy Pitchford, Dean Hall and Paul Wedgwood (plus all the others), we're happy to announce today that Ghost Recon Online and ShootMania Storm will also be on next week's Rezzed developer session schedule.
Ubisoft puts support behind next month's PC and indie games show.
PC versions of Far Cry 3, Ghost Recon Online and Shootmania will all be playable at Rezzed: The PC and Indie Games Show, the organisers have announced. (We're the organisers, incidentally - just trying to sound flash. La di dah.)
Nadeo's community shooter harks back to the 90s heyday of the FPS mod.
Your first thought on firing up ShootMania Storm is: is it 2003? With its plain looks, small maps and basic controls, this online shooter for PC seems to belong to the time French studio Nadeo last made a brand new game, the community racing sensation, TrackMania. Or even earlier than that.
Your first thought on finishing a game of ShootMania is: again, again, again! Just like TrackMania's zippy arcade stunt racing, it has a purity, playfulness, pace and instant accessibility that make it refreshing and addictive in equal measure.
Also like TrackMania, ShootMania is built for a community of tinkerers and sharers. It comes with a powerful but intuitive map editor as well as the ability to use a scripting language to write your own mods and game rules. Like last year's entirely wonderful TrackMania 2: Canyon, it lives on Nadeo's new ManiaPlanet platform, a social network and system for sharing user-generated content.