Sunday, 29 April 2012

ShootMania Storm - So that's where my Level Editor went!!

Shootmania, FPS, Trackmania, Level Editor

An interesting  thought occurred to me the other day that I'm pretty sure many of us have wondered over the last few years.

Where the hell did our Level Editors go in First Person Shooters?

When I used to play Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem and all the other First Person Shooters that were available at the time, there were several tools that could be used to create maps, and in some cases even change the way that the game played. 

Nowadays the more popular multiplayer FPS games (Call of Duty and Battlefield as an example) have no community created maps or mods available whatsoever. Instead we're forced to fork out more cash (and having to wait long periods of time) to purchase map packs created by the developer. 

Needless to say, I started writing an article about this, aptly titled "Level Editors in Multiplayer - A Feature Forgotten?" and about halfway through writing the article (as I picked at the internet for juicy morsels of information and facts)...I came across something that blew my article right out of the water.

Shootmania, FPS, Trackmania, Level Editor

The article I came across was for an upcoming title called "ShootMania Storm" which is currently in development by Nadeo and set to be published by Ubisoft.

If the word "Mania" in the titles rings any bells, you may be familiar with another much-loved series of games from the same developer. - Trackmania.

Shootmania, FPS, Trackmania, Level Editor

Trackmania, (for those of you who never played any of these games) is a series of arcade racing games that became incredibly popular due to it's user-friendly track creation tools.

These tools allowed you to create your own tracks and set up stunts.

Once done, you could race the track, perform stunts and pretty much do anything you wanted. These tracks also allowed you to share it with others online.

Shootmania, FPS, Trackmania, Level Editor

Nadeo is now set to bring the same amount of customization to it's own breed of Multiplayer First Person Shooter, and will finally give us the variation that is so lacking in the genre today.

The game appears to have taken much of its inspiration from fast-paced shooters like Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament and will play out at a similarly frantic pace.

Shootmania, FPS, Trackmania, Level Editor

However, there are some key differences to both gameplay and style.

Shootmania Storm won't have any form of explosions, and will instead focus on shooting as it's main form of damage.

The game will also not contain any Blood or gore and be will be specifically tailored with e-sports in mind.

An unusual choice made by the developer is that of weapon selection with only one weapon available for standard usage and contains 4 plasma bursts that once used will require some time to re-load.

Although unusual, this dynamic will allow skill to prevail in online matches and not weapon choice.

Shootmania, FPS, Trackmania, Level Editor
There will be specific block in the game (called "Rail-Blocks") that will provide you with an incredibly accurate and deadly rail-gun for use when standing on that block. Stepping off the bock will mean losing the weapon and provides some interesting tactical choices to make.

Other blocks will be available on release (such as jump-pads) and the scripting utility can be used to create your own.

Shootmania will be released in 3 parts on PC, with the first being "Storm" that will be released soon, and the second being "Cryo". The title of the third release has not been announced as of yet.

With my previous article scrapped, the question of where my level editor disappeared to may have been answered. (in one game at least)

I just hope that other games start doing the same.


  1. Cool article!


  2. Seems like you have very bad searching skills.
    Between Doom/Quake/DukeNukem and COD/BF3, lays big list of great multilayer games with very nice editors and mod tools!
    here some examples:
    CS 1.6/Source
    TF 2/Forever/Classic
    HL/HL2 Deathmach
    Day of Defeat
    Left4Dead 1/2
    Portal 1/2
    Q3 Arena/TeamArena/Live
    UT 1/2/3
    Gears of Wars
    Crysis 1/War Head/2
    FarCry 1/2

    Ofc i didn't tried SM editor yet, but according to the videos, it quite similar to Trackmania editor. That means that SM editor have uber-big limitations then any other FPS editor.
    So if you are really love mapping for Multi-player FPSs, your choice is really pity.
    I think that this editor is more for players then for mappers, so be prepared that your map will sink in the heap of similar-looking maps, and if you really want to pimp-out you map you'll need to build more ridiculous arrangement of blocks as possible.
    Look at TMUF maps if you do not believe me.
    Game-play of SM looks interesting but editor not, especially with comparison to others.

  3. My purpose wasn't to list all the First Person Shooters which have editors, and so I purposefully left many of those out. The ones I mentioned were the ones whose level editors I was the most experienced with previously.

    My point stands though that some of the more popular ones just don't have this feature and would benefit greatly from it. Not to mention that none of this is generally available on console.

    Shootmania may end up being limited in choice regarding editing, but this is not neccesarily a bad thing. Due to the level-editors being more user-friendly there may be some truly brilliant maps that come out of the woodwork.

    It may be a strange comparison, but if a game like Minecraft had structured itself as being less user-friendly, then many of the incredible structures and level designs may not have seen the light of day.

  4. Why then in the beginning of article you place question like this:
    "Where the hell did our Level Editors go in First Person Shooters?"
    They are here under your nose, works perfectly good already.
    I just think that you do not care much about editing or mapping, because it means much more Giving then Getting, and user-friendliness that kills functionality is for players who gets, but not for creators who gives.

  5. My issue is not with the games that already give level editors to us. For the 8 million plus people who play Call of Duty or the millions that play Battlefield 3, there just isn't the option.

    Those that do give us the option I certainly give a thumbs up of course.

    But those that don't should have that option as well.

    Regarding user-friendliness...many of us just don't have the know-how to create maps in many of these games.

    Providing us with tools to do that regardless of our level of understanding allow the masses to create these maps as well. There isn't anything wrong with that.

    I agree with giving back to the gaming community being rewarding, but shouldn't we all be allowed the opportunity to do so.

    I highly respect anyone that is knowledgeable with regards to the scripting and level-design on more advanced level creator tools, and certainly appreciate contributions they give to the games we play.

    A greater degree of accesibility to the public simply means a larger selection of levels / maps than we are already exposed to.

    Also, a simpler level editor means easier implementation on console, which I fully endorse.

  6. The user-friendliness is really for a question of quality of the experience as well I think. The goal is the style of the map you want to play with the mode you want. If to make a text it would require to build each word with letters made of small dots to write with a dedicated software that makes you build one every hour accessible by only a small portion of the users, I doubt we would have so many nice articles ^_^

    1. You are right, it is another dimension of quality.
      But your comparison with text editor doesn't fit with this situation so well.
      It is a really stupid to use pixel painting for spelling text, as stupid as use text editor for pixel art.
      But if you like the "text editor" metaphor so much, then i can compare TM/SM editor with the "Phrase editor" that doesn't allow you to use letters, numbers or any symbols, instead of that you can place only words from the fixed list.
      Thus, if we reduce English lexicon to one hundred words, how much nice articles we would have ? ^_^

      Throwing away all the metaphors stuff, i'm just talking about native mapping possibilities that we have in editors like Hammer, Radiant, UnrealEditor or SandBox or ....

      I didn't want to argue, game is not released yet, and maybe Nadeo already evolve the editor and add some of the "pixel painter" and the "Text editor" in addition to the "Phrase editor", time will show.

      Good luck to Nadeo.

    2. A quick word to Anonymous on his comments -

      Just to let you know, I'm actually quite grateful regarding your comments on this post.

      It allows for an enjoyable debate, and is certainly valuable as a differing perspective on the opinions of the article.

  7. I think a good balance between design and accessibility makes for a good middle ground regarding community content and is extremely important. Additional tools to further refine that content may benefit the more experienced level designers and benefit us in unique ways, but should never hamper the creative minds of the general public. Gamers will be gamers after all, but gamers won't always be expert architects.

  8. I've made a game hoping to strike that balance between design and accessibility, hopefully the middle ground between UDK and Minecraft. With super quick uploading and downloading from mobile devices. I agree with your article and that's why I'm making this game. Its called [tesseract] and it's a first person puzzle creator for iPad. I've got a free alpha testing version on the app store if anyone is interested in giving it a try. Checkout ... Sorry I'm trying to not make this look like an add. :)


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