Author Archives: Cerovan

PREVIEW4-MP4 banner

Maniaplanet 4 Preview #4 – Shootmania

This week, we’ll be focusing on Shootmania and its new features brought to the game with the Maniaplanet 4 update. They will be giving players new actions and blocs allowing them to experience more diverse situations. In addition, creators will be able to use these new features by including them in their own game modes.

New weapons

New weapons will be available in Shootmania Storm and creators will be able to integrate them in their game modes. Note: The visual of weapon’s projectiles presented in this article is still work in progress.

The Golden Rocket is back. As a reminder, this weapon shoots rockets that bounce on different surfaces.

The Missile follows the player you shoot. Warning! There is no garanteed success. A good player with agility in motion will be able to avoid your missile.

The Hunter is dedicated to elimination. It will give you the possibility to radio control the projectile after you shot it.

The Scout is also radio controlled. You will use it for reconnaissance.

The Golden Laser is a variation of the basic one. It works the same way but causes a “splash damage” when it hits a surface.

The Shield is a uni directionnal shield allowing you to protect yourself and fire back your ennemy’s shoot (note: there is a glitch on the shield when it repulse a projectile at the moment of the writing of the article).

Turrets

Turrets objects are fixed in the ground. They shoot players who find themselves in their field of vision. Turrets are divided in two parts (base and barrel) and both are customizable: you can create your own turrets designs.

New blocks

The Maniaplanet 4 update will bring two new blocks in Shootmania:

  • When using the magnetic “Power Path”, you will remain on the path, which will allow you to run upside down!

  • The “Nuclear Path” will allow you to automatically take the Nucleus weapon. This action is interesting for defending a zone for instance. However, the Nucleus will not be switched automatically anymore in underground sections.

Cars in Shootmania

Trackmania cars are coming into Shootmania. Your shootman will be able to go in/out from the cars. You will also be able to drive and eliminate them: by shooting the cars, you will damage them and finally make them disapear.

We hope you’ll like these new features and we are in a hurry to see how you will use them. It will be fun for sure! As usual, let’s meet in the forum for any question about this preview.

See you soon!

PREVIEW3-MP4 banner

Maniaplanet 4 Preview #3 – Editors

This week, this article highlights the new creation possibilities for the players. Maniaplanet 4 will bring new tools and noticeable improvements on existing Tools. This way, it will be easier for creators to create and enrich their own games. They will also need less technical knowledge.

On the program: the modules, the editors and the plugins, the title makers, the Manialink, the ManiaScript and the documentation.

Modules

Maniaplanet 4 will introduce the notion of Modules. You should consider Modules as “super librairies”, allowing to add features to gamemodes, editors and manialinks very easily.

Example of module: skill shop
It’ll be possible to add a skill shop in a gamemode. To do this, the creator of the mode must indicate the skills for sell and their buying price. Then he must use the script to handle the bound between the buying act of the player and the shop. Next, the shop will manage automatically the consequences on the players as well as his game interface without the need for the creator to go to the script.

skill_store

Others types of modules are available, like a customizable scoretable, an inventory or also menus for the manialinks.

scoretable

One of the biggest interest of the module is that they’re easily shareable. Indeed, each module is saved in a “.Module.Gbx” file. Like this, if you create a gamemode that needs a skill shop for example, instead to create it yourself, you can choose one from the community and integrate it in your gamemode.

Editor of editors

The new Maniaplanet update will unveil the Editor of editors, allowing to create its own editors for Maniaplanet.

An editor must be based on an existing edition engine (example: Map Editor, Item Editor, etc.) and use one or several plugins manage its behaviour.

With the editor of editors, you can create variations of existing editors.

Example 1:
The Map Editor from Trackmania Turbo is a variation from the Trackmania² Map Editor.

Example 2:
The new Mesh Modeler Editor (allowing to create 3D object directly in Maniaplanet) can be used as a base to create a Voxel Editor:

Moreover there is a new “Pixel Editor” based on the 2D Editor, which will allow you to make shield or stickers for cars for example.

editor_pixel-editor

Title Makers

Title Makers are a new types of titles that players will be able to create. These titles will allow other users to more easily create titles from those ones.

For example, it’ll be possible to create an “Invasion Maker” Title which will allow to easily create several Invasion titles from different authors, diversifying the content by creating a new campaign, adding new items in the map editor or offering other style elements like menus.

With the release of Maniaplanet 4, all the Trackmania² environments, including Lagoon, will be based on the Trackmania² Title Maker that we’ll provide as an example.

The Manialink going on version 3

Two major modifications to the Manialink are noticeable. First the axis “z” of “pos” (formely “posn”, now depreciated) has been deleted and replaced with the attribute “z-index”. This change is important since it modifies a lot the depth’s management in the Manialink.

mp4_z-index

<frame id="BG" pos="0 0" z-index="0">
    <quad id="RED" pos="-43 -4" z-index="1" bgcolor="FD0000FF"/>
    <quad id="BLUE" pos="-29 7" z-index="2" bgcolor="0013FDFF"/>
</frame>
<frame id="MIDDLE" pos="0 0" z-index="1">
    <quad id="GREEN" pos="7 -7" z-index="-99" bgcolor="20FD00FF"/>
    <quad id="WHITE" pos="0 0" z-index="99" bgcolor="FFFFFFFF"/>
</frame>

<label id="TEXT" pos="-32 2" z-index="2" text="MyText" textsize="60" textcolor="000" size="14 3"/>

In this example will appear, from the most visible to the least visible: TEXT, WHITE, GREEN, BLUE et RED.

Indeed: At the root level of the manialink we have 3 controls: TEXT with a z-index of 2, MIDDLE with a z-index of 1 and BG with a z-index of 0. TEXT is at the front, then we have all the content from MIDDLE, and at the end the content of BG.

Globally, with this feature, there is no more need to add up the z from the related frames to order their controls. It also enforces the necessity of rigour while creating frames and merging controls.

The second major change is the new attribute “scriptaction”, which allows to directly transfer (without the need to go throught the ManiaScript of the Manialink) the events from a control to the ManiaApp. this will be useful for the plugins, the modules and the editors.

Others changes have been done like posn and sizen which are now depreciated for pos and size, the clipping of the frames with size and align or also pincorners which allow to put the quads in perspective.

The ManiaScript

Autocompletion

The Script Editor will enjoy several improvements like the support of the autocompletion. This autocompletion allow the automatic code writting completion by searching the correct entries in the API, librairies functions and keywords.

If you type “MyPlayer.”, the list will show the members of the related class as well as the functions and all other related members. You will just need to press ctrl+space to invoke the autocompletion. Moreover the autocompletion suggestions are contextual: if you start to write “declare”, the suggestion will be the types and the classes.

Performance Tool

The Script Performance Tool will allow you to know:

  • The number of instructions which have been executed for the selected script
  • The memory usage
  • The number of layers for the scripts having a graphical interface

The scripts using a lot of memory will appear in blue in the debugger.

To watch the performance more carefully, a new tool exists in the form of two functions: tuningstart() and tuningend(). Instructions between the two functions will be monitored and you will be able to extract the data in a report showing each line of code with its processing time.

Tuning

The debugger itself has been improved to display in a more explicit way errors or places causing issues. If the script encounters a blocking execution issue, the debugger will display the entire callstack even if one of the errors is located inside a library.

Finally, several improvements including the runtime and the compilation of the script have been made, which can make the loading faster.

Revamp of the documentation

And to help in these changes, the Maniaplanet documentation has been one more time entirely revamped, in its design and its organization.

doc

See you soon for the next Maniaplanet 4 preview!

PREVIEW2-MP4 banner

Maniaplanet 4 Preview #2 – Nadeo Live Part#1

Note: All images are Work In Progress.

Hello everyone,

Today, we are very pleased to present this second preview of Maniaplanet 4 which will be including a sneak peak of:

  • How to promote your “Title Pack” on the Web?
  • Clubs creation and management
  • The new Maniaplanet chat

“Title Pages”: automatic websites to promote your “Title Packs” on the Web

At Nadeo, one of our goal is to give creators the possibility to better promote their “Title Packs”.

Thus, when a “Title Pack” is published with Maniaplanet 4 on the Maniaplanet store, a mini website is automatically generated and published on the web: the “Title Page”.

title_page

These “Title Pages” can easily be customized from the “Title Manager” which will be accessible on maniaplanet.com website. You will mainly find the same features as of today plus new ones as:

  • Images upload and hosting,
  • Admin management,
  • News posting,
  • Statistics.

tm_metadata

Zoom at 50%

Images upload and hosting Zoom at 50%

News will be written and posted directly from the “Title Manager”. They will be posted on maniaplanet.com, the “Title Page” and in Maniaplanet.

title_news

tm_news

Statistics will be accessible from the “Title Manager” too. You will find stats about your “Title Pack” that will help you know the activity on your title.

tm_stats

Clubs creation and management on the Web

With maniaplanet 4, you will be able to create and manage your own club. A club gathers players sharing the same interest for an activity like, creation, competition or/and rock’n roll for instance. Topics may be infinite! Besides, a club doesn’t need to have a team. You could only have individual members.

Clubs will be created, managed and diplayed from maniaplanet.com

Each club will have its own customizable webpage (emblem and header page). The Club webpage will give the following info:

  • Club members and teams,
  • Competitions and/or matches played by the Club,
  • Results.

club_home

The Club Manager will have a panel of tools to manage its players / teams / admins / matches and competitions.

cm_players

cm_edit

cm_team

The new Maniaplanet chat

The new chat plugin code has completely been written again. The improvements done on the chat server and in the Maniascript allow an important gain of performances (50%).

Design
Design will change in order to give a better sight on your friend’s info and a bigger text zone.

Conceptual image

Conceptual image

Notifications
The notification system has been redone too and gives now more details like the type of notification.

Chatrooms
The major update is the chatroom support allowing you to discuss with several users at the same time. Besides, you will have the option amoung others, to:

  • Add a user in your friends’s list
  • Join a user’s running game

XMPP clients compatibility & multiline messages management
The new maniaplanet Chat will be compatible with external XMPP clients and will allow the message of multiline messages. In nutshell, it means that it will be possible to connect to the chat server with an external communication soft such as Jabber, Trillian ou Psi for instance, and then to communicate with your friends and in chatrooms without the Maniaplanet client.

The Internet chat client

The chat will be accessible from the future new maniaplanet.com website

 

chat_web

More features are expected to come to Maniaplanet 4 (for the beta, the release or after the release), so stay tuned to hear about them!

Have fun and see you on the forum for any questions you may have!

PREVIEW1

Maniaplanet 4 #Preview 1 – Performance and rendering

Hello everyone,

After three months of development on Maniaplanet 4, it’s time now to start our preview phase. Until the release of the beta, we’ll be posting previews, highlighting the key elements we are working on. For today, our preview 1 focuses on performances and rendering in Maniaplanet 4. Hope you’ll enjoy it.


Maniaplanet 4 will show major technical improvements to the Maniaplanet engine and especially on:

  • processors and GPU performances,
  • building blocks optimization,
  • loading times,
  • lightmaps rendering.

All theses changes will result in a faster and more powerful Maniaplanet system which will enlarge player’s possibilities of creation and offer a better gaming experience.

Better performances

We’ll switch the engine’s graphical API from DirectX 9 to DirectX 11. This change added to a better use of processors (especially multi-core processors) will allow better general performances in Maniaplanet 4.

As you can see in these pictures, there is a visible gain of frames per second***:

You can also count on an improvement of performances and a better framerate in Virtual Reality.

Building blocks optimization

In Maniaplanet 4, environments blocks will be optimized to reduce the size of maps and their loading times, framerate and lightmaps computing times.

1/ Blocks size will decrease.
You can see in the table below, the block size variation between Maniaplanet 3 and Maniaplanet 4*.blocks-size-table

2/ In Maniaplanet 4, depending on the distance between the block and the player, the LOD (level of details) displayed on the block will vary.

3/ The quality of blocks modelisation will change too. If you choose “Very fast”, blocks will slightly be of lesser quality than in Maniaplanet 3. But, the “Very nice” option will ensure a better quality with no additionnal ressources than before.  At last, in some situations, non visible sides of blocks will be deleted.

Maps faster loading times

Maniaplanet 4 will significantly improve maps loading times, mainly during the first loading**. These gains on time are possible thanks to:

  • operations taking advantage of multi-core processors, such as decals generation or script compilation.
  • several modifications made on the very process of loading maps,
  • the increase of datas precalculated when you open an environment.

Further more, it is notable that this loading time optimization comes with a greater computer data storage which will accelerate loading times between maps.

The table below gives examples of loading times. Durations are estimated and vary with computer configuration and alpha status of Maniaplanet 4. Here are averages after 3 tries.

MP4---loading-times

Lightmaps rendering

Lightmaps rendering will be changed in Maniaplanet 4, following the upgrade from DirectX9 to DirectX11. For now,  lightmaps rendering varies with the map itself and the quality of selected shaders. At that moment, lightmaps rendering is optimized for “day” maps only. We are still working on this subject to make this optimization available on all moods, the objective being to to get lightmaps with a quality at least equal or superior to the one in Maniaplanet 3.

lightmaps

*Maniaplanet 4 is still in Alpha, numbers can change at the release of the update.

**PC configuration used to calculate loading times:

  • CPU : Intel Xeon W3550 @ 3.07GHz
  • GPU : Nvidia Geforce GTX 480
  • RAM : 24Go DDR3
  • Resolution : 1920*1080 @ 60Hz
  • OS : Windows 10 Pro
  • Maniaplanet settings : Very Nice

***Work in Progress

mp_update_hp6

Hello Planet #6

​​
We are in 2016 and this is the 6th edition of “Hello Planet”.

This is a big Hello Planet we have prepared. And this thanks to the Nadeo team becoming bigger and stronger those latest years. And if i put the emphasis on it, that’s because it’s the most important for the future of Maniaplanet at which we are committed for numerous years.

Some will realize that the dynamic is beautiful and much stronger through what is presented here, furthermore we keep elements on which we work for a dedicated communication later, like a major project on eSport for Trackmania & Shootmania and another more general dedicated to Shootmania. The organization explained last year allows us now to have several teams who move forward the projects on several fronts, for the creators, the players or the competitive part.

For Maniaplanet 4, here is the elements on which we are working on:

CORE Team

Gameplay

We work to expand the number of actions possible for Shootmania while being careful to keep the consistency of one gameplay in depth. We’ll be able to communicate on these once we have the feeling that they fit well in the game. Besides, we’ll open up the gameplay for Trackmania for the creation by the players.

Performances

A 64-bit version made available, DirectX 11 enabled, more multitasking, improvement in the speed of lightmap calculations and several others optimizations such as game loadings or scripts.

Rendering

We work at improving the engine on some aspects such as adding some visual effects to enhance immersion. We wish to work on the rendering of projectiles & explosions. We alse work on the general rendering of the map, with the generation of modifications on a large scale linked to the different blocks laid, or on a smaller scale to improve the light junctions in some cases, and add procedurally generated detailed elements.

Network

It’ll be now possible to put Trackmania vehicles and the Shootmania character on the same network game and to interact and to commute from the control from one to another. We’ll work too on the network side for some elements on which we’ll rarely communicate for obvious reasons, linked to diverse embezzlement which exist on multiplayer games (anticheat).

Online

We develop the systems which will allow us to enable official tries in solo for custom titles. Those official tries could use the rule of “always official” which will prevail with the Maniaplanet 4 update.

System

Still to be confirmed, we have a compatible solution with external game software management solutions to allow to commute environments without needing to restart the application (for Steam versions).

Compatibility

In order to move forward more efficiently and to evolve, we made the choice to break some upward compatibilities. At the same time, we work to allow to Maniaplanet 3 to launch itself in good conditions in order to give access to older elements more easily.

SOFT Team

Creation of diverse editors

It’ll be much easier to create editors, for us and for the players themselves. The gamepad track editor of Trackmania Turbo is an example of editor done in Maniascript and Manialink, and we have expanded this concept on several domains, with three majors novelties:

3D

The 3D object modelling and the creation of operation of procedural texturing.

The modules

Menus, scoretables, skill shops, etc.

The titles

There will be titles which could be dedicated to the titles creation and so enable more expert players to propose to the less expert users the possibility to use their canvas to compose others campaigns integrating others data created by others players for example.

Improvement of the Maniascript and the Manialink

Debug & performance tools

To simplify the debug of the script, the callstacks in script are now visible if there is an error. For the performance part it is now possible to check the time spent in each line of the script after its execution.

Interface management

The whole interfaces of the Maniaplanet project have the ambition to be replaced with the Manialink system, we regularly do improvements in order to allow the development of more beautiful interfaces more efficiently. For instance, we did set up an improved depth system, as well as an API for the realization of efficient animations.

Dedicated editors: modes, plugin, etc.

To make the development of the modes, plugins and others easier, we wish to create dedicated editors allowing to easily configure the contexts of the execution, manage the dependencies in term of resources or simply indicate directly in the game mode, the changelogs without having to make the script longer. It’ll allow us to easily propose cross-services.

Possibilities for items

We work to develop some types of items like, as first important examples, a turret or drone system, allowing to more easily imagine the design of solo training experiences for Shootmania.

Map Editor

We have the project to improve the map editor in connection with the use of items to improve the combinatorial edition and enjoy the possibility which will be given to the players to create their own items in Maniaplanet.

LIVE Team

Groups

To ease the communication between different groups of players, we work at integrating the concept at the scale of the Maniaplanet system. We’re revamping the buddies chat interface, which will integrate more features for the chat with several players, and some early features to help playing in groups or communities.

The events

In the same mind – and in the context of a bigger project on which we’ll communicate later and where we need to determine if we can make it for Maniaplanet 4 – we’re already integrating an events system, allowing organizers to make live reports of ongoing events for players or spectators. It’ll be also possible for groups to join these events. The events could have multiple steps, like weekly cups or qualifications on several stages.

Titles websites

The titles creators will have a generated website, dedicated to their title, easing the download of their experience and allowing to communicate information to an external public who will continue to have access at the titles for free in demo mode for a duration of one hour per day or for a solo content of the first maps of the campaigns.

We also work on the development of the Maniacredits so the contribution of each creator can be relieved and added to the credits of the titles. Each title can also give access to its collection of creations publicly, making the exchanges between creators easier.

Esport

For 10 years, Nadeo has been designing and honing ESport concepts and tools, going on events to feel the direction to take, and observing the evolution on different ways to practice this activity. Trackmania & Shootmania players got several events last year from dozens of competitions done each month online with what we can find on ManiaCalendar to the Paragon League, or big rendezvous offline with this year’s ESWC, the Gamers Assembly or the ZeratoR Cup from this month where 40 000 viewers have been able to attend to the great accessibility of an eSport-thought game like Trackmania, where we find champions that we know and yet who can also conciliate this with a normal activity outside of the game.

It’s one of our biggest pride, compatible with the sportive spirit, including in the universe proposed. And in this spirit, we’re reopening the project to develop the clubs that we have started several years ago, since we wish to follow our belief more than ever to make the eSport a model, for everyone, whether it is the player or the spectators, and with champions always more and more incredible at the top of all of it.

Tools will also be developed to allow even more simplicity for the organizers, who are those that these champions can congratulate so much in return. And they’re also the champions in their domain and few games can be as proud to have tools as good for the competitions. And it’s in this positive spirit that we’ll continue to support without failing.

Documentation, tips & support

As this Hello Planet witnesses, the creators should have more and more possibilities of creations. Moreover, as it’ll be possible to make tools for other people, we think that a kind of simplification/transfer of expertise between the players could occur. And for those inventors, at the very beginning of the chain, we work to revamp the documentation, we move forward on the fact to being able to communicate directly in the game to bring tips or to make reference to the documentation.

And we organize ourselves to become as efficient as possible on the support, with Cerovan at the heart of the measure, and a lot more members of the team who could be able to answer directly to your questions on the forums from the moment we’ll be in beta.

It’s also for this that we wish the forums becoming only a place of good relationship and debates, positive and constructive. We are several dozens now at Nadeo, there is a lot of players too who like to help the others and this could give a place of good exchanges, from the moment where those who want to do it will be in the good spirit. And count on me to be sure of it ^_^

DATA Team

Optimizations and new blocks for Trackmania Canyon, Valley and Lagoon. It’s an important work that is done and which require a lot of time and involve to come back on the blocks to optimize them, complete them with some missing variants and to add new collection that we’ll unveil later in the previews which will take place before the beta.

GAME Team

Trackmania & Shootmania Maker

The team works on two things at this level: on one hand a revamp of the menus of existing titles, on the other hand the possibility to create titles with titles themselves dedicated to their creation. In reality, we are going to do the Nadeo titles with these same titles to ease the evolution.

And the players themselves could do their own title creators. If it seems complex, it’ll be the possibility for those who wish to define a genre, like the idea of the Raid titles, and to allow others to make their own Raid. And we think that each time that we allow the collaboration between the players by creating transitional steps, we can see things going higher.

Trackmania² solo campaigns

It’s at the occasion of this update that we’ll officialize the records done in the solo on Trackmania and we’ll launch a new season on the campaigns of Canyon/Valley/Stadium/Lagoon which will integrate the modifications of the tracks, also allowing to integrate some new blocks and rules changes like the switch to the “always official”.

Warlords & others experiences

To test the possibility to create diverse experiences, we have developed several prototypes internally. One of them stand out from the others and we’ve been refining it for a while. At the occasion of Maniaplanet 4, we should be ready to release it. It’s a game mode which mixes a strategic and diplomatic game at a high level, in a spatial map, and Shootmania battles during the control point phases of the opponents fortress.

This experience is in “polish” status and we are eager to give you a preview. We think that it’ll also be a good example, so that other players can themselves imagine larger experiences. There are also tools like a map creator which could be useful for others types of experiences too.

DATES

Maybe some items will never get done and that’s the price to pay for talking about projects early. Doing that also lead to rising expectations. That’s why I’ll attempt to talk about release rythm, some know that you must take that with a grain of salt since it’s really difficult to be sure about a precise timing concerning technological projects. One thing is sure : we want to favor a regular schedule, even if it means to adapt the contents released, instead of stretching the period between releases.

Here’s how we intend to organize this schedule: 6 months of development on the major version, 3 months of beta, 3 months of updates and we start again with 6 months of major development, etc. And to reduce the waiting time during the 6 months, i’ll try to bring some previews on the last 3 months before the beta.

So, we would like to have years cut in 4 periods: 3 months following the Hello Planet, 3 months of previews, 3 months of beta and 3 months of updates.

Stadium & Storm players, and they are many, may have prefered more additions of blocks on DATA level. This is because we are working on long term plans, due for Maniaplanet 5. Of course, most of the features introduced here will also be useful to those environments. But I wanted to underscore that for us, these two gameplays must be the references in the race & shoot esport games, and we intend to support them by engaging the means on the long run.

By the way, a nice World Cup for Trackmania Stadium and Shootmania Storm in Elite mode is being organized and will take place at the end of the year around November. We look into the possibilities for the qualifications, and we would like them to start at the beginning of September. That’s when we’ll unveil more information about the final event. This summer should allow to define the rules, including the mappools.

Also, I know that some people wait more in-depth work about the finishing touches or the interfaces. It’ll be the purpose of the betas, and a bigger focus will be given to that on Maniaplanet 5, because there are too many systems changing right now, and we need them to be stable before investing time on UI.

We have spent a lot of time underwater and we know that’s difficult to wait, including for us. That’s why it’s also very important to stay positive in difficult times. There is only a few months to hold on, and i hope that the ascending slope of the unpcoming years be more clearer as we get there. We are also working on production and visuals, but this will take more time before we’ll be able to show this work. Ubisoft is fully behind this project, and thanks to the players who have been there all those years is seems obvious that there is something amazing to do with Maniaplanet.

Thanks everyone,
Florent

HP5_blog

Hello Planet #5 – Nadeo, Maniaplanet and Trackmania Turbo

This is 2015, and this is the 5th edition of Hello Planet.

Introduction

It’s one year later, and while the communication was minimal, our work was going at maximum speed. I already said it many times: 2015 was a year dedicated to Trackmania. We are still working on things for Shootmania and Maniaplanet, but they are going to be more our focus on 2016.

Trackmania Turbo

We have finally released the information that we are working on Trackmania for consoles! The whole studio is looking forward this big release. And I hope that Trackmania Turbo will be like a classic game that we can boot again in many years, with the same hardware & software, and enjoy both from good memories and always renewed stuff, thanks to the huge campaign, map editor or random generator. Somehow, I wish this game to be like a pool table, flipper or a babyfoot for families. It’s still in front of a screen, or in virtual reality, but there is something really simple, pure and infinitely skilled that makes it somehow like an object more than a spectacle.

Since the foundation of the studio, we have avoided to work on something else than the personal computer because the PC is well adapted for what we do and what we will do. But there were just too good reasons to make console versions and I will try to explain them, as well as to answer the difficult questions.

The good reasons

  1. After E3 2013, thanks to the console specs, we knew we could do it while keeping the studio focus on Maniaplanet for the future.
  2. Reach even more players with Trackmania thanks to the game quality, launch and lasting appeal
  3. Take time to work on the Lagoon environment
  4. Take time to work on the living room aspect of Trackmania, to play with relatives and friends in front of the big screen!
  5. Improve the Trackmania API for Maniaplanet: the game is all done with manialink & maniascript.

And probably the best we got out of it is also the opportunity to build a stronger team that should help a lot for our next Maniaplanet steps.

The difficult questions

  1. Trackmania Turbo is standalone on PC. It will create another additional place of community, instead of all in one place.
  2. Lagoon will release only next year on Maniaplanet, to take time to adapt content at best.
  3. We intend to make a commercial move for players who wish all TM envs in Maniaplanet & the TM Turbo game.
  4. A restricted choice of consoles, since it’s the same team working on Trackmania Turbo & Maniaplanet, for reasons of time.

For me, dividing is the only big question, and seems to be a counter part of looking to have best of both worlds: TM Turbo for a finished product & Maniaplanet in a constant evolution by players & us. So, it will be a challenge, we have some things to do to help, including the release of Maniaplanet 4, but it’s also partly in the hands of the community players to transform this division in addition.

Many other questions will have to be answered later, like the question of a beta or the way the online will be done, but we have to wait and come back with more info later!

Shootmania

Some people talk about it as only what has been released. But for us, Shootmania is more global and includes many steps. The next one is to offer wider range of gameplay. It should be skilled at all levels but with various types and accessibility entry points. The result should be a game that is open, diverse, fun, highly skilled, with good matchmaking and beautiful visuals. And once it’s ready, we will go in the beta of Maniaplanet 4 and take more time to look at the highly skilled players wishes regarding the released version or upcoming new things made for them as well. Shootmania will benefit of the Nadeo stronger team in the years to come.

Maniaplanet

On the Maniaplanet side, we are deeply working on the foundations of the next years of work on UGC & esport. To explain the work we are doing at the moment, I am going to explain how the studio is organized. Since the number of people at the studio has nearly tripled since we arrived at Ubisoft, we went from a single team to five teams: CORE, LIVE, SOFT, DATA and GAME. So let me introduce each one of them and talk about their work:

CORE : Core technology R&D of Maniaplanet
During the last 12 months, they had to make our specific technology to be able to handle multiple hardware systems. It required us to work on 64 bits and DirectX 11-like evolutions, opening the door to easier port to others platforms potentially in the future like SteamOS, Vulkan or DirectX 12 if it becomes a priority. A specific attention was given to virtual reality, which combines really well with Trackmania. They also introduced the concept  of achievements for Trackmania Turbo, but in a way that Title makers would be potentially able to make them later. Among other things are that the loading times that has been decreased and the video technology around WebM has been improved by making more multi-threaded. Some more specific work has been done on car special effects, sound and animation. And finally, a huge work was to make the Trackmania script API for Trackmania Turbo to be capable to make the best game as possible in the more agile way as possible.

LIVE : Online services for players.
It is now a team of engineers working to invent and develop online services for Maniaplanet. Over the last year, they had to set up a whole new architecture. While the goal was to support the hosting for Trackmania Turbo, including UGC & game sessions, it should enable us to develop in a more faster way and robust way the upcoming services. Among some services that are already designed & developed at the moment for Maniaplanet 4 are elements for help and for stats. And again, the specific aspect of our technology is not to only make it for one game, but enable this for used made titles to benefit of these features as well.

SOFT : Creative software for players
They are here to imagine the instrument of video game creation of tomorrow. Their mission is to provide software dedicated to video games, usable by amateurs or pros, to make gaming experience. At the moment, they are working on various parts, such as the Module Studio, which is intended to provide the place to create components that you can easily share or reuse in various creations. As an example, it could be a score table, an inventory or a menu. The Item Editor & the Action Maker are also being deeply improved. Some experimental work is being done on animation interface or finding way to create 3D directly from within Maniaplanet. At the same time, the import of 3D models is getting a dedicated and helpful interface. Another big work is also to enable new actions for Shootmania, by us or made by players more easily and with more possibilities.

DATA : Design & create the data of the virtual worlds
Their role is to provide worlds for Maniaplanet experiences. Lagoon work started nearly a year and a half. They also took time to do specific work for the console edition. After, they will have to move toward Maniaplanet 4, including work on making the right split of what to push into it and what belongs to Trackmania Turbo. Some specific work will also be done on Storm. This team is getting bigger and better, and you should be able to see it nicely in the times to come!

GAME : Gaming experiences & showcases for Maniaplanet
This team combines technology & data to make the games, with their contribution being about the rules, the interfaces, cars or characters, levels, musics etc. They are working on Trackmania Turbo since last year. And while they are making these experiences, it helps to improve the technology and data required to make them for the players. For Maniaplanet 4, they already started to work on cool samples for Shootmania that we intend to release, with sources, at the same time or a little while after. The sources could be scripts or assets, to be re-used by users for their own experiences.

Conclusion

Even without much updates since last year, there is now 15K daily players vs 10K at that time. I know it still has to improve, and in all places, but I wished to thank the players, their tremendous energy to make the place alive and some youtubers & streamers as well. While it’s part of our engagement and hard work to make this possible, it’s always fabulous to see how creative players are, like the recent nice & strong projects on various aspects from the community. And it’s obvious that we want to contribute as much as possible at all of this in many ways, with small steps or big ones.

Maniaplanet is designed as a big project, because I believe that we need to concentrate on big things, big ambitions, such as making the players prove how much they can bring by being different, passionate, positive, respectful and creative. And that’s just good to work for this, on Maniaplanet with the great Nadeo team. And I wish to say that Ubisoft is really behind us on this, on the same goal and for a long time. For me, it’s more than a big company, it’s a great company!

Florent Castelnérac, Managing Director of Ubisoft Nadeo.

Feel free to talk about it on the forum!

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“Run Your Tournament” at the Gamers Assembly 2015

Hello everyone,

The Gamers Assembly is in a few weeks and we have a great news for the Maniaplanet community. An open area exclusively reserved for the Maniaplanet players, “the ManiaFanZone” will be very soon available where you can run fun tournaments either on the gamemodes either on the title packs you want! Winners will be rewarded with Maniaplanet goodies.

Registrations will be opened on the Gamers Assembly website very soon: http://www.gamers-assembly.net/en. There is no restriction to the modes you can play on this area.

Those tournaments will be organized according to the number of players registered on each gamemode.

For the Maniaplanet players already registered to an official Maniaplanet tournament, you’re free to participate as well!

As soon as the registrations on the Gamers Assembly website are open, we will post a thread on the maniaplanet forums so that you can suggest your tournaments and invite other players to join them: https://forum.maniaplanet.com/

So stay tuned to run your tournament at the Gamers Assembly 2015!

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Road to Gamers Assembly

From Paris to Poitiers!

After the presence of Trackmania & Shootmania at the Electronic Sports World Cup occuring at the Parc des Expositions of Paris, Nadeo announce several tournaments at the Gamers Assembly of Poitiers in April 2015 and several online tournaments by then on the famed competition plateform of the ESL.

The Gamers Assembly is at the heart of the esport in France, and is a privileged place for the Trackmania & Shootmania community to meet. Only racing game and FPS with the most number of teams, the 2014 edition has been the occasion to meet a lot of players around very high quality tournaments in a very good ambiance. With seven tournaments planned this year, Nadeo hope that the players will find a competitive and human experience stronger than before.

That’s why Nadeo launch the operation “Road to Gamers Assembly

  • From now, a free unlimited access to the Trackmania² Stadium & Shootmania Storm multiplayer until the Gamers Assembly
  • Prized online tournaments on ESL Go4 for Trackmania² Stadium & Shootmania Storm Elite
  • Prized LAN tournaments at the Gamers Assembly on at least 7 Maniaplanet titles

Online tournaments on ESL before the Gamers Assembly

  • Go4 on Trackmania² Stadium in December, January & February
  • Go4 on Shootmania Storm Elite in December, January & February

LAN tournaments at the Gamers Assembly

  • Trackmania² Stadium 1vs1vs1vs1
  • Trackmania² Canyon 1vs1vs1vs1 & Trackmania² Valley 1vs1vs1vs1 (one per day)
  • Trackmania² Stadium Dirt 1vs1vs1vs1
  • Shootmania Elite 3vs3
  • Shootmania Battle 5vs5 & Siege 5vs5 (one per day)
  • And more following the evaluation of others potential requests of the community

To get the demos, the players can go directly on the websites www.trackmania.com and www.shootmania.com

To get the free multiplayer access on Steam, simply install the demos on these address:

May the best gamers win!

Feel free to discut about it on the forums!

Do some Platform on ShootMania!

With the recent release of Maniaplanet 3 and the Universal Demo, you can now easily download and play for free to a great diversity of experiences.

For both Trackmania 2 and Shootmania, creators or players can easily share a setup to any player to install their favorite title. These titles can include new or customized maps, weapons, effects, moods, sounds, textures, gamemodes, map editor tools, ladder, replay editing, rankings etc.

And to showcase some of these new features, we are releasing a sample gamemode for Shootmania, called Platform. Platform, still in beta, is a mode where you must gather all the fuel and gold as quickly as possible by using your dexterity and skill to get the highest score. It has been designed to get you familiar with the various moves of Shootmania Storm in a simple solo experience before going online for battles on other titles of the same Universal Demo.

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The simple mode will stay fully free for the summer and can be downloaded from http://maniaplanet.com/shootmania/platform

For Steam users, you can access it by installing the Shootmania demo: http://store.steampowered.com/app/229870/

In addition, we are releasing the source of this Title Pack, in that way you’ll be able to understand how structure your own Pack or if you want only to grab some code or assets of it. Please go to the forum to download the sources and feel free to ask questions about the pack: http://maniapla.net/smplatformbetaforum

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The ShootMania Storm Universal Demo is released!

We’re happy to tell you that now it’s possible to play to ShootMania Storm for free from today with the Universal Demo!

We want that as many players as possible enjoy the ShootMania and the Maniaplanet experience at their best level. Which means that now you have access to the following features:

  • 3 multiplayer ranked modes: Battle, Elite & Siege

  • Full multiplayer experience (Nadeo and user-created gamemodes and Title Packs)

  • Access to all editors (Map, MediaTracker (Video), Actions & Weapons, Items)

  • Custom Titles: solo & multiplayer innovative modes

Several improvements have been made to ShootMania the last months like a better netcode, many tweaks of gameplay, new blocks. It’s also possible now to embed 3D objects in the maps of any title!(1)

All these features are available for free the first 48h for the environments you don’t own and then for an unlimited amount of time for titles with less than 100 concurrent players OR one hour per day otherwise. Download the setup on www.shootmania.com

While you can play for free, you have also the possibility to buy, through Uplay, the ShootMania website or Steam, ShootMania Storm to unlock several features such as:

  • Unlimited play

  • Allow you to customize your nickname, horn and your character (both skins and 3D models)

Have fun and see you soon on the servers!

 

(1) Following several limitations.