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New Shootmania mode photo
New Shootmania mode

Shootmania Storm gets a new game mode called Combo

Plus a new weapon called 'the Arrow'
Apr 19
// Chris Carter
Despite the fact that Shootmania Storm just came out, there's a new game mode and a weapon already available as a free update. "Combo" pits teams of two players against each other who are tasked with killing enemies at the sa...

Review: ShootMania Storm

Apr 18 // Patrick Hancock
ShootMania StormDeveloper: NadeoPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: April 10, 2013MSRP: $19.99 The controls for Shootmania Storm are incredibly simple, as there are only two actions to worry about: shooting and jumping. Sprinting is mapped to the same button as the jump button, so it is not possible to sprint without first being airborne. Initially, it seems like a strange and restrictive mechanic, but it ends up adding way more depth to the gameplay than one might expect. Additionally, a Stamina gauge limits sprinting, so knowing when and when not to sprint is a big factor in terms of success. The default projectile in Shootmania is not a "hitscan" weapon. In other words, the shot takes time to get to where it is going; it is not instantaneous -- think of it like a rocket launcher. Projectiles leave a huge colored trail, allowing other players to see where shots are coming from and, if they are quick, avoid them. The main projectile has four shots that, in most modes, refill when not firing, so unloading four shots at once will leave the player vulnerable for a short time. Being in certain areas around the map will alter the projectile into a different weapon. These areas are generally single buildings or enclosed areas on the map, but are not clearly marked. There is a railgun that travels almost instantly across the map, but still has some travel time and only allows one shot before it needs to recharge. The "nucleus" is a sticky grenade-esque projectile that will explode, covering a wide area and comes with two shots. Knowing the areas on the map that transform the gun into a different projectile becomes integral when competing, as strategically using the various shots at specific moments can have a big impact on the round. Each player also has armor, which represents how many hits they can take before being eliminated. The amount of armor varies per mode; in the 1v1 Joust mode each player has six, while in the free-for-all Royale mode, each player has two. Regardless of mode, playing with only one armor left is one of the most intense competitive experiences out there. [embed]251002:48191:0[/embed] The mapping of sprint and jump to the same button is crucial to how the game is played. As mentioned, there is no sprinting without first being in the air. It is possible, however, to start sprinting after an elevation drop, so that the sprint activates in the air and the player hits the ground running. There are specific points on the map that will prohibit jumping and allow players to sprint while staying grounded, which reaffirms how important map knowledge is. The restrictive areas of the map look different than normal tiles, usually with a smooth, metal surface to indicate where players cannot jump. You don't want to be caught trying to jump in an area where it is impossible. Jumping in general can be very dangerous itself, as a weak jump means a more predictable travel path. Since each projectile requires some prediction on the part of your foe to score a successful hit, it is ideal to be as unpredictable in your movements as possible. Rapidly strafing at random times is common in Shootmania, even if it does make you look like you’re performing Victor Cruz' end-zone dance, as it makes it harder to predict the next move. It is also possible to wall jump by looking downwards and jumping while touching a wall. Mastering this is a huge boon to any player, but doing so consistently is challenging and will take a lot of time and patience. Luckily, players in the community have created obstacle courses with the in-game map editor, allowing everyone to practice wall jumping, sprinting, and timing in general whenever they want. The game could use a bit more tutorializing. Although the controls are simple to comprehend, they lend themselves to some advanced techniques. I had no idea wall jumping was even possible until I was presented with a seemingly impossible feat during an obstacle course map. I also spent a lot of time in matches typing to my fellow players trying to figure out just how some of the game modes functioned. An interactive tutorial for the game in general -- and additionally one for each specific mode -- would have gone a long way to help new players. There are four main modes, supplemented by a script editor that allows players to create their own modes, such as the aforementioned obstacle courses. The main modes are Joust, Elite, Battle, and Royale, the majority of which feel unique and can get intense. The only main mode that I would consider standard is Battle, in which two teams vie for control of points around the map. Royale is a free-for-all game mode with over a dozen players and a single "pole" in the center of the map. After a minute of play, the pole can be "captured," which is when the real competition begins. Once the pole is captured, no players are able to respawn after being eliminated and a tornado encircling the map will slowly close in, making the map smaller and smaller around the pole. Once the map consists of an approximately twenty yard diameter around the pole, the remaining few players are forced into a close-quarters battle. Being one of the final two or three players left with only the pole to act as cover is easily one of the most adrenaline-pumping moments I’ve experienced in recent history. Elite is a team-based mode about capturing a single point, but the attacking team only has one active player at a time. The defenders all play at once, with a maximum of three players, and fire the standard projectile to protect their point. The attacker has as much armor as the defending team has players; i.e., if the defending team has three players, the attacker has three armor. The attacker is afforded a railgun, making it easier to hit targets, and defenders are eliminated in one hit. Being the attacker brings a huge rush of adrenaline, as you know that the rest of your team is depending on you and most likely watching you in first-person mode. Joust, a 1v1 game mode, takes all of the adrenaline of being the attacker in Elite and combines it with the rush of being one of the last two players in Royale. In Joust, shots do not recharge, but instead are refilled once a player goes to one of the two poles located on the map. The players have six armor, and it boils down to one simple fact: who is the better player. It is a true test of skill, and there is no greater feeling than besting someone in a game of Shootmania's Joust. There is a matchmaking system in place, but the only modes that consistently have people playing are Battle and Royale. Trying to use matchmaking for Joust will almost always result in no results. I have only seen one server up at a time for that mode, and even then it was a rare occurrence. While Elite will occasionally have a handful of servers up depending on the time of day, it is anything but consistent. Shootmania is very popular in Europe, but playing in a European server from North America will result in an unplayable ping, especially considering how precise shots need to be in the game. It is unfortunate that the player base is so tiny, since the core game itself is so damn satisfying. The game's menus look as if they aren't finished; rough edges, basic shapes, and text reminiscent of WordArt permeate each screen. It does help convey that "simple" look that the gameplay reflects, but there is a fine line between "clean and simple" and "bare-bones." Unfortunately, Shootmania strayed a little too far over that line in the wrong direction. The starting menu is also needlessly obtuse. Upon booting up, the player is greeted with a handful of tiles with no real indication of what they are. The biggest tile, simply labeled "Shootmania Storm," ends up bringing up a list of all possible servers, instead of servers of a single game type. There are some basic filters available, but it is impossible to sort the results by players on the list. The map editor has both a simple and advanced mode, but the simple mode is almost too simple and strips away most of the objects and terrain. The advanced mode may as well be the only mode, as it contains everything you would need to create maps resembling the official ones. Although the map editor feels a bit clunky to use, it's more user-friendly than expected. Also included is a script editor, which opens the floodgates for a huge variety of user-created content. This, however, is the opposite of user-friendly -- I won't even pretend to know what I'm doing with it. There is already a Horde Mode-esque game mode created, complete with bots. It's not exactly easy to install and use, but it is there and is supported by the game. Shootmania has no shortage of visual and auditory information for the player to take in. The trails on shot projectiles are a clear design decision to show the player where the shot came from and to give incoming shots a large visual presence so they are visible from large distances. Likewise, getting hit will not only take a nodule away from the armor count, but the player's screen will glow and a distinct sound effect will play to let both players know that a hit has occurred. The maps themselves come off as visually basic, with tilesets that seem similar to one another and don't deviate much from the "grass and concrete" theme. The maps are well-designed, but the aesthetic is a bit bland. The graphic fidelity is definitely nice with little to no latency issues while playing within the same continent. Playing worldwide will, just as with any online multiplayer game, be a bit laggy. Shootmania Storm is a community-centered first-person shooter with next to no community. It's an unfortunate situation, but one that the game finds itself in nonetheless. Though the menus are clunky and the game doesn't do much to welcome new players, the core game of Shootmania Storm is so wonderful to play that I can't help but want to always improve. It has a remarkably high skill ceiling, even if the basic controls seem simple at first. I believe the phrase is "easy to understand, difficult to master." Yeah, that fits this game perfectly.
ShootMania Storm review photo
Jump and shoot, man
Nadeo has already made a name for itself with its Trackmania racing series for PC. Quick and sometimes crazy user-created courses task the player with getting the best lap time, making for a pure gameplay experience which can...

Nadeo games on Steam photo
Nadeo games on Steam

TrackMania and ShootMania heading to Steam this April

Three Nadeo titles now available on Steam
Feb 27
// Patrick Hancock
TrackMania 2 Canyon, TrackMania 2 Stadium, and ShootMania Storm, all developed by Nadeo, are now available for purchase or pre-purcahse on Steam. They were previously available exclusively from Nadeo's site, but it seems...
ShootMania Storm Beta photo
ShootMania Storm Beta

ShootMania Storm enters open beta

Simple competitive shooting
Feb 13
// Patrick Hancock
ShootMania Storm is one of the purest forms of competition out there. It's fast-paced, it's simple, and it's intense. It's reminiscent of older first-person shooter games, but does a good job of bringing that old-school...

Preview: ShootMania Storm Beta 2 brings massive updates

Dec 14 // Abel Girmay
ShootMania Storm (PC)Publisher: UbisoftDeveloper: NadeoRelease: January 23, 2013 Anyone familiar with ShootMania can attest to how fast-paced it is, even for an arena shooter. Not content with it being Quake on steroids, Nadeo is adding mechanics to increase mobility. First, there's the wall jump. Wall jumping allows you to jump back and forth, Prince of Persia-style, between two adjacent platforms to quickly scale them. In a game as hyper-kinetic as this, it comes as a very natural addition, and a great tool for escapes, flanking, and other traversal techniques. ShootMania's pace if further upped with the grapple hook, allowing players to swing across greater distances faster than it would take them to simply run there. The catch here is that you can not shoot while swinging, so you have to keep your momentum up and stay on the move, or risk getting shot down. Also, you can only grapple from predetermined points, so the wall jump will remain your most available option for vertical navigation in most spots. The arsenal is getting beefier too with the inclusion of the charge shot. Once charged, this firing mode deals massive damage, ricochets off walls, and even carries a bit of splash damage. Sounds great, but there's again a catch. The shot will only charge, and can only be fired, when standing completely still. You can still look around, but if you move, the three-second charge will dissipate. For such a quick, twitch-intensive game, the charge shot certainly comes across to me as an oddity. On the one hand, you have this potential for massive damage, but I still can't shake the feeling that the risk simply isn't worth the reward. When even a standard, well-placed shot is enough to take you out, I can't see many players willing to stand still for three seconds -- which feels like three minutes in a game this fast -- on the off chance there's a big payoff. If the charge time was slightly reduced, I could possibly see this being a viable alternative. The last big update to Storm Beta 2 comes with the revamped community tools. The map editor will be seeing updates too, with new structures such as ramps you can slide down, and bunkers which will change your firing mode to the sniper when you're perched at the window. Perhaps the most interesting addition is the option for any community member to create their own full-feature, full-bracketed tournaments, complete with prizes. There will also be developer-run tournaments with better rewards; as it is now, community tournaments can only offer in-game currency as prizes. Players can use all of these additions, as well as existing creating tools, to create entire custom title packs. Essentially, you can make your own expansion packs to share with friends. None of the creation tools shown were hands-on, but even so, it looks like pretty exciting stuff, especially for creation junkies. Beta 2 will be available starting December 19, 2012.
New mechanics and revamped community tools
After a solid showing at IPL 5, Ubisoft invited us to see some of the new Storm Beta 2 updates to their eSports-centric title ShootMania. As it turns out, there's quite a bit that's going to be added under the hood with new mechanics to master, community-driven tournaments, and an entire title pack editor.

Preview: Shoot fast and hard in ShootMania Storm

Aug 15 // Abel Girmay
ShootMania Storm (PC)Publisher: UbisoftDeveloper: NadeoRelease: TBA 2012 ShootMania is already out in beta form right now, so some of you will already be well acquainted with the information presented here. This game is a hyper-kinetic arena shooter in a manner not unlike the Quake and Unreal series. What makes it so unlike these other titles, though, is just how pulled back and minimal the design is. There is no progression-based leveling system, no fancy guns or gadgets to unlock, and no loadouts.In our session with it, there weren't even any weapons other than the default starter. It's a puzzling way to approach the shooter genre, especially in today's customization-crazy market, but get your hands on the game, and you will see that it works on a number of levels. Fist, by not having a leveling system, the focus of the game as whole is taken away from your next endorphin-releasing weapon unlock, and shifts it squarely on the moment-to-moment gameplay. With the actual fun of the game, and winning, being your actual reward, so to speak, players have their attention ripped from their weapons and redirected to the objective. With winning being your sole focus, this not only encourages team work (of which you'll need plenty), but also cuts down on players' almost instinctive urge to focus on their kill count. The lack of alternate weapons changes things up quite a bit as well. In nearly all shooters that have power weapons spawn on the map, the first couple of minutes of almost every game type consists of a mad dash to get that awesome sniper on top landing, or dive for the powerful rocket launcher on the lower floor. Even in games where all the weapons are chosen via loadouts, it is often easy to cry foul (Akimbo FMG9, anyone?) due to weapon imbalance. ShootMania gives you one, and only one, default blaster to shoot with. The default gun is a sort of jack of all trades, as it will change its firing function depending on you place in the map. When running through the middle, and other higher-traffic areas of the map, the blaster fires in its standard form. Take a position on the high ground, and your gun has substantially more range, almost like a sniper. Or if you find yourself running through the tunnels and other close quarters areas, the blaster spread will lose range and have a high amount of spread, not unlike a shotgun. The gun runs on a charge too, with four shots depleting the battery before it needs to be recharged. While charges refill very fast, there are small delays between each shot that force you to regulate your trigger finger. And with Halo: Reach-style reticule bloom, you sacrifice aiming for a quick fire rate, so timing your shots becomes even more imperative. With very little in the way of guns, ShootMania offers a substantial amount of personalization with its level editor and community sharing tools. Coming from Nadeo, the developer most known for TrackMania, ShootMania offers a great deal of player freedom by not only allowing you to create maps, but game modes as well. Even now, in beta form, the creation tools are sizable. Our time  was spent with a community-created map and game type. A variation of Capture the Flag, Speed Ball tasks both teams with capturing a neutral ball in the center of the map and taking it back to their base to score each round. The first team to five points takes the game. Played on a community map built in the environment Storm, verticality and movement played a role equal to twitch reflexes and dead-eye accuracy in winning. It's this type of community-driven support that Ubisoft and Nadeo are hoping will give ShootMania legs, and it already seems to be off to a great start. If less is more, then ShootMania certainly has quite a bit working for it. Breaking the mold by taking away most everything players expect is a daring move, but it certainly seems to be working. Shifting FPS focus from accessorizing guns to decimating foes is a welcome breather from the norm, and the community tools are a great way to add legs to the experience. Those intrigued enough to take the plunge can do so now with the premium beta, or at least keep an eye on this one until its release later this year.

The contemporary online first-person shooter has a well-established formula at this stage in the genre's history. Start a match, shoot stuff, gain XP, unlock stuff, rinse, and repeat. It is a formula that has worked well for ...


Shootmania tournament will be live on Twitch TV today

Jun 01
// Bill Zoeker
Shootmania Storm has an interesting spin on the first-person shooter model. Actually, throw the model out the window because it's totally customizable. You can sign up for the beta here, but while you wait, Ubisoft and Twitch...

Nadeo started working on ShootMania in 2005

Jul 15
// Jordan Devore
ShootMania has been in development for how long?! In a chat with PC Gamer, TrackMania developer Nadeo dished out new details about the mysterious first-person shooter. "A whole experience system could have been implemented in...

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