Mod-friendly ShootMania FPS simplifies map creation

Like the TrackMania series but prefer shooting to driving? Good news. TrackMania developer Nadeo's first FPS title is ready for prime time. Dubbed ShootMania Storm, the game has been in open beta since February. The finished release is now available on Steam and the GamesPlanet website for just 20 bucks. Both outlets also offer three- and five-copy bundles for $50 and $80, respectively. Here's the official launch trailer to give you a taste of what's in store:

The arcadey gameplay in the trailer is reminiscent of the deathmatches of my youth. There's plenty of aerial action fed by jump pads, launch ramps, and what appears to be a grappling hook. No gibs, though. The violent combat typical of first-person shooters looks relatively sanitized here. While the core mechanics appear unchanged, all traces of blood and gore have been excised. I don't see anything resembling an actual gun, either. This is the gaming equivalent of a G-rated movie.

As with Nadeo's other titles, ShootMania Storm is designed for player modding. Users can customize map textures and player skins "with a little file tweaking." They can also import 3D objects into the included map editor, which is highlighted in the video below.

The editor appears to be easy to use, and it looks like you can create pretty elaborate maps without too much effort. As an added bonus, you don't need any artistic talent to make the environments look decent; the editor takes care of blending everything together. Some skill will be required to craft a balanced map that plays as good as it looks, though.

Poking around online, I'm finding hundreds of thousands of user-created TrackMania circuits available for download. Most of them are probably mediocre at best, but some are no doubt awesome. It will be interesting to see if Nadeo can foster a similar community around ShootMania. Heck, I'm tempted to pick up the game just to fool around with making a few maps that have been floating around in my head since the early days of Quake.

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