Looping The Loop: A Chat(mania) With Nadeo

By Jim Rossignol on September 27th, 2011 at 12:00 pm.


With Trackmania having made its triumphantly quirky return with Canyon, we thought it might be opportune to have a little chat with Nadeo about what they are up to. We spoke to Edouard Beauchemin, who talked about the inexhaustibility of the game, Nadeo’s plans for the near future, and the power that their games put into the hands of players.

RPS: What is the philosophy behind Nadeo as a studio?

Beauchemin: We believe that we are better at designing gaming instruments, that people will then use to create gaming the way they want. Our games all include the same essentials: simple, fun and beautiful. When players take the power they can have, it adds a fourth essential: inexhaustible.

RPS: How many people do you think have played Trackmania now?

Beauchemin: Over 15 million accounts have been created on the different versions. 10 million accounts on the last version alone. For TrackMania² Canyon, it is still too early for numbers, but things are looking really good.


RPS: What would you say is the main appeal of the Trackmania games? Do you every think they might be too “videogamey”? Or not videogamey enough?

Beauchemin: I think the inexhaustible possibilities you have ingame, combined with the simplicity. You only need to learn 4 cursor keys, and you will use them for hundreds of hours of gaming, including daily novelties. Overall it gets as “videogamey” as you decide to make it. Finishing the tracks included in the solo campaign takes around 15 hours, trying all of the hundreds of thousands of tracks would take you a lifetime. Or more!

RPS: Can you tell us a bit about the development process for Trackmania 2? How did you decide what the sequel needed to be? How long did it take to get the game we can play now?

Beauchemin: We decided to make a more powerful game, instead of making just a sequel. Games with scenarios have sequels, so for us, we needed to conceive TrackMania in a new radical way: Not adding useless feature, but instead improving all aspects of the gaming experience: A better gameplay, refined graphics, a new lighting engine, new instruments for people to create better and more easily. This is what we mean by “a more powerful game” and this is why we call it TrackMania² instead of TrackMania 2.


RPS: What were the principle challenges in developing this sequel? Were they mostly technological or design issues?

Beauchemin: Keeping things simple is always the main challenge. There is always a risk, when developing games, to add more than needed, and delivering a too complicated experience. Same idea for graphical improvement. Making a game more beautiful takes time, but the important thing is to keep the game accessible. As such, we’re really proud of the accessibility: The game plays on almost any computer equipped with a video card.

RPS: How important was the beta process to balancing the game you had created? Was the feedback from players what you expected, or did the surprise you?

Beauchemin: It is always really important to get to see the game used in real condition, ever more when it is a game like TrackMania, offering so many possibilities. There is an awesome community of TrackMania players, really knowledgeable about our game. Their feedback has been overwhelmingly good. Players like the new title very much, for all the added novelties, while keeping the good things of the series.


RPS: What are your plans for the ongoing development of Trackmania 2? Should we expect to see a bunch of iterations of the game like we had with the original Trackmania? What follows on from Canyon?

Beauchemin: A lot to come! TrackMania² Canyon is only a start: It is the beginning of ManiaPlanet, a gaming system made for a new generation of players. It has been great to have all creative instruments in TrackMania for years, but we’re now opening our expertise to new genres with ShootMania and QuestMania. With FPS and RPG added to the possibilities, we believe it will offer much more to do to players. As for TrackMania², after Canyon, we expect to release in 2012 a second title called Valley. As for iterations, you will see with ManiaPlanet why everything becomes a real 2.0 game.

RPS: Can you tell our readers a bit about Maniaplanet, how it works and what it is intended to support?

Beauchemin: ManiaPlanet is the engine behind the game. It supports all things that are not part of a title. From economy to creative instruments, buddies, preferences, files management. For us it means we can focus on improving one system, and make it the best possible. For players it means they have a system where they can play exchange, organize and create with the best instruments available on the market. We believe players are clever, full of ideas and willing to express these ideas in the gaming world. Offering them intuitive instruments that they can use to create high quality content is what ManiaPlanet is all about. With accessible titles and longtime support, we believe ManiaPlanet offers the right mix and the place the be at the moment for a new generation of gaming.

We’re working constantly on ManiaPlanet, and players will see the results when we’re ready to deliver them.

RPS: What sort of features are you providing to facilities community events in the new game?

Beauchemin: To list a few: ManiaLive to manage dedicated servers and retrieve statistics and much more, ManiaClub offers communities a tool to manage clubs easily (like football clubsé if I may). ManiaLink is there to host your space ingame, like your community webpage. ManiaPub 2.0, which is in the making, will allow communities to advertise for their events.


RPS: What keeps you excited about Trackmania?

Beauchemin: I’m always surprised by all the novelties I see every day. Players were creative with TrackMania, but ManiaPlanet and TrackMania² offers them many more possibilities, and they seized them quickly and used them for creating outstanding stuff. Every time I connect on the servers, I’m having a blast because of the combined qualities of the experience. A great game with a great community means having a blast every time I log online! Hope to see you on the servers soon!

RPS: Thanks for your time.

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29 Comments »

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  1. djbriandamage says:

    Nadeo is a great developer and I love everything about them except their stubborn insistence on using Starforce DRM on every game; even demos and the free Trackmania Nations. I sincerely hope they’ve gotten over this because that’s a dealbreaker for me.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Yep, and I haven’t forgotten Florent’s kind words towards those of us that complained about StarForce.

      But hey, Trackmania is one of the best series of the last years, and in the end I had to buy it despite part of the money going to Ubi. If that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.

      I just wish they had kept the offline single player as it was. And the 5 minutes before an official time is stupid. But whatever, TM2 Canyon is a fantastic game, I just hope Valley arrives on time before we get tired of so much canyon.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Dude, you’re way behind. TrackMania United Forever and TrackMania Nations Forever were both 100% free of Starforce.

    • Premium User Badge

      frymaster says:

      “even demos”

      do we really have to do this again? OK, let’s do this again.

      assuming you are putting DRM on the finished product, you need to put the same DRM product (albeit presumably with different permissions, like, say, “always allow”) on the demo, otherwise you’ve just handed crackers a guide on decoding the finished version. If a game has DRM, expect the demo to have the same DRM. It’s no more egregious a crime than putting DRM on the game in the first place.

    • rocketman71 says:

      @Shadowcat: they’re free of StarForce NOW. At release time they both included that virus.

    • rayne117 says:

      @frymaster

      Do we have to go through this again?

      If you make a game, it WILL be cracked. This means you’re making us, the customers, the ONLY people that have to use the DRM. I am not a criminal, but I may be soon if they keep this shit up.

    • Shadowcat says:

      they’re free of StarForce NOW. At release time they both included that virus.

      NO THEY DID NOT! Not unless Nadeo lied through their teeth when telling the public that the “Forever” games were 100% free of any and all Starforce software (which would have been a stupendously dumb and ill-fated move, so I’ll be wanting to see some evidence of that if you believe it to be true).

      Assuming they did not lie, here is the actual situation:

      The original “TrackMania Nations” contained Starforce.

      “TrackMania Nations Forever” has NEVER had Starforce.

      The original “TrackMania United” had some Starforce copy protection (although it did not in fact contain the nasty drivers that are what people usually refer to as “Starforce”).

      “TrackMania United Forever” has NEVER had Starforce.

      In conclusion: If you download any release of TMNF, or just purchase any release of TMUF in any format, no Starforce software will be included.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Also: Software viruses are very aptly named for certain resemblances to the reproductive capabilities and methods of biological viruses, and Starforce does not qualify, no matter how much you dislike it.

  2. Vexing Vision says:

    I really can’t wait to see what kind of level editor they throw in for the RPG Mania.

    And as usual, I’ll spend 10 hours playing the game and 90 hours of my Trackmania 2 experience designing tracks.

  3. Zeewolf says:

    Would have been nice to hear why they’ve dropped platform, puzzle and stunt. Did they just drop everything that don’t work in multiplayer or as “connected single player”?

    • Shadowcat says:

      That’s certainly the impression that comes across, and it’s quite disappointing. I’ll buy it either when they bring back the single-player Platform goodness, or if it just gets stupidly cheap, but I’m just not terribly interested in the online play, so TM2 isn’t very appealing right now. I’m playing TMUF again instead.

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      frymaster says:

      my mates moaned their heads off about the puzzle mode; personally I thought it was a good tutorial for map creation, but what do I know? :(

    • Shadowcat says:

      Puzzle was an absolutely ingenious way to train people to use the track editor. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Platform or Race (I’m just not that into building tracks), but it was still a master stroke IMHO.

      Those friends of yours are just weird. It’s not like they were forced to play Puzzle mode. I think. It’s been a while. Maybe they needed the coppers…

  4. Taiphoz says:

    the stunt stuff was crap, to many people making tracks that made no sense at all, I think they will bring it back but with more controls and limitations over what players build so their tracks at least have some sort of flow and direction to them.

    • Zeewolf says:

      I’m mainly thinking about the single player campaigns. I don’t get why the sequel gets so much less stuff than the games that came before.

    • Cerzi says:

      Because sometimes progression is about refinement.

    • Bioptic says:

      I too played Trackmania games entirely for the singleplayer, and have yet to see much point in Canyon. It may well be more refined, but everything I enjoyed about the series has been sloughed off in the process!

      It just strikes me as a massive shame, because endless circuit-racing in a single environment with a single car is…completely antithetical to the broad madness of United. When you (inevitably) got stuck on Stadium, you could move to Island. When you tired of checkpoint races, you could have a go at platforming. It was a winning formula that had been built up over 3 games, and they seem determined to start from square one again.

    • Zeewolf says:

      Cerzi: Yeah, sometimes. Not here, though.

  5. tungstenHead says:

    I am still enjoying driving really fast cars in the evenings. Sometimes, the cat comes along and I’m driving a really fast cat instead though. She drifts spectacularly, but visibility is an issue.

    Further, I am incredibly interested in what Nadeo is going to do with ShootMania and QuestMania. A lot of potential there if they make their tools well. They’ll be titles that should shake things up, but the industry at large will simply ignore.

  6. Commander Gun says:

    All great, but i want the stadium(car) back in TM2! I hate drifting :(

  7. fallingmagpie says:

    SHOOTMANIA!

    QUESTMANIA!

    WARFACE!

  8. terry says:

    I love Trackmania and played heaps of the original but so far I can’t help thinking there’s not enough difference to get me to buy it here- perhaps I was spoiled by the variety in the first game (Island! Stadium! The other ones that aren’t Coast!). I do like Nadeo’s philosophy however, and I’m excited to see something of Questmania because that sounds more up my alley.

  9. Nic Clapper says:

    I’m a bit torn with Canyon. I’d like to support these developers as I love TM…but I don’t want to support specifically whats happening with TM2. Visually its an improvement, but in every other way it seems like an extreme cut in content while only being slightly cheaper then TM United. If the next 2 packs are set to be similar in content and price then TM2 will be what — $75 with 3 themes? United was like $30 with 7 themes and other race modes.

    There will have to be a ton more content added and also not be $25 for each addition for me to move on from United.

  10. imirk says:

    Does anyone know if they are planning on doing a Nations style free release?

    • Mctittles says:

      Considering the paid version has less overall content than the free Nations version currently has, I’m going to say no.

    • Oreb says:

      The free Nations release came out around 2 years after the original TrackMania release. I’d expect to see a couple of expansions first, before we get a free version.

      @Mctittles – Canyon has the same amount of single-player content as Nations – they both come with 65 tracks. That probably wasn’t your point, so I’ll just move along now.

      Edit: Some official info on free version (2013 at the earliest) – http://forum.maniaplanet.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=83&p=1317#p1317

  11. elmuerte says:

    Still Ubisoft, so not reading this article.

    He, at least I’m consistent.