On The Level: ShootMania’s Map Editor

By Nathan Grayson on September 8th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

I made a sand castle that looked just like this once. Except with more glow sticks.

ShootMania, my many well-placed sources have informed me, includes a potentially significant component of shooting. This, I believe, is probably an exclusive, so it should be treated with all the reverence and majesty such a title commands. But apparently – and I heard this through my ultra-secret source, who may or may not be a grapevine dressed in a trench coat that lives in a perma-dimly-lit parking garage – that there will also be other things. But what? And how? These are the great questions of our time. Oh hey, here’s a trailer that answers, like, all of them at once. Neat!

The base options, of course, look great. We can choose from all sorts of structural bits and bobs (Walls! Windows! Buttresses!), and drop-in/drop-out is, happily, in – and not, you know, out. So that’s all quite promising, and it seems pretty simple to boot.

I’d love to see a video of a dev walking us through the process of blowing a map out into something like the multi-tiered behemoth toward the end of this trailer. Also, the dev would need to have a silky smooth, incredibly calming voice. The verbal equivalent of cannon-balling into a fresh pile of warm, velvety laundry, let’s say.

Oh hey, the community’s already done exactly that. So here’s what really makes the map editor tick.

Sure enough, even once you ratchet up the complexity, it all seems quite clear and to-the-point. I mean, I’m still not sure I’d make for a competent enough map designer to really do anything worth noting here, but knowing that this kind of toolset exists certainly makes me want to try. Next up, though, I’d really like to see a map that’s not just rehashing the “surprisingly well-preserved ruins of some medieval-yet-also-jump-pad-laden valley fort” look. And also a new phone, ice cream, and a pony. ShootMania community, a little help? No? Aww. It was worth a try.

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17 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge Chaz says:

    Oh wow, this is looking better all the time. Possibly the first multiplayer FPS I’ve been excited by for many years. I could have lots of fun with that editor.

  2. Saarlaender39 says:

    Not interested in the game itself,…but that editor made me drool.

    • Snakejuice says:

      If you don’t like FPS games but liked that editor check out trackmania if you like arcdey-but-e-sporty-precise-racing games.

  3. Rubyace says:

    I like these custom maps in Shootmania, at least you don’t get bored playing same maps all the time. Of course there are some problems with these custom maps but luckily servers (at least those that I’ve been playing) are taking feedback and try to improve the maps. Biggest problem at the moment seems to be low amount of spawning points in some maps, which leads to spawning two players to same spot.

  4. Terragot says:

    That shooting looks really unsatisfying. Kind of feel they missed a trick there by not going full bullet hell mode.

  5. jon_hill987 says:

    You can make the tools as easy as you like but it won’t make people design decent maps. The kind of people who have the drive and ability to make a good map have the drive and determination to learn Hammer or UnrealED. All making things easy does is mean there is a lot more crap made.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Clearly we need to make map editors much, much harder, get rid of any keyboard shortcuts, and require captchas for each copy or paste function. That way only the very best maps will get made!

    • crinkles esq. says:

      I think there’s a balance to be had. I spent a lot of time making maps for the original Unreal Tournament, but with the next UT installment making maps became more about learning a complex 3D modelling tool rather than using the tools inside UnrealED. So I lost interest. Most of the people who forged ahead were interested in becoming level modellers in the industry. I was more interested in making maps for fun.

      I think it’s important to make a toolset sophisticated, but not overwhelming. ShootMania’s toolset seems a bit too rubber stamp though; more like what you’d get with a console game.

      • jamesgecko says:

        Yeah, I’m wondering how well it does with more complex structures. It’s unclear from the video exactly how feasible a map which has a major underground component would be. The community did do some crazy things with the TrackMania editor, though. Things that I wouldn’t have thought were possible, so I’m erring toward optimism.

    • jamesgecko says:

      Because there aren’t any kids who have notebooks full of good ideas for maps, but don’t know how to slog through the muck to realize their ideas. It has been scientifically proven that users of highly technical map editors are full of good map ideas. It is a fact that most user-made maps for popular FPS games aren’t complete crap.

      Additionally, it’s definitely not true that some maps become really popular, and there most certainly aren’t lots of servers that exclusively run popular maps.

  6. PoLLeNSKi says:

    Very nice easy editor. Its just a shame that the gameplay has looked boring as hell when I’ve seen streams of it.

  7. particlese says:

    Ah, the joy of creation. I’m glad he added some happy little trees to the center there.

    Also, they seem to have done a really good job making the tiles automatically flow into each other nicely, like in RTS level-editing, but with the potential for more complexity.

  8. cjb110 says:

    And why can’t big boys like Battlefield and CoD have this kind of map editor??

    • Premium User Badge Chaz says:

      Because if the community could just make their own maps for free then they wouldn’t be able to sell you their new map packs as overpriced DLC.

  9. Bungle says:

    I love Trackmania, but this game just looks like a crappy Quake ripoff to me. I must unforunately pass.