FNG Logo created by Nick Serr

19 December 2012

ShootMania Beta 2 Is Now Available!

Ubisoft just announced the release of ShootMania Beta 2!!!

Download it now to enjoy the new Wall Jumps, Grappling Hooks, Charge Shots, new map blocks and more!

Nadeo has been working hard for several months making performance enhancements and adding these new features.  Enjoy the next level of awesome.

NOTE: Users of temporary beta keys will no longer have access to the game with this new release.  You will either need to purchase the game or get a new beta key.

On another excellent note, Nadeo confirmed that LAN play is coming back for both ShootMania and TrackMania 2 before the official release of ShootMania on 23 January 2013!

Get hyped!

18 December 2012

ShootMania Beta 2 Coming Tomorrow!

Get hyped!

I got an email from the ManiaPlanet forums a little while ago notifying me that the official Beta 2 ManiaPlanet dedicated server is available; in preparation for the client update tomorrow (which could be Mountain zone's tonight...)

I will be setting the server up tonight so FNG is ready to go the second the new beta client is available.

I can't wait to discover what new delights we can expect to see from SpeedMonger with the new blocks, custom object ability and the new wall jump and grappling hook action.

See you tonight or tomorrow for some new ShootMania awesome!

15 December 2012

Team FNG Shield Emblems for ShootMania Team Modes

Elite Team FNG
Ok we really aren't... we're casual,
but you have to admit, that
Team FNG logo looks awesome.

Red team spawn point with Team FNG logo

Blue team spawn point with Team FNG logo
Stay tuned for the official Team FNG player skin.
(coming soon)

That One Mumble Failure Night

Those Friday Night Gamers that "Pew Pew"ed and raced TrackMania together last night, experienced my Mumble dilemma where I connected and kept getting kicked off.

I wanted to let you know that I tracked down the problem; and it was my epic newbness.

Read all about my Mumble fail on my Tech Support blog.


If I ever have this problem again in the future, remind me to disconnect myself on the work computer; then mock me profusely.

ShootMania FNG Battleground

Thundr has been working on porting our Team FNG logo into ShootMania.  Unfortunately, you have to have this file on your own machine to see them in-game, and they'll show regardless of what server you're in, but Nadeo has told me that they are working on making it server-based in the future.

Once that happens we will make sure our server looks like this every time you come in:

Team FNG Spawn Point

Team FNG Pole

Love it!  Thundr is also working on a Team FNG skin, so stay tuned for it.

14 December 2012

Cool ShootMania Screenshot

SpeedMonger narrowly misses
ThatOneGuy who unleashes
a volley of retalliation rockets
(Full-sized image)

While playing a little "Pew Pew" (ShootMania) at lunch the other day, we had some epic rounds with some funny finishes; including this one on the "KILL DEATH MATCH" map by Sammon.

As we went back and watched a few of the replays, I captured this cool screenshot using the in-game editor.

13 December 2012

New ShootMania Beta 2 Trailer

Beta 2 of ShootMania Storm should be made available next week, and Nadeo and Ubisoft have highlighted some of the new features in this awesome trailer.

I can't wait to see how the charge shot works.  The grappling hook and wall jumps are going to be a blast too.  And I'm excited to see how much creativity explodes in new maps thanks to the custom object importer; especially ones from our own SpeedMonger.

Buckle up, it's going to be a sweet slide... er... ride.

11 December 2012

Plantronics GameCom 380 - Excellent Affordable Gamer Headset

A cool thing happened to me when I went to PAX last September.  I encountered a representative from Plantronics at the ShootMania booth.  He had been looking for an Ubisoft employee to chat with, but since I was a rep during the show, he thought I'd be a good one to talk to.

I explained to him that I'm just a ManiaPlanet community member that has been working with Ubisoft for over a year in regards to ManiaPlanet; and we had a good conversation about ShootMania, TrackMania, Ubisoft, and GEEX, and Team FNG's involvement with all of them.

He was pretty excited, and offered Team FNG some trial GameCom 380 headsets to experience and review.  We received them unfortunately just after our most recent LAN party, which would have been an epic time to give them a go together as a team.

I have distributed a handful of them to other Friday Night Gamers and hope they will chime in with comments on their impressions of the headset.

I have always been a Plantronics fan.  I have used their headsets for business purposes for years on phones.  A few years ago, before I had bluetooth in my car, I used one of their bluetooth sets for my mobile phone.  And most recently before the GameCom's I've used a pair of non-gaming Plantronics headsets for my gaming and have enjoyed them all.

For comparison, the current non-GameCom headset I have fell in the $50 price range; so I didn't expect a whole lot different as far as quality was concerned with the GameCom counterpart.

I am happy to say I was proven otherwise.

The frames on the GameCom 380 are sturdy, yet comfortable to wear.  I was worried they would push too hard against my glasses, making them a problem to wear.  The earpieces are big enough to cover your entire ear and the padding is nice.  The ears also rotate 90-degrees so you can lay the set almost flat in a backpack or suitcase for traveling.  I find that feature useful for fitting on my head as well, because they can turn a little to fit the shape of my head and keep my glasses from squishing against my head.  +1

Next comes the microphone.  It is a boom mic that sits away from your face, and can be lowered to about chin level.  It has limited flexibility, and I'm not sure that it's ability to bend is for "forming" it, as much as it is to prevent breakage from attempts to bend it.

The microphone is very sensitive, and can be adjusted through your sound card settings and/or Windows Recording Devices settings.  The sound quality is as good as any other Plantronics devices I've used.

One thing I really like about this headset is the ability to control the volume and mute with a dial and switch on the back of the left ear.  My other set has a volume/mute control dangling from my cord and I frequently found myself bumping mute, then talking to my crew only to not have them respond.

One drawback for me was the cord and plugs on this headset.  The cord, while thick and durable, is short; I'm guessing 3.5 - 4 feet long.  This is fine if you're playing on a laptop with accessible audio jacks in short distance, or sitting near a desktop with front-panel access, but limits you movement-wise.  The pro is that you won't have a cord so long you're running over it with your chair (which I do often with my other Plantronics headset.)  I was going to give a -1 on the cord length, but not rolling over it with my chair is a +1, so it's a wash.

The final thing I'm not as attracted to are the 3.5mm audio plugs.  I'm not going to ding Plantronics for that, because some people prefer them, and having it this way, you can use your set with other things besides your computer; like  a mobile phone or tablet, mp3 player, etc.  If you prefer USB, look into the 780 model.

Now the important part... the sound.
I was impressed by the GameCom 380 sound.  As I mentioned before, I wasn't expecting much different than the non-GameCom Plantronics headset I already own.  However, these definitely have more bass than my prior set, and it definitely feels like the GameCom headset has much more of an ambient feel.  With games that handle positional audio, I feel I can sense more positioning in this headset than my other.  The sound is good quality, and even better depending on the hardware you are plugging it into.

I would highly recommend this headset for those that are looking for a good headset/mic combo in the $50.00 price range.  I would also recommend taking a look at the next model up, the GameCom 780 which are in the $80.00 price range.  I like the sound on the 380's enough to try the 780.  The 780 adds 7.1 surround sound through drivers that come with the set, and the USB sound card attached to the set.

The specifications for the 380 are as follows:

  • 40mm speakers
  • 3.5mm headset output + microphone input plugs
  • Spin joints for the earpods to allow for semi-flat storage
  • Rear-left-ear volume dial and mute switch for easy control of your sound.
  • Sturdy frame
  • Study cord (albeit somewhat short.) 
  • Comfortable ear cushions
Team FNG wishes to thank Plantronics for generously donating these trial headsets to our crew, and we hope you'll try them out if you're in the market for a great $50 gamer headset.

06 December 2012

TrackMania 2 Trailer Mashup - Epic Video by Eyebo

My good friend Eyebo spent 12 hours today making this incredible TrackMania 2 video, made up of clips from many different TM2 trailers; including the Canyon, Valley and Stadium environments.

It made me fall in love with the game again... despite not falling out of love to begin with.  :)

Excellent job Eyebo, and thanks for sharing!
Enjoy (make sure to watch in 720p!)

30 November 2012

EVGA ShootMania Storm Beta Giveaway

EVGA has teamed up with Ubisoft/Nadeo to give away 30-day Beta keys for ShootMania Storm if you own an EVGA GeForce GTX 650 or higher!

Eligible part numbers are listed on the EVGA ShootMania promotion page... if you're an owner and want to try ShootMania, get over there now and sign in to get your code.

Then come join Team FNG in our USA | Utah zone servers!  We always have a good time.

21 November 2012

ShootMania Giveaway Promo - Come Pew Pew with Team FNG!

Tonight is Nadeo/Ubisoft's Thanksgiving promo night for ShootMania!

All USA servers are free game, so come join us in the Utah zone for some Royal mode.
Play for at least 15 minutes and you're qualified for a free copy of ShootMania (I believe this includes players with temporary keys) as well as an ShootMania: Storm T-shirt autographed by the Nadeo team.

Get your pew pew on tonight with Team FNG!  See you there.

10 November 2012

Turkey Bowl 2012: Epic LAN Party

09 November 2012 marked one of the most epic LAN parties in FNG history.

In attendance were:
  • Jeff Litster - ThatOneGuy
  • Mandy Litster - RaInBOWDAsH
  • Brennan Litster - d6Amefath3r
  • Allen Michaelis - Michaelitos
  • Shawn Holmstead - Ender
  • Josh McDougall - Mad Man With A Box
  • Ethan McDougall - Mad Boy With A Box
  • Chance Allen - SpeedMonger
  • Shawn Hartke - Shartke

Joining us online due to extenuating circumstances:
  • Dan Wetzel - DirtyD
  • Joe Hargadon - Boma
  • Tyler Beuchert - beuchety

We missed those that couldn't make it!

We ate pizza, and pumpkin pie in honor of Boma's birthday; despite the fact that he wasn't physically present... (don't worry Joe, we ate extra for you!)

We then played our annual Turkey Bowl tournament in TrackMania 2: Canyon

Below are the tournament scores:

1st Place: ThatOneGuy (168 points)
2nd Place: SpeedMonger (142 points)
3rd Place: DirtyD (133 points)

The most awesome race of the night was the STING track by OLDA_X... ThatOneGuy was kicked down to 4th place by his two kids d6Amefath3r and RaInBOWDAsH, and Boma.  Check out how close the times are.  It was a very exciting race.
(It's so cool to see all the "Team FNG" logo avatars in the player list!)

Track times on
After the TrackMania tournament we played through all of our server's ShootMania maps.
Look at all the Friday Night Gamers!  It was a riot... and I lost my voice over the course of the ShootMania play.  :)

A ShootMania server full of FNG
on SpeedMonger's classic map:

After playing all the ShootMania maps, including a re-run of Jump Start, the 5 of us remaining at the party played a game of Dominion.  We used the base set cards along with the "Stash" promo card.  Those that played were:
  • SpeedMonger
  • Ender
  • Michaelitos
  • Mad Man With A Box (new to Dominion)
  • ThatOneGuy
It was a close game and we had a lot of laughs; ThatOneGuy won with 28 points.

The party was a smashing success.  We all had a great time.  We laughed, we yelled, we screamed... I lost my voice and it's still gone the next day.  Good times.

Thanks to Nitroguy who joined us for some Pew Pew and participated via Mumble with the other FNGers that couldn't make the party.  We really enjoyed having you with us... Come to Utah next time so you can experience the real thing.  :)

Also, congrats to Jarin Blackham (Thundr), who couldn't make it to the party because he and his wife were welcoming into the world the newest in the next generation of Friday Night Gamers.  Both mom and baby are doing well, and we congratulate them on a healthy birth!

Here are some pictures of the party itself:

d6Amefath3r and Michaelitos
(ThatOneGuy and RaInBOWDAsH in the back)

Mad Man With A Box
Mad Boy With A Box

SpeedMonger and Shartke

Most of the crew...

Most of the crew again...

ThatOneGuy and RaInBOWDAsH

ThatOneGuy and Shartke
(I hope one day to have some cool
TrackMania and ShootMania posters
to hang up on the walls for these LAN parties!)

Team FNG thanks Ubisoft for supplying some sweet ShootMania: Storm T-Shirts for our crew!

05 November 2012

TrackMania 2: Valley and Stadium Beta Sign-ups

beta-signups are now available!

Don't delay!  Gogogo immediately to the Valley and Stadium websites and click the big green "Sign-up" button in the top-right of the page to get registered to get a key when they start distributing them.

Can't wait!

02 November 2012

ShootMania: Storm Release Date and Beta 2 Announced Today

... And lastly, Nadeo announced today a 23 January 2013 release date for ShootMania: Storm!

Looks like we're getting grappling hooks and wall-jumps in this next beta phase, coming soon!
Check out the video and see the grapple in-action.  Unfortunately it's REALLY close-up.  I can't wait to see it for real.

Looking forward to seeing how it enhances the existing maps we know and love, and to see what kinds of crazy new maps we'll see after it is released.

I'm looking forward to Royal Team mode too.

So if you haven't already experienced ShootMania, go get it at the discounted rate and jump into the beta with us!  Cause once 23 January hits, the price is going up to $20.00 ...

And make sure to check out our Team FNG servers in the USA | Utah zone.  We will see you there!

TrackMania 2: Stadium Announced Today

Nadeo also announced today that the classic environment from TrackMania Nations and TrackMania United Forever, known as Stadium, is coming to ManiaPlanet!

Check out its video!

As an added bonus, it will be a free title, like TrackMania Nations Forever and when ShootMania is released, Royal and Elite modes.

2013 is going to be a FANTASTIC year!
GG Nadeo!

When I mentioned "free title" above, we read that at Eurogamer.net ... 
However, eyebo was good enough to contact me and let me know it is being discussed on the official ManiaPlanet forums, and Cerovan of Nadeo is quoted to say "Actually the economic model isn't determined yet."

So be aware that at-this-time, Stadium being free-to-play has yet to be determined.  My apologies for the confusion.

I will post again when I know for sure.

TrackMania 2: Valley Announced Today

Today at Paris Games Week/ESWC, Nadeo announced TrackMania 2: Valley, coming early 2013!

Check out the official announcement trailer below:

Slated for an early 2013 release (just in time for my birthday and our spring LAN party hopefully!), it's already looking super awesome.  I want it now!

Head over to the ManiaPlanet blog for more info.

Thanks for making my day, NADEO and Ubisoft!

31 October 2012

2012 Turkey Bowl Track Pack Revealed

Announcing the 2012 Turkey Bowl Track Pack
that will be used for our casual tournament at the
LAN party in November...

Download to:
[[My Documents]]\ManiaPlanet\Maps\Downloaded
... and run/extract to that path.

Once finished, launch the game and you will find when you browse to a map to play, there is the following folder structure:
"Downloaded/FNG/LAN Parties/2012-11 Turkey Bowl"

There are 7 tracks in the pack.
Grand Canyon (Mikealange): 
This map has a fun mix of skinny roads, fun transitions and wide-open drift turns (180-degrees).  The jump transition from the tunnel to the dirt-drift is awesome, but a nemesis at the same time.

Celcius (dip-low):
This track is for curve-huggers everywhere.  It is a SpeedTech map that begs the driver to get as close to the walls as possible to make the turn-to-chicane transitions.  It has a really nice flow and very enjoyable.

Constellation (eyebo): 
Eyebo has a gift for making tracks that force you to learn the intricacies of the TrackMania car's handling.  Constellation is no exception.  As an added bonus, it is a night map with some pretty visuals.

Head $hot (smok3y): 
smok3y never disappoints.  This track could very well be considered a spiritual successor to Tiger Blood by GanjaRider.  This track is a full-speeder, and should be exciting for close times for those that give it some practice.

If you enjoy Chillies, you should also enjoy this SpeedTech map.  OLDA_X has a unique style of track building and it shows in Sting.

A&G '12 - GRid (GanjaRider): 
This map, true to GanjaRider style, is a wicked fast full-speed map, with some scary intimidating turns that appear at first to not be no-slideable, but if you crank and commit, you'll take them and enjoy every second of it.

Let the Wookie win! (HansHolo): 
This map is a hoot.  Riddled with dirt sections, this map will test your drift/control capabilities.

This Friday's FNG will see our Team FNG: Time Attack server set to this track pack.  We will do a practice session and you can try to set local records to see where you might land in the competition on 09 November.

Download away, so you can practice before Friday if you have time.  Come back and comment on this post and let us know how you like the selection.  What is your favorite track?  Which one is your most challenging?

See you Friday!

06 September 2012

That One Time at PAX with Ubisoft

Ubisoft has shown a growing interest in PC Gaming in relation to LAN events and tournaments over the past year or so.

Partnering with Intel, Ubisoft sponsored the first official USA TrackMania 2: Canyon tournament that I organized at GEEX 2011.  I had a wonderful time working with Noemie and they were very gracious to get us on the GEEX stage as the premier Friday night tournament and supply killer prizes for our competitors ($2500 custom gaming laptop for first place, and just released 2nd-gen i7 2600k CPUs for 2nd and 3rd.)
They also supplied hundreds of limited edition TrackMania 2: Canyon t-shirts to give away at the event.

GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2: Canyon tournament
I later had the opportunity to help Ubisoft support Macduffman, a prominent USA member of the TrackMania community in organizing and pulling off another TrackMania 2: Canyon tournament at the A&G Ohio convention.

And last weekend, in an incredibly generous gesture, Ubisoft flew me (ThatOneGuy) out to PAX Prime 2012 in Seattle, Washington to assist them with their ShootMania booth.

SpeedMonger's "Cliff Jumpers" Royal map
on the big screen above the stage of the
ShootMania booth at PAX
I helped configure dedicated servers that would introduce players to the Royal and Elite modes at the booth, and helped make sure the computers were running well for the event.  I also got to talk with players and help them learn how to play the game.

My PAX Prime badge
It has always been my dream to attend a huge video game expo and was very humbled and grateful to have this amazing opportunity.  The booth was bigger than life and really awesome to finally see Nadeo games getting big USA marketing attention.  Ubisoft seems to really be backing their games now, and I look forward to what they'll do with the next release of TrackMania 2: Valley!

The greatest excitement for me, above and beyond attending the PAX and seeing Nadeo in the spotlight there, was to meet in-person and make friends with really really great people from Ubisoft and Nadeo Live.  I had so much fun spending time with them and wish I could have stayed the entire time (I had to fly home Saturday afternoon.)

From left-to-right:
Alex (Nitroguy), Josh (Ubisoft), Jeff (ThatOneGuy),
Edouard (Nadeo Live), Julien (Nadeo Live), John (Ubisoft),
Noemie (Ubisoft), Nickola (Nadeo Live), Anne (Nadeo Live)
The Ubi/Nadeo crews are passionate about their games and about the players having incredible experiences with their games; and I got the feeling after my conversations with them that they really want to support local LAN events on a smaller, more "grass roots" level.  Anne Blondel-Jouin from Nadeo Live told me (paraphrased) that doing these big shows (like PAX and E3) is fun, and great for getting the word out about their games, but they want to be involved on a much more intimate level with the players.  If you are running any ShootMania or TrackMania tournaments locally, get in touch with me and I can get you in touch with the right people there.

I got to meet Alex (Nitroguy), from TrackMania and ShootMania fame, who won the map-making contest and got himself a trip out to PAX courtesy of Ubisoft.  Nitroguy made maps for my GEEX 2011 TrackMania 2: Canyon tournament.  I have enjoyed playing TrackMania and Shootmania online with him for a couple of years, so it was great to finally meet in-person.  (And Nitro, you still need to get your winning map "Rockets and Rails" posted on Mania Exchange!)

ThatOneGuy, Nitroguy, AskJoshy(guy)
ThatOneGuy and Nitroguy watch an intense
ShootMania: Storm Elite tournament
I also made some awesome new friends from the Frag Dolls (and Cadettes): Amy (Valkyrie), Kim (Sabre) and Tracie (Miss Magitek)!  They were awesome and worked well with those attending the booth to help them understand how to play the game and get some qualified for a $500 tournament Ubisoft/Nadeo Live put on at the show.

Amy (Valkyrie), Jeff (ThatOneGuy), Tracie (Miss Magitek)

Kim (Sabre)
I couldn't find her for a pic with me
before I had to leave PAX,
so I borrowed one from their website.
Another unexpected surprise was to discover that some of the players that have graced our Team FNG ShootMania Royal server work for IGN and were there to help cover the ShootMania booth and shoutcast the tournaments.  Among the awesome were Ron (DarkRabbi), Josh (AskJoshy) and Kevin (CatsPajamas). They did a wonderful job and it was fun to get to know them in-person.

Kevin (CatsPajamas) and Josh (AskJoshy)
playing some Royal on setup day

Ron (DarkRabbi) and Kevin (CatsPajamas)
shoutcasting an Elite tournament

ThatOneGuy and DarkRabbi

AskJoshy in pro form

You can watch for the Frag Dolls and IGN/IPL players online in ShootMania (and maybe even play with them on our Team FNG ShootMania servers sometime.)  I know the FragDolls have some ShootMania servers of their own as well.

I also had the pleasure of becoming friends with Anna Prosser who helped with announcements and interviews for the ShootMania booth.

Anna during a ShootMania interview at PAX

Anna Prosser and ThatOneGuy
I had an incredible time.  It was electric being at PAX and I can't thank Ubisoft enough for bringing me out there and letting me have this opportunity to help make their ShootMania booth a success.  I hope it will help begin making the title as well-known in the USA as it is in Europe, and that we will start seeing more LAN events and tournaments happening across the country.

I hope in turn it will bring more TrackManiacs to the scene and that we will see an even bigger/better booth next time with the release of TrackMania 2: Valley!

Keep up the great work Ubisoft and Nadeo!  Keep ManiaPlanet awareness surging through the USA!

Finally, one last shout out to my good friend Noemie, who is the reason all of this happened for me.  She's amazing and I appreciate all she has done for me and the ManiaPlanet community.  You rock!

ThatOneGuy and Noemie (Ubisoft)

Reason to Love Ubisoft Again! DRM Getting Toned Back Down

I've had somewhat of a Jekyll/Hyde relationship with Ubisoft for a few years now.  I love them because there is a division within that is really focused on making gamers' experience awesome for LAN events, tournaments, etc. (you'll find many articles here about their support for our GEEX TrackMania tournaments in the past couple of years; and my next post will feature an incredible thing the Ubisoft/Nadeo crew did for me last weekend.)

However, you will also find many articles discussing my disgust and disappointment about their Online Services Platform always-on DRM.

I'm pleased to announce that I hopefully can abandon the DRM hate and just return to love for Ubisoft after a fantastic announcement on the "Rock, Paper, Shotgun" website was made yesterday morning.  The website  announced that Ubisoft is "scrapping always-on DRM for PC games."

"Rock, Paper, Shotgun" published a full interview 2 hours later where they spoke with Stephanie Perotti, Ubisoft's Worldwide Director for Online Games and Michael Burk, Ubisoft's Communications Manager.

According to Perotti: "We have listened to feedback, and since June last year our policy for all of PC games is that we only require a one-time online activation when you first install the game, and from then you are free to play the game offline."

I will test this very soon, as I boycotted several games that I'd wanted to purchase, but was unwilling to put up with their always-on DRM... titles like "Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands" and the "HAWX" series.  I was awarded a copy of Forgotten Sands at the end of last year, but haven't installed it because of said boycott.  I'm excited to see if what they said is true, because I'd really like to play the game.

However,  it was unclear to me in the article (someone please comment if you can confirm) if older games would have it removed, or if the DRM decision was only being applied to releases from that June date forward.  I hope it will be removed for these other games I've wanted to play.

Regardless, this is a huge step in regaining faith in Ubisoft for PC gamers, as well as faith that other publishers in the industry will follow suit.  Those of us that have been voting with our wallets now need to do the same and support this move.  I hope I will find out I can go back and buy the games I missed because they chose to remove the DRM from them as well; and look forward to future titles from Ubisoft that will allow me to play my games whenever, however and wherever I like.  Let's hope it keeps for a very long time!

Thanks, Ubisoft!  Here's to a bright future.

03 September 2012

ShootMania: Royal and Elite - Open to the Public at Launch!

Nadeo Live and Ubisoft made a killer announcement at PAX Prime.
When ShootMania is released, their Elite and Royal modes will be open to the public; much like Nadeo did when they released TrackMania Nations for ESWC.

There will still be the pay-for version that will have many more modes and other extras; so for those that have already ordered the beta, there is no need to fear.  :)

It was so fun to meet so many cool players there and I hope to see you online with us on the Team FNG servers in the USA | Utah zone.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a release date revealed at PAX Prime, but we hope it will be within the next month or two.  But don't wait... go pre-order at a discount today (heck, get 3 or 5-packs and get your friends playing too!  They are discounted even more.) and get in on ALL the fun action this family-friendly FPS has to offer.

31 August 2012

ShootMania at PAX Prime 2012

SpeedMonger's "Cliff Jumpers" map,
bigger than life
on 9 monitors at the
Ubisoft ShootMania booth at PAX

Ubisoft was kind enough to allow me to snap this shot of SpeedMonger's map on the huge spectator screens they have at their ShootMania booth at PAX.

I can't wait to see what's in store tomorrow.  Rumor has it there will be some big news for ManiaPlanet fans revealed sometime tomorrow.

Stay tuned!

23 August 2012

TrackMania 2 Canyon Nominated for Best Racer

Hey TrackManiacs!

Nadeo's freaking awesome racer, TrackMania 2 Canyon, has been nominated for Best Racer on the Golden Joystick Awards.

We can help vote it in as the winner at the Golden Joystick Awards web site.

The other nominated games are:

  • Dirt Showdown
  • Driver: San Francisco
  • F1 2011
  • Forza 4
  • Need for Speed: The Run
  • Need for Speed: Unbounded
  • Twisted Metal
We all know who the winner is... Vote TrackMania 2 Canyon in as Best Racer today!

Steam: Mirror's Edge for $4.99 today!

For those that haven't played it yet... Mirror's Edge is on sale for $4.99 on Steam today.

The fantastic thing about buying it through Steam is that you don't have the EA DRM with it.  As far as I know it's the ONLY version that doesn't have it (I haven't heard of EA pulling it out of their own digital distribution yet; but I will happily stand corrected if someone will let us know.)

Anyway, run get it today if you haven't.  It's a fantastic concept and I hope they'll release a sequel with multiplayer tag.

There is a lot of mild language in it, so be warned there, other than that, it's a riot to play.

18 August 2012

ManiaPlanet (TrackMania and ShootMania) Servers Going Down Temporarily

Hey all ManiaPlanet players that play on our Team FNG servers.  I need to take the server computer down for a little while today while I rearrange the office the server is located in.  It should only be down for an hour or two at the most.

My apologies for the inconvenience.

Blizzard User Account Breach

Blizzard announced recently that their "security team found an unauthorized and illegal access into our internal network".

North American players are being urged to change their passwords, secret questions and Mobile Authenticator serial numbers.

You can find more information at their Important Security Update FAQ.  I wasn't notified by them yet, I tripped on an article reporting it while looking up something else video game related.  I hope others of you found out earlier about this from Blizzard.

Hopefully those of you actively playing Blizzard titles have been notified in-game.  I launched Starcraft II to confirm, but was met with patches that require an "installation optimization" that will take 15-60 minutes.

At the very least, Blizzard should send email notifications to the addresses listed on your account, but I don't know when they will do this.

Regardless, it will be in your best interest to log in and update your account's security info.

17 August 2012

ShootMania Map Competition for PAX Prime Starts Today!

Ubisoft announced today on the ManiaPlanet blog that they are holding a map creation competition to generate maps for the ShootMania tournaments that will be held at PAX at the end of the month.

Up to 25 maps will be selected for play during the tournament in 5 different game modes that will be shown off to the attendees of the expo.  The game modes include:

  • Siege
  • Elite
  • Battle
  • Heroes
  • Speedball
Each participant may submit up to 10 maps (ALL need to be submitted together in one email to Ubisoft!!!  See official rules for more information.)

If your map(s) is/are selected for PAX, you will be recognized at the show when your map is played.  The one most interesting map (first place winner) will be brought to PAX to help show off his/her map!

These maps are being made exclusive for PAX, and thus, Ubi has set some specific rules, including making sure your playtest group only includes the author and enough people to max what the mode supports.  For example, if you decide to make an Elite map (which is 3 vs. 3) -- your playtest group will consist of the map author and 5 other players.  Play on a passworded server, and the author and all playtesters agree to be under non-disclosure agreement; meaning you won't discuss or share the map in any way.  (This includes not posting to ManiaExchange until after the PAX tournaments take place.

So wait no more... go check out the rules and start pumping out the maps... Good luck!

(I will post more about the tournaments themselves when I get more info... in case some of you out there want to try to play in them!)

This Contest is open to legal U.S. residents (excluding residents of Rhode Island and residents of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and other United States territories) and to legal residents of Canada (excluding residents of Quebec), who are thirteen (13) years of age or older at the time of entry.  Other restrictions apply; see official rules for more information.