Since we’re on the subject of other gaming genres, I wanted to point out Shootmania Storm with a killer announcement trailer. It’s a first-person shooter (FPS) which is built in the vein of pure arena FPS like Quake 3 Arena or Unreal Tournament. The palette is pretty pure with hit counts instead of health, recharge instead of ammo, and a sprint. Yet, when the gameplay is so focused it still retains very tight variants.
The recent E3 tournament focused around a variant called Elite. It’s 3v3 attack/defend except each round is actually 1 elite vs. 3 defenders. The elite gets 3 armors and an insta-kill rail gun, and the defenders get no extra armor and a slower moving rocket launcher with small splash damage. Defenders can fire off 4 rockets at once, while the elite’s rail gun has a couple second recharge between each shot. The elite has about 45 seconds to scout the flagpole capture point and then about 15 seconds to capture the flag. If the elite gets eliminated (3 rocket hits) or the defenders all die (one rail gun hit each) the round can also be over. It’s a really nice twist on arena gameplay, which requires very high skill.
My favorite announced variant is Joust, which is a 1v1 map with two opposing capture points. Each player has limited ammo (5 shots or so) that can only be refilled at the capture points along with a rail gun with one shot. Points are gained per hit. I’ve heard in other previews that if a player doesn’t touch a capture point within 30 seconds the match is lost. The announcement trailer showcases another variant which seems more akin to team deathmatch with capture points.
Just like Nadeo’s Trackmania series, Shootmania Storm will have easy map-making tools, scripting tools for servers, and ‘casting/machinimas capabilities. It’s slated for release later this year, but you can sign up for beta now. It’s got me pretty excited.