2nd Talkshow with Hylis on the ShootMania Community Discord from February 13, 2018

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2nd Talkshow with Hylis on the ShootMania Community Discord from February 13, 2018

Post by HYPE » 15 Mar 2018, 17:15

For February 13 we invited Hylis on the ShootMania Community Discord server to answer a few questions of the community. All members on this discord where able to submit questions for this talkshow a few weeks before the date. Those questions were then merged, rephrased and ordered by Soprah, florenzius, Spyro the Dragon and Flow. A big thanks to this great team once again! :thx:

Now we will also share this interview here on the forum for everyone that is not using Discord. Sorry for the long delay! :(

Below the Question asked by me and eyebo are marked bold.

And the answers by Hylis are marked italic.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Welcome Hylis! Thanks for joining us today again. We really appreciate it a lot! :)

Hi

So the first question we have is: How are you? (This was actually a submitted questions) :D

I am over the top. Everything is going well personally & at work. It's really a good moment!

So, to start with, we would like to know, do you believe that you know the wishes of your community?

It's impossible to know them all and would be a mistake to think the wishes like this. I think that the first and most important wish is to have more mania players. After, it splits depending of who is wishing.
I often ask what are the wishes to be keep updated on this topic. However, there is what players wishes according to what they think is possible or not and there is what we can do or even bring without them thinking we can. It's complicated.


I know it’s probably a tough question in the beginning, but what is the biggest mistake you’ve done for SM so far, in your opinion?

I think there are two types of "mistakes" One based on wrong choices and ones simply because we did not had time to do better at the moment we had to do it. And I think that most of the "wrong choices" were more about "what are the priorities" in order to spend more time on things we did not had time. If I look back, I think that when people were asking us to really ASAP while we still had tons of things to improve, we should have been against the wishes of the players, if you ask me.
Of course, it looks like if we did nothing wrong but listening to players, and it's far from that.
We should have made a solid matchmaking right from the start, less powerful but clear interfaces, a better character design, more skills for lower entry, gamers style or pro gamers and launch at the right time.
Among many other things.
But I mainly think we made tons of good things and even if you can't feel it, I am really happy and proud of what the team made.
^_^
With our team of some people, we entered the realm of FPS and did a game that A LOT of people enjoyed at the studio and some get passionate about outside of it. People that would like me to think that ShootMania is a failure are useless. We entered the biggest genre and made our experience into it, especially thanks to players that stick with the game and helped us learn more about it.


On the last talkshow, you teased the possible release of a new environment for ShootMania Storm. Can you say anything about it like whether our assumption is true (that we can expect a new environment) and if it’s going to run on the Maniaplanet platform?

I don't remember teasing that. Sorry.

Can you tease something now, then? :D

I do not intend to repeat the same mistake again. Teasing means waiting and waiting put a pressure on the team and pressure is really bad to focus on top priorities, things that make the difference. The team is working at light speed at the moment and I want to keep it like that until we have something ready.
And I am really sorry about this by the way.
If I could not wait, it's because we so much think about you all.
BUT THAT'S A MISTAKE, even against you all!
I just want to say: don't wait. How long does it take for big games to be made. The ones that makes history. It takes time. A lot of it.
And I am not teasing that we are going to make a game that will make history. I am just providing the time required to try this opportunity.


Next topic will be about upcoming updates.
Will we be able to see player's ladder rankings in-game again?


For each specific request, you need to be as clear as possible on two things: what is the priority and what is important into this request. Because we have a very limited amount of resources for the updates AND there are some area that are no go, like in game interfaces.
So, I don't know if an API is available or would do the trick, but that's how we need to think.


Will you change core aspects of the gameplay again, for example changing / editing the movement system?

No, this is also a no go zone.
We did this on gameplay: ShootMania: Fix involuntary jump after teleporting.


Are there going to be any updates for the mesh modeller tool anytime soon?

That's a lucky question since the answer is "yes".
And there is not many “yes” I can tell.
I don't think it could make it for the march update, but probably for the April one. We worked a lot on it and it's the feature to enable to create some sort of block/items to enable to replace the ground.
For the mesh modeler, that's really my wish to bring the fun of creation to as many people as possible, for them and the others that can only be happy to see it.


Do you have a plan with the cars/turrets that were added to the game, or did you add them to give more creative freedom to the players?

We are not working on going further on the cars/turrets things atm.

Will "dynamic weather" ever be in ShootMania? (e.g lightning, rain, different sizes of sun/moon)

Cannot talk about "ever be" in ShootMania, of course. At the moment, we are not working on this.

Will NADEO give more support for custom titlepacks such as speedball, infection or obstacle in any way to support the creators? (e.g. promoting, showcasing the titlepacks) For the developers it would be nice to see NADEO noticing and appreciating them.

The best way we found to promote user made experience is to put them on the channel. Most of our work is made to enable these experience to be created, so I think we have some recognition there. Now, there is just a lack of passerby to try them. With MP3, we had this SuperSetup system enabling people to directly install and play for free to less popular title. It was a way to help. But we would not go as far as making advertising for them. That's more social networks to operate. Now, the ShootMania channel is free and it's the same thing.
If you can reach a youtuber to have him test infection with some of his viewers while casting, maybe it can help. Since the channel is free, he can easily invite them (just install the demo on Steam) or download Maniaplanet, of course.
I thought of asking myself someone like ZeratoR if he can make a show on infection, for he is really fun, skilled and popular. And I think he would have fun as well. But I believe it's not the right time for this atm.


Can you say anything about some of the features that you are going to release with the next update?

We are really ramping down the support we are going to make on short term. That is sad to say, but even since the last show, I had to cut even more resources on it. It's really difficult to build the future and handled the present at the same time. So, we intend to make some update like the February one, improve the mesh modeler like I said and potentially try to improve some smaller things than expected on Channels. We designed a plug in system to enable development of an additional layer of execution on top of the program, but that's not working as intended. So we need to see what we can make out of it and move forward.

What can we expect for channels? Can you tell us more about it?

My previous goal was to have them super clean to welcome free players, with a redesigned user experience. At the same time, we were working on two things, one about map selection and feedback, and the other about scores & rankings. Right now, I can't tell what could be made of it. I think we can, but it will depends of how the planning will work out.

With Maniaplanet, what did you feel was the advantage of having a platform for all the games rather than having them all on their own, and do you feel like some features are missing that you haven't been able to get around to?

A year ago, I made a list with maybe around 1000 items of things in it. I made groups, took the ones that are the most impactful and put them in categories. From all this work, some are really standing out. And I can't tell what they are, because we are working on them.
There are two sides at having a platform. The good one is the sharing of the players / community, the bad one is the added complexity / understanding for wider audience. I think it's really cool but it does not help to be popular.


Do you think that we will ever see QuestMania? Since you once stated that you only start working on QM again when you are satisfied with the situation of ShootMania.

Your question is correct Hype.
The world is having 10 000 new games or so per year, and I am really happy taking my time to make the ones that could matters.
So, I want to make success out of the ones we will do. ManiaTrack NADEO Quest & Shoot is enough and we have time.


If you want to overcome a rough and tough situation, you need to start with yourself and change yourself. What do you think you & NADEO has to change in order to make ShootMania great again?

Good question. And if you would see the studio internally, you would see how much it changed.
It's really a good question because my trust in the future really rely on the trust I have about the team & me to be great again. ^_^


(linked to the question above): Do you think that the players need to change something in order to make SM great again? And if yes, what and how?

Both questions are linked. At one time, I saw that the players had a negative impact on the team and made it more difficult to move forward. It's a little link at the time were I went rampage on the forum banning anybody being negative. It was just bad for the future of the studio, the games & the players that like them. It really helped me to see how it should be positive everywhere to reach success. And by just acting on this, I think we will see a very enthusiast project get out of all this. Time is still what worries me. So, encouraging the team to make something great and that they should take their time to make it is probably the best help you can give to the studio. Until then, I think that if we successfully have a program that is cool to play & watch, going after the social networks to invite people to play for free is the best way to have some fun until then. But great again, we need to work first in my belief.
They are running at super speed at the moment, and a little like supporters, they should encourage them to put a maximum effort to go as far as possible, not to be angry at them because they are not going fast enough.
And I am really ready to be judged on our work and choices at release. It's like a sport: we can fail, but before we need to try to win. And if we fail, it will not be of bad intention, just because we are humans. ^_^
We made a competitive racer and shooter, of course we want to win! ^^
And we know we can lose.


So the opinion of many in the community is that we are stuck in a loop. "Hylis statements are same as years ago: ’I can't reveal anything but we are working at the speed of light.’" What's your statement about this?

I know I have been saying this for a while. If I had a way to prove that it's true, I would be happy to do it. I often think that I should invite some key players to see what we are working on under NDA and make them give a statement to know if it's true or not. And yet, it's the same loop about talking about the future, waiting etc.
If the guy is positive, he would be not trusted for being positive, and it would come to dictate of non-believers to come and inspect our work while not really wanting to understand our work? That's really far from the spirit I am looking after. ShootMania has been updated for years after release, I am still here trying to give some explanation. You can doubt, I understand, but it's not my current mind-set.


Last time you talked about some "services" you are working on, and that these services had the potential to help bring more players to the game. Can you reveal any more about these services? Are they still being worked on?

I was probably referring about the work being made on the channel, also on the web side of things. For example, we set up two continuous stream for SM & TM on the web, so people can see before downloading or launching what they could play for free right now. We already tried it for weeks and it was great (unless some spec cams issues ^_^).
Like I said, I can't tell on what will be done or not on the previous plan.


Now that Mesh Modeler is a focus, some players wonder.... "Will the importer get more updates in the future"?

I have seen some wishes on the recent topic on this, like FBX import or sprite support. I really doubt we will do much since it's not the same dev that works on the importer and mesh modeler.
And that the dev on the importer is really really really important on the big project.


Some feedback/a question from the live chat: Demo in channels are nice, but it doesn't give players the opportunity to see the full potential of Maniaplanet as they can't access the editor or other parts of the game. Will there be some way to help new demo users see that there is much more to the game than just Channels (even if you want Channels to be a central part of the game)?

Because of the complex interfaces, it's also double sided. Before, I wished to make the TM² Stadium free in Maniaplanet and close Nations to bring a good audience into Maniaplanet. It would also help them discover the solo & map editor. But I think we would face various issues, including sad Stadium owners and double free access.
At least, there are still many Mania players discovering there or there the "mania" things. With 5 new millions of players since Turbo, even if it's a more distant audience, it adds to the knowledge of what is "mania".


I agree it'd make Nations players sad. But having one free title in ManiaPlanet sounds like a good idea for showing the potential of the platform. If you don't want double free access, just make SM free. ^_^

Haha, and tell me some would not be pissed off about having bought their game ^^
I followed this story many times; and there was very negative comments on StarCraft recently.
Anyway, I dont make decisions based on the negative feedback that could occur, but on what I think is right.
Let's see if we can have a welcoming free channel before anything else.


Like last time, we would like to know if you have anything to say the community. Anything you want us to know. ^__^

I want to say that I love games and sometimes I need to wait for a sequel. On mania games, other players can make the game alive even without the devs being around. All in all, I want to believe that NADEO can succeed by taking it's time while we see how players make things cool. And if you need to trust us on what we want to succeed on very long term, I say it again: Mania Track NADEO Quest Shoot are in our heart! Cheers!

So if there is not anything else you want to share with us, I want to thank you very much again for joining us today and I hope you will come again! ^__^

Thank you again to all players that were here. I hope I will take some time to join you and play next time, so I can easily frag you ^_^ See you.
HYPE Smurf

Professional QuestMania-Player since 2022

When you get sad, stop being sad and be AWESOME instead.

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Re: 2nd Talkshow with Hylis on the ShootMania Community Discord from February 13, 2018

Post by Miss » 15 Mar 2018, 17:54

Thanks for posting this!
Forum moderator, opinions are my own. :thx:
Check out Image openplanet, the alternative Maniaplanet scripting platform! (Openplanet subforum)
I also stream on Twitch and tweet on Twitter.

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Re: 2nd Talkshow with Hylis on the ShootMania Community Discord from February 13, 2018

Post by nighthawk4571 » 15 Mar 2018, 22:00

Well done guys! Thanks for sharing here. :thumbsup:

* How many CEO's would be happy to take direct questions from customers and give such open, honest answers? I'd say 'not many at all', so congratulations and thank you to hylis - outstanding!

Cheers :pil
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Re: 2nd Talkshow with Hylis on the ShootMania Community Discord from February 13, 2018

Post by Band1t » 19 Mar 2018, 19:43

Nice interview, cheers for that! Some biz insights have been uncovered I guess...

Statements like "...most of the "wrong choices" were more about "what are the priorities" in order to spend more time on things we did not had time..." defineteley indicate great lack of management and project handling. Sadly the very same instance as in Trackmania...

Through working in a business consulting environment and playing TM since 2012, I'm seeing typical behaviours and according results in our beloved game for ages now and could understand why TM/SM is what it is (ofc without analysing Nadeo too much as this is not in my business ;) ). You simply could see the signs quite for a while. The precarious state of MP and its games results of a mixture of excessive demands and - like I mentioned before - lack of management skills. "We should have been against the wishes of the players..." shows clearly the difficulty of producing games and a cry for help: Understanding the players/customers vs. producing a game from an own idea. Really great games include always both, that's always the difficult part. Mentioning Quake and Bethesda on its development from 1998 until today would be a (partially) positive example.

Listening to the community always helps, but isn't everything. You have to lead a company, create products, pay your teams and generate a return on investment every year. Focusing on priorities is essential. If you've lost your focus because of dozens of half-baked ideas, your business will die. Fast.

All Nadeo games benefit from the community, and this is the main reason why still in 2018 20-40 players still rock the Smurf Cup in TM Canyon every week, organisations would collect 1000.- € price money in TMPL in TM Stadium and people like Riolu are still pushing this game via Twitch far beyond its actual market value. Without leaning myself out of the window too far, I would recommend to Nadeo changes in terms of lead and project management, customer and market analysis (!!), marketing, business goals and maybe staff capabilities. ASAP ofc. You know the drill. Maybe I'm talking at large here, but this is my opinion based on my experiences as a business strategist and long-time customer/player.

Sorry if I overindulged myself in here. I'm no trolling but tried to think about solutions, as this is my daily business anyway. A great salute to Hylis to follow his ambition for so long!

Happy Playing!

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