Then when I watched the trailer and saw that PC gets it too, I got excited about the possibilities: Cross-Platform play and an opportunity to bring a wider set of gamers to the PC versions of TrackMania. However, when I went to the website to pre-order, and saw I had to do this through the Uplay store, I shuddered. Here is why...
I made the mistake of purchasing Ubisoft's Trials Fusion through Steam. As many of you know, Trials Fusion only runs on Uplay, and thus, whenever I want to play the game, I have to be logged in to BOTH Steam AND Uplay. I'm not a fan of Uplay... I understand their goal to be like Steam, but I don't want another Steam. In fact, I rarely fire up Steam anymore ... because I play ManiaPlanet and TMUF. Going into a game that requires me to be logged into a "system" has become cumbersome and annoying.
That said, I wonder if I can only play TM Turbo if logged into Uplay, which will make the Steam zealots that only purchase through Steam as frustrated as I am with Trials Fusion... they will be required to be logged in to both in order to play TM Turbo. That will not go well with gamers. So my optimism led me to believe that:
- The PC version of TM Turbo would just be a new Lagoon Rollercoaster title pack and an addition to the TM2 title pack to include it; which means no Uplay or Steam required, and even those that purchased through Uplay or Steam would be able to play the Standalone ManiaPlanet and be fine.
- Nadeo's epic software architecture skills would have utilized the same dedicated server for this new environment, but just re-used/ported the same netcode to allow the consoles to communicate with it, so we could all play together, because the server wouldn't know any different... the same data would be passed in the same standard way, and the server doesn't care what client it is...?
Things have seemed to settle some again, where at least people know to check around to see if people are playing in any of the titles they like, but with the omission of the old ManiaPlanet home that listed all your favorite servers from all of your owned titles in one place, that takes time that people don't necessarily want to take (a discussion for another day...)
Anyway, I've been way super excited for the potential this new environment has, and was even more excited about the potential for console gamers to be able to share in the goodness of the plethora of user-created maps, skins, etc out there thanks to our awesome community... but being that PC version is standalone, and having the community split even more (having to go between three separate executables to find people to play with) is going to cause more frustration due to making all titles look more limited than they might already look.
Please know that we appreciate your desire to appeal to more of the masses; I really hope they will fall in love with TrackMania and come explore the entire universe on PC, which would build our community back up and make it a thriving game again... but if my suspicions are correct, many console gamers prefer to stick with consoles, in which case cross-platform play seems the best solution for the ManiaPlanet games as a whole.
I realize we can't change where things are currently, and maybe this was the fastest way for Nadeo to get to market (understandable with the small size of the company) -- I just hope this doesn't set things back. I hope it will be step toward a more awesome TrackMania again and if we can weather the "Storm" (forgive the pun) -- this may ultimately be a good thing (if in a more indirect way.)
Nadeo, please understand that we are so passionate about our ManiaPlanet and so very much appreciate the hard work you always put into the game. We want to help you succeed so that we can continue to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I hope you will be able to quickly rectify these disconnects so the community can stay "United Forever" (sorry, I can't help myself!)
to all of Nadeo and all of the awesome ManiaPlanet community! Thanks for considering these thoughts.