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Maniaplanet 2.0 is alpha.
Alpha because we are making new features and that there is a lot to test for this upgraded game operating system. We will do multiple alpha versions, with more people to be invited in each. Useless to ask us, it will be through already made list like at the Gamers Assembly, or by invitation of people that are already in or will be later.
To help explain Maniaplanet 2.0, I will list some new concepts. You can look in the wiki at wiki.maniaplanet.com if you look for previous concepts such as Planets, ManiaHome, ManiaScript, ManiaLink, ManiaCredits, MediaTracker, Packs, Macroblocks etc.
They are the equivalent of applications, but more entertainment oriented, such as movies or books, so we named them Titles. It is a simple file, and it can then be acquired by Planets or a key provided by the title author.
They are the titles reader. To illustrate, it is like a DVD player or book reader, but for titles. The reader is used to allocate resources online to your installed title. It can save your scores online, your rankings and more. It will also enable you to keep your installed Title in the cloud, so you can download them again later on another computer. There is a limited amount of station per user, and this number can increase with Planets.
Tiles + Stations
The goal is to enable for some players to create a customized experience with pre-downloaded datas thanks to titles (mods, scripts, maps, servers etc.) and services thanks to stations (ladders, updates, clouding, events etc.)
A map type is a format of map as well as a plug-in to help edit this map. It is like file extension plugin you can add in some applications. For example, a map type can be a platform track that would offer to set the bronze, silver or gold target in number of tries instead of time. When you launch the map editor, the first question you will ask yourselves is: what map type am I going to do?
Modes are rules and possible settings to play on a given list of map types. For example, the platform mode will make the ranking at the end of multiplayer sessions based on the number of tries instead of the time.
Tiles + Stations + Map types + Modes
To illustrate, I will take the example of a platform mode for TrackMania. You first download the title ingame from a page. It appears in your library of titles. You can then install it in station. Now, you launch it and arrive in the main menu. From there: if you go solo, you have a campaign with medals to win. If you go in the editor, you have a platform map editor with the right format of tracks. If you go online, you have servers with a platform mode and ladder.
Since many years we allowed import of cars into the game, but about modifying the maps itself, we have been careful to keep the consistency of the experience for people who decided to play the game. Now, with Titles, it will be possible for players to add visual, static and collidable objects in the maps. It is another step with more opening, but keeping it somehow structured for usual players as well. For people familiar with the interface, it will be accessible through a new icon between blocs and macroblocks at the bottom of the map editor interface.
Tiles + Stations + Map types + Modes + Objects
If you create a mod that changes the texture of the environment + you import objects with given textures + you decide to deal by yourself the servers with your mode in order to keep some information on your side, like persistent world games, then it is useful to know that all users will have the data already downloaded when they enter your world, with your objects and your rules. And in another way, it is also better to know that when you connect to an existing Title, that you will be in a predefined environment, like a reference. So, if you connect to the Nadeo Title Canyon, for example, you will be confident that the map will be standard ones without objects you would like to avoid to see on tracks.
There will be additional features to discover later, but we have plenty of work and I think it is better to keep the info when we will be closer to release. Stay tuned!
Florent - Hylis
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