Everything started in Grenoble where Florent celebrated his passion for video games by creating a video game club at university. A few years later, in 2000, he founded Nadeo with friends from the club. As an engineer, Florent first developed the architecture of the game engine that is still used to create Nadeo’s games.
In 2003, Florent and his colleagues released the very first Trackmania title, which quickly became a huge success thanks to its track editor and powerful multiplayer technology. Soon after, Florent decided to dive into esports and launched Trackmania Nations, the first-ever racing game developed specifically for the competition. After 9 years of independence, Florent sought the support of a bigger industry player and orchestrated the integration of the Nadeo team (11 people) in the Ubisoft family which happened in 2009. Since then, he has been the Managing Director of Ubisoft Nadeo, which now boasts 60 team members. Florent is the good genie that supports every team and project in the studio, from the new Trackmania to Shootmania and Questmania ambitions.
We had a pleasant conversation with Florent Castelnerac, General Manager of Ubisoft Nadeo. You can take a look at this conversation where we also have some of your questions.
What is the Biggest Change in the Next Trackmania Game?
1. The popularity of Trackmania continues with the Grand League. So when did you start for this project? How long has the new game been developed?
The Grand League is the combination of an excellent player work (who joined the studio after organizing his own competitions) and our long desire to make our own league to focus on improving the quality of the experience and tools for competitions. So, the league is live since this year but has a longer story. And it is the same for the game. We have not released anything for three years, so a lot of work happened. However, we have been entirely focused on the game for around a year.
2. What is the most significant differences in the new game, and what is the most critical dynamic for you?
This game is more about making every aspect of Trackmania better, more modern, with better attention to details etc. And that’s what makes a whole. I am happy with three big points: sensations (gameplay, graphics and music ), creations (the map editor and online review system) and competitions (new ranking system, daily track & cup, ingame players events).
3. The element of physics is one of the most critical aspects of the series. Could you give us some pieces of information about the physics and the dynamics of the game?
It has to be diverse and precise for people to enjoy different situations and being happy to improve. This is why we had two big projects: to introduce new surfaces and individual blocks on one side and to get deep in the physic to make it as robust and deep as possible. I hope we did a good job there, it is critical, and since players still find new mechanics after ten years, it is not something that I can easily predict!
4. What kind of changes is waiting for us in the track editing?
More blocks, a new free mapping mode where you can put them out of the grid, a bigger zone to build and, for the first time in this environment, items to place inside the blocks themselves. For the first time in the track editor, you can place a lot of details, within the blocks, and combine them very quickly.
5. What do you think about eSports for the Trackmania?
I like to see Trackmania as a reference game for racing sports, the same way than races are a vital discipline in the Olympics. In a sports club, people are committed to practice and try to become the best in the long run. I want to keep the same sport spirit in Trackmania esport, where players have a good time with their competitors.
6. In Trackmania Nations Forever, Instead of the usual tools, we were able to download and put the skins we wanted. Although Hitbox remained the same, the model was changing. Will this be supported in the new game?
It is not yet decided. The car is much more sophisticated. I still have to make up my mind. So, 2D skins remain. 3D surfaces, we will see.
7. And we know your launch is on 1 July, do you have any plans for a console release?
Not yet. I would love to see the game on console, especially with cross-platform, but we need first to see how it goes and what are the players’ wishes.