shootmania 2Ubisoft’s next big online shooter will live or die based on support from the hardcore gaming community.

ShootMania Storm boils down the first-person shooter genre to its essence of running and gunning. Designed for multiplayer tournament play, Shootmania actively encourages players to create their own levels.

Putting together a level is as simple as creating something with Lego blocks.¬†The editor for the maps is simple to use, in a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) style.

Still in an open beta test, ShootMania Storm launched on Steam last week, and it officially releases on April 10. ShootMania is a competitive e-sport in the IGN Pro League. It isn’t gory, so it could have more broad appeal than many other, bloodier games.

“You can jump in, play the game, create your own maps, and it’s so easy” said Joshua Milligan, the senior director of online strategy at Ubisoft, in an interview with GamesBeat.

Players have already created 20,000 maps from the closed beta test, and now Milligan said he looks forward to a ton more.

The PC game is being built by Paris-based Nadeo, which developed the ManiaPlanet series of games such as the highly successful TrackMania and the still unreleased QuestMania.

I played a few rounds of ShootMania Storm at Ubisoft’s Digital Day last week in San Francisco and found the learning curve to be pretty easy. In the maps we played, you raced toward a flag. Once someone takes the flag, Shootmania triggered a storm that slowly moved in from all sides, killing anyone who was unlucky to get caught in it. That forced all players to charge into the center and fight each other with rocket launchers. You have to hit your enemies twice with a rocket launcher to bring them down. You can pretty much learn how to play in a few seconds and start taking out enemies in a matter of minutes.

The graphics look nice, and Shootmania’s design is all about speed kills. Once you die, you respawn at your start point, and you can jump right back into the action.

Ubisoft already has cash tournaments going, such as a $100,000 prize event running now. The Twitch streaming video platform is integrated into Shootmania, so you can easily watch tournaments.

Check out our interview with Milligan below.