N++ IS HERE

By M&R | July 28, 2015

July 28th, 2015: N++ Day!

You can get it right now, and you totally should: https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-us/games/n/cid=UP2108-CUSA00041_00-NPPGAMENPPGAMENP

YES! We’re so excited. It’s been a really long road, longer than we expected and longer than we wanted, but you know what? We couldn’t be happier with how the game came out, and we think you’ll be able to see that extra effort and abundance of love that went into it.

It’s awesome. We made tons of improvements since the Beta, including optimizing the size of the save file! It’s at the cost of attract mode / main menu replays, but we think people will appreciate the smaller footprint more than a few hundred replays.

We tweaked levels, we tweaked colours, we put the finishing touches on the animations and got the server running beautifully. The entire team worked our collective fingers to the bone, and play-tested until we couldn’t see from exhaustion. We put everything we have into this game and yet, there are still plenty of things we didn’t get to finish for launch — so expect those to roll out over the next few months!

Check out this amazing launch trailer we made:
https://vimeo.com/134740530
ARGHH it’s so punchy and beautiful!

Here are some quick stats:
-2360 unique, handcrafted levels (it would take at least 30 hours to speedrun this game)
-52 colour schemes
-over 6 hours of music by over 40 musicians

Features:
-Solo, Co-op and Competitive Multiplayer (Race)
-built-in level editor with online global level-sharing
-highscores with replays for every level, including all player-made levels

For those of you wondering about the price, it is $19.99 to start, and that gets you the game and a “lifetime pass” to all future DLC. We’re planning a huge update that will actually raise the price, and are not planning on putting it on sale much, so if you want this game cheap, don’t wait. Strike while the iron is hot! Or lower cost, anyway.

If it sells well enough on PS4, we hope to be able to afford to port it. We cannot guarantee this will happen, and we don’t know what platform it will come to first if it comes to any. Steam is likelier than most, but again, we have to see how things go. So if you want to see this game anywhere else, please do us a solid and spread the word! We are a tiny team with a tinier budget, and we need all the help we can get.

But it’ll be worth it! The more hands we can get N++ into, the happier the world will be as everyone enjoys smooth, glorious colour and acrobatic ninja action.

So go get the game everyone, and thanks in advance — there’s a special thank you on the credits page to all you N and N+ fans who have enjoyed our work over the years. Here’s to you.

ps. you might be also interested in some limited-edition N++ shirts:
https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/metanet?section_id=17568595&ref=shopsection_leftnav_6

N++ is coming!

By M&R | July 14, 2015

Today we have some exciting news: N++ is coming, and this time it’s really, tangibly soon! It’s finally time! Check out our release date announcement trailer:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llMTIG3mukA

(The video was once again made by Richard E. Flanagan, and the music is by Raigan Burns)

Yes! You’ll have N++ in your hands at the end of July! This July! July 28th! We are so excited. It’s almost here!!!

We’ll have lots more news and details in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, here’s a few details we wrote up over on the PlayStation blog:

http://blog.us.playstation.com/2015/07/14/n-launches-on-ps4-july-28th/

woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

N++ Beta Contesque!

By M&R | June 12, 2015

As faithful readers of this blog know, we are getting all the N++ code prepped for certification, but launch day may still be a ways off. We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, we have some exciting news!

We’re doing a private Beta Test with a small group of players, to make sure the N++ server (that handles level-sharing and highscores) is ready for launch — and we’re running a Contesque to help choose our testers.

If you have a PS4 and an SCEA account, you could be one of those lucky people. Fill out this form and submit it to us, and in a week or so we’ll email the winners:

N++ Beta Contesque

We hope you’re as excited as we are — we really can’t wait to see the levels you all come up with! :)

Note #1: If you’re in Europe, apparently you can make an SCEA account, so you might want to look into that if you want to be in the Beta.

Note #2: This is only a Beta, so things are not completely finished, and there may still be some bugs. Please bear with us, we promise they’ll be fixed for the release! :)

Update++

By M&R | May 30, 2015

Hello again! It’s been a long time since our last update because we’ve been feverishly working to get N++ finished. We’re still not quite there — the launch build is content-complete, but we are still working on the code side, which can be pretty time-consuming. (For example, adding trophies requires a lot of code and even more testing, so it’s a pretty lengthy process.)

The journey to the end has been pretty rocky, and incredibly challenging. We’ve hit a few more snags, mostly with the server backend: it was not exactly the seamless and bug-free experience we’d planned for. Actually, to be honest, a lot of parts are falling out of place right now — but this is pretty typical in game development. The good news is, we’re getting through it, fixing bugs and solving issues left and right, as well as applying the final touches and polishing everything to a brilliant shine. We’re not giving up, we’re not cutting corners and we’re working as quickly and thoroughly as we can to get this game done and into your hands.

We are aiming to get N++ into cert in the coming weeks, and though we won’t know when the game will be ready for release until it’s through cert, we will keep you posted as soon as we have any info!

In the meantime, we’ve been trying to at least keep you excited about what is to come, by steadily releasing bits of info or other cool things we’ve prepared. The most exciting so far are the daily soundtrack links Raigan’s been posting on twitter, to give you an idea of what your ears will be treated to as you play (or not — you always have the option to listen to the “Classic” N soundtrack), and the N++ Enemy Spotlight vignettes on which we collaborated with Richard E. Flanagan. If you’ve missed them, you should definitely check them out!

Here are links to each of the vignettes, as well as the corresponding Behind-the-Scenes look from tumblr. Make sure you turn up the sound! πŸ˜‰

Enjoy!

Deathball:

Behind-the-scenes:
http://metanetsoftware.tumblr.com/post/117347663545/n-enemy-spotlight-behind-the-scenes

Rocket:

Behind-the-scenes:
http://metanetsoftware.tumblr.com/post/117949654662/n-enemy-spotlight-behind-the-scenes-rockets

Micro Drone:

Behind-the-scenes:
http://metanetsoftware.tumblr.com/post/118534958171/n-enemy-spotlight-behind-the-scenes-micro

Evil Ninja:

Behind-the-scenes:
http://metanetsoftware.tumblr.com/post/119117968801/n-enemy-spotlight-behind-the-scenes-evil

Laser Turret:

Behind-the-scenes:
http://metanetsoftware.tumblr.com/post/119691167688/n-enemy-spotlight-behind-the-scenes-laser

Toggle Mine:

Behind-the-scenes:
http://metanetsoftware.tumblr.com/post/120277968552/n-enemy-spotlight-behind-the-scenes-toggle

Hopefully those videos will help tide you over a little longer as we get this game done. Want to start talking with others about N++? Good news, there’s an N++ Subreddit! http://www.reddit.com/r/nplusplus/
Kudos to waddlingpenguin for making it.

Here’s the full soundtrack preview list, which waddlingpenguin has been collecting for all of us to enjoy:
http://www.reddit.com/r/nplusplus/comments/34xdyf/daily_n_soundtrack_preview_list/

(Is this going to be the best video game soundtrack ever? We think so!)

We have a few more secrets and fun things to reveal, so keep an eye on twitter, facebook and tumblr and of course this blog right here.

The Time Is Almost Nigh(++)

By M&R | March 17, 2015

In case you haven’t been able to tell from our silence here, we are now in the very final stretch of development: since the start of 2015 we’ve been pushing extra hard to tie up all the loose ends and get the game finished, and sadly that means no time for things like showing the game at GDC or other events, or for writing blog posts.

We know you’re all aching for a release date, but we’re still not quite ready to announce that yet — we don’t want to announce until we’re sure the game will be out on that date. But we’re almost ready, and we’re here to give you a giant, detail-fueled update on where we’re at in the meantime.

 

WHERE IT’S AT
N++’s core gameplay (single player, co-op and competitive multiplayer) is finshed and feeling great. Currently all of the levels are arranged and in the game, all of the colour schemes are designed and in the game and all of the music is licensed and in the game. The UI, packaging and transitions are in, though there still are a few placeholders, but we know what needs to change and how to change it — there are no more unanswered questions. This is a huge amount of stuff — and it only took two years πŸ˜‰

We just playtested the first proper beta version on Friday, and it was really exciting to see it all finally come together!

Everything still needs the usual minor adjustments and polish — and a lot more testing — but all the components are complete and in place; our job is no longer to create anything, but instead to tweak and correct what’s already been created, while solving problems and fixing bugs.

(In case you can’t imagine what sort of problems may need to be solved, consider having to test not only every page of every menu, but also every graphic, animation, and particle fx of every entity in the game; not just once, but over 50 times, each time with a different colour schemes — each of which is built from over 140 different colours. It’s a lot of work!! (If you’re curious about the +8000 colours in N++, please check out this recent tumblr post)

 

WHY IT’S THERE
The good news is that it should only be a matter of months before the game is out: months plural, since we have at least a month of bug-fixing and mistake-finding-and-correcting, and then when we’re finally done, the game still has to go through Sony’s internal testing and verification process, which will take another month. Oh, also, at that point, we’ll finally be able to announce a release date.

We realize that this is little consolation to those of you who have been waiting patiently for literally years for this game to come out, but we promise that if you’re a fan of N or N+, once you try N++ you’ll (a) understand why it took so long for the three of us to make, (b) grudgingly — or excitedly — admit that it was worth the wait.

We also realize that this isn’t the first time we’ve thought we were months away! Discussing this with other developers tells us that this seems to be a common thing to experience: you know what they say about the last 10%. Beyond that, there have been several times in this project in particular where just as it seemed like we were cresting the final hill, a new hill appeared on the horizon.

Because this is the final version of N that will ever be made (EVER), we thought it was important to always try to explore these distant hills, in order to make sure that we didn’t miss anything crucial; this curiosity has been rewarded, as several times we managed to improve something beyond what we had thought possible, and add a few new twists to the core game that have made it even better.

Anyone who has tried the new competitive multiplayer Race mode has seen a good example of this: we could have simply made it the same as in N+ XBLA, but we suspected that with a bit of work we could find something even more awesome. We’re really glad we decided to spend the extra time and effort, because murdering your friends with rockets is a ton of fun! If you haven’t been lucky enough to play it yet, here’s a recent stream from Indiecade that shows some casual matches — including a few rocket murders πŸ˜‰

Pretty much every aspect of the game has been leveled-up in a similar way to Race — this is how a project which initially began as a quick 9-month launch title became a sprawling 36-month behemoth! 9 months was how long N+ took to develop, so we figured it was a good estimate, but we failed to account for all of the new stuff we would discover and explore in the process.

At this point we’ve satisfied our curiosity and are pretty confident that any further changes we could make would yield diminishing returns, if not actually make the game worse.

 

POST LAUNCH
For those of you keeping score, we’re going to end up launching at around month 30 of development, but we do still have about 6 months of development work left to go — however those last 6 months will occur *after* the game ships, as we release post-launch updates which add new levels, colours, music, and (perhaps most excitingly) new game modes.

Releasing post-launch updates is a way for us to continue investigating promising ideas which we discovered during development but haven’t had time to properly explore, and to let us finish the game for launch without further delays.

In case the above paragraph has you worried that we’re shipping a rushed half-finished product that we’ll later patch: worry not, that will not happen. The game as it ships will be rock solid and pretty insanely great (if we do say so ourselves).

Our best guess for the fastest possible speedrun of all the 2000 levels available at launch is no less than 20-30 hours; we estimate that most players will take at least 50 or so hours to play through the launch version — if they’re good enough to beat everything.

We simply had to draw a line and say “okay, that can wait until post-launch” on a few things (eg additional multiplayer modes, additional levels). For example, we’ve spent the past 5 years making over 3000 new levels — levels which we feel are much better than anything in N+, simply because we’ve gotten a lot better over the years (plus we added new enemies and stuff).

However, making the levels is only part of the work involved in getting them in the game: what takes even more time is testing, arranging into episodes, tweaking, and finalizing them. That amount of time is gigantic. So, we decided that in order to expedite the launch, we could only finish half of the levels right now.

 

LAUNCH
As it stands, at launch N++ will be 4x as big as N+ was — and actually, each individual level is also 30-40% bigger since N++ levels are 16:9 while N+ was 4:3.

Let’s just let that sink in. N+ had 500 levels, and at launch N++ will have over 2000.

We actually think it’s a better experience for players if we leave some levels for later, since even the current 2000 levels can be a bit overwhelming. But by the time we’re finished, this game will be so chock full, it could last a lifetime. Which is kind of the point, since again, this is the last version ever!

For those of you still keeping score who might ask how we could arrive at 2000 levels at launch while using only half of our 3000 new levels: one thing we haven’t mentioned is that N++ will also contain a special “Legacy” section which features the best levels from N v1.4, N+ DS, N+ PSP, N+ XBLA, and N v2.0, all remastered for the new 16:9 aspect ratio, and (when appropriate) featuring the new enemies and items from N++. As if over 1000 brand new levels weren’t enough!

 

OUR REASONING
When we started this project, our ambition was to make the best, definitive version of N — but we didn’t appreciate what this really meant. Our conception of this idea was simply something like N+, but with better production values, new levels, maybe a new enemy or two.

However, once we really found our footing and got going, we realized that this was something quite different than N+; this was something much bigger, much more complex, and also much more important.

When we’re all finished, N++ will be about 10x bigger than N+ XBLA was, but much more important than that — more than just a quantitative improvement — is the tremendous leap in quality that we’ve managed to bring to every aspect of the game. We’re so proud of the new levels, the new colours, and the new music. The whole package is 10000x better and we really can’t wait for you to finally be able to try everything.

Throughout the project we’ve tried to keep one thing in mind: you, our fans. Our mission was to make a game that anyone who had enjoyed N or N+ would adore, and when we playtested on Friday we were convinced that we have succeeded.

All three of us have been dedicated to a single goal for the past 28+ months: making the best possible game we can. We’ve ended up with something much better than we ever anticipated, simply because we each pushed each other to get better and better, to keep digging and iterating, to learn and improve.

We think this is a good sign, since it reflects the very core of the game itself: continual growth and improvement, and doing things that initially seem impossible.

It’s taken a lot longer than we had planned, but we’ve at last managed to achieve our ultimate goal: to finally fully realize the vision we had over ten years ago, but lacked the resources, experience, skill, and insight to create.

We’ve tried to climb this mountain several times over the past decade, but it wasn’t until the last couple weeks that we truly felt that we had reached the final summit.

Now we just need to climb back to base camp safely and share the results of our adventure with the rest of the world — stay tuned! It seriously won’t be long now :)

2014: Year in Review

By M&R | December 24, 2014

Whew, what a year! It was one full of promise, anticipation, slight disappointment, readjustment, happiness, excitement and more anticipation. Some ups, some downs, and a LOT of work, but overall it was a good year.

It was Metanet’s 10th anniversary of incorporation! It’s amazing that a tiny team of two has survived this long doing what we love, and we are thankful every day that we are so lucky. We’ve come a long way in the past decade and are really looking forward to the next one. Thanks for supporting us and for playing our games, we’re so happy this game development thing is working out :)

 

Happy Holiday Metanet Software 10th anniversary!

Happy Holiday Metanet Software 10th anniversary!

 

We were honoured to have been included in the beautiful book Every Day is Play, among some of the best and most exciting video game creators and artists around.

 

Everyday is Play p. 79

Every Day is Play p. 79

ps get this book, it’s amazing.

 

While we’re on the subject of things you may want to buy, we created a lot of incredibly beautiful merch you can get right now in our Etsy shop, plus we designed a bunch of cool prints over on Society6.

Stationery:

N++ stationery

Special Edition Pins:

Stickers, buttons and more!

Stickers & Buttons

It’s colourful, cheerful, stylish and is the perfect embodiment of the enthusiasm we feel for N++. Hopefully it’s infectious!

 

The bulk of our year has been devoted to developing N++, obviously. We started 2014 hoping to finish N++ in September, but as the months wore on we quickly discovered that was unfortunately impossible. We hit a few snags and rough patches, but also found a few things we loved so much we needed to work on them more. Accepting that we would have to delay was very painful for us and for Shawn as well — we had all initially wanted N++ to be a launch title for PS4, so further delay was hard to stomach — but we knew it would be a better game if we did.

And it seems that we’re on the right track — we were able to show N++ a bunch this year, and got lots of great feedback. The most rewarding thing is seeing people laugh and smile as they play, even as they die over and over (and over) again! We especially loved running a tournament at PAX to show competitive multiplayer Race mode. It was so good to see people play and really dig into strategies! Our favourite show this year was the PlayStation Experience in December — it was so friendly and welcoming, and so full of people who love games. The atmosphere and experience was wonderful.

 

The big news this year is that we received the IndieCade 2014 Special Recognition award for N++.

 

What an extraordinary honour! We are so elated and so humbled that other people can see what we do in N++. Thank you, this means so much to us.

 

So when is N++ coming? Well, we still aren’t sure. We are aiming at spring 2015, and are pretty determined to make it. Although we’ve finished a ton, there will be a lot of fun additions and surprises after launch as well because we won’t be able to finish them in time to get the game through cert. Hopefully we won’t hit too many more snags, because we are so eager to finally get N++ out to you. We have a lot to show you before launch that we are super excited about! We’re really looking forward to 2015, it’s gonna be a great year.

As always, to stay connected to all the news we’ve got, keep an eye on twitter, tumblr and this blog right here.

 

Let’s end this post with these incredibly cool stylized portraits of us that were drawn this year by the immensely talented James Harvey:

 

http://harveyjames.tumblr.com/

Mare and Raigan, by James Harvey

 

Happy Holidays to all of you from both of us at Metanet Software — we look forward to a very exciting 2015 and we hope you’ll share it with us!

Nv2.0 Database Mishap

By M&R | December 20, 2014

We’re having a few problems with the N v2.0 database right now. You may notice that many of the user levels may be missing info. We’re trying to fix an issue many people have written to us about lately — while trying to solve that problem, things went awry and this new problem was created.

It may take a few weeks to restore the backup from a few weeks ago — we’re working on it as fast as we can, but the holidays are causing a few delays. The good news is, most of the levels themselves are still there, we just need to restore the names etc.

There might be some data loss, but hopefully it won’t be severe — we’ll know as soon as our server admin can take a look at the latest backup, and we’ll keep you posted. We’re really sorry about the inconvenience!

The PlayStation Experience

By M&R | December 4, 2014

So we’re off to Las Vegas for the PlayStation Experience, December 6-7! We can’t wait to show the latest build of N++ and chat with players — this may be the last time we show it publicly before it is released?! Although release is still a few months off, we’re so close to being finished, and that is a great feeling.

We just did a detailed breakdown of our level-making process over on the PlayStation blog: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2014/12/04/the-ins-and-outs-and-ups-and-downs-and-lefts-and-rights-of-designing-n-levels/

And check out this short video we made to illustrate that process as well. https://vimeo.com/metanetsoftware/framebyframe

We’d just like to take a moment and say that the feedback we’ve been getting thus far is great, and we really appreciate the encouragement and appreciation from fans — we’re so happy you’re excited. We’re sorry it’s taking so long, but thank you for your patience, and for your enthusiasm — it’s much needed at this stage in development. So thank you! You don’t have long to wait now.

We’ve got some special merch for the PlayStation Experience, so if you’re in Las Vegas this weekend, come and say hi (Booth #I31) and check it out!

We just printed a new exclusive tshirt in a limited run of only 40:

photo 1

and some really really awesome N++ pins just came in. They are super high-quality, hard enamel metal pins that have military-style double prongs to help keep them oriented properly. They come in a set of two on the coolest card (with shiny level thumbnails on a black matte background) and if you can’t tell we are really happy with them :)

photo 3
photo 2

If there are any left after this weekend, we’ll bring them back to Toronto and add them to our Etsy shop, so keep an eye there if you are interested.

We know a lot of you would like N++ tshirts, and we are thinking about ways to make that happen. Shipping small things is a lot easier for us — shipping tshirts gets pricey very fast here in Canada (think $20+ just for the shipping) so we don’t know if we’d ever sell many that way — but if we can find someone to partner with who can handle shipping shirts (at a lower cost to you), we may do that. We’ll keep you posted!

Guest Post! Making a Calculator in N

By M&R | November 28, 2014

We’ve got something special for you: a guest post by Andrew Pritchard, who has made a few binary calculators in N. He’s written an awesome, in-depth summary of how binary addition works and how he implemented it in N, and we had to share it with you all because of how incredibly cool this is. So without further ado, take it away, Andrew!

————————————-
Hello,

I’ll say this one straight off the bat, but unfortunately, it’s not a completely original idea. I saw a similar map (years ago) on NUMA for a 4 bit binary adder, but I had no idea how it worked, the two maps that I made for addition are quite different to the system used previously, and this design is completely my own. The map is nowhere to be found as far as I can tell, so I decided to create one for Nv2 online so that people may be able to see it in the future. You can find the map for my 8 bit binary adder here (Map 105920).

If you don’t know how binary addition works, wikipedia has a good introduction!

So how to use the level? Hit the switches at the beginning for every digit you want to change from 0 to 1, there is one additional switch at the very start to add an extra 1. This is called “carry in” or Cin for short. Go through the level to the finish to get your answer. To add numbers longer than 8 binary digits, input the last 8 digits of your two numbers, and leave the Cin switch alone. The most leftmost digit (“carry out” or Cout for short) of your answer becomes the new Cin for the next addition. Add the next 8 digits of your numbers plus the new Cin and don’t forget to record the carry for the next 8 digits.

For subtraction, take the two’s compliment of the number you want to subtract and then add it to the the other number.

Why did I make this level? The reason that I revisited the concept was because I was wondering if certain games were turing complete, i.e. able to perform any calculation, and simulate any computer. Minesweeper, for example is turing complete, and I believe Super Mario World is too if you edit the levels to your needs. With n’s level editor and complex system of doors and gates, I thought n would be too. I believe n is turing complete (if the map was infinitely large), making it possible for N to simulate a game of Minesweeper, or Super Mario World, or even N itself! For those technologically minded: rule 110 or a 4 state 6 symbol turing machine would be the easiest to implement, and I have a design for rule 137 (which is equivalent to rule 110) in the pipeline.

Addition is also the most complex arithmetic instruction to be performed on many 8 bit CPUs, allowing for complex arithmetic. Multiplication should also be able to be performed in a game of N, however, I found the level size was too constricting.

Before reading any further, it will make it a lot easier if you understand what a half adder and a full adder are.

So here’s the how: First of all a signal of 1 in the adder is considered to be hitting a switch. if no switch is hit, the logic defaults to zero. The first map I made was *relatively* straightforwards. n moves from right to left in the image. For a full adder, we need to add two digits (called A and B) and Cin (carry in), and each of those values can be 0 or 1, meaning 2*2*2 = 8 input possibilities. The image below shows one full adder, it is 8 blocks high, allowing for all 8 possibilities. Only one path out of 8 will ever be open (however my map has a glitch, and kudos to whoever finds it!):

fig1

Whenever A, B or Cin changes from 0 to 1 by hitting a switch, (let’s say A for now) half of the 8 possibilities are blocked off using doors (corresponding to A = 0, we’ve hit the switch so that A is now 1, so we don’t want n going through the any box corresponding to A = 0), and the other half are opened using gates (corresponding to A = 1). The switch on the far left corresponds to Cout for the next full adder. The 8 switches in the middle column will display a 0 using doors, or a 1, by leaving it alone.

The next adder is a bit more complicated, and this calculator for addition of one is a simplified version. I used this schematic using only XOR and NAND gates to create my calculator.

fig2

We need two XOR gates (numbers 1 and 4) and three NAND (numbers 2, 3, and 5) gates to get the result we want. Here is a NAND gate in n, n goes from top to bottom:

fig3

NAND gates only output 0 if both inputs are 1. Both of the switches at the top control a gate on the left, so they must both be hit (input of 1) in order to go to the left (output of 0). n will normally go to the right (output 1), because both doors will be open by default if you leave them alone (input of 0). n has to hit (1) both switches for the path to be blocked off on the right. When n hits the switch in front of the one way door (1), it codes for an input of 1 for the next logic gate, or displays a 1 at the top of the level. If n does not hit the switch behind the one way door, by going to the left (0), the next logic gate will assume that the input is 0 instead, or the top of the level will display a 0 (the 0 is already there, so by not doing anything, the 0 stays)

Here is a XOR gate, n goes from top to bottom:

fig4

​XOR gates are a bit more complicated and will output 1 if and only if both inputs are different. You can’t see it very well in the screenshot but the left side (0) is open if n leaves the two input switches alone (0). If he hits one, a door will block of the path to the left (0) and open a path to the right (1). If n hits (1) both switches, the path to the right (1) becomes obstructed, and the path to the left (0) become open again.

The final challenge is to wire everything together, but copy and paste makes light work of it. n has to go from right to left because that’s the way the carry propagates.

Anyway, happy adding, and for those who haven’t already, try out Ned for yourselves to create your own unique pieces of art in N!

Well, I hope this was an entertaining read, and congrats to Mare and Raigan for making a game that can simulate itself, making N a truly meta game.

————————————-
Thanks very much, Andrew, for sharing your process and for doing such a creative thing in N!

N++ Development Update

By M&R | November 3, 2014

For those of you curious about the current status of N++, we thought that it might be a good idea to quickly review what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what remains to be done.

(Let’s just get this out of the way first: we’re still not ready to announce a release date! This game will be done when it’s done, and hopefully this post will explain why it needs to be that way. But we’re almost there!)

We’ve been busy! The “simulation” or core part of the game has been mostly done for a while — it feels great, you can play levels, Race and Co-op rules work etc. We’re finally past that point in any creative project where you’re worried it’s not going to work out after all and you’ve made a terrible decision and wasted so much time πŸ˜‰ There’s still a lot of polish left (adjusting some of the new enemies, adding some fx, the ragdoll needs tweaking, the UI needs improving, etc.) but it’s solid, and we’ve really enjoyed showing it several times over the past year as we continue to refine it.

Most of the colour schemes are in, but they all need some tweaking/polish, and we also need to make a few more new ones before we’re done. They may look quite simple, but each set requires specifying and balancing 100+ different colours! That’s something that happens a lot with N++: it appears simple, but it’s incredibly complex under the hood. After we nail down the colours, we need to check every screen of UI and every object in the game, on several monitors and make sure they look right; this is taking a lot more time than we have anticipated.

We currently have enough levels made (well over 1000), BUT we’re hoping to do at least one more month of full-time level design because we’re so much better at making levels now than when we started (about 3 years ago!). We got a lot of inspiration for levels recently in Tokyo, and another month of new levels means a better range of levels to choose from when we arrange them (which will take another 2-4 weeks — arranging them means playing through each level several times, and playing through the entire set a few times as well — again, seems simple, but is not), so that’s the plan.

The menus are mostly done; they all function but most of the animations/transitions are missing (and then everything needs some testing+tweaking to make sure the UI is useable).

We’re finalizing the editor at the moment: it has basic functions but is missing a lot of UI (which we’re working on) and some additional functionality.

The database backend is a huge can of worms, and is also currently in development; we want to make sure that this works really well, and it’s taking a while because of how many different things we’re doing with user-made levels/episodes, highscores, stats, etc. Also, we want to make sure that it’s fast and responsive and can scale, so that when the game launches we don’t have a Sim City-style catastrophe (or a crazy bill from Amazon).

(Quick note: If we had just made N++ a stand-alone game without any of the user-made levels/sharing stuff, it would have been done a long time ago! However, we think that that would have been a mistake, since user-made levels are such a big part of what makes the game really fun and interesting.)

There are also a lot of small loose ends that need to be finalized — trophies, funlockables ™, a final pass on the sound effects, bux-fixing etc. etc. etc.

Finally, we have some publishing left to do (eg localization into several languages and lots of little things) and a lot of marketing work — we have a ton of cool things in the pipeline and can’t wait to show you more!

…Which is part of what makes this so tricky for us. We’re trying hard not to panic or rush — the game has been in a “mostly done” state for several months now and we’re all very eager to release it (actually it’s getting pretty stressful; this project has gone on for a year longer than we had planned!), however our top priority is making sure that we can never make a better version of this game, which means it’s important that we don’t start cutting corners at this point. We’ve been down that road and it sucks — we know N++ needs those corners. No one wants this to be done as much as we do, but we need to do it right so we never have to do it again :)

In the oft quoted and always true words of Shigeru Miyamoto, “a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”

On the whole, the game is turning out to be exactly what we had hoped it could be, however it’s taken much longer than we anticipated. Sorry about the delay, but we really think you’ll agree it’ll have been worth it.

The good news is that it’s definitely only a matter of months now; the bad news is that it’s “months” rather than “month”.

Don’t forget, we’re posting a look at some of the new stuff over on tumblr — hopefully that tides you over for now. EDIT: we’re adding poster designs to our shop over on Society6 and the Etsy shop is now open so you can buy stickers and buttons and stationery.

Some exciting news: in order to test the online functionality, we’re looking into doing some sort of beta test in the near future. Stay tuned!

And also, we entered N++ in the 2015 IGF. Can you believe it was ten long years ago that N was in the IGF (we didn’t enter N+) — a lot has changed, in the world, the industry and in the N series! We think it will be interesting to see how N++ fares.

Finally, we’ll be at the PlayStation Experience in December. We even made it into the official video! If you’re in the area, drop by and say hi, and check out N++ on PS4 (and SO MANY other amazing games)!

That’s it for now, but keep an eye on this space :)