The September Issue

04 Oct / by: M&R / 12 comments /

We spent all of September working on many different projects, and wrapping up the last few Difference Engine Initiative sessions, then working like mad to finish something cool to show you for this month’s post. Unfortunately, we didn’t get through as much as we would have liked, and we came up short. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but hang in there! We’ll have more for you soon.


We’re still working on the N editor, and are making progress. We want to make sure the interface is fluid and intuitive, fully-featured while still being easy to jump into: many conflicting design constraints are being wrestled with. We’re trying a few options to figure out a good balance between mouse and keyboard control, trying to support the old editor’s key shortcuts but also offering some new functionality that’s been sorely lacking.

The good news is that there should be a rich set of operations that make dealing with entities and tiles together much easier and more fun.


At the Hand Eye Society Social last night, the games from the Difference Engine Initiative were presented to a full house, which was very exciting. We had originally intended for this post to feature more info and links to the games each participant made, but that will have to come in a later post — there’s nothing up for public display yet.

Hopefully Erin Robinson’s excellent talk will also be posted online, so we’ll link to that as well if possible. Stay tuned!

Mare’s DEI game, Yeti (an adventure-ish game and the prequel to our upcoming game Office Yeti), ended up unfinished and very buggy, but we’ll be working to fix that just after we get back from Indiecade and will post a download here so you all can try it as soon as it’s in a more presentable state. There are a lot of interesting ideas there, but there’s still a lot of work to do! So many bugs to work out and a handful of scenes to finish. More on that soon.

And with that, we’re on our way to Indiecade for a much needed change-of-pace and a lot of hanging out with creative, insightful, interesting and awesome people — this could be just the refresher we need!

See you soon.

comments ( 12 )

  • please please please make sure the new N editor works on current generation Macbooks and Macbook Pros. We don’t have insert keys!

  • Great news as usual, im glad to hear about N, as well as about your other projects, good job 🙂

  • Happy to hear you’re busy with work! Can we please, PLEASE have N v1.5 by Christmas? PLEASE! Every blog post is driving me crazy with anticipation…

  • @ heatwave, you can just get a keyboard with all the num lock buttind & plug it into your USB port, but i understand the trouble, its impossible to get to the menu to place objects or tiles

    also, this would make the game file size a bit big but im sure no one will care how big it is (even if its 100MB) why not have more than one layout in N, like in N+ how you can change what the objects look like, why not do something similar the the menu buttons in NED, (or even the whole game) so that everyone who is used to v1.4 can have everything exactly the same (with a few extra’s) & then have a different layout for noobs or something, (i mean one for noobs, one for fully advanced customization, v1,4) if you can

  • I was curious about the possibility of having a drone-path called “Patrol” that would allow an editor to create patrolling drones that simply go back and forth along a straight line. If you guys are already well beyond being able to implement that then no worries, just thought I’d ask. But if you are not too far along, any thoughts on the idea?

  • We’ve thought about having explicit waypoints for drone movement; actually, our friends Miguel and Andrew implemented this approach for their game They Bleed Pixels.

    It’s definitely possible, however I don’t know that we’ll add it because it creates many little problems: primarily, how do you display the path? You’d want to explicitly show it so that players can still “read” the scene quickly, but drawing a line or whatever is sort of ugly and clutters up the screen.

    Currently the drone movement is definitely somewhat limited; you can make drones patrol back and forth by careful tile placement, but you’re right that it’s not as powerful or general. Then again, it’s sort of elegant to have the drone movement implicitly specified by the tiles, so that there’s no need for additional waypoint data (which then needs to be modified/redone when you change the tiles around).

    We’re still not sure whether waypoints would be a better approach to try in future games than the “behavioural/reactive” type of movement we have in N.

    Probably we won’t add it to N though, sorry 🙁

    Thanks for the idea though! It’s interesting to consider.

  • you wont need to have lines or waypoints in the actual level, just in NED

  • I guess we figured we’d have to show the patrol paths in-game, because otherwise the player wouldn’t know if/when the drones were turning: it would be frustrating if a drone just turned in mid-air for no apparent reason.

  • “it would be frustrating if a drone just turned in mid-air for no apparent reason.”

    Given the options we already have for drone movement this isn’t exactly different to what’s gone before.

    Drones reacting to 5/2/3 tiles for instance, or surface following drones placed away from tiles, or the command where the drones alternate between turning left and right when hitting a surface (I’m not sure how much that gets used, I’ve never used it, but it does exist…).

  • I think it’s okay if the drone paths are not shown both in-game and in the editor. Of course it wouldn’t be good to have people abuse custom drone paths, and I wouldn’t want to see them used in main levels, but they’ve been used very successfully in NReality levels, for example, where the drone path is simply custom coded. See

  • It wouldn’t really matter if a drone turns in midair as if this happens then you know it will happen again & can avoid that, (i htink some people call it “trial & error”)


    Instead of selecting the path for a drone you could select what type of drone you want, as in a surface follow CCW or, a custom path drone could have 2 antenna on them or be a different colour.

    I would personally prefer it if custom path drones were a different colour or had a propeller or something on them

  • Ned, HES and Yeti, all rolled up into one treat to eat.

    I was never here…

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