N++ Development Update

03 Nov / by: M&R / 41 comments / tags :

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

comments ( 41 )

  • I have on ask why only for PS4? Okay First For ps4 second PC third umm I gon’t know willlllll be Ps vita okay good luck and bye pootis man

  • When do you think the beta would potentially be released, and how do I get my name on a list to be a beta tester??

  • @Pootis12 you can read about the current PS4 “exclusivity” here: http://www.metanetsoftware.com/2013/the-road-to-n and here: http://www.metanetsoftware.com/2013/ps4-progress

    Now back to the actual article. I can’t deny that I am somewhat disappointed because the game is still so far off. Seems like the game could still be over 6+ months away (development, bug fixing, holidays, showcasing the game in events, certification, finding a suitable release date). Nevertheless rushing to release an unfinished game that doesn’t satisfy you nor the customers of course doesn’t make any sense. So I am happy you are willing to devote so much of your time in making the game be as good as it can be.

  • I would be in for a beta so hard. N++ was one of the MAIN reasons why I purchased a PS4; was one of the reasons I got a 360 way back, too. And also played through the DS and PSP versions 100% because I looooved the handheld versions.

  • Back when the first n.sit came out I couldn’t stop playing it I made the most amazing levels and even then had great Ideas for this simple game. Like a expanding map in a story mode of escaping. I even worked on making a 3D world block where the ninja is handled in 3D with a 2D switch over when jumping to simplify the block jumping accuracy and to send it in as a idea but it was too much of a difficult task with the software back then. But the game has so much potential and a big future I believe.

  • Ahh, a nice long post, thank you!
    And like Cassie Lee & Christian said; I’d love to be a Beta tester. Can’t wait to get my hands on this game

    Oh and if you need any help with a Dutch translation, I could also help with that πŸ™‚

  • Hey. Great with another update, as you know i checks this page several times a week, so getting a good long update like this is great.

    As much as i would like to play this game right now, im glad that you are so devoted to the project, that you take the time to make it just perfect. Many sad examples have been seen where the hunger for profit prevents a good game to become an awesome game.

    I dont know how many languages you want to translate into, but if want smaller languages too, im offering my help for a translation into danish πŸ™‚ And i also offers my help at beta testing, which i tried before (3 online rpg games, and atm beta tester on “The Crew”. That way i can both help you out, AND get my N++ Hunger satisfied πŸ˜‰

    But keep up the good work, we are alot of people ready for NinjaΒ΄ing! πŸ˜›

  • Thanks everyone! We’re still figuring out the details of how the beta will work, but we’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready.

    @michael: This sounds like an interesting game, but maybe it’s it’s own game rather than necessarily being related to N. (Also, have you tried Escape Goat 2? It has some interesting map-related stuff)

    @Johann1996 and nimoke: Thanks for your offers! One thing we’re wondering is how important translation is in this type of game (where really it’s just the menus). Many of our gamedev friends from non-English countries (Germany and Sweden OTOH) say that typically people in their countries play in English even if there is a local language option. Is that your experience, or do Dutch and Danish audiences prefer playing in their own language?

  • @M&R: I’m german and I would most probably play it in english.

  • My experience is that it depends on the game alot, and the age of the players. A story based game like lets say AC, i know alot prefers that they can have danish subtitles. But i guess that in this case, the only text will be the start menu and like “Start” and stuff in the tracks itself?

    But i also think it have alot to say what age you are aiming for. A “late-teen and beyond” audience will have no problem with english. Especially in the smaller countries, like the Scandinavian countries, where we learn english pretty early and most people can have a conversation if english if needed.

    So if its just the menu, i think there is no real need for it, players can enjoy it. But personally i would never choose english over my native language, if its an option. And i know alot of people have it that way, especially younger individuals.

    But as a specific answer: If its just for the menu, i would stick to just the major languages, if its of any major work for you to add. If its simple to implement, or maybe is already implemented to add the bigger languages, i would do it, especially if you can get some free help from your community πŸ™‚ Because it will never be a downsite to have the translation in the game, so its all down to how much work it would be for you imo.

  • I know I know N++ release date Will be in December or January Or February N++ On pc release date in Next year or Next Autumn

  • I’d probably play it in english too, not sure about my other spanish “non-english-experts” peers πŸ˜› I think the menu names and so on are standard enough to be known worldwide without translation (“Play”, “Userleves”, “Highscores”, etc).

    Sure enough though, I could help with the spanish translation.

  • Really excited about this. Happy to be a beta tester

  • But i want N++ for PC :'(

  • Oh! and i forgot this http://www.foto-me.ru/v.php?id=5fd78710d8034d67d37b0e7612113d9f

  • @Pootis12: thanks for sharing those!! Probably you wouldn’t have needed so many colour pencils for N/N+ πŸ˜‰

  • Hey All! I love your dedication, and you deserve to take your time with such an immense project as this. I got to play in PAX 2014, even though i didn’t qualify for the finals… I came by each day to play because of how great the game is right now.

    anyway, if you are going to do some beta testing, I finally have a PS4, and am eager to get my own hands on it. I have done professional game testing before, I know how to look objectively at project and inform of bugs and specifics that are needing focus. if you want names for beta testers, I would be honored to assist! you have my email πŸ˜€

  • N++ is the main reason I bought a PS4. True story.

    I did think it was due out in launch window, but I dont grudge you guys the time. Make it perfect! N+ made me scream at my TV as much as it made me laugh and punch the air in triumph. Pretenders like (the adamantly great) Meatboy come and go but N is the daddy!

  • PS. cross save with the possible future Vita version (I dont care if its crossbuy, I’d buy em both) would make me wet myself in glee. Probably the only way I’ll get near to finishing half of the 1000+ levels in there.

  • Dear Mare. I have One ask when you made N++ for PC but Don’t delete that comment! Its importantly! I know i know your metanet team never maded N+ N++ for PC.

    I think you don’t like PC when i saw first N+ and N++
    In teaser trailer of N++ i think is epic,nice game but at the end i saw! Is only on PS4!!!! I offended of this trailer! I really offended of this trailer. Seriously! When i saw first N+ and saw this…. Is OLNY ON CONSOLES!!! And I like Your handmaded papers of N++ pictures….

    So. I like this game. The N++ but not for PC I liked your hard jobs,drawed my fan arts you like it!

    This is really Cool! game have over thousand levels! Many color palettes and one! Classic gameplay without dance of winnig like in N and N++

    Pretty great game…. Really..Great…

    Pootis Man…

  • P.S. I mean i offended by this trailer

  • P.P.S. πŸ™ Sooo I want N++ for PC this is my Request

  • P.P.P.S oh! i mean this is my desire!

  • P.P.P.P.S Oh I mean Dance Of winning i think you understand xD

  • @Pootis Look, we hear you loud and clear. we have said a few times now that our goal is to make a PC version of N++ if we are able to — we are a tiny team of three that is limited by resources, so things are not easy. We really hope N++ will sell well enough on PS4 so we can afford to port to PC, and are doing everything in our power to help that happen.

    This answer is not going to change no matter how many times you request a PC version! Please hear this and understand: we are doing our best to make N++ on PC a reality.

    We’re extremely happy you are so excited about N++! Please stop posting the same thing over and over though.

  • N 2.0-related question: Where is the level editor? It says in the version history:

    “- improved Ned: GUI, online and text-based saving, etc etc etc”

    and yet I can’t find it anywhere. ??

  • Hi guys. Thanks for the update, and your general transparency in providing info to curious dweebs like myself.

    While I’m thanking you guys for stuff, THANK YOU FOR N+! My friends and I have spent a ton of time enjoying it, it’s really meant the world. Do you fellows accept donations? It’s been several years since I last gave you money for something, and I’d like to contribute to Glorious New N to the small extent I can.

    Looking forward to rocking my Gordon Freeman colors in the new generation!

  • I have one ask and what will be N++ startup screen? I’ve never seen N++ starup screen. And how much color palettes? Lot of Colors? And I when new update of N? I know Next N update is Lot of colors Like N++ New enemies! Multiplayer and more! And N++ types of enemies and type of ninja.And OH! I KNOW! AND BIG SCREEN!!! n 2.0 have little screen make bigger! πŸ˜€ Okay If you understand me Its will be funny!

  • Man…

  • @AngrokVa: you need to make an account (it’s free) to use the editor. You can make an account on the main menu or in the settings menu. Then you’ll see an “editor” tab when you click the “levels” link from the main menu.

    @Will: Thanks, that’s really awesome to hear! It’s super awesome of you to want to support us, too. We really appreciate that — thank you.

    For anyone so inclined, There’s a donate link on the Nv2 page: http://www.thewayoftheninja.org/nv2.html, or you can buy something from our Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/metanet

    @Pootis: keep reading the blog, your questions will all be answered in time.

  • @EddyMataGallos: I know, right?

  • Raigan Burns and Mare Sheppard And Stop! You said a team of three people but who is third

  • Hey! How can I be a beta tester too?! I just have a PS4 though…. I can help for a french translation too. I use to loveee N+ on Xbox360. But I don’t think it ever appeared on the ps store. Can’t you release it on PS4 please?!!!!

  • @Pootis12: we’ve mentioned who the third person is in a few interviews and articles about N++, so maybe we’ll keep it a mystery and let you try to hunt for clues πŸ™‚

    @babyface-killer: thanks! We’re not sure what’s happening with the beta yet, but N++ will definitely be released on PS4 — as soon as it’s finished!

  • […] possibly β€œwhat the heck is N++?” – for the answers to those questions and more, check out our devblog and […]

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  • I work an i read no “localisation” in the first spare prt. I am 40+ and still use 2d as a 3d meditation ! I welcome a standing compatible outsourceing, i do not get much of words on steam about it. I welcome N++ several decade of my own special as it is.

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