Lead

Jul 8 06 12:56 AM

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Hi,

We just wanted to keep everyone up to date with developments around here, related to both N and TNG.


The Next Game

The bad news is, TNG is taking a _lot_ longer than anticipated, for several reasons.

In part this is due to the learning curve of having to move from a nice, simple, comfortable development environment into a totally unknown one. It's also due to the fact that this game is more complex than N (though still reasonably simple, so that the two of us can definitely get it finished).

We're trying hard to get it done, but we refuse to rush it because we intend to add to this game for a while after it's come out (as we did with N), and we don't want to have the same problems of not being able to implement new features because of hastily cobbled-together code.


There are also a couple other things we have to keep taking time out to work on, which sadly we still can't say anything about, but which should be very exciting.. and we'll let you know about them as soon as we can! This disrtacting work is decidedly annoying, but will hopefully work out in the end.


We can assure you that noone is more impatient to play this game than we are, and we're doing the best we can to remain calm and not get overly stressed about the pressure, impending bankruptcy, or high expectations. We've already lost about a month due to stress-induced shingles!

One thing we can guarantee is that we won't be releasing this game until we feel as good about it as we did with N.


The good news is that things are coming along very nicely. Most of the design has been completed and is working well, and almost all of the tech is finished, and we're really excited by how it's shaping up. For the first few months we were worried that things simply wouldn't work, but now we're confident that everything's going to work.. we simply have to get it all done.


We're sorry about the continued super-secrecy; rest assured that you'll be the first to know anything. We don't want to bother with screenshots/etc until we have something substantial to show.


The bottom line is that TNG will almost certainly not be released by the end of the summer. This is very dissapointing and frustrating for us since it means that we'll be missing the IGF deadline.. however, there's simply nothing that we can do about it.

For financial reasons we're going to have to take October off and work a contract, so that's another month of delay.. we don't want to guess about a release date because we've discovered that we're not very good at accurately predicting how long things will take.

Rest assured that the game will be done as soon as possible. We're sorry if this news is disappointing; personally we're more excited than ever because we feel that we've hit our stride and are on the right track, and all we need to do is keep working at it.


N v1.5

We've also been working a bit on the next update to N. This is something that we'd like some feedback on:

Over the past few months there has been increased cheating in the highscores; this has lead us to consider freezing the current highscores, and starting anew with a rewritten system that has more security measures built-in.

Re-starting the highscores is also motivated by our desire to integrate user levels more fully into the game; the idea is that it will be easy for people to drop in different sets of levels/episodes (such as Legacy) which will be identical to the current built-in levels in terms of functionality.

For instance, each set will be able to have a highscore server. (We would continue to host the highscores for the "official" levels, and we'd provide some sort of API -- such as a set of php functions -- so that anyone who wished to could run a server for a set of episodes/levels).


This train of thought led us to entertain even more extreme ideas: since we're developing new collision and simulation code for TNG (and in fact used the N engine as a testbed for some of it), if we re-start the highscores, we could make some adjustments to the gameplay itself.. previously we couldn't touch the gameplay code because it would have ruined everyone's highscores.


Being fans of Soldat, we're aware of how horrible it can be when the developer decides to completely change all of the things youve come to love; we don't want to _change_ anything really, we simply want to fix some of the things we feel we could have done better, such as:

-glitchy stuttering when running up slopes; this is by far the worst problem with the current system, and is easily fixable

-drones which can only move in 90deg increments; we had originally intended the surface-following drones to move smoothly across the actual surface of the world.. we just couldn't get that feature working in time. Now, we can; additionally this will make it easy to do other surface-related things, for instance to allow floorchasers to move along any surface (not just horizontal surfaces).

-randomness: currently there are a few behaviours which are annoyingly arbitrary, which leads to frustration and a general lack of fun. The best example is that chase-drones don't always chase you predictably.. we'd like to change this. Additionally, we feel that the chaingun drone isn't the way we intended: it's too random, since you can keep attempting to jump through its arc of fire, and occasionally you'll survive -- the proper way for it to behave would be to do what it currently does (fire an arc of bullets), but in such a way that if you're within that arc, you _will_ die no matter what.

Finally, you yourselves have given us several ideas about things which might be slightly tweaked; for instance, the phenomenon of "corner jumping" has made us toy with the idea of implementing a slightly different collision system to make it easier to jump (i.e there would be a window of opportunity larger than the current single frame for timing jumps). This is very similar to rocket-jumping: it was an unintended behaviour in the original Quake, but was then incorporated on purpose into later games.


If we do decide to overhaul the entire game, we'll also have the opportunity to experiment with new enemies and objects.

BUT: no matter what we do, we will preserve the current gameplay as a "classic" mode, so that all of your user-made levels/etc. aren't broken.


This is all hypothetical since we first need to get TNG finished, but we wanted to let you know what we've been considering. We're still going to release the source code, because certain improvements are simply too involved for us to work on (such as full integration of N and NUMA).. however we don't want to do this until we've finished N.



Anyway, that's all the news for now; we'll keep you posted on any new developments as they occur. Thanks again for all your support and encouragement, we couldn't be doing this without you.

Raigan and Mare







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#1 [url]

Jul 8 06 1:06 AM

Good to hear that it's coming along. I'm sure whatever it is, it'll be totally awesome. And I won't complain on the wait time. I'll be patient ^^. You guys are doing a good job so far, so you should be able to patch things up. At least you don't have a billion rumors to bust and millions of fans that will be dissapointed if the game doesn't come out when they want it to *points at Bungie*. Of course, we have some of that already *grin*. Anywho, I hope all continues to go smoothly and you can get things done without running into problems.

Besides, the whole fun of things is the wait, right? I just hope it's not till summer of '07. I already have to wait till then for Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Halo 3.

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#2 [url]

Jul 8 06 1:10 AM

Great to hear news from M&R. I'm hoping TNG will be released around January or sometime next winter, since it cannot be released during this summer, and autumn seems also not doable.

N v1.5, I have a question, will the game be able to run faster on slower PC's or the same as 1.4 does?

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#3 [url]

Jul 8 06 1:14 AM

QUOTE (7654321 @ July 08, 2006 01:10 am)
N v1.5, I have a question, will the game be able to run faster on slower PC's or the same as 1.4 does?

mmm, good question.

About the 'bankruptcy', will this affect the development of TNG?

I'm sure everyone will support TNG.

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#4 [url]

Jul 8 06 1:21 AM

Fantastic!

I'd love it if you could do all of the listed things in v1.5. I think it would really make the game more fun. The new highscores thing sound wonderful, especially. Only one question: What do you mean by the floorguard moving on non-horizontal surfaces? That it could go over bumps, or go on walls/ceilings?

Anyways, we can wait for TNG. The longer you spend on it, the better it is! I know you won't exactly be working on it but stilll...
You're certainly exciting us.

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#5 [url]

Jul 8 06 1:23 AM

*wriggles in excitement*
Ooh cannot wait! It's like I have to go to the bathroom, but there's no where to go, so I have to wait, and it's reeaaallly irritating! *chews on fingernails*

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#6 [url]

Jul 8 06 1:27 AM

Amazing! Glad to hear.

According the speed - I've heard (from Adobe web) that new implementation of ActionScript compiler (AS virtual machine) will allow up to 10x faster code execution! This doesn't mean N will be 10x faster, but it should help considerably. The question is if Flash 9 will be released before N 1.5

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#7 [url]

Jul 8 06 1:40 AM

QUOTE (kockeer @ July 07, 2006 09:27 pm)
Amazing! Glad to hear.

According the speed - I've heard (from Adobe web) that new implementation of ActionScript compiler (AS virtual machine) will allow up to 10x faster code execution! This doesn't mean N will be 10x faster, but it should help considerably. The question is if Flash 9 will be released before N 1.5

I think Flash 9 is already out... and they said that they were having problems making the game in Flash 8... mellow.gif

Well, whatever TNG is, I'm sure it willl be good. N is indeed awesome, and I can't imagine what 1.5 will bring to the table. Keep up the good work, M&R.

Move to the new forums!

http://forum.therealn.com/

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#8 [url]

Jul 8 06 1:40 AM

yes, we forgot to mention: the newer flash players (8,9) are great, N runs without dips at max frame rate even on our slowest computer!

sadly, the new garbage collector has revealed that there is a HUGE bug in the editor/menu code... but, that's fixable.

also: over 90% of the time spent on each frame of N is waiting for the flashplayer to draw the screen.. this means that speeding up code execution doesn't have as much of an impact as speeding up the rendering (which player8 did).

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#10 [url]

Jul 8 06 2:19 AM

Wow, that sounds absolutely fantastic!

You guys really are amazing game developers. Thanks so much for what you do.

Edit: I'm fricking excited. O_O

QUOTE (TS)
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#13 [url]

Jul 8 06 2:30 AM

Everythings sounds good. I'm looking forward especially to TNG. Can't wait to see it.

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#14 [url]

Jul 8 06 2:37 AM

*sees light at the end of tunnel* *goes towards the light* *gets SMACKED in the face with doubt,* How LONG must we wait for N v1.5 *legs buckle in anticipation* *falls to ground*

what, I'm the file extension .C??!?? *sigh*, click here

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#16 [url]

Jul 8 06 3:34 AM

take your time, but if you take too long I'm going to start calling you two Blizzard...

Rom 8:18 I do not consider our present sufferings worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.

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#20 [url]

Jul 8 06 7:23 AM

Here's Raigan's post, paraphrased and summarized:

QUOTE
The Next Game
We refuse to rush TNG because we intend to add to this game for a while after it's come out, and we don't want to have the same problems of not being able to implement new features. Things are coming along very nicely. Most of the design has been completed and is working well, and almost all of the tech is finished, and we're really excited by how it's shaping up.

TNG will almost certainly not be released by the end of the summer. The game will be done as soon as possible, but we won't be releasing this game until we feel as good about it as we did with N.

N v1.5
We've also been working a bit on the next update to N. This is something that we'd like some feedback on:

We also want to integrate user levels more fully into the game. The idea is that it will be easy for people to drop in different sets of levels/episodes which will be identical to the current built-in levels in terms of functionality. Each set would be able to have a highscore server. We would continue to host the highscores for the "official" levels, and anyone who wished to could run a server for a set of episodes/levels.

Increased cheating in the highscores has led us to consider freezing the current highscores, and starting anew with a rewritten system that has more security measures built in. If we restart the highscores, we could make some adjustments to the gameplay itself. We don't want to change anything drastically, we simply want to fix some of the things we feel we could have done better, such as:

  • Glitchy stuttering when running up slopes.

  • Drones which can only move in 90 degree increments. We had originally intended the surface-following drones to move smoothly across the actual surface of the world.

  • Other surface-related things, like allowing floorchasers to move along any surface.

  • Seeker drones don't always chase you predictably, and we'd like to change this.

  • The chaingun drone is too random. It should fire an arc of bullets as it does now, but in such a way that if you're within that arc, you will die no matter what.

  • Corner jumping has made us think about implementing a slightly different collision system to make it easier to jump. For example, there would be a larger window of opportunity for timing jumps.

No matter what we do, we will preserve the current gameplay as a "classic" mode, so that all of your user-made levels/etc. aren't broken. This is all hypothetical since we first need to finish TNG, but we wanted to let you know what we've been considering. We're still going to release the source code, but we don't want to do so until we've finished N.

Things really seem to be going well, and I'm more excited than ever for the future. Although it's a shame that all that work would be wasted, I'm all for restarting the highscores if it means that all the little problems can be fixed and new features can be added. cool.gif

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