N++ |OT| Time is money

Dan

No longer boycotting the Wolfenstein franchise
Eh, even that gets kind of ridiculous with certain episodes. When levels are so tough, it's more frustrating than challenging if your only options are replaying the entire episode or suspend/resume until you're successful.
 
I've been doing my best to avoid looking around for spoilers as to how to find these secret exits I hear about, but then I get to a level like the one in this screenshot, and I just burn with curiosity. Why is that pit there? It doesn't open unless you hit the switch in the lower-right that also opens the door. There has to be some sort of secret in this level, right?

2 secrets: 1. Activate all traps 2. Activate none of the traps and get none of the gold.
 
Well my save data got corrupted again and for some reason it didn't upload to PS+ which is weird since there's plenty of space.

Probably not going to try and progress any more until an update.
 
I really wish this game saved progress on episodes, because it's frustrating as hell trying to complete some later episodes in single sittings.

My idea would be to save your times on each level until the episode is complete. So you still have to deal with the overall time issue when you return to say, level 3. It'd also be neat if you could then go back to completed levels and improve your time to help out on your continuing quest to beat the episode. When you run into an episode that is both difficult period and also tight on time, it's really punishing to have to keep tackling the episode as a whole.

Still can't conquer E-19 simply because I'm running out of time. Up to 35.7261% and a 2155 score.
suspend/resume is your friend
 
Finally beat the top row.


Particularly proud of this. I guess I'll go back and pick up the trophy for getting all the gold in the intro..


Goddamnit. What's the trick here?
Hahahaha, yeah, those jumps are a bitch. I think I got that one from the far right ramp - just keep at it, if for nothing more than practice. Those sorts of jumps are important throughout the game (at least as far as I've played), especially if you're going for gold.
 
Goddamnit. What's the trick here?
You can actually reach it from the middle. Jump towards the ramp on your right then immediately jump off it. The less time you're in contact with that ramp the higher your jump will be. The height changes drastically depending on how quick you were to launch yourself from it and the timing is strict, but it's possible.
 
I put 6 hours in to E-19 last night and couldn't do the last level. To say I'm in a bad mood would be an understatement. Back at it tonight 'cause I won't let it beat me. Damn you, n++ !
 

Dan

No longer boycotting the Wolfenstein franchise
I was messing around and noticed that the secret tasks contribute to the completion percentage and score totals.
 
Circular momentum. :(

I did all the Intro ones apart from this one and the later ones in that episode.

EDIT: And then I finished that episode just a few minutes later. :)
 
I was messing around and noticed that the secret tasks contribute to the completion percentage and score totals.
Game is truly endless :eek:

On that note, I got just over half way through the secret X episodes when I discovered ANOTHER 115 secret '?' levels, many of which haven't been beaten (by anyone) yet... They are single levels rather than episodes, so probably stupidly hard too

And I still haven't touched legacy (at least 500 levels), or multiplayer, or community levels, or creating my own...

Insane

In more positive news: all gold on X-00 to X-12 and the world record on X-12 :) Also went back and managed to all gold E-19-04. Only missing 2 levels now: D-01-03 (go fish) and that impossible one (E-00-02?)

Hardest level so far? C-19-04. 475 deaths on that single level :(

Best level so far: eye of the ninja (X row) really impressed me when I looked at the extra challenges. It's a good example of a level that plays differently depending on what you're going for, which is something I'm frequently impressed by when I start thinking about those challenges. They bring genuine replayability beyond the obvious "redo the same thing but very slightly differently". An early level (cheap thrills) is stupidly hard but probably the best example of this (that I've seen).
Some levels from the E row also deserve a mention, but I've forgotten the names/numbers of my favourites.

Anyone else got a hardest/best level?

go fish is the worst, no debate there :p
 
I just got through the last row of the N++ levels. The last level began with barely enough time to beat the level. Man, it was really satisfying to jump to that door.

I stopped going for all gold for now. Just beating all of the levels is a good enough challenge and since this game is supposed to last forever, I don't see anything wrong with that.

I have no idea what my favorite or most difficult levels are called :( I don't really pay attention to the names.

Also, playing co-op with a ten year old girl who only plays minecraft is pretty frustrating. I usually have to play the whole level by myself haha.
 
Shawn and mare: I've noticed some framerate hitching as of late upon respawn. Seems to occur only when the game is switching over to the next song for me. Doesn't really influence the gameplay though since it only happens after death, for what it's worth.
Thanks! This is something we've noticed randomly but have never been able to reproduce; we actually rewrote our music streaming code twice at the last minute to try and fix it but it persists; at this point we're pretty sure it has something to do with Sony's streaming API and not our code -- however it should definitely be fixable/work-around-able, we're just not sure yet how do to it.
 
On that point, I feel like not getting release day reviews from key outlets like Polygon, Game Trailers, IGN NA, and Kotaku denied Metanet key coverage and exposure in the mainstream. (To be fair to them, they did do some pre-release coverage, but I'm of the mind that post-launch coverage is more important since a potential customer can action on their desires and make a purchase and play right away -- instead of waiting until release and potentially forgetting or spending their allotment for that month/year on other games or entertainment while they wait.) I'm speculating that a game like N++ might be hard to pitch reviews for since some EICs might feel the entire game needs to be completed (All 2200+ levels? Hah!) before a review can be published -- but there's no way that was the case for smaller blogs that did review N++. I've actually gone so far as asking Arthur Gies on twitter if a review was planned from Polygon, but I haven't received a response.
This is something that we're really frustrated with -- we just expected that, since (IMO) the game is pretty decent/significant/interesting, we would be reviewed by everyone. But it appears that these days, unless you know someone at the publication, they're not necessarily going to review your game! :/

Unfortunately, this is sort of a by-product of the rush we had at the end -- our plan was to finish the game, then spend a month contacting press. Sadly we were all-hands-on-deck trying to finish the game right up until launch (we cut the launch trailer literally the day before launch) which means we didn't have any time to contact press.

EDIT: to clarify, we have emailed hundreds of press at several points during the development of the game (i.e at regular intervals when there was something newsworthy to share), including before launch; what I meant by "didn't have any time to contact press" was that we didn't have time to do a physical press tour, where we would fly out and do a hands-on demo of the game to major publications. Unfortunately this seems more or less required these days if you want to secure the highest profile reviews, in part because it makes their job a lot easier and more fun, so naturally anyone who can afford to do so does so, which means those that can't afford to do so are at a disadvantage.

Possibly we were also a bit idealistic, we figured that everyone would be able to see that N++ was something special, a game with a very high level of craftpersonship put into it; we figured that with only 3 people, we would rather put all our energy into making the game exceptional and hope that this would make it stand out and attract attention, but sadly a lot of people seem to be dismissing it as "essentially N+".

(we are sadly competing in a market where some indie devs spend literally half of their budget on marketing; IMO this is a sick and sad degenerate strategy to pursue, but O guess that's just life under post-capitalism)

Anyway, the net result has been that the game isn't selling very well; if we're lucky then lifetime sales on PS4 will let us break even, but this is a stretch (it would require us to sell about 5x as much as we have thus far, not impossible but not easy either).

We would really appreciate it if anyone willing would write to Kotaku/Polygon/Edge/IGN/etc. to ask them to please review this damn game! It's a bit horrifying that we've spent so long making something that we think is quite special, only to have it fall on mostly deaf ears :(

(don't get me wrong -- we're really happy that our fans like it, it has been wonderful watching streams, but we know for a fact that there are literally hundreds of thousands of N+ fans out there, and so far our sales results indicate that almost none of them know that N++ exists!)

Sorry if this reply is a bit negative, it has been a difficult couple of weeks; thank you so much to everyone for caring enough about our game to discuss it like this, it's really awesome :)

p.s - for the record, this is Raigan rather than Mare; I haven't been able to get an approved NeoGAF account so I'm sharing Mare's :)
 
Anyway, the net result has been that the game isn't selling very well; if we're lucky then lifetime sales on PS4 will let us break even, but this is a stretch (it would require us to sell about 5x as much as we have thus far, not impossible but not easy either).
Man, this is a bummer. This shit is infuriating to me, and, has been an issue, IMO, since the PS3 days. So many games come out on PS platforms that get ignored by press.

Really hope it turns around for you guys/gal. N++ is deserving of so much more attention than it's receiving.
 
This is something that we're really frustrated with -- we just expected that, since (IMO) the game is pretty decent/significant/interesting, we would be reviewed by everyone. But it appears that these days, unless you know someone at the publication, they're not necessarily going to review your game! :/
That's a big bummer, but yeah I'd say it's very very important for indies to at LEAST get their stuff into press as soon as they can and let them have ample time to play around with it. Speaking as a youtuber it's pretty annoying to get a game less than a week before launch. I managed to get N++'s video out on time, but honestly it feels like to me if I can't get a video out on day one, it doesn't really matter when I post it, so sometimes I let those slip. I got my Galak Z video only a week late and it got pretty garbage views. My N++ video got decent views but it's not my audience moves the needle too much honestly.

Hope more press picks up the game as time goes on, it's definitely a game that should have long legs IMO. Might be worth some follow ups, maybe link that "Perfect" Game article to show some interesting facts? I've noticed a few people do follow ups on their review codes, can't hurt I guess.

The N+ comparisons are baffling to me. TBH you should just be able to look at the game let alone play it and feel the much higher standard. And if you can't, the intro should drive it home pretty hard. I'm not sure I've ever seen a better "tutorial"

Hope you guys get some good luck, you certainly deserve it. Hope word of mouth is strong, I figured streaming/sharing video of levels would help a lot. Any Twitch speedrunners pick the game up yet? Individual level speedruns seem less popular but I've seen some of my fav speedrunners pick them up in some games.
 
we know for a fact that there are literally hundreds of thousands of N+ fans out there, and so far our sales results indicate that almost none of them know that N++ exists!)
Firstly I'd just like to say that I've enjoyed my time with N++ a great deal and don't regret buying it at all. I was a fan of N+ on 360 and this has been even better.

However, and I hope you take this in the right spirit, I think you've made a mistake with the pricing/amount of content. N+ sold very well on 360 but it was significantly cheaper (800 MS points) and it also had a demo (I think the lack of demos for digital download games has really hurt them this gen along with PS+ and the 'I'll wait til it's free on PS+' attitude but that's for another discussion).

N+ is a game that you really need to play to understand if you have no experience of the series. You need to be able to feel how finely tuned the physics and sense of control are to make sense of it. Screenshots do it no justice. N+ offered that chance while N++ doesn't so far.

The thing is, whilst you may be correct in saying that when you divide the price of N++ by the number of levels then it works out cheaper per level than N+, I don't think that's how consumers think. They just see the headline price and ask whether they think that is worth it or not. Unpalatable as it may be for people who appreciate these kind of games, I suspect the price for N++ will be considered too high by many whereas N+ was priced at the sweet spot. If you'd released fewer levels for a lower price, I reckon you might have fared better, because ultimately over 2000 levels is more than most players will ever dream of seeing bar the most hardcore.

I really wish you the best in recouping the money you invested in the project though. I do think you deserve more success, I'm just not sure the market is there on consoles for 20 dollar indie platformers like this, no matter how much content there is.
 
A demo might not hurt (then again, numbers seem to indicate demos totally can hurt so I dunno). Like a part of the Intro and some easier but complex levels to show how good it can feel I guess.

Whatever happened to Sony's 1 hour stream demo thing? Not that I'd want to play this streamed...

OK HOW??

PS everybody buy this game it owns
The gold? You can trigger the gold without the trap, move VERY carefully
 
The game has 38 reviews on Metacritic, including major sites like Game Informer and GameSpot - that's much better coverage than the vast majority of indie games get. Also, Kotaku did cover the game - they wrote a glowing article about the game at launch (http://kotaku.com/new-ps4-platformer-is-infuriating-and-i-can-t-stop-play-1720674456) - that's as good as a review from them seeing as how Kotaku reviews don't use a traditional scale and so won't show up on aggregate sites like Metacritic.

Anyway, I hope sales for the game pick up! I know how stressful it can be to release a game and have it perform worse than you had hoped.
 
A demo might not hurt (then again, numbers seem to indicate demos totally can hurt so I dunno). Like a part of the Intro and some easier but complex levels to show how good it can feel I guess.
If someone hasn't bought N++ now then they're already not going to buy it, so them being put off by a demo wouldn't hurt sales. The people it'll convince could be numerous though.

The content in the beta was demo-like as it was. A few colours, a few songs, all the intro stages, ten episodes in the solo categories across a range of difficulties. Maybe a bit much for a demo perhaps, but it was enough to convince me that I wanted more. Giving access to the editor and allowing people to view (but not play) user created stuff would show the potential of that too.
 
However, and I hope you take this in the right spirit, I think you've made a mistake with the pricing/amount of content. N+ sold very well on 360 but it was significantly cheaper (800 MS points) and it also had a demo (I think the lack of demos for digital download games has really hurt them this gen along with PS+ and the 'I'll wait til it's free on PS+' attitude but that's for another discussion).
We agree -- we intended to have a demo, and there will be one eventually, but sadly this is one of the things we were forced to cut in order to finish on time!

About the price, we realize that most people dismiss platformers out of hand, but we feel that N++ is truly something special; we spent a *lot* of money making it (just licensing the soundtrack alone was an investment) and we wanted people to see it for what it is: a premium product. We simply couldn't afford to sell it for $10, as it is we're selling it for a lot less than we think it's worth.

Sadly I agree that it's a big turn-off for people who aren't familiar with the game, who don't see things from our perspective.

But, it's hard for us to stomach pandering to people who by definition are ignorant.. if we did that, we might as well make the sort of game that anyone can beat without any effort or engagement! We think it's a lot better to let the ignorant people eventually learn and grow, rather than cater to them so that they remain ignorant forever. Of course, this means that many will remain ignorant and forever unaware of the pleasures of N++, but that's their loss as much as ours.

Honestly, even now we still think that that making a single unified game (rather than a cheaper core game + nickel-and-dime fans with paid DLC) was a better approach for everyone. Maybe we didn't make as much money, but we made a better game than if it had been fragmented. In our (maybe horribly wrong) opinion anyway! :)
 
(also, wrt price, we felt that there are many smaller-scope successful indie games that are $15 (eg Towerfall) and that $20 was an appropriate price when considering the number of hours of gameplay -- even if you only play 50% of the game -- vs the price of other games)
 
Anyway, I hope sales for the game pick up! I know how stressful it can be to release a game and have it perform worse than you had hoped.
Thank you! We actually didn't realize that about Kotaku, good to know (sadly we've been working so much that we're horribly out of touch with games press.. not terrific tbh).

I guess mostly we're disappointed because our reviews aren't any better than N+, and we were really hoping that with N++ we had made something that could compete with Meat Boy (which has a 90% average).

I'm not sure where we went wrong! I would have sworn we nailed it this time.. anyway, we know we did our best so I suppose that will have to do. :)
 
For games that are heavily marketed but not fun (sadly many games these days), demos definitely hurt.

For N++, we're sure that a demo will help, because the feel of the game is the main thing, and you have to play it to "get" it.

We just haven't had time to prepare one! It's high on our list though, right under "fix the *(@$%^$ corrupt save bug" :)
 
I guess mostly we're disappointed because our reviews aren't any better than N+, and we were really hoping that with N++ we had made something that could compete with Meat Boy (which has a 90% average).
Much moreso than other mediums, people have an expectation that over time, games are going to get better. Sequels in particular are going to be judged on a harsher scale than a brand new game because they (usually) don't have the same element of surprise.

The fact that N++ is getting the same sort of reviews that N+ did despite being twice as expensive and coming out 7 years later seems to indicate that most people do think it's a better game; it's just that the bar has been raised as well.
 
The fact that N++ is getting the same sort of reviews that N+ did despite being twice as expensive and coming out 7 years later seems to indicate that most people do think it's a better game; it's just that the bar has been raised as well.
Yeah, we have figured as much. It's just frustrating because we don't think we could ever make a better game.

Like, we feel that N++ is the best platformer. At least, that's what we set out to make, and we all tried our absolute hardest to make the best possible thing, and I think we're pretty good at what we do.

I thought that we were pretty successful along each axis too: game design (the toggle mines alone are very interesting IMO, plus all the other new things), level design (each level is 3+ levels in one: regular, all-gold, secret.. each level took many hours of iteration and refinement), soundtrack (6 hours of the best techno we could find), visual aesthetics (admittedly this is a taste thing, but we think that the print-graphics vector style is much more fresh than anything else (except maybe Capy's insanely awesome pixels) and (most importantly) works with the gameplay to make it feel smoother), etc etc etc.

I'm sorry if this sounds horribly arrogant, I know it's not a perfect game, but I really feel like this game is a "90" if ever there was one.

Sadly I guess we're just the usual crazy/deluded gamedev who thinks their game is great when it's really not, because everyone still seems to prefer Meat Boy. (which, don't get me wrong, is a really great game, but.. I feel like in a lot of ways it's less interesting than N wrt game design)

(I mean, this may be a cyclical argument since if we knew how to make N++ better then we would have, but... I'm starting to wonder what the point of making more games is when this is almost certainly the best thing we'll ever be able to make -- it took us literally 10 years of learning and practice to get this good at level design! Not that we're the best, but we're the best we'll ever be. Not to mention, it looks like we'll never have that sort of budget again, alas.)

p.s - again, this is Raigan and not Mare posting. You can probably tell because Mare is a lot more reasonable than I am ;)
p.p.s - I'm really sorry if I'm coming across as a horribly entitled, whiney idiot. In order to push myself to work 12h/day since the start of the year, I maybe had to convince myself that it would all be worth it because everyone would see how much effort we put into this game; sadly this was clearly wishful thinking, a useful fiction that got me motivated but is now just making me depressed as I am forced to face the much more mundane reality that N++ is a very niche thing that not many can appreciate. Hopefully I can at least learn from this experience..
 
ah, just to clarify in case my previous post was too hyperbolic: I don't think N++ is literally the best platformer, honestly I don't think you can compare platformers since each is sort of its own thing.

(That's a bit like saying "best movie" IMO, there are so many axes to evaluate that the concept of a single global best is ridiculous.)

(personally, I think Super Mario World is the best; it definitely inspired N++'s secret challenges)

I just think it's the best with respect to this particular type/flavour/style of platformer. Which is maybe just intrinsically a "low 80s" sort of design and fundamentally flawed!

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks again, it's pretty amazingly rewarding and gratifying to see so many people engage with our game and enjoy it enough to discuss it. You rock :)
 
I couldn't remember the name earlier, but E-15-02 is probably my favourite level. I guess it's a mine jumper in disguise, but the thing that amazed me is just how much level had been fit into the same one screen space that all levels get. Lots of backtracking helps that, but also the way every jump has to be precise.

It looks great too.

Symbolic Act took me 1086 attempts
Galactic Sigil took 807 attempts.
Ouch, at least you got them, right? :p
Please tell me you got them

I can't see Symbolic Act, is it in legacy?
 
Honestly, even now we still think that that making a single unified game (rather than a cheaper core game + nickel-and-dime fans with paid DLC) was a better approach for everyone. Maybe we didn't make as much money, but we made a better game than if it had been fragmented. In our (maybe horribly wrong) opinion anyway! :)
I'd be curious what a widespread poll of people would reveal. I'm a massive fan of N+ (and now N++), and even I hesitated for a bit when I heard it would be $20. Being in the beta completely convinced me that the game was worth it. But if you would, hear out some thoughts I have on price.

You mentioned Towerfall at $15. To me, $15 feels like the current "psychological price ceiling" for indie games. I remember in early XBLA days when $5 was the norm, so $10 games garnered complaints. Most of the time the games were absolutely worth $10, but people hadn't gotten used to the price yet. Now $10 feels like the average, and $15 the "stretching it" spot but where games that are great still do well. $20 isn't something that I feel like the public is used to yet for most "indie" games...even though they should be!

Also, I think "platforming" isn't the only issue when it comes to at-a-glance perceived value of N++. It's the "simplistic" graphics. What I see as amazingly clean and concise design might come off to many as cheap or low-effort. I say this not to devalue your game at all, but to demonstrate the barriers you're up against. I don't think N++ should look any other way at all--my suggestion here is not to change the look, but to consider this potential first impression as something that would be well combated with a demo and/or a cheaper, smaller slice of the game.

Lastly, as far as "nickel and diming" fans with DLC, that language kind of makes it sound like it wouldn't matter how the DLC was priced or packaged--that it'd be seen as almost predatory regardless. I think that stance represents a loud minority of people. Many people are used to buying DLC these days. I'd actually turn that thought of yours around and say many folks probably feel "nickel and dimed" when considering a base price of $20. When you line up the # of hours, the # of levels, # amount of music...it's all a "good deal", but you're still kind of adding up nickels and dimes rather than looking straight at "what does someone want to shell out in order to even try playing N++"?

Again, to be completely clear, I absolutely think the total package here is worth $20 if not more!! But I don't think the average person sees that...even potentially who played and enjoyed N+. "Well, I loved N+, and I'd love to try N++, but $20 seems like a lot, especially considering I already own N+."

Ultimately, my guess / opinion is that if you priced it at $10 or $15 and put Legacy levels or some other division of levels in one or two DLCs that totaled up to the remaining $5-$10 (heck, some of the music could have been packaged with the levels as more incentive), my guess is that you would have sold substantially more copies of the base game. Not everyone would buy all the DLC, but I'd guess you might make more money overall, and even if you didn't, the word would be spreading further and faster due to more base copies sold.

This post may come off as critical, but it's really just my semi-educated thoughts and opinions. I often just lurk on GAF, but I spent the time to write these thoughts up because I LOVE N++ and want to see both the game succeed and you all as developers succeed. So I'm hoping my opinions are of some insight or value.

You may already be discussing it, but in addition to a demo, I wonder if eventually some releasing some sort of cheaper "lite" version of the game with the ability to fully upgrade for the same total cost might still do you guys well. We are much more in a day and age of episodic content and DLC than ever before, and even though some DLC is scummy, much of it is practical and is a good money maker. Less purchase commitment at a time sometimes leads to more purchases!

Anyway, I'll continue trying to spread the word! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the love and sweat you poured into this game. The physics, graphics, level design, music, fun factor, editor, atmosphere...it's all off the charts as far as I'm concerned.
 
Sadly I guess we're just the usual crazy/deluded gamedev who thinks their game is great when it's really not, because everyone still seems to prefer Meat Boy. (which, don't get me wrong, is a really great game, but.. I feel like in a lot of ways it's less interesting than N wrt game design)
That path lies madness. I personally think that N++ is extremely close to perfection.

Everything feels hand-crafted to me - from the levels, to the design and the music (which is pretty amazing and completely to my tastes in techno/microhouse) - it must be such an undertaking There is a real cohesive style to N++ which ties everything together in a very pleasant way. Also, much like N+ it feels very liberating to jump around the levels and glide through the air - it reminds me of NiGHTS in some respects - and captures something few other games do. It's also strangely relaxing even at it's most frustrating.

I'd go as far to say that N++ feels like a game that was made for me and my tastes. But I do recognise that I am not the mainstream in my gaming tastes these days, and for me as a consumer it does worry me slightly because at some point my needs will not be met. So my eternal thanks for all the hard work and you and the team have put in. (A thanks that's hopefully not too fawning!)

I believe that once you've had a breather, you should look at how to port to the PC, and try and get a second-wind with marketing and reviews, and just generally getting the word out there. Going back to Super Meat Boy, the developers citied the XBLA version as being a disaster for them and it wasn't until the PC version arrived that things worked out.

I also think some sort of demo would help - I was on the Beta for N++ and that really help solidify the purchase at full price.
 
I couldn't remember the name earlier, but E-15-02 is probably my favourite level. I guess it's a mine jumper in disguise, but the thing that amazed me is just how much level had been fit into the same one screen space that all levels get. Lots of backtracking helps that, but also the way every jump has to be precise.

It looks great too.


Ouch, at least you got them, right? :p
Please tell me you got them

I can't see Symbolic Act, is it in legacy?
It's in the N++ section - I think Symbolic Act is E-19-2. I was stuck on it for 4 hours last night but finally bested it. I was on it again today as I didn't complete the episode last night and it took me like 20 try's to do it!
 
A lot of thoughts ran through my mind when reading your posts, Raigan. Ultimately, it hurts to read about your disappointment. I couldn't imagine working on something so long, and pouring all your being into this something, and then being frustrated at the response when that something is available to the world.

I have a few thoughts to share.

1) There was no discount at launch. Playstation gamers are used to launch discounts, especially with PS Plus. $20 being a hefty price already, there was no discount to encourage anyone who was remotely interested, or on the fence, to take the plunge.

You mention Super Meat Boy and while I think the aesthetics/humor of that game could be seen as more accessible to a wider audience (this is subjective), they did something radical at launch (as seen in 2010):

They discounted the game at launch from their regular price of $15 to $10.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/104536-Super-Meat-Boy-Goes-On-Sale-From-Day-One

2) A demo would absolutely help get your game discovered. N++ is one of those games that has to be seen, watched, and/or played to truly get. OR, and this is a little daring, consider going freemium-ish. Free core experience, $5 for the N++ levels, $5 for the Legacy levels. Something like that. That way, you're getting people in for free and "hooked" and they will "get" what N+ is.

3) I feel like bullet point of xxx,xxx levels, when trying to showcase an immense value, is a double-edged sword. Some players may feel like less effort was put into these levels, that some are throwaways. This could just be something I have always felt, but I'm probably not alone...

That's all I got, I just wanted to toss it out there.

I love N++ (and N+ for that matter!), you guys are awesome, and I wish you all the best. You've created pure platforming goodness that I hope gets into the hands of more gamers.
 
I'm sorry if this sounds horribly arrogant, I know it's not a perfect game, but I really feel like this game is a "90" if ever there was one.

Sadly I guess we're just the usual crazy/deluded gamedev who thinks their game is great when it's really not, because everyone still seems to prefer Meat Boy. (which, don't get me wrong, is a really great game, but.. I feel like in a lot of ways it's less interesting than N wrt game design)

[...]

p.p.s - I'm really sorry if I'm coming across as a horribly entitled, whiney idiot. In order to push myself to work 12h/day since the start of the year, I maybe had to convince myself that it would all be worth it because everyone would see how much effort we put into this game; sadly this was clearly wishful thinking, a useful fiction that got me motivated but is now just making me depressed as I am forced to face the much more mundane reality that N++ is a very niche thing that not many can appreciate. Hopefully I can at least learn from this experience..
As far as everyone seeing how much effort you put in...well, not everyone will ever see everything, but I think you're seeing some folks come out of the woodwork here that resonate big time with what you've done, and at this point it's just a matter of connecting the dots between the game and its audience. The game isn't for everyone. But it's as close to "timeless" and a "classic" as anything I've played in the last year or two. I loved and 100%ed Meat Boy, but always kinda preferred N+, and N++ tops them both handily.

As for it not hitting 90 on Metacritic, I have no idea what to tell you there. But that's because I care next to nothing of reviews. It's unfortunate but not the end of things.

I would probably be devastated if I were in your shoes! It's reasonable to be upset, and you're reasonable in expressing your frustrations--they're generally balanced and understandable. But you've come so far, don't give up now! Keep working and consider some of the suggestions folks are making here...but ultimately do what YOU and your team feel is right.

N++ will have it's day!
 
But, it's hard for us to stomach pandering to people who by definition are ignorant.. if we did that, we might as well make the sort of game that anyone can beat without any effort or engagement! We think it's a lot better to let the ignorant people eventually learn and grow, rather than cater to them so that they remain ignorant forever. Of course, this means that many will remain ignorant and forever unaware of the pleasures of N++, but that's their loss as much as ours.

Honestly, even now we still think that that making a single unified game (rather than a cheaper core game + nickel-and-dime fans with paid DLC) was a better approach for everyone. Maybe we didn't make as much money, but we made a better game than if it had been fragmented. In our (maybe horribly wrong) opinion anyway! :)
I kind of don't want to say this, partly because N++ is a fantastic game, and partly because statements like the above, and your insistence on sticking to this philosophy, earn my admiration and respect (and also partly because it sounds like you're having a tough time at the moment, which isn't fair), but:

I haven't played N in 10 years, and only small details have changed in that time.
You're 100% right when you say that N is perfect on every level. Presentation, control, music, are all perfect. Level design is fucking mind-blowingly good. But even as someone who put 100s of hours of into N, AND missed out on N+ due to console choice, AND with nostalgia in your favour... I still had to think twice about £15 for a game that was free when I was a kid. I obviously don't regret buying, but my point is it's going to be harder and harder to convince people to buy N, no matter how perfect you make it.
Is it still possible to work on other games? With your philosophy and record I'd bet you have a lot of fans willing to buy almost anything you put out. Not everything can have this level of polish day 1, but if you were seeing success elsewhere then you'd more appreciate this for what it is - a labour of love / pursuit of perfection kind of thing, not necessarily a money spinner on its own.

I hope that wasn't mean, I really can't understate how good this game is :( I just wish you had more than one project, partly for your own well being but also just to see what other fantastic games you'd make.



(PS: Maybe stop comparing to Meatboy. N is so much better than Meatboy at literally every level, and I say that as someone that really likes Meatboy.)
 
This post may come off as critical, but it's really just my semi-educated thoughts and opinions.
Thank you.. I agree with pretty much everything you said!

I think part of why we were resistant to fragmenting things with DLC is that we put a lot of effort into the levels, and it's really demotivating and hard to give it 100% when you know for a fact (at least, statistically based on N+ as well as industry-wide trends) that less than 10% of players will see the level. It just sort of feels weird to us.. then again, we're old -- Super Mario World never had DLC! ;)

About the price, I *love* Towerfall, but we really felt like N++ was a bit beefier of an experience. We were also a bit burned with N+, we were one of the last $10 games on XBLA and while that was absolutely the right price for that context (N was obscure, it was a weird game, and sadly the presentation reflected our limited time and budget), seeing all following games (Braid and onward) sell for $15 (which makes a huge difference in terms of amount of revenue) really made us scared to repeat the same mistake and sell for $15 only to see every other game selling for $20.

Also, honestly there would be no way to break even at $10. This is mostly a function of how much time and money we sunk into development, because we wanted to make sure we could never make a better version of N.. and I think we largely succeeded! But sadly this was a pretty big constraint on the pricing since at $10 we would have to literally sell twice as much, which seemed quite risky. In hindsight, maybe that was a bad call.

I admit that we failed miserably at convincing the general public about the value of our product.. I'm really hoping that a demo might change this, but sadly at this point we may have lost too much momentum for it to make much of a difference.
 
That path lies madness. I personally think that N++ is extremely close to perfection.
Thank you :)

We're definitely going to make a demo, I really wish we had been able to have one at launch, but it was impossible -- as it was we barely got the game done.

We will hopefully be on PC at some point. My main concern is that so many people dismiss the graphics as simple, when in fact they require a fairly modern GPU.. which I'm guessing is going to make a lot of PC gamers really angry.

(We're looking into making a lower-quality renderer for Vita/PC, however this is no small task and given the weak sales it's sort of hard to justify spending several more months of Shawn's time, but I'm hopeful we can figure out a clever solution)
 
I have a few thoughts to share.
Thank you!

I think that part of the problem is that Mare and I both really hate the "race to the bottom" trend where indies try to undercut each other, to compete on price. We would rather put our time and effort into competing on quality, because that results in better games and drives the medium forward.

We were going to launch at $30 with a 30% off discount, but since the other PLAY games were all $15-20 we were advised that this would be a terrible idea.

About the number of levels.. yes, I regret that we pushed this angle without making it explicit that every level in N++ is better than any level in N+. We were always aware that this was potentially problematic, but we didn't really know how else to communicate "this game will literally last you as long as you want it to", this was our mistake.
 
I kind of don't want to say this, partly because N++ is a fantastic game, and partly because statements like the above, and your insistence on sticking to this philosophy, earn my admiration and respect (and also partly because it sounds like you're having a tough time at the moment, which isn't fair), but:
Thank you! I appreciate your willingness to speak honestly, that's awesome.

I think part of the problem is that we failed to consider how human memory works -- to us, N++ is light-years away from N and N+, but that's only because we're intimately familar with every facet (and also have changing tastes which align more closely to N++). What we realized too late was that many people remember N/N+ as being a lot better than they actually were (if evaluated today) due to the way memory isn't exact but sort of impressionist.. and from a blurry, zooomed-out view, N++ is pretty much identical to N/N+.

Anyway, thank you. It's hard not to compare ourselves to Meat Boy because part of the impetus for N++ was to have the last word wrt what sort of platforming system is superior, so our failure to convert people hurts us.. we would like more platformers with different/weird simulation models that push outside of the usual. Because that's what we want to play, but we're pretty lazy and would prefer someone else to do the hard work of actually making it :)
 
Can it not run on a mid range laptop? I don't think it will make people angry because they can and will just get a Steam refund if the game doesn't run for them.
we don't know yet, we haven't had a stable PC build in 2 years.. mostly we're scared of angry people tanking our ratings. (as they did on metacritic due to no online)
 
Is this intended for analog stick or D-Pad controls? I played and liked N+ but it's been so long since I played it I don't remember which was better. I'm really not a fan of the PS4 D-Pad though so if this has digital controls I'd rather wait for a (hopeful) PC version.

It's a huge bummer how the launch went down, hopefully it can recover later with sales and ports or whatever. It's terrifying how small of a "press bubble" an small game without a marketing behemoth behind it has in 2015, seems like launching a game now is like playing russian roulette with 4 bullets.