One year after our release, we catch you up on the events behind our development!
Posted by Kama on Jan 11th, 2011
Happy new year NNK! It's been just over a year since you guys have heard from us officially, so we'd like to apologize and let you know what's happening.
Explained below are our high moments, and our low moments, that led to us being quiet so long. And hopefully it'll answer some of your questions.
NNK is released
We had a great release, and for everyone who was there for it thank you again. We had a blast at our release party, we hope you enjoyed listening to us and if you missed it you can always catch up on the key points by viewing this topic graciously made for us by JoeJustJoe. As of today we have over 140,000 downloads on our ModDB mirror alone! That's quite an accomplishment for a first release of a mod. And right after release we were incredibly excited to get further into development of R2. But we ran into a few roadblocks.
The development of NNK was a long and amazing adventure for our team. We had seen many talented individuals join our project and take leave to pursue other goals, and we had amazing talent join us all the way till the very end. With the release finally in sight we were all incredibly excited. We wrapped up features and disclosed an official release date to our public. What you may not know is we scrambled to reach our release date. Even the very day of release our team was tirelessly plodding on to get those last few necessary features included, which caused us to set our release back a few hours but we had such a great crowd in IRC it seemed to fly by.
After releasing NNK to those who qualified for early-access we heard the odd report of a few bugs which we were well aware of and not too concerned at all. Due to extensive testing we had most of our major issues under control or were able to release mini-downloads for patching to afflicted players. But the major problem we had not foreseen was ourclient.dll issue. In all of our testing we did not have anyone with that issue. We weren't sure what was causing it, and it seemed to become more wide spread by the day. We were exhausted from R1 but our programmers looked into the issue. Finding the source of the bug proved to be difficult.
It became so hard to isolate, that the Art team had already begun developing R2 while our programmers did their best. We split some work to add R2 features while sorting out the client.dll issue. It got to the point that by the time we had discovered what the issue causing the client.dll was, we had a multitude of new features. We discussed our options and as a team decided to press forward and finish a release that would include features as well as a bug fix. We thought that it had been so long at that point (over a month) anything less than a release with a few features would be blasted by our community that expected much from our team.
At that point we figured it would be only a month or two until we were able to release. We had planned the client.dll fix, plus a new map, with an expanded weapons system. As time went by we hit hard times and our goals were seeming further away from becoming attainable. We did our best to deal with fans on the forums and listen to their critiques and new bugs they found. We gave suggestions on how to fix their issues themselves and even released a few downloadable files to help with graphical glitches.
We were spending half of our time working on the mod, and the other half helping fans get the most out of our project we had spent so long developing. It was almost painful to see so many fans not able to play our game, or have issues with it. We scoured the forums answering what topics we could, we joined games and talked to the fans 1 on 1 (and had a little fun shooting our ANBU fireballs at you as well.) But things took an unexpected turn for the worse.
NNK in tangles
The months leading up to release were incredibly tough on the entire team, we had set our date (even though the date wasn't public yet) and we meant to meet it. We spent almost all of our free time pumping out art and features and we made it. After release, we expected to relax and enjoy our creation. We weren't prepared for such a big reception of fans, old and new, demanding fixes and additional content.
Some of our team voiced their exhaustion, and we allowed those that needed it time to themselves. A few chose not to return deciding that the first release was enough for them. The strain on the team became heavier with more and more work for a smaller team. We filled spaces best we could and divided the work. As time pressed forward our art team was unable to keep up with our programmers. So we had feature after feature implemented with unfinished art until NNK no longer resembled the beautiful stream lined creation we had once known.
NNK beyond recognition
We had many features not seen in R1. They included an entirely rebuilt weapons system with 17 options, 13 playable characters, Tournament mode, an enhanced Melee system, an in-game MP3 Player, and many other additions. This sounds incredible, and for a time it was. However none of the features were ever completed. As one feature came near completion, another was started until art for the prior feature could catch up. This continued, over and over until we had too many features requiring too much art and not enough resources to handle the demand.
Bugs riddled our build, and features were left half-finished causing further problems with game play. We had let our grasp of a controlled development slip away from us in the excitement given to us from your amazing feedback for our release. We had many discussions on what to do, what direction to take the project. We even decided at this point to make this thread asking dedicated fans who stuck with us to let us know who they are so we could reward them later if we were able to reach our release goal, (and we still hope to reward you guys!) But it seemed many of us had conflicting opinions on which features were necessary, and how far we should actually go.
NNK is called upon
It's no secret that NNK is as successful as it is thanks in large part to a joint effort with members from the ESF Team. They provided us with talented individuals, and we in turn helped where possible. After our release a few NNK members took a hiatus to focus on ESF. And over time as ESF has become closer to it's release most of our remaining team (that wasn't from ESF to begin with) have joined forces to finish their colossal undertaking. Leaving a small handful plodding on.
Recently we experienced an unexpected down-time of our forums. Instead of risk another possible scenario where our site suddenly went off the grid without coming back and leaving the fans in the dark we decided to make this post.
We finally decided that it had been far too long since our first release, and fans were starting rumors the project had died. We had multiple plans to show new features, or characters. But instead thought a surprise release would make our fans the most excited. To turn their browsers on one Friday and see a fateful update with a new NNK version to play. Sadly, our dream has not been realized.
So hopefully this will answer some questions. We are not dead and are still making progress. Soon we'll try to get back into swing with frequent updates. But until then, maybe with your help we can build some buzz around the project and get it kicking again!
"Why not just release what you have now?"
I know this will be asked so i'll address it officially. The current version of NNK is nothing like you'd expect NNK to be. It is playable, but not to an enjoyable degree. There are too many unfinished and bugged features. So please, do not ask for it.
If you have any questions feel free to post them in this thread and we'll do our best to answer them.
As always, we are also looking for Talented new artists to join our team, if you would like to be a part of NNK and feel like you have what it takes feel free to send us an application at ApplyNNK@gmail.com with the following information;
Samples of Previous Work:
Something about yourself:
Thanks for your dedication.
- The NNK Team