Kickin’ it with NAMI TENTOU MUSHI, LLC – Ping 2
If you like quirky games like the Bit.Trip series or lilt line, then Christopher Arnold’s latest game might be right up your alley!
4cr: Welcome Christopher! Let’s get this started by having you introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello. My name is Christopher and I’m the founder of NAMI TENTOU MUSHI. I like long walks on the beach. I’m not single. I’m first and foremost a programmer. I’ve also handled some modeling, a little bit of the texturing, and the sound effects.
4cr: Ping was based in part on the basic concept from Pong, and things were kept simple to pay direct homage to the original. Now you have a Kickstarter campaign for Ping 2 which seems to evolve the concept. How will the sequel be different enough from Ping to warrant a pledge.
The biggest change is that, it’s not a game to kill time anymore like the mobile game was. This game is meant to capture your attention for a few hours while you sit in your computer chair or on the couch. So that’s called for more interesting and captivating gameplay ideas and modes. I try not to reinvent the wheel and instead just create something new. I know I can’t challenge the crowded area of popular FPSes or RPGs but I know I could create something new that gives the player a feeling of a new experience that they haven’t had somewhere else before. Also, this sequel is in 3D versus Ping 1′s Atari 2D look. Funny enough, I was playing Bit.Trip Runner 2 during development and noticed how it kinda gives off a retro and a new vibe to it. I liked it. It was the first time I’ve ever played anything by Gaijin games.
4cr: The video for the Alpha gameplay mixes some nice music with neon colored explosions of colors, but what really grabbed me is that the game will be mixing different perspectives for different gameplay styles. Can you please elaborate on this?
Well, a good way to explain the different gameplay styles is by comparing it to a probably pretty unknown NES game I owned as a kid called Air Fortress. You would do the levels as a typical space shooter, but once you get to the base, the gameplay would switch to a bit of a platformer instead. I thought it was fun. Although, being a kid, I never got past level 1. I really wanted to expand the Ping universe beyond the 5 second level gameplay that was used for Android. I can’t imagine a Wii U/PC game being centered around such a short game. So the plan is at this point is to do 8 levels per a world, with those being a mix of Ping puzzle and space shooter type gameplay and then the end boss stage for each world will switch to a FPS. It seems like a all over the place type of game, but in execution, I believe it actually all fits together pretty well. Even for the Ping puzzle mode I wanted to have that ‘speed’ and ‘depth’ feel in it, which is why you move through tunnels in a different perspective too. I want it to feel fast.
4cr: We can see a counter in the bottom left corner for bounces. How does this play into the way the game works?
This time, the bounces count towards your score in helping you beat the level. On very hard mode, you’ll have to go back to the difficulty of Ping 1 and not exceed an amount of bounces. It’s something that I felt if I took out, it just wouldn’t be Ping anymore.
4cr: It’s interesting to see that if the main goal is reached, Ping 2: Attack of the Spheres will be available to backers on Wii, PC, Mac and Linux. What will the main differences be between the PC/Mac/Linux and the Wii U release?
The main difference will be the multiplayer mode. At this time, only local multiplayer is being planned for the Nintendo Wii U. Also I have quite a few ideas of how I would love to put your face in the game with the camera to make it an embarassing spectacle for your friends to watch using the camera built in. So basically the PC, Mac, and Linux versions won’t have all of those fun features that only the Nintendo Wii U can offer, but because of that, I’ll either lower the price on those or add in special content just for those that makes use of PC. Maybe high score boards? Challenge modes? I’m not sure yet. There isn’t the same restrictions on a PC game internet wise as there is on a console game.
4cr: As a follow up, have you considered porting the game to other consoles if enough funds are secured?
I would consider that if more than $20,000 is funded. The costs for the Sony and Microsoft development kits are much higher than Nintendo’s at the moment for indies so it’s not as feasible for me to do it at the beginning since it requires so much start up money to make a game. I would love to bring it to PSN or Xbox Live. [Shortly after this interview was made, it was confirmed that Ping 2 would also be released on PS3 if the main goal is met]
4rc: Thank you for your time. Would you like to add something else before we sign off?
If you’re curious about the game but you’re on the fence about backing it, we did include a concept demo to play with our Kickstarter page. Although, just ignore the random bugs that you find. It’s a alpha concept build. Just consider them bonus features.