NANOS: The Battle Inside

About the game

NANOS is a brick-breaking game heavily inspired by Arkanoid, Breakout and Pong. The game features a story mode that allows for singleplayer or offline co-op multiplayer for up to two players. It also has an offline versus multiplayer mode for up to four players. In both modes the player(s) can pick up various power-ups or power-downs that can work to the player's (dis)advantage. Multiplayer mode also features power-tricks, that allow players to activate a power to their own advantage, or to their opponent's disadvantage. At certain points during the story mode and (if the player so chooses) at the end of a multiplayer match, a boss may spawn. These bosses have special properties that can make them difficult to overcome, such as regeneration or attacks that give the player a power-down effect.

My work on the project

The game was developed and released on Steam Early Access during my internship at Excamedia. While I did not work on NANOS during my internship, I was hired to work on NANOS for the duration of the summer holidays after my internship ended. My activities mainly included bugfixing, and implementing the art assets and particle effects created by artists. In the mean time I also worked on some minor features, like the credits screen, the combo system, and the countdown at the start of a match and during the Sudden Death mode.

I was also responsible for the integration of the Steam achievements, which gave me my first opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at Steam and gain experience with Steamworks and the Steamworks API (I made use of the Steamworks.NET wrapper available here).

Occasionally I would also take on the role of community manager to answer questions and announce upcoming updates.

Project management

Aside from the game itself, I'm quite proud of the way I worked on the project. During my stay at Excamedia I worked with my fellow student and good friend Tom Vaessen. We were both a bit dissatisfied with the project management, so we decided to adopt a SCRUM-like methodology and sat down with the creative director to discuss what tasks needed to be done. These tasks were kept in a Trello taskboard. After creating a project backlog and assigning points to each task, we sat down to discuss which tasks to prioritize. We decided to work in sprints of 1 week. At the start of each week we would use the aforementioned points to estimate workload and move an appropriate amount of tasks from our backlog to our TODO list. This worked pretty well and we were able to build a stable new version by the end of each week.

The NANOS Steam page