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Thread: NiGHTS questions

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    Japanese Sonic CD FTW!!! Master of Shinobi Ecco's Avatar
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    Saturn NiGHTS questions / general thread

    Hey I love NiGHTS on Saturn, I can get A's on every stage, but I still have a couple questions.

    --The music changes are awesome. Does anyone have a list of the different forms of the songs, so we can know if we have the best version or not? If the song for a stage has reached its best version, I'd like to know...

    --Can someone explain the AI life system please. I know that we should be nice toward it, and it encourages more advancements in the AI, such as touching an egg, or walking by the little guys. Also the other enemy-creatures should get drill-dashed, which can cause them to mate with the other AI and create new creatures.

    So is there more to the AI, or is that it? I want to see the AI get more advanced, so I wonder if I should be doing something else with it?
    Last edited by Ecco; 09-10-2016 at 02:13 PM.

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    Japanese Sonic CD FTW!!! Master of Shinobi Ecco's Avatar
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    Saturn

    Hey everyone don't jump at once lol. For anyone interested, I'll answer my own questions.

    But first: For anyone who doesn't know: NiGHTS is a fantastic game that I hope everyone experiences at some point in their life. It's from Yuji Naka and Sonic Team, and it must be their single best game ever made. NiGHTS is on-par and better than the entire 16-bit Sonic series. It also looks rough in screenshots, but in motion it looks amazing.

    The short answer to both of my questions is that apparently, no one knows for sure the exact details of how these things work in NiGHTS. As unbelievable as that is, for a game released in 1996! The Saturn itself is so overly-complicated and convoluted, that there has been very little insight into NiGHTS' game mechanics, along with the rest of the Saturn library. Apparently the games are almost impossible to do anything with at all, including just seeing how any of the games are running exactly.

    What we do know is that the music changes and improves or declines, according to how NiGHTS treats the AI life, called the "A Life." NiGHTS has to act nice toward the A Life, for the creatures to become happier, and the music improves, accordingly. Specifically, he has to fly slowly by the A Life, which makes them happy, instead of flying quickly to scare them, or worst of all, doing a loop to kill them! They also occasionally leave little striped Easter-eggs that NiGHTS can touch gently, to make them hatch, thus producing more happiness for the A Life.

    The way the music improves is profound and ingenious. Each song has up to 7 different sections, such as an intro section, then a section for the start of the main theme, then the second section of the theme, then the middle section of the theme, etc. As the music improves, it will be one of these sections that changes to an improved version, while the rest of the song stays the same as last time. The next time the A Life becomes markedly happier again, it will be a different section of the song that improves. The section to improve seems random. In practice, the gradual and unpredictable improvements in the songs, are just amazing.

    Also, in case people really don't know this game, I'll post a YT video. If you guys like the classic Sonic series, you would probably love NiGHTS even more. Just look at this beautiful chaotic gameplay:


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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher Prince Talmit's Avatar
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    You may in fact already possess the most advanced knowledge of NiGHTS among western gamers.
    As I'm sure you're aware, the North American instruction manual provides scant explanation of the game systems, and magazines followed suit and failed to present the game in an in depth manner.
    I'd wager 99.9% of people who play NiGHTS don't have the slightest idea of the depths of the game.

    I can report the US Prima guidebook does not offer any meaningful insight to the game.
    A number of guidebooks are available from Japan, perhaps one of those holds some answers.
    And then there's the manual for the PS2 release that might also be a source for explanations.
    Last edited by Prince Talmit; 09-10-2016 at 02:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    Does anyone have a list of the different forms of the songs, so we can know if we have the best version or not?
    Among the six primary stages there are 33792 possible permutations in total ( see below ) .. so that list would be a little long

    Permutations
    Spring Valley 4^7 = 16384
    Splash Garden 4^6 = 4096
    Mystic Forest 4^5 = 1024
    Frozen Bell 4^6 = 4096
    Soft Museum 4^6 = 4096
    Stick Canyon 4^6 = 4096

    Fortunately, someone took the time to record each stage will all sections set to one of the possible moods.

    Angry Content Happy Cheering
    Spring Valley
    Splash Garden
    Mystic Forest
    Frozen Bell
    Soft Museum
    Stick Canyon
    Last edited by moon; 09-10-2016 at 04:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moon View Post
    Among the six primary stages there are 33792 possible permutations in total ( see below ) .. so that list would be a little long
    ^Ha thanks, I asked that before I realized how complicated the music system is lol.

    The tables and links you posted are awesome, I'll definitely check them out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Talmit View Post
    You may in fact already possess the most advanced knowledge of NiGHTS among western gamers.
    As I'm sure you're aware, the North American instruction manual provides scant explanation of the game systems, and magazines followed suit and failed to present the game in an in depth manner.
    I'd wager 99.9% of people who play NiGHTS don't have the slightest idea of the depths of the game.

    I can report the US Prima guidebook does not offer any meaningful insight to the game.
    A number of guidebooks are available from Japan, perhaps one of those holds some answers.
    And then there's the manual for the PS2 release that might also be a source for explanations.
    Cool, I didn't actually know that the magazines of the day completely failed to have any depth, it's good to know. I think I must have stopped reading gaming mags at that point, so I only remember the TV commercials for NiGHTS.

    Also I have the manual but I haven't looked at it much either. I can say, though, that the hints in the game, tend to be confusing what they're talking about, if someone didn't know anything about the game yet lol.

    And it's definitely true that most people who play it, probably don't take the time to understand its depth either. I saw a YT video where a guy showed his friends NiGHTS and he made it look easy as he got A's and B's, but he failed to explain to his friends why the gameplay is so challenging and deep, and his friends thought it looked stupid lol like a game for preschoolers or something lol.

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    I learned more today then i did back in '96 playing this thing. all i knew to do was to get the blue balls and keep looping stuff. If i could find my nights controller i should give this a run again.

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    One question I always wonder is: Whether the score, or the number of times playing a stage, somehow affects the A Life. I'm inclined to think that, for example: More time spent playing and getting good scores, probably increases the A Life creatures, or might make them leave more easter-eggs to hatch into even more A Life.

    However, I don't think I've ever seen anyone explain if there's a dynamic like that (i.e. the rate of A Life increasing in numbers or easter-eggs, from the number of times playing a stage, for example).

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    Quote Originally Posted by cabear View Post
    I learned more today then i did back in '96 playing this thing. all i knew to do was to get the blue balls and keep looping stuff. If i could find my nights controller i should give this a run again.
    Cool, go for it! The changes in AI and music take place over time, so hopefully you have a way to save your Saturn games over time. There's supposed to be a watch-battery in the back of your Saturn, but it seems that often these are missing or dead. And there's also a memory cart that I've never owned.

    ...

    For anyone who isn't already very familiar with NiGHTS: Here is the basic strategy, which is not obvious in the game, at all:

    Each stage has 4 sections, each with a grade.

    In each section, NiGHTS has to first collect 20 blue orbs as fast as possible, then hit that floating chamber to make it explode. Bonus time begins, with all the blue orbs now changed to gold orbs.

    Now here's where it's really not obvious: During Bonus Time, NiGHTS can return to the pavilion and move onto the next section. However, that's the wrong thing to do. NiGHTS should avoid the pavilion until his time is almost gone, in the single digits. For example, if you have 96 seconds left on the timer when Bonus Time starts, then like 90 out of those 96 seconds should be spent drawing out Bonus Time as long as possible, collecting as many gold orbs as you can.

    This means that each section of each stage, requires some level memorization, to efficiently race around each section a few times, before moving onto the next section. NiGHTS is essentially a racing game, with each section requiring a few repeating loops.

    Focusing on the AI is cool but the time spent usually detracts from the actual score. So sometimes I will just play stages specifically to focus on the AI and not worry about the score for these cases. Also playing as the kids and walking around the stages in 3D can be a good way to find eggs to help hatch, although this also usually leads to a bad overall score too lol. Regardless, the kids are really fun to play as.

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    Master of Shinobi midnightrider's Avatar
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    I don't recall how I came across this video, I may have been looking into something about Sonic at the time, but:


    Kind of illustrates something. I gave Nights a try once, and I didn't get it at the time. Still haven't gotten back to it though.

    Also:

    (Apologies to Shinobiman if he had shared this in the past, or was planning to in the future)
    Last edited by midnightrider; 09-10-2016 at 10:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moon View Post
    Fortunately, someone took the time to record each stage will all sections set to one of the possible moods.

    Angry Content Happy Cheering
    Spring Valley
    Splash Garden
    Mystic Forest
    Frozen Bell
    Soft Museum
    Stick Canyon
    Aptiva!

    Thanks for posting that. You know what we need? A program which cycles through the songs randomly changing the moods of each section. It'd at least be a whole lot easier than recording every possible rendition, and even then a big part of the appeal is how seamless the music changes are. That's one thing which disappointed me when I got the soundtrack way back then; the piecemeal nature of the CD recordings really don't do the soundtrack justice by having to break it up into set songs with a defined ending.

    It's funny how the soundtrack is easily the greatest thing about the game, but it ties into something so utterly useless. I doubt we'll see anything like it again. I can't see an AAA studio devoting time to develop the soundtrack as complex as NiGHTS', and no indie developer could even attempt something of that scale for something as "trivial" as the background music to a game.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher Prince Talmit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin View Post
    I doubt we'll see anything like it again. I can't see an AAA studio devoting time to develop the soundtrack as complex as NiGHTS', and no indie developer could even attempt something of that scale for something as "trivial" as the background music to a game.
    UGA took dynamic/evolving background music to the next level with Space Channel 5 Part 2. Every person rescued then joined Ulala's entourage and added to the BGM.
    I've always wondered if there is a connection within the sounds teams between NiGHTS and SC5p2. Or if at the very least United Game Artists were aware of what Sonic Team had done and expanded on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Talmit View Post
    UGA took dynamic/evolving background music to the next level with Space Channel 5 Part 2. Every person rescued then joined Ulala's entourage and added to the BGM.
    Didn't that just apply to the school kids carrying instruments in act 2? I love the game and have not noticed ably change whatsoever in the soundtrack dependent upon who you've rescued except for that specific part, and even then it's just a layer of instrumental sounds over the default soundtrack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    Hey I love NiGHTS on Saturn, I can get A's on every stage, but I still have a couple questions.

    --The music changes are awesome. Does anyone have a list of the different forms of the songs, so we can know if we have the best version or not? If the song for a stage has reached its best version, I'd like to know...

    --Can someone explain the AI life system please. I know that we should be nice toward it, and it encourages more advancements in the AI, such as touching an egg, or walking by the little guys. Also the other enemy-creatures should get drill-dashed, which can cause them to mate with the other AI and create new creatures.

    So is there more to the AI, or is that it? I want to see the AI get more advanced, so I wonder if I should be doing something else with it?
    you can literally check this by using your nights savefile in christmas nights and even change the music for each level

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    Quote Originally Posted by bultje112 View Post
    you can literally check this by using your nights savefile in christmas nights and even change the music for each level
    Yes I can't wait to buy Christmas NiGHTS but unfortunately, I only have the main game right now.

    I enjoyed the videos posted in the thread. I like the Scottish guy who dislikes NiGHTS at first, but then explains how he grew to understand it and love it.

    Videos of the HD version of NiGHTS actually don't look appealing to me personally. In HD, the scenery just looks like generic 3D scenery (and I don't tend to enjoy modern 3D graphics in general).

    On Saturn, there's magic in how Yuji Naka and Sonic Team managed such a beautiful game with such rough graphics lol. For example, it's almost impossible to pause the game and get a clear screenshot of anything, but in motion it all becomes beautiful.

    For me, modern 3D graphics have no such magic, I always feel like someone just placed objects around, there's nothing interesting or impressive... HD NiGHTS just recreates NiGHTS in modern, boring 3D that's entirely less appealing...

    This also ties in a bit with the plot of NiGHTS, the Saturn's rough 3D graphics fit for a dreamworld. But HD perfect graphics don't resemble dreams at all lol.

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