N+ developer Metanet has shown the first video of its next physics-ruled project, Robotology. The studio also revealed N+ to be next week's half-price Xbox Live Arcade game.
The Robotology clip depicts a wireframe humanoid dropping onto and sliding down a ramp along with two balls: one small, one large. The points of interest are the biped's natural interaction with the 2D environment and objects, plus the ability to change direction without breaking any of the physics laws - a process Metanet calls "morphing".
"It's just a simple demonstration of how robots in the 2D world will change direction in a physically-valid way; typically this sort of movement is faked, or relies on movement in 3D," explains Metanet on its blog.
"We wanted to try something different. Since our goal is for all movement to be physically-based, we needed a solution which would allow robots to change direction while their movement remained valid in the 2D flatland simulation. This way, any external constraints (such as grappling hooks) that are interacting with a robot will continue to behave normally, with no popping or other glitches as the robot changes facing direction."
Metanet says the "good news" of this long and arduous task was the realisation that morphing could be used for "much more than simply changing the facing direction of robots"; shape-shifting, the developer writes, is possible.
"We're still not sure how far in that direction we want to go though, there are enough technical challenges as it is, but it sure would be cool," the developer writes.
Metanet has spent three years working on Robotology, a game described as a cross between Super Mario Galaxy, Shadow of the Colossus and Umihara Kawase.
And while no actual gameplay has been seen, we can safely expect robots - big robots - and grappling hooks to play a part.