The sequel to Lazy Needle but the two games really have very little in common. Essentially they are lazy in terms of music, graphics, polish and time I spent on them. Where as the first Lazy Needle was mostly leftover screens I had made for Crimson Needle 2 and added warps between, Lazy Needle 2 was, with the exception of one screen, something I made from scratch. The game features six connected 800x608 pixels screens. In order to reach the end the player has to pass each screen multiple times through various intersections. There is only one path to take at any given time so while the look of some of the rooms might initially be confusing it's not meant to be a maze.
I don't hold Lazy Needle 2 as the game I'm the most happy with among my games but I've sometimes described it as the most satisfying from a gamemaking perspective. The idea of having just one big screen with lots of crossing paths just occurred to me shortly after waking up one day. I then went for a walk and thought about how to execute the idea. When I got home I made a screen that was 3 regular fangame window sizes high and 2 windows wide and drew a path with blocks. I didn't yet consider how I would make the path work out but rather just drew what I thought would feel cool and interesting. The first path I came up with is the very same as the one in the finished game.
The tiles I used are completely blue so I could more easily work with smaller grids like 16x16 px or 8x8 px without it looking bad. I also really like the minimalist "Rukito-esque" visuals, I like how they look and I think the needle plays great when there is no clutter that distracts your eyes. Of course it's also convenient to not have to put effort into that area.
After drawing the path I started working on the design. The game starts out in the top right of the room but I actually by copy-pasting another leftover screen I had from CN2 in the bottom left and making some slight alterations to it so it would connect like I wanted to the screens around it. Since I realized the hardest part of tying the whole thing together would be to make segments you had to pass twice, without accidentally allowing the player to skip huge chunks of the game, I started by designing most of the intersections. Furthermore I didn't want the intersections to be too similar or rely on triggers so I had an additional challenge in not repeating myself. Ultimately it will always come down to some kind of drop where you preserve your double jump when you previously couldn't but the way those drops are laid out can differ and I also used the standard assets - water, platforms and vines - to add some variety.
The reason Lazy Needle 2 was so exceptionally satisfying to make is the speed at which I worked. At almost no point in the process did I run into a creative wall or even struggle with knowing what to do next. I worked continuously for around 6 hours, it is undoubtedly the most efficiently I've ever worked on anything. During the process I would see this screen, which was empty just moments ago, gradually get filled up with blocks and spikes.
After the 6 hours of almost non-stop working the game was finished and looking at the finish product I felt it had some things going for it. For one thing I don't think this twist to a needle game had been done before so I was anticipating people's reaction to it. Beyond that I was also pretty pleased with the needle design. It's clearly inspired by Rukito's later games as most of my stuff was around this time. It's not a perfect emulation of his design by any means though and I'm glad it's not. I think the saves overall offer pretty good variety, in terms of the style of needle and assets used but also in terms of length and difficulty. The average needle player today will probably progress at a pretty steady pace while still being challenged.
What I'm most happy with is simply the feeling of coming up with a concept and successfully carrying it out and being able to release the game the same day I got the idea. Lazy Needle 2, despite its lack of "fluff" like music, save effects, menus etc., to me feels like a complete game; there is very little I would change about it. The middle left room is like a central hub you pass through five times and looking at it still makes me proud.
To keep this from being too masturbatory in honor of my own greatness I should mention a few things which could have been done better. Most notably is probably the 2 or 3 unfair screen transitions that inevitably will kill you the first time (although the bottom one makes for a nice drop). There are also some minor design mistakes like a platform you can't grab with certain v-strings and some jumps that should have been less precise. On the final save of the game there is a skip that's almost impossible to miss. Luckily it makes the save's difficulty much more in line with the rest of the game but it's still disappointing as it leaves a bit of non-utilized space. Finally there is one particular water save on the far left which is complete filler but I'm excused because there really was no space.
In terms of production, it's very minimal akin to Rukito. The game also has no music, so make sure you bring your own tunes.