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Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends

Created by Team Nemo

An indie game based on Winsor McCay's groundbreaking comic strip.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

New Backer Build
about 2 months ago – Thu, Feb 29, 2024 at 06:45:06 AM

Hi Dreamers!
It's been a very busy month for us.  We've been working hard on the mushroom forest and to get some progression into the game.  Since the last backer build we've built out our inventory system and added a bunch of scripting features.  We can create multi-part quests now that expand your abilities. As a result of all this though, we have a new backers-only demo that we're proud to share with all of you!

This build features the Mushroom Forest critical path.  The goal is to find Peony and help the Mushroom Farmer.  There will eventually be a secondary goal here, which is to collect something called "Figments" - but we'll go into some detail about that in a future update. Remember, this is an in-progress demo, so we'll have more to tweak, add, and share in the future. 

There are 3 main areas to explore here: the Mushroom Village, the Mosquito Farm (and caves), and the Treetops.  You'll probably notice a bunch of nooks that don't have much in them at this point - those will have minor upgrades or quest events in them in more final versions of the game.

We put a lot of effort over the last couple months refining how the game plays.  There's some things you won't see as much as feel (improvements to how characters traverse level geometry, for example) but also some other fundamental changes.  Peony can throw bombs now, for example - which makes her a lot of fun to play!

There's also a dash now in the game.  This will be a (relatively early) upgrade at some point - but for now it's just unlocked.  You can dash by double tapping forward, and it consumes magic while you are dashing. Right now characters just play their normal run animations for these, but we will update this in the future with special dash animations. 

We also added several more enemy types and two new bosses with more on the way.

The build is available at: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/njo9gksu5vg7umrjamz7v/Nemo_2_28_PC.zip?rlkey=coctyerjqrr5iony0m7u65w4a&dl=0

Bug reports can be submitted at (please use this instead of reaching out directly so that bugs can be properly logged):
https://airtable.com/app7kSvvuE337trtL/shrlzqbIFUvPBjFfc

I know this project is taking a while. We're working really hard on it and super proud of what we're been able to accomplish so far!  Those of you following game industry news will know that game making is in a very unstable place right now, but by taking our time the way we have, we have actually put ourselves in a position to be stable and carry on with getting you the best version of this game that we can (even if it's a longer process.) Thanks so much for sticking with us and we can't wait to show you more!

I'm still going with my weekly Twitch development streams (Saturday Night ~9:00PM EST) - so if you're wanting to follow along you can go to https://twitch.tv/pxlplz

- Ben

January update - MAGFest and new demo soon!
3 months ago – Thu, Jan 18, 2024 at 07:04:29 AM

Dearest dreamers and backers!

Happy New Year from Team Nemo! We're writing this as we are loading in for MAGFest - the Music and Gaming Festival in National Harbor, MD from Jan. 18-21 - so this will be a shorter update preceding a longer one next week with more gameplay details, pictures of our "Nemo's Room"-themed booth, and more news. 

A big award nomination - vote for us!

First of all: we've been nominated for a major award from Debug Magazine - an indie-focused print magazine from the UK. We're among their nominees for the "Most Anticipated Indie Game" award, and you (yes, YOU!) can help us get it by clicking the link on the image below! 

Please go to https://www.teamdebug.com/awards/vote and vote for Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends to win the award, and tell your friends to do the same! We've also done some new interviews in relation to this nomination, so we'll be sure to share those as they go up. Please make sure to vote ASAP though, there's not much time left! 

What's new on the game?

A lot! We've been hard at work on both the Ice Palace and Mushroom Forest levels, building out the spaces and platforming gameplay of the Ice Palace (the action and eye-candy stuff), and building out the adventure elements of the Mushroom Forest (the story stuff, but also even more eye-candy). Here are a few preview shots we have: 

Peony stops to take in the sights after a difficult platforming section
Nemo encounters a herd of Bazoos happily munching away on the mushrooms and foliage of the Forest.
Climbable floofs! 
New bosses? Why yes, the Forest has 2! I wonder who the other boss could be (maybe it's a team?)

Along with this, we have a new pause inventory menu, a quest system, and some other quality of life improvements in place. Also also, folks will finally get to experience Peony's amazing bomb-throwing ability!

How can I check out this new stuff?

While we've built a lot of this for our MAGFest demo, but what if you can't be at MAGFest? Well, all of this is in preparation for a BRAND NEW PUBLIC DEMO which we'll be debuting after the show. Stay tuned for more news and details about that soon! 

Other news

Obviously, we'll be busy in the Nemo booth at MAGFest the next few days, but post-MAGFest, my attention will turn to the backer cameos for the $300 and up tiers. We'll be in contact with any requests for details with those folks (we have a lot of that information already, so no need to contact us first, please let us get started then reach out as needed.) 

We'll especially need those backer characters soon, because after those are filled out, they'll be handy for us to build out crowd scenes in areas like our other next priority - Slumberland itself! We've got some cool plans for that as well, so stay tuned! 

That's it for now Dreamers. We'll update soon on MAGFest stuff and on the demo. 

Cheers and many thanks,

Chris  and Team Nemo

December Update: MAGfest & Demos & Snowmen, Oh My!
5 months ago – Mon, Dec 04, 2023 at 10:14:09 AM

Hey there, Dreamers! Adrian here.

For our December update, we have some exciting annoucements concerning our next live showing of the game and demos of our current progress!

MAGfest Updates + Upcoming Demos

As we mentioned in our last update, we'll be back at MAGfest in National Harbor, MD once again to showcase Little Nemo & the Nightmare Fiends! We'll be showcasing new areas and abilities live, getting the ability to talk on the floor with all of you along with getting your feedback about the game!

If you're not able to make it to Magfest, we also have something for you as well; we'll be releasing our MAGfest demo publicly on Steam for everyone to check out! Like our Nextfest demo from June, this demo will focus on the Night Sky and the Forest. However, we're expanding the forest content of the video, including Peony's new ability to throw bombs we mentioned in the previous update, new enemies, dialogue, platforming mechanics, NPC conversations, quests, and more!

But that's not all; In the weeks leading up to MAGfest, we'll be releasing early versions of the demos for our backers as we work out the kinks. If you're a backer, be sure to keep a look out on our Discord for those updates happening soon. For backers at the Slumberlandian ($75) level and above, we'll also be releasing a demo featuring an early sneak peek at our third level, Jack Frost's Palace.

It's important to note that while we'll be blocking off unfinished rooms in our public MAGfest demo, backer exclusive demos will be open to explore. Some rooms will be empty or unpassable, the camera won't follow into some, and others may not have a room at all! We want to give backers the opportunity to explore the game freely, and we'll keep you posted on the rough edges as we come across them.

We're really excited to show you all the new things we've been working on, so please look forward to it in the next few weeks!

New Enemy Art: The Snowman

Recently Chris posted our in-progress Snowman character you'll run into in Jack Frost's palace:

Line art animation of a happy snowman throwing a snowball

This happy guy will pop out of the floor from time to time to toss a snow ball at Nemo and his friends. Just... don't think too hard about where he's getting the snow from.

What's Next

Our main focus for now is making the content in our MAGfest demo as polished as we can in the next couple weeks. We'll also be continuing work on Jack Frost's Palace, as well as beginning work on Kickstarter rewards, including our backer cameos. 

Looking past MAGfest, we've nearly finished converting all of our animations to the new system, which became a time consuming, but absolutely necessary update. That means we can move the game to a newer version of Unity, which will be super important for stability and porting the game to Switch in the future. In the meantime, we'll be continuing to flesh out Jack Frost's palace and beginning work on our last major biome, Slumberland, shortly thereafter.

We'll be sharing our progress with all of you here, so please look forward to it! We'll also be posting more updates concerning MAGfest and the demos in January in the weeks prior to the show, so be on the look out for that as well.

Until next time, Dreamers!

~ Adrian

October/November update!
5 months ago – Thu, Nov 16, 2023 at 12:39:25 PM

Hello dear dreamers!

It's been a while since we posted an update, but we have some cool stuff to share from our last month of work! 

Technical update

The BIG update is Peony, who got some new animations, abilities, and was fully ported to the new animation system. This was a big lift as she is currently the character with the most animations during gameplay, but we are very happy with the results. Here's a short video of her in use in some of the current environments (please note - some environment art is not final and may still show seams) 

In addition to cleaning up more technical aspects of her gameplay, we've added a new bomb drop and bomb throwing abilities. She throws the bombs farther the longer you hold down the attack button, and this can be used for a lot of technical gameplay. She also clings to objects like floating wall objects (in this video are the forest dandelion sprites, but we will also have versions themed to each world.) 

One of our new packed sprite sheets, built for the new animation system.

As we said, we are also deep in the process of converting all of the sprites to a new animation system. As the character with the most frames of in-game animation at this moment, Peony was a great first choice for testing the method and seeing how the most extreme version of this process will go. Now we are moving forward with other characters. All of this will help us perform some necessary engine updates to allow easier porting of the game. We are ALSO in the process of installing all new user interface elements and building menus, so we should have updates on that soon. 

Level design and content

We have also mostly finished work on the layout and artwork of the Ice Palace level, which is easily one of our largest environments in the game, and are in-process for building Slumberland itself. 

Ice Map
We've already shared this view, but it's a really nice one, so please enjoy it again
How high do these towers go?

That's all the (visual) updates we have for you now, but look forward to more soon (we won't take a month and a half for the next one! We did also find out that the game was once again accepted to MAGFest (Jan 18-24 2024 in National Harbor, MD), so please look forward to that if you will be in the area. 

As always, thanks for being such an awesome community! 

Cheers,

Chris 

August/September update and Unity shenanigans!
7 months ago – Thu, Sep 21, 2023 at 09:53:29 AM

Hello dear Dreamers,

We apologize for the long gap in updates. We've been both cranking away on back-end elements of the game and hard at work on polishing both the Mushroom Forest area and building out the Ice Palace. We WERE going to have an update sooner, but that plan fell through as a big piece of industry news hit that required us to discuss plans for the game.

Unity's decision and game engine news

So first to the elephant in the room. If you haven't heard, Unity - the company who makes the engine that we are developing Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends in - is overhauling their pricing model to include a fee of 20 cents for every installation of a game once the game has passed a threshold in revenue. What this means is that developers would be charged not after a sale, as in a typical royalty structure, but per installation, including if one person installs a game on multiple devices. Interested readers should refer to the most recent episode of the Play, Watch, Listen podcast, where game industry luminaries Alanah Pearce, Mike Bithell, Austin Wintory, Troy Baker, and Rami Ismail break down the impact Unity's moves will have on different types of studios. 

After a ton of developer backlash, they have made heavy modifications to this plan, however, a lot of specifics are still up in the air.

As you can imagine, this GREATLY affects Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends, which is currently being built in Unity. After several meetings on the ramifications of the move, we've decided to stay the course with the game, as our development pipeline heavily depends on Unity-dependent plug-ins and tools. Pricing things out, this will make an impact on us, but not one that would damage us as severely as other studios would potentially be impacted (the benefits of being small, as much as that extends development time.) This, however, absolutely impacts Team Nemo's engine choices in the future, and we are currently investigating alternatives for future projects. 

One thing we did also want to address is the question of "why can't you just move it to Unreal or another engine?", which gamers have been asking of devs since the news dropped. As convenient as it would be if we could just open Unity files in Unreal and call it a day, porting between engines and indeed, even different versions of the same engine (which...is a big reason we've been so quiet - we're doing exactly that right now), is a massive undertaking. In the podcast linked above, developer Rami Ismail illustrates the idea very well: if you build a house in Lego bricks, you have a conception of that house's design and what it should be, as well as a method for making it from Lego bricks. Many gamers think of engines as different types of Legos, but in reality, it's more like saying "now build this house you built in Lego, but use K*Nex instead."

We know folks are eagerly awaiting the game, so what we've tried to do is make choices that will help us continue on our current momentum (which again, we realize doesn't always externally feel very fast, but is proceeding at a constant clip) while also making sure we can make the best decisions for the health of the studio and the game's artistic vision. 

So that game development stuff...

Yes! The fun stuff! Please! 

The un-fun part of what we've been working on is porting the game to a more updated version of the engine to take advantage of some newer features. Like we said before, this can be a long and arduous process, especially as certain plug-ins or elements of the engine change or become outdated. Progress is moving along with this though, and we hope that once we're done...you won't notice any difference. This is honestly one of those things that if it works correctly, won't have any noticeable impact on the user side, but it will let us take advantage of other newer tools. 

On the more interesting side, we've spent some time working on the background systems that we will use to script our boss fights and have the Pie Eaters up and running. These killer clowns live in the forests surrounding Slumberland and eat both Slumberlandians and dreamers who cross their path. In the game, 2 Pie Eaters - Yim and Yam - attack Nemo and friends as they try to find their way out of the Forest on their road to Slumberland. 

The Pie Eaters are featured in this early comic as antagonists to Nemo and his friend Bon Bon

As we often do, we've been working on them in our Sandbox development scene (which is a copy of the first area of the Sky level), so this video preview of their moves looks a bit chaotic with a lot of characters around, but we will be moving them into their home in the Mushroom Forest level soon. 

So they just hop around? Well...not entirely. While other boss characters will be friendly Slumberlandians that are affected by the nightmares, these guys can't wait to be nightmare-i-fied. As a result...they show their true monstrous colors later in the fight...

Lastly, we're experimenting in the Ice Palace level with how to get even deeper perspective effects with our 3D parallax camera. The art in this image needs some refinement to look its best, but here's an example using existing assets. This will let us really create the sense of deep linear perspective that Winsor McCay created in his drawings. 

Now that we see how the effect will work functionally, we can modify the assets themselves to get an even better result.

That's it for right now. Look for more info coming soon about another demo and on other updates! 

Many thanks,

Chris and Team Nemo