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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:

Final 48 hour streams!
about 3 years ago – Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 02:45:14 PM

Dear backers,

Happy Tuesday! We're still so excited about reaching our funding goal last night! 

To celebrate, we're going to be doing some live streams over the next two days on Twitch and in the community Discord. We'll be sending out another of our Backer Discord Access updates during the day today, so make sure you follow the link for access if you haven't gotten on the server yet. 


To give a rough timeline of events for today:

  • 1:30 - 2:30 PM ET - Chris art stream at https://www.twitch.tv/pieforbreakfaststudios
  • Tuesday evening (exact times TBD) - Adrian classic games stream

We'll keep you all updated in the Kickstarter Backer Discord as more times are finalized. Also please look forward to the release of our Gamedev Brainstorming podcast, coming later today for backers! 


Cheers and thanks again! 

Team Nemo

Thanks for making the Dream come true!
about 3 years ago – Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 06:16:30 AM

We did it!  

Thank you so much to everyone who believed in our vision for Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends and supported us along the way.  We're sincerely humbled that you've put trust in us, and we will do our best to build something we can all be proud of!

We started talking about this project in a "wouldn't it be cool if..." way almost two years ago, and started prototyping in earnest about a year ago.  As things started taking shape, and though the painstaking hours of animation and programming we though we were onto something special, but we had no idea we'd see (checks campaign) over 1200(!) individuals pledge their support.

Nemo is very happy to be returning to gaming!

From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you!  We'll be doing a more full end of campaign update soon (with some celebratory art!) but we wanted to make sure we thanked you all for helping us reach this milestone! We wouldn't be able to do this without all of you!

Now the hard work begins!

Dev Stream Saturday
about 3 years ago – Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 12:51:06 AM

This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read.

Sunday Funnies: The coloring process of Little Nemo
about 3 years ago – Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 12:50:24 AM

Happy Sunday Dreamers!

It's time for our final Sunday Funnies of the campaign! We've really enjoyed spending time with all of you exploring Winsor McCay's original comics. There's still lots to talk about though, so we'll find a way to keep this feature going as we solidify our post-campaign update plans. 

Project check-in

Today we crossed the threshold for 90% funded! With 3 days to go (the 72 hour mark is tomorrow morning at 8 AM ET), we're in a great position but we're not done yet! Being so close, it's more important than ever that the community keeps spreading the word about the campaign! With a strong final 72 hours, we could even hit some stretch goals to add other features to the game. Let's do it! 

One more thing - we're planning some fun events for the final 48 hours to take place in the Backer Discord server for backers at the $5 tier and above! We'll release details in the coming days but we hope to see you there! 

The coloring process of Little Nemo

Now it's time for our Sunday Funnies article on the coloring process of Little Nemo. The suggestion for this topic came from our friends at the Welcome to Slumberland social media project, which posts daily Little Nemo comic strips (in order of release) and calls for reactions and analysis on Twitter. If you haven't checked them out, please give them a look!

If you've seen the Little Nemo in Slumberland comic strips, you'll know that color was a major feature of what made these comic strips so special. For the majority of Little Nemo's run in the New York Herald from 1905 to 1911, Nemo's adventures were in glorious full color. 

The June 17, 1906 episode of Little Nemo in Slumberland issue is just one example of how Winsor McCay made inventive use of color in his strips. (Image source: Comic Strip Library)

For the last few weeks of Nemo's run at the Herald, the comic was relegated to being printed in single color and was no longer the leading feature of the comics supplement. Likewise, Nemo's subsequent run in William Randolph Hearst's New York American (where McCay was employed after he left the Herald) was produced with an inferior coloring process that was not able to produce as many colors as the equipment at the Herald. 

The April 30, 1911 Little Nemo in Slumberland strip. This was one of the final strips of Nemo's first run at the New York Herald, where the paper's management (in a dispute with McCay over his Vaudeville act) relegated the comic to be printed in only 1 color. Regardless, this particular strip still shows a wonderful adventure. (Image source: Comic Strip Library)

What made the Herald's comics so special (and why color was used as a bargaining chip) was its use of the Ben Day Lithographic process. In this process subtle hues are created by manually laying down small dots, lines, or fields of color that can be blended to create subtle shifts in hue. These fields of color go onto plates that are then applied to the page to create an image. The blog Legion of Andy has an exhaustive breakdown of the history of Ben Day dots in newspaper printing, which details how newspapers went from mostly black-and-white engraving-style illustrations to the work-intensive Ben Day process, and eventually to the more mechanical Halftone process that inspired Roy Lichtenstein's famous pop art (though the artist still called the dots "benday dots.") 

Various images from early comics, showing the dots that are a hallmark of the Ben Day coloring process. Image source: https://legionofandy.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/intro-triptych.jpg

The Herald's color department was particularly renowned. A key member of the team was Alfred Benjamin Hunt, who Winsor McCay worked closely with on the colors of the Nemo comics. 

An article in the New York Herald from 1914 that outlined the coloring process used at the paper. Alfred Benjamin Hunt is in the upper right corner. Image source: http://animatedeye.johncanemaker.com/blog/alfred-benjamin-hunt-color-comic-strip-pioneer/

McCay would write extensive notes to Hunt on his original comic pages, which were all done in black and white with ink. McCay's notes detailed how parts of the drawings should be colored, creating a synthesis of McCay's great imagination and Hunt's amazing skill with the labor-intensive color process. On his blog, McCay Biographer John Canemaker details one such note


Mr. Hunt,
This is a snow  forest. All the trees and foliage are snow. Plenty of purple and blue  tones. The only bright color will be in the costume of the figures.  An  orange sky. The rest all pale blues, pinks and purples. Creme colored  [indecipherable] with cold blue shadows.

Mc.

The strip in question in McCay's note above is the January 21, 1906 strip, in which Nemo enters an ice forest and is chased by polar bears. McCay asked that the scenery, which would normally be printed with black outlines, be printed with blue outlines to give the impression of ice and snow.(image source: Comic Strip Library)

As in the example above, McCay would call for experimental uses of the printing process, including printing outer lines, often done solely in black, with other colors, such as blue to indicate ice or Slumberland fading away as the sun came up.

The way that McCay specified colors to be applied is something that we're taking into account in the color scheme of Nightmare Fiends, such as in scenes like Jack Frost's Ice Palace.

In the production of Nightmare Fiends, we're working to create the impression of these colors and this process to create a look that Ben has described as "the comic plus" - we're sourcing colors straight from the McCay comics themselves to create the look of the different characters and background objects. You may notice, for example, that Nemo's pajamas or Flip's shirt have a slightly yellow tone and are not fully white - this creates the "warmth" you see in scans of the aged newspaper comics. We are also using a half-tone filter to create the impression of newspaper strips. At the same time, we're making use of modern tools to judiciously add effects like glowing particles, dynamic lighting, and other things that McCay would not have been able to use. 

The halftone filter we're currently using is visually apparent on characters like Bosco or on the clouds in the background of this image.

While not perfectly 1:1, our intention is to continue experimenting with colors and filters to make the game feel like a living comic strip and pay homage to both McCay and Hunt's artistry, which made Little Nemo so spectacular. 

That's all for this edition of the Sunday Funnies. Again, we have only a few days left, so please help us out by sharing the game with your friends! We appreciate your confidence in us and will do our best to make this game something really special. 


See you in the Funny Papers! 


Chris and Team Nemo

Final hours! 95% to the goal! Stretch goal mockups!
about 3 years ago – Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 12:47:03 AM

Hey there Dreamers!

Here we are, within the final 72 hours of the campaign! We're also 95% funded!

We've come a long way from both the beginning of the campaign and the beginning of this project and things are starting to take shape. We could not be more grateful that you've chosen to join us on this journey encompassing history, art, game design, and animation. 

We're so close! So close, in fact, that we've started talking about the possibilities of stretch goals being in our future. How many? That's up to all of us getting the word out! We made over 12% of our entire goal in the first day alone, and there's no reason to think we can't recreate that success in these final days with 48-hour notifications going out soon and folks getting in last minute pledges! 

What can you do?

Once again we're reaching out to our awesome community for help getting the word out about the game and the campaign. Here are a few ideas:

  • Reach out directly to friends who would be interested in the project: fans of comics, art history, the old NES game, the 1989 movie, or even just people who like indie games with interesting art! 
  • Share news stories like the one from PCGamesN about the game or videos like the one below. It's one thing for US to tell you why our game is cool (we're a bit biased), but it's another to see it coming from games press and YouTubers! 
  • If you are able, get an add-on with your pledge. We've gotten questions about things like the 8-bit costumes and the making-of videos: these things will not be offered again after the campaign! If these items are things you'd like to have with your game, now's the last chance to get them! We've also got our physical items for order a-la-carte (including those sweet vinyl records!) so get them while you can! If you want to add on, do the following:

1. Click on "manage your pledge"

2. Go to "change your pledge"

3. Click on add-ons to choose them. Shipping is included in the price amounts


  • Share the link to the Kickstarter on social media and tell the world why you're excited about the game! 

Stretch goals mockups!

Like we said, being so close has started some conversations about possibly reaching some stretch goals, so we've made some mock-ups of some of features listed in the first few levels. Please keep in mind that these are mockups and not final artwork, they are both subject to change and were put together fairly quickly. 

Nemo's Kitchen

The first mockup is Nemo's Kitchen, drawn by Lauren Moore. Nemo's kitchen will be one of the rooms explorable in the house. It will also have the icebox. At the $75,000 level, we'll add the ability to go into the icebox and get stat-changing midnight snacks! These items will affect Nemo's stats during his next visit to Slumberland and fade away when he wakes up again. 

A mockup of Nemo's kitchen by Lauren Moore, based on kitchen decor of the era (1900's - 1910s) . This is work-in-progress and not final.
Nemo can get snacks from the icebox. Just like the characters in Winsor McCay's comics, Nemo's dreams are affected by what he eats, so the player characters' stats change when you use these items (until Nemo wakes up again.)

These foods are, of course, all based on foods that Nemo and other Winsor McCay characters eat in the comics (including the much-asked-for Welsh Rarebit!) Nemo will be able to find ingredients for more foods in Slumberland to unlock new recipes! 

In-game museum

Another feature in our early stretch goals is the in-game museum. This would unlock concept art and comics that players could peruse if we hit the $80,000 level. Our plan for this includes another Winsor McCay cameo...

Mister Bunion and his valise of dull care may be coming to Slumberland if we hit the Museum stretch goal.

Mister Bunion is a character from McCay's comic A Pilgrim's Progress, which we covered in one of our previous Sunday Funnies updates. As in his comic, Mister Bunion is trying to get rid of his case and ACTUALLY SUCCEEDS! 

Until you come along...

In each level you can find Mister Bunion, loving life and reading the comics section of a newspaper. If you can find his case elsewhere in the level and deliver it to him. He'll sadly accept it and trudge off, leaving the comics for you to add to your gallery! 

Dare we dream?

Lastly we wanted to share this VERY ROUGH mockup that we've been kicking around. This stretch goal is also a ways off ($100,000), but we're nothing if not dreamers ourselves! 

Can we do it?

Let's do it! We're so close! 

Thanks again for taking this journey with us. We honestly couldn't have done this without you. If everything goes well, we'll be able to make a dream game come true! 


Team Nemo