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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:

Happy Holidays from Team Nemo - December updates
about 1 year ago – Wed, Dec 21, 2022 at 10:33:58 PM

Hello fellow dreamers!

Happy Holidays from Team Nemo! We've got a quick update today, as I'm sure everyone is looking forward to some much-needed rest. 

We're coming to Super MAGFest 2023!

First of all, we've been ironing out the latest demo so that we can take it to Super MAGFest 2023 in National Harbor, MD from January 5-8! We've got some awesome stuff planned for our booth which we're looking forward to sharing with folks in the coming weeks. If you're attending MAGFest, please come say hello and try out the game! 

Our goal with the demo is to put out a version of it as another backer demo soon after MAGFest, which will include all 4 playable characters. We'll also be publishing a public demo on the Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends Steam Page, which will feature Nemo (just as in the full game's intro.) Please stay tuned for that! 

Development updates

Beyond demo prep, we've been continuing to iron out systems on the back end and doing lots of art and animation for characters. Among these updates are systems for motion-comic style cutscenes and scripting tools (Um!) for building in-game story sequences. 

(Very) Rough animation for the Pie Eaters - just one of the characters we've been working on!
Pie Eater inked and painted

For the motion comics, our goal is to create something dynamic that will help us keep the look and feel of Winsor McCay's original comics in the game itself. We've made a rough animatic to test out the concept: 

We've started building out tools to help us make this within the game's interface itself, so look forward to more as we start to create more polished comic images to use with this system. 

Happy Holiday comic!

Finally, and speaking of the Little Nemo comics, we wanted to express our gratitude for everyone's support by sharing a new Holiday-themed Little Nemo comic created by the team. Game development is a difficult undertaking (often feeling like a dream in and of itself), but the community's positive enthusiasm has played a big role in keeping us going!

Happy Holidays from Team Nemo!

That's all for now! We'll be taking some much-needed rest before heading into the New Year with our new demos, booths, and other fun surprises. Happy Holidays everyone! 

Cheers and many thanks,

Chris and Team Nemo

Steam page now up! And other updates
about 1 year ago – Fri, Dec 02, 2022 at 02:32:53 PM

Hey dreamers! Adrian here.

We've been quiet lately, slowly toiling away at the game, and so we've got a number of updates on our progress and other cool things that are coming down the pipeline we wanted to share.

Our Steam page is finally here!

As alluded to in the subject line, our big news is that the Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends Steam page has finally launched! We're really excited to extend the game's reach beyond Kickstarter with this important milestone, and one of the ways that we'll be able to accomplish that goal is through Steam's wishlist feature. The number of wishlists a game has helps Steam to know that people are interested in the game and weighs heavily in the game's discoverability through things like user recommendations and front page visibility. Even if you've already backed, every wishlist we receive is extremely helpful so please consider adding the game to your wishlist and sharing with your friends and network who you think might be interested as well!

Working on our first public demo!

We've really appreciated all of the amazing feedback we've gotten from our higher tier backers who got our last demo a few months back! It's through that feedback that we're able to go back through that portion of the game and polish it up for our first public demo, which will be posted to our Steam page sometime in the near future! We're not ready to announce exactly when that demo will launch, but we did want to share some of the things that we've been working on in preparation for it.

EYE LASERS

Since that initial prototype, we've tightened up our character controller for better feeling movement that makes the whole game feel better to play and while the general layout of the map will stay the same, we've also been making changes to enemy spawning and placement to help with the overall flow and pacing of the level. Probably the biggest change however is with the first boss in the game, the Moon. What was in the initial prototype was always meant to be a placeholder; our first pass at having a boss fight that can go through multiple phases (pun semi-intended) and could have an intro and outro in between the fight itself. The new fight will keep the amazing Moon animation, but have a new flow and other surprises such as the new eye laser attack, which some of you might have caught an early glimpse of if you watch Ben's semi-regular development streams on twitch!

There's still a number of in-progress features that we're working on for the upcoming demo, such as a more polished user interface. This is part of the reason we're not ready to announce a date for this demo just yet, but we do have another cool thing to share with you; an early version of our in-game map!

I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map!

Currently the map is able to update with every new room you enter, track your current position and can be scrolled with the second analog stick. Of course we have other features planned as well, such as a full map, inventory and system menu that will be coming in the future, but this is a big first step for an important feature and we're really excited to share it with all of you!

That's all of our updates pertaining to the upcoming public demo. We'll be sharing more progress in future updates, as well as an expected date as we continue to polish what we have.

Other Progress

Of course, this demo isn't the only thing we're working on. The rest of the game is coming along smoothly as well! It's been a bit since we talked about the second level of the game, the Mushroom Forest. Much of the main layout work has been accomplished, and we're in the early development stages for some of the new enemies and characters that you'll encounter in that level. As we flesh them out, we'll be sharing our progress on that stage in more detail and depth. Another thing that we're working on at the moment is the second boss battle in the game against the Pie Eaters, the clowns from the original comic who mistake Nemo for a tasty treat made of candy.

Yim, Yam, YUM!

We've shown concept art for this boss as early as the original Kickstarter pitch, but now we're actively working on the fight itself, beginning with this in-progress jumping animation that Chris is making. We've got a lot of fun surprises planned for this fight, and we can't wait for you to experience it for yourself!

Meanwhile, I've been chipping away at the map layout for another stage, Jack Frost's Ice Palace. We're not quite ready to talk about the characters or challenges you'll encounter (though we made the decision early on to NOT include slippery ice platforms, so you can all breathe a little easier!) but I did want to share with you a quick preview from Unity:

Jack Frost's Ice Palace (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

This is an unfinished first draft (which level designers call a "blockout"), so much of this layout will most definitely change.  This preview is best considered as a small step up from a sketch on a piece of graph paper. But this initial draft will give us a better sense of pacing as we begin to add enemies and unique level hazards to the level. 

Conclusion

We hope you've enjoyed this update and another peek into our development process! Development on the game has been really picking up lately and we know many of you have been curious how it's been going. If you want to see more development as it happens, we'll be posting occasional small updates over on our Discord channel. In future updates, we'll continue to update you on the progress of the game, events that we will be appearing at along with the game, and of course new information on the upcoming public demo! And just as a quick reminder, please wishlist the game on Steam and share it with all your friends! We'd really appreciate it! And as always, thank you for your continued support and believing in the project!

Until next time, Dreamers!

~ Adrian

Latest news: awards, game progress, and release window update
over 1 year ago – Tue, Oct 25, 2022 at 10:26:17 AM

Hello dreamers! 

It's been a wild month on this end for Team Nemo, so we wanted to share some of the latest news, information, and updates from the development side. 

Latest features

This has been a big month of showcasing the game, but that hasn't held us back from keeping up our game development pace with both new features and animation going in. We've been able to more fully establish our core game loop by adding different ways that Nemo can leave Slumberland and reach his house. In our current builds, we've held this feature to when Nemo reaches some of the goal items we've placed around our level, but we'll also make it so Nemo can choose to wake up after failing during gameplay. Here's a short video of the effect: 

We're also hard at work on filling out the Forest and Ice levels, along with building the mini-map system. Our composer, Wayne Strange, has likewise been churning out new music: much of it would be too spoilery to share, but you'll hopefully be hearing more of it soon! We've also been fleshing out the plot and planning some big scenes that we think you'll all be excited about. 

Ice Palace level blockout

To help keep things moving, we're also expanding the programming portion of the team, so that we can more evenly distribute front end (stuff that you see) and back end (stuff that you don't see, but that makes everything go) work. 

Release window update

We've been getting a lot of questions about this so we wanted to update on this. When we ran the Kickstarter campaign, we targeted a pretty standard 18-month development cycle starting from the end of the Kickstarter. Usually though, a cycle like that is able to happen when team members are able to work on a game in a full-time capacity and with the current budget, that's not possible and we are maintaining our full-time jobs in addition to working on Little Nemo. While we typically keep at least 1 team member on the game more or less full-time (the game is also a piece of academic research so that affords flexibility), we've had to balance game development with full-time responsibilities, as well as life events like out-of-state moves, separate family bouts with COVID, and a number of other factors that have affected the production schedule. 

So, as it stands, we're currently targeting a Fall 2023 release of the full game. To accomplish this, we're budgeting our funding very carefully to make sure that development can continue at the constant pace it has been. While it seems like things are moving slowly, we're getting very close to having our major systems in place and will be able to make some very big content pushes in the near future. For the backers who have content in the game itself (such as cameos), you haven't missed anything! We'll also be adding that content as we finalize the levels' designs and work on those content pushes - we'll reach out accordingly to plan your appearances. 

We've also been making progress on reward items such as finalizing vendors and designs, though are prioritizing the game itself and trying to focus on getting those items to you around the time of the game's release. We've been really grateful for the patience and encouragement of our backers and fans who have written to make sure we're able to take the time to make the game according to our vision and which can hold up to Winsor McCay's original comics. 

That all being said, there's also some good news - we've been approached for development and launch opportunities from parties really excited about the game (can't announce full details yet), but we want folks to know that the schedule adjustment will help us make sure that when the game is available, it will be available on all of our target platforms simultaneously. 

No, we won't be putting horns on Flip...

We also hear there might be a Netflix Slumberland movie coming out in the near future? Obviously that will be a big day for fans of Little Nemo, so we're prepping some really special stuff for our fans and backers, so watch out for that. Just because it's not the full release doesn't mean you won't be playing the game ;-) 

Awards and showcase updates

Okay so how's the game actually turning out? We're happy to say that important people think that our game is pretty good (and not just our parents either!) Over the past month we've showcased at 3 separate events: the Cleveland Gaming Classic, the International Conference on Meaningful Play, and at the Boston Festival of Indie Games. Just being included in the latter two festivals is a big accomplishment as they attract developers from around the world. 

We're excited though to share that in addition to being a part of these events, we also took home some top honors! From the Cleveland Gaming Classic, we won the Best Art and Best in Show awards in their Indie Showcase. 

Our social media manager with the awards and uh...complementary energy drink supply...

We also took home one of the top awards at Meaningful Play with the award for Best Digital Game! This event honors games that are not only examples of great gameplay, but also which have some educational or meaningful element for the world around them. We've been really excited by the industry's positive reaction to how our game is built to introduce audiences to these important works of comics and animation history and are honored to have had the opportunity to demonstrate the work on such an important stage. 

Chris accepting the Best Digital Game award at the International Festival of Meaningful Play. He was honestly so excited that he almost froze in the middle of walking up to get the award.

So that's all for now. Again, we thank all of you for your support and enthusiasm for the game. Trust us when we say that we're putting in our best effort to bring you something truly special. Look forward to more cool updates coming in the near future as we continue to crank out content and features, and as always, pleasant dreams! 


Cheers and many thanks,


Team Nemo

Some Technical Updates
over 1 year ago – Mon, Oct 10, 2022 at 02:36:41 AM

Hi Dreamers,

It’s Ben, the programmer. If you’ve joined any of the Twitch development streams you’ve probably seen some of the new features I’ve been plugging away at. If not, drop by sometime and say hi! I try to stream every Saturday from about 9pm to midnight East coast time. I wanted to take a step back though and talk a little about the new features and tweaks I’ve been working on.

Thanks, by the way, for all the feedback we’ve been getting! We have our issue tracker set up and even if we can’t reply to everyone we see all the feedback and notes and addressing everything we can.

We’ve also been taking Nemo to conventions and it’s great to see how folks react and where some things can be improved. Speaking of that, I also put Nemo in to an arcade cabinet to take to conventions. But I’ll save that for the end.

— The Things You Don’t Notice —

Inertia:

Previously, the actors had instantaneous velocity. If you pressed left they instantaneously moved left, and when you let go, they instantaneously stopped. The idea being something closer to Mega-Man than Mario. I made some small tweaks to give the characters a few frames of speed-up and slide which gives the player control a little more weight without it feeling slippery.  It seems like a small thing, but it really helps to make moving the characters more fun.

Character Swap Direction:

We built out a few places where the intention was to swap characters mid-air to hit a grapple point with Flip or to glide with Peony. This caused some issues when using the d-pad to select the character then instantly trying to face the right direction. Now, when you’re in the air you face the last direction you were traveling in for a couple of frames to give you a chance to perform another action.

You can also get some cool princess fireball jump moves off too!

One Way Platforms (or let’s break physics):

I’m finally happy with the one way collision in the game. This was a bigger pain than I’d like to admit. I finally got a solution in place that feels pretty good and doesn’t cause unfortunate side effects with other ways we’re handling collision events.

— Behind the curtain —

Scripted events and Puppeteering:

I finally got to work on scripted events. Nemo now has a very simple scripting system that allows Dream Actors to tell other Dream Actors how to behave. One of the simplest example of a scripted event is the “go to sleep’ sequence. The bed tells nemo to:

  • find a point
  • play his walk animation until he gets to it
  • jump
  • disappear
  • tell the bed to play the sleep animation
  • fade out the scene
  • load the next scene (now the loading bed - will be the map selector)

We’ll be using the same scripting system to handle dialogs between characters and ‘puppet shows’ to handle in-game cinematic sequences. One of our next uses of this is the mosquito farm sequence. I’m looking forward to getting this moving!

The scripting system also manages things like advanced enemy spawn (I built a medusa head style enemy for this purpose), pickups, and stuff like that.

Stats:

Each player and character now has individual stats.  We can now adjust the attack power of each player and enemy, make some enemies weak to certain attacks and have the fun, occasional, critical hit.  I put some Symphony of the Night pop-up hit indicators in -- initially just for testing -- but I kind of like them.

The House and full game loop:

We finally have somewhat of a full game loop in! Upon reaching a goal you now return to the house and go back to sleep! Now that we have basic scripted sequences in we’re ready to start stitching larger sequences together. We currently have a lot of levels and platforming challenges built for each world but now we can start putting the bits together into something greater than the parts.  Still needs some work but it's starting to get there!

Customizable Controls:

Oh yeah!  We now have customizable controls!  It's not fancy at the moment, but if you're having problems or need a controller we don't support out-of-the-box you can map it!  You can remap keyboards too.  I can't force myself to play with WASD but if that's what you like, go right ahead!

— Awards and Arcade Cabinet —

Finally! I prepared the arcade cabinet for the Ohio Gaming Classic convention a couple weeks ago. It’s modified from a previous game of mine (Robo Puzzle Smash, currently on Steam. You should check it out) and was a lot of fun to build and bring. And we even won the Best Art and Best-In-Show awards!

Thanks everyone for following along! And make sure to join the Discord! If you want to join the Saturday night development streams, I stream at https://twitch.tv/pxlplz.  If there's anything in particular you'd like me to talk about on the technical side of things let me know!

Take care and talk to you soon!

- Ben

September check-in: Indie Game Showcases and development progress
over 1 year ago – Tue, Sep 13, 2022 at 07:18:54 PM

Hello dear backers! 

This is Chris providing a quick update on some recent developments with the game! 

Jack Frost's Palace and refined character physics

We've had a few big efforts happening on the game development side. The big push has been continued development of our back-end scripting system, which will let us build custom events quickly and easily, and refined movement capabilities for the characters. A fun note about the scripting language: Ben included elements of the original comic's archaic language in it, so we'll be defining character dialog with the appropriate amounts of "um"s! 

A snippet of sample script text.
Like many elements of the game, even our scripting language takes influence from idiosyncrasies of the original Little Nemo comics - um!
Little Nemo trying out the scripting language.

On the visual end, Adrian and I have been working on both the Mushroom Forest, which we've provided some recent images of (scroll down for a video of the new bouncy mushroom platforms!), and Jack Frost's Ice Palace. We've also refined the floating vertical wall platforms (which we internally call "floofs" because the first one was a dandelion seed object in the forest), so that we can use them in multiple environments. 

The Ice Cutters that Flip summons in the comic to dismantle Jack Frost's Palace will make an appearance in the game. They'll send ice blocks sliding towards Nemo and friends while they explore!
Is it...could it be...a fleet of floofs! One for each region, um!
An early version of the ice caves that Nemo and friends explore before reaching Jack Frost's Palace. This "shoebox" graphic lets you see the layers of artwork we use to create perspective effects.

Indie showcases

We've also got some appearances coming up. We've put together a video with some new footage to be showcased during the Duel Screens Indie Showcase later TODAY at 3 pm EST. You can watch below: 

We'll also be at the Cleveland Gaming Classic in Cleveland, OH later this month (September 24). Last year we won an award for Best Platformer at the event, so we're excited to show off the game with more characters, content, and new features! 

We'll also be at Meaningful Play at Michigan State University October 12-14. This is one of our more academic events, but the game was awarded a spot in their prestigious game showcase, and I'll be sharing a paper on the art process for the game, which I will share snippets of in a future update. 

We've also got a few entries in other shows, so we'll update with more to come! 


That's all - pleasant dreams all!


Chris and Team Nemo