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:

Sunday Funnies: Boss Moon Rising
over 1 year ago – Thu, Sep 09, 2021 at 01:01:12 AM

Hello Dreamers! 

It's been a wild few months, so we've been slow on this feature. Things at Nemo HQ have been busy on the game and off - we've had a few team members move, characters have been torn down and rebuilt as more responsive versions, and we've done lots of art and animation.

Team Nemo has been hard at work making more fun and stable versions of everything you saw in the Kickstarter video!

We're happy to say that we'll be sharing our first public demo of the game at the GDEX Game Expo in Columbus, Ohio during the first weekend of October. I'll also be doing a talk on the game's animation and how you have to rework traditional "principles of animation" for use in games! 

In preparation for all of that, we're working on our GDEX demo, which will be a small portion of the Night Sky world, including the Moon boss fight - which is why he's going to be the topic of today's Sunday Funnies episode! 

The Man in the Moon

This isn't the first time we've covered the Moon in these updates. If you recall, we took a look at him in our Night Sky update, where we looked at some of the comics that inspired our version of the character and how the artwork for the Moon reflects his appearances in the comics. 

The December 3, 1905 episode of Little Nemo in Slumberland, prominently featuring the Moon as a character. This is one of the most famous Little Nemo comic strips in the whole series.

In this comic, the moon is not an enemy, but rather an agent of Slumberland that, along with a yellow creature named Lunatix (we're assuming the "luna" pun here is fully intentional), is sent by King Morpheus to retrieve Nemo so he can be the Princess's playmate. Things go awry, as they often do, when Nemo's bed lifts him into the air, crumbles under him, then takes him to Lunatix, who tells him that they should fly to Slumberland inside the Man in the Moon's mouth! Rather than taking his chances on whether or not the Moon will eat him, he runs away screaming until he wakes up on his bedroom floor (that's what happens when you have too many donuts before bed!)

Here are some concept art appearances of the Moon, along with early roughs of his animation. Despite a simple design, we've gone through a few different versions of our Moon to get the feeling of the face right. He's not always an enemy, so we wanted a design that feels like it could be friendly at some times, mad at others (as in our boss fight!)

This is not the Man in the Moon's first appearance in the comics though. He would instead appear the week before on November, 26, 1905 during the episode where a giant turkey lifts Nemo's house off the ground, landing Nemo in a lake of cranberry sauce in a celery forest. 

Little Nemo in Slumberland, Nov. 26, 1905.

There in the center frame is the Man in the Moon with a bemused look on his face, staring at the strange turkey kaiju stomping through Nemo's town. This is a role that he would have throughout Winsor McCay's run of Little Nemo comics - as almost an avatar for the reader, providing emotional context for the action in McCay's surreal fantasy. If McCay wanted to highlight something wondrous or tell the audience when to laugh (much like the laugh tracks used in television sitcoms), the moon could be your guide. 

The Oct. 7, 1906 Little Nemo in Slumberland strip, where the Moon watches as Nemo and the Princess jump a car off a a looping ramp. McCay was clearly still working on how he rendered the Moon character - the laughing Moon in the final shot comes across as more sinister than perhaps intended.

(Content warning for the next comic - includes Impie and therefore not-okay racial caricature) 

The Dec. 25, 1910 Little Nemo in Slumberland episode, where Flip temporarily takes over for Santa Claus. The Moon appears in the penultimate panel to provide a visual "laugh track" for the comic's punchline.

A relevant reference

Audiences in 1905 would have been more than familiar with the idea of a Man in the Moon. References to the Man in the Moon date back to early Christian lore, including references in Germanic and Roman legends. 

More recently in McCay's time was Georges Méliès' 1902 special effects film Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), which was in turn inspired by the works of Jules Verne. Méliès' film was a huge success in its time and saw many exhibitions across the United States, so McCay's audience was primed for such a character to be included in something like Little Nemo

As with other story ideas, McCay used the Man in the Moon in several of his projects. Months before he premiered in Little Nemo, the Man in the Moon appeared in Dream of the Rarebit Fiend as a figure taunting a man whose girlfriend had been kissed by the celestial figure ("They say the Man in the Moon kisses all the pretty girls.")

The June 21, 1905 episode of Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, where the Man in the Moon taunts a man whose girlfriend he kissed, while appearing as a nightmarish chorous of laughing faces.

We've had lots of fun developing the Man in the Moon so far! He's been a lot of fun to animate as he's a giant expressive face with really nice hatching effects. McCay always drew the character with a circular silhouette, which has given us an interesting constraint for how to move the face around and show different expressions. 

The Moon changing expressions
The famous Moon roar found in the trailer. We made heavy use of squash and stretch and smearing on the character's expressions to create really quick transitions.

That's it for today's Sunday Funnies! We'll continue to share info on this character as we continue to develop him - tell us what you think in the comments! 

See you in the funny papers! 

Chris and Team Nemo

Weekly Brainstorming Podcast #20: Booth Set-Up And GDEX Demo Update
over 1 year ago – Thu, Sep 09, 2021 at 12:45:41 AM

Hey Dreamers! Adrian here.

We're doing something a bit different for our 20th episode. In the first half, we discuss various aspects of our upcoming show booth at GDEX: Our display banner to attract attendees to the booth, our demo stations, and more. We thought this discussion might give some insight into the kinds of decisions that need to be made to make an attractive booth at any convention that indie developers plan to showcase at, which is an important part of the indie dev life.

In the second half, we run down our Kanban board (set up in a project planning application called AirTable) to see what tasks currently remain in the demo, creative solutions to solve those problems and what features may or may not make the cut in order to get our demo done within a reasonable deadline. 

 Click here to listen/download! 

'But what's a Kanban board?' I hear some of you asking! It's a tool used in all kinds of project planning that anyone who does any kind of software development is very familiar with. It's essentially a white board with post it notes, and each note is every part of your project that needs to be completed. In the context of a video game, that's all art assets, all programming and design tasks, sound effects and much more. A Kanban board helps you to see all your tasks in front of you and categorize them so you know what tasks have been completed, which are currently being worked on by your developers, and what tasks still need to be started or possibly removed in order to get the work done on time. They are extremely useful, and we hope this episode gives you all some insight in how they're used in game development and project management.

That's all for this week. Until next time Dreamers!

~ Adrian

Brainstorming Podcast Episode 18: Sound Implementation (And some other stuff!)
over 1 year ago – Thu, Aug 26, 2021 at 12:30:41 PM

Hey Dreamers! Adrian here.

It's been a bit hasn't it? For those not following our discord, some of the audio for the recording was corrupted and unrecoverable. But we're back this week and we're exploring a bit of a hodgepodge of topics! 

For those who haven't heard, Little Nemo & The Nightmare Fiends is officially heading to GDEX in Ohio this October! We've started laying out the ground floor for our show demo, and while our intent was to chat about our first go at adding sound effects to the game, we chatted a bit about constructing the level, implementing the new parallax camera that Chris has been working on, and the copyright status of later Little Nemo comics! As a result, this episode is a bit more off the cuff and candid, and I'm curious to hear your thoughts on it!

Click here to listen/download! 

Also find out our thoughts on the infamous Wilhelm scream and who we'd like to see in a theoretical public domain Smash Bros. style game. This episode really has a bit of everything!

Until next time Dreamers,

~ Adrian

Saturday night stream
over 1 year ago – Sun, Aug 15, 2021 at 04:45:35 PM

Hi everyone! It’s time for the Saturday night dev stream! I’m planning on going live at around 9pm edt at I have some Peony stuff to work on still and I’m going to try get her climbing on the ceiling tonight. We’ll see if we get there.

Hope to see you there tonight!

  • Ben

Brainstorming Podcast #17: To Automap Or to Not to Automap
over 1 year ago – Sat, Aug 14, 2021 at 04:47:43 AM

Hey Dreamers! Adrian here.

Quick heads up; I accidentally recorded from the wrong microphone. I edited the audio to the best of my ability, so you should be able to hear me ok but it won't be nearly as clear as it usually is.

That out of the way, this week we chat about automaps! Games these days conveniently draw out your path as you go, and Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends will be no exception! But how exactly should we handle it? What can be gleaned by other games that use the feature? And will we be able to include it in our earliest playable builds? Find out in the latest episode!

Click here to listen/download!

We of course discuss our favorite games, going back to the old well of Shantae, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and of course, Hollow Knight. For reference for the episode, here is a link to the full map of Hollow Knight. (Spoilers for Hollow Knight obviously)

Until next time Dreamers,

~ Adrian