The development of Nimbus
Sooo, we though we’d tell you some about how Nimbus was developed, how it started and what happened on the way to it’s release.
The very first prototype of nimbus was made back in 2004 or 2005 in gamemaker by accident. I (felix, the artist on noumenon) tried to copy the basics of a net yaroze game called Gravitation. Gravitation was a 2D Thrust/Lunar Lander game with weapons and dogfighting.
I failed to copy the physics of Gravitation and by mistake made the motion vector turn along with the ship when steering. The ancestor to nimbus was born, it was named “The falling game” or “Fall” for short and it looked like this.
Fast forward to late summer of 2009. Me and Sebastian had then gotten to know each other through a school we both applied for. We then worked for about a year at a local studio on a PSN title. Circumstances made us decide to go indie at the beginning of that year, however.
We had sort of just gotten started with going indie and had finished up a late iteration of the game maker prototype. We were submitting it to various places in the hope to get someone interested in a bigger and better version of the game and give us a release slot or funding or whatever.
While waiting for answers we started working on another prototype (dubbed Muon 3) loosely based on another game called “Muon” that I made back during school. We worked on it for roughly two months and the game was… just not fun at all. It was a game design mess lacking a unified vision.
So, in late September 2009 we said “screw it, lets just make The Falling Game instead”. We had the blueprints in the form of the prototype and we though the game had potential. Luckily, loads of the work we did on Muon 3 could be salvaged. One month later we submitted a game my little brother had named Nimbus to IGF. The game at that point was a mess and while the feedback we got back from the judges were (mildly) positive, one judge absolutely absolutely hated the game. That was when we learned that the game was waaaaay too hard. Even the level that was supposed to be the first tutorial level punched you in the face and broke your legs. It was a big eye-opener for us.
After that we just worked away until it’s release. A release which is a pretty interesting thing in itself. The reason we released when we did was the fact that we could not afford to pay the rent for another month. We took a look at the money each of us had left and nope, that month we will be completely broke. This game needs to get out of the door. The last month or two of development were hectic, to say the least, even if it mostly consisted of finally putting all parts of the game together. It’s not hard to work when the feeling of impending doom is looking over your shoulder though!
The game was released on Steam October the 24th 2010, roughly one year after we started the project.
Like I said before, because of monetary reasons we had to cut the development short. That meant there were a bunch of stuff which had to be left out. Some of these included loads and loads of game play and level ideas, multiplayer, both competitive and cooperative, a robust level editor with a framework for level sharing and loads of missing polish.
One last thing that absolutely must be mentioned is that while Noumenon games right now is a two man team, we were not the only two guys who ever worked on Nimbus. We had an intern for three months offloading some of the coding from sebastian. We also had a bunch of friends helping out with bits and pieces here and there, ranging from levels, art and animation. The fuzzy box creatures were made by one friend and animated by another for example. They would not exist otherwise.
Last but not least another friend helped out with all the sound and music. In fact he did all the songs in the game the last two weeks of the development of the game. In his spare time after work the days he could.
Without these people Nimbus would be a lot more poop. So thank you guys. A lot.