Yet another Match-3 game? Yes, but there's a twist! NimNims is a unique arcade puzzle game with many adorable creatures which respond to the players and their own actions. The NimNims have their own emotions, meaning they can become frustrated or happy but they also show other ways of responding. This is visualised using realtime 3D animations.
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It’s not only the emotions from the NimNims, that makes playing the game a completely new experience. In a match-3 game, it’s common to swap two objects or to decide in which column a dropped object falls, to create a match of 3 or more. But in most cases, you have to wait for any sequential combinations to finish, before you can make your next move.
However with NimNims, the objects can drop into the grid from above, and can then be moved by the player. The player can not only move the objects from left to right, but they can also be freely moved around. Meaning you can stall them, move them up or allow them to fall freely, while you can continue playing with the NimNims that are already in the game by moving or swapping them to make combinations. You do not have to wait for other actions to make your next move, giving the game a dynamic, arcade style feeling of play.
There are many different types of levels, spread across multiple themes. Each of these themes have their own set of NimNims and additional gameplay elements within them. The levels and themes can be unlocked within the game.There is plenty of variation within the levels. They range from move based, to time based levels, where time is your biggest enemy. A level can consist of a fixed number of NimNims, where they don’t fall, to an arcade level where the NimNims fall faster as time goes by.
You can drop, swap and move them around to create matches and do not have to wait for other actions to finish to do so, and even though it's grid based, the player is able to freely move the NimNims around. This gives the game a very dynamic, arcade style feel of playing.
Below you'll find a range of concepts of the game ;
Above: Splash screen
Above: initial concepts of the early Nimnims. It took some time before we were happy with the final design, before moving onto the other characters. We tweaked the colours once more. We started adding facial expressions to the model. made a generic rig, which we could use for all characters, and added bones to specific area's where required in order to help the animators to do what was required.
Above: We decided after a good old brainstorm session, to go for a menu using a large sphere. The main drive behind this was the easy expansion of new themes. And also a way to navigate using gestures such as swipe, pinch and tap.
Above : background concepts for the Farm theme. The right panel was designed for cutscenes, in which we could have different scenarios. On the left panel we are cutting down on a noise level of objects, so it's more diffuse for the player, once the Nimnims appear on the play field.
We had some help, which enabled us to finish the iOS version sooner then planned. Which means our stretch goals have changed, and we can now include the Android version for the £25K goal. This means our stretch gaols have also changed slightly.
Below are some renditions of our pledge rewards;
Above: Golden NimNim collectable
Below is a currency conversion, to get an idea of the currencies values.
We’re using Kickstarter as a means of marketing the game and IP. More importantly to raise funds to enable us to finish the game. And bring the game to as many viable platforms as possible within a relatively short timeframe. We would like to bring back enjoyable entertainment to the people. And YOU are those people!
Below: you'll find a link to some movie clips of Nimnims. Keep checking this space for updates.
Risks and challenges
Each project has it's own risks and challenges. When we initially started, we looked at all third party engines vs building our own engine. As experienced developers, we decided to build our own engine and tools we required to build this game, and possible future titles. We have carefully planned out the entire project.
We have been working on our game engine since 2012, and developed the ideas for this game in the same period. As we are approaching the final steps of development, we currently have our focus on balancing the gameplay and absorbing feedback into the project, preparing for soft-launch. To get to this point we had some serious challenges to overcome.
One of the biggest challenges was to get at least 72 fully 3D animated NimNim characters to run on average hardware, leaving enough processing power for the actual game itself and special effects like particles, while maintaining respectable performance. This involved a lot of R&D, testing and tweaking. Having our own engine was a really big plus here, as it allowed us to optimize at the lowest possible level.
Another big challenge was the actual gameplay. We did not want it to be a turn-based match-3 game, but a dynamic experience. And all though the game is actually a grid based game, we definitely did not want it to feel like one while playing. We opted for a seamless playing experience with lots of cartoon style animations for the arcade feel, which needed to blend in with our emotion system.
Our remaining challenges are to develop the game for all viable platforms in a short timeframe, so that we can bring it to bring it to a larger audience. Inherently this implies that we’d like to localise it in many languages, as after all, our goal is to bring joyful gaming to the people !Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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