Based in Molde, Norway
Windows / Linux
Sulphur Nimbus: Hel's Elixir is a video game about exploring a cursed island as Sulphur Nimbus the hippogriff. The island is beset with black monsters who attack intruders as well as various barriers that limit your freedom. As you progress, the barriers are broken, the world opens up, and you learn more about the past events. The game features simplified hack-and-slash style combat, some light collect-a-thon platformer elements, and a momentum-based flying mechanic which is difficult to master but ultimately lets you go anywhere.
Playable demo: http://oddwarg.com/Permanent/sulphurnimbusdemo.zip (50 MB)
The game started out as a My Little Pony fan game back in 2011, and in some ways it still is. I spent a lot of my spare time working on it while studying computer science, but I was unable to finish it before graduation. Unwilling to abandon the project, I decided to transform it into a marketable product rather than searching for a conventional job. This would involve shifting away from all trademarked characters and copyrighted materials (a potentially unpopular move), and investing a lot of time into planning a Kickstarter campaign.
The game grew out of a desire to make a momentum-based 3D platformer, a feat attempted by several games but rarely realised to its full potential. However, it quickly became clear that most of the game design challenges would be centered around the flying mechanic: Being able to fly at any time without limitations quickly becomes dull. The excitement of flying stems from its novelty, rarity or difficulty. It needs some form of limitation. Furthermore, unhindered flying invalidates almost all traditional principles of level design: You can simply fly around or above any conventional obstacle. Many existing games (Spyro, Super Mario 64, Far Cry II) solve these problems by making flying a rare occurrence and/or preventing the player from gaining more than a certain amount of altitude. However, this was undesirable as the player character was intended to be a capable flyer. Instead, the flying mechanic was designed to provide near-absolute freedom of motion, and this was counterbalanced by making it difficult to master. In addition, traditional platformer level design more or less had to go. Because the game's overworld is an open space, it would inevitably be difficult to make meaningful level design-related challenges there. The focus on these types of challenges would instead be shifted underground, into the tunnels, a cue taken from games like Descent or Terminal Velocity. The more confined spaces mean you cannot simply fly around the obstacles, and this limitation creates opportunities for more interesting challenges.
The game also has a focus on smooth animation, and efforts have been made to make the player's motions believeable. However, this does carry a small cost in responsiveness: Most actions have a small buildup before them, to allow for a smooth transition from the previous animation state, and the player has to account for this. The same 'smooth animation vs responsiveness' tradeoff is especially evident in games like the original Prince of Persia.
The nature of the game's physics means the player has to learn how to manage their momentum in a manner which can be compared to a racing game. This includes avoiding unnecessary collisions, turning at the appropriate rate, and tuning the jumps and landings to preserve momentum. The time it takes to build up these skills vary greatly from person to person, but my goal is to make a game where, by the end, most players will feel some level of mastery over the physics.
- Momentum-based gameplay involving exploration, flying, puzzles and combat.
- Obscure backstory only explained through images and hints.
- Characters that nobody will understand because they speak Norwegian Nynorsk.
- Custom engine written from the ground up using Java 1.6, JOGL, and Jython.
- Modding support with integrated world editor.
- Hubol, hubolhubolhubol.com
Source code and updates at bitbucket.org.
Independent game designer and artist. Creator of games such as Eggman Hates Furries, Super Sawman and Patapony. Acquired a master's degree in computer science in early 2016.
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Sulphur Nimbus: Hel's Elixir Credits
One man army