Based in Molde, Norway
Windows / Linux
In this game, you explore a cursed island as Sulphur Nimbus the hippogriff. The island is populated by dark monsters and speakers of a strange foreign language. Throughout the game, more of the vast network of underground tunnels are opened up to you, and clues about the island's past are revealed. The gameplay is centered around the momentum-based flying mechanic, which is difficult to master but ultimately lets you go anywhere with six degrees of freedom and no speed limit. Other features include simple hack-and-slash style combat and some collect-a-thon platformer elements.
The game was funded on Kickstarter on October 20, 2016, here. It was released on itch.io on December 6, 2019, targeting Windows and Linux platforms, here.
The game started out as a My Little Pony fan game back in 2011, and in some ways remained that way. "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", says the Oddwarg. Although the game would still be set in a quadruped society with the same character aesthetic, this did involve a shift away from the use of trademarked characters and copyrighted materials.
After running a barely successful Kickstarter campaign, full time production mode began. This was the Oddwarg's largest project yet, and as these things go it was even more work than anticipated. Running low on funds, he resorted to doing part time odd jobs and construction work in the summers to be able to continue working on the project. However, 3 years and 2 months after the campaign ended, it was done.
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 the biggest game design challenges would be centered around the flying mechanic: Being able to fly at any time without any limitations quickly becomes a chore. As the novelty wears off, meaningful gameplay challenges are required to keep the player's attention.
Unrestricted flying invalidates most of the traditional gameplay challenges created through level design: You can simply fly around or above the obstacles. Many existing platforming games (Spyro, Super Mario 64, Sonic Adventure) have worked around this by making flying a rare occurrence and/or preventing the player from gaining more than a certain amount of altitude. Sulphur Nimbus, however, is different. The flying mechanic was designed to provide 6 degrees of freedom, with no inherent limits on the amount of speed or height the player can achieve. This has been counterbalanced by making it difficult to master, requiring players to carefully manage momentum and stamina.
One of the key principles of Sulphur Nimbus' level design is to take the action underground, into the tunnels, a cue taken from games like Descent or Terminal Velocity. Confined spaces meant more opportunities to create interesting obstacles that cannot easily be circumvented. However, the game also has an overworld, where the player will find challenges based on timing, precision, exploration and problem solving.
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, but in three dimensions. This includes avoiding unnecessary collisions, turning at the appropriate rate, and tuning jumps and landings to preserve momentum and stamina. Some players will require a lot of time to cultivate these skills, and for some players, the physics will just come off as clunky and inconvenient. However, the hope is that by the end of the game, most players will get a taste of what it feels like to master the physics of flight. And although the game has a primitive look and is far from perfect, the Oddwarg firmly believes that there is an audience for this type of game.
- Momentum-based gameplay involving exploration, flying, puzzles and combat.
- A focus on non-verbal communication of story elements.
- Custom engine written from the ground up using Java 1.6, JOGL, and Jython.
- Modding possibilities with open-source code and an integrated, though currently undocumented world editor.
- Hubol, hubolhubolhubol.com
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Composed by the Oddwarg https://oddwarg.bandcamp.com/album/sulphur-nimbus-ost.
Where the game was funded https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/oddwarg/sulphur-nimbus-hels-elixir.
Source code and commit logs https://bitbucket.org/Oddwarg/sulphur-nimbus.
Independent game designer and artist. Creator of games such as Eggman Hates Furries, Super Sawman, Patapony and Sulphur Nimbus: Hel's Elixir. Acquired a master's degree in computer science in early 2016.
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Sulphur Nimbus: Hel's Elixir Credits
One man army