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Nitrome stylesheet and interview!


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JayNitromeBy now everyone should have received the latest stylesheet featuring the pixelrific goodness of Nitrome. The banner and supporting graphics were all created by the very talented Mat Annal, and we couldn't be happier with the way everything turned out. Thanks Mat!!

We had a chance to catch up with Mat during the project to ask him a few questions about the upcoming Hot Air 2 and what makes Nitrome tick...

(Casual Gameplay): Nitrome began with just a few people: you, Heather Stancliffe, and Lee Nicklen composing music. How have each of your roles evolved since you began working together?

Mat (Nitrome): We've had to become a lot more organized as there tends to be more to do outside of actually creating the games now than there was originally. We're all still involved in the games development work though it's just that we get less time to do it in so we've had to speed up!

One of your earlier games, Sandman, listed Jon Annal as a co-designer. Does Jon have any involvement these days, and if so, what?

Jon's one of my brothers and he's helped out on 4 of the past games and he's also done a lot of the art work on Hot Air 2. He's just started a new job with the folks at Preloaded so I'm not sure how much he will be able to get involved with things, but I'm sure you'll see his name in the credits again at some point.

Nitrome churns out games at a rate of almost one per month, yet each one is original. How do you keep the fresh ideas flowing and avoid the temptation of cloning?

We've all worked for various design agencies where it's hard to get an original idea passed with a client so it's nice to have the freedom now that we do our own thing. Coming up with new ideas has never really been a problem for us although deciding on which one to go for can sometimes take a while.

How long do you usually spend working on a single game? Do you focus on one title at a time or rotate projects on a daily/weekly basis?

In general we just work on one game at a time and we try to spend a month on each game...we do have the occasional side projects that we take on at the same time though so then it involves a bit of juggling.

Is there a lot of play testing, tweaking and refinement, or is the final product usually what you intended from the beginning?

We usually have a pretty set idea of what we are trying to achieve with the core concept and that usually ends up playing how we envisaged but we try not to pin the actual levels or elements down too tight early on and they usually evolve quite a bit based on what we think the game plays like when we have the basic controls working.

Have you ever had an exciting game idea that you just couldn't implement?

We've never had a project we gave up on because we couldn't get it to work (although we've came close) but we do sometimes have to drop features due to time constraints and we have a lot of ideas that we don't attempt because we know they wouldn't be practical to try and do in the time frame or in Flash.

Where did the name "Nitrome" come from?

I'd like to say something interesting like 'it's a clever code for..' or 'It came to me in a dream' but it's actually much more boring than that...we basically wanted a made up word that didn't mean anything so that 'A' when people heard of Nitrome it could only be about us and 'B' so that we could get a dot com domain and rank highly in search engines under it which we thought would be important for a games site.

We've been teased with Hot Air 2 for some time now. New features, boss fights, and lots of interesting improvements. We're dying to know when this game is actually going to be released!

Yeah apologies for everyone that has patiently been waiting...It's not been intentional that it has taken so long. It's been done as a side project and as such whenever anything comes up it gets left. As things keep coming up we finally got round to taking on more staff...and now that's happened we are finally getting back to it so it shouldn't be too much longer as there's not much left to do. I'm not going to give a date though as I don't want to curse us with it :-)

----
Thanks, Mat! Although it seems a long time in the making, I'm sure Hot Air 2 will be well worth the wait. Good luck with all your projects, and keep the excellent games coming!

Be sure to check out all of Nitrome's games.

19 Comments

Nitrome: beeping music and cutesy graphics. I played Hot Air once, and while the idea was quite novel (or at the very least underused), I couldn't get past the giant mouth level without being repeatedly and mercilessly crushed.

However, I still look forward to the sequel. Fine work overall. Also, that new balloon in the picture looks a bit...amusingly diabolic.

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I noticed the new Nitrome banner (stylesheet? what's that?) a few days ago & wanted to say how much I like it. Very tight & varied. The style is a neat blend of Mario Bros. and....Hello Kitty? But with just enough twist & edginess to make it truly individual.

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Wow, I love it! I love Nitrome's style, and that makes this my favorite stylesheet.

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denimnatalie June 4, 2007 11:16 AM

I'm one of biggest fan of Nitrome! I really love the cutesy style - LOVE THEM! I'm a massive fan of Scribble - I'm desperately waiting for Scribble 2.

End of my dramatic speech.

Got a suggestion - make a Nitrome wallpaper? It would look faaab on my PC!

Lots of plushies on my PC, you see... ;)

P.S. Love the banner!

Keep it up Nitrome Team!

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Linda Wireman June 4, 2007 11:33 AM

Logged on to the site and thought I was at the wrong place. I really love the look. I love the background and all of the Jay's games logos on the top of the page.
Interview was in-depth and very interesting. Very professional and clean.

L. Wireman

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I LOVE the stylesheet. I like the way the two newest stylesheets go a bit further than the ones before it - a bit daring, even - they give the website more personality. Are you aiming for a new one every month or so? If so, neat idea!

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ThemePark June 4, 2007 3:52 PM

Mmm, my eyes are having a feast.

LOVE the new stylesheet! :D I'm a big fan of pixelart and Nitrome do a wonderful job at that. The stylesheet looks like a mixture between Nitrome and Eyezmaze, which by far only makes it that much better! :D

The interview was also fun to read, being a big fan of them and their games, it was nice to get an inside look on the whole thing. I'm amazed that they only spend a month on a game, when all their games seem so well-polished! But good interview, I agree with Linda Wireman.

Oh, and as for denimnatalie's suggestion, YES! A Nitrome wallpaper would get an honorary place on my desktop, and would be a real inspiration too for a game developer in the making. :D

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Hey nice interview.

As I said on Pixel Joint, I would have loved to have worked for Nitrome as a pixel artist...if only I lived in England.

Thanks for the fantastic games Nitrome.

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Denryuu June 8, 2007 7:42 PM

Aaaaaarrrrrrghh.

Dang this hot air two.It's causing me so much grief. Ever since the monotonous wait started i have been sent into a spiraling depression.

Save me, nitrome.

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ThemePark June 12, 2007 3:34 PM

I read an old blog about a stylesheet switcher that you hade made for this site, jay, yet I can't seem to find it anywhere on the left menubar. Has it been taken down a while ago or what? I couldn't find any blogs about that either.

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ThemePark, you can get to the stylesheet switcher by clicking "Prefs" in the site menu. Prefs stands for 'preferences', and that is the place where site preferences are stored. For now, only your preferred stylesheet setting is stored there, but soon there will be other options as well. =)

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Alfredo June 19, 2007 8:17 PM

I REALLY fell in love with Nitrome's games ever since I played and beat SkyWire. Man... I really hope I can draw for them sometime in the near-future...

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John De Haura July 24, 2007 9:33 PM

Hi Jay!

First and foremost I must commend you on a brilliant interview with these dark-horses of games. God knows how they produce great games in such small time frames.

Great minds I suppose?

Keep up the great work, and the best of luck to Nitrome and all who sail in her!!! My children love your games and now I can see why!!! My middle son is particularly good at solving your work - and he amazes me even though he has 'supposed learning difficulties' at his state school.

BTW: Some of the music is very addictive - how do they make such short music seem interesting everytime it plays en loop? What software are you using please?

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Blame me for the music... don't blame Nitrome!

Or, blame yourself for wanting to hate the music - 'cos it makes you want to listen... probably like most of your leaders' speeches you think you need to listen to before you think you need to make a hasty decision.

Jah bless all!!!

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What! NO!!! I wish I were you, Jay!

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bandgeek July 24, 2009 3:43 PM

I love nitrome although I am stuck on their newest game.Parasite level 17. I cannot beat it.
Although I truly do love the site and the graphics as well.

Thank you Nitrome for great games

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@bandgeek:
There's a walkthrough for Parasite over on that page that may help you with level 17.

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Hi, I was wondering what the nitrome stylesheet looked like? I would like to view it! Maybe a link to the old photo?

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isaacbeach Author Profile Page January 8, 2010 5:27 PM

nitrome is the best ever!

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