By 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.