Hello IndieDB! Before I say anything I would like to apologize for the lack of updates for the past few months despite of all the great progress and announcements we've made. Nelo was one of the lucky games to be showcased at the Unreal Engine booth for GDC 2015. We built a 50 minute vertical slice of the singleplayer mode as well as cleaned up our existing Endurance mode for the show. We are also fortunate to receive an Unreal Dev Grant from Epic games, and we plan to make the best of it. We got Replication for the game working for Multiplayer, and finally got some audio implemented in our game.
If you don't know who we are, Magic & Mirrors is Indie Game development team comprised of just only an engaged couple, Kevin Bryant, and Michelle Morger. Not only do we have an intimate relationship but we have worked together in the past on many other indie game titles creating mostly 3d Art. But we wanted to make our own company and develop our own games as a duo, so we created Magic & Mirrors, and things have only gotten better for us since. We've been able to expand our skills beyond the creation of 3d Art. Magic & Mirrors has allowed us to broaden our skills range into the realms of gameplay programming, and design which helps us better understand the overall art form of the interactive medium than ever before.
Nelo is our first project as Magic & Mirrors. It's a hyper-fast, sci-fi action shooter that takes inspiration from retro arcade shooters and gritty cyberpunk themes. You play as an alien character who is marooned on a planet ravaged by his people's horrible A.I. creations, the Nightsithe. Your character, Nelo, must battle hoards of Nightsithe attackers to escape the hostile planet, Plemniba, using an array of four floating mechanical hands known as the Hands of Aphelion. Nelo uses the Hands of Aphelion to wield up to four different guns simultaneously and because the hand move independently from his body this allows them to have no physical constraints on aiming. Nelo can battle between a third person action mode and a top-down twin-stick shooter mode seamlessly. Nelo can also use the Hands of Aphelion as ranged melee weapons and can grab large physics objects including most types of Nightsithe attackers.
GDC 2015 was our first time attending GDC in San Francisco, CA, and it was a Wonderful experience. Nelo was one of the few games to be selected by Epic Games to showcase the capabilities of the Unreal Engine 4 in practical application. The other games shown off at the booth were also incredible and meeting all the talented devs behind the magic was a great pleasure. In fact, it was overwhelming how much talent we got exposed to and coming home with a stack of business card 3 inches thick was proof that we have opened more doors in the industry than we ever had before.
Just a couple weeks after coming home from GDC we looked on the front page of the Unreal Engine website to discover that Epic Games announced that we would be receiving a Development Grant. Nelo has received $20,000 USD, which by the date this article is written, the largest dev grant given out by Epic for UE4 developers. It still blows my mind that such a great company has done something like this simply because they want to see us succeed. It's very heart warming and sparks a ton of motivation to our already motivated selves. I really can't express how truly grateful I am about this better than to put it all into developing the game and deliver a shipped product. We have already used the grant to get Magic & Mirrors registered as an LLC. That'll help us with everything else we purchase for the production of Nelo.
One of the things we crunched for GDC was a singleplayer vertical slice that demonstraighted the ideal pacing for Nelo's singleplayer story mode. We ended up squeezing over 50 minutes of varied gameplay into this demo. The vertical slice was also made to prove that Nelo isn't just all crazy action, you are able to explore the decimated world of Plemniba, find collectables to unlock doors, solve physics based puzzles using the Hands of Aphelion, use your advanced mobility to overcome platforming obstacles, and even stealth around large, hovering Nightsithe patrol ships. Taking 2 months to develop this demo on a year's worth of content creation, we have well established the scope of Nelo's singleplayer story mode.
Along with the Singleplayer mode, we are also working on Multiplayer game modes as well. I was almost going to ditch Multiplayer all together but I finally got to wrap my head around network replication. I don't come from a programming background so it felt like learning quantum physics at first. But now it all makes sense to me, I'm confident enough to invest my time in multiplayer modes for the game as well as the singleplayer mode. So far, we have the Endurance mode fully working with co-op support, and it's a great start.
And finally we have Audio implemented in Nelo. This is something I've been putting to the side for the longest time. But taking the time to mix some audio effects for the game is worth it. Even though almost all the audio effects are place holders, it really helps with the experience for the game. It helps pump adrenaline in the action and better immerses the player in the world of Plemniba. We are also working with Composer, Kevin Greenlee (LoudCore) www.kevintg.com , on the Music for Nelo. Kevin knows exactly what Nelo needs to be a heart pounding action experience, and his music speaks for itself.
Before I wrap things up I also want to mention that we will be redesigning the multi objective mode, Guardian from the ground up again. I'll give more detail about the mode when we get more of it prototyped. But for now, I'll say that It will be PVP instead of PVE and there will still be lots of cool utilities specifically designed for the mode including Traps, Turrets, and Powered Mech-suits. Thank you again IndieDB for taking the time to check out this article. And please don't forget to visit our website www.magicandmirrors-art.com , like us on facebook www.facebook.com/nelogame and follow us on twitter www.twitter.com/nelogame . And please keep your eyes out for more progress.
- Kevin Bryant