Captain’s Log #14: Spot Animations

This is an archived Kickstarter update, originally only available to Nelly’s Backers:

Phew! January is almost over, and it has been a busy month.

We’ve brought several new people onto the team to help out in different areas: Tiago and Mauricio are now working on dialogue editing. Meanwhile, Michael and Will from Hidden Armada are helping with programming and art.

We’ve overcome a few minor setbacks. Nelly’s programmer Alex was off with a cold last week, but is now back at his desk. Meanwhile we’re in the process of scheduling the final recording sessions for the English VO. We’re also on the second pass of Nelly’s German translation.

I however, have spent most of the month completing Nelly’s Spot Animations…

Spot Animations

Roughly 50% of Nelly’s animations are generic and universal: Walking, talking, crouching to pick something up etc. These animations will be used again and again in the game.

Meanwhile some animations only appear once (or twice). They relate to specific events, characters, locations or objects. I call these ‘Spot Animations’, and they tend to be a bit more interesting and complex than the universal animations. They usually appear when Nelly solves a puzzle in order to move the story on, and also to give the player a tiny little reward in the form of a new animation.

Its hard to show off the Spot Animations out of context (and without spoilers) but here are 3 to give you a taste of what I’ve been working on this month.

Nelly enjoys Captain Happy's Lucky Sailor Sugar Biscuits.

Nelly enjoys Captain Happy’s Lucky Sailor Sugar Biscuits.

Nelly jumps overboard.

Nelly jumps overboard.

Nelly is airlifted in.

Nelly is airlifted in.

(Depending on how fast those load, sometimes it looks like Nelly is jumping from the blue to the yellow circle! That’s not on purpose.)

Folk Song Teaser

Here’s a tiny preview of the music for Solomon Spry’s Dylan-esque folk song, which tells the story of backers at the Prince of Pirates tier. This is just the backing music, but you’ll have a chance to hear the verses in future updates:


I don’t know if any of you remember, but a ‘Cinematic Intro’ and ‘Cinematic Ending’ were two of the original Stretch Goals. Unfortunately, we didn’t reach the stretch goal for an ‘Airship Journey’ or a ‘Fully-Animated Fowl Fleet’.

In building the game, I’m learning what is important for telling the story. I now realise that the airship journey and the fowl fleet are possibly more important to the narrative than the intro and ending. But I don’t have the funding to do them on a grand scale…

Cinematic Storyboards

So, I’m currently creating storyboards and animatics of several short cinematics (rather than 2 long ones). That will keep the scale of the animation down, and allow me to focus more time on the plot-critical sequences. To find out how (and if) it works out, look out for future updates!

In memory of Astrid Beulink

Finally, a very sad development. I learned recently that adventuregamers writer Astrid Beulink, also known as Pollo Diabolo, has passed away. I didn’t know Astrid personally, but she was one of this project’s backers. It’s very sad and humbling to realise that someone who supported me back in 2013 is no longer around for me to say thank you.

There’s a touching tribute on from developers and adventure game enthusiasts from all over the world who knew Astrid.

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