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For the weapon in Nitrome Must Die, see Gun (Nitrome Must Die)#Nitrome.
For the actual physical location, see Previous locations of Nitrome#Nitrome Limited.
Nitrome Limited
Nitrome Demo logo

Type

Limited

Employees

12

Founders

Mat Annal / Heather Stancliffe

Based

London, England

Site URL

http://www.nitrome.com


Nitrome (pronunciation), officially registered in the United Kingdom as Nitrome Limited, is a Flash game development studio based in London, England, and founded on August 10th 2004[1].

Nitrome was founded by Mat Annal and Heather Stancliffe but has now grown to have ten employees, helping with game development. Due to the small team and creativity of the group, new Flash games are released on regular basis (usually about two a month). The main income for the company is through advertising and licensing their games to larger Flash game websites.

The majority of Nitrome's productions are Flash browser games. From 2012, Nitrome has been making forays into Facebook games and smartphone mobile games.

All of their Flash games (except their advert games) can be played on Nitrome.com, their official website.

History

Early days (2004-2005)

Nitrome started up on August 10th 2004[1] and was founded by Heather Stancliffe and Mat Annal. Nitrome began as a result of Mat Annal wanting more freedom to create games, as Annal had previously worked on other advergames but was frustrated over the restrictiveness caused by clients.[2] The office at the time was the size of a bedroom. For income, they made advergames (games made to advertise a product), such as Vege-Mania Game. About 11 months after Nitrome was founded, a conversation about mobile phone games stemmed up between Heather and Mat.

Heather did not think it was such a good idea. After much persuasion, a mobile phone game finally went into production. Nitrome launched their site on April 5th 2005. Their mobile phone game Four Play was the only mobile phone game released. Chick Flick, Nitrome's first game in development, was abandoned due to lack of funding. Mat's brother, Jon joined the Nitrome team on May 20th 2005. Nitrome left the cellphone gaming business in 2005, and entered the browser flash games business.

Flash games (2006-2008)

Nitrome made a few advergames in 2005 before making their own games. Nitrome remade their site and released their first game Hot Air in 2005. They did not make much money off of it. Nitrome ported Chick Flick and released it on their site in 2006, after adding and removing features. Nitrome released several other game being sponsored by Miniclip, and also hired testers at first, but stopped.

Games took a long time to make at that time. Nitrome hired more people the in 2007 and took less time to make games. Nitrome made sequels to some of there games, and during that year MTV Arcade sponsored a few games. They released skins so players could personalize the site, and released more the next year.

Modern days (2008-2011)

With more people hired in 2008, this allowed Nitrome to make even more games in less time. Nitrome's games also had a story; Nitrome released several popular games in 2008. Nitrome released sequels in 2009 for games released the same year. Ice Breaker released in January 2009 was hugely popular and spawned two sequels. Twin Shot also gained popularity, and gaining a sequel.

Nitrome also tested out MochiCoins in Twin Shot 2. MochiCoins allowed players to buy coins and spend the coins on extra content in Twin Shot 2, or other MochiCoin games. Nitrome tried MochiCoins out on B.C. Bow Contest, but did not implement the software into any future games. In the end of December, Nitrome announced they would be on Facebook.

Nitrome made more games in 2010, but in the summer, between July and September, Nitrome experienced a problem which prevented blog posts to be posted, and during this time no games were released for two months, the second longest Nitrome has ever went without a game release. During the two month drought, Nitrome worked on making the iOS game Super Feed Me, but after noticing a drop in their revenue, they returned to making flash games.

A short time after this drought, Nitrome moved to central London. Nitrome released games in 2011 believed to have been "ported" from the Nitrome Enjoyment System. Nitrome in April began to post a blog post on every Weekday until the end of May. After this, Nitrome went back to there usual routine of posting only when there is Fan or New content, except they began posting a weekly Friday update informing fans of content that may or will be posted or released in the coming week. Nitrome had a big revamp on their website, called now "Nitrome.com 2.0", with a new feature for liking games and a huge aesthetic upgrade. They finally reached 100 games on November 23rd 2011, with the release of Nitrome Must Die.

Premium games (2012-present)

Nitrome announced in early 2012 the publishing of demos on their site, in order to get feedback for their posterior game releases, the first being Cheese Dreams 2 demo, released in March 30th.

On October 15 of the same year, Nitrome released a new project, this time a game that would be purchasable on Steam, though it had to pass the Greenlight phase, in which Steam players had to decide if they wanted the game to be available to purchase or not. A demo of the game was released, this game called Flightless.

They also announced in later 2012 the making of a brand new iOS game, Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage, which they released on June 20 2013 with publishing help from the Finnish entertainment company Rovio under their new publishing initiative, "Rovio Stars". However, Nitrome also worked on more games while they produced this fourth Icebreaker installment. 

In 2013, Nitrome made another big update to their website; in which the long-awaited accounts were released, in which players could store their game data and was well getting badges and avatars for their performance on games, and keeping in touch with other gamers with a friends list feature.

Content created

Since there inception, the majority of Nitrome content has been Flash based and free. However, at certain times, Nitrome has offered premium content under other medium. Starting 2012, Nitrome announced more premium content that was to be released.

Nitrome acknowledged that the reason premium services such as iPhone and Steam were started up were due to Nitrome getting less and less money from Flash games.

Mobile phone games

Nitrome originally started off as a small company that was to create games to be played on cellphones. Of the two started mobile phone games - Four Play, and Chick Flick - only one was released.

Four Play was released and criticized due to its slowness. Chick Flick were cancelled due to lack of funding, Nitrome abandoning the mobile version of Chick Flick and instead made the game in flash and released in for free. It was after Nitrome's short time in the mobile phone game business they shifted to Flash.

More mobile games were later released, for iOS and Android devices (see below sections).

Browser games

Main article: Category:Browser games

Nitrome began making browser games in 2005 and have continued making them ever since.

MochiCoins

Main article: MochiCoins

It was in 2009 that Nitrome began experimenting with MochiCoins, a service that allowed companies to sell premium in-game content. Nitrome first used this system in Twin Shot 2, offering an extra 50 levels and a cheats system. Nitrome later used this system in B.C. Bow Contest, in the form of purchasable arrows, and yet again, a purchasable cheat system.

Both MochiCoin supporting games also offered free content: Twin Shot 2 offered five free skins, and B.C. Bow Contests offered two free arrows. Nitrome eventually stopped using MochiCoins at the start of 2010. Prior to the release of MochiCoins, Nitrome stated how they would not be used in every game.

iOS

Main article: Category:Mobile phone games

Starting in 2009, Nitrome announced the development of Super Feed Me. What was Nitrome's intended first iOS game that was said to be "coming soon" was slowly worked on. As Nitrome devoted more of their time to making Flash games than making premium games, Super Feed Me was not worked on a lot. The development of the game in September 2010 was cut short by Nitrome's realization of the drop in views to their site.

It was this that caused Nitrome to look for an iOS programmer before attempting to work more on Super Feed Me. It was in 2012 that Nitrome began to work on two other iOS games - Nitrome Touchy and Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage. Due to the taking up of Flightless and the two aforementioned iOS projects, Nitrome has to postpone Super Feed Me's development, much to their fans dismay.

Of the three iOS games, Nitrome Touchy and Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage are currently the only ones that have been released. Nitrome Touchy was released on October 31th 2012, and Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage was released on June 20th 2013. Nitrome has currently taken up a third "top secret" Nitrome iOS game, that is currently only 25% finished.

Android

Main article: Category:Mobile phone games

Nitrome's first Android app was Nitrome Touchy, released on November 21st 2012. The Android port of Icebreaker A Viking Voyage was released on May 7th 2014 after being in development for 9 months.[3]

Windows Phone

Main article: Category:Mobile phone games

Announced on July 15th 2014, 8bit Doves will also be released on Windows Phone.

Steam

Back in September 2011, Nitrome previewed an image of an upcoming Steam game, Flightless. Not much was revealed about it, other than its artist. A year passed since its announcement, with nothing revealed about it. It was on October 15th 2012 that Nitrome released the Flightless Demo and announced that the game was on Steam Greenlight. They also urged fans to vote for it via advertisements on their site and other methods. Although the game was successfully greenlit, the game is currently not being worked on, but will be in the future.[4]

Revenue

For many years ads and browser game derived content[5] continued to be Nitrome's only source of revenue, though what type of browser game derived content has varied. When Nitrome first began to make browser games their only source of income came from sponsorship [6][7] by sites like Miniclip, though early on Nitrome struggled to make a profit this way[8]. Despite this, Nitrome still managed to bring in enough income from their flash games to fund others[7]. For several years sponsorship made up the bulk of Nitrome's revenue, with a small amount of income also gained through site ads, game licenses, and royalties.[9] The growth of Nitrome's site caused ads to become Nitrome's main source of revenue[6][9], something that would continue for all subsequent years. Nitrome's ad revenue in 2010 made up eighty five percent of their overall revenue[10], Nitrome's overall revenue during that time allowing them to have a staff of around 15.[11] Though Nitrome managed to sustain themselves through those years[12], financial difficulties were encountered in 2011[note 1] as traffic to Nitrome.com declined and with it the revenue Nitrome received from ads[14]. It was around this time that development of Icebreaker A Viking Voyage was started[13]. From then on Nitrome still managed to bring in income, though it was not as much as what they made before.[15][16] From 2013 onward, Nitrome also gains revenue from the mobile games they produce, although what impact they have on Nitrome's overall revenue is not certain.

Art

Nitrome's art style was influenced by that of the age of 16-bit video games[17]. The use of pixel art in Nitrome's games dates back to development of Hot Air, where Annal wanted to make a game that was based around gameplay of the 16-bit era of video gaming, and with pixel art being a large influence of that time period it was used as the art style for Hot Air and later adopted as Nitrome's art style after Annal's enjoyment with it.[17] The presence of other pixel artists later on at Nitrome further solidified the pixel art direction Nitrome had took for their graphics.[17]

Nitrome's art style early on was to aim[18] for cute[18] and bright[19] graphics as this was the preference of Mat Annal[19]. Not all Nitrome games at that time stuck to this though, as games such as Toxic and Final Ninja strayed from this art style. Nitrome later shifted away[20] from the cute and bright art style to letting a game's game mechanic influence the art created for the game[21].

Nitrome's logo has always been the letters N-I-T-R-O-M-E displayed in a slanted line. The colours of the letter vary depending on where the logo is seen. There is a different colour scheme and background for the Nitrome logo in all games' Startups.

The classic Nitrome logo was simply just pink and white letters, while the logo Nitrome used after the release of 2.0 revised the letters as bronze coloured (hues of yellow and orange).

In-game references

Nitrome has been referenced as a company in some of their games. In others, their website (nitrome.com) is shown as a level.

Square Meal

Square Meal has one level where all the wooden blocks are arranged to look like the word "Nitrome".

Bad Ice-Cream

A level design with the word "Nitrome" is also present in Bad Ice-Cream

Rainbogeddon

Rainbogeddon has a level where the walls have openings that resemble the letters: N,I,T,R,O,M,E,.,C,O,M. Or Nitrome.com, in the top it says NITRO and in the middle it says ME and at the bottom it says .COM.

Rgeddon NITROME

Nitrome's appearance in Rainbogeddon.

Rubble Trouble Tokyo

On level 31, the player has to destroy a giant screen with a level of Off the Rails on it. Before the player starts the level, the boss notices the giant screen and mentions Nitrome, with Barry and Garryresponding by saying how "awesome" Nitrome is, and how they play their games.

Final Ninja Nitrome Reference

The Final Ninja reference

Nitrome Must Die

Nitrome appears as a ruthless game making company who oppress the employees by torturing them and making them finish projects in a small amount of time. This is seen by the content on the walls of some levels. Two friends - Austin Carter and Justin Bennet - go to destroy Nitrome, after being fed up with losing so much at their games. Nitrome's fictional work building, Nitrome Towers, also makes an appearance; having 100 floors.

Final Ninja

On level 10, the word "Nitrome" appears as a vertical neon sign.

The Glassworks

GW Cyborg

The newspaper that the cyborgs read has a heading title of "NITR", but is cut off. The full title is probably "NITROME".

Twin Shot 2

On level forty-one, the letters 'NITROME' are spelled out in grey blocks, via negative space.

Nitrome - Twin Shot 2

"Nitrome" spelled out in grey blocks

Skywire VIP Shuffle

Nitrome2

Nitrome in Skywire VIP Shuffle

The passengers in the last level of Skywire VIP Shuffle are employees from Nitrome.

Studio Location

Main article: Previous locations of Nitrome

Since starting up, Nitrome has moved their office multiple times. Currently, they are located in an office titled "Nitrome Limited". [22]

Name origin

Mat Annal stated in an interview[23] with Jay is Games that when he (Mat Annal) was creating Nitrome, he wanted to give the company a "made up name" so that mention of the name would mean only them (Nitrome) and so that they could get a dot com domain "that would rank highly in search engines under [the word Nitrome]".

Pronunciation

Nitrome is pronounced NIGH-trome (akin to one saying "Nitro" but closing their mouth at the end), with a long "i" and "o" sound. The "e" is silent. This can be heard when the announcer speaks as the menu opens in Nitrome Must Die.

Staff

Nitrome has several staff which work on parts of games. A "-" means they have not left, as well as have not done work in a game before leaving. As of March 5th 2013, Nitrome has said that they have 12 employees [24].

Name Occupation Joined Left Debut Retirement
Mat Annal Pixel Artist, Founder 2004 - Hot Air -
Heather Stancliffe Programmer 2004 2010 Hot Air Tiny Castle
Lee Nicklen Musician 2005 2010 Hot Air changeType()
Chris Jenkinson Tester 2005 2005 Hot Air Hot Air
Craig Annal Tester 2005 2005 Hot Air Hot Air
Matthew Crossland Tester 2005 2005 Hot Air Hot Air
Richard Bertram Tester 2005 2006 Hot Air Feed Me
Jon Annal Pixel artist 2006 - Hot Air -
Neal Singh Tester 2006 2006 Sandman Chick Flick
Pablo Wiedemann Tester 2006 2006 Chick Flick Chick Flick
Stephan Socki Tester 2006 2006 Sandman Sandman
Simon Hunter Pixel artist 2007 2009 Headcase Parasite (original content)
Chris Burt-Brown Programmer 2007 - Pest Control -
Aaron Steed Programmer 2007 - Magic Touch -
Markus Heinel Pixel artist 2008 - Toxic II -
Dave Cowen Musician 2008 - Knuckleheads -
Carl Trelfa Programmer 2009 2010 Flash Cat Cold Storage
Jay Smith Pixel artist 2010 2011 Blast RPG Mega Mash
Stefan Ählin Pixel artist 2010 - Fault Line -
Andrew Gardner Programmer 2010 2010 Cave Chaos Cave Chaos
Stuart Allen Programmer 2010 2010 Bullethead Bullethead
Ignat Zuk Programmer 2010 2011 Chisel Bad Ice-Cream
John Kennedy Programmer 2010 - Enemy 585 -
Martin Wörister Pixel artist 2011 - Stumped -
Giuseppe Longo Pixel Artist 2012 - Ice Beak -
Jack Website developer 2012

[citation needed]

- Does not work on games Does not work on games
Tom McQuillan Website developer 2012 - Does not work on games Does not work on games
Arthur Guibert Programmer 2013 - Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage -
Marcin Zemblowski Programmer 2013 - Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage -
Piotr Grodzki Programmer 2013 - Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage -
Zuzuna Annal Tester 2013 - Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage -
Sarah Edwards Tester 2013 - Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage -
Veronica Galdieri Tester 2013 - Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage -

Awards

Site/Event Year Contest Prize Outcome
Edge 2011 The Friday Game: Best of 2011 The Endless Reliability Award Won[25]

External links

Trivia

  • A lot of Nitrome's game names are based of wordplay and insults, Four Play, Chick Flick, Square Meal, Headcase, Knuckleheads, Small Fry, and Numbskull for example.
  • Nitrome is commonly mispronounced NIT-roam. However, the pronunciation of Nitrome— NIGH-trome — is similar to a word with similar spelling— nichrome — which is pronounced as NIGH-chrome.
  • Most sound effects (alternatively known as Sound FX) Nitrome uses are used across many games.
  • If one is uploading a Nitrome video to Youtube, Youtube may suggest the uploader to add the tag "Nitrome (company)" to their tag box.

Notes

  1. Pocket Gamer: Studio Profile: Nitrome: "The knock-on effect of less traffic and less revenue per person meant that we were probably making less than half what we used to," says Annal. "But our costs were the same." He adds, "We could have lasted another year, maybe." It was around this time that Nitrome decided to go full tilt at turning Icebreaker into a full mobile title..., 18 July 2013, retrieved 12 August 2014.
    The time this was done was late 2011.[13]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nitrome blog: - Icebreaker: Glorious Gloves!Comment by Nitrome:
    Nitrome was founded on August 10th 2004.
  2. Internet Archive Wayback Machine: - Mochimedia: Mat Annal of Nitrome: FGS 5 Advisory Board Interview Series → A few jobs down the line, I was actually making games within the web space and at the time the only format to realistically use for that was Flash. This of course was all for clients, whom have a tendency to control your games to the point of them lacking the key creative elements I wanted to be able to introduce. I started Nitrome out of frustration with this situation and produced our first game “Hot Air” as a reaction to my lack of freedom up until that point.
  3. Nitrome blog: - Icebreaker Coming to Android! (July 2nd 2013, first mention of Android version)
    Nitrome blog: - Where is the Icebreaker Update? (April 8th 2014, mention of the Android version being complete)
  4. Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: New Jam member! → Comment by Nitrome: Flightless is unfortunately still not being worked on...but it is not forgotten., 30 May 2014, retrieved 7 July 2014.
  5. Internet Archive Wayback Machine: Interview with Matthew Annal, Managing Director at Nitrome - Starfrag: With the Flash side of things bringing in the money it has always taken priority..., 22 November 2011, retrieved 23 August 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Internet Archive Wayback Machine: Startfrag - Interview with Matthew Annal, Managing Director at Nitrome: Originally it was all funded through selling licenses [in this case "licenses" being synonymous with sponsorship] of our games, 22 November 2011, retrieved 30 August 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Internet Archive Wayback Machine: Three Quarter Dpad - Steamlands: The Interview: We [Nitrome] made a game (Hot Air) to show what we could do to prospective clients and to see if we could sell enough licenses to gaming sites to cover the cost of making it. To our surprise we did so we made more and the rest is history!, 7 May 2011, retrieved 30 August 2014.
  8. FlashJolt: Interview with Nitrome’s Matt: Incidentally it was very difficult to start with to make money from them [free flash games] but it got easier with time., 18 May 2010, retrieved 12 August 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Flashjolt: Interview with Nitrome's Matt: Originally it was definitely Sponsorship that produced most of it with Ads, Licensing and Royalties being a welcome but small amount on top. Now though most of our money comes from the advertising….it’s amazing to see just how much that part of our business has grown over time!, 18 May 2010, retrieved 30 August 2014.
  10. Flash Gaming Summit on Facebook: Nitrome Interview at FGS 2010: ' 0:39 Probably about 85% of our revenue now comes from advertising, 10 October 2010, retrieved 6 September 2014.
  11. Pocket Gamer: Studio Profile: Nitrome: While the studio's output became popular enough to sustain a staff of around 15, it also provided easy pickings for cloners and copycats attempting to bringing Nitrome's ideas to mobile. [the topics surrounding this sentence (not listed here) all are from 2010] ', 18 July 2013, retrieved 12 August 2014.
  12. Gamespy: Indie Spotlight #2: Flash, Bang, Boom: Nitrome has been making free games for more than five years now, and the studio has grown from its two founders to a team of 10 over that time. "I think there is no question that it is sustainable," Annal says., 17 August 2010, retrieved 9 August 2014.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: Great Ditto Fanart! → Comment by Jon Annal: I think it [Icebreaker A Viking Voyage development] was just before xmas 2011., 19 August 2014, retrieved 23 August 2014.
  14. Pocket Gamer: Studio Profile: Nitrome: "After two, two and a half years we hit our peak in terms of audience," explains Annal. "All of a sudden it leveled out then started to decline and I thought 'Okay, maybe we're just not making as good games'." That wasn't the problem. As Facebook games and mobile continued to rise, both Flash game audiences and the advertising revenue continued to fall. "The knock-on effect of less traffic and less revenue per person meant that we were probably making less than half what we used to," says Annal. "But our costs were the same.", 18 July 2013, retrieved 12 August 2014.
  15. on Facebook: Time for some Pixel Love! This week we have... → Comment by Nitrome: We are a really tiny studio and barely keep ourselves running most of the time!, 5 February 2013, retrieved 23 August 2014.
  16. on Facebook: No More Ads in Animation Rotator → Comment by Nitrome: @jordan: well I wouldn't exactly say we do very well. But we make just enough to pay the bills etc. :), 10 July 2014, retrieved 23 August 2014.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 GameSpy: Indie Spotlight #2: Flash, Bang, Boom: "When we came to make our first game, we wanted something based purely around gameplay that hearkened back to the 16-bit era. Pixel art was a clear influence of that. Having spent my career up until that point mainly using vectors, it really was different for me, but it was something I instantly liked." When the team grew and other pixel artists came onboard, this further solidified the artistic direction, he says., 17 August 2010, retrieved 26 July 2014.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Gamasutra: Interview: Nitrome's Annal on Keeping Their Retro Flash Game Ideas Fresh: We were originally aiming for quite a cute style but we found ourselves wanting to explore some darker and edgier themes. So originally, Toxic and probably more so Dirk Valentine and Final Ninja were quite a bold change in art direction for us. I would put a lot of that down to new staff that came aboard broadening our outlook on what we should and could be doing., 2 August 2010, retrieved 29 July 2014.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Quote Unquote: The Last and Final Word: Matthew Annal: Partly, we kept the games pixel based and bright because that’s what interested me at the beginning..., 12 April 2014, retrieved 29 July 2014.
  20. Game Developer's Blog - Nitrome: More 8-Bit Doves! → Comment by Nitrome: I think a lot of our games end up with bright graphics overall but we just try to make something interesting that suits the game mechanic., 31 July 2014, retrieved 31 July 2014.
  21. Internet Archive Wayback Machine: Startfrag - Interview with Matthew Annal, Managing Director at Nitrome: We definitely start with the core mechanic and fit the [art] style to fit with that. If the mechanic is quite abstract then it usually makes the art more abstract too., 22 November 2011, retrieved 29 July 2014.
  22. Nitrome.com - Contact - Building is identified as Nitrome Limited, also, on the map there is an arrow pointing to where the building is located, the arrow identifying the building as "Nitrome Limited"
  23. Jay is Games: Nitrome stylesheet and interview!
  24. Nitrome's Facebook page - Hi Nitromians!... | Facebook
  25. Nitrome blog: - Happy New Year Nitromians!
  26. Nitrome's Youtube page - Banner at the top (Google+ image next to Nitrome.com link)
  27. fgl: Chat Event - Nitrome → nitromemat: rocketman - we used to spend around 4 weeks now it is more like 6 or occassionally 8 if it slips
  28. Flashjolt: Interview with Nitrome’s Matt: Matt: We use Photoshop for all the pixel art and some of the team use Promotion to animate where as others just animate directly in Photoshop., 18 May 2010, retrieved 25 July 2014.
  29. Internet Archive Wayback Machine: Startfrag - Interview with Matthew Annal, Managing Director at Nitrome: The art is handled either in a combination of Photoshop and Promotion depending on the artists preference and what he is doing,..., 22 November 2011, retrieved 25 July 2014.
  30. Internet Archive Wayback Machine: Startfrag - Interview with Matthew Annal, Managing Director at Nitrome: ...most tools we have built up ourselves over time so we have our own custom level editors for example., 222 November 2011, retrieved 25 July 2014.

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