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Nitrome , 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 Edit

Early days (2004-2005) Edit

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) Edit

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) Edit

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) Edit

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 Edit

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 Edit

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 Edit

Nitrome began making browser games after the abandonment of the mobile version of Chick Flick Nitrome began making games in flash[3][4]. Nitrome's first flash game was Hot Air, and despite it not making as much money as commissioned work[5], it still allowed for the production of further browser Nitrome games.[6]

All of Nitrome's browser games are in Flash, though Nitrome will eventually be making games in Unity.[7] For theNitrome Jam, because there was more freedom for what the game could be made in, what the Nitrome games in varied: some were in Flash, one was in HTML5, and the rest were in Unity. The Nitrome Jam served as the first time a Nitrome game was made that was browser based but not in Flash. This interest in Unity was not shared by Nitrome originally, as Unity was previously seen as having no advantages over Flash.[8]

The current development time of Nitrome's flash games varies considerably, usually taking two to three months to make, although Nitrome sometimes manages to create a game in a single month, such as (but not limited to)icon games.[9] Nitrome's development time has varied through their years of being active. Early on, from 2005 to 2007 it took a month (four weeks[10]) to create a game[11], which later shifted to six weeks, eight weeks if the game had to be developed longer.[12] Game development soon became longer, taking three months to make a game and ten weeks for game development, as spoken about by Mat Annal during an interview with Startfrag in November 2011[13]. While Nitrome often sticks to a regular development time for games, some games have taken much longer to make than most games, Steamlands for instance taking six months to make[14] and Nitrome Must Die taking a similar amount of time[15]. Originally, it was thought that longer development of a game would result in more income from ad revenue, however, this proved to not be the case[16], though Nitrome will sometimes still spend more time making some games if the game is enjoyable to work on.[17] The length of game development, and also the length of a game are determined by ad revenue, specifically, the amount of time that can be spent on the game[18] and what the game can be expected to make back in ad revenue[19]. The budget for individual games are smaller than what Mat Annal was paid when hired by companies to make games[20].

Although the ideas for most Nitrome games come from Mat Annal [21][22][23], he allows all staff members to submit ideas for games as well.[24][25] To keep track of ideas, all staff members have books where they can write down their ideas, every month a meeting being held where these game ideas are discussed. [26] [27] Before game ideas can be worked on, they first have to be approved by Mat Annal[28] and upon being approved they can be worked on once the currently worked on project is finished. Once development on the idea starts, further ideas for the game are brainstormed with others in the office[29]. Ideas may sometimes change dramatically throughout development based on how the game may work when the game's basic controls are programmed into the game and can be used.[30]

Nitrome avoids using mature content in their games, as they do not want to lose their already large audience, as it was their family friendly attitude at the start which allowed them to gain such a diverse audience.[31] Still, Nitrome does sometimes create games with dark themes in them, such as Final Ninja or Nitrome Must Die, though even in these games mature content is avoided.[32] Despite the absence of dark games in recent years, Nitrome still is open to creating games of this type.[33]

Many of Nitrome's earlier flash games used to be coded in ActionScript 2, but since then Nitrome has moved to coding games in ActionScript 3 through Flash Develop[34]. Game art is created with Photoshop[35][36] and depending on the preference of the artist sprites can either be animated in Photoshop[36] or with Promotion[35][36]. Music is created with Logic Pro. In recent years most tools for Nitrome games are created directly at Nitrome[37], such as level editors for different games and game engines[38], though for some of their earlier games Nitrome has used Box 2D to handle physics more complicated that other games.

MochiCoins Edit

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 Edit

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 Edit

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.[39]

Windows Phone Edit

Main article: Category:Mobile phone games

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

Steam Edit

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.[40]

Revenue Edit

For many years ads and browser game derived content[41] 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 [42][43] by sites like Miniclip, though early on Nitrome struggled to make a profit this way[44]. Despite this, Nitrome still managed to bring in enough income from their flash games to fund others[43]. 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.[10] The growth of Nitrome's site caused ads to become Nitrome's main source of revenue[42][10], something that would continue for all subsequent years. Nitrome's ad revenue in 2010 made up eighty five percent of their overall revenue[45], Nitrome's overall revenue during that time allowing them to have a staff of around 15.[46] Though Nitrome managed to sustain themselves through those years[47], financial difficulties were encountered in 2011[note 1] as traffic to Nitrome.com declined and with it the revenue Nitrome received from ads[49]. It was around this time that development of Icebreaker A Viking Voyage was started[48]. From then on Nitrome still managed to bring in income, though it was not as much as what they made before.[50][51] 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 Edit

Nitrome's art style was influenced by that of the age of 16-bit video games[52]. 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.[52] The presence of other pixel artists later on at Nitrome further solidified the pixel art direction Nitrome had took for their graphics.[52]

Nitrome's art style early on was to aim[53] for cute[53] and bright[54] graphics as this was the preference of Mat Annal[54]. Not all Nitrome games at that time stuck to this though, as games such as Toxic and Final Ninjastrayed from this art style. Nitrome later shifted away[55] from the cute and bright art style to letting a game's game mechanic influence the art created for the game[56].

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