Little Nightmares is a 3rd-person adventure game, released in April this year, to a pretty positive response! I was working full-time on the game throughout the entire project, having had full technical ownership the playable character, “Six”. This includes controls, world interactions, core gameplay mechanics and technical animation.
The design vision for Six has been ambitious from the outset, with the focus on the feel of being connected to the world through the character. This required development of controls and mechanics that were physical and tactile, whilst also fluid and responsive.
During development I have built almost all of the player mechanics from scratch, from coding a custom character controller to handle collisions and physics, through to the tools that level designers use to make the world interactible for the player.
To achieve the feel of physicality and responsiveness Six requires a lot of dynamic animation, from complex blend trees to full-body IK. Mechanics and motion are so deeply intertwined here that I handled most of the technical animation for Six.
This required managing a very large number of animations, integrating IKinema‘s full body IK solver, developing bespoke animation blending techniques and runtime tools. As the player team was very small (typically just myself and the animator), I oversaw all of these systems and the interplay between them, to ensure the end result is fluid, stable and correctly conveys the personality of Six.
A large part of this process has been the collaboration with the animator. Features get discussed in terms of how the character moves before we even consider how the gameplay code is structured. This, along with constant communication and rapid iteration cycles has allowed us to get great results through every stage of development.