Then and Now

If you’ve been following Loose Nozzles for a while, then you know that’s been in development for a long time. That’s had an interesting effect when it comes to the game art, and that’s what this post is about. Along the way I’ll give some behind-the-scenes info on the process of integrating hand-drawn art into the game.

Several months back, Ian saw the state of the upgrade screen – where you turn in coins earned on runs to add more seats, fuel tanks, shielding, and such to your ship – and thought it looked pretty drab. He went off with a clipboard, paper, and pencil, and came back with something he thought could make it better.

Initial Pencil Drawing

This cutaway drawing was impressively done, and carefully considered; note the instructions on the right for how different upgrades would be added or removed depending on the player’s load out – and looks nothing like something that a 5-year-old Ian would have done. It looks unlike everything else in the game; would that feel weird?

I decided that it was much more important to be honest to where we are, and be proud of how far Ian has come; if anything, this was a nice way to subtly nod to how long the game has been in the works. If I could find a way to blend between the older art and newer art, it might feel like an intentional transition.

So with Ian’s work done, my began. First was to clean up the art so address all of the eraser shavings, and too-faint lines. That brought us to this point.

Cleaned up.

The next step is to slice each upgradable component of the art into its own individual image, so that I can toggle them in and out of art in code. As part of doing that, I also flipped them from dark to light, so that we can present the schematic as a kind of blueprint.

Sliced ‘n Blueprinty.

With the art sliced, diced, and imported, the work moved to programming all the rules and behaviors to match what art is visible to the current state of the ship’s upgrades. In addition, there’s rules to swap between the traditional rocket art and the blueprint style, and between focusing on one rocket, and on all the available rocket “skins.” And creating visual flourishes and camera behaviors to smoothly draw the player’s attention from one mode or upgrade to another.

I track my work in Trello, and I ended up with a nice chonky tasklist for this one revision to an existing screen. If you’re curious how a task like this breaks down, here’s a look:

The result is captured in this video. I particularly enjoy seeing the transition from 5-year-old Ian’s art to 12-year-old Ian’s art. It warms my heart.

And with that in place, the game is one step closer to complete. Back to work!

— Chris

Launch Date and Trailer!

Hi! I’m excited to announce that at long last, Loose Nozzles is scheduled to launch on August 16, 2022 for the iOS and Google Play app stores.

To celebrate, we’ve created a trailer to show the game in its completed state. We hope you like it!

The game will be free at launch, with all levels available to play. A one-time purchase will unlock additional features, including alternate game modes, an upgrade system, and the ability to restart from any level.

I’ll post a few more times between now and launch, to show off a bit more of the game and its development. Thanks for sticking with us, and we hope check out the game when it arrives!

– Chris and Ian

Entering the Battlefield…

Hi all –

It’s been a while since the last update, but we’ve been working on a bunch of new levels for the game’s second world, “Battlefield.”


For the PAX East demo, we’d been working on levels from the “Factory” world, to show off a variety of late-game mechanics. When I tried to develop a full set of levels for Factory, I realized it was hard to design them without knowing more about the levels that come before them.

The Battlefield world is the second one in the game, and I’m finding it a lot easier to develop ideas for it. Last year I sketched an idea for the architecture in this world – a simple angled structure – and I’ve found it to be easily adapted to a variety of level structures.

Here are early versions of the first five Battlefield worlds. Hope you like them.

— ChrisF

Factory Level #2

Here’s a new factory level, with refinements to lasers, flames, and robot arms.

Lasers can now target items on the conveyor belt, creating a different movement pattern for players to avoid than pistons. Fire can also “target” items, and robot arms have real art courtesy of Ian. Also added is the first key-and-lock door, to give players a way to skip past parts of the level once they’ve cleared them out.

This is the hardest level I’ve made so far, intended for near the end of the game. But some of the passages may be too narrow? That’s the sort of thing that will be reviewed and revised during playtesting.

Arms Race

After all the hustling we did for PAX East, I had to catch up on some other life responsibilities, but I’ve been working on more tools to flesh out our Factory levels.

Conveyor belts are a fun component of that world, and I’ve been looking for a way to chain them together into a full assembly-line like experience. One way that seems promising is to turn the robot arm prototype into a tool to move objects from one conveyor belt to another. Here’s the current prototype, in progress.

What’s interesting about the Factory level is that it’s the first place where I’ve built objects that react to something other than the player. It helps create the sense of a living world, but it creates new challenges. (The arms started dropping packages just after I cut the video.) It’ll be fun to see where it leads.

UPDATE: Fixed some bugs, and smoothed some animations. To be honest, I’ll miss the spinning wrists…

Thanks for checking out the progress video!

– Chris