The Joyride Labs no longer actively work on this project. A lot of the information on this website is outdated. See this blog post to find out more.
Nikki and the Robots

Here we write about Nikki and the Robots development and other news. Be sure to subscribe! Visit our reddit forum and join IRC for even more info!

Posts Tagged ‘business’

Wrapping Things Up!

Friday, December 21st, 2012

We – the Joyride Laboratories – released the Story Episodes to our game Nikki and the Robots in September. The good news is that we got some really good reviews and customer feedback. People seem to like the game and appreciate the work we put into it. The bad news: we didn't sell as much as we had hoped.

Because of that we have decided to stop working on the game. That also means there will be no further Story Episodes. We would like to apologize to all the people who bought the Story Episodes in hope of further episodes. We shared that hope, but we always knew there was a chance it wasn't going to happen. We are sorry and hope you still enjoyed the game.

What Happens Now?

Despite the date this is not the end of the world. Here is what that means:

  • Our website and the online store will stay online for at least some months. So you will still be able to download the free version. If you bought the Story Episodes you can still download them through the game. And you will still be able to buy the Story Episodes.
  • We will not work on the game anymore. We won't implement new features and we won't fix existing reported or unreported bugs. (As most of the game is an open-source project that doesn't mean that others can't work on the game. But you probably shouldn't hold your breath.)
  • The level server will stay online as well. You can still up- and download community levels.
  • We will let you know should we have any plans to discontinue the services.

Any Last Words?

We would like to express our gratitude to all the people who helped bringing Nikki to life. This includes all the people working on upstream projects and technologies (most notably GIMP, chipmunk, hipmunk, Qt, ghc, the Haskell ecosystem and MinGW). We would like to thank the people that helped more directly with creating the game: personal friends, who provided criticism and feedback, our beta testers and Roel "cerror" Heerspink, who provided the fantastic soundtrack for the Story Episodes. At last we want to thank our community: people who built and uploaded levels, reported bugs, bought the Story Episodes, and people who simply played the game. You all have been great. Thank you!

It was an interesting, challenging and rewarding experience to work on Nikki and the Robots. But – maybe most importantly – it was a tremendously huge amount of fun. We are going to miss this.

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Greenlight: Help Nikki jump on Steam!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

our wonderful Greenlight button

Nikki and the Robots is now on Steam Greenlight™ and we sure hope that it will get enough Thumbs Up to join the comfortable cross-platform player community soon!

It might end up being the first piece of software on Steam that is open source code and written in Haskell.

Nikki and the Robots Greenlight Trailer

By the way, if you happen to speak German: we have been interviewed by Pixelmacher and will appear for four minutes on German TV (ZDF.Kultur on Monday 26th Nov 2012, 22:30 - 23:00 GMT+1) and more material will be available on for two weeks after that.

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Pay What You Want for Nikki Story Episodes - Some More!

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Pay What You Want

We have not yet found any good reason to set a fixed price for Nikki and the Robots Story Episodes, so we will prolong the pay-what-you-want campaign indefinitely for now, until we find a good reason to set a fixed price.

Nikki and the Robots: Story Episodes
Buy the cute Überpixel™ style platformer now!

outrageously blatant self-promotion

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Nikki: One more week of pay what you want

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Nikki and the Robots Story Episodes will remain pay-what-you-want until at least 1st October, 24:00 GMT/UTC! Then we will make a decision on how to proceed. Our options include to stay in pay-what-you-want mode forever, to gradually increase the minimal price or to switch to a fixed price model.

Nikki Story Episodes Pay What You Want Statistics one week in

Nikki Story Episodes Pay-What-You-Want Stats one week in

We made a bit more than EUR 2,300 so far, with about 450 purchases made. The average payment ranks at EUR 4.94. Many thanks to all our supporters!

We spent last week spreading the news about our release but also fixing some problems (a major Windows bug fix). Finally we sent free versions of Nikki and the Robots Story Episodes to our level contest winners and started using our Twitter account more actively.

Do you have suggestions or preferences on what pricing methodology we should follow? Or places, in which news about Nikki have not appeared yet, but probably should? If so, please get in touch via a comment below or email.

Nikki and the Robots: Story Episodes
Buy the cute Überpixel™ style platformer now!

outrageously blatant self-promotion

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Release of Nikki and the Robots Story Episodes!

Monday, September 17th, 2012

We are proud to announce the release of "Nikki and the Robots Story Episodes".

Nikki and the Robots Story Episode 1 screenshots

Nikki and the Robots Story Episode 1 screenshots (more)

Join Nikki on a secret mission to fight the evil Dr. Lacroix. Test your skills in stunning platformer action and exciting puzzles — with the help of a variety of futuristic robots.

You can get the free part of the game (version 1.0) from our download page. For purchasing the Story Episodes visit:

For a limited amount of time the price for the Story Episodes will be pay what you want. So don't hesitate too long! And be generous: The Joyride Laboratories need money to produce further episodes. If you don't have a credit card or bank account, there are some alternative payment methods.

Nikki and the Robots Release Trailer (Story Episode 1)

If you like what we do, please spread the word! We also have prepared a press kit. (Thanks to Rami for presskit()!) Also available in German language.


Nikki and the Robots: Story Episodes
Buy the cute Überpixel™ style platformer now!

outrageously blatant self-promotion

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Story Episode 1 Release on Monday & Pre-Release Party Tonight!

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Long time no post, so let's get straight to business! On Monday (17. Sep 2012) we will finally release the first story episode in pay-what-you-want mode! (this is kind of supposed to be a surprise, so don't tell anyone!) This will also mean a 1.0 release of the open nikki version with quite some fixes.

Nikki and the Robots at Ate Bit Vomit Berlin 15. September 2012

Also, tonight the first story episode will be playable during the Ate Bit Vomit Experimental Chiptunes party & exhibition. If you're in Berlin, Germany, hop on by!

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Open Development Marketing: Three Live Examples (Indie)

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Open development graph: being open about your development makes noise, grows the community and lets you meet new people which in the end all interact which each other.
Image: Open development graph: being open about your development makes noise, grows the community and lets you meet new people which has potential to interact which each other.

Today, Data Realms (Cortex Command) started sharing their backlog (aka ToDo-list) with the public. This made me want to re-capture some methods of being open about your game development and using this for marketing.

1. "Leak" alphas to pre-orderers

When your early version already has re-play value, allowing people to pre-order your games and to play your alpha versions is one of the best things you can do.

Open Development Marketing Example Wolfire
Image: Wolfire's Overgrowth alpha "leaks" get distributed via their preorder forum, which you can only see if you preordered the game.

2. Show off remaining tasks and bugs

Progress bars are beauty in players' eyes. Simply giving players read (and ideally write) access to your internal bug tracker allows super-fans to stalk you with no additional efforts on your side.

Open Development Marketing Example Unknown Worlds
Image: Natural Selection 2's roadmap progress is being shared by Unknown Worlds live, directly on the game's homepage.

3. Share your design knowledge

When a game strongly depends on its plot, it often becomes hard for the writers and designers to let players read or play the story before the project is finished. Even in these cases there is still a lot available in the designers' heads that can be shared spoiler-free: Instead of letting the player experience an in-game plot-twist prematurely (before the game is released), you can teach them about how plot twists are constructed and examine examples of plot twists in existing games.

Open Development Marketing Example Frictional Games
Image: Frictional Games shares thoughts about game and story design in their "Narrative not a game mechanic?" article.


I myself work at Joyride Labs on a Linux/OSX/Windows game. Our engine code is open source, we sometimes share insights about our code (this is often Haskell-related and we should do this more often), our bug tracker is completely public, our pre-release versions (that exclude the story mode) are available for download for free.

This short article is based on old slides I used at a talk at HTW Berlin. Are there any other noteworthy examples you would like to share? Please do so in the comments.

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What is taking Nikki Story Episode 1 so long?

Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Joyride Labs: The Team

Image: Joyride Labs - The Team - Working Hard™

Time for a photo of the team (see above)! We took it for a German-language indie games blog that put up a profile of Joyride Labs. As you can see, we are working hard at delivering the best possible black-pink ear platformer experience to you and the rest of the planet!

So why are we taking so long to deliver?


  • Both Sönke and I have been working on another open source project (that has nothing to do with games).
  • Florian started working a full-time job in the south of Germany making 3d visuals and is enjoying the regular life style for a change. :)
  • Legal texts are a pain to write and there is no way around it for our pay-what-you-want store. We are keeping that pain to a minimum by using Automattic's freely-licensed privacy policy as a basis.
Nikki and the Robots S1E2 getting a test run at indie dev meeting 1 in Berlin

Image: Nikki and the Robots S1E2 getting a test run at Indie Dev Meeting 0.1 in Berlin

Nikki and the Robots S1E1 being test-played at LUG Berlin

Image: Nikki and the Robots S1E1 test-played during pd-berlin at Berlin Linux User Group

We have been showing our game around off-line (see photos above). If you have been keeping track of the previous release versions, there are a few changes so far, that will make it into the next free/open source version.


  • We added the first pieces of in-game music (8bit Tidbit 2 by chadsicle in the free part).
  • Performance increased, bugs fixed...

Life lesson learned: do it like Blizzard and don't set a release date!

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