Sponsored By

How our small indie team created a trailer for our biggest Early Access update yet.

With the most important update of our game while we're in Early Access just come out, we need to make new trailer of our game to attract attention.

But what can we do with making trailer for only one portion part of the game story and limited resource?

Pawee Pakamekanon, Blogger

April 6, 2016

7 Min Read

Hello. I am Pawee Pakamekanon, project leader at GameCrafterTeam. In case you haven’t heard of us, we are the developer of Project Nimbus, an arcade high speed mech shooter game inspired by Japanese Real-Robot animations.


Our game has been in Early Access program for a while and we update our game very often. In the last week, we've put the most important update for our game while we're in Early Access out.


Let's say, our game has 3 Act of the game's campaign story. We have 1 when we was entering the Early Access program. It took about a year and a lot of hard work to arrive here, have another Act of the game's campaign completed. The next time we've reach a milestone this important, our game's campaign and story will be completed and we'll be exiting Early Access program. So yeah, this is very special for us.


To announce to the world that we've created something special... and awesome, we created a new trailer for our game that highlight on those new things we add to the game after we enter the early access program.



This article is a run-down of the decisions that went into creating it.


Our past methods

Initially the trailers we made for Project Nimbus was planned out with these guidelines:


  • Figured out what we want to communicate through the trailer. What sort of emotion do we want to evoke in the audience?

  • Drafted a script, along with cool catchphrases for close-up shots.

  • Captured footages using in-game playthough. We used a camera-switching script to help capturing the scene from different angles and viewpoints.

  • Editing started by laying down the audio track to establish the mood. The footages then edited in to match the track.


This process was time-consuming, especially during planning. And most of the time the trailers we created didn't really grab the audience's attention as much as we would have hoped.


What we want from this trailer?


Before we created the new trailer, we set up some objectives;


  • The trailer will represent what players can expect from Act 2 of the game.

  • Must draw in new audience, set a good and correct impression of the game.

  • At the same time it has to be interesting to exising Project Nimbus' player base as well. (Remember, we are still in Early Access phase.)

  • Takes advantage of social media platform. (mainly through our Facebook page)  This means the trailer must be interesting in the first 3-4 seconds, else the viewers would just scroll past the video.


Trouble and Limitation

One problem we encountered is that we only have little materials to work with. At this point we are already at halfway point of the game's storyline. There are a lot of cutscene in the game's original script, but we ended up having to sacrificied them due to time-constrants Beautiful cinematic cutscene is unfortunately out of the question at our current capabilities.


Most of the soundtracks in Act 2 of the game are dynamic in nature. The plots are already in motion so there were no music piece that created epicness, only several small tracks that are chained together to create the mood that storyline demanded.


Also, another difficulty in working with Act 2 is that there are many focal point in the story than usual. We kept weighting what to show in the trailer without having the time to deliberate. As a game developer, we would rather not letting promotional material creation cut into the time we spend for the game itself. A bad game is a bad game regardless of how godly it’s trailer is


Back to basic

After a long bout of writing (and re-writing) a rough trailer script without much success, I took a step back and asked myself; "If we are to strip down the trailer to one single core, what should it be? What do we want the most out of it?"


The answer is simply to draw in new audiences. Not to cater to everyone.


Project Nimbus is highly actionized in nature and the best way to go about it is to give the potential viewers exactly that. When I was a mere player, the gameplay in mecha games impressed me the most. There is nothing complicated about it, plain and simple. We used actual gameplay footages without extra camera work that requires digging into game engine. The result is satisfying.


For the voice over, we have Audio Log system before the start of each mission. Players can listen and learn about Project Nimbus' universe without getting distracted in combat. It is also a great pool of resource to provide fitting narrative without unnecessarily lengthening  the new trailer.





While our team never produced many game trailers, the old process still feels very rigid due to our own checklists and high expectations. This created additional unnecessary steps, leading to time not spent on creating the game itself.


For an indie game developer looking to create a promotional material without many resources to draw from (unlike the bigger studios), the best we can do is to keep it tight. Set a low, simple goal and start creating. Sure, you're looking to expand your playerbase as much as possible, but you should be aware of your capabilities at all times.


Project Nimbus is currently on Steam Early Access.

This article was written originally in Thai by Pawee Pakamekanon.
Translate to English and editing by Thananun Pipatchalalai (Concept Artist & Production Assistance of GameCrafterTeam)
Proof editing by Rattapoom Kotchapong (Main mechanical designer of Project Nimbus game)
Final a little bit editing before posting by Pawee.

Read more about:

Featured Blogs
Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like