News and Production Diary

  • May 24, 2013

    The day has finally arrived! Dust: An Elysian Tail is now available on Steam!

    Click here to purchase now!

  • Apr 24, 2013

    Apologies for the small eight month delay since the last update. 2012 was a big year for Humble Hearts and my first game, Dust: An Elysian Tail. I'll be doing a bit of website housecleaning over the next month, but here are some links for those interested in the development of the game.

    • Gamasutra Post-Mortem, where I, along with my co-developers look back on the development of Dust: An Elysian Tail.

    • PAX East Panel, featuring Dean Dodrill (myself) and co-writer Alex Kain. We had a bit of fun with the presentation, and talk about the development of the game. Please ignore the technical audio hiccup at the start, the loud music goes away after a few moments.

    • Direct Link to purchase Dust: An Elysian Tail from Xbox.com for the Xbox 360 console. Avatar items are also available.

    • Official Soundtrack composed by HyperDuck SoundWorks and Funky Rustic, availabe for purchase.

    Finally, the big news is the game will soon be available on Steam! I don't have a launch date yet, but we're probably looking at sometime in May. With that, may I present you with the Steam Announce and Awards trailer, which debuted during the PAX panel.

    Once again, I'll try to make time to do an overhaul on this site to keep it up to date, but for the latest news please visit the Dust:AET Facebook Page or follow me on Twitter (NoogyTweet).

  • Aug 28, 2012

    Where to begin...

    A lot has happened since PAX Boston. For one, Dust: An Elysian Tail made SUCH a huge impression that it secured the final spot of XBLA's Summer of Arcade promotion and was released on August 15th to overwhelmingly positive reviews! Dust:AET is currently scoring an average 8.7 across over 130 reviews! Talk about things happening fast.

    The game is now available to purchase either from the Xbox 360 Dashboard (via Bing Search or the Games/Arcade tab), or through Xbox.com for 1200msp ($15).

    To celebrate I present the launch trailer.

    Over the next few weeks I'll be updating this website with reviews, interviews, behind the scenes articles, and a page for fan art. For more updates (and to join the community) please visit the Dust:AET Facebook Page.

  • Apr 11, 2012

    So, wow! Dust: An Elysian Tail seemed to have make an impression during PAX!

    It's been a full time job just keeping up with the media, but the quickest way to see what's been happening would be via the Facebook Page. I'll do my best to keep the site updated, since I'm pretty swamped wrapping this thing up!

  • Mar 30, 2012

    Hello hello! First off, Dust: An Elysian Tail is nearing the final stages of development. To commemorate, I present to you the final logo for the game!

    While it's still too early to pinpoint a release date, I'm excited to start showing the game off. To that end, Dust: An Elysian Tail will be playable in Microsoft's XBLA booth at PAX East this April! (click on either image for a larger version)

    This will be the first public showing of the game since it won Dream.Build.Play at PAX 2009. I didn't attend that show, but I'll be at this one with a custom taste of what the game has to offer. Please come visit and try it out in booth #524 this April. I almost guarantee that you'll walk away a changed person!

    For a full rundown of the games that will be shown, click here, courtesy of Major Nelson.

  • Dec 15, 2011

    What is this? News?

    So let me see, what's been happening... Dust: An Elysian Tail was entered into this year's IGF competition, so preparing a build for that was exciting. It's a bit nerve wracking knowing so many people will be getting their hands on the game, but that's ok because the game is nearly done!

    I'm wrapping up the last of the background content, and then onto the rest of the creatures, quests, and other polished bits. I'm happy to announce that Dust: An Elysian Tail will feature a fully voiced cast, with casting nearly complete, and I've brought on a cowriter, Alex Kain, to assist with tightening up the script.

    While it still seems there a million things left to do, I'm planning to have the game completed in the first half of 2012. And to be clear, the game is an XBLA exclusive. Expect new media soon!

  • July 7, 2011

    I continue the tradition of timely bi-annual updates! I'd promise more frequent updates, but well... you know.

    Seriously though, Dust: An Elysian Tail is coming along great, and these have been exciting times as I start to see so many elements come together. Many regions are complete, the infrascture for all underlying systems (like inventory, economy, etc.) are finished, the score is in polishing stages, and I'm just burning through gameplay content.

    Sadly I'm not quite ready to show anything publicly, but know that 2011 has been a good year for Dust: An Elysian Tail! As always, for more up to date information, follow me on Twitter as NoogyTweet.

  • January 7, 2011

    Gamasutra has just posted a list of 10 Indie Games To Watch Out For In 2011, and Dust: An Elysian Tail was mentioned! What an honor, although many apologies that this is what finally spurred me to update the site. As usual, I've been doing most of my updates via Twitter as NoogyTweet these days.

    I have, however, been blogging about a piece of background art I've been working on. All of the backgrounds in Dust: An Elysian Tail are hand painted, and in this particular case it's also a piece of character art. You can follow the piece here. Granted, not every texture is this intense, but hopefully this gives a sense of what goes into preparing artwork for the game.

    So this makes it exactly six months since the last update. Again, I'll try to do better with updates, especially now that the end is 'sort' of in sight :) And Happy New year!

  • July 7, 2010

    What a summer this has been! Busy busy.

    Well, the big news is that I finally announced Dust: An Elysian Tail as an official XBox Live Arcade title, courtesy of Microsoft. Not bad for a startup :) Thank you everyone who has been following the game, as I'm putting everything I've got into it.

    Here's the announce trailer for your viewing pleasure.

    Dust: An Elysian Tail is a sidescrolling action-rpg, with an emphasis on crazy combo-based action. Everything in the game is hand-animated, painted, and coded by yours truly, with music by my good friends at HyperDuck Music Studios, with additional music provided by long-time friend Alexander Brandon.

    Fans of 'true' 2D side-scrollers, crazy character-action (a la Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry), and Metroidvanias will find a lot to like with Dust: An Elysian Tail. Coming in 2011.

  • Mar 30, 2010

    PAX East is over, and the most exciting news for me has been the indie stuff. XBLA in particular is making a killing with some of my most anticipated titles, Limbo, Grapple Buggy, and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.

    Limbo is an creepy puzzle/platformer with a distinctly unique graphic style. There have been a few videos circling the web for what seems like an eternity, and even now not a lot is known about the game. But it's at the top of my list for games I'm looking forward to. I'm just happy it's not vaporware!

    Grapple Buggy from Mommy's Best Games announced a publishing deal, and as the only game in this list that I've actually played, I can say that I couldn't be happier. I'm a HUGE Blaster Master fan, and the mechanics that Nathan Fouts have put into this game scratch that gamer itch like few titles do. For some more shmup love, check out his Shoot1Up, currently availage in XBLIG.

    Finally, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a visually insane side-scrolling shooter by master animator Michel Gagne. Michel had a profound impact on me as an amateur animator, and it has been one of my greatest pleasures chatting with him on occasion. I even did a little fan animated piece of Zed, one of his properties. ITSP has always looked awesome, and after a LONG media blackout, this XBLA announcement is the best news I could hope for! Watch out Ikaruga and PixelJunk Shooter, you may have met your match!

    Along with all of the other announcements (Shank, Hydrothunder, Dishwasher 2, Spelunky, Fez, MegaMan 10, etc), this is going to be an awesome year on the XBLA alone.

  • Feb 15, 2010

    I've finally finished my quest system. Dust: An Elysian Tail is primarily an action title, but there are quests and other RPG-light elements to sink your teeth into. As usual the kind folks in the XNA community have always been of great help.

    I've finally integrated a Twitter widget on the side of this page. -->

    I'll be posting little updates and mindless meanderings through Twitter, and keep larger updates in this main news thread.

  • Jan 22, 2010

    Follow me as NoogyTweet on Twitter! It might not be the most exciting Twittering you'll experience, but there I am!

    As soon as I can figure it out, I'll stick a Twitter mini-app onto this website.

    I've also been interviewed over at DGS Online. The interview is in Dutch, but I'll see if I can get an english version somehow.

  • Jan 17, 2010

    Wow, has it been over 3 months since the last update? That's what happens when one tries to do everything himself :)

    Rest assured that production on Dust: An Elysian Tail has been going extremely well. I want to thank everyone who has kindly emailed me to make sure the project is still alive. The process of game development is a slow one, and doesn't make for the most exciting news, but I'll make a better effort to share what I can.

    Speaking of news, I'm hoping to share something big shortly. I'm also in the process of preparing a community forum, so keep your eyes on this spot. Again, thank you for visiting!

  • Sep 28, 2009

    I've done a podcast interview with The Adrenaline Vault. My piece begins around the 17:30 mark. I can't thank the Avault team enough for the privilege of being on their show :)

    Dust: An Elysian Tail was also featured in a segment of the Area5 CO-OP Episode 214. The piece begins at 4 minutes, and features the Dream.Build.Play finalists who were playable at the Penny-Arcade Expo. Most feedback so far has been regarding the visuals, so it's always nice to hear positive hands-on impressions.

  • Sep 17, 2009

    PAX has come and gone, and I'm pleased to say that Dust: An Elysian Tail has won the grand prize from Dream.Build.Play! Considering the quality of submissions this year, it's such an honor that the judges deemed my game worthy of this award.

    Obviously I'm ecstatic, but more importantly, it allows me to make the game all I had hoped it would be. I'm a gamer first, and I started this wanting to make something special... something I wanted to play. And judging from the response so far, it's no surprise that a lot of other gamers want it as well.

    I also won the XNA Indie Games People's Choice at PAX. I want to thank everyone who had a chance to play the game, and of course for placing their vote in me. It's been a pleasure to read the feedback of real gamers, and to know I'm working on something that has been received quite favorably. That makes it all worth it.

    I've added a few interviews to the press page. Dust: An Elysian Tail has also been mentioned in a few podcasts, but I'm guessing it might be too much of a hassle to try and link those. Working on the game keeps me busy enough!

  • Sep 5, 2009

    PAX has begun! For the first time, the public and press are getting their hands on Dust: An Elysian Tail! If you are in the Indie Games booth at PAX, don't forget to vote for your favorite Indie game!

    Here are some kind words from Pixelated Geek.

  • Sep 4, 2009

    What a month! Dust: An Elysian Tail has been nominated as one of the top 6 finalists in Microsoft's Dream.Build.Play competition! This is an incredible honor!

    For those attending the Penny-Arcade Expo, Dust: An Elysian Tail will be playable in Microsoft's Indie Games booth. Sadly I wasn't able to attend this year, but I hope you like what you see!

    It's been an incredibly busy time here. I've since revamped the character and map systems in Dust, and completely overhauled inventory management. I guess you could say I've beefed up the RPG in Action-RPG. But for those who can't stand all that stat-building and leveling up... never fear, you can play it solely as an action game as well.

    I've also made some obvious modifications to the website. This will be an ongoing process, but I hope it better reflects the new developments in the world of Elysian Tail. Thanks for visiting!

  • Aug 8, 2009

    I've had a chance to take a few days off and spend them with my children, and am now ready to get back to work!

    I've done an interview here at Xbox Indies. Many thanks to George for the interview.

    I'll be putting together a list of websites that have featured Dust: An Elysian Tail, as well as prepare some more media, as well as a FAQ. Thanks for visiting!

  • Aug 5, 2009

    I got a mention by Vinnie on the Giant Bomb! And there aint nothing wrong with that :)

    And some high praise over at Kotaku! The comments there seem to be pretty favorable... thanks everyone!

    I am currently preparing a press kit with screenshots, as well as revamping the website over the next week. Until then, here's a Quick Fact Sheet:

    I'm the sole developer on this project. I'm handling the programming, writing, artwork, and sound effects/voices.

    I've brought on two talented composers; accomplished artist Alexander Brandon, and up-and-coming artist Chris Geehan.

    Dust: An Elysian Tail has been in development for around seven months. Eight months ago I picked up programming for the first time, so it's been an incredible race since then. The property is based on my franchise Elysian Tail, which also encompasses an independently animated feature film that's been in the works for nearly 8 years. The feature film and video game are independent of one another. Each has its own story and characters, and other than the general setting and artistic style, have nothing to do with eachother.

  • Aug 5, 2009

    I've finally finished my Dream Build Play submission of Dust: An Elysian Tail! Here's the first 'Official' teaser.

    I'll be taking a few days this week to revamp the website to better reflect what I've been doing. Expect more media and news shortly. I'm going to sleep for a week!

  • May 21, 2009

    For not having made much of an announcement, the teaser for Dust: An Elysian Tail certainly has made the rounds! I'm seeing a few shoutouts at various gaming sites and forums, one of note at Destructoid.

    Response has been generally favorable, which is always reassuring, particularly since I haven't shown a whole lot yet. I am willing to share a nice hi-res screen though.

  • May 20, 2009

    Spring is 'finally' here, so it's time for an update!

    2009 saw some interesting developments for Elysian Tail. Particularly since I decided to take a little break and expand the universe a bit in the form of a video game. Sometime around January I decided to take up programming again (it had been nearly 20 years since I coded anything), and saw appeal in XNA, Microsoft's game development framework. A few months later and I've got a first tease of the game tentavely titled Dust: An Elysian Tail.

    Here's the video. Remember this is extremely early, and much of it is already outdated.

    I'll be making an official announcement soon, as well as a slight redesign to the site to reflect the game. It's been a breath of fresh air working on it. It's almost like working on the film, but at about 10 times the speed :) Look for more news soon!

  • Dec 24, 2008

    Another year, another update :) Merry Christmas, and I promise to have another update well before next Christmas!

    2008 was a CG-heavy year for Elysian Tail. I completed what I consider one of the money sequences, an action-packed tour de force involving the lead heroine, Bonnie. Obviously the film is still 'traditionally' animated, but the amount of CG I used exceeded what I had originally planned.

    At the moment I'm busy building a number of characters in CG to use in various sequences. I've spent the last few months tightening up my modelling/rigging skills, and furthering my cloth simulation and advanced mapping skills. At the moment I could probably do some pretty advanced photorealistic CG, but that isn't my goal. These have been great tools while conforming to the style I've set for Elysian Tail.

    I'm nearing the moment where I can start animating sequences with our 'villain'. And it's true what they say, a strong (and entertaining) villain can almost be more imporant than your protagonists.

    Finally, a big thank you to all of you who have emailed me for updates and interest in the film. That's particularly impressive when I haven't shared an email address on this site :) I will try to get one set up so I can share it publicly, but I do appreciate every message. I know the current site is fairly barebones, which is on purpose, but somehow some of my old 'fans' have kept up with me. Thanks!

  • Oct 25, 2007

    Wow, has it been over a year since the last update? My apologies, I'll try to do better on the website. It's been quite a hectic year (for the film and myself), but things are starting to settle and hopefully I'll be able to update more often.

    Since the last update I've been working on one of the 'big' action sequences for the film. I've taken inspiration from many of my favorite directors and video games for what I hope to be something extraordinary, and it's been a thrill to finally see it put to 'film'. I've probably made these sequences much more complex than any single person should, but I believe the payoff speaks for itself. One of the shots is 20 seconds long and involves about 12 characters; CG and traditional. I'll have some more artwork up shortly, although I don't want to spoil 'too' much. There's a reason most of the screenshots so far have been from the same few sequences.

    Otherwise there's little news to update with. The film, while rewarding, is obviously a slow process. Personally I've kept busy with family and video games, to keep my mind going crazy working on such a large project.

    In other semi-animated news, I felt compelled to share this bit with you regarding Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strips and easily my favorite American artist. There is a new bio coming out, and the Schulz family has had some strong criticm over its contents. I had read excerpts and the book paints Schulz as unloving and cold, and his children have come to his defense. Head on over to Cartoon Brew for the story, and to read some comments by his family.

  • Oct 7, 2006

    This is an exciting time because I've begun work on Segment 5. The reason this is of significance is that I'm finally getting to animate the heroine in some cool action sequences. Interestingly I've found most of my action inspiration from video games. Particularly with sword fighting.

    I'm currently working on a very bold and lengthy shot involving a lot of 3D camera work. It takes five times longer than a traditional shot (purely cg or traditional), but it's incredibly fulfilling to see it slowly come together. I spent a couple weeks simply building assets for these few shots, and it's finally paying off.

    In other news, animator/director Phil Nibbelink has made history by being the first person to single handedly animate a full length feature film. While there have been other independent features, his is the first of this caliber, worthy to compete at the box office against your usual studio films. Check out the website to his film, Romeo and Juliet - Sealed With a Kiss. From one indie to another, congratulations Phil!

  • Aug 9, 2006

    Thank you all for visiting. Although I've intentionally done very little to advertise the site, we've already received nearly a thousand visits in the short time that it's been up. I want to thank my new webhost, Barron Hosting for hosting the site, and I highly recommend them for anyone needing a good service. Their customer support thus far has been top notch, and they have great rates.

    I rarely get to animate cycles for the film, as they tend to look, well, like cycles. But I finished a shot where Leddinger is working on his bike (Seg03 Sc055c), and it was fun to get a bit of extra mileage out of using a cycle, quite sparingly of course. Ahh, if I could only complete footage at that speed at all times.

    I'm also doing a few bolder scenes as well. The last six months have been spent mostly on dialogue, and although I'm not doing full-on action, at least the characters are moving around a bit more and doing stuff. Always makes it a little easier to animate. After I finish this sequence, I'm dying to do some really bold action stuff.

    I don't spend much time online, but I do occasionally participate over at the Animation Nation forums. A great place for professionals and fans alike. And I'm currently finding a lot of inspiration from xerox-era Disney. Milt Kahl's Medusa has been quite humbling for me as an animator.

  • Jul 24, 2006

    The teaser website for Elysian Tail has been put back online. Yes, we are still here, and production is moving along at a brisk pace. A good bit footage been completed, and once again early feedback has been promising.

    Several new pieces of art have also been added to the gallery.

    Segment 04, a seventeen minute stretch of film, was completed last year. Originally started as just a proof of concept, Segment 04 blossomed into a great piece of acting, action, and animation. I'm currently working on the end of Segment 03, a scene involving Leddinger, one of the lead protagonists, and his daughter, Tika.

  • Aug 18, 2003

    More screenshots uploaded, as well as a frame of rough animation. The fanart section grows daily as well, so be sure to check it out!

    I've had the opportunity to give a sneak preview to a select few people that I've worked with in the past, and reaction has always been positive. The film is coming along great, and every day we get a little closer to the dream. Once a large enough portion of the film has been completed, you can be sure to find a trailer as well as a revamped website right here.

  • Mar 22, 2003

    Since the last update I've been adding a slow stream of images. We are nearing completion of our first segment (there are roughly 16 segments to the film). Six minutes of footage is complete, and it's looking great! Keep checking this space for more info as it is released! Also, don't forget that my personal page, Noogy.com (currently down), is updated more often and full of updates on the film. Thanks for visiting!

  • July 27, 2002

    We have put up a Fan Art Gallery for Elysian Tail. If you would like to contribute artwork and have it uploaded to the gallery, please email me. (fanart and email currently offline)

  • April 2, 2002

    The Official Elysian Tail website goes live!





Elysian Tail, Dust: An Elysian Tail, and Humble Hearts Dean Dodrill. All rights reserved.



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