Inside Nekovia — Game of Paws: New Map, Objectives and Cat Movements

Nyan Heroes
12 min readJul 5, 2023


Calling all Heroes.

It’s time for another round of “Inside Nekovia”! In our most recent Town Hall a few of you were asking about creating a regular cadence for public development updates. To keep you on your toes (or paw pads), we will continue bringing these Inside Nekovia updates for longer and more detailed news while we look into new methods of sharing small updates more often in the future.

We’re bringing some game-changing tweaks to the table, including more vibrant art, a roster of audio geniuses, and a game experience that’s sure to leave you purring with excitement. Are your whiskers twitching yet? We’re also adding new maps, thrilling objectives, and a locomotion upgrade that will have our feline friends moving like never before. So buckle up and get ready to explore the exciting evolution of our world!


Our concept team has been tirelessly laying the foundation for a fresh art style under our evolving direction. We’re stepping away from realism and meticulously crafting a world of Nekovia. This world, a brainchild of cats for cats, is a battleground for riveting mech confrontations, set in diverse environments such as our latest — an Inca-inspired, ancient temple infused with Nyan Technology.

This visual transformation underscores a sense of fun and exploration, signifying a shift from conventional cyberpunk to a more immersive multiplayer adventure. As we navigate through this metamorphosis, our aspiration is to captivate a larger audience. These elements overlap, shaping an exhilarating Nyan universe!

At the heart of the ancient temple, a tower-like high-tech facility emerges, built to extract a form of energy or resource from the site. This intriguing structure, resting atop the remains of a stone temple, showcases a platform with upward-tapering walls, suggesting an energy accumulation function.

The exploration of this direction has been an invigorating journey, involving close collaboration between our design team, 3D team, and tech art to ensure that the visuals harmonize with the game’s overall aesthetics. We’re excited to preview this level in the upcoming months and to continue refining our art style and direction, delivering the finest gaming experience for your enjoyment!

3D Art

Currently, our focus is on Environment Art as the first priority. Our game environment features a captivating, new approach that departs from hyper-realism. Although still a work in progress, we are already embracing the allure of this new direction.

Behind the scenes, we saw an opportunity to embrace the beauty of stylization, which we believe better suits our gameplay. Despite the fact that most of our artists have experience creating realistic game assets, we spent the past few months honing their talents and broadening their creative horizons through stylization workshops and training sessions.

We also encouraged experimentation, pushing our artists to think outside the box and take risks. A collaborative culture was fostered where knowledge, discoveries, and techniques were shared freely. Insightful feedback was provided to help refine their artwork.

But that’s not all! We also assembled an extensive collection of materials with a particular emphasis on stylized art, such as ebooks, guides, online references, and online courses. These resources provided our artists with ideas and information as they studied how to make stylized art.

We believe the past few months of training were a great success, but don’t just take our word for it. Enjoy the pictures and videos that our team will be sharing to see the stunning artwork resulting from our tireless efforts! :)


It’s been an exciting and busy couple of months for us audio nerds as we march valiantly towards the pre-alpha. In this time, we’ve had updates and additions across core gameplay sound effects, received new ‘toys’ to play with, designed the in-game dialogue system, made a start on music, and benefitted from a much needed bolstering of the audio team. It’s also summer here so we get to wear shorts AND see some actual daylight in the studio!

Audio Team: Not with one, but TWO new audio cats joined our ranks this quarter! They’re both settling in wonderfully, so let’s roll out the red carpet, shall we?

  • Sonsoles Jordan parachuted in as our Senior Technical Sound Designer. Technical sound designers are like the backstage rockstars, managing the fireworks of audio assets in the game and ensuring everything sounds pitch-perfect. With her VR background, Sonso is our resident maestro of 3D spatial audio systems. Kudos!
  • Next, we’ve got Matt Besler, our newly crowned Principal Sound Designer. Think of ‘Principal’ as a secret code for “I’m the audio guru making magic with soundscapes”. Matt’s been crafting game soundscapes since before games were a thing. He honed his skills in the movie and TV industry before moonwalking into Bioware. Now, he’s our ‘Chief Mechs and Weapons guy’.

Technical Tune-Ups

These early stages of development are a golden ticket to spruce up our core systems and tools. So, we’ve been cooking up some tech magic:

  • Weapon System Refactor: We wanted our weapons to not just look good, but sound legendary. Our new system lets us curate the entire firing sequence, offering a more immersive, pulse-pounding experience.
  • 1P/3P System: This system is like an audio cloak of invisibility. It allows us to customize sound events for the player and other players, resulting in a harmonious symphony of chaos during fights. There are many advantages to such a system, but the most notable is probably the weapon fire. With this system, we can design and mix different experiences depending on whether the player is firing the weapon (e.g. stereo with more detailed layers) or if the sound is coming from other players (e.g. more distant sounding). This also gives us much more control over the mixing, ensuring that hectic fire fights don’t sound too messy.
  • Locomotion: From automatic footstep sound triggers to unique sounds based on material detection and mech class, we’re giving sound a life of its own in Nyan Heroes.
  • Collision Detection In the past, we had to manually add notifies to each animation file to trigger footstep sound effects every time the foot hit the floor. Considering the number of animation files that go into a game like this, it was a tedious task. Thanks to the engineering team, we now have an automated system that saves us countless hours of work. Although someone explained how the system works to me once, I prefer to think of it as witchcraft (the good kind).
  • Material Detection In addition, we now have the added bonus of material detection. This common feature in most games enables us to detect the surface underfoot and design unique sounds for each material, which is always a highlight when it’s first implemented.
  • Mech Class Finally, as the Medic and Warrior classes are being added to the game, we have a system that allows us to create distinct audio based on class, so we can define unique sounds for each of the mechs.

Sound Design

While improving our systems, we also focused on enhancing other game areas — particularly Abilities. Although they’re still under development, our Lead Sound Designer Oli has shared a couple of works in progress:

  • Warp — The Warp ability offers players the opportunity to teleport a short distance from their current position. It’s very quick to perform and quite percussive in its sequencing, so we wanted the corresponding audio to be impactful and punchy, while suggesting a feeling of movement.
  • Heal Bot — The Heal Bot is more of a gadget than an ability. It is a device carried by the Medic that can be deployed within the map to heal players within its effect radius. Our emphasis was to create a playful nature for the bot’s movement, as well as add character and personality to it through the introduction of droid-like vocal elements.

And as a special treat, here’s the first episode of Oli’s new feature “Oli’s Fun Corner,” in which Oli gives us a brief glimpse into the fascinating world of a sound designer. Go on, put the kettle on…


It has been a long time coming, but this quarter we have started working on the in-game dialogue. The purpose of the dialogue is to give a voice to the titular feline heroes, lend them character and personality as they navigate the battlefield, and also communicate key gameplay events to help players better understand what is going on mid-skirmish. At the time of writing, the system and logic have just been submitted to the build. Our next steps will be to define the ruleset for where certain lines can be heard (and by whom), tweak the behavior of the sound over distance, and also define the post-processing that will govern whether the dialogue will be heard ‘broadcast’ from the mechs themselves or via wireless comms devices.

We are currently using an (admittedly, fairly decent sounding) AI speech synthesis tool as we implement and test the system. However, next on the agenda will be a round of casting, followed by recording sessions with REAL LIVE HUMAN BEINGS! Your jobs are safe for the time being, guys!

There is not much to demo at this stage, but stay tuned for updates in the next newsletter.


And finally, let’s talk about the music. If you remember from our previous “Inside Nekovia” post, we had just started working on a mood board to brainstorm ideas for the score’s instrumentation. Well, here is the board in all its glory:

We’ve broken things down into relevant sections for our core ensemble and used the space to list conceptual ideas, areas for exploration, reference sounds, and a few questions. In a nutshell, we want to explore world music and vocals, along with a fusion of big, acoustic percussion and electronic rhythmic elements.

Our next steps will be to take the above and begin some sketching work to experiment with different sounds and instruments, develop some early thematic content, and ultimately create a sonic palette that we’re confident to carry forward to the composition stage. More to come on that in our next post!


Advanced Cat Locomotion — Our design team has been nose to the grindstone, fine-tuning the Cat Locomotion systems. In addition to polishing the system with updated animations and functionality, we’ve been experimenting with momentum-based physics. This means that your movements will be much more dynamic and present an emergent movement. Players will be able to use their skills to gain high speeds that can be used to outrun, flank, or maneuver their opponents. The most skilled players will truly achieve cat-like speed and reflexes, and we can’t wait to see what our players are capable of within this new system!

Game Objectives — We’re testing a fresh “4-teams of 3 players” mode. In this adrenaline-fueled race, each team is on a mission to capture an artifact and deliver it to an extraction location. The thrilling catch? Matches often come down to the wire, with teams clawing their way to victory. It’s a true test of team strategy and the expert use of Cat Locomotion. While we plan on continuing to develop the systems, we’re very happy with the foundation we’ve built so far.

Level Design — From the creative minds of our Art Team, we’ve crafted a multi-layered PvP map with underground paths, wall-running routes, Cat-a-pault launchers, and “catwalks” for our nimble players. Tying together our innovative movement systems and gameplay modes has been very challenging, but we’re finally understanding how to harness the full potential of our core systems. The new map offers a great testing ground for our new game modes, and soon we’ll be expanding the map, offering opportunities for exploring, looting, and more mechanical feline mayhem.


This month, our Narrative team has been hard at work in collaboration with our Audio department to give your Nyans a voice!

Most games have dialogue known as barks, where characters shout in reaction to gameplay. Think of a character shouting when performing a special attack, or characters panicking at an incoming grenade. Soon, the Battledome will be filled with banter and combat chatter, breathing more life into your multiplayer matches!

We have been prototyping our bark system this month and are dipping our toes into voice acting. We hope to share more in the future!


In the Engine Room: Workflow & Pipelines — Over the past few weeks, the engineering team has been working hard to streamline our development workflows. We have implemented notable workflow improvements to our source control process to maximize productivity and reduce development inefficiency.

We have expanded our pipeline with new tools to handle automatic crash reporting collection and triage.

We have rolled out a new pipeline build and deployment system to support future efforts to generate and publish builds to the Epic Store.

Pick-up System Re-architecture — To better meet the design and vision needs of our game, the engineering gameplay team has taken on the foundational task of re-architecting our pickup system from the ground up. The new system is optimized for a multiplayer environment, supports different types of pickups (weapons, consumables, etc.), and is more designer-friendly. Additionally, it is architected in such a way as to make future expansion easier.

Weapon System Improvements — The weapon system is a vital component of any shooter game, and Nyan Heroes is no exception. To establish a strong combat foundation, we have refined the internals of our current weapons system, improved its responsiveness, and streamlined the design interface to make it efficient to customize the behavior of the weapons using the Unreal Engine Blueprint.

We are constantly refining and improving the codebase for the weapons system to support different types of weapons (projectile, energy, and kinetic) and ensure the behavior and gameplay impact aligns with each type.


For Nyan Heroes, we are constantly striving for new heights, and our presentation at GDC in March 2023 demonstrated just that. Thanks to some really helpful feedback, we decided to spice things up by adding playable mini-games and a full level complete with gameplay loop and some eye-catching art. It’s a tall order, but with our new Art Director on board, we’re more than up to the challenge.

After reorganizing our team, we got straight to work. The production crew split into two teams: the Mini-Games team and the Q2 Demo team. Their efforts were aligned with our studio’s key objectives and results.

The Mini-Games team is focused on delivering a player-centric experience, ensuring that the games are not only functional but also enjoyable. Our first Mini-game is an AI mech tool. This project lays the foundation for marketing strategies, analytics, live content bug fixing, customer service and more.

Meanwhile, our Q2 Demo Team is pouring their creativity into a level that’s a work of art in itself. The level will showcase three player classes: the sleek Assassin, the vital Medic, and the robust Warrior. We can’t wait to let you explore this cat-inspired world of intense mech battles.

In addition to these developments, we have also been working behind the scenes to improve our internal tools, processes, and communication. Our production team is committed to delivering on well-planned, scoped, and managed objectives. We are also hiring for key roles to strengthen our team and continue delivering on our promise of an engaging game.

Wrapping Up

What a thrilling exploration that was! From the innovative strokes of our art team to the dynamic sounds coming from our expanding audio crew, the world of Nekovia continues to evolve and thrive. As we march towards future milestones, we promise to keep up the momentum, making the Nekovian universe more immersive and exciting. We’re eagerly waiting to see our brave Nekovians leverage their newfound cat-like speed and reflexes on our newly designed maps and objectives.

Stay tuned for more inside scoops from the captivating world of Nekovia. Thank you for your ongoing support and remember — every day is a day for a new adventure in Nekovia!

About Nyan Heroes

Nyan Heroes is a free-to-play hero shooter that combines fast-paced, competitive gameplay with a real-world impact. Developed by a remote team of seasoned game developers and powered by Unreal Engine 5 and blockchain technology, Nyan Heroes pays homage to cats and offers a AAA multiplayer experience with epic mech character classes, thrilling cat-like movements, and unique gameplay abilities.

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