What's coming for Nova Drift? Will Nova Drift be supported with more free content?

Yes! Please take a look at the roadmap:

When is Full Release / Why aren't there any dates on the roadmap?

This may be a controversial statement, but I believe that release dates are usually made to the detriment of a project. Budgeting time for games is notoriously difficult, even for veterans, because so much of a game's needs are revealed while a game grows and evolves. Games aren't engineered from schematics. You typically start with a broad concept, prototype it, and then get some hands on it. After receiving feedback from players and peers, you iterate continuously based on that feedback and your own intuition. The cycle continues, and while it does, it informs the developer's understanding of what the game is good at and what it is bad at. This process leads to further inspiration, new features, or reworks of old systems. At times, even the best planned features end up needing to be removed or replaced entirely. And this is good! It's all part of the journey to finding that great gameplay.

Doing this well takes time, and anyone who thinks they know how long any given feature or project will take is really just doing their best to guess. Being beholden to a deadline by a publisher or store is how you get crunch, unpolished games, or worse: Unfinished games. Beyond this, I've just been doing this long enough to know that I get vastly more accomplished when I don't feel the pressure of a deadline.

All of this is to say that Nova Drift's features take as long as they take to get them right. If a player isn't happy with them, I'm not happy. And, it's like Miyamoto said:

A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.

How often does the game get updated?

About every 4-6 months. You can get in on the unfinished builds early, if you want to! Check it out:

How can I beta test or play on the experimental branch?

To access the BETA or EXPERIMENTAL branches on Steam:

  • Right click the game in your Library and go to properties
  • Switch to the BETAS tab
  • Choose the branch you'd like to access
  • Exit Steam and restart it to force the update
  • No, really, you have to restart Steam!

The beta branch is to try out upcoming features that aren't ready for a public release.

The experimental branch is to try out incomplete or unstable features that are works in progress. It's liable to have crashes.

Note that these branches don't always exist, they usually go up a few weeks before a major update. When reporting bugs, please remember to state which branch you were using! The main menu also shows the version number in the bottom right corner.

Why doesn't Nova Drift use Twin-Stick controls?

I get this question often, and it's an understandable perspective, especially with the current popularity of twin-stick shooters. But their ubiquity is a big part of why I wanted to do something different. Nova Drift is a "retro-evolution" of a 1970s - 1980s arcade mechanic I felt deserved more exploration. Forgoing twin-stick controls is core to the design and the titular "Drift" mechanic. Players must learn to set themselves in motion in anticipation of enemy actions, retaliating while drifting in low friction. The result is sort of a graceful fluidity which provides something very different than most twin-sticks and bullet hells, which lean more toward lightning-fast twitch reactions. It also means that positioning and facing matter, which allows for unique abilities that the game leverages, such as ramming enemies head-on, burning enemies with your thrusters, or building around a front-facing shield barrier.

While this design decision does cause some friction from new players, a large number of players have also told me they're grateful for the unique choice. In the end, I made the game that I wanted to exist, not the game that was popular.

That said, the game has an alternate control scheme, Directional, where the stick designates the target direction the ship should rotate to face, rather than the default clockwise or counter-clockwise steering. If you're having trouble with the default controls on Gamepad, please try switching to Directional, or give the mouse controls a try (These work by default.)

Will the game have Mod Support / Steam Workshop?

Games made in Game Maker Studio 2 are not easily modable, so this won't be officially supported. However, some people have managed to edit the game's guts. If you can, go for it.

What about Global Leaderboards? Build Sharing?

Some of you have noticed that the Steam leaderboards get hacked often, and the in-game leaderboards aren't global or terribly robust. This is changing! I may be working with someone to begin adding our own integrated leaderboards, which allow you to opt into some cool stuff including the ability to:

  • Share your build
  • Analyze or import your friend's builds/ try out top-tier builds
  • Compare global stats
  • View analytics for each build, mod & gear

While this feature is under construction, you can play with this build sharing tool made by YellowAfterLife.

Steam? DRM Free? Where else is it being sold?

You can buy Nova Drift from many places:

GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/nova_drift (DRM free!)

Itch: https://pixeljam.itch.io/nova-drift

Crytivo: https://crytivo.com/en/nova-drift

Fanatical: https://www.fanatical.com/en/game/nova-drift

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/858210/Nova_Drift/

Is Nova Drift coming to consoles?

I hope so! With any success with full release, this will be an obvious choice. I'm particularly excited to see the game on Switch, it seems like a perfect match.


Likely, by Full Release. In the mean time, Steam has a feature, Proton, that will allow you to play the PC version on a Linux machine. It should just work.


I've gotten the game to run on an iPhone 10, but it requires more optimization. I'll try, could be tough, no promises.

Will you add multiplayer?

TL;DR: It's massively out of scope / budget.

It's easy to see why this is a popular request! That would be so cool. Unfortunately, it would be a monumental feat, even for a much larger team. Multiplayer games need to be designed to be multiplayer from the ground up, though there have been a few exceptions. In addition to the need to re-create the foundation of the whole game, it acts as a sort of multiplier on the total amount of work any given feature requires. I'd much rather keep the pace of giving you cool stuff regularly than disrupt the entire roadmap to attempt to pull it off. Even if I wanted to, the hired work required would exceed the game's small budget. So, my focus is on a really, really good single player experience. A big part of Nova Drift's success has been recognizing and understanding the limit of what (mostly) one person can achieve.

However, whispers speak of a theoretical future sequel being "Local Multiplayer-first".

How does the full version differ from the early access version?

Early access focuses on the meat of the game: The upgrade system, the core gameplay loop, and game balance. Nova Drift's endless mode is a perfect arena to focus test player abilities, enemy capabilities, and game flow. The full version will include the campaign, a game mode with a final fight and an ending. During early access, the game will also gain additional features such as new upgrades, greater challenges for veteran players, optimizations, more musical tracks, polish, and more customization. For more details, please view the roadmap above.

Will the price change after the early access?

The price of Nova Drift is likely to gradually increase as it becomes more sophisticated and closer to Full Release. I expect the final price will be closer to $20.

I'd like to become an official tester

That's awesome! Please join the Discord. Once there, if you'd like to be pinged whenever there's a new experimental or beta build, type ?rank Game Tester in the #bot-spam channel to get the Game Tester role.

I'd like to report a bug

The best way to make sure I see it is the #bugs channel on the Discord. You can also report them in the bugs thread on Steam, but that's just #bugs with extra steps ;)

How do I use debug mode?

Instructions are here.

Help! I lost my save file!

The game does have cloud sync, on Steam, but if you lose it due to corruption, I can help.

Once you've run the game on steam once, there's a save ini file in:


Just change USER to your user name. Once you're there you can edit that file in notepad Near the end you'll find "accountLevel". Change it from 0.00000 to whatever you want, where 63 is, at time of writing this, max unlocks. You can also move this save file between computers.

My game is laggy

It isn't supposed to be, at least not with a good computer, unless you're really going out of your way to spam bullets. There are a lot of reasons this can happen, so please view this troubleshooting thread.

What inspired this project?

I wrote a lot about that, here. Beyond Path of Exile, the game takes strong influence from games with solid upgrade mechanics such as Borderlands 2, The Binding of Isaac, Warframe, Divinity 2, and Mass Effect 3. Nova Drift aspires to to cram those juicy upgrade mechanics into a 15-30 minute experience. Short games allow you to experiment rapidly with many different build strategies.

Any advice for an aspiring game developer?

Years ago, during Nova Drift's Kickstarter, I wrote an article about that, you can read it here. I hope to write a follow up article, expounding on everything I've learned since. We also have a channel on the Discord called #game-dev-help where us developers hang out and help eachother. I'm always happy to give advice about breaking in or improving. Or about anything, really.

What was Nova Drift created in? Why?

GameMaker 2! GameMaker lets you execute ideas incredibly fast, and it's one of the better choices for purely 2d games. For people like me, with an art background, it's super easy to learn compared to the other choices.

Who made it?

I'm Jeffrey Nielson "Chimeric" the game's creator, a mostly-one-man dev team, I get by with a little help from my friends. I've been working on the game over the last 6 years. Miles Tilmann (of Pixeljam Games - does anyone remember Dino Run?) created the soundtrack and audio. He also publishes and markets the game! What a useful guy. Additionally, Ken Miller (of Battlezone fame), has been helping out with his clutch code support and expertise in his down time. Soren Lily, our CM and a math enthusiast,  has also been a huge help with balance and technical design. Credit also goes to the awesome localizers and game testers who have helped make it global and bug-free!

Is the Dev responsive?

I try to be as approachable as I can manage, and to behave like a person and not a company. Please do feel free to talk to me about the game, or anything else, on the Discord. I'm usually really busy, but I love our community and I do my best to strike a balance. I also like to hang out in the #other-games channel and talk about what I'm playing to unwind.

How do you even pronounce "Chimeric"?

Kai-mer-ic. Not "ch". Like Chimera.

I'm bilingual and I'd like to help out with the localization

We use a tool called Localizor to crowd-source the translation of the game. You can earn prestige by suggesting correct translations of strings into other languages, and earn games as rewards. (But even more importantly, you earn our undying love and appreciation!) For Nova Drift, we need to translate everything into the target language in a way that makes sense considering Nova Drift's technical terminology. That's where you come in. Those of you who know these languages and play the game are in the best position to figure out how to localize the text in a way that gets the meaning across. We also need your help to figure out which fonts look the best in the game. If you're not already part of Nova Drift's localization effort, you can get involved by going to https://www.localizor.io/game/15/translations and creating an account. Once you've done that, you can coordinate on the #localization channel of the Discord. There are translation efforts going in a lot of languages thanks to our hardworking community, and many suggested translations already - but we need people to vote on those suggestions to verify that they're accurate!

Can I use Nova Drift assets in my project?

Creating freeware, fan art, or school projects that use Nova Drift assets is fine provided that the following things are true: - There is no way for users to purchase something that contains the assets on any platform or service. This includes Itch.io's "pay what you want" option - You do not release the project on Steam, even for free If you want to release the project for free on another game platform, you may only if you've received permission from Chimeric or Pixeljam

I have some great ideas for the game

Awesome, I'd like to hear them. Please visit the Discord and submit in #submit-feedback. There's a pin there with instructions.

A note about writing good feature requests:

Consider the game's scope, roadmap, and its greatest needs. Nova Drift is primarily developed by one person, and this means that ideas for new features are never the bottleneck, time is. Most everybody who submits a feature wants to design a new mod or new gear, but for every 100 submitted, I probably only have time to build one of them. I love seeing your new ideas, but the reality is that there is always more supply than demand. What the game needs most is:

  • Actionable feedback on existing features, suggestions for pacing, difficulty, and user interface
  • Thoughtful analysis of mechanics and requests for balance changes
  • Ideas for (minor) quality of life changes that could make the game more fun or keep you playing

How else can I help Nova Drift?

Reviews. Reviews are everything!

Thanks to you guys, Nova Drift has 98% positive reviews. That's awesome! However, as the game is introduced to larger audiences, this will be increasingly difficult to maintain, especially once outside of early access. Indie games with little to no marketing budget like Nova Drift depend on positive reviews to convince content creators and streamers to spread the word about the game, as well as to entice larger businesses, like consoles, to work with us. This is good news for players, as small developers must rely on creating great games instead of paid advertising in order to succeed– but it only works if the community has our back!

Does Chimeric have a Patreon?

I have a paypal, chimericgames@gmail.com

What games do you recommend?

I'd like to focus on indie games that I think deserve more exposure than they get.

  • Ring of Pain (A unique and difficult card dungeon with darkly outstanding presentation.)
  • Slice and Dice (A retro dice-rolling rogue-lite with a gigantic roster of playable characters, each with their own unique dice. Clever, super replayable, and slickly designed)
  • SNKRX (Snake-meets-autobattler with RPG class systems on each segment. Masterful minimalist design at only $2.99)
  • Adore  (A promising monster capturing & summoning rogue-lite early in its development)
  • Trials of Fire (Deckbuilding meets tactics with D&D style narrative. Rock solid)
  • Subnautica & Subnautica Below Zero (An outstanding and gorgeous underwater exploration and crafting experience. Do science, survive ghastly leviathans)
  • EXO-ONE (A zen experience, glide and roll an amorphous alien saucer across vast alien expanses)
  • Synthetik (Stylish as anything rogue-lite top-down shooter. Great for gun nuts. Another instance of "Just one more run!")
  • Dawncaster (Mobile pve rogue deckbuilder. I'm amazed at the value of this game. I've got to be 100+ hours in and still more building tools are being unlocked every day)

Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

I don't understand why this is debated. Let's break it down: Horses are animals who are more or less limited to biting or battering you. There's no venom or claws to speak of and neither are predators, so killer instinct is out of the equation. When it comes to a showdown in the animal kingdom, it almost always comes down to mass. It's a simple matter of physics. Even the most efficient killers have trouble bringing down something out of their weight class. A duck is no threat, but there's no question of the damage a swan-sized bird can do, let alone a horse-sized one. To be perfectly clear: You absolutely do not want to fight any amount of "horse-sized" anything. The force required to flap those massive wings would shatter anyone. 100 duck-sized horses, on the other hand, just couldn't bring to bear the force to do much of anything to you. Moreover, considering how spooked horse-sized horses can be of even duck-sized anythings, I don't think they'd have much confidence going against a human-sized opponent. You might say they'd form an adorable stampede, but I just don't see this ending in anything beyond a tangled pile-up for them. Do not choose the horse-duck.

Ask me anything

I am an open book. You can always ask in the Discord, we've got a great community who can answer questions, too!