The good folks at Vlambeer were another of the devs featured in the Indie Megabooth that we found our way to early in the show. They were showing off a game called Super Crate Box. I’m afraid my memories of this little rendezvous are limited entirely to the Challenge.
Task: Secret Challenge (Get ten crates on Super Crate Box)
I achieved this, but it took almost the entire time our official shmoozer was talking to the devs, because I have the reflexes and coordination of a tranquilized giraffe. However, just to prove that I CAN get more than 10, I present this picture.
Dev: Rami Ismail
BrainLazy: What title would you like to discuss?
Rami Ismail: We’re not really a ‘one project’-studio, mostly because our development process is a bit of a mess by any standard of measurement. What we do is prototyping a lot of tiny ideas, then check the results and see what is worthwhile to develop, explore or reassess. If we find anything worth working a bit more on, we see if they stay fun to work on. Basically, we try to work on the games we love to make.
That wouldn’t be that much of an issue, if it weren’t for the fact that we can’t just turn that off while we’re working on something. As such, we’re currently working on four separate projects. One of those is a port of Super Crate Box and another isn’t far along enough to decide whether we’ll keep working on it.
Most people have someway heard of Ridiculous Fishing by now, especially with all the drama surrounding the cloning controversy last year. Ridiculous Fishing is a game about traditional fishing with shotguns and chainsaws for iOS. We’ve been working on the game with an amazing team – Zach ‘stfj’ Gage (Spelltower, Bit Pilot), Greg ‘aeiowu’ Wohlwend (Solipskier, Puzzlejuice, Gasketball) and Eirik ‘Phlogiston’ Suhrke (Super Crate Box, Spelunky) are respectively doing coding, art and music for the game. While Ridiculous Fishing is taking a long time to be developed, all of us really needed to take a step back from the project after the whole cloning debacle.
The last one is LUFTRAUSERS. It’s a 2D-dogfighting game based on a Flash minigame we made last year to try and sell to a Flash portal for some money. The game is centered around air acrobatics and being the coolest pilot in the world flying an experimental airplane, set to a pumping DJ Kozilek (GUN GODZ, Yeti Hunter) soundtrack. Sadly, selling it didn’t work out due to potential buyers dubbing the game ‘too extreme’, so we released the original game for free on our website. Either way, the game got a lot of attention and praise, so we decided to revisit the project and create it as a full-fledged PC game. That game is LUFTRAUSERS.
BL: What were the inspirations for these titles? How did you conceive of the ideas?
RI: The idea for Ridiculous Fishing came to be when Jan Willem, the designer here at Vlambeer, was watching a documentary about tuna fishing. There was one slow-motion shot of a fish being flung into the air in front of a sunset and for some reason, that connected to Duck Hunt in his mind. We then spent a month creating and polishing a highly minimalist gameplay loop, which is the core of the game.
For LUFTRAUSERS, the game was conceived during a two-day jam we did. Basically, we were a bit bored, decided to take a break and make something cool with our artist-in-crime Paul ‘Pietepiet’ Veer and KOZILEK.
BL: Do the games differ greatly from the original concepts? What inspired the changes and how did the titles evolve? Why did you choose your current directions?
RI: Well, obviously, ideas evolve all the time during implementation. Some things work, others don’t. Styles are changed, color palettes swapped, audio tweaked – but like with most Vlambeer games, the original core idea is quite similar to what we started with. In fact, if you look at the very first design sketches for most of our games, they are eerily similar to the final product months later.
BL: Regarding being an indie developer. Are there any prototype games that never came to fruition?
RI: For every game we’ve released, there are dozens of prototypes we never released. One example is Space Murder, which we released on our blog a while ago. Some prototypes we just release for the hell of it, like KARATE or Super Puppy Boy.
BL: What attracted you to indie development? Would you ever work for one of the big developers/publishers? If you already have, would you ever go back to it?
RI: The convenient hours and free health care.
BL: Would you ever work for one of the big developers/publishers? If you already have, would you ever go back to it?
Gotta love those straightforward answers! That’s it for this brief resurrection of the Indie Megabooth coverage. If and when we get some more replies from that fateful convergence of independent talent, we’ll post again. Until then, check out www.vlambeer.com to find out about all of the awesome projects these good folks are up to.