GUN GODZ is our upcoming polytheistic, hip-hop inspired first person shooter in the style of the classics. We’re making GUN GODZ as one of four games exclusively offered as incentive for the Kickstarter Brandon Boyer held for his website on culture and videogames, Venus Patrol.
After a long day and recovering from some jetlag, I have just settled into his hotel room in Seattle for the Penny Arcade Expo and the Indie MEGABOOTH. JW is staying behind in the Netherlands, recovering from GDC Europe and working hard on LUFTRAUSERS, but he’ll be over for our favorite little event, Fantastic Arcade in Austin, later this month.
A lot of stuff we’ve been working on for a long time is about to collide, or has sort of collided in the past few days, resulting in what is most the most obnoxious blog post title ever as well as the blog post title that most resembles what actually being half of Vlambeer feels like.
Here’s the wrap up:
We’ve announced we’re cooperating with Devolver Digital again for LUFTRAUSERS, after our work with them on Serious Sam: The Random Encounter was so much fun. Devolver Digital is also helping Cactus’ and Dennis’ Dennaton Games out on Hotline Miami. We’re also working with Kert Gartner again for this and the Indie MEGABOOTH, just because he’s Kert Gartner and makes the best trailers. We’ll be showing a public version of the game at our booth in the Indie MEGABOOTH (booth #672) at PAX, so if you’re around, come play.
We’ve teamed up with the amazing people at Level Up Studios to produce some really cool goodies. Us working with Level Up also means we’re finally going to come around and deliver the prizes three people won back when Vlambeer just started out. Three Super Crate Box Super Limited Crates will be delivered to the winners of the three Super Crate Box contests almost two years ago. We feel pretty shitty about that taking so long, so we’ll be sending them a free copy of a thing we’re working on in a few months.
However, that’s not all we’re doing with Level Up Studios! At PAX, we’ll have 250 equally amazing Limited Edition Crates available for sale at our booth. The Limited Edition Crate is a cardboard 6″ crate, containing the first 250 CD’s of the Vlambeer OST run, one of four Vlambeer t-shirts, an exclusive GUN GODZ 6″ print, a bunch of cool pins and a Vlambeer USB stick with most of our games (including GUN GODZ) on there. There are only 250 Limited Edition Crates available for sale at PAX, but we’ll try to spread them over all three PAX days.
After it turned out we had a spare computer, we decided that GUN GODZ will be playable at PAX, so if you don’t have access to it through Venus Patrol, so here’s your chance! The Vlambeer OST CD with -amongst others- the GUN GODZ soundtrack will be available for sale at the booth, featuring music by Phlogiston, KOZILEK, Brother Android and Alec Mauer. We also produced that one shirt we asked you about as one of the four t-shirt designs available.
After the Penny Arcade Expo, I’ll be heading out to do a roadtrip across the United States to New York City. I’ll be joined by Zach Gage and Mike’nGreg (of the amazing Gasketball), after which we’ll spend a week jamming to wrap up Ridiculous Fishing. It’s been a while, but the game that nearly killed Vlambeer might be releasing in a while. Ridiculous Fishing will also be available for you to play at our booth at PAX. After the jam, I’ll fly out to Fantastic Arcade and meet up with JW again. He’ll be keeping you updated on LUFTRAUSERS progress while I build this booth here.
Ever since we started out, we’ve tried to work with cool musicians for our games. We’ve had the luck to have worked or jammed with amazing talents like Eirik ‘Phlogiston’ Suhrke, Jukio ‘KOZILEK‘ Kallio, Adam ‘Doseone‘ Drucker, Brother Android and Alex Mauer. We think that the music in our games is a big deal -imagine any of our games without their music and audio!- and based on what we’ve gathered in our mailboxes, Twitter and Facebook, you think so too. So for all you people that love the music in our games, here’s a long, long blog-post about music with some announcements hidden in there, too.
The idea for this blog post came to be when someone on Twitter asked about the music for the LUFTRAUSERS questionnaire a while ago. We asked KOZILEK to write a blog post about the music in LUFTRAUSERS, so that’s what we’re kicking off with!
The original LUFTRAUSER song started pretty spontaneously. Jan Willem is one of the first people I usually show new songs I make under my electro artist name KOZILEK. So he knew my stuff and asked if I wanted to make a nasty electro song for a game prototype. After a bit of talking and playing I knew what it really needed: Marching. Like those old Red Alert songs.
LUFTRAUSER had graphics that were very minimal and pixel-y, but I didn’t want to go with a normal chiptunes you hear in almost every pixel indie game nowadays. Still wanting to have a lofi feeling, I went with actually composing the song in a really low sample rate to make it sound really crackly and bad. Last touch to the song was this stupidly heroic lofi-orchestra in the later part. I actually laughed almost the whole time when I composed that part. In my mind I can clearly see soldiers, with one manly tear on their cheeks, saluting on the ground when the Rauser flies by.
I had super great fun making that song and working on the project. So, of course, I got very excited when Vlambeer told me we’re doing a sequel. We had this idea of having variations of the music, changing when the Luftrauser is changed. A unique song for every unique build. I thought that was a very interesting idea as I had been thinking about that kind of modular music for games for a while.
The LUFTRAUSER song kinda became iconic thing to the game I guess (is that egoistic to say?) so with the new soundtrack, the first thing I wanted to do was to remake it. This time with more sophisticated and punchy sounds, but also keeping some of that broken chip aesthetic of the old song. Also what I had to have in my mind all the time was to make it modular in the sequencer too, so I could easily compose different interchangeable layers of music. Different layers have to fit nicely with the different parts of the plane, so the music actually feels like how players’ own Luftrauser works. Also players have to hear right from the first second that something has changed. The lofi-chip-orchestra is changed to actual sampled orchestra instruments, composed into a tear producing anthem coming through the old radio in Luftrausers cockpit. (God, I laughed even harder making this orchestration.) But the hardest part of all this is that along with all this other stuff, all the layers have to fit together in all the combinations. There can’t be any cacophony between layers, yet they have to be different enough to keep up interest.
This is the first time I’m making this kind of modular music and while it’s hard, it’s very very interesting and fun to do. Kind of a dream I have with this soundtrack is to players to actually make their Luftrauser builds thinking about the music layers that sounds best together, rather than actual effectiveness of the weapons hahah! So yeah, there’s things I felt when making the original LUFTRAUSER song and the things I’m thinking while making LUFTRAUSERS soundtrack. Hope you enjoy an variation of the song, with new sounds in this blog post!
Eirik ‘Phlogiston’ Suhrke already worked with us on the music for Super Crate Box and Radical Fishing. Although he was busy working on the absolutely amazing Spelunky for quite a while, he has found time to work with us on our upcoming iOS release, Ridiculous Fishing. Since things have been really quiet regarding the progress on that game, we thought we might just try and remind you we’re still working on that! So here, have a song from Ridiculous Fishing, along with some new screenshots. Things are progressing rapidly now and we’re starting to have faith we’ll be able to pull through this one. You wouldn’t believe quite how tough it has been on us, Zach and Greg to wrap this one up. On the upside, all the time spent on the game is paying off and we think you’ll like the result of it.
Good news for those of you that really want to play GUN GODZ but didn’t back Venus Patrol‘s Kickstarter back when it went down: you might be able to get your hands on the game before too long, so there’ll be a way for everyone to experience KOZILEK and DoseOne’s amazing tunes. More good news: we’ve finally gotten that Vlambeer OST production-ready. We’ll be revealing some cool new stuff that we’re getting into production over the next month or so. Either way, the first place you’ll be able to get your hands on the OST will be at PAX Prime, where Rami’ll be around to show off some early builds of Ridiculous Fishing and LUFTRAUSERS to the world for the first time ever. We’re pretty excited to see what you think of it!
Things have been quiet from our end for the last month – but we can assure you that we’ve been at it and doing (& preparing) some really cool things.
We’ll get the big one out of the way first: yes, the Super Crate Box iOS update is still underway. It’s amazing how much trouble we’ve had getting that one out – first having issues with save file corruption and then some trouble getting it approved. We’re a bit embarrassed by how long it’s taking and we really hope everything will be resolved really soon now and maybe you’ll be collecting one of hundred ultra-rare golden crates hidden in the update somewhere.
We had an amazing time at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. We did a talk about cloning that hopefully closes the entire ordeal for now. We argued that the most important thing we can do about cloning is talking about it with everyone. Let people know that cloning is not an essential part of our industry or the voice of progress. Clones hurt creativity. Improving cultural literacy about games and pushing novel, original games – that hurts how lucrative cloning is. Cultural literacy hurts cloning.
We also presented at the Experimental Gameplay Sessions, where Rami discussed GlitchHiker. We had a camera crew from Vox Games following us around. Most importantly, we met up with a lot of old friends and met a lot of new ones. We did a lot of interviews, negotiated about a lot of things and from our Ridiculous Fishing IGF Booth, we released a game we first showed at Fantastic Arcade last year – Yeti Hunter. It’s free for PC, so grab it if you feel like hunting Yetis.
The downside of meeting with so many people in a confined space is that, like many others, we both ended up with a serious case of GDC-flu. We’re just now restoring from the jetlag and flu – just in time to announce that we will be at PAX East’ Boston Indie Showcase with Super Crate Box (& Ridiculous Fishing) at the beginning of next month. We’ll be at Festival of Games in the Netherlands after that and you’re completely welcome to run into us at A MAZE Berlin at the end of April.
Anyway, the most important thing is that we’re ready for another long haul of lots of work. We’ve got some nice stuff coming up that we’ll announce after we finish negotiations with some parties and some great stuff that we’re really happy to be working. Most importantly, though, is that what we’re gearing up for here is something Vlambeer has never attempted to.
As we announce new projects, you’ll see the frequency of posts here go up again. It’s going to be quite a ride and we’re really, really happy to have you aboard for all of it. In the meanwhile, maybe see you at PAX East, Festival of Games or A MAZE Berlin!
We really want to thank Brandon for working on Venus Patrol, and we also want to give a shoutout to Paul ‘Pietepiet‘ Veer for all the art in the game, Jukio ‘KOZILEK‘ Kallio for the music and the Venusian rap and Adam ‘Doseone‘ Drucker for the main theme rap and all sound effects. Without these people, this game wouldn’t be the interesting mix it turned out to be.
If you haven’t backed Venus Patrol, there currently is no way to get GUN GODZ. We’re looking into ways to see if there’s some way we can get the game to you – but we really don’t have any idea how it’s going to pan out. We’ll let you know through Twitter, Facebook and the blog if we have any news on that.
As a little bonus, the first person to screenshot the thing that happens when you get all 52 triangles in GUN GODZ gets a little prize from us.
Some pretty busy weeks have passed lately, with the Super Crate Box iOS updates taking up most of the time that wasn’t invested in Ridiculous Fishing or GUN GODZ. One thing we’ve been working on behind the scenes was a talk about Game Cloning that we wanted to give over at the Game Developers Conference.
After being through quite an episode with Radical Fishing being cloned, we believe the industry is approaching the topic from the wrong angle – one that is focused on what we cannot do about the problem – and we want to offer an alternative and reignite the discussion from a more constructive perspective. It was just confirmed that we’re actually giving the talk and we’re thankful that we’ve been offered this chance to speak at the Independent Games Summit, an amazing venue to kickstart this new discussion.
In 2010, Vlambeer created Radical Fishing, released it as a sponsored Flash game and began work on an iOS version. As we were working, a third party suddenly released a game – which, down to the upgrades, was almost identical to Radical Fishing’s design. This resulted in a lot of thinking about defining cloning, the dangers it poses to upcoming indie developers and the variety of strong opinions that keep the issue from being debated in a useful manner.
Vlambeer will talk about the practical dangers of clones to our industry and what we CAN do, instead of discussing only what we cannot do. We want to pick up the discussion at its impasse and provide a starting point for a new, more practical conversation about cloning.
Further details and the exact timing of the talk will be announced over at the GDC Schedule Builder.
Unrelated: we’re hoping to push the Super Crate Box iOS update this week & will be attending the Nordic Gamejam in Copenhagen. It’s a busy week, but it’s going to be fun!