Super Crate Box is probably our best-known game. It’s a fast-paced and filled with action – a small & simple game about collecting crates. Together with the Canada-based duo Halfbot we’re bringing the game to iOS by the end of 2011.
This post is a bit late as Jan Willem has focused squarely on streaming Wasteland Kings and moving places and Rami just landed from his crazy trip to GDC Europe, gamescom and PAX. It doesn’t help that August was one of the craziest months in our existence as Vlambeer and was concluded with our third birthday on September 1st.
As you might’ve noticed, LUFTRAUSERS has been delayed again. The short version is that it’s going to be at least a month before it releases from now. The long version is: it turns out that certification is harder than you expect even when you have been warned that it’s harder than you think. This is our first ever console release, and it turns out the process that they call ‘Technical Requirement Compliance’ is weirdly intricate, with different standards in different territories and long arbitrary delays between submissions, so we want to get things right. This is not a dig towards Sony, who have been absolutely great towards us and are absolutely accomodating and trying to help us out, it’s just a reality we’ll have to deal with for now.
Devolver Digital kindly hired an additional QA team to help us out and check the game pre-submissions, and we’re wrapping up the final items on the list at the moment. Sadly, the game going through certification doesn’t mean it launches immediately, it means it’ll get ‘slotted’ at a certain date a few weeks later for launch. We’ve promised everybody – fans and platforms – that it’ll launch simultaneously on all platforms, and we’re never making that promise again. It just feels bad to have four perfectly releasable builds sitting here, just waiting for the last one to clear certifications.
We really ought to stop estimating release dates that early in development. It doesn’t really work with our style of development: we keep tweaking and fixing things until the game is as close to perfect as we can get it. Slamming a date onto something like that isn’t really helping anyone.
The Wasteland Kings stream is way closer to how we actually develop. It’s sort of chaotic, we have no clue when it’ll be done and we have fun adding a lot of crazy things to it. If you’re not watching the stream, we’re streaming every Tuesday and Thursday from 13:00 until 17:00 CET over at www.wastelandkings.com.
We are really excited about Wasteland Kings, though. The PS4/PS Vita reveal during gamescom was one of the most nerve-wrecking moments in our recent history and the reception it got at the Penny Arcade Expo was overwhelming. As for everybody asking, yes, we’ll start selling the shirts in our store as soon as the Level Up Studios guys get home.
The Super Crate Box iOS update has been delayed again as well. We got Rami a Macbook to finally fix that update with his crazy travel lifestyle (he could only work on our Mac Mini in the office before now) and then when he turned it on in Seattle, it plain out didn’t recognize the device’s harddrive. We’ve sent off the Macbook to some Apple support place as Rami prepares to leave again for a bit, to South Africa this time.
Then, all of a sudden, Vlambeer turned three years old, which – as we were on seperate continents – led to celebrations as excessive as the e-mail exchange above. As a birthday gift, we finally made GUN GODZ available for free, after it had been a Venus Patrol exclusive for a while, and we released the MOJAM prototype of Wasteland Kings. On top of that, we announced the Vlambeer & Friends Art Book project. You can grab all of those gifts at our birthday website.
Thanks so much to everybody who contributed to the spontaneous surge of Vlambeer OST sales during our birthday. We super appreciate all the kind words, merchandise sales, fan art and gifts.
Don’t forget to tune into the stream in four hours or so, 13:00CET at the Wasteland Kings website.
Ridiculous Fishing 1.2 launched this month. It was the first content update for the game, which was great, but also introduced a bunch of unexpected problems right after launch. It turns out Apples sandbox mode isn’t really a great testing environment for all the connected stuff we were doing with Friend Fish, and thus we had to scramble last minute to get some things fixed. Zach Gage just submitted 1.2.2, which should resolve some small problems and a rare crash bug that some people have reported, but we hope to have everything fully operational really soon.
Sadly, that scramble meant that by the time most of the problems were resolved, Rami had already left for his first vacation since starting Vlambeer. While on the road (and with varying degrees of internet access) he couldn’t deal with the added strain the release of Super Crate Box iOS for iPhone 5 would bring, since he’s also doing support for Ridiculous Fishing, preparing all the deals for the next project and getting LUFTRAUSERS through the Sony TRC. Because Super Crate Box iOS with iPhone 5 support is taking so long, we’ve decided to give everyone 50% off on the Vlambeer OST as long as we’ve not launched it. Just use the code “sorrycratebox” when checking out to get your discount.
We really wish we had more news on LUFTRAUSERS, but the most accurate news we have is that it’s still in QA. These things take long (often weeks) and depending on how many so-called MF’s (Must-Fix problems) a game has, it can take longer. Some of these are serious game-crashing bugs, others are that we used a non-standard image for the triangle button in some interface element. LUFTRAUSERS had about 20 MFs on its first pass through QA, which is reasonable, so we’re fixing all of those before resubmitting. Hopefully, after that we should have the actual release date for you and we’ll obviously let you know when the wait will be over.
Jan Willem has been working on our next project constantly and it’s coming together beautifully – we can’t wait to announce the game.
We’re preparing a lot of things for PAX Prime in Seattle & Gamescom in Cologne, and we’re doing a lot of work on 7DFPS and Indie MEGABOOTH on the side, so even though officially we’re just wrapping up two projects, we’re actually ridiculously busy. We’re just glad that Ridiculous Fishing 1.2 is out of the way now – when Rami returns from his stay in the United States we’ll see to it that Super Crate Box iOS gets released as soon as possible. It really just needs a final test before we click release, but that’s no excuse: we’re really, really sorry about the wait – things just keep not working out and its our job to make sure they do.
And then, LUFTRAUSERS. We’re so excited for LUFTRAUSERS.
This post was written in a bit of a rush, somewhere around 1AM, because we honestly don’t have time to write it at any other moment. We did want to update you all with some great news, because while the spelling and grammar possibly aren’t quite up to par with our usual, June was a ridiculously busy month filled with a ton of good news.
Not only did we finally give a talk together again, we also released Super Crate Box on OUYA for free, we submitted the Ridiculous Fishing update to Apple, got the Super Crate Box iOS update ready for submission somewhere next week, started working on fixing the Windows 8 bugs for all our Windows titles, worked full days to wrap up LUFTRAUSERS and spent a lot of hours getting our next project ready for the livestreams soon. Jan Willem co-organized Local Multiplay Picnic Plus and announced the next 7DFPS game jam while Rami is working on helping out with the Indie MEGABOOTH.
That is not even mentioning that Rami started this month in Karlshamn, Sweden, where he was a judge for the Game Concept Challenge and ranted about authorial intent in games. Nor that he continued to fly straight to Los Angeles for E3, where he manned three booths at once while Ridiculous Fishing collaborator Zach Gage picked up the Apple Design Award we won for Ridiculous Fishing in San Francisco. We also got listed 69th in a list of most influential people in gaming, which is still a bit of a strange sensation to us.
Holy shit, Ridiculous Fishing just won a Apple Design Award. #wwdc holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit
What a crazy month. Let’s go through some of these things a bit slower, we guess.
E3 was amazing. It is amazing to see how much of an impact indie has on the gaming industry – from being an underground movement to being both that, but also the largest booth at the Penny Arcade Expo and being a major presence on the E3 showfloor and during Sony’s keynote. Seeing that Sony had nine screens on stage and the only moment more than six were used was during the Indie Eight segment was a small revolution in itself.
A day later, somebody stole all of Rami’s gear. Luckily, we backup regularly and our hardware was easily replaced. It was a massive pain, but we guess our backup policies worked out well for us there.
Besides spending a lot of times with the crazy geniuses at Devolver Digital, we spent a lot of time talking to all of our friends at Sony. We also spent some good time talking about interesting developments at Nintendo. We’re impressed by their efforts to having not just the latest AAA titles, but also the widest variety of indie games. Oh, we also talked to Microsoft for a bit but nothing really newsworthy happened there, although the people we talked to were really nice and obviously cared.
OUYA was the other new factor at this E3. Obviously, the idea of an open console with an actual store was something we had to get behind, so we decided to release Super Crate Box for free on OUYA. After all, the OUYA is a home device and we promised to make Super Crate Box free on home devices. If you like Super Crate Box on OUYA, we’d encourage you to pick up some of the fun games on OUYA if you have one: Towerfall, The Little Crane That Could, Awesome Frog and No Brakes Valet come to mind.
In terms of making games, this month has been a rollercoaster. Unlike last month, we actually have something to show for it.
LUFTRAUSERS on Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita is progressing really well. The fans that played the game at Rezzed seemed to agree the current version of the game is a huge improvement over what we showcased at Rezzed last year. The PC and Linux builds are ready, the PS3, Vita and Mac versions are almost there. We’re extremely aware we slightly missed the original Fall 2012 release date, so we don’t want to make new promises that we might miss, so all we’re going to say for now is that we’ll try to release simultaneously on all platforms.
We submitted the first Ridiculous Fishing update to iOS and we’re preparing for the release somewhere in the next month. You can read about the update and what it’ll be about on Digital Spy or TouchArcade.
For those of you on iPhone 5, we finally fixed the aspect ratio of Super Crate Box iOS and the update is ready for submission. The golden crate counter has been broken since a hack earlier last year and it’s just not been working the way it should, so we’re dropping that and releasing the update as soon as it passes approval.
If you don’t mind, we’re headed back to work. The new project is shaping up so well – some friends of ours have been playtesting an early build – we couldn’t be more excited to get all of you involved in development soon.
The month of May might have seemed like a relatively calm month from the outside, but we’ve been working pretty much around the clock for various reasons, all of them labeled ‘URGENT’ and ‘NEED THIS NOW’ in our mailboxes. LUFTRAUSERS will be shown at E3 (lots of work) and the game itself is pretty much done and ready for certification by Sony. We don’t know how long it’ll be stuck in cert, but we hope to have more clarity on when the game is releasing when it clears all of that red tape. When it does, LUFTRAUSERS will release simultaneously on PC, Mac, Linux, Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita.
While the two of us were working remotely for most of the month – Rami traveling to events to talk to friends and keep in touch with our contacts and J.W. wrapping up his work on LUFTRAUSERS – we did get together for Jonatan Holmes ‘Sup Holmes’ last week. As always with Holmes, the interview is an hour and a half of interesting conversations and it included the first announcement of a new project after LUFTRAUSERS.
As J.W.’s work on LUFTRAUSERS is now done, he started focusing on that next project, while Rami has been working to get Super Crate Box iOS updated (which took longer than he hoped due to all the travels) while getting the OUYA version of Super Crate Box ready for E3 (yes, that is an announcement). The whole Ridiculous Fishing team has been working on the first update – which is ready for submission to Apple too.
For next month, we hope that all our work will pay off in a bit more practical way. If things go well, we think we’ll have a bit more news on the new project (don’t expect too much information while we figure out how to do this best), the release of updates to both our iOS titles and hopefully, finally, some clarity about LUFTRAUSERS release. Rami will be visiting E3 and both of us will be at Rezzed in Birmingham. We’ll keep you updated.
This month, we spent most of our month recovering from the Indie MEGABOOTH madness at the Penny Arcade Expo and the Game Developers Conference. Rami visited Boston again after the Game Developers Conference for somewhat of a week off after two weeks of conferences as Jan Willem started wrapping up the final interface tweaks for LUFTRAUSERS. Zach Gage, Greg Wohlwend and us started working on a minor update for Ridiculous Fishing. We’ll finally be updating Super Crate Box iOS shortly (think two or three weeks) and if things go well, a minor next project is already lined up beyond that and we’re pretty excited about that one.