We’re announcing today that Wasteland Kings, the project of which we’ve been livestreaming development for the past few weeks, will from now on be named “Nuclear Throne”. It’s a bit of an haphazard announcement, with Justin Chan’s beautiful artwork above still not being finished, without us having a new logo and before we’ve been able to properly change the name on all the platforms officially, but we thought that if we’re doing open development we might just as well be open about it.
After announcing the game for PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita during Sony’s press conference at gamescom, we were contacted by a Dutch employee of InXile Entertainment, the studio behind 1988 title Wasteland and the recent Kickstarter for Wasteland 2. They explained that InXile CEO Brian Fargo and some of the team were worried about possible brand confusion and argued that Wasteland Kings could be misinterpreted as a title in the ‘Wasteland’ franchise.
We’ve been through a lot of trouble with people riding on things of ours, and we understand that American trademark law is pretty strict in that not defending a trademark weakens it. We realize that both games are set in a similar setting, that the names are similar and that InXile obviously felt the need to reach out. Although we aren’t sure Wasteland Kings and Wasteland are confusing enough for this to be an issue, both us and InXile really don’t want to spend development time on arguing over trivialities.
Most of all, we appreciate that the first contact between us was by a normal employee, and not a lawyer. There was no extravagant Cease & Desist-letter, nor a threatening letter in an envelope labelled ‘URGENT’. The e-mail we received was short, amicable and to-the-point. It was followed up by a quick conversation on Skype, in which we established that it would be the right thing for us to change the name.
This is the way business should work nowadays: between people, not companies, not lawyers, not departments. There’s so much paperwork between one and another that it’s easy for people to forget that they’re dealing with people instead of numbers and dossiers. Things can be friendly, rather than formal for the sake of formality.
We’ve spent the past week debating names with Paul, Jukio, Joonas and Justin. We’ve had amazing suggestions, such as ‘Genetic Miracles Fish & The Gang Vault Runners’, Trash Monarchs, Kingstarter and ‘GUN GODZ: Legend of Yung Venuz: Originz’. After almost 90 emails, we decided upon the new name, one that we felt did not only resolved the trademark issue but is also more gender-inclusive. We then made sure Sony, Steam and Humble were up to date and wrote this announcement right after the new title reveal at Eurogamer Expo.
So, we’re announcing Nuclear Throne, our top-down action roguelike-like about mutants in a postapocalyptic future. We’re extremely proud to be working with Paul Veer, Jukio Kallio, Joonas Turner and Justin Chan. The majority of development will be livestreamed over at nuclearthrone.com on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1PM CET until 5PM CET. Nuclear Throne is launching on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC through Steam and Humble.
Nuclear Throne will be available through Steam Early Access and Humble Store in early October at an Early Access price of $12.99.
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.
Today also saw the announcements of the Indie MEGABOOTH, where we’ll have LUFTRAUSERS, Ridiculous Fishing and Wasteland Kings all playable – with Ridiculous Fishing also being a PAX10 nominee. Wasteland Kings actually got nominated for what is likely our favorite event every year, so expect us in Austin for Fantastic Arcade with the game as well.
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.