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.
We’re well into the new year and we’ve been working like crazy on getting two games done. Obviously, we had originally planned to release LUFTRAUSERS at the tail of last year and then start this year with Ridiculous Fishing somewhere in the first few months of the year. We’re going to vaguely announce that the plans have shifted a bit after a certain large company (that we have worked with before) has been talking to us to maybe try and bring LUFTRAUSERS to at least one handheld and one console device if that means anything to you all.
Vaguely because first of all, we’re still negotiating with them so we don’t know whether it’s going to happen. Second of all, because if it will happen, we still need to develop it for those platforms. Either way, we think it’s great that we’re talking as we love those people, plus it gives us even more time to polish the game.
Obviously, though, we’re sorry to say that that means that it is likely that LUFTRAUSERS is shifting back a month or two. Not only do we need to support these new platforms in the code, we also need to make sure they pass the certification processes. LUFTRAUSERS would be best launched on all platforms at once, as far as we’re concerned, so that means we have to push back the release just a bit. We’re now thinking it shouldn’t take too long – so hopefully something like early spring, but as always – it’s done when we’re happy with it. Next time we’ll announce something regarding dates, it’ll hopefully be set in stone and ready to go.
As for Ridiculous Fishing, progress on that has been amazing the last two weeks. It’s been a painful ride, but after a year of being depressed about it, we finally found motivation to finish the project – things have just been coming together at the a breakneck pace. Greg Wohlwend – the artist on the project – has basically moved in with Zach Gage, the programmer, while they finish up development. The two of us here have been fixing up the final design and release issues. It’s amazing how much momentum the project has regained – and how much fun we’re having making the game again. We’ll be honest, there were times at which we felt dropping the game might be a better solution than pushing ourselves to work on it any further, but we’re glad we didn’t do that. We’re extremely happy with how the game has turned out and can’t wait to show you a bit more. Not just yet, but soon.
Basically, what we’re trying to say is that we think Ridiculous Fishing is going to move in front of LUFTRAUSERS in terms of release, but both of them should be out before three more months.
Also important, the games will be playable at several events around the world. We’re going definitely going to be at PAX East, although you’ll be able to catch one or both of us at a bunch of events including Subotron Vienna, PAX East and IndieCade East. We should consider having some sort of calendar for events we’re visiting, so you know where you can tap our shoulder to play some in-progress games.
In the meanwhile, check out our brand-new store and maybe grab the digital or physical Vlambeer OST to get some exclusive sneak peeks at the LUFTRAUSERS and Ridiculous Fishing soundtracks, or catch one of the few remaining Super Crate Box Limited Edition crates.
Monday was sort of a crazy day. We managed to create Deer Santa during a 8 hour gamejam, while being recorded for a Dutch television show on videogames. We got help in the art department from Sara ‘twobitart’ Gross, who has always cheered us up with an amazing drawing if something bad happened. The amazing music was made by two Dutch musicians who we’ll mention when we release the game and the two track soundtrack to it. We’ll be releasing all that later this month as part of something, but for now we’ll leave the Deer Santa news with this footage of the game.
We’re also proud to finally have a bunch of nice goods available for sale through Level Up Studios. If you ever wondered whether you could buy one of those exclusive 2 year Super Crate Box Crate Boxes, the answer is yes – we have a few of this extremely limited run left in stock. T-shirts? In several designs and sizes? The physical Vlambeer OST CD? It’s all available right here. We’re working on providing a nice storefront with extra things (including the infamous Vlambeer poster you see in all our office videos!).
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!