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.
If you’ve been following Nuclear Throne, there’s been weekly updates – but here we’ve been sort of quiet as we burrowed into that project. But since 2014 is almost over, we thought we update our blog here with some of our closing notes. Let’s start with the bad news and move to the good news, OK? Just feels nicer to end on the high note.
The bad news is mostly related to our earlier games and mostly comes in the form of “we’ve finally learned not to announce dates before we’re 100% certain”. Nuclear Throne has taken an absurd amount of time with weekly public updates, and it turns out having to release an update every week means you don’t have a lot of time for other things. Here’s a quick summary of what we’re up to at Vlambeer.
Ridiculous Fishing While we hope you grabbed the Christmas hat in Ridiculous Fishing last week, the 2014 content update for Ridiculous Fishing has been postponed until further notice. Both ourselves, Zach Gage and Greg Wohlwend have been too busy with other projects to do anything particularly significant on the project. We apologise for this, and hope to have some news in the next year.
Super Crate Box iOS
An update for Super Crate Box for iOS should release in the first few months of 2015, which should finally enable support for additional screen ratios. Since this is also highly dependent on Halfbot’s schedule, we can’t promise anything here just yet.
We’re aware of a trophy bug for LUFTRAUSERS on PlayStation Network platforms. Sadly, our original programmers on the project cannot further support the project due to new jobs. We’ve been working with Devolver Digital and found some people who can give LUFTRAUSERS a much-needed bugfix run. We’ll have more news on that in the nearby future.
Well, that was the bad news! Nothing terrible, we hope, but it’s still something we’re sorry about. You learn as you go, we guess. We know you’ve trusted us with your time, enthusiasm and money – and we want to make sure that we deliver on our promises of fishing with machineguns, crate-collecting and aerial superweapons. Let’s move on to the good news, then!
Super Crate Box, GUN GODZ & Serious Sam: The Random Encounter
GameMaker creator YoYoGames and Vlambeer are collaborating on bringing Super Crate Box, GUN GODZ and Serious Sam: The Random Encounter to additional platforms, most notably Windows 8. This ‘support update pack’ should enable these games to run on OS X and Linux, too. We’ll be announcing a release date as soon as we’ve got a better overview of the effort that’ll go into these fixes, and we’ll keep you updated on Twitter, Facebook and our blog.
Anyone who, by end of the 31st of December (CET), owns Nuclear Throne on Steam or has registered their game through Humble will receive a New Years’ gift code for the game on January 1st, 2015. While we’ll endeavour to make sure everyone gets their gift copy somewhere on the 1st, we can’t 100% promise we’ll be able to deliver all codes on January 1st. It’s kind of a huge logistic effort to give away as many gift copies as we are (we couldn’t be more thankful for that situation, though!).
We are afraid we can’t make any exceptions to the deadline here because of the logistics of the whole endeavour.
You’ll receive a giftable version of the version of Nuclear Throne that you bought (so a Steam gift copy for Steam players, a Humble gift link for Humble and Twitch). Just check your Steam account or the Humble link for your original copy. If you bought through Twitch, you can visit this page to claim it.
We hope that you’ll give these gift keys to people with a good eye for video games, people that you know would love Nuclear Throne, and people that you think would’ve never heard of Nuclear Throne without your gift. Basically, we hope you’ll grow our community with people you know are good people that care about games, and that could give us quality feedback on the game as we progress into 2015.
Please consider the gifted key as a thank you for your support of the game and a way to support us even further in our effort to make the best version of Nuclear Throne we can hope to build.
What an amazing year full of wonderful moments, from being the first studio to sell a game through Twitch (and showing them that game development deserves its own category on their platform) to Nuclear Throne’s absolutely humbling performance. We were amazed with our mention on the top 10 developer lists by the games industry blog Gamasutra and happy to see Nuclear Throne and LUFTRAUSERS popping up on all sorts of top 10 lists. We had fun at all the events at which we’ve had the opportunity to talk to so many of you out there.
Vlambeer continues to be a strange and wonderful rollercoaster.
From the two of us here at Vlambeer, and on behalf of those who worked with us throughout 2014, see you in 2015.
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.
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!