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.
You might have noticed we’ve started with offering merchandise a while ago – and we did that for two reasons. One of the reasons for that is that we just really like having physical things that we can touch. The other reason is that we often get the question whether people can donate to us, but we really prefer giving something in return for money. So, today we’re launching the Vlambeer Store – which isn’t really a store but more like a collection of direct links to things that allow you to throw money our way if you like our games. Of course, if you don’t like our games but just really want that die-cut CD with KOZILEK and Phlogiston-tunes, that’s completely OK too. Just hit the giant button in the header of the site to head over to the store.
Late last year we started the LUFTRAUSERS closed beta, asking fellow developers, designers and some friends in the press to let us know what they think of the game. We’re happy to say that we’re extremely excited about the response we’ve been getting and we’re reaching the point where we feel the game is almost done and ready for aspiring LUFTRAUSER pilots around the world.
So, that’s where we’re at after a full week in 2013. We fully intend to start the year strong with two games you might’ve been waiting for, and we hope you’ll be along for the ride this year, too.
Congrats to Retronator for winning our colouring contest & thus winning one of the Vlambeer OST CD’s to be sent to him a while before the store actually goes live.
Since it was Rami’s birthday last week, JW went beyond the call of duty and made a mixtape as a birthday gift. He’s not quite that good at it yet, but here’s an insight into the music he forces Rami to listen to all day – some of it good, some of it terrible. All of it with airhorn.
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!