Ridiculous Fishing is the 2012 iOS reimagination of our first game ever, Radical Fishing. Together with fellow indies Zach Gage & Greg Wohlwend we’re once again working on depicting realistic simulations of traditional redneck fishing.
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.
If you’ve been paying attention, you probably followed the development of Wasteland Kings during our participation in the annual Mojam. We’re extremely proud of the $450.000 raised for charity during the whole event and just as grateful for all your support, the nice comments in the chat and your enthusiasm for the game.
However, Wasteland Kings was not all we were working on: while Jan Willem and Paul were jamming away on Wasteland Kings, Rami, Zach and Greg wrapped up something else over in New York: we submitted Ridiculous Fishing to Apple.
This was a long time coming.
On December 7th, 2010, we started on the iOS version of our debut game Radical Fishing. Things started when Brandon Boyer introduced New York City-based conceptual artist and developer Zach Gage to our little Flash game. Brandon put us in touch and with us being big fans of Zach’s lose/lose and Zach being a big fan of Radical Fishing, we decided to work together on iRadical Fishing.
Within the next two months, the three of us got in touch with Greg Wohlwend, back then best known as the artist for Solipskier. He was instantly sold on the project and quickly added to the roster. We finally reached out to Super Crate Box musician Eirik Suhrke to work with us on the project as well. We had an amazing team and our output was far above expectations. This was a project we couldn’t stop being excited about.
Greg immediately sent us the above image: he had come up with an amazing art style based on 45 degree angles. Eirik sent us some amazingly fitting audio mockups. Zach was coding, Jan Willem was spending time on the Serious Sam: The Random Encounter project while designing Ridiculous Fishing and I was working on Serious Sam: The Random Encounter and the usual Vlambeer stuff. Within weeks, the game was fully playable and we were halfway before we knew it.
Obviously, things were perfect like that until six months into the project. The same Brandon Boyer that put us in touch with Zach Gage notified us of a clone of Radical Fishing, and it was going to launch on iOS before we would be ready to launch. We argued, we discussed and we negotiated – but ultimately it turned out the cloners never intended to yield: they admitted to ‘being inspired’ by our game and launched their game to great success. With that, our motivation and progress suffered a blow we didn’t recover from for far longer that we are comfortable admitting.
Progress on the game was slow for months, all of us being demotivated from working on it. We would’ve killed the project right then and there if it wasn’t for the enormous outpouring of support from fans and press alike. Still, opening the project files would just remind us of the critical and financial reception of the clone – and reminded us that when we’d launch, people would just see Ridiculous Fishing as a clone of the clone. We worked on different projects; Zach launched the absurdly succesful Spelltower, Greg worked on Gasketball and Hundreds, Eirik launched Spelunky and we worked on whatever wasn’t Ridiculous Fishing.
There was a small boost in morale when the game was unexpectedly nominated for the Independent Games Festival in early 2012, but even that couldn’t persuade us to work on the game. We had all gained a lot of new responsibilities with our new releases and painfully struggling through the accursed development of a game that’d be received as a clone wasn’t something we had time for.
We almost killed the project, but we couldn’t give up on it either. So it lingered and lingered in the back of our head. We spoke about the dangers of cloning at conferences, we gave interviews to newspapers and television. Ridiculous Fishing wasn’t moving forward, but it was always there. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Ridiculous Fishing nearly ended Vlambeer.
The ball started rolling again after PAX Prime 2012. Zach, Greg, Greg’s MikenGreg partner Mike and I spent a week in a car driving from Seattle to New York to try and revive the game at Zach’s apartment in New York. Over the course of the week we stayed in Manhattan, the three of us managed to push the game forward just a tiny bit.
That turned out to be enough to slowly snowball into serious progress. A few weeks after our stay in Manhattan – or almost five weeks ago – Greg traveled from his place in Chicago to move in with Zach for as long as we needed to finish the game. Jan Willem and I set aside our work on LUFTRAUSERS to make sure no momentum was lost on the project again. Eirik set aside all of his work to make sure the game sounds perfect. Suddenly everything fell into place.
Two weeks ago, Zach and Greg declared the work on their end was done. Jan Willem slaved away for two full time weeks checking up on final progress tweaks, Eirik worked on additional sound effects. Then, during my recent stay in New York City, Zach and I found ourselves staring at the App Store submission screen: a screen we thought we might never see.
So, this is it. No more talking about clones: Ridiculous Fishing is something we’re too proud of to be discussing its value in terms of another game. It’s time to focus on what we made: Ridiculous Fishing has been submitted. We’ll be back with more news as soon as Apple approves the game.
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.
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.