Vlambeer has been sort of quiet the last few months, and for good reasons. Nuclear Throne was by far the biggest project we’ve ever done, and combined with the livestreaming schedule and the stress of console releases, it took a massive toll on us. However, we did not spend half a year doing nothing, and we’ve got a mountain-sized blog post full of news.
What we’ve been up to.
After Nuclear Throne’s launch, we took a few months of time apart from each other to recover.
We have been struggling with Nuclear Throne’s patch and some other backlog. The patch is an ongoing process (we’ve submitted for a new certification round this week), and has been rather embarrassing and frustrating for everybody on the team. Game Maker, our middleware, absolutely isn’t built for PlayStation updates, and Nuclear Throne being the first test case of a Game Maker game natively on PlayStation means that every problem we run across needs to be found by SONY, addressed by YoYoGames, tested by us, and then submitted to certification again. It’s been a slow, grueling, process. We take full responsibility for the delay, and we’re positive that we’re finally getting close.
Jan Willem went back to prototyping, and creating small side projects to sling his creativity back into shape. He recently released a small “solo” project in the form of DISC ROOM, which is a collaboration between Kitty Calis, Doseone (who we also worked with on GUN GODZ & Nuclear Throne), and himself. It was available as a Humble Original in the Humble Monthly of August 2016. You can, however, still grab the soundtrack over on Bandcamp.
Rami has been working on a lot of the Vlambeer-related stuff further up ahead, but he also spend some time making some “solo” stuff. One of his recent trips took him to a gamejam in a castle in Sweden, where he met a bunch of developers from all over the world. Together, they created a hotel maintenance simulation game in the shape of Breach & Clean, which is a freeware download.
Birthdays! Patches! Updates! Fixes!
In the meanwhile, we’ve been working on some other things in the background. At the start of September, Vlambeer turns six years old! We’ve spent this first downtime in years fondly looking back at six years of ridiculousness and hard work with Vlambeer, but in looking back, we also found a young studio that made some mistakes along the way. We’re committed to fixing those, and while we’re cleaning house, we might as well make some other improvements.
There will be updated freeware versions of Super Crate Box and GUN GODZ. Both will also release for Mac and Linux.
There is an upcoming PC update for Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, and Mac and Linux builds will be added there as well.
On mobile, we’ll be releasing a patch for both Super Crate Box iOS and Ridiculous Fishing in the next few months, enabling support for new devices and aspect ratios. We’re sad to announce that, as you probably expected by now, the Ridiculous Fishing content update will not occur. We’ve thought long and carefully about this, but Ridiculous Fishing is really perfect as it is. We simply couldn’t find a way to improve it in a meaningful way, and as such, we’d rather leave it as is, instead of adding things for the sake of adding them.
We are happy to announce we will be working with Abstraction Games to try and bring a PS3 and PS Vita patch to LUFTRAUSERS. This patch will fix an old trophy problem some of our vocal fans have been asking about in more and less polite ways, and we didn’t want to disappoint those of you who asked politely.
Nuclear Throne will get an update on PC, Mac and Linux in the course of this month. This will bring the game to update 99 on Steam, Humble and GoG, and will fix some of the remaining bugs. We are thankful to YellowAfterlife and Darwin from the community for their help in identifying and solving these, and to the entire Nuclear Throne community for their ongoing support. The PlayStation patches, when approved, will bring the game to update 99 on those platforms too, and fix some of the glaring problems of the console build.
All of this made us a bit nostalgic! Going over our old projects, back to little games such as Dinosaur Zookeeper and KARATE, and old hits like Super Crate Box and Radical Fishing – it was quite a trip down memory lane. Vlambeer has been an amazing rollercoaster so far, and sometimes things moved so fast we can barely remember what happened.
We wanted to find a way to document our history, and we got in touch with the fine folks at Cook & Becker to help us out. They suggested the idea of a book. So, for the first time ever, Vlambeer is announcing a book.
We’re really excited to announce 120 Years Of Vlambeer And Friends, an art & history book of everything we’ve ever made as Vlambeer. We’re excited about the whole thing, and since we’ve never released a physical product of this scale before, this is all rather exciting to us.
Written by the writer of Killzone Visual Design, Arjan Terpstra, the book delves into our history, our designs, our process, and our projects. Arjan went and asked for full access to our archives, and he found design sketches, ideas and conversations we had all but forgotten about.
The 120 Years Of Vlambeer And Friends edition is available at $39 and features the 256x256mm artbook with a blue cover. It is over 150 pages, full of beautiful art, and features a 20.000 word history of Vlambeer, interviews with the two of us and our team members. It’s filled with insights into our design, design sketches, history and our games.
Then there is the signed Limited Edition, which is being printed in a limited run. Now, the contents of the book itself are identical, besides the cover being in bright red instead of blue. The Limited Edition comes in what we think is a beautiful 307x307mm box.
In the box, you’ll find a numbered and limited art print, created according to Cook & Becker’s stringent quality guidelines. You’ll also find a custom Vlambeer notebook and marker to jot down your own game ideas or thoughts. Finally, you’ll find a collection of all of our games (& some additional prototypes). Each of the limited editions will be hand-signed by both of us. The Limited Edition sells at $93,50.
It turns out that as far as we’re aware, no independent developer has ever tried doing something like this, so we couldn’t ask around for help with this project. Luckily, while we’ve never released a book before, the folks at Cook & Becker have. They’ve been guiding us through the process patiently and according to all estimates, the books should ship around the end of this year.
Pre-orders for both editions are available through Cook & Becker right now, with worldwide shipping.
In the meanwhile…
The fact that we’re making a history book doesn’t mean Vlambeer is history. We’re continuing work on merch, new prototypes and ideas, and our aim is to maybe make a few smaller games to recover a bit. We have a few ideas that could be interesting, but they’re all very much up in the air – we haven’t picked one yet, and we don’t know if they’re worth following up on yet. There is one prototype in particular that we’re really excited about, but we’re worried saying more about it this early on will jinx it.
If you’re going to be at PAX West, come by our booth. We’re introducing a new Nuclear Throne shirt designed by Justin Chan at the show. Here’s a sneak peek, and like all our other shirts, will be available through Fangamer. You’ll also be able to play our Complete History Of Vlambeer Games, where we’ll have every single game we ever created available to play. Even the ones we’re less proud of, and even some prototypes we didn’t finish.