Sunday, 10 February 2013

Indie Dev Insight: Vlambeer

Vlambeer is a Dutch independent game studio best known for its frantic, arcade-style games such as Super Crate Box. Its because of this game that I first heard of Vlambeer and have been following since due to their quirky aesthetics and addictive gameplay of a classic formula. For those not aware of this company its worth looking out for their forthcoming titles of which I am eagerly awaiting Ridiculous Fishing for iOS.

Rami very kindly took some time out of their very busy schedule to provide some insight into their experiences to date.

What got you into writing games?
We have seperate stories, obviously. Rami started very young - at the age of six, because back then the only game he liked was written in QBASIC and he had to open the editor to compile the game. Jan Willem ran into Game Maker in a magazine halfway through his teens and hasn't really looked back since.

What's good and bad about what you do?
We make small, contained games. Those are more fun to create for us. We're chaotic and impulsive, though, so we might end up working on four things at once and getting overworked.

How many people are involved in writing games at Vlambeer. What roles do they take on?
Vlambeer is two people - a designer and a developer. We're terrible at art & music, so we ask talented friends to help us out with that.

What would you do differently now given what you know from projects completed and experience from the gaming and app market?
Be a bit more careful with our health. Working on four or five projects at once can probably literally kill you.

What tools do you use. By this I mean software development kits/engines (Cocos2d, Corona, Unity3D etc), audio packages, art packages.
Game Maker, FlashDevelop, MS Paint, Photoshop, Visual Studio.

What made you choose these tools over others?
They're what we're comfortable with. That's really all there's to it. We like those programs, so we use them.

What marketing tactics do you employ? Forums, twitter, paid PR etc
We don't like forums - they feel like a closed system. We use Twitter, Facebook and obviously do our press reachout and work.

What effect do you think free to play has had upon your game design?

What resources do you swear by for learning new techniques, getting more from the packages you mentioned above, news etc. e.g Books (specific titles would be appreciated), forums / websites, social media
Practice, really. We sincerely believe you only truly learn through doing things.

There has been a lot in the press recently that app development is going through a gold rush and that the bubble will burst soon. Do you see it like this?
We think the bubble burst years ago. However, the equalizing factor is the expectations for iOS. A small company can make something as cool as a big one.

Do you think app games will eventually kill off AAA titles as we know them?
No. We think there's place for both - we think there is place for dozens of more variations on 'games' as we know them.

What does 2013 have in store for Vlambeer?
We want to make a lot of games! LUFTRAUSERS and Ridiculous Fishing are almost done, but we hope to be spending a lot of this year prototyping, programming and having fun.

Any additional advice you would give for up and coming indie developers?
Make games, be serious about what you do and spend time making sure people play your game.

Check out Super Crate box on iOS and follow Vlambeer on facebook.


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