Three years ago, I asked Vlambeer a few questions for a personal project of mine and they kindly answered. Today, that project is long gone. Speaking with Damian Troncoso (the other half of Beavl), we decided to restart this “interview thingy” and call it We Ask Indies. Every Wednesday we will upload a different interview with an indie studio or developer we like. And guess what? Our friend Joaquín Aldeguer will join us with his awesome art!
So, off with the first one! Vlambeer turned 3 years old some weeks ago, so this is kind of a celebration. They’ve made lots of great games and some of the most clever marketing stuff we’ve seen in the industry. And here they are, three years ago!
1. How long have you been making games?
Vlambeer exists since september 2010, so we’re just a few months old. Jan Willem has been designing games seriously for about 3 – 3 and a half year – the five years before that he kind of toyed around with game design. Rami started developing when he was six years old or something, in the good ol’ times when computers still had CGA graphic cards. He then moved on from being a bedroom hobbyist to being a livingroom hobbyist – then he started studying Game Design and Development and that’s where Vlambeer was founded.
2. Where do you find ideas for your games? Tell us something about your creative process.
Everywhere. Jan Willem tries to avoid taking ideas from other games and instead prefers bad sci-fi books, music, alcohol and anything that happens between those. He usually proceeds to making a really fast gameplay prototype or mockup, at which point Rami takes a bit of a sober look at the idea and discards it. Sometimes, though, something amazing happens at that point which leads to something above acceptable, like Super Crate Box or Radical Fishing.
3. Super Crate Box is a really good retro game (with great pixelart and mechanics), are you planning to do more games like this?
We both have a bit of a weak spot for old-school arcade games – so probably, yeah – but we really can’t say where time takes us. There are many factors that will have impact on how Vlambeer evolves from here, but for now I think the furthest we’ve planned ahead is that we’ll be in San Fransisco during the IGF awards.
4. Radical Fishing, on the other hand, is a very interesting casual flash game with a curious tweak, two sport mini-games in one: throwing the line, getting it deeper and deeper and pulling it up trying yo catch lots of fishes so as to fire the hell out of them once in the air. So we have a fishing mini-game and a shooting one. Do you remember where this crazy idea came from?
Jan Willem watched a documentary about tuna fishers, and in one shot they slinged a lot of tunas aboard in a sort of slow-motion shot. At that point, Jan Willem thought of Duck Hunt. The rest is history.
5. Vlambeer have made PC/MAC and flash games, are you planning to make games for mobile (android, iOS)?
We’re not really sure, but yeah – most of our games would work rather well on the iOS/Android platforms. At this point, we can’t really say, but we certainly are looking into the possibility of getting our Vlambeer Light games to mobile platforms.
6. Can you tell us something about your new project/s?
Well, we’re currently working on a new project – but all we can really say at this point is that its a Vlambeer Light game. We’re also working hard to do some Super Crate Box things – think bug-fixing and things like those.
7. If you have to choose three and only three game developers to follow their work closely, which ones would you choose and why?
We both agreed this question is pretty much impossible to answer, but we decided to give it a try. Rami and Jan Willem have totally different tastes in computer games, so we’ll answer it seperately.
Jan Willem those would be Messhof, Ikiki and Blendo Games. “Messhof is the godfather of cool games. If you’ve played Messhof games, you’ve played pretty much every derivative of those games as well. Ikiki because his games are so different from most of the indie scene. Blendo Games because Gravity Bone is one of my all-time favorites, and I happen to love everything they’ve made since too.”
Rami, on the other hand, would probably follow Ubisoft Montreal, Bioware and Team Meat. “The first two make some of my favorite game series – Assassins Creed and Mass Effect. Team Meat is responsible for the amazing Super Meat Boy. Sure, I’m a big indie games lover as well, but I’m not certain I could live with not knowing the ending of the Assassins Creed and Mass Effect franchises.”
8. Are you heavy gamers? What games are you playing now?
Jan Willem: “I don’t play games, games are for nerds.”
Rami: “Yeah, I am, I guess. I completed Assassins Creed last week, and I’m currently playing through Flotilla, Nimbus and Super Meat Boy. I’m working through some iPad games and really looking forward to Deus Ex 3 at this point. So, yeah, I guess I’m a nerd as far as Jan Willem is concerned. He just doesn’t like to admit he’s a nerd – he has been playing a lot of Audiosurf lately, I recall.”
9. Concerning your games, what is the most interesting feedback you have received from users?
Well, the most interesting thing anyone said about Super Crate Box probably is “the look of the game makes it the xylophone of the gaming world – you can be exceptionally skilled at it but no one’s going to be impressed”. We were really surprised at the extremely positive feedback on Radical Fishing too, but there weren’t really extremely memorative quotes there. For Super Crate Box, there were so many great comments and stories.