February 3, 2012 1:00 AM | John Polson
Two-person Dutch indie developer Vlambeer may be getting headlines lately for its surprise iOS hit Super Crate Box, but it's another game -- one about the the sacred art of fishing -- that landed the team a nomination for Best Mobile Game at this year's IGF.
The upcoming Ridiculous Fishing might not satisfy traditional fly fishers, but that's what makes it unique. The game's protagonist is more interested in destroying the lake's inhabitants than he is in reeling in the biggest catch.
Ahead of the IGF show in March, Vlambeer speaks to Gamasutra about the inspiration behind the game, the other IGF finalists, and finally reveals the protagonist's true inspiration for slaughtering wildlife.
What background do you have making games?
The two of us at Vlambeer are complete opposites. On one end, there's the business and programming guy, Rami - he does the programming and the marketing and the business. He's a guy that drinks Coca Cola and likes Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed. On the other half, you have Jan Willem, who is the game designer - he likes games like Nikujin, 0Space & Flywrench.
Rami started programming in QBASIC when he was six - the only way to play a game was by compiling GORILLAS.BAS - he messed around the code a bit and never stopped doing that. He moved on to help out with some project doing marketing & business aspects.
Jan Willem basically learnt everything he knows at thepoppenkast.com, a group of super talented and inspiring people who never finish anything. Most of his time was spent jamming games in only a few hours but he also did a few proper games, slowly making a name in the indie indie scene.
We met up at our school, hated each other's guts, slowly reached the common conclusion that school wasn't for us and started Vlambeer.
What development tools did you use?
We use a lot of development tools and never seem to stick to anything but Game Maker for prototyping. Game Maker is Jan Willems prototype tool of choice, because as he likes to put it, it's intended for kids, so it allows him to write horrible code that still works. This allows us to whip up anything in under an hour or so. Fuck design documents, we prototype!
For Ridiculous Fishing, we used Game Maker to create the basic prototype in the form of Radical Fishing, then ported that to Flash for the sponsored version we used to gain a starting capital for Vlambeer. Now we're using the Flash code as a basis for Ridiculous Fishing's XCode with OpenFrameworks version.
How long has your team been working on the game?
At this point, Ridiculous Fishing has been under development for almost a year. Working with Zach Gage (of Bit Pilot, Halcyon & Spelltower) and Greg Wohlwend (Solipskier, Puzzlejuice) has been super fun - but all of us have rather busy schedules so it means we need to match up schedules to work for a while.
How did you come up with the game's concept?
We were watching a documentary about the tuna fishing industry and it had beautiful slow-motion shots of line fishing; tuna flying in the air and doing flips in the sunset. JW figured combining that with Duck Hunt would make for a pretty interesting game. We worked hard on the basics of the Radical Fishing, with the 3-stage gameplay and tons of upgrades and somehow everything just made complete sense. We are basically taking that to the next level with Ridiculous Fishing.
What was the inspiration behind the game's art style?
Triangles and 45 degree angles, says Greg.
Have you played any of the other IGF finalists? Any games you've particularly enjoyed?
Definitely! We are big fans of Spelunky - but we also like Fez, SpaceChem, Joust, Atom Zombie Smashers, Faraway, WAY, GIRP and Fingle. As far as we can see, the quality this year is super high. We're especially happy to see Blendo Games in there - we have never played something he made we didn't love.
What do you think of the current state of the indie scene?
The bar for polish is increasing and indie is increasingly capable of releasing high-quality, polished games. We're a bit scared there might be sort of an identity crisis kicking in, though, where indies find themselves conflicted between the heightened public expectations and creating simpler, rough experiments. We think that we should reach some equilibrium somewhere, but for now this situation is pretty new and exciting.
Have you ever actually been fishing?
JW did - once when he was 8, in a tiny pond behind someone's house. It was pretty boring, he says.
Okay but have you shot a gun?
Rami shot a rifle once. The instructor mentioned to not lock up to prevent the kickback from dislocating your shoulder. Of course, Rami being Rami, he ended up falling and dislocated his shoulder.
What motivates the protagonist of Ridiculous Fishing? Does he even eat fish?
He told his wife he was going out fishing, but he earned money to keep going. By now, he's been gone for so long by now that he's kind of scared to return home.
[The article was originally posted on Gamasutra by Frank Cifaldi.]