March 6, 2013 3:43 PM | John Polson
Vlambeer recently announced via a six-second Vine video that its follow up to Radical Fishing for iOS, dubbed Ridiculous Fishing, will release March 14. In creating this micro-trailer, the developers also practiced distilling some of the most important parts of their game into a narrative of mere moments (thereby respecting its viewers' time), with the help of video editor king Kert Gartner.
The game is finally seeing a release, after two years of development by Vlambeer (Super Crate Box), Zach Gage (Spelltower, Bit Pilot, Unify) and Greg Wohlwend (Hundreds, Solipskier, Gasketball). Despite Vine not providing stats, the levels of coverage the video and game received this week suggests, at least in part, that the micro-trailer was a success.
I caught up with Rami Ismail of Vlambeer and Kert Gartner to find out the process behind creating one of, if not the first, six-second Vine video game trailer. The two provide insight into the design process and tips on how they dealt with a crucial, last-minute problem.
So, who did what?
Kert Gartner: I captured all the footage and edited the whole thing together. it was kind of interesting, because we ran into a last minute problem.
Basically the video looked totally fine when we watched it on our monitors, but when we recorded it with vine, it was continually trying to adjust the exposure. So what would happen is it would adjust for the dark shots, then a light shot would appear, and it would be totally blown out.
It sucks, but there's no auto exposure or auto focus lock in Vine. So that's also why there's that little focus hickup at the end. What I had to do was brighten up the dark shots quite a bit so that the Auto exposure wouldn't jump around as much.
That was literally like 5 mins before it went live, hah! I also realized that I had to flip the image horizontally too (which is why it looks weird in that shot)
How long did it take to make the whole thing?
KG: I spent about an afternoon playing the game and capturing footage, and cutting the trailer maybe took an hour or two after that? Not that long really.
What lessons did you learn from making, editing a 6-second trailer?
KG: That people LOVE short trailers haha. Some of the comments on the YouTube post were really great... "All game trailers need to be that long, more efficient. Wouldn't even get past the 3rd Developer logo for a AAA game in that time." "First trailer I've rewatched instantly" "Sweet! More information about game in 6 seconds that 90% of the trailers out there provide."
What kind of negative reactions did you get from the trailer?
KG: There were very few negative reactions. There seemed to be about 90% of people that loved it and 10% that were WTF!?
What kind of games are six-second trailers suited for?
KG: Only vlambeer games (winks). Like, the name of this game is Ridiculous Fishing, and it's kind of the most ridiculous trailer I've ever put togerther, so it works in that sense. The tone of the game really suits a trailer that's different.
I also think it works with RF because the game works in a circular manner as well. Basically you play the game in this loop of fishing, shooting, buying, fishing, shooting, buying, so a looping trailer really fits that kind of game.
I can see this working well for something like Super Hexagon, too... You're in this feedback loop. So maybe it works best for looping games? Is that even a thing?
And let me say that I appreciate the brevity of the trailer, because it shows that Vlambeer respects our time. We all have lives here. For 99% of games on the App Store, we don't need to spend two and a half minutes watching a video to get excited. Thanks for that, Vlambeer.
Do you think it's an effective trailer, or simply an effective experiment by a well known developer?
Rami Ismail: I think its both. I mean, we obviously like experimenting, we like doing new things, but we don't like doing new things badly.
We tried a few different versions of the trailer until we ended up with this one and it shows exactly what we kind of need it to show. This is a game about shooting fish. Learn more, later.
We wanted to show the progression in the game a bit, so we got Billy more and more stuff as shots progress. We show different locations, different items and indeed - the information people really need.
Does its lack of length speak at all to wanting to reveal as little as possible, due to previous cloners?
RI: Nope, not at all. I guess the lesson we learned with the cloning story is actually the opposite. The best way to protect yourself from that sort of thing is to be open, as open as possible own your ideas, basically.
So the idea wasn't to make something that was secretive. The idea was to make something that was new, original and effective at communicating what the game is. Obviously, there's still a lot of stuff we haven't shown yet, but we've got some time left before the 14th, eh?
Vine was just this new thing that nobody had used for this and we wondered whether it could be done. First we approached it as a bit of a joke. But when we realized it could be done, obviously we tried our best to come up with something really true to the game.
Editing a trailer down to six seconds sounds rough. What things were cut out and why?
RI: So, things we cut were the shop. We originally wanted to show the shop, too, but that just didn't fit the narrative. In six seconds, there's not a lot you can show, so we wanted things to feel coherent.
Instead of showing the shop, we showed item progression.
The way this was recorded was hilarious.
RI: How we got it from screen to Vine... you can't "post" to Vine; all you can do is record, and that posts to Vine. You cant upload a file. You have to film, so that explains the awkward construction, haha. We filmed Vine off a screen with an iPhone.
What does the six-second limit teach you (and other devs) about how to make more effective teasers and trailers?
RI: So if anything, it reinforces how constraints can be really interesting to work with. If you have six seconds - you'll have to figure out what the important things to show in an introduction are. In our case, that's fishing and shooting!