Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail kicked off IndieCade East with his keynote, which told the history of Vlambeer and its two developers.
In the opening keynote of IndieCade East, Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail ran down the history of the two-person game development company that is now best known for Ridiculous Fishing. Vlambeer has no intention on making big games; in fact, Ismail announced to an audience that he wants to “make better games, not bigger games.”
As a part of the talk, Ismail described how Vlambeer formed – going back as far as the childhood of both himself and Jan Willem Nijman – giving context for why Vlambeer does what it does. Nijman, who did not attend IndieCade East, practiced game development by making a rapid succession of short games through The Poppenkast, where he participated in many three-hour game jams. Ismail said these quick game jams led to Nijman’s game design sense.
“Even though he really didn’t make anything good, he did make a lot of stuff,” Ismail commented.
In his keynote, Ismail chronicled Vlambeer’s winding road to success. Going from game to game, Vlambeer consistently had little money. By the end of 2011, Vlambeer only had $2,000 in its bank account, and the company almost fell apart. Even so, Ismail and Nijman decided the best course of action was to continue making games. Later on in 2012 when “things weren’t working” for Vlambeer’s game Hyper Crate Box, the solution again was to work on dozens of different games, continually making little games and finding the game that just hasn’t been made yet.
When Ridiculous Fishing launched on iOS in March 2013, it became a hit, and it took some of the stresses of money problems off of Ismail and Nijman’s shoulders. The duo is currently working on Luftrausers. Vlambeer is a more well-known company now, but its climb to success meant trying a lot of things. Bottom line, Ismail and Nijman keep making games, and they work on making them better. However, Ismail stressed that there is no single road for success.
“There are really no shortcuts to making games,” he said. “And there really is no right way of making games.” Any game developers aspiring for success have to make their own luck – be active, meet new people, but most of all, “make games.” Those two words lay on the final presentation slide.