Why We Design Games & Playing With LUFTRAUSERS

Making games is hard work. Work isn't supposed to be fun. As a matter of fact, it's called work because it's not fun. That's why you get paid to do it. The pay allows you to buy fun later, to make up for the time spent not having fun. One of the reasons we get paid so little at Vlambeer (other than having little money) is that our work has rare moments of pure, crystalline fun.

The reason I do game design is messing with code. Ask anyone who ever looked at the original Super Crate Box code and they'll burst into tears because its a total mess. Rami and I have been working together for almost two years now, but he still bursts into tears every time he has to work with my code. I don't really know how to do anything in a structured way.

I do know how to set the rate of fire of a rocket launcher to a hundred-and-fifty rockets per second.

And we did spawn a hundred LUFTRAUSERS that one time.

The strongest weapon in LUFTRAUSERS is what we call the Cannon. No competition. It fires a steaming hot glowing ball of death, exploding into a 360-degree burst of scorching hot bullets at impact. Missing a shot will result in an anticlimactic splash and a long reload. Players don't heal while reloading, so firing the Cannon will leave you vulnerable for quite a while. You better make every shot count!

If you're good, and you are since you're piloting a LUFTRAUSER, your skills are insane and you land those cannonballs every single time. Beautiful explosions ensue and destroyed enemies crash into the seas.

In our current in-progress build of LUFTRAUSERS you can press certain keys that will enable some experimental functions that probably won't make it into the final game. One of them grants you the CANNON CANNON (and a far less cool crash-error when it tries to write the savefile).

The CANNON CANNON can fire a huge cannon ball, but it has an absurd cooldown. Impact of that huge cannonball will result in 360 degrees spread of those original cannons we described above. Hitting an enemy with the CANNON CANNON riddles the screen with tiny bullets and exploding enemies. It's GLORIOUS. It's also completely useless, but it's FUN.

The CANNON CANNON took us 5 seconds to create.

This is pretty much the best part about game design. "What would happen if instead of debris, the cannon exploded into homing missiles?"

Well, this would happen.

Okay, one more. What if homing missiles dropped bombs and fired lasers?

And now back to that cannon that exploded into homing missiles, but with these new bomb-dropping laser firing missiles?

By now the trick might be getting old. That's because this stuff isn't fun to play, it's only fun to make. Seeing our job is making fun games to play, we better find things that are fun to play. Balance has to be just right and thing like these, while fun, ruin the balance. These things make it fun to work on the games during those long months of production.

Sometimes, though, these things actually do make it into our games. When messing with enemy deaths in GUN GODZ we made a mode where enemies would fly incredibly far when hit with a weapon. This felt so good that it's still in the game as 'golden gun mode'. True gangsters have gold guns with insane recoil and screen shake. Beat the game, and you get to play with golden guns.

To finish this post up neatly, take a look at this homing spread machinegun with bomb dropping missiles.

P.S. The real reason I am a game designer is that I wasted my youth messing with games and I'm not really good at anything else.