Epic Brew Interviews “Capsized” Developer, Lee Vermeulen
The following interview is with Lee Vermeulen, @AlientrapGames on Twitter, programmer and co-designer of Capsized.
– Tell us a bit about how Alientrap Games was formed.
I started Alientrap with the development of the game Nexuiz, a freeware deathmatch game released in 2005. I made it along with Forest ‘LordHavoc’ Hale, the programmer of the Darkplaces engine, and a number of other online developers. After the release of Nexuiz I worked on a few other Darkplaces projects before partnering up with Jesse for Capsized in 2009.
– Did you know Capsized‘s artist Jesse McGibney before you began working on the game?
Jesse and I went to grade school / highschool together, meeting in the first grade. We always had an interest in games and, if I can remember right, talked a lot about game design even then. He went to Sheridan college in Toronto after highschool for an illustration program while I stayed in Saskatoon and went into computer science at the local university. We were both in our last year of school when we started Capsized, using the game as our final assignment.
– At the earliest stages of development was there something you specifically wanted in Capsized, but were unable to fit into the final project?
Not really, actually. Capsized never had a design doc or a grand overall vision when it started – it was a very iterative development cycle. I would experiment with some gameplay elements, while Jesse would try new designs/concepts and come up with further gameplay ideas. The only things we really lost were a lot of the gameplay experiments tried late in development, at the point where it would be too costly to implement them due to having to recreate a lot of the game.
– What was the biggest hurdle you had to jump while designing Capsized?
Capsized initially had a lot of story and text. Every mission started with a ‘mission log’ with the main character explaining what was happening. When we decided to remove all text and entirely tell the story with images I think that really helped the flow of the game.
– Can gamers expect to see Capsized on Xbox Live, Playstation Network, or Macs anytime soon?
Something is in the works, there should be an announcement soon.
– Having published a successful video game independently, what advice do you have for others looking to start work on their own games?
I would say start small and release quickly. Fail often, since failing on a two-year project is a lot more painful than a month long one.
– Does Alientrap have any upcoming projects in production?
Right now we are getting a new project together to submit to the IGF this year for the October deadline (possibly). We’ll definitely be announcing something before the end of the year.
A big thanks to Lee of Alientrap Games for taking the time to do the interview with us.