Submitted By:
Strange Loop Games
Watch Their Video
Game Type:
Core
Game Platform:
Windows
Class:
Professional
Credits:
John Krajewski
Martin Farren

Game Title:
Vessel




Strange Loop Game’s Indie
Game Challenge Experience
WHAT WAS THE IGC EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR STRANGE LOOP GAMES?

IGC was our first contest, and Dice our first conference attended as a team. Definitely the best part part about the event was getting to meet all the great people in indie development and game development in general, demo our game and check out games from other indies.



WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO 2011 IGC ENTRANTS?

The quality that all the finalists had in common was originality. Strive for something new that pushes the envelope!



WHAT UNEXPECTED BENEFITS CAN FINALISTS EXPECT?

Mile long buffet tables full of shrimp. And meeting some of the biggest names in games randomly while eating said shrimp.



AS PLAYERS YOURSELF, WHICH 2010 FINALIST GAME DID YOU ENJOY MOST?

All the games I thought were a lot of fun, especially Climb to the Top of the Castle for its visceral energy and simplicity. Miegakure also stood out for its brain melting puzzles.



WHAT IS THE LATEST NEWS FROM STRANGE LOOP GAMES?

We’re hard at work developing our art style and some new design mechanics – new fluid types, and new contraptions to create liquid creatures.



Game Background
Game Description:

Arkwright, inventor of the revolutionary Mechanized-Fluid Automatons (known as Fluros), is on a quest to finish his next great invention – The Device – that will alter existence in unfathomable ways.



Travel to different industrial sites that use Arkwright’s Fluro invention to run their machinery. The Fluros, thought to be lifeless machines, seem to be developing minds of their own, mutating into new forms and running amok. It is up to Arkwright to understand (and exploit) these strange evolutions, and apply what has emerged in the field back to his lab work at home. Gather these evolved Fluros and machinery and bring them back to Arkwright’s lab to finish his ‘Device’, pushing the frontiers of science in this mechanical universe.



‘Vessel’ is a game about the relationships between life, matter, and machines. The game is built on a physics and fluid simulation engine featuring the unique ability to simulate characters composed entirely of fluid. Explore physically modeled worlds, solve puzzles by controlling fluid and machines, and harness the power of the mysterious ‘Fluro’ creatures that populate the land.



What was your inspiration for making the game?

Vessel began life as a physics engine experiment I was working on in my spare time, and as the engine grew in complexity and capability the ideas for Vessel started emerging.  We wanted the game’s story, visuals, gameplay, and technology to be intimately tied together and play off each other in clever ways, so everything feels natural and connected.



How is your game unique from others out there?

We’ve built the game in a custom engine that simulates characters made of fluid – this opens up a lot of gameplay possibilities that have not been explored in games before.  A physics engine powers all the objects and fluid in the game, so everything is very interactive and emergent.



How long did it take you to make your game?

A few years of part time effort to build the engine, and a year of full time effort to put it all together.



What was the hardest part about making it?

Optimizing!  There’s a reason there haven’t been many fluid games until recently, and that’s because it’s so processor intensive.   On the other hand, that’s one of the things I like best about the game – we’re putting the massive power of modern hardware towards new kinds of gameplay, not just graphics.  That’s the founding principle of the new studio we’re working to start.



Any other unique or interesting facts about your game we should know about?

The tech we use to make fluid characters is very flexible and there’s a lot we plan to do with it.  For example, the fluid letters in the title use the same tech as the fluid characters in the game. 



How did you pick the name of your game?  Did you have any others in mind?

I had others in mind, but as soon as I found ‘Vessel’ I knew it was perfect.  There are layers of meaning we intend to build into our game, and the loose meaning of Vessel captures them beautifully.



Questions for the Team Leader
Hometown?

Seattle, Washington



College?

University of Washington, studied computer science.



What is your gaming background?

I’ve been an avid gamer since the Commodore 64 days.  I worked at a couple of large game studios before going officially indie a year ago, and not looking back.



How long have you and your teammates known each other?  What’s the story behind how your team got together?

Our team all worked together at Pandemic Studios in Brisbane Australia.  Working on our own title is something we’ve always wanted to do, taking a different approach to making games .  After Pandemic shutdown we decided to take the risk and give it a shot.



What game or games are you playing right now?

I’ve been stuck on Company of Heroes multiplayer for a long while now – so much depth and strategy to that game.  Besides that a lot of cool indie games out there like Monaco and Captain Forever. 



What is your favorite all-time game?

Ultima Online, back in the early wild-west early days where anything could (and frequently did) happen.  There has been nothing like it before or since.  These days MMOs are locked down and safe, not as much excitement.



What is your least favorite all-time game?

Also Ultima Online, for the many many hours it has stolen from me…



First video game system you owned?

Commodore 64!  Cut my teeth on the BASIC programming language, which is where I got a taste for making games.  I’m a bit envious of kids these days growing up with tools like XNA in their living room.



Current system you spend the most time playing?

These days PC, trying out interesting indie games and nursing my addiction to Company of Heroes multiplayer. 



When you and your team aren’t making awesome games, what other hobbies are you involved in?

Doing things outdoors to make up for all the time spent in front of a monitor – snowboarding, tennis, running, hiking, camping.