Vlambeer, the developer behind titles like Super Crate Box and Luftrausers, is at the forefront of a new type of game development. Using the Twitch streaming service, they’ve been hosting sessions of live development.
Game companies have always had varying degrees of transparency, one of the most notable examples being Double Fine’s BrokenAge documentary series, but Vlambeer has made their content more frequent and accessible. With the development of their latest game, Nuclear Throne, Vlambeer has pulled back the curtain to show their audience how the sausage is made (pardon my mixture of metaphors). Twitch users can tune into gameplay tests, music composition, and even programming all with a back-and-forth with the developers themselves. At the moment, Vlambeer streams every Tuesdays and Thursdays with archives available on their channel.
Vlambeer aren’t the only ones taking offering more audience participation in game development. Amplitude Studios, the creators of Endless Space and the upcoming Endless Legend, have created Games2gether, a forum for users to participate in certain design decisions. Developer Other Ocean has taken this to the extreme with design ideas and decisions coming almost exclusively from audience suggestions via twitter on their upcoming title #IDARB.
Where did this come from? Twitch has certainly grown exponentially with its inclusion in the new console launches. As far as the growth of developer transparency, Kickstarter has probably had a large impact as more and more games use the service. Kickstarter comes with an expectation of updates for its backers, the more regular the better.
Having a window into how games are made not only garners a greater appreciation for them but may even inspire others to create. Here’s hoping this trend continues.