Kick The Box
Interview with Gadina, Vermin Games
Kick The Box:First off, a big Congratulations on the funding of Bright Future!
Gadina: Thank you.
G: Currently we are 8 people – Nicky (main illustrator, character artist), George (item designer and character artist), Sunny (character artist), Cindy (concept artist, graphic designer), Alex (concept artist), Stefano (PR), Radin (social media) and me, Gad (gameplay designer, producer, graphic designer).
KTB: When was Vermin Games established?
G: While working on Bright Future. I have worked before on smaller projects with some of the people (Stefano, Cindy, Alex), but most of the people joined us while working on the board game.
KTB: How many and who are involved with the creation of Bright Future?
G: Since this is our first project in this team configuration, the people in Vermin Games and the people behind Bright Future are almost the same. I say almost though, because they were others who helped with the creation of the game, but they weren’t dedicated enough or did not have the time it takes. And it takes much!
KTB: I think it was a really interesting idea for research to visit some of these underground locations. Who’s idea was it?
G: Mine (Gad). I thought that if I was to make a post-apocalyptic game where people live underground, I should do some research. Of course I googled as much as I could… And I found all kinds of urban legends – some were believable, but others seemed quite unrealistic. For example, rumors say that under our city there are thousands of interconnected tunnels populated by hostile tramps and vagrants who live there by their own laws. Well, this is only partly true. Under every big city there are thousands of tunnels – sewers, utility tunnels for gas pipes and cables, and of course – bunkers. But they are not very connected and they are definitely not populated.
KTB: How many locations did you end up visiting?
G: Hmmm, hard to tell. At least 7 civil fallout shelters, 2 underground military command centers, the famous “UFO” monument on Buzludzha and a many other less interesting subterranean facilities and tunnel connections.
G: For the most of them – yes. Some others remained a mystery. For example, we found an abandoned hydrotechnical underground facility which was built the same way as a nuclear shelter: giant storage rooms underground, which can be accessed by a long tunnel leading to an entrance, protected by a thick steel door and many blast protection chambers, and a labyrinth of concrete corridors behind them. Maybe it would have stored clean water in case of a nuclear war? Who knows, we can only speculate about it.
KTB: What was the scariest moment while lurking underground in these abandoned tunnels?
G: I think it is when I insisted to check on a shaft which could lead to the lower levels of the Redoubt bunker in Sofia – now sealed. This ground shaft seemed like the only way in. It was positioned at the end of a short tunnel and it was very wide, with a ladder of brace-like steps built in on the side of the shaft. In addition, the first step was broken and missing. So I had to go to the other side and from there to hang down about 1.5 meters until I reach the next step. I still remember Nicky saying: “Dude, please don’t die, I have no other employer!” :D
Anyway, I put an wooden ladder we found nearby across the shaft, and hoping it will not break, I used it as support while slowly lowering myself to the second step. Then, thinking about Darwin awards, I climbed down the other steps normally. It was more filthy than expected and the steps were dangerously corroded. When I reached the bottom of the shaft, I got the reason: maybe years ago some idiot has thrown inside automobile tires and other garbage and set them on fire, so the shaft was completely blocked with rubble. This explained the filth and the bad condition of the steps… Anyway, I made it back alive and black as a chimney-sweeper : ))
G: Mostly Cindy – she accompanied me at all my expeditions and mapped out most of the places we visited. She’s a really brave girl.
I have taken with me most of the other members of the team – Stefano, Nicky, George.
KTB: Who was the artist(s) that did the artwork for Bright Future?
G: The most illustrations were done by Nicky – all 36 locations, the charming vintage card backs, some of the characters. He was a good artist at the beginning, but he got better and better! He reworked some of old arts, making them look great when compared to the old ones – which were “only” good.
Cindy created the overall concept for the mutants in the game and drew dozens of various icons, until we find the look we need. Actually, creating the basic mutant type was fun. She needed a reference how I imagine them. I told her they should be insect-like and I tried to make an example. She recreated it and the result was quite funny. So I have asked her to make it as she thinks it is better. See for yourself:
George made the item designs and created nice, realistic, worn look of each one of them. It was really hard to establish the style of the mutant items, but he managed to do it:
KTB: Looks like the artwork is complete for the game. What else is left to complete the game? Or is it ready to be printed and shipped?
G: Yes, most of the art is ready. But every one of us has plenty of work: artists make last minute improvements, graphic designers try to improve the interface colors and to make it as intuitive as possible, and I’m testing with fans and trying to put the game balance under pressure. We have some more work on the rulebook and on the box cover.
G: We have a preliminary arrangement with a local print shop in Bulgaria named Simolini. As a book editor, I have worked with them for the last seven years, so I know they are serious and reliable partners. On the other hand, with funding increase we began thinking on a larger scale, so we are leading conversations with two other print shops – one in China and another in UK.
KTB: Besides the fulfillment of Bright Future, what is on the horizon for Vermin Games?
G: I think we have a potential of creating interesting and original, well-illustrated games. Each pledge for Bright Future will make it easier for us to create the next title.
KTB: Thank You Gadina for taking the time out of your busy schedule to swap some emails back and forth! You can find Gadina and the rest of Vermin Games first game, Bright Future on Kickstarter right here and now!