Vessel – Strange Loop Games’ Studio Head Talks Liquid Mechanics and Puzzles
One of the first independent games that caught my eye at PAX Prime, developer Strange Loop Games’ Vessel features an interesting 2D/3D hybrid art style as well as a unique liquid simulation mechanic. This liquid simulation utilized different liquids and their unique properties and mixtures that had dramatic effects on the game’s puzzles.
I recently had a chat with John Krajewski, Studio Head at Strange Loop Games about what inspired the Vessel’s mechanics and gameplay, main character and story, as well as platforms that the game will release on later.
Check out our full interview with John Krajewski about Vessel after the break.
JTM Games: What was the inpiration behind Vessel?
John Krajewski: The inspiration for Vessel came from this physics engine that I was building. I wanted to build an engine that had realistic liquid in the games; so water, lava, and different kinds of fluid that actually flowed and looked really interesting visually but was also a big part of the gameplay.
A lot of games have liquid in it, but not many use it as the core of the gameplay. That’s what the goal of our game is.
JTM Games: Could you talk about Vessel’s game mechanics and puzzles?
John Krajewski: As I said, the core of the game is based around liquid so you’re bringing these liquids to life. You play an inventor who can actually bring liquid to life in any form that he finds it. The liquid simulation is also the core part of the puzzles. You have to understand the properties of these work; it all naturally happens. So when you see water, you can bring it to life by dropping in these “seeds.” The properties of the liquid creature will maintain whatever liquid it’s made of so if you make a guy out of water, if he touches lava, he’s gonna get fried by the lava.
So we’re taking the natural properties that come out of liquid simulation, applying it to creatures, and using that in interesting ways; finding what’s interesting about that and building the puzzles out of that.
JTM Games: Could you talk about Vessel’s main character, his story and how it applies to the game?
John Krajewski: The main character’s name is Arkwright; he’s an inventor and he invented these machines that you can create from just water. They’re extremely cheap, easy to make, and you can mass produce them. They become used all over the world for doing work, and over the years it’s made Arkwright really famous, this famed inventor.
But now his machines are starting to change, they’re starting to somehow adapt to their environment and evolve even. They’re taking over these factories and running amuck, turning against their owners. So Arkwright has to go and figure out what’s going on with these creatures which he thought were basically just machines that he invented and now somehow are becoming more than that; they’re becoming their own life form.
JTM Games: Vessel is out on Steam and Onlive now; do you ever see the game coming out on other platforms as well?
John Krajewski: Definitely, we’re actually working on that right now. So we’ve got Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac, and Linux versions in progress. We’re hoping to do iOS, but that’s still yet to be determined though.
Already out on Steam for $14.99 and as part of Onlive’s Playpack Bundle, Vessel utilizes it’s unique game mechanics, art style, interesting puzzles, and liquid physics to present players an thinking person’s platformer. During my hands-on with Vessel, I actually had to put the controller down and think for a bit to solve some of the game’s puzzles. Of course, with every puzzle solved came a feeling of accomplishment and excitement to see the other types of liquid (each with it’s unique properties) and how players could use it to their advantage.
Check out some of Vessel’s screenshots below: