Mobeen Fikree is the man behind Vertex Pop, and his twin-stick shooter We are Doomed! is now out on the Vita. We caught up with him to find out more.
Hello Mobeen! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Can you tell us a little bit about Vertex Pop and how you got into developing games?
No problem at all. While I’ve been making games for many years, I founded Vertex Pop to bring We Are Doomed to consoles. It’s been a fun ride so far.
You have just released We are Doomed on the Vita. Can you explain a little about what it is?
WE ARE DOOMED is a twin-stick shooter where you zap polygon baddies with an absurdly overpowered laserbeam.
Your beam is powerful but close-range, so you really need to dive right into the action. You can also charge a SUPERBEAM, which goes all the way across the screen zapping everything it touches in short order.
The entire game is built on a risk/reward mentality. Every mechanic is designed to make throwing yourself into danger pay off. On the other hand, if you just want to chill and enjoy the pretty colours, that’s cool too!
What was the inspiration for the game?
It started with a doodle of a massive, overpowered laserbeam in my notebook. That’s what got me onto the computer, prototyping. Over the course of development, everything from the controls, to the look, to the enemy behaviours changed dramatically, but that initial doodle survived.
What made you want to bring the game to the Vita?
Two reasons: First, I love making games for portable devices. There’s something totally magical about seeing your game running on a tiny device that you can just hand to someone. It’s hard to explain, but it feels great.
Second, I feel like the quick load times, short-burst game sessions and the twin-stick controls are a perfect fit for the Vita.
Was the Vita version always planned?
Yes, but I also knew it was never going to come out at the same time as the PS4 and XB1. I’m just one programmer, and my games run on a custom-built engine. I didn’t want to rush it.
Are there any notable differences between the Vita version and the PS4 version? What compromises did you have to make to get it on the Vita?
I put a tremendous amount of effort into ensuring that the Vita version looks and plays just like the PS4 version. And it does!
This may not seem like a big deal, after all We Are Doomed doesn’t look very graphically intense. But it’s actually quite sophisticated in a non-conventional way.
All the art is procedurally generated using algorithms in code. This means that the Vita CPU is recalculating thousands of vertices on every frame. I managed to optimize the code until it ran 60fps at native resolution. I’m quite happy with it!
Are there any games that have impressed you on the Vita?
TxK is a stunning design and technical achievement. Minter at his finest.
Luftrausers is the kind of tight action game that works so well on the Vita.
Is there anything coming out for the Vita that you are looking forward to?
Keeping on the Vlambeer roll, I haven’t had a chance to try Nuclear Throne on Vita yet. I’ve put a few hours into it on Steam, but I think it’d play better with a controller. Also, Severed looks really cool and totally gorgeous!
What’s next for Vertex Pop? Would you consider developing for the Vita again?
Yeah! I’d love to make more action or arcade games designed for the Vita. As with most of these decisions though, it comes down to how well We Are Doomed sells on Vita, and on scheduling. There’s only so much I can do at once!
Our final question – which do you think is the better Vita model, the OLED or the Slim?
They’re both great systems… I mean, ultimately it comes down to the games. But you can’t beat that OLED screen, huh?
We would like to thank Mobeen for his time with this interview. We Are Doomed is out now and you can read our review here. Have you picked it up yet?
This interview first appeared in our March issue of The Vita Lounge Magazine. Stay tuned to our magazine for more exclusive and magazine first content soon!