In this interview, I had the pleasure of interviewing Terri Vellman, developer of the awesome Sludge Life series! His long awaited sequel SLUDGE LIFE 2 launched a couple of weeks ago, and I got the chance to sit down with him. Hope you all enjoy!
It’s that time once again where it is too warm and humid in the UK!
There are many things happening behind the scenes here. Once I have a better idea of my plans moving forward I will be making an update in a future article. So while that’s going on, I’m going to be a bit slower on making content here. Just me wanting to keep you all informed! August and September are going to be incredibly busy for gamers, and August 3rd sees the 1.0 launch of Baldurs Gate 3. I’ve been waiting for this moment ever since BGIII launched in Early Access!
Today I have a special interview with the developer of Sludge Life 2! The original Sludge Life was a fascinating hidden gem, boasting great exploration and a vibrant open world. This long awaited sequel is a great expansion of the original world, and you can buy it on Steam and GOG right now! In the meantime, enjoy the interview, and I hope to return to you all soon.
Let’s start off with an introduction! Please tell me who you are, and what do you do?
My name is Terri Vellmann, I make computer games.
What game/studio are you currently involved with? And what position?
I work independently, my commercial games were made with Doseone and Devolver.
What advice would you give those who wish to enter the industry?
Have patience and keep things small as you learn.
If you still have time to play video games, what are some of your favorite ones to play?
I still play Spelunky, mostly the second one these days although the first is GOAT. Was playing Frog Detective 3 this week though: a great game.
How did you get into your chosen field in the industry?
I linked up with Devolver at a good time – I feel like they weren’t huge just yet. They’ve been supportive ever since.
What is the hardest part of your job?
I think two moments in development are the hardest, first is finding what the next big project will be and sticking with it past the prototyping phase, and the second is the last bit where you’re wrapping up the game and getting marketing and all that.
What lessons have you learned during your time in the industry?
I’ve learned that it changes all the time, and the possibilities that are around when you start the game can be completely different by the time you are shipping it.
What are your future project(s)?
I don’t really start with an idea, I start playing with tools and mechanics, so that’s what I’m gonna do. I don’t have a new project yet!
If you couldn’t be a game developer, what ideal job would you like to do?
I’d work with illustration which is what I used to do.
What were your greatest challenges during the development of Sludge Life2?
The game is more vertical and that led to performance issues, since there would be so much more in a radius around you at the same time. I got it to perform with different optimizations, but it’s one of the technical sides of development I still struggle with.
What are your plans for during 2023 and beyond for Sludge Life 2?
We still got some cool merch stuff coming up. As for the series I guess it depends on the audience for it, and what ideas come to us.
What games were your greatest inspirations in designing Sludge Life 2?
We were coming back to a world that already existed so a lot of it was just that we wanted to do more of what we already had. Something new that had an obvious inspiration was the NEWSBEAK APP that tasks the player to take pictures of specific animals – inspired by UMURANGI GENERATION.
The original Sludge Life game was a pretty cool surprise for many. I enjoyed playing it (need to return to it!) What lessons did you learn from the original game when making the sequel?
I knew this time around that the closure opportunities were important but also that I had to be careful with them. Like people might stop playing after running into an ending, or they might want to 100% the to-do list, but it always has to feel like the goals are fair and fun to tick off. Anything that could be frustrating should stay out of it, even if in my head it could be for “those that want the extra challenge”.
What is your ideal video game if money and time was no object?
I’d probably be making the same games. I’d just be much less stressed.
More about You
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Love to spend time with family, go out and see a band, get some food. I still draw just for fun, and like to come up with creative side projects of different types.
Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?
Coffee for sure but I’ve been starting to cut back and avoid caffeine.
You can travel anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?
I don’t know if I have any outlandish destination in mind, I’d just love to travel to anywhere I haven’t been before that has cool people.
Pick any three fiction characters. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
Might as well paint a wall with some SLUDGE LIFE taggers – let’s go MOSCA, DOLO and UZZI.
Finally, what superpower would you most like?
I think a little bit of flight could be cool. Nothing too fast or high up, maybe just hovering a lil bit.