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Vlambeer to release Yeti Hunter from GDC show floor

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Rebel indie studio unleashes new game from their booth at the Independent Game Festival

Yeti Hunter
Yeti Hunter

Vlambeer won't quit.

It's Day one of GDC 2012 in San Francisco and the independent studio has decided to release a new game. Now. From their booth at the Independent Games Festival.

The game, which Vlambeer's Rami Ismael calls "a realistic yeti hunting simulation" has been in the works for some time, but the Dutch duo or Ismael and Jan Willem "JW" Nijman decided a few days ago that today, the day of the Independent Game Festival Awards, would be the day it would go live.

The decision was met with a flurry of activity as the appointed hour approached and Rami, who had been laid up ill most of the morning, struggled to find a power adapter for his laptop.

Rami told Vox Games that he supposed he had to make a website or something, then rushed to find a place to squat near a power outlet in the cavernous expo hall in Moscone North.

"We're going to release Yeti Hunter into the world," Rami says as he types away, iPad in one hand, laptop open displaying a screen full of HTML and CSS in his other.

"It's actually very hard to hunt the yeti. A lot of times you think you see one, but it turns out to be a snowflake."

As he builds the website that will host the game when it is released, he's checking his Twitter, responding to people responding to his announcement. He's in a circle of indie developers, talking shop, showing each other their games and suggesting enhancements to Yeti.

It's a sort of impromptu summit within a summit, and at its center is a man who is launching a new game on the same day he may - or may not be - receiving an award for another.

You think he'd be a bundle of nerves, but in spite of the sickness, the exhaustion, the stress and the bustle of building a website and launching a game, Ismael looks like one of the happiest people on Earth. This is what he lives for.

"It's actually very hard to hunt the yeti," Nijman says, joining the circle. "A lot of times you think you see one, but it turns out to be a snowflake. Which is kind of the point of the game."

Vlambeer has been nominated for Best Mobile Game at the Independent Game Festival Awards later this evening, for their soon-to-be-released mobile game Ridiculous Fishing. The game was at the center of a cloning controversy over developer Gamenauts' near-identical game Ninja Fishing, which beat Ridiculous Fishing to market and rapidly became a top-selling game.

The episode was the subject of Vlambeer's talk at GDC, suggesting the issue of cloning has been caught up in logical fallacies which are preventing serious discussion. Issmale and Nijman encouraged the massive crowd in attendance to "talk about cloning" whether they agree with Vlambeer, that cloning hurts the industry, or not. They believe that the discussion hasn't even begun, and that the issue, which affects developers worldwide, can have lasting negative consequences for the entire games industry if left unchecked.

Although, Ismael admits, cloning has been both good and bad for Vlambeer. Ridiculous Fishing may be perceived by many potential customers as a "clone" of Ninja Fishing, causing them to reject the game, but the issue has put the company well into the public eye, possibly giving their future efforts a better chance than they had before to make it big.

Yeti Hunter may be a first test of that theory.

"Don't break my website," Ismael shouts, as he hurries away to be interviewed and a friend takes over the HTML coding. "I don't want penises on my background."