Bees are harmless creatures they say. They buzz, have fascinating habits, commendable architectural knowledge and never-ending love for nectar. Well, that’s unless they’re messed around with.
As a child, I haven’t had many great memories with bees. I’ll tell you a story that didn’t go… you know, the right way? So it was a sunny day, the school hours were over and students were just starting to head home. My friend and I were plucking flowers and it was still, “just a sunny day”, until… two fat seniors came in running, jumping like pre-historic apes, threw stones at a nearby tree, and for some reason, there was a beehive there. Now as soon as the apes saw the bees activate their rage mode, they went back the way they entered the scene in the first place. Who were to suffer?
Two innocent 4th standard students. I got stung by almost 9 bees, of which, my friend and I beat one to death. But that has nothing to do with VARSAV’s Bee Simulator.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT VARSAV GAME STUDIOS & BEE SIMULATOR
VARSAV Game Studios was created on the initiative of Lukasz Rosinski in 2016. The studio initially focused on pre-production of projects in the VR segment. But due to the still low saturation of the VR market, the management decided to focus on projects aimed at PCs and consoles, postponing the debut of their VR games for the better.
The company operates in several segments of the gaming industry. Currently, VARSAV puts great emphasis on their production team, which is now finishing the development of Bee Simulator. Based on the knowledge gained from the work of the team on a few highly successful Polish productions, but also from their own experiences as players, they came to the conclusion that the success in the industry starts with the selection of a good specialization.
VARSAV has decided to direct their team to creatively connect the world of simulators with other types of games.
Bee Simulator is just such a project – it combines a typical simulator with a game of action and a very non-invasively smug educational elements.
To begin with the names is always a great virtue. So, let’s start with an introduction.
My name is Lukasz Rosinski, I am the Founder and Vice-President of VARSAV Game Studios.
How long have you been in the industry and what games have you worked on in the past?
I am in computer games development for 5 years, but I have been playing computer games for 25 years. I have been involved with The Farm51 Group, Bloober Team and Qubic Games. I have been involved in the development of Deadfall Adventures, Get Even, Chernobyl VR Project, World War 3, Layers OF Fear, Observer and Robonauts.
According to Steam, Bee Simulator includes multiplayer, local multiplayer and local co-op gameplay with split-screen modes. What are the noticeable features and how does Bee Simulator’s multiplayer work?
In Bee Simulator we have focused on local multiplayer. We think that playing together on one screen in split-screen mode is the best way to develop relations between people. When we see the reaction of the other player, we may shake hands immediately after a good score – the emotions are on the highest level. Bee Simulator offers two ways to play split-screen – in cooperate mode and versus mode.
Is Bee Simulator VR-Compatible?
No, the game is not yet compatible with VR devices. We have a prototype that is working in VR, but we, for now, focus to finish, polish and optimize PC and console versions.
For how long have you been researching and studying about bees?
The research regarding aspects of bees’ life that could be interesting for a computer game, took us about two months. During that time we met with beekeepers and lecturers from Polish universities specialized in farming.
What fascinates you about bees and how were you inspired to develop Bee Simulator?
The most inspiring aspect of bees’ life was for us the structure of the hive – how all the bees know their role in their society, how they communicate and how hard they work for the well-being of the whole hive.
What are the objectives and motives behind Bee Simulator’s creation?
The idea to create Bee Simulator was born in very interesting circumstances. About two years ago, when I was reading my then two-year-old daughter the book “Bees” by Piotr Socha, I came to the conclusion that here I have a ready scenario for a potentially very interesting game!
As I have been actively playing games for about 25 years, I have seen in my life many very successful indie games based on unique ideas and very good implementations. For example, games like Flower, Limbo or Polish Superhot and The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter.
None of these games needed a giant budget to capture huge numbers of players. The world of bees and a beautifully told story about their role in our lives has not been present in the world of games in the quality I expect as a player. Until the release of Bee Simulator.
Do you see Bee Simulator as a good educational resource for bee enthusiasts?
Of course Bee Simulator will be a good resource for bee enthusiasts! Seeing bees only from the perspective of a commercial hive could not inspire as much as playing computer games with beautiful environment, sound effects and relaxing music. We also see a big potential in that educational part to generally promote bees among people. We see how small is the knowledge of the role of bees for our environment.
The graphics and animations of the game look extremely sharp and mesmerizing. Tell us about the process and brilliance behind the same.
In VARSAV Game Studios there are 18 people now working on Bee Simulator and more than half of them are women. I am really grateful to the team for their work – I see a great talent, good spirit and passion in their everyday work. I think that is the main reason that we have such good quality of the game. But of course we all like honey and we have it in our office. (adds a smiley face)
For how long have you been working on this project?
The whole development process of Bee Simulator will take around 20 months plus extra 2-3 months on testing, optimizing and certification on consoles.
Is there a story/plot people would love to “buzz” about?
We have an extremely interesting story mode in Bee Simulator. Story mode is also very important for the educational aspects of the game. Of course, I can not spoil the story, but you must believe me that there is a lot of surprising twists and turns in the game.
The environment, flowers, bees and the interior of the hives seems to have polished graphics. However, speculating from the Gamescom 2018 trailer, I felt the human models require more work. Are you willing to improve the game as per the community’s feedback in the near future?
I personally think that working with the community and hearing its voice is crucial to develop great games. And we want Bee Simulator to be great! So thank you for your opinion. We are still working on the project and of course polishing of human models is in our pipeline. But you must remember that the game needs a great amount of optimization to have it look as good on PC as on consoles.
How many people are currently on duty for the game? Explain with brief introductions so our viewers can connect with the minds behind Bee Simulator.
The Varsav Game Studios team working on the Bee Simulator consists of 18 young and talented specialists who gained experience developing games in such companies as Vivid Games, CI Games, The Farm51, Bloober Team and Flying Wild Hog.
Meet some of them
Lolo (Game Producer)
Fascinated with all kind of guns and militaria, and by his cat Nuno – named after a famous footballer Nuno Gomes. Unfortunately, Nuno Junior can’t play football.
Artur (Lead Programmer)
He owns a mystery and mighty power of GIFs. Don’t underestimate his force or it will backfire on you.
Ola (Environment Artist)
Don’t even try to play board games with Ola. She will overpower you before you will realise she did it already.
He eats balance sheet on breakfast, PnL on lunch and cash flow as the sweetest dessert. Caring father of two youngsters.
That was great! Does our protagonist have a name?
We have a very good idea for our Bee’s name, but for now, I can not reveal more details.
Many beekeepers are excited to go on a journey with (protagonist’s name, which sadly, Lukasz refused to reveal) as early as they can. When are you planning to release Bee Simulator? Can we expect it to arrive later this year?
All I can say for today is that we plan to have the game on as many platforms as possible in 2018.
In addition to their development studio, VARSAV Game Studios is also an investor in the company Ovid Works, which has released a very highly rated VR game Interkosmos and finishes work on its flagship game – Metamorphosis.
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