For my first Q&A of 2021, I reached out to Arizona-based developer and comic writer Scumhead regarding his newly posted and successfully backed Kickstarter projected entitled Vomitoreum. Vomitroeum is a Metroidvania-style first-person shooter, similar to Metroid Prime, but is heavily influenced by artists such as Zdzisław Beksiński and Dariusz Zawadzki, as well as what has been the mainstay of Scumhead’s developmental portfolio, eldritch horror; the subject has been a staple in a mast majority of Scumhead’s work such as his comic Blackseed and previously developed games like Orogenesis and the two games in the Shrine series. Wanting to find out more about this fascinatingly surreal-looking title, I asked Scumhead a few questions about his upcoming game and what players can expect to see of the finished article. Here’s what Scumhead had to say about Vomitoreum:
What were the influences behind your game?
Well, of course, there’s Metroid. Metroid Prime to be specific, as there is a huge lack of first-person Metroidvania games that take advantage of 3D space. Dark Souls would be another one since It’s my favorite game- taking inspirations less from the difficulty and more from the interconnectedness of the world and atmosphere. For artistic inspiration, the main artist I’m pulling from is Zdzisław Beksiński and Dariusz Zawadzki. Other than that, my inspirations come from all over the place.
What has the developmental process been like?
Challenging. We’re breaking GZdoom and doing things it’s not really meant to be doing, and somehow it’s functional. The art side of things has been an absolute blast, but it’s been a challenge to get this to flow in the engine.
How close are we to seeing the finished product?
The Demo is roughly 1/8th of the final game, unpolished of course. It took about 3 months of work to get everything to where we are now, but it’ll go faster once we build out the project’s skeleton. Just getting mechanics to work and feel good so I can get back to workin’ on the good stuff is top priority right now.
What has been the most exciting aspect of development?
For me, it’s been the visual presentation. Adapting Beksinski and Zawadzki’s artwork into a playable format has been a great challenge, as well as using their styles as a starting point to create my own work. However, the most exciting part was realizing that a dream project like this was actually possible in the engine.
What has been the most challenging aspect of development?
Game feel. The visuals are all there, it’s just the gameplay that has been a big challenge. It’s still a work in progress, but making the game feel good to play has been tough.
How rewarding has it been already seeing this game develop into what it is now?
Very rewarding, it’s been a dream project for me since I was a young teenager. Finally being able to create it has been wonderful. How well has the game been received so far? Mostly positive, the most valuable stuff is the bug reports. I have a feeling the final game will be much more positively received because all of the elements will be in place for a complete experience.
Have there been any early ideas considered for inclusion that have since been scrapped or reworked in?
I generally lay out the entirety of my games before jumping fully into them, so other than a few sprites and models, not much has been cut. Mostly they were just improved from their base ideas.
You posted on Twitter recently that pitfalls in the game are now designed to send players back to their original position to relieve frustration, and rightly so in my opinion. But how challenging are you looking to make this game for players?
I have a really hard time with balance. It’s why playtesting will be so important. I find myself making encounters too easy and platforming sections too hard. Fixed the platforming part but making encounters a challenge without being terribly frustrating is going to be a big learning experience for me.
What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?
Windows, Linux, and hopefully Mac.
If you had the chance to work with any mainstream developer of your choice, who would it be, and why?
I’m not sure I’d take the chance. I think the best thing about this project is that it’s a bunch of indie types coming together to make a really disgusting game. I worry that a mainstream studio would get in the way of that.
Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?
Make stuff. You can try and improve by yourself for eternity, but it’s honestly better to just learn as you go along. People can see the improvements you make from title to title, and you will have a big catalog of stuff people can play and that you can look back on. Getting started is the hard part, but if you love game development it won’t matter how good or bad your projects are.
Where on the Internet can people find you?
Mainly on Twitter.
They can also find me on youtube.
They can explore my game catalog here:
Do you have anything else to add?
This project would be nowhere without the help of my team, please show them some love. Here’s their twitter @’s
Programmer: Mengo @Mengo329
Art and Animation Help: Batandy @Batandy_
Music: Immorpher @immorpher64 & Primeval @PRIMEVAL
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Scumhead for taking the time out to talk to me regarding this ambitious-looking title. Vomitroeum, under its wonderfully disturbing exterior, looks like it will have a lot to offer gamers upon release and I’m very much looking forward to what the final build of the game has to offer. You can also check out Scumhead’s Patreon page here if you’d like to become a patron of his:
You can also find the link to Vomitoreum’s Kickstarter page below if you’d like to support the project:
The link below is for scumhead’s itch.io page, which has a playable demo of the game in its current build:
In the meantime, I’d like to congratulate Scumhead on the successful funding of his Kickstarter campaign and to wish him the best of luck with Vomitoreum upon release.
Scouse Gamer 88