Hey everyone! We've all been putting together Humble Indie Bundle 8 for several months now, and it’s been awesome that so many people are checking out the games and soundtracks!

We're Humble Indie Bundle 8: creators of Thomas Was Alone, Hotline Miami, Awesomenauts, Proteus, Capsized, Dear Esther, and Humble Bundle. Ask us anything!

In attendance:

  • edclef: Ed Key, co-developer of Proteus
  • robertbriscoe: Robert Briscoe, creator & artist Dear Esther
  • LVermeulen: Lee Vermeulen, programmer & co-founder Capsized
  • icculus: Ryan Gordon, porting master, Dear Esther (native Linux port soon)
  • flibitijibibo: Ethan Lee, porting master Capsized & Proteus (Linux)
  • RonimoOlivier: Olivier, artist and co-founder Awesomenauts
  • Fabinaab: Fabian, game designer and co-founder Awesomenauts
  • biffikins: Mike Bithell, game designer of Thomas Was Alone
  • Breedlovin: Nigel Lowrie, assistant warlock on Hotline Miami
  • Parsap: Jeffrey Rosen, Co-founder of Humble Bundle

Proof: https://twitter.com/humble/status/340292066544324608

We’re looking forward to your questions, so ask away!

Comments: 1974 • Responses: 91  • Date: 

atomicmedic553 karma

On the Itchy & Scratchy CD-ROM, is there a way to get out of the dungeon without using the wizard key?

Breedlovin391 karma

What the hell are you talking about? :)

Yay_FraancisFTW404 karma

Is the humble bundle profitable?

parsap358 karma

Yes :)

Tropicana55142 karma

What is the process like for choosing which games are in the "Pay more than the average" section?

parsap294 karma

We choose the best games from the bundle!

Just kidding, it is pretty arbitrary. We basically just ask a developer if they would mind being in that slot and repeat until it is filled. Sometimes a developer will specifically request to be there. Sometimes it is actually hard to fill.

MrDannyOcean54 karma

Does that game only get a share of the revenue from games that beat the average?

parsap49 karma

By default, everyone shares evenly regardless of the position. However, if you expand the sliders, you can go in and customize which game gets what.

flibitijibibo177 karma

Certainly is for porting contractors!

edclef93 karma

Definitely! Paid a good amount of rent, some money to invest in future projects and other things, all good.

Breedlovin85 karma


sircmpwn364 karma

Thomas Was Alone is sublime. Thanks for making a quality game.

How do you guys feel about bitcoin? This is the first indie bundle that supports it. I'd love to see some numbers describing bitcoin payments.

parsap237 karma

The Humble Double Fine Bundle was actually our first bundle to support it, which came out last month. It represents less than .1% of our sales for Humble Indie Bundle 8, which is pretty surprising for me. Bitcoin users do seem more generous than average though. I want to get some official stats for a blog post soon.

WantsANexus765 karma

Will you be expanding the payment support in the future? A lot of Europeans (mostly Germany) do not have debit/credit cards, and instead elect to use PaySafeCards, and I'm sure we'd all be thankful for this.

parsap90 karma

We have been looking into ways to accept PaySafeCard. I would definitely like to support it as well. It is by far our next most often requested payment method.

Regularjoe42311 karma

Since the Little Inferno guys aren't here, do you have anything bad to say behind their backs?

Breedlovin975 karma

Rumor has it they are unavailable because they are busy eating babies.

k00pa198 karma

Explain your game in two sentences.

Breedlovin847 karma

Do you like hurting other people? Why?

biffikins426 karma

They're just rectangles. Some seem to like them though.

Fabinaab392 karma

Two girls, twelve aliens.

RonimoOlivier269 karma

epilepsy. but in a good way.

edclef202 karma

You wake up in a weird wilderness and don't need to sleep or eat. Ummm.. what's that sound?

sparq_beam187 karma

How hard has it been to port some of these games to Linux? Were some of them written for DirectX? If so, is it relatively straightforward to translate them to OpenGL?

Also, I just wanted to say I really appreciate you making Linux ports. Thanks a lot.

flibitijibibo222 karma

For Proteus it was super easy, as the engine used Mono and SdlDotNet. I had it running on Linux in a couple hours, and all I really had to change was a few settings/file locations here and there.

Capsized was relatively straightforward, but it wasn't really "easy". On top of adding several new features to MonoGame, I had to create 4+ new libraries to fully support the game (one of which was the MonoGame-SDL2 branch). It took a few months to get there, but now that the tech is done I can make XNA ports super fast now, rather than making an ass of myself trying to get OpenTK/MonoMac to "work".

Overall, pretty much what Ryan said. Some can be simple, and some only look simple. And some you can just eyeball and go "ha ha haaaayeahthiswillcostyou~"

icculus167 karma

Some of them are hard, some of them are murderously hard. A few are easy.

Almost all of them (across all the bundles) were DirectX games to start with, and had to have OpenGL code written for them, SDL added in to handle input and window management, OpenAL for audio, etc.

In this bundle, Dear Esther uses the Source Engine--Valve's code that powers Portal/Half-Life/Left4Dead/CounterStrike/TF2/etc--which now runs on Linux, so a lot of the work was done, but the struggle here is getting the smashing the ported version of the engine together with the version that Dear Esther started with. We're almost there, but it's been a bit of surgery so far.

Yulike46 karma

Hate to be that guy... Got an ETA on the Linux build?

icculus135 karma

Working as fast as I can. The game is fully playable, just working out rendering glitches.

biffikins83 karma

Making the port itself wasn't massively hard (i'm lucky in that I use Unity) but the differences in distros mean a lot more ongoing support than I was expecting.. I have a big list of fixes to get through for the odder systems out there :)

edclef52 karma

Proteus is C# and OpenGL/SDL. C# is fairly cross-platform thanks to Mono (open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET). First and biggest chunk of work was to get it working on Mac (Thanks Jon Brodsky!) and then Ethan worked some magic with joypad support, filing and dependency packages to get it running on Linux (he could probably elaborate)

AustrianReaper169 karma


Hotline Miami makes for an excellent drinking game. Everytime the player dies, everyone in the room drinks. Was your intention to murder me?

Breedlovin217 karma

Not intentional but a pleasant surprise, yes. :)

darkoniacarcher136 karma

Breedlovin: Why Hotline Miami OST is not included in Humble Bundle?

Breedlovin249 karma

There are many different artists involved in the OST, a lot of which are selling their tracks on their own label or personal albums. The individual revenue for each of the artists would be very small and in the end it is better to support them directly.

userrr3113 karma

How do games get featured on Humble Bundle? Is it HB asking the devs or the other way round?

biffikins244 karma

In my case I found an email address and sent them a copy of Thomas.

LVermeulen139 karma

They got a hold of me in 2011 a few months after Capsized's release. We were always wanting to be in a Humble Bundle, mostly for the exposure, but it took time to get the Linux/Mac ports ready. Which was worth the wait since we ended up in a particularly awesome bundle

edclef60 karma

Yeah, they asked me. I was already using the Humble Store widget, so we already knew each other...

WantsANexus794 karma

To any of the devs: have you considered open-sourcing your games at some point? I have seen some indication that this might happen with Proteus at some point, but what are your opinions on this?

I love you all for the brilliant Linux ports this time around. Although, you know, Thomas could use a bit of work, with it crashing when you press escape. :)

LVermeulen130 karma

I think I am too embarrassed about the Capsized code to open source it - I feel bad for every porter than touches it. I doubt someone would find any use in it. But for our new game Apotheon, I'll definitely be releasing it as open source one day, hopefully I can make the engine generic enough to be used for other projects

icculus193 karma

I just want to give all the developers some assurance:

1) Your code probably isn't as bad as you think, and 2) Trust me, no matter what you did, I've already seen something way worse.

biffikins105 karma

I was out of town until about half an hour ago, but this'll get fixed very shortly. Amazed we didn't catch this in QA.

WantsANexus755 karma

It doesn't crash on the DRM-free version, were you testing the Steam version?

biffikins111 karma

ahhhh.. that's interesting, they are same code, so that's odd.. but useful info, thanks.

ENVADER185 karma

To whomever wishes to answer:

Out of all the games in the package, what are your personal favorites and why? (yes I am evil for asking.. but I do think there is a difference in making a game vs playing the games)

biffikins286 karma

I am a massive Hotline Miami fan. Which is odd, because I'm not a big fan of violent games generally, but that game feels so insanely bad ass.

Breedlovin223 karma

I love Thomas Was Alone. Never played until I got it on Vita and was blown away by the presentation, pace, and voiceover. Odd things I know but they are majestic.

edclef216 karma

Maybe weirdly for me, but Hotline Miami totally sucked me in and spat me out at the end. I kinda love that Proteus is in a bundle with the most horribly violent game.

LVermeulen143 karma

Hotline Miami for me, it's pretty much a perfect action game, though I really love this bundle because of the diverse range of games. I am really jealous of games with a simple design like Hotline Miami that manage to engage me with so little - while I feel like my own game designs become a mess of features and additions. also the music is awesome

flibitijibibo128 karma

Outside of the games I worked on, I'm really liking Thomas Was Alone. I just like games that tell an amusing story, I guess. Dear Esther is pretty great too. I still need to play Awesomenauts, trying to set up a gamenight with some of my friends.

Crow_81 karma

/u/Breedlovin , any details you can reveal about Hotline Miami 2?

Breedlovin186 karma


ta1ntdude42 karma

what about a release date for Hotline Miami 1 on PSN?

Breedlovin85 karma

Late June or early July most likely.

scottishhusky79 karma

who decides what games go into each bundle?

Fabinaab665 karma

Manatees select them from idea balls.

avarisclari72 karma

One for biffkins: Are you a Douglas Adams fan? That's what I got from Thomas.

biffikins134 karma

Totally. Most British nerds are.

It's also heavily influenced by Danny Wallace (the chap who narrates) writing. When he's not voicing over rated indie games, he's an awesome author. If you dig that mix of humour and heart, check out some of his stuff. </plug>

emillioe72 karma

Which game do I play first?

biffikins139 karma

I give you permission to play Thomas last. It is not as epic as those other games :)

belak5170 karma

What's the best way to "break into" the industry? I've developed small 2D games in the past, but haven't completely finished any and I've been interested for years at going more into depth.

flibitijibibo410 karma

but haven't completely finished any

Found your problem, bro.

Finishing games that you make is a great way to make games. Highly recommended.

edclef141 karma

Also maybe ask yourself WHY you didn't finish them? If something's not interesting enough to finish, maybe just learn from it and keep hunting. (Finishing is still a super important skill though, and whatever you make there'll always be some horrible sucky periods that you gotta push through)

icculus116 karma

Your answer is right there. Finish something. Making a game is easy, shipping a game is hard.

Finishing anything is hard. It's a skill worth practicing, video games or otherwise.

belak5124 karma

Do you have any recommended tools or libraries? I know you (Ryan) use straight OpenGL a lot, but do you have any other recommendations? It seems next to impossible to find a complete solution.

icculus68 karma

If you want a complete solution that's easy to use, get Unity. It's fucking awesome.

If you want bits and pieces, I gave a talk on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3wDnOAjrtk

GauntletWizard69 karma

Mike: What gave you the inspiration for Thomas Was Alone? The story was one of the best I've had the pleasure of experiencing recently, and combining a fairly deep character study with a simple puzzle platformer seems insane, but worked fantastically well.

nimieties33 karma

I have to agree with this. The game was just fantastic. I'm curious as well where the inspiration for it came from.

biffikins104 karma

The mechanic came first.. so the characters with different abilities. Story was, in all honesty, something I just thought the game had to have.. it's really odd to me that more games don't tell their stories consistently, and I'm not saying that to be smug, I genuinely don't think Thomas does anything more clever than, say, Die Hard.

duwhat62 karma

I played Proteus and I'm confused.

edclef60 karma

That isn't strictly a question :) In what way? Did you get to the end?

Rautakotka60 karma

Financial issues aside what have been the most challenging aspects in creating a game?

Fabinaab312 karma

Getting Olivier to draw.

RonimoOlivier375 karma

Getting Fabian to not not show up drunk.

biffikins208 karma


It's hard, it can often be slow and boring, but it's so important in making your game stand out.

Breedlovin511 karma

What do you have against the good people of Poland?

LVermeulen105 karma

motivation. It's hard to keep going for a 2+ year project, especially when you're not getting a lot of community interest or feedback.

ReadyToJam54 karma

Everyone should wish Lee Vermeulen a happy birthday.

LVermeulen77 karma

thanks! hmmm I have some guesses of who you are based on the name, come out tonight and celebrate with me, drinks are on Humble ;)

chrisfu53 karma

This one is for Icculus.

Really stoked to hear of your forthcoming native Linux port of Dear Esther Ryan. Another Source engine game to add to the list. Well done!

On a similar line, have any studios approached you regarding porting their Unreal Engine 3 titles since you ported Dungeon Defenders? I'm not asking you to name names (NDA's and what not), just an idea of big titles, little titles etc.

Do Epic support your efforts, or is it more a case of you doing what you can with the code available to you, independently within the context of the software license? From what I can see, Epix haven't yet publically acknowledged the availability of Unreal Engine 3 on Linux.

Thanks for your time, and a big thanks to all developers involved with project!

icculus63 karma

Oh, yeah, there was a lot of excitement generated by Dungeon Defenders. An army of Linux users basically sought out every Unreal developer they love and said "look at this thing." And those developers have been asking for more information. I can't get into details, but some good things are going to come out of this. Stay tuned.

Epic hasn't said anything to me about any of it. I burned a lot of bridges with UT3, and they swallowed an enormous amount of grief because of it, so they're probably happier to not get involved at this moment.

tmos198546 karma

I just want to thank everyone who was behind Thomas Was Alone. A true masterpiece of gameplay. I enjoyed every minute of it and even went back and played it a second time. Sometimes, the best things in life can be so simple.

biffikins61 karma

thank you, and thanks for the boldened Thomas title. Very nice.

Gan3b44 karma

1 million dollars in 18 hours, amazing stuff. So guys, when will you all add Steam trading cards to your games?

biffikins71 karma

I just got the email from Valve yesterday I think, will try to get it in some time in next couple of weeks.

Fabinaab43 karma

We really like it, hopefully soon!

avarisclari40 karma

SVN or GIT? which do you prefer?

biffikins166 karma

'copying it on to a USB every couple of days'.

I'm an idiot.

icculus57 karma


flibitijibibo41 karma

Git or Hg. In the way that I use them, it doesn't matter which, though I tend to pick Git if I have the choice since that's what I'm used to.

sfan2737 karma

How do I get to be an assistant warlock?

Breedlovin84 karma

Business school.

LovesScience37 karma

What's it like?

biffikins95 karma


lumpyigloo37 karma

How has being part of Humble Bundle changed the way you think about business and gaming?

biffikins77 karma

I have a lot more time to make the next game awesome.

edclef44 karma

Haha, yes! It's crazy to see hundreds of thousands of new people get hold of the game too.

RonimoOlivier76 karma

It taught me that being visible is the most important thing to get a revenue.

LVermeulen52 karma

I realized how motivating it is to have a large amount of players trying the game again

swabl34 karma

In light of the recent fiasco with Paranautical Activity, how do each of you feel about Greenlight?

flibitijibibo70 karma

Steam could really benefit from a more democratic method of selecting its games. Greenlight was never really the answer. That said, I have no idea what the right solution is.

Breedlovin59 karma

It's a tough spot for sure but I do think placement on a digital game distribution storefront, including Steam, is not a basic human right and some form of curation is important. That said, not sure what the right answer is - smarter people than me are working on that hopefully.

biffikins44 karma

I've yet to be in it.. but it seems like a better system than the one that preceded it (basically, sending an email and crossing your fingers for a few months).

LVermeulen44 karma

at least there is greenlight! Indies now have a second chance that way to prove their games popularity. With Capsized Valve accepted us originally then rejected us a few months later (not sure if they actually tried it when they accepted us). This was in 2010, and so you were completely relying on just hoping for a email back from them. We kept sending them new builds and media stories about the game, and they eventually did accept us, but it was pretty nerve racking. At least with greenlight you see some progress and can measure success, rather than just hoping for a email back

edclef31 karma

I'm pretty sad about Greenlight. At least, it's bad that it's touted as the only way to get on the biggest games portal there is. If they'd kept greenlight plus the old curation system (journalist, critics etc could recommend stuff) that'd be less painful. It's sad to see games get easily enough "yes" votes to be profitable for the devs, yet still languish in limbo

dnwofficial33 karma

To Parsap: I'm sure you had enough complaints and I'm not going to do that but rather than that I have a suggestion. You see, at the moment there is a Telltale Weekly Bundle. And I would personally TOTALLY buy it if the games would run on my desired platform (Linux). What I want to suggest is some way to show the developer that we are interested, and once supported willing to put our money where our mouth is. (Some users are trying to do that even today, by paying more than the other 2 OS's even when there are no Linux versions available)

icculus69 karma

http://www.telltalegames.com/company/contactus ... feel free to let them know.

I would port The Walking Dead to Linux for free. Hell, I would pay Telltale for the right to port The Walking Dead.

flibitijibibo39 karma

It's funny, the one game of theirs that I would totally be down to port isn't in that sale. I'd kill to port SBCG4AP, just to say that I worked on something related to Homestar Runner. Walking Dead would be another, but it looks like Ryan's got me beat on price. :P

But yeah, contact form and whatnot: http://www.telltalegames.com/company/contactus

rezaziel33 karma

For the Awesomenauts guys: Did you expect the game to do as well as it has? It seems like it has had a particularly long tail as far as sales.

BONUS Q: Derpl + Voltar = Why?

RonimoOlivier62 karma

No we didn't expect it. Actually releasing the game on steam was pretty much an all or nothing deal, as we we close to being bankrupt. Awesomenauts doing this well was something we couldn't have hoped for.

sakuramboo32 karma

@icculus: Every time someone mentions to me they want to get into game development and ask for tips or information, I always link them to your interview on FLOSS weekly many years ago. I feel to this day it is still the best interview for anyone looking to get into game development or application porting. In the interview, the topic of engine and client porting came up and you said (paraphrasing) "We will never see HL2 on Linux." What went through your mind when Valve announce they are porting their entire library to Linux?

icculus46 karma

Wow, thanks!

I already knew about Valve's plans before the announcement, so I guess I thought, "I hope I slept enough, because that's the end of sleeping from now on." Half-Life 2 on Linux is proof that Valve is serious, but it's Steam that's making game developers scramble for a Linux port now.

It's funny how things change, though, right? When I made that comment on FLOSS Weekly, id Software was shipping Linux binaries for Doom 3, and Epic let me push Linux changes into the same copy of the Unreal Engine source code they gave to licensees.

Now they're both like, "uh, we'll wait and see what happens first," while Valve is placing their bets.

Valve has come a long way. They're being ballsy and progressive about the whole Linux thing. And when Valve is ballsy and progressive, history shows that Valve prints money and gets to make all the rules.

But hey, waiting to see what happens seems like a sound strategy.

EDIT: one more thought: while I was literally in a taxi to the Moscone Center to hear about Apple switching from PowerPC processors to Intel CPUs, I was having an animated conversation on my cell phone with someone about how Apple would never ditch PowerPC under any circumstances. As you can see between this and the comment about Half-Life 2, I do not have a career in psychic prediction.

alfie27529 karma

What tips would you give for marketing indie games?

biffikins62 karma

Be honest, be open, and be entertaining.

We will never have the ad budget of AAA, or even the latest movie tie in, but we also don't have the limitations on talking that those guys do. We can express our opinions, go off on tangents and speak directly to players.. Use that opportunity.

flibitijibibo38 karma

Transparency and a good sense of humor are what I attribute to my success (in terms of marketing myself/my games). If you can call it that, I guess.

Of course, I'm not a game developer, just a porter. But those types of developers are the ones that I like the most.

Redu-29 karma

Why Voltar is so smart? :l

Fabinaab62 karma

Because his tank is filled with beer.

SpicyCurlyMustache28 karma

Fabinaab or Olivier, how did you guys come up with the name "Awesomenauts"?

RonimoOlivier91 karma

Originally the game was called "OMG Space". But we decided that name sucked and opted for "blastronauts". Then we found out about a game called "Max Blastronaut" and we had a meeting where we couldn't come up with anything good. When we walked away from that meeting one of us said "why can't we come up with something awesome" and that's how it came to be.

wolfgang16928 karma

What's your favourite food?

biffikins89 karma

Pizza.. Thomas Was Alone was made primarily while eating pizza.

RonimoOlivier83 karma


Breedlovin71 karma

Nachos. Always nachos. Forever nachos.

HelpfulTomCruise28 karma

What is the hardest part of developing?

Fabinaab76 karma

Meeting your deadlines. We planned for a year, but it took us almost 4 years. ><

LVermeulen38 karma

keeping motivation for a project, and not just starting something new. Finishing and polishing is hard

parkertonsloanworth25 karma

What got you guys started making indie games?

Fabinaab260 karma

I kept losing at dota so I made my own dota.

LVermeulen45 karma

In highschool it was basically insomnia and lack of a girlfriend. A lot of just messing around until things actually became a product

Yulike21 karma

/u/biffikins: You ported your game to Linux on your own (if I'm not mistaken) how was the experiance? Will you do it again (on a future game?)? Do you find supporting Linux financially viable? Cheers :D

biffikins30 karma

I did. It was pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of distro related issues.

I'm sure I'll release on Linux again, but I will probably delay the release so that I can focus on it, as yeah, it's a challenge to make it work for everyone.

slime7320 karma

flibitijibibo: why the complicated name? :(

flibitijibibo47 karma

For a while it ensured that nobody would ever have my handle used on a website/forum/etc. Of course, now that people have heard of me, that may not hold up so well. I dunno.

So uh, mostly out of convenience. For me, at least. It also sounds pretty neat. :P

jengi19 karma

/u/buffikins, How many people named Thomas have emailed you in terror?

/u/robertbriscoe, do you have any future projects planned like Dear Esther for the Source engine?

biffikins28 karma

many, many people. And they all rock. I also get sent a lot of photos of those coca cola bottles with names printed on them

aftercare18 karma

flibibitjibibo, I understand it's the first time your SDL2# package is being used - can you tell us more about that? What is special about it? Why did you start working on it? And what does it mean for future game ports?

flibitijibibo29 karma

I actually wrote a lot about this when discussing my FEZ-SDL2 port:


Basically, SDL2# is what I wrote to get SDL2 access in my C# projects. Tao existed for SDL 1.2, but that's old and nobody seems to use Tao anyway, and OpenTK existed for OpenGL/OpenAL among other things, but OpenTK totally sucks at everything except for the GL/AL bindings (and even then, the naming scheme is pretty goofy IMO).

SDL2# and MonoGame-SDL2 mean that I can port an XNA game to Linux/Mac extremely quickly, instead of the several months it took to get Capsized to the level of quality that it's at now. "Compile once, play anywhere" is finally the reality that it should be with MG-SDL2.

RexMundane18 karma

If you had a time machine and could deliver a message to the younger version of yourselves that is just getting started working in Game-Making, what is one thing you'd tell yourself that you should have known or just needed to hear then?

RonimoOlivier42 karma

I'd tell myself to take up snowboarding and playing guitar. I started out with that way too late.

chcknmngr17 karma


icculus35 karma

Unity is basically one-click to a Linux port (but you have to develop on Mac or Windows).

If you want lower level stuff: SDL 2.0, OpenGL and OpenAL. enet, physicsfs.

Obligatory talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3wDnOAjrtk

flibitijibibo28 karma

Basically what Ryan said.

99% of my work these days is with MonoGame-SDL2, but I would never ever recommend it for making new games. XNA as a whole is a dead end; MonoGame is best used as a preservation tool, not as a new tool for game development.

If you like C#, You can get SDL2/OpenGL/OpenAL access with SDL2#, which I made for Capsized/MonoGame-SDL2: https://github.com/flibitijibibo/SDL2-CS

And for Java, LWJGL. If you're making a Java game, you're not doing it right until you're using LWJGL. If it weren't for this library, I would not be programming at all right now. It's really, really good at what it does.