It’s a physics game – but don’t run away screaming, please: Drink More Glurp, from CATASTROPHIC_OVERLOAD, is specifically designed to be something of an outlier in this weird world where ‘physics’ denotes a genre.
How? By aiming to actually be fun to play, and not setting out to frustrate the player, all the time, forever, until you never want to play Surgeon Simulator ever again. Ahem.
Aliens have recreated a selection of Earth’s sports, see, and have got them a bit wrong. From there, we have the jumping-off point – throw in a number of sponsors, all of which has way too much influence over proceedings, and add in a huge focus on multiplayer (both actually playing and spectating), and you’ve pretty much got the idea behind Drink More Glurp.
It’s like if I Am Bread was designed as something to play, not endure; it’s like Getting Over it With Bennett Foddy, but for more people and actually aimed more towards ‘fun’ than ‘punishing’. Actually, the developers looked more towards traditional multiplayer stalwarts – the Overcookeds, the Worms, the Gang Beasts of the world, and it shows.
With James Letherby (artist) and Joshua Burr (programmer) ready to chat, we threw a few questions about Glurp their way; responses were provided as a dual hive mind.
“We were very keen to make a silly physics game but were very aware that we needed to make it accessible enough so that players will actually have fun playing,” they tell Wireframe. “Especially in a party setting where you don’t have time to practice.”
“We wanted it to be fun to watch and fun to pick up and play, but we also wanted a high skill ceiling where you can become super-graceful and accurate with your techniques.
Some physics games will always fight you on that because they’re built to be intentionally difficult – sometimes frustratingly difficult. We don’t want people to be frustrated; we want players to go from having a sense of novelty, to discovering, improving, and showing off new techniques over time.”
Moving from early split-screen prototypes to a single-screen, hot seat style of play proved the eureka moment for Glurp’s development: “Suddenly the pressure was off to do super-well because the sense of holding up the game goes away,” the duo explain.
“And suddenly, watching each other became a part of the game. The crowd laughs along and cheers and will even give hints and tips to players. It’s heartwarming to see.“
That’s not to say the team hasn’t been working hard at honing things, with plenty of time spent simply honing Drink More Glurp’s physics: “We had built Sprint and Long Throw, but we refused to make other events until we were sure we had nailed the physics,” they say.
“We spent a lot of time working out the traction on the ‘hands’ to make sure that players could run over obstacles without skidding. We did our best to make it as close to ‘pure’ physics as possible, which carried through to the minimalist visual styling of the game.
“But the process of making a game goes beyond just making something fun. We’ve had to learn things like setting up a business, pitching to publishers, sorting out funds, dealing with platform holders and getting devkits, all while trying to do anything social while also trying to make a game.
“We’ve been going to conventions, working on marketing, dealing with music and audio… The production side has been a new challenge for us, but it’s all very important.”
Sponsors are more important to Glurp than just a funny-sounding name and an army of puns: event sponsorship essentially indicates a modifier for the event in question – maybe low gravity, say, or super-strength throughout. It’s another way in which things are being aimed more down the path of fun for the sake of it, rather than frustration for the lulz.
Drink More Glurp is a party game first and foremost, but there is some level of support baked in for those without a party with which to play. A challenge mode provides curated events to take part in with scores to beat, and you can unlock – of course – hats through playing this mode.
Thrown in with challenge mode is an online leader board and full replays, so you can see what those atop the mountain actually do in order to be the best. Beyond drinking more of the titular soft drink (or whatever it is).
But we had to save the most important question for last: what’s in a name? “It took us forever to come up with a name,” the devs reply. “But we were super-keen to carry the sponsorship theme through to the title, so we created Glurp and had it take over every aspect of the game, as well as have the sponsorships completely dominate the events, too.”
This ultimately led to the actual name of the game being an ad for the fictional drink, but it still leaves the question: what is Glurp? “Who knows,” they respond. “We had sheets full of words. Drink more this… Drink more that… The exact origins have been forgotten… but I think Glurp was an amalgamation of ‘Gurgle’ and ‘Burp.’” And now we know.
Genre: Glurp drinking sim
Developer: CATASTROPHIC OVERLOAD
Publisher: The Yogscast