The man behind Bee Simulator — an interview
While at Gamescom 2018, we got the chance to talk to Lukasz Rosinski, the creator of Bee Simulator. Lukasz was extremely passionate about his project, as well as making great games that’s fun for children and adults. What we expected to be a normal, short interview, turned into a longer conversation about nature, kids games and the power of creation.
Hi there, I’m Lukasz Rosinski. I’m the founder of VARSAV Game Studios and I invented the Bee Simulator game that we present at Gamescom 2018. What is Bee Simulator? It’s not a simulator. It’s an arcade game with elements of simulation and small bits of education.
We show the world of bees to people because it’s a completely different perspective. I’ve played games for 27 years and I’ve never seen such perspective in games. Why bees? Because I read a book about bees to my four year old daughter. After finishing, I realize that it’s a great scenario for a computer game. We did a prototype and now we have something that I really like. It connects the world of parents with the world of children. It’s a game without danger, that you can play with kids, or kids can play together. We have three modes, a single player campaign with a story mode, multiplayer mode and something we call a free flight mode. You can explore the main location in the game. It’s inspired by central park in New York.
What can you do in Bee Simulator?
You are a bee and can do things that bees normally do. Another interesting thing is that we show how bees grow in a hive. You’re born in the hive. Then you gain experience as a working bee. In the end you need to act as a hero, helping your hive to survive.
By doing different tasks, you gain experience. We count how much pollen you’ve collected, and how much honey you can produce. Normally a bee can produce half a teaspoon during their life, so that will also be a goal in the game. We also count how many kilometers you can fly.
Collect pollen, race together and fight other insects like wasps and hornets. You can also dance in the game. That’s something that bees do to communicate.
Why did you decide on central park in New York as your location?
Because central park has a zoo and an amusement park. There are humans and animals, beautiful flowers and trees. So we wanted to use that environment in the game. All humans and animals are interactive and will be a part of side quests etc.
I wanted the flying and the music to be interesting and fun. I personally love the free flight mode. One game that inspired me, that I loved was a game called Flower. I really enjoyed how you moved around in that game to the music. So those elements are important.
When it comes to the music, we’ve got Mikolai Stroinski as the composer for the music of Bee Simulator. He previously worked on The Witcher soundtrack, as well as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. We also had a 48-people orchestra that recorded the music for us. So the music will definitely be high quality. This part is very important to me because I want you to enjoy the game fully, and great music is a part of that experience.
Did your child inspire you to create this game?
Well, in a way. But since I haven’t seen a game like this before, I wanted to create something that didn’t exist. Also, I’m very interested in the world of animals. Other inspirations? I like honey a lot, I use it everyday. Another inspiration is that the bees are dying.
So you are raising awareness that the bees are becoming extinct?
Yes, of course. In the introduction we talk about the dangers about that the bees are facing right now. Games are the easiest way to reach younger children and influence them. So we are telling our story and hopefully that can help. Like in China, there are drones pollinating the flowers and not real bees. We need to tell them what happens if the bees disappear from the world.
Is there any customization in the Bee Simulator?
You can name your bee but that’s all the customization we have. I don’t want the bee to be changable because it’s a “real life” event. It’s better to show kids reality. You can’t usually customize things in real life. It’s really more immersive this way.
How young can a child be to play this game?
If they can use a controller, they can play the game! I think my daughter who is four years old is a bit too young. We tried it on six year old kids and they seem to like it. They usually only fly around though.
Do you think there’s a lack of good games for kids these days?
There is a lack of good games for kids yeah. There’s also a lack of games that you can play with your child. The few games that exist for parents and their kids usually don’t have a lot of education in them. Right now I have five games that I play with my daughters and that’s just not enough.
Even though we don’t try to sell this as a kids game (because the game is for anybody) we try to sell the education aspect a bit. We actually consulted both real beekeepers and parents to get their take on everything.
What else would you like to have in the game in the future?
We would like to have as many languages as possible, with voiceovers. I feel like most kids games don’t have enough languages, which makes it hard for kids who doesn’t speak English.
So there’s voice acting in Bee Simulator?
Yes! It’s not that much, but for example we got the Mother bee who gives us quests. There are voice over in the tutorial and we also got bees talking between each other now and then.
Ever considered turning this into a VR experience?
At first, this game was called Bee Simulator VR. We indeed tested the game in VR but it’s not a great experience to only play in that mode, all the time. It could be cool for 10 minutes or so, but not as a full game. The graphics wouldn’t look as good either with only VR. We also really wanted to make a Nintendo Switch version, something we wouldn’t be able to do with just VR. Maybe in the future, but not now.
You seem to know a lot about bees. Did you have to do a lot of research or has this always been a hobby of yours?
I’ve read a lot of books about bees. Then as I said before, we have beekeepers as consultants, so they taught us a lot about bees and how they live and survive. It’s also a very interesting subject to learn. These are so small but can do so much. For example, a bees worst enemy is a hornet. Hornets are a lot bigger and can kill a lot of bees in a short period of time. In order for bees to be able to win, they surround a hornet to increase the temperature inside the sphere until it dies. This is the only way they can act in order to win. Yeah, bees are just very fascinating!
So is the game out now?
No, not yet. We thought that we had about 80–90% of the development done. But because of a lot of players giving us great feedback, we want to implement more mechanics. So I think that we will be able to finish the game at the end of the year. We don’t have a release date yet, but it would be cool to release the game around spring next year. It’s very fitting. We got flowers and bees around that time so. We also want the game to be released on all the platforms at the same time.
How has the feedback been so far?
Two weeks ago we published the trailer and got a lot of positive feedback with over 50.000 comments. There were a lot of great and interesting ideas. That’s why we decided that we’re gonna add another mode. You will be able to decide if you wanna play as a child or an adult and the aspects of the game will change depending on your choice.
We got a lot of comments from hardcore players that were interested in playing the game. So I see a potential in making something more so that gamers can play even longer.
If people want to find out more, where can they go?
We’ve got a very good website, it’s beesimulator.com. You can wishlist the game on steam, as well. We won’t have any early access. I personally don’t like early access.
We also have Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram that you can check out! Thanks!
Thank you so much for taking your time to talk to us, Lukasz. Also a shoutout to Bozena Shpuntova, the Technical Artist, for showing us more of the game. We wish you all the best with Bee Simulator! If you wanna find out more, click the links down below:
Bee Simulator — Official Homepage
Bee Simulator — Steam page
Bee Simulator — IGDB page