News and events archive

From the faculty

  • Title image

    Energizing World of Omnibullet: Charge up Batteries and Compose Your Own Soundtrack

    "Attention all future employees! Omnibullet is hiring again!" welcomes the new game Omnibullet recently released by graduates from the Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University.

    As a production line architect, you are transported to a battery factory where your task is to streamline operations and ensure the smooth running of the charging process. What's more, by playing, you simultaneously compose a unique soundtrack mapping your success. How is a computer game born during university studies, what was the role of the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University in its development, and how is the game perceived by the gaming community? We discussed these topics with Vlastimil Blažek, one of the creators of Omnibullet.

    Please introduce us to Omnibullet.

    I would describe it as a logic game with automation elements and a Tower Defense twist. We set it in the environment of a battery factory where the player's goal is to charge the batteries produced. Along the production line, charging towers are built that shoot energy bullets into the batteries, charging them. In reality, however, only one tower shoots. The other towers then modify the properties of the bullets already shot: they increase their energy, change direction, divide, combine, or recycle them. By combining these towers, the player creates complex systems that perform various tasks. These must be constructed with limited resources and in complex spatial conditions.

    From a technical perspective, how was the game developed?

    The game is developed in the Unity engine and the C# programming language. However, we had to significantly modify the engine to suit our needs. So, we ended up writing things like object representation, collision calculation, or procedural audio synthesis ourselves and did not use the engine.

    The game explains itself best when you play it, as it completely deviates from conventional genres.

    Is there anything comparable in the gaming environment?

    The closest would be games by Zachtronics, but it is significantly less hardcore.

    Who is behind the game's development?

    From the start, three of us worked on the game: Vendula Němcová, Honza Polák, and myself.

    Since we are all programmers by focus, at least initially, we did not have any significant division of roles. We all just wrote code, and Venda occasionally drew or modeled something. Over time, however, we profiled ourselves: Honza handled technical things, Venda visual part, and I did game design and overall direction of the game. Still, to this day, we all do pretty much everything; now under the brand Arbitrary Combination.

    Photo: Jan Polák, Vendula Němcová and Vlastimil Blažek

    Can you tell us about the background of the game's creation?

    As a team, we came together during the first semester of master's studies. In the Game Development I course, led by Jiří Chmelík, Marek Trtík, David Kuťák, and Milan Doležal, we had to produce our own game prototype in Unity. Each student wrote a GDD (game design document), and one design was then chosen within the team and actually implemented. In our case, it was Omnibullet.

    At that time, the first wave of COVID was raging in the Czech Republic, so all this happened remotely. At the end of the course, an online showreel of prototypes of individual teams took place on Twitch, which was attended by representatives of the Brno gaming industry. At that time, we received a large number of positive responses to Omnibullet, so in the follow-up course Game Development II, we continued its development. With that, we then continued in the evenings for the rest of our master's studies.

    Omnibullet won the main prize for audio at last year's Game Developers Session conference. Who created the music ?

    Omnibullet does not have any pre-prepared soundtrack. Besides the music on the start screen, all sounds in the game are generated directly according to what happens in the system built. It works like a keyboard from the nineties with hundreds of different sounds it can play. Each tower, bullet, or battery emits a different sound, and its pitch (tone) depends on various parameters (the energy of the bullet, the position of the tower, the degree of battery charge).

    Moreover, we tune all tones into pleasant chords. By combining individual sounds, a complete soundtrack is eventually created that evolves as you enlarge and rebuild the system. We tried to make it so that the correct solutions sound nice, and in the worse or completely wrong ones, you can hear disharmony. The soundtrack thus serves both an aesthetic function and as real-time feedback on the system's state.

    What did you have to do to release the game?

    Apart from having to finish the game itself, we also had to create a game page on gaming platforms like Steam and For this, it was necessary to pay an entry fee, fill out and sign contracts with the platform, and prepare and fine-tune marketing materials such as game descriptions and illustrative graphics. With the platform Steam, on which the full version of Omnibullet was eventually released, we also integrated the game, allowing us now to provide players with achievements and leaderboards.

    What role did the faculty play in the journey of the game from its inception to its release?

    Absolutely key and exceptionally catalytic. Without the Faculty of Informatics, Omnibullet would definitely not have been created, at least not in such a form and quality. Just the fact that someone made us work on something like this and offered us credits for it is priceless. At the faculty, we also received the first and determining feedback on the original concept, and our classmates repeatedly playtested the game. Immense support was provided especially by Jiří Chmelík, who allowed us to exhibit at the faculty booth at the Game Access fair, and he repeatedly promoted us there in subsequent years. About a year ago, he also recommended us to the pilot run of the Brno game incubator GameBaze, which provided us with professional mentoring, a lecture series on business, and access to various game conferences.

    Did you face any challenges?

    Definitely time and marketing. As long as we were programming the game as a school project within dedicated courses, it was fine. But the moment we had to start handling it in the evenings, it wasn't so cheerful. We all also worked fairly high commitments at IT companies during our studies, so we had very little time for anything else. Just studying itself was challenging enough, not to mention the exam periods.

    Since we are all programmers, we enjoy programming and working on the game. We do not enjoy writing about it and pushing it onto people. But if it isn't done, then nobody knows about it. We, therefore, struggled with marketing and still do. At one point, we found that AI could write reasonably good marketing posts for us, but it is still difficult for us to regularly think about posts and come up with their content.

    The advantage and problem of the game is that it is indeed very original and imaginative. You will appreciate it if you play it. However, presenting a completely new idea online that is not easy to liken to anything already existing is quite a challenge. Most people on a gaming platform are willing to give a game only a few seconds, and if they do not understand what it is about by then, they move on. Because our game completely deviates from standard genres, we are quite paralyzed in terms of marketing.

    What are the first reactions from players?

    We released the game on February 19, 2024, on the Steam platform. So far, it has 100% positive reviews, so at least player satisfaction is enormous. Given that the game is indeed very specific and aimed at a relatively narrow group of players, it has not yet spread significantly. However, sales have already exceeded our initial expectations.

    The full version of the game costs just under 300 CZK, but there is also a free demo version containing the first eight levels.

    Do you plan further development of the game in the future?

    We have already released the first patch that fixed various minor issues that players discovered after the release. We are now working on developing a level editor and adding more levels to somewhat dilute the high difficulty. We are also considering, for example, a port to mobile platforms.

    What are your plans in the field of game development in the future?

    We hope to develop more games, but all three of us have agreed that we want to do it only as a hobby. As soon as someone starts doing something for money, it quickly becomes a routine, a bore, and stops being fun. We would like to avoid that. We have many ideas for what to do next, but now we would like to take a break for a while.

    Where do you see your career heading next?

    Honza is currently working as a developer at CGE where he is developing a mobile version of the popular board game Codenames. Venda works on graphic software for television broadcasting, and I lead the software department at a smaller Brno-based company.

    Thank you for the interview.

    And what does Jiří Chmelík, who contributed to the development of the game at FI MU, say about Omnibullet?

    "The fact that students actually brought an original school project to real production is a remarkable achievement. They had to put in hundreds of hours of work. And although it is still early to judge its commercial success, according to the current reviews, players really like the game. From the FI's perspective, it is a major milestone. Omnibullet is an example that our graduates can find employment in game studios or even start their own game studio and create their own games. That too can be a path to success – albeit a challenging and uncertain one."

    Game development is one of the separate specializations we offer in our follow-up master's program. You can find an overview of the programs offered on our website.

    More information about Omnibullet can be found on the developers' website.

    Photo: Arbitrary Combination

    Author: Marta Vrlová, Office of External Relations and Partnerships at FI MU

    Original bulletin in the Information system.