Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Octopus City Blues's video poster
Play

The authentic Octopus City simulation for Windows, OS X and Linux. A surreal adventure game about everything and nothing. Read more

829
backers
$20,419
pledged of $7,000 goal
0
seconds to go

Funded!

This project was successfully funded on September 26, 2013.

The authentic Octopus City simulation for Windows, OS X and Linux. A surreal adventure game about everything and nothing.

About this project

Note: The estimated delivery date for the $10 reward is December 2014.

Stretch Goals

Read all about the stretch goals in this post.

Original Pitch

Ghost in a Bottle GmbH is pleased to announce Octopus City Blues, the authentic Octopus City simulation. For people unacquainted with Octopus City simulation genre, the simulation resembles the adventure games of yore, immersing players in a fascinating setting filled with unusual characters. We place special emphasis on exploration, replay value and the consequences of choices.

Assume the role of Kaf Kafkaryan, a cowardly middle-aged octopus blood junkie and tentacle trimmer, living in a city built around a giant octopus. Kaf has been experiencing bizarre dreams about a world populated by twisted creatures. To help the inhabitants of his dreams, he must learn more about the people of the city and explore the underside of the towering metropolis. Along the way he becomes entangled in a conspiracy with far-reaching implications for Octopus City.

Planned Features

  • An authentic Octopus City simulation offering nothing but the most lovely tentacles ever conceived; wonderful pixel art and animations bring the city to life with the help of a diverse soundtrack.
  • Learn more about the city's dark history and its corrupt inhabitants in a non-linear main story.
  • Strange dreams to explore, each with its unique story and presentation.
  • Exciting things are always happening in Octopus City. Each NPC has his or her personality, relationships, and daily schedule.
  • More tentacles than the competition. You won't be disappointed like that one game that had the word Tentacle in its title but featured only two of them.
  • Learn exciting abilities such as: performing a spin dash, cutting dead tentacles, interpretive dancing, and dumpster diving.
  • An open world experience offering a lot of flexibility in the order of attempting the main story quests. There are several ways to complete each quest and your choices have mysterious effects. 
  • A dialogue system built around acquiring knowledge and managing stress.
  • Absolutely DRM-free. You will be able to change Kaf's sprite into Sora from Kingdom Hearts or replace the OST with your favorite Hall & Oats album.

Media

Screenshots

Become one with your inner tentacle
Become one with your inner tentacle
Kaf takes good care of his friends
Kaf takes good care of his friends
The Snowstorm
The Snowstorm

Check out Marina's YouTube channel for "Making Of" videos for these scenes.

Concept Art

Clock Tower Plaza (By Marina)
Clock Tower Plaza (By Marina)
Beetle Queen (By Marina)
Beetle Queen (By Marina)
Welcome to Octopus City (By Karl)
Welcome to Octopus City (By Karl)
Kaf's Mom (By Karl)
Kaf's Mom (By Karl)

Music by Aaron Eason

Tentacle Soup - Urban Medley:

Lowrie - The Conman's Theme:

Its Tentacles Come Into View:

Octopus City

Whether you are here for business, pleasure, or to escape the terrible blizzard that has raged for hundreds of years, Octopus City has plenty to offer. From the entertaining, family-friendly activities to a bustling nightlife and a variety of wonderful attractions, Octopus City has it all.

A marvel of modern engineering and a testament to human resilience, Octopus City is the last surviving octopus city in the world. Our brilliant scientists managed to keep the gigantic octopus alive using a complex system of steam machines. As the last human bastion, our city represents the beating heart of a dying planet. What are you waiting for? Octopus City awaits you.

For new visitors such as yourself, having spent your entire life digging tunnels under the city in search for fuel, your eyes and body will need time to adapt to the dazzling lights and clean air. Once you feel more comfortable, please report to the Central Administration for briefing, numbering, filing, and indexing.

One last word of advice: Pay no heed to the harmless tentacles creeping through cracks in the ground or holes in the walls. Under no circumstance should you attempt to drink the blue blood running through them. Octopus blood (Octoblood) addiction is a serious problem that the Administration is committed to fighting, and while Octoblood-induced hallucinations might seem like a pleasant experience, addicts end up consumed in their illusions. Say "NO" to Octoblood!

We hope you enjoy your time in Octopus City, the greatest, largest, most populous, and only city in the world. Welcome to the human race!


Gameplay

Octopus City Blues is an adventure game where you explore the eponymous city and interact with its inhabitants. It takes place in a small but vibrant part of the city. We've opted to limit the scope of the game to make every NPC important. Each NPC has his or her own daily schedule, likes and dislikes, and opinions about the world and other characters. We want to create a dynamic city that's always changing. For example, you might visit the central plaza to find people gathered around the dead body of a homeless man. On another day, you might witness a musical performance in the same place. These small events are not part of the main plot, but serve to enrich the world and can lead to optional side-quests.

In addition to exploration, the main activity in Octopus City Blues is interacting with NPCs. Dialogue trees work similarly to other adventure games and RPGs, but in many cases the visible dialogue options will be selected from a larger list of possible choices. This is based on certain criteria such as your relationship with the NPC, your past actions, the equipped items, and more. Aside from adding to the replay value, this allows influencing the dialogue in a variety of interesting ways.

For example, one important element of gameplay is acquiring knowledge. Talking to NPCs and reading books allows you to learn factoids about the city and the people living in it. These factoids are recorded in Kaf's journal and can be used in future encounters. What Kaf knows or doesn't know can drastically change his interactions with certain NPCs.

Kaf isn't your average hero. In fact, he's not a hero at all. He is a gutless man, severely lacking in self-confidence. This causes Kaf to get stressed when placed in difficult situations. Stress affects the options Kaf has and causes him to make mistakes that influence the gameplay experience. Stress can be managed by trying to diffuse an escalated situation and by avoiding whatever is worrying Kaf.

Another aspect of stress management is guilt. Making choices that Kaf doesn't approve of makes him feel guilty. Guilt makes stress management harder, but also leads to more intriguing choices. Resorting to Octoblood and playing arcade games are some temporary, albeit risky, shortcuts to reduce guilt.

Throughout the game, Kaf explores a number of whimsical dreams. Each dream takes place in a different world that has its own inhabitants and story. From the trainee soldier escaping a war-torn island of dung beetles to the aging horse of a notorious cowboy, Kaf assumes many roles and explores weird landscapes. The scope of these dreams greatly depends on the funding, but even at the minimal level we believe that we can provide an engaging and fun experience.

Your Turn

Why we need your help

Your help will allow us to continue producing gorgeous octopus appendages. It will also pay for the catchy tunes you'll listen to as you walk through the dark alleys of the city.

As the main designer and programmer, I have no problem working on my game for free. However, in order to make this game I need to secure enough funding to pay the other team members for their time.

The amount we asked for is enough to cover the basic version of the game in terms of art and music. We designed the dream worlds in a way that we can scale them based on the funding. Additional funding will help us make each dream more unique and engaging.

What's in it for you

Apart from our eternal gratitude and the warm feeling of being a part of the world's largest octopus city simulation, we have prepared a number of exciting rewards. All reward tiers include the rewards of previous tiers, even if previous tiers are limited in quantity.

  • $1+ allows you to meet our CEO for food and a game of Monopoly, as long as you pay for any other expenses...
  • $10+ gets you Octopus City Blues in digital DRM-free format for all supported platforms (Windows, Linux, OS X) as soon as it is released.
  • $15+ grants you early access to the demo and final game. You also get an invitation to a private forum where you can tell us how much you love molluscs.
  • $20+ earns you a digital download of the soundtrack.
  • $25+ is for an exclusive version of the game with a new location and side quest, and more tentacles than the regular version.
  • $35+ (1) includes the Necronomicon, a digital companion guide containing tips, development notes, art, and articles similar to the ones on our website.
  • $35+ (2) is an alternative option to get the digital art book without the Necronomicon companion guide.
  • $50+ gets you a digital copy of the art book with beautiful concept and pixel art, in addition to the Necronomicon and all previous rewards.
  • $75+ allows you to be in the game as an NPC. We will send you a survey and then create an NPC based on you (based on a photo or a description). You can specify what you want the NPC to say as long as it fits the scenario and conditions we specify in the survey.
  • $100+ offers a physical copy of the game and an ink drawing by our artist.
  • $250+ is for rich people who like to throw their money away. Now is your chance to do it in a game in the form of a hidden portrait that gives players money.
  • $600+ gets you a special physical sculpture of a tentacle in a pot, your choice of an ink or water color painting by our artist, and a digital leaflet teaching you how to take care of your pet tentacle.
  • $1000+ nets you an email expressing our thanks for your contribution.

About Us

  • Firas Assaad: The malevolent CEO of Ghost in a Bottle and the primary designer, programmer, and sprite artist of Octopus City Blues. Firas is a software developer living in Kuwait. He invested most of his stat points into STR so he could carry more items.
  • Marina Navarro Travesset: Our senior tentacle artist from Spain. She is responsible for almost all the art and animations in the game. Marina is a professional pixel artist with over 9 years of experience. Zombie cheese and crude fish meat give her nightmares.
  • Aaron Eason: The composer of the Octopus City Blues soundtrack. He is our 100% organic, free-range MIDI-farmer, operating from his music production facility in North Carolina.
  • Karl Crawford: Karl isn't really a member of Ghost in a Bottle but we keep him around because he's our only fan. His concept art and wacky ideas are an added bonus.
  • Andrew "Kef" Barbour: Our producer and copy editor.  Andrew is notable for his powerful platinum jaw; Ghost in a Bottle and its subsidiaries does not discriminate against cyborgs.

Risks and challenges

Game development is always risky. This is particularly true for ambitious projects such as Octopus City Blues. We would like to make it clear that this is Ghost in a Bottle's first serious project and that we are still in the early phases of development.

We've made a lot of progress in the last few months and we are confident in our ability to release a demo of the game this year. All of us are really excited and committed to the success of this project. We have a very clear idea of the scope of the game, and while extra funding would help improve the quality and length of some areas (particularly the dream segments), we don't plan to add any new areas or make any changes to the core design. This is also why we don't have many physical rewards, we felt that the time needed to prepare these rewards and make sure people receive them is better spent making the game itself.

With that said, setbacks do happen and we will do our best to deal with them and to keep you updated at all times.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • Our primary target is the English version. However, we also plan to release the game in Arabic, Catalan and Spanish after the English release. We would love to translate the game to more languages, but that would require dedicated native speakers.

    Last updated:
  • We're afraid that the human brain isn't quite ready for such an intense sensory overload. 3D tentacles are the stuff of nightmares.

    Last updated:
  • It's an adventure game where the primary activities are talking to people, using items, exploring weird places, gathering knowledge, managing stress/guilt, and making choices. By Octopus City simulation we refer to the NPCs having schedules and the city and its inhabitants changing over time. You can't die but bad choices lead to a different game experience. While there is no combat, there are some action oriented mini-games. We have a button in the game to perform a spin dash, but it's a fun thing to do and not a major game mechanic.

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    12 backers

    #1 OCTOFAN - Spend the EVENING with Firas Assaad, the legendary game designer behind this masterpiece. You'll have LUNCH WITH FIRAS and then PLAY A GAME OF MONOPOLY with him. (Travel to Kuwait, accommodation and lunch expenses not included)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $3 or more

    4 backers

    CHEATER - Similar to the previous reward, but if you win in Monopoly then Firas will pay for lunch. (At the cheapest restaurant available)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    426 backers

    TENTACLE CUTTER - You get the game as a digital DRM-free copy for Windows, OS X and Linux. This version has a lot of tentacles, but not enough to impress your dad.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    56 backers

    TESTER - You get the game, as well as early access to the demo and final version. You also get access to a private beta testing forum where you can communicate with the development team. We'll pretend to care about your opinion even though we don't.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    25 backers

    GROUPIE - You get a digital copy of the soundtrack in addition to previous rewards. Octomusic was never approved for human consumption; we are not responsible for any hallucinogenic side effects that you might experience.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    149 backers

    SR. TENTACLE CUTTER - You get access to a kickstarter-exclusive digital copy of the game. This version has over 10% more animated tentacles than the regular version. It also introduces a new area and quest, and some other content. Your dad will be impressed and you'll also get the all the previous rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    65 backers

    OCTOMANIAC - You receive your own digital copy of the Necronomicon, the official companion guide to Octopus City Blues. Includes over 60 page of hints, character and story information, development notes, spooky stories and exclusive art. In addition to the previous rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    2 backers

    OCTOBLOOD PAINTER - You receive a digital copy of the official Octopus City Blues art book, and all the previous rewards EXCEPT the Necronomicon guide book. The Tentacle Artist reward below includes both of them. Why someone would prefer tentacle art over beetle breeding tips is a mystery.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    32 backers

    TENTACLE ARTIST - You receive a digital copy of the official Octopus City Blues art book in addition to the previous rewards. The art book includes concept and pixel art and more detailed drawings of tentacles and dung beetles than you've ever asked for.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    25 backers All gone!

    USELESS NPC - In addition to the previous rewards, an NPC designed after you appears in the game. You even get to provide a 140 characters message for the NPC to say. (Must be appropriate for the game's world. Subject to our approval. Octopus puns are NOT allowed)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    24 backers

    OCTOBLOOD JUNKIE - A physical copy of the game with all the previous reward. You also get a printed ink drawing by our artist. A perfect gift for old school hipsters who live in caves and buy physical books.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    3 backers Limited (5 left of 8)

    CAPITALIST - It's your chance to show the world how rich you are. A hidden portrait of you appears in the game. When the player interacts with it they receive money. You also get all the previous rewards.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $600 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    PATRON - You get a physical tentacle sculpture and your choice of either a water color or ink painting signed by our artist. In addition to the previous rewards, you'll also get a small digital guide explaining how to take care of your pet tentacle.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer

    HELPER - We appreciate even the smallest of pledges. You'll get a personal email from the people behind the game thanking you for your help. You may get the previous rewards if we're feeling generous.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)