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

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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.

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Cut-It Kaf

15 likes

>> octopus.bat --start
Welcome to the interactive Octopus City terminal. Please enter a command.
>> update
Reticulating Splines. Please wait...
...
...
ERROR. No public updates found.

>> sudo update
Enter your password: 123456
ERROR. User 'guest' unable to retrieve lock on file kafsmom.dat

>> login
Enter your username: admin
Enter your password: 123456
ERROR. Wrong password. You have used 1 of 3 attempts.
Enter your password: password
ERROR. Wrong password. You have used 2 of 3 attempts.
Enter your password: daisy
Access granted. Welcome, malevolent CEO.

>> update
Reticulating Splines. Please wait...
...
...
Retrieved one private project update. View update.txt to read it.

>> cat update.txt
Our plans for world-domination by mass marketing cephalopod-themed product placement are underway. Phase 2 of OPERATION BEEFWORM has started and we should have good news in the coming months. Currently we are working on project R-C4D3_G4M3S to meet the BEEFWORM milestone. You can find some screenshots on the //unkempt_tntcls server. End of executive report.
<EOF>

>> mount //unkempt_tntcls screenshots
>> cd screenshots/arcade/
>> imgviewer . --gallery

>> man 'Octopus City Blues'

Welcome to the Octopus City Blues super secret manual! Please select a topic:
1) Game making for dummies
2) Ranking of coolest insects by number of mandibles
3) OPERATION BEEFWORM
4) Tentacle count vs. competitors
5) Corporate culture and ethics
6) Systems
7) Redacted

>> Systems
Welcome to Systems manual! Please select a topic:
1) Gossip
2) Stress and guilt
3) Back-shaving
4) Tentacle climbing
5) Spin-dash (TM)

>> Gossip
The gossip system is the central mechanic of Octopus City Blues for interacting with Non-Playable Characters (NPCs). Gossip can be acquired through conversation or by observing NPCs and events, and it can be used like items. Gossip serves as a way to discuss various topics with NPCs and can add new responses to dialogue trees based on what Kaf knows.

Each gossip topic can have several versions with various truth values. In the full version you will be able to select the active version you want to share with people. This allows you to lie or tell the truth to different individuals, and to manipulate events in your favor. You should be really careful about what you share with NPCs, because it might anger them or lead to unfavorable outcomes. If someone trusts you with a secret and you go around telling everyone about it, it's very likely that the original person will find out and would react accordingly. With that said, sometimes it's advantageous to lie to people or anger them, so there are always different outcomes for the dedicated octofan to explore.

Gossip allows you to learn more about NPCs and the world, to find hints that will help you in quests, and to open new dialogue trees or scenarios. Your reputation with individual NPCs and factions is important, and gossip is one way to influence that. It is also a currency of sorts, and many NPCs would be happy to share juicy news with you if you're willing to pay the price.
<EOF>

>> main page
>> OPERATION BEEFWORM

SECURITY ERROR. UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS DETECTED!
CONSTRUCTING GUI TO TRACE YOUR IP ADDRESS. ADDRESS FOUND.
SENDING THE SPIDERBOTS. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR IMMEDIATE LIQUIDATION.
.... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... ....
T0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09ET0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09ET0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09ET0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09ET0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09ET0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09ET0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09ET0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09ET0NUT0JMT09EIElTIFRIRSBCRVNUIEJMT09E

Panic on the Centipede Express

15 likes

November 17th, 2014

My dearest Henrietta,

By the time you read this letter, I will no longer be the man you knew. When I accepted this dangerous mission, I knew there will be no turning back. I have come to terms with my imminent demise, but I keep thinking of our brief time together. I am teetering on the edge of sanity, wishing I had more time to tell you the things you wanted to hear, but I'm running out of time. I need to get the news out before the cyber bloodhounds of the Ghost in a Bottle Oligarchy find me.

My primary objective was to infiltrate the heavily fortified headquarters of this doomsday cult. Making my way to the buried alien spaceship below the Pyramid of Khafre was not an easy task. Circumventing their advanced security protocols was even harder. Gaining the trust of their enigmatic and malevolent CEO was almost impossible. But I've persevered. I have seen the darkest depths of the Bottle, I have read the Necronomicon, and I have embraced my inner tentacle to get the truth out.

By the time you read this, the surveys would have reached the wealthiest of the corrupt benefactors of this shady organization. It took a lot of work to get my hands on these sacred surveys, and I made sure to send them to their rightful owners. My hope is that, once the benefactors answer these surveys, Ghost in a Bottle will have to incorporate these answers in their simulation. This is guaranteed to reduce the authenticity of the simulation by no less than 20%, bringing us one step closer to a world without bottled ghosts.

The image above showcases a new tool being developed by the cult's mad scientists. It shows an editor of sorts used to sculpt and modify the scenes of their nefarious simulation. My research indicates that a more rudimentary editor was used earlier, but it wasn't tuned to the data format used by the simulation. Working with the previous editor was difficult because it was hard to see the various animated layers of the city or the proper placement of the simulated citizens. The new editor aims to solve these issues by reusing the engine code to provide a WYSIWYG interface. It is important to stop or at least delay the development of this new editor, or else the Ragnarok event promised by the organization, the release of the simulation itself, might arrive earlier than expected.

Another worrying new development is the growing number of staff being employed by the corporation. The newest addition to their tentacle art team is the so-called Sabrina Cámara. We don't know much about her yet, although a promotional website claims that she is an aspiring artist. Ghost in a Bottle has always tried to present itself as a legitimate business, so we should be careful when analyzing such propaganda. What we do know is that Sabrina will help out with character models and animation in the simulation. I have managed to smuggle one of the character sprites she worked on, and you can see how having more of these sprites could mean a more interactive and dynamic product.

We also know that the cult is preparing for a campaign of sorts in the coming months. The words "green" and "light" were heard. Apparently the company has learned a lot from the demo they released last month, and are trying to deal with some of the problems the users have reported. Some critics thought that the demo was too weird and confusing, and while Octopus City is indeed a bizarre and puzzling place, the corporate overlords at GiaB want to make it easier for people to get into the simulation, and are working on a new introduction and providing more cues for utilizing the various mechanics. They also want to reduce the amount of dialogue exposition to appeal to younger players who skip the opening cut-scenes in games like Call of Duty. You can see how reaching a wider audience makes this simulation even more dangerous than we've anticipated.

I am hiding in a small storage room. It's very cold and dark in here. I can barely see a thing, but I can hear the robot sentries sweeping this floor. It's only a matter of time now, but at least I can die knowing that people will learn the truth about this place. I wish I could tell you to run Henrietta. I wish I could help you somehow. The things I've seen in here... Ghost in a Bottle's plans for mankind... There's no place to run. There's no place to hide. The simulation is real, and it's coming for all of us.

Yours truly,

Gregor S.

There Will Be Octoblood

10 likes

Ghost in a Bottle Entertainment is proud to present Kaf's Illustrated Guide to Dung Beetles, the world's premier educational shareware for children of all ages! You can grab your own copy for FREE over at itch.io:

Download the Demo

We would like to thank our diligent beta testers for their help with this release. We would love to know your thoughts about the demo, so please let us know if you run into any problems or if you have suggestions to improve the simulation.

While we are happy with the demo, there are several problems that we want to address in the full version. It is difficult to properly present Octopus City Blues through a short and limited demo, because the simulation will be open-ended and you will have access to a large area of the city from the beginning. We want the full version to have more NPC schedules and more interesting characters and interactions in general. We also know that the exits of some areas are a bit confusing, and that it can be a little hard to know what to do. This will be alleviated in the full version which starts differently and has a small quest at the beginning that teaches the basic mechanics without being an explicit tutorial.

However, we feel that the demo can still give you a general idea of what to expect in the final version. It has multiple story paths and endings based on your choices. There are several ways to approach the problems you face, and interacting with the people of the city is very important. You will also get a glimpse of the story and the way main quests and dream segments work. We want each playthrough to feel unique and we would like to encourage players to explore and to try different approaches.

We have struggled with several problems throughout the year. Our initial estimations were based on our progress leading up to the Kickstarter campaign, which was very promising. After the Kickstarter, we ran into various bumps that slowed us down. Certain estimations were too optimistic and not detailed enough, the art creation process didn't scale well on larger scenes, and we had some issues in real life.

With that said, we never lost our motivation, and progress has been steady even when it was slow. Game development is difficult in general, especially with a small team working on an ambitious project. It's hard to put an estimate on a writer's block, a bug that keeps coming back, or a scene with a problematic perspective. That's not to say you can't estimate these hurdles, but you need time, experience, and a good process.

Last time we talked about some of the steps we've taken to improve our process. This includes reusing art, simplifying designs, better communication, and building tools to automate repetitive tasks. We can already see an improvement overall, and we are optimistic about the future. But at the same time, we want to make sure that we will release something that we are proud of. This is why the release date will be pushed back to 2015. We won't give a date yet, but we don't expect a release before next summer.

We will keep you updated as usual. Thank you for your continued support and patience, and we hope you enjoy the demo that we have prepared.

Until next time,

Your Friendly Bottled Ghost

From Octopus City with Love

15 likes

So let's get this out of the way.

The demo is out for backers at the beta tester tier. Grab it at the forum while it's hot:

http://ghostinabottle.com/forums

The demo is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you haven't registered for a forum account, then please do so with the same email you've used on Kickstarter (or PayPal). It might take up to a day to approve your registration.

For everyone else, we're going to release the demo publicly in a week or two, based on the results of beta testing. We are really excited about sharing the demo with you, and while it doesn't quite capture our grand vision for the simulation, it's a very important step forward.

I'm going to write a longer update when the demo is ready for a public release. But I'd like to apologize for the amount of time this demo took, and for my very optimistic estimations in general. Releasing this demo was a learning experience, where very small "1 hour" tasks would take up days and last minute changes would introduce showstopping bugs. We are a small team with other obligations, but we love Octopus City Blues and are doing our best to both finish it as soon as possible, while maintaining the level of quality worthy of the world's first Octopus City Simulation. This means that our initial estimations to have the full version out by the end of this year were way off, and we are definitely looking at a 2015 release date now.

We have taken a lot of steps to improve our process, speed things up, and learn from our mistakes. We are utilizing reusable tiles more frequently to finish scenes faster, we have made changes to our original plans to simplify the project and adapt to our progress rate, and we are considering other improvements such as better tools or hiring additional staff members. What we won't do is rush the release in a way that results in a poorer product. Over a year ago we've set out to do something really exciting with your help, and that hasn't changed at all. While we are very proud of the demo, and we hope that you'll like it too, we would like to do much more to make the citizens of Octopus City proud.

The next update will have the public demo, more details about the problems we've faced and the lessons we've learned, and a more concrete plan for the future, including details about the Kickstarter rewards.

Kaf's Labyrinth

10 likes

A Review of the Octopus City Blues Demo

This is a professional review of the upcoming Octopus City Blues demo, scheduled for release on September 15th for some backers, and shortly afterwards publicly.

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing and one begins to wonder if the greatness can hold its death grip on your senses for the whole trip. Last year, when the visionary team of corporate drones at Ghost in a Bottle Confectionery announced their plans to create the world's first Octopus City Simulation, many were skeptical. It's one thing to try and simulate a regular city, but a city built on a giant octopus is surely beyond the capabilities of the most advanced super computers. And yet Ghost in a Bottle Holdings wanted to bring Octopus City Simulation to the masses, with unparalleled tentacle count and a state of the art hobo interaction system.

Last week, the nice folks at Ghost in a Bottle Research flew me and a group of journalists into their underground bunker for a chance to test the highly unstable product they have been developing for the last year. The company was nice enough to pay for the whole trip (including some sightseeing and a visit to the real Octopus City ruins), and has spared no expense to make us all comfortable. They showered us with gifts (I got a real golden centipede!) and watched us as we played the demo, giving us valuable advice on how not to crash the simulation. It felt so good to be treated with respect. Some people don't take Octopus Simulation journalism seriously, but the folks at Ghost in a Bottle Gulags did their best to make sure we reviewed the demo in optimal conditions. This made it much easier for me later when it was time to sign the legal papers promising my soul and firstborn to the company's shareholders. Other companies in the industry would do well to learn from GiaB's example.

So now for my completely unbiased review and impressions. When you boot up the simulation for the first time, a bunch of handy popups appear asking for your permission to install some useful DRM rootkits and to delete some 'unwanted' files such as family photos and anti-virus applications. Doing so is highly recommended for the optimal Octopus City Simulation experience. The octosim starts with a stunning opening sequence, which I won't spoil in this review, showcasing the sheer power of the so-called Octo-Engine as it renders real-time snow particle effects while maintaining 1080p and 60 FPS the whole time. This alone should convince you to buy the full product, and you can skip the rest of the review and rush to their site to pre-order it.

Unfortunately the demo in its current state doesn't deliver on Ghost in a Bottle Mom & Pop's promise of having more tentacles than the competition. However, as the nice corporate executive assured me, while slipping the keys to a brand new car in my pocket, this top-priority issue will be addressed in the full version. With that said, the tentacles in this simulation are truly something to behold. Never before had so many tentacles been rendered on screen with such fidelity and detail. It's easy to understand why Ghost in a Bottle & Sons opted against implementing Octopus Rift support. It already feels like the tentacles are about to jump out of the screen and strangle you, and adding 3D support would be detrimental to public health and would get the simulation banned from the four countries that didn't ban it already.

The demo is somewhat short, but you are encouraged to play it again as there are several branches based on your choices. The gossip system is used to learn more about the city, and you can share gossip with the city's inhabitants. You need to be careful about sharing every single thing you learn, as some characters would get upset if you told them things they deemed unpleasant or false. Only one character has a daily schedule in the demo, but this wouldn't be the case in the full version.

It is difficult to talk about the plot without spoiling it. There is little story or exposition initially, aside from a dream sequence where you are given a vague goal. You are free to explore the city and interact with people as you figure out various ways to achieve that goal. Upon completing my first play-through I still had trouble wrapping my primitive mind around what I had just experienced. However, there are several hidden dream sequences, flashbacks and interactions that will help you solve the mystery. The end result is a tragic story about beetles, cyborgs, ghosts, and the meaning of life in a post-modern society where tentacles symbolize the repressed emotions of a faceless man.

If you're reading this, it was unlikely that you weren't already planning to try Octopus City Blues on day one. This is a very, very good simulation and easily the best Octopus City Simulation to date, blending fantastic visuals with a unique experience that is second to none.

I had the pleasure of playing a game of Monopoly with the malevolent CEO of the multinational conglomerate, the infamous "ghost" of Ghost in a Bottle fame, and he personally assured me that the demo is practically ready, but they would like to sit on it for a couple of weeks for a little more polishing.

Wealthy backers who paid for beta testing will get the demo as early as September 15th, while peasants will have to wait another week or two, based on the assessment of GiaB's PR "damage control" team. The nefarious leader also told me that there's a lot of good progress on post-demo content, and that the company plans to share more information about rewards, release dates, and final tentacle count after the demo is out.

Final score: 4.99/5

This review was made possible by our generous sponsor, Phantom in a Suitcase Inc., a private marketing company not at all associated with Ghost in a Bottle Inc.