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The authentic Octopus City simulation for Windows, OS X and Linux. A surreal adventure game about everything and nothing.
The authentic Octopus City simulation for Windows, OS X and Linux. A surreal adventure about everything and nothing.
The authentic Octopus City simulation for Windows, OS X and Linux. A surreal adventure about everything and nothing.
829 backers pledged $20,419 to help bring this project to life.

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Throne of Octoblood


The term "octosim auteur" has never applied to anyone more than to the CEO of Ghost in a Bottle Arts. A visionary dream weaver who graduated from a prestigious business school with one purpose: to be a CEO by the age of 30. We were able to sit down with him in Ghost in a Bottle's luxurious underground bunker to discuss the company's latest entry in the "Octopus City" saga.

The story of your rise from a humble bottled phantasm to one of the most influential CEOs in this galactic quadrant has become something of a legend. What kind of experiences do you think has shaped your path?

Unlike mortal skinbags, there is no limit to what an ambitious young apparition can do. My mission was always to give customers exactly what they want, and if that's an immoral simulation about life in a tentacle-infested metropolis, then I'm more than happy to oblige.

Tell us a little bit about Octopus City Blues. What kind of interactive experiences could we expect from this revolutionary software?

Octopus City Blues is an attempt to go beyond conventional physical simulation and to recreate the very essence of the human experience. It can be described as narrative-driven interactive fiction with a deep web of complex and meaningful interactions and choices. It's also a very visual experience, and we have spared no expense to make every tentacle look as believable as the ones you'd find in your backyard. If I had to describe Octopus City Blues in one word, it would be "abhorrent" or "toxic" (laughs.)

The simulation was originally slated for release by the end of 2014, but was delayed following the release of the demo. What's the project's status at the moment?

Last year showed us that our initial estimates were far off. They were based on pre-Kickstarter work, which did not scale well once we moved to more complex scenes. We had to deal with personal issues, unexpected bugs, and seemingly simple ideas that took a long time to implement. Stretch goals allowed for a larger and more interesting world, but the project's scope grew as well.

When we released the demo and got your feedback, we identified many design problems, so we revamped the design and introduced new scenes. While we'd love to release the project as soon as possible, we also want it to be something we are proud of. Quality will always take priority over time for us, and the final product should be worthy of the Octopus City brand.

With that said, we are still taking measures to improve our process, from hiring additional help to creating simpler editors and tools. We have internal deadlines for everything we work on, and while we might miss them every now and then, we're slowly getting there.

So, can we expect a release some time this year?

It's possible, but quite optimistic. That is to say, if everything goes smoothly then it could happen, but we know by now that things don't always go according to plan. We will try our best and keep you updated. Please look forward to it!

So what are you working on right now? How much of the simulation is completed?

We're finalizing a brand new intro that slowly introduces the systems via a number of optional quests. A couple of scenarios involving a circus and intelligent turkeys are almost done. An editor was created to speed up scene creation. The newest addition to our team, Sabrina, made sprites for all the NPC tier backers and more. We have a new system that allows NPCs to remember your decisions, allowing you to have a reputation that goes beyond good and evil.

Giving estimates for how much is completed can be misleading, because there are so many interlocking parts that need to be taken into account. The systems are all done, more than half the required art is done, music progress is slow, quests and scenarios depend on the art, etc.

What are your priorities for the near future?

Once we're done with the new intro and a few other scenes, we would like to release another, longer demo that is much closer to the final version. It would be limited to backers at the beta tester tier and above, but we might release it publicly in the future. We're also working on several main scenarios and their dream counterparts. Of course, our primary priority will always be hoarding gold and other gems (laughs unconvincingly.)

What personal pursuits do you have beyond octosims?

First of all I want to create even more octosims. I’m almost 500-years-old in ghost years, so I don’t have that much time left before being reincarnated as a freshwater snail. If I were to write a list of things that I want to do before I transmute, it would be a very stuffed list (laughs.)

I was always driven by a burning desire to be number one, and now that I'm a CEO of the world's biggest multinational conglomerate, I can't think of anything bigger than that. Maybe I can come up with a new title such as "His Royal Highness, CEO for Life, Supreme Admiral, Doctor of Medicine, First Salaryman, Baron of the Most Ancient and Most Radical Sewer Brethren, Decadent Uncle of All Beatles of the Earth and Squids of the Seas, Conqueror of the Neo-Roman Empire in the Milky Way in General and planet 1 Sol d in Particular, Uncrowned King of Spades". It has a nice ring to it, ne?

Gangs of Octopus City


Message from the Chairman

Greetings. As the new CEO of Ghost in a Bottle Interactive I would like to welcome you to a new era in the Octopus City saga. The future of this respectable conglomerate was entrusted to me after defeating my predecessor in a traditional gun duel, and I would like to assure you that the transition will be a smooth and positive experience for everyone involved.

Unlike my predecessor, I will not waste your time with tentacle jokes and empty promises. In fact, tentacle jokes are hereby banned and the number of tentacles in the simulation is effectively reduced by 10%. The workforce was downsized as well and our processes are now 60% more efficient and streamlined. You can expect great things from the new board of directors, and I hope this update will be to your satisfaction.

Progress Summary

Thanks to the efforts of Sabrina, our newest artist, almost all the sprites for backers at the USELESS NPC tier are completed. We have already shared the results with these backers and are amending the sprites based on their feedback.

Marina, our main artist, finished all the assets for the new main menu and several other scenes including a few arcade games. The main menu utilizes BUNKER OS, a user-friendly operating system that will act as your own virtual bunker, a friendly space where you can check the time, read journal entries, communicate with other characters and watch TV. To help you navigate the bunker, we are happy to introduce uncle Bunk, your own virtual guide to underground life in the post-apocalypse.

In other news, our resident code monkey spent some time making the editor easier to use, and was also seen working on the new menu and various content for the simulation. Progress is unfortunately a little slower than desired, but is steady.

Lore: Gangs of Octopus City

Organized crime was always a problem in Octopus City. While the Central Administration officially took a hard stance on crime and Octoblood addiction, they had little control over the towers. Corruption was also widespread – tower Magistrates turned a blind eye to gang activity as long as they got their cut. It is important, however, to understand that crime was only one aspect of the whole picture; gangs were unique social institutions with distinctive cultures and an important role in their communities. Many members were born into gang life and knew little else outside it. In this article we briefly introduce some of the prominent gangs of Gold Tower.


To call the Shrimps a gang would probably be considered an insult to real gangs. After all, these rich rebellious punks are more interested in fashion than actual crime. They still commit petty acts of vandalism every now and then, but no one takes them seriously.

Rat Kings

The Rat Kings is a very influential organized crime syndicate. Their name is spoken in whispers and even the Administration thinks twice before crossing them. The Rat Kings are very methodical in their dealings. They follow a strict moral code and treat crime as a legitimate business, going as far as mailing sealed letters to threaten their victims. 

Graveyard Widows

The slums in the Robot Graveyard are a dangerous place, but all their inhabitants respect the Widows and their role in keeping the peace. These ladies might appear tough and intimidating, but they definitely know how to have a good time. Without their efforts anarchy would reign in the lawless graveyard far below the city.


Whether it's their distinctive tattoos or the deadly silence before they cut your throat, Rednose is a group to be feared. They are arguably the largest gang in Octopus City, operating mainly in drug trafficking, racketeering and the smuggling of illegal goods between towers. There has always been a lot of tension between Rednose and the Rat Kings, but it never escalated to direct confrontation. Recent events might change that, however.


The Augmicians are a club of enthusiasts who are into robotics and cyborg enhancements. Cyborgs were often picked on by other gangs, so they banded together and started their own group. Augmicians are mostly found around the old Robot Graveyard, where they salvage junk and surgically sculpt weird machines on their own bodies. Despite their grizzly appearances, most of them are very shy and geeky.

Vagrants Guild

According to Mr. Bad Knees, the Guild's self-proclaimed president, the prestigious Vagrants Guild is an ancient organization that predates modern Octopus City. The Guild is concerned with the well-being of homeless people in the city, and serves as a union to oversee and protect their noble dumpster diving traditions.


The Samardukjan were the native inhabitants of the ancient Samarduk city-states, a loose alliance that would evolve into the Octopus City we know and love. They are the majority of the city's population, but are largely marginalized by the elite Lascapi minority. At least that's the Duke's version of the story. This colorful ensemble of patriotic old men embrace their traditional culture and reject all outsiders.


They may call themselves fancy names like the "Brethren of Serenity" or the "Enlightened Ones", but to everyone else the Dreamers are nothing but pathetic Octoblood junkies. The members of this cult are those who gave up on the real world to succumb to Octopus Dreams. Over time they grew detached and different, taking refuge in an old circle tent where demonic rituals are rumored to occur.

What's Eating Kaf Kafkaryan


Konbanwa minasan,

In today's competitive market, great developments are happening every day at the underground headquarters of Ghost in a Bottle Petroleum. As firm believers in innovation, traditional family values, and the pursuit of gold, Octopus City Blues will be the first of many exciting projects to redefine the stagnant Octopus City Simulation (OCS) genre and bring it to the average consumer. The first step in our master plan is to introduce our product to the masses via Steam. We feel that our presence on a monopolistic marketplace will strengthen our brand, as it echoes our own monopoly in the OCS market. As our dedicated fans and supporters it is therefore your duty to help us achieve our corporate vision and get through the Greenlight process. Usually we tell kids like you to say NO to Octoblood, but today we'll make an exception. Vote YES for Octoblood and help us help you.

Vote for Octopus City Blues on Steam Greenlight

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we have put together a new trailer for our simulation. Check it out:

Bonus: The Design of Octopus City Blues

Warning: The following contains many spoilers for the demo. You can download it here if you haven't already.

Hello everyone, this is employee no. 208, one of the many professional Octosim designers working on everyone's favorite fever dream, and today I want to talk about the design of the demo and some of the things you can expect moving forward. One of the main ideas behind Octopus City Blues is to be as implicit and subtle as possible. Unlike some other products, we don't start the simulation by explicitly telling you how "your choices matter" or "Daisy will remember what you said", and we don't expose any of the multitude of hidden variables that shape your experience. Based on that, the very idea of talking about the design of the simulation is at odds with what we set out to do. However, I feel that it's been a while since the demo was released, and we have made a few design mistakes that obscures the true complexity of the demo experience. It's probably a good idea to talk about the demo in the context of the full version, to let you know what to expect and to help you understand why it's taking such a long time.

The diagram above shows the structure of the main scenario in the demo. You can click on it to view a bigger version. The design of OCB is a balancing act between having a lot of (hopefully meaningful) choices while keeping things simple enough and within our budget. There are multiple ways to break into the Professor's mansion for example, but once you're inside the different paths converge. With that said, the entry method you choose can have a big impact on the endings and scenes available later. Your choices matter, but branching is kept to a reasonable limit.

There are two main design problems we perceive with the current demo. The first one is that not all choices are equal. Using tentacle hormone on the sick tentacle outside the mansion is a very obvious and straightforward approach, to the point that most people don't realize there are other ways to get inside. The demo lacks a proper introduction and can be quite confusing for new players. We don't think players should be told what to do or be given too many hints, but in this case many players didn't even realize that gossip could be used like items. Gossip is the most important mechanic in the simulation, and most of the demo endings aren't reachable if you don't utilize it.

The second problem is related to the first one. The impact of your choices should be recognized, and you should feel that picking A over B can change things considerably. Like I said earlier, we wanted to be very implicit. The point isn't to play the demo enough times to get all the endings, but to give each player a somewhat unique experience even if they only tried it once. You shouldn't be told that "this choice will matter later" because it trivializes the other choices and takes you out of the experience, but you should still feel the weight of your choice. Stepping on beetles is certainly fun, but the Professor doesn't appreciate it, and several endings depend on his attitude towards Kaf. I wonder if most people realized the importance of that choice. If they haven't, then we should work harder to warn the player without directly saying "stepping on beetles will change the ending".

Both these problems stem from a difference between our expectations and how players actually behave. We wanted to make a vague and open experience that focuses on exploration and intuition, but we might have gone too far. Instead of demonstrating the complex web of choices and consequences many players only get the easiest ending and may assume that's all there is to it. In the future we will try to do more extensive beta testing and watch players try the simulation. We will also find ways to train the player to recognize alternatives and choices without explicitly stating it in a tutorial.

You can imagine how hard it can be to design branching systems like this, and that's not even accounting for all the dialogue we write for different gossip interactions. But we believe that it's worth it in the end if you could experience all of Octopus City Blues and then talk to a friend about it, only to find out that each of you had a very different experience. The choices made in the demo lead to different endings, but in the full version they will influence future quests and interactions. You can later visit the Professor's beetle fan club if you've convinced him to start one, and see the club growing and becoming more influential. Alternatively, the Professor might be dead and his mansion inaccessible for the rest of the simulation. In another playthrough he lives on and continues his reign of terror.

The moral of this story is to treat your beetles with respect. Suppress your reptilian brain and watch your step, or kill all of them if that's what you really want to do. Will you be a paragon of light or a disruptive renegade? The choice... is yours.

Cut-It Kaf


>> 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.

>> 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
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.

>> main page

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Panic on the Centipede Express


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.