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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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Le Cercle Violet

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CONFIDENTIAL

Bureau of Octopus City Simulation Regulation (BOCSR)
New Samarduk Office

10:38 PM FLEADAY NEWT 18, [REDACTED] - RFMID: G0A24XB13-005

ATTENTION INSPECTOR [REDACTED], ROOM 401B 2W,

PRELIMINARY FINDINGS RE GHOST IN A BOTTLE INC <PRODUCT CLASSIFICATION DECADENT SIMULATION SHAREWARE CATEGORY UNSAFE TITLE OCTOPUS CITY BLUES> CONCERNING ALLEGED DEMO PLANS

CASE HISTORY

Earlier this year, in a press conference taking place on the 2nd of Grain, the keiretsu known as GHOST IN A BOTTLE, registered with the Chamber of Mega-Commerce with number [REDACTED], announced their upcoming plans. A concerned mother contacted the vaporware-prevention unit of our office, the Bureau of Octopus City Simulation Regulation, to investigate GHOST IN A BOTTLE's activities and ensure that they are working on the demonstration releases they promised the public. Two of our best agents successfully infiltrated the GHOST IN A BOTTLE fortified pyramid by posing as new employees. This report chronicles their findings and reveals the true extent of GHOST IN A BOTTLE activities in the last few months.

HIGH-LEVEL SUMMARY

The findings are mixed. Our agents were able to ascertain that GHOST IN A BOTTLE is indeed committed to the fulfillment of their plans. They have taken clear and constructive steps to improve their production pipeline, and a measurable improvement in their efficiency and productivity was recorded over the observation period. However, it is the opinion of our agents that even with all these improvements the promised demo will take quite some time. This could mean [REDACTED].

The corporation took several steps, including holding weekly meetings to discuss art progress and requirements. But the main improvement was achieved by introducing weekly goals, represented as points, assigned to every task. One point represents what they could realistically deliver within a day, and tasks usually have 0.5 to 2 points. Each week, the company committed to an average of 6 points, and work was done almost every day to reach that goal. This helped them double the amount of work done per week.

Within a reporting period of 60 days, they were able to work on more than 53 points in 49 tasks. What remains is 78 points in 76 tasks. Assuming they continue with the same pace, this means they still need 88 days to wrap up their first planned demo.


REASONS FOR DELAY

Our organization analyzed the work done by the suspect corporation and was able to summarize a few reasons for the disparity between the company's plans and their actual performance.

  • Aggressive initial estimation to motivate employees to work longer hours (without getting paid, of course, they're not a charity)
  • While the company tried to have more empirical and accurate estimates last time, some tasks weren't defined well enough for proper estimation.
  • Bugs and performance issues were encountered as work commenced on new features.
  • Certain planned decisions didn't feel 'right' when implemented, so changes were made to the original designs.

The company's management maintains a positive outlook and considers the delay proof that their milestone-based plan is working. They allege that it encouraged them to work differently, measure their work accurately, specify their designs better, and push themselves to focus on the simulation.

[REDACTED]


BUREAU RECOMMENDATIONS

Our investigation affirms that the GHOST IN A BOTTLE corporation has made measurable steps to fulfill their promises, but must work harder to meet the expectations of their shareholders. See the attached sheet for a summary of some of the work the company completed within the specified reporting period.

GHOST IN A BOTTLE will continue to work with the same procedure and pace. Their primary goal is to wrap up work on the BUNKER OS menu system. This includes sections such as an event calendar, item bag, and settings menu. They also still have to work on many small bugs, tweaks, and quality improvements in preparation for the release.

Note that the findings of this report are independent of the recent news concerning the acquisition of the Bureau by the GHOST IN A BOTTLE corporation under the government's new privatization initiative. [REDACTED] The Bureau is and will remain neutral and partial, serving both the greater interests of the public and the corporate goals of its new benefactor.

CONFIDENTIAL

ADDENDUM: WORK DONE

This is a selected list of some of the GHOST IN A BOTTLE activities as recorded during our investigation. We opted to focus on things that are fully done and that can be shown in some way. You can expect more from future GHOST IN A BOTTLE press releases.

Automatic Edge Correction

 "Many of us struggle every day with the inability to find our way around edges. You take a few steps forward only to be thwarted by an obnoxious wall or a table. You then have to re-orient yourself, perhaps take a step or two side-ways, before continuing your daily march to mediocrity.

With Octopus City Blues such unpleasant collisions will be a thing of the past. Kaf has gained the ability to intelligently move around certain frustrating edges. All you have to do is move forward and the advanced EDGE COLLISION ASSISTANT (patent pending) will take over and successfully circumvent the obstacle. Truly a marvel of modern engineering"

-- Reinbach II, Tentacle Experience (TX) Artisan

Our agents were impressed by this innovative correction feature, but also stumbled on several cases where it behaves in unexpected ways. In the animation above for example, an unintended bouncing effect occurs when using Kaf's signature spin attack. The designers at the company assured us that it's not a bug, but rather an 'accidental feature'.

Menu Performance

 "Because Octopus City Blues tries to emulate real life, it also renders the mysterious floating text we all use to communicate. It does it in REAL-TIME (nothing pre-rendered in this sim!) In the past we did some work that greatly improved the efficiency of text rendering, especially on inferior machines. When working on the menu the performance issues returned. While the rendering of individual elements was fast, rendering a lot of them (e.g. every menu choice) caused a noticeable slow down.

We improved this by grouping all menu components and drawing them together efficiently. The image above compares the frames per second before and after this change."

-- Samsa, Resident Vermin Fanboy

Pathfinding Improvements

 "Path finding, you see, is a delicate task. A horrifying dark force that compels the citizens of Octopus City to move around. We had problems with it in the past. That we did, yes. But now, today, we ironed out some more bugs. You'd better believe it! What do you mean you heard this before? Well, the bugs can't be infinite, can they? Eventually they get tired. That they do, no?"

-- Rheya, Simulation Emotioneer

Next-Generation Handshake System

 "Octopus City Blues teaches you a lot of useful life hacks. As the world's leading edutainment software it can be used to prepare for a successful job interview. Learn how to communicate non-verbally using ancient touching exercises.Your fingers will thank you for it."

-- Ghostina Bottle, cyborg CEO

Gossip Spread

"I heard a rumor, just some silly gossip. It said that once you tell a character something in the simulation, there's a chance they will tell a friend, and that friend will share it with another person, and so on. Now, this is just a rumor, and I'm only sharing it because it's 'spicy' enough to be shared. No one cares for lame gossip after all. Am I a chatty person for sharing this? I guess someone else might not share it. Perhaps they're not interested in the subject, or maybe they don't have friends, who knows? And the thing with rumors, once they become viral they can change the world. So be careful with what you share, that's all I have to say."

-- Lady Libra, Rainbow Janitor

Journal Menu

 "Why are you talking to me, you good-for-nothing punk? Youngsters these days show no respect. Back when I was your age, we didn't have them fancy menus. No sir, we had to do things the hard way. A man back then would pull himself up by his bootstraps, make something out of himself. It was a different time, kid. You wouldn't understand. Just go away, will you? I have no interest in what bottle in a ghost did or did not do. Let them pat themselves on the back for all I care."

-- Bunk, BUNKER OS mascot

Sprite Improvements

 "Marina, our tentacle art director, has been in her office for days. Everyone is worried about her, and we even tried to break the door. We know she's alive. Every now and then a new sprite sheet slips under the door. Apparently she's going over all the sprites and improving them. Sometimes it's subtle and then some other times the difference is night and day. Still, to go through these cursed sprites again... it's madness! And now she wants to add shadows too! Absolute madness!"

-- Henrietta, Jr. Tentacle Artist

Others

  • Time progression (weekdays and months).
  • Bold and italic text.
  • Visual improvements to stress system.
  • NPC relationships/attitudes towards Kaf.
  • Reduced memory usage.
  • Designs and initial work on calendar menu.
  • Work on quests and dialogue.
  • Many bug fixes.
  • Heart Attack Points.™

I Married an Octopus from Outer Space

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To my favorite Octopals,

The Ghost in a Bottle corporate death squad wishes you all an amorphous new year. To celebrate, we are going to share the latest and greatest scoops regarding everyone's favorite simulation software. This post will have a lot of text, because I don't know when to shut up. Put your seat belts on and get ready for another journey into the wonderful world of cephalopod trivia.

Art by the Chuck "finbeard" Simpson
Art by the Chuck "finbeard" Simpson

 

Chapter 1: The Fat Lady's Song, or: The Plan

Last update someone asked me to make an estimation based on the current pace and progress. I've always been wrong about these estimations. It's easy to be optimistic and to make plans that don't pan out. There's always the gut feeling that if we work hard then we can get something out soon. This feeling is strongest when the year starts, because initially the year feels like a long time, and wonderful things can always happen. But more often than not, bad things end up happening and you repeat past mistakes. Instead, I went over past and current data. How much did we do each year? How much work are we doing now? Exactly what is left?

Long story short, at our current pace, we're looking at a late 2019 release. Yes, that's right, 2 more years for a project that's already 3 years late. It was a bit of a surprise for me as well, because I want to believe that we can do better. The two main reasons it's taking forever are (1) it's big, detailed and ambitious, and (2) we have a small team working part time. I'd rather not give up on (1) even if it means taking more time, but at the moment I can't do much about (2). Hopefully that can change in the future, but for this estimation let's assume we'll continue with the same pace. Instead of wasting your time with apologies and excuses, let's be pragmatic and come up with a workable plan.

2014 was by far our most productive year. There are several reasons for that, but the main one is actually focusing on getting the demo out. It took us a lot of time and energy, but it was also a deliverable and specific goal. For 2018, I want to have specific deliverable milestones as well. I considered cutting the project in half, but people (rightfully) didn't like the idea. That's why you're going to get not one, not two, but three demos in 2018! The demos will have different audiences and goals, but ultimately we want to speed up our development while also getting feedback and communicating more with you. Here's how it'll work out:

Art by Marina
Art by Marina

 

Backers Demo: The New Intro - March 2018

The 2014 demo taught us a lot of things. Watching let's plays and seeing players actually interact with the city was a great experience. Based on what we saw, we completely redesigned the beginning of Octopus City Blues to gently introduce the city and gossip mechanics without being an explicit tutorial (that took time, but it's worth it!). The result is self-contained segment that includes a series of small but open-ended quests culminating in a final evaluation of everything you did. This is basically a pocket experience of all that Octopus City Blues has to offer, and it can be played over and over to experience different outcomes.

We want to present that as a demo for all backers. It's a good milestone because almost all the required art and music for the section are completed. However, we still need to implement the main menu and do a lot of polishing and bug fixing. The demo will also serve to get your feedback and see if we're on the right track.

Beta Testers Demo: New Main Quest - August 2018

The 2014 demo introduced the Professor's main story quest, as well as the beetle war dream. There are several main quests in Octopus City Blues, and of each of them has both an Octopus City component and a dream component. For this demo, we want to introduce a different quest we're excited about. Without spoiling much, the dream component has a western theme as Horse-Kaf and an Outlaw work together to escape ruthless bounty hunters. The Octopus City part is a mystery where you have to find the identity of your enigmatic target.

This is intended for backers at the tester level or above, as it's more likely to spoil some things. Instead of the old beta tester forum we'll figure out a better way to distribute this (itch.io has nice tools.) I picked this quest because, while much of the art for the dream section is done, we still need to actually implement the quest and work on new areas. The demo would then serve as a good motivation to focus on wrapping the quest up.

Public Demo: New Intro and Professor's Quest - End of 2018

The final demo isn't focused on new materials (there's always the risk that we're showing too much.) The goal is to present the mature and finalized version of what we tried to show in the 2014 demo. This public release will be very similar to the final version, and will include both the new intro (after taking your feedback into account) and the Professor/Beetle Queen quests. We actually had to cut some content for the 2014 demo, and some scenes were merged into exposition-heavy monologues. We want to do it properly this time, and balance the choices so people are more likely to get different endings.

Art by TFT
Art by TFT

 

Final Version - 2019?

Like I said before, with our current pace we expect a late 2019 release. I hope that releasing these demos will push us to do more and hopefully finish it sooner, but that's my optimism talking again. Instead, let's see how many of our goals we can accomplish this year. You can expect a similar post early next year with more details.

Chapter 2: Tearful Tentacle Town MMXVII

2017 was interesting in terms of progress. We did several things that actually slowed us down, but we did them knowingly because we thought it was worth it. In the beginning of the year we had a long chat about the state of things. We concluded that attempts to take shortcuts and simplify things were frustrating us and hurting the vision we shared with you in the beginning. This doesn't mean that we'll kick back and take infinite time to make the perfect product, but quality will always come first. We won't release something we aren't proud of.

Widescreen Resolution

The original 4:3 aspect ratio of Octopus City Blues wasn't a deliberate decision. The earliest prototype was made in an engine with a boxed default resolution, and we kept using it in subsequent versions. It helped that there was less to draw on the sides of the screen, and that some early Android devices supported 4:3 aspect ratios.

Octopus City Blues is not really meant to be "retro", even though it's heavily inspired by the aesthetic. We break the rules more often than not, and we are trying to build something fresh and unique. In today's world, where widescreen resolutions are a given, we want to reach as many people as possible. Unfortunately, this meant going back and redoing over 30 scenes. In some cases we took the opportunity to substantially improve them as well.

Scheduling Changes

Somewhere along the line I decided that one measure to release the project faster would be to simplify the scheduling system as much as possible. Instead of having NPCs walk around they would simply pop up in different places as time passed. Furthermore, many of the schedule-based mechanics were removed or simplified. The main benefits were having to draw less sprite frames, reducing the potential for path finding bugs (e.g. characters getting stuck), and not having to write a detailed schedule for every single NPC (there are over 120!)

That sounded good on paper, but in practice it didn't turn out very well. It was weird to leave a location only to see the NPC from the previous location already waiting for you in the new one. The city felt less lively and dynamic as well, contrary to one of our major design goals. After fixing several path finding bugs, the system was revamped to bring back many of the old features while also keeping it a bit simple. NPCs will now walk and enter/leave locations from the proper exits, instead of popping up somewhere else. Most NPCs still won't have full schedules, but there will be enough to bring life to the simulation.

As seen above, the system was also extended to allow NPCs to talk to each other and perform various actions as part of their routine. This includes the ability to perform actions at random intervals, and to interact with the environment and other characters around them. This took a lot of work as the code was basically rewritten, but I really like how it works now. For example, you can learn new gossip by following NPCs and listening to their conversations.

Performance Improvements and Fixes

These are the kind of changes that are hard to show. Major issues with the game engine were resolved this year, allowing Octopus City Blues to run very efficiently on older hardware. This includes one of the oldest bugs, where the frame rate would drop whenever text was displayed. Text rendering was also improved, and the editor is now easier to use.

Art Progress

Of course, Marina has been busy with the art as well. In addition to the stuff we've shared in 2017, several new scenes were completed and we also have unique cabinets for different arcade games. Currently we're working on the evaluation section of the first planned demo, where you'll receive a unique card based on your choices. Marina is painting and drawing each card traditionally, and will later digitize them for Octopus City Blues.

Chapter 3: Octoblood Made Me Do It

So there you have it. Congrats on making it this far! I initially wrote even more, including a full chapter about what we did every year since 2012, but maybe it's better to focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past. I want to start the year with an optimistic and pragmatic outlook, and the demos seem like a good way to do it. There might be delays and setbacks, so I'm counting on you to yell at us and ask for updates. An Octoblood junkie can only get better when their family and friends tell them to get off their lazy bum and get a job scraping squashed beetle remains off the sidewalk.

The Kafkaryan Candidate

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If you've been reading this blog long enough then you should know how I feel about the piece of vaporware known as Octopus City Blues. I remember twenty years ago, when the ambitious "Octopus City Simulation" software was announced, I was skeptical. I got a lot of heat for my unpopular opinion at the time. I was the 'party pooper', the pessimist who wouldn't bow to the glorious vision of the 'imagineers' at the hypothetical Ghost in a Bottle corporation. People thought I was crazy, that I was one of those loony conspiracy theorists who have nothing better to do than question everyone and everything.

It's been twenty years, and the -lambs- still wait for such a simulation software. You think I'm being harsh here? Maybe, I don't really care. It's not that I wouldn't like Octopus City Blues to be real either. In theory, it would easily be the definitive Octopus City experience, there is no doubt about that. From the beautifully rendered beetles to the multitude of branching choices and the complex gossip system, never has a simulation been so immersive and faithful to the source material. I have to give the marketing 'team' at Ghost in a Bottle credit for how well their lie is constructed. I don't blame the -lambs- for being fooled. After all, that's what they were bred to do. Ghost in a Bottle is the world's greatest magician, and they've pulled their best trick.

You can see the most recent screenshot of the simulation above. I pulled it directly from their twitter account. Notice how it's showing Kaf's room, one of the first locations we've seen of this product. In general, my calculations show that the Ghost in a Bottle team is releasing less and less content. Years ago they had a demo, and before that they regularly released new screenshots and alphas. These days there are less updates, and instead of communicating with the -lambs- in plain language, they write long irrelevant posts in an attempt to be humorous.

The Ghost in a Bottle spokesperson claims that they don't want to show new content to avoid 'spoilers'. I don't know about that. My hypothesis is that the original team involved with the simulation died in an accident 10 years ago, and having no one to replace them, the corporation has been trying to keep up appearances by remixing the existing content ad infinitum. This is corroborated by an old article on their own website.

Another thing I noticed is that they spend a lot of time talking about improvements to tools. Map editors, sprite editors, gossip editors, etc. I understand how complex making a simulation could be, but to me it signals that the 'team' is not prioritizing the things that really matter. Decades later they are still polishing technical tools that no one else would ever use, when they should be adding more tentacles (I bring up tentacles because according to their CEO, having more of them is the company's raison d'etre.)

Perhaps I am being too critical. The -lambs- seem very understanding and supportive of the company, even when it apologizes to them repeatedly. That's why I'm starting to question the so-called 'supporters'. Hundreds of people supported this game, but do we know who these people really are? Now, hear me out, I'm not saying it's not conceivable for passionate, kindhearted people who want more tentacles in their lives to exist. However, wouldn't it be more likely, given the current grim and depressing state of our world, a world run by nameless corporation where people are driven by self-interest, wouldn't it make more sense for the -lambs- themselves to be part of the lie? Just think about it. Who actually pays for an uncertain hypothetical product based on a video and some screenshots? Who puts their faith into some faceless 'company' that wouldn't even confirm whether dual-wielding tentacles is an option? That's what I thought too.

This was a 'joke' posted on the corporate social media account a couple of years ago. But the more I think about it, I wonder if all these modes were actually developed. Maybe that's why it's taking so long. In the 20 years since the project was announced, Steve Buscemi is probably too old to continue playing Kaf. This leads me to the idea that the company diverted its fund at some points into genetic engineering research in order to preserve and/or clone the aging actor. What if, during one of these experiments, the original team perished as I mentioned earlier. What if the -lambs-, the supporters, were born out of such experiments? What if we're dealing with powers beyond our understanding? With evil personified?

I came across a passage in an old cuneiform manuscript from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Akkad. According to it, a mysterious and evil presence would manifest in the end times. A cunning and deceitful false prophet beckoning the gates of hell to open. That reminded me of a character in Octopus City known as the Conman. It could be a coincidence, but when you consider the mythological significance of tentacles and octopuses as creatures of the deep, eldritch monstrosities beyond human comprehension, things start making too much sense. What's a ghost in a bottle after all? Doesn't it conjure images of a sealed demon? A hidden danger waiting for the right time?

Ghost in a Bottle recently talked about how they spent a lot of time modifying the existing artwork to support 'widescreen resolutions'. Sounds like pointless busywork, doesn't it? It might be cool for the handful of people using the over-hyped 'HD displays', but for the rest of us it's just another feature no one asked for. Where is the enhanced demo they promised so long ago? More frequent updates? Special alpha versions for supporters?

What if Ghost in a Bottle is actually an artificial intelligence of some sort, stuck in an endless marketing loop. Maybe during the Steve Buscemi incident, when the -lambs- were created, a new form of consciousness was spontaneously generated in the company's mainframe. A so-called 'neural network' was formed, a black box that crawled the darknet consuming all recorded human knowledge and feeding it into the machine. Over time, the network gets more and more complex, to the point where it achieves a certain self-aware or 'meta' quality. You can see it in the company's updates, they get weirder and weirder over time. More self-referential and less about Octopus City. At that point, can you really believe anything they tell you? You could ask for a release date and they would instead go and write a mock article about a conspiracy theorist.

Or maybe I'm just overthinking the whole thing. Time to take my medicine, I guess..

 

In other news, the Octopus City social media account was recently promoting an 'indie fighting game'. The game itself looks fun, and I doubt it has any relation to what I just wrote. I do find it fascinating how the artificial intelligence running Ghost in a Bottle has learned to collaborate with other entities to divert attention from the project. I wouldn't be surprised if 100 years from now Kaf will be known more for a small cameo in Indie Pogo than for the Ghost in a Bottle fiasco. You can support that project by clicking this link: Indie Pogo on Kickstarter.

The Octopus with the Crystal Suckers

17 likes

Greetings from the heart Octo-faithful,

This is a special announcement from the Ghost in a Bottle Family Entertainment company to warn you against paying heed to the content of the previous communiqué. It was written by a disgruntled employee and does not represent the values the Ghost in a Bottle family stands for. Work on our magnum opus continues with the help of our ever-expanding army of infinite monkeys typing furiously on their typewriters.

Because we know our fans deserve the best, our market research department closely follows the latest and greatest in market trends. At a time when our puny competitors still cling to the antiqued 4:3 aspect ratio, our research indicates that 10 years from now more "widescreen" resolutions will be commonplace. Given the protracted pace of development, we worry about the unlikely possibility of releasing our simulation in a dead format when everyone has already switched to wider displays. That's why we are making the world's first HD-ready Octopus City simulation.

This means we have to revisit some of the older completed areas and manually re-scale them to match the new screen resolution. This also gives us the chance to improve many of these scenes. You can see some of the before and after examples below:

 

 

 

For old people resistant to change, we will also have an option to experience the simulation in either resolution. After all, the goal is to appeal to everyone and everything; we will do whatever is possible to make more money, including selling information about your firstborn to the highest bidding death cult. 

Aside from graphics and area design, we recently fixed a long-standing performance bug with text rendering. While inferior products from our competitors struggle to maintain 30 frames per second on the so-called next generation consoles, we are happy to announce that Octopus City Blues will maintain a healthy 300 frames per seconds on your grandfather's toaster. That's 10 times the FPS, so mathematics tells us we are at least 10 times as good.

In the past we've released small alpha builds to make sure everything is running well. We want to start doing that again in the future, hopefully with the next update. At some point we were also considering releasing an improved demo, but it's not clear if that's needed. The first demo was a decent representation of what to expect, and while a lot has changed, it might be better to wait until we're closer to a final release. Do let us know what you think about that. We promise to pretend that your opinion matters.

In other news, we have finished some new areas as well. Unfortunately, you have already seen too much, and you know what happens to people who see too much. Maybe next time...

Your most loyal and humble servant-leader,

Ghostina Bottle

City of Cod

18 likes

(Concept art by the great Jacob Janerka, check out his newly released game Paradigm if you haven't already!)

Dear backer,

I don't want to call you that, it's too impersonal. I will give you a name. The name will be a fine one, worthy of our friendship. You might be some Arbogast or another Hortense in your waking life, but in my heart of hearts you will always be Borgliddle. Let's do this thing again:

Dear Borgliddle,

I am sorry that we don't talk often. Talking to me directly, the ignoble Firas, is quite difficult. The voices take over and I am helpless to resist. Chief among them is is the voice of the Ghost in a Bottle, a powerful being from another dimension (or is it the future? The mythos are unclear...) This entity is the malevolent chairman of a large corporation developing the so-called Octopus City Simulation Software. Ghost in a Bottle is the dominant voice, the one that entrusted me with this holy quest, but there are other voices as well. From concerned mothers to leet hackers, many voices speak through me and start to babble about the latest and greatest in Octopus City entertainment.

Look at me, wasting your precious time with this nonsense. I am sorry, I am a simple creature not accustomed to speaking to high-born dignitaries such as yourself, the magnificent and most honorable Borgliddle. I wanted to speak my mind, to tell you the truth about this cursed project, but instead I jot down all this meta garbage. Maybe I'm a little afraid of what I will have to say.

So let's talk about Octopus City Blues, a game ("Games are for kids and plebs", the Ghost in a Bottle protests) I have been developing for years. The voices will assure you that progress is made every day. They will fill your little head with dreams of mothers, beetles, and twisted tentacles.

Tentacles are so funny, aren't they? It's really easy to make tentacle jokes, tentacle puns, tentacle innuendo. The voices love talking about tentacles; whenever they want to cheer the Borgliddles up, they will write a tentacle joke or two. After all, everyone loves tentacles. Some misguided Borgliddles even go and write comments like "I don't even care if the game comes out as long as you keep writing tentacle jokes". You mean well, but you are feeding the beast.

Now, it's not a lie to say progress is made. Thanks to the voices, I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Centipede trains on fire off the shoulder of a giant robot. I watched a tentacle bloom in the dark near the Hotmog Colosseum's gate. These moments will not be lost in time. So I continue to slowly chip away at the purple tapestry that is Kaf's story. Believe me, dear Borgliddle, I am trying. Sometimes I fail and give in to temptation. Sometimes I... I... play a game or watch a movie. Sometimes... I even leave my underground bunker (it's not really a bunker. I was just trying to impress you.) 

It's easy to tell myself to cut corners or to discard entire sections because the game must be released. It's not as easy to actually do it. The Octopus City of my nightmares is not a Bethesda kind of world. Every Octopus City quest has a large number of conditions, choices, and consequences. These quests require a lot of thought and planning, little Borgliddle, something beyond the capabilities of my underdeveloped reptile brain.

So, I wanted to say that I still have no idea when Octopus City Blues will be out.  I mean, I do have ideas, but I've been wrong too many times. With that said, I wanted to give you some options, because Octopus City is all about options, and you are a wonderful humanoid who has supported me for years.

  • Continue with the current pace. Not much changes. Although I am also trying to do something about my job situation to give more time to Octopus City Blues. It will take time, and I will continue trying to improve things, but don't complain if your mutant son is already old enough to assassinate you and take over your castle by the time the game is out.
  • Split the game in two. Octopus City Blues was always a story in two largely distinct chapters, with the second and smaller chapter greatly shaped by all your choices in the first one. This option would result in getting to play something sooner (how soon? don't ask!), but it isn't a magic bullet; the experience of two separate parts is simply not the same as one combined game. One benefit is having more content in total as I get more time to implement a more substantial second chapter. Still, I can imagine some people would hate the whole idea with a passion.
  • Give you back your money. I know it's weird to say this, but sometimes I wish I could simply give everyone their money back. This isn't because I plan to stop or slow down development. It's just that money is no longer the main issue and I don't want anyone to feel bad about their investment. Even if we decide to go with one of the options above, you can always send me an email asking for a refund.

Because I know you like bulleted lists so much, another way to look at these options is like this:

  • Good for me, good for the game, probably bad for you
  • Good for me, good/bad? for the game, probably good for you
  • Good for me, doesn't matter for the game, probably good for you

I win regardless of your choice, and that's all that matters. To conclude this rant I invite you, cool beans Borg, to write down your opinion and to use this opportunity to vent your frustration and disappointment. Nothing is set in stone yet, so if you have other options I would also love to hear them.

By the way, regardless of what we end up doing I want to start having monthly updates, alternating between my own pathetic voice and one of the scary other voices whose tentacle jokes you all like so much. I promise I will not rant as much next time. It will be more like boring more technical progress updates vs. cool and educational corporate propaganda.

Now that I've written this wall of text interspersed with random images, safe in the knowledge that no one would actually read it, and happy that I did my Octopus City related thing for the day and I can go back to wasting my time, I bid you farewell and wish you the best on your own Octoblood-induced hallucination.

Entrepreneurial regards,

Firas Assaad