October 2012

Trampling Through the Fields: Kevin Geisler Stomps Questions

Kevin peers into the future

‘Horse Talk’ is a series here on the Octodad blog where we run intra-team Young Horses interviews. The first 2 or so questions are the same for each horse, but afterwords we crowd-source the team for things they’d like to ask the interviewee.

Who are you and what is it that you do at Young Horses?

My name is Kevin Geisler and I am a programmer at Young Horses.  Specifically I work with gameplay, tools, graphics, audio, UI. I also created and maintain the level editor.  I’m also the producer / COO, doing task management/scheduling and other internal workflow optimizations to make sure the game actually gets made.  I’ll do tons of QA on the game and often go into levels to deliver the fixes.  Occasionally I’ll do level design / content creation.  Sometimes art too, but it’s generally placeholder.

What are you favorite games and why?

Final Fantasy, Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted, Super Mario Galaxy, Braid, Super Smash Bros, Rock Band.  I’m a fan of platformers and games with great music.  I’m not very competitive as a gamer, so I like to experience games more than I like to achieve stuff in them.

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Six Ideas Rejected from Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Hello octopus lovers, Kevin Zuhn here!

We’ve been in development of Octodad: Dadliest Catch for a while now, and while we make cephalopod fatherhood simulation look easy, it’s been a tumultuous process! A lot of work has gone into the content we’ve shown at PAX and on Greenlight. But I’d like to take a moment to consider content that hasn’t been shown. Moreover, the content that will never be shown.

I’ve come to realize over time that my role as creative director of this game is often about putting on my boots, hunting down rogue ideas, and stomping them into an early grave. Let us stand in silence before the mental cemetery, and examine that which might have been.

1. Church Plane

The idea:
The church level (which you can see the entirety of in our gameplay video here) ends with wedding vows. Then suddenly the floor drops out beneath Octodad, and he falls, revealing that the church he was inside was actually a gigantic plane. Transition to opening credits.

I really have no idea, other than that we say silly things in group settings.

Why not:
Because this isn’t Psychonauts, this is Octodad!
Listen, there are plenty of ideas that are silly and fun on their own, but which have no place in Octodad’s world. If we were making a game about church plane, I would be 100% team church plane, but we’re not, so I’m not. Teammates wave off the nonsensical nature of this scene, saying ‘it’s a dream sequence’, but dream or no it would be difficult to explain to the player, and for new players especially would give them a very wrong idea about what Octodad is about! I brought this idea up first because it won’t die. Members of the team still talk about it with a straight face, and I’m convinced by now that they are just doing it to rustle my manfeathers.

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All Under Control

The original Octodad sold itself on its control scheme meant to simulate the hardships an octopus would face if he were trying to pull off masquerading as a human.  We meant to make it awkwardly difficult but since release have realized there were a ton of technical flaws that took away from this and made it needlessly frustrating.  Essentially, we took a look at the controls and tried to find ways to reduce this unintentional frustration where the player felt cheated and focused on retaining the awkward and wacky controls that players did enjoy.

So far, we’ve improved quite a bit from the original game.  Click here to continue reading this and see all the changes so far!

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Greenlit and Good Feels

Yesterday afternoon at 1:37 pm central time I was walking down North Wells street here in Chicago when I got a text from Kevin Geisler, one of our programmers and our COO. “We are greenlit!,” it said. It’s always weird when life-changing things are told through digital form. I almost didn’t even

believe him until I got back to a computer to check myself. And there it was, that beautiful green banner. Besides being extremely excited I think we were all a bit shocked. We had originally only expected to see 10 games get greenlit this month as that’s how many were lit last time, but we’re not complaining. A big thank you goes out to all of our friends, family, and Octodad fans out there who have helped us get to this point. Whether it be through a comment on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, or a kind contribution on Kickstarter we really really appreciate your help in making this crazy idea we’ve been crafting possible. Make sure to continue to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Greenlight for updates on how the game is coming along!

With being Greenlit we can now say that Octodad: Dadliest Catch will be on Steam.

– Young Horses

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Octodad’s Green Light

Creating games can be the best thing in the world. In our case we all get to work with incredibly crazy and creative people who are relentless in making sure we’re crafting a world that others will also find intriguing. Then again at times it has triggered some of the most stressful moments in my entire life. Submitting to the Independent Games Festival…hell, submitting to any festival is always a very anxiety filled process. For me at least I am always left wondering as to whether they received the build of the game or if we screwed up in our submission process. Then there’s the incessant waiting. SO MUCH WAITING. A few weeks or months can feel like it’s been forever. Steam Greenlight has been the latest episode in this series of unknowns and what if’s.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch Greenlight page

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Horse Talk: Majdi Takes The Gallop Poll

‘Horse Talk’ is a series here on the Octodad blog where we run intra-team Young Horses interviews. The first 2 or so questions are the same for each horse, but afterwords we crowd-source the team for things they’d like to ask the interviewee.

Who are you and what is it that you do at Young Horses?

I’m Majdi Badri and I am a game designer/ dialogue writer for Young Horses Game Studio. I also write on things and hide them around the office so that Zuhn and Chris become paranoid.

What are your favorite games and why?

That is always the question and one of the hardest to answer. I think my top game goes to Ocarina Of Time. I got that game as a kid and man did it blow me out of the water. It was like this epic that I thought could never exist as a game. I explored a whole world, shifted time, met new races. Everything about that game was great.
I can say with the utmost confidence that it inspired me to tell stories with games.
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