Blog Archives

Where We’re At

It’s getting towards the end of the year, making it a good time to get an overview of the progress we’ve made on the project thus far.  We ended our Kickstarter August 10th, 2011, which really marked the beginning of development, having spent the previous months kicking around what could be done with Octodad.

To give you an overview of accomplishments thus far:

Summer 2011

Fall 2011

  • Prototyped new gameplay mechanics unexplored from Octodad 1.
  • Began prototyping the Church level as our intro and tutorial to the game.
  • Showed off Octodad at MineCon and Fantastic Arcade.

Winter 2011

  • Created our first teaser trailer.
  • Settled on the story outline and level progression of the game.
  • Moved on from our first polished level (Church) while prototyping aquarium-type levels.

Spring 2012

  • Worked on the House and Grocery Store levels.
  • Finished creating the rest of the family character models.

Summer 2012

  • Blocked out additional Aquarium levels and flashback levels.
  • Continued iterating on Aquarium level blockouts.
  • Began our Steam Greenlight campaign.

Fall 2012

  • Finished up the House level and entered final stages of Grocery Store level.
  • Showed off the game at PAX Prime.
  • Succeeded in being Greenlit through Steam.

If we put our progress in terms of level content creation we get this sort of chart:

So about where are we in the project?  The consensus seems that we’re probably around 40-50%.  A large portion of the prior work was iterating on new ideas, testing them out, and building up our tech.  Not to mention, we ended up tackling some of the more content-heavy levels early on.  We have high hopes of reusing some assets and other trickery to make the latter Aquarium levels quicker to create.  Lastly, we’re still aiming for a high layer of polish with voice acting and story progression cutscenes for when we are ready to wrap up the project.

What’s been great about this project has been the evolution since we originally pitched it on Kickstarter.  For something that we weren’t sure what we could do with it, we’ve come a long way towards delivering a solid, focused, and refreshing experience.  Every time we have the opportunity to show it off to different people, we are always humbled by the great response!

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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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Fantastic Arcade: Once More, With Feeling

Last year we made our very first visit to Austin when we were a featured spotlight game at the super rad event Fantastic Arcade, part of Fantastic Fest, at The Highball.  While there we showed off the first Octodad in a really interesting arcade machine setup. This year we may not be part of the spotlight, but Octodad: Dadliest Catch will be there and playable on all the showcase laptops for ya’ll to try out! FOR FREE! So if you’re in the Austin, TX area be sure to come by and play Dadliest Catch along with all of the other spectacular titles we’re showing with.

We’ll also be manning our very own panel this Sunday at The Highball at 1:00pm. Our panel will be all about what we’ve been doing so far to make Dadliest Catch a bigger and better experience than the first Octodad. Including us playing through some fo the levels we’ve created so far with some on the spot developer commentary. Devon Scott-Tunkin, one of our programmers, and I will be in attendance to answer any octopi related questions you might have while sharing our deepest darkest secrets with the world. (Or just that room?)

If you come find us we’ll also have some super cool Octodad buttons to give away! (In limited supply of couuuuurse.)

– Phil

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Octodad: Dadliest Catch on Steam’s Greenlight

Arrested Dadvelopment

When we started making Octodad: Dadliest Catch we had the ambition we still maintain today, that we very much want to distribute the game through Valve’s Steam platform for PC/Mac. (Linux too if it’s ready by the time we launch! Otherwise we’ll find another way to distribute our Linux build.)

Getting Dadliest Catch onto Steam allows us to reach a really large audience, and lets you the player get easy access to the game once it’s ready to release. Since then a lot has happened including a large amount of progress on the game itself. Recently Valve announced that it would be launching a new service for Steam called Project Greenlight.

Greenlight is a program in which smaller developers such as us can create a fan page similar to something like a Facebook fan page. The major difference is that this Greenlight page uses upvotes/likes to say to Valve, “Hey we’re fans of Octodad and we’d love to see it on the Steam store.” This acts as an attention getter for the Steam team and allows them to more quickly notice high quality or fan favorite games. This means the games you love get on Steam more quickly than they might have otherwise.

The Greenlight program has launched today, and we’ve got our page all setup to go. So, we’re putting out the call. If we can get all of our fans to spread the word and vote for us we know we can secure our spot on Steam.

This is where you amazing folks come in to play.

If you like Octodad as much as we do please vote for us here, and if you know anyone who does or might like Octodad get them to help out too!

We know there will probably be a bit of a flood of this kind of thing in the coming weeks as this service gets off the ground, but we could really use your help.

– Phil


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We’re Going to PAX Prime!

A few months back we were lucky enough to receive word that the Indie Megabooth was going to return at PAX Prime, and they were even looking for games to fill some space at the booth! We decided to hop on that gravy train and ride it ALLLLLL the way to one of the biggest cons on the planet to show off what we’ve been up to here in OctoLand for the past year or so. Make sure to come check us out at booth #674 and also make sure to visit all the other wonderful indie studios we’ll be showing with. There are so many great games this year that you can all play! Roll on over to the Indie Megabooth website to check out all the other spectacular works of interactive glee.

We’ll be bringing some awesome swag with us to share with you all if you come by to play the game. Here’s a little preview.

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A Fistful of Context

We’ve been playtesting Octodad for a while now, and as we’ve been building our first level towards a more-or-less complete state, I’ve noticed something. Gray boxes just aren’t much fun!

I’ve been under the impression for a long time that mechanics are the end-all and be-all of game development, and that any Octodad experience should be just as fun blocked out as it is with art. But that’s simply not true. Something crucial is missing. It’s not feedback or juice, we have plenty of both built into the game. There’s a difference between picking up a block and picking up a trout.

The difference is context! Context is all of the information surrounding an object or a situation. What it looks like, what it sounds like, where it is, what’s around it, and why. I’ve found that small amounts of information make a world of difference in play experience, sometimes moreso than the mechanics themselves! Why? Well, simply put, mechanics are needed to make the game work, but context is needed to make the players work.

Here’s a quick example of what I mean. Observe a blockout box. It is an object in Octodad that has some very specific mechanics. Can you tell what you do with this box?

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Kickstarter by the Numbers

About two and a half months ago the guys over at War Balloon Games, the creators of the magnifique Star Command, put up a brave analysis of where their Kickstarter money was spent and what it was spent on. We’ve also been attempting to be as transparent as possible with our development and we figured it might be nice to give everyone a breakdown of our budgeting/spending since we wouldn’t be where we are without all you beautiful folks supporting us.

At the end of our Kickstarter campaign we’d raised a solid $24,320.

This was $4,320 past our original goal of $20,000 and we are pretty damn pleased with that.

After both Amazon Payments and Kickstarter took their cut of the money raised we were left with approximately $22,400.

Read after the break for the full low-down!

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Contextual Engagement in Dadliest Catch

You might have read my previous post about IndieCade submission and how we didn’t make it in last year. If you did you know we’ve been working on fixing a lot of the physics issues and the lack of polish that the first Octodad game had to better our chances of making it in this year. One interesting part of this is that we’ve been doing a lot of playtesting and trying to get a set of levels together that we think represent the game in its different flavors/contexts.

Apple Pie

My personal favorite flavor. Is this too cliche for an American?

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