August 2012

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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Your Favorite Octopus in Your Favorite Reverse Rhythm Game, Retro/Grade

A few months back I spoke with Matt Gilgenbach of 24 Caret Games and he was seeking some other indies to fill his unlockable character slots for his upcoming PSN release of Retro/Grade. Retro/Grade is a shooter gone rhythm game where you play the whole thing in reverse. All those lasers and bombs you shot? Yeah, you have to suck those back into your little ship in order to right the temporal anomaly that’s caused time to flow backwards.

We were lucky in that 24 Caret Games allowed us to put Octodad in as an unlockable character for all of you guys to play around with. (We particularly like him with the combination of Big Head Mode, and are honored to have him be part of the game.) Retro/Grade was released today and everyone with a PS3 should go buy it from the PSN as it’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else!

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Horse Talk: Chris Mans the Stall

‘Horse Talk’ is a series here on the Octodad blog where we’ll be running some intra-team Young Horses interviews. The first 2 or so questions will be 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 Chris Stallman, the lead artist on Octodad where I focus on characters, architecture, some UI, and just try to make the game look as pretty as I can. I do my best to squirm my way into every aspect of design on the game as well; Having all the fun of discussing ideas and making things work, without having to implement any of it (thanks designers).

What are your favorite games and why?

I’ve always been a fan of Sim games like The Sims, Sim City, and Roller Coaster Tycoon. It’s just so much fun to build things and see how they work in game. There’s a certain creative freedom that I enjoy about them. Balancing aesthetic and function. The build music for The Sims is forever burned into my skull, I’m pretty sure I just built cool houses and finally quit when I couldn’t build basements or split level homes. Pokemon has been a favorite of mine since the beginning. Playing Red version, exploring the land with my Charmander, an unopened Official Strategy Guide just in case I got completely lost, and a burning need to be the very best, like no one ever was… It was really the sense of adventure and discovery that hooked me. Finding new pokemon and evolutions was a great joy. Eventually I became a fan of shooters. I got killed by my friends in Halo, stormed Omaha Beach in Medal of Honor, and found a great clan to play Battlefield 1942 with for years. They were great ways for me to just hang around with my friends, both online and off.

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Horse Talk: Devon Explains It All

Devon Explains It All

This gemstone in our regal horse crown was put together by one of our designers John Murphy. We’ll let you figure out which head is Devon’s.

‘Horse Talk’ is a new series here on the Octodad blog where we’ll be running some intra-team Young Horses interviews. First up we quiz Devon Scott-Tunkin.

The first 2 or so questions will be the same for each horse, but afterwords we crowd-source the team for things they’d like to ask the interviewee. (Question sources are anonymous to protect the safety of the interviewer from the wrath of the interviewee.)
(Not really.)

Who are you and what do you do at Young Horses?
Am I supposed to answer this? I AM Devon Scott-Tunkin. I wear many hats but usually I can be found programming parts of the game involving Octodad’s parts, NPCAI, or the Macintosh Experience, being the netmaster and wwwdesigner, creating some promo and UI arts, and the treasuring.

What are your favorite games and why?
I am afflicted with terrible nostalgia for Ultima VII, Day of the Tentacle, Betrayal at Krondor, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Simcity 2000, Civilization II, Rock’n Roll Racing and Quest for Glory. My favorite game I’m playing right now is The Real Texas, it has one of the most creative worlds I’ve ever visited. I also get an urge to play Gain Ground and Counter-Strike, every year or so. I guess you could say I like games with strong characters and writing, a wacky sense of humor, realized worlds and deep sandbox simulations. Octodad has all of my favorite “features” (except npc scheduling, but that’s coming soon).

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Tech Behind Octodad: Dadliest Catch

A common question we get from people when we talk to them about Octodad is, “What tech are you using to make the game?”.  Our goal from the start has been to make the game for as many platforms as we can, so we’ve currently chosen an array of technologies that would let us accomplish this.  As a reminder, our key platforms we are developing for are Windows/Mac/Linux.  However, we’d love to make versions for iOS and Android as well.

To make Octodad, we actually used a combination of different technologies and middleware in order to create the game.  With Dadliest Catch, we are using a lot of the same base as we did with the original.  We are currently using:

Irrlicht – http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/

Irrlicht is a C++-based open source rendering engine that makes up the foundation of our game engine for its update and rendering loop.  We originally selected it for the first game because it was lightweight and easy for programmers to jump into without requiring a lot of prior experience.

PhysX – http://developer.nvidia.com/physx-downloads

We originally picked PhysX because it supported softbody mesh whereas Havok did not.  For Dadliest Catch, we decided not to use softbody anymore because it didn’t look as cool as we thought it would.  We stuck with PhysX, though, because we learned a lot how it works and saw that it was supporting all the platforms we had planned to develop for.

FMOD – http://www.fmod.org/

FMOD is a widely used commercial product for game audio, and we selected it because it required to no license fees up front for a non-commercial game and allowed our sound designer to have a lot of control over the audio without needing to be a programmer.  And again, it works with tons of different platforms.

WinForms

In order to facilitate level building with the tech we picked, we really needed to make our own editor.  For the first game, we used a closed-source editor built for Irrlicht called irrEdit, yet the way to expand it was very limited.  For the second game, we began building our own editor that used C# Winforms and managed C++ to share the game code so that there were no discrepancies between the game and editor.

Why not alternatives?

We originally looked at other alternatives, including using Ogre or Havok, or XNA, and more complete solutions like Unity or UDK.  We went with the previous solutions in order to guarantee that we had the control needed in order to make the game we wanted.  Since there is a lot of complex interaction with Octodad as a ragdoll character, we didn’t want to risk getting stuck with a problem we could not solve.  We also picked technologies so that we could make the game for PC/Mac/Linux and more.

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More Than a Year

It has been a year and nearly seventeen days since we ran our Kickstarter campaign. A year. A year is A TON of time, or so you might think. It’s amazing that this seemingly large amount of time has flown by so quickly. I was talking with my friend Richard Flanagan of FRACT fame about this very thing on twitter a few days ago and we both came to this realization as we both had started the new incarnations of our previously student games around the same time. Richard, being the smart guy he is, already wrote up a nice reflective post on where FRACT has been and is now headed. I figured why the heck not do the same for Dadliest Catch.
One whole year and some change.

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