Octopus City Blues and the Future of Technobabel

Basically, Technobabel is a little Android shoot 'em up I was working on with my good friend TFT. I worked on the engine while TFT worked on the art, and things were going smoothly and I got a good engine prototype running. TFT later left due to several factors (difficulty of creating large enough sprites for different phone sizes, being busy with his own game, etc.) and I tried doing everything on my own with simple art and a more realistic goal. It's simply not the same now, and I don't enjoy it. I have to downscale the original ideas considerably simply to "get it done". The last thing I want to work on is a generic shmup --if I wanted that, I could finish up Technobabel in a month or two -- what I want to do is make unique and fun games, and Technobabel is no longer that. Finishing Technobabel is too much work for a project I no longer care about.

On the other hand, I have put a lot of effort into Technobabel. It's probably my biggest software project, and I'm proud of my work and everything I learned from it. It'd a shame if all that work were to be discarded. Additionally, there is value in having released games, as I have worked on many games and demos in the past but have very little to show for it. Technobabel codebase might be useful for someone who wants to make a similar game. It's generic, well documented, and performs quite well for a Java Android application.

A project I do care about is based around a game idea I have been toying with for over a year. It's actually the amalgamation of several ideas, some dating back to my earlier game projects. The name of the game is Octopus City Blues, and it's an adventure game with horror, adventure, RPG, and simulation elements. Before I tell you more about it, please watch a concept intro I made earlier:

Octopus City Blues centers around Kaf Kafkaryan, a disturbed tentacle cutter living in a cyberpunk city built around a giant octopus. Kaf is a broken man fighting his inner demons. His desperation leads him into the dark underworld of octopus blood addiction. Dreams and reality soon converge as he is forced to do terrible things to stay alive. The majority of the game is walking around the city and talking to people; there are no battles and no stats. Instead, the game focuses on a small number of strategic and open ended missions with unforeseen consequences.

The major problem with the concept behind Octopus City Blues (which I will discuss more in the future) is that it's somewhat big in scope. Technically it's a quite simple adventure game, but there's great focus on choices and consequences and a large number of different possible outcomes for each action. This kind of game can quickly grow in complexity, to the point of requiring funding to get an artist and a composer. If done right, I think it can be quite a successful independent game for a variety of platforms. However, I don't have that sort of funding, and I don't have the free time required for such a project between my full time job and graduate study.

That's why I started working on a simpler prototype of Octopus City Blues, a watered down version of the full game with small and simplistic graphics using an existing engine. The prototype allows me to develop the idea further and to get people interested. As for Technobabel, I also plan on releasing eventually, but in a different format: I want to finish implementing a few pending tasks (OpenGL, scores, sounds, etc.) and release it as an open source project with a simple demo. I will also be reusing a large part of Technobabel's code for my new game.

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