Octopus Rift

Summary

The gameplay of Octopus Rift consists of the player clicking on different areas of the ground and the props in order to trigger events. The player can also pick up and use items from his or her inventory.


The story centers around a character who works as a maid in a submarine, but wants to become the captain of the ship. The game contains many intresting characters and focuses on dialogue choices in order to convey the main story.

Specifications

  • Point-and-Click Game
  • Created in 8 weeks
  • Created by two level designers, four programmers and three artists

My Contributions

  • Level Design
  • Puzzle Design
  • XML-scripting surrounding puzzles
  • Story writing and dialogue
  • Basic MAYA models used by the artists
  • Trum (Scrum) Master

The Team

Design Philosophy

Point-and-click games have in recent years gained increased popularity, in part due to the growth of mobile gaming. Our goal with this game was to make an experience worthy of our time while telling a compelling story with humoristic elements.


The dream was to create a game which would be able to compete with games on marketplaces such as the App Store or the Google Play market.


A mockup of the first scene in the game...

...and a mockup of the inventory system

Overscope Galore

At first, we had very big ideas surrounding the different parts of the game. We wanted the player to start out in a submarine, the submarine would be attacked by a monster and the crew would be forced to escape in pods. We contemplated having an underwater segment where the player was attacked by huge tentacles while escaping the submarine.


Once the main character had escaped, she would be presented with an ancient underwater temple, which looked like Atlantis, and this area would serve as a hub world for the game. Using that hub world, the player would be able to locate the missing crew members of the ship, whom were all scattered across an island on top of the underwater temple. Once the player had found all of the crew members, the game would end and the main character would become the new captain of the crew.

A mockup of the underwater monster

Time to Cut Content

After five weeks of hard work however, all we had managed to create was the submarine part of the story. At this point, I remember pitching the idea of cutting away the rest of the story and its content, but this pitch was met with great critisism. People felt the game would be bland and boring if all we had was a submarine. Eventually however, I convinced the team that having a polished submarine game is better than having an unfinished idea for a game.


Additionally, I presented the idea of cutting content as an oppurtonity for all of the team members to show our audience that we’re capable of entertaining the player even though the story solely centers around a maid working on a submarine. Seeing that we had to cut content as a challenge, while setting new goals which felt realistic, seemed to motivate the members of the group.


The submarine part of our game

Wrapping it Up

Even though we decided to cut the larger parts of the game's intended content, we still just barely had time to finish the game. An hour before the deadline, the entire team was still adding the final touches to the submarine but we still managed to hand it in on time.


I remember thinking we might have been wrong to decide to cut such a huge part of the intended game, doubting our decision to cut content.


However, the final game turned out to be a huge success among gamers, claiming it was one of the more bug free and enjoyable point 'n click games out of the many created that year at The Game Assembly.

The final result of our hard work

Closing Thoughts

To me, this game serves as a reminder of the consequences of overscoping and the effects it will have on the team. I was very much a part of the original idea for the game and I often remind myself of that fact. Since the creation of this game, I have always challenged myself to aim low at first, and then gradually add more content as we get better at estimating how long it takes for the core functionality to reach a playable point. Using this method, the team will early on be forced to analyze and polish the core of the game knowing that content may very well be all we end up with. This way the game will feel thought through and polished instead of buggy and unfinished.

Screenshots


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