About Octopuzzle

How it started

beer mat

Octopuzzle was born as a crazy game idea on a beer mat in a bar located in Groningen, the Netherlands. Octo initially was a knight with a lance, riding a horse. From an art perspective, the game could only be made from a top view and people / animals don't look that interesting from that perspective so we dived under water and shifted to a side view for more freedom!

The brainstorm sessions for the smartphone version of Octopuzzle started in October 2011. Gameplay and ingame scenarios were sketched out on paper. When the sketches were ready, three graphic designers began enthusiastically experimenting and fleshing out the designs. Octopuzzle evolved to his current shape. Meanwhile at the programmer’s cave, a gameplay / visual effects programmer and a technical programmer started coding and constructing the game.

One year later (November 2012) the first and shiny beta version of Octopuzzle was ready to be tested! 25 brain-crunching levels were unleased onto the Android and iPhone markets, we wanted to test it globally to get feedback from every corner of the world.

Testing

We wanted to achieve the holy grail of game design and make Octopuzzle easy to pick up while being hard to master. Our goal was to make the game appealing to people from all over the world and of all kinds of ages. So we asked ourselves; What do all humans have in common..? Well, they have a brain. While playing and solving Octopuzzle levels you have to use multiple areas in your brain. These are triggered by the different situations that the game presents to you.

We noticed that players feel really rewarded for coming up with a creative solution for puzzles that conflict with the players first intuitions. Then you really feel proud of yourself! The fun of Octopuzzle thrives on this primal emotion. Sometimes you’ll get stuck in a level and wonder, ‘How on earth could I solve this?!’. Sometimes you decide to quit for now and try again tomorrow. The next time you’ll pick up Octopuzzle it may happen that in a flash, you just see the solution and can proceed to the next challenge! What seemed unmanageable at first became really easy to solve. Which means you unconsciously learned, how cool is that?!

To achieve this level of quality the game had to be tested on lots of different people. We invited groups of all types of people to come over and test it. We closely observed their actions in the game and how they reacted on certain aspects.
testing
A group of game design students also tested Octo on multiple audiences using eye tracking devices. We tested the game on many students and let them fill out a questionnaire in which they wrote their feedback. The testing period lasted for about 3 months. After analyzing and interpreting the test results, we started tweaking the game, A LOT!

  • Inspired by the usability and beta tests the shop got a major makeover.
    shop versions

  • Subtle adjustments in gameplay and interface made huge differences. For example, in the beta version you had to wait until Octo stopped moving before you could tap the screen and interact again. In the new version you can tap like crazy and Octo goes to all the positions you clicked, one by one. Which greatly improves the amount of interaction you have with the game world and accelerated the gameplay enormously.

    stingray
  • In hectic situations you sometimes accidentally click the quit button. Instead of popping up a 'do you really want to quit?' window, we built in bubble which indicated that you have to tap twice.

  • The biggest compliment was that with the amount of polish we put in the game feels Nintendo-ish.

  • The most heard critical point was: we want more levels! So we created a stingray who brings you to an area with another 25 levels.

    Final version

    June 2013; the final version is almost finished. It now contains 2 level worlds with 50 levels and a bonus game. A lot of things have changed since the beta version. We originally wanted to use no texts at all. But noticed that there are visual people and textual people. Now, if you don't move on, a sea star goes nuts with explaining things. The official final release version of Octopuzzle must be in the shops around 20 June 2013!

    ingame screenshots

    The future

    team octo Octopuzzle became an interactive world where new features can be added. All good and stupid funny ideas that we or others came up with are stored in a list and will be added if there is time to spend.

  • First thing we want to add are level high scores and records with Google Play Game Services, accompanied with your dressed up Octo. Maybe adding some achievements to make Octopuzzle more competitive and social.
  • Behind the scenes we have a level editor which is locked for now in the public release. When it's finished we'll open it and Octopuzzle players can create and play user generated levels. We have many cool and strange gameplay objects on our wishlist. Which we want to add to the level editor only, for fresh new gameplay experiences. Created by everyone.
  • There are plans for a multiplayer Octopuzzle Battle. Who punches the most fish? Just that one rule can cause hilarious and strategic gameplay.
  • Future minigames:
  • - Octo Waterhockey; multiplayer game.
    - Fishteroids; endless shooter with the strangest weapon powerups.
    - Stream Dream; move Octo through his dreams by painting streams.

    editor



    Trivia

  • The main gameplay designer has no smartphone.
  • One of the female testers said that this game was not child friendly because of the half-nude diver guy.
  • Angry birds are getting dissed in the Feed Franky minigame.
  • 2013 is Octo's tenth birthday. His first appearence was in 2003 on touchscreen Blackberries and Windows PocketPc, followed up by a java version.
  • The main character designer was 17 years old when he created and animated the characters of the final version.
  • While the oldest team member already made games for the Commodore 64.
  • The voice of the diver guy that appears now and then, is from the programmer of the oldskool java version.
  • Ingame Tip: Bump a lugworm and meet the peevish mother!


  • oldskool Octo



















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    MAD Multimedia

    © 2012 MAD Works Ltd. MAD multimedia and Octopuzzle are trademarks of MAD Works Ltd. MAD multimedia is a developer of (serious) games and apps that spark your imagination. We believe that fun is the way to get messages across: and have done so, ever since 1996. We create games for web (Flash, HTML5) and mobile (Android, iOS, Windows Mobile).

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