Ten Questions With… An Octopus (friendlyOctopus)
If Cloudrift is anything to go by then octopuses (octopi?) aren’t just good for takoyaki and predicting football results, but also at making addictive games! Of course it could just be a human developer masquerading as a friendly octopus, but we decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Check out our ten questions with friendlyOctopus below to find out more about his début title, Cloudrift.
Can you give our readers a quick introduction of yourself and your work?
Hi, I’m an octopus! Blub blub blub. I’m thirty something, was born and raised in Great Britain, and currently have eight legs. During the day I work as a Software Developer. Having dabbled with making games for many years, I finally had an idea that I decided to keep working on until it was done . . .
How did the idea for Cloudrift come about?
I got interested in procedural generation and was playing around with it to produce desktop wallpapers (example further down below!), and landscapes for a Terraria-esque game I was working on (now on hold). Then came the idea of that terrain actually moving, and a player having to surf it to stay alive. Straight away I thought it would also be cool to have items that manipulate the procedural generation.
Cloudrift is your first Steam release. How did you find the experience?
Yes, my first release on any platform, and I’ve been really impressed and happy through the whole process! Perhaps things weren’t as smooth in the past, but I only ever needed to send one email direct to Valve, just to check on the status of something. They’ve got things set up so that if you’re sensible and take the time to read the information they provide, everything is clear and all your questions are already answered. If there is an unanswered question they and other developers respond quickly on their developer’s forum.
What are the games that influenced you and how?
I think and hope that Cloudrift is fundamentally quite unique, but there are a few ideas in there that might be slightly similar to the old c64 game Wizball! That game and it’s music really got me (more) excited about computer games a long time ago. I’ll leave you to go and discover Wizball if you don’t already know it! Nowadays I like playing all sorts of games: Fallout, Skyrim, Cities Skylines, Civilization (1 to 5!), Elite (1 to Elite Dangerous!), and yes Minecraft but not for a few years!.
What was the biggest challenge while creating Cloudrift?
The only challenge was finding the energy to get on with it during weekends and holidays when not doing the day job! Unless working on something where I really need to concentrate, I listen to music to keep me feeling energetic! Good tasty coffee helps too!
What aspect of creating Cloudrift was the most fun?
Play testing, and making it look nice. Many hours were spent making tiny changes to the cloud and colour algorithms, and fine tuning the (often subtle?) particle effects. Creating Cloudrift entirely on my own, including code, sound effects, and music, and getting it up for sale on Steam was of course immensely rewarding. I’m extremely proud of it 😛
What are the future plans for Cloudrift/friendlyOctopus?
I’d like to investigate getting Cloudrift onto consoles (if anyone reading can help with this please get in touch!). I’m a PC fellow, but Cloudrift is the idea that came to me and I think it will suit consoles. I also have a couple of exciting ideas for new games, watch this space!
What is the most unusual thing on your desk right now?
I’m afraid I’m one of those people that likes a clean tidy desk, so there’s really nothing unusual or interesting! Here’s a boring photo to prove it! Maybe I should get some cool things in case I’m ever asked this again?
As a solo developer do you have any advice for other developers who want to follow the indie route?
Everything takes roughly 28 times more effort than you think it will, and there are about 20 times more things to actually do than you think. It’s a big undertaking, just bear that in mind! Keep your code tidy and well maintained. Eat a varied diet. Be polite. Never tickle a bear. More tips are available in the Tips screen in Cloudrift!
Anything else you would like to add?
From our side we want to thank the mysterious cephalopod mollusc for creating such a great game and answering our questions. We would also love to see Cloudrift on consoles, so anyone with any knowledge on how to make this happen please do get in touch with the developer! Those looking for more insights about this unique game can check out our review HERE.