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Trip the Ark Fantastic | Exploring the wastelands of the Animal Kingdom

Total Posts: 14

Joined 2020-04-15

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Hey y’all! I’m Pero from Gamechuck; a Croatian (indie) game development team. We’re currently working on several projects, but our flagship game is an adventure RPG Trip the Ark Fantastic.

Some of you may have already heard for our game, and I am creating this thread here where we are going to keep “all things Ark Fantastic”.

Trip the Ark Fantastic is a story-driven adventure game set in the Animal Kingdom on the verge of both industrial and social revolution. The story follows Charles, a hedgehog scholar on a mission by the lion king to save the monarchy, but his decisions could end up helping reformists or even to bring about anarchy.


We don’t have a Steam page (yet!), but you can visit our website, or chat with us on our Discord :-)

The story revolves around an ancient myth that forms the basis of the Animal Kingdom’s caste system – the myth of the Ark Fantastic. As the myth goes, the ark was built by lions millennia ago to save all animals from a great flood.

The king’s gambit is that, amidst whispers of reform and revolution, a reputable scholar such as Charles proving the existence of the mythical ark might sway animals toward a royalist stance, and thus uphold the monarchy.

Charles is accompanied by the king’s trusted advisor Philippe the Fox and the captain of the royal guard - Andre the Boar. Their task will lead them to the fringes of the Kingdom and beyond, in search of elusive truth.

FEATURES

- A deep and immersive secondary world set in an Animal Kingdom on the verge of industrial and social revolution, content-rich and filled with intrigue, side-quests and flavor at every step
- Completely original gameplay mechanics based on the scientific method: research, discuss, experiment, and finally publish arguments in the Animal Kingdom’s papers
- An exploration of how myths, science, and philosophy can influence society, and how monarchies, democracies, and anarchies view power, authority, and legitimacy of rule
- Gorgeous art including frame-by-frame animation and vibrant landscapes inspired by the golden age of animation, as well as music inspired by the works of R. Wagner
- A gesamtkunstwerk approach in which the art, music and gameplay all tie closely to the story of scientific discovery and the role of myths in different types of societies
- The entire development completely done in open-source technologies, including Godot Engine, Krita, Ink and MuseScore, among others

GAMEPLAY

The player progresses through the game by solving the Kingdom’s various problems and mysteries, but his method of solving them is a scientific one - he publishes compelling arguments in the Animal Kingdom’s scientific papers to prove his theories and disprove those of others. Only arguments with sound logic and solid evidence will have the power to sway public opinion and change the course of history.

The evidence itself can be found by talking to the local denizens (after learning their language, such as squirrelese), by using scientific equipment (a microscope, or a chemist kit), or, as a true scholar, by “standing on the shoulders of giants” and using evidence from the works of other scholars found in libraries across the Kingdom.

The player’s main challenge will be finding all the relevant evidence and then choosing the right conclusions, which are then published and reviewed by his peers, potentially resulting in a boost to his scholarly reputation.

Additionally, since Charles’ scientific conclusions can have large-scale consequences on the Animal Kingdom and the monarchy in particular, there is a looming moral dilemma over whether the player should publish a certain argument or not.

SCREENSHOTS AND ARTWORK

I’m looking forward to your comments and questions :-)

 

     

Total Posts: 14

Joined 2020-04-15

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Charles. Ark Fantastic main character. A hedgehog. A scholar.

And the one you’ll be playing this epic Animal Kingdom story with. It is now time to meet Charles, up close, and personal thanks to this biography.

Tell us what you think, and would you enjoy playing such a main character?

After all, reclusive scholars are not really the epic protagonist archetypes we usually find in RPGs!

     

Total Posts: 14

Joined 2020-04-15

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What do animals eat in our adventure RPG game - and why we have decided that they don’t eat each other

Hey all!

So, what do animals of the Kingdom eat? In the real world, carnivores and omnivores all eat other animals. It’s a bit of a “tough sell” when writing sentient animals. Not to imply that it can’t be pulled off – it’s been done a lot in fiction, but it’s just not what we wanted.

For example, Watership Down was filled with creepy scenes. However, in Watership Down it’s obvious that the cat and the rabbits are antagonistic, sworn enemies. This can easily be extrapolated to whole civilisations fighting against each other in a war for dominance, similar to the cat and mouse game Root.

However, our setting (and the atmosphere and story we wish to convey) require a tranquil kingdom (at least on the surface), one where the hierarchies are not accentuated by the beastly behaviour of certain castes, but by the seeming wisdom they exude.


Some food can be seen in the left side of the picture

So we decided that for many many years (as long as written history exists in our world, and beyond), the animals have all been herbivores.

Check out the rest of our lore dev blog on our official website.

     

Total Posts: 6

Joined 2020-04-14

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It’s really impressive how much thought is going into this! The worldbuilding looks fantastic, and the art is great too.

I’m curious though, is it actually an adventure game? Because the website describes it as an RPG (“Since it’s going to be a long time till we release this juggernaut of an RPG” / “Check out the teaser trailer for Trip the Ark Fantastic, a story-driven RPG set in the Animal Kingdom” / “#rpggame”). What is the actual gameplay going to be?

     

Total Posts: 14

Joined 2020-04-15

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mouseketeer - 29 April 2020 06:27 AM

It’s really impressive how much thought is going into this! The worldbuilding looks fantastic, and the art is great too.

I’m curious though, is it actually an adventure game? Because the website describes it as an RPG (“Since it’s going to be a long time till we release this juggernaut of an RPG” / “Check out the teaser trailer for Trip the Ark Fantastic, a story-driven RPG set in the Animal Kingdom” / “#rpggame”). What is the actual gameplay going to be?

Thank you for the comments, and for the question!

Trip the Ark Fantastic is primarily an adventure game, and party an RPG. Everything in the game is based on exploration, talking with NPCs, and solving clues. When I say it like that it sounds simple, but it’s actually quite complex.

Role-playing elements kick-in when you have to make some significant actions in the game; e.g., reporting a scientific article. Based on your report (the evidence you have gathered), the kingdom and the society can go in one way, or another.

We still don’t have a gameplay/mechanics video, but hopefully we will publish one relatively soon.

 

     

Total Posts: 14

Joined 2020-04-15

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On the 6th of May in 1840, the (real) world’s first postage stamp was produced. Well, in the Kingdom, postage stamps are still not a thing. Letters are sealed, inked, and hand-stamped in the old fashioned way.

And don’t forget it’s not the internet era yet either (D’UH!), so unless you’re royalty with your own carrier service, you need to get your letter all the way to the nearest post office to have it delivered!

The entire game starts with a letter. As Charles receives one from the royal messenger, he is summoned to the capital.

This is how communication and remote communication (sending letters) work in our game.

     

Total Posts: 14

Joined 2020-04-15

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If you have been following my previous lore posts that deal with the past and the present of Trip the Ark Fantastic, I have something new, and this one is a wee bit - edgy.

Even though the game looks really beautiful on those screenshots and artwork, the past of the Animal Kingdom has been rather grim.

This lore blog deals with a dark and disturbing past of Prisons, Gulags, and Work Camps of the Animal Kingdom, where animals (in the most part) worked day and night, and died of hunger and agony.

Please let me know your thoughts!

     
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Total Posts: 1148

Joined 2013-02-12

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That’s an impressive chunk of background - I approve! I’m afraid the specific allusion in the image caption seemed in rather poor taste though - is that in the actual game?

     
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Total Posts: 418

Joined 2017-09-18

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I like it. Adds some depth to the world. And unable to see where the poor taste Phlebas mentioned is. I mean yes, it’s a real-life reference, but I’m not sure why that makes it poor taste.

     
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Phlebas - 13 May 2020 09:13 AM

That’s an impressive chunk of background - I approve! I’m afraid the specific allusion in the image caption seemed in rather poor taste though - is that in the actual game?

Poor taste? Thats real life today. Gulag as sequester at home is a perfect metaphor.

     

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Total Posts: 1148

Joined 2013-02-12

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rtrooney - 15 May 2020 09:58 PM
Phlebas - 13 May 2020 09:13 AM

That’s an impressive chunk of background - I approve! I’m afraid the specific allusion in the image caption seemed in rather poor taste though - is that in the actual game?

Poor taste? Thats real life today. Gulag as sequester at home is a perfect metaphor.

Sorry if I wasn’t clear - it was the holocaust reference that seemed inappropriate.

     

Total Posts: 14

Joined 2020-04-15

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Sorry for replying late. No, this isn’t a reference to the holocaust, but it is a reference to the grim part of the history of humanity; the labour camps and prisons.

This is just background lore of the game, so these camps are nowhere to be found in the game, except in the stories you would hear from the folk you would talk with. Especially when it comes to Blackbark, a city that in the present time in the game lies in ruins.

     
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Total Posts: 13

Joined 2019-10-03

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The German phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei,” meaning “Work Sets You Free,” was famously set above the entrance to Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. There’s no conceivable way that the use of any variation on that phrase isn’t a reference to the Holocaust, especially when discussing labor camps.

     

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Joined 2020-04-15

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Cicerone53 - 27 May 2020 07:11 PM

The German phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei,” meaning “Work Sets You Free,” was famously set above the entrance to Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. There’s no conceivable way that the use of any variation on that phrase isn’t a reference to the Holocaust, especially when discussing labor camps.

Ah, yes, the phrase is a reference to the German phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei”. The game tackles a lot of events from our own history, but if you think that we are “glorifying” the Holocaust or Nazi Germany, no, that wasn’t the idea.

Similarly, we have a big reference to Burkina Faso and its revolution; ie, how once a horrific regime came to be a land of the free.

     

Total Posts: 14

Joined 2020-04-15

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And I have some new lore for you guys. This one is less grim :-)

This one is about the main opposition to the king, and the Animal Kingdom as a whole. The tiger duke Nicolas.

In a way, he forms the third of the three political powers in the Kingdom – the first being King Lav, the enlightened monarch whose lenient rule brought about piece and prosperity to the Kingdom, and the second being the revolutionary eagle Coriolanus, the revolutionary who currently resides in the heavily guarded colony prison facility.

Similar to King Lav, Nicolas is a strong believer in the hierarchy of animals and division of labour within the castes as defined not only by the Ark myth but also by (dubious) science. However, unlike the royalists, Nicolas believes that the lesser castes have the innate ability to perceive the true leadership of individuals.

Read the rest of the article on our development blog, and let me know what you think!

     
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Pero_Gamechuck - 28 May 2020 06:42 AM
Cicerone53 - 27 May 2020 07:11 PM

The German phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei,” meaning “Work Sets You Free,” was famously set above the entrance to Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. There’s no conceivable way that the use of any variation on that phrase isn’t a reference to the Holocaust, especially when discussing labor camps.

Ah, yes, the phrase is a reference to the German phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei”. The game tackles a lot of events from our own history, but if you think that we are “glorifying” the Holocaust or Nazi Germany, no, that wasn’t the idea.

Similarly, we have a big reference to Burkina Faso and its revolution; ie, how once a horrific regime came to be a land of the free.

I’m sure no-one thinks you are glorifying the Holocaust. I have no view one way or the other, but maybe look at it this way - if you’ve been through a traumatic historical event, one that people have tried to deny or diminish the significance of; and you see references to it in a fictional world with cuddly talking animals… well, let’s just say it’s not totally outside the realms of possibility that someone might not appreciate that it isn’t being taken seriously enough. People can be sensitive to their (or other people’s) suffering being downplayed or taken lightly.

     

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