The year 2018 was marked by a book trip with Zdenek Zahora (Datapoust). I went back to digital creation and work on DT: Coupé (I'm still working on it). The dominance of the written text brought me back to the heart topic - chimney sweeps and ashes + soot. Dark Train (Ann) encounters chimney sweepers on its journey as the only interactive group of humans in the game. I had a fairy-tale model with a theme of chimney sweep written back in 2016 and already at that time I felt that I would have to deal with the topic of chimney sweeping independently.
Studying the topic naturally led to the architecture and typology of chimneys. Subsequently, I restricted this theme to the territory of the Czech Republic, which is historically very rich in this spectrum. Thanks to the great work of experts behind the websites(Czech language only) fabriky.cz, tovarnikominy.cz and KODA database, a precise library of authentic materials and resources has been opened for me.
Naturally, a set of historical, almost romantic references to important or interesting chimneys in our country, including local chimney folklore, began to grow through the originally completely fictional world of DT. Likewise, the history of chimney sweeping, which is completely romanticized from total darkness to the folk concept of luck.
Since the beginning of the project I wanted to focus more on figuration thanks to the locally interesting design of the sweeper's uniforms and the overall work with the potential narrative. In this context, the game format of the visual novel is very attractive to me. At the same time, I feel the manipulation space in the exaggerated design of the card and classic adventure game, without having to leave the 2D space. The book and “poster” based potential of whole synthesis led me to work with Bohdan Heblik. The key person is Daniel Jenikovsky, who can imprint his skills in the design frequency of the game as well as in the technical part of the development. We will see how we process the sound side of the game, but maybe there will be space for the Duchy (Ghosts) and Dominik Konecny will join us.
Development of visual style
Main Characters (2019 - 2020)
The overall direction of the graphics is naturally based on the Dark Train archetype, selected assets are directly recycled or recreate to a higher resolution. Unlike the original game, there is a large percentage of graphics up to 8K. Working with detail is more intensive and we can say that the ratio of original and new graphics is 1/5. The overall scope of the work is growing mainly due to the creation of characters from multiple camera angles. In terms of style, I consider it a challenge to try to slightly touch the anime / manga "issues" in character design. At the same time, the typology of machine, object and architecture design is under revision to make the overall visual style of the game complete and provide more modular opportunities for creating new themes, atmosphere and situations.
Assets (selection 2019 - 2020)
Screenshots (selection 2019 - 2020)
Now is the time to explore experimental game mechanics, font creation, and the final set of scenes. There was an increase in the number of 72 scenes compared to the original game. The number of scenes will change up and down...
I wish all students, developers and creators of all kinds good luck in the coming year and of course the strength to successfully complete the projects!