Hi there! It's been a while since our last AMA session - (https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/6uhzyw/were_afraid_to_play_horror_games_so_we_quit_our/). It was a blast and we hope this one is too!

In 2017 we released our first game, Darkwood. Making it was a super wild ride for us and you can read all about it here (https://imgur.com/gallery/WZRqu3P).

Darkwood was a game made by people who don't really like the horror genre (or more specifically, are too afraid to watch / play horror). This week we released a free early version of our new game called Soccer Kids. It's a game about soccer, made by people who suck at playing soccer. So while it's not a continuation of Darkwood, it is a continuation of the same mindset.

You can play it now for free here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2403430/Soccer_Kids_Alpha/ Or watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhI5SFM4VN8

Answering will be the whole dev team:

Jakub Hanc - through my account (/u/guteks)

Jakub Lech - through my account (/u/guteks)

Artur Kordas - through my account (/u/guteks)

Jakub Kuć - /u/kubakuc

Daniel Kunicki - through my account (/u/guteks)

Gustaw Stachaszewski - /u/guteks

Proof: Here's my proof!

Edit: thanks so much guys! The AMA is officially over, but we will be visiting this thread over the next couple of days and try to reply to more questions. It's been a real treat, see you next time!

Comments: 398 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

Fernxtwo406 karma

Why so many Jakubs?

Guteks786 karma

The population of Jakubs in Poland is so large that the only person that calls them by their real name is their mother. Everyone else calls them by their nickname, otherwise yelling "Jakub!" on the street would cause serious commotion. So, the Jakubs at the studio are called: Kuć, Hancu and Leszek.

Significant_Ad_645187 karma


I am a big fan of Darkwood and have been for several years.

From what I have observed, your graphics in the game appear to be much lower resolution than the sprites in the artbook. I assume this is so the mind's eye can fill in the detail gaps so each player has a personalized experience. I love to look at the details in artwork, however I was born with a condition called aphantasia, which prevents me from imagining details that are not visible to the eye. I am left with an incomplete picture.

Would it be possible for you to add an accessibility feature that allows me to turn on the higher resolution graphics so that I and other aphantasics can fully experience the game with the fully detailed images?

Some additional questions:

What DAW did you make the soundtrack in? Any particular VSTs? And did you learn to perform with an instrument first?

Did you record the sound effects yourself or did you buy them online? Where did you get them?

What software did you draw the graphics in? Did you buy any brush packs online? I’d love to make some fanart and I want all the tools you used for Darkwood’s look.

Thank you,


Guteks118 karma

Hi Liam :)
A lot of graphics for Darkwood were created in higher resolution, but I would estimate that it's about 20% of the whole. These are mainly characters and portraits. The rest, such as environmental graphics, were done in a one-to-one scale. That's why it's unlikely that a high-resolution version will be created.
For music and sound effects, I used the DAW Reaper. As for VST plugins, I don't remember exactly, but a large portion of the synthesizer sounds came from Zebra. I also used Amplitube and probably Guitar Rig, not only for guitar sounds but also as multi-effects applied to other instruments and plugins. And yes, I could play a bit of guitar and keyboards before I started working on the Darkwood soundtrack.
A very small portion of the sound effects were recorded personally by us. For example, the sounds of mutated dogs were modified recordings of Kuba's dog., named Szurek. The sounds of the savages were recorded with Kuba having his mouth full of yogurt ;) the rest were free samples, heavily mixed and modified.
For graphics, we used Photoshop (without any additional brushes), After Effects (for animations like grass and trees). For 3D graphics (such as rain animation, logo animation, and trailer animations), I used Softimage XSI.

- Artur

butterbal112 karma

Any chance of releasing the characters and portraits as they stand so we can see them?

Just an image dump would be awesome.

Guteks33 karma

Hi, they are all in the artbook - https://store.steampowered.com/app/1161370/Darkwood__Artbook/. It goes -75% on sale from time to time.

luciferwez80 karma

Who did most of the character/story writing on Darkwood and what inspired it? (Alt. what terrifying drugs were you on?)

Guteks105 karma

There were different phases during production where we would write together or with help of a writer from outside the studio, but the majority of the work was done by Artur. The only thing he takes is tea. Seriously, he doesn't even drink alcohol or coffee!

TooManyPxls24 karma

What is Artur's favorite type of tea?

Guteks80 karma

Regular Ceylon tea with sugar (2 teaspoons per cup) and definitely with lemon. I know that for true connoisseurs, it's not even considered tea, but oh well :P

- Artur

As a side note, Jakub and Artur once experimented with different ways of adding lemon to tea and how it affects the taste. Turns out it didn't matter. MYTH BUSTED

- Gustaw

Elvishsquid10 karma

Which Jakub or does the collective of jakubs just go by jakub.

Guteks11 karma

It does not matter, the Jakubs share a hive mind.

aischylus46 karma

hi acid wizard studio! i loved darkwood, even as someone who didn't play it (i was far too scared so i watched let's plays of the game, then got my friends to play).

i'm curious if you ever entertained the idea of a conventional "good" ending for the game? while horror games are often perfectly complete without them, i think of titles like silent hill 2 where a certain playstyle culminates in james surviving and dealing with the horrors of his own creation. darkwood's endings are far more surreal and bittersweet. did you ever plan on something different?

thanks so much for the AMA. :)

Guteks53 karma

No ;)
Moreover, in my opinion, neither of the two endings of Darkwood is inherently bad or good. We aimed for each of them to evoke a mixture of different emotions in the player. Even after finishing the game, we wanted the player to not feel completely freed from Darkwood ;) By the way, I can't imagine a good ending for this story. I think we simply created a world destined for a bad ending in one form or another.
It's difficult for me to comment on Silent Hill 2 since I haven't played it (I think only Guteks has played it), although we are familiar with the game, of course. The atmosphere, ambiance, and especially the soundtrack were a significant inspiration. However, I'm not familiar with the story in detail. I still hope that maybe someday I'll have the chance to play it.

- Artur

RottenUndead18 karma

Hi Acid Wizard!

As many here, I am a huge fan of Darkwood and I am happy to hear that you are still up making the things you like!

I wonder tho, what led to such a sudden change of direction, from mysterious dark horror game to soccer? Where did the idea come from?

Also, maybe a super silly question to ask, but have you considered releasing any kind of Darkwood-related merch? Something simple, like posters or physical artbook would look nice on a shelf, as I already have the digital artbook and OST

Anyway, thank you so much for your hard work, Darkwood is one of my favourite games ever and I'm excited to see more stuff made by you guys! It is truly great to see Acid Wizard back!

Guteks33 karma

I can speak only for myself. Darkwood turned out to be a fairly extensive and rich game. I managed to incorporate a lot of what was in my mind into it. When thinking about another horror game, I found myself repeating what had already been included in Darkwood.
Secondly, creating Darkwood was, for the most part, an unpleasant experience. I think I wanted to escape from it somehow. I wanted to do something different. Especially since I've always been impressed by creators who can do very diverse things. They aren't afraid to change their style and subject matter.
Thirdly, I noticed that I'm driven by a desire to show how something can be done differently. How to take something that I don't necessarily like and create something very "my own" from it. That was the case with horror and Darkwood. And it's also the case now with a football (or soccer) game.

And yes, we tried launching a shop with merch a few times, but we each time we failed, as it was not a big priority and eventually the people who would be responsible for organising it left the company.

- Artur and Guteks

Johnsmith-675217 karma

I bought Darkwood and it really is my favorite 2D video game. I regret having finished it, telling myself that no other game will manage to make me feel the same feeling. Thank you very much and above all continue the development of the Darkwood universe. You have achieved in video games what Lovecraft has achieved for literature.

My questions are numerous in 200 hours of play, and I took lots of notes and theories. I'll try to keep the more general ones:

-who killed ||the trader from chapter 1|| and why ? ||( I think the trader is a former member of the expedition as evidenced by a drawing with coal in the radio tower)||

  • What is the Source of diseases, how does it infect people, and is it the same one that causes mutations in the protagonist? ||(my theory would be that these are networks of mutagenic Mycorrhizae in the soil that contaminate all and whose filaments can penetrate the roots of trees to make them grow abnormally)||

-What are shiny stones and why are people so interested in them?

-am I right about my theory that dark woods symbolize communism? (cut off from the rest of the world, era of communist Poland, misery and atrocities, destruction of Christian symbols, the decivilization of the followers of the "forest", the will of the inhabitants to get out of it like the Berlin wall, the "dream" and the calls which symbolize the promises and the propaganda, the references to the war via the radio...)

-what secrets still remain in the game?

I continue to hope for a DLC or a sequel to this masterpiece. Thank you very much for this unforgettable and folkloric experience.

Guteks24 karma

Hi :)
I'm glad you enjoyed Darkwood.
Mystery is one of the main elements in building horror in Darkwood. Without it, the game wouldn't have become what it is today. And while I'm very tempted to give you answers to all the questions you've asked, it would, however, diminish the charm of the game and take away some topics for speculation and discussions from the community, at least partially ;) But to not leave you completely empty-handed, I'll say that you're right about communism. Although, if we look at the storyline from a slightly different perspective, it also touches on themes of religion and faith.
As for the shiny stones... well, they are remnants from the day of the transformed forest's birth.

- Artur

Johnsmith-67526 karma

thank you very much for the answers.

I think I understand better the subtlety of Darkwood. I remember a Polish video game with a man in a wheelchair whose graphics were very similar to darkwood and whose theme was the psychological confinement engendered by religion. The forest would thus embody ideology (political and religious) against reason, hence the hallucinations of the forest which symbolizes a diversion of reality. Moreover there are always relations between the religious symbols and the forest (like the shining stone in the temple of prayer)

However, there is a bias in my analysis because religion and the forest also seem antagonistic:

-the crucifix symbolizes faith and in the game, the more the crucifix is ​​intact, the more the person seems human and endowed with reason (baba, the villagers) while the one found among the savages is unrecognizable and degraded. -Faith also represents hope and moral support in the game, while the forest represents despair. -The mutations make the contaminated xylophages (which is a super ecological adaptation in the darkwood ecosystem) and they attack the religious representations. As for the other religious places, they seem to be falling into ruin, destroyed by the forest

Guteks12 karma

The game in question is The Last Cargo https://store.steampowered.com/app/593560/The_Last_Cargo/ from cool Polish dudes! I'm sure they also have a Jakub.

green_sausages12 karma


Guteks1 karma

Hi, the short answer is we don't know, but hope to restart work on it in the nearest future. You can read about it here: https://imgur.com/gallery/WZRqu3P

peahoter4355 karma

Hello acid wizard society.

I would like to ask ye all a one simple question.

Do you ever plan to expand the darkwood universe?

Guteks28 karma

Hi! We pondered a sequel, spin-off, prequel, DLC, but decided to try a new game at this time. We're not saying no to those things, just not now.

There were also plans for a board game adaptation, a book adaptation and a tv series based on Darkwood. The first two fizzled out (although we're not saying no to giving them another shot!). The TV series / movie is in talks for a few years now with a well known studio, but it's a frustrating process. Keep your fingers crossed it makes to the finish line!

DonaldTrumpTinyHands3 karma

Why is there a giant man in the photo?

Guteks6 karma

Because it's Jakub.

Guteks4 karma

I am there so I can watch over the rest of the Wizards and their work and also so they can feel QA's searing gaze.

- Jakub H

Julparutsi3 karma

Hello, Wizards :) In the original Indiegogo campaign, there was a stretch goal for "Free DLC for backers" that was successfully met:

I know it's been many, many years since the campaign, but is there still any chance we're going to see that DLC some day in the future?

Guteks5 karma

Hi! Indeed, you're right. We figured that since the scale of the game grew exponentially after the indiegogo campaign, the "DLC" was incorporated into the main game. We pondered a new DLC after the release, but there were big technical issues to overcome as the console port was a seperate project and all the work on additional content would have to be manually ported again... so that would be a nightmare.

TechnoM4tter3 karma

Hello! One of the main mechanics of the game is being able to see things in a cone directed where the cursor is. Technical question here: how did you manage to create the 'cone of vision' in darkwood and how did you make the transition of enemies from/into this cone? I've always been kinda intrigued by this especially once i realized all enemies are 2D sprites.

Guteks7 karma

Hi! We tried different approaches but ended up with a bit of a brute force approach. The field of view is done as every other light in the game, using a modified asset for Unity called Light2D. We shoot a lot of raycasts from the point of view of the protagonist and based on what the rays collide with, a mesh is created and drawn to a seperate texture. It then gets blurred by a post process. There are multiple shaders that use this texture in different ways, for example a enemy would use this texture as a mask, so if he is not in the field of view, he is not visible. Darkwood has quite a few of these layers, used for lighting, shadows, parallax effects and such.

TechnoM4tter2 karma

I think i got it!

Correct me if i'm wrong, but what i can gather is that you shoot a set of raycasts with an amount depending on a certain desired angle, then you create a mesh at runtime with the raycasts hitpoints to simulate vision not going through walls, you draw the result into a RenderTexture and then you blur the edges a little bit, and *some* enemies can use this RenderTexture to become visible/invisible according to their shader.

That may be brute force but that's pretty ingenious, i have to say.

Guteks3 karma

Exactly! Brute force is our way of life.

BoyWhyTake_a_can2 karma

Could you add COOP? I want to play with my friend.

Guteks1 karma

In Soccer Kids, yes! It's already there with Steam Remote Play Together, but we will be adding it in full later.

For Darkwood, no.

Ghosoy2 karma

Hi! Is there any hint to darkwood protagonist's real name in the game?

Guteks15 karma

Probability theory would suggest that his name is Jakub.

a-calamity2 karma

Congratulations on Soccer Kids! Excellent to see more from such a creative, innovative and talented team.

My question is concerning licensing. Is Acid Wizard open to working with fans in approving and granting IP use for things like merchandising?

Saw someone discussing a board game quite a while ago. Websites like “Fangamer” have officially licensed teeshirts, pins, etc created by independent 3rd parties. Is this something you’re open to, and if so, who is the best contact?

I would LOVE to write a novelization of Darkwood, and see that this was mentioned in another ask!

Thank you!!

Guteks1 karma

Hi, thanks! We're completely open to merch and adaptations, but are a bit burnt from previous efforts. Negotiations can be very long, frustrating and you have to be on your guard. All of the current administration tasks are taking a toll on us and trying to offload it to other people failed a few times, to the point that we just went through a year long, grueling tax audit because of that.

So if there's a way to have those things without disturbing the development of our games then we're in! ;)

Coldin2281 karma

Hi, I'm a huge fan of Darkwood.

I found Soccer Kids interesting tho it definitely feels very early.

As far as the turned-based strategy goes what would you say is SKs inspirations? Is the final gameplay going to invoke similarities to tactical turn based games like old school Xcom or is it going to be more similar to isometic RPGs with an emphasis on skills and character growth. Or is it too different to draw comparisons?

I have all the faith in Acid Wizard to make an amazing game but after playing a bit of the alpha im kinda confused about what you're going for and what the final experience will be like.

Guteks2 karma

Early inspirations were XCOM (managing limited "human resources”) and Jagged Alliance (mainly in terms of the relationships between mercenaries). The game was supposed to consist of a management part with a backyard atmosphere (training players through backyard games, managing players who also have their own home and school responsibilities), a story part in the visual novel style, and the actual match. The proportions between these elements changed multiple times during development. The alpha version focused mainly on the gameplay on the field because we wanted to test this aspect with players. We wanted to see if the idea of turn-based soccer gameplay would resonate.
The development of SK will depend on how it is received. Whether we will have the time and resources to pursue a more elaborate game or if we will opt for something more story-driven will be determined by player feedback.

- Artur

Paper_glasses1 karma

Hi guys, are you able to support yourselves financially during the development process of soccer kids? As in during dark wood you said you were all working full time jobs is that still the case?

Guteks4 karma

Hi! Yes, Darkwood sold a truckload of copies so it's ok. To be accurate, we had to work other jobs before launching the crowdfunding campaign for Darkwood. The funds gathered there let us work for a year, and then we went to Steam Early Access, where we were able to support ourselves without a instant ramen only diet.

Wizajn1 karma

Hi Wizard Kings
First I'd like to say I was never this tense while playing a game ever, maybe not even in a first person horror game. Bloodborne does not count.
I would like to ask: do you go on ego trips on youtube, watching videos like "Darkwood is a horror masterpiece" or maybe just reviews or gameplay of your hit title.
Personally, I found this game through a game reviewer "MandaloreGaming" who not only made me aware of this game but also made me immediately buy this game.
Did you notice any spikes in sales thanks to YT maybe?

Guteks1 karma

Hi! Yup, I enjoy watching essays on Darkwood very much! My only regret is that SSeth did not make a video about Darkwood. Or Klocuch (a local celebrity). Mandalore is amazing, he even sent us his homemade jam :D

We do notice spikes in sales, I think the biggest one was with Markiplier's playthrough. Too bad he only played it in alpha!

Metalhart001 karma

Which of you would win in a fight-melee free for all, no weapons?

Guteks3 karma

Probably the Jakub hive mind.

Hellchron1 karma

Are you also a stoner rock band?

Guteks3 karma

We thought about being one! Maybe some day ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

FireStormDarkClash1 karma

Aside from the horror, the thing that most sticks out to me about Darkwood when I play it now, the thing that makes it not just a scary game but an exceedingly well-designed one for me, is in how quests are designed.

For lack of a better word, it almost feels like there's an asymmetry in the quest design? They don't seem to obey the traditional RPG structure of giving rewards commensurate with the difficulty, and a lot of the consequences can be unforeseen and dynamic. For example, I almost never give the key to the Musician, since it seems giving it to Wolf gives you a lot of boons in Chapter 2 and avoids a lot of dangers. For a choice presented so neutrally, it seems there's a far better option. You can kill the sow, or not, but it brings a lot of changes that follow you all the way to Chapter 2.

My question is, then, how did you guys go about designing a lot of the options and consequences for the player when it came to NPC quests and world events? To make it a bit more specific, were these asymmetries something you were aware of? Something you wanted to be in the game? Or did you design things with a focus on story/realism first, and let the gameplay consequences fall into place later?

Overall, it's just as chilling as the overt horror in my opinion, and I wish more games played with player expectations when it came to quests outcomes and their balance, especially one with as much stakes as Darkwood on permadeath mode.

My last, unrelated question would be: How do we give you guys feedback on Soccer Kids? :)

Guteks2 karma

Definitely  story/realism (and cool factor) first, and let the gameplay consequences fall into place later
From the very beginning, elements of surprise, unpredictability, and non-obvious, less "game-like" consequences were incredibly important to us. We deliberately went against the grain of the typical scheme where the player must always know exactly what they're doing and why. In my opinion, these elements contribute to building horror, uncertainty, and the impression that the player is not at the center of events, not a hero saving humanity, but rather a cog in the surrounding world. Their decisions, regardless of their intentions, can have unexpected and unpleasant consequences. They are unable to foresee or plan for many things.
This type of design was also partly influenced by our limited experience in game development. Many of our decisions were driven by factors other than purely mechanical aspects of the game. I believe it turned out well for Darkwood.
As for the number of outcomes... well, honestly, I'm not sure how we managed with that. Certainly, the lack of awareness of what we were getting ourselves into during development helped to some extent. Focusing on maintaining the logic of the game world and the motivations of the characters, rather than balancing the gameplay itself and ensuring that everyone, regardless of their choices, got an equal amount of content, also played a role.

- Artur

Fibbox1 karma

What artists did you take inspirations from with the visuals of Darkwood?

Guteks1 karma

Honestly, I can't think of any specific person. When creating the graphics for Darkwood, I worked very intuitively, so the inspirations were rather unconscious. This also stems from the nature of the game and its top-down perspective, which is not very popular in games or other visual arts.

- Artur

UvaroKnight1 karma

Hi! I just made a quick account for this AMA.
I wanna start by saying that I love Darkwood. I believe it's a special type of horror not only because it has zero jumpscares (at least by design), but also because it teaches you to -be brave-. You don't make it far in the game without the courage to walk towards the danger, weapons in hand, and fight it for your survival.
My questions are the next, and I appreciate any info you would kindly provide:
- A lot of people comment on Darkwood being special in terms of horror (the zero jumpscares thing I mentioned). How do you feel about those comments? And what did you learn about horror or game-making from such experience?
- Soccer Kids looks great! Im about to play it the alpha as I finish writing this. It's fascinating to see you depart so far in tone from your past success with Darkwood. Are there any concerns or fear you have, switching to such a different mood? Or is it perhaps a nice breather?
- Releasing Darkwood's torrent in TPB was a bold and well-received move and I dare say we all thank you for it. Were there any concerns or cons you considered while weighing the decision? Would you do it again, with Soccer Kids or another game? What requirements would need to be fulfilled before releasing a torrent again?

Those are my questions, and while I have much more I'd like to say, this isn't the place for a 18000 words essay on how cool you guys are. Thank you for everything and I wish you the best!

Guteks1 karma

Personally, jump scares completely ruin my sense of immersion when I play games or watch horror movies, even if I appreciate the feeling of unease or dark atmosphere in them and would like to enjoy them. Therefore, I'm glad that we managed to create a title for players who have a similar issue with this genre, those who want to experience the thrill but dislike "cheap" scares.
There are a few moments in Darkwood that could be perceived as jump scares by some, and I think that was probably the biggest challenge in creating this game. Sometimes it's very difficult to completely eliminate those elements, but we tried our best.
Departing from the heavy atmosphere was certainly a breath of fresh air after development of Darkwood and Prisoner(which was not finished). Of course, we had concerns that people who appreciated our previous game wouldn't be very understanding, but from the very beginning, we decided that we didn't want to be slaves to our previous productions. Naturally, there are voices of criticism from fans, but the vast majority are cheering us on and supporting us, which is truly uplifting! Thank you for your support!
I remember Gustaw saying after the release of Darkwood that he always wanted to share his first game on a pirate website. At that time, it wasn't so easy for me to understand, but after we discussed it, I grasped his perspective, and I also wanted to do it.
I'm not sure how it will be with Soccer Kids; there is still a long way to go before this project.

- Jakub K

BlackburnUTG1 karma

hey devs) Have you play new Amnesia: the Bunker? Looks like this game was inspired by darkwood) it has fuel management too)

Guteks1 karma

Hi! We haven't played it but have seen people compare it. It looks great!

xemnasn11 karma

I just tried the alpha of Soccer Kids and I really liked it. My question is: for the final version of the game, will we be able to choose which kids will be part of our team or will the kids be predefined by the plot?

Guteks1 karma

It remains to be seen. The game is still fluid and we considered multiple approaches - a linear story-driven, predefined plot or a pick-your-team thing like in Jagged Alliance.

TqA71 karma

The soundtrack to this game is one of the most underrated and immersive that I’ve heard in any game. Being a musician myself, what were some of the biggest inspirations and influences for the production of the soundtrack?

Edit: if it wasn’t clear, I mean Darkwood

Guteks1 karma

Hi. I'm glad you like it.
My main inspirations were Murcof's music, the soundtrack of Silent Hill 2, Gwely Mernans by Aphex Twin (I know, a very specific inspiration), some dark ambient (e.g., Lustmord), and industrial sounds in general. My intention from the very beginning was to blend electronic ambient (the supernatural and "cosmic" element) with industrial, mainly in the rhythmic layer (to add "heaviness," a kind of "awkwardness," dehumanized quality). I really wanted to create something unexpected, even slightly mismatched and foreign, alien.
Dark Souls also served as a significant inspiration for the soundtrack. The music in Darkwood, similar to the Souls games, was meant to come in only during the most significant moments. It was meant to evoke a sense of importance in the player. It also shouldn't overpower the surrounding sounds, which play an incredibly important role in building horror.

- Artur

Johnsmith-67521 karma

I take this unique opportunity to ask again an essential question about a major character: what happens to bike man after the epilogue? he is charismatic in his own way (e.g. if the player had to choose among all the characters the one with whom he would play cards, it would be him without hesitation), but his fate remains unknown.

And what is the reason for choosing the number 21 on the door?

Guteks2 karma

Wow, the epilogue of the Bike Man's story never crossed my mind. It's a glaring oversight. We will think about it and maybe there will be a way to rectify this in the future! I don't think there is any meaning in the number "21" in this case.

TheBiggeyG1 karma

Hi Acid Wizard,

How is Poland this lovely time of year?

Guteks1 karma

It's lovely! We work in a green part of town so it's very nice <3

TaikaWaitiddies1 karma

Is Soccer Kids going to remain free?

Also, what are you guys' favorite movies?

Guteks3 karma

Nope! The current version is a early preview that is free. The full game will be paid.

I don't know how to answer questions about favorite things, as I am never able to access the parts of my brain that keep that information without suggestions. I remember the movies themselves, but I'd have to look at a list of the movies I've seen to pick em. Sorry for the non-answer :P

creator271 karma

What was the most difficult character to design?

Guteks5 karma

Creating characters for Darkwood was one of the more enjoyable parts of the development. Both the setting and the approach to the story provided a lot of creative freedom. Honestly, I don't remember any character causing significantly more trouble. Perhaps it was the mushroom granny. I recall approaching the writing of her dialogues multiple times, although creating her portrait was very enjoyable. The Three was also quite challenging. The initial idea was a sketch. At first, it was just a strange character. Incorporating Them into the story was quite difficult.

- Artur

[deleted]1 karma


Guteks2 karma

There is a saying in Polish, it translates directly to - "You're asking a boar if he shits in the woods".

MoreCaterpillar91551 karma

Hello! I hope you are all doing well! :)

What were your inspirations for Darkwood and its various themes? (My interpretation of the tones and overall story beats is that it's strongly rooted in the Cosmic Horror genre.)

And what do you look forward to the most now that you are moving on from Darkwood? (for now.)

Guteks6 karma

Each of us brought their portion of inspiration to Darkwood.
My portion (in a nutshell) included Solaris by Lem, The Snail on the Slope by the Strugatsky brothers, song "The Forest" by the Cure, strange waking hallucinations I had at night (surprisingly, Guteks had the exact same experiences), a whole bunch of memories from summer vacations in the countryside ;), and a multitude of other experiences that got stuck in my subconscious. I also remember that a strong inspiration was an article about zombie ants (before this topic became more popular thanks to The Last of Us).
From games, it was Fallout and Dark Souls.
As for music, Murcof, the soundtrack of Silent Hill 2, and industrial sounds in general were significant inspirations.
Interestingly, I don't recall any specific inspirations regarding the visual appearance of the game. Perhaps partially Dreamweb.

- Artur

DeerDreamStudios1 karma

(HUGE fan of Darkwood: thanks for posting such an informative update on what the studio had been up to!)

Will Soccer Kids be a horror game (or have horror elements)?

Guteks2 karma

Yes, while playing a match the player character will eat a random mushroom out of curiosity and his friends will transform into Chompers who will chase him as he tries to climb a never-ending staircase to his flat. /s

But in all seriousness, there will be some dark elements in the background that talk family issues. But not in a Darkwood way ;)

enricosusatyo1 karma

Is it going to be available on Mac?

Guteks6 karma

We don't plan on it. Supporting Darkwood on Mac was a nightmare.

FireTyme1 karma

Hey i love darkwood and i bought it the week it came out. only finished it after EA was ended, but had an amazing time with it.

what i wonder is why it took another 5 years for a new game? Its not my style of game at all and i know i'm biased but i'm honestly a little disappointed thats whats come after darkwood after 5 years. I do hope this game works out for you guys, but i really hope you get some other stuff in the pipeworks too for your core group of fans!

Guteks2 karma

Hi, you can read all about it here - https://imgur.com/gallery/WZRqu3P

Adagamante1 karma

Hello you wonderful people!

First of all, thank you for creating an experience that managed to give me nightmares on the first night I played it! Darkwood quickly became one of my favorite games ever.

Two things: Soccer Kids seems to be very interesting regarding its mechanics. How much emphasis will be put on a narrative/story?

Regarding Darkwood, what were the main influences regarding its subtle storytelling/worldbuilding? The way the objects and locations tell their own story created an amazing atmosphere.

Guteks0 karma

Honestly, we don't know yet. We'll see what the response from players is like and gauge the level of interest, and that will likely influence our future production decisions, including which aspects of the game we'll want to invest our work in.
Nevertheless, the storyline in Soccer Kids was always intended to play a significant role in building the atmosphere and setting. We want to transport players to 1990s Poland. We want it to be partly a sentimental journey but also an attempt to look at those times with a slightly more critical eye. We also want to incorporate some of our own memories and experiences into the game. Those are our plans. However, combining an elaborate story with tactical gameplay brings forth many challenges and risks. If it turns out that we have the conditions and time to do it well, we will likely decide to go for it.

- Artur

Soft_Marionberry_2211 karma

How would you approach the coding and development of a soccer game that features a highly sophisticated physics engine, accurately simulating the dynamics of ball movement, player interactions, and environmental factors such as wind, friction, and collision detection? Furthermore, how would you optimize the game's code to ensure smooth and responsive gameplay on a variety of platforms, while maintaining a high level of graphical fidelity and incorporating advanced rendering techniques such as realistic lighting and shading models? Additionally, how would you implement robust AI algorithms to control computer-controlled players, ensuring they exhibit intelligent decision-making, adaptability to different game situations, and realistic behavior that mimics human players?

Guteks2 karma

Developing a soccer game with a highly sophisticated physics engine, realistic graphics, and robust AI algorithms requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a systematic approach. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how I would approach the coding and development process:
Requirements Analysis:
Gather requirements from stakeholders and create a detailed specification document.
Identify the key features, gameplay mechanics, and visual elements that need to be implemented.
Determine the target platforms (PC, consoles, mobile) and their hardware capabilities.
Physics Engine Development:
Research and choose a physics engine or develop a custom physics system if necessary.
Implement ball physics, including realistic movement, collision detection, and response to player interactions.
Model environmental factors such as wind, friction, and ball surface properties to affect ball movement.
Graphics Engine and Rendering Techniques:
Select a rendering framework or engine that supports advanced rendering techniques.
Implement realistic lighting and shading models, including global illumination, shadows, and reflections.
Utilize techniques like physically-based rendering (PBR) to achieve high graphical fidelity.
Optimize rendering performance by employing techniques like frustum culling, level of detail (LOD) systems, and occlusion culling.
Cross-platform Optimization:
Write efficient and scalable code to ensure smooth and responsive gameplay across platforms.
Profile and optimize performance bottlenecks, such as rendering, physics calculations, and AI processing.
Tailor graphics settings and effects based on the target platform's capabilities.
Use platform-specific optimizations, such as console-specific APIs or mobile GPU features, to maximize performance.
AI Algorithm Development:
Design an AI system that controls computer-controlled players.
Implement algorithms for decision-making, adaptive behavior, and situational awareness.
Develop AI modules for player positioning, ball prediction, passing, shooting, and defensive tactics.
Utilize machine learning techniques, such as reinforcement learning, to train AI agents and improve their behavior over time.
Testing and Iteration:
Conduct extensive playtesting to identify bugs, glitches, and areas for improvement.
Gather feedback from players and iterate on gameplay mechanics, physics, and AI behavior accordingly.
Perform compatibility testing on different platforms and address any platform-specific issues.
Optimize network code if multiplayer functionality is included.
Continued Maintenance and Updates:
Regularly release patches and updates to address bugs, improve gameplay, and add new features.
Stay up-to-date with advancements in physics, graphics, and AI technologies to continually enhance the game's realism and performance.
Throughout the development process, it's essential to maintain good documentation, version control, and collaboration among the development team. Regular communication with stakeholders and an agile development approach can ensure that the project stays on track and meets the desired goals and expectations.

AntelopeBig93451 karma

Hi Wizards!

I am a huge fan of darkwood and ever since i beated the game i have been trying to beat it different ways. (higher difficulty,different versions) but that's besides the point.

I bought the artbook for darkwood (it's amazing) and the one thing that fascinated me the most was the early concepts. i was intrested if there were any more pictures for the early concepts of the game?

another thing i wanted to ask was if you could add more older versions of the game in the beta's section? i would love to play those. (:

Thank you for making this amazing game.


Guteks2 karma

Honestly, I don't know if I have any concepts left that didn't make it into the game or the artbook. There were definitely some, but most of the visually appealing things have been published in one form or another. What I have in abundance and what hasn't been made public (and never will be) is text. I have several notebooks filled with ideas and story-related things, plus a ton of documents on my Google Drive.
P.S. One concept just came to my mind that didn't make it into the game or the artbook ;) https://imgur.com/a/QXKK2Pu

- Artur

Hi! We wanted to add all of the earlier versions on the Steam beta tab but I think there were some technical difficulties with that, can’t remember what exactly 😟
Also, since you are a Jakub, I thought you’d ask those questions through the hive mind you share with the 3 other Jakubs in the studio? /s

- Guteks

pinkamedic1 karma

hey acid wizards i just wanna say that i absolutely loved darkwood as it basically got me into a horror games as a hole, but i wanted to ask while making the game did you guys / gals have any content / things that you wish you were able to add / implement but weren't able to?

Guteks2 karma

Hi! Yeah, we've got a ton of stuff that we wanted to add written down all over the place. Many of those ideas were bonkers or downright awful, but I'm sure we'd find some cool stuff there. But sometimes more does not make better, and each mechanic / thing you add to the game interacts with everything else and can bring the whole experience down. So it's a balancing act!

Cbundy991 karma

Hi! Love your game. it's probably my favorite single-player game of all time! Have far too many hours into it, lol.

What was the hardest part about making Darkwood?

Is there anything you wish you could have added or changed before the full release?

Guteks2 karma

The pressure of delivering a game that meets the expectations of people who pledged money on IndieGoGo and trusted us during Early Access. While there was a lot of enthusiasm at the beginning of the project, new ideas and concepts came easily. However, later on, a huge fear emerged about how to tie everything together, how to end the whole story in a satisfying way.
- Artur

I don't remember the end of the development period for Darkwood very well. We definitely felt extreme fatigue during that time. Nevertheless, it certainly wasn't the case that we released the game in a state we weren't satisfied with. I can imagine such situations occurring in studios that are dependent on external funding and have to make compromises. Fortunately, that wasn't the case for us.

- Jakub K

PapaRads1 karma

Darkwood is still one of my favorite games, and maybe still the scariest I've ever played. I find that it's only flaw is that once you experience all of the scares, it obviously loses some of it's fear of the unknown. This makes the replayability factor a bit limited.

Were there ever any ideas to include scare events exclusive to the higher difficulties or subsequent playthroughs? Or to maybe sneak some new ones into a patch? I think the idea of that combined with the already randomly generated map would have been terrifying.

Though I do respect games that pour everything into the first time experience, Darkwood is a prime example of how that often creates something truly special.

Guteks1 karma

I don't recall there being an idea for events exclusive to higher difficulty levels. The issue was the workload. We already had enough problems and work with the basic game. We didn't have the energy to refine and consider additional difficulty levels.

- Artur

Habit_Queasy-9 karma

Hey y'all, even though Darkwood has anti communist sentiments inspiring it, which I don't like, I can't help but love it. I always loved the game even though the first year I owned it I could only play it for like 15 minutes at a time because of how terrifying it is. However, the art, music, and general ambiance kept drawing me back like a distant voice in the woods calling your name, and I once I got on a roll, and just faced my fears, I couldn't put it down. That being said, what is the most evocative aspect of the game for y'all?

For me is the ending where you heroically sacrifice yourself to destroy the being by grabbing the flamethrower... It just strikes me as a very human moment, an example of how most heroes are forgotten and lost in the annals of time.

Guteks2 karma

Hi, I really like what we did with the ending too! Personally, the most evocative aspect would be the way the game likes to play mind games with the player and make him really focus and think if he actually saw / heard something. It’s what I experience sometimes at night when I wake up and see / hear strange stuff.
- Guteks
There are many moments like that. The ending, but I also really like the entire "road to home" segment when the player manages to take an alternative path in the radio tower. The conversation with the silent side of the Talking Tree and the road itself with the silhouettes of people sculpted by the forest heading towards its center. There's a certain kind of "strange tranquility" in that segment. I can't quite put it into words, but I really enjoy that part.
I also really like the dream of the underground passage and the symbolic foreshadowing of what will happen at the end of the game.

- Artur

I like the ending too!

- Jakub