We're afraid to play horror games, so we quit our jobs and made one, with no jump scares. It's called Darkwood, and it's our debut. Ask us anything!

We're Acid Wizard Studio, three college buddies (and a dog) from Poland who teamed up and decided to make a game. After more than 4 years of development, we have finished work on Darkwood, a unique top-down survival horror that does not rely on jump scares. Before Darkwood, some of us literally could not sit through some of the classics of the genre. While developing the game, we managed to slowly overcome our fear of playing horror games or even watching scary movies. We can now finally play Amnesia: The Dark Descent (at least in broad daylight ;)) We knew next to nothing about game development before starting work on Darkwood. We all had a background in animation / graphic design, but we had little idea about programming, game design or production. At one point, we sat down and declared we hate our current jobs, and instead of talking all the time about making the game of our dreams, we have to just go and make one. After a lot of sleepless nights, we had a vertical slice (kind of) of the game in 2013. We made a gameplay trailer using it, and the reactions to it blew away all of our expectations. We thought that we could actually make a living out of making video games, and started a Indiegogo campaign later that year to help us fund completing Darkwood. The campaign was not going well, but a second gameplay trailer wich launched during its last week gave us a big boost, and the campaign was a success. We set a deadline to complete the game by 2014. Unfortunately, our inexperience in game development led to heavily overshooting that date. We expanded the scope of the game, and made some major changes to the core design of the game late in development, which ate up a lot of time. We were forced to launch in Steam Early Access in 2014. The game was received very well by the players, and sold much more than we expected! Encouraged by this... We decided to expand the scope of the game even more! After that, even though we committed our lives to finishing the game as soon as possible, we continued to miss every deadline we set for ourselves. Negative reviews started popping up from players discouraged by the slow development or thinking we have abandoned the game. Development was very slow and frustrating. We bit off way more than we could chew, but we knew we had something special in our hands, and we had to complete it in the way we envisioned it. After 3 years of hard, hard work, the game is finished, and we're pretty proud of it. Proof: https://twitter.com/TheAcidWizard/status/894943579851943936 Answering your questions will be: Gustaw - programming, marketing, PR Artur - art, sound design, music, story Kuba - animation To get a glimpse of what Darkwood is about, check out this trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S3tmWfFACQ Find out more about Darkwood here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/274520/Darkwood/


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Comments:

18 Aug 2017 23:06 - +3263
How did you guys live and support yourselves financially during the development process? Before you released on early access?
18 Aug 2017 23:14 - +1580
There's a lot of trippy shit in this game. Any real life experiences / dreams that became an inspiration for darkwood?
18 Aug 2017 23:18 - +901
The sound design, art direction, story, and scripting all seem so well done that they could have each been made by an individual who specializes in those things. How did 3 guys with the support of a dog produce all of these elements so professionally? What was it like studying new aspects of game development (particularly things like the spectacular sound design) that you guys might not have already known between the three of you? Did you ever outsource for any of these things?
18 Aug 2017 23:16 - +787
Which programming language did you use for developing this game? And/or did you build upon an existing engine? *Bought your game since day 1 - it was an awesome ride following you guys...*
19 Aug 2017 00:08 - +745
Is telling everyone that there's no jump scares really just a long-con setup to a major jump scare?
18 Aug 2017 23:32 - +661
Why were you forced to launch the game in early access in 2014?
18 Aug 2017 23:45 - +508
I am also afraid to play horror games. Should I play Darkwood?
18 Aug 2017 23:38 - +421
Hey there! I never had any exposure to Darkwood until it released on Steam, whereupon I quickly bought it and have enjoyed six hours so far. It feels like if Sunless Sea had a kid with Dark Souls to me, in all the right ways. Now that you've established a very heavy lore, where do you go from here? Expansion pack? Sequel with some of the side characters? You may have known the Darkwood world for five+ years in development. Tired of it. Saturated in it. Wanting to move on. Working on it /every day./ But for us fans, maybe we've only known hours of it, and would happily pay for more exposure in this world if the DLC was done right. Thank you Acid Wizards, best of luck to you in the future!
18 Aug 2017 23:23 - +225
This looks fantastic! Why did you decide to do top down instead of an over the shoulder 3rd person or first person view?
18 Aug 2017 23:49 - +158
How did the dog help?
18 Aug 2017 23:41 - +153
Are you planning a Playstation 4 release?
18 Aug 2017 23:29 - +122
How are the characters "done"? For example, the Wolfman. Did you took photo of some dude in a coat, photoshopped wolf's head in and edited it slightly or is everything hand drawn?
19 Aug 2017 00:00 - +115
Dudes. Your game is terrifying. I got it yesterday (steam watchlist) and the last time I've been so creeped out was playing Dark Descent. I can only play for a few minutes at a time before I need a break. That's a compliment. What are you planning for the future of the studio. Is horror "your thing"?
18 Aug 2017 23:06 - +107
How are the animations made? Frame by frame, pixel by pixel, or is it done another way and then pixelised to your style afterwards? Sort of like a filter over the animation to make it look pixely?
18 Aug 2017 23:27 - +83
Congrats, been here since Alpha 1 and it's been amazing to see the game's progress! The most important question is: where are you guys going to go from here? Will your next game be horror? Top-down? Something totally new?
18 Aug 2017 23:16 - +72
Congratulations guys! It must feel great! At any point during development were you tempted to throw in the towel?
18 Aug 2017 23:51 - +61
What was your favorite food during the development process?
18 Aug 2017 23:34 - +54
I hate jumpscares too! Question is though, if given the extra funding and/or time, would you do it in VR?
18 Aug 2017 23:50 - +47
Tell us more about specific roles of each Wizard in your project. Is Artur can be called "Soul of Darkwood" as he worked on dialogues, characters and music design, videos etc.?
19 Aug 2017 00:09 - +46
Hey guys, congrats on all your achievements! I'm a mid-30's guy in a completely different industry than game development who is currently seriously considering making a career switch. I have zero programming knowledge but tend to have a creative personality, and game making always fascinated me. I have the fortune of having started a very modestly successful business, so I would have some income from that to keep me going during my learning period. My family is supportive of my goals. My question(s)... what has been the good and bad about changing careers at this point in life? While you were still figuring out game development, how much did you regret leaving your former jobs? What would you have done differently in the beginning to better prepare yourself for today?
18 Aug 2017 23:50 - +46
What do you guys use to learn programming so well? I am curious what kind of tutorials you used.
19 Aug 2017 00:00 - +44
What are some differences between publishing with GOG and publishing with Steam? Do they take different cuts of sales? Is one easier to work with than the other? Does one promote your game more than the other? Also, what is the process like for getting something published on each, from "Hey we've got this game and we want to sell it on your site" to "add to cart"?
19 Aug 2017 01:09 - +41
What input did the dog have on the finished game?
18 Aug 2017 23:17 - +27
I interviewed Gustaw over email for The University Observer in 2014/15! I was so excited for Darkwood because I hated the way 'horror' games were going! How did you find Early Access? If you could create Darkwood again, without needing funding, would you choose early access again or go the traditional route? Again, congrats on creating an amazing game. I look forward to what you do next!
18 Aug 2017 23:55 - +22
The sound recordings are on point. It looked like some environment changed with the light shining onto, nice. Is there a stereo function based on the character, do songs get louder due to proximity of that character? Will there be different bulbs for the light, which "filter" the reality in a different way, similar to the flashlight? Other dimensions perhaps? I like how the top down view shifts for more viewing distance in the direction of travel. To optimize on this, will players be able to rotate the map? I back another game in dev, and they have budgeted over 100 million. Their budget cannot save them from the unexpected, gripes and growls from the fans. As a player, I'd rather wait on the polished final release than get it now. Many "kickstarter beta game testers" are thin skinned, and upset it's a broken game, forgetting they're there to test in the first place. Keep it up, this looks like a good game that harkens back to a golden age of top downs. Shadowgate Diablo mashup? I like it. I'm assuming this is on Steam? How much, can we buy now? I'm busy at work not working ding morning rituals. Thanks guys/girls.
19 Aug 2017 00:09 - +20
Are you only saying this so we relax and get caught off guard by the jumpscares in your game?
19 Aug 2017 00:25 - +19
Who's in charge of creating the trailers? They're very well done. We will definitely review your game for our horror site [scaredtoplay.com](https://www.scaredtoplay.com/) as soon as possible!
19 Aug 2017 00:28 - +18
Has Silent Hill been an inspiration for you? 2 especially is what I consider the best horror game, especially since it's so atmosphere heavy
18 Aug 2017 23:35 - +12
Is there any interesting idea/character/creature cut from the game in early development that you would like to share with us? Very happy about this, congratulations!
19 Aug 2017 00:09 - +11
Your wages came from the Indie Gogo campaign after you quit full-time. How do you decide a reasonable level of pay for all working in the project? Do you split it evenly, or for hours worked? Do you consider overtime? For a project where all the money is upfront, then equity after the games launch starting the cycle again for the next project, I've always wondered how you work out wages.
18 Aug 2017 23:31 - +11
Do you have plans to make another game already? (not necesarily related to Darkwood).
19 Aug 2017 00:38 - +10
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19 Aug 2017 00:18 - +9
Will you be launching to other platforms, like PS4 or possibly Switch?
18 Aug 2017 23:07 - +8
Are there any Plans for the Future like, DLC's or Free Updates to expand?
18 Aug 2017 23:14 - +8
Tell us a story of how you started making first concepts and ideas about Darkwood. How did you met with each other?
19 Aug 2017 01:08 - +8
What is a good a work schedule for aspiring game devs, and what engine did you make the game in? Great work guys, keep it up! :)
19 Aug 2017 00:24 - +7
Thank you guys for doing this! I'm about to start college for computer science, and my ultimate goal is to go into game design for a living. I have so many questions! 1) Where did you guys start? 2) What language/program did you use to make your game? 3) Are you guys completely self taught? 4) How do I go about getting to the point where I can make something at the quality level of Darkwood? It's my dream to be able to make a well-polished, thought out and enjoyable game, but I'm kind of lost as to where to even start.
19 Aug 2017 01:24 - +6
How do you think the game will do without twitchers and YouTubers recording themselves and having over the top screamy reactions?

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