Trip the Ark Fantastic: a scientific adventure RPG

Hi guys,

I’m Alex from Gamechuck, and we are working on something that you may find interesting; a massive adventure RPG title, Trip the Ark Fantastic

Trip the Ark Fantastic is a story-driven role-playing adventure 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.

The first teaser trailer

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.

LINKS

Ark Fantastic on Discord
Ark Fantastic official website
Ark Fantastic on Twitter
Ark Fantastic on Facebook
Ark Fantastic on Instagram

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.

THEMES AND INSPIRATIONS

We draw inspiration for the game from modern fables of classic literature, such as Animal Farm or Watership Down, as well as deep story-driven games from the roleplaying and adventure game genres, and games with unique and experimental gameplay mechanics.

Our goal is to use the game to explore various types of society (monarchy, democracy, anarchy) and to tackle questions such as how rule is legitimized, what role myths play in the shaping of society, and so on.

The animation is drawn frame-by-frame to be reminiscent of early animated classics, and the music takes cues from 19th century romanticism with the use of leitmotifs inspired by Wagner and gesamtkunstwerk opera.

The game is developed using open-source software, such as the painting tool Krita and the Godot game engine. Gamechuck studio is also a sponsor to both Krita and Godot Engine and, in the case of Godot Engine, actively contributes to its development.

WHEN IS IT COMING AND ON WHICH PLATFORMS?

The game is still in an early phase of development, but our goal is to release Ark Fantastic in 2022 on PC/Mac/Linux and consoles.

Let me know if you have any questions!

In our lore blog for Trip the Ark Fantastic, we’re talking about Charles the hedgehog. As our main protagonist, we decided it’s important to flesh out his life and history as early as possible. So here it is: the portrait of a scholar!

One of the youngest scholars to receive the illustrious “Master Scholar’s Seal”, a commoner whose inventions and writings are known all across the Kingdom.

The Quill-Quorni hypothesis revolutionised the field of botany. We don’t go into much detail about it, though, as there are only a handful of people in the Kingdom who actually understand the hypothesis - and we’re not one of them! :)

Even his forays into engineering were legendary - when he built the sprinkler system for his arboretum, little could he know that it was going to be repurposed into a shower system and used all across the Kingdom!

Charles’ fame is also partly due to the romanticised aura the Kingdom has of the recluse scholar: he - unlike the politicised scholars near the capital - decided to move away from the spotlight and focus on his work more than on the dealings of the court. A scholar of such repute among all the castes of the Kingdom has rarely been born, apart from maybe the beaver Dabrovit, whose Scientific Method is in use in the Kingdom even today (and whom we also wrote about recently as well in another biography!)

So, without further ado - read about Charles Quill of Burrows, the Master Scholar, son of Herbert, an equally illustrious hedgehog we also mentioned before (a key scholar in the Lav rebellion and a member of the Lion King Lav’s council)!

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!

I dig the art style and it sounds interesting.

Bookmarking the thread for future updates.

Thanks for sharing!

Working on a PhD myself, I find this scientific take with peer reviews etc. interesting and most certainly original. I do however wonder whether this would work in a game: I play games to get a break from exactly that scientific method, whereas ‘normal’ gamers may not know (or care) about the scientific method at all.
I also wonder how that peer review would work from a gameplay point of view: will the algorithm decide whether your argument is scientific enough? Will that be hardcore enough for actual scientists and easy enough for casual gamers?

In other words: seems like a tall order to get this to appeal to more than a small niche of gamers. But kudos for trying!

Thanks man! Looking forward to share more info about the game in the future!

This looks amazing. There’s a lot you want to encompass so if it all comes together this should be amazing!

That’s a very good question! Basically, we are very fond of adventure and RPG games, and especially hand-drawn environments, characters, animations… You know, like in the old days. Yeah, we might be targeting a small niche of gamers, but hopefully those gamers will appreciate what we are making :-)

When it comes to reporting mechanics - it’s still a (large) work in progress. Hopefully we’ll have a gameplay video to show in late summer :-)

Thanks, and yep, I know, we have a loooot to do :-D I’ll update this thread with more stuff!

Love the look of this and the concept! Besides the Watership Down vibes (love it!), I’m seeing traces of Ultima: Martian Dreams–an ostensible RPG, but actually an adventure game of figuring out Martian machinery and fixing it up alongside the great scientists of the Victorian Era. If you guys aren’t familiar with it, it might be worth checking out as reference.

Good luck with development!

This is more of a lore post, so please keep that in mind.

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.

Thank you, mate, and sorry for the late reply. Never received the notification.

And, of course, Warren Spector is a master of lore and storytelling. We’ve played Ultima in the past, which is one of the inspirations for the game.

May 6 is a pretty special day for the whole world. The world’s first postage stamp was produced. A rather significant thing for remote communication among humans.

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.

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!