Coffee Talk is a coffee brewing and heart-to-heart talking simulator about listening to fantasy-inspired modern peoples’ problems, and helping them by serving up a warm drink or two.
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Before Midnight, sometime in 2019
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April 11

Coffee Talk Devlog #3: Creating Space With Music

When talking about a good cafe, I’m imagining a chill atmospheric place where I can comfortably sit while sipping my favorite warm drink. Is there anything more I could ask for?



There is, actually.

It’s music. We (or I) tend to take it for granted because we often thought that it’s just /supposed/ to be there. The same goes in Coffee Talk. As a game that simulated the calm feeling that is served in a cup of coffee, the music in it complements the experience.

https://steamcommunity.com/games/914800/announcements/detail/1694929321637602438

To appreciate the hard work of music composers, I decided to write this devlog so that you could understand the process of making music, especially for games. Now, allow me to introduce you all to Andrew Jeremy, or AJ, as we call him.

AJ has been working as a sound engineer and composer for almost all of the games that are developed by Toge Productions. Currently, AJ acts as the product manager and composer of Coffee Talk project. Playing dual roles doesn’t hinder him from producing delightful music. Although, according to him, sometimes it can be challenging when he’s stuck with no inspiration to make music. But that’s all.

Despite being the only music composer in the studio, he has actually never thought about being one. He graduated from an academy in computer/IT program, with a dream to make innovation in technology. However, music has been his passion for a very long time, and ever since he joined Toge Productions, he just goes with the flow. Now he is aiming to become an audio programmer and to make innovative music application.

https://steamcommunity.com/games/914800/announcements/detail/1727596629128652213

Okay, I think we already know enough about AJ by this time. Let’s have a talk with him about his work, shall we?

1. What was your inspiration for the music direction in Coffee Talk?

Hmm, of course when I see games like Coffee Talk, I came across any chill-hop channels (as the game director wants to use this kind of music), and I also thought about instrumental music that is played inside most cafes. Listening to many types of jazz music is also the key to get that feeling and to understand how the music works to give the cafe-relaxing experience.

2. Is the music in Coffee Talk all mechanic, or did you also use real instruments?

All music is composed using our Ableton Live DAW and its high-quality virtual instrument and samples. We invest heavily on these special tools. So, it's all mechanic.

3. Please tell us about the music-making process for Coffee Talk.

I make the Coffee Talk music soundtracks like other music I made for our games. Of course, the first thing to think of is to create jazzy chords and melodies for the composition. I use virtual instruments and samples like piano, guitar, electric key/piano, and other stuff like that. Then I created hip hop drum beats for the chill-hop style rhythm. I also search for any free or short samples to use and arrange them in a way that it produces great melodies and harmonization. If all the components are well-arranged, done, and ready, I will then go into a particular method of lofi chill-hop mixing processes. I add compressions, low fidelity EQ, even vinyl crackles (though not all OSTs), and other things necessary for making lofi jazz hop music.

Particularly for this game, we will have 3 different albums and each album have soundtracks that are arranged and mixed differently but still stay to the main core of jazz chill-hop style music.

4. Which track is your favorite and why?

I would say, one is "Lonely Space". Having a nice touch of reverbs around the instruments of the track gives me so much relaxing experience (the rain sound makes it even more peaceful). But also, another uniqueness to this track is that the instrument I use gives actual distinct/different chord progression from what I really intended (it actually has an almost similar composition to the other song called "Start It Over", so I keep both). Another favorite track is called "Cup Of Sweetness". I like it because of the chord progression and the melody that fit pretty well together. I really love listening to it. The last one is, maybe, the one called "Tenderhearted", maybe not just because it is a superbly good piece of music to me, but also because it is the first song that people like the most (it's actually one of the music from the first phase of the music production).

https://youtu.be/_UgIUz2APOw

https://youtu.be/oudBv0amrz0

5. Is there any track that is challenging to make?

Honestly, all the tracks underwent the same challenging process. Every track has its own kind of challenge to make.

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Has any of you ever dream about becoming a game music composer? Well, you can be one if you really want to! AJ himself never went to formal music education, yet he still follows his passion for music and can become a composer himself – which you can enjoy his creation from the playlist before.

Don’t forget to wishlist the game here if you haven’t. You can try the demo as well and find all those fine lofi music tracks, only in Coffee Talk!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/914800/Coffee_Talk/
4 comments Read more

February 6

Coffee Talk Devlog #2: Bringing Doodles to Life



Hello everyone! I’m Sheli, your go-to PR person and Community Manager of Toge Productions. If you have anything to say or discuss about our games, just hit me up. I’ll be happy to answer!

Now before we get into the topic, I want to share a little bit of nostalgia here. Before I joined Toge Productions, I have had the chance to try the demo of Coffee Talk in an event. At that time, I remember that I can’t wait to see more of the game; to hear the stories of all the characters. That is why I would like to dig deeper into the aspect that has got me intrigued since the first time I encountered this game, until today that I have the opportunity to be involved during the last part of development: Coffee Talk’s character design & development.

https://steamcommunity.com/games/914800/announcements/detail/1694929321637602438

For the case of story-driven games, it is fair to say that the characters play a vital role because they brought life to the game itself. The same goes to Coffee Talk. As the game relies heavily on narrative, the characters exist to play out the story. Through them, the players could immerse themselves into the story and chill vibe that is in the game.

To talk about character design in Coffee Talk, we’re going to need to call the expert: the game’s lead artist & character designer: Dio Mahesa!

Here in Indonesia, we have a famous proverb: “you can’t love what you don’t know” (or in this case, who you don’t know). So, here are some little trivia about our artist, to help you know him better: Dio started doing his job professionally in 2010 by taking freelance works. He was an IT student back then, but drawing has been his hobby for a long time. He then started doing pixel art since 2012 as he joined Toge Productions. You can check out his pixel artworks on his Instagram.

Well then, without further ado, let’s start our interview with Dio!


1. Who is the first character you worked on as Coffee Talk's character designer?

The very first character I made was definitely Freya, and the story behind Freya is quite unique. At the beginning of the development, besides creating environments and UIs and all other stuff, I'm also in charge of creating characters. What I did was doodling several random faces of female characters in various races, and Freya came up as my favorite character, and Fahmi (the Game Director) liked it too. After several discussions, we decided to continue developing that character based on the doodle. The development itself has been changed many times, so the first Freya looked entirely different from her current appearance, especially on her outfit and her hair color.


Concept sketch


Freya’s initial design

2. Is there any character that you're really fond of?

Jorji might be the one I like the most. I personally write the characteristics of Jorji (while others are written by Fahmi), where I wanted a character that pretty tired, worn-out policeman, which knows a lot of stuff and actually is a funny person. I imagined him being your go-to guy when it comes to the gossip around the corner.


Jorji the policeman

3. How long does it take to design a character in Coffee Talk, and what are the steps?

The first step was to look at the description written by Fahmi. Usually, I require descriptions as clear as possible, starting from the personalities, the costume, and overall appearance. After that, I started to create sketches. I usually throw the sketches on our closed group, waiting for feedback from the team. When everyone's cool with the design, I start to "render" the pixel art. It can take a day or two to turn the design into pixel art assets completely, depends on how complex the character's design and animation is. Then I will put them into Spine to create the animations, usually taking another day. So… It’ll take like 3-4 days a character?


Lua’s character progression

4. Which character has undergone many changes from their initial design?

Pretty simple answer, it would be Baileys. The Baileys we show in our build on itch.io is completely different compared to the current one. The former Baileys wasn't looked as douche as he should be back then, but the character development was being rushed due to our target to publish a vertical slice build, so the design itself wasn't designed well. After we finally published the vertical slice build, I revisit the design and he looked completely different now.


Baileys’ then


Baileys’ now

5. What inspires you to finally decide on the current art direction for the characters?

To be honest, it came from the team, not only from me. We all like 90s anime, thus we are trying to give the 90s vibe by referring Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. We make Coffee Talk's color scheme brown-ish, with low saturation tone. The design of the characters then follows the game’s vibe, including their color palette so that they could come together nicely.

Some part of the game, such as the intro cutscenes, also took some cues from PC-98 games art direction. Hence why some of the cutscenes in the game were showcased in a small frame with black background, giving some kind of nostalgia of how classic games show story cutscenes. But we tried to combine those direction with the color palette mentioned above and some technical art features that definitely were not available during the era of PC-98 games.


Ghost in the Shell’s environment & Coffee Talk’s (drawn by Hendry Roesly)


PC-98’s environment & Coffee Talk’s (also drawn by Hendry Roesly)

That concludes our interview with Dio!

Now we can say that character design is not just a walk in a park. Each character has its own complexity, and each can underwent different development. Until today, the design for all Coffee Talk characters is already complete. There are many more characters with exciting stories waiting for you there, so make sure to play the game; coming soon in 2019.

In the meantime, you can wishlist the game, and don’t forget to try the demo as well if you haven’t.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/914800/Coffee_Talk/

Thank you for your visit. Please come again!
8 comments Read more

Reviews

“Coffee Talk grounds you in a place and makes you feel comfortable. You’re just working a shift and shooting the shit. It’s not glamorous, but it feels right.”
Kotaku

“Coffee Talk feels like the kind of game that you could think of as your own refuge space, and that sort of experience is just as valuable as any big budget mega-game that sells itself on maximum interactivity or realistic graphical fidelity.”
Paste Magazine

“There’s a particular vibe to a good coffee shop; a chill atmosphere where people catch up with one another and enjoy a good hot drink. Coffee Talk captures that same vibe”
Rock Paper Shotgun

Discord

About This Game

Coffee Talk is a game about listening to people’s problems and helping them by serving up a warm drink out of the ingredients you have in stock. It is a game that depicts lives as humanly as possible, while having a cast that is more than just humans.

Immerse yourself in the stories of alternative-Seattle inhabitants, ranging from a dramatic love story between an elf and a succubus, an alien trying to understand humans’ lives, and many others modern readers will find strongly echo the world around them.



The game features:
  • Tales of people from an alternative-Seattle, a city where elves, orcs, mermaids, and many other fantasy races live together with humans in a modern world we will all find familiar
  • Branching storylines, where the branches are determined not by the dialogue options you choose, but from how you serve your café customers
  • 90’s anime-inspired pixel art visuals and chill vibes-inducing color palette help to immerse you in the game’s world
  • Selection of jazzy and lo-fi music to accompany the late night warm drinks and conversations
  • An experience to make you think, feel, and rest both your body and your soul

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP2+
    • Processor: 2.4 GHz or faster processor
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB display memory
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Stereo
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.5
    • Processor: 2.33 GHz or faster processor
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB display memory
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Stereo

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