Dev Diary #4: Local Vampire Terrorizes Town

Sometimes it’s nice for a vampire to get out of the castle, you know?

So, building on our core gameplay pillars (you can check out my initial thoughts on the building game pillar in one of my previous vampire diaries), let’s talk a little bit about exploration mechanics, in other words – the vampire stuff you do outside of building the castle, tending to your “guests” and looking after your monsters.

The first thing to consider was what this would look like. In my mind, I always pictured a sort of long shot view down a dark Transylvanian valley at night, with the soft glow of town and city lights punctuating the dark forest. This is a start:

Dracula's Castle Map Screen
Who to terrorize next?

I’d like to iterate on it over time though, for example; I’d like some fog maybe, and to add more little details to the scenery and towns (like smoke stacks etc…) and essentially try to add even more mood to the setting.

So what I’ve done here is essentially established a number of locations for Dracula to visit. The general idea is that some towns will have slightly different traits and will be dynamic to some extent. Towns might start becoming aware of Dracula’s presence and begin to change. An example of this would be Dracula feeding too many times in the same place or getting caught perhaps, or taking overt actions like fighting the local militia or generally just being, y’know, a legendary vampire lord milling around down the pub.

Dracula's Castle Town Screen
What a terrible night for a curse!

All this should have an effect on the town’s mental state; which will, in turn, affect things like victim availability and/or type, resistance, patrols etc… It might even attract the attention of vampire hunters. /gasp!

Speaking of which, Van Helsing (and others?) will be active on the map. There’s a chance that Dracula can be confronted while on his way to and from the castle. Changing form might have some interesting outcomes for these situations!

The other side of this is that it will be the backdrop to the quest system. I quite enjoy games like Fallout Shelter but I find the quest systems usually lacking in them. This is where Dracula’s Castle takes a more traditional stance and will attempt to marry some heavier RPG elements to the base game.

The backdrop is, of course, based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. However, being the massive Castlevania nerd that I am, I’ll be finding ways to whisper sweet nothings into that series’s ear. The challenge here will be in figuring out what fits, and how to utilise the map screen to really enhance the feeling/sense of place.

The other challenge, of course, is in making the activities meaningful. So, going out for blood, “guests” and wives is a given. But what will be some of the other rewards for venturing out from the ramparts — apart from acquiring loot?

Dracula's Castle Vampire Activities Screen
Nightcrawler fun in the small township of Markeli.

And finally, the other thing to consider is that not all players will want to bother with this side of the game and would prefer to simply focus on the base builder game or colony sim aspect of working on the castle. So most likely, I’ll have an option for the AI to sort of manage this content if desired, albeit at a reduced efficiency so I don’t end up in a situation where everyone just defers to the AI.

Well, I think that just about covers it for this entry! Tune in again next time for more details on our progress, and if you’d like to really help me out, you can always head on over to Steam to wishlist and follow the game if you haven’t already.

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