Dev Diary #5: Mortal Com-bat and Vampire Polish

Thems fightin’ words.

Hello my dark denizens of the night. A challenger appears! Unfortunately I’ll have to be a little less divulgent going forward as it would seem that a certain upcoming title that bears an uncanny resemblance to Dracula’s Castle is on the prowl.

This makes a dev diary somewhat tricky to write but I’ll endeavour to do so all the same. If you’ve been following the series, in Part II I spoke a little bit about the building aspect of the game, Part III took a detour and went into some detail on vampire clans and in Part IV, we touched on the exploration aspects of the game.

Implementing one of the combat systems is the next logical step for me now that the basic version of the feeding mechanic is in. It’s a big piece of work and a core pillar so it will take time. However! — it also means that we’ll be a step closer to the vertical slice and playable demo. But keep in mind that I’m aiming for a decent level of polish for the Pre-Alpha demo build.

It also means that the loot, customisation and skill systems will need to be implemented in basic form. Which is bad news for me but excellent news indeed for the demo! Again, while the implementation will be core tech, I want a baseline level of polish before releasing the vampire horror of Vlad Tepes upon the world.

Vampire Polish

The month of June really has been one of polish for our little vampire game. From a systems perspective, I’ve successfully wired the base building, travel and feeding mechanics together into a core loop.

Furthermore, some polish was added to the visuals in order to make the look & feel of the game a lot more vampire-like. Mainly, I focused on adding post-processing volumes with bloom, colour-grading and some tone and tint adjustments.

Here’s a before and after of the Transylvania Map screen:

Vampire Polish - Map Before
Before, bog standard.

And after the post-processing was added:

Vampire Polish - Map After
After, with the “vampire polish” applied!

It’s such a fun process to play with, here are some variations I can use for things like low health, different forms, skill perks etc…

Vampire Polish Effects
The castle must be leaking, just look at all that blood!

Other things went in too, like placeholder music and weather! There’s a rain system implemented with a chance to spawn thunder and lightning if it’s intense enough.

Here’s some of the changes that have been made to the Castle/Build screen:

Dracula's Castle Build Screenshot
Before, I like it but I think it can be better.
Vampire Polish - Castle After
After, here we go! Much more vampiric post-polish. Bonus: It really makes the lightning pop.

So, the build is starting to really gel into something playable now. It just needs some additional mechanics to really round out the experience.

Here’s a gif of the newly implemented v1.0 feeding system. a feast for your eyes!

Just nipping into town for a bite.

The other development this past month was some store page visits from SteamPeek. I hadn’t heard of this site before, and I love it already. Check out what games are being attached to Dracula’s Castle as similar titles! Needless to say, I went on a proper wishlist spree after discovering this.

That’s it for this one folks. More development news next month, stay tuned!

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