Heart on a platter: blood and gore, part 1

As per tradition, most modern ARPGs ooze with gore and blood. But the carnage is made to mesh with the titles’ artistic styles, making often appear cartoonish, especially in games trying to emulate Blizzard’s iconic style.



It is common consensus that the genre’s progenitor, Diablo 1, was the one of the most (if not THE MOST) disturbing and gory title in the ARPG genre. Often it is described as more of a horror game than an action game, with every facet of the development underlining this – through music, deliberately slow gameplay, darkness shrouding the levels and amazing art. The Butcher encounter is a perfect example, with his lair filled with corpses hanging from hooks and impaled on spikes, the floor and walls soaked in blood. It’s a gruesome sight that fills the player with dread. The Butcher boss fight may be more of a spectacle in Diablo 3, but both his appearance and the boss arena give off a very different tone.

And that dark, horrifying aesthetic is what we want to recreate in Beelzebox. While our art style is based on a rather light-hearted webcomic Konspiracja, this doesn’t stop us from creating disturbing imagery – which I hope to prove by sharing the current status on our gore system in the next two blog posts.


The feature already available in the currently downloadable Beelzebox prototype is the blood dripping on the floor. Unlike Diablo 3 or its clones, it’s not based on decals but on the terrain alpha map that is updated with every drop of blood that falls to the floor. Below is an in-editor example how it looks in action:


As you see, the most blood comes from the player character, which will be changed in the future releases. The number of blood drops and the size of the splashes will be determined by the amount of health taken away on strike, as well as the size of the character being attacked. Status effects and gruesome deaths will cause the blood to spray as well. We hope it will be fun for players to hack and slash the monsters to see these effects.


The effect is made both to look fresh and gooey on high resolution screens through the use of normal maps, as well as resemble the classic Diablo 1 blood stain, which was just a piece of level decoration back in 1996.


Be sure to check out the next blog post to see the progress on something completely new – the dismemberment/gore system prototype that we are very proud of.


Gamedev, /agdg/ enthusiast, translator, teacher, biologist. On his way to fulfilling the dream of creating entertaining, quality indie games.

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