Heart on a platter: blood and gore, part 2

After releasing the Beelzebox prototype, my co-developer Jack said, “well, that blood makes our game stand out. Why not develop that further?”
So I set out to create a true-to-God gore system. What inspired me mostly was this quote from Jay Wilson:

“We have this cool system where we can hit a dude so hard that his skeleton flies out […] But I have to say, it got a little boring after a while!”

Because it made me think: why not tweak it so that it’s a rare occurance, so that when it happens, it will never get boring? I have no idea why the Diablo 3 team didn’t do exactly that…
The first step of development was creating a system for modifying the textures so that they can be carved into, revealing deeper layers. The early prototype was promising.


My main ambition in designing the gore system was to create something disturbing and uncanny. That’s why I created textures that resemble actual muscles, bones and organs and put them on the simplified meshes that would fit inside the Konspiracja webcomic-based characters. One of the first models I made was the skull, which sports two layers. Let me show you:


A greatest inspiration were the fond memories of the classic Raven FPS, Soldier of Fortune. Its GHOUL wound system was a real breakthrough, one that I don’t think was surpassed in any video game to this day. While my method is definitely different from theirs, I am amazed as to why developers so rarely try to tackle making a gore system.


Adding internal organs was the next step of development. Additional texture for muscles underneath the skin was added. In all honesty, the research and development of both organ models and textures made me a bit nauseous, but I believe the current state of the system is quite satisfying.


The important thing is that the damage you see here will most likely not be as prominent in the actual game. It will require quite a few sword cuts or hammer smashes to reveal the organs (so that it won’t become boring, as it has for Jay Wilson), but the system should allow for creating zombies with randomized levels of damage and decay. And now I have a skeleton model as well, so another enemy type is basically ready.
Currently the system also allows for intestines to fall out of the enemy’s belly. They are hellish demon spawn, so I guess they won’t mind dragging them while still trying to kill the player character.


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

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