BYTE Devlog #1: The visual demo

Video Link

BYTE is a tactics game based on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula that re-imagines the story in the 1980s, at the dawn of the digital age. It will adapt the themes of Dracula to a new, modern era, examining what it would mean for Dracula to interface with computers and the internet.

This visual demo is a mock-title sequence for the game that depicts the core visual motifs as well as injecting some elements of tone that would carry over to the actual game.

The visuals primarily pull from Return of the Obra Dinn, but remove some of the effects on the dithering to create a more traditional type of dithering that you would have seen in PC games from the ’80s like Policenauts. The coloring is not perfectly black-and-white, but instead black and a pale red, thought in the settings the red can be changed to white, blue, or green. (Note that the screenshots tend to make the red look green. It’s red, I promise.)

For the audio, I took the “Timesteps” track from Wendy Carlos’ A Clockwork Orange soundtrack, broke it up into a bunch of “main” and “transition” pieces, and then alternate between random main and transition pieces to create a smooth, ominous, looping score. I then layered in dialogue from Francis Ford Coppola’s film Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In the process of getting the audio, I wound up also gathering a large collection of moaning sounds (which appear frequently in the film), and mixed those in as well, at random intervals. All the audio comes together to create a slow but ominous and moody feel for the title sequence.

Finally, the mock menu features some various settings that the player can mess with. The bottom four settings allow the player to change the color of the threshold shader and change the frequency of the different audio clips. All six settings are meant to capture some of the more humorous tones of the game, though, taking a slightly more camp, self-indulgent approach to Dracula. I wanted to play into the various different relationships people have with the Count, pointing to different actors and films, as well as allowing for some control over the actual audio-visual feel of the game.

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