Greetings!  eGames Product Manager Greg Zesinger here coming to you live from Transylvania (well, Pennsylvania, if you want to get picky) with the latest edition of The Dracula Files developer diary.

We’re hard at work on our chock-full-of-vampires hidden object adventure game and are in the midst of finalizing all the levels and scenes you will get to explore as you assist the descendants of the Harkers and Van Helsings face down diabolical Vladimir Draco.

As part of the design process, we wrote out how the game would progress as if it were a novel or movie. Intricate backstories were created, detailing the histories of the main characters (I’ll be introducing two more below).  Some, but not all of these backstories, will come to light in this first installment of The Dracula Files.

The dilemma as a designer is to determine how much of the story you can really bring to life for the player.  You don’t want to make the game too text-heavy, and you also can’t necessarily create cut-scenes for every key moment in the game.  Ideally, some of the story will come to life for you through your own actions in the game, which is kind of the idea.

I would think most people are playing a game to interact with it and influence the outcome.  If they want a good story without having to influence it, they could watch a movie instead, right?

Sometimes it can be challenging to fit everything into a game the way you envisioned it. Often times, it can be impractical, and that’s one of the main challenges of developing a game. You want the game to be the best it absolutely can be, and include as many cool features, cinematic interludes, and clever puzzles as possible, but you also usually have to deal with a finite amount of resources and a limited amount of time.

So far, I’m happy to report we are maintaining the integrity of the story. We’re shifting some bits around here and there, but we feel the end product will provide you with an interactive vampire adventure you’ll really want to sink your teeth into.

After the last blog, we received a few questions in the Dracula Files forum here, so I’ll address them now.

Lattegato and livemild both requested more screenshots from the game.  With each installment of the blog, I will leak one or two out, but we’ve got to pace ourselves! (Click the screenshot below to enlarge it.)

Keep in mind these are subject to change. For instance, the interface on the bottom portion of the screen has already changed a bit from what you see now. This shot depicts a ransacked hotel room only until recently occupied by an intrepid news reporter investigating Vladimir Draco. Where could he be?

Gamezebo reader cyndirandy requests that we keep the audio from being too annoying. That is certainly our goal, and I hope some of you get to test the game before our full release to let us know if we succeeded!

And finally, apuglady wanted to know whether the game would include a timer. As it stands right now, the default mode of the game will not include the timer, though you will have an option to play with one if you prefer.  We want to give you the choice of how much you challenge yourself.

Now before I sign off, I wanted to introduce two of the other main characters.  As I mentioned in the previous blog, I conducted some interviews to aid in my research for the game. You’ll see early images (also subject to change) of Michael and Quinn Harker, descendants of Jonathan and Mina Harker, posted here.

I visited with brother and sister Michael and Quinn Harker in their family home in Virginia, just outside Washington, DC.

GZ: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.

Michael Harker: 
No problem. What was this for again?

I’m doing research for a game based on the resurrection of Count Dracula.

Quinn Harker: And that involves us how?

Aren’t you the great-great grandchildren of Jonathan and Mina Harker?

MH: Yes, but…

GZ: Who with Abraham Van Helsing put an end to Dracula’s dark reign over 100 years ago?

QH: It’s true our great-great grandparents happen to share the same names as characters in the book, but it’s just a coincidence.

MH: Don’t forget Quincey.

QH: Right. Quincey was the name of the Jonathan and Mina’s son in the book, and our great grandfather was named Quincey too. It’s kind of a family name. But we get tired of people always bringing it up. It’s just coincidence.

MH: Yeah, the kids in high school used to tease us when we read it in English. But it’s just a fairy tale.

GZ: A fairy tale?

MH: Exactly.  You know, like "The Little Boy Who Loved Garlic" or "The Wolf in the Field?"

GZ: The…Little Boy…Who Loved Garlic?

QH: Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of it? It’s a classic! It’s the one about the little boy who loved to eat garlic so much that no one in the village wanted to be his friend, until the dark strangers came to town…

MH: I can still remember our parents reading that to us when we were kids.

GZ: Where exactly are your parents?

QH: We…

MH: We don’t like to talk about them much. We lost them a little over a year ago in a hotel fire…

And with that, I’ll close up shop for now.  Make sure to follow The Dracula Files on Facebook and Vladimir Draco’s diabolical tweets on Twitter!  As always, I look forward to your questions and suggestions in The Dracula Files forum here on Gamezebo.  Till the next blog, keep your mirrors polished and your holy water handy!

Chat about The Dracula Files developer blogs in the Dracula Files forum.

Previous Developer Diaries:
The Dracula Files, Developer Diary #1