Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night raised a ridiculous sum of money with its Kickstarter campaign. When a project has 64,867 backers, it’s safe to assume people are pretty excited about it. News of the game being delayed until 2018 was mildly disappointing, though not entirely unexpected. It was the announcement of procedural generation that caused some backers to worry.
One factor that lead to the delay was the time-intensive manner of creating environments. Initially, each background was developed on a texture-by-texture basis. This meant each area required time and attention from artists and designers to get it right. In order to create environments more effectively, Project Lead, Koji Igarashi decided to include elements of procedural generation in the final product.
Some backers raised concerns that the use of procedural generation would cause the castle layout to become erratic. Fortunately, a new Kickstarter update puts these worries to rest while giving us a sneak peek at how the developers plan to utilize this new system.
Wrecking Things More Effectively
Rather than creating the level itself, the procedural generation will auto-generate grime and destruction effects over preexisting environments. Previously, the team had to individually add each background variation to the game’s texture maps. This process was not only time consuming, but also lead to issues where the background seemed to loop due to reused assets.
Unwilling to allocate “a disproportionately large amount of resources” to hand-drawing more variations, Igarashi decided to create variation through generated dirt marks and surface textures. This simple solution allows the developers to easily and efficiently create asymmetrical visual output.
“Since we’re releasing this game on high-spec machines, I felt it was necessary for the graphics to offer a high level of detail,” Igarashi wrote in the update.
Changes to Bloodstained’s visual representation became necessary after its E3 demo. Players often had trouble differentiating platforms and walls from background content. To improve the gameplay experience the “front” of platforms will be brighter. Parts of the environment that are further away from the character are darker now to increase the appearance of depth.
The update included several “before and after” style screenshots (seen above) to show off the newly added destruction. It may be a minor cosmetic improvement, but it goes a long way towards making the Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night world feel more expansive than before. Now if only it could speed up development.