By Clinton Wong, MD at PARIUNOS
I was dreaming of making games, 20 years back, and here I am today. It all started in early 2014 where my dream starts to shift into reality when the right time and the right people stumble together. Being an indie game developer is really fun. You hold the cards on every single bit of the game. You call the shots for the development, the visuals, and most of all, the gameplay. No Dracula! is one of the early games from Pariunos. The game focuses in Romania with the protagonist helping the townsfolk of a village to hunt down the infamous blood-sucker, Dracula. I can still remember the excitement of releasing No Dracula! in Google Play and the next thing is to wait. Waiting for people to download and play. It was not a hit and so the bumpy road sets in.
The game took us three months to completion encompassing the first brainstorm session to the release date. When I mentioned ‘us’, I meant a graphic artist, a freelance programmer and myself back then. It was definitely not a good start since we lacked experience on game development and marketing but giving up is not in the list. I started to gather information and comments on the game and I set my journey again but this time with a brand new team. We decided to revamp No Dracula!, thus the name, No Dracula! Revamp. The game was successfully released on 23rd December 2016 just before Christmas with a whole new gameplay, evolved visuals and with on-going updates of different mythical creatures and monsters to be defeated just by tapping.
When the Bulb Hits You
When my new team and I had our first brainstorm session, a questions pop out from here and there including “Why Dracula?”. I answered, “Well, I got the idea in 2014 during Halloween when the movie ‘Dracula Untold’ was out. Dracula has been a mystical being that has been a part of my fascination. As he is both fictional and nonfictional. Dracula is also a well known character which will bring a sense of familiarity where players might just accept it easily”.
Visual for the Pleasure of the Eye
We do understand that to create a good game, it goes both ways: the visual and the gameplay. It’s a perfect couple. No matter how simple or complex a gameplay is, complementing it with great visual is a must. Therefore, we put lots of effort in our characters and their surroundings. Since No Dracula! Revamp is a revamp as we named it, the characters stay in their round shaped body but with different elements added. Initially, we thought round shape is a more standardized shape for all our games as the collision engine would be smoother in calculation when they hit on any surfaces. To add a little signature to our characters, their eyes are all created like the number, 1. Why? Because Pariunos is Italian for 01, the very basic of computer language.
Life Expansion Through a Twist
In the beginning, No Dracula was intended for Halloween and so the gameplay was kept simple, once and for all. But after a long discussion with my now team, they felt that it might be such a waste to throw Dracula and his allies out and say goodbye after a good game. To expand the life of the game, we decided to add a story to change the gameplay where the players may enter the random stages with different monsters awaiting. A range of Sacred Items need to be collected in order to unlock the “Boss” stage. Upon defeating the first “Boss” whom is the great Dracula, a twist of the story comes in where he will flee from Romania to another country, seeking a hiding place where his allies of monsters from across the world will gather to stop Dan Hellsing from hunting Dracula.
A Ticket to Travel with Dracula
To make the game further, we decided to add a new country map monthly with stages of ghosts or monsters appearing from that region. Players will need to follow the updated quest and look for the right Sacred Items to defeat the region’s “Boss”. From time to time, Dracula will shows up intermittently and once he is successfully defeated, he will flee from the scene to another country where the player needs to face another group of mythical ghost or monsters from the next region in line on the hiding of Dracula. Apart from the adventurous storyline, monsters in the game will go through evolvement where it will gets harder to be destroyed after each destruction. Players will need to focus on a more precise tapping, or multiple taps on random counts. The destruction-evolving process creates a different gaming experience for each player, enabling a more diversified gameplay.
Revamp, Release, Marketing!
It is a fact that no matter how great your game is, if no one knows it, no one knows it. After revamping No Dracula! Revamp for more than 3 months, we released it not only on Google Play but also in the App Store. But releasing a game as mentioned earlier, is not just exciting but waiting is much more like a roller-coaster ride. This time, we formed a marketing team to do the marketing work which all indie developer should emphasize. Approaching indie forums and posting in social medias are what a daily routine should be as a follow up after the release.
For Pariunos, the team are still young, taking our baby steps into the indie developer world. However, young is not an excuse for us to be defeated in the game industry, but to strive better. Stay tuned to our updates on No Dracula! Revamp and to our upcoming games.