The developers, Nihilistic, began work on the 3D engine with a spinning, un-textured triangle, and the engine grew to make small cities possible. Volumetric fog, real-time shadows, ripples, realistic smoke, fire and water, reflections, mirrors, sun rises and sets, multiple layers of sky, and perhaps most impressive of all, the real-time addition of light sources, an advancement that is almost a lost art. It is seen so rarely in even modern games that it does not have an entry on Wikipedia
The developers began their engine from scratch. Other engines, according to employee Robert Huebner, did not have the RPG elements the Nihilistic team wanted Vampire to have. The Storyteller mode, detailed scenes with extensive voice acting, and other interaction and game-play were created exclusively for V:tMR.
The character models and the skeletal animation that moves their bodies and their clothing were detailed for the time, with the main character, Christof, near 2000 polygons. The models change shape as they move, just as real musculature does; gestures were developed for multiple and individual characters, including the famous feeding sequence.
NOD real-time lighting not only advanced the development of shadows, but added light to figures and background from sources such as flaming torches, flashlights, and spells. The shadows twist and stretch depending on the characters' movement or distance from light sources, and Fireballs glow in the gloom, casting reddish light on the walls and floor as they shoot towards their target. Oil lamps and sconces cast the same color light as the flames within them.
Locations have around 15000 faces and a maximum size of around 2 square miles; the LOD system automatically scales down the detail in things that are further away, increasing frame rate.