Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Introduction to Dungeon


This post marks the start of my a series about dungeon design.

A lot of times when I see dungeons from other developers, there are some points I have to remark repeatedly.

Sometimes, the dungeon hasn't been thought about enough. There goes a lot of work into them, and you often have to go back to previous steps or even rework them entirely.
A plot point changes, you rebalance the treasure found, a corridor is too long for your players to traverse. All these and more can be reasons to change a dungeon.

I'm going to be using rmxp to make mock-ups of maps both good and bad to explain the different points I'm trying to make. The reason being that the tilesets are varied and the mapping is intuitive yet quick enough to make decent mock-ups.
The 3 layers + an event layer are enough to make something decent, yet is low enough to make me be creative in my mapping.

Some remarks that work for all dungeons

-A dungeon is organic (sometimes literally). You usually start working from one point (be it the entrance, be it the goal, be it some room) and let it grow from there in multiple directions.
-Dungeons have a reason to exist in your game/story/... Just placing dungeons for the heck of it is not only weird, but also makes things harder for yourself.
-Dungeons have a history. You're not the first to enter it, nor will you be the last. Creatures use it as a lair or just live in it. It might be a place only few people go to or a lot.
-Think beyond the classic dungeon as depicted in the picture above. Dungeons can be anything. Dungeons are cities, caves, entire worlds. Everything can be a dungeon, as long as it's filled with challenges or danger.

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