Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 10, 2013
You’re no longer bored. You want to pull out your sword.
You know that dungeon is deep and mean
With lots of treasure for you to glean.
This dungeon’s packed! You attack!
You can’t say when you’ll be coming back.
The NPCs all tried to warn you,
But that’s danger that you were born to!
You hear that rumor of the dragon down on level nine
And the treasure just short of divine,
But now you keep reloading to survive
Those trolls down on level five.
The Dungeon’s Got Depth!
Okay, that’s about as far as I am gonna go, with apologies to Sir Mix-A-Lot. And to you, for subjecting you to that. This is what happens with too much caffeine and too little sleep. And too much time coding up visibility blocks and ladders. I think I need some fresh air.
When working out the “secret sauce” for dungeon design in Frayed Knights 2 for other designers (and myself, so I don’t forget anything), I thought I had less than a full page of notes, hints, and suggestions. It turned out to be seven pages long, and still didn’t include everything that I thought would be important. But the bigger the document, the less likely it was to be read, and I figured to trust the designers to comprehend the rest on their own.
It’s part of why I get so excited about all the indie RPGs coming out these days… and their impact on “mainstream.” For years it seemed that we were trying desperately in CRPGs to get out of the dungeons – because dungeons were easy (or easier) to represent and to design, whereas the wilderness was hard (especially in 3D). Now, it seems like we are re-awakening to the joys of the in-depth dungeon crawl.
Assuming it’s done right, of course. Part of the move away from ’em in the past was due to the challenge of making these dungeons entertaining, rather than filler. But now that this is a current event rather than ancient history, it’s once again an area for serious study and improvement. I’m for more awesome dungeon crawls!
Not that this is key to any RPGs – or that I wouldn’t get sick of them if they start overwhelming the genre again. But I’m glad they are making a comeback.
Filed Under: Geek Life, Indie Evangelism - Comments: 3 Comments to Read