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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Tactica: Maiden of Faith » Dungeons vs Outside world Gameplay

Default Dungeons vs Outside world Gameplay

November 3rd, 2009, 10:53
This is something I have been thinking a lot especially considering the feedback from Risen by many players.

What balance do you prefer between dungeons and outside world gameplay?

Judging from risen most players prefer the outside world gameplay… of course it will depend much about the quality of the dungeons also.

How do you think of very big dungeons? ( like more than 5 hours just to complete it )

If dungeons are too big does it tend to get boring? since you might not have much story and C&C.
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November 3rd, 2009, 12:30
Well, I think that really big dungeons should have the experience of actually surviving them … Which means there should be places for healing & refreshing, perhaps.

I don't mean full "Altars Of Fully Restored Health", but a place for just resting would be nice. Maybe the dungeon has a few separated cells or so, former home of someone … but abandoned, so they can be used to resting.

And of course, if a skeleton finds or has the key to them - why not let it lock the adventurers into the cell they were just resting in ?

If there was an underground river - well, that would be nice for replenishing the group's water ressources.

Imho everything should have its own reason to be there. There are jokes going around of some dungeon inhabitants placing traps there needed for adventurers who happen to stumble into their caves … Monsters living there should have thir own resources. Nothing is as silly as some randomly placed monster which just evokes the impression as if being placed there just to become cannon fodder one day.

If let's say humans and orcs live peacefull side to side within dungeons, they should have their reasons to do so. Maybe they're all outcasts and have combined forces for mere survival there. And then, I think, they might even be friendly towards the adventurers, breaking clichés.

Big dungeons are like the underground railway : Boring, if nothing interesting happens. There might be some really mysterious and actient cave paintings, for example. I don't think I've theen this yet in a game.

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November 3rd, 2009, 14:04
Not much difference between mowing an outdoor map and mowing a dungeon map, IMO. The biggest issue to a seriously long dungeon run is the need to peck at it. Whether you have to do a bit, go back to town for supplies, and then do more; or do a bit, go back to town to sell loot because you can't carry anymore, and then do more; or do a bit, go back to town to resurrect the dead cuz the dungeon is a real bitch, then do more… And locking the party in the dungeon to eliminate the backtracking without eliminating the issue that prompts players to backtrack in the first place is even more annoying.

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November 3rd, 2009, 15:15
I prefer outside world for traveling, shopping, talking to NPCs, etc. and dungeons for most of the battles. Dungeons usually provide a better setting for tactical battles. You usually have a lot more possibilities to affect/direct battles indoors than outdoors (unless of course, the outdoors are just a dungeon with different textures).
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November 3rd, 2009, 15:35
Not much difference between mowing an outdoor map and mowing a dungeon map, IMO. The biggest issue to a seriously long dungeon run is the need to peck at it. Whether you have to do a bit, go back to town for supplies, and then do more; or do a bit, go back to town to sell loot because you can't carry anymore, and then do more; or do a bit, go back to town to resurrect the dead cuz the dungeon is a real bitch, then do more… And locking the party in the dungeon to eliminate the backtracking without eliminating the issue that prompts players to backtrack in the first place is even more annoying.
The thing about an outdoor map is that you can ussully just go back go where you want / go to town etc at "almost" any time. But deep within a dungeon full of puzzles, monsters and mysterious you might have to push on with limited access to resources and healing….. thus giving you a big sense of satisfication when you finally reach the "big bad boss" and defeat him to collect the loot of the huge dungeon.
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November 3rd, 2009, 16:37
It might be a little more time-consuming to backtrack out of a dungeon versus an outdoor map, but either way you're just retracing your steps. The only way a dungeon is really different is if there's one-way doors or somesuch that artificially prevent backtracking.

By aiming for the "big payoff", you walk a very fine line between user satisfaction and user irritation. That tipping point is going to vary gamer-to-gamer, too, making your cliff edge fuzzy but no less dangerous. Think of DivDiv's (in)famous opening dungeon as an illustration.

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November 3rd, 2009, 17:09
I'd say it all depends on how well constructed and atmospheric the dungeon is. I'm pretty fond of a good dungeon crawl, myself, but it can definitely get tedious if the dungeon is too empty of interest—a good dungeon sets up a feeling of danger and isolation, the suspense of not knowing what's waiting in the dark ahead of you, and the utilization of all your skills and tricks to survive. When you finally are through with it and emerge into the outer world, there's a great sense of achievement and resolution. A bad dungeon is just a boring interlude where you can't see very well and you kill things til you get out.

I always think of the Severed Hand in Icewind Dale when I think about how well a dungeon can be done; also the original Diablo/Hellfire had some amazing dungeon atmosphere and well done elements of suspense and dread.

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November 3rd, 2009, 17:17
I like the "real" dungeons of old games.

- the dungeon is closed until you find the keys and solve the puzzles to get out (no teleport back, no weapon shop on every third level.

- you have to search for food to avoid starvation.

- dungeons have to be dark - make torches or cast spells for light.

- dungeons become really interesting if you can get poisoned, cursed, ill and so on …

- puzzles, hidden doors and trapdoors, levers and traps and teleports are must haves, too

in short: just take the old dungeon master as a blueprint

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November 3rd, 2009, 20:55
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
- you have to search for food to avoid starvation.
I think you're going too far lol.
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November 3rd, 2009, 21:14
Well, I love Dungeon-Crawling - but I guess the "NextGen-Crowd" is (at least) to impatient for Dungeon-Romps…

DungeonMaster was great, but a lot of it's Atmosphere was because the Lack of Food, Water and Light - it was important to remember where Water-Sources were and you either had to be fast or hunt some eadable Monsters - something the NextGen just wouldn't like at all - you know, too much realism and stuff (Huh ? Food ? Water ? At next I have to sent my Heroes to the Toilet ??? lol - argh make that "Hero" because it's soo difficult to manage a party…)

I miss the big Dungeons like DungeonMaster and Durlags Tower from BG 1… but most Gamers nowadays certainly don't….
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November 4th, 2009, 09:06
How are you planning resting anyway? Like BG just rest on the spot or for money in an inn?
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November 4th, 2009, 11:01
This game is going to be "very different" in most ways… for example the world will keep evolving while you rest… but the basic resting inside a dungeon will basically be any suitable spot ( enough space to put out your bedrolls and build a camp fire). While you rest you have to choose the setup… for example who will stand guard, who will try to mix potion / who will train etc etc…. ( if you choose to let all your characters sleep.. that will not be a smart decision ussually, unless your mage cast "watchdog" spell ) you can save several different setups which the game will remmember.. and set a default one too.


If you pay to sleep in an inn, or sleep in a place you own or this kind of thing, of course the quality of the rest might be better and the morale of your characters would go up.
Last edited by GothicGothicness; November 4th, 2009 at 11:14.
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November 4th, 2009, 14:39
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
I think you're going too far lol.
I don't think so. I believe this would be just fair, because a dungeon is not Disney Land.


By the way, what would be really funny, imho, would be an "ye olde shoppe" type of shop deep within the dungeon.

Of course, most developers don't use it for various reasons, and it would irritate players at least, because it should have a *strong* reason to be there … everything else would be just (and nothing but) silly.

Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
While you rest you have to choose the setup… for example who will stand guard, who will try to mix potion / who will train etc etc…. ( if you choose to let all your characters sleep.. that will not be a smart decision ussually, unless your mage cast "watchdog" spell )
I said already elsewhere that I'm biased , so you won't be surprised when I say that I found the way it was in the Realms Of Arcania games very good.

Apropos "watchdog" : In "Thera Awakening", the small novel accompanying Stonekeep, it was a skeleton bird in a cage, that did the same thing … It didn't make a physical sound, but one in the minds of the resting party … I still love this novel, no matter how "flat" it might be to others …

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November 6th, 2009, 05:26
Why would having the player require food be an 'annoyance'? Certainly to the average Halo player, whose sole genre of game is FPS's, and even in those, only plays the console style games with no recoil in the weapons and hit boxes three times the size of the other players.

At worst, make it optional (I think Eschalon 2 is going this route). Require food gathering and some micro-management for those who want it, or let it be turned off for those who play Halo. I personally don't mind either way. It adds very little IMO, but subtracts even less than that. It adds a little micromanagement (depending on system; though I never thought it made sense in U6 for Iolo to refuse to toss Dupre a freaking mutton chop; let one character tote the food and parcel it out), and a small addition to the resource-gathering/depletion portion of the game. It does not really add difficulty, unless you are really a Halo player.

As to shutting it up, and locking the players in; only if there is some reason to. And then, only rarely, and have alternate exits/entrances that are less guarded.

A sewer will have multiple points of entry throughout the city. Some might be locked, others guarded, but not all of them all of the time. Caves… just no. Locking the party into a cavern system just screams railroading.

Now actual dungeon-dungeons (i.e. prisons below castles, old mausoleums that would have had only one entrance/exit) are ok, particularly prison-type dungeons. Mausoleums only if there is some reason in-game-world terms that would cause the door to be locked.

Basically, other than the point above; what HiddenX said. Though I'll add; make sure it makes sense. A river running down the midst of a mausoleum doesn't; one in a system of caves and natural tunnels; yes. Small, single exit cells make sense in a prison; not in a cave.

Even the traps and puzzles should reflect the environment they're in. Let the environment you're in provide much of the fun, and it'll be considerably more immersive.

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November 6th, 2009, 15:18
To me, the need for food falls in the same category as the need for going to the bushes for nature calls. Doesn't add anything and it's just a pain. I'm all for immersion, but I consider food to be one of the intrinsic things my characters do in the background that I don't need to bother with.
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November 6th, 2009, 15:47
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
To me, the need for food falls in the same category as the need for going to the bushes for nature calls. Doesn't add anything and it's just a pain. I'm all for immersion, but I consider food to be one of the intrinsic things my characters do in the background that I don't need to bother with.
Hear! Hear!

And, inexplicably, I've never even seen Halo…

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November 6th, 2009, 16:12
O no, you guys mean I have to trash my complex going to the toilet system ??

seriously though the need f food can be overdone like in ultima where you need to mouthfeed every char… while I enjoyed it, I understad if it is too much for some. I think I will just stick with that you have some food which you collect of different quality and it will be eaten automatically while you are resting, same goes for water….. if the characters cannot get fresh food or water they will resort to eat insects and drink dirty water automatically… which will not kill them but make their morale go down or some such…. or maybe make one or 2 sick
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November 7th, 2009, 05:19
DTE - If you've seen any semi-futuristic space marine shooter, you've seen Halo. Alternately, Shadow the Hedgehog has about as much run-n-gun to it, but better gameplay, and no MP.

Ultima's version was annoying. You had to make sure each character had their own supply of food and drink, etc… I liked the old Might and Magics; you had to buy food, but it was dealt with otherwise automatically. It only really became a concern if you spent a long time running through dungeons.

As I said, it doesn't matter. If the system is mostly in place, just tweak it so that food is optional. Works for both types of players.

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November 8th, 2009, 21:24
In Dark Forces I there is a small scene - where you are inside of a spaceship - which looks like … a toilet.

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December 19th, 2009, 01:09
i like a outside world in a big dungeon.
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