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Default Dungeon Crawl Gameplay @ Twenty Sided

July 1st, 2009, 10:28
Following up on Soldak's call for comments on their next dungeon crawler game, Twenty Sided's Shamus Young has kicked up some thoughts on the subject. Here's a taste:
I donít have any earth-shattering suggestions on the genre myself, so Iím just going to list the gameplay elements which draw me to these games. Iím also going to point back to old-school turn-based dungeon crawlers like Eye of the Beholder and Nethack, which are part of the lineage of modern day Diablo clones and thus have some wisdom to impart.
This isnít so much a list of suggestions as a list of observations from these games over the years.
Story
These games are not generally about story, and they suffer when you try to shoehorn in too much exposition and intrigue. (Plus, that sort of business can get expensive if you try to do it with cutscenes.) On the other hand, the boilerplate, ďBad guy is thirty levels down and wants to kill us all. Go get him.Ē is hopelessly dull, cliche, and lazy. It front-loads the story with exposition and then doesnít have anything interesting to say until the end.
I think the ďmysteryĒ foe is a nice compromise here. Send the player into the dungeon in search of the source of the evil / corruption / plague / rash of high golf scores, but donít tell them what theyíre dealing with. At regular intervals you can give them another spoonful of story which answers one question and introduces the next, leading up to the big reveal of the bad guy and his plans near the end. It entices players with a question or a mystery, it spaces the story out, and it keeps the story doses small so that they donít break up the flow.
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July 1st, 2009, 10:28
heck, they seem to start their reflections from a dead end.
it's hard to comprehend how can they ignore the fact that endless dungeons on many levels were the only compromise possible when computers lacked resources to graphically represent an open world, or to merge the areas where the player would travel with the ones where he would fight, thus forcing devs to make different interfaces for each aspect of the game.
pnp rpgs never lacked open spaces, for that matter, and a quest that would let you explore caves was just as entertainnig as one that would let you climb a mountain, regardless of the amount of creatures to chop down, or the uberevilness of the final bossie.

at times they manage to sound quite hilarious indeed.
however, they haven't noticed nwn2 soz is quite the game they're stating died long ago. are they really so sure?
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Last edited by baron; April 28th, 2011 at 11:05.
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