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Dhruin February 29th, 2012 04:57

Rampant Games - Technical Dungeons
The Rampant Coyote explores what he calls "technical dungeons":

What Iím talking about is the technical, analytical approach to navigating a dungeon. Itís a point where the dungeons of a game become more than just a setting where the game and story happens, and more than just a path between combat and puzzles. Itís where the dungeon itself is becomes an obstacle, encounter, or character in the game in its own right, offering explicit or implicit clues to its own nature. Where navigation of the dungeon requires a constant weighing of risk and reward. They can be automapped, but the map may actually need to be studied by the player from time to time to determine how to get to where he wants to go, or to figure out its secrets. A technical dungeon is decidedly non-linear, and is not something that will usually be ďdefeatedĒ in a single session. While any old dungeon may contain combat, traps, puzzles, and secrets, in a technical dungeon these are not stand-alone elements.
More information.

CoarseDragon February 29th, 2012 04:57

That was an interesting read. Made me think back to some Wizardry and Bard's Tales dungeons where you never knew what the next square held in store for you.

RampantCoyote February 29th, 2012 21:24

I think middle Wizardry and later Bard's Tale games took the idea too far to the extreme (going more from CRPGAddict's descriptions than my own experience). I need to go back and finish Arx Fatalis. Ultima Underworld definitely had that "technical dungeon" vibe to it, and Arx Fatalis seems cut more of the same cloth than some other imitators.

One interesting comment on the blog suggested that this kind of approach to "dungeoneering" can't really exist in games where you don't have an attrition of resources - mainly spells and hit points - when within the dungeon. I'm not positive I believe that, but I suspect a "technical dungeon" developed under that kind of modern rule system - where you are fully restored to maximum strength shortly after any encounter - would certainly have a different flavor.

Thrasher February 29th, 2012 21:50

Personally, I love this stuff. This article gives me more motivation to play Ultima Underword I and II, the Eye of the Beholders, and Arx Fatalis. :)

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